2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve

This wine is the equivalent of a long time friend. We can not talk for ages but once we do we can pick up right where we left off. Made by the Perrin brothers, the owners of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone (and involved more locally with Tablas Creek) this has long been on of my go to wines. That said this was my first experience with the 2009, what did I find?

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone ReservePer wine.com “A sensational bargain, the 2009 Perrin et Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve red is composed of 60% Grenache (from the estate vineyards at Prebois), 20% Syrah (from the estate vineyards in Vinsobres), and 20% Mourvedre. It offers lots of black cherry fruit, underbrush, licorice, pepper, and spice notes in a medium-bodied, richly fruity style with no hard edges. Their 2008 was a surprisingly good effort, but the 2009 is slightly riper and bigger.” 89pts, The Wine Advocate

What I Think:

(13.5%) 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre – A classic Rhone blend this is a tried and true value wine. Like the CdP efforts this one is predominately Grenache and starts ripe and juicy with pomegranate, cherry, raspberry and spiced red licorice on the palate. From there the acidity dries turning this one meaty, earthy and rustic before a short peppery finish. That said overall this one is bright, fruity, spicy and delicious. Should only get better with age to boot…

Wine Geek Notes: 87pts Wine Spectator, 89 pts Wine Advocate, 75,000 cases made

Rating: Buy It (I’m leaning towards grabbing 6+ bottles for some short term cellaring)

2008 Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap Red

2008 Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap RedPrice: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

Per Wine Enthusiast (via K&L) 89 points and a Best Buy: “A nose of red fruit, spice and violet is followed by fresh but lush aromas of cherries, blackberries and a touch of smoke and dark chocolate. Smooth and integrated, with a pretty, aromatic character.” (11/09)

What I Think:

And my South African wine adventure continues. I had a chance to taste the ’09 version of this one, a blend of 68% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 2% Viognier, at the tasting event I recently attended and had this to say; “Nice bright red fruits and spices. It struck me as a perfect grilling wine.” How did the ’08 pan out?

Smoky and spicy upfront on the nose this one is lively on the palate showing sour cherry and red berry flavors with a tannic acidity taking over before an earthy, black pepper finish leaves your mouth lingering with dry, herbal, chocolate notes. The above makes it sound as if I liked the wine more than I did. I actually found it slightly disjointed which runs counter to the Wine Enthusiast review which called this one “well integrated”. Looks like many of the folks over at CellarTracker agree with me as it has a community rating of 85.4 (vs. WE 89). For me, I didn’t do it side by side but, I remember liking the ’09 more. That said I prefer this to the Porcupine Ridge Syrah but neither compare to the Kanonkop Kadette which is easily still my favorite new discovery.

That’s it for the reds I grabbed the first time around. Perhaps I’ll pickup some more soon. If you have any recommendations let me know. Anyone had the Goats du Roam lately? Remember that one being nice vintages ago…

Rating: Pricey

2008 Porcupine Ridge Syrah

Price: $9.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

2008 Porcupine Ridge SyrahPer K&L Wines: 89 points Wine Enthusiast: “This Syrah has a rustic but elegant nature: aromas of raspberry, black pepper, smoked sausage and cloves prevail, while full-bodied but integrated flavors of anise, pepper and berry follow. The wine is robust but has a velvety character and a spicy finish.” (11/09) And, according to Wine Spectator: “Fresh, with an iron note running through the black tea, braised fig and dark cherry fruit notes. There’s a nice plush edge to the open-knit finish. Drink now.” (12/09)

What I Think:

Fresh off the heels of my South African tasting adventures I headed over to K&L Wines to pick up some Wolftrap & Man Vinters Chenin Blanc. Alas they were out of both. Fortunately they had this one which was recommended courtesy of @winewithjameson (who shared some excellent pictures from the winery to boot!). So what did we have here…

A bit green with hot stewed plums on the nose. The oak is apparent on the palate with unripe brambly, berry fruits up front that fall apart as the acidity becomes a bit overbearing on the mid palate. This wine is juicy and spicy throughout with a sharp finish showing black pepper while oscillating between hot and dry. The bottle already showed a healthy bit of sediment on the finish leading me to believe this one was unfiltered. A quality offering, with characteristics you can’t find in something like the 12 Apostles, but still not quite worthy of a repeat for me. That said my thirst for tasting more of the wines from South Africa remains. Stay tuned for more as the World Cup is less than three weeks away!

