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Wine Thread

Here's an interesting wine event:



Summer Wine Tasting



The last Wednesday of every month June-September, 6-8pm



Celebrate the worlds foremost wine regions with a selection of seven wines paired with hors doeurves

(June 25: California Eclectic; July 30: Italian Classics; August 27: Australia and New Zealand Appellations;

September 24: Les Vins de France.)



$49 per person (all inclusive)



at Pinot Provence near South Coast Plaza.
 

stepping_up_IHB

New member
When I grow up, I want to be just like Eva!



One of our favorite wineries is <a href="http://www.tablascreek.com/">Tablas Creek</a> up in Paso Robles. They have an amazing variety of Rhone style wines, including some relatively unique varietals such as picpoul and tannat. Their reds are great, but I just love the selection of whites. A particular favorite is their Bergeron style Roussanne, which is just amazing with seared scallops. I can't recall if it was the '03 or '04 Roussanne that we served with Thanksgiving turkey, but it was so different. As it started to age, it took on hints of nutmeg. Particularly as a VINsider, their wines are a good value for the quality.



For good value cheapies, we like <a href="http://www.rabbitridgewinery.com/">Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles</a>. They sell it at TJ's, but by the case as a club member, it's like $3.50/bottle and is excellent to have on hand for pizza night. I'm not fond of their whites. They do a Syrah Cote Rotie style (adding in a little bit of Viognier) that is really interesting. The 2004 was awesome, but the '05 didn't have the same result.



I absolutely fell in love with the Torrontes grape down in Argentina. There was a $1.99 cheapie at TJ's that we kept on hand while they had it, but having tasted some truly great ones, I don't think I could touch that one again. In fact, I'm heading over to Hi Times this weekend to pick out a few. I can't remember the ones we had down there, but they were so incredibly inexpensive.
 
Just got this in an e-mail from TIC:



<blockquote>Total Wine & More will become the new destination for every wine connoisseur, coming to The Market Place this fall. Specializing in fine wines, the wine superstore will offer more than 8,000 varieties from every wine-producing region in the world, as well as over 2,000 spirits and 1,000 beers. Irvine & Tustin shopping is now better than ever?offering unparalleled convenience for all your shopping needs. </blockquote>


I wonder if this will go in the old Ikea storefront.



<em>**With this news, the Seraphim household rethinks moving out of North Irvine.**</em>
 

stepping_up_IHB

New member
I asked hubby about Wine Exchange and he said it was similar to Hi Times in knowledge and inventory, but because of the distance he prefers Hi Times. Then I showed him the Rose WinEx is featuring this month and he just planned out how to work in a detour next week :)
 

graphrix_IHB

New member
Here are my thoughts on Hi-Times, Wine Club, and Wine Ex. I might be a bit biased, since Wine Ex is closer to my home, but I will try my best to be unbiased in evaluating the wine shops of OC.



Wine Club - Great selection of new releases. Fantastic prices. One of the best places to purchase Bordeaux, Sauternes, and other highly regarded foreign wine futures. Small vintage collection. Saturday and Sunday wine tastings from the new releases, wine makers, and staff selection is hard to beat. The staff is knowledgeable, but the turnover is very high there. Don't expect the person who helped you with your holiday wine selections be there the following year. Sadly, the SF and Santa Clara stores do not have the same problem. No hard alcohol.



Wine Ex - Awesome selection of new releases, as well as a diverse selection as a whole, with many hard to find wines. Fantastic prices, that only one of the largest internet retailers could ever achieve. A good place to buy futures. Not much of a vintage collection. Tastings on the weekends. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, and the turnover is so low... I could swear that some have been there since I was a kid when my dad would drag me there promising to buy me a toy later if I behaved/put up with him scouring their selections. I have never been steered wrong here, and EvaL can attest to some of their recommendations of their's that I have had. Great hard alcohol selection, with great prices.



Hi-Times - The best selection of wines, with some of the hardest to find wines in OC. You do pay for that premium here. Decent place for futures. The best vintage collection I know of. Great tastings on the weekends and during the week. The staff is very knowledgeable, and the turnover is low. So, if you find someone who gives you good picks, then when you come back they will be there to do it again. Amazing hard alcohol selection, but their prices are higher than most.



Another place not mentioned is Dome Liquor in Fullerton. I have found <a href="http://www.lazycreekvineyards.com/">Lazy Creek's pinot</a> and <a href="http://www.lamborn.com/lambornfamily/index.jsp">Lamborn's zin</a> there. None of the above had either of them.
 
