Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cabernet Blind Tasting!

Last night, we tasted 8 pretty bad cabs. A few were drinkable, and the clear favorite was the 2005 Cycles Gladiator, available for $9.99 at Nugget Market. I believe this was also the most expensive wine.

It's actually amazing to me how bad most of them were. Maybe cheap cabs are to be avoided as a rule.

Stay tuned for the next blind tasting!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cabernet #8

Joe: 63. this is good. still pretty safe. smells like a Kubrickian hallway.

Maya: this one has esophagial travel. it hurts. wax vampire mouths. 52

Rebecca: I find this one very smooth. That could be the music, though. this would stand up well to spicey italian sausage with arrabiata sauce. 69...er...71....it got better!

Chris: tastes like something...grape gum. bubble yum. I think it's not bad. a little waxy. 65

Margaret: smells like alcohol. waxy thing. it really is sticking to the edges of my mouth. it's more like a zin.

Molly: this one actually burned my mouth.

Unveiled: 2004 Puzzle Time, $3.99

Cabernet #7

Molly: This is another one that doesn't have a finish. 57

Maya: I smell wood here. I'm thinking it would be good with portabella mushrooms. I'm getting a meaty smell right before I drink it. 65

Rebecca: This goes well with Rick James. It's sort of overwhelmed with the prunes. I don't taste anything else. I like my wine to be earthy, but this is sticking to the juice. 62

Joe: totally prunes. licorice. tastes like short ribs...marinated in cabernet franc.

Margaret: smells like prune. like when you open a container of prunes. yes, (responding to Rebeccea) clearly aged in particle board barrels. I want a panini with portabella mushrooms, mozzerella, and roasted red peppers. 65

Chris: not bad. 70

Unveiled: 2006 Banrock Station, $5.99

Cabernet #6

Note: everyone is now talking about wikipedia. we'll try to get through the rest of the tasting...

Molly: Woah! a littly burny. like ee ee ee ee. 55. I think it needs red meat. I'm thinking winter.

Margaret: pop rocks. i feel like I swallowed a chamois cloth. It's like some

Maya: oh my god, that is fizzzy. dimetapp. 57

Rebecca: right about the first inch of your tongue, it's fizzy. I think it's a 7th grade volcano reaction with the last one. 12

Chris: yow! what the hell? 35

Joe: I wouldn't mind if it was fizzy if I knew it was supposed to be. 35

Unveiled: 2006 Balbo, $7.99

Joe: It's probably corked and they owe us money.

Cabernet #5

Chris: It has that flaw -- soapy. 45

Molly: smells salty. Cheap liquid soap that you find in dispensers in public restrooms. Some of the others were too bitey. This one is too not bitey. 40

Maya: yes, soapy. A little effervescent. Tastes like grape soda.

Rebecca: Jammy. currant.

Margaret: tastes like plum to me. Ya, Jammy.

Joe: Jam. It's an opera with no epiloge. Graham cracker. 59

Maya said it was like the ending of the 7th harry potter book, and then everyone started talking about harry potter and wizards.

Unveiled: 2004 J.W. Morris, $2.99

Cabernet #4

Margaret: Smells like canned creamed corn. (Molly and Rebecca back me up -- I think we have a consensus)

Rebecca: Olives. Nice, actually, like a tapenade. I'd like it with lamb, rosemary and potatoes. 54

Joe: Anisette. Black licorice Dots. (drinks) blueberries. I'd like it with other wines preceding it. I think it's pretty damn good. 62

Maya: Doesn't hurt my esophagus at all. 62

Molly: I taste olives. I want to eat this with venison stew. 65. I like that one, It made me very happy. It made me want to cook. Be afraid.

Chris: I'd like it with corned beef. 65 (Tried with food) With the food, this one kind of disappeared. (Molly contends that only the finish disappeared.)

So far, people like this one best, and really want to pair it with food.

Unveiled: 2005 Cycles Gladiator, $9.99

Cabernet #3

Chris: I like the color of this one. 40

Margaret: Smells fruity! Nice. (Drinks) Oh! Oh! It's really not good.

