Monday, July 1, 2013

Flat Creek Estate Muscato D'Arancia Orange Muscat 2010 Texas

Bottle 2 of 7 is on the table tonight.

Here's why I bought this one:
Slight residual sugars enhance the fruit flavors and balance the acidity in this food-friendly wine.  Aromas of orange blossom and magnolia match the soft texture.
OK, that, and the fact that I might have possibly been in a buying frenzy. Because that description, while nice (I especially like the bit about orange blossom and magnolia!), is not quite as enticing as it was in my memory. However, I loved that Purple Cow Muscat so much that it sure would be nice to find another one like it that might be easier to obtain.

So, the bottle (which, by the way, has another Carrollesque Drink Now label) is slightly smaller than most, at 500 mL as compared to 750 (sad face), but it was also cheaper than its larger brethren at Flat Creek (happy face). It has a pleasingly long and narrow shape. The wine is a pretty sunshiney golden color. And (while once again wondering just how suggestible I might be) I do catch a faint whiff of orange.

To taste, the wine is just a bit sweeter than I'd like. But for a Muscat, where some sweetness is expected, this is not a valid complaint. Without a side-by-side comparison it's hard to say for sure, but I have the feeling that the Purple Cow Muscat was more to my liking. But even if this one is not my favorite, it's still very enjoyable. I like the fruity flavor, and it's nice to have a white wine that I don't find bland or musty or one of those other negative descriptors I've used for whites in the past.

As for "orange blossom and magnolia" . . . I have discovered something interesting tonight. If I tell myself, "This tastes like orange!" and then take a sip, it tastes like orange. If I say, "This tastes like peach!" and take a sip, I taste peach. If I say, "This tastes like pear!" and sip . . . asparagus. (Just kidding. It's pear.) I'd like to believe this says more about the fruity flavor of this wine than it says about the inability of my palate to distinguish between flavors, but I must admit I'm not convinced of that fact.

Here's the official verdict. If you are looking for a sweet summery wine, I'll say this one gets two thumbs up. If putting "sweet" and "wine" together in the same sentence is not for you, move along.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Flat Creek Estate Rosé 2012 Texas

Just over two years ago I had a lovely and memorable visit to a winery near Austin, Texas, called Flat Creek Estate. I've been meaning to write about their wines ever since, but it just hasn't happened.


You'll have to continue waiting an undetermined length of time to hear about the wines I tried two years ago, but I currently have the exciting opportunity to try a few new Flat Creek bottles. I'm going to draw out the suspense and not list the other wines here yet, but I will tell you that this very evening I found seven (SEVEN!!) different Flat Creek bottles on my doorstep, nestled all safe and snug in a tidy shipping box. I was all but giddy as I liberated them from their packaging, trying to decide where to start and wondering how quickly I could get some chilled.

My first question was answered by THIS on the label of the Rosé:

I know what Alice would
have done . . . same thing
I did!

My second question was answered by a bit of googling (and the answer was 20 minutes in the freezer).

So. You know I go for reds. Why did I choose something pinkish? Here's what sold me:
Strawberry, raspberry, and watermelon explode out of the glass, then follow through on the palate with intensity. The lively acidity helps extend the finish and reveal just a hint of pepper, lasting just long enough for the next sip.
Sounds so summery! So fruity! And I can't resist any wine that claims a hint of pepper.

With my rosé wine that I have been commanded to Drink Now after a twenty minute stint in the freezer, it's time to put it to the test. Of course, fond memories of Flat Creek predispose me to a favorable opinion of this wine, but I'm not going to be swayed by sentiment.


The real thing is a very beautiful pinkish color that glows in the light. And I do smell berries. And the taste? Ah, it's heaven! Light and fresh and crisp, a slight sweetness--not too much, no depressing flashbacks of wine coolers here--and a peppery tang. Not something I would reach for in the dead of winter, but a perfect wine for warmer weather.

Score! Kathy likes Flat Creek Estate Rosé 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crème de Lys Chardonnay 2010 California

The lady at Tom's Jug House (yes, Tom's is a new one for me!) made this wine sound SO GOOD. Of course, she mostly just read the yummy bits off the label aloud to me: "Rich and creamy . . . lush flavors of tropical fruit, baked apple and citrus . . . VANILLA AND CRÈME BRÛLÉE!" (I really think she actually shouted that last part.)

