Sunday, September 21, 2014

San Felice Chianti Classico 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose opens with cherry accompanied by earthy notes

Full bodied on the palate

Decent depth on the finish with cherry, red currant, and herbs


This is a fairly straight-forward Chianti Classico at a reasonable price of $15 or so. It has a profile of red fruit with some savory notes that create depth and richness. In fact, as a young non-reserve wine it's better than the San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 which I recently had. Enjoy with hearty Italian fare, and raise a glass!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Santa Barbara Winery "Petite Sirah" 2010 (Santa Barbara County) wine review by (PB)

Youngish looking deeply pigmented cranberry jelly colored hue;

Aromas--sweet berries out of the glass, big, robust, dark berry fruit with licorice note and a rustic, cigar box, forest floor in the swirl.

Palate--Engulfing, fruit bomb that assaults your palate with a rigid acidic foundation befitting such a big wine. There is a tart beam of mouthwatering pomegranate mid palate and all this just on opening. Delicious!

I just returned from Santa Barbara visiting several tasting rooms which is where I grabbed this bottle. I think I paid around $30 for it and was pleasantly surprised of how good it was when I got home. There is a strange phenomenon that I experience at tastings and that is that usually nothing tastes wowing. The wines I had on this trip were WAY too warm which is a wine snob thing, it's a chemistry thing! Alcohol is a very volatile chemical which means it vaporizes easily sending molecules of its substance into the air and into your nose! When a wine is served too warm, the alcohol can easily overwhelm the other chemical components of the wine and leave you less than impressed. I only bought two wines on this trip and this one in particular I didn't even taste at the winery tasting room. I bought it because I just knew that it woulod probably be good.

For any of our winery readers, please note the above; it is a real concern. You want to show case your wine not discourage people from buying it to state the obvious.

Well done Santa Barbara Winery and raise a glass!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune 2007 Wine Review (NW)

The four wines below were served by PB this past weekend as part of an incredible wine dinner. Best meal of the year!

Tasting notes:

Red currants with spicy notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Finishes with red berries, dry earth, and spice


Here's a good, dry, and elegant Chorey-les-Beaune from Burgundy. It's ready to drink now and shows a nice balance of fruit, dry earth, and spice. Paired with a variety of appetizers and cheeses, it will transport you to a small village in France. Expect to pay $25 for the pleasure. Raise a glass!

Hugel & Fils "Gentil" Alsace 2012 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Bouquet of Asian pear with honey accents

Medium bodied on the palate

Silky finish of stone fruit, floral notes, and good acidity


It's seems this wine is always good and easily approachable. It's well balanced and has a nice flavor profile, all for $14 or so. Paired with roasted fig "bruschetta", it disappeared quickly as part of an intermediate course between red wines. Raise a glass!

Chateau Leoville-Barton St. Julien 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Opens with a beautiful nose of berries and tobacco

Full bodied on the palate

Rich and intense finish of black currant, spices, and tobacco with good length


Excellent wine, and one of my favorite reds from Bordeaux! It's fully integrated and harmonious with a style that's pure Bordeaux classic. The release price was around $50 but expect to pay $100 now if you see it available.

We paired it with grilled, sliced sirloin over a bed a greens. Fabulous, of course! Raise a glass!

Dow's Vintage Port 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

The nose opens up with layers of pepper, plum sauce, and hints of charcoal

The palate is full bodied and dense

The finish is incredibly dense, with prune, dark berries, and touches of anise and spice, all with amazing length


This is an excellent Port. In its youth, it's the best I've ever tasted. It shows amazing length and is already seamlessly integrated, youthful, and dense. If you don't see this collecting dust in your local wine shops, it's because it received a perfect 100 points from Wine Spectator. For $80 on release, rest assured, all the bottles are collecting dust- but in wine cellars all over the world.

We drank this young with some dark chocolate and almonds because, well, carpe diem. /What a way to finish out the dinner. Raise a glass!

Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2012 wine review by (PB)

Pale straw with aromas of vanilla, sweet apple pie and pie spice, with a tangy citrus beam.

Palate--A mouth full of lemon lime with spicy notes and vanilla on the finish,. An Acidic structure that is razor sharp and will perfect with our Labor Day Lobster dinner on the porch.

Lobster is running $5.99 a pound which is rather high for this time of year but we'll enjoy it with fresh local sweet corn and we'll definitely raise a glass with this $12 Alsatian delight.

Robert Hall Syrah (Paso Robles) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Black Cherry hue with aromas of mulled blackberries with Christmas spice, and a touch of cherry cream.

Palate--Tightly wound at the moment with woody smokey presence and austere plum and dark berry fruit.