Rebecca: Undertone of cat urine. (Chris: It could be our house.) Tastes like raw flower ... or paste. This might be the first one I throw out. Like chewing on a q-tip. 28

Molly: Smells like rosemary and weed together. Thyme! Thyme! (Drinks) Nothing, grainy, no finish. 35

Joe: Color is definitely ruby, garnet. A light style cabernet. Rain slicker, $2 poncho from Sea World smell. 40

Maya: Doesn't taste like a cabernet. Tastes pinoty to me. As a cab, 37. But as a pinot, 55.

Unveiled: N.V. Barefoot Cab. $4.49

Cabernet #2

Margaret: Smells like alcohol. (Drinks) Zingy! I like it better than #1. It's got more fruitiness. Pinesol?

Rebecca: This makes me want to pop and rock. Or maybe it's just the music. Smelling some pine. (drinks) no finish except a peppery sting. Holding it in your mouth and aerating normally helps a wine, but in this case it doesn't help at all. Tastes like orajel. 42

Molly: Plastic! It smells like plastic! Like when you take something out of plastic wrap. Mushroomy. (drinks) No bite. I think it would be really good with beef stew and a potato gratin. My mouth is numb. 35

Joe: Rosemary, but maybe it is plastic (Drinks) Kind of tastes like salsa (drinks) Woodsy, barbequey, smokey. mesquitey. 40.85

Maya: I don't think there's much difference between rosemary and plastic. Fruity. I'm at a loss for a number.

Chris: I don't know what to say about this. Slightly better than the last one. It could be earthy, could be vegetally. 62

Unveiling: N.V. Prosperity Red, $5.99

Cabernet #1

Rebecca: I could not stand on these legs. (Drinks) It feels like I swallowed a biting insect. I wouldn't go near flame. 37

Maya: It's got some legs. It smells moldy. (Drinks) It's boring. There's nothing going on. 50

Chris: Oh my god (winces). (Drinks) I'm getting short of breath! This is slightly worse than what I would drink. 55, but maybe that's just cause I needed a drink.

Molly: It's got a really sharp and acrid smell to it. Oh, a funky smell. (Drinks and spits it out with agonized look on face.) No finish whatsoever. Like Everclear that's been colored red.

Joe: A dusty smell. (Drinks) But I actually like it. 40

After the unveiling: 2005 Robert Mondavi Woodbridge, $4.99

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Battle Chardonnay!

Five intrepid wine tasters brave the wilds of Trader Joe's discount isle, but not everything is as it seems. There is an intruder. Will our brave souls find the intruder before time runs out?

Stay tuned...

Blind tasting!

After the reveal: It turns out, the Charles Shaw was the favorite.

Chardonnay #7

Molly: too sweet and too sour at the same time!

Margaret: maybe there are no good chardonnays. I'm getting buttered popcorn. At the risk of repeating myself, I would say apple. Tastes like gruyere.

John: boring with a long aftertaste. This is too sharp.

Maya: Buttered popcorn? No...slim jim? What am I smelling? Really light. This one is kind of a cheese wine.

Chris: If it was colder, I'd drink it, and I wouldn't know better.

Reveal: The ringer! Alois Lagader (Italian) 11.99

Chardonnay #6

Will six be the trick?

John: Brie! Oh, uh, oh. Doesn't taste like brie though. Not a lot of taste. I'm not getting the meat everyone else it.

Margaret: Cheesy apple. More sour apple. Totally tastes like bacon! Maybe it's turkey bacon.

Maya: It's like when you leave the apple juice in your thermos and it gets all moldy. This is really light. I kinda like it too, it's okay.

Molly: no comment. not bad but...

Chris: its cheesy/meaty and I kinda like it.

Reveal: J.W. Morris - 2.99

Chardonnay #5

Five alive!

Chris: lighter color. Buttery. Kinda greasy. Makes me feel like I'm getting zits. Lemongrass and snails.