She sold me on it. Quickly. She had me at "You ought to try this one," in fact. But I forgot about the part where I don't really care much for white wine. (Have I mentioned that before?) And not only that, but when I tasted it I didn't get the richness, the creaminess, the fruits, the vanilla OR the crème brûlée (sad face). It tasted a bit bland (watery, even!) and it made my mouth long for a solid, spicy red. What I really need to do is recognize the fact that when I am craving crème brûlée, I shouldn't bother reaching for a wine that claims it tastes like that most delectable of desserts. That's like eating baked chips! Or listening to one of the more recent Journey albums! And if I'm looking for something "rich and creamy" this close to Christmas, I should really just go straight for the eggnog. (Yeah, and now my mouth is watering.)

But the experiment was not a total loss, because I was introduced to Tom's Jug House, and that is exciting for two reasons. First, because (though I suppose this could be attributed to the novelty of the place) they seemed to have a different--and wider--selection of wine than I've grown accustomed to. And second, because they have Wine Wednesdays! That sounds great. *I* should have Wine Wednesdays. (Who am I kidding? I have Wine Every Day days.) But at Tom's Jug House, Wine Wednesdays means 10% off all wine! Now, I was too delirious with joy during my visit to notice whether that's actually a good deal, or whether a wine sale just means TJH just brings their prices down to Party Factory levels. But I'll definitely be visiting Tom's again. On a Wednesday!

I probably won't listen to the recommendations for whites next time, though.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Battle of the Pinot Noirs

It's about time I posted on my wine blog again! I've had a trio of bottles waiting on me to do a tasting flight. It's been so long since I bought them that I somehow started thinking they were Rieslings, but NO--they're all Pinot noir! How could I have made them wait so long?

Of these three bottles, we're covering three different years and three different countries.

Just had to show you the cutesy
 little penguin footprints
imprinted on the foil
Up first is the 2010 Little Penguin from south eastern Australia. The label tells me to look for delicate flavors of cherry and strawberry with a hint of spice. It's the brightest, reddest one of the three, and OH, it smells so good! Maybe that's just because it's been too long since I've had a Pinot noir. But I do smell red berries. As for the taste: Wow, that's quite sweet for a Pinot noir. Not too sugary-sweet, though; just fruity-sweet. It takes a bit for the spiciness to come out, but after a moment it hits with a zing.

Next is the 2009 Red Bicyclette from Vin de Pays D'Oc, France. The label claims enticing aromas of fresh red fruits and a soft, smooth mouthfeel. It looks slightly orange-red in my glass (though I'm sure some of you would call it pink-red instead). Oddly enough, there's not much to the nose. Maybe it's not completely odorless, but it's close. And, well, there's not much to the taste, either.

Finally, it's the 2008 Cupcake Vineyards from the central coast of California. The label suggests the bright aroma of cherries with a touch of red currants and a hint of spices. It's "reminiscent of a cherry cupcake with currant coulis*" (whatever that is). I see there's a slight purplish tinge to the deep red color, and it's not quite as clear as the other two (or maybe it's just in a glass that's a tad more smudgy? I'll never tell). It has more of a sharp green odor than the other two, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. Something about it makes me want to break out the cheddar cheese. The taste, however, is not great. It's rather bland. But I'm sure the cheese will help, and if you'll give me a moment I'll let you know . . . YES, it's excellent with cheese. But only with the cheese.

I wonder if the poor Red Bicyclette would be helped by cheese?
Let's see . . . nope. For whatever reason, that one actually tastes worse with cheese.

My verdict: I like Australia's Little Penguin the best, although California's Cupcake with cheddar cheese is a close second. The French Pinot noir was my least favorite, although if France keeps all of her best wines to herself, that's not too surprising.

*I looked up coulis for you, and apparently it's like gravy made of fruit. I'm sure it tastes better than it sounds.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling 2009 Columbia Valley

I'm hoping to convince my book club girls that they really do like Real Wine (instead of that good-but-just-barely-wine Electra). My subtle method is to force them to try new wines at our meetings. The girls seem to favor sweeter wines, so this month I brought a Riesling. The label says it's in the middle of the road, right between medium dry and medium sweet.

What can I say about its appearance, other than that it is a nice clear pee yellow? (Red wine is just so much prettier.) This Riesling has a very pleasant and fresh taste, and I totally get the pear that the label mentions. The peach is much more subtle, although that's actually a good thing for me. I still harbor a massive taste aversion from the Unfortunate Peach Schnapps Incident of the late 80s.

So it appears that I've finally found another white that I like, to go with the lovely Purple Cow Muscat. I need to do a Riesling tasting flight to see if I prefer this one to any others. Unfortunately the Book Club Girls were not so appreciative. (That's not entirely disastrous . . . more for me!) I'll just have to keep working on them. Any recommendations for Gateway Wines?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

OH noes

Now you know I'm high class
Ohmagoodness, I have used up my box of wine. I always keep a box of wine in the house only just so that I will never ever run out. It is time for a trip out of the dry county.

