Creative Juices Wine Blog

New Project

Posted in Announcements, wine, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on March 29, 2010

After my absurd mission to procure African Beer for my tasting event this past Saturday failed, I felt the need to tackle a new project. On Friday, one of our regular customers approached us with an idea to track down two bottles of each of the top 100 Wine Spectator wines of the year from 2009. This is a project I have considered tackling on my own, but now that it’s for someone else, I know it will get done.

The mission is simple (on paper). All we have to do is find two bottles of each wine on the top 100 list, and get them safely to our customer. He doesn’t care if the labels are pristine, because the only thing he really cares about is the juice inside the bottle. A question that pops up when discussing Wine Spectator ratings, or Parker ratings, or any other ratings for that matter is, “why do you rely on someone else to pick wines for you?” The answer is simple. Well, not really that simple, but nevertheless, here goes… The wine reviews are completed in a quiet room with no distractions, blind. The only details given are the varietal, appellation or region. Price and producer are not taken into account, so there is no bias imparted. For example, recently the 2007 Bordeaux vintage was tasted and rated by James Suckling. In the Pessac-Léognan category the Chateau Haut-Bailly Scored 91 points, the same score as Chateau Haut-Brion (one of the First Growth Chateaus from the 1855 Classification). The difference in these wines of course is in the price. The Chateau Haut-Bailly is $56 per bottle, whereas the Chateau Haut-Brion is $427 for a bottle. Oh, and the Chateau Haut-Bailly doesn’t come with a fancy classification that says that they make amazing wine. Scores are just a helpful guideline at best.

While points, and scores are important to a degree they are only in place to help potential buyers. They can be understood universally, and have proven to be an excellent selling tool. Ask anyone in Hong Kong (the leader in wine consumption in Asia) if you don’t believe in scores. In the 1990’s when the Asian market became a formidable market, and caused an inflationary effect, they were relying heavily on scores–specifically on those coming out of Bordeaux. My point is that whether or not you personally rely on scores, a ton of people do, and it has helped the wine industry grow into a $50billion a year powerhouse in the United States alone. So, why rely on other people’s scores and palates? The same reason you wear shorts and flip flops when the weatherman predicts that it will be 75 and sunny. You trust it to be true. The problem is that it ends up being 50 and rainy with 40 mile an hour winds when you’re wearing shorts and flip flops, and your palate disagrees with Robert Parker’s 96 point score on a Napa Cab. Then again, who knows? Those guys aren’t wrong all the time, are they?

That being said, I am excited for this project. I think it will be an interesting challenge for the Creative Juices team. I’ve begun researching, and have already found that for a couple out of the top 10 there will be a lot of digging involved. I will of course be in contact with our distributors to see which of these wines we can get, but for the rest I will be relying on a multitude of Google searches, phone calls, and road trips. I’d also like to be able to call your services to action. If you know of anyone (or if you are someone) in possession of some, or all of these spectacular wines–please let us know. We would like to take a couple off of your hands.

As this journey develops, we will be keeping you updated on our progress. Thank you for reading, and happy Monday!

Cheers!

Zak

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Creative Juices Wine Show Episode 11: Primaterra Winery

Posted in Italy, Pinot Grigio, rulis international kitchen, Sangiovese, Texas, Veneto, wine, Wine Reviews, wine shop, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on March 17, 2010

On Episode 11 of the Creative Juices Wine Show, we taste two wines from the Primaterra Winery in Italy, and receive a phone call from the Mexican Consulate…Enjoy the show! Cheers!!!

Zak & Olena

Creative Juices Wine Show Episode 10: Wine Serving 101

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California, rulis international kitchen, Texas, wine, Wine Reviews, wine shop, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on March 16, 2010

This is the best way to order a bottle of wine in a restaurant whilst wearing a ‘Members Only’ jacket. During Episode 10 we show how to properly serve a bottle of wine, but have a bit of fun with it. Enjoy the show! Cheers!!!

