2007 McRitchie Ring of Fire

2007 McRitchie Ring of FirePrice: $18.00 @ McRitchie Winery

What They Said:

Per Appellation America “McRitchie’s Ring of Fire Red, “our tribute to the man in black” (Johnny Cash), is a juicy blend of bright fruit, brimming with flavors of black and red currants, hints of blueberry, licorice and black cherry. This lively red is already drinking well, with its youthful fruit, good balance and structure – which might allow it to age with interest, but it is so tasty now, why wait?”

What I Think:

(12.3%) Hailing from North Carolina McRitchie is as well known for their ciders as their wines. This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is their tribute to Johnny Cash. On pulling the cork this one was showing some resin on the nose and palate but it blew off after an hour or so. Once it did you find tart, dark fruits with mint on the nose. The palate shows bright, dark fruits (cherry, currant) with soft cedar behind and a tinge of mineral. The oak here is evident but well managed. Soft and food friendly with just a bit of heat on a lingering finish with soft tannins. My first wine from North Carolina (courtesy of @wineaccguy) and a promising effort.

Rating: Interesting

How about you? Had a wine from North Carolina? If so what did you think?

2007 Roustabout Meritage

2007 Roustabout MeritagePrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the bottle “With silky tannins and exceptional texture, this wine opens with notes of black cherries, wild blueberries and cigar box, finishing with nuances of dark chocolate and espresso. Serve with food made by your own hand. Decant for up to an hour.”

What I Think:

Yet another find from the folks over at the Central Coast Wine Warehouse. Looking at the blend percentage I once again start dreaming of a follow-up to the Franc Merlot. Could it deliver on that potential? Let’s check the notes…

(14%) 56% Cabernet Franc, 26% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Verdot, 2% Malbec – Dark purple in color with brown sugar, blackberry fruit and spice on the nose. This one starts smooth with juicy blueberry flavors and silky tannins. Towards the middle the fruit turns jammy and slightly sweet before starting to dry out with nice cedar notes. The finish shows sweet tobacco and dry, tangy tannins. A true successor (or as close as we can hope for) to the aforementioned Franc Merlot. This one is nice, warm and comforting. A wine well suited for a winter evening. I’m so close to loving this one… Just a bit more acidity to see this through on the finish and I am buying by the case. Despite that I’ll still be grabbing a few more on my next visit as this is a enjoyable wine for the price.

Rating: Buy It

*a quick footnote here that this is a review of the ’07. It looks like the ’08 may be available in some areas as well. I have yet to try that vintage. If you have let us know what you think!

2000 Chateau de Panigon Bordeaux

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Plume Ridge Wine Negotiants

What They Said:

“A Middle-class Vintage of very good level with a beautiful presence of the fruity matter. Today the flesh and the structure of the wine remain separate. The wine is still too young. The year 2000 is expressed here by fruity merlot as well with the nose in mouth. But the cabernet and its powerful structure are also quite present in mouth. It is necessary to wait a little so that very harmonizes itself.”

What I Think:

The other night when searching for a bottle to open for a night cap I found this bottle. Knowing that we were having beef tomorrow night I figured I would open it now and sample it while simultaneously giving it some time to breathe allowing it to show the best it had to offer come dinnertime the next day. All in all I wasn’t impressed. Not that this was a bad wine, it seemed quite nice. As I have yet to have that eye opening experience with Boudreaux perhaps I am still not clear on how one is to be appreciated. $7 for this bottle seems fair but I would be tempted to look for better, especially from this vintage which was suppose to be a knockout. This effort showed aromas of dark fruit with floral undertones lingering on top of spicy barrel notes. On the palate the same suspects were present thought the fruit seemed a bit on the thin side. I wonder what the blend ratio on this one is. From the information I found it seems to be a Cab/Merlot but I couldn’t track down any specifics on the percentages. If I had to guess I would say 70% Cab given that it seemed a bit on denser side though the nice tannins on finish left the subject open to debate.

The write-up above mentioned that it needed time to integrate. I think it had enough. With more air it seemed to unravel which is the opposite of what I am used to. It actually seemed to get worse by the day as I continually found myself saying it seemed more complex yesterday. It makes me wish I would have taken better notes the first evening. As this one is to expensive for a 12th bottle so unless you are really craving a Boudreaux I’d have to say “Skip It”. It did remind me that I have to grab one of those bottles of Chateau Laborde out of the cellar; they’ve been down there for a while now and as this wine shows; older doesn’t always mean better

Rating: Skip It

2004 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table

Price: $25.00 @ Adventures In Wine

What They Said:

Per the winery “This is our most popular wine and for good reason. It is such a rich, yet easy drinking red wine that can be paired with the broadest range of foods. The Zinfandel component pairs beautifully with zesty Italian fare. The Bordeaux varieties scream for hearty beef dishes. While the Pinot Noir makes the Abbot’s Table perfect with lamb and game. Of course, the Syrah and Grenache work masterfully with spicy cuisine. Then again, the Abbot’s Table just tastes great by itself.

Abbot’s Table is inspired by what the English call Claret – a rich red blend from Bordeaux. The Anglo / Bordelais wine trade of Claret (Clairet or clear wine) dates back to medieval times when the wine was pale in color from a shorter time on the red skins (ours is definitely not light in color). More than half of the blend of Abbot’s Table is the Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc – it’s the non-traditional Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah that make this wine so drinkable.

