Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A good RED is easy to find...

Here are some of the red wines I have thoroughly enjoyed lately that also represent a good value.

Under $10
2005 Meridian Merlot
2006 Cellar No. 8 Cabernet* and Merlot
2007 Mirassou Pinot Noir
2006 Veramonte Cabernet* & Merlot
2007 Little Penguin Cabernet / Merlot Blend

Under $13
2007 Folie a Deux Menage a Trois Red
2006 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Substance Shiraz (Washington)
2006 Bogle Vineyards Petite Syrah or Cabernet

*I prefer the cabernet to the merlot, but that is due to my personal tastes

Veramonte Sauv Blanc

Just a quick note- I finally got to try the Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc that I have pictured in my title picture. It offered the usual fruit and melon flavors, as well as a strong citrus and lime flavor. It was pretty smooth and fairly sweet, but not at the level of a riesling. It's fruity flavors and fresh crispness would be a good compliment to grilled chicken, white fish, pork chops, fruit and salad. It's unoaked as most Sauvignon Blancs are.  At about $9-10 a bottle, it represents a good value in wine and a fine example of a sauvignon blanc.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marble Pictures, Part 2

Here's more pictures from our marble trip in late June. It was awesome!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chasm Lake

Chasm lake is a beautiful snow-fed lake at the base of Longs Peak's sheer East face (called the Diamond). From this vantage you have an impressive view of an impressive mountain.

Here I am at Chasm Lake, 11,803 feet above sea level. I made it to the lake in just under 2 hours, which is decent for the 4.2 mile trip and 2400 feet of elevation gain. I passed about 30 people on the way up.
Here's the lake with the famous east face of Longs Peak in the background.
Longs Peak, Elevation 14,258 feet. One of the highest mountains in the continental US.
I liked the way the sun sparkled off the clear snowmelt. Gorgeous!
This is Peacock Pool- named for the wonderful colors I'm guessing!

Wildflowers above treeline- 11,500 feet

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Camping in Caribou

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. It's rare to see one, especially this close.
Mt. Meeker, 13,800 feet. Longs Peak is hiding behind it!

I love aspen trees. This was at our campsite.

We love wildflowers. These are in the Caribou basin.
Caribou Basin. Some of these pictures may have been taken by my wife. She gets good shots!

Veramonte- Good Wine from Chile

So I recently tasted a couple of wines from Veramonte, a Chilean winery. The 2006 Cabernet was rich and bold, while still being smooth and easy to love- at a price of $9. The 2006 Pinot Noir was a bit of a disappointment, especially for the price. The Chardonnay and Sauvingnon Blanc have also been rated highly, although I have not sampled them yet- both were found on sale for $9. Chili is making some great wines, and are usually quite affordable.

Friday, July 10, 2009

4-Wheeling near Marble, CO

The Crystal Mill near Marble is supposed to be the most photographed landmark in Colorado- and it is a stunningly beautiful area. You only have to endure 6 miles of rugged (and narrow) 4-wheeling (each way) to get there. The last picture is looking downstream.

Up near Marble Colorado on the trail up to Lead King basin, you have to make a stream crossing. There was a little "island in the stream" that I was able to snap this picture from.You'll also notice my Nephew enjoyed the 4-wheeling.

Louis M. Martini Cabernet- Exellent!

I like this wine so much I bought a half a case yesterday. It's the 2006 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon. LMM has 4 vineyards, and this cab comes from Sonoma County. This is important because the Napa Valley cab is about 80% more money. I got it on sale for $10.99 a bottle and it's the finest Cabernet I've ever tasted. Not only does it have the rich, bold taste of a cabernet, it is also velvety smooth and delicious. At my recent wine tasting several people enjoyed this wine who did not traditionally like reds at all. The local liquor store raised their price to $22/bottle so we made a pilgrimage down to Daveco Liquors (the world's largest liquor store) to snatch up some more of these.

Robert Parker of Wine Advocate gave it 91 points.

UPDATE: We are almost out of LMM now but it did in fact get better with age. A couple months ago (March, 2012) my friends and I really appreciated the silky smoothness and bold rich flavor- it put so many lesser wines to shame. Also, compared to the Napa Valley blend, we actually preferred the Sonoma batch, regardless of price.

Getting Started

Here we go, my first blog post! With all my enthusiasm for wine, I figured I need an outlet for my mania. You may also notice the word exploring in the title. I enjoy exploring new places in the natural world, as well as the wine world, so this will be a part of it.

Let's talk about what I like about wine- it's delicious, refreshing, exciting, interesting, and unique. It's sophisticated and complicated, yet can be affordable and accessible to anyone. Best of all, we live in a Golden Age of wine making, where very decent wines can be had at very modest prices. And let's talk about price, shall we? I don't see any reason why most people need to spend more than about $12 on a bottle of wine. So many unique, delicious wines can be had for this price.

So how do you know what is good, how do you pick out something? Well, that isn't as easy. If you've never tried a wine before, it's almost a crapshoot as to if you will like it or not. The label can't tell you how good a wine is, and neither can the brand. Even the same wine from the same place varies from year to year.

One rule of thumb I use is I avoid the brands of: Beringer, Sutter Home, and Turning leaf. These wines aren't bad per se, but they are made in mass quantities and I find aren't very tastey or unique. Instead I recommend operations like Little Penquin and Yellow Tail (both from Austrailia), and Mirassou from California (more about that later).

Another thing to remember is to know what you like. You may find that sweeter wines appeal to your taste, or you might like lighter flavored whites. In time you will probably find that the more wine you drink, the more you start to appreciate many different types and styles of wine. I used to hate dry whites, and now I can tolerate them. I've also went from just drinking blush(or rose) wines to now preferring bold reds. (thanks Grandma!) Anyway, I look forward to talking about and hopefully educating people a little bit on wines as time goes on. Cheers!