Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lorval Syrah 2001 wine review by (PB)

This is another nice value from the Southern French region of Languedoc Roussillion. It is pretty and red cherry hue on the pour with a rich berry bouquet. There is a nice celery flavor mid-palate and mildly peppery with sufficient tannins to give a firm foundation.

It is a little thin in weight and the finish is a bit thin but in a half hour another layer comes forth of more varietal flavors of Syrah with the typical peppery notes. For a five year old wine it is holding well but don't hold on to this--drink it up.

Later a layer of an earthy tone comes up making this wine quite interesting especially at $6!

These lesser known wines from France tend to be really nice values and this is no exception.

Buy a few bottles and enjoy them with a variety of summer foods, grilled or not! Raise a glass.

Casa LaPostolle Apalta Vineyard Merlot 2004 wine review by (PB)

A quick trip down to (NW’s) to fetch my girl friend after a whirlwind trip to L.A. put us sitting at a high table with Beef Shwarma on the menu courtesy of a local, round the corner, restaurant.

(NW) grabbed this from his cellar and we delighted ourselves with this Chilean, Colchauga Valley creation that is cherry red in the glass with fresh cherry aromas, baked bread, a hint of licorice, and a very slight hint of green herbs or green pepper. This is NOT your typical Merlot.

This Merlot is deep in the mouth with rich flavors of fruit and dried cherries that are luscious and mouth watering. Tannins are cushy and this wine is outstanding in its maturity and yet is only a couple years old. This wine is perfectly ready to drink and ready to enjoy.

I think (NW) paid around $21 for this. Once again Chile reveals itself to be the new world place to revel in sheer pleasure. Really nice; so raise a glass!

Monday, May 29, 2006

K Syrah 2003 Milbrandt Vineyards Wahluke Slope wine review by (PB)

(NW) and I are “Batchin” it while our wives are out in the City of Angels. He drove up Memorial Day weekend to snag his dog and of course to enjoy a splash or two of wine.

I grabbed some Sirloin tips to grill, and then went to the cellar to see what we should try. I wanted something neither of us haven’t had before. We chose this Syrah which I have had for several months. After tasting and reviewing the K Syrah Cougar Hills bottle, I was looking forward to this wine. Unfortunately, I was let down which was quite a surprise.

Yes it had a gorgeous, deep purple color to the rim showing youthful vitality and yes the bouquet was full of fresh plums and rich blackberry notes with a touch of anise. That was a nice start.

But first impression on the palate was–sour. Not terribly sour, but enough to where it was my first impression; that’s not what you want out of great wine experience.

I thought perhaps it needed to be decanted which I did. With some air, the wine was more relaxed but still out of balance with the sour acidity that just–for me–dampened my enthusiasm for the rich berry and anise flavors with some nice layers of pepper and spice and a pretty decent finish.

But all in all, for $35, this was NOT the wine it’s cousin–Cougar Hills–was. So while it was pleasant enough with our steak tips, it was rather forgettable. ! Watch for (NW’s) review; I think he enjoyed it more than I did. (Raise a glass of something more affordable)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wine pairings make a difference by (PB)

This evening I decided to have a grilled tuna steak with corn on the cob and sauteed zucchini. Just for fun I thought I would taste a flight of three distinctly different wines to see how they faired with the food.

I had the Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc (a New Zealand white--see following entry), Sideshow–The Barker, which is a Spanish Grenache (a red), and the Vinho Verde--a Portugese white (see entry from a couple nights ago).

The least of the wines–the Grenache and the Vinho Verde–went well with the food and while the Monkey Bay was O.K. it just didn’t really work well.

The Monkey Bay is a big wine with strong character and can stand on its own and make a statement.
The Grenache is a nice wine but somewhat understated and the Vinho Verde–while being my least favorite of the three on their own(and the cheapest)--was actually my preferred wine with the meal.

The Vinho Verde is subtle and gentle allowing the subtle flavors of the Tuna to show through. The Monkey Bay engulfs the delicate Tuna and the Sideshow overshadows it.

