Sunday, May 31, 2009

St Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Black cherry, raspberry, and cedar on the nose

Full bodied and fruity on the palate

Mixed berries and eucalyptus on the finish

This is a decent wine that I put a few extra years of bottle age on in my cellar. I don't know what the direct effects of that have been, but the wine seems well integrated and smooth. The black cherry and berries are prevalent throughout, and the cedar layer turns to eucalyptus on the finish.

I paid $16 for the wine, while $22 is a more representative price now for the current vintage. Raise a glass!

Charles Shaw California Merlot 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Cherry, red berries, and vanilla on the nose

Round and slightly sweet on the palate

Cherry, red candy, and oak

Well, I haven't reviewed a "Two Buck Chuck" in a few years, so I thought I'd grab a couple bottles on a Trader Joe's run. I need to level with you here- this run was a year ago and I just didn't ever get around to opening the bottles (mostly because my wine philosophy of late has centered around this simple principle: "Life's too short to drink bad wine".) I just assumed this wine would be pretty lame.

After opening, the wine showed very predictable results with red fruit, vanilla, and oak. I felt I could have written the review without even popping the cork. For $3 though ("Three Buck Chuck now"), what do you expect? Actually, at this price the wine is drinkable and something I realize many people stock up on for that very reason.

Then, three days later something interesting happened. I found the remainder of the bottle- about one glass full- on my cellar floor. I had forgotten about it and simply set it back down in my wine cellar with a cork stopper in it. With this discovery, I decided to pour the last glass and see how it tasted.

Amazingly, the wine was much better three days later without even being properly cared for. It had an extra dimension of cedar and spice that wasn't there before, and even the texture was better. I can't explain it other than to say that wine is an amazing and highly unpredictable potion. Raise a glass!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stony Brook Camissa 2004 wine review by (PB)

This S. African red was given to us as a gift. It was recommended to our gift giver by the shop proprietor emphasizing terroir over "another red wine."

It is a black purple hued wine with an interesting bouquet of sweet berry and spearmint notes with a bubble gum and spice underlay. Nice!

Palate--spices galore but a bit watery on the texture yet truly interesting flavors with smoke, and berries. It has taken me years to figure out what was terroir and what was a flaw when it comes to S. African reds.

S. African reds seem to highlight band-aid aromas and tastes, normally associated with a mycological contaminant called Brettanomyces. But I believe in the case of S. Africa, it happens to be terroir and one I am not crazy about.

Never-the-less, I believe I could I.D. a S. African red wine in the dark with out even tasting it. Still, this was an interesting wine and we thank R and Dr. S! Raise a glass to Fresno!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rosenblum Zinfandel Aparicio Vineyard 2005 wine review by (PB)

Tired of the same old $10 wines, I used Memorial Day as an excuse to "open that bottle" and chose this one since I was grilling ribs.

This wine is a pretty cranberry hue with super wild, brambly, floral, spicy, with subtle dark baker's chocolate underneath rich blackberry jam notes.

Palate--Wow! Ultra sweet--yet not sweet-- with a spiced crazed foundation of dense, ripe berry fruit that keeps on giving. Later on, it is just big, and delicious with ceder notes and a finish that makes you remember why you drink wine.

For $24, why not? Raise a glass to our armed forces who keep us free to enjoy such pleasures as ripe, rich Zinfandel!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chateau La Grange Clinet 2005 wine review by (PB)

I snagged two bottles of this wine from Whole Foods after digging behind the 2006's. At $14, I decided to get one to taste and one to lay down since the Wine Spectator rated this an 89 point wine with a glowing review.

It is a Grand Vin De Bordeaux wine that is black cherry in color with elegant sweet blackberry, plum and black cherry aromas on opening.

Palate--on opening is very minerally and full of wet stones, steel shallow fruit and a wet stone finish but with good potential.

I breathed it another 2 hours and it is surprisingly tannic still and predominate cherry flavors with course tannins that need another couple years to comea around. After 3 1/2 hours of breathing, the minerals and wet stones are all gone. This is a sturdy wine for $14 and I loook forward to the next bottle in a year or so. Raise a glass to the inexpensive 05's which are still out there if you hunt.

Redwood creek Pinot Noir 2007 wine review by (PB)

My beloved was waiting fro me to finish a meeting and so grabbed this bottle for herself at the store. It is produced by the Frei Bros. which is Sebastiani production with grapes sourced from (Vin de Pays) France.

