Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Michele Chiarolo Barbera D'Asti 2010 Superiore Le Orme wine review by (PB)

Bright cherry hue with earthy bouquet of sweet cherry and port like nuances with slight raisin. Nice.

Palate--Supple foundation with zesty mouth feel with nice fruity cherry presence and a funky kind of forest floor favor that is often a good quality trait of certain Italian wines.

I paid $13 for this Barbera and its what you would expect at that price point; a sound wine that will pair well with some pretty hefty foods or is tasty all by itself so raise a glass.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Holman Ranch Pinot Noir Rose 2011 (Carmel Valley) sponsored wine review by (PB)

Watermelon juice hued rose with a big bouquet of sweet candy like cherry and strawberry and cream with a tinge of apple; very nice!

Palate--highly structured foundation with great acidity, strawberry juice galore with cherry notes.

Roses used to be the red-headed step child of the wine world but no more. More and more roses are being made as credible wines and this is one potent rose.

This will stand up to some substantial dishes not normally associated with a rose pairing.

But such a creation will cost you at $22 but ya know, why not start out with a nice rose as a benchmark and work from there. Chill this down for an awesome summer quencher and raise a glass.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Solane Santi Valpolicella Ripasso (Classico Superiore) 2010 wine review by (PB)

Cherry red hue with classic bouquet comprised of touches of dried cherries, evergreen spice, and a slight asparagus hint.

Palate--Salty impression with edgy acid structure, burnt wood, subdued red fruit with cinnamon red hots (candy) finishing with smokey oak.

Ripasso is a method of wine making using the previously vinified grapes from which Amarone is made. Ripasso's normally run in the mid teens and above so this one at the $8 price point was a nice find. See my other reviews of this wine from different vintages and raise a glass.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rocca Del Olmo Barbera D'Asti 2010 wine review by (PB)

Medium garnet hue with good aromas of fresh red summer berries and cherry accompaniment.

Palate--Pleasant structure,with amazingly forthright cherry berry flavors that are much better than the price point of this wine would suggest. Barbera like Montepulciano are easy drinking, fruit forward wines that are just pleasant by themselves or make a good accompaniment to all kinds of food.

Barbera is widely planted and is the go-to wine of many Italians who live in the Piedmont region, home to the famed Nebbiolo grape. This one cost me a pittance and if I remember correctly somewhere in the $6 range. I read some "reviews" of this wine where it was panned; not sure what they were drinking but THIS wine is a summer stock up wine for the patio and porch and pizza so raise a glass!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Holman Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Carmel Valley) [Sponsored wine review] by (PB)

Pale green with aromas of solid Sauvignon grassiness with touches of Granny Smith apples and nice notes of vanilla.

Palate--Tart first impression with razor sharp acidity. Subdued melon, grapefruit and very tart green apple finishing with a hint of vanilla a touch of bitters and more light apple.

This is a typical Sauvignon Blanc that will cleanse your pallet of any sort of pallet clinging fat, butter or grease produced from grapes from the Carmel Valley.

I love really acidic whites but even for my preference this one is a bit over blown eclipsing the essence of the fruit that is there.

At the $20 price point this is inflated from the more balanced and finessed S. Blancs for the half the price.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Lightly fragrant pomegranate and pepper on the nose

Light bodied and delicate on the palate

Finishes with raspberries and dried herbs


This is a very delicate Pinot Noir, with one of the lightest colors I've every seen. While delicate, there's certainly some character and a good backbone. Enjoy early in the evening with appetizers, and you'll be amazed how quickly the bottle disappears. For $22, this is a good bet in the Oregon Pinot category and it's widely distributed. Raise a glass!

Marques Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 wine review by (PB)

Nice black cherry hue with a bouquet of black cherry and loads of pungent cedar.

Palate--Front of steely,bready flavors with mid palate of bold black cherry and a touch of cola. Finishes with a slight linger of dark fruit and a hint of smoke.

Years ago I stumbled onto this Chilean wine and was wowed by it. I was paying around $12 for it and it was always great. Now it runs around $18-$20 and is still a solid example of Cabernet Sauvignon. For years I followed Concha Y Toro as they were one of those reliable producers who just did it right!

This is classic Chilean Cabernet and is still a fairly decent value so raise a glass!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sun Garden Riesling 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pale straw with gentle aromas of sweet mixed tropical fruit.

