Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chateau de Pibarnon Bandol 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Plum, tobacco, and mineral aromas on the nose

Full bodied and firmly textured on the palate

Long, intense finish of black cherry, cedar, tobacco, and pepper


I wish I had some of this sitting in my cellar because this wine tastes great now and should also age well.

Bandol is a lesser-known region in Southern France that produces some powerful red wines primarily made from Mourvedre. This is my first experience with this producer, and I'm really impressed. It's the best Bandol I've had, with a real intensity and nice layers throughout. It runs around $50 and I highly recommend it for something off the beaten path. Raise a glass!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LaBoure-Roi Pouilly Fuisse 2008 review by (PB)

This white Burgundy made from Chardonnay is vastly different than the Chards we're used to of new world origins! It presents with a nice gentle golden hue with a bouquet that is at once citrusy and lively with vibrant mineral notes and laced with vanilla and a fleeting note of mint.

Palate--Lemon peel is pronounced with an austere foundation, and a rigorous acid core with notes of lime as well. It paired well with my "birthday" lobster stew.

Reference price of $20 but found it marked down from $16 to $14. A nice change from the lock and stock carbon copied Chards that abound on the market. Raise a glass!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blason de L'Evangile Pomerol 1999 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant layers of black cherry, plum, and tobacco on the nose

Full bodied with velvety texture on the palate

Silky smooth finish that has smoky notes along with red berries and cedar


Drinking well-aged red Bordeaux is always a treat. My wife bought this wine for me as part of a selection of anniversary wines- we were married in 1999.

This Merlot-based Bordeaux is beautiful right now at 11 years old. The aromos and flavors integrate nicely and the textured is like velvet. As a point of reference, I saw a few bottles available on the internet for $50-60. I'd call this a relative value as the 1999 vintage was overlooked by many in anticipation of the highly acclaimed 2000's. Raise a glass!

Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Paso Robles Zinfandel 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Aromas of red licorice and spicy cherry on the nose

Full bodied on the palate, but flat

Short finish with candied red cherry and some herb and pepper notes


Here's a wine that's new to me. Unfortunately, it's a little flat and the fruit flavors are too candied. I was hoping it would be a nice value-priced Zinfandel when I spotted it for $7. This was a special price, marked down from $13. Regardless, take a pass. There's just too much good Zinfandel to choose from. Raise a glass to trying new wines!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Casa La Postolle Carmenere 2008 review by (PB)

This noteworthy Chilean vintner produces some of the most reliable wine in Chile. This is a Rapel Valley varietal that is deeply pigmented with black cherry hue with a big dark sweet black berry pie aroma with black pepper and spicy cedar bouquet.

Palate--a full bodied berry fruit bomb with nice dark fruit and light rear palate with baker's chocolate notes. At $10 this is a very nice wine so raise a glass!

Montespejo 2008 review by (PB)

Blanco Joven from the Sierras Del Malaga Spain has a really fragrant bouquet of tropical fruit compote and that is through a nose clogged with rhino virus...

Palate--awkward feel, bitter, tropical fruit comes through but is flaccid and sour. If you want a wine to smell but not drink this is it! For $4 what might you expect? Just say PASS! Blech... No picture of the label available--no Kidding!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gaetano D'Aquino Chianti Riserva 2004 wine review by (PB)

Nice garnet hue with forward cherry aromas with less Sangiovese aromas than previously reviewed experiences with this wine. Light notes of licorice even rising.

Classic Chianti flavors with a touch of rustic earth and a bit of cedar but quickly over lapped by Sangiovese fruit.

This wine was $7 at Trader Joes and was a great value which is why I bought a case. You probably cannot find the 04's but the last time I was in TJ's they had the newer vintage. I have not tried that yet. This one is solid value so raise a glass and check out previous reviews on this blog of the same wine to see how it changed (or didn't) over time.

Summerfield Vineyards Merlot 2009 review by (PB)

Very light cherry hue for a Merlot with vegetal notes and light fruit that smells like a home made "kit" wine. Cinnamon notes later that have a nice quality.

