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Thanksgiving Wines 2013

We opened several bottles during this Thanksgiving holiday.  When you combine it with the remnants from Italian night we must have had 12-15 wine bottles in our weekly recycling bins.  I’m certain the trash pickup people in our town now have the wrong idea about us.  We don’t normally drink this much, and certainly not all by ourselves.  Anyway, it’s fun to splurge now and then.

For Thanksgiving we opened some of the better bottles and were a bit disappointed, proving yet again the old adage that spending more doesn’t guarantee you get a great bottle of wine.  They were all good though, and the only detraction is value for the money.  Here they are:

CIMG2190Wine:   2009 Childress Cabernet Franc Reserve

Winery Location:   Lexington, North Carolina

Tasted By:     Neil & Cheri                                              Date:     Thanksgiving 2013

Tasting Notes:        Childress is in North Carolina, Lexington, NC to be exact.  They make a wide range of wines, and some tend to be rather good.  This is about the best for our money.  This wine is an absolutely beautiful deep, transparent, brilliant red out of the bottle.  The nose is all wild red fruit, with rasberry and cherry.  More of the same inundates the palate, and the fruit flavors are really nice.  There’s a little spice as well and some complexity to the overall structure.  Good length and a pleasant finish sum up a very nice Cabernet Franc.

Price Point –    $22 at the winery.

Would We Buy It?    I think we would, a bottle or two.  It’s an excellent Cabernet Franc, as good as pretty much anything we’ve had from New England or anywhere else for that matter.  The South American cab franc from the Newport Wine Festival was better, but this one stands on its own.  If you get down to that area you should stop in.  More on the winery is in our earlier blog on our trip there.


montelenaWine:   2007 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Location:   Napa Valley

Tasted By:  Neil & Cheri                    Date:   Thanksgiving 2013  

Tasting Notes:     I had been looking forward to this bottle, as every time I’ve sampled a Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon I have enjoyed them.  They don’t make the big, full throttle cabs that a lot of Napa producers have favored.  These tend to be more elegant and restrained, with pure cabernet fruit and reasonable alcohol levels.  This wine fits that mold, though it’s maybe a little too restrained and could use a touch of throttle.  It’s deep purple/red with classic cabernet aromas and flavors.  Medium bodied it possesses excellent length.  There is nothing to really complain about, but it doesn’t give me that ‘wow’ moment, either through it’s structure, it’s fruit extraction or anything else.  It just lacks a little zing.

Price Point –    $35, which was a good price comparably for this wine.

Would We Buy It?    Not again.  This was a disappointment for the money.  It is a solid enough wine, but just doesn’t deliver $40 value for us.


CIMG2192Wine:  2003 Chateau Clos l’Eglise

Winery Location:   Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux

Tasted By:   Neil & Cheri              Date:     Thanksgiving 2013

Tasting Notes:      This is very similar to the Montelena above as far as overall impression and measure against expectations.  Most of the 2003 Bordeaux we have opened has been very good to excellent, with some really shining stars.  Some has been just good, and this wine falls into that category.  It’s a very dark red with just the slightest touch of amber brown at the rim, looking like a wine just starting to show it’s age.  There’s a nice nose of red fruit with some toasty oak, but you really have to give this a good swirl to get it to come out.  It seems a bit restrained.  It’s medium bodied, with some nice fruit, subtle wood and pretty firm tannins still.  The mid palate let’s you down a bit and the finish is not up to what most of its 2003 cousins have showed.  Certainly not my favorite 2003 by a long shot.

Price Point –    $23 on sale, usually more.

Would We Buy It?    No.  We would buy other 2003 Bordeaux for the money, and there are many 2005, 2009 and 2010 wines in the $20-$40 range that will serve you better.  Still, like the Montelena, it’s a good wine; we just don’t think it’s a great value.

So there you have it.  None of these blew us away, and they are all above $20, so nothing here goes on the value list.   Spending more doesn’t guarantee getting it, although it certainly sometimes facilitates getting a great bottle.  As with everything in life you must choose wisely.

A votre sante!

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