Friday, September 30, 2011

Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nice aromas of cherry and earth on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Long, savory finish of dried herbs and spice


Chianti Classico wines have improved dramatically over the past decade. They are richer, more full bodied, and more complex. This wine is no exception as it delivers full flavor and a long, savory finish. Pair it with hearty fare- perhaps Italian! I paid $17 at a local wine shop. Raise a glass!

Meritxell Palleja Nita Priorat 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Aromas of currants on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Tannic and somewhat bitter finish of sour plum and herbs


This wine is a little too tannic and bitter. Unfortunately, I don't think it will settle down much with cellaring. It's a blend of Grenache, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah from the Priorat region of Spain. While Priorat produces some amazing wines, take a pass on this $24 bottle. Raise a glass of something else!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Black cherry with hints of anise and cedar on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Long, silky finish of red fruit and cedar


This Pinot Noir has good complexity and a silky texture, which are the two things that define the best of the varietal. Merry Edwards is a highly regarded producer who's wines have a reputation of drinking really well with a few extra years of bottle age. I would take this a step further and suggest that most good California Pinot Noir can sit in the cellar for at least a few years and do very well.

Expect to pay around $50 for this wine, and raise a glass!

Lockwood Vineyard Pinot Noir Monterey 2007 "Block 7" wine review by (PB)

Beautiful crystalline, very light cherry color on the pour that intensifies amazingly once in the glass. This wine is brimming with classic Pinot aromas of strawberry and light hard cherry candy and the slightest touch of spice.

Palate--This wine has depth with a cinnamon front impression with big flavors of bright fruit and some weight with a little tannic edge even. Once you swallow and the fruit subsides after about a minute, there is a surprising green apple finish. Amazing!

I paid $13 for this great wine marked down from $18. If I had only known at the time I would have bought several more!

I paired it with grilled Tuna steaks with a caper and olive oil/lemon vinaigrette sauce. Raise a glass!

Marchesi De Frescobaldi Tenuta Di Castiglioni Toscana 2007 wine review by (PB)

Dark black cherry hue showing off its serious frame. Sweet cherry is drifting from the bottle from afar with nice cigar box, tobacco and tar bouquet with a touch of eucalyptus.

Palate--Unctuous, rustic cherry and a touch of licorice on a foundation that is textured and a little chewy on opening. Its muscular frame needs time and air. There is a nice lingering, long finish.

I paid $17 for this and bought about 8 bottles it was so good! I have two left that I will leave cellar if I have the discipline. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cesari "Mara" Caraion Veranese 2008 wine review by (PB)

This is classic Valpolicella Ripasso made by one of the multi-generational giants of the Italian wine industry.

It has a dark black cherry hue with a bouquet of big deep ripe dark berries with fresh grape hints underneath; cinnamon is prevalent in balanced subtlety with bright and dried cherries as it opens.

Palate--Bold velvety tannins with big fruit forward pleasure with good integration for such a young wine. Finishes with more dried red fruit.

At $17 this is a lot of wine and just delicious so raise a glass!

Ulrich Langguth Riesling 2010 wine reveiw by (PB)

Light golden hue with beautiful apple pie spices and green apple fruit.

Palate--Sweet presence at the front with light citrus feel and minerals with decent acid balance and pleasant drinking.

At Trader Joe's this wine is $7 which is worth raising a glass!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Darioush Caravan Napa Valley Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Espresso, dark berries, and plum on the nose

Full bodied and firmly textured on the palate

Long finish of dark chocolate and dark berries


Caravan is a label owned by Darioush who is known for big and bold styles of Cabernet Sauvignon. I would describe this as just a bit more reserved than that top bottlings but with a dark and brooding style that is true to the varietal. With fairly firm tannins, it should benefit from age. Expect to pay $35 or so, and raise a glass!

Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Beautiful cherry and red berries on the nose

Medium bodied and finely textured on the palate

Sleek and silky finish with cherry and herbs


The Penner-Ash Pinot Noirs from Oregon have quite a loyal following. While a number of single vineyard bottlings are available, this is the base level Willamette Valley that runs about $45. It has a great texture that's smooth and silky, and should prove to be a good pairing with a variety of dishes. Raise a glass!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bonny Doon Vineyard Syrah Le Pousseur 2004 Wine Review by Billy

Nose: big jammy berries, jasmine, basil
Palate: big mouth feel, peppery with good firm backbone
Finish:cherries and a tannic mouth feel that lingers
Overall:  I bought this originally for a camping  trip because I wanted a Syrah/shiraz with screw cap.  I got two bottles.  While camping, any wine tastes good.  So I waited to review it until I could try it with a proper meal.  Overall this is a good entry point for Syrah.  The big, jammy, fruit forward red wine pairs well with hearty pastas.  We served it with steamed asparagus, a marinara sauced spaghetti, olives, caprese salad and asiago bread.  I paid $16 for this at a liquor store near a state park.
Raise a glass!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Plan Pegau Selectionne Lot #2007 wine reveiw by (PB)

Black cherry hue showing a little age at the rim; fruity aromas wafting from the glass at a distance--very nice.

