Sunday, April 30, 2006

2003 Paraduxx

This wine holds a special place for me. My girlfriend Steph and I went to San Francisco so she could run in the NIKE Women's Marathon. Since we were in the neighborhood we ended up staying a few days traveling through Napa Valley. One of the tastings we were able to do was at the brand new Paraduxx winery where we were able to taste the 00, 01, and 02. By far the best of the three was the 01 with its rich ripe fruit. The Paraduxx was probably Steph's favorite of all the wineries we were able to go to for its fruit forward style and the experience we had at the winery. So when she was sent to Germany for work for 6 months I bought some bottles of their new release and sent one to her so that we could both have a taste of the newest vintage.
So on to the experience.
The grapes: One of the reason I love Paraduxx is the uniqueness of its blend, 63% Zinfandel, 33% Cabernet sauvignon, and 2% each of Merlot and Cab Franc. An unusual blend to be sure. The blend changes every year sometimes including some Petite Sirah. The grapes all come from Napa and specific vineyards such as Napa's Korte Vineyard or Rector Creek Vineyard in Yountville.
The Winery: Paraduxx is actually an offshoot of the great Duckhorn Winery. Duckhorn has been a big name in the Bordeaux varietals making an awesome Merlot and Cabernet. Blended as well as separate wines. In 1994 Duckhorn decided to make this Zinfandel blend and named it Paraduxx. In the fall of 2005 they opened up a separate state of the art Paraduxx winery and tasting room along the Silverado Trail in Yountville. The winery itself is a beautiful place with a wall of windows that opens up and looks out at the surrounding vineyards.
The Wine: Ahh yes the best part. The wine pours a deep dark purple in the glass, almost reminiscent of squid ink its so dark. On the nose there is a sense of raspberries, jam, hints of currants, earthy soil, and tar. In the mouth its got the fruit forwardness of a great California Zin, with the depth of a Cab. I tasted strawberries, blackberry or blue berry jam with a hint of leather and earthy vanillan undertones from the oak barrel's.
I think this is the best of the Paraduxx's I have tasted and grade it a strong A.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wine Therapy

No its not something I need for drinking too much wine....its a Spa treatment at a local Houston Spa. The Touch Salon and Spa has created something called vino-therapy that "helps customers relax and possibly find the fountain of youth." The article states that this has been around in Europe for years but is just now coming to the US....
Well for $100.00 a treatment not sure its worth it, but really is this anything new? Wineries in Napa and Sonoma have been spouting the greatness that is Grape Seed extract for years now. Is this nothing more than immersing the body in the extract? Its all about the antecedents, which as any news article these days will tell you , RED wine, and subsequently the grapes that make up the wine are full of.
Anyways an interesting concept and if your willing to pay for it, more power to you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

1998 Zonin Berengario

You will notice in the next few weeks that I will be tasting more Italian wines. There is a reason that everyone will soon find out....not to be too mysterious.
The Winery: The Zonin family has been producing wines for zeven generations along the green hills of the Veneto region of Northern Italy. The Zonin company consists of 11 wine estates with more that three thousand acres of vineyards. Zonin has taken on the task of creating one of the world's most modern wineries which to me is good to see in the sometimes overly traditional wine makers of Italy.
The Wine: From the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, with a designation of IGT, which only means it doesn't follow the rigid standards to be designated a DOC or DOCG (similar to France's AOC designation). This wine is 60% Cabernet Savignon and the rest is Merlot. It weighs in at 13.5% alcohol and is aged 12 months in French oak barrels. It pours in the glass a dark red with something that looks like a copperish tent. It smells of fresh earth, currants, black pepper and dried fruit. While those smells persists in the mouth they are joined by oaky undertones, cherry and subtle fruitiness. Very nice, I'd grade it an A.

2004 Siduri Pinot Noir Gary's Vineyard

I am going to do a little something different with this tasting note. I usually try to spend a paragraph or more on the Winery of the wine I am tasting then delve into the grape and then on to the wine itself. However I have already touched on the story of Adam and Diane Lee when I tasted the Novy Grenache. Since Pinot Noir is one of the big grapes and most if not all know the story on this thin skinned temperamental varietal I am going to focus on the Vineyard where this grapes came from before delving into the wine itself.
The Vineyard: Garys' Vineyard...a name synonymouss with great Pinot Noir grapes. Owned and run by THE two Gary's, Fransiconi and Pisoni. Both have a long experience in growing grapes and having their own wines. Mr Franscioni operates the great Pinot Noir specific ROAR wines, and Mr. Pisoni runs the Pisoni Vineyards and Lucia Vineyards.
The Vineyard it self is located in Santa Lucia Highlands an area that is getting better known for producing great Pinot Noir and Syrah. The vineyard was planted in 1997 with a yield of about 3 tons per acre. The soil of the vineyard is mostly Sandy Loam. They use a very specific clone in the vineyards named after one of the owners the Pisoni Clone. The total vineyard acreage is about 50 acres. The vineyard is locate din marine climate with foggy mornings and breezy afternoons that help create a long drawn out growing season. All of this helps in developing the grapes into something that makes tremendous wines.
The Wine: It weighs in at a hefty 14.5% for Pinot. Pours a very nice cherry red in the glass, hints of earth, cherry, strawberry and cola and a small whiff of mint. In the mouth there is a very nice level of acidity that balances the alcohol with earthy minerals, strawberry jam and cola flavors rounding out this very nice, very complex wine. This wine earns an easy A-.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

