Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tua Rita Perlato del Bosco Toscana 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Big notes of dark berries, licorice, and smoke on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Dense finish of dark berries, earthy notes, and a hint of chocolate


At 75% Sangiovese and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine screams Tuscany with a real sense of place. From a legendary producer, it's dense and layered as you'd expect if a bit less explosive than some. Intermediate-term cellaring (3-5 years) will probably benefit this wine but it tastes great young as well. The retail price runs around $30, which is fair. When poured with a rich pasta dish or steak, it should really shine. Raise a glass!

La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Floral, tropical, and mineral notes on the nose

Light bodied with good acidity on the palate

Lemon and apple finish


An excellent value white wine, I'll be getting more of this for the Summer. It's crisp and clean but also has just enough depth to keep it interesting.

I'll submit that Sauvignon Blanc is the best value grape in the world, and great values abound from places like France, Italy, California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Don't miss out on the French versions, which in the case of the basic, inexpensive bottles have often begun putting the varietal on the label after many years of debating the merits of doing so.

Expect to pay $10 or less for this wine, and raise a glass!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Virtual Vineyards Malbec 1999 wine review by (PB)

Bricking hue showing its age with a bouquet that is wonderfully winsome full of mint and chocolate covered cherries with young cherry candy and cedar notes.

Palate--Totally relaxed structure, fully integrated cherry and spicy red berry goodness through out with stewed cherry fruit in the rear palate.. Finishes with mild cherry and spice fruit.

This is a one of kind wine I believe having originated from a world wide web wine sales start up in 1996. Functioning after the style of the French negociant M.O.
Virtual Vineyards from what I gather was an entrepreneurial endeavor that doesn't seem to be around anymore. I could be wrong...

A friend of ours who is leaving town brought this over tonight to share. This 14 year old Malbec has held up well and still has life in it.

It is always a treat when wine seems to defy the odds and outlives its life expectancy. No reference price is necessary as this is probably one of a kind having been given to our friend as business gift many years ago.

I love it when a wine surprises and this one was absolutely delightful! I paired it with carbonara and it was awesome!

Raise a glass Dick and Lori to a new life in a new state in a new culture! God speed!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Wine Spectator Has Some Explaining To Do! by (PB)

The Wine Spectator is far and away the leading authority on all things wine--granted. A few years ago Thomas Matthews, Senior Editor of the Wine Spectator commented on a blog post I made errantly ascribing an opinion to them in which I was mistaken. I printed an apology on this blog.

Unquestionably, as a many years long subscriber to both their magazine and on-line subscription to the tune of $100 a year for both, I was questioning when I saw a new App advertised which carried with it a monthly $2.99 subscription fee. The description of it seemed to be the same for which I was paying $50 annually with my old app so I e-mailed customer service to inquire about the new App since it seemed I could just let my on-line subscription expire and buy the new App and save a few dollars each year. I received NO response in spite of their automated e-mail saying I would hear within two working days. Weeks went by and one day I was no longer able to log into my WS iPhone app to access the on-line service I was paying for. This time I called the Wine Spectator looking for help with my older App but nothing was ever said about the new App and they simply forwarded me to three different customer service agents and finally to their (new) App designer--Zinio--yet another call to no avail.

Bottom line--NOW: In addition to the charge of $50 for their on-line service, you must also buy their new App at a charge of $2.99 a month (to access it from your smart phone) on top of the $50 annual charge. When I called the good folks at the WS to verify if this was correct, the young lady apologized and said , "Yes." I promptly ended my on-line subscription service and I am considering the same for my magazine subscription.

This is unfortunate as I am a BIG fan of the WS crew and their knowledge etc. But this smacks of gouging their customers and is being done in a less than forthright manner which I cannot endure. So perhaps Mr. Matthews will be good enough to respond to my post as I would love to get this straight for the sake of us all.

Mr. Matthews?

Korbel Russian River Valley "Natural" wine review by (PB)

This Non-Vintage sparkler from the Sonoma--Russian River Valley-- AVA (American Viticultural Area) has an ever so slight rose tint from the 15% Pinot Noir blended to the Chardonnay.

Bouquet is almond nuttiness with ever so slight suggestion of gentle stone fruit.

Palate--Lively bubbles with a delicate presentation up front and a nice floral, soft mid-palate and an almond finish.

