Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marco Real

tasting notes... spicy, peppery nose, boysenberries, tart/ fruit forward, medium dry, light tannins... These were the tasting notes for the Marco Real made from Garnacha grapes - wines I normally like.

Now you often see these notes in a grocery store or a liquor store in the description of the wine. It is kind of like the feature - you liked this book... so you might like these. Just because the wine has dark fruits like boysenberries or a peppery nose - does this really mean anything to you? It might give you some idea of what you might taste if you buy the bottle, crack it open, and drink some for yourself. Those flavors might be well orchestrated with real structure allowing you to savor these tastes, or the wine might fall apart as soon as it hits your palate. The flavors might be muddled, there but undistinguished, or just empty and flat.

This wine was a little muddled. The tasting notes above... tend to be the ingredients of wines that I like. I think that Garnacha grapes make inky, juicy yet earthy wines. But it didn't come together with this one. It felt flat. More mud than earth.

A few years ago I used to drink a Garnacha by the Las Rocas label. It was a wonderful wine and was about 9 or ten dollars. When I last checked, Las Rocas had snuck up to about 15 bucks, probably the victim of a weak dollar and a strong Euro.

What Spanish saint do I pray to, to bring Las Rocas back down to an everyday, Brown Bag friendly price?

RATING: 2 Screwcaps
LABEL: Marco Real
GRAPE: Garnacha
PRICE: $8.99

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sere Marca

When we first tasted this 2007 Sere Marca, Brown Bag Sommelier Dennis immediately remarked that my wife Christine would love this wine. Why? Christine loves jammy, fruit forward wines like California Zinfandels and Syrahs. Dennis does not - he's more of an old world fruit back, terroir kinda guy.

The funny thing about the Sere Marca is that although it seems all those things at first, it really isn't. It has flavors of plums, blueberries, tobacco, and dried strawberries. Things that you would associate with the big bold California zins crunching flavors down in the powerful California sun.

But somewhere through the finish which starts off strong, the unstructured tannins break down. The initially lingering finish falls apart.

I wanted to really like this wine, since it started off for me as the tight, modern wine neither old nor new world that I enjoy - almost like a peppery Argentinian wine. But it couldn't hold together for one reason or another.

Maybe the BB Sommeliers are becoming tougher critics, but at 13 dollars this should have been a real crowd pleaser. It was not.

RATING:2.35 Screwcaps
LABEL: Sere Marca
GRAPE: searched label and internet could not find info other than nebulous "Spanish Red Table Wine" evidently some kind of blend.
PRICE: 13 dollars out the door at Silverlake Wine

Monte Gudello

This 2006 Monte Gudello made from the Airen grape was a wine that simply did not generate a lot of conversation at the tasting. It had a decent enough taste. With a pale hay color and flavors of straw and sea grass and even a little kiwi, it made the grade.

Again, I think that for the most part, the Brown Baggers like red wines. Reds have a lot more range to pop and show - something that whites don't have, at least their shine is not as apparent to casual wine drinkers like our group.

Was this a good wine? Yes. I thought that it was. It had a nice balance and acidity, and would be a great wine on a warm afternoon. (disclaimer: I am partial to clean drinking whites).

The entry in wikipedia about the Airen grape said that acre for acre, it is estimated that there are more acres under cultivation for Airen than any other grape - as of 2004. It is a low density planting meaning other grapes liek Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon beat it out by total yield. Most of the acreage cultivated for Airen is in Spain.

In my years of drinking Spanish wines, I have never noticed Airen wines. Although the Monte Gudello didn't blow the crowd away - I'll probably look for it in the future. There's some intrigue.

RATING: 2.75 Screwcaps
LABEL: Monte Gudello
GRAPE: Airen
PRICE: $9.99 at Silverlake Wine