Creative Juices Wine Blog

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!!

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Video Blog is up!

Posted in Alicante Bouschet, California, Video by CreativeJuicesWine on February 19, 2010

We are excited to announce the official launch of our Creative Juices Video Blog! We will be tasting wine, smelling wine, talking about wine, thinking about wine out loud, and videotaping everything wine in our lives. Considering we are still new in this whole video thing, please understand that minor issues with the quality as well footage will continue to be improved on.

Please please please comment on the videos, tell us how we are doing! We are very excited about this new feature of our blog, and we can’t wait to make it better.

Cheers!

Zak and Olena

Two Cabernet Francs

Posted in Cabernet Franc, California, Chinon, France, Loire, Napa Valley, wine, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on February 16, 2010

Yesterday we ended up grabbing two Cabernet Francs and comparing them side by side… on video. Until we post that, here is a quick rundown on our experience.

Wine: Moulin des Sablons, Chinon

Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 1999

Alcohol: 12%

Our Score: 86 points

Price: $12

The color was brick-orange, with light color going out to the rim. The cork itself showed a lot of tartrates, and you can definitely see that on the picture to the right.

The palate was well integrated, with notes of vanilla, limestone, red cherry and chalk. It had healthy acidity, and showed a lot of fruit character. Overall, we thought the wine was pleasant, but it has probably peaked a couple years back, and we caught it on the way down. We’d recommend enjoying a wine like that quickly, before its gentle aroma gets lost in the surrounding air. We awarded the wine well deserved 86 points, which is a great score considering its price.

Wine: Beaucanon Estate L Cuvee

Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 2003

Alcohol: 14.1%

Our Score: 88 points

Price: $25

This one was deeper in color, had a nose you can detect from feet away, and a palate to die for. It had notes of pepper, currants and cassis on the nose, while the palate also added a generous dash of vanilla and sour cherry. The acidity yet again was tying the wine together. We awarded the wine 88 points and enjoyed it with pizza.

Voilà, we had a blast tasting these wines and we hope to post the video certifying so online shortly.

Cheers!

Zak and Olena

Another Wine Review (This time, Cab)

Hey there-

You guessed it, we tasted more wine today. After one of the longest weekends in recent memory, it was time to fire up a steak and drink. If you know one thing about the taller half of this relationship, it’s that he loves red meat. If you know two things about him, it’s that he loves red meat, and can definitely hook a steak up.

All of that being said, we went and grabbed a giant rib-eye to grill, and a California Cab to pair with. After all was said and done, we have this to report to you: The Cab and the steak went great together (Like Lamb and Tunafish) what? No good? Ok, how about like this couple? Yeah, like that.

So here’s the deal. While at the store, we grabbed said Cab. It seemed like a really good idea, because we like buying wine that doesn’t break the bank. Since we drink wine every single day, we know you understand.

Wine: Main Street Winery

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 2006

Alcohol: 13.5% ABV

Our Score: 80 points

Price: $12

This bottle cost us $12 and as we said, paired wonderfully with the steak, but left a little to be desired when consumed alone. Correction…a lot to be desired. After a pretty promising nose that was full of leather, black pepper, cherry, cedar, tobacco, wet gravel, and a little limestone, it died a painful death as it hit the palate. Its mouthfeel was kind of blah, and threw a dash of pepper, some unripe cherry (thanks) and gun metal. No offense but we wish we were spitting, not drinking this wine.

To review, it tasted like we were eating a gun barrel (as fun as that sounds…) and wanting to sneeze from ingesting too much pepper, while dealing with the devastation of buying (or picking) fruit before it is ready. Can you taste the excitement?!?

In closing, we gave this wine 80 points, and will recommend it to our neighborhood cats, and possibly Sarah Palin. Cheers!

Zak & Olena

Grão Vasco 2007-Dão, Portugal

Posted in Dão, Jaen, Portugal, Red Blend, Tinta-Roriz, Touriga-Nacional, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on February 12, 2010

Last night we tasted a bottle of Grão Vasco Dão, which is a Portugese Red blend of Jaen, Tinta Roriz, and Touriga Nacional. We procured this gem for $7. In the glass, Grão Vasco has a few transitions in color, that range from a dark cherry color to a more vibrant ruby.

On the nose we got a lot more than we expected with highlights such as leather, wet soil, black pepper, strawberry, and a little cedar or tobacco box on the end.

On the palate, Grão Vasco is a dry, medium-bodied red that exhibits spicy, earthy, and mineral flavors up front and then transitions with a bit of plum on the mid-palate, and then finishes with sea-buckthorn (which Olena, or Wikipedia can tell you more about.)

In the end, this wine was pretty straightforward, and had a reasonably long finish that we enjoyed. Everything seemed to be in balance, and we were impressed with this bottle. It’s a great find at $7, and we ended up scoring it 87 points. Saúde!!!