In the meantime, I have been intending to mention that the box of wine I have had, a burgundy (my first, I think . . . isn't it a shame that it wasn't in a bottle) had quite an interesting feature. If I drank it while eating popcorn, the combination tasted just like chocolate!

Are you taking notes on how to be a wino?
  1. Drink wine from box
  2. Drink wine with popcorn (or anything else you can imagine)
  3. Cry when wine runs out and vow to ensure that it will never happen again

Thursday, December 2, 2010


My super-cool cousin, Lori, gave me a lovely bottle of wine during our last visit. (I knew she was my favorite cousin for a reason.) Lori, bless her heart, is not a wine drinker, and I haven't had time to convert her yet. I mean, yeah, I've known her since before I was born, but she lives far away and I don't get to see her often. Thus, Cousin Lori's wine-drinking status is a work in progress.

Meanwhile, I get to enjoy the (fermented) fruits of her shortcoming. At some point she had been given a 2004 bottle of Rosemount Estate Shiraz as a gift (from someone who doesn't know her well, obviously. OR . . . could it have been a fellow wine evangelist?) The bottle followed her on several moves and quite possibly had questionable storage circumstances on more than one occasion, but I have high hopes that the wine will still be enjoyable. And tonight--tonight!!--I will find out.

But wait, there's more. During my most recent hunting and gathering expedition to the Party Factory, I picked up a pair of bottles for a horizontal tasting (yeah, I had to look up the terminology to refresh my memory, so to keep you from having to do the same thing: that's a comparison of wines from the same vintage but different wineries) and the pair I picked up happened to be two 2008 Shirazes. (Shirazi? Shirazeses? Whatever.)

By a happy coincidence--or perhaps some sort of strange subconscious guidance?--guess what one of those two bottles was? None other than a 2008 Rosemount Estate Shiraz. I didn't even realize the serendipitous duplication until I got the two new bottles home where they belonged. So tonight I bring you not only a horizontal tasting, but a concurrent vertical tasting as well (different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery).

The other 2008 Shiraz is a [yellow tail], and as the odd man out, I will begin with the description of that one. The label claims mulberry, spice and smooth vanilla (sounds excellent), as well as an "approachable, fresh, flavorsome personality all of its own." Now THAT sounds like a wine I could be friends with.

The 2004 Rosemount is described as "intense, spicy fruit with a richly textured finish . . . [and] subtle oak." I guess by 2008 they gave up trying to describe their Shiraz, because that label doesn't give me any help. I guess I'm on my own there. But the bottle is kind of cool because it's square at the bottom. Unique. I just hope that's not the best part of the wine.

The 2004 bottle, by the way, isn't without its own pleasant little idiosyncrasies: a cute little red wax seal on top of the cork instead of foil, and a great big lip around the edge of the mouth that almost kept me from letting out that extra (and for me, apparently inevitable) drip.

First, a good look at each. Of course they're all a beautiful deep dark red, and nearly opaque. The 2004 Rosemount has a discouraging brownish tinge which I'm hoping is not a portent of doom. The 2008 Rosemount is a pure ruby red, and the [yellow tail] is just a tad purplish. I am not sure if Shiraz is commonly an amputee, but I'm not really seeing much in the way of legs on any of these three. The 2008 Rosemount is a definite Bob (you know, what you would call a legless man in the ocean). But since I have no idea what legs on wine might signify, I'm not too worried about that.

Now for the sniff test. Mmmm, the 2008 Rosemount smells good. Good and spicy. The 2004 Rosemount smells disappointingly bland. But, urg, it smells better than the [yellow tail]. (Do I really have to type those pretentious little brackets every time?) It doesn't have a strong aroma, but it smells a bit green. Already I'm predisposed to prefer the 2008 Rosemount.

And now--yippee, the best part!--to taste each one.

Ahhh, the 2008 Rosemount is lovely. Spicy, a little tangy, and a very smooth finish. I'm afraid this may be one of those that is all too easy to drink!

The 2004 Rosemount is not as bad as I expected, though it tastes every bit as bland as it smells. It really just tastes kind of watery, though I'm sure several years of less-than-ideal storage conditions are to blame.

The 2008 [yellow tail] is a pleasant surprise. I think I really do taste a bit of berries and vanilla. It doesn't have the zippy spice of the 2008 Rosemount, but it's definitely worth drinking--though I must admit I've not met many wines that aren't.

My vote is for the 2008 Rosemount Estate Shiraz. I'm still in search of the Best Wine Ever, but this was a nice little pit stop on the journey.