30 August 2013

Leviathan 2009

I recently got two bottles of Leviathan 2009, a red blend from Napa, on sale at a good price.  Since they were young but I was curious, I decanted one, which I shared with friends at a party, and drank the other straight out of bottle, which I then took notes on.  I actually rather wish I had done both close together so I could have compared.

Regardless, the Leviathan was an inky plum color, quite beautiful in the glass.

It was young, and the nose hadn't developed quite yet; it was almost astringent with overwhelming oakiness.  It had a round, cassis-laden taste, and that oak showed through again; with time I think the flavors will integrate better.  What dim memory I have of the decanted bottle tends to support that conclusion - I seem to remember it being more complex and nuanced.

The finish was surprisingly mellow, a bit simple, but good.

Overall, a fine bottle of wine, especially for the price.

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Books: Finally finished The Wilderness Warrior!  Hooray!  I've started The Cuckoo's Calling now.

Bottles: An interesting dry rose from France; can't remember the name.

Writing: Actually, been doing a lot of Photoshopping lately...but at least I'm doing something artistic.

Guitar: Examining fretboard logic. (TM?)

20 August 2013

Silver Oak 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

I was gifted a bottle of Silver Oak's 2007 Napa Cabernet for my birthday this year, and was super-excited to see it: 2007 was an amazing year for California wines.

The wine was a beautiful garnet color, and the nose was so powerful I could smell it while the glass was on the table and I stood above the freshly poured wine.  It was truly remarkable, with hints of walnut, cedar, and slate.  I could have breathed it forever.

I did not, however: I dove in and took a sip.  It was a powerful wine, with bracing tannins matched perfectly by the wine's acidity, and dark fruit flavors that complemented more woodsy elements.  It was smooth and mellow, truly a joy to drink.

I was lucky enough to share the wine with friends, and all of us enjoyed it immensely.  I only wish I had more.

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Books: Nearly finished with Wilderness Warrior (I know, I know...).  Soon I get to start on The Cuckoo's Calling.

Bottles: Waiting for August wine club bottles.

Writing: Still no...though that will hopefully change soon.

Guitar: Nothing new for the week, as I am swamped with work and can't even make my lesson.

15 August 2013

Tramoya Verdejo 2010 - Rueda

The second wine in my Spanish wine club month was the Verdejo from Tramoya in the Rueda DO (Denominación de Origen), a region in the northwest of Spain.

I know I've had Verdejos before, but I am certain it was quite some time ago.  In a way, then, tasting Tramoya's Verdejo was like meeting the grape for the first time (again).

The wine had a great golden color, with a strongly citrusy, grapefruit nose.

The taste was mild, with creamy fruit.  It was not very acidic; it almost made me think of a dreamsicle.

Where the wine got interesting was in its body: it seemed quite a bit heavier than I was expecting, almost reminding me of Mosel Riesling in the way it felt on my tongue.

It was a delightful bottle, perfect for summer sipping.  If I recall correctly, I paired it with some sautéed tilapia and a salad, and it went well, even if it was not particularly revelatory.

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Books: Wilderness Warrior, still.  Slow going.

Bottles: Did a very fun tasting of Siduri wines that were drawn from barrel and bottled specially for us at Gomer's Northland.  Apparently we were the first consumers in the nation to taste the 2012 Pinots.  It was super fun.  The rest of the wines will apparently be bottled soon and released toward the end of the month.  Getting a preview was very special.  I wish I had had some money to buy a few bottles, but I'm trying to save for the impending offer for Continuum 2010 in magnum!

Writing: Nothing on that front, though I have been doing a lot of artsy stuff in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Guitar: Looking at improvising, switching between major and minor.  Also practicing tone recognition in scale modes.

12 August 2013

Rios de Tinta 2010 Ribera del Duero

The Rios de Tinta 2010 Ribera del Duero came to me from my wine club in a month of Spanish wines, and I was very excited to get it.  I very much adore the wines of Spain, but have a hard time knowing what to try (other than everything), so getting, in this case, three different wines to try was great.  I will write about the other two bottles in due time.

The Rios de Tinta was blood red in color - very striking - and had an intensely fruity nose, full of scents of black cherry and plum.

The taste backed up the nose with more fruit, as well as hints of licorice.  It was dry and robust, more acidic than I was expecting, and with lighter tannins.

Compared to other wines from Ribera del Duero, it seemed lighter, fruitier, and much less austere; as I've not had a very broad exposure to the region, I wonder which is more typical.  Hopefully I will get to try more!

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Books: Finishing The Wilderness Warrior.  After that, The Cuckoo's Calling and Dan Brown's Inferno.

Bottles: Roger Champault Sancerre Les Pierris 2011.  It was very enjoyable.

Writing: Not yet...

Guitar: Not much change; still looking at "La Grange," plus revisiting the harmonic minor scale.

06 August 2013

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

I happened to grab The Lost Symbol more or less by chance at the library, as it was on display in the "thriller" section and I recognized the author.

I wouldn't say I'm a big fan of Dan Brown's books, but nor am I an active detractor; they are what they are, and they are engaging if nothing else.

The Lost Symbol features Robert Langdon once more.  The only other Robert Langdon book I have read is The DaVinci Code, and that was some years ago, so while the character was somewhat familiar, it was by no means like reuniting with an old friend.  Other than Langdon, pretty much all the characters seemed new to me.

Symbol seemed more or less along the same lines as DaVinci Code: lots of geography, lots of art history, lots of architecture, and a mystery that conveniently ties it all together.  It's set in Washington, D.C., and I had to look up many of the places mentioned - which also, rather amusingly, led to several sites devoted to pointing out all the ridiculous errors/omissions Dan Brown made in describing our nation's capital.  The articles were totally valid, but they were written by D.C. natives, so they definitely knew things that the layperson reading the novel wouldn't pick up on.  While this might be forgivable in some instances, given the success of Brown's other books, I'm a little surprised he didn't take a little more time to get everything right, knowing he would be more heavily scrutinized.

The book was, on the whole, enjoyable, though I guessed the twist about half-way through (at least as regards the villain).  I thought its biggest problem was its pacing.  Brown likes lots of little (as in 2-3 page) chapters, which always left the action feeling truncated, and long swaths of the book seemed to be steaming along at the same intensity level.  There were very few spots to catch your breath: it was either run-run-run or talk-talk-talk, and no in-between.  It almost reminded me of watching a serial anime, which are often notorious for just leaving off the action and picking it up next episode, regardless of where in the action the episode ends.  Or of the planet Bartledan in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series, where stories just stop after 100,000 words.

All things considered, it was a good read, though a bit hard to get through at times because of the weird chapters: it was hard to find good points to pause, and that sometimes made it hard to pick back up the next day.

Up next, I am going to (finally) finish The Wilderness Warrior!

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Books: The above; The Wilderness Warrior.

Bottles: 2007 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet; 2007 Dashe Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet; 2007 K Vintners Roma en Chamberlin; and two others I can't think of right now.  Many were amazing, but none more so than the '07 Silver Oak.

Writing: Slowly getting back into the groove of it!

Guitar: Looking at "La Grange" still; it's too fast!