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Archive for August, 2011

Have wine, will cycle. With style. (via Winehos)

I love the look!

Have wine, will cycle. With style. In London cycling is a no brainer over the warmer months. It’s fast, it’s cheap and it’s damn easy.  There’s no need to worry about the last tube or having to squeeze onto a bus full of drunk/grumpy/smelly/rude people. However, when riding a bike built for serious city commuting (with no parcel tray or basket) transporting wine becomes an ugly chore.  The sweaty back pack or courier bag isn’t always ideal, especially when you want to arrive at yo … Read More

via Winehos

Three American Pinot Noirs

These bottles were purchased at MacArthur’s.  The Roth cost $20, the Bouchaine cost $22, and the Shea is insanely priced at $47.  According to Wine-Searcher the Shea typically runs $35-$38 per bottle.  Jenn’s favorite wine was the Shea and I must agree, it is quite nice and a reasonable buy at the $35-$38 range but not at the $47 price point.  The Roth is a good wine and incredibly priced at $20 if you do not mind the assertive Pinot Noir style.  It is worth a try, I like the savory aspect with the dark sugar and spice notes.

2008 Shea Wine Cellars, Pinot Noir, Estate, Willamete Valley
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir with 13% of the fruit fermented in wood tanks.  The wine was aged in 46% new and 54% used French oak.  This young wine took several hours to develop so we put it back in the wine fridge to taste later.  On the second night the nose revealed roses and spice in a dense package along with barrel toast.  The dark red fruit mixed with racy minerals with a midpalate of lifted, blue/black fruits and incense.  There is a pleasing finish before a mixture of minerals and persistent hard blue fruits come out in the aftertaste.  Lovely but needs to be cellared.

2007 Bouchaine, Pinot Noir, Carneros
We did not like this as much as the Roth.  There is a light nose.  In the mouth the flavors of dark red fruits are a steely, somewhat grapey and show some heat right before the finish.  There are dusty notes in the aftertaste.  This wine comes across as mature.  I would drink this now.

2009 Roth Estate, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
There is quite a team making this wine.  Roth Estate is the second label of Lancaster Estate which means David Ramey is a consultant and Jesse Katz is the winemaker.  Jesse work at Screaming Eagle, Paul Hobbs’ Vina Cobos, and Robert Foley.  This wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.  It took two bottles to produce this tasting note.  The first bottle was consumed within one evening but we felt the wine finally started to open up as we drained the last glass.  The second bottle was consumed over three nights.  This wine clearly needs to be cellared.  There is a light nose of floral berries.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine has an aggressive start with a bit of heat from alcohol.  It is a little discombobulated right now and could use a few years to come together.  It is compact with black cherry, red fruit flavors, some sweetness, and a bit of wood.  There is a savory character as the wine grows significantly in size with dark sugar and spice notes.  There are some very fine tannins in the long aftertaste.  This is a modern, assertive wine.

Wine Tastings with the Bristol University Wine Circle

The Author, 1992

I attended eight tasting with the Bristol University Wine Circle.  I have scanned my tasting sheets and transcribed my notes.   Beware, these are casual drinking notes so they are full of mistakes!  I tasted a wide range of wines, many of which I did not like along with a few that were stellar.  I tasted my first wines from Mexico and South Africa.  I particularly liked 1985 Domaine de Chevalier and 1970 Marques de Murrietta, Tinto Gran Reserva.  I tasted wine from “Washington’s dirtiest winemaker” Blackwood Canyon and recommended one stay away from 1989 Badacsonyi Szurkebarat, Lake Balaton.  Surprisingly, I also tasted the 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon from the immensely popular Quilceda Creek.

