Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Another Boston bargain finding this wine at 2 for $12, mix N match any of several Concannon varietals. The wine is a pale straw color with solid vanilla bouquet, light citrus, lovely fruit and gentle spice. Really nice aromas.
In the mouth though the wine is first pineapply with citrus and solid acids; more vanilla and a touch of maple syrup. One disturbing element which, in light of the price is being a bit picky, but it tastes manufactured like so many inexpensive Chardonnays. But for the price--it was good, so raise a glass manufactured or not.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
This previously reviewed wine is one of our faves because of the memories it holds of a fantastic Tuscan vacation we took with (NW) several years ago. This wine is made at the birth place of Mona Lisa which is where we roomed for a couple nights. Ahhhhhhhhhh...
This Chianti Classico is a nice cherry red with light bready aromas on opening with steely red fruit and spice notes. Very good example of the Sangiovese grape.
The palate has nice tannic structure with tight flavors and needs to be decanted.
With some air time, fresh cherry flavors are laying underneath a dried cherry core with a touch of licorice and a slight peppery finish. This is old world artistry and all at $15. Raise a glass but better still--visit Tuscany!
This wine has a nice color with a purple tinge to the rim. It has some nice dark berry fruit aromas in the bouquet and shows good promise--until you taste it.
This South African red has an odd flavor to it that I describe as "band aids" which I have noted in some other S. African wines. I am beginning to wonder if this is terroir. If it is, it is not inviting.
The palate does have some nice berry flavor but I can't get past that off note. It is out of balance as well with a short finish which in light of the flavors--is a blessing. At the $9 price point there are loads of Aussie Shiraz's and American Shiraz's that are juicy and tasty. Raise a glass of something else.
One of the trade marks of this blog is that we tend to review wines (which, for the most part, we have to buy) that are on the lower end of the spectrum as far as cost. We just don't believe the vast majority of people "out there" are willing to spend $30 or more for a bottle of wine with any regularity. While I would certainly love to do so, there are such realities as light bills, heating bills, food, you know that sort of thing. So we try to look for "bargain wines" that are much better than might be expected by their price point.
This wine typically sells for less than $5. While it is potable, and you can't expect much for that price, this wine lives up to its price point.
It is a pretty color with a purple tint and bouquet that reminds me of the jug wines I used to buy when that was all I could afford.
The palate is on the sweet side with shallow flavors, no character, no varietal similarities to the Merlot grape but other than that it is passable as a wine you can push some food down your gullet with. In this case, you get what you pay for! Raise a glass of something else.
Very nice nose of black cherry, molasses, and brown sugar
Ultra smooth texture on the palate
Relaxed, graceful finish with more cherry, chocolate, and pepper
Vintage port is a real treat and I had the pleasure of uncorking this wine with PB over the holidays. The flavors are nice and the texture is as smooth as can be. It tastes clean and well-integrated, not heavy, flabby or syrup-like. I appreciate this because fortified wines can often taste too heavy.
Drinking this port that's 15 years old makes me wonder how long it could really cellar. Current thinking is that the finest ports from the finest years could go for two or three centuries in the cellar. While this is a little bit extreme, I bet this port would still taste really nice in another 50 years. The oldest I've tasted is a 1963, which was still youthful.
For the privilege of vintage port, plan on spending some money. This bottle is a pretty good value at around $45. Older wines can be much more. However, compared to other world class wine categories, this is a relative bargain.
Raise a glass!
Mulberry, anise, and mint on the nose
Cherry on the palate, with some eucalyptus
Velvety finish of cherry, blackberry, and some sweet spices tapering nicely
I've always hesitated to buy the golfer's wines, but I'm glad I picked this one up. Not only does it have some exotic flavors, it is velvety smooth on the finish and has a classy overall composition.
The unique blend of fruit with anise, mint, and eucalyptus layers is really quite nice. If you're able to figure out just the right food pairing, it could be tremendous.
The price is right on this wine. While I see it often in the mid teens, if you look around you'll probably be able to grab this on sale for under $15. I paid $13 a month ago, which makes it a nice value for sure. Raise a glass!
Currants and chocolate on the nose
Round and ripe on the palate
Moderately strong tannins on the finish with some acidity carrying through with flavors of espresso and dark fruit
This South African wine is better than the prior two vintages, 2003 and 2004. While they all have a dark, rich flavor profile, the prior two vintages also have an odd lingering flavor of burnt plastic. Fortunately, that is absent in the 2005. What's left is a unique taste of dark fruit, some chocolate, and espresso.
