Chateau Montet Bordeaux Sauvignon '06 (UPDATED)

Country: France
Thoughts: On a lazy Saturday afternoon with a clean palette, I dove into the Chateau Montet. My nose worked just fine in the previous try; the bouquet remained reminiscent of mellon with hints of canteloupe and vanilla. The taste was worth the wait. After getting over the initial shock of dryness (which I attribute t0 not eating or drinking anything in some time). The mellon, prominent in the nose, took over during the second sip and didn't let up, though the balance between dry and mellon seemed to fluctuate - I found that kinda cool. The finish was clean and crisp and left me wanting more. Very drinkable and very enjoyable.
Do-over? Certainly
Final Grade: A-


7 Heavenly Chards '05

Country: USA
Region: California (Lodi)
Winemaker: Michael~David Winery
Thoughts: When my wife first informed me that folks actually play a State Of The Union drinking game, I was up for it. But by the time I got my journal together, opened a new bottle, wrote down all the vital statistics and poured a glass, President Bush had already issued both of his veto threats and had moved on to push for No Child Left Behind re-authorization - which, you may know, is a big deal in our house. (Anyone else notice Sen. Kennedy, convienently seated next to Sen. Obama, not applauding after Bush's mention? Hmmmm.) But hey, this blog's about the wine. Just like the sauvignon blanc before, I was hesitant to get back on board with a California chardonnay after being quite disappointed my last time out. But jump aboard I did, and I was glad I did. The nose was most unique: at first it felt like I was about to embark on a glass of Glenlivet, minus the telltale smell of hard alcohol. I was torn between just what the bouquet was. Glenlivet? Vanilla? At any rate, it was quite unexpected. The taste was too, oaky but not overpowering. The lack of a noticeable finish was disappointing, but I was impressed with how smooth it was, how mellow it was, how low key it was. A great sipping wine in my eyes, and most definitely a pleasant surprise.
Do-over? Certainly, if I can find it again (it was a close-out special at World Market)
Final Grade: B+


Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio '06

Country: Italy
Thoughts: Given the recommendations from our friends over at SJ.com, I had to give this wine a shot. It's a little pricier than normal - $20 a bottle (my top-ranked Laforet chard was only $15) - but hey, it's only money. The nose was interesting, quite fruity with an earthy undertone. The first few sips were much the same; considerable fruitiness before a dry component kicked in. Unfortunately, the duality didn't last; in time, the dryness came through while the fruitiness disappeared. It was still a darn good wine, don't get me wrong - an excellent sipping wine that would be wonderful on a muggy summer night. But, in my estimation at least, the last sip wasn't nearly as satisfying as the first one. Something in the wine left me wanting for a little more.
Do-over? Certainly, when the mood strikes us and our pocketbooks don't disagree
Final Grade: B+


Evolution No. 11 (No. 25)

Country: USA
Region: Oregon
Winemaker: Sokol Blosser
Thoughts: If Big Fire was my wine awakening, then Evolution was my wine epiphany. It started innocently enough at a fancy restaurant in downtown Bend, Ore. I was asked for input on a wine for the evening, and Evolution sounded interesting enough. From the first sip, I was hooked. The bouquet and taste and fruity with persistent - but secondary - honey notes. The taste is much the same; the fruitiness dominates, but not in such a way that it becomes sweet like a riesling. It's just sweet enough. The finish is dry and clean. In short, I've found it to be very drinkable over the long haul (a wine version of Yuengling for me) with continued good taste. Clean, crisp, refreshing, excellent.
Ingredients: White riesling, pinot gris, Muller-Thurgau, semillon, gewurztraminer, muscat, pinot blanc, sylvaner, chardonnay
Do-over? So long as I have Dr. Z's blessing (bottom of the page)
Final Grade: A

World Market

Here's the situation: My lovely wife (and occasional commenter) is away for the weekend - staff retreat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her husband suddenly has some time on his hands.

So this afternoon, I stroll into World Market and look for some wine for the weekend.

What a disappointment. If you don't want red and you don't want chardonnay, you're in for tough sledding. I picked one wine I knew I liked - more on that when I put up the review - one I figured I'd like and one I have no freaking idea if I'll like.

But it was quite the chore just to get to those three.

No more World Market for me. I'll stick to Total Wine and other specialty stores, thanks.


