Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Betts & Scholl Black Betty Shiraz 2009 wine review by Billy

Nose: Big blueberry, plum and spicy leather
Palate: Silky smooth with gentle tannins and soft acid core.
Finish: Medium length with plum
Overall:  This 2009 Australian Shiraz comes from the Barossa valley.  At least that is where Betts & Scholl bottle it.  This dark red wine is fruitier and less spicy than other Shirazzes from Barossa. This is possibly because of the wine maker's affinity for Grenache.  And yet the result is an incredibly easy drinking and easily approachable shiraz with big fruit and a soft feel.  I paid about $17 for this at the local wine store.

Raise a Glass!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A to Z Pinot Gris 2011 wine review by (PB)

Light straw hue with a big bouquet of all kinds of fruit; ripe honeydew melon, a touch of ripe apple all sitting on top of a foundation of a tropical fruit melange with floral notes.

Palate--Delicious full bodied white fruit all over the palate that is hyper-fruity with a different fruit everywhere you turn. The structure is a touch weak for my preference in the acid arena where I like my whites to cut my tongue but this is adequate. A strong green apple finish that has some length to it.

This Oregon Pinot Gris is crazy tasty and what is amusing is that I grabbed this wine in a hurry thinking it said "Pinot Noir." I paid $14 for it and I'm not disappointed that it wasn't the Pinot Noir after all. The great folks at the Wine Spectator gave this their "Best Value" rating and 88 points; absolutely!

Raise a glass to this tasty Pacific Northwest delight! I will be pairing it with homemade French Onion soup with loads of mozzarella baked on top!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rocca Barolo 2006 wine review by (PB)

Ruby hue with large cherry bouquet wafting into the air. Forest floor, cedar and earthiness with occasional suggestion of cocoa.

Palate--Cherry fruit with a definite cocoa mid palate nearly overwhelmed by rustic flavors of cedar or spruce. Tannins are surprisingly chunky and still need some time to mature. For a wine with this age on it, it is still immature.

Pleasant with some depth and power; just needs more time. I was given this as a gift and I believe it runs around $35. Barolo's are pricey but almost always worth the extra cost. Save your pennies and treat yourself and someone special!

(NW) of this blog was supposed to be joining us for dinner but Maine winter has interfered.

I will pair this with a Moose/Venison ragout and home made paperadelle and of course I'm raising a glass!

Castelvecchio Il Breccolini Toscana 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Rich blackberry and black cherry on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Richly layered finish of spices, pine, berries, and licorice woven together


There's a lot going on in this wine. It's rich and dense with great layers. Made from Sangiovese, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, it's a modern style super-Tuscan that will compliment hearty Tuscan fare and bistecca. Drink it now or let it rest for a few more years- either way it will be great. Interestingly, prices are all over the board on this one so do a little shopping to find a deal. While the "list" price is $50, it for sale as low as $18 in my area. Raise a glass!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 wine review by (PB)

The color of this relatively young wine says it is peaked and heading south; a very slight cola beginning to come through an otherwise garnet hue.

Bouquet--One of my favorite reliable inexpensive Chianti's that has something special going for it, yields wonderful macerated cherry fruit with all kinds of great forest floor nuances, cigar box with cocoa and other fragrances; really nice!

Palate-- silky presence with mature tannins, a mid palate bitterness with somewhat tight mature fruit. Finishes with stewed fruit.

This favorite is further along than I would have guessed; drink NOW and enjoy mature Chianti!!!

I paid $16 for this and consider it a value wine with fond remembrances! Raising a glass to my favorite and only Valentine!

Piper Sonoma Brut sparkling wine Sonoma County (NV) wine review by (PB)

Straw hue with aromas of hazel nut, light vanilla, sweet tropical mixed fruit.

Palate--Lively bubbles with a fresh, balanced fruity presence with light citrus notes and nutty after taste.

This sparkler is well made with pure flavors with an off dry to dry foundation.

This is our valentine's Day sinner aperitif. At $15 or so, raise a glass!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Mercedes Eguren Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with bouquet of very steely berry fruit with licorice touches,and a note of mustiness.

Palate--Loads of berry fruit with a second layer of tart black raspberry.

This is a strange wine to me and I would not have ID'd it as Cabernet Sauvignon but probably a Malbec. Finishes with a light hint of smoke.

In my 35 years of wine study I have not had MORE than a handful (if that) of Cabernet Sauvignon from Spain.

The good folks at the Wine Spectator gave this wine 90 points when they tasted it back in 2011. I'm not feelin that...I paid $9 fro this yet had a release price of $18. Honestly I don't quite know what to make of it.

I paired it with raclette grilled venison tenderloin medallions served with 3 distinct sauces. It worked well but I'm still not sure. I have a second bottle I will cellar for a while and give it another shot.

