Friday, July 30, 2010

Chateau St.Jean Chardonnay (Sonoma) 2008 Review by (PB)

Very light golden presentation with powdery vanilla front on plenty of citrus with lemons and some tropical fruits.

Palate--Racy acidity with soft texture and lemon, light apple, and creme brulle that finishes with a creamy aftertaste that hangs on for some time.

Another nice value from the maker Margot Von Staavren, which will pair greatly with our lobsters which are in the pot! The acid will cleanse the palate with every sip and will highlight the sweet lobster ecstasy which is only in Maine! At $9, raise a glass and at $4.25/pound for lobsters, raise a fork!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

R. Stuart "Big Fire" Pinot Noir 2007 reviw by (PB)

This Oregon wine presents as a very light crystalline black cherry hue with pronounced green pepper aromas on opening with slight pepper nose. With 10 minutes of air the green pepper aromas are gone replaced by strawberry fruit fragrances.

Palate--Somewhat subdued with a hint of licorice and smokey berries. This is an odd Pinot and may be the result of forest fires in the region at the time of growth--not sure without more research. I paid $15 for this and it is unique but exactly in a good way. I would pass on this and buy a Foris Pinot in the same price range and a much better wine.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurztraminer 2008 review by (PB)

Barely straw hued with nice aromas of Lime, ripe pineapple and lemon touches.

Palate-- Off dry, with solid acid but a bit much on the alcohol that overshadows the fruit. It has a juicy core but fleeting flavors. I think my wife paid around $8 and it's OK if you're desperate for a reasonable facsimile of Gewurztraminer. But I'd pass, pay $2 more for Fetzer or Covey Run and get some joy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quarles Harris Vintage Port 2007 review by (PB)

This "Vintage" Oporto is deeply pigmented with beautiful floral violet fragrances with green tree subtleties.

Palate: Thick and creamy, rich, plush, sensual with big dark berry fruit; I am nearly struck dumb at how utterly amazing this vintage port is yet so young. This is a love affair in a bottle, absolutely wowing. I reluctantly paid $38 for a full bottle of this at a Trader Joes in Boston. I have since had my Los Angeles daughter find me a couple more bottles and bring them to Maine.

Note well--there are many "port" wines on the shelf, some which contain the word "vintage" in the title especially "Late Bottled Vintage Port." These are NOT "Vintage" port and normally the price is telling. This is why I was so skeptical of this true Vintage Port being drinkable and 2007 is one of the best vintages of a lifetime. But this is the real deal and a ridiculous value at this price. Considering Vintage Port is meant to age for a long time I cannot even imagine what this wine will be like with some years on it. Raise a glass and say WOW!

Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 review by (PB)

Pretty garnet hue with nice ample, brambly rich creamy berry aromas;

Palate: tart, harsh, blackberry fruit, and thin. I served it too warm.

With some air it mellows out and is neither tart nor harsh but this is a very mediocre Zin. I paid $10 for this and for the price there are numerous zins widely available and much better. Think Rosenblum'sVintners Cuvee or Cline so definitely raise a glass of another Zin!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Man Chenin Blanc 2009 review by (PB)

Light golden hue with nice aromas of sweet cream, green apple notes with traces of pear and maybe even light guava.

Palate--Racy acidity, juicy fruit core of citrus lemon/lime with a slightly bitter finish.

This is different than previous vintages and is a bit edgy. It is okay for a $9 wine but past vintages were super value Chenins. This one will pair nicely with buttery, fatty foods but I would try something else in a Chenin of which there are many nice values out there. Raise a glass of Chenin Blanc--the Rodney Dangerfield of varietals--but probably not this one.

Colloquially known as "Steen" in South Africa so don't miss a good Chenin because of the name.

Duckhorn Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Green apple, citrus, and green herbs on the nose

Medium bodied and focused flavors on the palate

Finishes with more citrus and cut grass

With all the hot weather, I've had a nice run of Sauvignon Blancs lately. This one shows nicely on a warm afternoon with appetizers.

