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Jean Brislance

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Everything posted by Jean Brislance

  1. Hi all, I was tagged to do the next WOW for the weeks of March 16 - 30. I am posting a little early, so I hope that is cool! I did a quick study of some of the past WOW's, and I saw that there had not been a Zinfandel done yet, so I thought I would focus on that and try to find and inexpensive one that was widely available. I am not sure if I would call myself a huge fan of Cline Cellars, but I have had a number of their reds over the years. I have found that they offer several wines at lower price points that are often very nice. Their "California" designated wines can frequently be found for less than $10 (notably the Syrah and Zinfandel), and are usually very serviceable reds. For a few bucks more, I have also liked their "Ancient Vines" Mourvedre, as well as the Los Carneros Syrah. Web site for Cline: http://www.clinecellars.com/ I chose the 2002 Cline Cellars Zinfandel California. In the past, this wine has been, in general, a very reliable, easy to find, and easy to drink, bargain Zin. In my opinion, the exception to this was the 2001 bottling, which I found chalky, astringent, and kind of watery; it was really lacking in flavor. So, when I saw the 2002, I was interested to see if there was an improvement, and I am happy to say there was. Here are my impressions: 2002 Cline Cellars Zinfandel California - A dark ruby-purple color, but quite clear. Nose is somewhat muted and delicate, with mixed wild berries, vanilla, dust, and peppery spice. The flavors are much brighter than the nose would indicate; jammy raspberry, a little bit of cherry, and a whole lot of spice. Very peppery on the palate. Texturally it is pretty smooth with light and fine tannins. Lighter bodied for a Zin, and the finish is somewhat short. There is a lot of spice on the finish, along with a trace of heat. It is not a profound or complex wine, and it is perhaps lacking in structure towards the finish. But, it has decent fruit and spice, and for a cheap pizza or party wine, this would fit the bill nicely. $8.99 at my local discount bottle shop. All the best, Jean
  2. Oops! Sorry, could one of the moderators delete my duplicate post? Thanks! Jean
  3. 1999 Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley - A very dark blackish-red color. The nose shows some sweet black fruits, vanilla, cedar, spice, and (I thought long and hard about this descriptor) cotton candy. Flavors of dark fruit, blackberry, plum, coffee, and spicy oak. The tannins are rather fine, but are velvety and mouth coating. The finish is of medium length, and there is a subtle licorice note right at the end. This is not a “big” Cabernet, rather it is a more reserved and nicely balanced one. I have generally found Chateau Souverain’s Cabs to be good bargains, and this was no exception. $19 at the time of purchase. Good stuff! All the best, Jean
  4. Andre, I bought this some time ago, but I believe I paid around $25. I have found this to be a very good bargain for a super Tuscan. Thanks, Jean
  5. 1999 Terrabianca “Campaccio” Toscana - Dark red-purple in color. A very pretty nose that shows some Cabernet characteristic of dark fruit and cedar, and also with some black cherry and licorice. Flavors of dark fruit, earthy herbs, black cherry, minerals, and a slight bit of coffee. It is somewhat rustic, however the tannins have smoothed out some since the last time I tried this. There is still a fair amount of grip. The finish is of medium length, and is quite herbal. Drinking well at the moment. Very tasty, and always a favorite. All the best, Jean
  6. 2000 Abbaye Sainte-Eugenie Corbieres Red Wine - Dark red color. Nose shows a dusty quality and a Rhone-ish funk, with some earthy spice, black pepper, cherry, and dark berry. Flavors of cherry, plum, earthy herbs, and a little bit of licorice. The tannins are very soft and fine. A lighter bodied wine with a finish that is pretty quick and short. Nice nose and flavors to this one, but it is lacking a little something in the way of structure and finish. Perhaps it is just past its prime? I‘m guessing this maybe should have been drunk sooner. $12 price tag. All the best, Jean
  7. 2000 Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino - A dark reddish color. Nose shows some cherry, dust, spice, and a little thyme. Very herbal on the palate, with cherry, red berry, lots of spice, as well as herbs and earth. Kind of racy in the mouth. Lively and cleansing, with an effervescent acidity. Medium-bodied, and the tannins are pretty fine. The finish is of medium length, is quite clean, and shows some of those herbal qualities. A really good food wine that is drinking great, and was delicious with some homemade meatballs in red sauce. Jean
  8. LOL! It took me a second, Coop, but I got it! Jean
  9. 2001 Schloss Schonborn Riesling Kabinett Rheingau Hochheimer Holle - A light straw color. The nose is pretty and delicate, with aromas of pineapple, honey, stone, and minerals that really emerge with time in the glass. Flavors show a strong mineral presence, along with some green apple, tropical fruit, and honey. It has a cleansing acidity, and the finish is of medium length, showing off more of the minerals on the finish. Not a profound wine, but a very pleasant and easy-drinking one with food or on its own. A nice buy at $11. All the best, Jean
  10. 2003 Woop Woop Shiraz South Eastern Australia - Inky dark purple color. Nose is of nondescript red fruit, blackberry jam, vanilla, spice, and a trace of heat. Fairly straightforward with lots of fruit; mixed wild berries and plum, with some peppery spice and a slight hint of rosemary. Seems fairly thick on the palate initially, but gravitates to more of a medium-bodied texture. Medium length finish with some heat at the end. Tannins have a little grip, but for the most part are pretty light. A somewhat out of balance wine. For $8.50, it would service a party quite well, but it is nothing terribly inspirational. All the best, Jean
  11. 2002 Rosenblum Zinfandel San Francisco Bay Continente Vineyard - Dark, inky red in color. Intense and bright nose of mixed wild berries, pepper, star anise, and creamy vanilla. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, pepper, and vanilla. The texture is very smooth, if not somewhat flabby. The tannins are very fine and soft. The finish is of medium length, with a little bit of heat, but finishing with a spicy licorice note. Nice nose and good flavors, but just missing a little bit of something in structure and balance. But it is an easy quaffing Zin with a lot of nice fruit for $16. All the best, Jean
  12. Jean Brislance

