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Carolyn Tillie

WOW - 2001 Renwood Barbera

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Coop, we'll certainly try. And we'll be bouncing the WOW (Wine of the Week) around the globe. We won't all have a chance to try everything, but I would be happy to participate even once a month or so. I would love to try some of those Canadian wines! A PNW girl myself, I think it's cool that one can now wine trail from Baja to BC.


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Mary Baker

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...but much of that may have had to do with the food pairing. We were eating a Foie Gras, Bacon, and Tomato sandwich on focaccia which demanded a much bigger wine than a barbera.

My favorite thing to have with Barbera is a really big juicy medium-rare hamburger! I always call Barbera my "burger wine". I'll bet this'll be good with the tomato based pasta dishes too, though.

That Foie Gras, Bacon and Tomato sandwich sounds really good! :wub:

My wine should be coming to me early next week, so I'll try it and post my notes as soon as I have it.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Aha! Bottle arrived today. Opened after four hours of rest in a cool cellar. (Okay, I waited.)

The color is a deep brick red, and the first whiff is herby and oaky. Freshly crushed garden herbs (thyme, maybe), and French oak. The first sip has got lots of cherry fruit, and it's got that chewy, black cherry skin "thing" that I love, with a squeeze of lemon on the back. It's got some spunky tannins, but not overwhelming. I love the acidity--and yet for a barbera, it's got a thick depth that indicates it's probably got a hefty pH balance as well. All in all, it's a yummy mouthful.

My only criticisms would be that--one, it doesn't seem to have a definitive barbera character, or any vineyard presence. I haven't tasted a lot of barberas yet, and I'm looking forward to becoming better educated :wink: , but if I were to blind taste this wine I don't think there's anything here that would lead me toward recognizing a barbera in the future. And two, it's got a bit of a VA/Brett nose--which actually I think is kind of sexy, sort of like slut sandals on a librarian, but I don't know how other people would feel about that . . . and it's more evident after the wine has been open for awhile.

All in all, I think it's a rich and pleasant wine, with a bracing acidity that will go well tonight with our roasted half chicken, caramelized onions and red peppers, and caramelized brussel sprouts.


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Mary Baker

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2001 Renwood Amador Barbera, $22.99, 14% alc.: Ruby dark garnet, shading to pink at the rim; a nice kiss of sweet oak compliments the blackberry, black currant, little bit o’ blueberry bouquet. Flavors echo, more or less, with hard fruit that opens and becomes more generous with air. The significant tannins can use a few years to tone down, but aren’t obtrusive, and the zippy acidity keeps it moving along nicely. As it continues to open, the fruit turns a little sweeter, gaining notes of earth and underbrush, but the wine never shows much distinct varietal character, only making a so – so match for Kim’s hand ground sausage meatballs (one batch made with Michigan dried cherries rehydrated in Madeira with feta cheese and kitchen herbs, and another batch made with fennel, white wine and kitchen herbs) baked, then simmered in tomato sauce and served with spaghetti noodles and Romano cheese. An Italian Barbera probably would have worked better, but still, this is a good wine on its own terms, and one that would probably benefit from 30 – 45 minutes in a decanter before drinking.

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.


George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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[guest review from little MR. foodie]

My first impression of this was that it's a sharp wine...not sharp like a good cheddar, but rather like a good red that's a little too cold (it wasn't). That was mostly the oak, I believe, but nevertheless this didn't leave the best first impression. We probably should have decanted for a half-hour or so, or let it brood in the cellar for a couple of years and then written a very delinquent post...

There was a background of cloves; also smoke -- not campfire, more briquets in the backyard. Not a lot of fruit (though my overly-liberal dose of raw red onions in the salad may have thrown off my palate). As dinner progressed and the wine softened and sweetened just a bit, it gained some character. I think KatieLoeb's suggestion of a burger would have been a good accompaniment. Regardless of the pairing, though, this [for me] wasn't a very distinctive wine; decent, but forgettable.

