Nine Wines Nine! Library Tasting Notes

Last Friday, we were again asked to help out at the Altadena Public Library’s Art Salon – part of the library’s fabulous Art on Millionaire’s Road annual art show.

If you were at last spring’s fundraising wine and cheese event, then you’ll probably recognized most of the whites. We did have leftovers from that event and wanted to use these delicious wines up. When you add the four reds we found, we poured a total of nine wines for a truly expansive experience.

Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserve NV

Type: Dry sparkling white wine
What Makes It Special: It’s a Cava – Spain’s version of Champagne
Plays well with: Almost anything – it’s a bubbly!

The nose was clean without yeast, toast or chalk. But there was a hint of fresh apples. The taste was very dry and crisp with acidity. The cava dissolved into bubbles at the back of the mouth like the better sparklers do. A classic taste and an excellent value.

Villa Alfieri Pinot Grigio 2008

Type: Dry white
What Makes It Special: Made in Italy
Plays well with: Salad, cheese plates, seafood

The nose was slightly spicy and the color was very clear and clean. The weight in the mouth was medium in weight. The dryness went all through the palate to the back of the mouth.

This has the typical Pinot Grigio subtlety, which means it’s good with food.

Cantarutti 2008 Friuli

Type: Dry white

What Makes It Special: Italian wine made from local grapes including friulano or pinot blanco

Plays Well With: Salad, seafood, sharp cheeses

The clean light color of this wine opened to some nice florals on the nose with a hint of lime and these flavors carried through the taste as well. The mouthfeel was somewhat lush – meaning full in the mouth with some very bracing acids. An excellent palate cleanser between bites of seafood ceviche or shrimp cocktail – hold the cocktail sauce.

Chateau de la Roche 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

Type: Dry white
What Makes It Special: Good and citrusy, typical of sauv blancs.
Plays well with: Salads, seafood, light cream sauces. Also a good sipper by itself.

The color was light and crystal clear. The nose had hints of grapefruit and none of the catbox aroma common to some sauv blancs. The citrus profile extended from the front to the midpalate and had a lemon twist at the back of the mouth. The texture was medium weight and the juicy acidity added a cleansing effect to the mouth. The wine was bone dry.

PKNT Chardonnay, 2009

Type: Dry white

What Makes It Special: Grown and made in Chile

Plays Well With: Light fish and cheese and crackers.

There’s just a touch of oak on the nose of this one, maybe a little toast, as well. But that hint of oak played nicely into the flavor, in which Michael also caught some apple and tropical fruit notes. Anne just caught a nice, light wine that stands pretty well on its own, making it great for parties. But it would also be nice with a fish dinner, say, sole or red snapper.

Sonoma Landing 2008 Pinot Noir

Type: Dry red
What makes it special: Good pinot for the dollar spent

Plays well with: Prime rib, steak, pork, lamb

A nice ruby color leads to a nose of rose petals and high toned red fruit like cherries. The mouthfeel is light and approachable. There are good acids to alert the taste buds and the cherry and berry nose continues into the creamy finish.  Very nice by itself but great with food, with a nice low alcohol of 12.5 percent.

Xplorador 2008 Carmenere

Type: Dry red
What makes it special: Carmenere grapes
Plays well with: Tomato sauces, soft and hard cheeses, BBQ

Carmenere is the sixth grape of Bordeaux that vanished from France after the phlox killed the vineyards in the 1860s. It reappeared in Chile and has been making quite an impression on those people who have tried it.
The nose is dark fruits like plums and some smoke. The feel in the mouth is medium bodied and the balance of acids to tannins is very nice. The finish is good.

Beauzeaux Red Wine Blend

Type: Dry red
What makes it special: Unknown blend that tastes good.
Plays well with: Steak, asparagus, good sipper

This non-dated blend from the Beaulieu family of wines is indeed pronounced Bozo, like the clown.
The nose is alive with sweet fruits like raspberry and berry patch. The mouthfeel is substantial that gives some time to savor the fruits and acids. A slight bit of sweetness all through the palate leads to a good finish. It tasted great with asparagus, a typically hard food to match with wine.

Novella 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Type: Dry red

What makes it special: Cabernet from Paso Robles

Plays well with: Grilled meats, stews, a good pizza

The nose is a little closed – not very fruity. The acids are balanced against the tannins which makes for a nice mouthfeel. There is no noticeable sweetness to get in the way of whatever flavors you are enjoying. But think of this cab as the special last minute addition to the dish that fills in the hole that you didn’t know about. Not a big wine but still a team player.

Please tell us what you think.