Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fattoria Capannacce Rosso della MaremmaToscana 2005 wine review by (PB)

This inexpensive Italian red is a "Super Tuscan" meaning it is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carnaiolo, with the classic Chianti grape of Sangiovese. There are lovely big aromas of black cherry and ripe dark berry fruit with some ripe plum.

Palate--Juicy, with a tannic back bone, tight fruit, chewy, with quick finish and smokey ending.

But--breathe this an hour or more and it is a different wine! It opens nicely and all the imbalance of tannins and tight fruit morphs into an easy drinking, Tuscan which was great with our Lou Malnati's Pizza from Chicago! At $12 raise a glass!

Melini Borghi D'elsa 2008 wine review by (PB)

This $7 wine has a nice garnet hue with tart red fruit aromas with herbal scents that are lovely and almost minty but not quite. More basil like.

Palate--a mite young but juicy fruit-filled cherry/berry core that is tasty.

For the price it is a nice value and a "buy more" so raise a glass.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio/Verduzzo wine review by (PB)

This wine was sent to the WCB free of charge for review.

Crystalline straw hue with lovely fruit aromas rising from the glass.

Bouquet is full of lovely fruit aromas with bananas and vanilla cream at the front with a wonderful tropical fruit melange with melon accents and loads of citrus notes. Wow!

Palate--minerals up front with citrus and juicy acid making this a great food wine. Flavors are a tad thin on opening but really grow after a few minutes. The texture of this wine is supple and carries the menagerie of tropical fruit and apples to a clean, crisp finish.

I paired this with grilled salmon and it was perfect. This wine will run you around the $15 price point. It is one of the best Pinot Grigio's I have had so raise a glass!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Four Vines Old Vine Cuvee Zinfandel 2007 wine review by (PB)

*Previously reviewed: Nice black cherry hue with really nice bouquet of wild black cherry, ripe blackberry and plum with the characteristic wild, brambly, forest floor edge that is classic Zin.

Palate--Nice full bodied plush texture with big, fruity, bready, dark berries on top of plenty of smoke and wood with an espresso highlight. Paired with BBQ'd pulled pork--home made of course.

This is a good example of the grape at a great price of $10.

*Why do we re-review wines? Because it helps you see the subjective elements of wine tasting by checking (if you desire) to see how the same person or a couple experts might review the same wine. It is also so that we can check ourselves on our consistency. You will find that with few exceptions, an adjective might differ here and there from a previous review but you will notice how it reflects that same characteristic. The third reason we may do repeat reviews is to verify that a particular wine we gave a marginal review to was truly marginal rather than just corked or otherwise flawed due to poor storage etc.

At any rate--raise a glass as I ponder my current contract on my latest book! Oh yeah!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Maryhill Wihemaker's White 2008 sponsored wine review by Billy

Nose:minerals, nutmeg and rhubarb against a citrussy acidic backdrop.
Palate:Slight sprtiz on the tongue is fun. Ginger flavors. Soft and smooth at the front of the palate are sparkled with the spritz and give way to some sharper acids at the back.
Finish:Tropical citrus and pineapple on the finish.
Overall: This wine was provided to The Wine Cask Blog by Maryhill winery free of charge for a review. Online this wine runs $12-15. In the glass this Maryhill Winery Winemaker's White 2008 is the palest yellow - almost white. According to the label it is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier grapes. This wine is a varietal adventure with each grape lending its own unique expression to the wine. To start with a minerally nose and move to a gingery palate that has some sparkle and standup backbone to a tropical finish is a joy. I served this with olives, aged gouda and cheddar cheeses, fresh berries and a butter-sage pasta. Delightful.

Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2003 wine review by (PB)

This 7 year old Alsatian Gewurz is on its last legs. Golden hue with "brown" aromas of caramel,burnt honey with nuanced fruit underneath it all reminiscent of stewed pears.

Palate--Solid structure with decent acid and flavors of baked and stewed fruit with subtle classic Gewurz suggestion hiding in the finish which has some light pear and green apple notes. Tastes almost like a Madeira.

How reliable is this blog? I bought my 03 Trimabach a week after NW of this blog for under $10 when it normally sells for twice that. (Read (NW's) entry just below this one) After reading (NW's) piece about his 03 I decided to open mine immediately. Good thing--mine is even a little further gone than (NW's) and would have lost it if I had waited to open it. See? We even take our own advice!

