Saturday, April 30, 2005

Lindeman’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (PB)

I bought this wine because it was on sale for $6 from $12 and Lindeman’s has a great reputation. I was not expecting much as with most wines I have purchased on sale at a 50% reduction, there was good reason why they were on sale at such a steep discount. I was pleasantly surprised to pour this rich deep purple wine with a bouquet of big fat berries with twinge of eucalyptus. In the mouth there are big New World flavors that assault your palate with spice, oak and nice sophisticated tannins. This is a well structured wine that opens a but with some air but is nice right at the pour. This is yet another example of New World style wines. It is big on flavor, though straight forward with a simplicity of just good fruit.

Additionally, on my way into the living room to serve the wine the bottle bumped a chair and spurted out some wine on the floor. My Schnauzer approached with the caution of a seasoned enophile, sniffed, (without opposable thumbs and no glass, he wasn’t about to swirl) but he did proceed to clean up all the spill. He seemed quite pleased with it all in all. So together we will raise a glass–I’ll raise his for him...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2004 Regional Collection (PB)

Not long ago I reviewed the same wine of the 2003 vintage and loved it. This vintage is better yet! With a bouquet of rich fruit of melon and a touch of citrus and hint of vanilla. It is plush in the mouth with nice balance and tastes of New Zealand freshness. It finishes with a lemony hint that lingers. This varietal is classic of the grape with a wild grassiness that is very satisfying. Nice and at less than $10, it’s a recommendation! Raise a glass of this to be sure.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Barone Cornacchia 2002 (PB)

This brilliant purple pour I purchased simply because it was a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. I knew nothing about this wine. I purposely breathed this wine for two hours before I reviewed it; something I generally do not do but knowing the origins of the wine, breathing was a must.

The bouquet is full of nice aromas with bacon being the most prominent. In the mouth this wine is large with a rich tannic foundation. It is tart with good acid and rather tends to kick butt generally speaking. Bought blind, this wine a good purchase! Paired with Venison steaks with blue cheese sauce and sauteed fennel, it was a smashing success. At $12, this is a good, old world wine, with character and staying power. The finish is pleasant.

Las Rocas Garnacha 2002 (PB)

Opening this Spanish Red it smells like freshly baked buns right out of the oven. There’s an earthy, musty hint in the nose with steely notes. Pepper is the first shot in the mouth with tight tannins. There is cedar underneath but this wine needs to be breathed.

With a half an hour of air time it opens to shed cherries and currants with a light fruitiness that begs to be quaffed more than savored. The structure of this wine is really well done though the finish is a tad short, it is nice.

I am told Robert Parker gave this wine a 91...that’s a bit overblown in my humble estimation. At $11 it is a good value but I would put it somewhere closer to 86. So who are going to believe? Mr. Nobody at or Mr. Wine himself??? The importance in wine tasting isn’t who is “right” as much as who better reflects your taste preferences? As an end note, this wine could use a couple hours of breathing before you enjoy it. Now go raise a glass.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Review: Carmen Reserve 2001

Carmen Reserve 2001 (chile) $14.99
Blend of Carmenere (60%) varietal
and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%)

Wine maker comments indicate that the wine is aged for 10 months in French and American oak barriques and then another 6 months of bottle aging prior to release.

On the pour: dark dusky red
Nose: large, thick and complex. Dark cherries and tobacco alongside a background of oaky smoothiness.

On the palate: a fine full flavor and excellently balanced. The fruit is soft - definitely an old world style wine – and well couched in a fine maturity. There is a roundness with a hint of spice and olive though not nearly like some of the other “olivey” wines.

The finish is smooth and quintessentially old world exiting from the mouth with a flourish that begs for an encore.

After letting this red breathe, it obtains a silky smoothiness and a bit more fruit. This is definitely going on the recommendation list, though I believe you can probably find if for two or three dollars less than the $15 or so I paid for it.

