Archive for December, 2011

19
Dec
11

In Pursuit of Juiciest Wine: Day 105 – Columbia-Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about the Columbia-Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. I’m been saying so much good about it. I’ve been comparing it to other cabs that cost twice as much or more, and saying the Columbia-Crest is just as good or better. I’ve been saying this is the best cab under $10. However, I’ve never really sat down with it and explored. It’s just an everyday wine to open, pour, and drink. But tonight the wine and I will have a conversation, and we will see, or taste, I’ve been speaking the truth.

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 on stand

The picture above shows the bottle in the craziest wine rack I’ve ever seen. My brother gave it to me for Christmas, which the family celebrated early this year. Isn’t it crazy?! It’s just a piece of wood with a hole and keeps its balance and holds the wine without tipping over. I’m really in awe of this rack. It’s amazing. When my brother gave it to me, I thought it might be a wine rack. The slanted cut of the whole indicated that, but I couldn’t figure out how it would work. I struggled to figure it out, but I could not. Then he showed me. I couldn’t believe it, and I still don’t.

But to the wine.

This cab is a blend. It’s 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and the remaining 5% is Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. I found that out from their notes, which you can download and read by clicking: Columbia-Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 notes.

The color is a dark purple, but it has hints of spry brightness, especially in the meniscus. It looks lively like it’s saying, “Hey man, don’t despair on this dark winter night with no snow to be seen for miles, even though there should be a foot or more of the lovely white. I come with the vigors of spring and the hooves of Pan.”

Pan with iPod

Adam Reeder's “Pan With His iPod”

The nose is simple, straight-forward, and not big or deep as you may expect from a cab, but it does have some darkness. I also get some vanilla and some other sweet smell, maybe chocolate. Oh, and some cassis.

I pick up tastes of chocolate and cherries and on the dry finish are some spices and maybe some clove. It’s kinda fruity, but I’m not sure what fruits, maybe a hint of melon and/or mango.

It’s really not complicated, but it’s quite good. Plus, it’s not very big, so it can pair well with many more foods. OH! and as mentioned before, it’s awesome with thai peanut curry sauce: https://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/perfect-thai-peanut-curry-sauce-cabernet-sauvignon-combo-compliment/.

I love this wine mainly because it’s so good for under $10. It’s not a 90 good, but it’s an 89. Go get.//

16
Dec
11

In Pursuit of Juiciest Wine: Day 104 – Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008Well, I could be reading submissions for Redactions or I could be drinking this Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, which someone gave 94 points. Man, I’ve got to try that, especially for only $17.

I went looking for images of this wine, and I noticed that some places were noting that this is a blend, but the percentages were different with each place. So I went to the Franciscan website and found the correct information. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 86%
  • Merlot 12%
  • Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbect 2%

(I’m not sure why they spelled “Malbec” with a “t” at the end, but they did.) To download some more information, click Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 PDF to read their PDF about the wine. While you are reading that, I’ll do the tasting.

The PDF says the color of this cab is Ruby red. I’ll agree. I’ll also point out how the meniscus is purple, like the purple you see on the horizon at sunset.

On the nose I first get plum, dark cherry, and vanilla. Then I get some mushrooms and toast. I can barely smell the cab franc, which always stands out to me.

Hm. All those grapes in the two percent are undermining this wine. The Merlot, however, is saving it. It’s like a battle between the juicy Merlot and the dark two percent, and the Cab is on the sidelines not sure which side to join.

As for tasting notes, I get pepper and mushrooms. It finishes with cassis, like the PDF says. It’s also dry on the finish. The more I sip, the drier it gets, but, also, the more some cherries come out. Juicy cherries. I think the Merlot is winning the battle. You know there is also some cola in there somewhere, too. Again, the more I sip the more chewy it gets, and the dryness sticks to the roof of the mouth.

This is such an interesting wine. It doesn’t know what it wants to do. It’s erratic except that it gets better with each sip. This would be good with some Chinese food. Something with pork. Like a pork in a plum sauce. Mmmmmmm. And fried rice. Or pork in a barbeque sauce.

I like this but not for the price. There are so many good cabs out there for less. I don’t know how anyone gave this 94 points, let alone over 90. I’d say like 89 or 88. I’d rather drink the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 for $8. Half the price and better. Don’t underestimate that Columbia Crest. I think I might be having an affair with that wine. You wouldn’t want to be seen with it in “good” company, but, man, it can show you a good time.