I grabbed this to have a little toast to my wife's 60th today before we head out to a wine dinner. My normal "first choice" is Mumm's Brut Presitge but it has escalated to close to $25 a bottle. This sparkler is running less than $15 and I call it a keeper! Although a bit disconcerting the label calls this "Champagne" which of course is a misnomer. "Champagne" means it comes from Champagne, France. This on the other hand is an affordable domestic "sparkling wine" made in the Methode Champenoise; at any rate raise a glass.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yalumba Viognier Eden Valley 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pale gold with bouquet of strange but sweet fruit. Slight white melon aromas but the rest is a bit odd; not unpleasant, I just can't relate it to anything I am familiar with.

Palate--Vibrant acidity highlights the foundation of a pungent and interesting fruity presence. It is crisp but I find it awkward if only because it is unusual to me. I just don't really know quite what to do with this wine. The good folks at the Wine Spectator gave this a 91 point rating calling it spicy pear and pineapple. I'm not getting the nomenclature or the rating. But this is not to say I don't like this wine. It is just unlike anything I have had which is saying something considering I have been studying wine since the mid 70's. I don't remember what I paid for this but I know it wasn't the reference price of $19 but probably closer to $14.

So, I'll defer to the expertise of the Wine Spectator and say, raise a glass!

Wine Infographic

The Wine Cask Blog and our friends at Sparefoot present a wine Infographic for you! Thanks to JOSH WALDRUM from SpareFoot for the great looking infographic!
Wine Infographic
Produced by SpareFoot. Copyright 2013.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Blogger Laura Diaz Reviews La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2001

Today we are proud to introduce you to Laura Diaz who guest blogs the 2001 La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva with us! Welcome Laura and Raise a Glass!

Laura's Review:
One of the finest and highest rated Rioja wines with an exquisite taste The power of high quality wine has gone further than expected, especially in La Rioja, Spain.

La Rioja wine has broken through geographical and often tense political boundaries between La Rioja and the Basque Country where the wine is jointly produced. To our delight, it has given a common identity to this Spanish region as they share the success of their wine. And now, La Rioja Alta winery has produced one of the finest and highest rated wines, with a profound and complex character that cannot be missed!

La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2001 is a delectable wine produced from Tempranillo grapes (90%) from 40 year-old vines located in Briñas, Villalba and Labastida that are perfectly complemented by a 10% touch of Graciano vines from Melchorón and Rodezno Briones vineyards, all of which belong to the DOC of La Rioja. In February 2002, the wine was transferred to the self-made, 4 year-old American oak barrels being racked through the traditional barrel-to-barrel method for 4 years, every 6 months. The wine was bottled in June 2006 and has been maturing in the company's cellars for over six years. In order to preserve maximum organoleptic components, the wine was subject to a gentle filtration, which can produce few sediments with age.

Now is a perfect time to acquire this fiercely anticipated red wine from La Rioja. It is worth the effort of purchasing it simply for its exclusive quality and extraordinary taste, but it will also be a great acquisition for any wine cellar as it will continue to evolve for 5 to 6 more years, and has great drinkability until 2040.

SIGHT: Ruby red, with a slight garnet rim. Very bright, has thin and elegant tears.
SMELL: Fresh, vibrant, with fine notes of candied fruit, spicy black fruit, excellent ripeness with a hint of coffee and chocolate mint.
TASTE: Solid structure, round and sweet elegantly polished tannins. Silky, soft and durable aftertaste. ALCOHOL: 12.5% °
SERVE: Serve at 17 ° C, / 62.5 ° F, decanting recommended
PAIRING: Red meats, Añejo or other semi-soft cheeses, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota

Monday, June 17, 2013

Beringer "Knight's Valley" Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 wine review by (PB)

Nice black cherry pigmented hue with a bouquet of cedary blackberry, cigar box, and green pepper with another coating of ripe black fruit.

Palate--Cedar and spice front with integrated deep dark berry fruit and baked bread with a finish of briary dark berry fruit.

I found this on close out for under $12 at a local supermarket: sells for closer to $30. I bought the only two bottles that remained. It is a fine example of Cabernet Sauvignon with integrated flavors and solid structure that should hold this wine for another decade but peaking in another 3-5 years.

At any rate, bargains like this are always a treat so raise a glass to the hunt!

I will pair this with a grilled venison rib-eyes tonight--the pay out for a frigid butchering of this Maine deer shot in January.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Renwood--Clos Rene--Viognier (Veauta Vineyard) 2009 wine review by (PB)

Lightly golden hue with a bouquet of a tropical fruit smoothie with vanilla and a hint of banana, ripe pineapple and all kinds of luscious exotic fruit.

Palate--A razor sharp foundation supports an edgy and a bit tight beam of tropical fruit, with a nutty under layer carries through in the finish.

This single vineyard, Amador Co. varietal may be past its prime but is still drinkable.

I paid $9 for it and bought it on the basis of it being a single vineyard varietal but...a bit dubious! I'd probably pass on this wine.

