Friday, May 23, 2008

Dinner and Wine in Colorado Springs

Despite a schedule of training during the day and catching up on work e-mails at night, I had a unique opportunity to treat myself to sampling various wines during dinnertime each night in Colorado. Specifically, I had 6 different glasses of wine spread out over four evenings, and I thought I'd share some notes I have on them, ranking them on our 1-5 scale from worst to first:

6. 2007 Il Vicino Sangiovese, from the Gruet Winery, New Mexico-this red from the Southwest was very reminiscent of cranberry juice in it's appearance and body. It was very tight on the nose, almost completely absent of odor. Upon tasting, I noticed it was very light on the alcohol, but oddly, very hot, albeit brief. There was a hint of sour and bitter elements (like accidently eating the stem with the unripened grape). It has no length whatsoever. It was an awkward selection--maybe some more time to mature would do this selection some good, but for now, especially at $21.00/bottle, the best I can rate it is a 2.

5. 2006 Jake's Fault Shiraz, from California--immediately reeking of Listerine or some type of all-purpose cleanser, I was a bit disappointed with this start, particularly after seeing it comes in at around $10.99. It appeared to have a medium body to it, and a nice purple color. It was very fruity to the taste, but lacked balance. I caught tastes of the fruit then got sideswiped by alcohol. It didn't have much of a finish and left almost like a taste of a fruit rind on my pallette in the end. Maybe some more time to age or maybe something as simple as decanting might bring some help to this wine--not terrible, but only it's price let's me bolster this effort to a 2.5.

4. 2006 Clo du Bois Pinot Grigio, from France--whites did get their chance to showcase their stuff in these dinners as well. This wine had a very light, transparent, yellow tint to it. It smelled like Jolly Rancher candies, particularly melon. There were also hints of citrus fruits on the nose as well. The taste reminded me of Reislings I've tried in the past, where they had a nice balance of alcohol and fruit tones. It ended with some heat, which was somewhat of a turnoff, but at around $12.00/bottle, the wine did a nice job, enough for a 3.0.

3. 2006 Rosemont Estates Shiraz, from Australia--This was a different experience for me, but worth discussing. It was very dark and opaque and had a medium body to it. The smell was pure unwashed vegetables, where the odor of dirt could be discerned. There was also a wood presence. The taste was an unusual mix to me of the right amount of alcohol and vegetables, like steamed broccoli or asparagus. But, as I spent some time sipping it again and again when paired with my dinner, some sweetness started to surface. Lastly, the wine had a nice length to it to end. This wasn't bad at all, and with a $9.99 pricetag retail (It wasn't that low in the hotel, however), I liked it! I didn't love it, so it's fair this wine, too, receives a 3.0.

2. 2006 Meridian Pinot Grigio, from California--It appears my penchant for always gravitating to and really liking very inexpensive wine every once in a while continues, where this <$8.00 wine crept into my #2 position. This wine had the body of a white grape juice, or even the Chardonnay that took the gold for the white wines at our South American wine-tasting. It bore a floral and sour nose, keeping pace with the white grape juice appearance. Well, after getting hammered with an initial blast of alcohol, this white calmed down VERY nicely and had a very surprising and balanced length. The taste was a fruit salad, where sour and sweet components mixed very well and seemed to overtake the alcohol after a few moments. It's ability to calm down after an initial try and subsequent tries, and it's terrific mix with my chicken dish made it a winning Place bet for me--3.5.

1. 2007 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, from New Zealand--I had a bad experience with Sauvignon Blanc in the past, but was willing to try it again. With a high recommendation from the waiter given my Spanish Chicken dish I was planning to order, I went for this $14 wine (again, higher at the hotel). The color was a pale yellow color with an overwhelming citrus nose to it, overcoming any other scents that surfaced (which included lemon drops or lemon meringue pie). The taste was almost that of a perfectly mixed drink of Ocean Spray Grapefruit juice and alcohol. The alcohol was kept at bay but competed well with the tart nature of the citrus components. It had a very long length to it and stayed consistent with it's taste from start to finish. I was very pleasantly surprised, and also found it rather redeeming this wine was a Wines & Spirits and Wine Spectator 91. What a highly unusual taste for a wine, but what a terrific job! 4.5!


Anthony F. LaVista said...

JP, thanks for sharing your experience. I must say, I'm not surprised that a wine from New Mexico would be terrible. I can't immagine, grapes of any quality growing in that type of climate, dry dessert. It's also interesting how you went heavy on the whites. I must say, the sweet whites are not my cup of tea, but they definitely have a purpose when certain foods are served. Anyway, great post!

Jon-Paul said...

Thank you for the feedback, Ant. I think being thrust into consistent 80 degree plus weather compelled me to gravitate to something lighter. The heat did actually play a role in my dinner selections (mostly chicken-based).

Anthony F. LaVista said...

JP, have you given any thought to your wine tasting? In terms of the theme or the type of wines? Let me know if you'd like some help. Also, did you receive your copy of Gary's book? I've been reading it little by little and its a nice quick read.

Jon-Paul said...

I did actually start thinking about it and have already started shopping for it--I was going to unveil it after the holiday weekend. And no, I haven't received my books yet--very dumb.