2005 Greg Norman California Estates Petite Sirah

2005 Greg Norman California Estates Petite Sirah
California, Central Coast, Paso Robles

Wine Rating: 85

Uncorked: 2008.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Sunday, Wine No. 3
Shared by Barbara

The Grape & Its Wine
Petit Sirah should not be confused with Syrah – they are completely different grapes and wines. Originally created by crossing a little-known Rhone grape, Peloursin, with Rhone’s noble Syrah, the resulting grape is known as Durif – from which Petit Sirah is made. The grapes are “petit” – that is, they are smaller than the average vinifera grape. This results in a greater skin-to-juice ratio and leads to more tannin in the juice. Carefully made Petit Sirahs therefore have the potential for deep flavors and long shelf life.

The Wine Maker
Greg Norman’s wine industry extends beyond his native Australia. This Petit Sirah is made in Napa Valley from vineyards Norman owns in California’s Central Coast. Consider the geography of the wine – Australian roots, Central Coast grapes, Napa winemaking. The result is both multivalent and, one could surmise, somewhat generic. Enough prologue…

The Wine
This wine is medium-bodied and presents with sweet cherry and pepper in the nose. After the initial alcohol heat in the back of the mouth, flavors of red fruits (sweet cherry, raspberry), blueberry, and plum give way to a very mild, almost flat mid-palate. The flavors reemerge with toast, spice, vanilla, and cedar. The tannins are a bit overpowering on the medium-length finish. The wine is a decent value, but there are so many Petit Sirahs with more character and balance. This wine is easily accessible and would serve well with food off the grill.

$11.99 widely available

2004 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Crianza

2004 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Crianza
Spain, La Rioja, Rioja

Wine Rating: 87

Uncorked: 2008.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Sunday, Wine No. 2
Shared by Lisa R.

Rioja is probably Spain’s signature wine. Rioja is characterized by its long aging in oak barrels. The Crianzas are the youngest of the Riojas, reflecting the flavors and style of their bigger reserve and gran reserve siblings, but without the structure and depth of the long barrel aging. What results is a vibrant and easy-drinking wine with plenty of fruit, spice, and earthiness.

The Montecillo is typical of Crianzas. Its color is bright garnet with an effusive bouquet of ripe berries and sweet oak. In the mouth there is lots of flavor – cherries, cranberries, and roasted peppers. The oak flavors are somewhat muted and it finishes with soft tannins that are almost musty. Nice layers of flavor and lots of wine for the money. Will go well with pizza, roasted meats, and grilled veggies.

REVIEWTEXT

$9.99 widely available

2006 Marquis Philips Shiraz

2006 Marquis Philips Shiraz
Australia, South Eastern

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2008.07.06
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Sunday, Wine No. 1

This is another fairly typical Aussie Shiraz with ripe fruit in the nose and on the palate. I am aware that other tasters of this wine rate it much higher, but it is too ordinary for me to give it 90+ points. Still, it is an excellent QPR (Quality Price Ratio) wine that makes a very nice “ordinary” wine for the table.

Aromas of very ripe fruit –black cherry, strawberries, and plum along with pencil lead and well-worn leather. In the mouth the jammy fruit is predominant – dark cherry, plum, and blackberry. Lots of mocha flavors and hints of chocolate. Some earthiness and wet wood in mid-palate. The finish is long and brash with bright tannins and lingering flavors of pepper and spice.

$9.99 widely available

CTS Wine Ministry – Week 1, Day 6

The “faithful remnant” that remained at the seminary over the Fourth of July weekend were treated to some pretty nice wines on this Saturday evening tasting. The hospitality and generosity were overflowing as both Paul and Lisa provided extra wines for the tasting.

In addition to our colleagues from the DMin seminar, we were joined by several family members for this tasting. Our community was enriched with spouses and offspring – though the youngest members were there for the event and conversation rather than the wine! It was a true expression of the community that forms around wine, though, as it was as much about the “community” as it was about the wine on this evening. What a gift.

