Red Blends

WBW 31: Casa La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere NV

by Tim Elliott on March 14, 2007

I have to confess that this was the most challenging Wine Blogging Wednesday theme for me. When Roger from Box Wines announced his choice of Box Wines & Non-Traditional Packaging I thought this might be pretty easy. My plan was to go up to Solo Vino in St. Paul and ask for their best box wine. I know they have a few well chosen box wines not available at other area retailers. In the past six weeks, however, I have not had a need to go into St. Paul and it seemed a bit obsessive to make the 50 mile round trip just for a box of wine. So I ended up at one of those soulless wine warehouse stores out here in the ‘burbs over lunchtime today and selected the wine I will now present.

My selection criteria here is pretty much the same as normal for more traditionally packaged wines. I look for recommendations and then pick something I find the most interesting from the store’s selection. Roger has quite a few suggestions at his blog and I found some other recommendations at the San Francisco Chronicle. A scan of the box wine aisle at the store I went to turned up dozens of choices, but the most popular were the generics from Franzia and Almaden (mango sangria, anyone?). Of the more “high end” choices I debated between a Hardy’s Riesling or Shiraz-Grenache but held off since they were a full 3 liters and I didn’t need that much cooking wine should it be not my style. That is the root of the challenge here for me and I suspect for a lot of people; we don’t want to take a chance on buying this much wine we might not like. Perhaps that’s the genius of Roger’s theme here… we’ll certainly get a lot of interesting wines to try or avoid this month ;-)

Next in my wine browsing I looked at the Bandit Tetra Paks. I’ve had some of these at tastings and they were not too bad but the thought of a light and fruity Cab or Merlot didn’t seem too interesting to me. Then I looked down at the bottom of the shelf and found the last box of La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere from the Colchagua Valley of Chile. For $18.99/3L I thought this was a decent value in everyday red wine and it seemed to be selling through well; another potentially good sign.

WBW 31: Casa La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere NVCasa La Joya, Cabernet-Carmenere, Colchagua Valley, Chile NV ($19/3L) – A non-vintage blend of 50% Cabernet and 50% Carmenere. Purple-black in color with aromas of dark fruit, black pepper and mint. Full bodied on the palate with flavors of blackberry, bell pepper and gunmetal finishing with moderate tannins. A nice everyday red wine and reasonable value for less than $5 a standard bottle.

13.5% ABV
Bag in box with plastic spigot
Score: 82

Thanks to Roger for an interesting and informative theme this month and I will be interested to read what other wine bloggers came up with this time out. See you next month where I hope the theme will be somewhat less challenging ;-)

Chateau Bellevue Peycharneau 2002

by Tim Elliott on March 3, 2007

Ch. Bellevue PeycharneauI have to admit that Bordeaux is a blind spot for me. It’s not that I dislike the wines made there, it’s that I just don’t drink many of them for a reason I can’t quite explain. Since my cellar is still a mess, there are bottles in boxes all over my basement and I am finding quite a few orphaned bottles. This wine is one of those either bought on sale some time ago and put in my “don’t drink now” rack or someone gave it to me a couple years ago and it got misplaced. Whatever the reason, I’m pleased to have found it and popped the cork as this might be the first in a series of tasting notes from this region.

Chateau Bellevue Peycharneau is located on the eastern border of Bordeaux and their vineyard is 15 hectares in size. This vineyard is planted to 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and the blend most years is consistent with these proportions. Chateau Bellevue Peycharneau is classified as a Bordeaux Superieur which is near the lowest rung of the AOC system. So it was with fairly low expectations that I selected and opened this lone bottle.

Chateau Bellevue Peycharneau, Bordeaux Superieur 2002 ($16) – Garnet in color with aromas of black currant, forest floor and pencil lead. Black currant, cherry and white pepper flavors finish with moderate tannins. An elegant wine with nice balance that I think will age for another 4-6 years.

13% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 88

Unti Vineyards, Petit Frere 2004

by Tim Elliott on March 1, 2007

Unti winesUnti Vineyards is the kind of winery I really like. Located in the Dry Creek Valley AVA of Sonoma County, they have a couple vineyards planted with some of my favorite varietals: Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah and Barbara. They also grow Rhone varieties like Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Most of their wines are made in the single varietal model but Petit Frere is a Southern Rhone-styled blend. Like a lot of wineries I tend to like a lot, they spend more time making sure the grapes are right in the vineyard and then make their wines in a minimalist style. The result is very pure fruit and nicely complex wines for their price points. Plus they are great people and have the best stems I’ve ever seen in any winery tasting room.

Unti Vineyards, Petit Frere, Dry Creek Valley 2004 ($16) – A blend of 40% Grenache, 37% Mourvedre and 23% Syrah. Purple in color with aromas of blackberry, lilac and licorice. Earthy and bold in the mouth with black cherry and black pepper flavors finishing with medium-firm tannins. It also has nice acidity for food. A very nice pasta wine and good value.

14.5% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 86

Buy this wine online

Winecast 71 – Iberian Wine

by Tim Elliott on January 20, 2007

Ryan and Tim in the studio

I’m back and starting my third year of podcasting with the longest Winecast yet, a discussion and tasting of four wines from the Iberian peninsula with Ryan Opaz of Catavino.

Show Notes:

00:21 – Welcome and introduction
01:10 – Your Iberian wine questions with Ryan Opaz
26:17 – Don Olegario, Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain 2004 ($19)
30:27 – Sociedade Agrícola Casal do Tojo, “Lisa”, Terras do Sado, Portugal 2004 ($11) +
36:07 – Bodegas 3 Suenos, “Sexto”, Terra Alta, Spain 2004 ($10)
41:39 – Caves do Salgueiral, “Andreza”, Douro, Portugal 2003 ($14) *
46:22 – Save The Duero and wrap-up
51:49 – Contact Details
52:04 – Next show theme

* = Best of Tasting
+ = Best Value

(Production Note: Unfortunately I set the gain too high on this recording and could not filter out this background noise out due to GarageBand’s ducking feature. I recommend listening on speakers and not headphones as a result. Lesson learned; my apologies.)

Feedback: winecast@gmail.com
Copyright 2007 Acan Media, Inc. Licensed to the public under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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