Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Puligny-Montrachet 2002 (Louis Latour) wine review by (PB)

Okay talk about the quirks of life! I have a conference in Chicago and as it happens so does (NW). We are in two totally different industries and Chicago is uh, big. I get my hotel and it turns out I am about 7 minutes away from where (NW) is staying which means, we have to rendezvous and do some wine exploration. We hit "Binny's" which is a big chain that has truly awesome selections, great prices, excellent support for customers and the best selection of current release Bordeaux I have seen anywhere.

I wanted something to take back to the hotel for (NW) and I to try. I grabbed a half bottle of this wine thinking I was paying $17 for this white Burgundy. (Store that for a minute)

So (NW) and I go back to his room after packing the wine in snow to put a little chill on it and we open it.

This wine is light golden and full of a lovely vanilla bean with some sweet spices; the palate is clean with citrusy lemon zest around a custardy foundation. I love it! This is a wine that is as lovely to just sit and smell as it is to drink. The wine is just ever so slightly flaccid as to its structure but it is absolutely lovely and would make a wonderful food wine.

Don't grow fond of white Burgundies unless you are rich or don't care about retirement. But here's the deal now. I was awed by this wine thinking I paid $17 for it but my receipt I checked two days later said I paid $8 for this half bottle. Another point about Binny's: As I was walking to the register the Binny's wine info guy says, "That's a great wine but we have had some cracked corks in those bottles with some seepage. If you find that is the case, just bring it back!"

Now that is impressive customer service!

Well there was some seepage but the wine was fine. Raise a glass to Binny's and Burgundy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beaumont des Crayeres Grand Prestige Brut wine review by (PB)

This was the third of our OTBN offerings courtesy of (NW)--read previous entries for full story...
This Champagne is light golden with pin prick bubbles which dance, burst and emit a luscious, butter and almond nose.

In the mouth the effervescence is lively, the flavor is tight but refreshing and the wine is nice and crisp. This was a nice pairing with appetizers and palate cleanser. Good champagnes in the price range ($30) are not all that ample. But this one is a keeper. Raise a glass.

Dominus 2000 wine review by (PB)

For back ground of the occasion, see previous entry re: OTBN
(NW) decided to treat us all with one of the hallowed reds from days gone by. I am sure (NW) will fill you in on a bit of the history of Dominus.

This wine is a solid garnet with opaqueness to the rim. It has grapey, vegetal, peppery, celery Cabernet aromas on opening that will change as it breathes.

In the mouth this wine is evenly structured with toasty, though closed flavors and velvety tannins. This wine needs to be breathed.

With some time the wine opens up to a complex treat of dill with dark berry fruit all over. All the other things present on opening are gone.

This wine is interesting in that it seems like it absolutely at its peak and yet it gives every indication that it will remain that way for years. Right now though it is perfectly round and well integrated in every way. It should be since this wine ran around $110 several years ago when it was purchased.

This was a nice treat to be sure and yet for the money, I would rather spend half as much on any number of wines out there from Napa and have two bottles of wine which would be truly extraordinary. Either way, it was a great evening so raise a glass!

Girard Chardonnay 2004 wine review by (PB)

I am down in Boston at (NW's) trying to get to Chicago but of course winter weather has changed those plans. Just by chance, I happen to be here with (NW) on what is called Open the Bottle Night. This is Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher's invention to give people a reason to open that special bottle of wine. If you collect win eat all, you probably suffer from what we all suffer with that "special bottle." The "special" occasion that would warrant opening it just kind of never comes so Gaiter and Brecher of the Wall Street Journal have given us all permission and reason to do so. Great idea--especially when you're at someone else's home with a nice cellar!!!

This was the first bottle (NW) selected for the evening. This Russian River Chard is pale straw with an apple note on the bouquet with a buttery, gentle spice nose with a touch of vanilla.

In the mouth this wine isn't quite a crisp as I prefer but it sure isn't flabby either. It gives a sweet impression yet it's not sweet and it is a bit understated for a Russian River Chard. It has a lovely texture with a nice pineapple and green apple finish.

(NW) paid $14 for this wine but it was $20 and he got $6 knocked off because the label--the back label--was damaged. For $14, it was a very nice Chard. For $20, it was okay but nothing special. Raise a glass to OTBN.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay 2005 wine review by (PB)

This Sonoma County wine is another creation of Margot Van Staaveren. Some people just have a gift and Van Staaveren is one of them. This Chard is classic with a light golden hue and a bouquet full of rich vanilla and buttery citrus.

