Monday, September 30, 2013

Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley) 2009 wine review by (PB)

Very nice rich looking dark cherry berry hue with aromas of ripe blackberry and cigar box inside the glass with some nice cedar in a chocolate liqueur. Interesting.

Palate--Steely front with lush blackberry flavor, and a very subtle but definite vanilla finish.

Geyser Peak takes me back several decades to when I was just starting to learn about wine. They have been around a long time and I drink this fond recollection and therein lies the uniqueness and joy of wine. It's more than a beverage; it's an experience, a memory, an occasion to celebrate. So raise a glass and do just that!

Fonseca *LBV Port (unfiltered) 2007 wine review by (PB)

Deep black cherry hue with aromas of dark cherry with sweet spice and ripe stewed prunes.

Palate--Luxurious thick texture in the mouth with swelling flavors of stewed prunes, rich sweetness and lingering richness hanging on. This is a lot of wine for $20 and is awesome with dark chocolate.

*Don't confuse Vintage Port with Late Bottled Vintage Port. For an explanation see previous posts on LBV and don't forget to raise a glass!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coppola "Rosso & Bianco Shiraz 2011 wine review by (PB)

Inky dark hue that stains the sides of the glass.
Aromas of Deep dark berries with Asian spices and licorice-like notes.

Palate--Bold, fruit laden front palate with rich, textured foundation and loaded with dark berry fruit with a touch of smoke on the finish.

We received an awesome touch of summer today so I had to grill and I was just in the mood for a fruit bomb. I went to the local supermarket and grabbed this Shiraz from a generally very solid producer. I paid $12 for it and I am enjoying. It will go well with our BBQ'd chicken and a return to summer. Raise a glass!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Murphey-Goode Pinot Noir 2011 wine review by (PB)

Shimmering light cherry hue with aromas of tart raspberry and cherry

Palate--A very minerally front with spicy raspberry and cherry with a hint of chocolate covered cherries.

Ends with a touch of smoke on a short finish. At around the $15 price point, it's a little steep but if you can find it around $11, I'd say raise a glass.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Novelty Hill "Royal Slope White" Stillwater Creek Vineyard" 2010 wine review by (PB)

Delicate pale yellow hue with aromas of vanilla, ripe apple, sweet perfumed and slightly powdery bouquet with the presence of a tropical fruit melange.

Palate--Very structured and well integrated wine with exotic fruit none of which I can really put a single ID on. I was stumped as to the composition of this wine as was my wife. Turns out it is a blend of 2/3 Viognier then Roussanne, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. This explains the bouquet and why I couldn't put my finger on a specific fruit(s) on the palate. Perhaps this is why this wine, which sells for $19, was reduced at a state store to $10.

At $10 this Washington State wine (Columbia Valley) is a really nice wine and quite delicious and I would raise several glasses if I had more at that price!

Joseph Drouhin "Laforet" Chardonnay (Bourgogne) 2012 sponsored wine review by (PB)

Nice lemon yellow with a bouquet of vanilla and citrus with creme brulee to boot.

Palate--Vanilla and tropical fruit with a citrusy beam and a nice balanced foundation with a racy acidity.

Finishes with a ripe pineapple note.

This is a delicious and affordable Chard at the $18 price point. It is more "new world" in style than I would have thought which isn't a bad thing as far as I'm concerned. Both of the "LaForet" I have sampled (see previous review on the (Pinot Noir) are quite nice and a decent value so raise a glass!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cooper Mountain Vineyards Cooper Hill Pinot Noir 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Cherry and ruby red grapefruit on the nose

Light bodied on the palate

Herbal notes with pomegranate on the finish


This is quite a light and delicate Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Interestingly, after drinking only half the bottle one evening, I put it in the refrigerator overnight and found it was better the second day the bottle was open. While that isn't particularly surprising for lighter and more acidic wines, it was especially obvious with this wine. It seemed more relaxed and integrated but still showed freshness.

