Monday, March 31, 2014

Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro Manzano Migliara Cortona Syrah 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Crushed blackberry and mocha on a huge, jammy nose

Full bodied on the palate

Long, rich, silky finish of milk chocolate, raspberry sauce, and spice


This wine is huge, rich, jammy, and modern. I'd call it controversial, with fruit bomb qualities that neither define geography or varietal. I grabbed it because I don't see many Syrahs from Central Italy, especially Cortona in Umbria. It gets points for being interesting, for sure.

With this said, I found it hard not to enjoy. The bottle went empty pretty quickly, fruit bomb or not. It has amazing texture and is so well layered that it continues to show various notes of ripe berries and sweet fruit flavors in the glass.

While I've seen it priced as high as $80, I paid $35 on clearance and would buy more if it was available at that price. I'd be curious to taste this in another 5 years or so because the only other Tuscan Syrah I've collected (different producer) is from the 1998 and 1999 vintages which are still drinking well.

Here's to trying new wines, so raise a glass!

Concha Y Toro (Puente Alto Marques De Casa Concha) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Intense Purple black hue with heavy pigmentation

Bouquet-- Burnt ash right on opening with bold, black berry and tar, with vegetal notes of green pepper, and a host of aromas I don't even have descriptors for. After an overnight, the burnt ash is gone and menthol/cedar looms prominently.

Palate--Bold inky dark berry flavor, with eucalyptus notes, and intense dark baker's chocolate with a slightly tannic foundation, and a young mouth feel again reminiscent of a young Don Melchor.

Finishes with charred oak and a pleasantly bitter berry fruit finale.

This reminds me of Concha Y Toro's fabulous Cab "Don Melchor" in its infancy. This is their 2nd tier label of which I reviewed several vintages over the years as a consistent superior wine every year.

I paid $19 for this recently; it is listed in the Wine Spectator with a reference price of $26 and 93 pts on their 100 point scale. (Good call WS!) This Cab is pleasant and impressive right now but there is much more to come with another 3-5 years and will hold for another 10. At $19 it's a super value and at $26 it's still a great value so--Raise a glass for sure!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vinchio-Vaglio Serra Piemonte Barbera 2012 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with cherry berry aroma with a bit of earthy under layer with dill or cedar.

Palate--Solid foundation with bright fruit, gentle tannins and a pleasant drink-ability.

I wanted to make a study this year on Barberas and Barbarescos but there are so few of them in my area that I decided that would be impossible. The few I have had are fruity, decidedly "Italian" tasting, carrying a rustic edge and pleasantly drinkable. This one was quite inexpensive at around the $10 price point and I would certainly buy it again which means--raise a glass!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Talbot "Kali Hart" Chardonnay 2011 wine eview by (PB)

Straw hue with aromas of vanilla, citrusy fruit with cream pudding, a touch of cinnamon and fresh summer melon.

Palate-- Juicy lemony creme brulee with sharp acidity, tangy green apple and a fairly quick finish but pleasant.

I paid $14 for this Monterey creation and I liked it a lot with my Hake fillet with capers and wine reduction sauce with lemon. You'll see it for a bit more more than likely but at $14, it's a nice value so raise a glass!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Four Vines Biker Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Dark cherry hue with sweet candied cherries wafting on a cocoa or dark chocolate carpet and spicing with dark, ripe blackberries.

Palate--Tasty, rustic, blackberries and dark chocolate and cinnamon touches with a nice lasting finish.

This is a Paso Robles Zin and it's a nice expression of the grape at a higher level than your $10 offering.

I defied the 24 degrees on this 24th day of March and enjoyed BBQ ribs with this tasty wine. At the $20 price point its "OK" but for that, I would look to Rosenblum. Never-the-less, raise a glass!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Trivento Golden Reserve Lujan de Cuyo Malbec 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Rich nose of wild berries

Full bodied on the palate

Berries, coffee, and spice layers on the finish


Deeply colored and packed with wild berry flavor, this is a full throttle Malbec from the Lujan de Cuyo region in Argentina. It has a roasted coffee layer on the finish that rounds it out nicely.

The retail price is $18 or so, which puts it a few dollars above the basic Malbecs filling the shelves. Serve with meat dishes and give it plenty of air.

Raise a glass!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 wine review by (PB)

Deeply pigmented, black cherry hue

Bouquet--fresh herbs and sweet dark berry fruit, rich, almost "thick" aromas rising of complex spices and a gentle suggestion of chocolate covered cherries with an under-layer of floral sweet petals.

Palate--Rich textured big berry front with a viscous mouth feel and a smokey, charred oak finish.

This Chilean Cab from Maipo region is a big wine that is still flaunting a hefty youthfulness. This is a big wine that needs to be paired with a big steak! With its structure, I expect this wine to be coming around in another 5 years with it showing well for another 8-10. This is such a good example of Chilean Cabernet and at the $12 price point ya have to snatch it if you see it! the raise a glass!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Querceto Vernaccia Di San Gimignano 2011 wine review by (PB)

Pale golden hue

Bouquet--Sweet vanilla, green apple and citrus with green melon

Palate--Lively moth feel with vanilla, zesty citrus and green apple and a hint of rose petal. (pretty much what's in the bouquet) Fleeting finish with suggestion gentle summer fruit.

Querceto has always been a favorite if only for the wonderful memories it conjures from a trip to Tuscany a few years back. But I have only ever had--or seen--the red productions. This is one of the few (only?) whites to have achieved the DOCG approval which is a pretty big deal.

This is a fresh aperitif kind of wine or with lighter fare. I think I paid under $15 and it is a well made wine and versatile so raise a glass!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cesari "Mara" Valpolicella Ripasso 2011 wine review by (PB)

Nice robust pigmented cranberry jelly hue!

