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2009 En Route Pinot Noir, Les Pommiers, Red Russian Valley

12 May

Had a stunning experience today with a group looking for a wine featuring something a little less fruit forward than a basic pinot but with some dense structure and complexity. Offered a taste, and I demanded a bottle, of the En Route Pinot 2009. In spite of it being a pinot, this is a very good wine. The Red Russian Valley (Sonoma bordering Napa) has a great environment for pinot noir grape when well made and here’s a prime example of a winemaker putting some serious love into their work.The result:  fruit forward yet loads of structure, a purple-ruby hue with red raspberry and wildflowers on the nose, the first taste is bright red fruit, then hints of cassis & black plum, licorice and a touch of gravel. Black plum with perhaps rosebud on the well-defined finish. Nicely balanced acidity and fresh fruit along with the grippy tannins make it a medium body, which allows it to pair well with almost anything.  Delicious and flexible, it’s a rare organic made find that is worth the cost- about $50 in the store, double that in a restaurant. Solid buy. And looking at ratings online, shows 93 points- I agree. At this price, a great gift wine, too, but even better to drink.



100% Monastrel!

12 May
ImageTarima’s Monastrel 2009 is a spicy Spanish red from the Jumilla region. With a high alcohol content (15%!) Its violet color and nose (with notes of graphite and cola) don’t warn the taster of the powerful spice you will experience in the glass- it demonstrates a palate of dark cherry, black pepper and a hint of dark chocolate with a tart finish. I’m surprised at the biting flavor; at $11/bottle it’s a steal if you pair it right- with tapas or salsa, gamey grilled meats, or a spicy entree like lamb or flavorful steaks, even a spicy pasta sauce would do. It needs something strong to stand up to. I tried it with one of my favorite pizzas (that features a delicious spicy tomato sauce) but it just wasn’t powerful enough a flavor to make a good pairing until I tasted a roasted garlic salsa with it. Nice!

The Monastrel is a grape you might know by anther name I have mentioned before, the Mourverdre, which is commonly found in great Rhone blends and lending to dark color and high alcohol content from its thick skins. In this wine, the grapes are obviously picked late on the vine, full of condensed flavor and color. Excellent job to the winemaker, and a good value for the right pairing.

JvB Uncorked – Just Vino Blog?

12 May

I don’t honestly know what first made me enamored of wine. I recall wine being more for family dinners and sacraments in my earliest memory of wine. My sister and I were allowed to taste the wine, not drink, until like most European families, we demonstrated first both interest and responsibility, then finally restraint- and were rewarded with a partial glass at our place setting at only the most special family dinners. The first bottle I cared about was a bottle of Dom Perignon 1982 I bought for my parent’s anniversary. It was, in a word, sublime. At that point I’d been drinking and enjoying wine for years but much like beer at a cookout, I simply expected it for a fancy dinner. I’d not had an ‘aha!’ moment- nothing really special about wine had really hit me before The Dom.


The Dom was really special, like a baked Alaska, but far more costly. It took a long time for me to appreciate what I actually knew about wine and to find out that not only did I care, but that I cared A LOT about wine, and that it required some attention, and a commitment.  It’s kind of like marrying a person because you want to be with them, and then you agree to have and raise kids because… because it’s with THEM. And you would survive anything as long as its with THEM.

At this point in my life, I have to admit I truly adore wine. I’ve grown to appreciate the simplicities, the complexities, wine’s necessary place in my existence… much like advanced math. I didn’t care for trig and calculus in high school, but now I use them in my every day life. I knew some about wine but I didn’t know from the terroir to the vine to the barrel to the glass- which to me now has a huge impact.

My shared experiences hopefully will impact you in a positive way.  I truly enjoy sharing my joy of the vine, helping others find wines they appreciate on many levels. I hope my blog will assist you in finding things to try and perhaps expand your palate or assist you in determining what you like, dislike, and love,  which in the end, is what it’s all about- tasting, sharing, pairing.

Á votre santé!  /  Cheers!

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