Monthly Archives October 2010

A Poor Man’s Rosé Champagne- Lucien Albrecht Cremant d-Alsace Brut Rosé $14.95

October 24, 2010 Daily Drinkers  No comments

How much do I like Champagne?  A lot.  How much do I like Champagne's pink version?  A lot plus a little more.  Unfortunately, the rosé version usually costs between 2 and 5 times more than the standard version, so it's a very rare occasion that I get to drink the real deal.  Legally, only grapes grown in the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne (with the exception of a few U.S. sparkling wines that were grandfathered in).  And much like the "Napa Valley Effect" Champagne demands a much higher price than it's less prestigious, though sometimes just as tasty, counterparts in different regions of France and elsewhere.

In this case the grapes come from Alsace in eastern France near the German border.  Lucien Albrecht's brut rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes whose

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5 Napa Cabernet You Need to Buy

October 20, 2010 Cellar WorthyDaily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

I've written up a number of Napa Cabernet in the last few months, so rather than make you search through the blog, I thought I would list my top five picks in one convenient location.  These are all top notch for their respective prices and I've purchased all for my personal cellar.

1.) 2008 Caymus Cabernet Napa ($59.95)- Now that I've had the chance to taste the 2007 and 2008 side by side, I can tell you that I enjoy the 2008 more.  Wine Spectator agrees as it gave the '08 a 93 versus the '07's 92.  Over-the-top vanilla, sweet, mouth-coating, inky black fruit summarize what can only be described as Caymus' signature style.  (Full Blog Entry)  (Buy It)

2.) 2007 Sean Minor Four Bears Napa Cabernet ($12.95)- Easily the top Cabernet value of the year,

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The best Rhone under $15 is only $11 WS88

October 18, 2010 Daily Drinkers  No comments

Robert Parker called the 2007 vintage in Southern Rhone "the greatest vintage I have tasted in my 30 years working in that region... Moreover, the vintage is remarkably consistent from top to bottom".  That quality and consistency might be perfectly expressed in the 2007 Font du Vent Cotes du Rhone-Villages Notre Passion Signor, which is the best Rhone value I've tasted all year.  This wine would probably be good in an average vintage, but in an historic vintage like 2007, it's incredible.  This $11 Cotes-du-Rhone Villages tastes like a pretty good Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  That's really saying something.

Everything about this wine is well put together, fresh and elegant.  Like most wines of this style, it's not influenced by a lot of oak, though half of it does see some time in barrels. 

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Hogue Cellars Caberent Reserve 2006- Washington Cabernet at its finest $21.95

October 14, 2010 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  One comment

Since making a trip to Seattle last week, where I  indulged in some of the state's fine wine, I've been on a mission to find a great Washington Cabernet at a reasonable price.  It appears that I hit it on my first try because The Hogue Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope Reserve is awesome for the price.

Traditionally, I've had two issues with Washington Cabernet and Bordeaux blends:

1. They tend to be very tight upon opening requiring extended bottle aging to reach their true potential.  This isn't necessarily a deal killer, but I hadn't drunk many Washington Cabernets at their peak until last week when I had an '04 that was drinking very well.

2. Washington Cabernet and blends have weird names that make them hard to remember.

This wine takes care of the first point and

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Heidsieck Monopole Brut Blue Top – Textbook Champagne $26.95

October 11, 2010 Daily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

I've been on a major Champagne kick lately and it seems like anything with the word "Heidsieck" on the label is really good.  In the last month, I've had Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Heidsieck & Co, all in the $25-30 range and all fantastic values.  This got me thinking about about how three different Champagne houses could have the same name, so I did some research on the Interweb's #1 source of sometimes accurate information (Wikipedia), and here's what I came up with:

Charles Heidsieck (of Charles Heidsieck) was the son of Charles-Henri Heidsieck (a Champagne merchant) who was the nephew of Florens-Louis Heidsieck (of Piper-Heidsieck) and the cousin of Pierre Auguste Heidsieck (of Heidsieck & Co Monopole).  Got it?

Now that you know who founded Heidsieck &

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Flora Springs Trilogy 2007- One of my favorite wines of the year $39.95

October 11, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

The recession has had one very positive effect on the wine industry.  High scoring Napa Cabernet that would normally sell for $60-75 on score alone, are selling under that magical $40 mark so wineries can quickly sell their wines to fund the next vintage.  I've written up a number of these wines recently (Neyers and Round Pond), and I'm happy to welcome Flora Springs Trilogy into the 93+ point Cabernet under $40 club.

This wine reminds me of a perfectly aged Napa Cabernet, which is very surprising given that it's only a 2007.  That speaks volumes about its balance and finesse.  One rule I live by when it comes to wine: there is no reason to age wine if it already tastes great.  Some wines demand age before they will be GREAT wines (the 2005 Beringer Private Reserve I drank last night,

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Calatayud Malbec- Another great value from Argentina $6.99

October 4, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

What do you get when you leave the vintage and the region off the label of an Argentine Malbec?  A dramatically under priced wine.  Apparently because of some regulatory issues, they had to leave off the vintage and region on this wine.  It's a 2008 from Mendoza for the record.

It's well known that Argentina makes some of the best values in the wine world, but at under $7, this has to be at the top of the heap.  It's rich and fruity but not as ripe or syrupy as some Malbec.  I would describe this as a Bordeaux lover's Malbec.  Tight and focused, with a particularly long finish, this wine easily shows 2-3x its price.

Argentinian Malbec is grown at exceptionally high altitudes - around 3600 feet in this case.  That makes for warm days and cool nights, which is perfect for grape

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