Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Vegas and Wine go together like Lamb and Tuna Fish........

.....or Spaghetti and Meatballs, if you are more comfortable with that analogy.

While in Vegas, we bought a few bottles to consume in our resort, had some good wine at restaurants, and had the opportunity to attend a wine tasting at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Review of each are below.

All the prices are in USD, of course.

From our first dinner of the trip, at Mon Ami Gabi:

Domanie Roger & Christophe Moreux 2012 Sancerre "Les Monts Damn├ęs" ($85 at restaurant)

100% Sauvignon Blanc

Aromatic nose of citrus, straw, and orchard fruit. Flavors of pineapple and minerality join in. Given that this is probably $30ish in a retail store, it's a real nice value. 91.

From our Duckhorn tasting at the Eiffel Tower restaurant:

Duckhorn Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($30 from winery)

Aromas of lychee, grass and nectarine jump from the glass. Bright and intense citrus fruit overwhelms the palate. Vibrant acidity and silky texture. For such a young wine, this is really delicious. 90.

Interesting to compare the same grape from two very different wine regions. Of course, the Sancerre had an extra 4 years of aging, so it's not a totally fair comparison.

Goldeneye 2014 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($56 from winery)

 Effortlessly combines bright red fruit with dark and brooding earth. Blackberry, cranberry, cherry and strawberry all mingle on the nose and palate. Long finish and showing great potential for development. Will improve with more aging. 90-92.

Duckhorn Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Merlot (sold out at winery; $46.99 at

Intense aromas of ripe cherry, graphite, violets, orange peel, cedar and cigar box. Raspberry, plum, graphite and baking spices on the palate. Finish is not particularly long, which is the only drawback to an otherwise excellent Merlot. 91.

Duckhorn Vineyards 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($75 from winery)

Aromas of red and black fruit, violet, black licorice, graphite and mint. Black currant and licorice mingle with red cherry flavors. Well structured and build to improve with age, but very approachable now. Finishes long. 92-94.

From random drink-in-the-room stuff:

Chateau St. Michelle 2015 Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($15.00)

Aromas of baked apple, citrus and nutmeg. Rich mouthfeel with a touch of hazelnut and butterscotch. Unsophisticated but for the price, it's not bad. 86.

Chateau St. Michelle 2015 Riesling ($9.00)

When you spend $9 on a bottle of wine, you are lucky if you get more than turpentine and cat piss. This is much more than that. Red and green apple aromas, citrus and appealing minerality. For the price, you simply cannot do better than this. 88.

Hartford Family Winery 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($25.99 from

This is their generic version that gets sold to retail outlets and restaurants, a far cry from the high quality single-vineyard offerings that we get from this winery regularly. Still, this is always a winner for the price. Aromas of ripe apple and pear, some citrus and butterscotch. Flavors include hazelnut, butterscotch, ginger and apple, with a touch of minerality. 90.

Pine Ridge 2015 Chenin Blanc/Viognier ($15.00)

80% Chenin Blanc, 20% Viognier

A simple, basic, delicious blend that we've been enjoying for years. Peach aromas leap from the glass, followed closely by some meyer lemon. Keep your nose in there and you'll notice a hint of tea, and a touch of orange blossom right at the end. Tangerine and lychee flavors start off, followed by key lime pie and golden delicious apple. Finishes quite lovely. A real bargain. 90.

Gray Monk 2015 Kerner ($16.59 CAD before taxes)

We brought this one down with us, figuring after a long day of traveling we may enjoy a very off-dry white wine to celebrate our first night in Vegas. We were not wrong. Pleasing aromas of lemons, peaches and pears. Light and full of finesse, this is about as good as it gets in terms of a patio-sipper that will pair with a ton of food. If you are eating something that you think will pair with a white wine, you are probably safe to use this one. It's just delicious year after year. 90.

Columbia Crest 2015 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.99)

$14, and this isn't their cheapest Cab Sauv. It's one of those wineries that generally gets recognized for good value. For the money, not bad at all. Black cherry and blackberry, vanilla and anise on the nose and palate Tannins are soft and it finishes with cocoa notes. 87.

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