Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kirkland Brand Wine... what?!?

I love Costco. I do. But when Mr. Purple first brought home a bottle of Kirkland brand Chateauneuf-du-pape, I will admit I told him to save the Kirkland brand for diapers.  And we don't even buy diapers anymore.  Not that I'm a brand snob... really.  Its just that I don't associate fine wine with the Kirkland brand.  And I now stand corrected.

Before I review tasting notes though, one of the best parts of drinking Chateauneuf-du-pape is just saying the name. Since I'm not familiar with how to add sound to blogs, I'll do my best at spelling it phonetically.  Shat-a-NOOF-de-pop.  And if you say it with your best French accent, it sounds even better.

Chateauneuf-du-pape is the name of an appellation in the southern region of France in the Rhone Valley.  Wines with that designation are blended red wine and thirteen varietals of grapes are allowed - with the predominant varietal being Grenache, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre (see my earlier blog post about Mourvedre). Kirkland's brand is estate grown at Domaine de Nalys, one of the oldest domaines and has been around since 1778.

The color is deep ruby red with a nose of berries and spices. Like most wine from this area of the world, the taste is much more earthy than fruity, although I did get hints of cranberry and spice.  This wine is definitely young and could stand to age a few years.  Not a bad buy though for $19.95.  And, it comes with the added bonus of impressing your friends with your knowledge and pronunciation of French wines.  As long as they can look past the fact that their wine may share the same brand as their toilet paper.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm back... after much too long!

I'm back.  And while I could bore you with my lengthy list of reasons for taking a break, it really isn't important.  What is important is that I'm still drinking and making wine.  And I have a lot to catch up on.

In honor of the Tuesday after "the first weekend of summer", I'm reviewing two of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs.  For those of you who know Purple Girl personally, you know I'm pretty much a red wine drinker.  (Hence the name Purple Girl). But there is honestly nothing quite like a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc on a warm summer day.  So, cheers to the beginning of summer.

Oyster Bay
Mr. Purple picked up this little gem at the grocery store for less than $10.  This New Zealand wine is crisp, refreshing, has a lot of great citrus flavor as well as hints of coconut.  Although that coconut part may just be my wishful thinking of being somewhere tropical.  Oyster Bay is sure to be a crowd pleaser so a great buy for a backyard BBQ with friends.

Another great Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Cupcake is bursting with citrus flavor (does that sound like a Starburst commercial?).  Cupcake is pale yellow to greenish in color, crisp and seems to stay cool in the glass long after it is poured.  It retails for around $11 per bottle but if you watch for specials, you can generally get it for less.  I picked it up at Fred Meyer the other day for $8.99!

Now, its no coincidence that both of these wines come from New Zealand.  NZ proudly boasts that they make some of the best sauvignon blanc in the world.  This is largely due to their ideal growing conditions for the sauvignon blanc grape - cooler summers and milder winters coupled with stony, mineral filled soil.  The vines have to work hard for their nutrients so when they get them, they put them right into the grapes.  So, it got me to thinking.  Where else do we have cooler summers and milder winters with less than hospitable soil?  Feels like that might be my own backyard here in Western Washington.  My next task... research Washington Sauvignon Blanc (and by research I mean taste).  Anyone out there have recommendations?