Monday, January 30, 2012

Four Vines "OVC" Zinfandel 2009 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with bouquet of jammy blackberry fruit with a brambly spicey foundation.

Palate--Relaxed presence with nice spicey berry Zinfandel flavors of some depth. Straight forward and a good example of the grape. Finishes with some some smokey oak and for $10 I call it a value wine.

Raise a glass as I will tonight with venison chili topped with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese and garlic bread. Ahhhhhhh...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Revanna St Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant nose of plum, currant, and roasted herbs

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Long, polished finish of ripe fruit, herbs, spice, and chocolate woven together beautifully


This wine is a real treat. At $125, it's not an everyday wine nor should it be because it requires some time and attention to explore all the depth and layers. It will likely cellar for several decades but if you like to drink them young then go for it. It opens up nicely and has a persistence that really stretches out the finish.

The 2007 vintage in Napa Valley produced a lot of excellent wines. This one delivers all the goods, and believe it or not, is less expensive than its small production competitors. Raise a glass!

Beringer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Aromatic black cherry with light herb and cedar notes on the nose

Full bodied and finely textured on the palate

Finishes smoothly with more black cherry along with licorice and toasty oak

I like how harmonious this wine is at 10 years of age. It's drinking beautifully.

Expect to pay around $35 if you can track this down. Pair with the finest roasted or grilled meat, and raise a glass!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Castorani Piccio Syrah 2009 wine review by (PB)

Lighter than a Syrah should be; bouquet of pleasant milk chocolate with black berry underneath.

Palate-- basically berries on a chewy foundation; not much going on; thin texture and basically plonk.

This was a $6 Syrah so I didn't expect much at all and that is was I got. Pass on this puppy...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Explosive ripe dark berries and chocolate on the nose

A palate that's full bodied richly textured

Long, dense finish of dark fruit, black licorice, and chocolate


Excellent wine! This Cabernet has it all. In it's youth, there's lots of fruit and great texture. Drink it now for that explosive flavor or let it lie down for a few years to see what happens.

It's a signature Napa Valley style with dark fruit and dense layers. I was fortunate to grab a case at $40 per bottle when the anticipation of the 2007 vintage was causing the '06 wines to sit around for a bit too long. If you can still find this in a shop or on a restaurant list, grab it. Make sure to really bring it up in temperature and give it plenty of air if it's served from the cellar. And drink it with steak or grilled portobello mushrooms. Then raise a glass to a signature Cab!

Sebastiani Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Ripe plum, anise, and some cedar on the nose

Full bodied and finely textured on the palate

Long, silky mocha and dark fruit finish


I was served this wine blind, compliments of PB of The Wine Cask Blog, and I was blown away after seeing the label. Here's an example of wine that has aged perfectly. PB put this in his cellar at least six years ago after having paid $13 for it. He was hopeful that it would age well after tasting a bottle on release. Well, it didn't age well- it aged perfectly. We couldn't believe how good it was.

I've consistely experienced this with Sebastiani Cabernets. They really seem to get rich and smooth with intermediate term cellaring and I recommend you drink them around 8-10 years old. Thanks to PB for this cellar treasure, and make sure to also read his post below of the same wine.

Raise a glass!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saxon Brown 2006 Syrah Parmalee Hill Owl Box Block wine review by (PB)

This Sonoma Valley Syrah is deep blackish garnet hue with aromas of fudge laden cinnamon, and deep spiced plum that is ripe and full.

Palate--rich fudge, fruit bomb with espresso, fruit and lingering hyper fruit finish.

(NW) served this blind to me and I pegged it as an 05-08 Syrah. A nice, big fruity treat that will run you around $30 so raise a glass!

Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 wine review by (PB)

Solid opaque, black cherry hue. Bouquet of big blackberry jam and touch of cedar and cigar box.

Palate: Big, integrated, cedary, blackberry jam with mocha touch and chocolate finish.