Drink now or hold up to five years in your cellar. 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.6% Syrah, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Zinfandel, 4.5% Grenache, 3.4% Malbec, 3% Pinot Noir, 1.5% Counoise”

What I Think:

Allow me to reuse this intro posted when I had the 2005 a few weeks back; “I still remember the first time I had this wine. Chez Papa in Potrero Hill. We had some friends in from out of town and were asking the waitress for recommendations and she pulled this one on me. At the time, and to some degree still, I was skeptical of blends, this one perhaps more so because of the sheer variety of grapes. As I didn’t want to have to deal with the fall out of ordering a crappy bottle after turning down the recommendation I ordered it. Boy was I surprised. Shortly after that I found their distributor here in the bay area and grabbed a case.”

My experience with the 2005 was slightly on the disappointing side so I was curious to see whether my perception of the 2004 would suffer from a halo effect. With my mom in town and meat loaf on the table it seemed like the right time to find out. All I can say is “Wow”! This wine once again knocked my socks off. I am not sure where to even begin around what it is about this wine, there it so many layers and flavors that build to a complexity that make it difficult to describe. Fruit flavors seem to run the berry gamut from red all the way to the darkest. In the mouth these blend with hints of spice and smoky undertones to form a nice, rounded flavor profile. With every sip the wine keeps changing, with different fruits and flavors showing their colors. Can’t wait for the next bottle, still 8 more to go!

On a random side note that I almost opted to omit, I found it a bit disappointing that the winery doesn’t update the wine description on their site from year to year, I could be wrong but it appears that they just update the blend percentages…

Rating: Cellar It

2003 Caronne Ste Gemme – Haut-Medoc

Price: $17.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines The 2003 Caronne Ste. Gemme was awarded 4 Stars in the November 2006 Decanter blind tasting and 5 Stars from the prestigious Revue des Vins de France. According to Food & Wine magazine’s Wine Guide: ** (very good – distinctive) “Abundant fruit & herb flavors are competing for attention, but they’ll work it out in 3-12 years…” Clive Coates writes: “Good colour. Good plump fruit here on the nose. Very well-made. Medium to medium-full. Plenty of ripe, ample, stylish fruit. Good tannins. Plenty of grip. All very well put together. No undue astringency at all. Good plus. From 2008.” (June 2004)

What I Think:

Guess I should have read what they were saying above before popping the cork on this one…Day 1 this wine was not quite for me. After sitting for two days this seemed to be a whole different ball game, real dark fruit that lasted in the mouth for a long time before fading away to an herbal finish that lasts for a while. Hardly any tannins at all, aren’t wiines that need aging to “sort it out” usually laced with tannins? Maybe they are there but surpressed by the lushness of the fruit, there is enough of it that it makes it is hard to hone in on any of them. Seems like on the lighter side there may be some cherries and certainly some darker fruit and just a hint of something spicier, seems like black pepper to me. At this point it was certainly a nice wine, would love to see what it does after a couple more years of lying down. Just not so sure I want to pay the price to find out. Don’t think so, but if I do I will change the rating.

Rating: Pricey

2005 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table

Price: $25.00 @ Adventures In Wine

What They Said:

Per the winery “This is our most popular wine and for good reason. It is such a rich, yet easy drinking red wine that can be paired with the broadest range of foods. The Zinfandel component pairs beautifully with zesty Italian fare. The Bordeaux varieties scream for hearty beef dishes. While the Pinot Noir makes the Abbot’s Table perfect with lamb and game. Of course, the Syrah and Grenache work masterfully with spicy cuisine. Then again, the Abbot’s Table just tastes great by itself.

Abbot’s Table is inspired by what the English call Claret – a rich red blend from Bordeaux. The Anglo / Bordelais wine trade of Claret (Clairet or clear wine) dates back to medieval times when the wine was pale in color from a shorter time on the red skins (ours is definitely not light in color). More than half of the blend of Abbot’s Table is the Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc – it’s the non-traditional Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah that make this wine so drinkable.

Drink now or hold up to five years in your cellar. 34.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Zinfandel, 9% Cabernet Franc, 7% Syrah, 6% Blaufrankish, 4.5% Sangiovese, 3% Pinot Noir, 3% Grenache and 1% Malbe”

What I Think:

I still remember the first time I had this wine. Chez Papa in Potrero Hill. We had some friends in from out of town and were asking the waitress for recommendations and she pulled this one on me. At the time, and to some degree still, I was skeptical of blends, this one perhaps more so because of the sheer variety of grapes. As I didn’t want to have to deal with the fall out of ordering a crappy bottle after turning down the recommendation I ordered it. Boy was I surprised. Shortly after that I found their distributor here in the bay area and grabbed a case. This was for the 2004.

When the 2005 came out I grabbed another case without even trying a bottle first. So when I popped the cork on the first one I must admit that I was slightly disappointed. Was it a good bottle of wine, certainly but where were the nostalgic feelings! As you can see with the build up here I may have been looking a little “too” forward to it. So I am going to give this bottle a rating of “Pricey” even though I have 11 more. Here’s to hoping the next bottle puts a smile on my face! The good news it that I am relatively sure that will be the case.

Rating: Pricey