Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Joseph Drouhin Saint-Veran 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Pear and apple aromas on the nose

Medium bodied and smooth texture on the palate

Decent length finish of citrus, green apple, and minerals


If you're like me, you find it difficult to find bargains out of Burgundy- white or red. The quality of the wine is high, supply and demand economics are at work, and the dollar has been weak against the euro for quite some time. This makes Burgundy a splurge for most people. Basic village wines can often be $50 and the premier crus are hundreds.

With that said, here's a nice value white from Joseph Drouhin that fits the "value" category. The wines of Saint-Veran can be charming and this one shows a balance of stone fruit and minerals with very nice texture and weight. I paid just $15, although you'll probably see this wine more typically at $20. Raise a glass!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Benton Lane Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Pretty and delicate nose of cinnamon and red berries

Medium bodied

Red currant and berry finish with some dried herbs


Here's a good, light, and pretty Pinot Noir. It has Willamette Valley written all over it in weight and style. Pure and elegant, you'll be able to pair it with many different dishes. It runs around $20 and I found it for $17. Raise a glass!

Renegade Horse Heaven Hills "RedWine" 2008 wine review by (PB)

Slightly opaque garnet hue with a bouquet of spicy green pepper with dark berry fruit and a bit alcoholy.

Palate--Harsh first impression, tannic, with tight plum and black cherry/berry fruit. Finish is a mite bitter with some smoke.

From another blog I read: "Trey Busch (from Sleight of Hand Cellars) began his Renegade Wine project as a response to our recessionary climate. Renegade is a negociant model, so Trey is buying juice (not grapes), and then doing the blending and bottling himself. The blend is a little unusual (39% Cab, 39% Cab Franc, 13% Grenache, 9% Syrah)"

From what I've read elsewhere, most people seem to really like this wine;for the $12 I paid for it, I would call it confused, and harsh. I will say that after a couple hours of air, the wine improved but for the price point, I would lay my $12 on a Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cab or Merlot!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Covey Run Columbia Valley Gewurztraminer 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Citrus and floral notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Slightly spicy finish of lychee with floral accents


Here's a good, inexpensive Washington state Gewurztraminer. You'll probably see it priced under $10- in fact, I paid only $6. Go a bit off the beaten path with this unique varietal and you'll be rewarded. Raise a glass!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jacques Bourguignon "Chablis" 2009 wine review by (PB)

Pale golden with expansive bouquet of floral vanilla, and citrusy melon with lime hints.

Palate Razor sharp acidity with mouth watering lemon and lime and tropical fruit.

This wine will cut your tongue making it a good food wine with buttery, greasy foods when you need your palate cleansed. This is another Trader Joes value wine selling for $8 which for a Chablis (which is from Chablis, France and not to be confused with cheap white jug wine of the past)is a great price being made from chardonnay! So raise a glass to another value TJ special!

Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco NV wine review by (PB)

Steely clear hue with light citrus and powder with considerable flavors of light tropical and citrus notes. Flavor persists for a bit on the finish.

I am not a big fan of Prosecco but I have to say in spite of the less than manly name I like this about as well as any6 Prosecco I have had and better than most.

My wife paid $10 for this and if you can hide your man card for an evening, raise a glass; no one will ever know once its poured!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Eola Hills Pint Noir 2009 wine review by (PB)

Classic Pinot presentation with a light ruby hue that nearly sparkles with brilliance.

Bouquet is brimming with sweet spiced syrup over fresh strawberries.

Palate--has a tart edge to it that is a bit surprising with subdued strawberry flavor and a smokey finish. Tartness tones down with some air and berry flavors step up.

Paired with foil wrapped country short ribs slow cooked on the grill then opened to caramelize the Dijon/honey sauce.