Vignamaggio Chianti Classico 2000 (PB)

This Sangiovese based wine from the Greve region of Italy holds a special place in my enophilic ponderings. Remember, wine is not just a beverage; it is an experience, a memory, a celebration of life. Villa Vignamaggio is the celebrated birthplace of Mona Lisa and is now a working vineyard/sleepover in the heart of Tuscany. Its manicured gardens and olive groves punctuate the spectacular Tuscan vista and some 525 years after the birth of Ms. Lisa, NW and our spouses had the luxurious privilege of staying at this lovely site. For pics go to--

The wine has been aged for a minimum of two years before release—hence the “Classico” designation and is light ruby on the pour. Yeast immediately gives way to a very gentle fruitiness, simple and straightforward. In the mouth the flavors are subdued but definite and the structure of this wine is well done. With a few minutes of breathing, everything meshes into one fresh quaff with a very nice tannin foundation. The finish is somewhat compact but again, definite and delightful. ($20)

This is a great example of the difference between the old world and new world styles of wine making. You have to work at discerning the flavors in these old world wines whereas your palate is assaulted with the new world wines, which, reminiscent of one of NW’s past comments, all start to taste the same. I am beginning to agree.

But for the moment, my wife and I shall raise a glass in front of our framed photograph of the lovely Villa Vignamaggio with its pink hue and toast the spectacular time and memories we have of one extraordinary excursion. Some expression of Latin seems fitting here but since I am clueless I must settle for Pig Latin-- “Ahh, Ife-lay is-way ood-gay”

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hahn Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (PB)

This previously reviewed wine is fruity and a tad mentholated and brimming with berries right out of the gate. In the mouth it is brimming with fruit which is very ripe and brilliantly intense. It is the wonderful balance of the tannins that are plush and the flavors which are pronounced that makes this border on distinguished. With a little breathing licorice and raisins are strong in a fruit forward new world style. This is an awesome wine for $10 and I think this was a previous Wall Street Journal pick. No wonder. It is great with steak and my wife didn’t seem to mind it with salmon—not your normal paring but then if the pairing is off, it’s the food that was wrong not the wine! Consistent notes from last review. Now raise a glass!

Fetzer Gewurztraminer 2004 Valley Oaks (PB)

Today is a holiday for we New Englanders call Patriot’s Day. The sky is blue, the sun is warm (68°), I played golf today, had a great round shooting 6 pars and a birdie in my second round of the season. So the point of all that is, that with the mood I am in, I could drink a glass of chilled paint thinner and it would probably get a favorable review!

But objectivity prevails—sort of. I am partial to Gewurz anyway and Fetzer is always a reliable and very inexpensive ($7) treat. I even put my new desert wine glasses in the freezer to chill them and get a nice frost on the outside when the wine is poured. I’m on our porch with my girl friend of 34 years who happens to be my wife of 32 years (almost) and this wine is just exuding peaches and apricots in the bouquet with a fruity sweetness that thrills my palate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Gewurztraminer tastes like Summer! The finish is lingering peach juice. In a minute I’ll be grilling Salmon and rib eye steaks for me and my girl; to sum it all up; I AM BLESSED! I shall raise another glass of something else for dinner. Read on and raise a glass!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (PB)

This Paso Robles winery has produced a minty, bouquet’d varietal with a fruit forward nose typical of the new world style of wine making. From the gate, this wine is a show off. It has sophisticated tannins and a good mouth fell with big cabernet flavors that are down right elegant. The finish is vegetal but not nearly like so many carbon copy cabs you taste today. There is something else in the finish that is really nice but I can’t pin it down; I only know I like it—a lot! With some air, the wine has changed little; the flavors are well balanced, intense and plush with hints of mocha and lots of berries. Many cabs are good food wines but not all that great on their own. This wine was half gone before I had dinner served. This is a first rate wine that I would score a 90! At $13, this is recommended—highly!!! Now get an education in good wine and raise glass of this excellent work from the Liberty School!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

This is one movie that went down “Sideways" (PB)

Every where I turn recently there’s another essay or advertisement for the movie “Sideways.” Two guys tour California wine country as a last gasp of fresh air before one of them enters that dreaded state of marriage just one week away. While there are a couple of nice wine scenes, the conversation is banal, the vocabulary obscene, the wine remarks plebeian, and the portrayed attitude towards sex, marriage, real love and women is offensive. On top of that stellar beginning, dump three totally gratuitous, and pornographic scenes and you have another typical Hollywood horse apple. The language reminded me of my former life as an airborne paratrooper only a bit worse. (Even I knew more than one expletive…)

If this movie, supposedly about wine, was a wine, it suffers from TCA, is contaminated with brettanomyces; is corked, shot, and turned to vinegar! I give it a big fat ZERO. I am sorry I wasted $4 and two hours on the film not to mention feeling dirty and defiled. Shame on me.

