Posts Tagged ‘Riesling’

Tasting Room Notes: The Wine Cellar, the Rio, Las Vegas

August 18, 2009


Very dark and full of wood and leather, The Wine Cellar at the Rio on Tropicana in Las Vegas is cool in temperature – natch – and the jazz is pretty cool, too.  Easy bebop from the likes of Miles and Charlie Parker really set the mood for a good wine tasting experience.  There are two dozen flights on the menu at $12-$79. Yes, $79.  That does sound like a lot, doesn’t it?  Each flight offers  two-or-three ounce tastes, three to a flight.  I had the Riesling flight, “Sweet and Smooth.” Here are my tasting notes.

1. Gunderloch Jean-Baptiste 2007 Kabinett – Sweet nose like honeysuckle. Tastes like peaches, melons.

2. Monchhof Robert Eymael 2006. Urzig Wurtzgarten, Spatlese – Smokey nose, like something on fire. No, like lake water smells near an outboard motor! Taste seems quite grassy and the sweetness has to struggle out. Very peculiar taste. But I like it.

3. Fritz Haag 2003. Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – Similar funky grassiness on nose. Reminds me of cutting grass – the exhaust from the lawn mower. Taste not sweet at all. Rather flat and burnt. Not very appealing to my palate, I’m afraid, but sort of interesting. Lacking acidity.

This was one of the more interesting tasting sessions I’ve had, and one of the most enlightening. If you are tired of the casino floor, simply walk down the stairs into The Wine Cellar. The hustle bustle of the gambling is behind you as soon as you go below ground level. I highly recommend The Wine Cellar to all wine lovers who find themselves in Las Vegas, looking for a respite.

Advertisements

Tasting Room Notes: Chateau Montelena

June 27, 2009



On the way out of Napa Valley, heading north on Highway 29, there is a signpost in Calistoga that points down Tubbs Lane toward Chateau Montelena. I had to turn off and see it in real life, having already seen it in the movie “Bottle Shock.

Following the signs onto the property and into the parking area, I caught a glimpse of it through the trees. But on the way to the stairs, I was distracted by the beautiful and peaceful Jade Lake. A rowboat was grounded along the shore and a red bridge led to a small structure patiently awaiting the next wedding to be held there. A short walk along the banks filled me with a feeling of quiet satisfaction. It’s a really beautiful property.

The stairs up to the winery building are rather lengthy. When I finally reached a point where the winery was visible, it looked exactly like it did in the film. I half expected to see Bill Pullman poke his head from the large doors.

The tasting room is cool and professional in a woodsy sort of way. Pictures of the history of the winery are on the walls, along with memorabilia of the film and the 1976 Paris Tasting which is its subject. A very nice view back through the years of a storied winery.

The staff is friendly, but maybe a bit stiff. There’s a feeling of reverence that permeates the proceedings. Five wines were on the tasting menu the day I was there, ranging in price from $22 to $135. The tasting fee is $20, and unlike the scene in the movie they are not offended when you pay them.

Riesling, Potter Valley 2007 – There’s a fruity nose, something rather exotic like star fruit. Off-dry with a nice acidity, this wine will sip very nicely on the porch or mate with a refreshing salad. $22

Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2007 – This 2007 version of the wine that helped make the California wine industry is stunning in a very restrained way. Fruity and flowery on the nose, the palate is treated to a crisp and refreshing wine that does not overplay anything. The citrus, minerals and oak are all quite prominent, but none try and steal the show. The long finish is much appreciated. $50

Zinfandel, Montelena Estate, 2006 – Dark fruit dominates the nose, with currant the frontrunner. Cherry and strawberry on the palate along with an array of spices combine in a velvety mouthfeel. This is 50% Zinfandel and 50% Primotivo, Zin’s Italian twin. $30

Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2005 – A very dark color – almost black – promises some deep and earthy tones, which are delivered. I smell licorice and cedar. The taste is beautiful, with smooth tannins and a full mouthfeel. $45

Cabernet Sauvignon, Montelena Estate, 2005 – Very similar to the previous wine, this Cab is even darker in color, if that’s possible. The nose is quite complicated, leathery and fruity at the same time with some clove. A real heavyweight wine with smooth tannins, the taste is exquisite and it fills my mouth in the most incredible manner. $135