Light black cherry hue with light strawberry aroma. The palate is weird, the flavors off, and this is just first class plonk--an oddity from producers who usually give you a decent value. Even at $7, this is a wine to be passed up!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Girard Napa Valley Petite Sirah 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Beautiful aromas of blackberry, chocolate, and spice on the nose

Rich, plush texture on the palate

Finish of dark berries, anise, cocoa, and trailing sweet spice notes

Nicely done Petite Sirah! This wine is not big and clumsy, nor is it oddly tannic and herbal- two opposite and unfortunate outcomes this varietal can sometimes yield. Rather, this wine has richness and balance with beautiful aromas and flavors.

I enjoyed this bottle with friends at a restaurant in Charleston, SC. The wine list price was $63 (the retail price is around $30). Remember this is not Syrah. This is a flavor profile closer to Zinfandel. Check it out- and raise a glass!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A to Z Oregon Pinot Gris 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Layers of light citrus aromas and wet stones on the nose

Crisp and light on the palate

Dry finish of grapefruit and minerals

This wine is light in color and light in character. Holding a full glass up to a white background, the color of the wine almost disappears. Crisp and dry on the palate and finish, it layers nicely and pairs well with light appetizers and summer fare.

While it should run you around $14 or so, make sure you get the most recent vintage so you drink this as young as possible. And raise a glass!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Monsieur Touton Sauvignon Blanc 2006 wine review by (PB)

My wife was in Chicago recently and decided to grab this white Bordeaux to bring back. (I have been studying/tasting wine for over 30 years and my total "white Bordeaux" experience can be counted on two hands.) This was an inexpensive one at the $10 price point.

It is straw in color with a sweet powdery aroma that is unique in my experience for Sauvignon Blanc. You could not mistake this for a new world S. Blanc that is for sure. It has generic citrus aromas with grapefruit predominate with a touch of sweet spice at first sniff.

In the mouth this wine is minerals, minerals and more minerals with hints of spice, and wet stones. It is wildly acidic but not overdone with more elusive flavors and more citrus in the form of a bouquet of sweet, mixed fruit.

I paired this with grilled Brook trout and Rainbow trout I caught yesterday on my home made flies. It was decent enough but would have probably been better with a light, fruity red like a nice Beaujolais Cru. At any rate, raise a glass!

Columbia Crest Gewurztraminer Two Vines 2006 wine review by (PB)

Light golden with fragrances of sweet peach with more lemon and citrus.

Palate--Nice off dry foundation with lemony notes though light on flavors all around. Still well made and if Gewurz is your thing, you just can't go wrong with Columbia Crest at $8.

So put a chill on this, put it in a decent wine glass, and sit back on a patio or porch, enjoy the Spring and raise a glass!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay 2007 (Sonoma) wine review by (PB)

Margot Van Staavaren--wine maker of the year and first rate vintner produces quality Chards at every price point. This is the popularly priced ($11) table wine.

Bouquet--Vanilla and light orange aromas with tropical fruit.

Palate--has a wonderful spicy front with a juicy citrus core, light flavors but superbly made with a zesty finish. Again--always reliable so raise a glass!

Smoking Loon Syrah 2006 wine review by (PB)

I reviewed this wine back in November of 08 and wasn't crazy about it then either.

Sharp aromas of dark berries and plum.

Palate--watery texture, hot, a little spice but is blah. Don't waste your money ($10) on this and raise a glass of something else. Plenty of value Syrahs out there even at the $10 price point. This loon should have quit smoking...

LaVieille Ferme (red) 2006 wine review by (PB)

Cherry-cranberry hue with strawberry light chocolate nose reminding me of a Beaujolais cru I had fairly recently.

Palate is lively with steely minerals and stingy berries but still tasty and always a value at $8 or less. Raise a glass.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Blackstone Merlot 2006 wine review by (PB)

Sourced California grapes creating a black cherry hued wine with fudgey plummy aromas and black berries.

Palate--ripe bold dark fruit with blackberry jam notes; it is a little chewy but tasty if you like the style. Finishes with charcoal and smoke. It was on sale for $7 and for the price, raise a glass.

Adega Borba 2006 wine review by (PB)

This wine from Portugal is 75% Aragonez AKA Tempranillo and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Purpole cherry hue with pleasant though simple cherry aromas.

Palate--Cherry and black cherry notes with a slight peppery hint. Uncomplicated but pleasurable at the ubiquitous price point of $9. Raise a glass.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 wine review by (PB)

Fairly light cherry hue with light cherry and licorice bouquet with chocolate emerging.

Palate--Forthright and edgy but light flavors; I breathed this for another 1/2 hour yielding earthy cherry with a chocolate mid palate, light flavors and I believed this wine has peaked. It was actually a bit flat which is surprising for this vintage which was a superior one. I paid $20 at Sam's Club but it was a little disappointing. Could this be a "dumb phase" I have read about but don't know if I actually have ever experienced it? I have reviewed this wine in November of 08 and it was a brighter more lively wine.

Raise a glass of another 2003 Chianti at this price.