Saturday, June 28, 2008

Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose of crushed red berries, pomegranate, pepper, and sage

Jammy texture

Long finish of cranberry, plum, spice, and chocolate

Grab this if you see it! At $20 or so, it's a tasty wine and not your ordinary Australian Shiraz. The crushed red berry aromas are mouth-watering and the finish is exotic. The small percentage of Viognier is blended in with great care, adding to the perfumed nose.

This reminds me of a Rhone-style Syrah, but with an extra concentration of crushed red berries that adds additional fragrance without making the wine heavy or over ripe. Raise a glass!

Chateau De Flaugergues 2005 wine review by (PB)

Celebrating my wife's birthday I took her out to a new place on the Maine coast Called "In Good Company." I read about it in Down East Magazine which touted it as a tapas wine bar catering to your desires. When our waitress greeted us it was clear that she was there to actually serve us-- a real switch from the norm these days--so I perused the wine list--better than most restaurants in our neck of the woods and told our waitress I would pick out our wine and build or meal around it.

This was the wine I decided on partly because of experience with other vintages of this producer and partly because it was affordable for a restaurant marked-up wine. this wine will run you $15 give or take a couple dollars depending so the $30 restaurant price was tolerable.

It was served with decent wine glasses. Hurray! (This is a particular sore spot with me and restaurant wine service. viz., Pay an exorbitant price for wine and then you have to drink it out of 3 pound hunk of glass with a bowl that is way too small to swirl and real nice production seam on the stem. Yuck.)

That is the good part; the not so good part is that the wine was obviously kept at room temp which, for this time of year, was about 80 degrees. Much too warm for wine to be enjoyed.

Okay--review: Nice medium black cherry hue with raspberry fruit in the bouquet. This Languedoc is decently made but flavors are a bit thin and unremarkable. Finish is also a bit thin and short lived.

I didn't enjoy this as much as I have previous vintages but it tasted better as I gazed into the eyes of my lover.

We ended up ordering an olive oil sampler with a baguette for an appetizer and then a mesculin salad with molten goat cheese over a lemon and oil vinaigrette. Our "main" was a pizzaetti (or something close to that) and everything was shared between the two of us.

The chef at "In good company" is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the flavors of everything were distinctive and nicely done. The service was extraordinary as already noted.
If you are in Rockland, Maine it is worth a stop! Raise a glass.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Domaine La Montagnette 2004 wine review by (PB)

This Cotes Du Rhone has a sour cherry bouquet and a palate of white pepper with stern tannins accompanied by some nice flavors of tart raspberry/cherry and a touch of tar.

With some breathing the tannins are still a bit chunky but the flavors blend very nicely with a fascinating touch of bananas in the finish.

This is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. It was on sale from $15 to $10 and I liked it so raise a glass!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rosenblum Zinfandel Snow's Lake Vineyard 2004 wine review by (PB)

"Life is too short to drink bad wine." It is a motto I wish I could afford to live by however, once in a while you have to make the splurge. Tonight, contemplating dinner with my favorite person in the whole world--my girl friend and wife of almost 35 years, I decided to do an all American grilling of hamburgers (actually a blend of ground veal and beef) with corn on the cob and macaroni and cheese. What is more perfect than a quality Zin from the king of Zinfandels--Rosenblum who makes somewhere around 25 different Zinfandels.

This one was $30 and either I or my wife brought it back from a trip to California. It is MARVELOUS and worth every penny.

From a foot away it yields aromas of blackberry and spice; pure fruit and essence; no alcohol what-so-ever. The nose on the swirl gives a wonderfully zinfandelish brambly aroma with blackberry compote.

In the mouth this wine borders on elegant--perfectly integrated with mature tannins that should hold another two years anyway. there is nice balance of blackberry and raspberry with spice and very light licorice on the finish. This was a wonderful accompaniment to this simple all-American dinner. Raise a glass to all the blessings we have in the land of the free.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut wine review by (PB)

This Spanish Cava is always a pleasant quaff and a decent value. I tends to run in the $12 price range but I found this one for $9.

It is pale straw with strong vanilla notes in the bouquet with hints of light spice.

Palate has spritely acid is clean and citrusy and just a nice chilled down sparkler that is refreshing in it simplicity and drinkability. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Porto Pocas Tawny Port wine review by (PB)

This inexpensive non-vintage porto has sweet raisiny aromas on a tawny hued porto. Go figure.
It is fairly "hot" in the mouth with sweet vanilla and prune flavors. It is fairly shallow and even at the cheap price of $8, for $2-3 more you can find plenty of ports that are quite tasty.

Even at this price, I'd give it a pass.

Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico 2001 wine review by (PB)

2001 was a very good year for Chianti Classico (red label) so when I saw a magnum of this wine for $14, I snatched it up. The 750ml bottle usually runs around $11 and you just don't see the 01's.

I was not disappointed except that I should have bought up several more.

This wine is perfectly peaked with a touch of browning on the rim. there are cherry notes with baked fruit aromas that concerned me but the palate was really nice.

Fresh fruit with nice acid and bready notes with a touch of pepper. This is just a thoroughly integrated wine that has had enough to reach maturity. That doesn't happen too often in these days of "wine ready to drink" on release. Raise a glass.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Owen Roe Sinister Hand 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Rich nose of mixed berries, licorice, and spice

Plush core

Plum and sweet spice finish

This is a big, rich wine. The texture is plush and the fruit is ripe. It delivers with opulent fruit and spice, but might be a bit too oaky. I really like the flavors, but wonder if it would be difficult to pair with many dishes.

