Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ray Beer CA recipies

CA 1: Pale Ale with wet malt extract; flavoring grains; Safale dry ale yeast.  Fermentation less than a week. Priming sugar 5 oz.  (very inexpensive kit from Home Brew Express, designed for 5 gallons, made to 3.75 gallons, adjusting hops down 20%, except at end of boil; adjusting priming sugar down 20%)


Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Chez Ray Cabernet Sauvignon, Lanza Vineyards, Lodi, California, 2008

Chez Ray Cabernet Sauvignon, Lanza Vineyards, Lodi, California, 2008, extended maceration (code C8E ):  Originally described here.  Medium red plus pink plus brick in the glass.  Aromas are bright and steely.  The palate brings an oaky, pinot noir-like lightness, with light red blackberry flavors.  Two stars with a plus on the Spirit of Wine scale.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Review: ***+ Chez Ray Zinfandel, Edon Knoll, Talmage CA, 2007 - Z7

By way of background:  This is Chez Ray Zinfandel, Edon Knoll, Talmage CA, 2007.  I know for sure that it is coded Z7, but honestly in my records from 2007 I only have an EZ7 recorded (but I can find no bottles of that).  So, by elimination, I am making this assertion.


If correct, the grapes and process for 2007 were described here.

Light red with pink and brick in the glass.

Bright, blousy, perfumed pink flowers in the glass.  Seems like it will be super high pitched and bright fruity.

On the palate, a red funk shows first, suggesting the wine needs some air time.  Past that, there is almost a liqueur-like red currant and strawberry flair, with a potent sweet alcohol note.

Seems like Mae West: feminine but surely potent.  Three stars with a plus on the Spirit of Wine scale.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: ***+ Chez Ray Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2006 (destemmed)

Review: Chez Ray Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2006 (destemmed).  The version fermented with stems is described here.  It is first being sampled eight years from vintage date, January, 2014.


In the glass: Medium red with pink highlights.

On the nose:  At room temperature, shows a shy, light clean purple nose.  Seems like it will be bright and fresh.

On the palate:  Shows a more profound, aromatic, deep violet element than anticipated.  Balanced notes of fruit, oak, tannins and acids, in an overall refined package.   As aromatic and flavorful as the palate is, the finish is clean and dry.

Overall, just touches an impressive four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, consistent with the version fermented with stems.   Although I am not tasting the two versions side-by-side, from the descriptions I would say that the overall quality of the stemmed and de-stemmed varietals is consistent, but the stemmed version seems to carry a bit more minerality.

Review: *** Chez Ray Merlot, Lodi, California, extended maceration, 2008 (code M8e)

Review: Chez Ray Merlot, Lodi, California, extended maceration, 2008 (code M8e):  First grape pressing described here, and now being reviewed at six years from vintage date, January, 2014.


In the glass, this is medium deep red with some brick.

The nose shows a deep muddled red fruit, with some oxidation and leather.

On the palate, a lot of creaky old leather and oak, buttressed with just enough solid fruit and acids to keep things lively.  Finish is quick, clean and robust.

Three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

The version of this wine without extended maceration was reviewed here.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Updated Review and Rating: **** Chez Ray Sangiovese, 2004, Lodi, CA

Original Review, May, 2008: The Chez Ray Sangiovese, 2004 (G4), was made from Lodi grapes, fermented warm, with a combination of French and American oak. In the glass, it shows as a dark blood red in color.

The nose hits as a deep, funky vegetable-fruit combo.

The sip outshines the nose, however. There is a strong oaky start on the the palate, but this quickly resolves to a furry, intense cherry fruit. The "fur" is a tough tannic backbone still in place, signifying that this can sit for a few more years in bottle. Medium-length finish. Three stars out of five with a plus for intensity and promise for a longer-lived future.

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Updated Review, about a year and a half later, January, 2009: Color and nose have lightened just a bit. The palate comes to the middle with a clean, round red cherry. I don't notice the tannic backbone any longer, suggesting the Sangiovese may be coming of age. Also the intensity has faded. Now, an even, bright, mid-weight red. In effect, a pinot-noir alternative. I'd drop it back a touch to three stars without the plus at this point.

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Updated Review, about a year later, May, 2010:  Now a hint of brick showing at the rim.  Aroma and flavors consistent with earlier review.  A balanced, dry red of medium weight, with a touch of minerality and dust.  Still nice. Photo from this tasting.
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Updated review, another year later, June, 2011:  Still a hint of brick at the rim of the glass.  The nose shows muddled red fruit with a light oxidized overtone.  The palate remains bright, red and clean, with hints of sand.  Solid, and probably at its peak now.
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Another updated review, another two and a half years later, now a full decade from vintage year, January, 2014:  Same color.  Muddled middle red fruit.  Nice, aromatic red fruit on the palate, with drips of violet.  Yummy. Now four stars.  Remarkable ager.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: ***+ Chez Ray 2008 Underwood Mountain Pinot Noir, Washington (coded P8)

By way of background:  This is the Chez Ray 2008 Underwood Mountain Pinot Noir, Washington (coded P8).  Vinting notes are here.  