Palate--Not unpleasant but not varietal; easy to drink, decent fruit and now here's the kick--this is a $4 wine at Whole Foods. So if you're looking for a cheap wine made for the popular, undiscriminating palate, this would be a good choice. For $4, it's a value wine just don't confuse it with "real Merlot!"

Don't read this as a bad review! Sure the wine snob would scoff at this; I said IT DOESN'T TASTE LIKE MERLOT." But--for that block party, celebration where you need to buy a case of something drinkable for people who like wine but wouldn't know a Cabernet from Muscat, THIS is a buy--therefore raise a glass!

(No label picture available)

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

Dark Black cherry hue with sweet ripe cherry bouquet and aromas of big extracted dark fruit.

Palate--Velvety tannins on a rich base yet thin in flavor and a quick finish.

This wine began really well and ended up a very marginal wine. Even at $10 I'd look for something else!

Essensia California Orange Muscat 2007 review by (PB)

Honey-amber hue with caramelized stone fruit in the nose.

Palate--Peach and apricot with thick structured honey and caramel. Finishes with a light sweet coating of stone fruit on your tongue.

Essensia is one of my perennial favorite dessert wines at a value price of around $12 for a 325ml (half bottle) bottle. I know a lot of people I talk with recoil at the mention of sweet wines but you just cannot confuse a well made dessert wine with cheap, nasty sweet wines made for unwitting consumption.

This one's always a keeper so raise a glass!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fogdog Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nice aromas on the nose of wild berries and black tea wrapped in a lightly spiced bouquet

Medium bodied and finely textured on the palate

Focused flavors of cherry, cranberry, and herbs on the finish, which tapers nicely


At a recent business dinner, my table of four wanted to try a couple Pinot Noirs in succession. Half way through dinner, this Sonoma Coast bottling followed on the heels of a big-name Willamette Valley wine from Oregon. Everyone perked up when they tasted this wine, and it was unanimously selected as the better wine. I found this to be interesting as the Fogdog Pinot Noir was a bit more plush and rich than the first offering. A long debate could have ensued about the merits of Oregon Pinot versus California Central Coast Pinot, but it was getting late so we grabbed the check and headed out.

This wine runs about $30 retail and represents the varietal fairly well. The competition is stiff for Pinot Noir in this price range, but Fogdog is worth grabbing if you see it. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Volcan Wines Estate Koutsoyanopoulos Vinsanto 2003 Sponsored Review by Billy

Eyes:In the delightfully square bottle, this wine shows a deep reddish amber. In the glass it shows as a toasted amber color with yellow near the edge.
Nose: Toasty hazelnuts, raisins and caramel on the nose.
Palate: Velvety soft on the palate, very sweet and nearly syrupy. A razor thin acid core runs right down the middle providing structure.
Finish: Lingering raisin and noticeable tart cherries at the sides of the mouth.
Overall: This wine was provided to the Wine Cask Blog free of charge for review. Special thanks to Constance. This wine comes from the Greek island of Santorini where wine making has been going on for literally millennia. This delicious dessert wine comes from the Koutsoyanopoulos Winery. It is a blend of the Assyrtico,Athiri and Aidani varietals. What I love about this dessert wine is the character - toasted nut elegance with tart cherry vigor all in a lovely sweet package that stands on its own as an after dinner treat. Or pair it with raw nuts, cheese or ice cream for a real treat.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Feraud-Brunel Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2007 review by (PB)

Young purple garnet hue with very berry aromas wafting from the bottle; Ripe plum and pepper in the nose with nice berry foundation with an aroma of something I can't even identify but it's awesome; maybe the slightest touch of licorice.

Palate--Really nice structure with super stealy, minerally terroir; big flavors with pepper and vegetal foundation supporting nice bold fruit. Finishes with a nice fruitiness that is unexpected.

This is a big flavored wine without being a big wine--and a total surprise based on the $12 price tag. Wine Spectator lists this at a release price of $30!