This post wraps up my time spent at Bristol University.  After my finals I spent my summer in continental Europe.  Once there I drank a fair amount of Franken wine in Frankfurt, Germany where I learned to prefer Riesling over other varietals.  While I studied architectural history in Florence, Italy I drank particularly cheap wine in between pints of Guinness at the Irish pub.  Then at the end of the summer I returned to the newly formed Czech Republic and visited a family winery in Vienna, Austria.  This later trip is the inspiration for an upcoming series of posts on The Vineyards of Vienna.
Wine Tasting, Reid Wines, 13th Oct 1992

New World Versus France Tasting, 27th Oct 1992 

Italian Tasting, Paul Merritt, 24th Nov 1992

Bordeaux Tasting, Avery’s, 1st Dec 1992

Hungarian Wine Tasting, Godwin & Godwin, 3rd Feb 1993

Marques de Murrieta Tasting, 9th Feb 1993

Oregon And Washington Tasting, Mark Savage MW, 16th Feb 1993

Loire Tasting, Yapp Brothers, 2nd Mar 1993

Berry Bros. & Co., circa 1910

Flickr is a great website that I often use to find images for my posts.  I quickly found two shop-front images featuring Berry Bros. & Co. from circa 1910 and Berry Bros. & Rudd from 2011.  The older picture of the store looks quite inviting with the delicate, airy windows.  These images are from curry15 Carole King’s flickr stream.  By the way, I also recommend the Berry Bros. & Rudd flickr stream.

Berry Bros. & Rudd,1910 and 2011, curry15 (flickr)

And here is a photograph taken in 1997 of the author in front of the store.

The Author In Front of Berry Bros. & Rudd, 1997

The Wine Merchants of Eugene Atget

After looking for coins to include in my recent Greek post I became interested in looking at other wine related images.  I noticed a book of photographs by Eugene Atget that my mom gave me while I was in college.  I flipped through the pages and was delighted to find pictures of wine merchants.  For this post I have put together a small collection of these wine merchant images.  There are other images of restaurants and cafes that feature window advertisements for wine, liquor, cider, and absinthe that I might use for a future post.  But that post must wait as I am now curious to find an image of Berry Brothers & Rudd, London from the same period.  The images in this post were sourced from The George Eastman House Collection, Institute national d’histoire de l’art, and the Bibliotheque nationale de France,

Marchand de Vins, Rue Charles V, Eugene Atget, 1900-1927

Grille de Marchand de Vins, Rue des Ciseaux, Eugene Atget, 1900-1927

Grille de Marchand de Vins, 3 Rue de l’larbalète, Eugene Atget, 1900-1927

Enseignes et Vieilles Boutiques du Vieux Paris, Eugene Atget

18 Rue des Canettes, Eugene Atget, 1899

Au Solei d’Or, Place de l’Ecoles, Eugene Atget, 1902

Marchand des Vin, Eugene Atget

Marchand de vin rue Boyer, Eugene Atget

Other Greek Coins From Sicily

Ever since my post on the Greek Coins from Naxos, Sicily I have been curious to look at coins minted on Sicily outside of Naxos.  Naxos provided a rich selection of wine related coins but the rest of Sicily proved more elusive.  In this post I have included a selection of coins minted throughout Sicily and not a specific town.  I have a few observations, which may prove incorrect, that I hope to research in the future.

The town of Tauromenion provided the largest source of wine related coins.  In retrospect this is not surprising as Tauromenion was founded by colonists from Naxos.  The large grape clusters bear resemblance to those on coins minted in Naxos 50-75 years prior.  These, however, do not show the delicate veining of the leaves nor the tendrils of the vines.

I also came across numerous portraits of Silenus.  The Naxion coins predominantly displayed the full body of Silenus squatting with a Kantharos.

I found the Tetradrachm from Messana particularly interesting with the beautiful grasshopper on top of a small bunch of grapes.  In my brief searches I was unable to find another coin like this.  While there are other examples of grasshoppers on coins, in at least one example, a Silver Decadrachm from Akragas, the grasshopper probably represents a mint control mark.  In this coin the grasshopper appears as a congruous element of the coin so it may be a symbol of a local, powerful family.  Or perhaps, since it is on top of grapes, it is a symbol of pestilence.

