Three Wildly Different Reds…

These are not my normal wine-tasting wines. The first is from a wine tasting at my office – no, I’m not kidding. That’s one of the perks of working with a small, intelligent batch of scientifically-inclined gentlemen. Every now and then, on a Friday, the boss will bring some wildly expensive (to me) wine for us to taste.

The second wine was send to me by the winery – its a new wine, and try as I might to find it in my neighborhood, I haven’t been able to. So there’s that.  And the third wine – well, it’s label tells the story, so I’ll wait on that. None of these were below $10; but it’s been an interesting couple of weeks, tasting-wise.

Summerland Winery 2007 Pinot Noir Monterey  County Alcohol 14.1% by volume. Found online for $40 a bottle. (Remember folks, I didn’t pay a dime for this one.)

On the Label: “Summerland Winery finds its inspiration in the relaxed, friendly lifestyle enjoyed throughout California’s serene coastal towns. We offer a line of stylish wines that reflect the best of the Central Coast’s diverse growing regions. This well-balanced Pinot Noir exhibits an array of aromas and flavors, showcasing black cherry and clove, with a distinctively smooth texture enhanced by aging in small French oak barrels.”

My Take: I was expecting fireworks from this. Or at least, a yummy, juicy late-afternoon tipple. I got neither, unfortunately. This wine was thin in taste, and it had a sharp, almost astringent aftertaste. Not juicy in the slightest. Could it be too old? Perhaps. Did I enjoy a few ounces of this wine? Of course. Did it pass the Smoking Loon test? Um. No…I prefer to drink my $6.99 bottle of Smoking Loon Pinot Noir than to shell out $40 for this vintage. Maybe a later vintage is better. I do not know. And for the record, the gentleman who brought this for the tasting couldn’t remember how he came about it. So there you go.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ but hugely overpriced.

Concannon Conservancy Crimson & Clover, 2010 Livermore Valley Red Table Wine Alcohol, 13.7% by volume. Price: $18, but hey – I got it for free from the winery to review. Full disclosure! Releases Spring, 2012

On the Label: “My dad, James Concannon, began his winemaking career over 50 years ago. Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, he remains one of California’s most innovative and inspiring winemakers. This velvety wine is a living tribute to my father, who was the first to bottle Petite Sirah which continues to thrive in the gravelly soil of the Livermore Valley.

A vibrant red blend of signature Livermore Valley varietals, Crimson & Clover honors my dad’s enduring spirit that runs deep in the Irish roots of our family. This lush wine has deep flavors of blackberries and rich chocolate balanced by a long, silky finish. Pair with black pepper crusted filet mignon or grilled artichoke with tarragon aioli.”

My Take: Okay. At first, I thought it was a scam – so when the delightful young lady approached me via Facebook and asked me if I’d like a free bottle of wine to taste and review, I said but of course! and I told her I couldn’t guarantee a positive review – not really expecting her to send it to me. But she did. (Um – and not wild about the name, but sentiment rules in families, so I’ll not really quibble.)

Okay, all that said – this is a 2010. There’s a lot of Petite Sirah in this wine; after checking the marketing materials they sent me, it’s 50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel.  Which actually got me to thinking…okay, okay. About the wine.

At first taste, it’s a bit brash. Young. It needed considerable airing before it mellowed out enough even for me; I like to be able to drink it straight from the bottle without too much fuss. However, I will say before the bottle was done, I wished I had another bottle to hold for six or seven months. I even looked in the grocery stores, not realizing until right now that it’s not released yet. (Okay – how cool is THAT?!!) Upshot? I enjoyed the wine. The next day, hubby and I were still talking about it – so that means something, right?

My Take: ~Very Drinkable~ With the possibility, after a bit of age on it, of it moving to the top tier ranking of a Slut Wine. I am looking forward to having this wine again.

The Winemakers Winner’s Wine 2007 California Red Wine Crushpad, Napa, CA  Alcohol 14.5% by volume $12.99 at BevMo!

On the Label: “Wine. Man, I love the stuff. I love pairing it with food. I love enjoying it with friends. I love talking about it. What about making wine? Well there’s an idea. Winemaker. I can’t think of a better job. But winemaking is tough enough when you’re born in wine country with loads of money. For an outsider like me, it seemed like a distant dream. Then The Winemakers comes along. Here’s a chance to see if I’ve got what it takes! If I can outdo11 other wine lovers and prove my place is in the winery, my dream becomes reality. The challenges and the challengers were fierce. Now you hold the prize in your hands. I hope you enjoy drinking it as much as I did making it.”

My Take: This is a reality series I’ve never heard of. When I googled it, it came up as a web-based series…? At any rate, I couldn’t get the damned label off, didn’t watch the thing to begin with, and only bought the bottle because it was the only one in the BevMo like it and I considered it a novelty. To my utter surprise, I enjoyed the wine. Until this morning, and the rest of the day, when I had the headache from hell and yes, I’m blaming the wine for it. Deal.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ This was a red blend that had enough age behind it so that the flavors all jelled, mellowed out, and became more than the sum of its parts. I did enjoy this wine very much – I just hated the headache that came with it. I also don’t like the fact I can’t buy more of it. Nor will I ever know (unless someone out there in Blog Comment Land tells me) which person won, and whose wine I drank (and can blame for said headache, lol).

So, there you have it – three wines you can’t run out and grab at your local grocery store today. But keep your eye out for the Concannon – pick up a bottle maybe if its on sale below $10, and then stash it somewhere for a few months. You might be surprised!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet?

My Rating system: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable and the ever-popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!

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10 Responses to Three Wildly Different Reds…

  1. MonaKarel says:

    I remember a wine tasting once at Santa Barbara. The exceptionally pretension person behind the counter described the wine as something like “aged in carefully charred oak barrels” yadda yadda yadda. Had to tell him it tasted like a dirty ash tray.
    Smoking Loon is still one of my favorites, except for Santa Barbara’s ZCS which is unfortunately not available in New Mexico. Or fortunately since it would break my wine budget!

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Even though I have a glass of wine on rare ocassions these days, I love wine. The problem is as I get older it leaves me fuzzy headed. I need to be clear headed. Ha ha. Anyway, I enjoy your blog, and your honesty about what works for you and what doesn’t.

  3. Maria says:

    Looking forward to the Concannon and even the $18 isn’t wildly over priced and I wonder if it will be around for the BevMo $.05 sale then the price will be right! Who knew the Irish were wine makes too?

  4. How cool that they’re sending you free wine now to review! That is so awesome. 🙂

  5. Catie Rhodes says:

    I tweeted this so everybody can benefit from your experience. 😀

  6. Janie Emaus says:

    I’d love a wine tasting at work! How lucky for you.

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