23 February, 2009
I just found a delicious Tempranillo from Mendoza. Argentina that is, not Spain. Old world style Tempranillo from the New world but with a twist. This Fuerza 2006 Tempranillo is like the Luke Skywalker of Argentinian Tempranillos; young and bright and ripe, yet beginning to smooth out around the edges as it ages. Let this darkly-hued Tempranillo lead you out of the dark side and into the realm of deliciousness. Cassis, blackberry, and anise on the nose with gripping tannins that smooth out as they roll down your throat. Fruit-forward with high acidity, this wine stands up to Chorizo or any spicy grilled meats. They never had it so good on Planet Tatooine! And for $3.99 what more could you want? But you better find yourself a Corellian Corvette (and a Wookiee co-pilot) to get you to Trader Joe's before it is all gone...Signed, A Star Wars Geek:-)
18 February, 2009
If this makes you curious to learn more about the Italian region of Piedmonte, please check on the Wine Blogging Wednesday host's blog here. Thanks David Mc Duff for introducing me to a new friend!
12 February, 2009
I know, what a surprise. While I support the wineries of Napa Valley and Sonoma County, which are practically in my backyard, I am really happy to find a winery right here in Berkeley, CA. Two Mile Wines is a local collective of wine aficionados who craft their wines in a small warehouse in Berkeley with fruit sourced from Sonoma, Napa, Livermore and the Central Coast.
Berkeley, CA has a reputation of being a “foodie” city, thanks in part to Alice Waters, organic farmer's markets, Berkeley Bowl and the divine restaurants of the Krikorian Empire (Sea Salt, Lalimes, T-Rex) and now we have our own winery to match. According to Justin Bramwell, one of the collective members, and today's spokesperson, Two Mile Wines want to produce food-friendly wines that are fruit forward and well-balanced. The wines also incorporate some local history. In fact, 'Two Mile' refers to the two mile dry zone that existed on the UCBerkeley Campus during the Prohibition era.
I got to try three wines that day even though they produce six.
2006 Dry Creek Syrah $38
The fruit for the Syrah comes from Unti vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma County. Pungent nose of blue fruit, dark red fruit with a bracing note of coffee with a meaty overtone. Gripping tannins which smooth out into a cherry leather finish. Very full-bodied with a strong linger. This was selling right out of the warehouse.
Jacob's Landing 2006 Bordeaux Blend $28
(66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 1%?, from Dickman Ranch in Southern Napa)
The name of this wine comes from Capt. James Jacobs, who 1854 built a small wharf known as Jacob's Landing at what is now known as the Berkeley Marina. Capt. Jacobs was one of the first was first local shippers carrying cargoes across the SF Bay and Jacobs Landing is where it all began. But what about the wine? The nose on this one is pure perfume with floral, herbaceous, eucalyptus notes. The palate is rich with notes of eucalyptus, cherry and spice. This wine might just transport you to a better place...
2006 Livermore Valley Petite Sirah $34
Fruit from the hot Wente Vineyards, close to the 13th hole at the golf course! This has a strong nose of tar with that barnyardy aroma covering red and black fruits with a bit of cocoa. Inky and opaque, very full-bodied and tannic with a spicy steak sauce finish. This was fermented in new American oak and neutral French and the oak is very well-integrated.
The wines I tasted were very full-bodied, fruit forward and strongly tannic, yet elegant with a good balance of the elements. Unfortunately the 2007 Viognier and the 2006 Sangiovese were not available to taste but you can purchase them by becoming a member of their wine club (quantities limited.)
So go explore these bold, locally-crafted wines, learn a little local history, and get a tour of the facility. And if you happen to be in the hood around harvest time stop by and help with the crush. Two Mile Wines wants to be your community winery. Plus, they are real friendly and love to tell you the stories of the wine.
Visit them at : 2816 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 510)868-8713. They are usually open for tastings Saturday afternoons. And, they will give you a discount if you buy a bottle or a case.
11 February, 2009
and the way you're not a Square.
I hate that it's not safe to park my car.
I hate the hostess's glare.
I hate your big dumb wine list
and the way you skip my glass
I hate you so much it makes me sick,
it really chaps my ass.
I hate the way you never seat me,
I hate it when you pair.
I hate it when you make me stand ,
even worse when you make me leave.
