Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Red Heads Studio "Yard Dog" 2006 wine review by (PB)

This Aussie (McClaren Vale) is an unexpected blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot and Merlot presenting with a dark cherry pigmentation with bright red fruit aromas.

Steely palate with good structure, red fruit and a juicy core that is easy to drink and just a nice, fruity wine that is well made. I noted "Buy more" and $10, why not?

Raise a glass!

Altano Douro 2006 wine review by (PB)

Crystalline black cherry hue with sour cherry nose; palate yields black pepper in the rear with baking cherries and pretty finessed package.

Benefits from some air with a touch of licorice emerging later and fuller flavors all around. For the price tag of $7, how can you go wrong?

Raise a glass!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Melka "CJ" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Big, aromatic nose of ripe berries and cinnamon

Dense and powerful on the palate

Chewy finish of blackberry, mocha, and spice

This is a relatively small production wine that I've never seen in a store. While on a recent business trip, I spotted this wine on a restaurant wine list and decided to check it out.

All the big, bold fruit of Napa is on display along with some well-integrated signs of oak. I really enjoyed this wine. Thanks to Philippe and Cherie Melka who put a lot of attention into this wine and have named it after their two children.

If you happen upon this wine, you'll probably see it priced around $45 or so. I paid $83 in a restaurant which was money well spent. Raise a glass!

Alamos Bonarda 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Aromas of crushed berries on the nose

Juicy and rich on the palate

Finish of raspberry jam and trace pepper notes

Like all the wines of Alamos, this is a great value at $10 or so. It's well made and delivers a very fruity package. While I often see their Malbec bottlings, I don't often see the Bonarda which is just a bit more off-the-beaten-path. I encourage you to grab one if you see it- and grab a bottle of the basic $10 Malbec, too. Great value wines are coming from Argentina! In this case, thank you Alamos. And raise a glass!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pacific Rim (NV) Chenin Blanc wine review by (PB)

Bouquet of floral notes and spiced pears with vanilla cream pudding.

Palate--lively with flavor galore; spiced summer fruit compote, off-dry and utterly delicious in a $9.50 wrapper. I love good Chenin Blanc and this Washington State varietal is amazing for the price! Find it and raise a glass!

Chateau Haut Nadeau 2005 wine review by (PB)

This is yet another inexpensive wine from the famed 2005 Bordeaux harvest. It was mere $12 sporting a nice garnet hue with gentle cherry and light spice bouquet. The palate is really steely and a bit tart with shallow flavors as well as being a bit tannic. I breathed this wine an hour before tasting. Overall it is an unimpressive wine. And yet again, before you think--"Well for Pete's sake, you paid $12 for it; what do you expect?"

I have found some super bargains in this range of the 05 Bordeaux running around a 50/50 split between stellar value and so so wine. So keep searching and buying up those cheap 05's. There are values out there and the even "not so super ones are not "bad;" they're just what you would expect for the price. So Raise a glass!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chateau Lafon 2003 wine review by (PB)

This Sauternes is light golden wine with a wonderful bouquet of spicy citrus and grapefruit with a honey nose.

In the mouth this desert wine is velvety with stewed apricots and honey with a rich sweetness that lingers. Finishes long and sexy. I paid $13 for the 1/2 bottle and if they have more when I return, it shall be purchased! Raise a glass!

Tradicao Palmela 2003 wine review by (PB)

Deeper garnet color with a slightly chemically, fruity bouquet.

Palate--thin in all ways; pass on this puppy! $8.50 blahch!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

9 Stones Shiraz 2006 wine review by (PB)

This Barossa black cherry hue to the rim with big fruity bouquet of spicy, sweet dark fruit.

Palate has silky tannins with sweeter palate with loads of fruit. Just another $10 price point Shiraz.

Terra Buena Tempranillo 2005 wine review by (PB)

Nice garnet with sweet, pipe tobacco and berry fruit.

Front of spice with bread that's a bit coarse. Red fruit, rough tannins--breathe.

Bready fruit, cherry berry mellows a mite. So, so. $9

Marq "The Massed Grove" Pinot Noir 2004 wine review by (PB)

Lighter cherry hue with some age on the rim. Sweet strawberry aromas.

Initial spice that's nice, a might thin but a rear with fruity cocoa and a warm finish with smoke.