Good write up Graph, and far more analytical than anything I would have written. All I can say is this: When shopping at Hi-Times, the most we have ever spent was $150 and the most number of bottles we ever bought was about eight. At Winex we seem to have a harder time controlling ourselves, oohing and ahhhing over much more and filling the basket with up to 40 bottles. It very well may be that it is simply because Winex is physically easier to navigate (one floor, reasonably wide aisles) and I can use a rolling cart, whereas HiTime is just itching to get hit with an ADA lawsuit and you have to carry a small basket. They are about equidistant from our place, but it seems that traffic going north on the 55 is easier to navigate than traffic going south on the 55. That said, if I lived near Hi-Time, I would shop there without thinking too much about it.



I've been to Wine Club a couple of times, and while interesting, I find their wine displays not very easy to browse with the eyes. I'm not sure why that is.



Perhaps some marketing expert can be let loose to discover why I can easily drop bank at Winex and not at the other two.
 
Memphis has put out word on its wine dinner for August. See below.



<img src="http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb27/evalseraphim/MemphisAugust.jpg" alt="" />
 
Bumping this thread, in response to comments over on the "what you'd really like to say" thread...



No_Vas.... why can't you irrigate grapes in Europe??? Don't they irrigate any crops?



From commentary up here in this "wine country".... rain late in the growing season is bad, as it increases the risk of mold on the grapes, and, as I understood it, lowers the sugar content, because the grapes "plump up" with water and dilute the sugar content. Wouldn't irrigation work the same way? And I thought alcohol content was limited because anything much above 13% killed off the yeast involved.



I'm going to have to look for that Argentine wine. I'm not much of a red drinker, but I like whites.
 
[quote author="centralcoastobserver" date=1253262893]Bumping this thread, in response to comments over on the "what you'd really like to say" thread...



No_Vas.... why can't you irrigate grapes in Europe??? Don't they irrigate any crops?



From commentary up here in this "wine country".... rain late in the growing season is bad, as it increases the risk of mold on the grapes, and, as I understood it, lowers the sugar content, because the grapes "plump up" with water and dilute the sugar content. Wouldn't irrigation work the same way? And I thought alcohol content was limited because anything much above 13% killed off the yeast involved.



I'm going to have to look for that Argentine wine. I'm not much of a red drinker, but I like whites.</blockquote>


I believe it is actually against the law in France to irrigate. They want to be purists in the pursuit.



I believe irrigation is preferred in some areas of California because it allows the grapes to hang for a longer time before harvesting, thus driving up the sugars. <---- This is a very vague recollection on my part and is probably wrong.
 
[quote author="tmare" date=1253266437]Ok, now I want more specifics about these low alcohol wines. Anyone?</blockquote>


I didn't forget you, promise! :)



"Old world" styled wines are more acidic and meant to be drank with food, whereas "new world" wines tend to be sweeter and are better on their own (i.e., without food). These are very big generalities, but that is the theory.



<a href="http://wine.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=7922">Here is an article</a> you might enjoy that briefly explains the differences.
 

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
[quote author="centralcoastobserver" date=1253262893]



No_Vas.... why can't you irrigate grapes in Europe???</blockquote>


It's against the rules.



<a href="http://www.chateau-masburel.com/grapes.shtml">http://www.chateau-masburel.com/grapes.shtml</a>



<blockquote><em>Irrigation is not allowed under French appellation rules and the vines are further stressed by increased density of planting.</em> </blockquote>


That stuff in Paso gets 7 to 10 tons an acre of production. The stuff in France gets ? a ton to a ton.



<blockquote>Don't they irrigate any crops?</blockquote>


I'd assume so, but wine grapes are a no go.



<blockquote>From commentary up here in this "wine country".... rain late in the growing season is bad, as it increases the risk of mold on the grapes, and, as I understood it, lowers the sugar content, because the grapes "plump up" with water and dilute the sugar content. Wouldn't irrigation work the same way?</blockquote>


No. Late season rains add moisture to the fruit and cause mold problems you noted (earlier in the season you can apply fungicide, starts to be problematic right before harvest) but it shouldn't hurt the inside of the fruit. Rain usually means cooler temperatures and that hurts the plants ability to build sugars in the fruit. Really it just complicates the harvest.



All modern vineyards are drip irrigated and thus avoid the mildew problems you have when using either flood irrigation or sprinklers. Plus, you use less water and you have the added ability of chemigation (if you need to add fertilizer or something, you can get it in right now by adding it to the water).



Also, there's some timing to the irrigation. You just don't throw water at them all the time.



<a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519134750.htm">Folks have done their PHD's on the topic, but heres a primer article on irrigating wine grapes.</a>



<blockquote>And I thought alcohol content was limited because anything much above 13% killed off the yeast involved.</blockquote>


You're out of my pay scale. I know something about viticulture, but after it leaves the vineyard, I really don't understand it. I was a grape grower, not a winemaker.



<blockquote>I'm going to have to look for that Argentine wine. I'm not much of a red drinker, but I like whites. </blockquote>


I love reds and I don?t ever drink them anymore.
 
