This week I'll share some tasting notes and impressions of some of the wines I sampled at this year's Food and Wine Celebration in Springfield, Mo. Most of these either were wines that I had not previously tasted, or were newer vintages.
I was curious to taste as many of Fess Parker's Santa Barbara County wines as I could to see what Daniel Boone is up to these days. Although they certainly weren't terrible, I was disappointed that they didn't stand out or seem to match some of the press they have received in recent years.
The Santa Barbara County Chardonnay was very ordinary and nothing about it separated it from many other California chards. It had reasonable balance considering its very high alcohol content (14.9 percent), and not too much oak, but its finish was short and didn't leave much of an overall impression.
The Santa Barbara Pinot Noir was a reasonable expression of the grape with good acidity and structure but didn't justify the mid-20s price, in my opinion. These wines should appeal to people who are looking for big, new world wines, but I prefer a little more subtlety and something memorable when I choose a wine.
The 2003 Hecula Yecla was a Spanish red that didn't disappoint. This fruity, but complex, cuvee is made from 100 percent Mourvedre (called Monastrell in Spain). It has an excellent nose and a unique flavor profile of tart cherry and dark berries, earth, and something I couldn't put my finger on.
Although this wine is also high in alcohol at 14 percent, the acidity creates a mouthwatering juiciness that invites food and a second glass.
Altos from Argentina always makes wines that I like, and their malbec is no exception. If you don't know what Argentinian malbec is all about, this is a good one to get you started.
This dark, red wine shows good character with balanced tannins over plums and earth, with that rustic edge that sets malbec apart from other reds. Try it with grilled meats or hearty stews.
Mirassou Pinot Noir is a value red that a reader recommended. I tried it with a sample of prime rib and found it quite enjoyable. It showed true pinot character and for the $10 price, I had no complaints.
Another pleasant surprise was Alexander Valley Vineyards' Merlot. Merlot comes in a couple of different styles and this one fits in the category that I like.
This merlot is deeper in color and carries a hefty punch of fruit, spice and suppleness. The tannins are present, but balanced, and the oak adds hints of vanilla as part of a well-crafted wine.
To share your thoughts, ask questions, or just to talk wine, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, happy pours.