Having said that, the wines were really good, too! Click the links below, or simply scroll through the blog to read about the wines in this tasting.

Saturday, July 6, 2008 (week 1, day 5)

2007 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Alamos

2007 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Alamos
Argentina, Mendoza

Wine Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 6
Shared by Paul C.

This was the favorite wine of this evening’s tasting, and was nearly the unanimous #1 pick of the flight. It is an outstanding value, as many of the Argentine Malbecs have become. I highly recommend this wine with its excellent QPR (Quality Price Ratio).

The color is very purple and dark. The nose is full of ripe fruit, spice, toast, and earth. The mouth is where the youthfulness of the wine is apparent. It is bold and brash with vibrant fruit and almost rustic flavors. Chewy mouth-feel with ripe blackberry, juicy cherry, and dark plum followed by hints of chocolate and espresso. There is definite earthiness in the flavors of this wine with wet wood and rich, loamy soil. Long finish with nice spice and velvety tannins.

$9.99 widely available

2006 Francis Coppola Pinot Noir Diamond Series Silver Label

2006 Francis Coppola Pinot Noir Diamond Series Silver Label
USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County

Wine Rating: 87

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 5

This wine was introduced in the tasting to introduce a fairly typical affordable California Pinot Noir. To be sure, this is not representative of the best of California Pinot Noir, but Coppola is making decent juice for a good price.

Plenty of fruit on the nose with strawberries, light cherries, and raspberries. There were hints of wood, but not oak – more like the smells of a forest floor. The medium bodied wine presents the mouth with a bit of an alcohol punch, but quickly moves to round flavors of berries and plums. The forest floor aromas continue on the palate along with some cinnamon and light smoke. The tannins are a bit uncontained on the finish leaving a somewhat bitter taste after the fairly well balanced flavors.

It’s a very affordable and drinkable California Pinot Noir.

$19.99 widely available

2004 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donís Barrica

2004 Celler de Capçanes Montsant Mas Donís Barrica
Spain, Catalunya, Tarragona, Montsant

Wine Rating: 90

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 4
Shared by Paul C.

This is a wine we simply did not have the time to appreciate. It should have been decanted for at least a couple of hours, but we drank it right from the bottle. My goodness this is a spectacular wine.

The nose is a bit spicy with dark fruit aromas – ripe plums and blackberries. It had a bit of earthiness, almost portabella mushrooms. The mouth is huge and silky. Big berry flavors and dark fruit. It has a big flavor bump in the middle of the palate with emerging minerality and soil. The finish is long and dry with moderate tannins. The wine is almost chewy, and would certainly have opened up even more flavors had we decanted. It’s a great value for this much flavor.

$11.99 widely available

2005 Boutinot Côtes du Ventoux Chat-en-Oeuf

2005 Boutinot Côtes du Ventoux Chat-en-Oeuf
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 3

I am always cautious of cutely named wines – and this one certainly is clever (Chat-en-Oeuf translates “Cat-in-Egg” or “Cat-on-Egg” as the label illustration shows), and is a nod to its style namesake Chateneuf du Pape. While this is no premium CdP, it is a very tasty and affordable table wine.

The color is a bright ruby red. Aromas of red cherries, raspberries and pepper. It is fairly light in the mouth, but not thin. Flavors of cherry, blackberry, and strawberry with some spice and leather. The finish is medium and the tannins are mild. The flavors opened up and balanced with a bit of breathing out of the bottle.

It’s a wine to be consumed young. Excellent value and easy to recommend as an everyday table wine.

$8.99 widely available

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

2006 W. B. Bridgman Cellars Viognier Yakima Valley

2006 W. B. Bridgman Cellars Viognier Yakima Valley
Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley

Wine Rating: 87

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 1
Shared by Lisa R.