I paid $17 for this and is representative of Oregon Pinot. This is what I would expect of Pinot at this price point but honestly I am finding Oregon Pinots predictable and not very exciting. Raise a glass if you don't like surprises.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ramos Pinto Porto Tawny Wine Review by Billy

Nose: hazelnuts, currant and cherry
Palate: silky and voluptuous with mild tannins and mild heat.
Finish: short soft finish with some heat lingering at the back
Overall: I paid $19 for this at a local wine store. I served it with a gourmet dark chocolate spiked with almonds and sea salt. Overall it is a decent port that is easy going and not overly syrupy.

Raise a glass!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Castello D'albola Chianti Classic Riserva 2007 review by (PB)

Cherry hue with earthy, rustic, forest floor cherry bouquet classic of the Chianti terroir.

Palate--Tight, cherry and earth on a frame of integrated tannins with lingering rustic fruit flavor.

I reviewed this not long ago and I think it is much better this time. It is a very good example of the Chianti Classico structure and overall presentation. It will continue to develop for about 5 more years I would expect and will probably open up more in the next year.

I paid $13 for this which is a good price. I have one more bottle I will cellar for another year. Raise a glass!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guigal Chateau Neuf-Du-Pape 1990 wine review by (PB)

Aged hue with brown rim with gorgeous fruit rising from the glass well away from my nose.
Closer in,there is a smokey front and some bacon still some distance from the nose with cherry fruit and caramel.

Palate--Thick, silky texture with a touch of licorice,staid fruit,smokey charcoal and black pepper with light raisin in the rear. Finishes with grilled meat and more charcoal.

This was the 3rd wine (NW) served up blind; it's a great way to grow in your precision of the way you analyze a wine. Too often we hurry through a wine without really tasting what is there. I first noted that I believed the wine was probably 20-25 years old. Beyond that, I don't remember my comments...

This is why we drink wine with some age. It is a different world and a different wine from what it was on release in its youthfulness. This wine probably cost around $20 when it was released 21 years ago; today you'd be hard pressed to find any. (NW) is always on the look out for exciting "rare" wines and knows a value when he sees one. Just another benefit of studying what you love. Raise a glass of mature fruit of the vine.

Kofererhof Alto Adige Valle Isarco "Kerner" 2008 wine review by (PB)

(NW) served this wine to me blind on a recent Boston trip.It was light golden in hue with chilled apple that fades.

Palate--Has a razor acidity which could cut your tongue on an off dry foundation of tart citrus with tart green apple mid palate.

I was baffled and I said to (NW) "I have no idea what this is!" AS it turns out, it was a brand new grape called "Kerner." Made in the Alto Adige of the extreme north of Italy where German is spoken.

This is not an inexpensive wine but (NW) figured a new grape is worth the cost. Around the $25+ price point, this was an interesting experience but I'm not sure I would spring for such a bottle. Thanks (NW)!

G. Duboeuf "Regnie" 2009 wine review by (PB)

Purple, big aromas of cinnamon, strawberry fruit.

Served slightly chilled is rich strawberry with a tart back bone and lingering bright red berries.

(NW) served this blind and it was classic Gamay and Beaujolais which I readily identified. Regnie is one of the Beaujolais "Cru" which is the highest designation of Beaujolais wines with Beaujolais Villages and Beaujolais following respectively.

Gamay is a good starter wine for folks who are pretty certain they don't like "red wine." It is straight forward, fruity goodness and the Cru are affordable at the middle teen to $20 price point. Chilled it's a great aperitif and wonderful summer wine. Raise a glass!

Incanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 winre review by (PB)

Nice garnet with rustic, pure cherry bouquet of Sangiovese, with some minerals and slight anise!

Palate--Integrated, licorice, cherry, and slightly chewy tannins.

At $11 I have bought more to lay down and to raise a glass.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

AMano Primitivo 2008 wine review by Billy

Nose: black pepper, cherry, chocolate
Palate: thin on the palate but a decent balance and good blackberry flavors.  Medium tannins.
Finish: slightly vegetal.  Long and subtle.  Berry notes
Overall: a good table wine, especially at the $7.99 price point I paid at a local shop.  The wine is made from the Italian version of the Zinfandel grape.  It has zin characteristics with Italian flair.
Raise a glass!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1990 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Beautiful kirsch, dried herbs, and tobacco

Medium bodied and finely textured on the palate

Soft, layered finish of smoky cherry and raspberry


I picked this bottle up a few years ago for only $30. There were some questions as to its drinkability, althought Chateauneuf-du-Pape does have a reputation to cellar quite well. Made from a blend of up to 13 grapes in the Southern Rhone including Grenache and Syrah, many of the best Chateaneufs have achieved legendary status over the years.

