CTS Wine Ministry 2009 – Overview

Wine Ministry

It was a great week at CTS with a community of friends, some good theological thoughts, and plenty of wine flowing. Thanks to all who participated in the fellowship of the overflowing chalice!

I will post a bit more information and reviews of each of the wines we tasted, but for now here is a listing of the four tastings we shared. Leave a note on this or the other postings to let me know your favorite wines as well as your memories of the week we shared. Check back soon for the wine notes…

Monday, July 6, 2009
Theme: Warming Up the Palates

1 – 2008 Total Depravity Riesling [Ohio/Washington] $priceless
2 – 2007 Clean Slate Riesling Shared by Stephen [Germany] $9.99
3 – 2007 Total Depravity Pinot Noir [Ohio/California] $priceless
4 – 2002 Pillitteri Estates Gamay Noir Family Reserve [Canada] $32.99
5 – 2002 Kacaba Vineyards Meritage [Canada] $36.99

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Theme: Vertical Tasting of California Rhone Varietals

1 – 2005 Zaca Mesa Syrah [California] $23.00
2 – 2004 Zaca Mesa Syrah [California] $23.00
3 – 2006 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $24.00
4 – 2005 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $24.00
5 – 2004 Gainey Vineyard Syrah Limited Selection [California] $38.00
6 – 2002 Gainey Vineyard Syrah [California] $22.00

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Theme: The Variety of White Wines – Find One for Your Palate

1 – 2008 Black Mountain Pinot Grigio Shared by Stephen [California] $5.99
2 – 2008 Greenhough Sauvignon Blanc [New Zealand] $15.99
3 – 2007 Shoo Fly Buzz Cut (white blend) Shared by Lisa [Australia] $10.99
4 – 2006 Sonoma Vineyards Chardonnay (unoaked) [California] $14.99
5 – 2007 Newton Chardonnay Napa/Sonoma Counties [California] $18.99
6 – 2007 Domaine Pichot Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette [France] $14.99
7 – NV Botter Prosecco Vino Spumante [Italy] $14.99
8 – 2008 Ceretto I Vignaioli Santo Stefano Moscato d’Asti [Italy] $24.99

Bonus Wine:
9 – 2008 Project Happiness Chardonnay Shared by Bryan [California] $5.99

Preview of Thursday’s blending seminar:
10 – 2003 Clos du Bois Marlstone (Bordeaux style blend) [California] $39.99

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Theme: Bordeaux-Style Blending Seminar

1 – 2008 Total Depravity Riesling [Ohio/Washington] $priceless
2 – 2008 Muga Rioja Rose [Spain] $12.99
3 – 2005 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donis Barrica Shared by ??? [Spain] $12.99
4 – 2006 Domaine “la Garrigue” Côtes du Rhône [France] $15.99
5 – 2007 Layer Cake Primitivo Zinfandel Shared by Lisa [Italy] $13.99
6 – 2006 Santa Rita Merlot Reserva Shared by ??? [Chile] $9.99

Samples of Bordeaux-Style Blends from Around the World
7 – 2001 Rosemount Traditional [Australia] $29.99
8 – 2001 Creekside Laura’s Blend Meritage [Canada] $18.99
9 – 2002 Chateau Peyre-Lebade (Rothchild) Bordeaux Haut-Medoc [France] $24.99
10 – 2006 Steltzner Claret [California] $16.99

Blending Wines (components of Bordeaux/Meritage):
11 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (barrel sample) [California] $23.00 (prerelease)
12 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Merlot (barrel sample) [California] $19.00 (prerelease)
13 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail
14 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Malbec (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail
15 – 2007 Dry Creek Vineyards Petit Verdot (barrel sample) [California] not sold retail

Prize Wine & Finale Tasting:
16 – 2001 Le Sillage de Malartic Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan [France] $29.99

Extra – Just for Fun
17 – NV Riondo Prosecco (with a sliced strawberry in the glass!) [Italy] $12.99

2005 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti

2005 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti
Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d’Asti

Wine Rating: 87

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 2

This is a nice “pizza wine” or “pasta wine” with excellent QPR (Quality Price Ratio). It is smooth and simple with a medium body. Lots of fruit on the nose with muted steminess and soil. Tart cherry is the first flavor in the mouth, but quickly opens up with strawberry, plum, and cranberry. Hints of tobacco and licorice follow with a fairly short, tart finish.

Where the Bridgman Viognier was preferred by the women in the tasting, this Barbera d’Asti was the wine they liked least of all. The guys liked its bright, tart flavors, though clearly not the most preferred wine of this tasting.

$13.99 widely available

N.V. Riondo Prosecco Veneto IGT

N.V. Riondo Prosecco Veneto IGT
Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

Wine Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 4

Previously reviewed, reposted here and edited for the current tasting

This wine is always a crowd-pleaser at tastings. It is just fun to drink.

Simple nose with honeysuckle, apple, and baked pear, each of which continued in the mouth. Nice small bubbles. The mouthfeel is lucious for a wine of this price. The fruit is balanced with plenty of minerality and toast on the finish. Very nice on its own, and a “party for your mouth” with the addition of a strawberry slice! This wine is an excellent value and quite accessible for less experienced wine drinkers and makes a nice alternative for non-Champagne drinkers.

I don’t think the typical wine drinker can ever go wrong serving this to friends. And for around $10 it is an excellent value.

$10.69 widely available

[yellow tail] Throwdown!

[yellow tail]. It’s everywhere. It’s extraordinarily popular. In 2005 this Australian winery produced more than 11 million cases of wine (yes, that’s more than 132,000,000 bottles of wine). There is more of this wine imported into the United States than all of the wines from France combined. More than 2 million glasses of [yellow tail] are consumed in the world every day. With this much wine being sold it simply MUST be good, right?