In the mouth this wine is elegant, with a creamy texture full of more vanilla, citrus and a really nice apple finish. This is a Chard with everything you want in the varietal and yet it was only $11 at Sam’s Club. You can’t beat the value so raise a glass–NOW!

Salmon Creek Merlot 2004 wine review by (PB)

Okay, first we need to get a grip and remember that this is a wine that costs less than $5! Understanding that, let's proceed. This wine is a light red like the hue of a Pinot Noir. The bouquet is amazingly fruity with a touch of bubble gum and powder ending with a slight peppery note in the nose.

In the mouth this wine is on the sweeter side but pleasant enough to drink but again--let's take note of the price of this wine. It is NOT a good representation of the varietal grape but it is a decent enough "wine beverage." Yes it tastes manufactured; yes it is sweet; yes it is annoying if you're a wine snob but the fact is, this would appeal to the inexperienced, non-discriminating wine drinker who wants something fruity and simple. I give a good rating because it is more drinkable than many of the wines I pay twice as much for so given that--raise a glass!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chateau De Capitanes Julienas (Beaujolais Cru) 2005 wine review by (PB)

We purchased this wine at a restaurant in Camden for a special over-nighter with my bride of 33 years. She had ordered Rabbit with egg noodles and I ordered breast of duck with goat cheese grits and roasted cauliflower. Some delicate flavors and some hefty ones gave reason to put some thought in to the pairing decision that would satisfy both meals.

The fruitiness of the Gamay grape and the fine crafting of this wine made it a nice pairing. The wine was served in a glass that looked and felt like Riedel so I inquired of our wait person. She did some checking and sure enough, it was a Riedel. This was a smart move as many restaurants serve wine in clunky, goblets which is disconcerting when you're paying at least 100% mark up over retail for the wine you order.

The wine was brought to the table to have me check the label and then it was opened in front of me. This is as it should be although some very high end restaurants take the bottle once approved, and open it away from the patron. This is a major no-no in my book as there is then no guarantee that the wine you were brought for approval and are paying for, is the wine you are receiving. (A wine of the caliber that we bought paying $38 for it, is not likely to be a wine that anyone would bother swapping out but when you are paying $200 for a bottle and above and they remove it from your sight to open it, frankly, I would refuse it.) It is sad to be so cynical but there is much under handed doings in the world of wine at all levels. Insist your bottle is opened in front of you!

It is a pretty cherry color with a garnet rim but served a bit too warm. Fortunately it wasn't distracting but this nice restaurant should do better with its wine storage.

The bouquet is fresh with a touch of raspberry and strawberry with a gentle structure and rather elegant. Typical Gamay freshness and is juicy and delicious and paired well with both dinners. Raise a glass to Francine's Bistro in Camden, Maine.

Gruet "Brut" wine review by (PB)

Every state in the union now makes wine. But when my wife and I were at the coast of Maine recently, I dropped in the Lilly, Lupine and Fern wine shop in Camden. This is s shop that knows wine. I was looking for a split (that's a half bottle) of a sparkling wine that was inexpensive but drinkable. The proprietor suggested I try this sparkler from--New Mexico! Nothing against New Mexico, but I don't believe I have had a wine from this state and certainly wouldn't think of a sprakling wine made in the classic Methode Champanoise [may-TOHD shahm-peh-NWAHZ] in this state I picture as mostly desert.

The shop owner was excited about this wine which is usually a really good sign! I bought the split for $11 and took it back to our room and stuck it in the snow to put a chill on it.

The wine is made of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir. The wine sits pale straw in the glass, with vanilla and apple bouquet that is powdery. (My wife vehemently disputed that there was any vanilla in the nose at all. Since it's my blog, VANILLA goes in the review.)

It gives the impression that it is sweet but it really isn't--just fruity with grapefruit notes and nice little bubbles to make it sparkle.

We had this with appetizers before heading out for dinner. Thanks to the folks at Lilly, Lupine and Fern for the suggestion. Raise a glass!

Pillar Box Red 2005 wine review by (PB)

(NW) was in town recently and brought this Aussie Shiraz to try on for size.
"WARNING" This wine is a nuclear fruit bomb!
In the glass the swirl leaves pigmentation from the grapes on the sides. It is a deep aubergine/black cherry in color wowing form the start.

The bouquet is ridiculous; it smells like its thick with ripe--did I say ripe? RIPE black plums and toast. This is a fruit bomb of the 20 megaton order.

