Monday, May 30, 2011

Trimbach (Alsatian) Gewurztraminer 2005 review by (PB)

Previously reviewed several months ago this Gewurz is feeling its age. Nice golden hue with aromas of sweet tropical fruit, apples and green melon and an emerging off aroma of glue.

Palate-- Dry with razor sharp acid core and nuanced fruit with a nutty backbone. Finishes with creamy texture.

This Gewurztraminer from Alsace is feeling its age. Noramlly selling at he $20 price point, I grabbed a mixed vintage case when it went on close-out for
$10. This review is probably quite different than the previous so check it out and compare. At 6 years old, it should be still be holding its age but this one is definitely on its way out. I have one or tow more in the cellar so we'll see how they fare. At any rate--raise a glass!

90+ Cellars Lot 2 Sauvignon Blanc 2010 review by (pb)

Pale straw with big aromas of grassy citrus, and guava paste.

Palate--Sharp acid with classic New Zealand S.B. citrus and tangy fruit.

This Marlborough SB is classic for the varietal and was great with steamed mussels. A $10 Sauvignon Blanc worth grabbing. Raise a glass.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oxford Landing South Australia Viognier 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant nose of peach and jasmine

Medium bodied on the palate

Oily finish with stone fruit and mineral tones woven nicely together


Everyone loves a good value wine. At $6, this one delivers with a fragrant nose and a solid finish. Go off the beaten path with Viognier, and raise a glass!

Renzo Seghesio Pajana Barolo 2001 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant strawberries and damp earth notes develop an exotic bouquet on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Dense, earthy finish of currant, cherry, mushrooms, and forest floor


Here's a Barolo that takes on a character unlike many of the others. Instead of sweet fruit perfume and a medium bodied profile, this wine is dense and earthy with exotic characteristics. It changed often in the glass throughout a recent meal at a top notch Italian restaurant. For $50,this wine reminds me of a hearty Burgundy.

While probably not fully mature at 10 years of age, it nevertheless shows an evolving complexity. This wine will make you stop and think- so don't serve it as a toast with friends to get a party started. Serve it to your wine geek friends who take tasting notes... oh, that's me. Raise a glass!

Kanonkop Stellenbosch Pinotage 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Wild, gamy nose with boysenberry and plum

Full bodied and firm on the palate

Interesting layers on the finish showing roasted meat, coffee, wild red berries, and pepper


Good Pinotage from South Africa always has an exotic edge to it with wild fruit, coffee, and gamy notes. This wine has all that along with good depth, too. It's not an evening sipper, rather a wine to pair at the table with barbecue or smoked meat. At $30, it's the most expensive Pinotage I've ever had. Raise a glass!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gaetano D'Aquino Sangiovese Di Toscana 2008 review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with sweet cola aromas and berry notes.

Palate--awkward like the bouquet and not the classic Tuscan Sangiovese like the prior vintage. Sharp berry flavor and a little steel that ends quickly.

I thought this was the wine--albeit the 07 vintage--for which I drove 300 miles round trip to buy a case of it at a Boston Trader Joe's. At $6 it was a super value and classic example of Tuscan wine. But this is NOT the same wine. That was the "Chianti Riserva."

This wine tastes manufactured and confused. It drinks marginally "Ok" but it's not it's anything like the previous one mentioned and reviewed. I'll pass on this one.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wente Chardonnay "Morning Fog" 2009 review by (PB)

Crystalline yellow gold hue with aromas of perfumy vanilla, lemon curd and green apple.

Palate--Nicely balanced acid foundation with nice Chard flavors, vanilla touch with a slight spicy presence. I love the finish of this wine leaving lingering fruit and sweet spice.

This Livermore Valley Chard reminds me of a Burgundy Chard I have had--seriously. Half of this wine is barrel aged in French Oak and half is done in stainless. The result is a wine with some complexity and purity that tastes real. I don't often see Wente wines in my area and the reason I grabbed this wine out of sentimental remembrance of one the earliest wines I had when I was just beginning the marvelous exploration in to the world of wine. I am so pleased that it was a GOOD wine and not just sentimentality.

At $12 raise a glass of a value Chard!

Bastianich Friulano 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Lemon and green apple on the nose

Light bodied on the palate

Tart, crisp finish of minerals, almond notes, and citrus


Here's an excellent food wine for $13. It's not too sweet and not too tart, with a good backbone and a food-friendly flavor profile.

