Saturday, November 30, 2013

Masciarelli Montapulciano D'Abruzzo 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pretty ruby hue with aromas of forest floor, cherry fruit and spice.

Palate--Bright, zesty cherry and red berry fruit galore with lively mouth feel due to lip smacking acidity. Finishes quickly but what a nice, easy drinking fruit-filled wine!

I have reviewed this several weeks (months?) ago and made a note to buy more. Glad I did and especially at the sub $10 price point. This would be a great pizza wine, light tomato based pasta, and a host other nice dishes. I'll be having left over turkey and side with it later on. I liked it before and I like it again so raise a glass!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant black cherry, plum, and eucalyptus notes on the nose

Full bodied with plush texture on the palate

Kirsch, stewed berries, and chocolate on the long finish


Beautifully made, this is a classic Alexander Valley Cab! It has depth and richness built around black cherry and exotic layers that unfold nicely on the long finish. While not an every day wine at $75, it's a real treat to be enjoyed with friends and family over a good meal. Thanks to generous relatives for providing this bottle for the Thanksgiving feast! It was perfect with turkey and all the trimmings. Raise a glass!

Altovinum Evodia Calatayud Old Vines Grenache 2012 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Red berries and herbal notes on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Finishes with more red berries and spice accents


Another good value Spanish wine- I paid $9 for the bottle. It shows nice red fruit with some depth and density. I expect it will be versatile with food, so just pop the cork and pour away. And raise a glass!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Four Vines Zinfandel "The Sophisticate" 2009 wine review by (PB)

Nice dark black cherry hue with aromas of big jammy blackberry, spicy dark berry with cigar box touches, and light mint or cedar notes. Nice!

Palate--Plush mouth feel, integrated structure with the big, spicy dark berry and tar or unsweetened dark chocolate that I love in my Zin! Bittersweet bakers chocolate on the finish that lingers.

This is what I expect of my Zinfandels and I have not experienced this in the past couple years outside of the folks at Rosenblum. But Four Vines (Sonoma) producers build nice zinfandels from their entry level "OVC" at the $10 price point right on up. This one is around $20+ and if you're looking for good example of this varietal, this and the Rosenblum single vineyard Zins are hard to beat.

I am pairing this with 2 other "big" wines (a younger Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and and 1998 single vineyard Napa Cab.) The whole "white wine" with poultry is a misguided suggestion. It all depends what spices you will be serving with the whole meal and Thanksgiving dinner typically needs BIG red wines. For the three of us who comprise the Wine Cask blog--(NW) (Billy) and myself, raise a glass to the One by whose grace we awake every morning to see a new day!

Ravenswood Shiraz (Vintner's Blend) 2010 wine reveiw by (PB)

Black cheery hue lighter than Shiraz should be and aromas that smell more like a "kit wine" than a maker of the caliber of Ravenswood.
Bouquet is non-descript with aromas of berries that is confused as to what it is.

Palate--Balanced, some decent berry fruit present finishing quickly.

When I want Shiraz, this is not what I expect even at this price point. Ravenswood is one of the great wine makers of California and while I understand the economics of business, this just shouldn't be under the Ravenswood name. Pass on this.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bliss Family Vineyards Zinfandel (Mendocino) 2010 wine review by (PB)

Lighter garnet hue with aromas of homemade tomato jam, and lightly spiced berry.

Palate--Soft foundation with dark berry flavors that are a bit short, but tasty, and somewhat unique for the Zins I have had which are numerous and varied. Soft lingering spiced berry finish dried raspberry nuances long after.

This is unlike any Zin I have had and I really like it. It is not assaulting to the palate although I love Zins that are. This ialso a new producer to me and I have a Cabernet Sauvignon from them which I am looking forward to trying since having this wine. I am pairing it with venison stew and at the

Friday, November 22, 2013

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 wine review by (PB)

Purple grape juice hue with a strong bouquet of fruity cinnamon with all kinds of sweet fruity goodness that is hard to pin down to a single adjective.

Palate--a taut acidic structure with quick light fruit and a fleeting finish.

