NV Sokol Blosser Evolution

As mentioned I’m in Oregon on vacation and looking to sample the local offerings. To be honest this one is cheating as I had it a few days before I left. That said still looking for my first favorite. Perhaps time to try some Pinot!

NV Sokol Blosser EvolutionPrice: $13.99 @ Sokol Blosser*

What They Said:

Per Sokol Blosser “Every new bottling has its own subtle and fresh personality. The 9 grapes tie together perfectly, creating a smooth, layered white wine that can hold its own or stand up to just about any food pairing you dare to serve it with. It is extraordinarily food-friendly, from light salads to the hottest fusion-style cuisine. Regarding the question we’re most often asked: ‘Were you trying to do this or did your leftovers happen to work well together?’ We’ll let the success of Evolution speak for itself.”

What I Think:

(12%) A blend of Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sylvaner (no percentages available) – Made from nine grapes this is a varietal hodgepodge and strangely enough my initial thought once this hit the palate was of Viognier which happens to be one of the varietals not in this wine. Rich with a heavier body than expected this one is loaded with sweet peach flavors rounded out with guava, papaya and more. The finish shows more of the same with fading tropical fruit flavors and just a touch of spice. It’s missing the acidity I prefer which makes it seem a bit flabby at points. Made to match with spicy foods and I agree it is an apt pairing. Otherwise if you don’t typically like whites, or prefer them lower on the acidity side, this may be right up your alley. (39,950 cases made)

Rating: Not for Me

*This bottle of wine was received as a press sample.

2006 Rosenblum Rust Ridge Napa Valley Chardonnay

Price: $20.00 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “This beautiful vineyard sits at 1,000 feet in elevation on a ridge above eastern Napa Valley. Planted in the 1970’s it is a part of a small sub-appellation of Napa known as Lower Chiles Valley. This wine shows fresh green apple and key-lime pie with elements of flint and spice. It pairs well with pan-seared trout, fettuccine alfredo, or roasted fowl. Drink now or cellar 1–3 years”

What I Think:

We opened this one up to pair with the cheese plate before dinner on New Year’s Eve. For those that don’t frequent this site a few quick disclaimers. 1) Whites aren’t my favorite so I have a bias to ranking them towards mediocrity. 2) Chardonnay is at the bottom of the list for whites. Now back to this bottle. It was one of the two Rosenblum wines we opened to welcome in 2008. Overall I would describe it as light, not robust in the fruit department and lacking the typical heavy butter notes that I associate with California Chardonnay. That said, at $20 you wouldn’t find me buying this again, this Martin was far better and adds a fiver to your wallet. I likely wouldn’t buy this for $10 either, even at a lower price I may just try my luck searching for gem at TJ’s.

Rating: Not for Me

NV Rosenblum “Desiree”

Price: $18.00 @ Friend/Gift

What They Said:

Per the winery “To produce this wine, a selection of fortified wines from different regions and different vintages were evaluated. The blend that combined the most intense and most chocolate characteristics was chosen. We have special liquid chocolate syrup that is put together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for us that will coalesce with the blended wine to enhance the flavors of chocolate, coconut and vanilla in the wine that is already geared for being a great chocolate experience.

The fortified wines that make up this blend are Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz, and Zinfandel. These are wines that are kissing cousins in terms of flavor and intensity. In addition they bring together both the new and the old world with varietals that are famous for dessert wines.”

What I Think:

Ah, another dessert wine and a chocolate one at that. When I started this endeavor I at least hoped to establish some expertise in the wine area, dessert wines weren’t even a consideration I didn’t even know that chocolate dessert wines existed. That is my main reason for posting this, so that you would realize that as well.

This wine seems to have the same general idea as a port. The wine portion is made of some of the Portuguese varietals along with Zinfandel. It isn’t clear whether brandy is included but as it is fortified it must be. Wonder what the mix is between wine, brandy and chocolate. This certainly is an interesting character, couldn’t be richer in the mouth. For me, not a huge chocolate fan, I had a hard time getting past these overpowering flavors to get to anything more nuanced. Perhaps I should have tried to chill this a bit, I do like chocolate milk. Given that my guests usually loved it, it was worth having around. If you know someone who loves eating chocolate while drinking wine it may be the perfect gift.

Rating: Not for Me

2000 Navarro Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $22.80 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “It’s rich and chewy with whiffs of cedar, mint and tobacco; a great match for slowly simmered Sauerbraten. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.”

What I Think:

This was the second bottle from that aforementioned dinner party, so while I am operating mainly from my general perceptions of what this wine was like rather than the detailed insight I usually hope (hope being the key word) to provide. My general impression on this wine is that I blew it! I should have emailed Ed over at Navarro to see if this one was ready for drinking like he recently told me to do with my ’97 Pinots. This one was certainly not quite as hoped, it had yet to round out and most of the fruit seem closed. I thought with some time maybe it would open up but it didn’t occur. Perhaps I caught it at a bad time; it seems likely that I should have let it lie longer. What I do remember is waiting for the fruit; the winery wrote that they declassified the majority of this vintage so perhaps that does some of the explaining for me. They gave this wine a slogan of “Slow Motion”; I should have kept that in mind when I want to grab it!

Rating: Not for Me

1999 Whitethorn Alder Springs Vineyard

Price: ??? not sure as it was a gift.

What They Said:

Closest I could find here was on the wine list at Acquerello for $60.

What I Think:

We got this for out wedding back in October of 2003. We had the wine with turkey meat loaf with mashed yams and green beans. The blend is 56% Cabernet and 44% Merlot. I have tried many blends but this is one that I have never enjoyed all that much.  I am guessing if you like this style that this would be a bottle for you. On the nose, the blend works well. Some dark fruit without much tannin but it seems as soon as these two hit the tongue they begin doing battle. Which ones going to win? Not sure but the experience leaves something to be desired for me.

On a side note I think they only made this bottling for a single year as it was difficult to find any information on it. This winery seems to be renowned for their Pinot’s.

Rating: Not for Me

2004 Navarro Pinot Noir Methode Alancienne

Price: $25.00 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per Wine Spectator “My favorite Navarro Pinot of all time. High-toned black cherry and wild berry flavors are intense and concentrated, with hints of hazelnut and spice. Wonderful balance, focus and length. Should age well, too.” – James Laube, January, 10 2007 (92 points, $25)

What I Think:

The winery called this one the “Rural Legend”. I have tasted this back to 1996 and have a few cases worth of bottles from various years in my cellar. Perhaps a time to show that I am truly just a consumer. While Mr. Laube lauds it as the best ever I am pessimistic. Perhaps it will get better with age but for the time being this seems much “thinner” than what I am used to for this bottling. The typical flavor profile as I recall is intense cherry fruit towards the front that fades to a more herbal finish that lingers on. This one doesn’t quite seem to peak as high as I remember. That said, they deserve the benefit of the doubt on this one (as long as I don’t have to pay for another bottle).  I will taste it again when I go to their annual barbeque in August.

Rating: Not for Me (for the time being)