Posts tagged #GSM

Two new shared bottles we really really like

Sally and I hit the jackpot this weekend with two dinner invitations from friends who share our passion for great wine. We firmly believe that shared bottles are the best bottles and lucky for us, they do too. And, as luck would have it, we discovered an amazing new wine at each dinner.

On Friday, we dined with our friends Gaby and Steve. They have turned us on to a lot of wonderful wineries over the years including Herman Story (see "Herman Story - a winery you need to know"). This time, they shared a bottle of 2007 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth, which is a GSM blend of 70% Syrah, 24% Grenache, and 6% Mourvedre. It's silky smooth with substantially more body and deeper, darker flavors than you'd expect out of this type of blend.

McPrice Myers runs Barrel 27, which used to be a collaboration between McPrice Myers and Russell From, until From left in 2011 to focus full time on his own label, Herman Story. Yes, the circle of (wine) life is complete.

On Saturday, we visited our friends Karin and Jeff. Like us, they enjoy a wide range of varietals. Lamb shank was on the menu, which pairs well with Pinot Noir or Syrah, so they generously provided both options. One of the wines they served was a 2009 Seufert "Johan Vineyard" Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. It was an excellent example of Oregon Pinot: good earth tones, bright but subtle fruit characteristics, and light bodied but bold enough to pair very well with food. Needless to say, we were all disappointed when the bottle was finally empty.

This really is the best way to discover great wine - make friends with good, generous people who will share a bottle of their good stuff with you and then try to score a dinner invitation. 

Posted on October 7, 2012 and filed under Wine Discoveries.

Every bottle can't be a winner - even if it's wine you like

It’s always interesting to try a favorite wine a second time. Last weekend, Sally and I shared a bottle of 2008 Halter Ranch Cotes de Paso. The last time we drank this wine, we gave it rave reviews (“If you taste something good, don’t let it get away”) and I lamented not buying a second bottle after we enjoyed it at a restaurant. Sally later surprised me with another bottle as a present, but it was a bit of a mixed bag the second time around.

We drank the wine with a wonderful feast Sally made comprised of some of my favorites: French onion soup for starters, veal brisket with root vegetables for the main course, and tiramisu for dessert. The meal was incredible. The wine was very good, but it wasn’t on par with the first time bottle.

The first time, we gave the wine our coveted “ingredients to dessert” nod, meaning it was good enough to open while you were cooking and would still taste delicious by the time you got to dessert. Assuming you had some left, of course! The second time around, we felt it definitely wasn’t in this class. Even the tasting notes were a little different, with the flavor profile being pleasant, but a little less robust and refined than the first time.

It's even interesting to compare our flavor notes:

Bottle #1: cocoa, earthiness, and blackberry

Bottle #2: strawberry, apple, and raisin

I may now have to revise my earlier statement that if you discover an outstanding wine, you’ll need to buy two bottles. I now think you need three, just in case bottle #2 is a dud!


Posted on February 24, 2012 and filed under Wine Discoveries.

If you taste something good, don't let it get away!

I've recently had some outstanding wines, made a mental note to buy some later, only to find out that the wine was no longer available. The moral of the story? If you drink something you really like, buy it!

The latest was a 2008 Halter Ranch "Cotes de Paso" Rhone-style blend. It was a delicious blend of 41% Grenache, 30% Mouvedre, 18% Syrah, 7% Counoise, and 4% Cinsault. These types of wines are wonderful with food and pair well with a wide variety of dishes. 

The Cotes de Paso was what Sally would describe as an ingredients to dessert wine. You can open it while you are cooking and enjoy it without food. The wine will hold up through your appetizer, your main course, and even your dessert. Ingredients to dessert.

The wine's flavors were a nice mix of cocoa, earthiness, and blackberry. We enjoyed it with a burger topped with short ribs (yes, it WAS awesome) and short rib pappardelle at Cucina Urbana, one of our favorite restaurants in San Diego. It only cost $34, which was a steal for such a tasty treat.

Now, the sad news. The winery is sold out of their 2008. I guess I'll have to head back to the restaurant and see if I can pick up a bottle or two!

Posted on December 7, 2011 and filed under Wine Discoveries.