Once again, this wine emerges as a signficant value at around $8 a bottle. It's a nice buy and offers something off the beaten path. Raise a glass!
Monday, January 29, 2007
This Torres Family "Selection" label is a Chilean delight. This wine is a gorgeous pink watermelon tourmaline color with a wonderful BIG bouquet that is perfumy and full of fruit. Strawberry and pink grapefruit comes to mind.
In the mouth this wine is pretty much the same with solid acid and marvelous flavors of citrus with a pink grapefruit finish. For the $8 I paid for this wine, all I can say is WOW! If you find it; but it and raise a glass.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Full disclosure--This wine was sent to me by the good folks at RioJoes wines in California (Visit their site at http://riojoes.com/
I was skeptical just knowing this wine was from Brazil. Nothing against Brazil mind you, just haven't heard, read, seen much concerning wine and Brazil so...
When I removed the cork I was even more skeptical as the cork came out too easily. I was concerned about it being "corked." It wasn't.
In the glass this wine is a very pretty lemon yellow with a bouquet that is quite rich, sweet, and buttery with touches of fruit, butterscotch and candy. I was wowed by the layers of aromas and was now anxious to get to the tasting. (Remember, wine is a total experience--not just what goes in your mouth--although that IS important.)
In the mouth, this wine was a bit awkward at first with a mid-palate flavor of bubble gum. Where oak is concerned I am usually fairly oblivious to woody flavors but this Chard seemed a mite overrun with Oak. (And I prefer oaked Chardonnays to unoaked ones)
*Citrus is present but seems to be a little too acidic (tart). I was disappointed in that the bouquet and nose of this wine is stellar but it doesn't carry through to the palate. The finish is pronounced with a lingering quality and more oak.
*I have been battling a cold for three weeks now but thought my taster was nearly back to normal. Today I am back to sniffling again so in fairness, this review may NOT be completely fair. It doesn't take much to throw off your sensory abilities.
With a price point of $26 I would expect a lot out of this wine. This one delivered through the nasal receptors but the palate was questionable. If anyone has experience with this wine, I would appreciate you leaving a comment as to what you thought! Raise a glass and at the very least give Brazil a try!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Rich nose of vanilla custard, honey, and a touch of lemon
There are many types of Chardonnays from the crisp, unoaked style at one end of the spectrum to the round, creamy, and buttery style at the other end.
In the latter category, this wine is a real deal. At $12, it delivers all the qualities you might expect from a much more expensive wine. Just as a word of caution, though, don't open this wine if you're not in the mood for the round, creamy, and buttery style. But if you are, you'll love the initial bouquet of vanilla custard and everything that follows. Raise a glass!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
This "Punch Cap" wine is a rich, dark plum colored purple right to the rim. The bouquet is musty with loads of plum and dark berry fruit.
The first impression on the palate is spice with rich flavors of licorice but tight fruit needs air to open.
Ten minutes does the trick and flavors just burst with fruit forward gobs of sensuous spicy fruit. It has nice structure and should age for several more years but is great right now. This one is worth seeking out! Raise a glass!
The bouquet contains light cherry notes, steel, with evergreen aromas but the nose, when smelled long and deep gives way to a sweet black licorice that reminds me a bit of a Barolo.
The palate is mature with big toast flavor and subdued fruit. the finish is "toasty."
This wine is a typical old world, wine with some age on it. There is some complexity with a peppery layer, licorice and round. I bought this solely because I saw the price--$11--and the age of the wine. My rule is if I find a wine with some age on it--since they are hard to come by in this price range--I will rarely pass it up. This was a nice value and a good find!
Raise a glass.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Berries on the nose
Dry on the palate
This wine is very simple. There's really not much there, even for a $7 wine. In fact, it hardly tastes like Malbec at all. It could pass for a cheap Australian Shiraz or a cheap Cote du Rhone.
Malbec from Argentina is still a bargain varietal. There are a number of good wines available for under $10 and I was hoping this would be one of them. For real Malbec taste, though, grab something different. And raise a glass!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Okay, knock me down and step on my face; splatter my name all over the place, but don't miss this super value wine. Casa Lapostolle is one of the ultra up and coming Chilean wineries that just has the knack for making good wine. This Chilean varietal is really, really, (did I say "really?") NICE.
It has a nice straw color with big--did I say BIG? peach aromas with apricots filling the bouquet topped off by a great vanilla cream note.
In the mouth this wine is lively with guava notes, and vibrant, mouth watering acidity, fruit galore, vanilla and a creamy texture to boot. It is classic Sauvignon Blanc with the trademark grassiness but not as grassy as the New Zealand variety. It finishes with apricots and for $7--did I say $7? Yes I did! Find it, buy it, drink it, and then buy more. Trust me and raise a glass!