Rating: Pricey

NV Warre’s Warrior Porto

Price: $11.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

Per the winery “Warrior is the oldest mark of Port in the World, having been shipped continuously since the 1750s. The traditional style has been maintained over the years and is today a classic full-bodied wine with wonderful richness and balance. Aged in seasoned oak casks for 4 to 5 years before being drawn off and bottled following a light filtration. Warrior Special Reserve is ready for immediate drinking and does not require any decanting or ageing. Warre’s Warrior is a classic Special Reserve with dark, intense fruit – a superb Port in the traditional style and one of the finest available for everyday drinking.”

What I Think:

As mentioned with the dinner party I have had another scenario to envision, what to do with dessert wines? I have these around just for these occasions when we actually serve dessert, truth be told I am not and don’t hope to be a connoisseur in this area. My wife actually cares for them more than I do. On occasion, I’ll have one while out tasting or get one in a wine club shipment but barring that I am just scanning the bottles at TJ’s that is cost effective and hope inspiring, that is how this bottle ended up in the house.

Warre’s is part of the Symington Family Estates that is known for bottlings such as Dow’s and Graham’s. It is made from a blend of traditional Portuguese varieties from the Douro Valley though no percentages are listed here, bummer. With these grapes approximately 20% brandy is added to the mix to get us the final product which is kept in the barrel for five years. In the glass it has that ruby tint that one would expect, in the mouth it has the richness you are accompanied to be seems to lack the intensity and depth that I have come to know. This one seems on the lighter side with cherry-ish flavors riding on top of the oak from the barrel. These two aren’t all that well integrated which leaves the taste of brandy and tannins the dominate forces at the end. If there is one thing I need from my ports it is a lingering, enjoyable taste lasting long after I have put the glass down, this one doesn’t deliver. I don’t think it is worth the money, there surely must be cheaper/better port available.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Marques de Caceres Rioja Dry White Wine

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

Per wine.com “Very clear and bright straw colour. Aromas of pears, white flowers and mineral notes come through on the nose. Very pleasant in the mouth where delicious flavours of pears and apples blend with finesse with this wine’s fresh racy character. Very good length.”

What I Think:

Hmm, guess I should have looked at these labels along time ago. For at least three years I thought that these bottles were from Marques de Riscal. In this process of this discovery I also once again was amazed at the values TJ’s can offer, this bottle is on sale for $7.99 (from $9.99) on wine.com

Once I sorted that out I needed to figure out exactly what Viura grapes were all about as this one is 100% Viura grapes. It turns out that this is the same grape used to make Cava, interesting. I started off with this one too cold again, after some nice hand rubbing it began to show some character. First thing you notice in the mouth is that it has a nice weight/texture on the tongue. The mid-palate reminds you of everything refreshing. It is fresh, simple and crisp before it fades to a tangy, lemony finish that is quite tart, it make you almost pucker. Initially it reminds me of a poor man’s sauvignon blanc and I get to thinking about what it would look like next to the Kono bottling from New Zealand. The Kiwi offering sure has a lot more versatility. We had this one with seafood and I wouldn’t want to pair it with much else. Given that I know the Kono is better, but by how much? Enough to justify the cost?

I asked my wife what she thought and before I told her the price she said she would buy it again, when I told her the price, she said no doubt! I wasn’t quite as excited as she was but this will obviously find its way home again as she does more of the shopping than I do.

There is still some left in the bottle as I type this, should there be any changes I will be sure to pass them along.

Rating: 12th Bottle