    Wine consumption

    Hey, that is who my parents named me after! To the question at hand, I generally have two glasses of wine an evening, one with dinner, and another to sip as the evening goes on. It is fairly rare when I don't have wine, but for meals that might be spicy or not necessarily wine-friendly, I may reach for a beer instead. All the best, Jean
  13. 2003 Tikalo “Rubens” Tempranillo Tierra de Castilla Red Wine - Dark red color. Nose is very creamy with red fruit, black cherry, vanilla, and powdered red Kool-Aid. Almost like a New World Syrah on the palate, with some high-toned and bright red fruit, meat, vanilla, black cherry, and a slight smokiness. A lighter-bodied wine. The tannins are very, very soft, and the finish is clean and quick. Clearly this is not at all a serious wine. It is lacking in structure, and it just screams “drink me now!” However, the flavors are nice in a New World kind of way, and this would probably do well in a party situation. A wine with some flashy fruit, but not a lot else. $9.99 price tag. All the best, Jean
  14. 1999 Raymond Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Very dark reddish-black color. Nose of dark fruit, licorice, and spicy oak. Flavors of dark fruit, stewed cherry, coffee, licorice, and oak. A well-balanced wine. The tannins really quite fine-grained. After trying previous vintages of this wine, I am surprised at how approachable it is and how soft the tannins are. The finish is of medium length, showing off that nice sweet dark fruit. Not a terribly distinctive wine by any means, but it was tasty enough, and it is drinking well at the moment. Purchased a couple of years ago for $27. All the best, Jean
  15. Two Italians from this week... 2001 Villadoria Nebbiolo d’Alba - Dark red with an orangish tint. Very aromatic, with cherry, red berry, rose petals, and what I swear smelled like truffle oil. Flavors of cherry, red berry, herbs, and some minerally notes. Initially the tannins very firm and grainy, almost crunchy! Extremely drying, chalky, and gripping on the finish. This did soften up somewhat on day two, but there were some substantial tannins that were really getting in the way of the fruit. Not sure if age will soften this, or if it is just really tannic. Great nose, but it left me feeling somewhat ambivalent. 1997 Tenuta Cappallotto Barolo Sori Paradiso - Sat for a good hour in the glass before tasting. Brick red in color. A pretty and fairly intense nose with cherry, tar, and a sweet floral perfume. Flavors of tar, flowers, cherry, licorice, and orange peel. The wine was quite approachable, with tannins that are a little drying, but they are pretty fine and were easily tamed by a bowl of duck and wild mushroom risotto. Good balance and nice flavor, finishing with some nice tar and licorice notes. Drinking well now, and seemingly not a long term ager, but it was tasty with the meal and a good Barolo bargain for the $29 paid. I found this enjoyable. All the best, Jean
  16. 2000 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape - Dark ruby in color and quite clear. A fantastic perfumed nose with lots of floral notes, cherry, strawberry, fresh herbs, and a slight funkiness. Flavors similar to the nose, with cherry, strawberry, spice, herbs, and black pepper. Medium-bodied. Tannins are a little firm, but the wine is still very approachable and enjoyable, especially with food. The finish is of good length with an almost floral and herbal aftertaste. I thought this was really pretty, and a delicious accompaniment to a hearty coq au vin. All the best, Jean
