Tag Archives: USA wine

A Pinot Noir for a special occasion – 2010 Cristom

Cristom pinot 2010 Cristom, Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley. I ordered this wine at Chez Bruce, a Michelin star restaurant tucked away in London’s borough of Wandsworth where my husband and I celebrated a special occasion. A very good quality Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley in Oregon, USA – a rising-star region gaining more and more popularity for its Pinots.

TASTING NOTE: Pale ruby with med+ flavor intensity, pronounced red fruit on the nose, especially red currant and cranberries along with floral notes (violets). Very elegant on the palate and has opened up in the bottle over a few days after opening. Smooth silky tannins, medium bodied with pleasant acidity levels making it a food friendly wine.

Cristom pairingIt paired very nicely with venison tartar and côte de boeuf (cooked medium) in the restaurant as well as with homemade pan-fried chicken liver three days later. (To take an unfinished bottle of wine home from a restaurant is a very SweervyWiney thing to do! Always ask the sommelier to keep the cork 😉 ) The wine is ready to enjoy now but will last for another 1-2 years.

However this is a wine that can easily be enjoyed on its own – it will pair wonderfully with a round of good friends and maybe a few light snacks or neutral cheeses (e.g. Emmental or light-medium strength cheddar).

If you are interested in purchasing this wine drop me a line and I will be happy to help you source it.

First to beat the French – Chateau Montelena

If you haven’t had a chance to taste wines of Chateau Montelena of Napa, California, you might still have heard about it. Montelena was featured in the movie called “Bottle shock”, where it was THE new world producer to beat French wines in a blind tasting referred to as “The judgement of Paris” in 1976, held by the British wine expert Steven Spurrier. The movie is based on real events although there has been some criticism in regards to the accuracy of the script. This film is certainly not a masterpiece but still quite entertaining and a must-see for all wine lovers.

But back to the wine! I discovered the 2010 Montelena Cabernet on the wine list at the CUT – a fantastic steak restaurant on London’s Park Lane – and looked no longer, I knew I had to try it! I apologize for the very brief wine description as it was rather difficult to focus on producing a full tasting note being in a big group of friends in a very lively environment.

montelenaTASTING NOTE: smooth tannins, pronounced cassis notes; smoke/tar and floral aromas somewhat reminded me a bit of Barolo, although it was more violets rather that roses. Very good quality easy drinking wine that will develop further. Decanting recommended.

The wine is a blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc and retails for an average of £30 per bottle; considering its quality, fame and ageing potential I find this a good value. It matched perfectly with a medium cooked USDA beef fillet mignon and was an excellent and more elegant alternative to my usual choice of Malbec to go with steaks.

If you are interested in purchasing the wine drop me a line and I will be happy to help you source it.

2008 Opus One

I remember very well that day of my WSET Level 3 course at Berry Bros. & Rudd Pickering cellar, when our tutor Anne McHale MW has treated us with something very special at the end of the USA tasting session. We were tasting blind and loved the mysterious wine..  and were absolutely overwhelmed when she revealed it was OPUS ONE..! After all, a wine that normally retails for a few hundred pounds a bottle isn’t something you get (or can afford to get) your hands on every day.

opus

Opus One winery in Napa Valley, California was founded as a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in Bordeaux. The 2008 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (86%), Petit Verdot (8%), Merlot (4%), Cabernet Franc (1%) and Malbec (1%), aged in french oak barrels (barriques) for 17 months.

TASTING NOTE: deep ruby, full bodied wine with pronounced flavor intensity, high tannins and medium+ acidity levels, with a long lasting finish. Blackcurrant, cherry, oaky spice, hints of mint, leather, farmyard. Still developing, has ageing potential. Outstanding quality wine.