Tag Archive for tasting notes

2007 Downhill Cellars Susannah’s Barbera

2007 Downhill Cellars Susannah’s Barbera
Shenandoah Valley, CA

Downhill Barbera

I sampled this wine during the April Passport Day put on by the Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Growers’ Association, which I blogged about last month. Downhill Cellars only does tastings on Passport Days, so it was a rare treat, and one good enough that I ended up taking home two different types of wine. For me, that’s practically finding a treasure trove—I rarely take home more than one bottle from a tasting. I swear I’m not lying when I say I’m a drinker, not a collector.

This barbera’s nose is delicious: golden raisins, light brown sugar, ripe cherry, vanilla, and bourbon. The taste is even more layered, recalling jasmine at first sip, which segues into brown sugar with cherry and date and fig notes. It tastes like an unsulphured wine with fresh, bold flavors, though it has more character than they do, likely because it’s aged and unsulphured wines are often recommended to be consumed sooner rather than later. Vanilla finishes off the swish, joined by lingering dried apricot.

This wine straddles the dessert line for me because it’s so juicy and fairly sweet. It leaves me thinking of dried fruits that have some moisture left when you bite into them, and it’s an interesting smorgasbord of those fruits. Definitely worth the drinking.

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Pacifique Absinthe Verte Superieure

Pacifique Absinthe Verte Superieure
Washington
62% ABV

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I am down to the final bottle from my absinthe-buying binge last December. The first two I sampled were both blanches—my first blanches in fact. I have to say, colorless liquids do diminish the absinthe-drinking experience for me, although the Clandestine was still amazing. So imagine my joy when I pour out Pacifique Absinthe Verte Superieure and find this.

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It has a beautiful tone of dominant thistle-yellow with a ring of turquoise green in the light. It smells of dried and crushed leaves, horehound, and moderate anise. I’m getting a root beer image from those scents. Don’t sniff too deep, though. I may have burned a few nose hairs from the alcohol vapors. Sipping it straight is a challenge—this absinthe is definitely strong at 124 proof. It’s grassier when sipping it versus smelling it, and it has a creamy aftertaste. Otherwise, it just burns my tongue, and so I’m moving on to the louche.

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Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir 2011

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir 2011
California

mondavi_pinot_noir

From the label, it sounds as though this wine is a blend of pinot noir grapes from around the state. I know Mondavi is a huge name in the wine world, but I honestly haven’t tried much from their label, though I sold plenty of it when I worked in restaurants. This bottle was on a good discount at Safeway, taking it below $10 and thus right at my standard wine price range.

I smell tart cherries with a smooth eucalyptus. It’s thin-bodied. My first thought is that it’s too smooth in flavor, lacking character. But as I chew on it, I appreciate how mellow it is, a nice break from strong tannins. The main notes are vanilla, barely there açai berry, cherry, and a hint of chalky eucalyptus.

It works. It’s not at all memorable, but it works.

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