Wine connoisseurs (aka snobs) refer to [yellow tail] with great disdain. It is the antithesis to good wine. Its chemical aromas and overly sweet, fruity flavors should never grace the inside of a Riedel stem.

But this wine sells! Do we Americans really lack that much discrimination? We don’t really fall for sophisticated marketing, product placement, label design, price point, and market saturation, DO WE??? We would not permit our wine palates to be manipulated by engineered product, WOULD WE??? It is precisely these things as well as the sweet, fruity flavors that have lured consumers that have little or no wine expertise into the uncorking (unscrewing) of countless bottles of [yellow tail]. Did I mention that the makers of this wine add sugar to the wine to make it sweeter?

Ok, so now I’m sounding like a wine snob.

The project at this evening’s wine tasting was a [yellow tail] THROWDOWN. Since it’s the most popular wine in America, let’s see if people really like it when it is compared side by side with other wines. We did a semi-blind tasting. People knew that [yellow tail] was going to be served, they just didn’t know which wine it would be. So there were four wines each served without disclosing what it was. One was [yellow tail] Cabernet Sauvignon. As a control in the experiment, we also served a decent California Cabernet Sauvignon just to show what a Cabernet “should” taste like (which, admittedly, is very subjective). The final two wines were chosen because of their price and wide availability. They are approximately the same price as [yellow tail], but the wine snobs (me) actually drink these bargains, claiming that they are actually really good wines. So here’s the lineup in the order they were actually served:

    2007 [yellow tail] Cabernet Sauvignon
    2005 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
    2006 Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve
    2006 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache – Shiraz – Mourvedre

And the winner is? In this order of preference by the esteemed panel of tasters:

    #1 – Avalon Cabernet
    #2 – The Stump Jump
    #3 – Perrin Cotes du Rhone
    #4 – [yellow tail] Cabernet

It is very important to point out, however, that [yellow tail] was the number one choice of three of our tasters. I haven’t decided whether or not they are invited back tomorrow evening. Two others preferred it over the Perrin Cotes du Rhone. It was a close race to first between the Avalon and the Stump Jump. Both were well-liked.

We had four other wines after the blind tasting, also in the under-$10 category. There were some really enjoyable wines, including one in that new eco-friendly cartons with milk carton-like spout. I’ll write reviews of all of the wines from this evening, but to round out this posting the other wines were:

    2006 Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon (the one in the box – Thank you, Stephen!)
    2005 Poliziano Rosse di Montepulciano (yummy!!! Thanks, Cory!)
    2005 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma County (Pepper! Thanks, Barbara!)
    2006 Marquis Philips Shiraz (we liked it tonight!)

    With a great deal of thanks to our esteemed panel of judges, we must officially dethrone the [yellow tail] from its place of prominence (at least in terms of appeal as a wine). To be sure, some folks really like this wine. Drink it! I hope you’ll discover what you like and truly enjoy it. For those who didn’t care for the [yellow tail], we’ve given literally dozens of alternatives in the under $10 wines that are more than just drinkable – they are actually excellent wines.

    I’m working hard at getting all of the reviews done. There is a lot of wine to review… I promise I’ll get them all posted! I raise my glass to each of you – those who shared these wines tonight, and those who share with us vicariously through this blog…

NV Riondo Prosecco Veneto IGT


NV Riondo Prosecco Veneto IGT
Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT

Wine Rating:  89

Uncorked: 2008.04.18 – Joyce Davis 80th Birthday Dinner

An alternative to traditional champagne, this sparkling wine has a pleasant, fresh sweetness that will appeal to many.

Simple nose with honeysuckle, apple, and baked pear, each of which continued in the mouth.  Nice small bubbles.  The mouth-feel is luscious for a wine of this price.  The fruit is balanced with plenty of minerality and toast on the finish.  Very nice on its own, and a “party for your mouth” with the addition of a strawberry slice!  This wine is an excellent value and quite accessible for less experienced wine drinkers.

$12.99  Mustard Seed Market, Solon, Ohio

2006 La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia


2006 La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quagloa
Italy, Piedmont, Asti

Wine Rating:  91

Uncorked: 2008.01.10 – CTS DMin NYC Wine Ministry

Group consensus:  This is a party for your mouth!

Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine made from the Moscato Bianco grape in Italy’s Piedmont region.  It is fruity and semi-sweet with pleasant effervescence.

This Moscato d’Asti is a pale yellow with medium bubbles.  White peaches, honey, and wildflowers in the nose.  Smooth and light in the mouth with crisp white peach and pear flavors, hints of lemon, and a bit of minerality.  Surprisingly well balanced for a semi-sweet wine.

Tasters loved the addition of a fresh strawberry slice to their glass!

$19.99  Winnfield-Flynn Wines, NYC

2004 Ca’ Tullio Aquileia Friuli Aquileia Il Patriarca d’Aquileia


2004 Ca’ Tullio Aquileia Friuli Aquileia Il Patriarca d’Aquileia
Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Friuli Aquileia

Wine Rating:  87

Rustic wine with bold aromas and flavors. Composed of 60% Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot. It needed some good time in the glass — improved greatly. Perhaps should have decanted. In the nose it was fruity and woody. Lots of flavors in the mouth — a more complex wine that I expected. Dark jam flavors, blackberry and currant, licorice, a bit of spiciness, and plenty of oak. Good wine to accompany grilled food or a bowl of pasta.

$14.99  Heinens Fine Foods