I don't remember what I paid for this but I am sure I bought it because it was on sale. Reference price seems to range about the $18 mark so I probably found it for $12 or so. Tasting on opening was not impressive but it clearly needs to breathe. The review that follows is after it has opened up which may be helpful to see these reviews before and after.

After breathing-- pretty much the same with the addition of a definite beam of cocoa running down the middle. This was a disappointment of a Syrah; nothing remarkable or memorable so while it was "ok" I'd give it a pass!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fetzer Crimson Pinot Noir 2011 wine review by (PB)

Ruby hue with tantalizing aromas of sweet raspberry syrup, candy apple coating, sweet spices,

Palate--Steely front with vigorous light cherry and raspberry with a palate scraping acidity and a gentle finish of light red berries.

I don't remember what I paid for this but it seems to sell for $8-11. When I started my wine obsession in the mid 70's Fetzer was one of California's premier names for producing value wines with sturdy rigor. I don't see the name out in my neck of the woods which is one reason I grabbed this one. Fond memories of the Fetzer name and this wine is an honorable production fitiing of the Fetzer name.

At this price you shouldn't expect much but this is a value Pinot and even at this price point is a good example of the grape so raise a glass!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Reserva 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy plum and berries with hints of earth on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Rich finish of dark berries, currants, and some savory, earthy tones with good length


Here's a very good, rich and well knit Rioja from Spain. It's a great value if you can find it in the low teens. I actually paid just $12 for this. Considering it's a 2005 that tastes youthful and leaning toward the modern style, I think it will drink well now and for years to come. Enjoy with a hearty meal, and raise a glass!

Frei Bros. Zinfandel Reserve "Dry Creek" Sonoma 2012 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with nice aromas of understated wild blackberry with rustic spices and sweet dark fruit.

Palate--Dried dark berries on top of lively wild blackberries with solid Zin flavors that keeps you pouring the bottle empty.

I think I paid around $15 for this Zin which is a nice one and a solid example of the varietal so raise a glass!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lofthouse Vineyard Bay and Barnes Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Tasting notes:

Lemon-lime and quince on the nose

Medium bodied with bright acidity on the palate

Fresh, acidic finish of grapefruit, lime, and herbal notes


Add this one to the rotation! It's the first time I've had this wine, and I was a bit skeptical because there are already so many good New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs to choose from in my neck of the woods. I like because it's bright and lively but also shows a depth of flavor and persistence to the finish that's impressive for $11. Look for it at Wegman's or your local wine shop. Raise a glass!

Serie Riberas Concha Y Toro "Gran Reserva" Cabernaet Sauvignon 2012 wine review by (PB)

Deeply pigmented Black cheery garnet hue with aromas green peppers, sweet ripe blackberries, and plum with a touch of blueberry and cedary spice.

Palate--Foundational varietal dark fruit berry flavor with anise, vanilla cherry cream, and finishes with some smokey oak. This drinks better after 24 hours but should be rewarding for a couple more years in the cellar.

I think I paid $13 for this which is a bargain and a half. Wine Spectator gives this wine 91 points. I concur so raise a glass!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bodegas Francos-Espanolas Rioja Bordon Reserva 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy currant and aromatic, woody balsamic notes on the bouquet

Medium bodied on the palate

Red fruit, dry earth, and moderately tannic on the finish


This is a nice wine. It's a bit more woody than a typical Rioja from Spain, but with that said Rioja is a region that is showing a variety of styles emerge beyond the classic profile of soft red fruit. It should compliment a variety of dishes, particularly barbecue. Expect to pay in the mid-teens- the average price I've seen is $16. Raise a glass!

Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Gorgeous sweet cherry and spice on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Dense finish that's earthy with red berries, tobacco, and spice


Excellent wine! I could have waited longer with this one, but it didn't disappoint with a few years of cellaring. It has an amazing nose that's fragrant and full of power, emanating from the glass with remarkable strength and purity. It's also extremely dense with a long finish that's classic Brunello.

The wine was released at $50, and was listed at number four on the Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2011. I mention that because it generally means you won't find it sitting on store shelves anywhere. If you happen to source a bottle, give it plenty of air and plan to linger over this wine. Raise a glass!

19 Crimes 2012 "Red Wine" wine review by (PB)

Brilliant ruby hue with aromas of dark berry, ripe plum, cigar box, and sweet spice with a touch of chocolate cake.

Palate--Light mouth feel, sturdy construction with forth right flavors of sharp black berry, blue berry, and cocoa nuances.

This Aussie red is a Shiraz blend. Shiraz is also known as Durif in case you ever see that on a label and wonder what the heck it is. The weight of this wine and mouth feel is sound with a lighter expression for a Shiraz which I attribute to the blend of Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Wine Spectator gave this wine 89 points and Best Value designation. I paid $10 for it but tends to run a couple bucks more. Either way, a pleasant and easy drinking wine so raise a glass!