What is a wonderful experience is the glorious difference between the young version of this wine and the aged one. Same wine, same producer, but a world of difference all because of age. If you have the means sometime, buy a few bottles of the same wine and drink them at different ages keeping good notes to compare. You will learn how age effects a wine and you will be able more intelligently to "know" what you like and the treasure that lies within some wines. Raise a glass on this fine summer day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Solane Santi Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2007 wine review by (PB)

This ripasso is a medium garnet hue with a bouquet of unique aromas of dried cherries and a touch of stink like that of some pinot noirs. Herbal notes of italian spices with earthy and slight milk chocolate notes under it all.

Palate--Plush, silky tannins and tasty fruit with smoke and strawberry/cranberry/raspberry fruit with a rather thin finish.

For a $14 ripasso this is a nice wine and great with any kind of tomato based pasta's and garlic bread. Raise a glass!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cave de Saumur "Les Pouches" Saumur 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant apple, melon, and lemons on the nose

Lively and acidic yet full bodied on the palate

Long finish of peach and citrus


I always enjoy this wine. Made from Chenin Blanc, I promise it will be a crowd pleaser (especially for that anything-but-Chardonnay crowd that seems to show up at most parties these days).

The reason Chenin Blanc isn't more popular is due to two very simple things to explain. Number one: the varietal is not often on the label, so for the original expression of this grape you must know to ask for certain white wines from the Loire Valley in France. Occasionally you'll see one with the varietal on the label from California or South Africa (sometimes called Steen). If you do, grab it. Number two: it's unpredictable. Sometimes Chenin Blanc is very dry and firm but other times it has a sweet edge.

Because of these two factors, here's what I suggest. Try a few on your own- after all, isn't it exciting and educational to try a few wines that might be unpredictable? After you discover one you like, serve it to other people. Trust me on this. You'll have the ABC crowd hovering around your half empty bottle looking for insider information. Oh, the best part is that a good Saumur or Chenin Blanc from other parts of the world costs very little. I paid $12 for this one. So raise a glass!

Trimbach Alsace Gewurztraminer 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Tropical fruit bouquet with floral and honey notes

Medium bodied on the palate

Citrus layers on the finish with fig and spice


Here was a bargain I couldn't pass up while treasure hunting with PB of this blog. For $10 on sale, I picked up this clearance wine that was originally $19. Of course, the reason it got marked down is that it was presumed to be past its prime and the store probably only had a few bottles left they wanted to move out. I figured it might still have some life in it, so I grabbed it.

While the wine is most likely fading, it's drinking nicely in this phase. Recognize that might not last much longer. The tropical fruit and spice is still present along with some honey and fig that probably wasn't noticeable on release five or six years ago. If you happen to have some, open it! And raise a glass on a warm Summer evening!

Maso Campofiorin 2006 sponsored wine review (PB)

This "ripasso" style wine was sent to the WCB with compliments.
Presents with a nice ruby/garnet hue of some intensity and a bouquet emitting bold fragrances of nice cherry and earthy notes with subtle prune hint. If you waft the glass away from your nose there is a lovely sweet candied cherry note.

*Palate--A little hot, a little watery in texture and rather thin all around. After a great start, this is disappointingly lackluster with some smoke on the finish but I also just opened it and haven't let it breathe. (*After a couple hours of air my review stands) Finish is smokey fruit but short lived.

This is made from Veronese grapes consisting of a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. In the "ripasso"method of vinfication, grapes that were used in the making of Amarone where the grapes are dried and then vinified, the ripasso method utilizes the pomace (the old skins, stems and seeds) and the new wine is allowed to undergo another fermentation on the pomace. It might sound weird but at its best it produces a more affordable "junior" kind of Amarone.