So learn from this! That on their own, wines can win you over but pairing them food is another matter. As stated, all three worked to one degree or another, but the Vinho Verde (also the cheapest and simplest)was the best by far.

So remember that the next time you are selecting wine with a meal and then raise a glass!

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2004 wine review by (PB)

This is one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs (reviewed previously) from New Zealand or anywhere with a grassy Guava bouquet wrapped in a pale golden hue.

It is fresh and perky with very nice acid on the palate that makes it lively and yet almost a touch of cream. There is a citrusy overtone, well balanced in every way and at $10, you just can’t miss on this wine.

The finish is superior, classy and just flat out NICE. So, raise a glass NOW!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Alaveda Casal Garcia Vinho Verde wine review by (PB)

Vinho Verde is simple wine from Portugal meant to be a refreshing drink and uncomplicated.
This wine which was $6 (which is pretty normal for this wine) has bubbles sticking to the glass with a light sparkle in the mouth. It is pale golden on the pour with slight peach notes and a pleasant powdery, spicy bouquet of sugar and cinnamon.

In the mouth this wine is tingly, fresh, fairly crisp and simple but a little awkward. If you serve this, make sure it is well chilled. On a summer day it is pleasant enough but it’s not my first choice. Don’t expect much, serve it cold, and you’ll be pleased. Raise a glass!

(I had this with grilled Bratwurst, and fiddleheads and it did fine.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Deep, dark color
Rich, fragrant nose of black cherry, currant, and sweet spice
Smooth and round on the palate
Silky finish, with berries and chocolate

I have a few bottles of this in the cellar and decided to remind myself how good it is. For $15 or so, this might be the best Shiraz on the market. If you're tired of all the wines that taste the same from Australia in the $10 price category, spend a few extra bucks and you'll be rewarded. This is a really rich and round wine, with lots of flavor. It goes down smoothly, and rewards you with a nice finish. Raise a glass!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 wine review by (PB)

Columbia Crest is fast becoming one of the best value producers of wine in this country if not the world. In the current issue of the Wine Enthusiast there are no less than four Columbia Crest wines–all under $13–listed as “Best Buys.”

This blog’s experience with this Washington State winery has no reason to question that.

This Cab–which we have reviewed numerous times since its release–just continues to be the bargain wine of the decade.

It is dark and rich looking in the glass and has a bouquet of rich fruit of plums with a delicate touch of currants and chocolat. On the palate, with some air, licorice, chocolate and eucalyptus layers are clear with a slightly vegetal under layer which rests on a foundation of relaxed tannins and an overall balanced wine. How can a wine this good only cost $10? We don’t know and we don’t care. Buy it all, raise a glass and enjoy!

Friday, May 19, 2006

LaChasse Du Pape “Prestige” 2004 wine review by (PB)

I grabbed this bargain priced wine while down in “Bean town”--Boston for you who are not familiar with New England–and paid $7 for it.

It is a Rhone wine made from the classic Rhone grapes of Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvedre. (Those grapes are pronounced Gre-nahsh; Sin-so; and Mor-ved)

The wine is a light cherry color on the pour with a refreshing though light fruit bouquet and pronounced dried raspberry nose. On the palate it is zippy with a burst of raspberry fruit and pepper. The wine is quite thin in both texture and flavor but hopefully will open with a little time.

With air, this wine is still light all the way around but has good structure. This is your classic red French table wine that is well made and inexpensive. It is so much different than American wines; subtle in almost every aspect or what is called the “Old World” style.

I like the New World wines with their assaulting flavors and eye popping aromas but they do get old and they start to all taste alike or they taste concocted rather than artfully vinified.. I have to have both worlds depending on my mood and pairing. We are having Braciole (pronounced, bra-sheeole)delightful Italian fare over pasta. The spicing of the dish may overwhelm this wine but I think it will be okay. If not, you'll read about it! Raise a glass, and more, at this price.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Elk Cove Pinot Noir “La Boheme” 2003 wine review by (PB)

A few months back in our dark and dreary Maine winter I found solace in a coastal wine shop called “The Clown.” Martin Gottlieb recommended this wine which I took home with me and laid down until the right time, and meal.

