Monday, February 24, 2014

Ca' Momi Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Napa Valley) wine review by (PB)

Young black cherry hue

Bouquet-Ripe plum, black berry with green pepper and tart cranberry and a cocoa note.

Palate--Extracted style with big ripe plum and dark berry fruit, bold foundation, with solid tannins and a finish with hints of chocolate and toasted oak.

This Napa Cab was $12 marked down from $25 on a special purchase. It is juicy and a touch jammy but at the sale price its a nice find. I would expect quite a bit more if I paid $25.

At $12, raise a glass and buy more!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sebastiani Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with nice aromas of spectacular eucalyptus and menthol with blackberry and wild brambly spices.

Palate--Heavy blackberry fruit with an mocha layer with a hint of mint. Structured foundation will improve for the next few years. This Zin finishes with a chocolate cream suggestion and a touch of woody smoke.

Sebastiani has to struggle to make a bad wine and this Sonoma Zin is really special in light of the under $9 I paid for it on sale. If only I had bought much more!

Sonoma is where my favorite Zins come from and at this price you should grab up all you can find and then raise a glass!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Vignamaggio "Obsession" 2007 wine review by (PB)

Garnet to black cherry hue with aromas of earthy, yet perfumey black berry and spice with cigar box fragrances,vanilla cream bon-bon and sweet black licorice.

Palate--Finely tuned, integrated with supple tannins yielding delicious mouth watering dark berries and plum, forest floor and finishing a touch shallow.

This is a unique Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is expertly crafted and absolutely perfect in its drinkability.

Vignamaggio is the birth home of Mona Lisa and Me and my wife had the stellar thrill of staying at this working winery/Inn several years ago with (NW) and his wife. Just holding the bottle I am taken back to a sitting room at Vignamaggio pouring ourselves grappa and just taking in the Tuscan wonder. Such is the uniqueness of a beverage that is capable of transporting one to another time and place refreshing memories long buried beneath the rubble of "life."

I paid $35 for this bottle and I have no recollection of where I bought it thought I suspect it was on a West coast trip to see grandchildren. This wine will be drinking well for a few more years but the suggestion to hold it another 2-4 years which I saw at a respected website, is overshot. It is positively drinking at its peak right now so raise a glass if you happen to stumble on this find!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Clos des Papes 2004 Chateauneuf -Du-Pape Valentines Day Wine Review by Billy

Nose: tobacco, blackberry & licorice
Palate: soft velvety feel. plush and ripe and juicy.  It is incredibly pleasant to drink as it flirts with all parts of your palate.
Finish: extremely long and juicy with leather spice and berry flavors lingering.
Overall: I paid $50 for this wine 10 years ago and laid it down for a future treat. Today the wine will sell for over $160 if you can find it. I opened it tonight for an early Valentines Day dinner where this delightfully mature Chateauneuf Du Pape was the main feature. In the glass it is brick red at the edge and a deep, dark red - almost black - in the center.  This French Rhone red wine is lush blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and a little bit of this and that to make up the leftovers.  Simply amazing.

Matua Pinot Noir 2011 wine review by (PB)

Cherry hue with nice aromas of cherry fruit with fragrant mentholated strawberry.

Palate--pleasant presence in the mouth with a palate cleansing acidity, spicy red berry fruit, subtle milk chocolate hint and white pepper.

Straight forward and tasty this New Zealand (Marlborough) Pinot drinks easily and simply. At $15 its what you would expect. I'll serve it with my baked cod this evening. Raise a glass!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

St. Urbans-Hof Bockstein (Kabinett) 2011 wine review by (PB)

This German Riesling has a pretty golden hue with aromas of tropical fruit salad and wonderful gentle spices.

Palate--From the moment it hits your palate, the fruit fills your mouth on a structure of balanced acid and flavor galore with a taut green apple finish.

This German Riesling is beautiful and at $15 is a must have quaffer!

My wife and I had the thrill of exploring the Mosel region of German and floating down the Mosel River beholding ancient castle remains and terraced vineyards so steep that if you stumbled while tending the vines you wouldn't stop for a long time. Riesling is the specialty of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and as I already said, grab this one and marvel at how good the grape can be! Raise a glass or better a case!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Trapiche Oak Cask Mendoza Pinot Noir 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy cherry and black tea on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Kirsch and some woody notes on the finish

As far as inexpensive Pinot Noir goes, this is a good, interesting, and oaky style. It's not a conventional wine, but it drinks nicely. There's a lot of spice, tea, and woody notes wrapped around the fruit. Expect to pay around $10 for this Argentinian bargain. Raise a glass!

Da Vinci Chianti Riserva 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Dark berries and leather notes on the nose

Full bodied and dense on the palate

Long finish with savory spice notes on a dark berry core


This is a very good Chianti- dark and complex. It has great depth and a lot of flavor, made in the modern style with extracted fruit notes and spicy accents from oak.

I've seen this priced around $20, which is what I paid. It's a decent value for the quality, albeit not a bargain basement price. Pair with your favorite pasta and red sauce, and raise a glass!