Our friends treated us to this bottle on a recent visit to their home in Wisconsin. While this wine runs $25 or more, there are also plenty of great Sauvignon Blancs for much less money. Don't miss the perfect opportunity to enjoy one. And raise a glass!

McPrice Myers Paso Robles Beautiful Earth 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Ripe dark berries, gobs of chocolate, and pepper on the nose

Full bodied and richly textured

More dark fruit with black licorice and pepper on the finish


This wine is a big, bold Syrah that carries balance into the finish. I recently drank it with a steak, and it was a worthy compliment. While it runs about $30 retail, I don't see it in my neck of the woods. The restaurant price I paid was $66. Raise a glass!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pommard-Epenots Louis Latour 1990 review by (PB)

(NW) served this up and it was fabulous.
Brick red showing its age.

Bouquet--Aged aromas of caramel with a touch of acetone laced with subdued fruit. Away from the swirl, the aromas that carry are wonderful red fruit with hints of strawberry but only a touch.

Palate--Surprisingly hot first impression but light smokey stewed prunes and the harshness mellowed out very quickly with no "heat" at all.

This aged Burgundy (Pinot Noir) definitely needed to be drunk being past its prime but still truly wonderful. Aged wines bring a certain charm that both mystify and capture one's senses.

Paired with a grilled chicken. Awesome all around so raise a glass.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2009 by (PB)

Very pale slightly green with bouquet of sweet citrus, green apple, light lemon notes and creme brulee.

Palate--solidly acidic, with pronounced white pepper, lemon and citrus fruit on a vanilla foundation with a textured cream finish. This is an all around nice Chard that works with food or by itself. Not manufactured tasting and crisply refreshing. Around $20 so raise a glass of real wine!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beringer California Riesling 2009 wine review by (PB)

Almost clear in color but with beautiful, surprising big aromas of lime, and pungent sweet guava with oriental 5 spice! Really nice!

Palate--Nice structure with off dry flavors of citrus, lemon rind, lime and a finish that holds.

I wrote in my review book, "R U kidding me?" This was $6 at Sam's Club and it is really a great value! If here is more I will definitely buy more!

Beringer was a producer of some pricey wines years ago and then made a decision to essentially forsake the higher end wines and just produce popularly priced table wine. Their change of focus has been our gift. They are consistent producers of super value wines so raise a glass.

Buena Vista Carneros "Ramal Vineyard" Pinot Noir 2006 wine review by (PB)

Nice Pinot hue of sparkling easy cherry brightness. Room rising bright sweet fruit aromas with a nice forward raspberry touch with loads of strawberry and background hint of black pepper. Very nice!

Palate--Major strawberry fruit with nuanced chocolate ganache and even a slight cream texture. It finishes with a touch of smoke.

For our anniversary we went to a local up scale restaraunt which does not have a liquor license but encourages you to bring your own. Now that's a sweet deal! This wine, which I brought back to Maine on a trip to Los Angeles coast me $30. It would be anywhere 2-3 times that in a restaurant so the meal was a relative bargain. Knowing ahead of time I was going to have hanger steak and my bride, Quail in a creamy tarragon sauce, I wanted a wine we both would enjoy. The Pinot Noir was hefty enough to work with my steak and gentle enough to work with the Quail. Raise a glass to Pinot Noir.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Poggio Amorelli Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 wine review by (PB)

This wine is showing a little age with slight bricking just beginning at the rim. It is an opaque garnet with a bouquet that is throwing gorgeous cherry fruit into the air from its place on the table. Cherry and mushrooms rise on the swirl along with a lovely pipe tobacco and a touch of licorice.

Palate--For a wine of this age it should be prime yet it is chewy (tannic) with cherry as the predominate flavor with an earthy foundation that is slightly tart. This is classic Sangiovese that is not up to the vintage. At $30 retail which is what I paid, I expect more out of a wine.