The right meal arrived: Grilled halved, Maine lobster (for an appetizer) with Tuscan style tuna steaks—also grilled and the first harvest of home grown aspargus. (I was a little nervous about the pairing but not too much.)

This Oregon Pinot has classic Pinot “stink” and a layer of dried cherries with light straw-berry notes on the opening swirl. The color of this wine is light with a watermelon colored rim.

In the mouth this wine is luscious with currant notes but is tightly wound on opening. There is a smoky, almost BBQ finish which is interesting. But this wine needs about a half hour of air.

With breathing this Oregon Pinot is elegant with currant flavors predominant with strawberry, raspberry and cherry hints. The palate is just superb all the way around; a very nicely made pour.

The review is understated; this wine was so easy to drink we just wanted to keep filling our glasses. The pairing was perfect and the only bad part of the whole evening was that the bottle ran out so fast.

I paid $33 for this beauty though I have seen it in the Boston area for as low as $23. Either way, this wine was worth it…and more. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hedges Cellars CMS 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Fruity nose of berries
Juicy, flavorful palate
Finish of strawberries and cherries with a hint of chocolate; moderate tannins

I've enjoyed this wine several times in the past, and the 2003 bottling appears to be quite good. It's an interesting blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc from Washington State. In fact, the CMS name simply refers to these grapes. I paid $12 for the wine and feel that it's a good buy. Raise a glass!

Flight of Red-- Three Shiraz Wine Reviews (NW)

Wine flights are an incredibly fun way to compare wines side-by-side. Most wine bars offer them and they are increasingly available at restaurants. They're easy enough to do at home, though, and I highly recommend this when you have the opportunity. Just line up some glasses and pour about two ounces in each glass. Taste them blind or even with the bottles in plain view- either way it's a learning experience and a real treat.

For my birthday, I was treated to two wine flights by PB. He arranged for us to taste them blind and compare our notes. The first flight was made up of three Chardonnays from different corners of the world and the second flight was three samplings of Shiraz. My tasting notes for the red wines are as follows:

Mandra Rossa Shiraz 2003 (Sicily):

Medium-light burgundy red
Weak nose, soapy, a touch of floral and anise
Thin on the palate
Abbreviated finish, falls flat

Stolpman Hilltops Estate Grown Syrah 2003 (California):

Medium red color
Fruity nose of plum
Rich, fruity palate; round and full
Good finish, full of fruit with lightly spicy notes and hints of cocoa

McWilliams Hanwood Estate Shiraz 2004 (Australia):

Medium red color
Slightly floral nose with a touch of strawberry
Dry palate
Dried cherry finish

The best wine of the flight was far and away the Stolpman. It was even close. I later found out the Mandra Rossa and McWilliams were $9 wines and the Stolpman was a ringer at $35 and purchased at the winery near Santa Barbara.

The problems with two inexpensive wines were obvious when tasted next to the Stolpman. Mandra Rossa was flat and boring and the McWilliams was too dry. The Stolpman, on the other hand, exuded confidence with a rich, round core full of fruit. It's worth the price tag and was a real treat with the coal-charred ribeye and fiddleheads.

Both PB and I were pleased to find out we correctly matched each Shiraz with its country of origin. Up front, we were told that these were wines from Sicily, Australia, and California- but we weren't told which ones.

Wine flights are a lot of fun and help develop perspective. I highly recommend putting one together when you have the opportunity. One idea is to have everyone bring one bottle and simply line up the glasses and pour. Then, raise a glass!

Flight of White-- Three Chardonnay Wine Reviews (NW)

Wine flights are an incredibly fun way to compare wines side-by-side. Most wine bars offer them and they are increasingly available at restaurants. They're easy enough to do at home, though, and I highly recommend this when you have the opportunity. Just line up some glasses and pour about two ounces in each glass. Taste them blind or even with the bottles in plain view- either way it's a learning experience and a real treat.