Brazin Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Substantial garnet hue with aromas of big cocoa notes with classic brambly zinfandel along with loads of spice and wild blackberries and ripe plum.

Palate--Mocha mid-palate with rich textured deep berry goodness on a plushly textured foundation with bold finish of thick *tar. Quite tasty!

This Lodi Zin is better than I expected. I was already (negatively) biased by its **name and the fact that it was from Lodi. I had a bad experience visiting Lodi a couple years ago when I walked into a tasting room ready to spend some decent money on the wine but the proprietor was too busy with the good old boys at the bar to even acknowledge my presence which was difficult to do considering the small area of the room. I left without buying a thing and a bad attitude. I have shied away from Lodi wines ever since. So why did I buy this? I had a gift certificate to a wine store with a very small inventory and this was about the only thing I was remotely interested in being the Zinfandel fan that I am. This is actually one of the better Zins I have had in some time. I paid a hefty $20 for it which is a premium price but seriously, is not a bad price for the wine. It can be had for as low as $12! Bottom Line? Raise a glass!

*Tar doesn't seem to be a palatable or positive comment but it is. Tar is often a common descriptor for big bold Cabernets and other bold reds. Well, this is quite tarry!

**I do not like the label of the wine, and I do not like the name at all. Shouldn't matter in the least I realize but it does to me and I spend WAY more on wine annually than probably 95% of the populace; are you listening marketers?

At any rate, given all the negatives I had keeping me from liking this wine, it is a GOOD wine so again "Raise a glass!"

Saturday, February 08, 2014

" Chops & Burgers" Bordeaux 2010 wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue with aromas of fresh cherry fruit, Chinese Five Spice, cigar box, and fruity cedar underneath.

Palate--Soft structure with fruit forward drinkability in a popular style. (Michel Roland's hand???) Cedar mid-palate and quick finish.

This oddly named wine is imported by Barton and Guestier I suspect catering to the nouveau enophile who wants ready-to-drink, soft, fruity red wine. As a blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, it's better than I expected and at $9 it will please many palates. As much as I am fighting it, I like it, so I have to say it, Raise a glass!

(Pairing it with baked homemade macaroni and cheese.)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Cesari Boscarel (Merlot/Cabernet) 2012 wine review by (PB)

This Cesari blend of 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Sangiovese from the Veneto region of Italy has a black cherry presentation with a bouquet that is robust and spicy with aromas of sweet cherry, black berry and plum with cigar box hints. There are points where it is nearly floral and powdery with a suggestion of Gamay in its simplicity and joy! Quite nice!

Palate--Finely structured with a super soft foundation that supports big berry flavors, with some gentle spice and a seductive approach that makes you want to drink more. Finish has more red berries.

I saw this heretofore unknown wine to me and since it had the Cesari name on the label I had to grab it. Cesari is one of the monumental Italian wine makers and I was not even aware that he produced a wine in the $10 price range which is what I paid.

I am blown away by the elegance, the solid performance and otherwise delicious production this is. I hope I can find more somehow as this is the kind of wine that would make my top ten for the year. If you see this, BUY it and just revel in what a wine of this price can be. (I am finding it for as low as $6 on line which is insane!)

Raise a glass as will I when I pair it with my Carbonara this evening!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Castle Rock Pinot Noir (Mendocino Co.) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pale cherry hue that might even be showing a touch of age.

Bouquet--Wonderful Chinese 5 spice on strawberry and raspberry notes with a suggestion of floral cocoa.

Palate--Almost velvety on the palate delicious touches of strawberry and raspberry fruit in abundance with a "dressed up" kind of ending.

This is one of those wines you kick yourself for not having bought more when you had the chance but then again you didn't know what was in the bottle. This is a really well made and tasty Pinot Noir which at this price point--$11--makes it a super value wine. I will look for more but I got it out of state! Raise a glass if you find some a buy a couple more to drink within the next year. It won't get any better than this!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet 2011 wine review by Billy

Nose: charcoal, plum, strawberry, blueberry
Palate: Good balance and solid structure between acids and tannins.  Pleasing slate and stony notes combine with plush berry flavors.
Finish: soft finish that lingers with flavors of blueberry and slate
Overall: I paid between 10 and 15 for this bottle of wine at a local store.  It is a pleasant and soft California Cab.  It shows nice earthy notes and is a soft and accessible Cabernet.

Millbrandt Vineyards "Traditions" Chardonnay 2012 wine review by (PB)

Pale gold presentation with ample aromas of vanilla curd and peachy citrus with powdery green apple notes and candied sweetness.

Palate--Mouth filling flavor with racy acidity carrying oaky touched, stone fruit on creme brulee with a smart green apple finish.

This is a really nice Columbia Valley Chard that has a lot going for it. It's lingering fruity finish is tantalizing and almost classy! I will pair this with a fried cod filet and cheesy polenta aka--grits.

I paid somewhere in the $2 price range and it reminds me of Rombauer, one of my favorite chards for about 2 1/2 times the price. So this is a super value wine and Wine Spectator gave it an 89 and "Best Value" rating which I didn't know until after I reviewed it. Need I say, "Raise a glass?"