American Prayer is The Doors best album. It’s a great album. Can we still like The Doors? Yes, just like I enjoy Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.//

15
Dec
11

In Pursuit of the Juiciest Water: Day One (Brockport Tap Water Through Brita Filter)

The last dream I had before waking up this morning went something like this:

I was in a writing workshop in a PhD program somewhere. There were at least four people in the class. There was an invisible but obviously present student, who may have been Silas H. He sat to my left. There was a professor to the right. All I could see was his chest and his right arm. I think it was David Kirby, which would put me at Florida State University. And then there was another student. She may have been a TA or just a student that had been there for at least a year. She said we were going to do a creative writing exercise. She handed me a plastic cup of water. Translucent Plastic CupIt was one of those semi-transparent plastic cups that are gray in color. They have those ridges in the middle for grips, and the plastic is really thin. If you press to hard, you get those white fault lines in the cup. She said, “We are going to do a tasting. The first thing I want you to do is to smell its bouquet. What does the side of the water smell like to you, Tom?” I really enjoyed that she asked what the side of the water smelled like because I think the edge of the wine smells different from the inner part of the wine. I responded, “The edge of the water has a bouquet of air. I also pick up a hint of dryness or dustiness that reminds me of my second-grade classroom.”

Then the dream kinda evaporated. I think the point of the dream was to tell me that I was thirsty and I should get up and get a glass of water. My dreams do that sometimes. They give me clues to get up and get something to drink when I’m dehydrated, or they will give me clues to get up and go to the bathroom or to remember to breathe.

Then I thought, “Hey, I do wine tastings. Why not do a water tasting. And in the spirit of ‘In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine,’ I’ll do ‘In Pursuit of the Juiciest Water’.” I wonder if water can be juicy? Anyway, here we go.

Orange Brita Water PitcherToday’s water will be Brockport tap water that was chilled in an orange Brita water pitcher.

I’m serving this water in a white wine glass. It’s been breathing for about 15 minutes. The nose has a slight hint of wood or mustiness to it. It smells like the outdoors. There’s also an underlying layer of salt. It’s very, very faint. When I smell it, I think of a dirty glacier in northern Montana.

The texture at first is crisp, but that could be because it is cold, for as it warms it become more malleable and thick. It has a long finish that brightens in the mouth. My teeth feel like glass or cheap crystal. And there is a bit of a dryness on the side of the tongues. I wonder if this is what dirty glacier water tastes like. I mean, it tastes good, and it feels good, but I keep thinking of a glacier in Montana, but not the Glacier National Park. There’s another one, and it actually may be in northwest Washington. I think that’s what I’m thinking of. But I’m not thinking of the main glacier. I’m thinking of the snow on the top of the mountain that is slightly browned and is dripping off as it melts.

I like this morning’s water. I hope you do to.//

14
Dec
11

In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 103 – The Battle of the Lodi Zins: Plungerhead vs 7 Deadly Zins

All right. My first semester teaching Introduction to Creative Writing at SUNY Brockport has concluded. All the portfolios have been read, and I’ve turned in final grades. As a result, it’s time to celebrate.

As you may know, I love the Plungerhead Zinfandel. I wrote about it on day thirty-one of the juiciest wine tour. (Click here to read about it.) It’s my favorite, or was. Then I tried the 7 Deadly Zins. The foundation of both is remarkably quite identical, but the 7 Deadly Zins has a little extra going. There’s like a side show to it. So just to be sure and to fully enter that side-show, I will explore it with more detail by pitting Plungerhead Zinfandel 2009 against the 7 Deadly Zins 2008. In the end, there will be no losers because both are excellent.

Plungerhead vs 7 Deadly Zins

Normally, my competitions between wines starts by comparing the colors, because that’s where the wine begins. That’s the first thing you notice. But in this competition, there will be a comparison of corks. Let’s call it the weigh-in before the boxing match.

The Plungerhead has a rubber stopper for a cork. It’s tightly sealed in by some winding plastic. It opens easy, and there’s a slight pop to it when you pull out the stopper. I really enjoy these stoppers because they are simple, they don’t affect the taste of the wine, and they never break. They will be a great replacement for cork in this world with limited cork supplies. Plus, most important, you can save and reuse the rubber stoppers for a number of things, including capping other wine bottles after opening them. I like this because sometimes the corks just don’t fit in again, especially those solid hard plastic corks that pretend to look like they are made out of cork but are not, or those other corks with the sponge-like center and the hard plastic casing which never fit in the bottle again. So this cork is a bonus for sure.