Bouquet--loads of luscious cherry up front with a wonderful sweet "powdery" red berry and an awesome dill beam right down the center with woodsy spices.

Palate--Unique rustic forest glade fruit out of the gate, interesting structure and a finish that is a bit quick.

I paid a ridiculous $12 for this wonderful wine marked down from $14 which still would have been a ridiculous price. To understand the "Ripasso" designation on the label you should search our blog for that word. It's a very interesting process that works hand in hand with the "Amarone" process. Wine is so awesome so raise a glass!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fume Blanc 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Pear and floral notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Silky, more pear, with citrus accents and a nice tapering on the finish


For Sauvignon Blanc, this is a nice silky style with good fruit and a medium body. It's not racy and "in your face" with zest, but rather elegant and fragrant. There are many styles to choose from, but when you want the description above you'll find this to be a reliable choice.

While the winery continues to use the legacy Fume Blanc name, I noticed they now have "a Sauvignon Blanc" in smaller font on the front label to guide consumers. Look for a price around $16. And raise a glass!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Eos Petite Sirah 2009 wine review by (PB)

Rich even thick looking swirl with nice dark black cherry hue

Bouquet--Big aromas of cedary/spicy dark fruit with a nice presence of dark baker's chocolate

Palate--Big, twenty mega ton fruit bomb with structural character and profound flavors of dark fruit,heavy berry goodness,notes of green forest and a finish that keeps reminding you what you just drank.

This Paso Robles wine is a typical Petite Sirah with big, rich, bold dark berries, and a tannic foundation that is still lively and should continue to evolve for a few years. It is not quite at its peak yet but drinking nicely. Grilled sirloin is the order of the day and at $12 I say Raise a Glass!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Querceto "Toscana" 2012 wine review by (PB)

Cherry hue

Bouquet--gorgeous aromas rising from the glass while it sits stationary; sweet cherry with loads of rustic spices and a suggestion of milk chocolate.

Palate--Minerally front with touches of licorice, cherry fruit, forest floor and sweet finish of more forest floor.

Querceto holds a fine place in my heart having been to its place of production in Tuscany but I have never seen this lower tiered wine in my part of the country.
It is a really fine example of Sangiovese and a value at the $10 price point so raise a glass as I will with a marginal pizza! Prego!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Carvalhais Duque de Viseu 2009 Dao Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Plum and berries abound on the fruity bouquet
Full bodied on the palate
Ripe fruit and smoky notes on the finish with roasted notes and herbs


Here's a good value red from Portugal for $13. It's expressive, fruity, and well made. The table wines from Portugal continue to improve and deliver a good bang for the buck. This one's hard not to recommend.

Raise a glass!

Turning Point Gettysburg 150 Year Commemorative bottling wine review by (PB)

Cherry hue with bouquet of tart cherry, powder, and cedar with faint "grapefruit."

Palate--Somewhat pleasant with rustic red grape and daffodil flavors. Rear palate goes down a touch "hot" for some strange reason but then again it just could be my throat...

This is a special bottling from the Adams County Winery in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. It was a gift from a dear friend and was actually much better than I had expected. I will have it with cheese and crackers before dinner. Somethings you just can't put a price on and this gift is one of them. So raise a glass to friends who think of you even when they're far away!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Chateau Michel de Vert (Lussac Saint-Emilion) 2012 wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue

Bouquet--Aromas of subdued spice and gentle fruit, slight chocolate note with eucalyptus and still evolving 3 hours after it was opened.

Palate--Austere first impression, slightly tart,chewy tannins,smoky finish, little fruit. May change with more air.

This wine is just too immature too fairly review but at this moment, what I wrote may still be helpful if only to say, "HOLD" and give it another two years.

The emergence of the "new world" style where wines which are made to be enjoyed essentially on release make it tough on the old world classic style. I paid $12 for this on sale from $15 and the jury is still out on this one.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Dalliance Lake County Red Wine 2011 wine review by (PB)

Okay the color of this wine is RED! How's that? I run out of adjectives at times; crimson, cranberry, garnet, cherry, black cherry, purple, cherry/garnet so how about RED this time?

Bouquet--Interesting bouquet of wild or rustic blackberry fruit with slight touches of dark chocolate, camphor (first time I have used this adjective) menthol, and a hint of fennel.

Palate--Gentle foundation with solid structure and nice, blackberry and brambly flavor with all kinds of other nuances going on.

This is a blend of 41% Zinfandel, 24% Syrah, 12% Barbera, 11% Tempranillo, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Grenache. I tend to dislike wines that are blended with more than 3 or 4 grapes as the final result is often confused and somewhat schizophrenic. The wine itself doesn't even know what it is. One of the great exceptions is Beaulieu vineyards "Tapestry" hence the name. That being said, this is actually a very nice wine! It drinks well right now even though young and will drink well for years to come.

It sells for $20 and I found it for $12. I grabbed it because I am a big Zinfandel fan and I was not familiar with this wine or producer.

Bottom line--A really decent wine and I wish I had bought more so you know what that means--Raise A Glass!

(Note that the label shown is for the 2010 and NOT the 2011!)

Brolio Chianti Classico 2009 wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue with some depth

Aromas of muted cherry, dried rose petal, licorice and fennel seed

Palate--Cherry with spices and rustic touches of forest floor.

This is the last of my great find at a state store where they were selling these for $10 but you'll find it for over $20! Yeah I got a bargain which is why I ended up buying about a case in a couple of visits. This Chianti is Delicious with a lot of life in it. This should drink great for the next 4 years but is perfect right now. So what can I say except raise a glass!