Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2006 Haras Chardonnay, Maipo, Chile

Haras de Pirque is a success story in Chile. Owned by entrepreneur Eduardo Matte and located in the southwestern part of Pirque, a prestigious winegrowing area situated in the Maipo Valley. The property covers around 600 hectares, gently ascends the lower slopes of a spur of the Andes Mountains. Today the estate not only produces great wines, it also breeds trophy winning thoroughbred stallions. It is not surprising that all Haras wines sport the picture of a horse drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci.

This wine is 100% chardonnay. 50% of the juice of this wine sees 6 months oak treatment in 1-2 year old French oak barrel. It is the entry level chardonnay of the winery and carries a 14.8% abv. 7000 cases are made.

Tasting notes:

Color: Light golden straw

Nose: Melon, grapefruit and oak.

Palate: The nose carries forward to the palate. Very level exhibition of fruit and citrus notes.
Hints of butterscotch also noted.

Body: Medium but very smooth.

Finish: Short to medium, but the fruit and acidity is inviting, begging drinkers for another sip.

Comment: Great QPR. A great year round Chardonnay. It is not the most exciting Chardonnay on the market, but for $10, it is worth stocking up. The smooth transition of nose, palate and finish makes it well situated for all occasions.
Paired this wine with pan fried progy and steamed sea bass. Good food and good wine.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

WBW #34: Washington State Cabernet - 2004 Pitch

The theme for WBW 34, hosted by Catie, is Washington State Cabernet, especially from the Walla Walla Valley Appellation. I have to admit that my knowledge of Washington State wine is limited, let alone wines from the Walla Walla region.

Browsing through a lot of wine stores in NYC, there are plenty of wines from Columbia Valley, but rarely would I came across one from Walla Walla. If I find one from that region, it rarely fits my budget. Well, my luck changed last week when I found this wine, 2004 Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon from Astor Wines at $13 full retail.

The 2004 Pitch is made up of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot & 25% Syrah. 14.4% abv. Not only is this wine not 100% cabernet Sauvignon, it a wine made with grapes grown outside of the Walla Walla appellation. However, the back label says 'Bottled by Dusted Valley Vintners, Walla Walla WA'. Well, a wine made with grapes sourced from Columbia Valley and bottled at Walla Walla? This should satisfy Catie's theme for this WBW.

Tasting Notes

Color: Dark Garnet with purple hue.

Nose: Big Cherry and oak at first; also yielding hints vanilla after wine opens.

Palate: A real fruit bomb. Full of dark berries - cassis and cherries. Integrated with notes of vanilla and oak. Angular and slightly thin.

Body: Medium.

Finish: Medium, sweetness of fruit with hint of chocolate. A mild touch of tannins.

Comment: Match this wine with a grilled shell steak and portebella mushroom, not particularly a great match but it works. It would match better with a rich pasta dish or grilled pork chop with apple sauce. As far as QPR is concerned, even at $13, I can find wines of better QPR out there.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2006 Domaine Houchart Côtes de Provence Rosé

A little background of Domaine Houchart:
Domaine Houchart is today owned by Geneviève, the wife of Jérôme Quiot, having been originally acquired by her grandfather. During the period the 1850's, Aurélien Houchart was an energic proprietor and negociant in wine, and created one of the largest domain in Provence. Subsequently his Domaine was divided between the five children, with Hilaire Houchart, Geneviève Quiot's grandfather inheriting 50 hectares of vines, the cellars and agricultural buildings.

Today, Domaine Houchart still has the 90 hectares of vines, situated at Puyloubier, at the foot of the famed montagne Sainte Victoire, 25 kms east of Aix-en-Provence. Since 1984, these wines have been commercialized by Vignobles Jérôme Quiot. Domaine Houchart produces about 390,000 bottles (32,500 cases) of Côtes de Provence & Sainte Victoire and 26,000 bottles (2,150 cases) of Vin de Pays Syrah-Cabrenet.

This 2006 Domaine Houchart Côtes de Provence Rosé can be purchased for $10 at Crush Wine. It is a blend of 35% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% other grape varieties. It carries a 13% alcohol.

Also noted on the back label of the bottle:
Special efforts are made to preserve freshness and fruit by the use of CO2 gas to exclude oxygen during the harvest. This is a fresh rose with a pretty salmon-pink color. elegant flavors of red berries, mineral notes and a clean finish. Serve this wine lightly chilled. Very nice on its own, it goes well with most dishes, specially sushi, salads, pizza and mild cheeses.

Tasting Note:

Color: Salmon Pink.

Nose: Watermelon and floral notes. A little alcohol does pokes out as it warms.

Palate: Juicy with lemon, strawberry and more watermelon flavor.

Body: Light and lean but maintains good structure.

Finish: Lingering and refreshing.

Comment: This is exactly what a rosé should be. Dry, lip-smacking and full of charm. This rosé is simple, but it is a beautiful summer sipper. Paired it with baked haddock and pan roasted string beans. Yum!