If you’re thinking you can fast forward past the garbage (that’s why I waited for the DVD) you can’t. The action is too fast, the scenes unpredictable and you would have to mute the entire movie to eliminate the offensive language. Please learn from my mistake, pass on this one and go raise a glass--of MERLOT, just for spite.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sterling Vintner’s Collection Pinot Noir 2003 (PB)

This Central Coast delight was bought on the recommendation of the Wall Street Journal by Gaiter and Brecher. It is light on the pour with a raspberry bouquet. In the mouth it is impressive with a real nice balance of fruit, tannins and acid; they all work in consort bringing forth steely flavors with hints of smoke and finishing with a touch of cocoa. With a little time to breathe, cherries are up front and the balance is superior with a long elegant finish abounding in chocolate. This is a fine fruit forward, New World wine. With the last gulp a wonderful little surprise of fresh basil made an appearance then said Adieu! At $12, this is worth seeking out, rasing a glass and then another and another...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Clemente VII Chianti Classico Riserva 2000 [Revised] (PB)

This Tuscan work is cherry red to the rim with a chalky appearance with plenty of yeast and vegetal notes loaded with olives in the bouquet. ("Chalky" is overstated; it just gives the appearance of not being crystalline as some wine colors seem. Normally, a true "chalky" appearance would be a great concern leading one to think "bacteria." FYI)

There is fresh fruit fighting to break out. In the mouth this wine is obnoxiously tannic, closed and *arrogant.

[*I cracked myself up when I described this wine as "arrogant." If you're like me, I often chuckle at wine reviews for the anthropomorphic descriptors used for the wine. So let me explain: This seems like a quality wine but it doesn't want to reveal that fact and doesn't really care. It gives just enough to tease and seems to take pride in doing so. That's what I mean by "arrogant!" And yes, I'm laughing too.]

The finish at this point is smokey with an almost BBQ’d ending. We will breath it rather extensively which is required of many of the Tuscan creations. (See NW's post re: Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 1999)

At 1 ½ hours of air time (with decanting)it’s bouquet is hardly unchanged. At 2 hours there’s light currants, a little spearmint that is fleeting and fun, but still very tannic, bitter and tart (acidic) with hardly any give. This wine has a chip on its shoulder--or bottle, if you prefer...)

Finally that steely Sangiovese is able to debut and finishes again with more smoke. At 2 ½ hours, the tannins break a bit and floral notes emerge with grape and raisins in tow with a guest appearance of eucalyptus. The tannins, and acid base tend toward a better balance but still too austere and belligerent for my tastes. Never-the-less, this is a good example of old world creativity with some complexity and a study in taste. At $16 Wine Spectator gives this wine an 88; I would give it an 82.

Gift Review: San Sebastian Vintners Red (billy)

vintage not available.
slightly yeasty on opening
good deep red color
very intense strawberries and cherries accost my nose.

I take a sip – who! Watch out. Is this strawberry syrup or wine? It was a gift for my birthday from a dear friend who (presumably) had not tasted it before. This is a wine from a small Vineyard in St. Augustine, Florida. I guess we know now why Florida exports Oranges and not wine.

I poured a taste for my wife who aptly remarked that it reminded her of her college days and drinking Koolaid and Everclear. I think “atomic koolaid” would be nicer (and certainly less pretentious) than this bottle.

Maybe I'll let it breathe for a bit, just to see what happens.

Later – the breathing really opens up the Koolaid flavors. I taste Wild Raspberry and Super Strawberry in there.

Seriously, this wine is likely a tourist trap wine. It is made for buying relatives to remind them that they were not where you were and probably didn't have as good of a time as you did – but definitely not for drinking. (except maybe through a “beer bong”)

Quick Swirl: Domaine du Tariquet Gros Manseng 2002 (billy)

What an interesting wine. What strikes me most and most quickly about this French white is that it's “like Champagne, without the bubbles”

In the glass the color is fascinating. I've never seen it's like in my short time as a wine student. It is a deep marigold yellow. Not washed out at all, but deeply yellow, bordering on orange. Fascinating.

On the nose: I've got to say, it smells like a Brut Champagne. It is crisp like green unripe pears with citrusy oranges (not too much of them) and quite a jammy green grape.

On the Palate: simple, (some would say elegant) not too complex but flavorful. It is a complimentary wine – goes as well with marinated portabello caps and french-cut green beans as it does with Willy Wonka Bottle caps and jelly beans.

