Not every wine experience has to be mind-blowing. Sometimes you're in a hurry and you just want a good, cheap quaff.
My friends and I enjoyed this before heading to our department holiday party, where I knew the wine would be much worse.
It's grapey but not overwhelmingly so, with nondescript fruit at first and a tart cranberry finish (it's tough to nail down descriptors when you're drinking from a red plastic cup.) And when it's ice cold, it's pretty refreshing.
Red Cat is traditionally a blend of Catawba (which I just now realized is where the "Cat" in the name comes from) and Baco Noir, but the red grapes vary year to year.
Hey, for $12 a mag, I'll bet it's better than 90% of wines from California.
For the record, the one wine I had at the party was a Pinot Grigio/Chenin Blanc blend (?) and tasted like green tea. Blech. And no, I don't drink hybrids solely to rile up certain people who post in the comments section.
Southern Hemisphere wines always seem so young until my brain processes that they are actually one vintage ahead of us, but even after I made that connection this pinot noir, it still seemed way early. A back label investigation revealed that this is a unoaked pinot and then it all made sense.
Mendoza is typically not a region I browse when looking for pinot so this was a new experience. I usually stick with Chilean pinot from Bio Bio if I'm looking for South American pinot but this one was worth trying.
Super fruity aromas of cherries and strawberries with hints of some darker forest aromas as well. Smooth mouth feel and an overall clean flavor made this extremely quaffable.
For $9 or so, a decent buy especially if you are buying wine for a large get together and need some reds to please several tastes.
Being scheduled to leave for South Africa in four weeks and still without a visa, I attempted to pacify myself on Sunday by opening a South African red that I felt certain would lay me flat: The Pepper Pot 2008, produced by the Finlayson family in Stellenbosch.
It's a blend of 58% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre and 10% Tannat, and I was immediately sorry I hadn't opened it earlier because it definitely needed some time and a well-planned meal. I had neither, though, so I made do with vigorous swirling and soppressata pizza.
It's a beautiful, intense blend, everything I love about South African wine. The nose initially reminded me of the zinfandel produced by another winery in Stellenbosch: dried fig, apricot and cherry as well as a torrent of indistinguishable spices.
As it opened up a bit I began to get more meaty, gamey Brett, lots of black and white pepper (it's an aptly named wine), and maybe some turmeric; the next morning it showed a smooth vanilla/berry nose, again like a Stellenbosch zin, with cranberry and some floral notes.
I can't wait to pair the rest of this bottle (even in my traumatized state I knew it was too good to waste on leftover pizza) with some quail or other game bird and a thick sauce of mushrooms and dried fruit.
The 2008 version of this wine is one of the finalists for Wine of the Year, but more on that wine later this week. And so it was a treat when a friend opened a bottle of the 2006.
First of all, cheers to Fox Run, where the reserve program means something. Winemakers Peter Bell and Tricia Renshaw don't simply slap a reserve label on for no reason. This is the best, most expressive bottling of their Riesling, and they don't do it every year (you won't find a 2007 version of this wine).
What we learned is that this wine is just now seeing the peak of its primary flavors. I'd expect this wine to slowly and beautifully reveal its secondary characteristics over the next five years, but I'd love to discover one of these in my cellar a decade or more down the line.
And as for the '08? The lesson is that there is a long, fritful life ahead for one of the region's top bottlings.
Drinking this port was like chewing a sweet fig -- it had a weight that was palpable and a slight burst of strong tea or coffee surrounded the fruit.
It finished something short of an all-star but was satisfying nonetheless.
While this Port was good, it lacked refinement and structure. I realize port is relatively low in acidity, I think this specimen could have used just a touch more. In any case, I would recommend this one since it was not extremely expensive and it had some merits as a blended, non-vintage version.