Take this as a recommendation when you're looking for a light red. Grab a bottle for $15, and raise a glass!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Campo Viejo Gran Reserva Tempranillo 2005 wine review by (PB)

Solid black cherry hue still showing vestiges of purple youthfulness in this nearly 9 year old wine.

Bouquet is brimming with cherries from the glass with cigar box goodness on spicy cherries.

Palate--Integrated,with tart pie cherry flavors on a structured, mature wine with plenty of age left on it. I'm not even convinced this is at its peak. Finishes quickly but maes you want to go back for more.

The Rioja is an often overlooked region of the world which produces some spectacular--and pricey--Tempranillo wines. If you haven't delved into the world of this grape, you don't have a complete wine education. Campo Viejo in particular produces wines at 3 different price points at least, and each one tends to be well done.

I will pair this with braised beef shanks and risotto made from the braising liquid. I suspect it will be awesome.

I paid $13 for this gem marked down from $20. Wish I had bought more. Raise a glass for sure!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Castello Banfi Tavernelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Dark chocolate, anise, tobacco, and black currant on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

More dark chocolate, coffee, and blackberry on the finish


Castello Banfi's Cabernet Sauvignon, Tavernelle, shows muscle and power. It has dark, rich flavor with some earthy Tuscan edges. With loads of dark fruit and chocolate, it will pair well with red meat and hearty dishes. The retail price runs in the $35 range. I recommend this wine, so raise a glass!

J. Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011 Sponsored wine review by (PB)

On the pour this Pinot looks like strawberry juice coming out of a spigot; a pretty cherry hue.

Bouquet--Gentle fruity cherry above the glass with a perfumy, spiced cherry in the bowl.

Palate--slightly tart, cherry with a mineral hint on the front with a somewhat austere foundation with bracing acidity.

This wine was sent to the WCB with the complements of the folks at Dreyfuss, Ashby and Co. Joseph Drouhin, the mega French wine negociant, sources this wine from various sites making this one of the very approachable and affordable Burgundies that a person of normal means can obtain. What is interesting is for the aspiring oenophile to compare a Pinot Noir like this to a new world Pinot noting the differences in style. My wife loved the bouquet and the finish; it really is a very drinkable wine and we found ourselves going back to refresh our pour and, oops, the bottle is gone.

This Bourgogne Pinot is priced at $21 and when you think of Burgundy, think, "Wow!" Raise a glass to the grape that holds millionaires in bondage to its seductive ways and now available to we, the common people!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Matua Pinot Noir (Marlborough) 2011 wine review by (PB)

On the pour this looks like a rose; in the glass it has a fresh light cherry hue with a bouquet that is vibrant with sweet candy cherry gum away from the glass; down in the swirl, you get loads of fruity spiced cherry.

Palate--Pure cherry fruit juice on a foundation of solid structure with loads of Pinot flavor, and a slightly smoky touch on the finish.

New Zealand produces some first rate Pinot Noirs quite distinct from the Burgundy style. They are fresh, fruity, and easy to down. This is a nice value wine; I paid $11 for it on sale from $15. Drink it with joy and raise a glass!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Casillero Del Diablo – White Versus Red Guest Blog and Review by Lisa Pearson

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From time to time, The Wine Cask Blog will post guest reviews from other bloggers.  They may be industry insiders or casual afficianiados.  We present here Lisa Pearson's Casillero Del Diablo white and red reviews.  We hope you enjoy!

Casillero Del Diablo translates into ‘The Devils Cellar’. If that is the case, then the devil is harboring an alcoholic punch behind fruity flavors down in the cellar. Never an understatement, this wine is as bold as its namesake. Masked with an interesting market campaign that plays to our naturally taboo souls, does this wine live up to expectation? Moreover, which are you going to buy, one of the whites or a red? Which has the better health benefits? Which one is going to impress on those nights with a guest-filled house?