Finish: apple peel and citrus and the desire for another glass – not because it is incredibly interesting from a flavor profile, but because it is so fun to drink.

This is a sweet wine, dryer than some but fit for a dessert accompaniment as well as an aperitif as well as with the main course. I paid $12.99 for this – a bit much considering there is a lot out there for the same or less that is of a higher quality but not as flexible.

If you see a deal on this wine, go ahead and grab it – it's worth it just to see the wine pour that brilliant yellow-orange. Accept it as a gift and know that you can drink it – now. But don't bother searching it out.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Expensive Steaks, Expensive Cabs, and the Great Debate (NW)

These steaks were expensive at the little Rhode Island restaurant serving USDA prime! The cowboy cut ribeye was a whopping $38 and the small porterhouse $46. These prices trump Ruth's Chris, Morton's, Del Frisco's, and even Peter Luger. Wow!

As far as the wine, well, the wine list was a who's who of California Cabernet Sauvignon. This little joint had a few bottles of everything. My business associates urged me to order a big, tasty Cab, so we started with 2002 Cakebreak Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has a very fragrant nose which fills the room with ripe dark fruit and a floral hint. It is rich, smooth, and very ripe (as is the style of the day). It finishes with moderate tannins and some more smooth layers of fruit. Very tasty wine! But does it compliment food? Not so well, actually- not even the steaks. This is a big, fruit-forward wine that tastes great on its own.

As the steaks arrived, my associates wanted to try a different wine. We went with a 2000 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon. It was very, very different. This wine was herbal and earthy on the nose, a more subtle style that require some concentration to uncover the emerging layers. It was smooth on the palate, but also a little shallow. The group didn't enjoy this wine as much as the Cakebread, but they failed to notice that it was a far better pairing for the steaks. No one even mentioned this. It wasn't fruity, ripe, and fragrant like the Cakebread but rather a compliment to the meal without overwhelming the food.

Both wines were priced at $90 on the wine list and both had unique characteristics that raise the great debate once again. Is the ripe, fruit-forward style of the day able to compliment food? Or is it a wine style that should be nursed in a glass on its own? This debate will continue and is being placed center stage in the world of wine. Old World versus New World. Round 10. My advice, raise a glass of New World before dinner and pour a glass of Old World with dinner!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 (NW)

Or should it be called Constellation Cab...

Big blackberry and currant nose, followed by some cocoa
Smooth on the palate and a little earthy
Moderate tannins on the finish

This is a fairly well-made Cab and comes from a great tradition. Although it is the lowest rung of the premium Napa Valley bottlings from Mondavi, it is substantially better than the Private Selection label that usually shows up at parties and casual affairs.

I made the mistake of drinking the wine on its own, without food. It isn't an exciting wine to nurse own because it's not an ultra-ripe, fragrant wine. Rather, it's a subtle wine that is versatile and excellent with a wide variety of food. I've read a lot about Robert Mondavi over the past few years and believe he always desired to create "food" wines. This is surely in part due to his Italian heritage, but also his obsession with unlocking the secrets of Bordeaux in a California bottle.

The Napa Valley sells for about $25/bottle in stores. When you need a "classic" Cab and a good food wine, put this on the top of your list. Raise a glass...and a fork!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's HERE! or Anticipation Makes the Palate Grow Fonder (billy)

Aaaahhhh. It has come. After having it sent to a sister in California and then having her beg, barrow, cajole, and convince the postmaster to allow it to come to me in the Midwest, my bottle of Viandante del Cielo Merlot 2002 has arrived. Does the name give you any hints as to why it is special?

This very special bottle of red will be put away until May 19, 2005.

I would hope that by now you can intuit why. However, for those of you who are yet uninitiated, another hint:
"Viandante del Cielo" is Italian for "Walker of the Skies"

How about this:
This wine comes from grapes grown on Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA.

That is right dear friends, THIS wine is as collaborative work between George Lucas, the genius behind Star Wars, and Francis Ford Coppola (who also made a movie or two) who's Niebaum-Coppola estates have been producing some delightful California wines for a while.

But why May 19, 2005 you ask? Why, that is the date that Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, opens in theaters. I'll be there, in costume, and when I get back from the show, I'll celebrate the finale of the Star Wars cannon with this bottle. Who knows what it will yield. But, frankly, whatever comes out, it will be memorable and enjoyable. Until then, anticipation is sure to make my palate fonder.

