Saturday, February 28, 2009

Toad Hollow Amplexus Cremant Brut wine review by Billy

Nose:Warm rising bread dough aromas with hints of nutmeg and candy sprinkles. Hints of lavender.
Palate:small (not tiny) bubbles are prevalent in the mouth with a pleasingly elegant dryness that avoids a mouth-parching bone dryness. Good structure and balance. Vanilla buttercream in the mouth.
Finish:Softly Floral. Springtime.
Overall: I paid $18 for this wine and am pleasantly surprised. It has elegant edible flower characteristics and an earthy-yeasty nose that provides a richness beyond the price point. A classy sparkling wine from France.

I bought this wine this evening for Open That Bottle Night since everything in my cellar worth opening has a "Wait until 20XX" sign on it the earliest of which is next year. I'm pleased with this sparkling. It has class and character that outranks the Washington State DSM's I've tried and is a nice change from the Mumm Napa's as well. Well worth having a bottle or two on hand for guests or celebrations.

Raise a Glass!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Soletta Firmadu Cannonau Di Sardegna 2003 wine review by (PB)

Was served this at a friend's house; I haven't had many wines of the Cannonau grape but I have liked everyone of them.

Bouquet of faint cherries and herbs;

Palate brims with white pepper and cherry fruit. This wine is well integrated and drinking well. It runs around the $20 price point and is a good example of the grape and a well made wine. Raise a

Simonnet Febvre Chablis Millesime 2005 wine review by (PB)

This Chablis is pale golden with a bouquet of tropical fruit and vanilla with over-ripe tangerine and light spice. The bouquet is pretty nice but the wine gives its all to the bouquet.

Palate: Citrus with juicy mouth watering acid and an interesting rear palate of bubblegum hints and finishes thin.

I paid $22 for this wine and paid about $12 too much. This is a pass and my string of marginal wines continues...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Taborga Moscatel/Semillion wine review by (PB)

This Chilean blend was purchased for $8 simply out of curiosity. It is a pretty golden with sweet, tropical fruit aromas with a slight--chemical smell...

Palate--good acid; it is dry, fruity and actually paired quite well with mussels in wine sauce over linguine. The "chemically" odor seemed to dissipate.

This is the second wine from this Chilean producer and both were okay for the price so I will continue to go back to them and see what they have to offer. Raise a glass to inexpensive wines in this wonderful economy!

'My bad? I never noted the vintage...sorry.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The White Knight Sauvignon Blanc 2006 real-time wine review by (PB)

I just walked in, chicken and dumplings are on the stove and I twisted off the cap of this Lodi (Calif.) varietal which is connected to the Sebastiani family.

Bouquet--Sweet fragrances of sunny tropical fruits with a honeyed nose.

Palate--bone dry with racy acidity that makes you smack your lips. Some citrus (Meyer lemons) with a subtle finish of a nearly caramel hint. (Yes I have a Meyer lemon tree...okay my WIFE has one...)

This is a perfect example of how a fruity wine can give you the impression of being annoyingly sweet and yet--Wham! it is dry as cactus during a drought. As my mouth sits empty, there is an interesting sensation and taste of another fruit but I *can't pin it down. (I subsequently went to a grocery store and bought a kumquat on a lark--Bingo! That's the fruit I couldn't pin down.)

This should be a good food wine with all that acid and a real palate cleanser. I like it and for $9 it's an interesting find and pleasant to be stuck in Lodi again!

Raise a glass

Monday, February 16, 2009

Edmeades Late Harvest Zinfandel 2003 wine review by (PB)

From Mendocino, late harvest Sins can be heavenly--Rosenblum makes a wonderful one but you'll pay for it at around $22 a half bottle but its worth it! This wine however is blah!

The wine--in fairness is over the hill with a slight toluene odor and hidden fruit. It is still sweet but thin with slight rasiny flavor; all in all it is pretty empty. I paid around $12 for it and it is shot! I seem to be on a roll for marginal or bad wines! (I didn't even review another Shiraz I just had which was corked!)

Penfold's Hyland Adelaide Shiraz 2005 wine review by (PB)

Deep black cherry hue with slight purple twinge.
Bouquet has aromas of nice dark fruit, berries, slight blueberry, and sweet cocoa--pretty nice bouquet.

Palate--thinner than I expected and actually pretty surprisingly boring. At first I thought it might just be tight even at 4 years old but it just never went anywhere. I paid $12 and I wouldn't do it again.

Rojo Mojo Shiraz 2007 wine review by (PB)

A Spanish Shiraz of black cherry with odd, oily dark berry aromas with sweet cherry notes.

Palate is chunky, thin with cherry fruit. Not very pleasing--pass. ($8)

Zeal Sauvignon Blanc 2007 wine review by (PB)

From Marlborough this S. Blanc is pale straw with super grassy, guava paste aromas with a touch of lemon and grapefruit rind.

Palate is citrusy with slight tropical fruit (pineapple) but not as "crisp" as I like. Another wine at the ubiquitous price point of $10. It's okay so raise a glass if you will!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

San Fabiano Calcinaia Casa Boschino Toscana 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy sweet cherry and berries on the nose

Good acidity and well-integrated flavors on the palate

More cherry, spices, vanilla, and a nice earthy layer

I picked this up on a half price sale ($10 marked down from $20). When I see a Tuscan red blend on sale, I'll always grab it. The chances of being pleasantly surprised are extremely good.

