Friday, March 30, 2012

Hogue Riesling 2010 wine review by (PB)

Light gold with peach, sharp apple, tropical fruit and an awkward, oily petrolium kind of aroma.

Palate--lovely acidic foundation with sharp, puckery, green apple flavors. Short lived but fairly refreshing.

This is a Columbia Valley wine which would be pleasant anf fresh chilled if it wasn't for the nasty, petrolium odor. I've experienced this before in Reislings in varying degrees and it may dissipate wth air. If it does, this is a nice summer wine and will pair well with many things including more difficult foods to pair with like Asian or lighter Mexican fare. We will have it with fish tacos.

At $8 at Trader Joes in Pasadena, raise a glass (if the oily smell goes bye bye.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Burgans Albarino 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Bright and lively nose of tropical fruit

Medium bodied on the palate, with good acidity

Citrus and melon woven together on the flavorful finish


This is a terrific white wine that shouldn't be overlooked. From the beautiful Spanish region of Rias Baixas to the North of Portugal, the Albarino grape produces bright and fruity wine that;s packed with flavor. For $13, you can't go wrong here. Raise a glass!

Lewis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant notes of black cherry and currants

Full bodied and dense on the palate

Long, rich, and densely packed finish with dark chocolate and plum accented by spice


There's intensity and depth to this Cabernet that showcases classic Napa Valley character. It's big and bold yet also dense and refined.

I've sampled many of the recent vintages of this wine, and it's remarkably good every year. Priced at $80 or so, it's not cheap but worth the splurge. Grill a porterhouse, breath this wine, and you'll have a dinner to remember. Raise a glass!

Cortijo Rioja 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fresh raspberry and herbs on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Finishes with strawberry jam and herbs


Here's a simple Rioja that shows some freshness but is one dimensional. Take a pass on serving this as a dinner wine. For $10 or so, it will make a nice red sangria.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ken Forrester Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc Reserve 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fresh, vibrant citrus nose

Light bodied and crisp on the palate

Flavorful finish of lemon, fresh apricot, and some hazelnut


Fresh and flavorful, this wine packs it in. With good acidity to drive the finish, there's a lot to like here on a warm evening with a piece of fish or some scallops. Normally priced at $15, mix up your white wine rotation with this South African value. Be sure to read the back label. And raise a glass!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beckman Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley Cuvee le Bec 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Smoky blackberry and lavender on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Rich, layered finish of black cherry, menthol, and chocolate on the finish


An interesting Rhone-style blend, this wine is made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Counoise. It opens nicely with a range of flavors and has good texture. Drink it young, and pour it with rich food or to sip on its own. Expect to pay $17 or so. Raise a glass!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Montes Alpha M Santa Cruz 2004 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant, ripe, wild berries and cherry complimented by coffee notes on the nose

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Beautiful layers of tea, wild berries, cedar, and chocolate on the finish


This is an outstanding wine and I've been wanting to try it for a while. It's considered to be one of the great wines of Chile. I had the good forture of grabbing a bottle on closeout for $40, and at this price I'd buy a lot more. The problem is, the wine usually retails for $90.

The 2004 is drinking incredibly well, probably at its peak. It has ripe fruit and lots of layers, all of which are beautifully integrated and harmonious. A real treat for sure.

Pour this with good friends and enjoy the richness and length that will compliment a wide variety of fine dishes. Savor the moment, and raise a glass!

Joel Gott Zinfandel 2008 wine review by (PB)

Nice purple black cherry hue with big Zin berry bouquet yet lacking in the tell tale "brambly" wildness that normally comes with classic Zins. A touch of leather in the nose leads to a nice mouth feel.

palate--Big "sweet" balanced nearly jammy blackberry fruit with slight dark chocolate and fennel on the finish.

This is a tasty Zin and should be even better in two more years. I paid $14 for it so raise a glass.

Napa Valley Chardonnay 2009 wine review by (PB)

Nice powdery citrus and tropical fruit aromas

Palate--Tasty, acidic, balanced, nice fruit with baked caramel note. This is the Trader Joe's offering and a big value.

Previously reviewed; raise a glass at $9

Dona Paula Malbec 2010 wine review by (PB)

Nice simple berry bouquet with herbs and a touch of celery.

palate--Big berry presence with solid foundation; Full bodied with bold flavor.

