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May 19, 2006

Goats Do Roam White


First off, I love the name of this wine, Goats do Roam, which was recommended to me a couple of years ago by a guy who used to work at Dry Creek Vineyards in Sonoma. The guy's name, which I also love, was (and hopefully still is) Frankie Dice. I've had good luck with the Goats Do Roam reds, so I was looking forward to trying a white. The 2005 Goats do Roam white (a play on French Côtes-du-Rhône wine), is from South Africa and is a blend of grenache blanc, clairette blanche and crouchen blanc. It's $9.99 at Whole Foods.

Goats do Roam, like so many wines these days, has a cute critter label and a cute little story behind the wine to match. The winemaker, Charles Back, says he named Goats do Roam for a mischievous prank his son Jason and his friend Justin pulled during harvest time. Apparently, the pair let the goats out of their tower (I didn't know goats lived in towers. Thought these were reserved for princesses with long golden hair) The goats promptly helped themselves to the best grapes. Goats do Roam white tastes like lemons and peaches. It's a crisp wine with a mild finish. "Pretty good," says the PIT (partner in tasting) A nice light summer wine.

Even better, the wine's name apparently pissed off some humorless French bureaucrats at France's terroir creator and protector, the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine), who waged a legal battle to protect the precious name of France's Rhone-style wines.
Back to the wine.

This comes from From Frank Prial of the New York Times, who reviewed a 2002 Goats do Roam red: "Pinot noir also turns up in one of the most lighthearted of all summer wines, Charles Back's Goats do Roam, from his Fairview estate near Cape Town. Mr. Back is a serious winemaker with at least two wineries in the Cape, but he has a sense of humor. At Fairview he raises a small army of goats, from whose milk he makes delightful cheese....The joke ends with the name; the wine is delightful."
Rating for the 2005 white: 2 stars. Solid table wine.

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May 15, 2006

Bouvet Brut Signature (Sparkling Wine)


I don't drink sparkling wine all that often. Typically, it's a wedding/New Years kind of beverage for me. But the PIT (Partner in Tasting) and I had a cold bottle kicking around from a previous wine tasting so we popped it two nights ago. It was either that or this weird dessert wine that's been sitting next to the rotting red leaf lettuce for months. This wine, a Bouvet Brut Signature (France), turned out to be right up our alley: at $9.99 a bottle at BevMo it's cheap and it's a truly lovely (cheapfun) sparkling wine. This wine is produced from 90% Chenin Blanc and 10% Chardonnay. It's dry and crisp, not all candy, cloyingly sweet like many cheap sparklings and has a light, fruity nose. Wine Enthusiast says this wine's finish "wraps you in hints of vanilla and light toast." Eek. Either that or a grape Pashmina. This wine is produced by Bouvet-Ladubay, a cellar founded by Etienne Bouvet in 1851. Etienne Bouvet is the second-oldest sparkling wine-producing house in Saumur, a which is in the Loire Valley of France. We drank this wine with pizza (DOH! DER!!) because it was what we decided to order out after popping the cork. It felt like we should be celebrating something. "Isn't champagne a beautiful thing?" I asked the PIT. Of course, this wasn't true champagne, but it bubbled over in the glass, so that counts for something. "It looks like a bubbling fish tank," I say, as I peer at my fizzy glass. We finally toast to Dallas winning a razor-close NBA playoff game -- by one point -- against the Spurs. (No, we aren't from Dallas, but we like the team, Mark Cuban's constant anxiety-ridden presence aside.) I give this sparkling wine two stars. It's a good, solid wine. And the bottle DOES get finished. As an aside, I just remembered a funny thing about sparkling wine from my friend Kim's wedding shower. We tried about eight different bottles of sparkling of all different prices so she could pick a decent toasting bottle for her wedding. All told, I think seven out of the eight of us preferred the cheapest bottle. Shows you what sticking a bag over a label can do. Or maybe we just didn't know any better. I'll try to include the name of the bottle that won in a future post.

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May 11, 2006

2003 Chateau Mayne Guyon Cotes De Blaye

The Partner in Tasting tried this 2003 Chateau Mayne Guyon Cotes De Blaye the other night and unfortunately left most of it in the bottle. This was a Trader Joe's wine that cost $6.99. This wine is from the right bank of the Girond, an area that is known for red and white bordeaux. I had seen this wine at TJs before and decided to stray from my usual picks this time and go with the French again.