This wine runs around $15 and for the price, it is a decent enough food wine . Old World lovers of wine will appreciate this more than new world lovers. I paired it with "refrigerator aged" coffee rubbed rib eye steaks on the grill and it did a good job so raise a glass at any rate!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Masi Campofiorin 2006 Sponsored Wine Review by Billy

At the pour this Masi 2006 Campofiorin (aka Ripasso) looks like a deep Zinfandel or Merlot but with the clarity and dazzle of a lighter bodied red.
Nose: Blueberries, lavender, smoke and a hint of spicy vanilla.
Palate: Thin on the palate with soft acids and weak tannins. It is balanced but lacks the plush feel and well defined layers of a heartier wine.
Finish: More berries on the finish and, here is the interesting part, this is where the majority of the character from this bottle emerges. There is some acid and tannin play intermingled with the smoky berries.
Overall: This bottle of Masi Campofiorin 2006 red wine was sent to the Wine Cask Blog free of charge for a review. I have seen it in stores and online for about $15.00. Thanks to Folio Wine Partners for providing the samples. If you are looking for a fruit forward red wine this is not it. With time this wine is opening to reveal additional layers that add more character. However, the layers are phyllo dough thin. This is a wine that can be enjoyed by sitting down and studying it. But for an easier drinking and more accessible wine, select something else.

Either way, Raise a Glass!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Helfrich Gewurztraminer 2007 wine review by (PB)

This is an Alsatian Gewurz which at the price of $12.99 stopped me in my tracks. In my neck of the woods I don't often see anything from Alsace (pronounced--All-Soss) and never see a Gewurztraminer for much below $20. So I hesitantly bought one in case they were dumping these due to a flaw or running out their life span.

Boy was I wrong. Straw presentation with fragrant stone fruit aromas with sweet powder, green apples and spice. Lovely!

palate--Nice minerally front with solid structure that is balanced with fruit galore; apple, peach, pear, and a mix of tropical fruit. Simply gorgeous so I bought more today just so I could raise more glasses!

Drink chilled on your porch doing a crossword puzzle with your wife--NOT, or drink unchilled with spicy Asian food, salty cheese or just all by itself.

Gnarley Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2007wine review by (PB)

This is a $10 Zin from Lodi, Ca. and turns out to be a nice find.

It presents with a dark cherry hue with a bouquet of jammy blackberry and plum with sweet spices and a breath of blueberry.

Palate--Big "sweet" plum and blackberry flavors with companions of cola, brambles and black licorice. We served it with grilled, marinated sirloin tips which were marginal but the wine was fine!

What was interesting with this wine is that I perused various other's reviews at the many retail sites "out there" that enable anyone to write a review of one of the wines they sell. I read about 10 different reviews and 9 of them gave half-hearted approval of this wine with comments like, "lacked complexity," "boring mouth feel," and various ho-hum comments. Only one person said, "I don't understand why everyone seems to pan this wine. We served it at a tasting of 10 zins and it was clear and away the favorite."

Everyone has an opinion on what they like--that's fair. But as I have written in the past, there is an objective element to wine review and to what constitutes a good wine versus a bad wine personal preference not withstanding!

This IS a good example of the grape and is well made. At the price, this is a nice Zin--period. The Wine Cask Blog exists to give you the benefit of our experience with thousands of bottles of wines we have downed. That is the only way one can adequately and reliably review wines. So raise a glass--here's to YOU!

Chateau Patache D'Aux 2005 wine review by (PB)

This Cru Bourgeoise from Bordeaux is a rather intense black cherry hue with a gorgeous bouquet of big black berry pie aromas, blueberry touches with ample pie spice and cigar box highlights. Nice!

Palate--Medium bodied with toast and berry fruit and some nice cedar notes at mid-palate. It is all nearly integrated but another 1-2 years would improve what is a pretty darn good wine.

This is a $16 snatch from the hallowed vintage of 05 and I would love to find another and hold it another year just to see what the extra time would do. Another nice find and a good value so raise a glass!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Masi Masianco 2009 Sponsored Wine Review by Billy

Nose: Lightly acidic nose with summer flower bouquet, minerals and lemon notes.
Palate: Spry acids make this very lively and crisp. Even and balanced. Dry, Refreshing and light.
Finish: Short and dry. cleansing to the palate. Like summer time in the shade. Summer fruit notes tease at the back of a nice clean finish - nectarine skins and lemon infused water.
Overall: This wine was sent to The Wine Cask Blog for free in order for us to review it. Thanks to Folio Wine Partners for providing the samples. I have seen this wine sell for anywhere from $12 to $15 here in the states. For an interesting Italian white blend, this is a fair price. On sale, this is a must buyThis is a blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo grapes. According to the wine making notes the Verduzzo grapes are partially dried after harvest and blending with the Pinot Grigio. This concentrates the flavor and sugars in the grape and makes a very nice Pinot Grigio alternative.

