Sunday, June 14, 2015

Francis Coppola - 2013 Black Label Claret Cabernet Sauvignon

I'm not going to lie, I bought this wine because I liked the bottle. What is with the weird net? I didn't know, but I was entranced.

I went into Cork and Barrel to try their Wine of the Week and wasn't impressed, so I moved on and selected this one instead. It had a note on the shelf with one of those wine ratings that it had a smooth finish, so I let that sway my purchase.

The Scotch Man was also excited because it was wine from the director's vineyard. I hadn't ever heard of him, but the Scotch Man explained the whole thing. I was more focused on getting the wine open than listening to him, though.

Sadly, this wine was not what I was hoping for. The Wine of the Week, a 2010 Tolaini Al Passo, was much better as far as scent and finish. The price difference was only five bucks, since the Tolaini was on sale, so I should have just gone with it.

That being said, this wine wasn't terrible. The Scotch Man and I got into a discussion about aerating wine. Since there was a noticeable difference after we let it breathe for a little while, we tried a before and after aeration to see if there was a difference. Surprisingly enough to both of us, there was a noticeable difference! The Scotch Man said it best when he said the aerated wine tasted "softer" somehow. So I am sold on aerating my wines before I drink them now.

Even though the taste of the wine was enhanced by aeration, it sadly did not enhance our spaghetti and meatball dinner at all.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pennywise - 2012 Pinot Noir

I picked this bottle up at Cork and Barrel on a whim because I vaguely remember someone saying it was a good brand once. The bottle label was pretty plain, but I noticed after i had already stabbed the foil that it was a penny. Clever, Pennywise. Very clever.

This is less a sit and chill while drinking wine and more of the type of wine you eat it with your chicken dinner. It was sharp on the tongue and nose and the finish was pretty tannis-y.This wine accompanied my chicken dinner, and I think it went much better with food.

My second round of drinking this went along with a reality TV show called The Quest. It's basically Survivor only in a fantasy setting, with actors playing knights and queens and monsters and stuff. It is really awesome, and you should go watch it on Netflix right now. And maybe enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the magic (and inevitable reality show drama) unfold.

Ehem. Back to the wine. Probably not one I'd buy again. I've had many other Pinot Noirs that I've enjoyed much more.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mirassou - 2013 Pinot Noir

A friend of mine got married recently. Almost a year ago now, I guess. We've lost touch, both of us absorbed in our own lives. But recently, we met at the Plaza in Kansas City with another mutual friend to talk about old times.

Old times were not really talked about. It was mostly awkward silence and stilted conversation. This is a man I had a short relationship with. Things have always been tense between us, whether we were sleeping together or not. So. Of course I drank a glass of wine before he showed up that night in hopes of giving the evening some social lubricant. That ploy was only moderately successful, and I was relieved when he went off on his own, saying he couldn't join us for dessert after all.

The night itself was not memorable, but the glass of wine was. My friend and I sat at the bar while we waited for our other friend, and I struck up a conversation with the bartender about different wines. I've discovered if you express an interest in wines and tell the bartender you're not sure which to go with, they will let you taste test a couple of wines. So that's what I did. It was a blind taste test between a wine that was $6 a glass and a wine that was $12 a glass. I tried them both, and one of them was significantly more robust, in my opinion. I told her which one, and she seemed surprised. "You know best," she told me, and revealed the one I had chosen.

The Mirassou. The $6 a glass wine. I was shocked. I really thought I had chosen the more expensive of the two.

I like it because it has a tart taste with a strong finish. I've decided that finish can make or break a wine for me. If the finish leaves me unsatisfied, I don't like it much, regardless of that initial taste. Even my brother, who really doesn't like wine (but always tries it, the goofball), can appreciate a wine that has a good finish.

Anyway. I spent the evening on the Plaza pleasantly buzzed on Mirassou, and it was such a good wine that the next time I went to the liquor store, I bought myself a bottle. It's kept well, surviving three different nights over the course of a week. The last night it was getting a little stale, but overall I'm impressed with how this wine held up.

I'm adding this to my list of favorites. It's at an affordable price point, it's pretty complex for a Pinot Noir, and it lasts past the first night it is opened. All good things!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Big News and Updates!

I was shocked to discover that it has been almost two years since my last update. I have tried many delicious wines since my last post, but I have sadly not recorded a single one. This makes me sad for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, it's difficult to remember what I've liked and what I haven't when I've been at the liquor store. I was keeping records here to help with future wine selection.

The second reason has to do with all of the untold stories. It's true, not every bottle has a tale, but each bottle has at least one significant event associated with it.

The third somewhat inconsequential reason has to do with my photography. I took some really awesome shots of wine bottles back in the day. I've focused more on the writing and editing side of my artful mind lately, so I've gotten away from photography. I'd like to get back into that, if only with wine.

So. I know I have often said I would return, but here's hoping that I will in earnest this time.

Because...the Scotch Man and I are going to Napa Valley for our honeymoon this fall!

Wait, I think I buried the lead there. Let me back up a second.

The Scotch Man and I are getting married! And our honeymoon is in California. We'll be spending four days at a haunted mansion writing retreat, drinking lots of wine and writing about our paranormal experiences. Then we're spending another few days at a bed and breakfast in downtown Napa. We'll be drinking lots of wine and making lots of memories. But I need to train for that trip! I need some practice. With wine tasting, with writing about what I try, with blogging with regularity.

So. I am going to try to post at least once a month from here until the trip. And then after the trip hopefully I'll be able to put together a really awesome post. Or maybe a series of posts. I like my event posts from years past.

I've got a good wine story for a recent bottle of wine, so hopefully I'll get that written and posted soon.