Rosenblum Kathy's Cuvée Viognier '06

Country: USA
Region: California (Alameda)
Thoughts: I had seen several different references to viognier, so I was eager to try it; I had no idea what to expect. The nose caught me completely off guard; coming off two glasses of the Luna Pinot Grigio I was expecting something similar. But this was considerably different; the bouquet was dominated by apple and citrus aromas. Really, the wine threw me a curveball. On the first few sips, I would've thought it was just a notch or two below riesling on the sweetness scale. But not long after, the wine seemed as dry as anything. There were a lot of flavors to work through - the apple was the most noticeable - but those individual flavors seemed muddled together and unusually difficult to discern (as you can tell from my vague descriptions, I struggle with that as a matter of course). What really hurt this wine from my standpoint is that there was no finish at all. With a limited exposure to viognier, I'm not certain if that's an across-the-board characteristic or one limited to this selection. At any rate, that was a terrible disappointment.
Do-over? Not unless I can't find a better example of viognier
Final Grade: C+
(EDITED to correct the typo adeptly pointed out by my lovely wife)

Luna Pinot Grigio '06

Country: USA
Region: Napa
Thoughts: In many ways, good and bad, this was a typical pinot grigio (at least based on my experience). The bouquet was fruity and inviting and wasn't far off from what I expected. The taste was zesty on the front of the tongue, mellow in the areas further back, light all around. The finish was typically dry, but with an unexpected hint of honey. In all, it was what I expected: a fruity, likeable drink. I suppose it may be best to just admit that - in my wine life, anyway - I was born and raised a pinot grigio guy. At the same time, I fear that may be premature; I find it hard to commit to one grape when I've yet to experience a wine that grabs hold, captures the imagination and won't let go. I'll keep looking, but this one, good in its own right, fell short of such a label.
Do-over? It's a pinot grigio; what do you think?
Final Grade: B


Monkey Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc '06

Country: New Zealand
Thoughts: My wife and I first tried Monkey Bay during an outing to Wegman's up in Ashburn. My wife fell for it immediately; I wasn't nearly as big of a fan. I mostly sat on the sidelines with the first few bottles we had, but jumped in feet first to add another one to the reviews. My opinion of it changed slightly, but not a whole lot. The nose was uninspiring; it smelled, for lack of a better term, like wine. There was also a hint of cat piss, though I couldn't be sure if it was the wine or Hank, whose litter box I'd cleaned out earlier in the night. (And no, I'm really not making up the cat piss thing; read the consumer reviews box and check this link as well.) The taste was earthy, almost chewy, like you'd expect a hardy stout to be. It was mellow on the middle and back of my tongue, but rough as nails on the front. The finish was dry - and barely that - but not much else. So what's different now? I found it to be drinkable enough, but nothing I'd especially look forward to. Heading into the second glass, it felt like I was drinking just to drink, not because I was getting any sort of adventure from the wine. Then again, I polished off the bottle, so I guess that counts for a bit of a mixed result.
Do-over? Yes, for my lovely wife, but not really for me
Final Grade: C+


Tohu Sauvignon Blanc '06

Country: New Zealand
Thoughts: As you may remember, my last venture with sauvignon blanc didn't end so well. I'm happy to report that I forgot the bad experience, got back and rode with reckless abandon. So that brought me to Tohu, which Lindsay proclaimed to be very good, and I was happy to jump aboard. I was taken aback by the nose, which was very earthy - it smelled almost like a forest of evergreens. I didn't really know what to expect, but the intensity of the smell did come as a surprise. The taste followed suit - earthy with a lot going on, clean and crisp. It passed the complexity test, and I'm happy to report it was a solid drink and rather refreshing. Though I'm not certain why I'd need to feel refreshed on a day when temps barely made it past 20.
Do-over? Sure, though I'd likely wait until it's warmer outside
Final Grade: B+

Simi Chardonnay '05

Country: USA
Region: California (Russian River Valley)
Thoughts: Quite what I was expecting from a California chardonnay: slightly oaky, rather buttery. The bouquet gave a perfect hint as to what to expect. Lindsay thought I'd like it - since I complained about the lack of complexity in the albarino - and it was complex. The front of my tongue detected several different flavors; but overall, I was distracted by the way too buttery finish. I suppose I've learned my lesson when it comes to California chardonnays. I had the French version (sans the oak, sans the butter) and liked it a hell of a lot better.
Do-over? Not unless our tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter just ain't cutting it
Final Grade: C

Bodega Don Olegario Albarino '05

Country: Spain
Thoughts: I knew I was in for some difficulty when a) I couldn't figure out just what the name of the wine was and b) I could barely pronounce the name (thank goodness for four years of Spanish in high school and college). But a few quick searches for the importer leads me to the correct name: Bodega Don Olegario Albarino (the 'n' should have a tilde over it, but I can't figure out how to do that). Anyway, I found that with this wine, my wife and I took divergent paths. We could agree on this: the wine was dry, clean and mellow. But for me, that's all it was. I want more. I want an adventurous wine that's complex and gives me things to discover. Lindsay, however, said that sometimes wine is good for one thing; in this instance, it delivers on what it's supposed to. It's just a good sipping wine, she said. I don't disagree with that, but I like the idea of finding something new throughout the first glass. For me, this wine failed to deliver in that area.
Do-over? Yes, when my wife's picking the selections
Final Grade: C+