Crisp aromas and flavors made this a nice wine to begin our tasting this evening. The nose has nice peach and apricot with floral and mineral overtones. More peach, flowers, and wet stone flavors in the mouth. Crisp acidity along with the typical Viognier flavors give this wine some good interest. More popular among the women in the tasting group, it is a nice wine to serve slightly chilled on a warm summer afternoon with fruit and light cheese.

$12.99 widely available

CTS Wine Ministry – Week 1, Day 5

We truly became wine snobs today. We poured what we would later give an 87 rating down the drain. We were either arrogant about the wine, or very fatigued. I’ll stick with us just being picky on this Fourth of July!

There are just a handful of us tasting these wines as most folks are away from the seminary campus for the weekend. Their loss – there were a couple of pretty fine wines poured in our glasses this evening.

To read the wine reviews, either scroll through the blog, or click on the name of one of the wines below.

Friday, July 4, 2008 (week 1, day 5)

2005 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Les Terrasses

2005 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Les Terrasses
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2008.07.04
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 3
Shared b y Paul C.

This wine is, of course, a fixture at Casa de P-D. We love this wine. It has all the flavors of some of the best Cotes du Rhone at a fraction of the price. Being just south in the Ventoux region gives this wine the disadvantage of not being a “true” Cotes du Rhone, but it makes it an extremely good value.

The 2005 gets a one-point rating increase over the 2004. There is just more flavor in the bottle. It is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, all picked from old vine growth.

Deep ruby color. Had to open up a bit, but soon the nose exploded with cherries, plum, cedar and leather. Concentrated flavors of ripe cherry, strawberry, and blackberry with a smooth, round mouthfeel. Notes of licorice, spice, and white pepper. The tannins are soft and well integrated. There are hints of some stems and earth on the finish. The wine has lots of layers, plenty of flavors, a real treat for the palate.

It should probably be drunk young as the tannins are pretty soft now. Perhaps 2 or 3 years in the bottle at the most. But it is so drinkable now, I’m not sure that it will improve much. Excellent value.

$12.99 widely available

2004 Marquis Philips Roogle Red

2004 Marquis Philips Roogle Red
South Eastern Australia

Wine Rating: 75 biased rating – see later review

Uncorked: 2008.07.04
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 2

At this point in the week, and with only a handful of us tasting on this Fourth of July, I think we have become snobs. We sipped this fairly well-rated wine, turned up our noses, and actually poured it out. We all agreed that it was the first real “dud” of this series of wine tastings.

Stay tuned on this wine, however. I resealed the bottle and we tried it again, blind, later in the week. The results were certainly interesting! We rated it significantly higher… So perhaps ignore this particular rating for this wine.

$9.99 widely available

2006 Water Wheel Memsie

2006 Water Wheel Memsie
Australia, Victoria, Central Victoria, Bendigo

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2008.07.04
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Friday, Wine No. 1

An interesting blend of Shiraz (87%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%), and Malbec (6%). It still has the typical Aussie “fruit bomb” flavors, but the wine opened up to some much more subtle flavors after some breathing time. I’d like to try this one again giving it the benefit of an hour or two in a decanter.

Lots of dark, ripe fruit in the nose with some hints of pepper and toast. Soft feel in the mouth, with juicy berries and dark plum exploding on the palate. Nice toasted oak flavors mid-palate followed by tobacco, tree bark, and spice. Finishes with firm tannins and a bit of heat. It didn’t hold together as well as I had hoped, but each of the varietal elements contributed to the flavors of the wine.

$14.99

CTS Wine Ministry: Week 1, Day 4

Day four of our Wine Ministry wine tasting events. The practice of The Joyful Feast of Wine has really caught on and the community is enjoying the Wine Ministry. This was a good evening to be at the wine tasting!

To read the wine reviews, either scroll down through the blog, or click on the name of the wine to go to that particular wine’s tasting notes.