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I took Geo T.'s suggestion on my second bottle and decanted it a full hour-and-a-half before consumption. This time, harkening back to my earlier suggestion, we had the wine along side some garlic bread, mixed salad, and <ta-da> lasagne with a big, meaty, tomato sauce.

As suspected, the wine showed considerably better alongside a complementary food. That astringent, sharpness was gone as the astringency was now more noticeable in the tomatoes. The wine had fuller aromas but the mouth feel was round, even next to the garlic toast. There was a balanced feel in the mouth next to the spicy sauce.

As Rebel Rose indicated, this is far less Barbera-like than those I have had in the past. Even Shawn asked if I bought the correct wine as they used to bottle it in taller, thinner bottles (part of my recommendation was having enjoyed it in the past).

I understand that the Renwood business has had considerable controversy over the past few years in their management and turn over of winemakers.

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I had a bottle of it this evening thanks to receiving a bottle through a friend. A nice bright color (about the shade our walls are now in the kitchen). I agree that it didn't quite have the boldness or aggressiveness that I'd usually associate with a Barbera.

I found a lot of cherry notes in it. Very straightforward and with a nice acidity. After having some on its own, I also had it along with a new york steak tonight and it matched up well. I can see how Katie would like Barbera's with burgers as that sounds like a good match.

I've enjoyed Barbera's in the past though there are so few around it is not a wine I encounter on a regular basis. I know Cline makes one as well though I haven't had a chance to try that one.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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I had my Barbera this past weekend.

The color was a deep garnet at the center moving to a more raspberry/geranium at the edges. I got a very smoky smell right off the bat. Secondary to that was concentrated fruit. The first time I had the wine, I was eating some good stinky cheese. The second time it was served with puttanesca. Both times I noted strong tannins. With the cheese, it tasted earthy to me. With the pasta, it tasted fruitier. I also got a strong hit of pepper when drinking it with the pasta - but I'm guessing that was from the sauce! I didn't feel it was a very interesting wine - something I would want to drink on its own. But I also felt it didn't stand up to the food I had with it. And, at $22 per bottle, a little more than I want to spend for what I consider "book group wine".

After reading through the other posts - I can see that decanting could definitely help with round out the wine. And I'm going to go with a hamburger next time!


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Just to let everyone know, we'll be moving on to a new Cupbearer and a new 'wine of the week' soon, but we'll also be leaving this thread open for discussion for awhile, as I know that several people have yet to taste their Renwood barberas! Feel free to pop in with questions and comments as we continue our 'Tasting Tag.'

So far, our first Cupbearers are both on the west coast, but I am hoping that the Tag will begin to bounce back and forth over oceans and continents, giving us all a chance to participate, and to compare our tastes in wine.


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Mary Baker

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So far, our first Cupbearers are both on the west coast...

Detroit is considered the West Coast? :wacko:

Hee hee hee.

Actually, I consider the Left Coast to be my 2nd home. :cool:


George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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Geez, I'm sorry, geo t! ::heel of hand thumping forehead::

I received some distracting family news this week and I am operating at a birdbrain level right now. (I'm usually a little more evolved.) And Brad's computer has crashed! What to do? The wine forum is so wild, so boisterous, unruly, so . . . so . . . intemperate! :cool:

I am breathing deeply now having dealt with everything, and am, as a matter of fact, googling for the shiraz right now! Looking forward to trying it soon.