In the mouth it is rich and deep in the mouth, almost over the top. Big pepper note amidst oceans of fruit. It is jammy, dark berry flavors, espresso and a tad sweet. This is clearly made for the new world, popular palate.

So is that wrong? Some would say so. But again, it all comes down to preference. Which is better blue or red? It's a question with out an objective answer. (NW) said it right when he said you have to be in the mood for this kind of wine. ( scroll down for his review)

If you're pairing it with something to eat, make sure that something is kicking and hefty. I like this wine and for the price of $10, it is a different world than many wines at the same price point. Raise a glass!

Palazzo Della Torre 2001 "Allegrini" wine review by (PB)

Subtle bouquet of deep, dark rich plums close in and fresh plums and grapes with a waft. The wine has a dark cranberry hue.

In the mouth it is tart with a sour edge but oh so slight with a touch of bitters. Nicely made. This should open.

With time to breathe a touch of cedar and dried cherries shows. This is a bold forthright wine with big flavor and hefty in weight. It was $22 and a nice example of old world style. Raise a glass to Italy!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Georges DuBoeuf Beajolais Cru Julienas "Flower Label" 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Lively, fresh strawberry nose
Consistent texture and fresh fruitiness on the palate
A pepper note on the nicely tapering finish of tart fruit

I like an ocassional Beajolais Cru for is lively fruitiness and tart finish. This wine is pretty nice and has a peppery kick in addition to the fruit.

Beajolais Cru are among the forgetten wines of the US market. They don't seem to move fast from the shelves and are overlooked by restaurants and afficionados. While the Gamay grape might be an acquired taste in the modern world of soft fruity wines with lots of oak, no region does more with Gamay.

The Beajolais Cru wines are not to be confused with Beajolais Nouveau, as they have more depth and more shelf life. For an interesting comparison, grab and Nouveau and grab a Cru to compare side-by-side. I recommend Julienas, Morgon, and Moulin-A-Vent, which tend to be the most widely available. By the way, I paid $11 for this on sale from $13. Raise a glass!

San Antonio Heritage Vintage Red Wine 2002 Wine Review (NW)

In the interest of full disclosure, this wine was sent from San Antonio Winery as a complimentary bottle to The Wine Cask blog.

Tasting notes:

Fragrant nose of blackberry, raspberry, and vanilla
Soft, plush core of ripe berries and some anise
Smooth finish with light acidity and layers of fruit and spice

I was more than skeptical about this wine. San Antonio Winery is an historic operation in the middle of urban Los Angeles. PB of this blog visited the winery several years ago and had a nice experience. While this wine was not available at the time, he sampled other reds and came away pleasantly surprised.

Of course, they source their grapes from various regions of California and in this case they've put together a proprietary blend to celebrate their 90th anniversary. According to winery information, it's a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, and Grenache. It's a nice, rich wine with lots of fruit and a little spicyness. This makes it a Zinfandel or Petite Sirah alternative.

The reference price is $24, which is fair. After all, it's a limited production proprietary blend that is clearly made with great care. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this wine! (Also read PB's review below.) Raise a glass!

Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Inky, dark color
Crushed blackberries and some chocolate on the nose
Rich, fruity core of fruit
Nice finish with more ripe berries

Talk about fruit forward and rich! For the money, this is a big, fruity wine. It costs about $10 and seems to be widely available now.

If you're looking for a ripe, rich Australian red at the ten dollar mark, this is it. Warning- you must be in the mood for this style. While very smooth and rich, it is very fruity and almost sweet. Don't say I didn't warn you. Raise a glass!

Lenz Old Vines Chardonnay 2004 Wine Review (NW)

In the interest of full disclosure, Lenz Winery, on the North Fork of Long lsland, NY, sent this wine complimentary to The Wine Cask blog.

Tasting notes:
Pretty golden color
Tropical fruit and some butterscotch on the nose
Lively acidity on the palate
Finishes with lemon, apple, and a lingering cream
After warming up a bit, this wine showed its true colors. It developed depth and richness, and became very enjoyable. It's an oaked-style of Chardonnay, but not overly so. There is a good balance of flavors and a strong backbone.

The reference price on the wine is $25. At this price point, I expect a lot out of a Chardonnay and this one delivers. Lenz has impressed me with their white wines. I haven't been crazy about the reds, but the whites are high quality. If you're in the New York area and see this on a restaurant wine list, check it out. Or even better, follow the wine trail out on the North Fork of Long Island. And raise a glass!