If you’ve tried this, or other Portuguese wines, please share your experience with us.

Zak & Olena

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Pinot Noir Tasting

What better way to start a week than with a Pinot Noir tasting? You nailed it…there is no better way to start a week!
Last night we went out to Billy Crews’ for his weekly Monday night tasting. They were tasting 12 different Pinots, which they had arranged by price. Maybe not the best tasting order, but it worked nevertheless.

These are the tasting notes from our Pinot Tasting at Billy Crews Monday evening. Sorry for the delay, but without further adieu, here we go. For your sake, we’ve kept our notes to a minimum. Cheers!

First up was Wild Rock Cupid’s Arrow Pinot Noir 2008 from Central Otago, New Zealand. This wine had solid acidity, and a nice distribution of cherry, mineral, vanilla, pepper, and currants. It was lacking on a finish, and left us high and dry overall. This was not the best representation from Central Otago in our opinion, and we gave it 84 points. At $16.45, this was a disappointment, and a pass.

Pinot #2 was Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir 2007 from Oregon. This wine was a bit over-oaked, and had a big vanilla nose, but then fizzled out, and was rather thin in the end. This was another 84 point wine. $$18.81 price tag, and a pass.

Pinot #3 was the 2007Acacia Pinot Noir from Carneros. This wine had a little bit more going on, and exhibited nice strawberry aromas and flavors in combination with a well-distributed balance of oak, and smokiness. At $19.99, this wasn’t a terrible wine. We gave it 87 points, but it didn’t overly impress us.

Pinot #4 was the 2005 Galante Almond Felt Pinot Noir From California. This was pretty acidic, and had a bit of fruit, though none of it really stood out. As the price stands, this wine is not worth it. Galante is a miss at $22.34. This wine was kind of meh, and we waived 83 points at it, and moved on.

Pinot #5 was the Willamette Valley Vineyards Founders Pinot Noir from 2007 (Oregon). This wine felt a little bit more put together, and represented Oregon Pinot fairly well. The one thing that stood out most about this wine was a peculiar pickled peppers aspect that we couldn’t quite get passed. If not peppers, it was definitely something pickled. That being said, we enjoyed this wine enough to score it 88 points. At $24.69, this fits a price point that a lot of people can be happy with. There may be better Oregon Pinot Noirs out there, but this one isn’t stinking up the joint, and is probably worth a quarter Benjamin.

Pinot #6 was from a familiar label, Roessler. This was the Roessler Laurelwood Pinot Noir 2007 out of Willamette Valley. Almost sweet on the attack, this Pinot leads into a smoked meat and red fruit collision on the palate. Very interesting stuff. We scored this wine 89 points, and would probably pick this up at $27. Oregon Pinots are just worth a little bit of extra jingle.

Pinot #7 was the 2007 Craggy Range Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand. This was a nice spicy, peppery pinot with plenty of fruit, and wood backing it up. This pinot has been on our to taste list for a while now, and we weren’t disappointed upon finally getting around to it. This is a pretty solid pinot, and we rated it 90 points. There are probably better $34 pinots out there, but the Craggy Range is worth giving a try if you’re in the market for a big Central Otago Pinot.

Pinot #8 was from Caymus in Santa Barbara, CA. It was the Caymus Belle Gloss 2007 Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir, and really represented the brand well. This wine had a lot of fruit, and exploded with strawberry and cherry flavors that lasted for days. This wine is very tasty, and worth every penny at $39 per 750ml. We rated this pinot 92 points, and would love to revisit this wine in the future. We settled for a second taste, which we definitely didn’t spit.

Pinot #9 Was the 2007 Cakebread Pinot Noir. There’s not much to say about this wine. The Caymus was a tough act to follow, but come on! The Cakebread didn’t even make a showing on this one. This wine has a very confused, awkward palate, and a $50 price tag that makes it an easy pass. This wine, although not having anything going for it, caused the biggest separation in scoring of the evening. So much so that we will give you both scores from Olena (87 points) and Zak (81-83 points). No thanks.

Pinot #10 had the coolest name of the night: Hartford Court Fog Dance Pinot Noir 2006 from Russian River Valley. It had rugged tannins (which we didn’t see coming), a lot of pepper, and strawberry on the nose (which were also evident on the palate). We liked this wine, but didn’t love it. This was an 88 point wine, but at $50, is a pass. There are better bottles out there for $25-40.

Pinot #11 was the Ponzi RSV 2007 Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley. This has well integrated vanilla flavors, but then picks up a sour, pickled aspect–which was unexpected, but not unwelcomed. It was a kind of watery on the palate, and overall left us hanging. Once again, the big price tag ($53) hurts the value of the wine. We gave this pinot 86 points, and obviously, a pass. It’s just not worth that kind of dough.

