Friday, January 30, 2009

Guest Reviewers!!!!

Price: $6.50 at Costco
Name: Bodegas Luzon 2007 - Syrah Blend

Writing on the back of the bottle:

Located 350 km southeast of Madrid, Luzon is a family owned winery which includes 90 hectares if vines. The vineyards are in the scenic valley of La Hoya de la Carrasca surrounded by low mountains. The warm days and cool nights typical of this region provide structure and balance to the grapes, together with the little rain and a very chalky, gravelly soil produces a red wine of intense color with violet hues and round, rich flavors of dark ripe fruit with hints of licorice mint.

This wine is currently listed as the number 1 best buy for 2008 in Wine Enthusiast.

Jenny and Tom's review: We love a bargain wine and can't remember the last time we bought a wine for under $10. After reading the December 2008 issue of Wine Enthusiast, we sought out the number one best buy for 2008. They had it listed as $9.00 but Costo sold it for a whopping $6.50. Honestly, we were thinking this wine isn't probably going to taste very good since it was only a 2007 and so cheap. But suprisely, we both really liked it. The wine remains powerfully fruity and spicy in the mouth, with a long, minty finish. We definetly agree it should be the number one best buy and feel it will improve with age, thus we are going back to Costo to buy a case. Any future visitors are welcomed to share a bottle of this wine with us.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

more wine!

Like I said this week will have numerous reviews! We are enjoying our house guests and the occasion to share good wine. A lot of work happened today with a new door going up in our house. Our doors are poorly insulated so over the course of this week, we are trying to replace them all. I didn't actually help with this project as it was another slightly less busy day in the ER (note: if it is NOT an emergency you do NOT need to come to the ER). This first bottle of wine tonight is a red wine from the Valencia region of Spain. It was accompanied by olives, cheese and crackers and of course stories from the good old days. The label says, " Grapes. 85% Tempranillo 15% Monastrell. The wine purple red; notes of earth and species on the nose. On the palate it is meaty, medium bodied, full of rich black berries. Location Zone 8 in the town enguera, at 2037 ft. in altitude southwest of the city of Valencia, in southern valencia provinence. Soil the Sandy soil, good at storing heat, allowing for continued riping during the cool nights, more importantly, they drain well, preventing undesired moisture. Limestone subsoil, acts as a water reservoir, provides water to the vine during periods of drought. Climate: The average temperature between May and October is 60.8 degrees F. The cooler temps bestoy abundant aromas, vibrant freshness with great fruit expression.


Reviewer one: This red while still satisfying and continuing to improve my impression of red wines was a little dryer than I prefer. The color was deep, dark red and really enticing. I can imagine this wine going well with tapas in a little Spanish cafe. The taste is full but like a said before a little dry. However, this didn't stop me from having a second glass sorta of like the Washington Huskies playing Notre Dame last night, they just couldn't stop trying (just kidding...I just had to get this jab in). Anyway, back to wine. This wine was enjoyable and I would drink it again. However, I think Hey Mambo was better suited for my preference.

Reviewer two: This is another "red wine" from Spain. Another Don Simon!! Viva Don Simon!! This is another red right in my sweet spot. This wine is a little sweeter than last night's red, and a bit oakier and spicer, but not by much. I can definitely imagine this as a table wine in just about any restaurtant in Spain. The label on the back is very much like a textbook. Lots of info. None of it means anything to me. I probably liked Hey Mambo a bit better, but this wine is more extreme, more sweetness, more spicey, more oaky. But I like this wine. Tonight, 2 guest reviewers!!

Guest Reviewer 1: The cheese, olives and crackers provided a very tasty introduction to our happy hour. This deep purple wine appeared heavy enough to hold its own, so deep in fact that no light could be seen through it.. It was spicy on the nose, but on the palate it could not hold its own. It was simply overmatched by the flavors of the snacks. No oak could be found. It was not bad, just bland and not something to get excited about.