For my birthday, I was treated to two wine flights by PB. He arranged for us to taste them blind and compare our notes. The first flight was made up of three Chardonnays from different corners of the world and the second flight was three samplings of Shiraz. My tasting notes for the white wines are as follows:

Mandra Rossa Chardonnay 2003 (Sicily):

Dark golden color
Rich nose of tropical fruit and sweet spice
Smooth texture and some creaminess
Medium-length finish of citrus, with sweet notes too

The Wishing Tree Unoaked Chardonnay 2000 (Australia):

Light, pale color
Lemony nose with light cream and pears
Clean palate, medium acidity, crisp for Chardonnay
Shorter citrus finish, but seems polished

Stonehedge Chardonnay 2004 (California):

Medium, pale gold color
Nose of melon with a touch of eggnog scent
Smooth, medium-weight texture
Finish with touches of oak and vanilla followed by an odd, bitter ending

The Wishing Tree was my favorite. While it's not my favorite style of Chardonnay because it's on the lean, crisp side, I thought it was the best made wine of the flight. The Montra Rossa was a little odd, even though it was intriguing due to its dark golden color and wild tropical fruit nose. The Stonehedge was a little too average and had an odd, bitter twist at the end.

After tasting these wines blind, PB and I were pleased to discover that we matched each wine with its country of origin correctly. It was a good education and a lot of fun! By the way, the prices were all approximately $9 a bottle. Raise a glass!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

2004 Graves Chateau Graville-Lacoste Review by (billy)

Eyes: Pale straw
Nose: Steeely honey, crisp, melon hints, a bit tight.
Palate: Minerals and melon rind with a good acid structure and fine balance.
Finish: Pleasant and smooth. An even decrescendo.

I paid $14.99 for this wine. I'd call this a fair price for a nice wine. I've never had a Graves (region of France) wine before so there is not much against which I can directly compare. However, I really enjoyed the mineral and steel characteristics (lighter than an in your face Chablis) with the smooth honey and melon hints. It is a nice change of pace from the typical Chardonnay. Though Sauvignon Blanc grapes are the primaries in the Graves region (for white wine production) the difference in character between a Graves and a California or Oregon Sauvignon Blanc (or Fume Blanc) is evident enough to make them quite distinctive.

I would pick up another two bottles of this again if I get the chance. One to have on hand for a nice summer's evening and one to lay down for several years.

On this Mother's Day, Raise a Glass of Graves to your Mom!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Two Fun Flights of Wine to Celebrate NW's B-day!

(NW’s) birthday is just around the corner so it seemed only fitting to celebrate with a special dinner which actually means a special wine event with dinner thrown in on the side. One of the luxuries we allow ourselves to afford is a tasting of in wine in what are called “flights.” A flight is a sampling of wines of any number often arranged by some kind of theme. (Vintage; varietals; country of origin, etc)So arranged to have two flights of wine consisting of three wines each. The first flight was three chardonnays each from a different country. One was from Australia, one was from California, and one was from Sicily. All were inexpensive in the $10 range. (Except one called a ringer!)

They were served to us “blind” prepared for us by our wives. We would taste them alone and then retaste them with the appetizer of the evening (homemade seafood ravioli) too see which one we thought was better with food.

This is such a great way to learn about wine and is so much easier to “taste” wine this way. The nuances of each wine are more distinct and identifiable when you have them next to other wines.

What was really amazing to (NW) and I both was that at then end of the tastings we were both dead on--100% consistent in our assessments—and 100% in agreement with each other’s reviews right down the line including naming the country of origin.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend doing a wine flight every now and then. You will be surprised at the subtleties you will skillfully detect when comparing wines side by each, (as we say in Maine). Raise a glass and scroll down for the reviews of the wines themselves. And then be sure to check NW's when he posts them!

Shiraz flight of three wine review by (PB)

#1 Mandrarossa Sicilian Shiraz 2003
This wine had a nice deep color with an anise aroma and some cedar. In the mouth it was pretty nice with some good flavors of cedar with a nice vanilla finish. The wine was a bitt unbalanced though with tannins that were not real polished but a solid wine and enjoyable with our rib eye steaks cooked right on the coals in my new Weber grill.