I have aged this since its release when I bought it for $13 and this is a great example of a big pay off if you have the patience to lay down a wine that you believe has potential a few years down the road. This one paid off! It was a delicious and wonderful wine. Raise a glass.

M. Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 1996 wine review by (PB)

Bricking hue;
Bouquet: Slight stewed cherry fruit,and fresh cherry still hanging on in spite of some age.

Palate: spicy, big cedar, peppery flavor with cherry foundation

This was a nice aged Chianti that was on its way out but still delightful. Probably ran around $28 when released. Raise a glass!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Domaine de Courteillac Bordeaux Superieur 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant blackberry, cedar, and licorice on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Long finish of black raspberry, tobacco, cedar, and some mint


Alright, here's one of those Bordeaux bargains you probably have to read about to find. It's unlikely that you'll be able to stumble upon this one. It's a sleeper of a wine, with a Bordeaux Superieur designation and made primarily from Merlot.

Good Bordeaux has such great balance and depth, and it's great to find these qualities for $16 especially considering this is from the expensive 2005 vintage. I wish I had a case or two of this socked away. In a blind tasting, you'll fool people who think this is a much more expensive and prestigious wine. Grab it if you can find it, and open it any time in the next ten years to serve with the finest meal you can prepare at home.

Raise a glass!

La Candelaria Cubo Seleccion La Mancha Tempranillo 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Sweet aromas of red licorice and vanilla extract on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Smooth finish of candied cherry, milk chocolate, and maple syrup


Here's a Tempranillo that's way too sweet and seems to be overly oaked. The fruit is masked by the sweetness. I had a difficult time getting past this. Knowing how good some of the Tempranillo is coming out of the various regions of Spain, I cannot recommend this wine. Take a pass and save yourself $12. Raise a glass of something that tastes like fruit!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bodegas Matarrendonda Juan Rojo Toro 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Big nose of sweet berry pie, licorice, and spice

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Rich, layered finish of more berries, licorice, and spice


Here's a very appealing wine from the Toro region of Spain. This region produces some big, powerful wines made from a local clone of the Tempranillo grape. While possessing ripeness and obvious oak influence, this wine has a bright future in the cellar as it continues to come together. Pair it with roasted meat, sauteed vegetables, or cheese. Keep Toro wines on the radar, and grab this one at $22 or so. Raise a glass!

Irony Monterey County Pinot Noir 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant strawberry and cherry on the nose

Soft and medium bodied on the palate

Rhubarb finish with a somewhat odd plastic note


I had big hopes for this new release after the delicious 2009. While it has good aromas on the nose, it also has a bit of an odd plastic note on the finish. It could be a "bad bottle" that I have but it doesn't have the musty taint of a corked wine.

With that said, you don't even need to gamble with the 2010 vintage if you grab all the 2009's you can find before they're gone. There's really no comparison as it's a much better wine and a great value a $13. Raise a glass of last year's release!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Duval LeRoy Brut Champagne Review by Billy

Nose: strongly floral with scents of honey-butter and citrus underneath
Palate: strong firm bubbles that prick and prod your mouth.  Very dry with strong grapefruit-acid backbone that pushes through the spritely bubbles with a slide-tackle
Finish: quickly dissipates except for the extreme dryness that lingers, begging for another sip.
Overall: I bought this Champagne for less than $20 at a local wine store.  Its strong acid core and extreme dryness make it a great inexpensive pairing with meals.  Raise a glass!

Louis Bouillot Perle de Vigne Grande Reserve Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Sparkling Wine Review by Billy

Nose: Citrus notes on top of Hay and dry crackers
Palate: Small lazy bubbles that laze around the mouth.  Dry.  Good Structure.  Firm with lemonny zest.
Finish: Grassy Hay finish with some citrussy floral hints that taper off fairly quickly
Overall: I paid about $15 for this champagne.  This is incredibly affordable for a French sparkling wine.  It has the character of a Champagne that blows away most similarly priced American sparking wines.  It is austere while retaining a celebratory core.  For an any-time occasion with or without food you should raise a glass ofLouis Bouillot Perle de Vigne Sparkling!

Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2006 wine review by (PB)

This Alsatian is a pretty golden hue with bouquet of orange and tropical fruit with a light kiss of vanilla.

Palate--Flaccid first impression with loads of tropical fruit, gentle spice and a touch of minerals. It actually has more acid than the first impression reveals finishes with a sense of tropical fruit.

This 6 year old Alsatian wine is fading a bit but is still drinking well right now. It runs about $20 but I grabbed a case when they were on close out at $10. Raise a glass!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Terra Unica Reserva 2002 wine review by (PB)

Slightly bricking hue with light candied licorice and dark berries.

Palate--tight berries, a little course with slight spice/cedar? Finishes with a fleeting bitter berry ending.

I reviewed this wine in April of 09. It is still holding but should be drunk now. I paid $8.50 for this recently and its OK but nothing special.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Hogue Cellars Genesis "Meritage" 2007 wine review by (PB)

Dark berry laden bouquet contained in a solid black cherry hue. Robust aromas of a mix of dark berries exploding through a slightly tarry, slightly musty veil of tobacco.

Palate--Tough as nails structure with coarse tannins and a bready under layer. At the moment I am ambivalent about this wine. It should definitely breathe a while.

This is a blend from Columbia Valley (Wa.) consisting of Merlot 49%, Cabernet Sauvignon 44%, Malbec 6%, and Cabernet Franc 1%. Admittedly I have been fighting a whopping respiratory infection which might be skewing my taster but this wine, as has often been my experience with these blends of 4 or more grapes tend toward clunkiness. Rather a non-descript drinkable wine but Ican't pin it down.

I'll breathe it a while and see if my opinion changes!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy plum and cherry on the nose mixed with savory earth and leather aromas

Medium bodied and finely textured

Fresh plum and cherry finish with some herbs


All right, here's a great deal. For $10 or less, this is a can't miss wine. It has all the charming earthy qualities you'd expect from an Italian red wine along with a fresh fruit profile and great texture.

I've had great success with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo over the years and it's certainly one of the best red wine values in the world. Interestingly, I ordered this Masciarelli wine because I remember it was good last time I tasted it but it's been quite a few years. I'm really impressed with this estate bottled wine for under $10. Buy a case and make it your "house wine" this year. It will stir conversation with your guests, no doubt.

Raise a glass!

Monday, January 02, 2012

A great find wine store if you're in Maine by (PB)

Maine north of Portland is a veritable wine black hole where higher tier wines can be found with any regularity. Well, eureka! Freeport Maine--the home of LL Bean has a "new" place called Bow Street Market. While it's off the beaten path (it's on Bow Street--go figure) and has one of the better selections I have found in Maine. But don't be fooled by the supermarket variety selection in the main shopping area. Go into the wine room and that's where the treasures wait!

No it's not expansive and you won't find your $1200 Grand Cru but you can snag a Mouton if you like but better--it has a great selection of the "hard to find" wines (in Maine) in the $25 on up price point.

And if Paula T. is around be sure to tell her you read about her place on the WCB and then raise a glass!

Sebastiani Merlot (Sonoma County) 2007 wine review by (PB)

Solid, slightly opaquish, (yes I made that word up) garnet hue with big bouquet of sweet tomato and impressive blackberry foundation with a hint of blueberry and an ever so slight of suggestion of milk chocolate and violet floral notes.

Palate--fully integrated with a streak of tart fruit and cherry hints, mature tannins, with a solid structure to hold this wine for several years. Slightly chewy finish of lightly smoked berries. This wine is about as good as it will get so drink a bottle and lay another away and compare them in a couple years. Wine Spectator gave this wine 83 points; they missed this one by 5 or 6 points!

I paid $10 for this wine marked down from $19. Unfortunately I grabbed only 1 bottle and the store is in another state or I would buy several more and lay them down just for fun. Raise a glass!