I hate the cheese denied me, and your crazy sour flights
But mostly I hate the way you don't care,
not even close
not even a little bit
not even a hair
Okay, so that was paraphrased from one of my favorite movies, "10 Things I hate about you," which inspired me to limit myself to ten things I hate about this place:
First, it's not just me, most of the reviews I saw mention the service as being at best lackluster. My own experience was that they left me to the elements even though there were several seats open at the bar. Finally, on my last approach the hostess came to the door and offered me the seats I had coveted, greasy nose against the window for the previous 20 minutes. "Thanks, but no." My skin blue with cold, I had a thought that given $10 and access to Trader Joe's, I could do better on my own at home. More on that later.
Second, it's not a "patio". It's a strip of sidewalk in an uber urban area where the thumping of bass will infuse your meal
Third, portions/quality to price seems out of whack with the QPR I have come to expect in the East Bay. For $ I want more atmosphere and interesting things.
Fourth, I have failed to be impressed by the wines I have tried here. On more than one occasion. Maybe I'm ordering the wrong things. Or maybe I'm just in the wrong venue. I am not capping on Oakland. Just Franklin Square. Even the flights with some good things have come tied with clunkers. Coincidence?
Fifth: Opportunity cost: If you're looking for a nice wine pairing experience go to Citron. Yes, It's twice the price, but you get actual food and at no time feel herded, ignored, left to the elements, or in danger. If you have any attachment to your GPS, don't park here!
Sixth: If you're looking for a Wine Bar with swagger, checkout Alameda Wine Co. Karen offers a great experience and when you have to wait, you know it's going to be worth it.
Seventh: The only time I ever enjoyed this place I was at a Petit Sirah seminar and let's face it after 10 pours of up to 17% wine, the West Oakland BART station would look cozy.
Eighth: This is personal and not their fault. Every time I try to schedule a visit here, something happens...riots? miscommunication? Reschedule? Yes. If it's going to happen, it will happen when I plan to go here
Ninth: Maybe some of you like snark. If yes, proceed to Cafe Oliveto. At least the food is rocking and the wine list focused on Italian delights.
Tenth: It ends where it begins. If the service sucks (and this service is pure HOOVER!) the rest of the program has to struggle to overcome. It can be done, but in this case, there is nothing worth struggling for.
Affordability -Doesn't matter. You couldn't pay me to go back
Wine list - Interesting. I do like the pours vs. half pours and I love a flight. but on the rare occasions I found a seat, I ordered things I didn't like. I think the only thing I discovered here it that I don't like the place.
Wait staff- Cue "Final Jeopardy" theme music...these girls put the "w-a-i-t" in waitress! And a hint, don't bet too much on them knowing anything about what they're pouring.
Food: It's been so long since I actually got anything to eat here, that it seems irrelevant.
FSWB: Run! Don't walk...to some other venue.Franklin Square Wine Bar
2212 BroadwayOakland, CA 94612
09 February, 2009
08 February, 2009
The winemaker's notes say:The 2006 M4 is from Bullas. Dark ruby-colored, this strong effort has a classy nose of smoke, pencil lead, mineral, and blueberry. Ripe and mouth-filling, the wine is well-balanced and long in the finish. "Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate89 Points.
Hmmm. Yes, I definitely agree. Very pretty color. Less fruit than I would have expected and a lot more mineral notes. While this is a tasty, easy drinking wine, it had a little too large a scoop of the bitterness that can drive people away from mourvedre. Examples I prefer are the delightful Juan Gill Monastrell or Cline we had at Wine Bar Wednesdays past. Compared to those, this felt like a dark, bitter, catalonian anarchist---still exotic, not quite as fun and sparkly as his flirty, party animal cousins from Jumilla and Contra Costa. After opened several days, the aroma converted to cocoa powder dusted blueberries and the flavors became more chocolaty with a solid core of dark berry. At $11.99, this is a nice every day wine. It is worth picking up especially if you like less fruit forward wines and want to try something different.
07 February, 2009
Winemaker Carlos Lucas blends Malvasia Fina (20%), Cerceal(20%), Bical,(20%) Encruzado (40%) from the producer Dao Sul. The importer's website describes the vinification as: "Total destemming of the grapes pressed by pneumatic vacuum press followed by staging in stainless steel vats only. 3 months later the wine was filtered and bottled ready for immediate pleasure". And the wine totally delivered! I will be on the prowl for more Portuguese delights!
Need help finding this yummy wine? Click here.