Solane Santi Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore2010 wine review by (PB)

Pungent bouquet of licorice, sweet cherry, earthy spice and a touch of cedar.

Palate-- Nice flavors you would expect with a bold acidic structure, cherry, slight touch of raisin,

This is a great food wine for your favorite Italian cuisine and many other foods. $8 on sale which is a great deal so raise a glass.

Read previous posts concerning the "ripasso" process of wine making!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone White 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Aromatic melon and floral notes on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Layered finish with honeycomb and stone fruit on the finish


Here's a white wine I recommend when you want to venture into Rhone wines from France. It's primarily made from Viognier with a few other grapes blended in. Typically priced anywhere from $10-15, it's a good value wine and distinctively different than Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc for example. Raise a glass!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Merlot 2009 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry presentation with a bouquet of dark berry and plum fruit with a slightly vegetal touch. Hints of cedar and cigar box.

Palate--vibrant lively acidity with loads of solid blackberry fruit and plum. Finishes with a slightly spicy fruity ending.

Tasted this the day after I reviewed Sebastiani's Merlot from the same vintage and region. Both are quality wines and this one I grabbed for $12 which is half of its reference price.

A nice wine a good value at $12 so raise a glass!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sebastiani Merlot (Sonoma Co.) 2009 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with really nice bouquet of ripe blackberry and spruce tree with plum and cigar box notes and a touch of dark baker's chocolate.

Palate--Delicious, black berry and plum fruit bomb with integrated flavors and structure. Drinking peak this is a great example of Sebastian's wonder working power of their wines at all price points.

I paid $10 for this and I will pick up more. I paired it with spicy venison chili and it was awesome so raise a glass.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 wine review by (PB)

Rich dark berry hue with nice aromas of rustic cherry and dark berry fruit with cigar box hints or cedar caraway notes. Very nice!

Perfectly integrated with beautiful structure and zesty, evergreen laced with blackberry and cherry.

Normally price around $26 I found this on sale for half price at a state liquor store. I will be grabbing several more bottles next week as I pass through this state.

(NW) of this blog and our wives had this fine wine on a trip to Italy a few years ago. What other beverage is the carrier of memories, smells and visions of fine world class art and history like a good bottle of wine. Raise a glass to this absolutely peaked wine which should be solid for a couple more years!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Espiral Vinho Rose wine review by (PB)

Pretty pink with a touch of orange in the hue and a tantalizing, cinnamony, strawberry bouquet and candy apple to boot!

Palate--Wonderfully sparkling with summery fresh strawberry fruit juice in a beautiful package that even has a lingering presence.

This would be so stinking good on a hot summery day or even a cool autumn eve on the porch. It is tasty, balanced, lively and we shall pair it with fresh Maine Lobster in just a few minutes. Oh yeah,
and at $5 ( a Trader Joe's value) you just cannot go wrong so raise a glass!!!

Cline Zinfandel 2009 (an over the hill wine) review by (PB)

Always a well rounded Zin at the $10 price point, this one is basically over the hill. Slight bricking at the rim, with pruney aromas--classic of an over aged red--
Palate--Raisins/prunes, with hints of blackberry remnants.

I bothered to blog this when I would otherwise write it off as a wine that is gone as it might be helpful when you also get a wine that is beyond is peak.

Cline typically makes solid Zins so look for a younger one and raise a glass!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Celestin Blondeau Cuvee des Moulins Bales Sancerre 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant lemon and mineral tones on the nose

Light bodied and nicely textured on the palate

Citrus finish with a touch of dried herbs and nice length


This wine is easy to enjoy. It's flavorful and deftly balanced, with a good citrus beam that supports some other nuances that give it complexity.

Sancerre is classic Sauvignon Blanc territory in the Loire Valley of France. These wines are expressive and balanced generally making them more versatile than the zippy New Zealand style that jumps out of the glass.  Enjoy especially this Summer when the days are long and warm. Expect to pay around $20, and pair with light, fresh food. Raise a glass!  

La Fiera Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Cherry and grape notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Harsh finish with a heavy bite


There's a lot of great value Italian wine, but this isn't one of them. While only $8 it's hard to hold it to a   high standard, but the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo category is full of good choices at modest prices.

Grab something different and avoid this paint thinner in a bottle.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Comique Revolution "Cut the Fluff" 2010 wine review by (PB)

Straw hue with bouquet of light summer aromas which do appear to be honeysuckle and white melon pleasant.

Palate--big summery fruit flavors with solid acidic foundation.

Chill this wine right down and enjoy it on a hot summer day. At the sub $6 price point how can go wrong? So raise a Summer glass!