Listed at $15 but sale at $12. Not typical Pinot Noir but raise a glass.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Manilow Pinot Grigio 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Disclosure: This bottle was sent to The Wine Cask Blog compliments of Stilletto Entertainment for review.

Tasting notes:

Nose of fresh peaches and citrus notes

Acidic core with citrus and chalk on the palate

Finish of pear and nicely tapering mineral layers.

I usually cringe at seeing celebrities or entertainers on wine labels- and there are plenty of them. When I received this bottle with the description of the iconic Barry Manilow brand on the back label, I thought of all the "Fanilows" that this wine will appeal to. I didn't think it would also appeal to me.

I never would have reached for this wine in a shop, but I quickly learned once again not to judge a book by its cover. This is a nicely crafted Pinot Grigio with a very desirable combination of fruit, acidity, and minerality. A sampling of prices puts this wine at $15 or so. Raise a glass!

Emilio Moro Ribera Del Duero 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Wild berries and game on the nose

Strong structure and dense fruit on the palate

Moderately tannic finish of berries and smoke

This is the "other" Ribera Del Duero. While many red wines from this region of Spain can be decidedly big and ripe, this wine is better described as subtle and nuanced. Also, I'd prefer to give a few more years in the bottle to see how it evolves.

The label states "100% Tinto Fino" which is a synonym for Tempranillo. Tempranillo is an extremely versatile grape, and many styles are developed from it in Spain. I suggest you work a few of them into your Fall wine purchases.

By the way, this bottle will cost around $30 or so. I paid the worst restaurant markup I've ever seen at $130 for a recent business dinner (and will never buy another bottle of wine at that restaurant again). Of course, that's another topic for another day. Raise a glass!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Trambusti Brunello 2001 wine review by (PB)

I picked this up at Sam's Club for $20. That's an absurd price for any Brunello much less an 01 which was a great year. It has a cherry hue with a sour cherry nose..

In the mouth it has a steely approach with smooth tannins with a mature back bone but relatively thin. With more breathing it has cherries, some musty aromas and strawberry Twizzlers and earthy flavor. It is okay for the price but not up to Brunello standards. Raise a glass.

Chateau De Ribebon 2005 wine review by (PB)

Nice black cherry hue with nice cherry aromas with a touch of evergreen, cigar box and sweet, red fruit.

In the mouth it is nicely put together with tight, but smooth tannins, a sweet cherry foundation, evergreen, brilliant clean and delicious. this is one of the inexpensive 05 Bordeaux for which I think I paid $13. I noted to myself "buy MORE." So raise a glass.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Yangarra McLaren Vale Old Vine Grenache 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Big aromas of raspberry jam and custard on the nose

Rich and mouth-filling on the palate

Smooth finish loaded with crushed berries and surprising nuances of tea, cocoa, and earth

Australian red wine might be dominated by Shiraz, but don't miss the exciting Grenache. This wine has the big fruit you'd expect from an Australian red, but it also has some surprising layers that round out the flavor profile and make it very interesting.

At $22 or so, it's not in the bargain bin. However, it looks cheap compared to the row of $50 plus Shiraz in my local wine shop. And that's the company I'd put this in. Raise a glass!

Inniskillin Vidal Icewine 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose of peach, apricot, and lime

Rich, sweet core of fruit on the palate

Finish of tangerine, apricot, and honey

This wine is a nice little treat. It's fairly complex and interesting, and cures the sweet tooth after a meal. Prices keep climbing, though, and this one will run you at least $55 for a half bottle. Is it worth the money? Once in a while. Just remember, for the same price, you can also get a world-class half bottle of Sauternes or Vintage Port. Raise a glass!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

La Crema Pinot Noir (Sonoma) 2005 wine review by (PB)

A gift from my lover, this lovely wine is a lighter hued cherry with light plum nose and cherry and spice highlights.

In the mouth this wine is vibrant, tight, with cherry and tart raspberry flavor with good structure.
It is very fresh and after some air it has sweet aromas of mulling spices, watermelon juice and slight milk chocolate. The palate expands to licorice and cedar which is fleeting with a cocoa finish and fruit. Ahhh, raise a glass and at $23 it doesn't even come close to the price of a similar Burgundy. Yes!