Washington Hills Riesling '05

Country: USA
Region: Columbia Valley, Wash.
Thoughts: Somewhere in the recesses of my mind is a memory of me trying and liking riesling. This was before I ever took wine seriously, so I was unsure how the memory stacked up with what I know of wine now; all I remembered that riesling was sweet. So it was with this backdrop that we popped open Washington Hills' version. The nose was vibrant, almost alive with fragrance; in a similar vein, though more intense, than several of the pinot grigios I've had. The taste sure was sweet; it didn't disappoint in that area. I had to shake off the initial shock of it, much like one might do after that initial shot of whiskey. You shake your head, settle everything down and get back in the game. Once I did that, I noticed an clear-cut apple taste (I guess not surprising for a Washington riesling) with notes of honey and caramel as well. I was able to get past the overwhelming fruitiness and sweetness in three sips; from then out, it turned smoother and crisper, but it never let me forget the sweetness. "That's riesling, honey," my wife said. Indeed.
Do-over? Yes, when I'm looking for something bolder
Final Grade: B+


Bandon Pinot Grigio '04

Country: USA
Region: Southern Oregon
Thoughts: I fear that my thoughts on this wine will be largely inconsequential. Its domain name (bandonwinery.com, per the cork) has expired and I can find no information on the winery through a number of Google searches. But I press on for what it's worth: The nose was typically pinot grigio, though it seemed to be overwhelmed by an oaky smell, which singlehandedly prevented me from getting any other scents from coming through. The taste was markedly different; the oakiness came through, but was much more subtle. The dominant note was fruitiness, what seemed to be mellons to be me. In subsequent sips, the oakiness and the fruitiness seemed to alternate taking center stage.
Do-over? Perhaps, if I could confirm the vineyard still existed
Final Grade: B-

Rosa Bianca Pink Pinot Grigio '07

Country: Italy
Thoughts: Well, if Grace the cat didn't have such dark fur, and if I could figure out how to work a freaking camera phone, then we wouldn't have such crappy photos. At any rate, this seemed to be a rather unusual wine when we picked up a few weeks ago: a pinot grigio, but rose! Seemed gimmicky, but I was down with giving it a try. As it turns out, we weren't disappointed. My lovely wife astutely pointed out that the nose was like that of any pinot grigio; I concurred that the nose was very inviting. On first taste, it seemed a little drier to me; my wife believed that this was some of the red wine coming out. But it mostly tasted like a pinot grigio with hints of strawberry. Good and smooth. We didn't know quite what to expect, but wound up finding a pleasant little surprise.
Ingredients: I looked all over the place and couldn't find any info.
Do-over? Sure, when we're in the mood for something off-the-wall
Final Grade: B


Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc '06

Country: South Africa
Thoughts: A lovely nose on this wine, except that I couldn't tell if it was many aromas or just one. Kind of like a guitar strum - is it one note, or is it many? At any rate, the wine itself was quite dry; not overpowering, but mellow - and mellowed even more in subsequent tastes. My wife pointed out a mellon-y flavor, which I caught a whiff of but not enough to make a definitive judgment. A drinkable wine to be sure, though I'm not certain it can hang its hat on any one aspect of itself. And good gravy I need to work on finding better light when I takes these pics.
Do-over? Why not?
Final Grade: B


Coastline Pinot Grigio '06

Country: USA
Region: California (Monterey)
Thoughts: This wine took me back home, which I'm not entirely sure is a good thing. The nose was quite floral, but the overriding scent seemed to be honey. At the time, it smelled just like a light barley to me, just like you'd find in beer. On the tongue, the barley (or honey) theme continued; though there were other flavors, the honey/barley dominated them rather easily. In all, it reminded me of my favorite beer, Yuengling Lager, a smooth, drinkable beer with a malty aftertaste. But is that what I'm looking for in a wine?
Do-over? For the right price - or when I'm feeling homesick
Final Grade: B-



A quick correction: That's Angeline in the previous post, not Angelique.

I got the idea I may be wrong when we went wine shopping last night and I saw that familiar, elegant label. My apologies for any confusion.

I am happy to report I was able to get back on the sauvignon blanc horse. After the bad experience with the Angeline, I sampled another version and found it much more palatable. We brought a bottle of it home, so it will appear here when we crack it open.

We're having friends over tonight, so that will certainly provide an excuse to try out some new stuff. So keep your eyes pealed for some new reviews coming.


Angelique Sauvignon Blanc '06

Country: USA
Region: California (Russian River Valley)
Winemaker: Martin Ray Winery
Thoughts: It's entirely possible I'm really out of practice, but this did nothing for me. The nose smelled weird to me, which started us off on a bad foot. "No," my wife reassured, "that's what sauvignon blanc is supposed to smell like." Alright, then. The nose was overpowering; the first word that leaped into my mind was "loud." The taste was harsh at the beginning; it smoothed out nicely for my wife - "I'd drink this again," she said - but not for me. She advised that I keep it on the front of my tongue. I did, but it didn't help. It tasted like, well, wine, or at least the version of wine that I had in mind before I started this little experiment. It had a terribly dry aftertaste, which was a turn-off for me. (And my deepest apologies on the poorly lit photo; I'll try and take another during the daytime.)
Do-over? Not for me
Final Grade: D