Wine Review: 2013 Syrah, Blackstone

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This is both the first wine from Blackstone and the first Syrah I have tried.

Blackstone wine is not particularly pricey but it is very good.  I think this bottle was about $9.00.

First impressions, I don’t know if all Syrah is this way but the one from Blackstone is a very soft red wine.  It opens with a little kick but mellows quickly with a long, smooth finish. Think dark fruit and smooth coffee.

Blackstone Syrah is an easy drinking wine that causes the bottom of the bottle to appear all too quickly.

You may have noticed that I review a lot of red blends of which Syrah is often a key ingredient.  In the blends it can be difficult to isolate the individual varietals but tasting the Syrah by itself I can now recognize it as the predominate flavor in many of the blends that I really like.

Incidentally, Syrah is made from the exact same grape as Shiraz.  I reviewed a Shiraz awhile back and, if my memory serves, Xavier said it was crass (the wine, not my review).  I see now that crass is an accurate description. Shiraz wears sunglasses indoors and swears in front of children. Syrah speaks in complete sentences and reads books that have more words than pictures.

I don’t know why Syrah isn’t more popular. In fact, Blackstone is the only option for Syrah at my neighborhood store, and maybe that says more about the store than the varietal, but I would love to see more options nonetheless.

If you know of any good ones, please leave your recommendations in the comments section below.

Wine Review: Red Blend, 7 Moons

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Seemingly out of nowhere, this wine just appeared in the feature sale bin at my neighborhood liquor store. It also showed up at the one gas station in our local area that is allowed to sell wine.

The label was cool so naturally we bought it.

This seems to be the only wine available from 7 Moons.

www.7moonswine.com

7 moon swine

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With regard to flavor, this is one of my all time favorites.  It’s so good, I want to pour it in a Big Gulp cup and take it with me to work.

It is entirely possible that 7 Moons may have sold their soul to the devil for this wine recipe. Smooth with luscious cherries, chocolate, vanilla and a nice amount of oak. If I had known that red wine could be this good I would’ve started drinking it years ago.

I don’t know how to score wine but if I did, I would give it a D for devilishly good.

This deliciousness comes at price though, and it’s more than $11.99.

The trade off is that, even after only one glass, I woke up with a truly horrific red wine headache… three times.

It tastes so good that I almost don’t care but if red wine gives you headaches, this is not your huckleberry.

Wine Review: 2014 Riesling, 14 Hands Winery

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It had been a long time since we tried a Riesling so I decided give 14 Hands another shot. What can I say? I’m a sucker for wine that has horses on the label.

Interesting factoid: a “hand” is a unit measurement equal to 4 inches and this is how we measure the height of horses. Measuring from the ground to the top of the withers, we say that a horse is x number of hands tall. What is special about the measurement of 14 hands is that it is the diving line between a horse and a pony. Under 14 hands is a pony and over 14 hands is a horse.

Another interesting factoid is that 14 Hands Winery is located in Washington State. I can’t help but wonder if my friend, Kricket, who does not like the taste of California, would favor the taste of Washington?

So anyway, back to the wine.

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I read somewhere that the taste of wine, Riesling in particular, will change in accordance to the music that is being played. The blogger conducting the experiment was using classical music and concluded that, while everyone else in the room thought she was crazy, her Riesling really did taste better when she listened to Mozart.

Well, I dunno about that so I decided to conduct my own experiment.

First up, enjoying my Riesling with Pearl Jam Unplugged.

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First impressions: this Riesling is pretty good, very crisp with lots of apple flavor.

When Xavier and I first started buying wine, I was totally clueless, but he said that he liked Riesling so that’s what we got. It was one of the segues that lead to our new hobby.

Wine is fine with Pearl Jam.

But…

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How would it be with Gillian Welch?

My honest opinion is that it was better with Gillian Welch. It is also no secret that I favor Gillian Welch over Pearl Jam in personal preference.

As for why this is, well, the science is subjective at best but I have some theories.

Ever heard of Masaru Emoto?

He conducted experiments on how water reacts to various types of stimuli like praying to it, saying nice or mean things to it, and even playing music for it. He would then freeze the water and photograph the ice crystals.

Sure enough, water from the same source would produce distinctly different crystals in accordance to the stimuli that it was exposed to.

Please check out the link above to see how the water was affected by different types of music.

