Tag Archives: Costco

2012 Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling

America's go to riesling with Korean pancake

America’s go to riesling with Korean pancake

Just a quick alert: Sunday, I had my first Dr. L from the 2012 vintage. I know I am late to the party, but we had so many 2011s still stashed away and I wanted to get them out of the way first. I first wrote about the 2010 here, and let me quote more about the wine in general before:

“For those not familiar with the wine, just a few quick facts. Ernst (or Ernie) Loosen, the owner of Dr. Loosen Estate, is one of the major producers along the middle Mosel with vineyards in many prime sites (Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Graacher Himmelreich, Ürziger Würzgarten, Erdener Prälat, Erdener Treppchen). He is a charismatic figure and has done loads for promoting German rieslings. The Loosen Bros. Dr. L is his entry wine produced for a global market. The Riesling grapes come from all over the place and are blended for this wine.”

You might remember that this has become my got to, everyday Riesling: easy to drink, with the right amount of residual sugar, and a solid bet. The price is decent (I wouldn’t pay that much for it in Germany, but for the US, the pricing is decent). So value-wise, it’s about as good as it gets for a decent entry-level Riesling. The 2011 suffered from the generally lower acidity in the vintage, but the 2012s are way more exciting now. And they are out on the shelves, so go ahead and stock some. They last for at least another year or two.

So, what’s to like about the 2012? More acidity than the 2011, making it fresher and crisper. There are nice apple aromas and some sweet pear, just an easy going, enjoyable wine all by itself on a warm or warm-ish afternoon.

In Ann Arbor, they are available at Trader Joe’s for $11.99 (I believe) andat Whole Foods for $12.99, but you can buy them for $8.99 at Costco. The best thing is, you do not need a Costco membership in Michigan to buy alcohol. If they ask you for the membership card at the entrance, tell them you only want to buy alcohol and you can go in. Then same story at the cash register. It’s super easy and very convenient (their wine selection is pretty good and very well priced).

So, what are you waiting for? Get a bottle and let me know what you think. You can always go and buy more if you like it!

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Woodchuck Farmhouse Select Hard Cider Original ’91

Woodchuck Farmhouse Selection Hard Cider Original '91

Woodchuck Farmhouse Selection Hard Cider Original ’91

I wasn’t going to write a post about this cider, but then again, it was really tasty so I decided to go ahead. As some of you may remember, I have a weak spot for cider (not for $20 a bottle ciders, but that is another story) and have written about some in the past. While I initially drank it in summer as a refreshing beer alternative that actually had flavors I appreciate, I have been discovering more and more ciders that are well suited for winter time as well.

I found this Woodchuck Farmhouse Select Original ’91 at Costco, where our Ann Arbor store had set up a craft beer section in late 2013. While it mainly consisted of Belgian and American craft beers, it also had this cider which I decided to grab while I stacked the cart with beers for Nina.

Woodchuck is a familiar name, being one of the big cider producers from Vermont. With this “Farmhouse Select” line, apparently they want to go more craftsy, hence also their placement with the craft beers. The ’91 is alluding to the year Woodchuck started in a small garage in Vermont. Woodchuck claims they were trying to recreate the early flavors with this cider. Not sure whether that worked out, but I do have to say I found the Original 91 pretty tasty. It has 6.9% ABV and comes in a 1 pint 2 fl.oz. bottle (that’s 750 ml for my rest of the world readers).

It poured in a golden color and the first noticeable trait was its reduced carbonation. There was barely any, which I found great. Flavors of tart apple paired with honey and some wood combined to a tasty experience. It did have the feeling of a craft cider, although I doubt this would actually fit the definition coming from a big cider mill. Still, totally worth experiencing and not hitting your bank account like some of those craft ciders going for over $20 a bottle. This was $8.99, I think. I’d drink this again any time.

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Two Fall Reds: 2010 Bartenura Rosso di Montalcino and 2005 Coume del Mas Collioure Quadratur

Just some tasting notes today. Work continues to be crazy, but I had these two quite different wines lately and wanted to share my impressions…with fall approaching, we’re all looking for soothing reds, right?

The first was the 2010 Bartenura Rosso di Montalcino DOC. Rosso di Montalcino, the little brother of Tuscany’s famed Brunello di Montalcino, can be an affordable and good choice if you are longing for some Italian earthiness in a younger wine. Made from 100% Sangiovese (like Brunello) and grown in the same area, the main difference is that a Rosso only needs to spend six months in oak (compared to two years for Brunello) and one year of total ageing before release.

Bartenura is a big, Italian-wide producer mostly known for its Moscato in a blue bottle (which I was not aware of when I picked up the bottle…) and its current website does not list the Rosso di Montalcino. We bought the bottle at Costco where it retailed for $12, which is definitely on the lower end for a Rosso di Montalcino.

In the glass, the wine showed a lighter red color. The nose was full of pecan pie, slightly burnt cookies, blackberry, cherry and unidentifiable vegetables. That left quite the impression! On the palate, the wine was weirdly bubbly (which was not noticeable when looking at the glass), with initially strong acidity. There were some earthy and cherry pie aromas, but in the middle it showed surprising bitter aromas. The finish was so, so. I don’t know. Something seemed off balance with the wine. The acidity was too strong for me. There were moments that were better, but overall I don’t think I will buy this again…

2005 Coume dell Mas Quadratur

2005 Coume dell Mas Collioure Quadratur

The second wine we had was a 2005 Coume del Mas Collioure Quadratur from Languedoc-Roussillon in France. I bought this wine during a blow out sale on Last Bottle Wines mostly because of its logo. I loved that! The price was right ($12). According to the wine guide Gault Millaut it retailed for 24 euros (over $30) when they reviewed it.

The winery is the opposite of Bartenura, owning a mere 8 hectares planted with red vines, 11 hectares in total. I was looking forward to trying this aged mix of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan.

In the glass, I found a very dark red wine, with hints of rust on the sides. The nose was perfumy with raspberry and blackberry aromas. Nina noticed butter and cookie aromas as well. On the palate, I got jammy berry aromas to begin with which soon gave way to tobacco and wood, with vanilla interspersed. The wine had decent acidity and the tannins seemed nicely integrated. The finish was a bit short and thinnish for me. I think this wine might be on its way out. It is still good, especially the beginning and mid-palate with its earthiness and rounded aromas. But the finish just wasn’t up to par. If you have a bottle, you might want to start drinking it soon…

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