Domaine Ste. Michelle Wine Review by (PB)

This NV cuvee (NV = non vintage and Cuvee pronounced Koo-Vay) is a Washington State sparkler that is really quite nice for the price. My lover and wife of 33 years brought it home for Valentine's Day and we had it with a French onion tart I whipped up.

It is a pale straw in the glass and I was rather surprised with the generous bouquet of light fruit and load of vanilla. The bubbles are pin-prick and pretty as they rise in streams to the top of the glass.

In the mouth, it is citrusy, juicy and simple but well made. I am not a huge sparkler fan but sometimes it's just the right thing and this was such a time. It was a nice food wine and made a decent aperitif as well. For the $11, this is one of those reliable wines from a reliable Washington State producer. Their other sparklers at the same price point are equally tasty. Don't be afraid to raise a glass of any of them!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

San Antonio Winery "Heritage" 2002 wine review by (PB)

In 1917, Santo Cambianica left his home in the Northern Italian province of Lombardy to settle in the midst of a bustling Italian-American community in Los Angeles and founded the San Antonio Winery.

While prohibition destroyed much of the industry, the San Antonio Winery survived by becoming the winery to produce communion wine for the Catholic church.

Now, this historic winery is oddly situated in the middle of an industrial area of Los Angeles. My daughter and I were able to visit it a couple years ago and enjoyed a lunch in the attached restaurant.

The good folks at San Antonio winery sent me this complementary bottle of their special, and very limited edition, "Heritage" wine which is a Rhone-inspired blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, and Grenache from their estate vineyards in Paso Robles and Monterey. (NW) was up for the weekend so you can read his review when he gets it posted.

The wine has a purple to cranberry color with tart aromas of fruit and robust cherry/raspberry notes with a touch of white pepper.

In the mouth this wine starts with dried cherries and a subtle under layer of spice with a gentle, even finessed, structure. This is a well made wine with a finish of some complexity showing some mocha, and vanilla. Thank you San Antonio Winery for the treat!

The reference price on this wine is $25 and a fair price for the wine. Nicely done! Raise a glass to the history of wine and the place it plays in the affairs of the world.

Pride Mountain Merlot 2000 wine review by (PB)

This was the second wine served blind in (NW) and my little taste off. Be sure to read the entry below and (NW's) entries on these same wines.

My notes say--this wine is young with a tuch of purple in the rim, solid dark berry color with a room oozing bouquet of fresh grapes also giving off a "Barolo" like aroma with a touch of licorice.

This is a big new world wine I wrote that is rich and young, a bit hot at first with gobs of ripe, jammy fruit. In the mouth it tastes fleshy with a finish that has touches of chocolate and espresso.
This was delicious and when (NW) unveiled it I was amazed that it was 7 years old. It had lots of life left in it. (NW) apparently misunderstood my instructions re: the price of the wine and said he thought it has to be over $50. (Tee-hee-hee...) This wine was $55 and really nice!

Once the wines were unveiled, we could taste them side by side which really allows other things to be revealed. the Rioja, though a really nice wine, was in a different ball park than the Pride Mountain Merlot. And the idiot from the movie "Sideways" who didn't want to see another Merlot was, well, I think I covered that...

This was a great exercise and we topped them off with a Filet Mignon's on the grill with a crab, cream cheese sauce on top. Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!! Raise a glass to the good life!

Origin Rioja Reserva 1998 wine review by (PB)

(NW) was up for the weekend so I thought I would orchestrate a little fun for us. I asked him to bring a bottle of something neither one of us had ever had (red) and the only stipulation was that it had to cost over $20.

I picked this wine up at local grocery store because a. I was curious about the "Origin" wines which I have never tasted. b. The Rioja's I have had were very tasty and usually good values; and c. this one had some age on it.

Both bottles were poured blind and breathed for about an hour. On tasting the first wine which was this one, I wrote that it was the Rioja without knowing of course what (NW) had brought. In other words I had nothing to compare it to and just went on past experience with Rioja wine which are made from the Tempranillo grape.

this wine had a ruby rim with medium garnet bowl and what I can only describe as a Barolo like aroma in the bouquet which I love. There was slight steel with a hint of licorice and a touch of faint vanilla.