While others have noted more tropical fruits and a long finish, I find that the crispness and cleanness of the Masi Masianco 2009 is enhanced with a short and enthusiastic finish. Whatever your palate is telling you, raise a glass!

Raise a Glass!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rocca Sveva Soave Classico 2008 sponsored wine review by Billy

Nose: peach, lavender, minerals and oil
Palate: smooth on the tongue with a nice acidity at the back of the palate for structure.
Finish: pleasing, tree-nut flour texture at the sides of the mouth at the finish yield a pleasing diversion from other summer whites.
Overall This wine was sent for free to The Wine Cask Blog to review by the Soave Consorzio. It will typically run anywhere from $12-18. This really is a delightful summer wine. Made of 100% Garganega it is a pleasant change from your typical summer time Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. It is a nice and easily drinkable combination of flowers (I thought lavender) and mineraliness and fruit. It has a good structure that keeps it easy drinking but can stand up to buttery foods. If you are looking for something new, inexpensive and summery, pick up a bottle of the Rocca sveva Soave Classico from 2008 and Raise a Glass!

Long Flat Destinations Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2006 wine review by (PB)

Aussie varietal with a light straw presence and bouquet of spicy, grassy vanilla cream and guava galore.

Palate--front palate of spice which is quickly overpowered by sharply acidic citrus fruit and tart limes. Finishes quickly and cleanly--make that, cleeeeeeeeeanly.

I like an acidic white and this fills the bill even though it is a bit overdone. It should be a decent food wine which I will use in my risotto I am making to go with grilled tuna. Not everyone will enjoy this acidic of a wine but I do and at $5 on sale, I'm raising a glass!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Snoqualmie Riesling "Wine Maker's Select" 2007 wine review by (PB)

Straw hue with lovely bouquet of light lemon and pear with a mixed tropical fruit expression and then awesome sweet apple and creme brulee notes.

Palate--Big sweet fruit flavors of citrus, lime, minerals, stone and just more mixed fruit. If this had just a touch more acid I would do a cart wheel over it. But it is an excellent summer quaff so chill it down well and then enjoy it as it warms up.

At $7, this a wine you buy by the case for those nice afternoons in the sun. Pairs really well with a salty cheese like aged Gouda, as well as herbed goat cheese and sesame crackers. Raise a glass and shout "Yeah Washington State!"

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Conte Di Bregonzo Amarone 2006 wine review by (PB)

Reviewed twice previously, this was one of my top ten wines of the year for 2009 and it will probably be on the top ten wine of the year list for this year again! I paid around $16 for this wine at a Trader Joes in Boston and made the 3 hour trek back just to pick up more. Alas I am down to two bottles...

Deep dark hue with rich berry laden spice with cherry pipe tobacco nuances and a touch of prunes.

Palate--Plush, rich dark mocha with rich blackberry, and a dark cherry rear although faint. For the price this is an absolutely fabulous wine so raise a glass.

Chateau Beauchene Grand Reserve 2007 wine review by (PB)

This Cotes Du Rhone red is a black cherry hue with aromas of cracked black pepper and sweet red fruit under a big layer of cooking spices.

Palate--Closed, stingy on opening and a little chewy. Breathe it!

Cherry predominates with dried cherry behind the brighter fruit. Will only get better with another 2 years. For the price, ($10-12) this is a solid Rhone table wine which is great with food from pasta with a red sauce to something on the grill. So raise a glass and thanks T.S.!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Gorgeous lemon, lime, and pineapple

Firm, with good acidity

Long finish of citrus and mineral layers


Cloudy Bay is the winery that helped put New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on the map in years past. This 2008 is a good wine, with nice citrus layers and a long finish. It also has mineral notes on the finish that others typically don't have.

While it's at the upper end of the price spectrum for such wines, it's a real treat at $25 or so. Raise a glass!

Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexander Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Dark plum, blackberry, and dark chocolate

Full bodied and dense

Dark berries, herbs, coffee, and dark chocolate


Here's a classic Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a dense core of fruit along with coffee and dark chocolate accents.

In my experience, this wine has been reliable from year to year, and the 2006 is no exception. Expect to pay around $20, although the list price is even a bit higher. Raise a glass!