Tonight Natalie and I went to our first wine tasting event at Binny's. It was a little overwhelming (i.e. crowded), but there were a lot of great wines that we got to taste (and buy). We had to hustle to get there, getting soaked in the rain in the process.
We rated the wines with a minus for those we didn't like, one star for good, two for very good and three for excellent. I'll run down the list in order with comments.
2003 Mumm Cuvee "M" — $15.99 — Wonderful strawberry fruitiness on the finish, not overly dry or sweet. Perfect balance. Can't wait to sip on a warm summer night. We bought two bottles.
2004 Rosenblum San Francisco Bay Zinfandel — $15.99 — Puts the jam in jammy. Shockingly fruity on the palette, but softens to a peppery complexity. We bought two. Great value. High alcohol content, but it didn't come through at all.
2003 Rosenblum Abba Vineyard Syrah — $18.99 — Also jammy. I preferred, though Natalie liked the Zin better. Nice.
N/V Merryvale Antigua 500ml — $34.99 — Great dessert wine. Hard to avoid splurging on this one, but we held strong. Moscato that competes with some of the better Italian Vin Santo's I've had.
2003 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon — $49.99 — Interesting berry/tannin relationship. A little too pricey.
2001 Katherine Kennedy Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon — $65.99 — Nice, big Cab. Opened up pretty well. A little pricey. Better buys out there.
2004 Quady Elysium 375 ml — Great dessert moscato. Reminds me of Bonny Door Vin de Glacier. Color of whiskey. Dewberry.
2003 Dashe Zinfandel — $21.99 — Jammy, peppery.
2003 Chiarello Petite Sirah — $39.99 — Exciting wine. Dark, dark purple color. Well-balanced fruit.
2003 Stolpman Hilltop Syrah— $34.99 — Good syrah, black fruit forward. Would buy under $20, but a little steep.
2003 Andretti Sangiovese — $17.99 — Bought one. Great sangiovese that is fruitier than Italian sangioveses without being cloying. Would go well with Bucatina al'Amatriciana.
2002 Bennet Lane Maximus — $27.99 — Good value wine. Meritage-style. Almost bought a bottle, but were getting too many bottles. Insignia Jr.
2005 Groth Sauvignon Blanc — $14.99 — Pineapple, citrus. As good as the best I've tasted from New Zealand. Light, but not wimpy. Bought two bottles.
2003 Duckhorn Merlot — $46.99 — Natalie liked this one a lot.
2002 Anderson Conn Valley Cab. Sauv. — $49.99 — One of the better Cabs I tasted. Priced fairly. Black fruit, pepper, tannins...nice.
2002 Stag's Leap Winery Petite Sirah — $29.99 — Almost a three-star. Dark, garnet color. Good fruit.
2003 B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cab. Sauv. — $16.99 — Great price for a pretty good, complex Cab. Hmmm.
2002 Merryvale Starmont Cab. Sauv. — $22.99 — See Cohn. Similar wines.
N/V Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut — $15.99 on sale — Solid domestic champagne. Dry.
N/V Mumm Blanc De Noir — $15.99 on sale — Solid blanc de noir. Not too memorable.
2002 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon — $19.99 — Decent Cab.
2004 Foxglove Chardonnay — $11.99 — Not overly oaked.
2003 Chariot Sangiovese — $11.99 — Good sangiovese. But not enough to unseat better, cheaper Italians like Antinori Santa Cristina.
2004 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir — $20.99 —Is it just me, or did Sideways way overhype Pinot Noir? This is fine, but it seems like there's so much of this quality out there, at prices that could buy much better bottles of other varietals.
2001 Andretti Merlot — $20.99 — one of the best merlots I tasted.
2003 Fritz Russian River Pinot Noir — $26.99 — Good, not great, pinot.
2002 Robert Craig Mt. Veeder Cab. Sauv. — $46.99 — Wasn't very opened up yet. Could be good with more aerating.
2003 Davis Family Zinfandel — $26.99 — Good, not great.
2001 Rombauer Cab. Sauv. — $32.99 — Good, not great.
2004 Wild Hog Pinot Noir — $25.99 — OK.
2001 Baldacci Cabernet Sauv. — $39.99 — Pretty good. Almost the next level. Could be priced better. Good fruit and tannin relationship.
2003 Paraduxx — $44.99 — Strong wine. Zin and Cab blend.
N/V Scharfenberger Brut — $16.99 — Pretty good, champagne style. Not overly dry.
2004 Simi Sauvignon Blanc — $9.99 — good value, but not overly exciting.
2001 Teanna Red — $34.99 — Was so crowded at this table that I couldn't find out what grapes were in this one. Pretty good.
2003 Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon — $15.99 — Not very complex. We've had their Pinot Noir and enjoyed it, but this was kind of boring and tasted like its price.
2003 Terlato Syrah — $32.99 — BLAH!
2004 Terlato Pinot Grigio — $21.99 — Color of water. Double blah says Natalie.
2003 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon — $13.99 — Not memorable.
2003 Calera Pinot Noir — $19.99 — Bad.
2004 Foxen Pinot Noir — $22.99 — Bordering on decent, but pretty boring.
2002 Seavey Cab. Sauv. — $69.99 — Does this have to aerate for a week to be decent? At this price, this wine should buy me dinner. Tannic, tight, could hardly finish. No fruit or complexity. Disappointing.
2002 Egelhoff Cab. Sauv. — $69.99 — Is there a trend at this year/price. Same critique as above.
2004 Saintsbury Chardonnay — $19.99 — Something not right here. Not corked, but close. Newspapery.
2003 Mer Soleil Chardonnay — $34.99 — Heard others raving about this. Was not impressed.
2001 Silver Oak Napa Cab. Sauv. Limited — $95.99 — Again, was tight, not open. Didn't play nice with palette. Needed to aerate. Call me in a week and we'll talk.
2004 Franciscan Chardonnay — $14.99 — Boring, oaky, blah!
2003 Robert Mondavi Napa Cab Sauv. — $20.99 — Boring.