Thursday, July 3, 2008 (week 1, day 4)

2006 Pascual Toso Malbec

2006 Pascual Toso Malbec
Argentina, Mendoza, Maipú

Wine Rating: 90

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 6

This Malbec is another standard at Casa de P-D. It is full of flavor and serves extremely well with lots of different foods. It’s one I love to sip will grilling and serve with meat and grilled veggies off the Big Green Egg. It is an extraordinary value and often sells out quickly. When you find it, buy several bottles. You’ll be glad you did.

The color is gorgeous – dark inky red/purple. The nose is opulent with dark aromas – black fruit, pepper, tobacco, mocha, smoke. The initial flavors in the mouth are deep, rich fruits – plum, blackberries, black currants, and blueberries. Spice, leather, and cola flavors emerge mid-palate along with a vegetal hint (bell peppers?). The medium finish is solid with ample tannins and a layered taper of flavors. There is a lot going on with this wine and an excellent QPR (Quality-Price Ratio).

I am tempted to try to keep my hands off a few of the bottles in the cellar to see how this would do over time. I am guessing it will become rounder and more subtle in its layers of flavors. The problem, though, is I love this wine even in its youth and am not sure I can leave it alone!

$15.99 Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, Dekalb Farmers Market
(can be found for $10-$12)

2005 Cline Cellars Cashmere

2005 Cline Cellars Cashmere
California, Sonoma

Wine Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 5

Cline’s Cashmere is a pretty straightforward GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blend, very similar to a Cotes du Rhone in style and taste. Dark color and dark flavors. Lots of ripe cherry in the nose with a bit of soil aromas. In the mouth it is soft with a few layers of flavors — dark fruit, raspberries, a bit of plum, some mushroom or loam, and a bit of light toast. The tannins were confident enough to balance the fruit, but fairly soft. It’s a very easy wine to drink.

$15.99 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

2005 Domaine Perilliere Côtes du Rhône Villages

2005 Domaine Perilliere Côtes du Rhône Villages
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages

Wine Rating: 91

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 3

This has become one of our “table wines” at Casa de P-D. It’s a nice Cotes du Rhone with good depth and earthiness. Harvested from old vine Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre, the winemaker exploits the grapes for all of their intensity and flavors. It does well to open up a bit before serving in order to let it stretch and breathe.

Aromas of dark, ripe cherry and berries along with cedar, spice, and mocha. In the mouth its texture is smooth and flavors are dense. Ripe cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and cranberry flavors with spicy, peppery notes. The old world style is apparent with the distinct earthiness and wood flavors. The terroir of the Garde region of the Rhone Valley is subtly present. The finish is moderate with firm tannins.

At $16.99 it is a bit pricey for some people’s everyday wine, but it packs a lot into the bottle and is actually an excellent value. This is wine that, if you can keep your hands off it, can live in the cellar and improve over the next 2 or 3 years.

$16.99

2005 Nine Stones Shiraz Barossa Valley

2005 Nine Stones Shiraz Barossa Valley
Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 2

This is a pretty typical Australian Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. The nose is huge with dark berries and plum with a bit of worn leather. In the mouth it is big, bold, and brash. It’s not refined. Rather, there are gobs of fruit flavors and big spices. Lots of ripe plum, dark strawberry, and grape jam flavors. Pepper and spicebox flavors emerge mid-palate. The finish is fairly tart and a bit hot. Big aromas and flavors, big alcohol, big tannins. We were looking for the textbook Aussie Shiraz and this provided a good sampling for us. It’s certainly a mouthful for $10!

$9.99 widely available

2006 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône

2006 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône
France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

Wine Rating: 84

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 1
Shared by Paul C.

