Oct 152010

It’s been all BMW all week, thanks to my very popular interview with BMW authority Mike Miller. So I thought I’d end the week with some less typical reds Gabriele and I have sampled recently.

All these wines were enjoyable, but I wouldn’t say we loved them. But I don’t want to only write about our palates — everyone’s tastes are different. Which is one of the really fun things about wine.

Recently we had a 2007 Klinker Brick Winery Zinfandel at Food Matters in Alexandria. Food Matters is a little secret located inside the Cameron Station complex of townhouses off Duke Street in Alexandria — great place, especially for lunch.

The wine had a lot of fresh fruit, with a relatively high alcohol level of 16%. It had a bit of Merlot-like creaminess on the palate, which coated the tongue for me. If you like Merlot but want something a little more interesting, this could be a good bet. Looks like retail is around $20.

While on vacation recently we ordered a 2006 Tiziano Gold Chianti Classico. It wasn’t a typical Chianti, which was good from Gabriele’s perspective. It’s 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet, and aged for 12 months is oak. All this contributes to a different flavor and texture — the wine is very smooth, with easy tannins. There’s a definite taste of cherries and the oak, with a spicy finish. It’s very drinkable and retails for around $18.


We also had the Cesari 2008 Mara Ripasso. It opened with a strong, alcoholic bouquet but drank very smoothly. It had more body and texture than a Valpolicella thanks to increased contact with the grape skins, with a tart pucker on the finish.

Gabriele really liked this Ripasso, as she finds some Italian wine too “watery” and weak. This should be a strong holiday wine that will please everyone. Should be good with a wide range of food and retails for $19.

Finally, as readers of the Triple W know we’ve been drinking a lot of Rhones lately. Last weekend we had a very nice meal at Columbia Firehouse, a reliable member of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group and a restaurant I’ve reviewed previously. With our meal we had a 2006 Alain Jaume Clos Sixte Lirac, which is from a vineyard just a few miles outside Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This was a definite “Old World” style wine.

The bouquet was very deep, with a lot of minerals and earthiness. It was tart and bracing, with some tobacco on the finish. The fruit was very dark, cassis and plum, and became a bit more prominent about half an hour after opening. Gabriele tasted some vanilla, and said a kind of creaminess lingered on her lips.

The grapes in this year were 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre. (Note — the wine list said 2007, but they only had 2006.) I’m not sure we’d order again since Gabriele prefers a more fruit forward wine, but this is an impressive southern Rhone at a nice price point around $20. UPDATE – had the 2007, it was similar but more approachable, richer fruit and not quite as tart, less tobacco and vanilla.

If you give any of these wines a try, or have already had them, drop me a comment with your take.

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