For the full back ground on Beaujolais Nouveau see our numerous posts from the past. This is a wine released annually at the same time in November vinified for a total of around 6 weeks before release. It is more a festival wine celebrated world wide and made for quick and easy consumption.

The nose on this Nouveau (which means new)is better than usual while the palate is shorter than in better years but still quite a decent casual quaff. Expect to pay around $10 for Nouveau wines and remember they are not made to last in the bottle. So when you see them for sale 9 months from now, make sure you can return it where you bought it if it is shot. A reputable establishment will be happy to refund your money. Raise a glass as you shout, "Le Nouveau Est Arrive!"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Valckenberg Gewurztraminer 2012 wine review by (PB)

Pale golden with floral bouquet of tropical fruit with vanilla cream.

Palate--a touch flabby but enough to make it less than a failure. Pronounced off-dry tropical fruit with finish of gentle summer fruit.

This Pfalz German wine is disappointing lacking the structure I would expect for this grape. It would make a summer quaff chilled down before the "real" wine is served but for the price, $14, I would give it a pass. It's not a horrible wine but it is forgettable and there are better selections out there for even less money!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Serie Riberas Gran Reserva Cabernet Sayuvignon 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pigmented cranberry jelly hue with aromas of spearmint, green pepper, and dark berries and fresh berry nuances

Palate--Cinnamon, metallic, assertive tannins, and rich blackberry and plum.

This is made by the folks at Concha Y Toro who have proved themselves to be the premier vintners of Chile. I picked this up because I had never seen this particular label nor was I familiar with the Marchigue region of Chile.

This is a big wine that could use a couple more years to come around and should live for another 8-10. I paid $14 for this and am not disappointed. Concha Y Torro has done it again, or should I say, they keep on doing what they do well! Raise a glass!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with a bouquet of Daffodil, black cherry, earthy, and forest floor.

Palate--Integrated, balanced, nuanced black licorice, dark berry fruit with slightly chewy tannic finish and a hint of smoke.

2007 was a superior year for Chianti and this wine is always a good example of both the grape (Sangiovese) and terroir. A state liquor store has been running a great sale on this wine for several months and I keep grabbing a couple bottles when I am through this particular state. I found this for $14 but expect pay nearly twice that. Never-the-less, having been to Greve, Italy I am transported back to the time and place with my daughter and her husband (NW) of this blog. We raised a glass then and I'll raise one now!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sponsored Wine Review: Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2009

In The Glass: Deep dark ruby in color with youthful, translucent purple at the edges.  Pretty.
Nose: Wet leather, earth, mushroom with plum and cherry.
Palate: Tight tannins wrap a big-boned acid core though which come juicy berries and flint.
Finish: Cinnamon and cocoa hint during the long finish.
Overall: Let this wine breathe if you open it any time between now and 2018! It was incredibly tight in the beginning, betraying its relative youth.  But after 90 minutes open and breathing this Amarone relaxed a bit and the flavors, crafting and quality were incredible.  Even so, the wine is drinking young now.  Its multi-layered nose and mid-palate flavors have huge promise for aging over the next 5 years.  It is worthwhile to purchase a case (or even a half-case) and open one bottle a year just to see how this magnificent wine comes together.

Because this is a sponsored wine review, we received this wine at no charge.  However, it retails for an average of $53 with a SRP of $70.  However, some local stores may have it on special for under $30 (if so, pick up several, it's a steal!)

Here is what Masi says about their 2009 Costasera Amarone: the estate’s specialty -- to produce this unique Amarone, Masi combines ancient varieties (Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara) and winemaking methods (vinifying grapes semi-dried on racks for 3-4 months) with the latest techniques: bamboo racks in temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions induce natural drying; selective exposure to botrytis cinerea (‘noble rot’); strictly controlled fermentations through the use of Saccharomyces bayanus, a rare yeast that produces high alcohol. This deep ruby-red wine has powerful, complex aromas of dried plums and balsamic (anise, fennel, mint) traces. Quite dry (not sweet) on the palate, soft and with bright acidity, the wine shows flavors of baked cherry, chocolate and cinnamon. Structured but noble, delicate tannins precede a long finish.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

J. Lohr White Riesling (Monterey County) 2012 wine review by (PB)

Straw hue with pungent powdery tropical fruit assemblage with hints of ripe pineapple, and (sit down for this) the white centers on the candy caramels called "Cow Tails."

