Thursday, February 27, 2014

William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

I know I am guilty of this...

Picture it: You go to a restauant, and order a glass of the house red with your dinner. It's (surprisingly) freaking delicious. You rave about it alllll night, and continuously exclaim that you WILL buy this wine next time you're at the store. Then, a few weeks later when you've forgotten the varietal, name of the winery, and design on the label, you wander around your local wine store, assaulting the assocites with your pleas to help you figure out what that one wine you had at that restaurant was, only able to provide them with the following description: "it was red, and had a goat on the label. Or a chicken. Or a bear. Or some kind of flower. It was a red wine with something on the label."

Guess what you probably don't walk out of that store with.

Well, if this sounds familiar to you, there is a good possibility that the wine in question was William Hill Cabernet. Popular in local restaurants, this wine was MADE for a good meal. With an earthy scent and deep red color, you're mouth is going to be watering before you even take a sip.

WH Cab is quite dry, and maybe it's just me, but William Hill Cabernet reminded me a little of drinking a Chainti-- a hearty (read: STRONG) wine to wash down your dinner with. The sip was tannic and herb-y, with hints of dark fruit (think blueberry) and spice (the pumpkin pie kind, not pepper).

Ok, this is just chicken stew, but for the
purposes of this review, let's pretend it's
game meat. YUM.
William Hill Cabernet was a welcome partner to my lasagna, but would also pair nicely with pesto, game meats (venison stew, perhaps), or red-sauced pasta of any kind. It's not great as a sipper, though. I found that when unoccompained I did not want to finish my glass.

Price: $$

My Rating: B+

Friday, February 14, 2014

Downton Abbey Bordeaux Blanc

Yup, you read that right. Downton Abbey has a WINE now. Actually, there are two of them. The first question you might be inclined to ask upon learning of this is: why? It's not like these wines are made at Highclere Castle, or even in Britain, for that matter. The two Bordeaux, Blanc and Claret, are French (you know, from the Bordeaux region...), and were merely *inspired* by the show. I think the idea is, as you watch Carson decant a fine Bordeaux for the Crawleys to ignore at their fancy-pants dinner party, that you'll reach for a glass of your own. Yay Capitalism!!

Okay, I'll admit it. I got a bottle. I'm a big fan of the show. And while I think a DA-inspired wine is SUPER hokey, I kinda HAD to. Don't judge me. Let's call this week's installment Lessons in Faux-Sophistication... Ready class? Pinkies up!!

Go ahead and judge a book by its cover with this one. As far as labels go, it's pretty, with it's gold border and pencil-wrought Highclere Castle prominently displayed. The Blanc is a very pale yellow in color, which to me seems classier than an apple juice colored white. Dark yellow colored white wines just make me think of dehydration...speaking of classy...

I had the Blanc at room temperature, which was perfectly fine, but I did wonder if the flavors would be more prominent if I had been patient enough to chill it first. The begining of the sip was surprisingly crisp for a luke-cold wine, and there were definite citrus notes and a tad more sweetness than I was expecting. Fairly acidic and reasonably oak-free, this one's a real cheek-tweeker with a bit of pleasing metalic bite to it.

I'll take this one. :)
I had my DA Blanc with taco salad (seasoned chicken, lettuce, brown rice, black beans, sharp cheddar and tons of salsa), which was a pretty good combination, odd as it may seem. And that's a good thing, because I'm about as classy as a monster truck rally. No crudite or caviar for me!

If you want to try it for yourself, pick up a bottle at PWC (chill it!) and crack it open this Sunday at 9!

Price: $

My Rating: B

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Santero Strawberry Moscato

This week, gentle reader, I'm going to get a little girly. Those of you who know me IRL* are probably laughing so hard right now, because "feminine" is a word that appears pretty far down on the Top-Five-Hundred-Words-Used-To-Describe-Me list. It falls somewhere between "math-whiz" and "tall".

my bad...
But, when it comes to intoxicating libations, stuff me in a tutu and give me a puppy commercial to weep at, 'cause I LOVE ME SOME GIRLY DRINKS. Fruity, pink concoctions are my friend. If they're yours too, you'll really enjoy this week's wine: Santero Strawberry Moscato.

This is the sort of wine you want to have on hand when you're craving a Mai Tai, but, well, you're at home by yourself, eating a quart of ice cream in your pajamas, and you'd have to get dressed AND leave the house... or in any other non-pathetic circumstance in which you find yourself craving a fruity, alcoholic beverage but you don't have the ability or inclination to create one.

Santero makes several Moscato + fruit wines, but today I'm talking about the strawberry for a couple of different reasons: 1.) It's PINK, ergo it's a good choice for Valentine's Day, if you're into that. 2.) We're tasting it at PWC on Friday, February 7th, along with a bunch of other fun red and pink drinks.

Moscatos, by nature, are a sugary-ass wine. Sorry, there's no other way to say that accurately. On a sweetness scale of 1 to 10, Moscatos are a 46. They tend to have light fruit flavors about them, like peach or mango. This lends them to being a good wine to infuse with actual fruit flavors. And that's just what Santero has done.

The first thing you'll notice about the Santero Strawberry Moscato-- it's bubbly! Moscatos can be flat, slightly effervescent, or bursting with bubbles. This one's quite carbonated, so it works well in a situation where you might drink champagne (coughvalentinesdaycough), but your unsophisticated palate thinks that champagne tastes a little like vomit (yup, that's me).

The scent and taste of the wine is straight up strawberries and sugar. You've been forwarned, this is a *very* sweet wine. But it's also quite tasty. Santero Strawberry Moscato isn't the sort of wine you pair with a meal, but it's great with (or heck, FOR) dessert. Pairs well with chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. Hint Hint.

Price: $

My Rating: B