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Monthly Archives: November 2011

This Bird is of a Different Feather: 2010 Little Penguin Pinot Noir

The only good thing about this week is that I have a wine glass full of the sweet, alcoholic nectar made by my newest, bestest friends in the entire world…the winemakers.

Yes, I realize it’s only Monday, but it already feels like an ETERNITY of Mondays have slipped the proverbial doom and gloom noose around my neck and are threatening to let me drop at any moment.

I figured the best way to make the world go away was to uncork the bottle and empty it, one delicious glass at a time. It certainly beats throwing in a full box of Calgon bubble bath and screaming, “Take me away, dammit!!!” (Do they even MAKE Calgon anymore? Did I just inadvertently date myself and will need to drink more to forget my blunder?)

At any rate, I wanted cheap and easy…and cute…but I didn’t want the trouble of a ‘date’, so I grabbed a $4.99 bottle of 2010 Little Penguin Pinot Noir from SouthEastern Australia. Australia isn’t exactly known for their Pinots…they’re known for big, jammy Shiraz, but I thought, ‘What the heck? We’re getting close to the holidays, I need to find a lovely little Pinot to go with turkey and cranberries, plus, my family will be celebrating with me…I need mass quantities of cheap wine that will not taste like the swill my mother pours out of the box.”

It’s a little darker in the glass than I would have expected from a Pinot Noir- dark garnet in color- which is a little concerning, but the nose is pretty heavenly. Strawberries…not necessarily like fresh strawberries…something sweeter, but definitely profuse aromas of strawberry. Okay, the smell definitely balanced out the questionable dark color of the wine. I could smell this glass all day long.

The taste left me a little flat, however.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad taste. It’s just not the taste of a Pinot Noir. It’s also not anything terribly special to take me away to that far away, exotic place I was longing for in my mind after being bombarded by the slave drivers I affectionately call my family all day long.

Upon first sip, you drown in fruit. That same sweet strawberry you couldn’t get enough of on the nose is there putting a death grip on your tongue. There might be the slightest hint of vanilla in there, but it gets body slammed by more strawberry. Fruit bomb…that’s what I would call this. None of the nuances or complexity you’d look for in a Pinot Noir. On the finish, it goes from sweet to almost a little sour. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take away from the wine. Everything is balanced and all…no pucker factor, no oversweet cloying effect. It’s balanced…it’s just…lacking something. The finish doesn’t last long. You get that quick hint of sour, and then everything just sort of disappears. No lingering finish whatsoever.

Definitely not a favorite Pinot Noir.

With that said though, it’s not a bad little wine, ESPECIALLY when you’re picking it up under $5. It’s an easy sipper, perfect to stock up on and serve when you just want something quick and easy sitting on the deck, or hanging out for movie night. If you’re going to pair it with food, I’d recommend pairing it with the same types of stuff you’d pair with a Shiraz. Don’t pair it with salmon or fish or any of the stuff you’d match up with a Pinot Noir. Think bbq sauce with this one..or even venison…something to offset the big fruit in this wine.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Why Did the Chicken Grace My Wine Glass? Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon

As I hunker down inside the house, listening to the cold winds whip and the pellets of sleet hitting the window, my ‘Cheap Summer Wine Tour’ seems like a sad distant memory. Did I mention I hate the winter, and I hate being holed up like a prisoner to the cold?

With defiance, I grab a pair of fuzzy slippers and my wine glass, and, come hell or high snow drifts, I’m going to find a way to enjoy the season. It will be with copious amounts of wine.

And so begins my Winter Wine Adventure, where, with the change leftover from spending too much on Christmas gifts for people I may or may not even like, I will purchase and explore bargain wines with the same character and depth you’d find in the knit scarf and mittens your Aunt Clara would make.

The first wine of the season is a non-vintage wine out of California called HRM Rex~Goliath Free Range Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottle immediately caught my attention as it sports artwork reflecting a 47 lb Giant Rooster of circus fame that held the name of Rex Goliath. Yes…a 47lb giant circus rooster.

This wine is either going to have tons of character or be bad beyond belief. At $6.99, I’m praying for a miracle.

Pouring into the glass, the big bad liquid bird struts out in a deep, inky purple-ish red in color. The nose is equally boisterous with heavy notes of cedar and smoky oak. A second sniff also reveals scents of plum and mocha as well, but the cedar takes the center ring overall.

And now for the main event..will it be a showstopper for the right reasons?

On the initial sip, I thought it was too much. This big bird definitely has some bite, but, after letting it breathe for about 40 minutes, I tried it again.

Not bad!

It doesn’t taste like some cheap, one-dimensional, rot-gut fruit punch trying to capitalize on the California Cabernet Sauvignon craze. This actually has some good things going on here. Lots of dark, ripe fruit in here laced with the smoky oak flavor and cedar that was on the nose. Soft, smooth tannins and a nice, lingering finish. For $7.00, this could EASILY be an every day ‘go to’ wine. Yes, we’re having chicken yet again.

But the only place you want the ‘chicken’ is poured in your glass. It’s too bold to pair with poultry. This wine DEFINITELY needs a big, hearty beef dish…a thick steak or a hearty beef stew is in order.

Pluck this bird from your local liquor store and sip it often.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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