Palate--positively delicious, fruit filled, acid balanced,tropical delight with zesty mouth feel and a lingering fruity goodness. Wow!

I found this for $8.50 and will buy more if any remains! If you happen to stumble on this, grab it even if it is nearly twice this price. Riesling (the grape) has grown out of favor which makes no sense at all. It is usually refreshing, fruit filled and great as an aperitif or with the right kinds of food. Think harder to pair, Asian, and Indian cuisine and then raise a glass or 3!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Merlot wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with bouquet of blackberry, cigar box,slight cocoa note with a faint herbal presence.

Palate--Supple texture with silky tannins, big dark fruit berry beam with a finish of fruity cocoa.

I have a difficult time differentiating some Merlots from Cabernet Sauvignons and this is one. To me this is a typical Washington State Columbia Valley expression of the terroir with that ever present chocolate/mocha/cocoa depending on the production and varietal.

I paid $14 for this and I like it so raise a glass!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

David Bruce Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant red fruit with a touch of vanilla and spice on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

More red fruit on the finish with clove and herbs


Always an enjoyable Pinot Noir from David Bruce, this 2006 is aging gracefully and tastes great now. It runs about $40 so it's not an everyday wine, but it elevates a good meal. Pair with a variety of dishes from braised meat to roasted root vegetables.

Raise a glass!

Antinori Tignanello Toscana 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Amazing chocolate, rich berries, cherry, and some cedar on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Dense, long finish of dark berries, cedar, and savory spices


Excellent! Nearly 10 years old, this wine is still gaining depth and presence. While it's very enjoyable now, it will reward further patience in the cellar.

I got a great deal on a case of this wine a while back at $60 a bottle. Expect to pay more like $90 if you see it today. It's one of the great super-Tuscans- arguably the first super-Tuscan. Made with Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, it carries all the signature characteristics of the region and has endless layers on the finish.

Gather some friends or family, and raise a glass!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Chateau de Campuget 2012 Costieres de Nimes Rose wine review by (PB)

This is a uniquely hued rose with a light pinkish and slightly orange presence.

Bouquet--candied spice with lovely mango? and tropical fruit nose.

Palate--A lively beam of tangy tropical fruit on a foundation of sleek acid with a fruity finish.

The Costieres de Nimes (pronounced--KOTE-yair da NEEM) is a fairly obscure region of the Rhone wine made from Grenache Noir (30%) and Syrah (70%.)

This is a $12 (or less) rose that is not your everyday "blush." This has some heft and is well made. I will be pairing it with my seafood soup currently simmering. This is a lovely little getaway in a bottle so raise a glass and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Gettysburg Winery "Tears of Gettysburg" --150th Gettysburg Commerative-- wine review by (PB)

Gentle golden hue with bouquet of sweet grape reminding me of muscadine.

Palate--Big SWEET presence with a fair amount of acid to help the sweetness not be cloying, but barely. Grapey finish.

OK, where to begin? This wine is produced by Adams County Winery and is a blend of Niagara grapes. Do I review this as a wine or as a touristy, fun kind of beverage? As a "real" wine it is too sweet (of course that is a personal preference now isn't it?)although I will say it is one of the best Niagara's I have had but then that would be about three. Still, the wine does have enjoyable characteristics and I found myself not wanting to like it yet seemed to keep refilling my glass a little bit at a time.

As a souvenir, this is a marvelous memento of a vacation or trip or gift from a friend.

It has won many awards and some people will love this wine. Chill it down real good and on a hot summer day I could see it being fun with friends on the deck. And after getting raked over the coals after a review I did of a St Augustine, Fla winery, I will just say, that if you have made the trip to Gettysburg and wanted a keepsake, this would be a fine gift. So, if you are given to such things, raise a glass.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Trimbach "Gewurztraminer" 2008 wine review by (PB)

This Alsatian Varietal is golden to the eye with a bouquet of mandarin orange, ripe pineapple, kumquat, and peach all blended into a lovely fruit filled aroma.