I will be sure to share the results here. Until then,

May the Force be with You

Monday, April 04, 2005

Da Vinci Chianti 2003 (billy)

well it was such a beautiful day today that instead of eating dinner at the usual time, we took the family to a Spring time meadow to hear the red-wing blackbirds, frogs, ducks and geese that have returned. Consequently we got home late and still needed to eat dinner.

Instead of having a Cheerios dinner or (worse) a fast-food "meal", I decided to see what I could whip up from what we had at hand. What came out was (what I now call) Tuscan Tempeh. It was fabulous - fresh mozzarella, seared tempeh, garlic Italian toast. Mmmmmmm. So what did the wife and I open? Why something from Tuscany of course.

We selected Da Vinci Chianti (2003) from the Chianti Region of Tuscany. It has a wonderful nose absolutely overflowing with olives, raspberry (strawberry?), and brine. The fruit - definitely strawberry now, and plum - explodes onto the palate and quickly fades leaving traces of the olives and some bitterness. The finish is a bit green - akin to that of an herbal tea that has steeped too long and become slightly bitter.

We didn't really let it breathe and the wine is better for it. It seems to degrade rather quickly as bitterness takes over. I'm drinking another glass right now (about 2 hours after first opening the bottle) and while it is still nice, the green-grassy finish is much more noticeable.

The wife bought this bottle and believes she paid about $11 or $12 for it. For that price, it's a fine dinner and drinking wine.

Open it at parties and talk about the olives and berries (something even the uninitiated can discern in this wine) and you'll be marked as a wine intellectual. Your friends will start asking you for recommendations and you'll feel important. This is a reputation creating wine. There's enough in here to allow your wine-snob friends to give you a double-take (or try to catch your eye the next time they wax philosophic about this or that fruit of the vine). And there's enough in here to convince your Malibu-and-Coke drinking girlfriend that you're sophisticated and debonair.

Give it a whirl - with your girl.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2004 in real time (PB)

This nouveau, now 6 months into its release, is a very pretty ruby in the glass with light fruit aromas so typical of the Gamay grape from which all nouveaus are made. This one is released by the well-known, Joseph Drouhin. There is a slight mildewy odor in the nose, and it carries over onto the palate. This is where wine tasting gets a little weird. This is a subtle but definite aroma which is not to be confused with a “flaw” in the wine. It might be down right offensive to some yet down right enticing to others. I fall somewhere in between. The wine is tart, shallow (not unusual for Gamay) with a pleasant, grapey finish. It should be served considerably cooler than a typical red wine and not critically tasted as much as guzzled.
I paid $3.99 for this wine for as you know, Nouveau wines are meant to be consumed immediately upon their release. They do NOT age. Hence the reduction in price for this fast aging wine. Frankly, I tasted a couple different Nouveau’s this year when first available at twice this price, and they were not this enjoyable. Take advantage of the short longevity of this wine which should yield some good wine bargains in the next couple months to come.
I will pair it with a baked, stuffed halibut for dinner tonight which is why I am going to raise one more glass and get cooking!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Quick Swirl: Wallaby Creek Shiraz (PB)

light reddish
alcoholy bouquet
finish was down the drain

I just came from a friend's house where we had pizza and they served this magnum of wine with a "wallaby" on the label. Any label with an animal on it, is not a great way to start with me; just a personal hang up O.K.? Anyway, This wine (I use the term loosely)was a sick "sort of" red with alcohol and yuck as the primary bouquet. In the mouth it tastes like, well, something that orginated with the Wallaby which is a smallish kind of kangaroo. The finish was excellent--meaning I finished it by dumping my glass. No it wasn't a corked wine; it was just a poor excuse for wine and I have had more pleasure out of numerous jug wines. I don't know how much it cost but who cares? Leave this Wallaby and its creek down under!

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (PB)

This New Zealand creation is golden with a bouquet of kiwi fruit and pineapple. In the mouth it is dry with a buttery cream texture and flavors. This is definitely NOT a California or Washington state S. Blanc! It has lingering finish of pineapple, is tart with a touch of bitters. After a few minutes another layer emerges of “oh my gosh, shut up," classic Sauvignon Blanc grassiness. My wife was nuts about this wine suggesting I buy more.