Through The Ancient Coin Search Engine, Wild Winds, and Google I have been able to find the variety of coins and descriptions for this post.   For those interested in further research I recommend the British Museum, Coins and Medals department.  Through Google Books you may read such publications as “Coins of Ancient Sicily”, By Sir George Francis Hill.

 Here are some new terms encountered in this post:

  • Biga is a two-horse chariot used for both sport and transportation.
  • Bucranium  is the skull of an ox.
  • Kentron is a goad used for urging horses and other animals.
  • Quadriga  is a four-horse chariot.

Sicily, Aetna, 470-466BC

Obverse, bald, bearded head of Silenus to right with ivy crown.  Reverse AITN, sheaf of wheat.

Sicily, Galaria, Litra, 460BC

Obverse, S-OTE-, Zeus Soter (the Savior) seated on throne left, holding eagle-tipped scepter.  Reverse, CA?-A, Dionysus standing left, holding kantharus and grape cluster.

Sicily, Messana, Tetradrachm, 420-413 BC

Obverse, MESSANA, charioteer driving biga left, holding kentron in right hand, reins in both; two dolphins in exergue. Reverse, MES-S-ANI-ON retrograde, hare springing right; grasshopper on bunch of grapes below.

Sicily, Catana, Hemidrachm, 410 BC

Obverse, facing head of bald Silenius with snub nose, beard, and goat’s ears.  Reverse, KAIANAI-N laureate head of Apollo right, hair rolled.

Sicily, Akragas, Tetradrachm 409-406 BC

Obverse, AKRAGANTI-NON, Nike driving galloping quadriga left, holding kentron in left hand, reins in both; grapevine with grapes above.  Reverse, STRATWN, two eagles standing left clutching at dead hare, the closest eagle with wings closed and head raised, the furthest eagle with spread wings and its head down; head of a young horned river-god above front eagle’s tail.

Sicily, Syracuse, 344-317 BC

Reverse, laureate head of Apollo left; grape bunch behind.  Reverse, Pegasus flying left, HP monogram below.

Sicily, Tauromenion, 339-336 BC

Obverse, laureate head of Apollo left.  Reverse, man-headed bull standing left, grape bunch underneath head.

Sicily, Tauromenion, 336 BC

Obverse, laureate head of Apollo left. Reverse, TAUR - IAN, grape bunch.

Sicily, Tauromenion, 336 BC

Obverse, APXAGETAS, laureate head of Apollo Archegetes left.  Reverse, TAUR-M ENITAN, lyre, grape bunch above.

Sicily, Tauromenion, 325-275 BC

Obverse, laureate head of Apollo Archegetes left.  Reverse, -IAN, grape bunch.

Sicily, Tauromenion, Litra, 275-219 BC

Obverse, head of bull facing.  Reverse, grape bunch.

Sicily, Alaisa, 263 BC

Obverse, head of Apollo left; border of dots.  Reverse, ALAISA ARC, bunch of grapes, bucranium below left.

Sicily, Kalacte, 241-210 BC

Obverse, head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy, thyrsos over shoulder.  Reverse, KALAKTINWN, bunch of grapes.

Sicily, Katane, 212 BC

Obverse, KATANAIWN, wreathed head of Dionysos right.  Reverse, Dionysos, holding grape cluster in right hand and scepter in left, seated left in biga being pulled to the right by two panthers; three monograms around.

Sicily, Entella, 36 BC

Obverse, head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath.  Reverse, ENT-, grape bunch on vine.

2001 and 2003 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Gigondas

We never give up an opportunity to drink bottles of Gigondas with some age.  The wine from this region age well, are robust, and the base cuvees are affordably priced.  So when I saw these older vintage of Chateau de Saint Cosme on the MacArthur’s website, I headed off to the store.  These wines are both blends of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault.  They were aged in 60% used wood barrels and 40% tanks. The 2003 vintage started with a high water table followed by a long, hot summer.  These conditions favored old vines and resulted in ample amounts of ripe tannins.  The 2001 vintage was quite normal but a dry, heat spike in August caused some vines to block ripening.  John Livingstone-Learmonth characterized Gigondas as having better integrated tannins because there was less blocking.