In the mouth this wine has a "bready" first impression and some tannic structure. It is too cold though as my ambient cellar this time of year is around 50 degrees.
On warming a bit, this wine just bursts with fruit and classic Gamay flavors. It is not complicated; just refreshing and solid value at the sale price of $9. Raise a glass!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
This Cotes Du Rhone is medium purple/garnet witha dried cherries bouquet and a touch of licorice which dissipates.
In the mouth this wine is nicely balanced though closed and a bit too cold. I'll breathe and warm up a bit...
This is a solid wine with edgy flavors and somewhat angular after air gets to it. This is a pretty decent wine especially for the $9 I found it for. The reference price on this wine is $20 and Wine Spectator gives it an 87 rating. I don't see the 87; maybe 83. If I paid $20 for it I would be dissappointed. For $9, it was pretty solid drinking. Raise a glass.
This Sicilian white is pale yellow with slight hint of green.
The bouquet is sweet and powdery; quite fragrant with fruity, citrus notes.
It is off dry on the palate with simple flavors that accompany appetizers well and would make a nice chilled, summer wine. I didn't even know this grape existed but (NW) and I found it on our most recent Boston bargain hunting excursion. It was $8 and was worth that just for the experience of a new varietal. It's not a block buster but is pleasant enough for sitting on a proch enjoying a warm summer eve. Chill it down fairly well and enjoy! Raise a glass to warm summer nights--we just came out of sub-zero temps where I am from... brrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Nose of bright red fruit and a floral bouquet
This wine tastes like real Pinot Noir, although a slightly lean and light style. It's a pretty good value, considering good Pinot Noir is hard to come by for much under $20.
I enjoyed it, and recommend opening a bottle next time you prepare lamb and don't want to break the bank on wine. The bottle cost me $12 at a local store. Raise a glass!
In the mouth the wine is a bit tart, a bit tannic with tight dried cherry flavors. It needs to breathe.
With a half hour or more, it opens a bit but is basically the same wine. It has an odd balance and an odd mouth feel but then again, my taster is still not 100% after the season's first flu/cold. It's okay for the price of $8 but I wouldn't buy it again. Raise a glass never-the-less!
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Nose of red berries
This is not much of a wine. It has characteristic soft fruit wrapped in the flavors produced from oak. Also, it's a little sugary.
However, in the under $10 category, this is the norm. I paid $10, but have seen this wine sell for as little as $6. Most red wine in this price range out of California tastes simple, sugary, and oaked. There is rarely any lively, pure fruit taste. To increase your chances of this, head to the Chilean aisle for a wine such as the El Toqui Syrah reviewed below. Then raise a glass!
Beautiful pale pink color
Nose of roses, cranberries, and nuts
Crisp, lively core
Nutty finish, with granny smith apples
Every once in a while, it's nice to enjoy a really good bubbly. I'm not a raving fan of fine Champagne, but I appreciate it's qualities like the endless, tight streams of bubbles and the nutty flavors that often compliment the fruit.
This wine is a real treat. It's polished; there's nothing harsh or out of balance. These qualities come with a price tag, though. In this case, I paid $50 for the bottle on sale. Raise a glass!
Deep purple color
Jammy nose of blackberry and some black licorice
Juicy, fruity core on the palate
Nicely tapering finish accented by blueberry and currants
Chilean Syrah often presents a nice bargain, and this $10 wine tastes very well made. It has a real purity of fruit that doesn't taste doctored at all. And the color is incredible- a teeth-staining dark purple.
El Toqui appears to be under the ownership of Chateau Larose Trintaudon of Bordeaux. There has been some significant investment in South America among the Bordeaux Chateaux. They recognize the unique terroir of the continent and the attraction of having a winery and vineyards on the opposite growing season.
Hopefully, many of these wines will remain good values for years to come. Raise a glass!
(note: 2005 wine reviewed, 2004 label shown)
My wife grabbed this for dinner one night just because she could. I love it when she gets into the wine exploration for herself.
This Malbec has a deep cherry hue and a bouquet full of rich berry fruit. Nose has ripe plums underneath.
In the mouth it feels good but there was an odd plastic taste and finish that is subtly bitter. It was served too warm for one thing coming right from the store and improved a little on breathing and cooling it down. But there was still an off note that was unpleasant. (It should be noted however, that I have been fighting a cold and flu for a week which may have skewed this review--but I don't think so... At $11, I would suggest the Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec instead!