In the mouth the wine was at a nice serving temperature; showing bready flavor and a mature presence in the mouth. Nicely balanced and soft with a peppery finish. I liked this wine and while it wasn't wowing, it was very nice and a fair price at $25. Be sure to read (NW's) review of the same wine(s) in this fun little tasting.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hess Collection Chardonnay 2003 "Estate Crown" wine review by (PB)

This Napa Valley Chard was marked down from $23 to $16 so I grabbed it on a lark. It is a nice light yellow color with a really soft bouquet and candy in the nose with citrus and something I can't peg.

In the mouth it has nice acidity but the palate is a little awkward. Again in the finish there is something I can't quite label and I'm not sure it is a good thing. I am ambivalent about this wine and for this price, ambivalence is definitely a bad sign.

Although you don't normally think in terms of airing out white wines, this one has improved a bit with some air which is probably more due to the fact that it is warming up from my cellar temp which is too cold this time of year.

At first I thought this wine might be dying but I am changing my mind as it warms up some. Vanilla comes out very strong with some creme brulee hints which is pleasing but there is an underlying layer of alcohol.

Hess is generally a very reliable producer and this wine, at this price point is not a value. I'm still not convinced that it isn't a wine that is beginning to exit. The only way to know for sure would be to try another bottle which at this price I am not about to do.

Raise a glass never-the-less.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Chateau du Donjon Cuvee Prestige Minervois 2001 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose delivers wild cherry, minerals, and a dose of white pepper
Steely core, lean and tart, with cranberries
Monderatey strong tannins finish with herbs and a note of baker's chocolate

Clearly, this is a well-made wine. However, it's not one of my favorite styles of red. I have trouble when a wine is dominated by herbs and peppers- it seems like I'm drinking a wine made from the grape vine and not the grape itself.

There's a lot of Grenache in this wine along with Syrah. The Grenache in Southern France seems to deliver accented herbal qualities which are meant to blend well with Syrah. Sometimes it's much more subtle, but this wine shows a lot of herbs.

A lot of different styles are represented in Southern France, and I encourage you to taste your way around the various regions. I've found a lot of wines I really like, especially between $10-20. This wine was $17, compliments of PB who has tasted several bottlings from this producer. There are plenty of good values out there. Raise a glass!

Concannon Central Coast Syrah Selected Vineyards 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:
Raspberry, tea, and black pepper on the nose
Medium bodied on the palate
Moderately smooth finish with berries

Concannon produces a number of decent value varietal wines. This Syrah is a slightly lighter style, but has some nice flavors and a decent texture. If you want a deep, dark, rich Syrah, this is not it. However, for a $9 taste of the California version of the varietal, it's not bad.

Recently, PB and I stopped in a local wine shop and found bins full of Concannon wines priced at 2 for $12. Although this wasn't one of them (I picked it up a week earlier), these sale bins presented some extremely good values for very drinkable wines. If you see something like this in a store, it's worth grabbing a few to see what you like. You might just discover a wine that a producer happens to do really well.

As we taste through these wines from Concannon, we'll let you know if anything jumps out. So far, after a couple of tastings, we've found them to be consistently well-made. Yes, they're rather plain but what a price for wines that are at least tru to their varietal labels. Raise a glass!

Ca'Marcanda Magari Toscana (Gaja) 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:
Big, rich nose of cherry pie and spices

Richly textured on the palate and full-bodied
Lingering finish with notes of fruit, pipe tobacco, and leather

Are you looking for a classic Super-Tuscan? This wine has it all. From the rich bouquet to the lingering finish, this wine is impressive.

Although I haven't read other reviews on this wine, I assume it's aged in small oak casks (the finishing trend that has invaded all corners of the Italian wine industry). It's a proprietary blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc that is very drinkable right now.

The Gaja-operated property doesn't command Gaja Piedmont prices in the hundreds, but the wine isn't cheap either at $70. We paid $120 for the privilege of ordering this at a fine Italian restaurant. I'm glad we did. Raise a glass!

Burgans Albarino 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Light golden color

Nose of light melon with floral notes

Smooth core of acidity, lively and fresh

Smooth, clean finish

Albarino is worth checking out if you're not familiar with it already. A white wine produced in Riax Baixes, in Northwestern Spain, it compliments seafood extremely well and has a lively, fresh appeal.

The 2005's are out, and I've read some very complimentary reviews. Notably, this bottling in 2005 has won praise as a terrific value. I paid $12 for this 2004 at a local wine mercant a few months ago. Raise a glass!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Minerals on the nose, followed by tobacco, tar, and a some faint raspberry

Steely core of fruit on the palate

Dry finish with more minerals and another breath of berries

Here we go again- "old-world" versus "new world". This wine is very much in the "old world" style, even for Italy. With the current trend of oak barriques invading all corners of Italy, this $20 wine remains staid and conservative.

