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Wines to Blizzard By – Feb 8-10, 2013

I remember well the Blizzard of 1978.  I was in high school, and without the sophisticated computer models we have now the blizzard caught everyone by surprise.  It started snowing and never stopped.  Let out early from school we managed to get home four hours later after quite an ordeal.  School was cancelled for a week.  I couldn’t drink wine back then, and since my parents are teetotalers there wasn’t any in the house anyway.  Fortunately this time was different.  Not the snowfall, which is about as much as in 1978, but certainly the amount of wine concerned.

Here’s the snowfall:CIMG1427

And here are the wines:

CIMG1432

A very different variety here, with the classy Mount Veeder Reserve Cabernet, an out of the ordinary Grenache and a quite yummy dessert wine made in a garage in Coventry, Rhode Island.  We have a little something for everyone.  We’ll start with the Cabernet:

Wine:   2007 Mount Veeder Reserve Cabernet     Winery Location:  Napa

Tasted By:          Neil & Cheri                                                      Date:     Feb 2013 Blizzard

Tasting Notes:       This is a very refined and complex Cabernet.  At first sip you know you’re drinking something expensive.  Carrying 14.5% alcohol effortlessly, you get nuances of various fruit, some spice and some oak.  This spent 20 months in new french oak, but it is not heavy at all.  While it is full bodied and rich, it doesn’t hit you in the face.  Again, the word I would use is refined.  This is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec, 5% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot.  It tastes like a really good claret.  Classy and excellent.  Not, however, cheap.  Cheri loved it as well.

Price Point –    We paid $36.95 on sale – getting up toward our point of pain.  I would not open one of these frequently.  At the winery the list price is $80 retail, so this is a pricey bottle normally.  At the $36 point I think it is fair value, maybe better than that considering what Napa Reserve bottlings usually go for.  At $80 I’m not sure.

Would We Buy It?    At $36-$40 yes.  This is a good occasion wine.  At $80 we’re not buying, for one because that is just higher than we can really afford on a single bottle (not a large format bottle mind you), and second because we don’t think it is worth that much.  It’s quite good, but there are other wines we’ve had for less that are in the same quality range.

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Wine:    Betts & Scholl “the o.g. grenache 2008″    Winery Location:  Australia, Barrosa Valley

Tasted By:      Neil &  Cheri                                              Date:     Feb 2013 Blizzard

Tasting Notes:       Cindi Lauper would like this because this wine, well, she’s just so unusual.  This doesn’t look like grenache, either American Grenache, French grenache or grenache blends, or Spanish garnacha.  It doesn’t taste like any of those either.  It is just so unusual.  Lighter pinky red in color and translucent, it kind of glows in the glass. The nose is somewhat perfumed, with some ripe, red fruit.  On the palate you get the same, with some nice acidity.  I almost want to say citrus as well.  It comes across kind of like a blend of normal grenache, vidal and a little pinot noir. Strangely enough, it all works somehow.  We both like it.  It’s also pretty full bodied in a (you guessed it) unusual kind of way and it has god length.  Try it for something different and new.

Price Point –    $18 at Zachy’s Wine, which is about what we paid for it.

Would We Buy It?    Yes, actually.  This is different and fun, and quite delicious.  It is not your classic red, and isn’t that fun every now and then?

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Wine:       2008 Shelalara Vidal Glacier Ambrosia        Winery Location:   Coventry, Rhode Island

Tasted By:     Neil, Cheri and Alex                                       Date:     Feb 2013 Blizzard

Tasting Notes:       This is a fairly typical ice wine, with some nice honey sweetness and ripe fruit.  It is somewhat like a more sweet tawny port.  Very pleasing with a long finish.  The grapes were frozen after harvest and the wine finished with a Brix 15.5 residual sugar level.  It’s good.  Most of the local wineries in New England make an ice wine.

Price Point –    This was about $25 for a 375ml bottle.

Would We Buy It?    maybe, the next time we visit the winery.  We like to have a bottle or two of dessert wine in the house.  Other than port, that is.  We always have a bottle or twenty of vintage port lying about.  I wouldn’t make a special trip for it and would just as likely substitute another winery’s ice wine.  But since we’re talking about ice wine, Shelalara makes some wine smoothies that are really good and worth the trip.

A votre sante!

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