Not all French wine is good. This wine smells like bad asparagus. Also, it tastes like bad asparagus. I don’t even like asparagus to begin with, so this likely isn’t the wine for me.
This is a Rhone white blend, so I assumed I would like it. But actually, not so much. It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc (60%), Viognier (20%), and Roussanne (10%). I don’t know that I’ve ever had Grenache Blanc before, and Viognier is hit or miss with me. From some quick Googling, it seems like the red was a bit more well-received than the white.
It looks like this wine runs from around $13 – $17, and for that price, lots of other better possibilities exist. I snagged this bottle from work, and I’m not really sure I can even drink one glass.
I had this wine at two completely unrelated events this week, so it’s not as though I didn’t give it a chance. At the first event, I was suspicious. Typical California Chardonnay is not my favorite. But I figured I should at least taste it. As it turns out the typicalness was not its problem. It smelled terrible. It tasted terrible. It’s not that it was overwhelmingly buttery and oaky– it just had a bit of butter in the finish and a touch of oak in the middle. I just didn’t like it at all. I switched to the red (that was very good, although I can’t seem to remember at the moment was it was — possibly because I had four glasses). When I was at a different event later in the week and came across the same way, I thought I’d give it another try. This time, P. wouldn’t even taste it after he smelled my glass.
But I don’t know. Apparently Wine Enthusiast called the 2002 “crowd-pleasing”, so maybe I just have odd taste in wine. I am drinking an Austrian white right now that Kieca might call “awesome”, so I’ll try to write that up soon so it doesn’t seem like I hate everything.
It’s nice to try two wines side by side. I seem to really be able to tell a lot more about a wine when compared to another. I first tried the Barrelstone Syrah (Columbia Valley; WE 86 points) on a flight not too long ago. I thought it was fairly tasty, but I must admit that I was heavily under the influence of anxiety-calming Xanax at the time. I saw it in the store the other day at around $10, and I thought I’d try it again. We also had a bottle of 2002 Sandrone Luciano Barbera D’Alba open (appears to be around $25), a gift from a friend.
When I tasted the Sandrone by itself, I liked it. It had great vanilla undertones and oakiness that wasn’t too woody. But once I tasted it next to the Syrah, I liked it even more. The Syrah was inoffensive, but drinking it next to the Sandrone, I could more easily tell that the flavor didn’t stand up. It had no complexity, wouldn’t age, and was watered down compared to the fuller, layered range of the Sandrone (blackberry, toast).
So, the tale ends thusly: the Barrelstone is drinkable and not at all a bad tasting wine for $10, but if you have both choose from, go with the Sandrone.
I should preface this by saying P. and I really don’t like Silver Lake. We have been to their tasting room several times (once to try it, and a couple more times with visitors who wanted to check it out), and each time we’ve been there, we’ve barely been able to get through the tasting.
P.’s parents were big fans of Silver Lake before they tried the wine. Some friends of theirs are shareholders, which sounds pretty cool except once you start reading the fine print, it sounds just like belonging to a wine club other than it costs a lot more and also you can get personalized business cards.
Anyway, they were all excited about trying it until we brought them to the tasting room.
When they came out for Christmas, they met up with their shareholder friends, who gave them this bottle of 2002 Merlot. They promptly regifted it to us.
When I got home tonight, P. had opened it. I don’t know what he was thinking. He poured me a glass. I gave it a swirl and a sniff. It had aromas of Welch’s grape juice with undertones of dirt. Seriously. I tasted it. It tasted like stems. If I were being generous, I might say it was woody, but that implies flavor nuances from aging in oak, and I mostly tasted stems. I could tell there was a bit of fruit underneath, trying to get out, but it was way too faint.
I’m thinking this wine will never balance. The fruit will completely fade away before the tannins calm down. And anyway, I don’t even think young tannins are the problem with this wine. It’s the stems.
P. couldn’t even drink a second glass. That’s how you can really know it’s bad because you would think he came from the depression with how much he can’t waste anything. We’ll see if he tries it again tomorrow.
So, I’m drinking this wine right now. I never drink New Zealand wine, so I’ve been trying to seek it out. I found this at Safeway, so I’m sure it’s not exotic or anything. Anyway.
I have a cold, so I could be way off here. But it smells like asparagaus. And also, it tastes mostly like asparagus. Supposedly, it has a racy acidity (warning: PDF). But I would call it a “slight” acidity.
It looks like you can get it for as little as $10 (I think I paid a bit more than that, sadly), but I don’t know that it’s worth it, really.