Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2010 BV Coastal Estates, Pinot Grigio, California

Terry post:

Poetry is a lot like wine. Some like it and most don't and everyone has an opinion about it. And like opinions about wine they are equally valid because if you like it - it is good. Anybody who tries to tell you otherwise has an ax to grind. My opinions about wine and poetry are just that: my opinions.

"Barking" by Jim Harrison.

The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn’t die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there’s no chain.

I like Jim Harrison's poems a lot. They all are rich and crisp and pair well with my favorite foods. They are inexpensive and easily found. They are deeply hued and smell of flowers, citrus, grapes, loss or love.

My Impression:

Pale straw in the glass.

Light bodied with floral nose. A little more acidic than I expect from a Pinot Grigio making it a better candidate for food paring. Short green pepper finish.

Recommended, but only because of it's price. Were this an $10 Pinot Grigio I'd take a pass on it. But being a value shopper I am willing to endure its timidity.

$4.99 at the Fort Belvior PX.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

2009 Port of Leonardtown Winery, "1634" Chardonnay, Maryland

Terry post:

Those who know me and those who read my blogging know that I appreciate the challenges and efforts of small wineries who are working to determine which varietal grows where best and how coax the best wine from the grapes. I have particular interest in Maryland, Virginia as well as Iowa. For different reasons all are exciting grape growing areas where the jury is still out on which grapes are best suited to the soil and the climate.

My personal experience has been such that I have enjoyed Chamborcin, Vidal Blanc and Merlot in Virginia and Maryland and Brianna in Iowa. The coming decade will prove an interesting time as growers and consumers negotiate what they like and what they will try.

That brings me around to a Chardonnay grown in Maryland. There is always a challenge for any American winery when they enter into the realm of the varietals which are well-known and for which a certain expectation exists. This makes life challenging for the mid-Atlantic states when they create a produce which is well known and well understood by the wine drinking public but which is not optimized for the soil or the climate.

My impressions:

Pale yellow in the glass - lighter in color than most Chardonnays.

Bright citrus on the nose.

Overwhelming acidity across the the palate to the point where I couldn't taste anything beyond the acidity. Short tart finish.

I tried pairing the wine with creamy and butter-based sauces and found it's razor sharp finish too demanding of even the richest sauce Alfredo. Easily the most acidic tasting Chardonnay I have ever sampled.

I wished that I liked it more. I have drank three bottle and found that it did not vary in it's characteristics.

The Port of Leonardtown Winery is taking a big risk in growing Chardonnay in Maryland. I wish them every success. This offering is not up to their usual high standards of quality.

Not recommended.

$16ish at the winery.

~ Terry

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2009 Port of Leonardtown Winery, Captain's Table, Dry Red Table Wine, Maryland

Terry post:

Note: This is my second review of this wine. The first review can be found here.

If it isn't already obvious, I am a fan of this Maryland brand as they dig and claw to create something new and wonderful as the state bureaucracy seems bent on destroying indigenous wine.

My Impressions:

Medium red in the glass. A middleweight fighting up one weight class against bigger bolder reds.

Spicebox on the nose with cherries and dark fruit across the palate. Interesting blend but lacking the punch I'd hoped for.

Short herbal finish.

The label is mute as to its constituent wines. My guess is that it is primarily Merlot and Chambourcin, with a low tannic red (Cab Franc, maybe) and maybe an off-dry white to fill in the cracks and round off the edges. Just guessing. But, I'd be surprised if Merlot and Chambourcin were not the primary wines in the blend.

I paired it last evening with pasta with marinara sauce, steamed artichokes and garlic bread. Despite it middleweight status it held up very well against the garlic-infused marinara sauce.


~ Terry

Monday, October 10, 2011

2010 Barton & Guestier, Vouvray, France

Terry post:

I have very little experience with Chenin Blanc wines having been turned off early by the crap which came out of California in the late 1970s. Having endured sweet Chenin Blancs from the likes of Ernest and Julio Gallo did, for a very long time, turn me off completely from the varietal.

Well. It is the 21st Century. Maybe it is time for me to give another Chenin Blanc a try.

My impression:

Very pale in the glass.

Off dry. Not razor sharp and crisp like a Chardonnay nor syrupy like so many of the U.S. Chenin Blancs.

A nimble combination of understated acidity balanced with a light floral and melon nose.

Slightly drying in the herbal finish.

I enjoyed this wine with seared sea scallops and an apple compote. They worked very well together.


$8.99 at the Fort Belvior PX.

~ Terry

What Eagle Outfitters can Teach the Wine Industry about Brand Ambassadors

Terry post:

Much as been written about the persuading customers to become brand ambassadors for a given companies product line.

A few years ago the clothing brand Quicksilver featured an outrageous video of surfers tossing dynamite into a river and then surfing the waves downstream. While innovative and an instant viral video, it did little to cause individual consumers to more closely identify with the product. It was sensational but did not customers to align with the brand.

Gatoraide a manufacturer of sports drinks, "...tweets good luck messages to star athletes..." and "...Girls Intelligence them free products...(to) organize a slumber party with their friends to try them out..." (Source: The Economist).

My favorite example of brand ambassadorship has to do with Eagle Outfitters on New York's Time Square where they employ a huge multi-story LED display to flash pictures of anyone who buys their products. This instant, albeit brief, celebrity enables the buyers to get pictures of themselves on the huge screen and then to share the images with their friends.

The Wine Industry has not been all that innovative with creating unique examples of brand identity. If you are aware of unique techniques being used in the Wine Industry to more closely align vintners with the buying public: I'd love to hear about it.

~ Terry

Source: "Hidden Persuaders II", The Economist, , September 24, 2011, p. 80.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2009 Penfolds, Koonuga Hill, Shiraz Cabernet

Terry post:

When ever I think of Australian wines I have two memories which come immediately to mind.

The first memory is that of being Officer of the Deck on the USS ENGLAND (CG-22) during a mid-watch in the South Pacific Ocean as we steamed South. It was a calm, cloudless and moonless evening as we sliced quietly through the dark waters en route to Australia. I recall standing alone on the starboard bridge wing and looking up into the universe above me. The ocean was pitch with only the slightest phosphorescence as the bow pierced the occasional wave. The sky was the clearest I have ever seen and the millions of stars which shone upon the sky seemed close enough to touch. My place as a human being on a ship in the ocean seemed so utterly small and meaningless that I laughed out loud. It was humbling and an experience that I hold close in my heart twenty-six years after the event.

My second memory was tasting red wines from South Australia. They were not very good.

Thankfully, in the nearly thirty years since my one, and only trip, to Australia things have improved in the Australian red wine scene.

My impressions:

Big nose on this one. Eucalyptus, dark fruit and cherries dominate.

A middle-weight on the palate with dark fruit quickly displaced by thin tannins and a brief finish. There isn't really anything wrong with the wine, but it isn't the sort of shiraz-blend powerhouse which I have recently come to expect from Australia.

That said: I like it. I paired it with a dinner of leftover Beef Bourguignon, pecans, dates and cheese. It stood up very well with the hearty beef offering.

All-in-all a great value providing a full, dry red wine experience at a bargain basement price. It is not full-bodied monster like some of the Yalumba shiraz blends, but at $8 to $10 at retail you'd be hard pressed to find a better value.


$7.99 at the Fort Belvior PX.

~ Terry