Fortunately, this one delivered. After two decades of bottle age, this wine emerged with full flavors and elegance. In my notes, I wrote "very good, amazingly relaxed, and integrated." PB was in town to share this wine with me and, thankfully, it was a special treat and not a special vinegar. Raise a glass!

Domaine Huet Demi Sec Le Mont Vouvray 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Pretty nose of quince, fig, and honey

Medium bodied on the palate

Smooth finish of pear and honey

This wine is good, well rounded, and flavorful. It paired well with several different courses at the beginning of a tasting menu I had the opportunity to enjoy recently at a Michelin 3-star restaurant. Made from Chenin Blanc, Vouvray is one of the classic wines of the Loire Valley in France. Huet is a notable producer who's wines are reputed to cellar quite well for 5-10 years. This bottle runs about $35. Raise a glass!

Novelty Hill Columbia Valley Syrah 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Currants and plum aromas on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Firm finish with dark fruit, loam, and pepper notes


Novelty Hill has put together a classic Washington state Syrah here with dark fruit and pepper character. This is the kind of wine I enjoy with dinner as well as on its own after dinner. I paid $23 for the bottle at Whole Foods. Raise a glass!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sean Minor 4Bears 2010 Vin Gris sponsored wine review by Billy

Nose: strawberry and candy apple nose
Palate: soft mouth feel with gentle acids without being flacid.  Delightful.
Finish: raspberry and strawberry splash on the finish.
Overall: the fine folks at Sean Minor winery provided this sample for our review.  A beautiful blush that is a lush candy-apple pink in the glass.  It is a wonderfully juicy and easy going drink. 

Kendall-Jackson Vinter's Reserve Chardonnay 2009 wine review

Nose: Floral and lime
Palate: soft and even with good acid at the core.  More lime at the back of the mouth.  Good feel.
Finish: green apples and more lime with soft grassy notes.
Overall: a favorite table wine with neighbors.  Great for enjoying while socializing with friends.  Great simple and easy to drink lime citrus flavors.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Terry Hoage Vineyards The Hedge Syrah 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Beautiful aromas of wild berries, licorice, spice, and pepper on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Folded layers of dark berries, bacon fat, and spice on the finish


Good wine often takes some time to open up. Once this one got cranking, it was big and powerful. The layers are interesting and complimentary as it all comes together. This is good stuff! Drink it now with a hearty meal or let it sit a few years for what should result in an even more harmonious glass of wine. I paid $36 and it was a nice treat. Raise a glass!

Dry Creek "Heritage" Zinfandel 2008 wine review by (PB)

Decent garnet color with nice black berry and jammy plum aromas with a touch of chocolate--classic.

Palate--Bold black berry flavors with silky tannins on a solid integrated frame of pure Zin.

This Sonoma Zin was $14 at Trader Joes with a reference price of $19 from the Wine Spectator and a score of 88. Right all the way around so raise a glass of Zin!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Angeline Pinot Noir Reserve 2009 wine review by (PB)

Nice cherry hue with bright fruit aromas of strawberries, some green spice and lovely red fruit and vanilla cream toffee.

Palate--Light in weight, yet full of flavor with brioche, strawberry, and more red berries on top of that. It needs to be chilled down a bit as my ambient summer cellar is a little too hot today.

This is a pleasant Pinot with loads of berries and a trail of smoke on the finish.
I paid $13, down from $18 for this blend of 54% Sonoma fruit, 24% Mendocino fruit, and 22% Santa Barbara fruit.

At $18 it would have been a little disappointing but at $13 it's a raise a glass kind of wine!