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Wines on a Boat

Here are a few wines I tasted at a tasting event on the cruise I took with my parents in November. The Riesling Chateau St. Michelle and the Errazuriz were my favorites flavors for the week. We bought a few bottles of the Riesling to enjoy on the ship. Everybody loved it.

My kind of table.

The dessert wine was served in glasses like these, that you could keep. I brought home a set.
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No Boring Wines on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, we opened a half bottle of the 2009 Clos du Val Merlot and a bottle of 2009 Farrier Presshouse. These were two of the most interesting wines I've sipped in a while. The flavors were subtle and ever changing, complex but not too forward, and just exquisite. I wish I'd taken notes, but I didn't; I was too busy enjoying. Anyway, my notes would have been comprised of onomatopoeia. "Mmm!" "Oooh..." "Oh!"

Here's what the label on the Clos du Val Merlot had to say.

According to the Farrier website, "A decidedly Alexander Valley personality. The nose immediately captures your attention: pencil shavings, sandalwood, dried orange rind and black currant over lush, ripe blueberry. The palate is deep and firm, with savory characters that invites Bordelaise comparison." That was for the 2010.

Also, "Back in the day, “presshouse” was the common name for what we now call the winery - the building where the grapes were pressed and fermented before being barreled down."

Two very interesting wines, indeed. I'm going to go ahead and conclude that 2009 was a good year.
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Château d'Armajan des Ormes Sauternes 2007

I've been curious about Sauternes, as I serve one at work, and when I pour it, it smells like a harvest festival covered in honey. The one we serve is around USD $200 for a half bottle, and I haven't had the opportunity.

I found this 2007 Château d'Armajan des Ormes for around $30 a half bottle, and it tastes like a dream. Honey and oranges and crystallized ginger and apricots. It smells heavy, but tastes light and citrussy.

From Wikipedia: "By the end of the 18th century, the region's reputation for Sauternes was internationally known: Thomas Jefferson was an avid connoisseur. Jefferson recorded that after tasting a sample of Château d'Yquem while President, George Washington immediately placed an order for 30 dozen bottles."

Be right back, placing an order for 30 dozen bottles.
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Clos Du Val Winery ~ Napa Valley

I swapped onto a San Francisco flight, and took off a few hours after I made my previous entry. I told my dinner date from that evening that I was going to try to find the 2009 merlot, and his instructions were "buy them all!"

Of course, that was already my plan.

With the help of antivert, I made a reservation for a tasting, just before I flew out. On Sunday, the 6th of July, I picked him up at an Amtrak station, and we drove to Napa.

Clos Du Val is a pretty place.

First label of first wine.

People played games.

Splendor, Mirth, and Joy

Vines, and people looking at vines.

Pinot noir room, for hovering over pinot.

Tasting room, with tasters.

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And here's the prize. They thought at first they didn't have a single bottle of 2009 merlot remaining, but then they noticed four half-bottles. I nearly hesitated to buy them out, but the man behind the counter said "if you buy them all, we will be very happy." And so, with glee, I did. I'm happy that it came in four half bottles instead of two full bottles, since now I will be able to enjoy this wine on four occasions, rather than two.

Mission accomplished!
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Reddy Vineyards Texas Tempranillo 2012 ~ Texas

I brought two Texas wines back from my last trip home. My partner-in-wine refused to drink wine that he knew had once had feet in it, so we tried the Reddy Vineyards Tempranillo.

What can I say about it? It was an onslaught of aromas and flavors; an assault, almost. I enjoy finding two or three scents on the nose, and two or three flavors, when tasting and discussing a wine. This tempranillo tasted like... well, we agreed it tasted like everything. Berries, chocolate, coffee, pepper, figs, tobacco, licorice, rosemary, vanilla... you name it. Same for the nose. I'm not saying it was bad ~ we finished the bottle, and there have been times we couldn't say that. But the wine confused us, to the end.

Later we bothered to read the label, and it confirmed what we already knew: This wine tasted like everything.

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Vieux Magon 2008 ~ Tunisia

I've tried a few Tunisian wines, and I've never been disappointed. This one was slightly sweet, with notes of vanilla.

And now for the educational portion of this entry:

"Mornag is one of the most fertile plains of Tunisia, and is mainly known for its agricultural plain dedicated to the vine and the olive," says a translation of the French language wikipedia page on Mornag.

Élevé en fûts de chêne is a French phrase that may appear on wine labels to denote that the wine has been aged in oak barrels.
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On Chianti

Last month, I opened a bottle of Chianti with a friend who said he knew nothing about wine. I know a little, so I showed him how to sniff it, taste it, and talk about it, driving in the point that wine is always more interesting when you can talk about it with somebody.

We sniffed it, and a nose of apricots was overpowering. I said, "now, this is funny, I can smell apricots, but that's usually a characteristic of a white wine." He could smell it, too. In fact, the apricot scent was growing stronger and stronger.

What do you know ~ Chiantis often have white grape varieties blended in, particularly the lighter bodied styles that I'm looking for when I open a Chianti. So when you're drinking a Chianti (but not a Chianti Classico, which prohibits any white varietals), look for characteristics of white grapes

And now I know the straw basket is called a fiasco.