Monday, 13 May 2013

Bigger & Better or cheap & cheerful

Bigger & Better, so the Americans always want to tell us, just generalising here, as one tends to... but was it ?

We were asked to bring along a bottle of wine from the USA, I thought that we'd be spoilt for choice but in fact the choice was quite limited and thank goodness nobody brought a bottle of Blossom Hill, I would of thrown myself on the floor and had a right paddy !

Although some of the wines we tried weren't far off the quality of BH.. I am sure when we first started the wine club wines from the USA were better or was it just because of palette was less sophisticated than it is now (we are experts & sophisticated, you know !) they all seemed to be tinged with sweetness, okay, if you like that cloying jammy type of wine, so 70s.  That makes me think of the Paul Masson wine in the 'odd' shape bottle that some shop somewhere still stocks.. am I getting carried away with my dislike of these wines ??

Give the Americans one thing, they had 'fun' names or you could argue 'strange' names for wines, Cupcake, Barefoot, Dancing Bull & Flipflop.. really !

Karen & Terry our hosts for the evening treated ten of us to tasty American themed food, chicken burgers and chips followed by a delicious choice of desserts including baked cheesecake and key lime pie & the low fat option meringue fruit and greek yoghurt. (Americans & low fat, I don't think so)  Yummy, more than can be said for the wine...sorry don't mean to be so negative.

So wine tasting then, we started with white, well,as I mentioned before we are sophisticated
and chuckling to myself, is that a sign of madness ?

...If so it must be brought on by dodgy wine, ha ha laughing to myself again... sorry sorry digressing back to the task in hand)

Cupcake Vineyard - Chardonnay 2011 13.5%  from M & S £9.99
From the California region, Central Coast sub-region. Cupcake Chardonnay was crafted to emphasize the Central Coast's creamy and structured Chardonnay character.

The write up:  It starts off with a touch of apple, a hint of tropical fruits and is complimented by a balance of vanilla and spice. A creamy nose of tropical fruits, especially pineapple, toasted oak, cinnamon and spice are on display early and often in this classic California buttery fruit-forward Chard. Finishes dry and mouth-watering, with a hint of tangerine and lemon.
We thought: Pale, creamy, velvety & floral this came in at second place with 33 points.
Then onto the reds, just once again proving we are experienced in these things..
Echo Falls - Merlot 12.5% 2011 £4.99
Soft and round with hints of ripe plums, black cherries and blueberries.

Juicy and ripe with soft tannins.
We thought: Generally lacking in anything came in with 32 points

Barefoot - Merlot 13% 2010 on offer £5 (£7)
It's simple and very fruity (the back label says boysenberry, but it's probably closer to a blackberry). But it's also balanced and professionally made (so ‘they’ say) There are no off flavours or obvious flaws. Interestingly, it's both food-friendly and fruity enough to drink on its own, and wouldn't suffer in the least if it was served chilled or with an ice cube or two. Drink it with everything from hamburgers to takeout pizza.
We thought: Cream soda & vanilla flavours, aromas of blackberries & sweet cherries came in joint first with 35 points

Dancing Bull - Zinfandel 14% 2010 £10

No shortage of flavour here. Blackberry, black cherry and raspberry mix with spicy notes of pepper and vanilla. Originally introduced under the Rancho Zabaco label, this Zinfandel remains a firm USA favorite for its bold, award-winning style. Pair this smooth, spicy wine with braised pork ribs and burgers, or try it with pasta in a rich tomato sauce.
We thought: Dark berries & burnt wood. More tannin than the other wines.  This was the joint winner with Barefoot, 35 points.

Lastly Flipflop, was not even worth the effort but just to keep things fair and square...
Flipflop - Cabernet Sauvignon 12% £5.49
Plenty of blackberry fruit on the nose and palate, and the finish is mild with smooth, mild tannins and mild acidity.
There is absolutely nothing off-putting about Flipflops cabernet sauvignon . Then again, there isn’t anything here to distinguish the wine. You could say theres not a lot happening in the Flipflop cellars, this wine is so ordinary. Just imagine if all wines were like this..
The label was its high point. Scored a shabby 27 points.
Perhaps I have been a little unkind the our American wines, they would work as party wines, taste okay, they wouldn't make you choke on the first sip as some wines served at parties do, they are not so bad that your friends would go off in search of the good stuff they just know you have tucked away for the evening.. I mean who would do a thing like that...thats tuck them away not search them out !
A good evening had by all.
Time to stick a cork in it.
Bye S x

No comments: