Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Los Majones Shiraz 2005 wine review by (PB)


Deep black cherry hue with big sweet ripe fruit with a port-like raisiny quality.

Palate-- extracted flavors, wood notes, edgy fruit and was actually much better right after opening. Mild chocolate finish.

Found a new "outlet" store in Freeport, Maine which buys up left overs from restaurants and other venues then sells them at a discounted price. This Spanish Shiraz cost me $14.29 and frankly was not worth the price. (This was the second bottle as the first one was corked but the shop took it back as any reputable shop should.)

We'll see how the other wines I bought fare. Stay tuned but raise a glass of something else.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Crandall-Brooks Pinot Noir 2007 wine review by (PB)


On a recent trip to Phoenix I grabbed this Carneros Pinot since it seemed to be a good price at $16. I knew nothing about the wine or the vintner.

It is alight cranberry hue with tart Strawberry and raspberry aromas, with cola, root beer notes and a touch of cinnamon.

Palate--minerals and fruity sweet impression with cherry/strawberry /raspberry flavors finishing with a light milk chocolate. This was just a treat and a great value. I'm glad I took the effort to stuff it into my golf bag for the trip home. Raise a glass of a bargain Pinot Noir that is a good example of what it should be and normally costs MUCH more!

Fleurie Beaujolais Cru 2006 wine review by (PB)


G. Duboeuf always seems to be reliable no matter he ships. This is no exception.
This wine--one of the select locales of the Beaujolais region--Fleurie--is a nice wine with cherry hue and an awesome milk chocolate, wilds cherry, strawberry and spice aroma.

Palate--some heft with some tannic structure though elegant with flavors of light milk chocolate, strawberry and cherry and a milky chocolate finish.

This wine is lively and bright which is why you buy Beaujolais in the first place. If you have someone who says they just don't like red wine, shoot them; no--seriously, give them a shot at Beaujolais; the Gamay grape is gentle, fruity and while it isn't sweet, it is so fruity it gives the impression it is. All the Beaujolais Cru--the highest quality Beaujolais there is, will only run you between $13-$18. So raise a glass!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2004 Wine Review (NW)



Tasting notes:

Currants, plum, leather, and herbs on the nose

Earthy and dense on the palate

Finish of currants, herbs, and spices with a dash of cocoa

Here's a perennial good value wine from the Rhone. E. Guigal packs a lot into this $12 bottle, with fruit, herbs, and earthy tones. Its best quality is that it has a real sense of place- it tastes like the Rhone and not some ambiguous international standard that so many $12 wines aim for.

When you open it, give it some air and let it warm up a bit. Then raise a glass!

O S Winery Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills Riesling 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Lemon and nectarine on the nose

Lean, lively, and acidic on the palate

Finishes tart and crips with citrus and mineral notes

This is a lively, youthful wine from Washington state. Made in a more Germanic style, with low alcohol, the wine dances across the palate with a tightly-knit texture and high acidity.

Friends supplied the bottle at a recent gathering after sampling it at a wine tasting. It runs $20 and is a small production. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brolio Chianti Classico 2003 wine review by (PB)


New Hampshire State Liquor Stores are running this wine on special for $10. The normal price point is $24. Skeptical I bought one even though Wine Spectator put a 91 point rating on it. But the 03 Chianti's are fabulous so I had my wife grab several more bottles. Disappointed? Read on!

Intense hue that looks more like a Syrah than a Sangiovese with fresh cherry and sour cherry notes.

Palate (3 hours of breathing) bready, tannic with course fruit and austere yet with loads of life still remaining; in fact, best is yet to come. It needed another hour and opens to a lovely quaff with pencil shavings, great cherry fruit and dark fruit flavors. I loved it and recommend you raise a glass!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Marques Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 wine review by Billy


Nose: jammy plum and blackberry
Palate: thin palate that is well balanced while skinny. Big tannins but little pucker. Great redflesh fruit flavors spread out over the tongue.
Finish: cherry pit and some rind or husk like bitterness emerge here but only a touch. Very drinkable
Overall: Beautiful inky dark purple on the pour. This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the well known Concha Y Toro producers delivers. It is very drinkable while retaining the character of a more expensive bottle. A touch thin in the mouth means that I wish this was about $5 less expensive. I paid about $18 for this bottle.

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Meulenhof--Erdener Treppchen--Riesling Kabinett wine review by (PB)

This wine has a wonderful sweet nose of floral sweet spice with slight grapefruit/lemon notes and honey nuances. The bouquet is just fabulous and is one of those wines that is as enjoyable to just sit on the aromas as it is to drink.

Palate--Relaxed acid typical of German Rieslings; rich, nearly candy like presence with a rich backbone and wondrously integrated and complex. Just delicious so raise a glass and be sure to scroll down to read (NW's) review of the same wine as well as some great tips about bargain hunting the German wines!

(Also I recommend doing a "search" of this blog for the piece I wrote a while back on deciphering a German wine label. It tells you a great deal about the wine!)