I paid $65 for a bottle of this wine at a high-end Boston restaurant. It was a relative bargain on this particular wine list, and it retails for around $30 in stores. It's an interesting blend of 52% Grenache, 39% Syrah, 7% Mourvedre, and 2% Counoise. Raise a glass!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sancerre Cuvee Des Moulins Bales 2006 wine review by (PB)

I paid $12 for this half bottle and it was quite disappointing. Comprised of S. Blanc it is grassy with Sauvignon aromas and light citrus notes with orange rind.

Palate--acid, citrus grass, solid though a little bit thin. For the price not worth it but don't get discouraged but look for something else. This one is a right off!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Torres Tormenta Viognier Reserve 2007 wine review by (PB)

This wine has a sweet bouquet of guava with slight pineapple and big pear aromas. Typical Viognier (pronounced Vee--own--NYAY) it has big bouquet that is flowery and an off dry palate of white flowers, sl. citrus notes and other flavors that are hard to pin down.

It is a little "weird" but interesting enough to warrant a taste. All in all, I liked it so raise a glass.

I pared it as an aperitif on a lark putting some fresh mango, peach slices and raspberry sorbet with a couple thin sliced banana tastes. I did not expect it to work at all and was surprised that while it did not really enhance anything, neither did it clash. Raise a glass to Chile.

Banrock Station Sparkling Chardonnay NV wine review by (PB)

Finding an easily drinkable sparkling wine around the $10 price point is not always easy. This is sure to be a pleaser though at $12. It is a pale straw with strong aromas with vanilla looming large.

In the mouth the wine is well made with lt. citrus and buttery notes. This wine is actually very pleasant and quaffable. Chill it down and enjoy as an aperitif or with lighter meals of delicate flavored foods. I liked it and I don't like many cheap or expensive sparklers so raise a glass!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Orneliai De Cripini 2007 special select wine review by (PB)

Don't try and fine this wine anywhere in the world. It is priceless and there are only 10 known bottles which reside in my cellar. This wine, vinified from old vines of Marachel Foche grown with care on the property of yours truly produce a stellar wine considering it is the first attempt by yours truly for making homemade, home grown wine.

It has a beautiful hue of purple garnet with grapy aromas reminiscent of Welches' grape juice.

It is supposedly 12.5 % alcohol but it doesn't taste like it. But this first attempt is amazingly easy to drink and well made all things being considered. It does have some character though not much yet it is not offensive! I would give it a 93 on a 100 point scale but then I AM biased! Raise a glass to my first crush! :) (Next year promises to be better!)

Lavieille Ferme Rose 2005 wine review by (PB)

This Rhone Valley blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah is meant for Summer drinking. Chill it down and enjoy it on a porch or patio.

The watermelon hued wine has pronounced aromas of sweet flowery fruit. The palate is steely, fruity a bit short, but fresh and quaff worthy on a humid summer's eve. You cannot complain at the $6.50 price point so raise a glass!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chateau De Camarsac 2005 wine review by (PB)

Still on my quest to find value 05 Bordeaux's I grabbed this one for $12 in Boston. It is a clear garnet with slightly candied cherry bouquet with some caraway notes and a flowery "soap" aroma that gives it an alluring touch.

In the mouth it decently made with slight evergreen flavors with a light fruit throughout. (NW) was up for a day so we had this in preparation for our meal which was a surprise so I didn't know what to select. This was a decently made wine and for the price it was pleasant and drinkable. Would I buy another? Probably so raise a glass and keep looking for those inexpensive 05's. There are treasures waiting!
(Sorry but this is the best pic of label I could find. It is the one 2nd from the left.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Anura Chenin Blanc 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:
Exotic bouquet on the nose of butterscotch, dried apricot, and floral tones
Honey and melon notes on palate
Finish of caramel and apricot
This is a remarkable wine! It has an elegant taste of age and maturity that makes it exotic and rich. I had just one glass, but it was a generous six ounce pour at Jiko on the Disney World property in Florida. Jiko is an African-inspired restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge with exceptional food and an extensive wine list from South Africa.
Check out the Chenin Blanc's from South Africa. You'll also seem them called Steen (just another name for the same grape). The wines are reasonably priced. I paid $11 for the glass at Jiko. Raise a glass!

Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Bright nose of lemon, lime, and wet stones

Citrus on the palate

Finish of cut grass, lime, and grapefruit

This is a nice wine. It has the crisp citrus flavors that are expected from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but also an undertone of wet stones.

My sister shared this bottle with my wife and me, and she commented that it was the most flavorful dry wine she had ever tasted. I think that's a terrific description. I'm curious to see if other wines from the 2007 vintage in New Zealand have this dryness and undertone of minerals or stones.

I overpaid for this wine at $19. You should pay more like $15-16. Raise a glass!

Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Wild berries and spice on the nose

Heavy, plush texture on the palate

Finish a bit hot, with lingering boysenberry, cinnamon, and chocolate notes

I've enjoyed the 2004 and 2005 Zinfandels from California. I must admit, though, I need to be in the mood. These are typically rich, spicy wines with high alcohol content. Although not all producers follow this template, the ripe grapes that have been harvested lately can producer some big, big wines.

One complaint I hear is that Zinfandel can overpower food. I paired this with a hearty Lebanese dish, but I often drink Zinfandel after dinner in front of a movie.

This wine is a little bit hot with alcohol intensity, but it has a lot of good flavor. I paid $14 for the bottle, which seems pretty typical. Raise a glass!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 wine review by (PB)

Mature garnet hue with pretty cherry aromas with some nice tones of fresh fruit and black cherry.

This wine is beautiful on the palate with some sweet fruit and solid, mature structure and balanced throughout.

This wine is in prime time drinking mode. I paid $14 for this wine and if you can find it pick up a couple bottles. This is a NICE wine and NICE wine value so raise a glass!