Palate--Bursts with tropical fruit flavors galore with a nearly velvety textured foundation that together is wowing. It finishes as wondrously as it began and I have to call this nearly 6 year old Gewurz "Alsational!"

I found this at a local grocery store a few years back which was closing them out at $10. (The wine normally sells for at least twice that.) Being a chain store, I went to as many were practical and bought out what they had which varied by store and vintage. This is the last bottle of the lot and it is the best of the bunch. It is absolutely peak and stable and delicious. This is a LOT of drinking pleasure for $10 so I am raising a glass pairing it with a German sausage sampler and spaetzle we found in an unlikely out of the way place in rural Maine. If you chance upon this wine in this vintage in the next 6 months or so, buy it for whatever they are asking; it's a stellar example of the grape (pronounced Ga-VURTZ-tra-meen-er) and the terroir! Raise a glass for sure!!!

Sponsored Wine Review: Masi Campofiorin 2009 by Billy

From time to time, The Wine Cask Blog receives wine for review.  We always label these as "sponsored wine reviews".  This is one such review

Nose: Earthiness and even some leather spice scents predominate the nose of blueberry and cherry blossom.  There are floral notes that play nicely with the earthy notes.
Palate: Juicy mouth feel with light tannins and light acids but a subtle structure that ties it all together.
Finish: Brief finish that is un-presuming.
Overall: This is a very easy drinking Italian red wine.  It's straight-forward character is easy on the mouth and pairs well with almost anything.  It is light bodied enough to go with lighter fare but with a fun and engaging nose that gives elegance to anything it accompanies.

Because this is sponsored, we did not pay for the wine.  However, it retails for anywhere from $12-$18.  It is a good deal at the lower price points and a great, open it up whenever, red.

Here is what Masi says about the 2009 Campofiorin:
The original “Supervenetian”,  is a specialty wine made from  local Veronese grapes Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, vinified and then re-fermented with a small percentage of semi-dried grapes of the same varieties.  This versatile wine shows generous, ripe aromas of plum and cherry jam, with hints of spice. Bold and rich flavors of bitter cherries and berry fruits stand out, with good acidity, balance and velvety tannins.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Convento Las Claras Ribera del Duero 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Dark berries, licorice, and spice on the nose

Full bodied on the finish

Juicy, dense finish of espresso and dark berries with moderately firm tannins


Here's a modern, flavorful style of Tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero region in Spain. It really packs a punch of flavor on a moderately tannic core.

I grabbed several bottles at $15, marked down from $18. At this price, it's easy to recommend to big red wine drinkers. Raise a glass!

Antinori Bramito del Cervo Castello dell Sala Umbria Chardonnay 2012 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Tropical bouquet with lemon accents on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Rich but bright with some buttery and toasty notes with apple and lemon


This wine strikes a good balance between richness and acidity. It's packed with flavor and shows nice accents to round out the tropical fruit and toasty notes that you might expect with Chardonnay. Produced by Antinori from grapes sourced in Umbria, Italy, it's a delightful wine. Look for it at the $20 mark. Open and enjoy- maybe as I did with a whole Branzino. Raise a glass!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Caves Saint-Pierre "Gigondas" 2011 wine review by (PB)

Dark cherry hue with aromas of sweet red berry and sour pie cherry further in the glass. There is a nearly perfumey note in this nice bouquet with a suggestion of leather.

Palate is surprisingly supple structure with a candy like sweet presence of red berry and maybe some light cherry. There is an interesting but elusive creamy "something" near the rear and finishes nicely with a lasting pleasantness.

Gigondas is just Northeast of Chateauneuf in the Rhone and Gigondas makes Grenache based wines with a blend of other Rhone varieties (but are predominantly Grenache.) This was surprisingly elegant for how young it is. It is brimming with finesse and beautiful berry taste and while I paid $15 for it and is a very nice bottle so raise a glass!