WINESLACKER..the lazy drinker's guide. Another 'slacker yammering on about drinking.

February 3, 2010

Buncha Empty Bottles…

Filed under: pinot noir,Syrahs — Dex Wineslacker @ 10:04 pm

Some of the Wineslacker’s fans have been clambering for new posts!  Okay, okay…ONE fan has been complaining that she actually had to go to a wine store and take a chance on some cheap wine without Your’s Truly’s sage advice…  So here it is.

Recently the ‘slacker took three bottles of Syrah up to Vigneron Rob’s for a battle Royale of Syrah’s, to include the infamous Danny’s Drool, 2008.  We took one cheapo, a $4.99 special from T.J.’s (Trader Joe’s) a loss leader from a rather well respected winery in Healdsburg, California, Michel-Schlumberger. It’s called Pétanque (after the French version of Bocci), a 2006, only listed as Californian. We included an inexpensive Syrah from Santa Barbara Winery, a 2007 vintage from Santa Ynez Valley, several different vineyards throughout the valley (about $12 from Von’s) and a moderately expensive Syrah from La Fenétre, À Côté, 2007, from the South Mesa, Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, about $22, from Wine Country, a specialty retailer in Long Beach, California.  We threw Danny’s Drool in just because we love it, but you won’t get any, unless you know Rob and, of course, Danny.

Let us just say, all these wines got drunk. As did the tasters.  NO SPITTING ALLOWED.  We will say, the most expensive (À Côté, 2007) got drunk first. No brainer.  Regardless of what you may hear elsewhere, many times, price is a relatively good guide.  Hey! it’s a competitive market out there! Still, the Wineslacker will also point out that the lesser wines did not get chucked down the sink.  The Santa Barbara Winery Syrah was not a bad bottle and in our humble opinion, was priced just about right.  The bargain basement Pétanque started off a little rough, with some rather harsh tannins (which we wimpy Californians are sometimes intimidated by -sorry for the hanging preposition); but, the second half of the bottle, corked up and left for the next day, smoothed out and became very pleasant.  So, bully for Pétanque Syrah; just decant it well before dinner and enjoy, for a steal of a price. The Wineslacker will mention, their Cabernet version of Pétanque, at the same price… don’t bother.  It starts with a promising nose, but displayed a slightly fishy taste that we just could not get past.  It, unfortunately didn’t go away the next day. And Danny’s Drool;  still killer.

Here’s another tip.  Recent vintages of California Pinot Noir have been bountiful and beautiful.  Our local Trader Joe’s has been stocking Pinots at an unusual $19.98 price point and they are worth the cost.  We were very impressed with the 2006 Russian River Valley, Nugent Vineyard Pinot, from Robert Stemmler.  Lush and fruity, easy to love, a small production Pinot from an 11 acre plot for less than $20!  Here is an impressive wine and cheese party wine your snooty friends will enjoy.  On the other hand, they’re stocking two Lane Tanner Pinot’s for the same price.  We’re drinking the 2008 Santa Maria Valley Block 7 at this very moment.  It is a much more individual wine, with a nose of wet hay and smoke.  It has a lighter, acidic fruit, featuring a lot of strawberry and cherry flavors.  Here’s a wine that Pinot lovers will find interesting and shows ya just how differently Pinot Noirs can express themselves.  This is a wine that will enhance an expensive salmon dinner.


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