Louis Latour Meursault 2009 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Baked apple, melon, and spice notes on the nose

Full bodied and richly textured on the palate

Rich layers melt on the finish with more melon along apple and spices


Good white Burgundy is always a treat. This one is really ripe and rich, which isn't the typical style from this region but still offers flavors that show off how Chardonnay can perform. What brings it together is the amazing texture of the wine- both silky and richly layered. For me, that's often the secret sauce of white Burgundy. There's nothing quite like the texture of these wines. Of course, you'll pay for it. Expect a retail price around $40 for this one. Open it soon, and raise a glass!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Querceto Chinati Classico 2008 wine review by (PB)

This cherry hued Tuscan creation is full of cherry and light raspberry with earthy notes.

Palate--This magnum is a well made wine that is drinking really well right now with classic Chianti flavors that mingle well on the palate with balanced tannins and spice notes.

Paired with friends and a nice prime rib of beef, it was a lovely accompaniment to a fun filled evening with "family by faith."

This was a magnum bottle which runs around $24 and is a great example of the solid Chianti style and pleasure. For the price it is hard to beat so raise a glass!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Domaine ste Michelle Extra Dry Sparkling Wine review by Billy

Nose: Lemon custard, crackers
Palate: Prickly bubbles, off dry, minerally and peach syrup.  Gentle but firm acid core.
Finish: Peaches and flowers.
Overall: I paid about $9 for this bottle of domestic bubbly.  This Domaine STE Michelle Extra Dry sparkling wine from Washington state is fun, easy drinking and very accessible.  It's not too dry which means that it's great as a stand alone or as an accompaniment to sharp cheeses.  Raise a glass!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

*RingBolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 wine review by (PB)

***This Margaret River Aussie Cab is deep garnet in its presentation with aromas that are predominantly "green" and sprucey as in "tree." There seem to be blackberry fruit aromas trying to fight their way out of a "green" assault with a subtle chocolate presence in the rear. Finishes with a fleeting touch of smoke.

Palate-- Again, the "green" predominance carries through to the front palate with an awkward unbalanced foundation where trace fruit and clumsy mouth feel presents a less than appealing wine. If this wine were at the $10 price point I would call it run of the mill. At the $17 price point, do not raise a glass, just give it a pass!

***After a couple hours of air this wine takes on a different attitude. It is actually fairly pleasant and while I don't think it is a $17 Cab it is certainly OK for the price. So I changed my mind and raise a glass but let it breathe!

*Real time review! Normally I would append my review and publish only the final assessment. but this one I leave so that you can learn the importance of giving a wine some time to pen up. It can make a big difference! Raise a glass!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Oscar's Estate Vineyard 2008 Barossa Valley Shiraz wine review by Billy

Nose: Big Jammy nose of blueberry, plum.  Cracked black pepper and tar.
Palate: Incredibly soft and plush mouth feel.  Like a mouth full of silk.  Soft acid backbone and gentle tannins.  Round and full bodied.  This is a full feeling Australian Shiraz from the Barossa valley.
Finish: Green pepper and blueberry on the finish.  Slight acidic resurgence at the sides of the tongue on the finish gives a memory of youthfulness.
Overall: I paid $16 for this at the local wine store.  Its delightfully full and soft mouth feel makes it uniquely suited for drinking now.  Wait much longer and its structure will edge into flabbiness.  Fruit forward nose combined with gentle finish and softness in the mouth make this an excellent introduction to Barossa Valley Shirazzes for those who want to branch out. Raise a glass!

Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Lighter wild cherry red which seems to be common for Paso Robles' Zins.
Bouquet--Big vibrant wild black berry galore with forest floor undertones.

Palate--Quite nice, brambly, big blackberry and green tree flavors that are both classic Zin but so well balanced it is down right delicious.

I think I grabbed this because it was on sale for less than the $11 I see it for and I am glad I did. I tend not to be thrilled with Paso Robles Zins but this is really NICE. I will be having it with freshly harvested venison chili tonight! Worth seeking out. Raise a glass.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Montinore Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Subtle notes of cherry, rose, and pepper on the delicate nose

Light bodied and lean on the palate

Tart raspberry and pepper on the finish


This wine is a very light style of Pinot from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. While it shows some of the trademark qualities of Oregon Pinot, it's so subtle and fleeting that you have to remind yourself that you're drinking wine. That has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the circumstances. For $20, just know what to expect and don't serve it to your die-hard Cabernet friends. Raise a glass!

Henri de Richemer Cotes de Thau Viognier 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Fragrant melon and floral notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Nicely tapering finish of tropical fruit and some acidity


Okay, here's a great value white wine. It's interesting, balanced, and priced right at $11. The nose is fragrant and inviting, while the acidity backs up the tropical fruit flavors. It's a basic Viognier varietal wine from Southern France, but it's well made. Pair with dishes like roasted chicken, grilled fish, or steamed vegetable. Raise a glass!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Yalumba Unwooded Chardonnay (Y Series) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pale yellow with very light bouquet of vanilla and equally light tropical fruit.

Palate--Spicy first impression with slight citrus front with bitter mid palate and barely any flavor you'd want to recall. Has a good acidic foundation and that is about all I can say. At $10-$15 this is a PASS. Raise a glass of something else!