This is a big wine with a sweet herbal presence and is quite nice for the price of $13.

Raise a glass of this decent Malbec.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Ripe, jammy berries and chocolate on the nose

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Rich plum and currant finish with cream and spice


This wine is big and bold, yet polished and classy. It has ripe fruit and a remarkable texture that brings it all together. At $27 it's a great example of the world-class Syrah that can be produced in Washington state. Drink with a rich meal and enjoy the last glass after dinner.

Raise a glass!

Casa Silva Colchagua Valley Carmenere Reserva 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fresh dark berries and green pepper notes on the nose

Full bodied and firmly textured on the palate

Dark berries and currants with some vegetal and oak notes on the finish


I saw some good reviews of this wine, but I disagree. This wine has too much of a vegetal note and the oak is poorly integrated in an attempt to add richness and depth. Carmenere has become a specialty of Chile, but it can be tricky to produce at the lower price points and can easily result in my description above. For $10-12, I recommend a Chilean Cabernet or Merlot instead, and there are many good ones. Price isn't everything, but the Carmerere bottled at $30 and up is typically excellent and memorable which suggests that this grape will continue to thrive in Chile. I'll be on the lookout for a better value Carmenere, so stay tuned. In the meantime, raise a glass of a great value Cab from Chile instead!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Darioush Napa Valley Signature Shiraz 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Rich wild berries with cocoa and charcoal notes on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Heavy tannins, dark berries and subtle notes of clove and pepper


My tasting notes finished with: nice, rich, stylish, and sturdy. Darioush is known for its big, bold Cabernets which I've had a number of times. This was my first opportunity to sample the Shiraz. I was impressed how stylish this wine is rather than simply an attempt at a highly extracted red. It should cellar well, too. At $68, it's no steal but it tastes great. Raise a glass!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rosenblum Sauvignon Blanc "Vinter's Cuvee" 2008 wine review by (PB)

Light golden hue with a sweeter fruit profile with only touches of straw and grass and a touch of aged ripeness in the fruity guava paste.

Palate-- Citrus front with vanilla notes on more lemon-lime.

This wine was showing its age but at this point is interesting. Drink NOW!

This was $7 and I suspect this was due to its age and someone realizing it was on its way out. Look for something else.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Aalto Ribera del Duero 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant black licorice, black currant, and some cream on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Finely textured and juicy finish of dark berries accented by dark chocolate


There are pure flavors in this wine that are intense and extracted. The dark berries, currants, and black licorice present a modern style and one that showcases the potential intensity of the Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) grape. From the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, this wine is produced from a highly acclaimed winemaker and retails for $45 or so. It compliments grilled or roasted meat nicely. Raise a glass!

Chateau Machorre Grand Vin De Bordeaux 2005 wine review by (PB)

Big spicy sweet fruit rising from glass with a hue that is definitely showing it's maturity. Get you nose deep in the glass for firm cedar, herbs.

Palate--Subdued fruit with robust cedar wood, light charcoal, slightly chunky tannins and a light smokey finish.

I paid $8 for this reduced Bordeaux (normally $15) and I'll grab 3 more to lay down another year. It is probably peaked based on the color at the rim but another year might yield something worth the wait. Classic Bordeaux so raise a glass.

Secco Bertani Valpolicella Valpatena (Ripasso) 2008 wine review by (PB)

Nice garnet color; Sweet cherry wafting with port-like, dark berry and prune presence with loads of glorious spiciness.

Palate--This wine is so relaxed I want to doze between tastes. Supple texture flavors of dried cherry-berry with amazing balance for such a young wine.

Finish is a touch quick with woody presence.

I've had several vintages of this wine and this is the best of any I have had. It's bit more expensive than the average ($19) but Ripasso's always are and are worth the little extra. Raise a glass!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Eola Hills Pinot Gris 2009 wine review by (PB)

This Oregon white is straw colored with powdery tropical fruit bouquet with a whiskey-like note on the nose. Vanilla touches and citrus continue.

Palate--Cinnamon sweet pie spices but a little flaccid though. Vanilla comes through with tropical fruit galore.

I was lovin this until the dull lack of acidity rather killed it for me. It's not a bad wine at all, it is merely my preference that a wine has a razor edge to it. But all in all its a good example of the wine. For around $12 raise a glass.