Columbia Crest "Horse Heaven Hills" Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 wine review by (PB)


(NW) broke out this upper tier Columbia Crest Cab on a recent visit. Columbia Crest makes all around good value wines at all levels. Their "Two Vines" is their table wine ($6-8), the "Grand Estates" is next up the ladder ($10-11) and Horse Heaven Hills is yet another step up selling at the $12-15 price point.

Bouquet is distinctive, rich in berries and cream and nice dark aromas.

Palate is full of sweet fruity flavors but not too sweet and the full, rich plummy, berry presence is replete with relaxed tannins and a real cocoay finish. This is just a super wine at this price so raise a glass!

Gloria Ferrer Carneros Chardonnay 2005 375ml wine review by (PB)


Another Phoenix wine bought at World Market for $5 as a promotional.
Again--*Styrofoam cup limits swirling and assessment of color;
light yellow with notes of sweet summer fruit that are rather indistinct with creamy notes.

Palate--sharply acidic which I like made on the light side, slightly bitter, creamy texture and a little perplexing. I am ambivalent but you should note that the wine glass does make a big difference in the whole tasting experience!

*Taste is a function of smell and smell is a function of the volatilization of chemicals into the air. If the wine is too cold or it cannot be swirled to release the esters which make up odors, a wine cannot be properly assessed.

Epicuro Nero D'Vola 2006 wine review by (PB)


I am in Phoenix on business and bought this at a Trader Joe's for $6.
In my lovely Styrofoam hotel wine cup it looks purple like grape juice.
Bouquet is pleasant if light, with cherries.

Palate--a little hot with bright cherry fruit, and frankly for the price, its a nice value and good pizza wine so raise a glass!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon "Special Selection" 2006 wine review by (PB)


This wine is made exclusively for the "Whole Foods" chain and is a nice black cherry hue with a bouquet of slightly vegetal with cherry and light raspberry notes. It is a typical Chilean Cab out of the Cochagua Valley.

Palate--Light spice with sweet cherry and although a little hot, drinks very well. Another Cab at the $10 price point, but fairly tasty; raise a glass.

Foris Pinot Noir 2007 wine review by (PB)


This Pinot is from Pinot Noir heaven also known as Oregon. My wife grabbed it for $17 and it presents with spicy , candied cherries and strawberries on the nose.

In the mouth the wine is juicy with mouth watering, bright fruit and a gorgeous cherry finish. A Pinot of this quality at this price is a treat and a value so raise a glass!

Esser Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 wine review by (PB)


This sourced Cab from California was a gift from friends. It has a plummy and berry bouquet and in the mouth tastes slightly cooked with stewed, over ripe fruit with awkward mouth feel
and nondescript.

With some air it improves a great deal with dark chocolate, blackberry and black cherry fruit which is quite drinkable. After all is said and done, at the $10 price point, I liked it so raise a glass.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meulenhof Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett 2005 Wine Review (NW)


Tasting notes:

Gorgeous nose of dueling lemon and honey aromas

Finely textured and rich on the palate

Apple and apricot finish tapers beautifully

Don't miss the 2005 Rieslings that are still sitting on shelves. A $15 gamble on just about anything will be rewarding. I knew nothing about this wine, but I'm glad I grabbed it. It's beautifully made with a gorgeous nose and harmonious layers of fruit. At only 9% alcohol, serve this delicious treat with appetizers to ease your guests into the evening.

Raise a glass!

Green Meadow Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007 Wine Review (NW)



Tasting notes:

Aromas of black tea and pomegranate on the nose with a backdrop of black licorice
Lean and subtle on the palate
Cherry layers on the finish with more black licorice

I wrote "interesting" in my notes because this wine drinks more like a Burgundy than a California Pinot Noir. The color is extremely light and it has subtleties of aroma and flavor that take some discerning.

I paid $20 on sale, marked down from $24. If this sounds like your style of Pinot, give it a shot. And raise a glass!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joan Gine Gine Priorat 2000 wine review by (PB)


(NW) opened this Priorat blend as the 5th of 6 which he purchased on a great sale some time ago. If I remember, he paid $8-9 per bottle when this usually runs around twice that.

At 9 years old, this wine is really coming into its prime but still has plenty of age left in it.

It still has a purple youthfulness to it and a full bouquet of chocolate, all kinds of fruits and cherry and sweet spice and tobacco--really NICE!

Palate is deep and fruity with black licorice front, with dark deep lingering fruit finish. My notes don't do this wine justice as it was just busy with a tantalizing complexity that is unusual for a wine of this price. the Priorat has some true bargains and up and coming creations worth trying.

So raise a glass to Joan and check out our previous reviews of this wine in its earlier phases.

Groenendal Chenin Blanc 2007 wine review by (PB)


I paid $16 for this S. African Chenin presenting with a light golden hue and aromas of vanilla, Clementine rind, powder and sweet citrus.

Palate--nicely integrated citrus flavors with solid acid base, grapefruit in the rear--more a feel than a flavor like grapefruit aftertaste--finishing with light pear or peach but very faint.

So here's the difference between a great value wine and a decent wine: This wine is a good varietal but at $16, there are numerous other Chenins just as good for about half the price. Scroll down for example and peruse my review of Forrester's "Petit" Chenin Blanc and then raise a glass.

