Waugh 2014 Riesling “Riccanalle Vineyard”

Santa Barbara County, CA; 11.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 7 March

Waugh_2014_RieslingAfter DavidLikesWine posted this link to notes on this wine, I was quite curious about it.  I opened one tonight and liked it very well.

After a small amount of air, the wine showed nice flavors of yellow mango, yellow apple, pineapple / lemon, acidic white pear, and at times a slight something in the conifer family (yew? cypress? pine?  I like it!).  I found this a tasty and interesting version of Riesling.  The fruit is more solidly ripe and tropical than I’m used to, and slightly off-dry, but still with plenty of tangy balancing acid.

Barão de Figueira 2013 Tinto Reserva

DOC Veira Interior, Portugal
Touriga Nacional 40%, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) 40%, Touriga Franca (Touriga Francesca) 20%; 13% ABV
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 9 March

Figueira_2013_redI thought this wine was promising right away, but in the way that I like wines well-aired, I thought it needed two hours to fully show itself.  Then it has nice aromas and flavors of dark roses, dark plum, cranberry / raspberry, with ripe fruit but also plenty of acid and an earthy tannic finish, in a light-to-medium bodied wine.  I think it’s an elegant and tasty wine for the money, and definitely a food wine.

The saved single-glass, screwcap bottle still needed a bit of air to show dark, earthy plummy flavors that were less acid and less complex than on the first night.  I might have liked it better the second night.  For those who like earthy, tannic, somewhat acid, European wines, this is a good deal for a daily red.  It should hold on well for two or three more years.

Firefall 2013 or 2012 Grenache Blanc

Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard, El Dorado, CA; 14.2% ABV
Front label says 2013, back label says 2012
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on about 19 Feb

Firefall_2013_GrenacheBlancThis looked like a pretty interesting wine, made from Grenache Blanc in the Sierra Foothills.  So maybe I was just let down from high expectations, but I found it only acceptably drinkable.

On the first night, the wine showed reasonably nice fruit of slightly yellow white pear and melon with a nice minerality, but also a rough grape skin bitterness.  Overall, it didn’t appeal to me very much.

The next day, I thought the fruit had come out more and the roughness had smoothed out a lot, and that the wine wound up pretty tasty.  The flavors were overall quite similar.

A few days later, the rest in the bottle in the fridge is still pretty good.

Parmalee-Hill 2012 and 2014 “Darcy”

Sonoma Valley AVA, CA; 14.4% ABV

2102 Vintage: Grenache Blanc 40%, Viognier 28%, Roussanne 16%, Marsanne 16%
$8 at the Richmond, CA, store around 29 February

ParmaleeHill_2012_DarcyOn the day I opened these wines, neither one showed very well.  They were nicely structured, but not showing much fruit.

On the second day, the 2012 had a full, fruity and floral nose, tasting of honey, white melon / pear, green melon, jasmine, with at times what struck me as a slight fishiness (???, not really in a bad way, though).  The body is fairly full and textured.  I’m sorry notes are not very good, but I think this is very good wine for the price.  My only possible criticism is that folks who like more acid may be disappointed here.

2014 Vintage: Grenache Blanc 40%, Roussanne 22%, Marssanne 22%, Viognier 16%
$8 at the Oakland, CA, store on 8 March

ParmaleeHill_2014_DarcyJust skipping to the second day: This wine was less aromatic, lighter-bodied, and more acid than the 2012.  It had a nose of yellow peach, jasmine, yellow lemon and a little green lime.   There was more of that on the palate, plus some white / green / yellow melon, grape skin bitterness, and a little viscosity.  Overall, this wine is lighter and seems less substantial, and more acid than the 2012, which I preferred.  However, they are both nice and sophisticated wines for the price.

What I liked best was a blend of about 2/3 of the 2012, for its fuller body and flavor, and 1/3 of the 2014 for its yellower fruit and greater acid.  This blend was still quite tasty on the third day. :)

Gotham 2010 Shiraz “Langhorne Creek”

Regional Vineyard Series from Wineinc Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia; 14.2% ABV
imported by Gotham Wines, Sonoma, CA
$6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 8 March.  Very little there.

gotham_2010_shirazI seemed to recall seeing Gotham wines praised here (apparently the praise was so-so), so I picked this up when I ran into it.  It’s indeed pretty good, but I don’t think I’d get more.

The wine opens with tight dark purple / black fruit and sharp grapeskin acid.  I thought it was okay after about 90 minutes in a decanter, but needed two hours to really soften up.  Then it shows nice flavors of darker purple plum, dark earth, boysenberry, with still some bitterness of fruit skin, although with a supple, rich texture.  To my taste, the acid and bitterness made it go much better with food, when it was pretty tasty.  I’m happy with the wine, but not particularly excited about it.

The saved single-glass screwcap bottle, what I tasted of it, was redder and smoother, overall more pleasant.  My guess is that it would have aired to be darker like the first half but, after that, my wife drank up the rest of it. :)

Spring 2016 Wine Sale 20% Off All Wine

The Grocery Outlet Spring 2016 wine sale will run Tuesday, March 22nd through Sunday, March 27th!  (Or through Saturday, March 26th if your local store is not open Easter Sunday.)  Please use this space to discuss what you’re thinking of stocking up on, or any special-for-the-sale stuff that’s shown up somewhere, or…  whatever sale-related things you like!  Happy hunting, and cheers!