What do we think?  Well, the 2001 is more integrated at this point and the first bottle that we finished.  For that reason I would give it a slight bump above the 2003.  The later reveals its hot origins.  While it is rustic, though not in an old-school style, the ample flavors of garrigue, minerals, and saltiness are quite attractive.  You could drink this vintage with fatty meats on a chilly night.  The 2001 is available for $35 and the 2003 for $30 at MacArthur’s.  I recommend both and think they are appropriately priced.

2003 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Gigondas
This wine had a nose of lovely, scented garrigue.  This wine was richer with ample amounts of garrigue and minerals.  The hard red fruits stood up to the good amount of aggressive tannins that made way to a dark aftertaste.  On the second night a salty attack developed followed by garrigue, hard red fruits, dusty stone flavors, and tannins.

2001 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Gigondas
This nose revealed soft red fruits and herbs.  In the mouth there were more red fruits, maturing dried herbs, darker red fruits in the finish, and a tart profile.  After 2-3 hours of air sweet herbs complemented a bit of spiciness as enjoyable grapey tannins coated the side of the mouth.

A Pair of 2003 Wines From Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

August 25, 2011 1 comment

Erdener Treppchen, Image by Weinkaiser (flickr)

These two selections were purchased a few years ago from MacArthur’s.  The Weingut Dr. Fischer cost $13 and the Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben cost $20.  Both of these selections are clearly worth their cost but I would recommend looking for the Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben.  It is quite a good wine, is drinking very well right now but will clearly develop for years to come.


2003 Weingut Dr. Fischer, Ockfener Bockstein, Riesling Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
This is 9% ABV.  The soils of the Ockfener Bockstein vineyard contain more clay.  The grapes are sourced from 20-40 year old vines and undergo spontaneous fermentation with natural yeasts.  This wine is a rich straw color.  It has a light nose of richer/heavier aromas.  In the mouth the initial impression is of soft fruit, petrol, balanced by subtle acidity.  There is a core of infused fruit mixed with some minerals.  The aftertaste is pleasing.  On the second night there are notes of honeysuckle.  Overall this is a pleasing wine but the profile is a bit flat.  I would drink this up.

2003  Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben, Erdener Treppchen, Riesling Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
This is 8% ABV.  The Erdener Treppchen vineyard translates as The Little Staircases of Erden and is named after the stone steps carved out in this steep vineyard.  The red slate soils are rich in iron and are mostly planted with vines with their own roots.  This wine sports a light+ nose of fresher, textured, sweet floral aromas.  In the mouth the sweet fruit is spritzy with a good amount of acidity and racy minerals.  There are pure flavors of honey in this almost gritty wine that is so lively in the mouth.  This good textured wine has a moderate aftertaste.

Old Tasting Notes From June 2008

Here are three more posts from notes that I took during June 2008.

Five Tasty Wines From the Rhone, All Below $21

Three Modern Rhone Wines

Three From Gigondas

Wine Related Decor at Target

It's All About PINOT & BORDEAUX

Target periodically comes out with product themes for the home.  Last year they worked with John Derian to bring an affordable line of decoupage trays, dishes, and stationery.  A couple of weeks ago when we were shopping at Target I noticed some fake wine bottles in the Home section.  While I did not see any particular emphasis on the Pinot Noir varietal nor the Bordeaux appellation there were three different bottles from Bordeaux, California, and one from Alto Adige.  You could also purchase a metal wine carrier, bottle stoppers, coasters, Matt Kramer’s “Making Sense of Wine”, along with fake Port books that are hollowed out for storage.

1941 Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige

1966 Chateau des Templiers, Graves

Chancy Creek, Cabernet Sauvignon, Redwood Valley

While I expect some oddities from fictitious labels there were some overt mistakes.  Clos de Beze is a Grand Cru vineyard in Chambertin which is in Burgundy, France and not Alto Adige, Italy.  Pomerol is not an appellation within Graves.  Still, it is fun to see Target promote a wine theme to the masses.

Wine Coasters

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