Molly: smells a little sour. Gross! I'm breaking out as we speak!

Margaret: soapy apple? Taste like chicken.

Maya: I'm getting high on the fumes. Tastes like lemongrass.

John: Blah. Dirty.

Reveal: Columbia Crest - 3.99

Chardonnay #4

Will this surpass the last?

John: I'm not smelling this one. Hint of water, followed by hint of fruit. Finished by hint of water. Cardboard.

Margaret: I can get a little wood out of that.

Chris: Woody. I give it a 30.

Molly: There's something that doesn't agree with me there.

Maya: This one might be lemon cool aid. Without the sugar. It abraded my throat.

Reveal: Barefoot - 4.49

Chardonnay #3

Fuku-san, what is happening on the wine tasting table?

John: woah. That's bold smellin' stuff. Woah, that's not very offensive either. Kinda pleasant actually. A bit of champagne again.

Margaret: This one is definitely apple-y. Jolly Rancher!

Chris: This one doesn't burn my throat. I haven't been totally offended by any of them yet. Soft mouth feel, velvety.

Maya: Sour-apple-y kinda. Sweeter, lighter, not as dry. Smooth.

Molly: Like this one - not as crisp as the first one.


Chardonnay #2

The battle rages on...

John: well, there's another fruity one. Surprise surprise. Dry rot.

Maya: I can't smell this one. More sour than the last one. Hint of something...kind of...putrid.

Margaret: It smells like my bathroom.

Molly: there's a creepy taste - at least it doesn't smell like a sweaty German. Corn chip smell!

Chris: not as sour as the last one. Maybe its more sour.

Reveal: Buena Vista - 4.99

Chardonnay #1

Maya-- It smells like mildew to me. But I think I may have a bit of a cold or allergies. It's very watery. Kinda like watered-down white grape juice.

John -- wow thats...unobtrusive, unoffensive, fruity, almost champagny.

Chris -- It won't go down my throat. I need a power scrubber to get it off the insides of my cheeks. Is that a good thing? I imagine I'll fine out at some point in the next 6 tastes.

Margaret -- It smells like apple soap. I like it. Good spring chard?

Reveal: Bear's Lair (CA) - 3.99

Friday, January 27, 2006

Huge Blind Merlot Tasting

Molly and John are over and we're about to start a huge blind tasting of Merlots. But not just Merlots.....these are all Merlots that we bought for less than $5...except for one $12 Merlot that we threw in to confuse ourselves. I accidentally discovered the identity of one of the wines while opening it, so we're using that one as the standard. We'll give it 50 points and compare all of the others to it. Each wine will get its own post that we'll all comment on. At the end of the comments, we'll reveal the identity of the wine and hopefully discover a couple sub $5 wines that aren't all that bad. So, here we go!

#1: The standard

The first bottle we opened had the name of the wine on the cork. After that, we invented a new method of blind wine opening.

Well, the one we accidentally found out the identity of turned out to be 2004 Trader Joe's French Market Merlot. At $2.99, this was one of the cheapest. It gets 50 points.

Chris: smells like rotten fruit and tastes like sour apples. ugh.

John: I can't top that. But let me say, 50 can't be the median, because more than half of all wines are better than this. Benefits from breathing. Probably should stop breathing.

Margaret: can it be used in cooking?

Molly: Oh my god! (making horrified face)

price: $2.99

Wine #2

John: 70, this is a mildly fruity wine with little aftertaste. I'd have it on my table with just about any dinner. Mildly spicy. Not Anna Nicole Smith spicy, more like "white guy spicy."

Chris: 68 (just to be a little different). strange smell, but not unpleasant like #1. not too bad here. I'd hit it. currant, fruity

Molly: I smell olives

Margaret: Currant smell

What it turned out to be: 2004 PKNT Merlot (Chile) $2.99

Wine #3

John (makes that horrified face): 30 It isn't bad really, just unpleasant. I can't imagine what I'd drink this with, except maybe somebody easy;.

