This Week’s Wines — Feb. 14

Hello all! Last week I was unable to post my usual wine column due to having two exams and then being in Chicago for the weekend, so I’m actually a week behind right now. There will be another post with this week’s actual wine list in a few days.

Last week, we tasted the big reds — Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A little disclaimer before we continue: I’m not a huge fan of reds. If I’m sitting around watching a movie or playing Halo, I would much rather sip on some Riesling than any red wine. I am growing to like reds more than I used to, and I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible when posting for this week and the following week, which will showcase odd reds.

Anyway, onto the show!

2009 Manos Negras Pinot Noir

This Pinot from the Patagonia region of Argentina had a ton of red fruit aromas, including cherries, cranberries, and strawberries, along with hints of chalk and smoky cedar. On the palate, I noticed the strawberry and cherry, as well as pepper, some egg, and a small bit of rose petals. I’m not usually a fan of old oak, which this wine was aged in, but it wasn’t a horrible wine by any means. Nothing special, though.

2010 The Pinot Project Pinot Noir

Interesting fact: this wine is made from the unwanted grapes of a bunch of super producers. With that said, this was about as average as you would expect it to be. Jam-like strawberry, currant, and black cherry aromas on the nose, as well as vanilla, spice, and cinnamon hinting at the subtle use of new oak. The palate was much the same with some melted chocolate flavor in addition to what was on the nose.

2009 Vina Robles Red Blend (Petit Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre) — Central Coast, CA

One of the more interesting wines we tried this week. This blend had a ton of fruit on the nose — black cherry, currant, dark plum, blackberry, and boisonberry, as well as vanilla, chocolate, and pepper. Not quite as fruity on the palate but quite peppery with a chalky finish. Tons of acidity.

2008 Kennedy Shah La Vie En Rouge Red Blend — Washington

Interesting aromas of strawberry, blackberry, black cherry, and mulberry on the nose, along with milk chocolate vanilla, and rose. Surprisingly complex on the palate with an espresso bean finish, which was delicious with the chocolate notes.

2009 Boomtown Cabernet Sauvignon — Washington

A very average Cab. Raspberry, Washington apple, and cherry on the nose, with buttery, vanilla, and bitter chocolate notes as well. The same fruit remained on the palate, while the finish was full of pepper and espresso.

2008 Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon — Napa Valley, California

My favorite wine of the night. Sweet plum, blackberry, and dark cherry on the nose with an incredibly refreshing fruity flavor on the palate along with delicious notes of spicy dark chocolate, espresso, and a peppery finish that wasn’t over the top. Great balance and a nice, long finish.

Like I said, I’m growing to like reds more and more as my palate begins to acquire a taste for them. I would definitely love a steak or game with most of these.

BONUS! Homework: Drink Wine

Since I’m a week behind on my wine posts, I’m going to throw this week’s “Homework: Drink Wine” in with this post.  As the post mentioned, we tasted the big reds in class, so it was our duty as students of the grape to find a Pinot Noir, Cab, or Merlot and taste it for homework.

Wine: 2009 Sean Minor 4 Bears Pinot Noir

Region: Carneros — Napa Valley, California

Price: $13.99 at Classic Wine and Spirits

Sight: Crimson red with no particles.

On the Nose: Very strong cherry and plum aromas with hints of blueberry, vanilla, raspberry, strawberry, and cola.

On the Palate: The plum and cherry were very distinct once again, while the spiciness and light vanilla hinted at the subtle use of new oak. Candied apple, cola, raspberry, and strawberry were also apparent.

Other notes:

Body: Medium-bodied

Sweet/dry: Dry — 1/2

Tannin: 2

Acidity: 3

Balance: 3

Complexity: 3 (The fruit on the nose was a lot stronger than it ended up being on the palate. Still a decent amount to think on, though.)

Finish: 2/3

This was a pretty good Pinot, especially for its dirt cheap price. Mr. Minor continues to impress with his great tasting, value wines. If all reds tasted as good as his Cab and Pinot at this price point, I may just grow to casually enjoy reds.

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