Bouquet of cherry/raspberry fruit with black pepper

Palate--Tart first impression, a little chewy, tight cherry fruit and the tartness of raspberry.

After 2 hours in the decanter this wine improved markedly. It is a decent Rhone blend and paired well with our grilled rib steak, grilled fingerling potatoes, sweet corn and garlic bread. I paid $8 for this which is why I snagged it as I see it for considerably more. All in all, raise a glass and don't overlook the importance of breathing some wines!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Primus 2006 wine review by (PB)

Deep dark black cherry hue with huge deep plum and cedar bouquet.

Palate--A big fruit bomb with loads of cedary fruit that is tasty but a little hot.

Needs another year or two to mature and it should be pretty decent.

This is a Bordeaux type blend ( Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Syrah from Chile. I usually see this for the low teens but I bought this at $8. For the price it has a decent future but not ready now.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Napa River chardonnay 2009 wine review by (PB)

Reviewed previously, straw hue with vanilla cream and light citrus.

Palate--lovely balanced acid, lemon,vanilla pudding, with mouth watering juiciness.

This is a ridiculous Trader Joe's value wine at $7. Buy several, put a slight chill on it and enjoy it solo, or with buttery sauced foods, or seafood.
Raise a glass!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc De Noir winre review by (PB)

Blush wine on appearance with nutty Macadamia nut aromas on top of a touch of benign fruit.

Palate--fine bubbles, with dry slight mineral touch and light citrus notes.

Chill it down and it's a typical $12 sparkler which is refreshing on a hot summer day.

Raise a glass or not; there are better values out there.

Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve 1998 wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue with a solid rim with a bouquet that is fairly youthful with nice cedary laden red fruit, the slightest touch of licorice, and spice.

Palate--Surprisingly youthful with integrated flavors of everything this wine is.

I have been cellaring this wine for many years and was looking forward to a wine that had peaked and was ready to drink before it started sliding downward. (NW) of this blog was up for the weekend and we were both taken aback at how young this wine was still. I am usually very good about judging a wine's age from the bouquet and appearance in the glass and if I hadn't known what it was, I would have said it was 6 or 7 years old. This wine still has years ahead of it but is drinking great now.

I say the following with all respect to the good folk at the Wine Spectator to whom I look for masterful counsel and education. Several years ago Beaulieu had a TCA issue at their winery. (TCA is the abbreviation for a long chemical name which is a dreaded contaminant and can be the death of a winery's business.) Their wines were being scored strangely low around this time and this wine in particular received a score of 80 from James Laube of the Wine Spectator.

(NW) and I have had several of those wines from that time period and we have found them to be very good to excellent. Indeed, this wine--if we were scoring our reviews by points--we would give a score somewhere in the 90's! I don't remember what I paid for this but I would guess it was around $40.

The other point to make is that here we are in 2011 and this wine is not only holding well, but it might even still improve a bit. Which only means that determining how long a a wine will last can be a crap shoot even while there are objective considerations in making such determinations. With respect to the low BV ratings during their TCA years, it is possible that Mr. Laube has what is called a "super palate" and is sensitive to TCA where others might miss it entirely or even find it endearing as a musty or earthy taste no unlike what you might in typical Tuscan creations.

At any rate, this was a great experience and a definite raise a glass!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Conte Di Bregonzo Amarone 2006 wine review by (PB)

Nice vibrant black cherry hue with big blackberry, plum aromas with tar and forest floor notes.

Palate--Chewy until decanted then big dark berry, espresso, flavor with smokey, charcoal finish.

This is one of my favorite inexpensive (relatively speaking)wines from Trader Joes. I have reviewed it before and it has changed over the months since I reviewed it first. It seems to be losing some of its life now but is still a nice wine and a good value.

Amarones are made with "dried" or partially dried grapes which make up the valpolicella blend. Amrones are understandably a bit pricey normally beginning around the $25 price point on up. This one isn't exactly "typical" and so you really NEED to taste a higher quality one to appreciate the full, textured, dried fruit and awesomeness of Amarone. Raise a glass for sure!