#2 Stolpman Hilltops Shiraz 2003
This was a “ringer” I threw into the flight for a special treat. I was in Santa Barbara this past Spring and visited the tasting room of Stolpman Vineyards. It was an absolute delight being able to talk with Katie McGaughy--a lovely young lady with the same names--right down to the same unique spellings--as my daughter's. Katie had a vast knowledge of the Stolpman's masterful creations--another unique delight!

After tasting some very nice Shiraz’s I packed this one away for the trip back to Maine.

The review--This wine is deep cherry to the rim on the pour with a dark berry fruit bouquet that is rich and luscious. It was deep and creamy on the palate with a mouth watering spray of dark fruit and wonderfully elegant tannins, nice vanilla notes and a finish that is just sheer pleasure. At $35, I was in heaven. Needless-to-say, this was everyone's clear favorite.

I'd say--grab one ASAP if you can but I have never seen Stolpman in my neck of the woods (Maine). But with my wife travelling to LA next week to see our newest Grandchild, maybe I can compel her to bring us back a treat!

It was awesome with the coal seared steaks, fiddlehead ferns and birthday celebrations of NW.

#3 McWilliams Shiraz 2004 Hanwood Estate

This Aussie Shiraz from down under had a nice deep color but the bouqet was a bit odd; like a gamay jug wine nose. Not “bad” but unexpected an d typical for the grape. It was a bit shallow as well. In the mouth it was peppery and had nice cranberry notes. It was, all in all very nice for the price.

Everyone picked the Stolpman as the BEST of tasting but the flight was not quite fair. The other two wines were $10 wines while the Stolpman was 3 and half times that. So if you ever wonder if it’s worth the price; often times it isn't, but in this case, all six people not knowing what was what, said OH YEAH!

Raise a glass we did--several times...and then walk to wherever it is you must go!

Chardonnay flight of three (wine review by (PB)

#1 Stonehedge Chardonnay 2003
This California Chard was a very light straw with a tinge of golden on the pour. The bouquet had some nice fruit yet with a smokey backbone of bacon and light butter notes. In the mouth it had a slightly buttery texture, the smoke carried through to the palate but could have used a bit more acid. The finish lingers pretty nicely and this wine paired quite well with our appetizer of homemade seafood ravioli with a cream, seafood/Parmesan sauce.

#2 Wishing Tree Chardonnay 2005 (Unoaked)
This was the lightest of the three wines in the flight as far as color. It was nearly clear. The bouquet was unmistakably hugely pears with an almost nutty taste.

The pears carry through to the palate, has good acid and finishes with pears and quince–or citrus if you prefer. This also paired well with our seafood ravioli.

#3 Mandrarossa Chardonnay 2003
This Chard hails from the island of Sicily which is why I picked it up. I had never had a Sicilian Chardonnay.
On the pour this wine was the most fascinating in color with a rich and deep golden hue like a nice Sauternes. It’s bouquet was also rich and sweet, almost candied with buttery notes and an overwhelming scent of ripe fruit which I couldn’t quite pin down. I called it ripe figs or ripe guava or a cross between the two, which I guess would be a “guig” or perhaps a “fava”but then I’m just getting silly.

In the mouth it tasted like it smelled; sweet and fruity but really lacked the acid to carry it all off. This was unfortunate as it had so many good qualities but was flabby. Finished with a nice after taste that was steady.

All these wine were under $10. I believe we liked the Wishing Tree for its solid acid foundation which made it the best food wine. I loved everything about the Sicilian Chard except its flavor in the mouth...It was a beautiful wine, it had a great nose and some nice flavors but the lack of acid killed this wine. Still, I would recommend any of them for the experience of unique wines of the same grape. Raise a glass in celebration of NW’s B-day!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chateau Haut Sociondo 2003 wine review by (PB)

This Grand Vin De Bordeaux from the Cotes De Blaye has a nice fragrant nose of rich berries and a slightly opaque cherry color. In the mouth it is balanced from the start but constrained on opening with a strange mid palate and a short finish. It seems to hold some promise though.

