Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Korbel Brut Rose review by (PB)

Since I signed with a publisher yesterday for my upcoming book, I wanted a little bubbly with dinner to celebrate. (My beloved also had the same idea and brought home a bottle of a different kind as well.) We should have opened hers.

Very pale pink hue that is hard to describe exactly what color it is almost looking a bit putrid. Bouquet is very lightly sweet with aromas that are so subtle that they are almost non-existent. Basically smells like a $4 rose still wine.

Palate--bubbles were okay with a decent stream of fine pricklies but again, yields a very simple presence that is hard to comment on.

So we finished the bottle with appetizers and a light pasta dinner but for $15 this bottle was twice the price of what it should have been. I played it cheap instead of springing for the $22 Mumm's Brut Prestige which is excellent. Like I said, should have opened the sparkler my wife brought home...At any rate, RAISE A GLASS TO MY FIRST BOOK!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 review by (PB)

This sale Cab is 56% Napa grapes and 44% Sonoma grapes and it is a value wine at the price of $16 down from $30. It is a nice dark garnet hue with a lovely bouquet of sweet dark cherry and licorice with hints of pipe tobacco.

Palate--Nice full flavored with berries and some spice, cedar notes finishing with a touch of fruity chocolate. A nice example of the grape.

This is what you might expect for a $30 Cab so at $16 grab more and raise a glass!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Castle Rock Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Petite Sirah 2005 review by (PB)

Dark black cherry hue with sweet ripe cherry bouquet with dark extracted black cherry fruit.

Palate--Velvety tannins, drinking well now and will hold another couple years. This is a rich wine yet a bit thin where it counts--flavor; but it isn't bad especially for the price of $10. Finishes quickly but safe enough and not a bad representation of the grape. Raise a glass.

Woodbridge Brut Sparkling wine review by (PB)

Pale straw color with peach and touch of vanilla in the nose with a hint of nuttiness.

Palate--this is okay, but cheap tasting; the kind of sparkler you might serve to someone who doesn't know any better. :) I paid $10 for this and for that there are several better quality sparklers out there like Freixenet or Ste. Michelle. Seek those out and raise a glass!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maximo Viura 2009 review by (PB)

I grabbed this because I thought perhaps "Virua" might be another varietal grape I had not yet tried but alas, it has about a billion other names like Macabeo and Ugni Blanc which of course I have had. Oh well, I have not had it though by itself because it is normally a blending grape. This wine hails from Spain.

It was interesting--Gargantuan tropical fruit bouquet that is impressive with a sweet menagerie of lime, mango, orange, pineapple and pear notes--wow!

Palate--although this was quite warm, it was RACY with an acid edge to it that could cut your tongue. Wowza--and I like strong acid in my whites but this is a bit over the top. Beyond that though there is lots of tropical fruit all over the mouth and this wine actually makes your mouth water it is so juicily acidic. (The next day I had it chilled and wasn't quite so sharp but neither was it as full of flavors.) Bottom line is Ii paid $6.50 for it and for that I can't complain but wouldn't buy it again. Raise one glass anyway!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Philippe Delesvaux Selection de Grains Nobles Coteaux du Layon 1999 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose deeply layered with apricot, asian pear, honeysuckle, and almonds

Thick, rich, and creamy on the palate

Long, long finish with many layers of stewed stone fruit, fig, orange marmelade, honey, and spice


Here's one of the great dessert wines of the world. A late harvest Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, this wine is almost endless. Begin with it chilled and allow the wine to warm up as you drink it, and you'll be amazed at the layers that emerge and develop. The range of flavors is tremendous, and the color and texture also set it apart. Wine Spectator awared this wine 99 points, and it's a steal at $50 for a 500mL bottle. Raise a glass!

Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Peumo Vineyard Block 27 Carmenere 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Intense wild berries, black cherry, and herbs on the nose

Full bodied and dense

Mulberry, black tea, chocolate, and spice


Here's a blockbuster Carmenere from Chile and most certainly one of the best produced. Once just a simple blending grape in several regions of France, Carmenere has shown a lot of promise as a varietal wine in Chile for some time now.