We were blown away to see wines by Covey Run and Columbia Crest which we have never seen anywhere! Now that's exciting!
What could possibly make it better? GREAT prices--the only catch, is you have to come equipped to pay cash.
How good were the prices? This bottle of Concannon which sells for $11 just about everywhere was selling 2 for $12 and you could mix and match the various varietals.
Okay--to the wine; nice garnet hue with slight opacity at the center and a nice dark berry bouquet with jammy fleshy fresh fruit a the edge capped off by a touch of smoke.
In the mouth it gave a somewhat tart first impression but that leveled off with just plain new world, fruit bomb drinking. The finish is decent with wood and smoke. Concannon tends to make good wine. At the price we paid, this is a stock up wine.
The store had bargains galore and again--unreal selection. The Feudo Arancio I have blogged earlier was 2 for $10. Unbelievable! Raise a glass to bargain hunting success.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
For the 2007 Blog Awards, We'd like YOU, our readers, to nominate us in the "Best Food Blog" category.
To do so click HERE and scroll down to the Food Blog nomination area. Type in our information:
Name: The Wine Cask Blog
This year the Bloggies are requiring that you nominate three separate blogs so, we'd like to spread the love around.
We suggest Nominating:
Best Topical Blog Category
Best Canadian Blog:
Name: Wine & Vine
Thanks for reading and RAISE A GLASS!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Fragrant nose of lemon, melon, and grapefruit
Medium-weight texture and core of citrus on the palate
Lingering finish, with more citrus and a slightly buttery texture
The word I use to describe this wine is "classy". From beginning to end it is obviously well made. It's oaked, but not overly oaked to the point of taking over the fruit. There is harmony and balance throughout.
I look at this as a "step up" Chardonnay. There's a ton of offerings in the $15-20 range that may or may not be very good. If you occasionally "step up" to the $25 range, you can get a bottle like this. It's worth it once in a while- especially when you're friends treat you to it!
Raise a glass!
Very pale red color for Zinfandel
Stinky nose with plastic aromas, red candy, and perfume
Flat fruit on palate
Sour cherry finish with a bitter note
I expected this wine from Paso Robles to be half decent, but it was one of the worst wines I had in 2006. Maybe the bottle was bad, but it didn't taste corked or fouled. The flavors simply offended my palate. I paid $6 on sale, marked down from $12- that might explain it. Life's too short to drink bad wine, so raise a glass of something else!
Nose of black cherry and some anise
Smooth, round core of fruit on the palate
Gently tapering finish with vanilla accents
I recently had the chance to enjoy a couple glasses of this wine. It's a well made Australian Cab that is ready to drink now. The fruit is round and smooth, accented by some anise and vanilla notes. The bottle price is $15 or so, which is fair. Raise a glass!
Friday, January 05, 2007
Lean nose of dark berries and mushrooms, with steely undertones
I wanted this wine to open up some more, but it never did. The style is "old world" for sure, but it's too austere and lean. Also, I didn't care for the finish, picking up some odd note that seemed sour and almost burnt.
This wine might be different with additional bottle ageing, but it didn't seem to come together for me. After considerable tasting and air time, we paired the wine with an lavish meal. We also opened a Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon which was substantially better at a much lower price than the $35 reference price I was given for the Lenz.
Let me know if you've had a different experience with this wine, and raise a glass!
Disclosure: This is one of the six wines sent to us from Lenz Winery for review.
Bright aromas of apple and pineapple on the nose
Good acidity and minerals on the palate
Lively finish of citrus, tapering nicely
This is a very nice, well-made wine. It has very bright fruit a, a strong backbone, and is knit together. The reference price is $12, which is a good deal.
I don't usually seek out unoaked Chardonnay, preferring other varietals when I want a crisp white. Chardonnay takes so well to oak that my favorite Chardonnays have layers of vanilla, butterscotch, and spices to compliment the fruit. However, this wine along with two others I've had recently are changing my mind on that subject.
Clearly, this wine is very well made. I enjoyed every drop, noticing that it kept well in the refrigerator several days after opening. Raise a glass to Lenz for a terrific value-priced, unoaked Chardonnay!
(NW) grabbed this bottle as an after thought as we were planning on having Steak Florentine taking advantage of the unseasonably warm Boston weather and the Webber Grill. He had first selected a Pride Mountain Merlot, but as the evening shaped up, it turned out to be more thematic with a view toward Italy and decided on this choice.
The wine is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot from Tuscany of course. It has a nice opaqueish garnet look with a complex bouquet that is powerfully reminiscent of of a Barolo. (That's quite a complement!) This wine was one you could just enjoy smelling half the night as layers just kept emerging.