With half an hour of breathing, the berries give way to cherries with a slight chocolate hint and lots of smoky oak. There is this musty aroma though, like wet cardboard, which is the classic description of TCA contamination. (see past entries re: TCA) This aroma is somewhat intriguing though even if it would be better if it weren’t there. The palate is still a bit light but well made. With more breathing (an hour) still, there is a pleasant sweet candy cherry layer and the palate is richer by far—actually quite nice.

This is a solid Old World wine and for the $10 I paid, it’s a nice value even with the wet cardboard. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Vero Chardonnay 2003 Review (Billy)

This is a wonderful Summer Chardonnay from Bourgogne. My wife and I enjoyed it on a picnic at the local arboretum under the purple and white blooming crabapple trees. While the children dined on Artesian bread and provolone cheese we enjoyed several glasses of this light and creamy delight. (note, the 2002 label is pictured but the review is of the 2003 vintage - the label, though, appears the same)

Nose: creamy butter and vanilla with light citrus
Palate: smooth and light - like sun on a summer wind
Finish: delicate and creamy with hints of lemongrass and warm soft apple.

This was a perfect wine to enjoy on a picnic. The creation of the Joseph Drouhin progeny, the Chardonnay is a delightful and unpretentious sip of summer. It is not overcomplicated with heavy oak or biting crispness. Rather is is smooth and simple and as such it achieves a sublime exquisiteness.

I paid $18.99 for the bottle. A bit steep for around here but well worth it. The wine is a fine purchase at this price. Raise a glass to summer and make sure the 2003 Vero Chardonnay is in it!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pierre Sparr Alsace Pinot Blanc Reserve 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Nice nose of fresh apples
Juicy, clean core with moderate acidity
Grape notes on the finish, but in a good way

Usually, when a wine is called "grapey" it's being ridiculed. Not in this case. The grape notes on the finish are nice, light, and fruity. As for the overall quality of the wine, yes, it's simple. But, it's also nice and refreshing.

I paid $11 for this wine, which is fairly priced. It's somewhat off the beaten path as a lesser-known grape grown in the Alsace region in France, but you'll most likely find it next to Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. When you find it, raise a glass!

Alasia Brachetto D'Acqui 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Frothy bubbles
Big strawberry nose
Plush texture
Sweetly lingering finish

Amazing wine when paired with chocolate desserts! This is an Italian Brachetto, which is a light and sweet sparkling red wine. A lot of people are familiar with Rosa Regale, made by Castello Banfi, which is also made in the Brachetto style.

This wine goes down easily and is fun to drink. I think it could use a little more cranberry tartness and acidity without compromising the sweetness. This would give it a little better balance.

At $12, this is the least expensive Brachetto D'Acqui I've seen. You might not find this particular one, but ask your store what the have and you'll probably see one or two choices at $15-20. Raise a glass!

Magnificent Wine Company House Wine 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Fruity, berry nose
Tight, dense core
Moderate tannins on the finish with notes of cocoa

I've had this before several times, but it's been a while since I've written up my review. This is a Washington State wine made from an interesting blend of red grapes, including the noble Bordeaux grapes. I like that it's fairly thick and jammy and it appeals to me when I want a really fruity red wine.

Keep an eye out for it at the store. It's easy to spot with HOUSE WINE in big, black lettering on a white label that looks handwritten. I have paid $10-11 for it. Raise a glass!

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Nose of sweet cherries and plum
Rich and spicy on the palate
Leathery, slightly tangy finish

A nice Chianti! Made in a modern style, this wine has a richness to it that goes beyond ordinary Sangiovese. We paired it with a number of hearty Italian courses.

This came highly recommended at a local wine shop, and I paid $20 for the bottle. Raise a glass!

Fusee Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 wine review by (PB)

Well, Gee, this is a weird kind of wine which you’ll note form my weird kind of review.

It doesn’t smell like Cabernet Sauvignon but it doesn’t smell bad. Actually the bouquet is fairly fragrant of black cherries, ripe plums, and loads of currants.

