Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Columbia Crest H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) Chardonnay 2009 wine review by (PB)

Vanilla twinged tropical fruit in a gentle gold presentation.

Palate--This 4 year old Chardonnay is perfectly peaked right now! This is a creamy, butter textured wine with integrated flavors of mandarin orange,baked honey, and a slightly bitter finish that keeps delivering ripe tropical fruit and green apple on the very end.

Many Chardonnays tend to fade quickly after 3 years but this one is luscious, with a seductive mouth feel and if you see one laying around soon, grab it, it will be a bargain. At $12 you won't find a better Chard out there so raise a glass!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Chardonnay 2010--Sponsered wine review by (PB)

Nice golden hued Chard with an awesome bouquet sporting loads of honeysuckle on the rim and orange blossom mixed in. Creme Brulee, ripe pineapple and tropical fruit compote. Very nice!

Palate-Racy acidity with mouth filling flavors of honey, ripe citrus, tropical fruit salad, and a finish that hangs on with Chardonnay goodness.

This wine is the last of the wines I was sent from the good folks at Holman Ranch and somehow I unwittingly saved their best for last. This is their $28 offering and since I commented on their previous wines that I thought they were a bit overpriced, this Chardonnay is under priced--if anything--for what you get.

It is crisp, and will pair well with food which I shall do in a few minutes coupling it with steamed little neck Clams and sauteed bay scallops. But it is also the kind of wine that would be great with a chill on it (not too much) and enjoyed on the porch enjoying a nice summer day so raise a glass or a case of this value Chardonnay from Carmel Valley!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brunello Di Montalcino La Lecciaia 2004 wine review by (PB)

Slight bricking at the rim;
Bouquet of subdued earthy sweet cherry underneath baked cherry pie with cedary presence.

Palate--Overwhelming initial blast of huge cedar and spruce--like biting into an evergreen branch; with air, it mellows yielding cedar, earthy cherry with robust foundation and pleasantly ripe tannins. Finishes pleasantly and lingering suggestion of tangy black cherry.

I loved this wine! Classy and bold, full of mouth filing textures and flavor. I have an 03 waiting in the wings and I can't wait! I paid about $40 which is a nice price for such a wine. Raise a glass.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ponzi Willamette Pinot Noir 2010 sponsored wine review by (PB)

The Pinot masters at Ponzi sent this wine to us to put up our thoughts so here goes: classic light watermelon hue with aromas of bright cinnamony cherry brimming with sweet spice notes.

Palate--vibrant, zippy cherry juice with cranberry back bitters and spicy red fruit with a cherry smoke finish.

Ponzi defined Oregon Pinot and if I'm not mistaken was the Wine Spectator's #1 wine of the year in the not too distant past. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong...)

This is NO scheme, but the real deal; a good Pinot will run you $35 which is not cheap but if you compare this to Burgundy it's practically a steal so raise a glass!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2007 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Rufina Wine Review by Billy

Nose: Rich and delightful Blueberry, Cherry, Leather and Spice
Palate: Playful!  This Chianti Rufina has full body with and acid-tannin balance that dances in your mouth.  It is as easy going as it it light on its feet.  But this is not some amateur.  It plays all around your mouth with the practiced ease of Gene Kelly and Danny Kay on stage.
Finish: Plum fruit on the finish with herbal hints of rosemary and oregano.  Italian to the core!
Overall: This is an amazing bottle of 2007 Chianti from the Nipozzano vineyards of Frescobaldi.  I paid about $25 for this at the local store.  It is an expertly crafted and immensely enjoyable Italian wine that shows class, elegance while remaining accessible and inviting!  Magnificent!

Raise a Glass!

Domaine Gouron Chinon 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant raspberry on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Plum and flint notes on the finish


Chinon is a town and surrounding wine appellation in France that produces terrific Cabernet Franc. This wine from Domaine Gouron shows the textbook red fruit and flinty characteristics that represent this region. It's a good buy for around $18 or so.

The wines of Chinon are remarkably balanced and elegant, so don't overlook them. Raise a glass!

Eberle Vineyard Selection Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant black cherry and currants on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Mixed berry notes and spice on the finish with a cedar hint


This wine is nicely balanced with fragrant fruit and spice. It's easy drinking and should pair well with a variety of dishes. For $20, raise a glass!

Columbia Crest "H3" Horse Heaven Hills "Les Chaveaux" 2010 wine review by (PB)

Nice black cherry to garnet hue with a bouquet full of ripe blackberry with a charcoal edge, light chocolate covered cherries and dark fudge.

Palate--Bold structure with ripe dark fruit, charred oak, more fruit and a finish of smokey oakey and ripe plum which hangs on a good bit.

This wine has a lot going on from beginning to end. It is a blend of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA grapes with 80% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Syrah. The Syrah really comes out even though it is the minority grape. As usual Columbia Crest makes pleasing wines at various price points and this is no exception. At $12 you get a lot and if you like the fruit forward, "fruit bomb" sorts of creations, you'll love this. Raise a glass to another CC creation!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cline Zinfandel 2011 wine review by (PB)

Nice rich black cherry hue with good Zin nose of solid black berry and wild forest floor or brambly goodness with a touch of cocoa.

