On A Few Wine Musings

On Barolo
Recently my wife and I attended a Barolo tasting. I’ve had a little Barolo in the past, but this event gave me an opportunity to taste six different version of this wine made from the nebbiolo grape. For those that don’t know, Barolo isn’t cheap; at this event per bottle prices ranged from $45-77.

Two things stuck me; the consistency from producer to producer amazed me, and it’s similarity to pinot noir. Comparing Barolo to other great Italian wines as Brunello and Amarone isn’t fair because these wines are so different.  After all, the same can be said for comparing a pinot noir to a cabernet sauvignon. The bottom line: Grown in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, Barolo is one of the world’s best wines and has earned being called The King of Wines and the Wine of Kings.

On Hahn Estates & Pianetta
Earlier this winter we attended a tasting led by the winemaker at Hahn Estates, Adam Lazarre. Originally I had an entire post dedicated to this tasting, but somehow the file got corrupted thus gone. Most of the wines featured were from their Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) series. We’re not big on white wines, but both the SLH Chardonnay and Pinot Gris impressed us with their light, non-oaky, yet flavorful nature. The big hit was the SLH Pinot Noir with its loaded fruit.

The surprise addition to the night was a petite syrah from Pianetta, a small Paso Robles winery. Petite syrah can be quite tannic and over-the-top, but this one was rich and balanced while maintaining petite syrah characteristics.

We’re considering vacationing to the Central Coast (Monterey to Paso Robles) wine region, thus appreciate recommendations on wineries/tasting rooms to visit.

On Box Wines
I told a story about Black Box Merlot in an earlier post. While on vacation, we tried it and were pleasantly surprised. This will be a good everyday wine for some, and a serve-at-a-party wine for others. Wow … box wines have come a long way. We also had Banrock Station Shiraz (box), which is cheaper but not as good. I’m looking forward to trying Pinot Evil Pinot Noir in the future ($18 3L). Here’s a blogger’s review about this pinot.

On a Buying Tip
Buyer Beware: Some labels show names as Reserve, Special Cuvee, or Vintner’s Section. Depending on the labeling laws, such a designation may be meaningless or meaningful.

On Some Wine Values
My trusted resources are recommending the following wines for $10 or less (depending on location).

  • Leyda Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (crisp, dry white from Chile)
  • De Gras Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (light, refreshing white from Chile)
  • Vevi Rueda 2007 (crisp, dry white)
  • Gazela Vino Verde (simple, fruity, refreshing from Portugal)
  • Reyos Sparking Moscatel NV (Light and easy with sweetness from Spain)
  • Il Conte Rosso 2007 (medium-dry red blend from Italy) My past post
  • Oak Grove Merlot (2006) (Soft red from California)
  • Big Tatoo Red Syrah & Cab Sauvignon (full-bodied reds from Chile)
  • Siete 7 Tempranillo (dark, earthy, and spicy from Spain)
  • E-Minor Shiraz (earth, fruit, and spice from Australia)

Another respected source gave me these values priced $11-13 per bottle.

  • Fire Road 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
  • Santa Julia 2008 Chardonnay Organica  (Argentina)
  • Araucano 2008 Pinot Noir (Chile)
  • Araucano 2008 Carmenere (Chile)
  • Goulart Clasico 2007 Malbec (Argentina)

Cheers to everyone!