This one is rich and expressive as well as full bodied and intense. While it carries some of the herbal tones typical of Chilean reds, it has plenty of fruit to round things out. For $32 or so, it's worth seeking out. Raise a glass!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Straight Jacket Shiraz 2005 Wine review by (PB)

Nice garnet hue with ripe blackberry nose, fudge, and black cherry and cigar box notes.

Palate: full bodied, hot, chewy tannins extracted, pushy. Lacks character. This is a full bodied Aussie Shiraz that was on sale from $20 or so to around $8. In truth it was more of an $8 wine than $20 wine. Not worth seeking out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Thrill of the Unknown Harvest--by (PB)

I've been growing wine grapes for over ten years--well over in fact and only recently (three years ago) decided to try my hand at making wine. I have always been a "by the seat of my pants kind of guy." "Intuitive leadership" is the marketable name of the characteristic.

So this is my third year of trying to produce Marechal Foch--a hearty wine grape that will survive the Maine's winters. I was particularly excited this year as the growing condition seemed near perfect unlike the past two years which were so wet, everything basically rotted on the vine.

Total yield this year? It will net me about 6 bottles of wine. You read that right--not 6 hectares; not 6 acres, not 6 barrels or even 6 cases, but 6 bottles--maybe. Based on previous year's harvests and production of similar quantity, the cost per bottle puts it somewhere between Screaming Eagle and Petrus and I assure you nothing it is nothing like their quality. Truth be told, previous vintages have been barely potable.

This year I stopped the fermentation of a few half-bottles attempting a "Nouveau" style which was actually pretty tasty! The rest of the vintage--one quart of must--is proceeding to full fermentation as I write. My hopes are high, my expectations are low. But as I handle the grapes, prune the vines, incessantly check on their progress nearly daily through the growing season I sense what it might be like to have a real vineyard, and produce a wine that is not necessarily spectacular but decidedly good. The anticipation of what might be, makes it worth it. Such is life too I suppose. But this blog is about wine not philosophy so raise a glass!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 reivew by (PB)

Sale score on this wine at $15 regularly $22. Nice dark black cherry hue. Bouquet is full of nice plummy, black berries and spices with hint of eucalyptus and cigar box and a touch of green pepper.

Palate--is rich with gorgeous, ripe tannins, loads of dark berry fruit, with a delicious cocoaey fruit finish that lingers a long time and this is right out of the gate without any air. Raise a glass!

(Served with espresso rubbed, grilled rib eyes; oh yeah!)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Carmenere 2006 review by (PB)

Deep rich black cherry hue with rich dense black cherry--berry fruit with pipe tobacco notes.

Palate--thickish, velvety tannins supporting luxuriant dark berry fruit that sits heavy coating the mouth finishing with more dark fruit and an espresso core.

(NW) brought this up last weekend. It is Chilean and had I not known what it was I would have sworn it was Cabernet Sauvignon from the bouquet. Tasting though is a different experience than Chilean Cabs. Carmenere has become a singular varietal due to the expertise and success of Chilean growers/producers.

At $35 or so a higher tier Carmenere is a relatively economical way to experience a rich, big Cabernet-like wine. So raise a glass.

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa) 2005 review by (PB)

Purple/garnet hue still youthful for a 5 year old wine. Dusty cherry aromas with a sweet line of gentle herbs.

Palate--Chunky tannins, a bit angular with some cedar, light licorice and sweet cherry fruit. This wine is basically just not ready to drink. Potential is there but still surprisingly young.

It was fabulous with our charred grilled rib-eyes. This was a gift to my wife from our son who probably paid around $40 for it. Raise a glass.

Monday, September 06, 2010

C'est La Vie 2009 Rose review by (PB)

This Vin De Pays rose is 100% Syrah and the heft of the Syrah grape tends to carry through a bit in this rose. It presents with a beautiful watermelon juice hue with a huge bouquet of flowers, powder, and bubblegum deep in.

Palate--full bodied (for a rose) with strawberry touched off by a raspberry tartness underneath sweet fruit. This is a "big" rose. I paid $8.50 for it and noted to myself to "buy more" so Raise a glass! This is a nice accompaniment to many dishes of a light to medium heft. One of the best roses I have had in a long time.