The folks at Rapid Liquors in Stoneham, Mass. have an amazing shop with an amazing selection and inspiring pricing! If you are in the area--shoot, even if you're not in the area, they are worth the time and effort. I live 3 hours away and make the trip and am never disappointed. Raise a glass!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bogle Phantom 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant nose of black cherry cream and licorice

Full bodied and spicy on the palate

Long finish of black cherry and blackberry with notes of pepper, cinnamon, and vanilla


Bogle is always a big wine, and the 2007 is particularly spicy. It's a blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Mourvedre. I like it with rich food and to sip on after a meal. For $20 or so, it's a reliable wine. Look for it either in the Zinfandel section or wherever red blends are displayed in your wine shop. Raise a glass!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

M. Frescobaldi Tenuta Di Castiglioni 2007 review by (PB)

This "Super Tuscan" is the leading contender for my "wine of the year" recognition and I doubt it will be displaced. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc,Merlot and Sangiovese and it is positively awesome! On the pour it is heavily pigmented leaving color on the crystal glass. The bouquet is full of intense aromas of spicy fruit, nice cherry and a touch of earthiness that tends to typify Tuscan wines.

Palate--Almost thick and textured with plush tannins with rich cherry-berry flavors, espresso, deep dark baker's chocolate, more dark fruit with dried cherry hints. Finishes all in balance with a layer of bright fresh cherries. Wine Spectator gave this wine 93 points and earns every point of that! For such a young wine it is drinking wowingly!

Here's the best part, this wine can be found for under $20 but even at $30 it would be a bargain. Raise a glass to sensational Super Tuscans!

Monday, October 04, 2010

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

Real time review:
Lighter cherry hue with a bouquet of light cherry aromas with loads of earth or mildew and vegetal undertones. (Actually smells "corked")

Palate: Good news; NOT corked! Quite delightful old world fruit with cherry accents and a deep layer of light fudge. Subtle pruney hints underneath relaxed tannins with a pleasant finish of light milk chocolate. (See earlier posts explaining "Ripasso" methodology; quite interesting and unique!)

Since I have not breathed this wine yet, the mildew nose may very well dissipate on breathing. Even during the time of this review (10 minutes maybe) it is already fading. I am going to decant this which I suspect will improve the bouquet quite a bit then will be paired with braised smoked pork hocks. (Later note--a little air solves it all!)

At $14 this is a nice quaff and a nice food wine so raise a glass and if you like Ripasso--you gotta try Amarone but expect to pay quite a bit more!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Four Vines Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 review by (PB)

Medium deep garnet hue with bouquet of smokey wood with dark berry fruit and spiced chocolate to boot.

Palate--A little "hot" with nice spicy,berry flavor of Zin with a nice chocolaty layer finishing with more smoke.

I tasted this next to the Rosenlbum blogged below this entry and the Rosenblum was clearly cleaner, and richer in all ways, but this wine also costs $10-11 so for the price differential, this is a nice value wine which is why I have reviewed previously and drink it regularly. Which means--raise a glass!

Rosenblum Zinfandel 2005 (Harris Kratka Vineyard) Alexander Valley review by (PB)

This is one of the many single vineyard offerings by Rosenblum presenting with a dark garnet hue and nice Zinfandelicious black berry fruit in the bouquet with cigar box aromas galore and a touch of blueberry pie. Classic.

Palate--Nice mature tannins with rich berry fruit on top of a layered fudgey undercoating and a finish that is a bit smokey and dark.

This Zin normally costs anywhere from $32-$40 but I found it at a local shop that is only open seasonally and is closing out their stock for the season. I paid $17.50 each for 4 bottles--a nice score!

This wine may be a little "baked" (compare this to a previous review of the same wine) but I would attribute that to the storage conditions of the wine at the shop which is not air conditioned and we had a particularly hot Summer. *It does make a difference!

*If you read the comment below, you see that I was subsequently informed that the wine WAS stored in a temperature controlled environment! At the WCB we pride ourselves on being accurate so my assessment was wrong as far as the cause for the difference from a previous review of the same wine. It will be interesting to see how the other bottles play out. My biggest gaff to date was being corrected by Thomas Matthews of the Wine Spectator for improperly citing their rating of a particular wine and failing to note the wine I had reviewed was past the recommended "drink by" date the WS suggested. When we blow it--we own up to it, so as I said, raise a glass to my favorite grape!