Guest Reviewer 2:I liked it - as I like most Spanish tempranillo wines. It was great with the cheese and olives appetizer. It had a hint of berry and is a wine I could drink while sitting and enjoying tapas in Tossa de Mar on the coast of Spain. When can I go back?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On a roll

Tonight we enjoyed another good wine (in my opinion...we'll have to see what our other reviewers have to say). We have our second guest reviewer tonight so it is indeed a good night. Tonight's dinner started with cheesy bacon mushroom wraps...delicious. The main course was flank steak, salad, and Seeduction bread from Whole Foods. Overall very delightful. To help us become better reviewer's our family has bought us check lists. Tonight's wine was Hey Mambo from Napa, CA the label reads, "Down some alley off of Columbus, I bang on an unsuspecting door and of course there is some big brute just waiting to hassle me. Once inside the hollow building he points me down a dim set of stairs. A bar and table emerge out of the smokey blackness. I sit in the back corner and order the house ravioli and a bottle of wine. On the postage stamp of a stage the lights revel a luscious gem with cocoa brown hair and cranberry lips. She belts out a lonesome note to awaken her band like striking a match the room comes ablaze with music. Her voice like velvet beckoning srtays to the dance floor. A few couples and then a few more. The crowd is insatable! The music, the food, the wine all together hypnotyzing. I savor every drop."

The other guys, a division of Don Sebastiani and Sons
Hey Mambo
blend of barbera, zinfandal, syrah, petite sirah, carignane, alicante bouchet
"A Sultry Red"

Reviewer one:
Man, all of those years I refused to drink red wine I was really missing out. This one was very enjoyable. I also thought that red wine had a harsh after taste but I was wrong. This one was smooth and drinkable. I don't really know if any correlation exists between amount of wine consumed and length of time into intern year but if it does, I am in trouble since I have more than 7 months left. This wine hit the spot after a busy day in the ER. Plenty more wine and reviews to come this week as we have house guests! Stay tuned.

Reviewer two:
I picked this wine off of the shelf at our local grocery wine shop. I was drawn to it not by the label, but by the extra bit of flair on the shelf, which shouted that this wine was rated a 92. I don't really know how high the numbers go on this rating system, but I usually see numbers in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Usually these numbers have high prices by them, so to see a 92 for $11, I thought, wow, this must be really good. It is called a "bistro style wine," which I think is another way of saying "table wine." It actually reminds me a bit of good ol' Don Simon, the one euro box wine from Spain. But I like it even better than Don Simon, due to the fact that they try to make this good, not just passable. I'd enjoy this most any time. The flavor is good, and satisfying. It tasets like I think red wine should.
It came with a milk-jug style plastic cork, which was easy to get off, but now that we have the "Rabbit" corkscrew, I think the plastic thing actually was slower.
The label was really wordy, and tried to be artsy, but really they don't need to, as I like the wine already. But I notice that the best wines say little, and the worst wines try to cover it up with a lot of prose. Fortunately, I am not really into fancy wines, so this "peoples wine" is just fine by me. I like it, and would happily drink it again.
BTW, I'm very happy to have our guest reviewer here with us today.

Guest reviewer:
And I am so happy to be here visiting the host reviewers. The dinner was superb, and the company could not be better. Tha wine paired well with the dinner. I thought the wine had a mild, light oak flavor, and was not overly complex. Yet there was enough flavor to be interesting. The red was not deep, but bright. It had long legs, and nice smoth finish. I would buy this and would love to have it again. Thank you Hosts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We must becoming lushes as we are already posting again. We needed to open a bottle of dry white wine to make creamed fennel for dinner. We happened to have purchased such a bottle of dry white wine not long ago and so were in luck. This is a dry white from South Africa, the label says " Groote Post 2005 the old man's blend/dry white Sauvignon blanc 62%, chenin blanc 38%. Wine of origin coastal region wine of South Africa.

Groote Post
The Old Man's Blend, Dry white
South Africa

Reviewer 1: I think that I bought this wine because I was trying to expand my wine selection. Buying it I remember thinking, I probably won't like this but I should try to expand my comfort zone. However, from sip one I was hooked. Other dry wines I have had before, I needed to choke down and take a sip of water afterwards. This one, however, is smooth and pleasurable. It has no harsh alcohol taste and was really simple and elegant. Good thing that I was adventurous when picking out wines at the grocery store. I will definelty buy this again.