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Mary Baker

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My apologies. As usual, I'm a bit behind the curve. I finally got my bottle of Renwood from my purveyor just before the New Year holiday but was then sidelined recovering from some minor surgery (all's well - not to worry) and being medicated for a few days so I haven't really been doing my usual scale of damage to my wine rack. I got around to opening and tasting my Renwood Amador Barbera last night and tonight and found it to be very good. Lots of deep dark fruity flavors like Black Cherry and Plum and a subtle hint of anise in the background. Didn't taste nearly as hot as the over 14% alcohol content would normally indicate and the color and body were definitely in the medium range, deceptively somewhat lighter than I would have normally expected from a high alcohol wine that would normally seem more viscous and "heavy". I finished the bottle tonight aside some Mushroom Tortelloni and the bottle barely suffered having been opened overnight. Very tasty, quite food friendly and a real value for the quality IMO. Will buy a few more to keep around for future reference.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Geez, I'm sorry, geo t!  ::heel of hand thumping forehead::

I received some distracting family news this week and I am operating at a birdbrain level right now.  (I'm usually a little more evolved.) And Brad's computer has crashed!  What to do?  The wine forum is so wild, so boisterous, unruly, so . . . so . . . intemperate!  :cool: 

I am breathing deeply now having dealt with everything, and am, as a matter of fact, googling for the shiraz right now!  Looking forward to trying it soon.

Hey Rebel Rose..., I mean Mary Baker, no hey problema! Sorry to get back to you so late, but your post came on my wife Kim's birthday, and we were understandably (I hope) distracted. Post your notes when you can; we're looking forward to the data points.

Best regards,

geo


George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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Amador, please!

I have the sierra series barbera on my wine wine list. I find it to be quite good. It seems as if you yo scoff at the sierra series. If so why?

Not trying to be antagonistic, just trying to learn.

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Well, by the time I got to BevMo, the vintage had changed, but what are you going to do?

<b>2002 Renwood Barbera</b><i> - USA, California, Amador County (1/4/2005)</i><br>$18 at BevMo, 14.5%. Relatively quiet, generic nose, kind of like a Cabernet Sauvignon. Exceedingly well-structured, with tartness and tannin in evidence. Medium bodied, rather pretty red berry flavors. A little more complexity would really bring together the whole package. After being open for four hours, the alcohol and oak become more apparent, and this is not an improvement. Good+.

<i>Posted from <a target='_new' href='http://www.cellartracker.com'>CellarTracker!</a></i>

For reference, my scale is Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent, with half points provided by pluses. This wine was good but not great, and I doubt very much I would pay US$18 for it in the future, given that simple wines with good fruit are generally available for around $12. I really like the Renwood zins, but you win some and lose some. Thanks for the opportunity to try this.

I was under the impression that Barbera tended to be a wine for aging, and while this was structured for it in the acid and tannin departments, I worry about the alcohol and oak that came out over an extended period. Anyone had previous vintages with a few years on them?

Walt


Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA

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I have the sierra series barbera on my wine wine list.  I find it to be quite good.  It seems as if you yo scoff at the sierra series.  If so why?

Not trying to be antagonistic, just trying to learn.

Well, I think the issue was to avoid the larger, more 'generic' production of Renwood Barbera for the more reserve offering, but of necessity, Wines of the Week must be reasonably available to a large audience. And the exercise in WoW is not just about finding good, affordable, and available wines (although that's a real plus!) as to compare our personal tastes. We're learning in this forum that East Coast and West Coast palates are very different, as well as personal tastes and previous exposures. So this is our way of comparing what we like, and why--which I hope will enrich all of our discussions in this forum.

It's also an educational and functional way for initiates to learn wine tasting. As they walk through the winetasting with more experienced tasters, they'll have a chance to revisit the wine and look for the nuances or characters that other tasters have found.

So, I recommend not blasting through the bottle in one night, but tasting it first and writing up your own opinion, then tasting it again later and looking objectively for what others may have found. All in all, the main purpose of WoW is to have fun!


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Mary Baker

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Update on my bottle, originally opened on the 4th. I finished it yesterday, after keeping it in the fridge for ten days, having a glass occasionally. It surprised me by remaining drinkable and essentially unoxidized, even when I left it out at room temperature overnight. The flavors got a little more liqueur-like, cassis-y, but it definitely held on. Based on that I actually would expect it to age.

Walt


Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA

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