Zak & Olena

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 8

Posted in California, Napa Valley, Pinot Noir, rulis international kitchen, wine, Wine Reviews, wine shop, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on March 13, 2010

After a short hiatus from the Creative Juices Wine Show, we have returned in a new location, with a much more appealing ‘set’.  In Episode 8, we taste a 2008 Thomas Henry Pinot Noir with special guest Chef Rulis. Cheers!!!

Zak & Olena

Wine Social Follow Up

We want to extend our thanks to all of you who attended our Lodi Wine 101 Social last night at Rulis’. We had a great time, and the wines were terrific! As an early reminder, we will be hosting the Grand Debut of the Wine & Beer Shop opening this Thursday evening at Rulis’ (318 N. Mesa, El Paso, TX) starting at 5pm. We will have live music by West Side Bohemians starting at 7pm. Please come out, and enjoy the music, as well as great food and wine!

Cheers!!!

Zak & Olena

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 6-Tokaji 2006 Sárgamuskotály

Posted in Hungary, Muscato, Tokaji, Video, wine, Wine Reviews, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on February 25, 2010

Here it is – Hungarian Tokaji 2006 Sárgamuskotály – just like you guys asked. Delicious, wonderful juice. We hope you enjoy the episode and in particular, Olena showing off her phenomenal wine swirling skills :-).

Wine: Tokaji Sárgamuskotály

Varietal: Yellow Muscat

Vintage: 2006

Alcohol: 11%

Our Score: 88-89 points

Price: $15

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 4 (w/Video)!

Posted in Bierzo, Mencía, Spain, Video, wine, Wine Reviews, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on February 23, 2010

In Episode 4, Zak & Olena taste a 2001 Bierzo. Enjoy!

Bierzo is in the Northwest Corner of this Map. Cheers!

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 4!

Posted in Announcements, Bierzo, Mencía, Spain, wine, Wine Reviews, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on February 23, 2010

Hey everyone! We just wanted to let you know that we finished taping Episode 4 of Creative Juices Wine Show moments ago, and it will be up for viewing shortly. This was a fun episode. We’re really excited, so when it posts, please check it out, and let us know what you think! Cheers!

Zak & Olena

Creative Juices Wine Show: Episode 3 Petite Sirah

Posted in California, Central Coast, Petite Sirah, Video, wine, Wine Reviews, Wine Tasting by CreativeJuicesWine on February 22, 2010

In this episode, Zak & Olena taste a 2006 Petite Sirah from Concannon. Cheers!!

Tasting Group Follow Up

Hello everyone! We hope you had a great weekend. As you know, we had the first meeting for our new tasting group yesterday evening. Our topic: Chardonnay’s.  We tasted everything blind (from right to left), and were especially intrigued when the wine in glass #2 was a red wine. As we said, this was the first meeting…we still need to work out the kinks. That being said, it was an interesting addition to our line up.

We tasted in random order, and had no idea which bottle was our own (save wine #2) which added to the excitement. We had guesses on which wine belonged to whom (especially wine #2), but in the end upon revealing the bottles, we were mostly just pleased that none of us brought a terrible wine.

Without further adieu, the write-up:

Wine #1 was the 2007 Shannon Ridge Chardonnay from Lake County, California. This wine had a toasty, vanilla, green apple, peachy, melon (cantaloupe), slightly mineral nose that oozed out of the glass effortlessly. It drank velvety smooth, and had a very nice creamy, cedary green apple, and buttery mouthfeel. This was definitely a well made wine, and would pair very well with shrimp, or oysters, or even a stick of butter. (If you like that kind of thing.)

This bottle weighed in 14.2% ABV, and was a great way to start the evening. Shannon Ridge carries a $15 price tag, and represents that price point very well. This is a worth-while bottle to pick up if you’re in the market for an oaked, but not over-oaked Chardonnay from Cali that won’t break the piggy bank.