In the White Corner
As with all wines, a nice white Casillero Del Diablo, drunk in moderation, is going to be good for you. With simply one glass a night, a consumer can greatly improve their way of life. A research phenomenon has concluded that moderate wine drinkers have less chance of losing eyesight with age and an increased chance of surviving a heart attack.

Casillero Del Diablo Chardonnay is the perfect medium bodied wine to accompany a creamy pasta dish. With pineapple and citrus flavors mixed with peach, and a hint of vanilla, it is a light and fruity alternative to its red wine counterparts. At tastings, however, it seems to become a love it or hate it kind of drink, supposedly because of the intense nature of the taste.

Sauvignon Blanc 
A zesty, dry white wine, the Sauvignon Blanc goes down great with simple dishes, such as thick cut bread and rich, mature cheeses. This peach, citrus fruit and gooseberry-tinged wine is a magnificently easy drink. It is elegant and well rounded on the palate, balanced with crisp lemon notes and a beautifully refreshing acidity.

Granted, these white wines may not be for the fashionistas or be likely to be served at an art exhibition, but are staple wines for any wine-rack. Fairly priced, with consistent tastes, these whites are certainly never wines to be ashamed of presenting. Despite this, Casillero Del Diablo’s white options seem to have a rather lackluster love or hate consistency with consumers. 

In the Red Corner
Casillero Del Diablo holds its own in the powerful red wine market and is an essential addition to any alcohol-infused barbecue. Despite recent studies that have shown that drinking wine can have an adverse effect on hair, there are now remedies to address hair loss, if this is a problem for you,  and it's unlikely moderate drinking will affect your hair.  Red wine is generally considered to be the healthiest wine option as it has all the health benefits of white wine, plus many more thanks to the antioxidants in the red grape skins that help reds to achieve their richer tastes.  Antioxidants are key to relieving stress and fighting disease, giving red wine a stand out feature that is not found in white wine, reducing the risks of illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. This is why doctors often recommend one small glass of wine a night as part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

Cabernet Sauvignon
Casillero Del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon has an intense nose with a strong fruit base that is likely to make those not used to the power of a good wine wince at the scent. Having said that, it hits with a jammy fruit and prune juice sensation. It is full-bodied and velvety with a smooth finish, filled with blackcurrant flavoring and an almost dark chocolate cheekiness. It must be the first choice for barbecues and all roast red meats, whether that is a summer steak in the garden or a roasted lamb shank in the evening. This is a sumptuous treat that is best enjoyed in a bigger glass for more of the Devil’s splendor.

Pinot Noir
The Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is a softer tasting red that the wine masters describe as being more feminine and easy drinking, producing a smooth taste with an equally persistent finish. Matched perfectly with oily fish, a great grilled tuna steak, or equally as well with white meats, it is a perfect addition to any feast given its easy drinking and lighter nature.

Despite the endearing play on the name that implies it may become a cliché, Casillero Del Diablo comes stylishly presented with a well-designed logo. It holds the attention of the wine market with a consistently edgy taste that is both powerful and memorable in both nose and mouth. It is not a cheap looking wine that will look out of place in either a grand dining hall or a humble dining room. Casillero Del Diablo is a fine choice whether you prefer the whites or the reds, but the reds just seems to have that something extra, something devilishly charming about them.
It is a wine for simple enjoyment. A truly magnificent wine. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Coppola Syrah-Shiraz 2005 "green Label" wine review by (PB)

Big jammy blackberry and sweet chocolate berry cream candy with spicy vegetal nuances.

Palate-Mature tannins, solid acidic backbone with loads of blackberries and a hint of smoke on the finish.

This was on sale for $12 and its a nice, "fruit bomb" kind of wine which if in your in the mood for one--and I am--is just sheer pleasure on the quaff.