Original tasting notes, three years from vintage date, in 2011:  Ray:  color, light brick pink;  aroma, shy light, hint tobacco; flavor, bright, spicy, clean, aromatic finish; 3.  Karin: good finish; 4.  Jim: color, light; aroma, raspberry; flavor, light fruit, deep finish; 3+.  Eric:  color, very light, more like a rose; flavor, banana-like aftertaste; 1.  Rob: color, pink; aroma, tar; flavor, thin; 1.

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Updated review, now six years from vintage date, January, 2014:  Remains light brick in color, showing a very shy and serious light red nose.  The palate shows a light red balance of dry strawberry, clean laundry freshness and bright - almost sauvignon-blanc-ness - acidity.  Three stars on the Spirit of Wine scale plus a big plus for its long-lived lightness of spirit.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: ****+ Chez Ray Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane, Napa, California, 2007 (aka CS7)

By way of background:
This is Chez Ray Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane, Napa, California, vintage 2007, coded CS7. The start of the vinting process is described here.  Original tasting notes from 2011: Ray: color, medium deep red; aroma, fruity and deep bold, hint oxidized; flavor, clean and bold dark chocolate, 4.  Jim: color, deep red; aroma, spice, boysenberry; flavor, light cab, good fruity, smooth finish; 4+.
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Updated review, seven years from vintage date, January, 2014:  Deep mahogany with some brick highlights.  Full, deep, savory nose of pleasant shoepolish.  On the palate, shows an aromatic, sleek, plush and flavorful composure, with elements of dark chocolate, exquisitely balanced with solid, deep fruit and tannins.  Big, and remarkable balance nonetheless.  Four + stars on the Spirit of Wine scale.  Awesome - and long-lived.

One of the most expensive raw grapes I've acquired over the years.  Just goes to show...  The grape makes the wine!

Updated Review: *** Chez Ray Merlot, Lodi, California, 2008

Now we'll give a try to the Chez Ray Merlot, made from fresh California grapes.  Description of the associated winemaking for the 2008 vintage (coded M8) is here.

Original Review, June, 2010:

In the glass: Chez Ray Merlot shows as in medium deep red in the glass, it never gets opaque. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this purebred young merlot shows a fleshy, slightly meaty, mid-red berry nose.

On the palate: The first elements on the palate area still-young, yeasty red berry overtone, then bearing down with stronger black walnut, smoke and slashing alcohol tones.  Wants to settle down a bit still.

In summary: Overall, potential for being solid base in a blended mix.  Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale
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Updated review, three and a half years later, January, 2014:  Medium dusty red with hints of pink.  A little bit of age showing on the nose, but backed up with bright, meaty, purple fruits.  Wow, still brings charcoal and alcohol on the palate, cutting through (and maybe even taking center stage from) the underlying aromatic red and purple fruit.  Holding at three stars; but I have my doubts if it wants much more age.

Find prices and retail availability of low-priced merlots.   

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Updated Review: **** Carneros Merlot, Sonoma CA, 2007 - Codes: 514 - 07CM (MC7)

We tried the MC7 as part of the 2011 blending party.  Here are notes from that tasting:  MC7 (2007 Carneros Merlot, Sonoma, CA): Ray: color, medium deep red; aroma, funky, deep and vegetative old world; flavor, oxidized, deep and bold; 3.  Karin, 2.  Jim: flavor, too dark; 2+.  Eric: aroma, stronger than most, almost a hint of red licorice; flavor, strongly alcoholic, a bit fruity, but has an odd finish; 2.  Rob: color, dark burgundy; aroma, metallic; flavor, metallic tannins; 3.

Now, here's an updated review, May, 2012:  Color is deep red.  Soft and lightly funky deep red berries on the nose.  Red berries and red licorice for miles on the palate.  Interesting.  Friendly and extracted fruity.  3 stars for this red intense experience.  I pick up no metallic nor oxidized elements in this bottle.
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And further updated, now seven years from vintage date, January, 2014:  ps, I think this was made with a combination of Pasteur and 254 yeasts.  Deep red in the glass.  Oak and deep red fruit show on the nose.  Soft red berries on the palate.  The richness and deep, fun, red fruit just bring me to 4 stars on the Spirit of Wine scale.  Not at all tired.