Reviewer 2: Wow, I can't believe we are writing about opening another bottle of wine again so soon after our last bottle. I was a little offended when reviewer 1 bought this bottle of the old man's blend. I thought that somehow she was trying to say something about myself. But as it turns out, I am happy that she got this dry white. A recipe we were making called for a dry white and I opened it up to have a taste before cooking with it. Right away the old man and I hit it off. He had a good depth of flavor with a nice balance of sweet and dry. Or at least what I think dry is. I guess when I think of dry, I think of vermouth. This isn't really dry like that. It is pleasent and goes well with a meal of creamed fennel and cheeseburgers. While we are talking about cheeseburgers I would like to give a shot out to my favorite new brand of mustard, Beaver Brand Deli Mustard, from Beaverton, OR. I am licking the container out as reviewer number 1 types this in. It is a delicous blend of slightly sweet and a little hot (like reviewer one) along with whole mustard seeds and a bit of horseradish. It is wonderful on sandwiches and burgers and goes great with Old Man's blend.

**** Note: whole bottle of wine is gone...Please read this post knowing that fact!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blah, boring wine

I know that you can hardly believe your eyes that we are already posting again. In fact we are a little disappointed in the lack of comments. Tonight, for dinner I made our favorite spinach, pesto lasagna. We have it every year on this day to celebrate the start of fall racing season (although, this year today was the 2nd race). We both had long weekends with Reviewer one having a 30 hour, sleepless shift, at the hospital and reviewer two finishing the garage work yesterday and taking his team to race today. Keep that in mind as you read this likely incoherent review. Tonight's wine is a pinot grigio. The Label says, " On its journey from the wine country hills to the Pacific, the Bohemian Highway meanders through vine yards, red wood forests, and palm groves. This wine embodies the casual, free-flowing spirit you will find a long the way. Bohemian Highway California Pinot Grigio is zesty and crisp with refreshing aromas and flavors of melon, tropical fruit, a cool lemon/lime to finish. So follow your instincts and go with the flow."

Bohemian Highway
Pinot Grigio
Napa, California
< 5$

Reviewer 1: My exhaustion is definelty impairing my ability to be discriminating. My first sip of this wine was uneventful and unmemorable. It just kinda blends in with the delicious meal but not in a good way that it would actually add to the meal. However, after reading the lable about melon, tropical fruit, and cool lemon/lime, I really wanted to like this wine. I mean doesn't that just sound delicious. If only I was on a tropical beach drinking it with my spirit flowing in the wind. So back to reality, this wine isn't bad it just isn't anything special. Not my favorite three dollar wine.

Reviewer 2: Boy did I have a long day at work today. But still not as long as reviewer number 1. It was a long, hard day but when I got home, I got one of my favorite meals-pesto lasagna. Reviwer 1 asked me to pick out a wine and also get a bottle of San Pelligrino to drink with our meal. I kinda wanted a red but went with this white because it was in the referigerator when I went for the San Pelligrino. Also, it was a hot day and a Pinot often tastes good on a hot day. So I poured us each a glass while the lasanga was still cooking to enjoy with our salad. It was an immediate let down. Maybe I am becoming a wine snob but I think that I can taste the difference now between a bottle that cost 15-20$ vs. a bottle that cost <5$. There seems to be a certain depth of flavor that accompanies good wines. It sort of reminds me of the saying, "Beauty is skin deep but ugly goes all the way to the bone." But I guess maybe it is the opposite because the good wines have a depth of flavor that goes all the way through, but the bad wines have an unpleasant taste that barely masks the blandness of the base. But I guess I would rather have a some what bland, bad wine than have one that has a horrible bold flavor that makes you run out of the room looking for a bottle of listerine. Verdict: I won't buy this again.

* As forwarned- coherency is impaired by fatigue.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back already...

Tonight I got home in time to make dinner (something is wrong when I felt guilty about leaving the hospital after only working 11 hours)! We made spit pea soup with bacon, leeks, parsnips, carrots, parsley, bay leaves, and marjoram. It was yummy. However, it look a long time to cook and we decided we needed a bottle of wine to pass the time. Tonight's bottle is a cabernet from the Finger Lake region in New York. The label says, "A medium bodied dry red that includes both cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. Highlighted by aromas of bright berry fruit and hints of black pepper this medium bodied dry red finishes with smooth tannins and subtle oak undertones."

Swedish Hill
Blue waters Cabernet (75% cabernet franc and 25% cabernet sauvignon)
Romulus, New York
not dated
cost: unknown, gift from friend

Reviewer 1: My taste for red wine is not as developed as my taste for white. As you have probably noticed our postings are more often white than not. I just don't enjoy the heavy taste of reds I have tried. This wine is not an exception, it really does not have much flavor except for the aftertaste of alcohol. That being said, I did enjoy three glasses and am not totally trashed. So it must be missing more than just flavor. Despite my lack of enjoyment for reds in general, this did pair well with the split pea soup. I don't think that a white would have done as well. Maybe I am finally realizing that choice of wine, even cheap wine, can improve a meal if done well. I guess we have more to learn and write about in the future.