Gandia Hoya De Cadenas Reserva 2004 wine review by (PB)


This is 100% Tempranillo (pronounced temp-ra-NEE-oh) presenting with a purple hue and aromas of dried red fruit, pie cherry, and plum notes.

Palate--Surprisingly youthful with tasty cocoa and tight fruit waiting to burst open. Juicy core has plenty of life with another 3-5 years perhaps. Finishes with a nice fruit filled ending.
I paid $7 for this on sale--it normally runs around $10 and is a great value. Raise a glass to this Spanish bargain!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ken Forrester "Petit" Chenin Blanc 2008 wine review by (PB)


This Stellenbosch of light gold with bouquet of vanilla and cream sickle (faint orange sherbet) in a sweet pronounced nose that is really very nice.

Palate--good acid, lemon rind with sour orange, light pink grapefruit, off dry and good example of a Chenin. ($9) Raise a glass to of one of my favorite most underrated varietals!
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Vina Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 wine review by (PB)

Purple hue with some Cabernet aromas with a slightly stinky note with black pepper and some veggies.

Steely front with light varietal flavors but thin, and watery, harsh and all around yucky. Now sure I paid around $8 for a magnum at Sam's Club but still, you can find bargains like this from Chile but this isn't one of them.

Still, this would be the wine of choice where you are entertaining a passel of people who have no clue about wine because even as bad as this review is, this wine is drinkable.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mommy's Time Out Rosso Primitivo 2007 wine review by Billy


Nose: jammy plum and raspberry with cedar tones
Palate: biting and acidic. unbalanced. unrefined. unpleasant
Finish: can't be over too quickly.
Overall: for $8 I couldn't pass up this bottle if only for the label. It is classic. The name "mommy's time out" and the picture of a chair and wine glass facing the corner is amusing and snarky. Unfortunately, the label is the best part about this wine.

It's funny but pass it by.

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Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2000 wine review by (PB)


(NW) of this blog brought out this Barolo with a velvety gnocchi bolognese (I think).
Presence is lighter red (lighting was dim) with sweet black cherry, eucalyptus, and hickory smoke in the bouquet but "stuff" comes and goes in this tantalizing Nebiolo.

Palate--Evergreen was my first impression, tight, needing either more air or age or both. Candied cherry flavor with dry tannins and dark spices. Just a complex and tasty wine for what I gather is at the $50 price point. Raise a glass!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fattoria Viticcio Chianti Classico 2006 Wine Review (NW)



Tasting notes:


Currants, cherry, plum sauce, and vanilla

Dense core of fruit on the palate

Racy finish of smoky notes, earth, black cherry, and cocoa

Give this wine plenty of air and let it warm up a bit- you won't be disappointed! Traditional Chianti elements are present, along with rich fruit and vanilla. What really carries this wine is the dense core of flavor that unfolds on the palate.

I bought one bottle for $20 and another for $16 a week later, so keep an eye open for a good deal. Pop the cork with your favorite Italian dish and raise a glass!

Four Vines Santa Barbara County Naked Chardonnay 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:


Big tropical fruit nose

Acidic but smooth core

Lychee and lemon finish, with other tropical fruit layers tapering nicely

Let me start by saying that I'm not a fan of unoaked chardonnay. I know this runs counter to the movement of "re-discovering" Chardonnay without barrel fermentation, but I don't have a place for it in my cellar. The reason for this is twofold. First, Chardonnay interacts so well with oak that it's silly not to finish it in this way. Second, if I want a crisp, clean, unoaoked white wine I'll simply reach for a different varietal. There are plenty of white varietals that taste great after steel tank fermentation, such as Sauvignon Blanc.

With that said, this wine is decent and shows nice varietal characteristics for $11 or so. I just won't typically be buying unoaked Chardonnay (in this case "naked"). Of course, we're all entitled to our opinion- so raise a glass to that!

Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 "Limited Release" wine review by (PB)


On my last trip to L.A. I snagged this Cab from the classic 04 Napa vintage on the basis of the vintage alone.

It has a crystalline presentation with a black garnet hue and nice earthy aromas on opening but dissipate over an hour or so of breathing. Then all kinds of good stuff emerges like fresh cherry, bitter chocolate with herbs and spices; complex; extraordinary for the price of $20!

Palate--a little thinner mouth feel than I would expect but delightful ultra-fruity flavors with an impression of a sweet palate with chocolate, cedar, fruity red berries that drinks with a classy pure finish.

Finally! I snapped a prolonged streak of marginal to yucky wines. This wine won't be easy to find but if you chance upon it, snatch it up in whatever quantities you find. This will drink well for a few more years and it is a bargain at the price. Raise a glass!

LuLu B Pinot Noir 2006 wine review by (PB)


This sourced French red (Vin D'Pays) is black cherry hue with pretty rim of burgundy red. Aromas are stronger than expected for a Pinot in this price point ($10) but nice fruit smells with chocolate hints and berry cherry core. (Awkward for a Pinot...

Palate--thin texture with thin flavor; a little chewy and watery. Weird for a Pinot Noir but then what do you want for the price? Pass!