I wasn’t as wild about it; not because it isn’t a truly well made wine and a text book S. Blanc out of New Zealand, it’s just a matter of taste preference. It actually paired well with bruschetta and a classy meal of pork and macaroni and cheese. I would buy this again both for my wife and the simple pleasure of a well made, varietal that you can actually differentiate from a Chardonnay; not always easy these days with all the wild and weird creations called Chardonnay. Because I believe it is readily available, and because it is such a good example of the grape, I have to recommend this. At $9.50, you can raise a glass or two.

Essensia 2003 Orange Muscat Dessert Wine (PB)

At the risk of sounding like “Billy” I am compelled to call this a sensual wine. There is just so much going on with textures, flavors and aromas “sensual” seems appropriate-- meaning appealing to or stimulating the senses. On opening there is lilac and orange blossom aromas all over the place. The color is an orange twinged golden with crystalline clarity. In the mouth there is just a bit of a lack of acid but not enough to detract from the overall pleasure and balance of this perfumey dessert wine. Flavors of caramel and fruit carry into the finish which doesn’t quit.

Now here’s the kicker; this wine sells for $11. There is no way a first growth Sauternes can compete with this dollar for dollar. No it’s not a Sauternes and no it’s not a first growth and no it doesn’t quite have the depth of the former but...neither does it have the price tag! This is a must find; put a decent chill on it, but don’t kill it. Then, raise a glass!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2002 (NW)

Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2002:
Ripe fruit and a nice richness on the nose
Very smooth on the palate with berries and a little kick of pepper
A silky, buttery quality underlying the fruit
Smooth finish, goes softly but lingers

Too much Australian Shiraz tastes the same- but not this one! This is a really nice wine that I read some commentary on a year ago. Finally, two months ago, I spotted a bottle in a grocery store for $19. I looked it up to find the retail price should be $15-16 and decided to pass on the premium-pricing strategy this supermarket offered. I'm glad I did, because a new first-rate wine shop opened near my home and they offered this Shiraz for $15.90. A terrific bargain of a wine! I could spend much more money and not get wine of this quality. When $16 tastes like $60, I'm reminded to raise a glass!

Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 1999 (NW)

Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 1999:
Tight, so we decanted
Patiently nursed it in our glasses for two hours as it opened up- and it was continuing to evolve
Big rich, spicey, nose
Warm and flavorful on the palate
Layers of spice, berries, cherry, smoke, cocoa, earth
Long, long finish

Awesome wine! A rare treat! Our dinner guests surprised us with this outstanding bottle of Brunello to pair with a homemade Timballo. We decanted and waited...and waited for the flavors to emerge. But it was well worth it! If you are going to enjoy this wine, plan ahead and let it breath. (This goes for many other big, earthy Italian reds, too, such as Borolos, Barbarescos, and Super-Tuscans. I was once at a professionally-arranged wine tasting and they poured the Italian reds in everyone's glasses a full three hours before the scheduled event).

The dinner guests outdid themselves with this wine. It sells for approximately $65 in stores and is often one of the top offerings in Italian restaurants at double this price. Banfi has set the standard for consistency in Montalcino, Italy, as they produce good wines every year and great wines in great years. Look for 1997 and 1999, if possible.

Raise a glass to this small, hill-top town in Tuscany and the powerful juice it produces! By the way, I looked up the 1999 Banfi and Wine Spectator gave it 94 points!

A Blast of Flavor (boone)

Wow, I can't believe it. Now I've never seen this rated in the Wine Spectator or even in the Wine Enthusiast but that is clearly an oversight on their part and one of the reasons why The Wine Cask is committed to ground-breaking and paradigm shaking reviews.

So here you go:
Country Kwencher ($2.09)
Year: Non-Vintage
Winery Name: Boone's Farm
Varietal: Other
Designation: Country Kwencher and other varieties
Country: USA
State or Region: n/a
County or Appellation: n/a
Price: 2.50 (list)

There really is not anywhere you can go that this wine won't be available. If you can fine a Kwick-Mart or Circle-K you can be sure that you'll be enjoying a nip off this delight - in most cases, you don't even need to (want to?) remove it from the brown bag it comes in.

The Boone's Farm Country Kwencher is a pioneer in the screw-cap vs traditional cork bottle closings and have a product that prooves the screw cap can keep in the liquid.

And for under $3 dollars a bottle who can argue? You can get Three or Four TIMES as much of this treat as you can for a single bottle of (PB)'s recommended Chateau Du Donjon Grande Tradition 2003.

So Raise A BAG!