I took a sniff of this bottle and decided not to taste it. I wasn't really in the mood. Sometimes you just aren't in a drinking frame of mind. I think this happens to me after I have a cold (a whopping two-weeker this time around, thanks to the toddler germ factory), but the PIT agreed to stand in for me. Warning: he is a man of few words. He either likes it or he doesn't. He is partial to bigger reds, so I was nervous about his opinion of a more restrained, lighter french wine.

But when we tasted a bunch of French wines awhile back he surprised me by highly rating a number of bottles. He definitely didn't like this one. Yes, it's cheap, he said, and it tastes it. It doesn't really taste like anything, he told me. Kinda blah. Not a lot of fruit. Not a wine I would buy again. I'd like to offer a bit more description for you all, but there's not a whole lot out there in Googleland about this wine.

The PIT gives this wine one star, a bottle you wouldn't finish with a friend or PIT. (Here's a review of the 2002 Chateau Mayne Guyon from Quaffability.com, a wine blog) Quaffability says this wine, a 2002 not the 2003, is quaffable but nothing to get excited about.

By the way, I am accepting all thoughtsfor what to do with old corks. We've got a garbage bag full of them under our sink, testament to our booziness over the past four or five years. We thought about making a wreath but I think we have enough corks to cover the National Cathedral with wreaths. Perhaps we could build a backyard irrigation system? Help!

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May 7, 2006

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc


So today was the perfect day in San Francisco for some Sauvignon Blanc. It's finally stopped raining here and the sun is out - our long-hidden friend. Can we just say that the rain this year sucked? So we toasted Monsieur Soleil by opening a bottle of 2005 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) last night ($9.99 on sale at the local supermarket). I mentioned this wine in a blog awhile back....It was actually a bottle that a Plumpjack wine shop person recommended for Valentine's Day. I am going to go back now and try to find it. Ooops. That wine was called Fresh Oyster, so I am mixing up my oysters. There's a bad joke in there somewhere. Anyway, despite all the whining about the lack of great Sauvignon Blanc, I found this wine delightful. It's crisp, fresh and fruity. It's got a grassy nose and is tart and tang- tingly on the tongue I didn't taste gooseberry, as is noted below. I've never had a gooseberry. What IS a gooseberry? Here's one answer. Supposedly they can taste as good as any great apple or strawberry and have a taste all of their own.
I thought this wine tasted like lemon and lime and was quite mineral-filled. Partner in Tasting (PIT) likes it a lot, too. Here are a few other reviews.

2005 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough (88 Points)
'Citrus skin, herbs, spices and a stony note on the nose. Firmly built and penetrating, with brisk flavors of lemon, minerals and stone. Finishes lively, firm and persistent. Very good value.'

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 2005

2005 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc: 'A bright, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. Well-made with great mouth-feel. Notes of gooseberry, Meyer lemon, orange peel and lime.'

Press Democrat USA (Sonoma County's home newspaper)

I give this wine two stars because it is a very solid table wine that I'd serve to any red wine snob who deigns to drink white :) Totally quaffable.

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April 26, 2006

Yelcho Cabernet Sauvignon

So we reviewed Yelcho Chardonnay here a few months back and really liked it. So the PIT (Partner in Tasting) and I poured a couple of glasses of 2002 Yelcho Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley, Chile) tonight. Unfortunately, this wine proves that one's experience with a wine label can vary wildly. I had a few sips and abandoned the glass. This wine was cheap, yes. I was feeling cheap at the Whole Foods today after sticking a bottle of $7 bubble bath and a $10 steak into my cart. This wine costs just $6.99. I liked the white, so why not try the red? This wine is Chilean, too, and I've liked the Chilean wines I've tasted lately. Anyhow, on to the wine. It smells cheap and a bit musty with some dark fruit in there somewhere. It tasted like Welch's grape juice fermented in raisins with a lot of booze. The finish is pungent. Overall, this wine was sharper than a shot of Nyquil (can you tell I am getting over a cold?), not balanced and, again, cheap tasting. The PIT, a man of few words, called this wine "Ehh. Not a great smell, not a great taste."
This time, I got what I paid for. Rating? One star. (Wouldn't finish the bottle)

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