Palate--Lacking the kind of bold acid foundation I like in my white wines, it has enough to carry off the sweet, off dry loveliness of the Riesling grape. Nice simple flavors of stone fruits and tropical fruit compote with a quick finish.

This wine in the blue bottle is a German creation from the Nahe. Makes a good summer aperitif chilled down though I will be serving it with baked cod with a Dijon/jalapeno/honey glaze with toasted buttered panko crust.

Found at the $10 price point, raise a glass!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Tractor Guy Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) 2009 wine review by (PB)

Cherry colored hue with aromas of strong strawberry and candied cherries with touches of smoke, cocoa and spice.

Palate--Full flavored big Pinot Noir with robust structure and wild cherry/strawberry fruit with a finish of light smoke and oak.

I paid $14 for this Pinot marked down from $22. It is one of those wines bottled under another label other than the real producer. It's a lot for wine for $14 and a raise another glass kind of wine!

Monday, April 08, 2013

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 wine review by (PB)

This Washington State, Columbia Valley Cab has a medium black cherry hue with a bouquet of classic chocolate fronted black berry and cherry fruit with nice cedar notes.

Palate--Big cocoa front with tasty dark berry and bread flavors mid palate. This is a solid Washington state Cab that reminds me a lot of Columbia Crest's Le Chevaux Cabernet.

It's hard to beat Washington state cab at the price point these usually sell at ($12). Delicious! Raise a glass and buy more!

Clancy's Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot 2009 wine review by (PB)

Hefty cherry/garnet hue with aromas of vegetal Cabernet, spice, blackberry and notes of mint.

Palate--bold presence with zippy dark fruit, forest floor with more coarse berries with a gentle finish.

Peter Lehmann knows how to do Shiraz and produces some great ones year after year. I'm not a huge fan of this particular blend (roughly 1/3 of each grape)preferring straight varietals of each grape but that's just me.

This wine sells around the $14 price point and is decent enough for the price. I'll be serving it with some grilled venison steaks and should be a solid pairing. Raise a glass!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Protos "Tinto Fino" 2009 wine reivew by (PB)

Garnet hue with enticing aromas of bright berries, undertones of light cigar box with a purity that one expects of a much more expensive wine.

Palate--Perfectly ripe tannins with bold, fruity berries with spicy nuances that defy the price point of this remarkable Tempranillo (aka Tinto fino)!

This lovely super value wine is from the Ribera Del Deuro and cost me--sit down--$8! It's name PROTOS means "First"! In this case, its no exaggeration!

If you see this wine at twice the price, buy it. It's delicious and drinking gloriously. At this price I WILL be picking up more--if its still around. Raise a glass!

Soter Vineyards Willamette Valley North Valley Pinot Noir 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant raspberries with mineral tones on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Red berry layers with cherry and some herbal notes on the finish


Soter delivers a nice, balanced Pinot Noir here. 2009 was a challenging vintage for some producers in Oregon, but this wine show the grace and class that the region has become known for.

Expect to pay $30 for this bottle, which is a fair market price rather than a bargain wine. Pair with lighter dishes and give the wine plenty of air. Raise a glass!

Benziger Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Chocolate and mixed berries on the nose with a herbal undertone

Full bodied on the palate

Plush finish with dark berries and licorice


I've been impressed with the relative value in Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County lately. This basic level wine from Benziger is really quite nice, especially for $18 or so. It's rich but not sappy and has well integrated layer. I'm stocking up. So raise a glass!

The Diving Rod Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley) 2010 wine review by (PB)

Nice garnet to black cherry hue with characteristic varietal aromas of slightly vegetal, big cedary fruit.

Palate--robust tannic structure with a touch of mocha and subdued dark fruit. Finishes quickly with a touch of cedar.

This is Marc Mondavi's creation--YES those Mondavi's--nephew of Robert (I think) and son of Peter Sr. The wine lists for $20 but I grabbed it for $13.

I would call it a $13 Cab but have had many better cabs at the $10 price point. For what its worth!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Cristom Willamette Valley Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Smoky red berries intertwined with floral notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Long finish of cherry, red berries, and herbs


This wine is always a favorite Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. It has an amazing, smoky fruit bouquet that sets it apart from other wines. Because of that, a number of interesting food pairings are waiting to be discovered. Expect to pay around $30 for this bottle, and make sure to share it with some friends. Raise a glass!