Rigid foundation with good acidity, rather intense borderline jammy black berry that is really good for a wine at this price point.

Cline makes this front line Zin as their table Zin and is my go to Zin over the years as it is almost always reliable. I have reviewed numerous vintages of this wine so check out the blog if interested.

I paid under %8 for this at Sam';s Club and its a decent Zin and a value wt this price point so raise a glass!

Erath Oregon Pinot Noir 2010 wine review by (PB)

This Oregon Pinot is a very light colored cherry hue with light sweet chery and strawberry bouquet. Slight rose petal and spice notes make this endearing.

Palate--If I didn't know better (screw cap closure) I would say this wine is a touch corked. It is uncharacteristically austere with tight red beerry flavor with shallow strawberry hints. There seems to be a tea suggestion in the finish as well as a smokey ending.

This is not what I was expecting; the aromas was quite nice but the palate just seems muted and out of whack. This runs around $18 though I think I paid $14 which is disappointing. Erath does better than this; if this wine is not "off"raise a glass of a something else.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford-- Napa Valley 2010 wine review by (PB)

Straw hue with distinct bouquet of grass and wet hay with guava paste.

Palate--Rigid acidity with forthright flavors of lemon and guava. Finishes bitter with some grass on the end.

I expected a lot more out of this but wound up with more frog than leap. For $15 or higher--take a pass and go whip up some frog legs!

Zenato Pinot Grigio 2011 wine review by (PB)

Apple and pear with citrus and slight melony notes in the bouquet.

Palate--Wild acidity with substantial apple and lemon flavors; note-- the acidity i this wine may leave your tongue bleeding. (I love acidic whites but holy cow...)Short and fleeting finish.

I have been focusing on Pinot Grigio this year following the lead of (NW's)wisdom in focusing on a particular grape each year. I wasn't eager to do so because my limited experience with the grape is generally lack luster and blah. This Italian from Delle Venezie is a good example of what I mean.

I paid $13 on sale from $15 and I paid about $8 too much. I thus far found only one Pinot Grigio (Murphy Goode)worth a second look and found it for $8 on sale.

In fairness, it should be noted that I focus on the lower end price point seeing that is what most people drink so don't write of the grape--yet.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Beaulieu Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Inviting nose of dark berries and black licorice

Full bodied on the palate

Raspberry, gamy notes, and spice on the finish


One of the ways to summarize this wine is to say that it's very Cabernet-like. It has the dark fruit and black licorice profie of many good wines that accurately express the varietal.

Beaulieu Vineyards makes many Cabernets, and this one is the basic Napa Valley bottling that runs $20 or so. I found it for $15 and grabbed a couple bottles because it's an easy go-to wine for the Cabernet crowd. Pair with a good meat dish, and raise a glass!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Co) 2010 wine review by (PB)

Fairly intense black cherry hue with aromas of bold black berry, cassis, and sweet dark berry jam.

Palate--biting tannins with solid black berry fruit in big supply with a hint of blackberry jam and a touch of smoke on the ending.

This wine is just too young to be drinking right now. Shows promise for a few years down the road but this is not their best!

I snagged 3 bottles for $12 which is below the normal price point of around $18 or so. At $18 I would have been disappointed; at $12, Lay it down and then raise a glass!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Cougar Crest Viognier 2009 wine review by (PB)

Ever so light straw with tantalizing bouquet of sweet fruit loaded with green melon, green apples sunny fruit melange!

Palate--Gloriously bracing acidity that is razor sharp with nice creamy texture and a veritable fruit salad in your mouth. It finishes quite long with a touch of vanilla cream.

This Walla Walla Valley (Washington State)creation from the grape of the Rhone Valley in France would be lovely with a butter soaked Maine lobster but it is a really nice summer aperitif as well all by itself. I pad $13 for this wine normally priced at $20 so I wish I had bought more! Raise a glass.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel Resalte Ribera del Duero Crianza 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Rich wild berries and licorice on an expressive bouquet

Full bodied and dense on the palate

Long, layered finish of dark fruit, licorice, espresso, and a balsamic woody note


This is an excellent wine from the Ribera del Duero region in Spain. It's dense and flavorful with a long, layered finish. Made from 100% Tempranillo, it showcases the modern style from Ribera del Duero.

Don't overlook this region of the world when selecting big, structured red wines. Spanish wine lovers need no reminder of this, but it helps to understand that the range of styles produced from Tempranillo may be more broad than any other grape in the world. Ribera del Duero is a region where some of the powerful and dense versions are made. Expect to pay around $35 for this on retail shelves. Raise a glass!

Hogue Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Berries, currants, and a plastic note on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Simple finish with dark fruit and roasted notes


This wine, at $9, is priced right but it carries and odd plastic note. It has been better in the past, and many other Hogue wines are really nicely done. Take a pass on the Cab for 2011!