I will pair this tonight with chicken-fried moose cube steaks and sage butter pasta (gluten free) so raise a glass as there is a definite nip in the air here in Maine!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant cherry and pomegranate on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Rich finish, almost a creamy element to it, with cherry and spice


A good Pinot Noir is always a special treat. What sets this apart is an unexpected creaminess yet lightness. It's this texture and weight nuance that makes this wine so enjoyable. From the Willamette Valley in Oregon, this one's a keeper. Expect to pay around $30 which is fair. Raise a glass!

Santi Vigneti di Monteforte Soave Classico 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nice citrus nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Lemongrass and floral notes on the finish


This is a nice example of Soave Classico, if a bit less complex than some. The citrus notes are nicely offset by floral notes, and the acidity is just right. Soave Classico is primarily made from Garganega in Northeast Italy. Expect to pay $15 for this, and raise a glass!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Pascual Toso 2004 Malbec wine review by (PB)

Absolutely solid, opaque deep magenta hue with aromas, rich sweet fruit deep dark red berry bouquet with an under-layer of gentle "Toll House" semi-sweet chocolate with cherry bleeding through.

In the mouth is the sensual texture of a thickish foundation--that's right I said "thickish," (get your own blog and you can use your own weird adjectives)with a pronounced mid-to rear palate flavor of cedar laced with red berries.

This wine was opened when a friend brought it over wondering about an 07 Malbec that originally sold for around $8. He thought his first bottle was pretty good and wanted to know what I thought. (Several bottles were given to him from a lady he had done some contracting work for.)

I had reviewed a bottle of this same wine (different vintage)back in 2008 I think and thought it was pretty "Meah."

This is one of those nice surprises. Aged very well and still holds a solid, peaked level of maturity especially for a wine that was produced as your basic table wine. So if you happen to find one of these buried in a bin somewhere in your local wine haunt, snag it and open it with confidence. It's a really nice surprise for the money and the age so raise a glass! Thanks T.St.G.!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Armand Roux Verdillac 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux Wine Review by Billy

Nose: Pineapple, Lime and Water Cracker
Palate: Lovely, spry mouth feel with a fantastic acid core and steely back that will slice through butter and cream leaving you fresh and ready for another bit of anything you have in front of you!
Finish: Granny Smith Apples give way to apricots and mint in a long lasting finish.
Overall: What an absolutely wonderful discovery!  I paid $9.99 for this at a local wine shop where it was recommended by the clerk.  I paired it after dinner with a creme brulee and it was magnificent.  It is a steal at this price.  This French Sauvignon Blanc is young, easy to drink and has all the nascent complexity and elegance of a more expensive white French Bordeaux.

Raise a Glass!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Roncier (NV) Red wine review by (PB)

Purple cherry hue with aromas that seem pinot noir-like blended with Grenache. There are earthy notes, light spice and a touch of white pepper.

Palate-Lighter strawberry and raspberry confused with an awkward mouth feel and an overall clunky confused taste with an unpleasant reminder on the finish that you just wasted some money.

I was shopping for a Burgundy and grabbed a higher end bottle and saw this for $11. I figured what the heck, you never know. You might just find a great bargain; maybe an overproduction of wine bottled under an uninformative label. Well not so; I think the names were changed to protect the guilty. This is a wine to be passed up.

Jackson-Trigg Proprietor's Reserve Vidal Ice Wine 2007 wine review by (PB)

Pretty golden hue throwing off enticing aromas of ultra sweet, mandarin oranges, hints of pineapple, and a slight toasted sugar glaze of Creme Brulee and aromas reminiscent of Botrytis--the "helpful" mold that makes the Sauternes and other late harvest dessert wines so wonderful.

Palate--Velvety filling texture with nicely balanced apricot nectar front, great acid foundation to balance the sweetness, and and a lush tropical fruit finish that lasts a loooong time afterwards. 10-15 minutes later I am still tasting this awesome wine.

This was a gift from friends and what a treat this is. It will cost you around $20 for a 375 ml bottle and its worth every penny so raise a glass!