Wow, thanks for the information. The difference in yields is pretty amazing. I still think there's way more wine grapes up here than anyone can actually drink, so maybe we should limit irrigation. There are a few vineyards up around Paso, and one in the Edna Valley, that claim to "dry farm" the vines. I'll have to pay more attention when out wine tasting, and see if I can tell any difference.
 
Just finished weekly shopping at TJ's and on a lark decided to look for wines with low(ish) alcohol. We bought five (although found more), three red and two white, all under $6 with the highest alcohol weighing in at 12.5%. They had a German Pinot Noir at 11.5%. I am very curious to try that one and see how it is.
 
We have tried some, but not all the low-alc wines from TJ's. They were ok, but not great. I did like the German Pinot Noir (2007 Hans Lang Pinot Noir Edition Maximilian), but had to bust out some cheese to make it palatable. It was definitely a food wine.



While I had completely forgotten about Total Wine, they were kind enough to e-mail me some coupons, and given their extensive "old world" selection, I thought we would look over there. Their wine tasting was Bordeaux this week and when we got there, it was a small crowd (as opposed to the elbow to elbow crowds of last summer's tastings). All the wines but one were under 13%, all were under $17, and all but one were good to very good.



Total Wine's old world selection had a large number of lower alcohol wines. We picked up a mixed case of sub $15 wines and still had plenty of choices to return to on our next trip.
 

tmare_IHB

New member
[quote author="EvaLSeraphim" date=1254093977]We have tried some, but not all the low-alc wines from TJ's. They were ok, but not great. I did like the German Pinot Noir (2007 Hans Lang Pinot Noir Edition Maximilian), but had to bust out some cheese to make it palatable. It was definitely a food wine.



While I had completely forgotten about Total Wine, they were kind enough to e-mail me some coupons, and given their extensive "old world" selection, I thought we would look over there. Their wine tasting was Bordeaux this week and when we got there, it was a small crowd (as opposed to the elbow to elbow crowds of last summer's tastings). All the wines but one were under 13%, all were under $17, and all but one were good to very good.



Total Wine's old world selection had a large number of lower alcohol wines. We picked up a mixed case of sub $15 wines and still had plenty of choices to return to on our next trip.</blockquote>


Could you give us some of the names of those you liked at Total Wine, Eva.
 
I don't recall the reds, but at the Bordeaux tasting we liked the 2008 Ch?teau de Cornemps (a rose) and the 2008 Ch?teau Montet Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc. They are not "Wow!" wines, but for <$9, they are pretty good.



I'll keep you posted on the rest as we drink them. We still have not finished the ones we bought at TJ's last week.
 

gypsyuma_IHB

New member
Our favorite is Syrah. So far I have found two that I love. The first is Joel Gott I believe. THe second I get at the District Costco, but don't remember the name, I am bad with names. There are only three Syrahs there at Costco, and it is the one from Sonoma Valley, it is like $15.99. It is also very good.



The last few weeks we have tried some other types, and we hated all of them.
 

graphrix_IHB

New member
Wine Review:



Yes, I'm actually taking the time to review a wine. Why? Because it really is a fantastic bottle of wine. I think I have a bottle of OMG... that was f'ing awesome wine about twice a year that is worthy of posting. Eh, but once a year I post about it. Sometimes it is an affordable wine, and other times it is little higher end. Tonight it was on the higher end with Le Macioche Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva 2001, which you can get at Hi-Times if you so desire.



First, I have to give a little back story of how and why I acquired this wine. I get this rant of an IM the other day from "ohhhhh and threeee" we will call him:



0-3: "My freaking marketing team is a bunch monkeys jumping up and down in their cage flinging feces at each other! I need some basic bullet points to lure a big fund to invest in distressed CRE assets. And they are useless!"



Me: "What do you need?"



0-3: "I just need a hit sheet of 5-10 bullet points on some awesome CRE assets."



Me: "Seriously that's it?"



0-3: "Yes, that is it. I told you... monkeys!"



Me: "I will have a rough draft to you tomorrow."



0-3: "Really? If you could do that, I would be ecstatic."



And that is how I acquired this bottle of wine... for reading <a href="http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/">Calculated Risk</a>. I had a rough draft done late that night. Hopefully my bullet points help land the fund, because it would mean more reviews like this in the future.



I opened the bottle two hours before our dinner of grilled filet mignon seasoned with roasted garlic salt, and fresh green beans. I wanted for it to open up by dinner, but it still did not fully open up until an hour afterward. It went well with the filet and stood up very well to them. On the nose it had a cherry and plum with oak and sherry wood with a mossy herbal note to it. It was plum and mulberry fruit on the front with a tangy cherry finish on the back end. It had a nice sweet but also tart-like oakiness to it that balanced it all out. I highly recommend this wine for a way to impress with a high end wine. It will not disappoint, and with high end wines that is what I fear the most... that it will not live up to what it is supposed to be, but this one lives up to it's reputation and might even exceed it.
 
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