my favorite neighborhood wine bar, city sip LA, has this great sunday night happy hour where you can have a glass from any open bottle of wine for half price. it’s a great way to try things you might not otherwise, and their selection is awesome. i was really impressed with the wines i tried this sunday, as it turned out that all my selections were big on the nose, so i wanted to share them here.
irsai oliver from szöke winery
irsai oliver 2008 from szöke winery, mátraalja wine region, hungary
i have been hearing a lot of talk about hungarian oak lately, so when i saw 2 hungarian wines on the list, i asked about them. i was able to taste the 2 they had and irsai oliver was an instant charmer for the intensely floral nose it has. without being sappy or cloyingly sweet, this wine has a big nose of rose tea, citrus blossoms and wildflowers. if it were a perfume, i’d wear it—it was that enticing. it was also floral on the palate, with a light dance of green apple, tart kiwi, with a hint of green plum, loquat and pleasant acidity and minerality. this varietal, irsai oliver, is the product of two native hungarian grapes, gewurztraminer and muscat. the szöke web site is entirely in hungarian, but there is some info in this article six places in europe you’ve never thought of to go wine tasting.
the label design: i think the designer for this label made some odd type / spacing choices with type running into keylines [it’s intentional, but more appropriate typefaces could have been chosen for a better effect], however, i like the color palette, recalling warm afternoons of the growing season in wine country.
rosé of syrah from plata wines
rosé of syrah 2008, plata wines, paso robles, california
on my way through the spectrum, i asked about rosés and found this rosé of syrah from plata wines. this wine was pure strawberry shortcake on the nose, bursting with fresh, ripe fruit. on the palate it was a bit more tart, but very refreshing. apparently the wine maker is from los angeles, now in paso robles, and is a big fan of graffiti art, hiring graffiti artists to do all his labels.
the label design: though it’s hard to read, i liked how this label appeared in person, with a pink metallic foil stamp on a black matte background. loud & proud!
château cazat-beauchêne bordeaux supérieur
château cazat-beauchêne bordeaux supérieur 2005
this bordeaux is a 70% merlot / 15% cabernet sauvignon / 15% cabernet franc blend had a peppery, dark fruit, almost woodsy thing going on in the nose. it’s full-bodied and almost dense, but very smooth & round with low tannins. on the palate i tasted a mix of dark berries with a bit of vanilla and a hint of spice. cazat-beauchêne doesn’t have a web site, but i found a good selection of sites that sell the wine online, as well as a video about their 2000 vintage, reviewed to be quite outstanding.
the label design: the label is pretty cute, a play on more traditional french labels with a bit of flair and a lovely little illustration.
that’s it for this week’s round-up. if you’re on the east side of LA and want to try out this happy hour sometime, i promise you won’t be disappointed!