Sunday, June 28, 2009

Napa Valley

It's time for another of my favorites, once again coming from Ravenswood. This time it's the 2006 Napa Valley Zinfandel that's put up to the test.

As stated before, I'm a fan of Zinfandels, they're just perfect for my palate. This isn't of the Old-Vine variety, but it is very good regardless. Since it's also a wine from Ravenswood, you can be sure that it's a great wine as they never make bad ones. (Some might say I'm forgetting about the Vintners Blend now, but I am certain that it is just something that the competitors put out in Ravenswood's name, just to hurt their reputation).

That being said, the qualities of this wine in and of itself must also be commented upon. As most other wines of this kind, it goes very well with food. Last time this accompanied me during a meal, we had a barbeque consisting of ribs, pork, corn and accessories; and the wine did its job. As for drinking alone, it doesn't reach quite the same zenith as with food, but it still gets the job done, and is a wine that should be opened in the beginning of the evening, not the end.

Summarizing this wine, we end up with one that can be drunk alone, but preferably with food (and friends, we have to learn to share and play well with others, or we may end up as a certain former US president, and we don't want that debacle again...). It isn't quite perfect, but it is one that will certainly be a hit if you introduce someone to it.

The 2006 Ravenswood Napa Valley Zinfandel thus receives an 8.5/10

Robert Vic

This wine is one that came onto the table at the end of an evening of good wine, so those wines generally have a reputation for not being as good as certain other wines. After having about a bottle of wine inside, you don't want to open up one in which your tongue needs to be able to discern between the subtleties of flavor, and your brain needs to be razor sharp in order to place the origin of the wine. (Come to think of it, this never happens anyway, but the point is, don't waste good wine when you're already drunkish).

Anyway, this is sort of a mild wine, both in smell and taste. Relatively fruity, but easily drinkable, so it functions well for its purpose. Having this three-liter hand-bag of wine will not let you down, and is good for all sorts of cooking with wine, regardless if you need it in the food or not.

All in all, not the best wine, but it certainly receives a 7/10.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Zen of Zin

Simultaneous with trying new wines, I also want to revisit old favorites in order to have them take their entitled place in the list. First off is Ravenswood's Zen of Zin, 2004.

This is an old vine zinfandel, thus an immediate favorite. Additionally, it has a smashing name, great label design, and a wonderful quote at the back portion. Couple this with great, easily drinkable taste, and you've got yourself a winner. Zen of Zin works well both as a drinking wine, in addition to being an excellent companion to a great meal. In short, it works in all capacities. (Well, excepting those rare occasions where you for some bizarre reason only want one glass of wine. Because face it, there's no way you can have just one glass (sometimes just one bottle is tricky) this is the Pringles of wines, once you pop, you can't stop).

Once the bottle is opened and the glass is poured, this wine ensures that the rest of the evening is smooth sailing. The only possible problem is that you can become too preoccupied with the wine to pay adequate attention to whatever else is occurring around you. But this can be turned into one of it's strengths, as it can potentially save you from company which you's rather not have.

Based on all this, the old vine Zen of Zin is awarded with this blog's first 9/10.


Following the creation of this blog, I decided to try new wines every now and then, just to get some variation and material for the blog. The first of those wines was Rolling 2006 Shiraz.

I brought this to a party with the master students of molecular biology (we sure know how to party, I'll give us that), which meant that this was a wine I was hoping to be a drinking wine. Fortunately, my request was acquiesced to and this proved to be a wine acceptable for such an occasion. It was neither the most memorable nor the best tasting wine I've ever had, but it certainly fulfilled its purpose, which gives it a good grade.

Further, this was the first wine of which I was conscious that it should be in the blog, and thus managed to take a few photos of. So this one will have a few more than the normal photo by the side.

This wasn't among the strongest shirazes, which works perfectly for a drink alone wine (that's drink alone as in drink it without any accessories in the form of food, not drink without the presence of other people.) However, there are certainly other wines that work better in such a capacity. All in all though, this wine receives a 7/10.

Brown Brothers

Next up is a wine that my parents enjoy and have relatively often, thus enabling me to try it as well. The wine is Brown Brothers Shiraz 2006.

This an Australian wine, which I am generally a fan of. However, as it is a Shiraz, it's not among those wines which I am terribly fond of drinking by itself, it really needs some food to go with it. As most Shirazes it has a distinct, rather strong taste which leaves you no doubt that this is not something that should be gulped down, but rather enjoyed and that you should take your time drinking it. (Which for some strange reason doesn't suit me.) Regardless, this is a pretty good wine that works in many occasions, but particularly food. We had a pork-gyros stew thingie from the butcher's when we had this, and the two of them work well together.

After some jury deliberation, this wine recieves a 7/10.


It's time for my "go to" wine, Arrow Ruby Cabernet.

This is a cheap, but good drinkable wine from California, and one that comes in 3-liter containers, thus very suitable for storage at home. I can have one glass when it suits me, without having to open an entire bottle. It also functions well for when I need wine in/with the food.

The taste of this wine is not particularly strong or distinguished, rather it is smooth and not one that is easy to drink. This could of course cause some problems, but I can normally restrict myself to a glass or two. Since it is fairly cheap (especially compared to other wines in Norway), this is a wine that I don't mind drinking without having any "purpose" for drinking. And since it has Cabernet in it, it's a sure winner.

I also use this as my "present" wine, thus it is the one that I give as a gift when going to birthday parties or the like. Since it doesn't have a distinct taste, most people seem to enjoy it.

So because of it's practicality and several usage areas, I give this an 8/10.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Faustino I

Over the last weekend, I was presented with a glass (glass and a half?) of Bodegas Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja.

This is another Spanish wine, and as per usual, I'm not a big fan. It works well enough as a drinking wine, but probably not one that I would normally buy. Once again, I'm biased against Spanish wines, so on an objective scale, this would probably do better. However, this is not an objective blog, and I will grade it as I see it.

Not sure if one glass is enough to give it a correct grade, but for now I will give it a 5/10.