Dark Moods and Dark Wines

This week is moving week in my office, which is quite depressing really.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my current space is wonderful.  The new space has a gorgeous conference room and about half the office, including my boss, will definitely have an upgrade in everyday workspace.  I, on the other hand, will be moving with the other half of the office to what has nicknamed “the bullpen.”  15 of us will be put in one room, and while I’ll have a small 5 ft wall to enclose my little space, there are only three of us fortunate enough to be even semi-closed off.  That leaves everyone else sitting desk to desk in a big open space, with 20 ft ceilings.  I can only imagine how loud it’s going to be, not to mention how much I’ll miss my balcony.

As you can imagine, preparing for the move has made for a long, busy, and tiring week, which obviously called for a deep, brooding wine.  The 2006 Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (vineyard; snooth) proved to be the perfect match for my mood.

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and its intense ruby color is very inviting.  The nose on this Cabernet was very pronounced—dominated by dark plums and vanilla, with a slight hint of anise.  As soon as you taste this wine, you’ll feel the high tannins pull at your gums, and when mixed with the spicy, ripe blackberry and black cherry flavors, it’s very enjoyable.  The flavors are very lively and can even lift the spirits of someone who is mourning her impending loss of wonderful space and hating every moment of packing up her files and books.

Is this worth A Glass After Work? Definitely. For $20, the 2006 Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon has a nice, long finish that makes it easy to really savor the delicious smell and taste.  It’s perfect for drinking alone while putting your feet up at the end of the day and sinking your teeth into a good book.  If you’re going to eat it with food, I recommend something that is equally strong in flavor—roasted beef and lamb would both pair nicely—this way the vibrant flavor of the wine doesn’t overpower the food.

Overall: 4 Corks

All You Need is a Little Patience…

I admit that before taking my wine class, I’d only had a few Zinfandels, and this unfamiliarity caused me to shy away from them.  I had no idea what I was missing.  As winter comes to a close, and with it my desire to drink heavy red wines, I decided to do some last minute exploring of California’s Zinfandels.  I chose California, as the majority of Zins come from this area of the US.  I opened the first of these recent Zin purchases last week—a 2006 Paso Creek.

The deep color of the 2006 Paso Creek Zinfandel was very inviting.  When smelling the wine, I found hints of black pepper, semi-sweet chocolate, and a heavy fruit smell that I couldn’t quite place.  The smell was very pleasant. 

As for tasting the wine, the first night didn’t live up to the expectations I had from the smell.  The taste seemed very muddled and chewy.  Itreminded me of a fruit stew. 

On the second night, after the wine had time to breathe, the stewy taste transformed into spicy, warm fruit pie flavors that were enjoyable.  The wine still felt thick in my mouth, but with the change in flavors, it was very pleasant.  Finally, as you can see from the label, the wine is high in alcohol.  

Is this worth a glass after work?  Definitely. For $17, the wine offers something a little different from your usual, everyday red wine, but the difference is still a pleasant, enjoyable flavor, as long as you have the patience to either decanter it or let it breathe for a little.  Paso Creek’s website describes the wine as “a big, full-bodied, frank, and forthright wine that somehow manages to retain a touch of its wild side,” and I think that is a fitting description.  I drank the wine with a grilled steak marinated in Worcestershire sauce, and this was a wonderful pairing.  You could also eat it with other any bold flavor food,though, especially something like lamb or dark chocolate.

Overall: 3 1/2 corks

Jordan 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

Monday was one of those days…not a bad day, but just one of those days where I wish I had just played hooky.  A big snowstorm was predicted for Sunday night/Monday morning, and while I tried not to psych myself up for a snow day, I couldn’t help myself.  So, when I woke up and discovered that I still had to go to work, albeit several hours late, I was crushed.  Hubby decided that he was calling out, but I just couldn’t justify it, especially since it stopped snowing by the time I had to leave.

By the time I got home from work, you can imagine that I just wanted to make dinner, relax…and of course, open a new bottle of wine.  I decided that I was in the mood for a warm, red wine to help counteract the cold, snowy weather, so I grabbed a bottle of that was given to me as a present—a 2003 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon

Let me start by saying that it was wonderful!  Since the wine was a little older, I specifically looked for the orange hue around the top rim of the wine that I was reading about in my wine class textbook and was very excited when I saw it.  I made Hubby come over to look as I put my new tasting skills to the test, and he was surprised that he, too, saw the tint that gave this wine its deep ruby/almost-garnet color.

The wine had a nice, medium nose that centered around raisins, vanilla, and anise (my new found herb!).  The anise, in particular, really stood out, and when I whiffed from my bottle of anise seed, cleared my nose, and then compared it to the smell of the wine, I was amazed at the similarity. 

In terms of taste, the Jordan Cab had a nice, smoky flavor with medium acidity and high tannins.  The raisin smell seemed to turn into an overall dark fruit flavor and the anise turned into a sweet spice taste, which were transitions I found very pleasing.  The hint of vanilla that I smelled came through in the taste, but it was definitely just a hint. 

After thoroughly enjoying the glass, I decided to compare my tasting notes with those done by other people (I figured this is the best way to learn, right?).  I was surprised that I didn’t find too much information out there, since I really like the wine. That’s when I discovered that it ranges from about $50-$70!  I was in shock—shocked that my friend gave me a bottle that was that expensive for no apparent reason, shocked that I cavalierly opened a $50-$70 bottle of wine on a random Monday night (and drank it with hot dogs and tater tots!), and shocked that I’d just opened the most expensive bottle of wine that I’ve ever owned.  Needless to say, I’ve spent the rest of the week savoring it. 

Overall, I would say the 2003 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon was definitely a wine worth drinking, even at the higher price-point, although it’s not a wine that I would purposefully open on a regular weekday night. 

Francis Coppola’s 2006 Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon

I admit, I’m still a wine novice, so my “tasting notes” are a little unorthodox, but I’m hoping that will just help lead to a real conversation about wine, instead this being a forum for me to post three lines about the most recent bottle that I opened.So don’t be shy, share your thoughts and suggestions!With that in mind, let’s start talking wine… 

Earlier this week, I opened a bottle of Francis Coppola’s 2006 Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon…and loved it!Francis Coppola’s wine is from the Rosso & Bianco Winery in Sonoma County.As I recently learned in my wine class, Sonoma’s climate and soil is ideal for Cabs, and my tasting found that Coppola’s Cabernet embodies all of my expectations of a good California Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine is a deep, purplish-ruby that just screamed “drink me.”On the nose, there is a strong, but clean, spicy vanilla smell.Drinking the wine was very nice.The taste was dominated by vanilla and black fruits, and hints of black pepper contributed to the spiciness.There is a lot of soft tannins and acidity, and it definitely was medium-to-full bodied wine with a good length.

Overall, Coppola’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a very good “every day” type of wine.It’s very enjoyable, with a nice intensity that will help you settle into the evening after a long day of work.So, if you like strong flavored and aromatic wine, you’ll definitely enjoy this one, especially at $17 a bottle.