We had this wine on our 35th and blogged it accordingly if interested to see the difference 2 years of aging makes. I paid $70 for it at a restaurant on our 35th. The pairing? A bizarre spread of appetizers consisting of Baked brie with puff pastry and jam, Eel, Salmon and Tuna sashimi, bruscheta, three cheese raviolis with tomato pesto.

Re: pairing--this was not the classic wine to serve with our spread of appetizers but it worked none-the-less. you just don't take a sip of your wine right after downing some sashimi with wasabi and soy. Wait a few minutes. If you like the wine--go for it regardless what you are washing down just realize there will be better combinations especially with spicy tastes.

All in all, it is hard to go wrong when sharing a dinner and a bottle with the love of your life. We have been together more than twice as long as we were old when we met. Everything is better with your best friend so raise a glass to our 37th year together in faithfulness truly blessed by God!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Moselland Arsvitis Riesling 2006 wine review by(PB)

The grape of Germany is Riesling and the best German viticultural area I the area known as the Mosel, Saar, Ruwer--3 rivers in this prime grape growing region.

This is a QBA wine which putting it simply means it has earned a certain level of quality to merit the QBA rating. For reference, this is toward the bottom of the rung as far as quality ratings of German wines go but don't think that means plonk. This wine which cost a ridiculous $5 is nice gentle gold color with wonderful aromas of cream sickle (orange sherbet) and a mix of tropical fruits.

Palate--Interesting with okay structure and citrus middle with tart mandarin orange notes. I drank it too warm and chilled should be really nice.

On a trip to the Mosel my wife an I were astounded by the grade of the slopes on which grapes are planted. One misstep and you wouldn't stop until the water--a long way down. And we can enjoy the efforts and danger of their work for $5. At this it is a buy more wine and at this age needs to be consumed NOW. This is another front porch quaffing wine on a nice hot summer day so raise a glass!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Rosenblum Sonoma Valley 2006 Reserve Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard wine reivew by (PB)

Today is the 4th of July when we in America celebrate our independence from Britain. After roasting in the blazing sun for 4 hours playing the captain of a Revolutionary War ship we came home and I commenced slow cooking some country style pork ribs on the Webber grill. What would be a tribute to the great country in which I live and all the sacrifice poured out for that freedom? An All American wine!

Moderately intense hue with nice pigmentation of opaque garnet with lovely aromas of classic Zinfandel loaded with brambly ripe dark berry fruit, bitter sweet chocolate, espresso and spicey wild herbs.

Palate--Gorgeous thick texture with intense ripe unsweetened baker's chocolate highlighted by black fruit flavors with a charcoal underlayer and more fruit after that.

Finishes with a lasting espresso, berry and wood finish.

This is why you buy single vineyard wines. this wine normally sells for around $45 but I found it online for $25. It WILL pair nicely with my ribs but it doesn't matter. This is sheer American independence drinking. Here's to you Mr. Adams, Mr. Jefferson and Capt. John Paul Jones and the tens of thousands who paid the ultimate price for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! I raise a glass.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

July 4th wines by (PB)

With the annual celebration/observance of our declaring independence from the tyrants of Britain only hours away what might you be drinking? Need some ideas? Here goes:
For sitting and quaffing put a good chill on a domestic, German, Alsatian or Aussie Riesling or perhaps a Chenin Blanc; a domestic, S. African, a Vouvray (France) or my first pick--a wonderful Gewurztraminer from California, or Alsace. None of these wines will cost you more than $20 and there are many nice drinking wines at the $10 price point.

If grilling, Zinfandel is my first choice. There are numerous nice examples around $12 but if you want to splurge, buy a "single vineyard" bottling. Plan to pay around $30 but its worth it. For that steak on the grill, get a decent Cabernet Sauvignon; here it will cost you a bit more (high teens on up) but Chile has some nice bargains. Casa Lapostolle (Cuvee Alexandre) or Concha Y Toro are usually reliable but there are many more.

Above all be safe and remember what the day is all about--then raise a glass to all the dead who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom!