Creative Juices Wine Blog

Who Knew?

Posted in Australia, France, McLauren Vale, South Australia, White Bordeaux, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on February 3, 2010

So yesterday was a day for experiments. Every once in a while, we need to try something new. In our case, it’s pretty much every day. No big deal. We went out on a mission to find 2 bottles for under $30. These are the bottles we came home with for $29.21.

First up was a bottle of Chateau Roques Mauriac Classic 2008 White Bordeaux from Vincent Levieux. White Bordeaux is under appreciated in our opinion, but we’re pretty big Sauv Blanc and Semillion fans. This bottle is a blend of the two, and at $13, it was worth picking up. There’s a lot going on with the nose, which was quite pleasant. It pops with a ton of grass and grapefruit that leads into lemony, mineral aromas. On the end, there’s a bit of saw dust and a slight touch of diesel. Great nose! The mouthfeel left us a little disappointed after that nose. It was a little salty, and there was a wet hay or fresh parsley aspect that went directly into lemons, grass and unripe cherry. Overall, the wine was correct, just not that impressive. We scored it 83 points due to its ultimate lack of complexity, and follow-through with all of its components.

With dinner, which was a pork loin served over garlic and herb infused rice, we had a bottle of 2002 School Block Shiraz from Scarpantoni in McLaren Vale, Australia. It’s a blend of 60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot, and weighs in at 15% ABV. This was an absolute bomb of Currants! Currants! Currants! In addition, there was plenty of plum, dark berry (black and blueberries) some dark chocolate, and pepper on the nose. As if the nose hadn’t sold us on this wine, it had plenty of body, and soul. Everything about it was pleasant, and correct. It finished incredibly well, and all in all was just a very good wine. Much to the chagrin of our White Bordeaux from earlier, this wine earned a whopping 93 points! This is a cellar sleeper, and probably has a few more years left in it with continued improvement. All this comes with a $14 price tag. Not bad.


Zak & Olena

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Betts & Scholl-The Chronique 2006

Posted in Australia, Barossa Valley, Grenache, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on December 3, 2009

Betts & Scholl is a company started by Master Sommelier Richard Betts, and Dennis Scholl (a man who really likes wine). Together they have created a portfolio of delectable wines for all of us to enjoy. That is what we did with The Chronique, Grenache 2006.

The Chronique boasts a beautiful clear cherry color that isn’t too intense, and leads you upward towards its watery edge. We are estimating that the vines this Grenache was harvested from in the Barossa Valley in Australia are between 40-50 years old.

An aromatic wine, The Chronique puts cherries, strawberries, rose pedals, subtle cedar, and gentle sulphur directly into one’s nose. This Grenache is an elegantly balanced, medium-bodied red wine that playfully dances across the palate with flavors of strawberry, blackberry, light vanilla, cherry, and a bit of that sulphur from the nose.

We think The Chronique is very good, and worth the $43 price tag. We award it a modest 91 points, and look forward to reviewing more wines from Betts & Scholl. Cheers!

Hugh Hamilton Loose Cannon Viognier 2007

Posted in Australia, McLauren Vale, South Australia, Viognier, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on December 3, 2009

Hugh Hamilton is a creative winemaker from Australia. His ‘Jim Jim’ line of wines is new to the El Paso area, and are well worth looking into.

The wine we are reviewing today is one that we have had a few times before, but today we’re taking notes on it for the first time.

The 2007 Loose Cannon Viognier has a bold straw-canary yellow color to it. This would lead us to believe that this wine has seen some oak. Hugh told us that it has not. Upon further inspection (the nose) we found hints of vanilla, citrus, floral, peach, and aromas of baking bread. The vanilla seems like a suspect once again for oaking.

Once on the palate, vanilla pops out again. This time accompanied by peach, and honeydew with a bit of dry yeast.

Here’s the thing…we like this wine. It’s got a long, pleasant finish, and is well balanced throughout. We give it 87 points, and recommend you try a bottle if you can find it. It only costs about $17 retail, and pairs very well with Indian and Thai cuisine. Our one question remains, if this juice was never introduced to oak, how did this wine happen? Cheers!

Shoofly Shiraz 2008

Posted in Australia, Shiraz, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on November 30, 2009

Today we tasted a bottle of 2008 Shoofly Shiraz. We gave a bottle of this away at our class over the weekend, and hope that the recipient enjoys it as much as we did.

Right away this Shiraz puts off very meaty undertones that are in combination with white pepper and black cherry. The lively acidity keeps all of the components in check and allows the juice to go down with a velvety effervescence.

Shoofly has a big presence, and a full mouthfeel. The intense flavors of vanilla, plum, cherry, and strawberry slowly take a back seat to the overwhelming flavors of cocoa, and even a bit of parsley. This wine is quite pleasant, and finishes very long. We think this is an excellent wine, and retails for about $18. We award 89 well-deserved points, and will probably keep tabs on future vintages of this wine. Cheers!

It’s snowing in El Paso

Posted in Australia, Red Blend, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on November 30, 2009

It’s snowing in El Paso today. This is fantastic. Now there is a great excuse to have a glass of Port at 11:30 am.

There is something about this fortified wine that makes cold, snowy days so much more enjoyable. Coming from New York, we spent three months out of the last year standing outside in below zero weather, cleaning over a foot of snow off of our cars every day. As fun as that was, we’re happy to call ourselves El Pasoans. This snow is reminiscent of nights we used to spend walking home from the wine bar we worked at in NY. As much as we miss it sometimes, it’s nice to know that every bit of this snow we get today will be gone by Wednesday.

All of the weather talk aside, grab yourself a bottle of a good sipping port. Buy a 10 year Tawny, or even a Ruby Port. Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy the warming sensation this beautiful creature called Porto provides as it coats your mouth and throat.

Today, we will be enjoying a glass or two of Jonesy Rare Aged Port from Australia. It is imported by the Grateful Palate out of Oxnard, CA. This is a great sipping Port, and comes in at the amazing low price of $11. You cannot beat it. This bottle was recommended to us by a friend at the Greenery, where it is sold locally.

Wine Class 101: Australia, South Africa, New Zealand

Posted in Australia, Classes, New Zealand, South Africa by CreativeJuicesWine on November 15, 2009

Our next class will be held at Rulis’ International Kitchen from 6pm-8pm on November 28th.  As always, we will be your tour guides on a journey through exciting wine regions of the World.  Class number four will be on Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.  This should be another fun class, as we will be talking in detail about up and coming regions, and wines from all three Countries.

As always, Chef Rulis’ will be creating exciting dishes from regions within these countries to pair with the wines.  All of the wines we taste will be available for purchase (in limited quantities at the end of the evening).

So, after you fill up on turkey for Thanksgiving, come out to Ruli’s and learn about three New World winemaking Countries.  We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information, contact Raul Gonzalez of Rulis’ International Kitchen at 915.541.9990, or stop in at 318 N. Mesa St. in downtown El Paso.


-Zak & Olena