Sweet fruit is prominent with a unique green olive aroma which was not quite green olives but I don't what else to call it; it was just wonderful whatever it was! Then there was a nice big layer of black licorice which I love in a wine. All this before tasting it. Ahhhhhhhh.
In the mouth it didn't disappoint. Licorice, anise, plush tannins great structure with a fruity and licoricey finish.
(NW) found this for $25 though the reference price is more like $45. At $45, this would have been a nice wine; at $25 someone shoot me for not buying all you can find.
It was a marvelous evening, the steak was tasty, the broccollini great, and the company fab. Raise a glass to be sure!
The best Beaujolais come from one of the 10 "Cru" or regions in Beaujolais. For review--Beaujolais Nouveau is the early released wine (November) and meant to be consumed immediately. Then there is Beaujolais which means the wine was made from grapes from anywhere in the region of Beaujolais. Next in quality and price comes "Beaujolais Villages" which means the wine is made from grapes in more particular regions with a higher standard and then comes Beaujolias Cru which will bear the name of one of the specific "Cru" from which the grapes come. Beaujolais can run from about $5 to as high as $20 fro Beaujolais Cru.
This one was about $12 I believe. (NW) opened it with appetizers on a recent spur of the moment trip to Boston to resupply my pathetic cellar. It is purple with a cranberry colored core and super fresh Gamay grape aromas that exude strawberries and pepper.
The palate is structurally sound with a nice round texture. There is plenty of light fruit, with a pleasant tartness and even a pleasant sort of bitterness on the finish. Beaujolais wines are made from the Gamay grape which will never attain greatness; just plain juicy fresh quaffing. Raise a glass!
This inexpensive sparkler from Spain pronounced (Fresh-a-net) is one of the many "Cava's" coming out of Spain that are just tasty and refreshing. At under $10, this wine is a value with a pale straw hue and apple-cream aromas with a bouquet of light creme brulee.
In the mouth this wine is dry as dust (Brut means "dry") with no more than 6 grams of sugar per liter.
Although scant bubbles, they are lively and there is a cirtusy mid-palate. The wine has a nutty finish with citrus notes. At this price, it's hard to go wrong. Raise a glass!
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Huge nose of cherry, ripe berries, and sweet spices
Medium-rich fruit on the palate
Long finish of cherry and earth
Wow! I didn't know Sicily could produce wine like this. I've had an aweful lot of Nero D'Avola, but nothing like this from the island. Most Sicilian wines have that "old world" elegance and charm. This is an entirely different story with a big bouquet of fruit and spice in a very modern style.
If you're looking for a big, modern style, you'll be very impressed with this wine. If you want refined and subtle- skip it- because there are plenty of others to choose from. Also, this one will cost you around $40.
Raise a glass!
Monday, January 01, 2007
Slight sign of age in fading color at rim
As one of our Christmas dinner wines, I was really looking forward to this. At PB's for the holiday, we had this out to breath and were anticipating the first swirl to be paired with a standing rib roast. Then the dog got out... and ran away.
After extensive search team efforts throughout the neighborhood, no dog. We settled in for an abbreviated dinner, anyhow, before resuming our search. The wine and rib roast were memorable, but the moment was overshadowed.
This was the second bottle of the 1999 we've had this year, obtained several years ago for about $45, and it didn't disappoint. With a little age on it, the wine shows an elegance and a classy style of woven fruit and exotic tones of cedar and smoke. It also has a "Rutherford dust" kind of tone to it, which smells of a dry, dusty vineyard. The wine is always a pleasure and always a treat!
Raise a glass!
By the way, the dog showed up the next morning. We didn't save him any rib roast or any Tapestry.
Raise a glass!
Disclosure–Our friends at Lenz Winery on the North Fork of Long Island sent us this wine for review. I served it New Years Eve with various appetizers. In the glass it has nice color of a pale golden with pin prick bubbles but not in abundance.
The bouquet is brimming with pears and slight apple notes with a touch of vanilla cream and a hint of nuttiness.
In the mouth this sparkler is a bit lackluster with an odd rear palate on first taste which seems to disappear. Fruit is a little stingy with a citrus foundation and a hint of nuttiness as well. This wine is dry, has decent structure and finishes with a more citrus. Over all, it just lacks “zip.” It was a fairly neutral pairing wine neither hurting or enhancing anything we ate with it. The reference price on this wine is $30. So raise a glass to a new year of more exploration in the fantastic world of the fermented juice of the grape and gives thanks for all we enjoy.