Friulano was formerly known and labeled as Tocai Friulano until the 2007 vintage. It's a white wine varietal grown almost exclusively in a small region of Northern Italy where the grape excells. This bottling is from a producer known for the marriage of food and wine in the United States. Joe Bastianich, along with his mother Lidia, has long been a fixture in the New York food and wine scene. He is also making wines in Italy, to which I raise a glass!

Karl Lawrence Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Notes of raspberry, currant, and cinnamon on the nose

Full bodied and firmly textured on the palate

Currant and dark chocolate on a medium length, firm finish


This Cab has a dark fruit and chocolate profile, but it's firm and a bit austere. Some time in the cellar might develop this with smoother texture and rounded edges, but that remains to be seen. At $60, it's not a bargain. If you have a bottle of this, fire up the grill and give this wine plenty of air while wait for your steak to be done. For my money, I'll be raising a glass of something else.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Castle Rock Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 realtime review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with sweet plum and blackberry--meah...
Palate--thin textured with bready notes, hot subdued black cherry fruit that finishes a bit bitter.

I just grabbed this a couple hours ago at a shop I haven't been to in a couple years. Since it was an 07 Napa Cab, at $10 I thought I might try it. I did a search on my iPhone at the store and found someone (Wine Advocate???)gave it 87points.

I bought it and just threw away $10 so you don't have to! This is not very varietal, and tastes all around marginal. Don't raise a glass of this plonk and shows you that even in a great vintage as 2007 is for Napa Cab, you can still get garbage.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Villa Cerrina Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2009 (real time review by PB)

Very pretty jewel-like ruby/garnet hue with aromas of cherry and earth,a touch of candy apple and great memories of a Tuscan vacation with (NW) of this blog.

Palate--Fruity pepper but nicely balanced with plenty of flavor and Tuscan terroir. It finishes okay with lingering fruit memories.

Wow! Here's the get a grip factor; this is another Trader Joe's ridiculous value wine for $5 and you just can't find wine this well made and tasty and varietal and classic of the region for this price. Which means--stock up and raise many glasses!

Acquagiusta Rosso 2007 review by (PB)

Gorgeous hue of purple/black cherry with a beautiful bouquet that reminds me of a Zinfandel with dark berry jam up front and a milk chocolate base, accompanied by licorice, and cigar box foundation--beautiful!

Palate--Silky tannins, full textured with big ripe jammy berries and cocoa; gorgeous! Drinking well now but will morph into a wonderfully complex wine in another 3-5 years.

This is a Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Merlot 35%, and Syrah 30%. A unique wine and paired well with grilled veal chops.

I would not have pegged this as a Tuscan wine. Wine Spectator gave this 92 points; I have never seen it before but bought it through mail order for $18. A different and complex wine--raise a glass!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Picton Bay Pinot Noir 2010 review by (PB)

Lighter cherry hue with aromas of red berries and light strawberry, light white pepper and spice.

Palate--bright, edgy strawberry front with later subtle cocoa,and smoke.

Simple, straight forward but with a foundation that has some real zip to it. Light finish of smoke that lingers a bit.

A Trader Joe's New Zealand Pinot for $8 is about all I need to say. It is very drinkable and its fruity foundation makes it desirable to those who might think they don't like red wine. Raise a glass to another TJ value.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jaffurs Petite Sirah "Thompson vineyards" 2009 review (PB)

Deep purple black hue pigmented hard.
Dark baker's chocolate under rich, ripe blackberry fruit and milky chocolate.

Palate--rich, big course at first that turns velvety, balanced and soft with loads of fruit. Tasty!

I bought this while out on the West Coast recently. I visited Jaffurs winery a couple years back and was impressed with the unpretentious, warehouse set up. Only great wine; no frills.

$38 and a trip in the plane. Raise a glass!!!

Chateau Coucy 2003 review by (PB)

This wine from the Montagne St. Emilion has a firm red hue with chocolate covered blackberries, prunes and sweet tobacco.

Palate--Integrated, round still lively with 5 years of life, black cherry and currants with ripe plum.

I bought this at Whole Foods for $13 and it is a good value and a nice pleasure. I made a subsequent trip looking for more but to no avail. Raise a glass.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Taylor Fladgate *Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003 review by (PB)

Creamy ripe plum and prune aromas;
Palate--silky, velvety texture, with ripe prune fruit on a luxurious bed of sweetness that lingers.

The perfect ending to a meal or accompany with hearty cheeses especially bleu's with bite. A real treat is dark chocolate with a sip or dark chocolate dipped strawberries!

This sells for around the $25 price point and is a nice splurge! Just say Ahhhhh and raise a glass.