In the mouth it is on the slightly sweet side with some decent fruit flavors (a lot of raisins) but honestly, it tastes artificial. (NW) and I jest (sort of) about the NJ laboratory where all artificial flavors are kept in beakers and is what really comprises the bulk of the food and drink we consume. This tastes like a wine made in a petri dish. But that being said, it is potable, and not bad if you don’t think of it as A. Cabernet Sauvignon, and B. real wine.

I paid $7 for it which is $2 too much. Still it’s not bad, just a little weird.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Alice White Shiraz 2005 wine review by (PB)

This Aussie mass produced varietal from the folks who export about 15 gazillion cases of wine to the USA is a decent, inexpensive wine. It is cherry red and full of blackberries.

In the mouth it is pleasantly fruit forward, juicy, balanced, and simple though a little layer of chocolate emerges later on, and is frankly, a decent wine and solid value at $7.

It was a Wine Spectator “85" rated wine. This is good wine to serve to friends or for just filling those barren wine rack spaces for little money. I liked it, so raise a glass!

Kanu Chenin Blanc 2004 wine review by (PB)

This South African varietal from the Stellenbosch is rich in vanilla with a sweet bouquet of fruit (pineapple) and cream. It is sweet in the mouth yet off dry with great acid for a wine with some zest and a citrusy finish.

This is a VERY NICE wine and I believe may have been a Wine Enthusiast top 100 though I am uncertain and didn’t feel like looking it up. I would rather just savor the essence of this lovely white.

For the $10 I paid, it is really a treat and with its acid, it will go well with food. I served it with a Caribbean themed dinner of grilled pork chops with a mango/red onion topping and fired plantains with a cilantro dipping sauce. It was great with everything. So raise a glass!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Chateau Clos De Latour 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Dark berries on the nose with a hint of sweet strawberry
Smooth, plush texture
Some currant and chocolate emerge on the finish, with moderately chewy tannins

I am impressed with the texture of this wine, it has a plush feel in the mouth. The fruit characteristics are well-rounded and the finish is nice.

For Grand Vin de Bordeaux in the $10-15 range, this is a winner. I paid $10 on sale, based on a recommendation from PB. His review of the same wine can be found below, dated April 24, 2006. Raise a glass!

Sori Paitin Dolcetto D'Alba 1997 Wine Review (NW)

Floral, cherry, and vanilla nose
Somewhat musty mid-palate
Sweet, short finish with a soft landing

At first, I wasn't that impressed with this wine. It was flat and slow to emerge. But the wine kept improving until we emptied the bottle and I'm not sure I ever tasted it at its peak.

Dolcetto is a delicate wine with a subtle sweetness and a medium body. This one, with some age on it, was all that more delicate. It's an intriguing varietal to learn more about, and has a strong following among Italian wine lovers. Prices aren't terribly high; I paid $16 for this one. Raise a glass!

Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillion 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Nice nose of apricot, orange, and lemon
Very smooth and rich on the palate
Honey cream finish

After numerous courses and three different wines, we settled in for dessert at Easter dinner. Out came the lemon tart made from scratch and this half bottle of dessert wine. It was an awesome pairing and a perfect finish to the meal.

For dessert wines, there is surprising variety on the market. I have found that wines made from Botrytis Semillion are usually very good. This wine from Australia is rich, smooth, and versatile. It's commonly found in a 375mL bottle and runs approximately $15. For a great finish to a meal, check it out. And raise a glass!

Salomon Undhof Hochterrassen Gruner Veltliner 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Very light, pale white
Citrus aromas on the nose
Crisp, acidic on the palate
Abbreviated, white pepper finish

My wife and I foiled PB with this wine. We placed it in front of him in a blind tasting, knowing it would be very difficult to guess. He was close, though, thinking it was a dry Chenin Blanc. For Gruner Veltliner, the Austrian national grape, this one is extremely dry and very inexpensive at just $6. The problem is, it's too dry, crisp, and abbreviated. Interesting wine, but next time I'll spend a little more money on a Gruner Veltliner in the hopes of something a little more complex. Raise a glass!