  17. 2002 Castello Banfi “Centine” Toscana - A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Dark red in color. Smells very “Cab-like” on the nose with dark fruit and cedar, but also with hints of cherry and floral spice. Flavors of dark fruit, cherry, licorice, herbs and spice. A medium-bodied wine with lighter tannins that have a little bit of grip. The finish isn’t terribly long, but it has a nice flavor at the end, echoing the licorice and cedar notes. Nothing fancy, this was a decent enough $10 bottle for regular consumption. All the best, Jean
  18. Hi Marco, I had the '99 Donnafugata Mille e una Notte at a tasting last summer, and I thought it was a most interesting wine. Lots of tar, smoke, and dark fruit...one of my dining companions described it as almost Amarone-like, for what it is worth. It was a lot of fun to be able to try it because, as you said, it is kind of spendy! All the best, Jean
  19. 2002 Donnafugata “Sedara” Nero d’Avola Sicilia - Dark purplish-red color. A very pretty and softly perfumed nose, showing some cherry, smoke, and dried herbs. Flavors of cherry, red berry, minerals, and a slight smokiness as well. Lighter in texture and body. The tannins are fine and very soft in the mouth. The finish is clean and of medium length. Nice bargain wine, and was tasty with some homemade lasagna with Italian sausage! Price was $17. All the best, Jean
  20. 2003 Villadoria Fagiano Rosso “Red Pheasant” Langhe - Deep purple-red in color. Nose of dark berry, cherry, thyme, and floral notes. Flavors of dark berry, cherry, licorice, and a touch of mineral. This is a lighter-bodied wine. The texture is very smooth initially, followed by some light and fine-grained tannins. There is some acidity, it finishes a little on the quick side, but the finish is clean, and the flavor is quite nice overall. A very simple drink-me-now quaffer that, while not terribly thought-provoking, was tasty and cheap enough at $9.99 to warrant purchasing again for weeknight meals. According to their website, this is a Dolcetto and Barbera blend, unspecified percentages. Jean
  21. 2002 Siduri Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands - Dark ruby color. Nose of cherry, dark berry, cola, and spice. Flavors also along the same lines; cherry, cola, spice, and a touch of oak. Medium-bodied, and it is bright and lively on the tongue. There is a nice, cleansing, citrus-like acidity that shows up towards the finish. The finish is flavorful and long, and there is good balance. This did not seem as highly extracted as some other wines in the Siduri lineup. I found this to be very enjoyable with food, perhaps a better food wine than some of the other Siduris. Whatever the case, I really liked this. All the best, Jean
  22. Coop, I will certainly post some notes on the '03 when I find it and try it. I was out looking yesterday and had no luck! The '02 was in the neighborhood of $14, though. I did manage to find some on sale for $10 and change, and that was when I loaded up. Sadly though, it is all gone! All the best, Jean
  23. For what it is worth, the 2002 La Segreta Rosso was my "house red" last year. An excellent bargain. I haven't noticed the '03 here yet, but was planning on getting some when I do! All the best, Jean
  24. 2002 Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola Sicilia - Very dark color, a sort of reddish-black. Nose is of dark dried fruit, smoke, earth, spice, and a little bit of dust. Flavors of red berry, balsamic vinegar, dark dried fruit, and some smoke and spice. The flavors are fairly bright. Medium-bodied, with a good acidity, and a nice clean finish. A not-too-fancy but very likable bargain wine that was really nice with a simple linguini with tomato sauce and bacon. A solid buy at $10. All the best, Jean
  25. Jean Brislance

    Venison Dinner

    Thanks for the notes, Bill. I love venison, and your post reminds me that I need to try it with more Piedmont and Rhone wines (I have Zinfandel with it probably more than I should! Not that this is a bad thing... ). Thanks much! Jean
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