‘house wine’

The idea behind this wine club was to bring the wine that you always like to have on hand – perhaps buy by the case, or for me, tend to replace when you drink one. This is rare for me; my general feeling is that there is simply too much wine in the world to repeat very much at all. Even some things I like quite a lot, such as the Bellum Providencia or Domaine des Aubuisières Silex, I will only buy once or twice more.

The proximate impetus was a text from Matt, one of our gracious hosts. He was enjoying a glass of Luzón Verde, a 100% Monastrell from Jumilla. He suggested that we should do a Monastrell (Mouvèdre) night, but his particular inspiration made me think of my own former house wine, which I had not had in about a year. The Finca Luzón is .7 Monastrell / .3 Syrah, and better for it, imo, though we could not taste them side by side as now the Verde has disappeared from Chicago merchants. I first bought this in 2007 and was shocked at the quality for (then) $7. It’s $9 now, but well worth it. For me at least, it is more interesting than its peers. Thus my selection remained my favorite wine of the night, but there was one standout discovery, the Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2009 from NZ. NZ is primarily known for Sauvignon Blanc, but the style is one I generally dislike, too heavy on tropical fruit flavors with rarely enough acid to balance it (my favorite Sauvignons Blancs are from the Loire: see my #1 pick, from David, at the first wine club). I recently had a decent Pinot Noir from NZ but not one I would buy again.

And so, on to the list. Although for some, this was the result of just grabbing what was at hand or running into the wine store, I did get a better sense of a few people’s palates. I have only a couple people’s notes – such are the difficulties of hosting at someone else’s home – so remarks are mostly my own.

Finca Luzón 2008 (Mike)
as good as remembered. more tannic, could hang out a couple of years.
Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon (Matt)
more oak than I remembered, but lots of nice cherry. good structure. lingering dark fruit.
Zafrika Pinotage (Paul)
strange plum flavor; lots of sour cherry and overwhelming raspberry. would be good with chocolate mousse, maybe?
Cambria Pinot Noir, Julia’s 2008 (Chris)
very light, pleasant strawberry. ideal for roast chicken, or hummus.
Marqués de Cáseres Rosé 2009 (Ben)
too fruity and not enough acid – this is the sort of thing I would add an ice cube to. would be quite good with summer squash dishes.
Trentatre (33), TJ’s (Jon)
much softer than I remembered – would not serve with pizza, which is the category I previously assigned it to. apparently considerable merlot in the blend, a shame. quite good for the price, but rather boring.
Il Valore Sangiovese, TJ’s, (Claudio)
drink with pasta. boil pasta in it. sure. cheaper than the 33, but I liked it better. very nice everyday choice.
Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Aaron)
unremarkable but ok, as the only sauv blanc of the group. would be my pick if I ate predominantly seafood.
Humbrecht Pinot Gris Alsace 2008 (Jacob)
strong lychee with some guava and a hint of grapefruit. surprising lack of crispness for alsace, but made me think, this is why they so often blend it with sylvaner.
Ste Michelle Merlot 2006 (Alan)
Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2009 (Shaardad)
some of the characteristic NZ passionfruit, but with a background of peach and hints of lime. really excellent; the only standout for me.
Alamos Torrontes 2008 (David or Wes)
banana. I hate bananas. I hate torrontes.
Golden Gate Cab NV
wood chips, vanilla oak.
Alamos Malbec
too much oak (my problem previously with this one), but after some time in the glass this dissipated and I got some more plum out of it; still not a favorite malbec even for the price.
Hess Cabernet (JP)
thin. do not want.

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