Wine Review: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Smoking Loon

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I picked this up on Friday night to celebrate another week of not killing anyone at the nations largest retailer of staplers. One can only take so much stapling idiocracy before it becomes necessary to turn the down the volume on the situation.

Enter stage left: Wine, wine, and more wine.

Xavier and I killed this bottle during the pilot episode of Game Of Thrones (we’re starting over from the beginning), which was so enthralling that I forgot to get any photos of the wine in a glass until the show, and dinner, were over.

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You can bet it was good though. We paired it with  bread-less cheeseburgers and asparagus.

The tasting notes describe it as having an aroma of spearmint but whoever wrote that was clearly chewing gum at the time. Give this Cabernet Sauvignon a few minutes to air out and open up and it is a wonderfully full bodied and smooth, slightly smoky, cab that tastes like gone.

To be clear, there is nothing minty about it.

Xavier said it gave him a bit of the red wine headache. I, however, slept the night away unscathed.

Smoking Loon is located in Chile as are many of my recent favorites. I think I’m beginning to see what Kricket was saying about other parts of the world tasting better than California.

In any case, Game Of Thrones reminded us that winter is, in fact, on it’s way and on Friday Xavier told the head Staplers that we are moving to New Mexico at the end of the year, effectively letting the cat out of the bag and bringing us one step closer to making our exit.

I won’t mind leaving this place before winter arrives.


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Wine Review: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Casillero del Diablo

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Straight from the Devil’s locker.

The direct translation of Casillero is “pigeon hole” or “locker”.

From their website, I would guess that they are making reference to the Devil’s personal collection but let’s not get caught up on semantics.

It’s no secret that Xavier and I eat at  Cacique a lot. I mean a lot.

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I’ve had this Cabernet Sauvignon twice at Cacique and still liked it enough to get a bottle of my very own.

Caserillo del Diablo doesn’t mess around.  This is the best Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve had. It’s got just the right amount of everything: right amount of oak, right amount of fruit, right amount of smooth finish, and generally the right amount of awesome.

I often find Cab to be a little full bodied, too bold, too much upper cut to the upper palate, but Caserillo del Diablo is not like that at all.  It’s silky smooth and seriously dangerous. The bottle disappears very easily.

Other pertinent facts: NO red wine headache.

This is the first wine from Chile that I’ve had and I have to say that maybe Kricket is onto something.  Chile tastes good.  

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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: 2012 Crianza Rioja, LAN

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Despite disagreeing with Kricket about California wine being inherently flawed, she has still been successful in peaking my interest in what she refers to as “Old World Wines”.

Xavier and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Cacique.  

Cacique is special to us for a number of reasons. We went to dinner there during my first trip out here to visit. We’ve taken my cousin and his wife there when they were passing through town and we’ve also treated my mom to a dinner at Cacique when she came out to see us. Most notably, we dined at Cacique after our wedding.

So anyway, we had dinner at Cacique, again.

I used to always order a Margarita but this time I asked for the wine list.

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I chose the Enate Tempranillo and it was fer-damn-delicious.

There was a depth and a spiciness to the flavor (enhanced by the incredible salsa at Cacique) that I have yet to come across in my wine adventures.

Xavier said something luke warm like, “Meh, it’s ok.” but I was hooked and wanted more. On the way home I requested a field trip to the Frederick Wine House in search of my very own bottle of Enate Tempranillo.

On a side note, the next day my online bank statement read, “FREDERICK WINE HO”, which I thought was funny.

C’mon, it’s a little funny.

As it turns out, they did not have what I was looking for so I picked another Spanish wine made from Tempranillo grapes, 2012 Crianza Rioja from LAN.

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The following night we had it with dinner.

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Naturally, it was a little bit different than the Enate Tempranillo, but the LAN Rioja still had the depth and the spice coupled with a silky smoothness that makes it very drinkable.

I truly enjoyed this wine, with no adverse side effects, but Xavier started getting a headache almost immediately. Well, you know what that means…  More for me!

I’ve heard a rumor that Tempranillo grapes will grow in New Mexico. In fact, there is a winery in Albuquerque growing them right now and I am already making plans for my future garden.

If Maynard from Tool can grow anything at all on the side of a hill in Arizona, I can surely grow some Tempranillo grapes in New Mexico, right?

Sure.

Wine Review: Big Red Blend, Dark Horse

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My friend, Kricket, says that she avoids California wine because she doesn’t like the way the ground tastes.

I’m not sure I can relate but let’s run with it anyway. Every time I’ve been to California it leaves me with a renewed light in my heart for New Mexico. Visiting California makes me glad to go home.

But what does California taste like?

Some may argue that it smacks of Botox and carbon monoxide, I would suggest that the benefit to holding such an opinion is in being overheard expressing it by an impressionable fool.

Kricket is not a fool but she thinks what she thinks so I decided to conduct an experiment by trying a wine that is mostly not from California.

Still being on my Dark Horse kick, Big Red Blend was my choice for venturing out into the world of unfamiliar grapes. That’s right, foreign grapes in serious danger of being deported, were brought together in a harmonious blend proving that, despite the varying color of our grape skins, we can in fact all get along.  There is Spanish Tempranillo, Chilean Cab, and Argentinean Malbec in this mix. Coupled with Merlot, Syrah, and Petite Verdot, Dark Horse Big Red Blend is a tall glass of feisty wine ready to pair up with any meal.

We had it with salmon burgers and giant heaps of steamed broccoli.

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I enjoyed the Big Red Blend.  It’s a little bolder than the Pinot Noir (which is my reigning favorite) but still has an enjoyable flavor once you figure out how to drink it.

Xavier and I used our round glasses with the green stems. We bought them at Goodwill for the purpose of enjoying a cold glass of Moscato on the patio during the hot and steamy summer nights here in Easterville. To me, they vaguely resemble cacti and are tacky for sure but they are not the right shape for optimizing a bold red wine.

What I mean by that is if you allow this wine to splash up into the ceiling of your mouth it delivers a bit of an upper cut to the upper pallet. This is really easy to do in a glass of this shape.  If you use a glass with a more narrow opening, it facilitates taking a sip as opposed to a swig.  In this instance, the Big Red Blend goes down smooth like butter.

When asked what he thought of it, Xavier said, “It is reminiscent of DayQuil but if you bought it again I would still drink it.”

Hey, I can’t control what the Hubz says but I thought it was pretty good and never once considered using it as a substitute for cold medicine. As for whether or not it tastes “un-Californian”, I honestly couldn’t say but I would certainly buy it again and would be happy if I went to a party where it was being served.