*Do not confuse this with "Vintage Port." The difference? I'll let Dr. Vinny of the Wine Spectator answer that.

"“Late-Bottled Vintage” or “LBV” Ports aren’t bottled until up to four to six years from the vintage date. This means they spend about twice as long in wood as Vintage Ports, and so they’re usually more accessible at an early age. Some producers cold-stabilize and filter their LBVs, which is supposed to eliminate the need to decant the wine, but I’ve found that it can strip away the flavors. If you’re looking for LBVs made more like Vintage Ports, look for the word “Traditional” on the label. LBVs were originally intended to offer an experience comparable to Vintage Port but at a much lower cost. Many deliver the goods, but some of them can be just shadows of the real thing.

Monday, May 09, 2011

L'Enclave De Papes "Valreas" Cuvee Prestige Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2010 reveiw by (PB)

This 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah is a pretty bright cherry in color with big red fruit and subtle licorice note.

Palate--Minerals galore with a steely foundation, a tad harsh with bready flavors and strawberry fruit with a raspberry tartness and a fruity finish.

All in all this is a pretty decent wine and a nice value at $6.50. Raise a glass.

Napa River chardonnay 2009 review by (PB)

Pale gold with buttery lemon and loads of vanilla and citrus aromas.

Palate--First impression is flaccid structure but quickly gives way to some real acid that comes out of no where. Tastes like honest Napa Chardonnay without the Napa price. This is actually a decent chard that tastes like the real thing. Why do I say that? Because this is another Trader Joe's absurd value wine selling for $6. I am not certain but I think this may be a Fred Franzia wine--Fred is famous for saying that no wine is worth more than $10! Go FRED!!!

It is a touch under-structured but classically varietal, so raise a glass.

I plan to serve it with a shrimp over pasta with a cream sauce which I haven't yet decided quite what I will do with it.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Spring Valley Uriah Walla Walla 2003 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Aromas of blueberry compote, raisins, and resinous pine on the nose

Full bodied and well textured on the palate

Long, firm finish of dark berries, cocoa, and more pine resin


Here's one of the great red wines of Washington state. It's made with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot which produces a full bodied wine with good texture. The fruit is rich and round, and a strong resinous quality develops with bottle age.

If you have some of this 2003, drink it now. For more recent vintages, I recommend drinking at 4-5 years of age so the resinous flavors don't take over. At $50 or so it's not on the list of great values, but it's a unique wine that is well crafted and highly enjoyable. Raise a glass!

Long Flat Destinations Clare Valley Riesling 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant notes of bright lemon and jasmine on the nose

Light bodied and crisp on the palate

Tart finish of lychee with trailing honey accents


Wow, what a great value wine! It's bright and floral; an excellent food wine. I couldn't believe my wife found this $10 wine marked down to $4. A steal for sure.

Of all the many wines from Australia, Clare Valley Riesling is significantly under-represented in the US and other export markets. Riesling is not trendy and Australia seems to continue to stock the oversees shelves with Shiraz and Chardonnay. If you haven't sampled a Riesling from Clare Valley, you really need to track one down. They are light and lively wines, exhibiting a dance of flavors, and excellent with food. All this for a few dollars. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Black Mountain "Haro Hills" Pinot Noir 2009 review by (PB)

Lighter red hue with a bouquet that is characteristic of the grape with strawberry fruit.

Palate--solid strawberry fruit with candy apple flavors and some decent structure with a backbone that is substantive.

Okay sit down--this is yet another Trader Joe's ridiculous value Pinot costing a whopping $7! Needless to say this is a buy more wine so raise a glass!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Lachateau Vouvray 2010 review by (PB)

Pale straw hue and a bouquet that is full of bananas, citrus,and loads of tropical fruit galore. 

 Palate--Minerals abound on first taste, slightly sweet but basically off dry, with bountiful tropical fruit melange finishing with a slightly bitter lime rind that is interesting. 

 This is another Trader Joe's ridiculous value at $7. Vouvray (the Loire Valley, France) is known for its Chenin Blanc and they run considerably more than $7. While it is true that with wine you tend to get what you pay for, TJ's has such buying clout that they are able to obtain super great pricing on many of their wines. 

 When my wife tasted this she said--let's buy a case and drink it through the Summer chilled down. EXACTLY! This is a wonderful summer, porch wine, party wine,and oh yeah--I pared it with black eyed-peas and ham. Oh yeah, it worked as I knew it would. Raise a glass or three!!!