The 7 Deadly Zins cork is your standard cork, which is perfectly admirable. Once you pull out a standard cork, you can tell you certain things about the wine, especially from the cork’s stained bottom. How dark is that stain? How far up the cork does it go? Can you stamp the back of your hand with the wet, stained bottom and leave a mark? Does the stain have an odor? These are all useful and fun. This cork, however, broke in half, with one half floating in the bottle. Hopefully, this won’t affect the taste or the contest.

The Plungerhead wins the cork weigh-in stage, but I won’t let this affect the outcome of the wines. So there is no winner at this weigh-in as cork preference is purely subjective.

All right guys. Clink glasses and come out drinking.

The glasses of wine come out slowly and present their colors and menisci

The colors are somewhere between dark scarlet and Bulgarian rose, and the 7 Deadly Zins is darker or more opaque. Both menisci have an angelic glow about them. The color of the menisci is like red with a blue tinge. If robots turned into angels after they expired, this would be the color of their halos.

I give no advantage to either in color or menisci, but I am looking over my shoulder waiting for an oenophile Terminator to arrive.

Round Two. The Nose.

Round Nose

We’ll start with the 7 Deadly Zins. It smells jammy with plums, cherry, black licorice, black pepper, and some cola. The girlfriend picks up anise and sour cherries and some muskiness.

The Plungerhead nose is very similar but without the black pepper and less black licorice. It smells livelier and younger. It smells like it has bounce.

As I go back and forth, I pick up the muskiness in the 7 Deadly Zins, too. The other day, I tweeted that the 7 Deadly Zins smells like an old book at Christmas time.  I get less Christmas this time.

Ding ding.

This round goes to both. I like the youthful vibrancy in the Plungerhead and it does smell juicy, but the 7 Deadly Zins smells older like its got some stories to tell. The girlfriend like both noses equally.

Round Three. The Tasting.

Round Drink

I’ll start with the Plungerhead this time. The finish is sour, but in a good way. There’s some chalkiness to the texture, too, but it’s a mild chalkiness, which is easily made up for by the jamminess. A jamminess of a flat cola, strawberries, plums, and raspberries. And there’s a pepper to it, too. Maybe a white pepper, but I don’t pick up on that until after the finish. I think get some cloves, too. Man, it’s so yummy. The girlfriend gets strong blackberries especially on the aftertaste. To her it is thinner than expected. I think I agree. The 2008 had a fuller body. (By the way, a flat cola taste isn’t a bad thing unless it’s actually a cola.)

Wow, the finish on the 7 Deadly Zins is really quick. It just disappears on the taste. I really enjoy the lingering finish of the Plungerhead. I like to dwell on it, but the 7 Deadly Zins just fades away. The pepper really comes out in the taste and the anise is there, too, but it’s not annoying. This also has a hint of chalkiness to it. I also get raspberries, for sure, and blackberries or blueberries. It’s also drier than the Plungerhead. The taste of the 7 Deadly Zins, like the nose, is more mature than the Plungerhead. The 7 Deadly Zins is more serious. It reminds me of the library in Meet Joe Black.

In fact, I think I just figured this out. Plungerhead is the Brad Pitt of Zinfandels and 7 Deadly Zins is the Anthony Hopkins of Zins. On the taste, the girlfirend gets blackberries, some anise, spices, and it’s very smooth.

Ding ding ding. That’s the end of the battle. Who wins.

The girlfriend scores 10-9, 10-9, 10-9 in favor of the 7 Deadly Zins.

This judge, that’s me, scores it 10-10, 10-10, 10-9 in favor of the 7 Deadly Zins. For me, the 7 Deadly Zins is just fuller, and as it opens up it gets much better and smoother. (This may explain why the girlfriend thought both noses were equal at the beginning of the match but in the end she chose the 7 Deadly Zins.) The Plungerhead is awesome, but like a young man it comes out full force but then doesn’t go anywhere. It presents everything it has at the beginning. It doesn’t change as the air interacts with it.

Yes, as time goes by, the 7 Deadly Zins just gets more and more awesome, and the Plungerhead just stays at really good. You can’t go wrong with either. And the price isn’t a factor either. The Plungerhead is $12 and the 7 Deadly Zins is $13.

The 7 Deadly Zins and Plungerhead both started at like an 89 or 90 for me, but now the 7 Deadly Zins is like 92.

In the age old question “is better to burn out or fade away?” the Plungerhead is the burnout and the 7 Deadly Zins is the fade away. I wonder which is Stevie Wonder. In fact, comparing these wines is much like this scene:

//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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