Friday, January 2, 2009

Best and Worst Wines of the Week

Hey, hey, It is Friday all over again. The first Friday of 2009 so only 51 more best and worst editions of 2009. I know you are counting them down already.

I had tons of great wine again this week and I thought it was going to be difficult to choose just one but then like Clark Griswald finding the illuminated family Christmas tree I found this week's best. Without further adieu.

The Week's best wine: 2005 Pahlmeyer Cabernet Blend. California.

How much: $30 a glass (yep, no misprint here)

Where I drank it: JJ's. The iconic legend of wine.

Thoughts: When I first saw it on the wine by the glass list I thought I went right past it. Normally, I wouldn't think of spending that kind of money on a single glass of wine. However, it was the holidays and I knew I really only had time for one glass so I decided to splurge and give it a try. It should be a no brainer, right? I mean if you can't get a great glass of wine for $30 then what the hell. It was huge, extracted and firm but strangely not wound too, too tight. It drank well, really well. It had all the requisite black cherry, cassis, cedar, dark plum flavors you would want with a little vanilla bean and at richness and density for with which to die. Expensive, yes but worth it every now and then.

The Olbermann Wine (Worst wine of the week): 1997 St. Francis Nun's Canyon Reserve Merlot, Sonoma.

How much: $38 paid in about 1999 or 2000.

Where I drank it: At home.

Thoughts: This is a little different and pay attention here to the larger lesson. I love St. Francis and especially their reserve wines. The wine had little to no fruit left and what fruit remained was dried, like prunes. It wasn't undrinkable but life is too short. Basically, it was spent. It actually had some color but it was turning amber to brick red at the edges. St. Francis had switched to synthetic corks by this time so there was a hope that it would age longer.....wrong. This is a lesson in not trying to overage (especially California) wines. I know that it was an amazing bottle at one point. I had purchased a solid case of it when it was released and the first 11 bottles were very, very good. I had tucked the final one away to see how long it would go and I found out.....not 11 years. Friends, most California wines aren't built to last a long time. They are built to taste great near release and many will benefit from some aging. If you like the way they taste when you buy them.......drink them up. St. Francis is a good producer, especially their Merlots and Zins.

Enjoy your weekend. Sorry this was a little late today.

Cheers and drink something good.

Vaya Con Dios. Keith Olbermann is still a prick.


Anonymous said...

I'm going with the assumption that you know a lot about wine. I know very little. Which is embarrasing considering the line of work I'm in. I always get wine as a gift and my house is full of wine. I always felt guilty about opening them for some reason. There is one I really like called Wolf Blass Cab 2006. Turns out it is the cheapest wine of them all. Have you ever had it? If so did you like it? What other wines are similar to it? Also I can't tast any of the flavors you describe in your wines of the week? Do I have a shitty palette? By the way I was the guy that bitched at you for your Stanley Tire review. Great blog keep it up.

Anonymous said...

$30 a glass!?!?!?!!??!! Ridic!

JOCOeveryman said...

Wine is a passion. Wolf Blass is nice. I've had it quite a few times. That is from Australia so if you want to stay in that country you could try brands like Penfolds Rawson's Retreat, Rosemount Diamond Series or McWilliams Hanwood Estate and even the Greg Norman wines are pretty good. I'd stay away from the Yellow Tail, Black Swan, Little Boomey, stuff like that.

As far as picking up flavors goes, it is a bit of a trained skill. Of course you have to know what cassis smells like to say it smells like that, right? But just start by asking yourself if it smells like fruit, wood, or earth and then try to break it down further from there. The better tasters can make finer distinctions. So instead of saying it just smells like fruit you can say it smells like black fruits, or dried fruits, or red fruits and then instead of just red fruits is it strawberries or bing cherries....see what I mean?

Mostly though, if you like wine just figure out what you like about it and that is perfectly fine...whatever that is....for me it makes chicks easier...ha!

Open those bottles and enjoy. I'm sure you have some good ones but most people prefer younger wines to old ones.

I appreciated your comments on Stanley Tire. I thought they were fair. Thanks for reading the blog.

JOCOeveryman said...

Yes, indeed $30 a glass is crazy but it was the holidays and I decided I was gonna check it out.