Wine # 2 was the infamous ‘red wine’ that we spoke of earlier. In all fairness, the group member that brought this wine received an invitation to the group less than 24 hours prior during our Bubbly Event at Rulis’ International Kitchen. Furthermore, there is a good chance we didn’t mention what the topic was.

Now that the disclaimer is up, we will talk about the wine. Bottle #2 was the Chapillon Cuveé Harmonie 2006, which ended up being a Petit Verdot/Tannat blend from the Aragon region in Northern Spain. At first the nose was a little tight, but then it opened up some black cherry, leather, cherry cola, slate, flint, wet leaf aromas that really made us want to dive in and take that first sip. Once we did, there was more cherry, pine needles, some wet soil flavors, and a little bit of green apple, and grape candies (think Jolly Rancher’s). This was a cool wine, and we’re glad it squeaked its way into the Chardonnay tasting.  Advocate gave it 90 points, and it scored well amongst the group as well. You can pick it up for $12 all around Texas, and probably ‘in your nape of the woods, neck of the wape; How come you’re here?’ Sorry, there will probably be more Caddyshack quotes before this post is over.

Wine numero tres was the Felino Viña Cobos 2008 Chardonnay from Mendoza, Argentina. This is another Paul Hobbs creation, and you can see his fingerprints all over this wine. Advocate went 90 points on this wine, and may have sold it short. This monster weighed in at 14.8% ABV, and rocked our faces off. This is a thick, creamy Chard, that despite sitting on oak for 8 months, wasn’t offensively oaky. Mr. Hobbs knows what he is doing, and you need to just trust him. The Felino was fully of Vanilla, and citrus flavors, with a bit of spice, and even a sugar cookie aspect to it, which is just awesome! On the palate, it coats every bit of the mouth with a thick, buttery, whipping cream feel that tastes of baked bread, and vanilla, with more of that sugar cookie from before. For all of you vegans out there searching for a wine that works with your lifestyle, this is one to add to your list. This is an unfined, and unfiltered Vegan friendly Chardonnay. At $22, it comes with a perfectly respectable price tag, and drinks at a much higher level of quality. The Felino is just well made. What more can we say. Go out and find this wine. Seriously…the post will still be here when you get back…Go!

Wine #4 was the Acre Chardonnay from the Central Coast in California. This bottle retails for about $20, and has a light alcohol percentage of 13.5%. Acre has great straw-green color, and has a very fresh, clean nose. Kind of like a fruit salad. This was the one wine that we (Zak & Olena) scored the same, so we’ll include that we gave it 85 points. Realistically, it’s probably a few points higher, but either way, it’s a pretty good wine. No disrespect to this wine, but it did have a very tough act to follow in the Felino. That being said, it’s a well made wine that for $20 isn’t asking for too much, and delivers delicious fruit aromas and flavors. Despite being oaked, we could barely detect it on the first go around. Once we revisited this wine, it was slightly more prevalent, but well placed.

Our final Vino came from William Fevre. You can’t have a Chardonnay tasting without a white Burg. You just can’t. This wine was the William Fevre Champs Royaux Chablis 2005. From what we read about the bottle, it can lay down or be drunk from now until 2017. Based on its performance during our tasting, we think it could use a little more time. One interesting note that came out of this wine was a crisp lettuce flavor on the palate. Other than that, it was pretty straightforward, and needed to be accompanied by food, which after the tasting we ended up doing with the final 3 wines. The Chablis pulled it’s big-boy/girl pants up and did what it was meant to do. The Acre showed what a $20 Chard from Cali can do, and the Felino (as if it wasn’t already the star of the show) picked up even more steam. It dominated with Chef Rulis’ seafood concoction that had great heat to it, and was full of flavor.

So that’s it kids. 5 wines.  The New World showed well, granted we only had one Old World white representing in the tasting. The Red Blend was a bonus wine. If you have tasted any of these wines, or just feel like commenting, we would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading. Cheers!!!

Zak & Olena