More and more, this style of wine with it's steely core and drying finish of faint fruit layers will become an acquired taste. However, it's real merit lies in this wine's ability to compliment food. It will never overwhelm the meal like so many modern wines.
If you are hosting guests, be careful with this one because it's austere. If you're guests expect fruit forward, ripe, and round they might pour this in the dog's dish.

With all that said, the great debate will go on for ever. This well-made, old world wine has it's place in the cellar along side the many other styles of wine available today. Raise a glass!

Water Wheel Bendigo Shiraz 2004 wine review by (PB)

Okay, hang onto your taste buds and prepare to be assaulted! This Shiraz from down undah, is an intense, deep dark black cherry colored wine with an ultra fruity, ripe grape bouquet and a nose that is full of rich dark fruit, cola and toast.

In the mouth this lovely varietal is almost thick it is so rich but it needs to warm up a bit (my ambient cellar is 48 degrees currently) and it needs to breath a bit. Don't go away!!!

After a half hour or so this wine is just lovely and BIG and full bodied in every way. There is a bitter base to it that is actually lovely giving it an unsweetened backer's chocolate quality as a foundation for the ripe fruit that sits on top. After an hour or so there is another layer of light chocolate and a hint of licorice.

It gets better--I was in Sam's Club looking at their wines and I saw this one and though I couldn't remember why the name popped out to me it did and so I bought it thinking I may have seen it as a Wine Spectator "best buy." I paid $12 for it at Sam's and checked it on line when I got home. It has a reference price of $18 in the Wine Spectator and was indeed one of their "Best Buys" with a 91 point rating.

I opened it, it drank way too easily and was gone, before we knew it. I went back today and bought a couple more. I may not be done yet! Find it and buy it and enjoy it; this is a bargain! Raise a glass to this new world classic.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cabernet 2004 wine review by (PB)

This Aussie creation is an intense dark purple with pipe tobacco aromas and dark plum fruit with a touch of pepper at the end.

Peppery jammy fruit hit the palate in this new world fruit forward flavor bomb accompanied by a touch of bread and chocolate.

With some air time, the wine is just fuller with dark berry flavors abounding. This is a BIG wine. Drink accordingly. I paid under $11 for it. It's tasty and full but a carbon copy of so many other Shiraz's. Raise a glass.

Lisa Terras Do Sado 2005 Rose wine review by (PB)

This Portuguese gemstone is a beautiful bright cherry that is darker than many roses with a gorgeous pinkness to the rim. (That's right, I said "pinkness!")

The bouquet of this wine is super and that even with serving it too cold. (My ambient cellar is currently at 48 degrees; it is around zero outside...) Aromas of delicious fruity strawberry and raspberry wrapped in a bundle of summer flowers with a gentle touch of spice.

It is a little weak on structure but at the price of $5.79 I shouldn't even mention that. The finish is just pure fruitiness. If you can find this, grab it, chill it down, but not to 48 degrees, and just enjoy it all by itself. Raise a glass.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2004 wine review by (PB)

This Chilean made by the very reliable Concha Y Toro clan has a nice intense color with a dark core and purple notes to the rim. On the swirl it has big dark berry aromas with a touch of baker's chocolate.

In the mouth this is a well made "new world" fruit bomb that is easy to drink and robust. Flavors are just fruit to the core with a bittersweet chocolate foundation. It has some heft so pair it with something a bit more robust but I had it with two different chicken dishes over two nights and it was very tasty! My wife picked this up for under $8 which puts it in the nice value category! So raise a glass, and enjoy!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Domaine De Valmoissine Pinot Noir 2004 wine review by (PB)

This Vin De Pays creation by Louis Latour and company has light cherry red color with cherry and strawberry notes in the bouquet with an under layer of licorice that is subtle and a bit of steel.

In the mouth this wine is nicely structured with tannins and a gentle flavor that is amazingly varietal though much more understated than you might expect of the grape. this wine actually drinks somewhat elegantly with a finish that hangs on pleasantly.

Now here's the thing--this wine cost just $11. It's hard to find a Pinot Noir for that price much less a quality one. No this isn't a Burgundy classic but then neither is the price. Raise a glass to inexpensive enjoyment!