This wine has a terrific balance of sweet and spicy cherry fruit along with tightness and acidity. There's also an underlying earthy layer that's nice. Raise a glass to a Tuscan bargain!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Boom Boom Syrah 2007 wine review by (PB)

This is one of Charles Smith's *Washington state wines--I was looking forward to this as Smith's wines are almost always unique and tasty.

The wine has a weighty black cherry hue with a bouquet yielding sweet perfumed powdery fruit with , cherry candy, and "Chinese 5 Spice" aromas. A little weird but again--unique!

Palate--Chinese 5 Spice flavors with some black pepper, berry fruit and sweet dark chocolate. finish hangs on for a bit.

I wasn't real taken by this wine and honestly was a bit disappointing even at $16. Still, the uniqueness of this creation is an education so raise a glass.
*Shaw's are one brand that you must not let yourself be put off by the amateurish labels. His generic labeled "House Wine" both red and white are usually quite good and nice values!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pommery Brut Royal wine review by Billy

Nose:Mushroom and toasted sesame crackers underneath a white grapefruit citrus core
Palate: Bitty bubbles that are more prickles than tickles. Strong acid gives weight to the delicacy of the bubbles. Dry as the Brut label suggests but not overly so. Strong citrus acids on the palate are like underripe tropical fruit. Almost bitter but remaining accessible.
Finish: subtle green apple peel and vanilla on the finish.
Overall: I paid about $43 for this bottle just this evening (I think of it as my own "stimulus package"). This champagne is elegant but brutal. It is like the corset under the evening gown, the tuxedo that is uncomfortable but makes you look really quite nice. The flavor of the wine is like that (not the fact of the bottle or the price point) It is the elegance requiring discomfort which is gladly endured for the sake of the beauty it provides. Ascetic. Worthy.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Vina Robles RED4 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Black raspberry, black cherry, plum, and vanilla on the nose

Juicy core of ripe fruit with plush texture on the palate

Finish of wild berries, currants, and spice

Here's an interesting blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Touriga, and Tannat from Paso Robles, California. It's surprisingly good, with wild fruit flavor and a juicy core. I paid $11 which is a pretty good deal. Check it out- and raise a glass!

Friday, February 06, 2009

San Antonio Winery N.V. "port" wine review by (PB)

This California "Port" brilliant plum purple with bouquet of cranberry and black cherry with black berry notes--not very "port like."

Palate is rather flaccid with a sweet thinnish foundation that is weird, awkward and clunky.

Now in fairness--after reading the back label--it states, "Our the perfect ingredient in certain dishes like baked pears in a port sauce..."

Okay for cooking, this is a decent wine; for drinking--not so much.

But note this well; typically many people tend to use their "bad" wine to cook with. DON'T! Never cook with anything you wouldn't drink. Those "bad" flavors do not mysteriously change because they have been added to other ingredients. If you won't drink it; good rule is--don't cook with it! So raise a glass to decent culinary prowess! (BTW $8)

Note--the label shown is for their "Marsala" wine; the "port" label is the same except for that word.

Chateau Clos De Verduin 2005 wine review by (PB)

This cheap 05 Bordeaux was throwing a sediment like a farmer tossing hay. Color is an opaque (thanks to the heavy sediment) garnet.

Bouquet--touches of raspberry with peppery, vegetal, musty fruit.

Palate--Chunky tannins, dry as dust, dried red fruit but tight overall and fairly monotonous. $12.50 so give it a pass!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Erik's The Red Toad Hollow wine review by Billy

Nose: earthy, rich, husky with cherry and black pepper
Palate: soft tannins are round and full feeling. slim body but not anorexic
Finish: thin finish that is a hodge podge rather than a single flow.

Overall:This NV is a blend of 18 different grapes from Paso Robles California. The blend lends a rich nose to the wine which is really wonderful. It has got to be quite an accomplishment to blend 18 (red and white!) varietals and make a drinkable wine let alone something with this kind of character. The wine is fun and easy drinking with character enough to stand up to just about anything you want to serve.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Chateau Mirefleurs 2005 wine review by (PB)

This Grand Vin De Bordeaux from the fabled vintage of 05 is a black cherry hue with dried cherries, tobacco, and wood on the bouquet.

Palate: made in the *"sweet" style with light cherry fruit, candied red fruit on a well structured foundation; Finish is a bit shorter than I would have expected but a nice, lower tiered wine from the 05 vintage. At the $14 price point, this is one of those value Bordeaux so raise a glass!
*Sweet in this sense is not to be confused with "sweet" in the context of a desert wine or even a white wine. Wines in this style tend to be quite dry yet their bounteous fruit give s a sweet palate presence. More and more "old world" wine makers are striving for this "new world" style as it appeals to more palates.

Rosenblum 2007 Contra Costa County Zinfandel wine review by (PB)

This is an intense purple wine with some depth in presentation;

Bouquet: quite sparse but what's there is a nice fudgey, fruity presence.

Palate--full bodied, seductive texture with rich blackberry and plum with a nice finish.

At $15 it is pretty tasty all around. Raise a glass!