So it's March and the season known as spring is supposedly arrived somewhere around the 20th of last month. Please note that I live in Northeastern Ohio and the word is "supposedly". Because who here in this part of the world hasn't pulled out the down coat for the trip to Easter services?
Many people celebrate/mark the beginning of the season by doing a spring cleaning. Of their house. I have good information that this is true, although I cannot tell you so from firsthand experience. I totally and completely missed out on the house cleaning gene while I was being formed. Oh, I clean. And organize. My house is not dirty (no fair peeking during muddy season though - I DO have 2 doggies). But cleaning it just isn't my first priority. Unless company is coming. Even then it moves up only to second priority, behind the "food and wine" first priority.
My wine journal is another story altogether. I sip lot of wine in my quest to keep us all informed, and sometimes a bottle just doesn't get around to making into my brain's writing queue. So I like to page through the entries every once in a while and take stock of the wines I sipped, but didn't, for whatever reason, write about. The following is my Spring Cleaning 2013 Round Up of Wines:
Ministry of the Vinterior Chardonnay (2010, 14.2%, Russian River Valley, CA). I found this at a store wine tasting and really liked my teeny sip. Plus, the label is funny and the folks at the Ministry seem to have a great sense of humor, if not a bit of a big brother complex. (See quote in box at left.) The nose is flowery lavender with a hint of sweet pear. The flowery taste comes through when you sip, along with the pear and some peach. It finishes with a touch of oakey warmth and a hint of cinnamon. A good Chardonnay if you don't like yours big and buttery. It was quite lovely!
Mark West Chardonnay (2010, 13.8%, Sonoma Valley, CA). Bet you thought I was going to say Pinot Noir, didn't you? That's cause Mark West Pinot Noir has an almost cult-like following. I have lots of winey friends who love it. But I happened upon some of their Chardonnay and thought I'd give it a try. The bouquet is butter, oak and pear - a classic big Chardonnay nose! The taste is of pear and cinnamon, courtesy of that oak. It finishes with some soft round tannins and has a full, lush feel in the mouth. If you like a big buttery Chardonnay, go for this one and not the above Ministry offering.
Big House Red (2011, 13.5%, Monterey Co, CA). You gotta give credit to a winery that names itself after the nearby prison. And kind of celebrates the fact too, because all of the wines have a prison themed thing going for them. The nose is cherry and a bit of smoke. It tastes of dark cherries, black plums and some woody herbs. It had a bit of oakey warmth to it, which showed up in the lingering finish as well. A nice warm red for about $8.99. I'd buy it again. I'd do it legally too.
Kendall Jackson Summation (2008, 13.5%, CA). I sipped this red blend at the Lake Erie Islands Wine Fest last fall. I was looking forward to trying it, as I'm a big fan of Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay. And while it was good, it was just that: good. Not amazing. The nose is dark cherry with a bit of earth. It tastes of earth and plum with a hint of chocolate around the edges of your tongue. There is definitely an oak taste to the finish, which is warm and tingly. But there was also a coffee tinge to the finish that sort of spoiled it all for me. Maybe I was building it up too much. But for about $15 a bottle, I'd try something else.
So now I am officially done with my version of Winey spring cleaning. Hope it helps you with your Winey spring wine buying!