I prefer a Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand (think Kim Crawford, Nobilo, Brancott Estates). But I really enjoyed the Pomelo 2013 California Sauvignon Blanc. Honestly, I was in a hurry the day I bought this, so I really didn’t think much about it. But it turns out the taste was great and the price was perfect at about $8.
So, the Pomelo is a giant citrus fruit native to Malaysia and thought to be an ancestor of the grapefruit…
And this wine smells exactly like grapefruit. It’s light and citrusy, but not overly sweet; somewhat tart but not bitter. I could absolutely taste the grapefruit, as well as some lemon, lime and citrus fruits. I think it’s a very refreshing wine with crisp acidity.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest
I am always willing to try a new beer. Last weekend I was looking for something different to enjoy outdoors. I discovered Sierra Nevada Summerfest (5% ABV), a crisp lager that really is refreshing.
I was pleasantly surprised at this beer’s fairly light-bodied wheat and mild citrus taste. It reminded me a lot of 312, although it’s a tad sweeter. Although a pretty hoppy beer, the finish was not super bitter.
Try this one soon. It is a seasonal brew so it probably won’t be around much longer. In fact, some of the Fall beers are already on shelves.
Actea Tempranillo 2012 was in our very last shipment from Vino Volo. Yes, we chose to give up the wine club for several reasons…at least for now.
Actea Tempranillo is a Vino Volo private label wine produced by the Jorge Ordonez Winery in Spain. According to Vino Volo, Ordonez imports the largest portfolio of Spanish wines to the U.S. This wine comes from central Spain’s historical La Mancha. Tempranillo is, of course, the country’s signature red.
Aromas of cherry and blackberry blend with earthy notes. This medium-bodied selection has bright red fruit flavors, along with a bit of cocoa and hints of herbs. It is mild and smooth with medium tannins and moderate acidity.
Not amazing, but a decent, drinkable wine.
William Hill Estate Merlot Napa Valley 2009 is a smooth, enjoyable Merlot.
This is a full-bodied wine with nice structure and a velvety finish. Tastes of plum and cherry blend well with the smoke and spice flavors of this wine. Now is the time to drink!
Average price: $25
Alamos Red Blend 2012, Medoza-Argentina
This is a nice red blend, especially at the price of around $13.
This earthy and spicy full-bodied wine offers ripe blackberry and cherry in front of a flavor that’s full of vanilla oak and hints of chocolate. A bit light and sweet at first, it has a smooth taste, lush tannins and a nice, somewhat dry finish.
The grapes in the Alamos Red Blend include Malbec, Tempranillo, Syrah, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot.
I give both of these reds a
An old friend of mine is on a tour of, well, the world. In the last two weeks, I think he’s been in Istanbul, Zanzibar, and now he’s somewhere in the Serengeti. Curt is a wine connoisseur, so I’ve begged him to send me tasting notes of his adventures whenever he has some time and an internet connection. Here is the first of those missives, detailing a set of Tanzanian wines. I’m hoping for his notes from Africa all the way to Paris. You can check out Curt’s travel blog at march-fourth.com.
The day before leaving for Tanzania for 2 weeks, I attended a once in a lifetime winetasting. Our regular wine group spent the evening tasting some spectacular burgundies, including a Le Montrachet and a Romanee Conti. The advice I received that night, from a friend who has spent numerous years traveling the world – especially in Africa: ‘Take your wine with you!’
So there I was (there I was, there I was!) in the gift shop at Lake Manyara, and a white and a red bottle From the finest Tanzanian Vineyards stuck out like a tourist in a local village – $10 for the white and $11 for the red. There was no vintage on the label and no way these bottles had been stored adequately in a building that more resembled a permanent camper. It was simply Dodoma Dry White and Dodoma Dry Red…so I bought them both.
Back at the lodge, I opened the white wine first, wanting to follow proper etiquette. The color was nothing special, medium to deep gold. The nose on the other hand knocked me back in my bar stool (and not in a good way)! It overwhelmed me with pungent iodine and I thought, ‘I should have brought some wine with me.’ I mustered up the courage and went back for the second nose with very low expectations, but found more mellow aromas. There were notes of unsweet honey and it seemed similar to a sherry. Lucky for me I enjoy a weird white wine like this from time to time. I took a sip and noticed the immediate dryness and strong acid drawing the moisture from my mouth. It actually had notes of wet tobacco on the palate (weird!). I finished 2 glasses and it held my attention but it was certainly beginning to take an effort to keep drinking it.
The red on the other hand was totally drinkable. I would probably stand it up against any California $10 red. It wasn’t the darkest red but it was still a teeth-stainer. I picked up consistent and subtle but identifiable hints of black cherry, pepper, and smoke on both the nose and the palate. A hint of extraction on the palate quickly melted away into a good balanced finish. I could have kept drinking this wine with dinner all night, but as customary I reserved a glass for tasting the next day. By then all of the fruit had evaporated and it was a little like licking a rock.
Curious about my experiment, I searched the web for Dodoma wines. CNN dubbed Dodoma as one of the ‘5 African Wines Making a Splash’ in January this year. Other articles are sparse, but commentary seems to at least say the Dodoma wines are making a marketing push. Right now I think it is a high price to value ratio – let’s hope it stays that way.
You win some, you lose some. I am glad that I didn’t bring wine with me!
A couple of new reds I’ve tried recently…
Robert Reynolds Merlot “Rocky’s Block” Lodi 2007
I tried this wine at a recent event and I was pleasantly surprised. Not outstanding but well above average. It is a subtle, medium-bodied Merlot from the Lodi region in California; slightly oaky with berry and vanilla flavors, very low tannins and a smooth but super sweet finish for a Merlot. I would consider having this one on hand at home as it was easy to drink.
2010 Bodegas Sierra Norte Bobal Temperamento
This was a wine club pick, and it was just OK for me. The club tries very hard to select unique wines that you can’t find everywhere. I don’t think I’ve been a fan of the Spanish selections they’ve sent over the last couple years.
This wine comes from the Bobal grape, which is a dark-skinned red grape native to the Utiel-Requena region in Valencia, Spain. It had an intense fruity aroma, a soft oak flavor with hints of black licorice (probably why this was not one of my faves). The structured tannins and long finish made it a little hard for me to drink.
I have not had a white wine in a long while! I am definitely ready for Spring so I at least have a (better) excuse to try some whites.
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