2002 Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah

Alexander Valley Vineyards are based in Healdsburg California and is family owned, named for the original homesteader Cyrus Alexander it was purchased by the current owners in 1962. They have a proprietary Red blend named Cyrus after the winery's namesake. The Wetzel Family Estate Vineyard where the grapes that make this Syrah come from is based in Sonoma County and is the family vineyard where most of the grapes from AVV come from.
This particular wine, their Syrah weighed in at about 14.0% alcohol. Its aged 14 months in both American and French oak and a small amount of Viognier is added to round out the flavors.
The wine pours a deep dark intense ruby red in the glass. There are hints of smoke, oak, Chocolate and some spice in the nose. In the mouth there are rich exotic flavors, with a mouthful of Chocolate covered cherries. A very nice fruit forward Syrah, not to dry, not to sweet.
I'd grade it a B+.

WBW # 20 Wrap Up

The gang over at the Podcast site Wine for newbies has put out the wrap up of Wine Blogging Wednesday, this one of course focusing on non-blends of white Wines, not named Chardonnay, Savignon Blanc, and Riesling.
I urge everyone to check it out, some really great and interesting white's were represented.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

WBW # 20

A few weeks ago over on Wine for newbies it was announced that this months Wine Blogging Wednesday's would be non blended white wines that weren't one of the big three (i.e. Chard, sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling). This will be fun, since its my first time to participate.
On to the wine.....
A few weeks ago I picked up a wine that I had never had, from a varietal I had never tried: 2003 Bleasdale Verdelho.
First the Grape: Thanks to Wine Pro's (a great resource) for some of the information on the Verdelho grape. The Verdelho grape is actually one of the many grapes that are used in the making of Madiera, however there is very little of this vine growing in Portugal anymore as it is very susceptible to Phyloxera. Recently though it has been grown quite well in Southern Australia, Western Australia, and New South Wales.
The Winery: Bleasdale is owned by the Potts Family in Langhorne creek in Southern Australia. The Winery was founded in 1850. They make a wide variety of wines, not only the standard Shiraz, but a sparkling Shiraz, and a Malbec. On the White side, they produce a Chardonnay, the Verdelho and a Late Harvest Verdelho. The vines that produce this grape are around eighty years old and no machine harvesting is performed, which is a little suprising to me as high tech as some Australian wineries are.
On to the Wine: The wine is packaged in a Screw Top Bottle, which I really like and weighs in at 14.0%. In the glass its almost crystal clear, with a slight look of effervescence. In nose its very herbacious with hints of lemon grass and citrus peel. In the mouth it has a nice acidity that levels out the alcohol. Its very crisp, clean, and tart, with a nice taste of grapefruit and pineapple.
A very nice wine that I'd grade an A-.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Underage and online wine buying

With all of the new legislation going around in what seems every state, it couldn't be too long before people started bringing up the subject of underage teens buying wine online and being able to consume it. An editorial by Bill Stephens the Executive Director of the Christian Coalition of Florida brings this subject to light in the Orlando Sentinel. While I respect the Christian Coalition, I have to completely disagree with them on this point. As someone who receives at least one, sometimes two orders of wine a month, its hard to even begin to explain how difficult it is to actually get my wine. Every shipment UPS or FedEx has a big sticker that states it MUST be signed by an adult with an ID of over 21 York old. There are some months that I have almost had my shipment returned because I couldn't meet the UPS guy due to my work. And when the UPS guys do come to my apt, they card me EVERY time, heck I know the guy on a first name basis at this point, I'm 28 York old and I STILL get ID'd. Its ridiculous.
But that's not really even the point. Imagine that you are 18 years old again, and you want to get some alcohol....what do you do? Do you go online, order some alcohol with your credit card or debit card that your parents could see, then wait 5-7 days until the shipment comes in, then hope that your home and your parents aren't when the UPS guy comes, then hope that against all regulations and federal requirement's the Delivery man doesn't card you....or do you go down to the local ice house and attempt to pick up some beer?
I think its a pretty easy answer and I think the last worry that anyone should have, and the lowest priority that the Christian coalition should have is underage drinkers ordering wine on online.