Now, before you go assuming that Pearl Jam is just a lot of hard rock music so of course it would cause the water to be in a state of disarray, I would also like to point out that Gillian Welch will never write the feel good song of the summer. Most of her stuff is pretty dark in it’s own way.

In any case, wine is mostly water and so are you and I. It makes sense that one of the reasons why we would like a certain type of music or a particular artist is because of a harmonious connection between our dominant state and the vibration of the music. If the wine was also moving and grooving in a harmonious vibration it only seems natural that we interpret it as tasting better.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

Wine Review: 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Hands Winery

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On a Sunday afternoon, Xavier and I went to lunch at a local restaurant called La Paz. It’s right up the street from our all time fave, Cacique, and we thought it would be fun to try a new place.

We thought wrong.

La Paz is why restaurants outside of New Mexico should not serve food they don’t understand.  Additionally, the service was terrible. It took an hour to get our food and the food we finally got was mediocre at best.

Speaking of mediocre, the wine list was also laughable. Featuring such fine selections as Sutter Home White Zinfandel and Bare Foot Pinot Noir, I seriously considered just ordering an iced tea but then I saw one choice that looked promising: 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon.

I had never tried it but I knew that 14 Hands wine usually cost more than $6 at the store so it was the creme de la creme so to speak.

This glass of wine was quite delightful and, were it not for it’s presence, we probably would have left when the waiter came to apologize for the 45 minute wait, explaining that the kitchen had sent our food to the wrong table, and promising that our lunch would be delivered eventually.

Despite the underwhelming nature of the restaurant, I really did enjoy the wine so I decided to get a bottle of my very own.

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I wish this story got better but, well, it kinda doesn’t.

There was something amiss about the bottle I bought. While it generally tasted alright, it smelled weird.

Perhaps I should rephrase. I thought it smelled weird.  Xavier said, “That’s what Cabernet Sauvignon smells like.”

He thought it smelled fine.

Oddly enough, I thought it tasted alright just as long as I didn’t sniff the top of the bottle. Overall though, I liked the wine I had in the restaurant better than the bottle I brought home.

The restaurant wine was dark and smooth, very full bodied and pleasantly woody with a good amount of oak.

Maybe I got a dud bottle. I’m sure it happens from time to time.

Wine Review: 2014 California Red Wine, Black Ink

 

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Xavier and I went to dinner at the Macaroni Grill and we each ordered a $12 glass of Black Ink California Red Wine.  The menu described it as tasting like licorice and caramel. I guess you could say that but I doubt I would’ve come up with it on my own.

We really liked it though so the next day we went out and spent $12.99 on a bottle of our very own.

Did I mention that we paid $12 a glass at the restaurant?

This is my argument for drinking at home.

Xavier opened the bottle that night so I didn’t notice until just now that the cork has an octopus on it.

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The octopus is the most intelligent of the invertebrate creatures and pretty much the most awesome thing that lives in the ocean.

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As for the wine, it is nicely balanced; oak and dark fruit.

The label describes it as mysterious and that is the best adjective of all.

This wine is very good and all too easy to keep drinking while trying to conjure descriptive words to describe it’s awesome flavor.

We managed not to kill the whole bottle in one night and by that I mean there might be half a glass left.

I got dibs.

 

Wine Review: 2014 Angel Food, Cupcake

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Xavier says this is not an angel.

“But how do you know,” I ask, “have you met many angels?”

“Does an angel send you selfies?”

He still says it’s not an angel.

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I have to say that there is absolutely nothing about this wine from Cupcake Vineyards that resembles angel food cake.

Not even a little bit.

I would also like to point out that the wine is called Angel Food and not Angel Food Cake. Ergo, you will not see me getting all butt hurt because it doesn’t taste like cake.

You know, just sayin’.

To the contrary, the first sips taste very strongly of granny smith apple. If the label read “Apple Wine”, I wouldn’t have even questioned it.

One of these days I’ll learn to open the wine prior to when I want to drink it.

The reason I say that is because after half an hour or so, somewhere in the 2nd glass, the flavor did mellow out considerably and the sweeter, softer qualities began to come through.

The label describes it as a “creamy mouthful”, which is an unfortunate choice of words, but I concur that after it’s been open for awhile, Angel Food, is indeed creamy and slightly sweet.

Xavier particularly likes white wines that have these types of qualities and when I asked him what he thought it tasted like he said, “It tastes like the past tense.  We need to get another bottle.”