Pinot #12 was La Crema 9 Barrel Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. We’ve had La Crema before, but not the 9 Barrel, so this was a bottle we were looking forward to at the beginning of the tasting. We were not impressed. It was over-oaked, and lacked in complexity. You won’t find us spending $59 on an 87 point bottle that should be wrapped in a $18 package. Cool label though.

So that’s it. 12 Pinot Noirs. This wasn’t the best showing of Pinot we’ve seen, but there were definitely some highlights. We wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of them again. Thank for reading. Cheers!!!

Thanks for reading. Cheers!!!
Zak & Olena

Gascon Malbec 2008-Mendoza

Posted in Argentina, Malbec, Mendoza, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on January 28, 2010

Value Wine Alert!

This 2008 Gascon Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina is full of value. At $12 a bottle, this is a great everyday wine that brings a tremendous amount of pleasure to the palate. This bottle is like biting into a handful of dark fruits–Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Plum and Black cherries. It finishes with a great cocoa flavor that lingers for a bit on the back end. It comes across a little bitter, and the tannins ‘bring da ruckus’ to steal a line from the Wu-Tang Clan.

We enjoyed this wine quite a bit, and highly recommend this to all of you. It’s a definite recession buster, and we dropped 91 points on it! Go get a bottle today and fire up the grill. This needs a big, juicy steak to compliment its monstrous presence. Cheers!!!

Luna Rossa Winery- Nini 2004

Posted in Mimbres Valley, New Mexico, Red Blend, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on December 6, 2009

During our radio appearance Saturday morning, we had a caller that asked us about a wine from Luna Rossa Winery called “The Conquistador”, which is a Port style wine. We haven’t tried the Conquistador, but his question sparked the memory of having a bottle of ‘Nini” in our collection at home.

For those of you who don’t know about Luna Rossa, it is a family run vineyard and winery in Deming, NM. They produce all of their own grapes, and supply wineries throughout New Mexico and Texas with the excess fruit. For more information on Luna Rossa Winery, visit http://www.lunarossawinery.com.

In 2004 Luna Rossa made an Italian Style blend from five different grapes, then aged the juice for 24 months in oak, which resulted in Nini. The grapes used in this interesting blend were Dolcetto, Nebiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Refosco. This wine went on to a Gold medal in an International competition.

Now, for our experience with the 2004 Nini. As we said before, the Conquistador question came as a reminder that we have been meaning to taste, and enjoy our bottle of Nini.

The color of this Italian blend falls somewhere in between cherry and garnet, and holds that color right out to the edge. It gives off red cherry, vanilla, strawberry, and vegetal aromas on the nose which we found get more pronounced as the wine opens.

Nini carries a tart acidity with almost bitter tannins, and sufficient alcohol. The in mouth flavors are pleasant and as with the nose, change as the wine opens. We were getting strawberry, vanilla, cherry, a touch of citrus, mild vegetal notes, and bit of cocoa towards the end. The finish isn’t terribly long, but lengthy enough to slowly enjoy this bottle.

We are impressed with this wine, and through technical evaluation award it with a very sound 89 points.

For El Pasoans, the closest place you can pick a bottle of this up is in Mesilla, but we highly recommend stopping in at the tasting room in Deming which is right off of I-10 east. Cheers!

Gamba Cellars Russian River Zinfandel 2005

Posted in California, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, Wine Reviews, Zinfandel by CreativeJuicesWine on December 2, 2009

Wow. Ok…

This bottle was given to us by our friend, and wine maker, Vic Poulos of Zin Valle Vineyards in Canutillo,TX. He asked us to let him know what we think of wine, and here we go.

Let us begin by saying that this wine has 15.9% alcohol. That’s freakishly high for most wines, even Zinfandel, which is synonymous with staggering alcohol contents. That being said, one would not know it.

Gamba Cellars has created a monster. Taken from old vines in the Russian River Valley of California, these Zinfandel grapes have been developed into amazing juice that we are clearly pretty excited about.

This wine exhibits nice peppery notes, with a bit of currant, smooth vanilla, and a touch of dirt or clay on the nose. It has a very pleasant bouquet that invites one into the first sip like the sly seductress it is.

Gamba Zin is a well-rounded, full-bodied wine that has rich tannins, and generous alcohol. In the mouth, powerful flavors of vanilla, rose pedal, cotton candy, plum, a pleasant dirtiness or earthiness, that rounds off with subtle cocoa and blueberry flavors as it finishes. We were also very impressed that we got as much sediment from this wine as we did given its age.

This is a very good wine, and if you see it anywhere, pick it up. It was a gift to us, so we aren’t going to disclose a price, however, it’s worth it. This is a 92 point wine. Delicious.

Thank you, Vic. This was a truly amazing gift, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. 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!