Reviewer 2:The label on this bottle of wine does much to atract me to it. It has a picture of a dock leading out to an empty stretch of one of the finger lakes and it is called Swedish Hill. It is almost enough to think that they are trying to butter me up by calling it Swedish. At first taste I wasn't too impressed with this wine. In general I don't like Cabernets but I think most of the cabernets I have had have been full bodied and exessively spicey. So although I didn't like it at first taste, this wine has grown on me. it is fairly mild and unoffensive. It at first seemed to have no flavor but know seems to have a fairly tolerable if not mildly pleasent flavor. That being said while I don't dislike this wine, I would rather have a one liter box of Don Simon any night of the week. I drove through Romulus, the town where this wine is made, on my way to and from Ithaca. It was a barely a wide spot in the road. A collection of 5-10 houses and the speed limit was 55 mph right on through town, not necessarily a place where you might expect to find fine wines.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The cheapest yet

Can you believe that we are posting again so soon. It has been a long week here. So far I have worked over 60 hours and although I have tomorrow off, I am on call Sunday starting at 7 am. The weather here has turned to fall with morning temps in the 40's. Tonight we are enjoying home made pizza with our cheapest wine yet. It is a box wine that one of our friends brought for us from Europe. I believe that it cost one euro.
The label says (translated from Spanish by reviewer 2) " Since 1890, 4 generations of artisian wine makers have conserved a tradition of quality. As this tradition has brought about the results of a constant investigation to bring about the best new technologies to our winery. Today Don Simon wine is the best flavored in its 100 year history. The elaborate wine made from the virgin grape with our most vigorous artisian standards and bottled with the most advanced microfiltration allows us to preserve intact all of the flavors and aroma. Don Simon is the most consumed Spanish wine in the World. The wine with the most tradition of quality and we hope you drink it at your table every day."
Also tonight, we have a dinner guest who will review this "vintage."

Don Simon
Vino Tinto
undated 1 liter box,
< 1 euro

Reviewer one: I have been craving a stiff drink all week after feeling like an idiot for 90% of the time. So really anything would do the trick. The first drink of this wine made me shutter. I would have to agree that the microfiltration mentioned on the label does preserve a lot of taste. However, I am not sure that is a good thing. Now by the end of my first glass, I am enjoying each sip. I can envision myself in Spain sitting in a cafe sipping my wine with lunch and totally being able to enjoy the rest of the day. I don't know that I would actually purchase this wine but hey it was free and the night is young.

Reviewer two: This is the most sold Spanish wine in the world (El vino espanol mas vendido en el mondo). So I guess it is to Spanish wine like Bud is to American beer. I don't drink Bud that often, but when I do, I'm pretty ready to not have any more. But I'm not here tonight to bust on Don Simon. I'm actually pretty satisfied with the Don. It is billed as a red table wine, and right on the label you're encouraged to drink it every day. This is the sort of wine that you could drink daily. Not awesome, but there is nothing really wrong with it. It is a bit oaky, a bit fruity, and you don't really have to be pretentious to enjoy it. It might not be the best wine I've had, but it is probably the cheapest. And at that price, it is definitely a bargain.
This wine was actually a gift from one of my athletes who took a trip to Spain over the summer. I asked her to find a really cheap box of wine and bring it back, since I had what I thought was a very good wine on the cheap several years ago when I was there (also bought from a grocery store for less than a euro.) So I feel very European drinking this. It is a very Euro tradition, daily wine, decent quality, without all the pretentious labels and high prices. And luckily, it is a full litre, not just 750ml, so I can have another glass! Next time you're in Europe, bring me back another box!

Guest Reviewer

First off, I loved the packaging. The adult-size juice box design ensures easy portability and drinkability; perfect for a (byob) night out on the town or to keep fueled at a raging houseparty. The wine itself is not bad if your looking for cheap intoxication or to pair with a mid-week meal of leftovers, but if you are looking for flavor, you'd be better off with something in a proper bottle or with one of the newer generations of boutique boxed wines. Not for sipping- a bendy straw would be a nice addition.