Posts Tagged ‘Wine Spectator


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-three (Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008)

It took me a long time to remember where and why I purchased this Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008 from “north of Adelaide in South Australia,” but I figured it out. I picked it up in the Hannaford Farms in Rutland, VT, the day before Thanksgiving. It must have had a note that it received 90 or more points from some place, else I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. I always to try to pick out new wines, especially when I’m out of state, and this one jumped out at me. It doesn’t seem to be jumping right now, but that might change. I hope.

Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008

Anyway, I did some quick research. It received 94 points from the Wine Enthusiast, 92 points from the Wine Spectator (according to one source) but at the Wine Spectator website HS gave it 89 points, and Stephen Tanzer at the International Wine Cellar gave it 92 points.

Ghost WritingHopefully, this Shiraz will give me some energy, because I am neither awake or asleep.

I think a ghost is typing this, or at least there’s a ghost in the machine.


Wake up! Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin.

Now that’s a quote from a ghost buried in Paris.

Jim Morrison's grave

This evening’s entertainment will be new with a wine you can barely see through. It’s dark and ruby. I think it will taste rather groovy.

It’s nose is alive with dark berries and vanilla. Oh, I think this wine will be a thrilla. There’s quite some more going on with some chocolate and other mocha spawn. Indeed there are cherries, too, along with some juicy fruit. And if my nose is indeed clever, it picks up on some white pepper.

Oh, I love this nose. It’s a wine I’m glad I chose.

Now to the give the wine a taste. Oh, it makes my mouth a happy place. There’s fruit up front and juiciness in the middle. I am covered in many a goose pimple. (No, really. Not for the sake of rhyme.)

It . . . is . . . frickin . . . delicious. I have to break the rhyme. It’s absolutely amazing. There’s so much going on. Even the finish has three movements: pepper followed by dryness followed by a joyful juciness like smooshed fruit. And it’s clean. And the texture is so smooth and soft.

I am in love with this wine.

Do I have to drive Rutland, VT, to pick up more of this wine? I’m dying over here.

I feel like I’m out berry picking, but really, like all berry picking, I’m eating more berries than picking. In fact, this wine would be great for a picnic after berry picking. Berry pick. Eat some berries, cheese, and bread. Drink this wine. Lie down on a blanket with your lover. Look at the clouds. Fall asleep. Wake up and realized there’s still half a bottle of the Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008 and realize life is damned wonderful – enough to base a movie on.

This indeed is the Jim Morrison of wines. (A younger Jim Morrison.) It’s what Dionysus would drink. It’s a drink of love and vitality.

If you want a lively wine, a spirited wine, a playful wine, this is the wine to drink.

I’m melting in its flavors. Can you really give a wine like this points? If so, I wanna say at least 92 and maybe 94. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

And now I’m awake!//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy (Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs. Monte Antico Toscana 2006)

Tonight there will be a battle. No blood will be spilled nor any wine, but much wine will be drunk. This challenge comes in the wake of the announcement of the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010. It fact, this battle is really a battle with Wine Spectator. It’s David and Goliath battle, but this time David has a grape.

Tonight’s giant coming in at 96 point and #25 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010 with a price of $35 (on sale for $19.99 at Mahan’s) and wearing a wine label over a cork is the Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007. Woo woo.

And in this corner a little Italian wine that no one has heard of and with a low, low Mahan’s sale price of $9.99 and wearing a screw-top top is the Monte Antico Toscana 2006. Yay yippie.

Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs Monte Antico Toscana 2006

Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs Monte Antico Toscana 2006

As you can see these are both Toscanas, so it should be evenly matched, but let’s look at the numbers.

The Modus is 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot.

The Monte Antico is 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot.

The Modus will have a bigger body, but the Monte Antico will have the bigger rustic spirit. At least that’s what the odds makers are saying.

All right guys. Clink glasses and come out drinking.

(But first a disclaimer. Last night I opened another bottle of the Modus. I think I had a cold when I did, but it didn’t taste like it should. It tasted dark and earthy and tobaccoy. The tobacco can be expected from the Sangiovese, but not the rest. Oh, and I’m wearing my new glasses, too. My first wine post with my new glasses. My first pair of glasses.)

So here we go. Allons-y.

The glasses of wine come out slowly and present their colors and menisci (the plural of meniscus).  The Modus has a shorter meniscus and with more color. Oo a jab to Monte Antico. Monte Antico counters with a brighter top color. Below the menisci, both wines, however, are solid purple in color and equally opaque – the Modus, though, is about 98% opaque and the Monte Antico is about 95% opaque. The first round goes to the Modus with shorter, deeper colored meniscus.

Round Two. The Nose.

Round Nose

Monte Antico comes out smelling like bacon, flowers, and carmalized sugar (my girlfriend picked up on the latter). And there is some jam, too – strawberry jam. That’s good a solid, berryful comeback for the Monte Antico.

The Modus challenges back with a deeper nose of tobacco and leather and with a bouquet of flowers, more flowery than the Monte Antico. These flowers are like lilies, Easter liliers says the girlfriend. This nose is more balanced, too.

When I returned to the Monte Antico, the nose wasn’t as delightful as before. The Modus gave an upper cut to the Monte Antico with its lilies. The Monte Antico seems a bit stunned and is a bit wobbly.

Ding ding. Monte Antico has been temporarily saved by the bell.

This round goes to Modus, too.

Round Three. The Tasting.

Round Drink

The Modus comes out with a swagger and leads with dark berries (dark cherries and cranberries) and finishes with tartness, flowers, and a dry finish. This wine is getting excited and styling as it’s showing off its long, clingy legs. The taste reminds me of an old, sturdy, rocky, bald mountain under a clear blue sky. From its peak you can see the Mediterranean Sea.

Can the Monte Antico counter? Does it have what it takes? Can this David stand up to this Goliath?

Tasters clean their palates, and here comes Monte Antico. (Tip on cleansing the palate: Use water at room temperature. Don’t dull the taste buds with cold water.)

The tobacco nose rushes out of the glass before I even begin to taste. The nose has recovered. It’s stronger, faster, better. It seems bionic. It seems six million dollars.

Six Million Dollar Man

The Monte Antico is completely different. It leads with some sourness then turns quite juicy and finishes with caramel. What a counter. It’s body is a little lighter than the Modus, but what a little spar it just had. It’s delightful. It makes me think of a fair with cotton candy. It makes me think of the movie Big when he is at the fairground and right before he leaves to go get his wish from Zoltar.

Zoltar Speaks in Big

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

The girlfriend scores it 10-10, 9-10, 10-8. The burnt sugar and finish of the Monte Antico won it for her.

This judge scores it 10-10, 10-9, 10-9. The complexity and depth of the Modus won it for him, but he sure loves the playfulness of the Monte Antico.

For price, the Monte Antico wins. For quality, the Modus wins.

I’d say the Modus is like 91.5 points and the Monte Antico is like a fully loaded 89 points, and probably 90 points. (I just looked it up, and the Wine Spectator gave it 90 points, too.)

Now, I’m going back and forth between the two and it’s getting nasty. I need food interruptus. I need bread and onion-fig jam.

Wait. Hold on. There’s an after-the-match scrum with the onion-fig jam and ciabatta bread.

Monte Antico comes out swinging. Oh, it’s a wonderful complement that smooths out the wine and brings out the onions.

Modus counters and says, “Hey, man I ain’t that dry. With this jam I’m chill. I’m a complex mo fo.”

That’s it. That’s it. They are both winners.

And aren’t we all when we drink good wine.//

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

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