Monday, April 30, 2012

Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells 2009 Merlot wine review by Billy

Nose: blackberry jam and plums
Palate: medium tannins and soft acids give this just enough backbone to stand up.  Mild.
Finish: long finish of plums and fruit.  Nice length for this value wine.
Overall: I paid about $9 for this wine on sale. Pair with mild sauces and cheeses. Good value Merlot from this Washington State winery.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Castalia Russian River Valley Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant cherry and accents of smoked bacon on the nose

Medium bodied and silky on the palate

Smooth finish of cranberry sauce, cherry, and spice


Smooth, flavorful, and borderline exotic!  I stumbled onto this wine and was hoping I found a treasure overlooked in the back of the wine shop.  Sure enough, this wine delivered and I was impressed with how it tasted at 9 years of age. It runs about $40 and is a beautiful expression of a Russian River Valley Pinot from the famed Rochioli Vineyard.  It's versatile with food and will compliment a nice meal.  Raise a glass!

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant lemons, apples, and floral notes on the nose

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Rich finish of floral notes, honey, and apricot


This is a nice wine with lots of character.  It's richly textured and has interesting layers from start to finish.  I recommend that you enjoy this with fish, chicken, or vegetable dishes and start off with it well chilled.  As you allow it to come up in temperature in your glass, notice the aromas and texture evolving. 

Yalumba has produced excellent Viognier for years in Australia.  Expect to pay around $17 for this one.  Raise a glass!

Waterbrook Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fresh red currant on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Dry finish of plum, violet, and herbs


I was a bit disappointed in this wine after reading a good review.  It's fresh, dry, and simple- not worthy of particular praise. I call it a very straightforward $13 Columbia Valley Cab from Washington state.  Take a pass. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sterling Merlot "Three Palms" 2006 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with slight touch of age. Bouquet--Big black cherry fruit with sage or cedar, sweet candy and red fruit from a distance. Palate--Still a young presentation with ample fruit, tight sweet black cherry and maybe notes of tar. This was a "good" Merlot but; I paid $26 for this bottle reduced from $50. It was "OK" for $26. At $50 I would have felt ripped off. Sometimes its a good idea to do some research before you lay out more than $20. Sterling was one of the marquis producers a couple decades ago. Not so much anymore so be careful.

Four Vines Zinfandel "OVC" 2009 wine review by (PB)

The color of this wine is unexpectedly light for a Zin which would lead one to think there isn't much to this wine. Surprisingly this wine is a really good value Zin. Palate--Spicy, glorious brambly berry aromas with deep Zin flavors that betray its light color. Solidly varietal and tasty so raise a glass at the $10 price point.

Epicuro Nero D'Avola 2009 wine reviewby (PB)

Bright red hue with sweet oriental 5 spice aromas and cherry fruit. Palate--"Sweet" foundation, fruity with nice structure and good varietal flavors. This a Trader Joe's value wine at $6. It is a big bargain as this is such an easy quaffing fruity red. Great with everything from Italian pasta offerings to pizza or just slightly chilled on the porch on a summer day. I have reviewed this wine over the past year. So check my previous reviews and you will read about a wine that is maturing. At this price raise a glass!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cloudy Bay Marlboro Sauvignon Blanc 2011 wine review by Billy

Nose: Honey, apricot and pear nose.  Wonderful.
Palate: Crisp mouth feel with nice lemon-lime citrus flavors.  Great feel in the mouth.
Finish: The wine finishes with lasting citrussy floral notes.  Leaves feeling fresh and clean.
Overall: I paid about $20 for this bottle at a local store.  It delivers outstanding Sauvignon Blanc quality at this price.  I love the roundness of the nose and how it is crisp without being biting.  This white wine from Marlboro in New Zealand has the structure to stand up to cream and butter-based dishes and cut through and cleanse fatty foods from the palate.  The Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is from 2011.  While it is young, it is exquisite.  Please buy two bottles and treat yourself to one before and one during dinner.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BV Coastal Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Wine Review by Billy

Nose: crisp grapefruit, dandilion and cut grass
Palate: smooth and even spreading over the whole palate.  Nice smoothness retaining the crispness of the nose from firm acid structure without the bite of under ripeness.
Finish: Short grassy and citrussy finish.
Overall: a nice porch-drinking wine for about $10.  Its smoothness is quite nice for something at this price.  It is easy drinking.  Pair with light appetizers or drink alone while enjoying the summer.

Chateau Machorre Grand Vin De Bordeaux 2005 wine review by (PB)

Solid black cherry hue with a depth of color and a bouquet of subdued fruit with cedary notes and a cherry foundation.

Palate--still a bit chunky with a rustic presentation but pretty decent drinking for the sale price of $9 (from $15). Finishes with rough tannins and a slight note of fruit.

Should hold for a couple more years and might even improve a bit but either way it is worth raising a glass!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Ridge California Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy, jammy nose of wild berries

Full bodied and smooth on the palate

Rich, smooth finish of strawberry, cherry, and chocolate


It's hard to argue with a well made Zinfandel. Ridge pulls off the balance and finesse that this grape can deliver along with jammy fruit and high alcohol. The Pagani Ranch bottling goes for about $35 and is a nice expression of ageworthy Zinfandel. The label will tell you that small amounts of Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, and Carignane are blended in with the Zinfandel. Enjoy this with rich food and raise a glass!

La Velona Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Beautiful cherry liquor and woody notes on the nose

Full bodied and dense on the palate

Long, layered finish of cherry, spice, and coffee


This Brunello riserva has all the right stuff. It's densely packed with a lot of layers and should have many good years to come. If you drink it now, decant it and give it as much air as possible. For $50, this is a treat to be savored with good food and great people. Thanks to PB for a special bottle. Raise a glass!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Robert Foley "The Griffin" 2009 wine review by (PB)

Complex with awesome bouquet of complexity with gobs of berries and very prominent chocolate cream bon-bons along with a later appearance of dill or cedar on the end of the bouquet.

Palate-- Tannic and acidic due to its youthfulness but wonderfully promising giving a heads up as to what the future holds. Unfortunately this was a bit of a waste since it was so immature and yet the *experience was well worth it!

I paid about $40 for this and will try and find another to lay down for a few years. Raise a glass.

Robert Foley is a renowned wine maker and found himself with a wonderful blend of top grapes at a time when the economy was raging downward. So he blended them into this "second label" red at a more affordable price.

*Opened this bottle with some dear friends on the "19th hole" at a CC in S. Carolina after a punishing round of golf. The wine was great, the experience better, the friends priceless and the wonder of win is that if I ever do find this bottle in my neck of the woods, it will be impossible to drink it and not think of the boys, of Charlotte! Raise a glass my friends!!!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Topel Mendocino Cuvee Donnis Syrah Noir 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose of berry cobbler

Full bodied on the palate

Finishes with rich, smooth layers of chocolate, vanilla, cherry, and spice cake


This wine is beautifully done. It has a rich profile and lots of ripe flavors. Made from an interesting clone of Syrah planted on the hillsides above Mendocino, CA, it's going to be at its best for another couple years.

Expect to pay around $18 and enjoy with rich food or on its own. Raise a glass!