Oh...and reader beware...I might branch out and try some white wine this summer. The name of this blog will be a lie! Hope you don't mind.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

ConQuest 44 Wines

Here we are in lovely Kansas City, MO, high in a hotel room right across the street from the Kauffman Stadium (and Arrowhead) enjoying the 44th instance of ConQuesT: the science fiction and fantasy convention put on by the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society.

I'm on vacation with the Scotch Man on his birthday weekend. Every Memorial Day weekend brings another year of ConQuest, and since we're both aspiring writers and enjoy sci fi and fantasy, it's a perfect convention for us.

Unfortunately, we didn't come very prepared. Before we even left the hometown of Lawrence, KS, I realized we had forgotten two very important things: food and drink. When we first arrived at the hotel, we paid way too much at the hotel cafe for coffee and snacks. Later that evening, we ventured into the nearby city to stock up on snacks and alcohol for the rest of the weekend.

We drove by three cemeteries as the sun sank lower in the sky, and a nearly full moon began to rise. With the feeling that time was running out (we had just been to a panel about werewolves, vampires, and zombies, so that was still very fresh in my mind) we stopped by Save-a-Lot grocery. We put together a collection of chips, nuts, and other equally unhealthy munchies, and then made our way to the liquor section.

We decided to risk another trip into the oncoming darkness to find a liquor store than to settle for a $4 bottle of refrigerated red wine.

Between the liquor store and the grocery, I have never felt so white in my life. I think the only other white person we saw was a serious biker gang guy. I began to have more realistic fears than supernatural attacks.

Look! Blurry, but I really met him!
We managed to find two bottles of wine, though, one for each night, and a cork screw. We drank the Beringer Friday night when we got back to the hotel - it was young and grape-y and easy to chug - and Saturday night we busted into the Carmenere (almost literally: the cork screw we bought for $3 was poorly made and the cork VERY stuck. It took a sheer force of will and no small amount of cursing and grunting to pry it out so we could drink).

I don't feel like it's fair to judge the Carmenere, which I've never tried before, based on this experience with it, so instead I'll just say we'll drank it and enjoyed the buzz.

It's been an exciting weekend with too much rich food, bad coffee, long panels, two trips up fourteen flights of stairs after tiring of the sickening elevator rides, and brushing elbows with other writers and editors - including Patrick Rothfuss! - and we still have one day left to go. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, aside from Scotch Man's birthday.

My vacation is almost over, but I'm looking forward to going home, sleeping in my own bed, showering in my shower, and going on a diet.

But don't worry. My diet will still include red wine.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rickshaw - 2011 Pinot Noir

This was one of Cork and Barrel's Wine of the Week picks. They do tastings from 4-6pm every Wednesday of their wine of the week, so the weeks I'm interested, I make sure to go down on Wednesdays after work.

I was hooked on this wine before I even tried it. The weekly email they sent out claimed it was one of the few true, 100% pinot noirs out there, without any other grape add-in (they say Shiraz is a popular one to blend it with). This made me curious, because I seem to enjoy the lightness of the pinot noirs. The woman doing the tasting said it was a a good summer wine because it was almost as light as a rose.

I'm not that fond of anything that light on the red spectrum, but I tried it, and she was right. Most people switch to white wine in the summer, but this one you could just as easily drink alongside your light whites. Sweet, tangy, and light are words I'd use to describe this. A very good flavor, not just of grapes like a lot of young wines, but of substance. I am curious how this one would age, but it was too delicious to save.

So I ate it with dinner the night we had BBQ outside. The first truly summer-feeling evening we've had. Spring came really late this year.

But as sweet as this wine was, the evening was bittersweet. We are losing the Jedi, the Scotch Man's son, at the end of this week. He will leave to be with his mother for the summer, and then come back to us for two weeks, but then go back to be with her for the fall. We'll get him again in the spring.

The Scotch Man and I are heartbroken and doing what we can to enjoy the few evenings we have left with him. By the time this post goes live, he'll be gone.

And we'll be working hard to fill my new wine rack, and empty it again. Hopefully that will mean more posts. Although they may be melancholy ones.

So probably see you soon, friends. In the meantime, enjoy your wine.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mollydooker - The Boxer: 2011 Shiraz

Hello, fellow wine lovers! I'm back! For a few posts anyway.

I bought a fancy (used) wine rack off of Craigslist a few weeks ago (for the record, Craigslist is a pain in the ass, but at least I have a wine rack to store my wine and my glasses on now), so my interest in wine has been rekindled. Not that I ever stopped loving wine, but with the brutal, cold, endless winter months, I've suffered with one illness after another and an endless array of cold medicine, antibiotics, and steroids for the last four months. So finally, the weather is turning  and I'm feeling a little better, so we broke open some wine.

The very first bottle we opened from our last wine run was the Mollydooker. When we bought this bottle, the guy at the liquor store warned us that we had to go to the Mollydooker website and learn how to do the Mollydooker Shake before we drank it. For that reason, we had put off drinking it the last time I was feeling better. We thought it was going to be an actual dance, not a way to aerate the wine. Oh, spoilers and all of that.

Anyways, we dutifully watched the video, did the Shake, and drank our wine while watching Doctor Who. I wasn't overly fond of this particular bottle, though. I think it's less the Mollydooker brand and more the Shiraz variety that I didn't like here. It was too dry and biting. I've had Mollydooker before - compliments of my sister's boyfriend, who happens to be a wine rep (and that's another, old story I always meant to tell here and may someday try to recreate) - and enjoyed it, so I think I might have to temporary give up on Shiraz for now.

And focus on my new favorite, the Pinot Noir. Stay tuned this Sunday for another post, in which I talk about a fabulous pinot noir I drank and very much enjoyed.

Thanks for reading! See you soon.