Two Novelties in Pinot Noir

Graf Hardegg 2008 Pinot Noir “Vom Schloss”
Weinviertel region, northeastern Austria; 13% ABV
imported by USA Wine West for World Wine Headquarters
$3 at the Richmond, CA, store on 3 March; all gone next day

GrafHardegg_2008_PinotNoirThe only previous Graf Hardegg wine I’ve tasted before was a rosé of Pinot Noir.  It tasted like it had been a lovely wine but was a bit too old by the time it showed up at the GO.  So I was rather wary of this wine when it showed up.  But at this price it sold quickly, and I thought I’d get one (to open with the Pinot below) before it vanished.  It was amazingly good!

I did not take notes but what I recall is lovely, delicate Pinot flavors of light cherry, strawberry, slightly stemmy earthiness, Pinot funk, and slight orange.  When I opened it, I was worried it would start tasting spoiled after some air, but it became slightly darker and more compelling with time.  It was so good that I opened the half bottle I had planned to store for another night, and we had no trouble finishing it.

Louis Sipp 2009 Pinot Noir “Nature’S”
imported by Maritime Wine Trading Collective, SF, CA
Alsace, France; 12.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 29 Feb

LouisSipp_2009_PinotNoir_AlsaceI had never tried a Pinot Noir from Alsace before, and I had no idea what to expect.  It turns out it is, much like Alsatian whites, closer to a German style of wine than to a more typical French.  It has the character of a more northern wine, softer and darker, with a certain mustiness that is not just Pinot funk.  The fruit showed darker red cherry and not too much else.  I was not very excited about this wine, and the second half bottle (stored in a 375ml bottle and stoppered with very little air) was not much different.  I found it tolerably Drinkable.

McPherson 2012 “Basilisk” Shiraz – Mourvedre

Victoria, Australia
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on about 12 Feb

McPherson_2012_BasiliskThis is a wine that had long intrigued me, especially after its praise from Weinish, Seedboy, and BdB.  However, I didn’t like my bottle very much.

The first ¾ of the bottle aired pretty well to show nice boysenberry / black raspberry fruit, with nicely floral notes of red roses / violets.  However, I found it always out of balance, with the acid too strong for the fruit.

The saved single-glass, screwcap bottle did show nicely darker and riper fruit, but was drowned out by unpleasant bitterness, so I didn’t really like either the first or second days that much.  Was my bottle just off?

Cavatappi 2010 Sangiovese “Molly’s Cuvee”

Red Willow and Boushey Vineyards, Yakima Valley, WA; 11.3% ABV
$9 at the Richmond, CA, store on 21 Feb

Cavatappi_2010_SangioveseWhen reports of this wine started coming in, Lim13 wrote, “Wholesaler/winemaker/used-to-be restaurateur Peter Dow ( a most unique individual) started this label years ago, but I have no idea if he’s involved any longer. It appears the label is now part of the Browne Family portfolio (one Browne is CEO of Precept Brands). I’ve never been a fan of Peter’s wines…just personal taste. Almost always austere and high in acidity (Out there, Seedboy?).”  I tried and very much liked the Cavatappi 2007 Nebbiolo that showed up a while ago, so I hoped I could get around to this Sangiovese.  However, on the first night, at least, this wine fits with Lim13’s general description of Cavatappi wines.

Even with over 2.5 hours of air, the wine still shows only fairly simple, tart and slightly ripe red cherry fruit, with a nice earthy wood finish similar to that of the 2007 Nebbiolo.  While it’s reasonably elegant, so far I don’t see much to this wine.  Perhaps with more age, it will become an engagingly complex wine, but right now it’s not showing much.

The next day, with a bit of air, the saved single-glass, screwcap bottle was a little darker, more rich, and complex, but that’s not saying much.  It still struck me as only tolerable.  Apparently, whatever methods worked so well for the Nebbiolo didn’t do so well with Sangiovese.

Mountain Shadow 2009 Pinot Noir

Clarksburg (on the Sacramento River, elevation 10 feet), Yolo County, CA; 13.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 22 Feb

MountainShadow_2009_PinotNoirWhen I saw this in the order guide (with very limited information about it), it struck me as an unusual Pinot Noir, which might or might not have been any good.  I ordered some hoping it would be good, and indeed it is!

When I first read the back label and found out it’s from the Sacramento River Delta area, that didn’t seem very promising.  But since I had ordered it, I thought I should try one.  I was immediately rewarded on first pour, when it was tasty but seemed likely to get better.  There was no magical “airing time” for this one, but it has developed nicely over three hours of air.  It tastes of sweetly ripe red and black cherries, earthy Pinot funk, root beer, dried orange peel, a slightly stemmy herbal quality, and mild supporting oak.  The texture is somewhat thicker for a Pinot Noir, but it still has the subtlety I like.  Unless you prefer Pinot Noir on the tart or structured side, this is very good for the price.  I’d guess that the next day, it would still be good to drink but not as rich and tasty, but I will update this if that’s not the case.