Chris: smells like armpit. taste is dryer than the others. after taste won't go away. I need some cheese now.

Margaret: doesn't smell like a German on a hot day.

What is is: 2004 Trader Joes Chilean Collection Merlot $2.99

Wine #4

Chris: 80 smells like black cherries. taste is smooth and nicely balanced. This has got to be the good one.

John: 80 After the sweaty German, this is pretty good. I'm not sure I get the cherries as much on nose - maybe blackberry. Yeah, that's it. Blackberries without cream. If it's not good, we're buying more of it.

Molly: doesn't make me want to retch. I got berries at first and now I get cherry.

Margaret: This one's almost worth trying to taste right.

What it is: Purple Moon 2004 Merlot (huge surprise!!!) $3.49

Wine #5

John (screams): 30 At least it's distinctive. Rotting leaves. Somebody was wearing their socks when the tromped the grapes. You know. I'm thinking burning rubber.

Chris: yeah...rotten. 35 maybe. that's just nasty.

Molly: It's crap!

Margaret: It's like somebody's garbage! It's pee!

What it is: 2004 La Boca Merlot (Argentina) $2.99

Wine #6

Margaret: This is outdoorsy, but not decomposed. Smells like butter!

John: 65 I'm getting old leaves too, fall leaves. The taste is a little piny - similar to the pine taste in Anchor's 2005 holiday beer. Not bad.

Chris: 70. I like this one. Spicy like a Zin, I think. I can see the pine. Not as acidic as the really crappy ones.

Molly: Spicy.

What it is: 2001 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot (the ringer!) $11.99

Wine #7

Chris: 60. wood glue smell. Very fruity. Not too bad...almost tastes carbonated.

John: 60. The wood glue nose is deceiving. This is a fruity, protestant-communion-like wine.

Margaret: smells like raisin or black currant. I think it's pretty good.

What it is: 2003 Penmara 5 Families (Australia) $4.99

Wine #8

Post your comments about #8 here (shit, I'm getting drunk...typing getting more difficult):

John: 65 Nose? What nose? Oh, there it is. After I put it in the centrifuge. A little bit spicy. A little bit fruity. A little bit country. A little bit rock and roll

Chris: 70. Not offensive. I could drink this on a monday or tuesday. balanced...but then it just hit me with something interesting that I can't put my finger on. like chocolate or somthing.

Molly: ugh. No.

Margaret: this one's pretty good. way better than the bad ones. a little better than the chianti at Macaroni Grill

What it is:2003 Kirralaa Merlot $4.99

Sunday, January 08, 2006

1987 Royal Oporto

We got this half bottle of vintage port from Bevmo sometime in Dec. 2005 and paid $14.99 for it. I recently bought two bottles of 2003 vintage port (Quinta de Vesuvio) after listening to a Grape Radio show about port. We can't drink that for 20 years, so I figured we'd learn something about this stuff in the meantime.

After reading up on vintage port a little bit in wine for dummies, we ran back to Bevmo today to buy a decanter, only to discover that you're supposed to stand the bottle up for at least several hours before decanting. Well, after letting it stand for 5 minutes, we decided it was ready for decanting (it's a smaller bottle, after all).

The cork was much more tricky to remove than the newer wine we're used to, but we managed. Decanting went smoothly....lots of junk was left in the bottle, which we poured into a glass so we could analyze it. Now we're letting the wine sit in the decanter for a few hours...

In the meantime, we did some research into what sort of glasses to use with port and found the glasses we already own that most resemble the correct ones. Basically, the correct port glasses look (to me, anyway) pretty much like white wine glasses.

Color-wise, this stuff is very dark...brownish ruby.

Smells like prune/raisin and smoke and alcohol.

Taste is quite delightful with a long finish. Sweet, thick, and smooth. Tastes chocolatey with raisins. Like raisinettes. Margaret thinks it would go well with a sausage. I'm wondering if we have some blue cheese and walnuts and a cigar (if I were allowed to smoke cigars, which I am not). Yum. We will have to continue this exploration of port.