Light and fruity with distinct Syrah flavors. Young and a bit tight, opened up a bit in the glass. Lots of fruit in the nose, and almost a fruit bomb in the mouth. Nothing extraordinary, but for $6.99 from Trader Joe’s (and other markets) it’s a very good value and a decent table wine. Unfortunately, Paul paid a premium for this one at the Dekalb Farmers Market that sells it for $14.49. Good wine for $6.99, I’d pass on it for more than $10.

$6.99 Trader Joes, widely available

(Paul paid $14.49 at the Dekalb Farmers Market)

More CTS Wine Ministry Reviews

I have just posted some more reviews from the recent Wine Ministry during my doctoral seminar at CTS. The wines reviewed were from one of the better days of our tastings…

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 (week 1, day 3)

2006 Wits End Cabernet Franc The Procrastinator

2006 Wits End Cabernet Franc The Procrastinator
Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2008.07.02
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Wednesday, Wine No. 5

This was a BONUS WINE for the evening’s tasting, and what a bonus it was! Excellent wine!

After being sufficiently amused by the name of the vintner (Wit’s End) and the name of the wine (The Procrastinator), the group was introduced to Cabernet Franc. While it’s usually used as a blending wine in Bordeaux, the New World wine makers have discovered its substantial body, subtle texture, and deep flavors make a nice single varietal wine.

The color is deep red. The nose presents wonderful fruit aromas with ripe plum, strawberry, and currants. In the mouth it is beautifully balanced and full. The feel is silky smooth as the flavors wash over the mouth. Tart red berry fruits, cranberries, and even gooseberries are joined by lush ripe plum, chocolate, leather, and toasted oak. The finish is a bit short, but the flavors remain. Tannins are remarkably soft. This is a subtle, rich, balanced wine. This wine was certainly the surprise of the evening.

$20.69 widely available

2005 Chateau du Vieux Moulins de Chereau Montagne-Saint Emilion

2005 Chateau du Vieux Moulins de Chereau Montagne-Saint Emilion
France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Montagne-St. Émilion

Wine Rating: 93

Uncorked: 2008.07.02
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Wednesday, Wine No. 4

This wine was lovely, elegant, and refined. We had gone through some New World renditions of Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington, California, and Australia, and then came home to Bordeaux. We were not disappointed by the crafting of this wine.

Delightful deep ruby red color with tinges of lavender. Nice aromatic layers of dark ripe fruits (black currants, blackberries, and plum), figs, cedar, leather, and hummus. In the mouth it created a round, full experience. The dark fruits continued in the flavors and were joined by chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and well-integrated toasty oak. The flavors in the mouth lasted much longer than expected, and seamlessly finished with firm, rounded tannins.

The wine is still a bit young and could have opened up more before we enjoyed it. It will improve over the next 5-7 years. This is an affordable yet exquisite example of 2005 Bordeaux. Extraordinary value.

$15.99

2005 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz

2005 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz
Australia, South Australia

Wine Rating: 92

Uncorked: 2008.07.02
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Wednesday, Wine No. 3

We didn’t have the luxury of a decanter and that fact really diminished this wine. It is young, brash, and huge. It needed some breathing time and space to be tamed for our glasses, but we were impatient and forged ahead. This might be the strongest and most interesting Bin 389 in several years.

It is a beautiful color. Dark purple, almost like India ink. The aromas didn’t wait for the glass to reach the nose – bold fruit of black currants, blueberries, and ripe blackberries, smoky spices, and cooked fennel or licorice smells. The solid structure of the Cabernet (53%) and the exuberant fruitiness of the Shiraz (47%) meld together to make an enormous mouthful of wine. This is hearty stuff! It opens up in the mouth with spicy dark fruit, tobacco, leather, and hints of chocolate. Nice oak with cedar sweetness. The tannins are firm but not overpowering, and will certainly soften with good bottle aging. This wine will be spectacular in 10-12 years, and is really a bit young to drink for another couple of years.

This would be a great bottle of wine to start a collection with – buy it, hold on to it for a few years, THEN pop the cork and enjoy something really special.

$26.99 widely available