Monday, April 28, 2008

wow - unexpected bargains

Sure, Ken Brown pinot noirs are really good stuff and are a good pick when you run across them, but I call out this bottle of 2005 Santa Rita Hills for a specific reason. On a recent R&R trip to San Francisco we ran into a small grocery to pick up some wine, cheese, etc for a picnic lunch. Gorgeous spring day and it had to be done. Scanning the wine shelves it was easy to see they organized horizontal by varietal and vertically by price. Down there on the bottom shelf, not where I expected to find a wine I was willing to buy, sat a few Ken Brown pinots. No price. Asking a busy checkout clerk, she had someone run check and came back with $9.99 - bottom shelf, right? I went back and got the other two bottles, so ended up with $120 worth of great wine for 30 bucks. The point? When you know the wines you love (in this case pinot noir) always consider lower-priced bottles that have vineyard designations or special appellations (in this case Santa Rita Hills) that indicate limited production. The wine industry is complicated and mistakes often get made, so price is not always a good indicator. In fact, let me know sometime if you want to hear about a bottle of 1973 Stags Leap Cellars cab that was on a clearance shelf in the busiest wine shop in Houston on the busiest day of the year. . .

Sunday, April 20, 2008

07 barrel samples ready to taste

The 2007 wines are ready for tasting! I recently brought chardonnay, syrah and cabernet samples so we can monitor progress in our most recent barrels. Certainly not finished wine but fun to try as we watch the evolution. Hope to see you in the rockroom Austin headquarters this week for a sniff, swirl and sip.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

wow - big ol pinot

Yeah I know what you're thinkin. You're thinkin "why more hype about pinot?", right? I mean yeah it is heavenly stuff when done right, but there are so many more wines out there so why does it always have to come back around to pinot noir? Well keeping in mind that the rockroom approach is that wine is meant to be enjoyed with food and friends, you generally will not do better than a pinot noir. Take for example this 2003 Lucia pinot noir - their Santa Lucia Highlands(that's loo-see'-ya, not loosh-ee'-ya for those playing at home) appellation blend. Big, fruit forward and flavorful enough to drink like a wine cocktail, it is more at home with a really flavorful dish, like this braised lamb shank with cabbage. It works because the wine has enough acidity to act like a little sip of sorbet in between each bite. The oak influence is there but not overdone and the fruit is dark but not jammy so it doesn't compete with the food flavors. Got it? The concept I mean. Getting Lucia wine, made by Jeff Pisoni in Sonoma County, CA, is a little tougher. Google it or call 800.946.3130 - you'll be glad ya did.