Wednesday, April 30, 2014

14 Hands "Hot to Trot" Red Blend 2011 wine review by (PB)

Cranberry-garnet hue with aromas of sweet cream candy with pleasant notes of Chinese 5 spice, white pepper and red berries.

Palate--Nice first impression cherry cream and red berry fruit and a finish that actually lingers a bit.

According to the 14 Hands web site, this is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and "other select varieties." Normally these hodge-podge blends of 4 or more varieties give you a hodge-podge of confused flavors, structure, and a not too pleasant experience. But I kind a like this if in the right mood which I am at the moment.

This wine runs around the $12 price point and I'm not sure I'd grab it at that but only because there are so many other choices for the same or less price point.

Never-the-less, I'll give it a "raise a glass!"

(If interested check out my review on the 2009 example of this wine.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Querciabella 2008 (Chianti Classico) wine review by (PB)

Black cherry to ruby hue

Bouquet--spicy earthy cherry with loads of menthol, cherry cream, chocolate covered cherries and more sweet spices with black licorice.

Palate--Structured gentle front-presence and then kicks it into overdrive with edgy tannins, rustic cherry flavors with sweet cherry finish and a hint of menthol.

A gift from (NW) of this blog, always takes me back to our trip to Tuscany several years back. What beverage does this? Seems to run around the $30 price point and gives a glorious sample of the charm and complexity of a good Chianti Classico. I will be making some kind of Italian cuisine tonight on a chilly Maine day in late April and now it will be perfect Raise a glass for sure!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Argyle Willamette Valley Brut 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Asian pear aromas on the bouquet

Medium bodied on the palate with fairly substantial bubbles

Apple and vanilla with yeast notes on the finish


Argyle has a strong track record of producing high quality sparkling wine. This is a vintage Brut from 2007 that's drinking beautifully right now. Made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, it shows a nice fruity profile that's bright, lively, and with substance.

For an all-American bubbly, in this case from Oregon, you can't go wrong here. Well made, priced around $20, and vintage- it's easy to recommend. Raise a glass!

Bodegas Ordonez Tineta Ribera Del Duero 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Wild berry notes on the bouquet

Full bodied on the palate

Tannic finish, fairly firm, with berries, plum, and charcoal accents


Rustic and firm, this one just needs some time. Set it aside for a couple years and it should help round out the sharp edges. From the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, this wine is made from 100%  Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). Expect to pay around $16.

I recommend it, but not without some patience. Raise a glass!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Corbieres 2011 wine review by (PB)

Lighter ruby hue with aromas that are quite similar to Pinot Noir; spicy raspberry and fresh cherry juice with cinnamon notes.

Palate--Perky structure with mouth watering acidity, bright and tart raspberry/cherry fruit with steely notes.

This surprised me and if I had been tasting it blind, I would have thought this was pinot noir.

The grapes of the Corbieres are Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. I am not sure of the blend here but tastes heavy on Grenache to me. At any rate--I paid $11 for this lighter bodied red and I'm raising a glass here on Patriot's Day for the residents of Maine and Massachusetts!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Les Fees Brunes Crozes Hermitage Syrah 2009 wine review by (PB)

Jellied cranberry hue with aromas of dark berry fruit with lovely dill accents and black licorice.

*Palate--Subtle blackberry notes with a bit of a coarse structure,with white pepper notes. Finishes unremarkably.

Produced by Jean-Luc Colombo this is 100% Syrah from Cornas.

I am paring with a roast duckling with an orange sauce and should be just fine.

I paid $20 for this and candidly I'm not real impressed but in fairness, I may be coming down with something so my palate may be off a bit. As it stands, I would give this a pass.

*Update on above review: This wine has had a couple hours to breathe and we have finished with dinner. The wine was so much better with our roast duckling than by itself. It was in fact, not coarse with dinner, it was more complex than it seemed when tasted by itself and the bottle is gone. I could have gone back and simply edited my original post but I believe this serves to teach in the process of the whole wine experience. I am FAR from a novice in the world of wine. So I want this to show how an opinion of wine can change--legitimately--with a change in circumstances and time. So after the fact I have to say this was a very nice wine and a definite "Raise a glass" kind of wine. Old world vs New world--Viva Le Difference!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hillgate Zinfandel 2011 "Lake County" wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue with aromas of pungent blackberry with a brambly overtones, with a suggestion of rose petal underneath with a touch of mint.

Palate--Tasty, rustic blackberry fruit with a foundation of brambly forest floor. A touch of bitters and dark berry finish;

I saw this on my way to the register with my "real" wine purchases and since I haven't had a Lake County Zin I thought I would grab this $10 wine. I was not inclined to recommend it but after two days, (you read that right)it really opened up and is a nice value for $10 so raise a glass!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Cesari Amarone della Volpolicella Classico 2008 wine review by (PB)

Slight opaque garnet with aromas of sweet cherry,sweet spices and earthy notes with a bold bitter sweet fudge nose on opening with caraway notes.

Palate--Supple body with integrated fruit, fresh cherry with slightly sour pie cherry flavors with a rustic edge.

I paid $25 for this which is decent price. The amarone process is unique and you should Google it or read one of my early posts on this blog about the process.

This is a classy wine and one we will pair with a grilled sirloin. This is delicious so raise a glass!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Le Berceau Blanquette de Limoux wine review by (NW)

Tasting notes:

Lemon, apple, and white pepper on the nose

Medium bodied with tightly knit bubbles on the palate

Apple notes with a tartness on the finish


This is a good value bubbly, interesting and well made. It's a Blanquette de Limoux from France, which is made in the traditional method similar to Champagne but from the Mauzac grape.

It has nice, gripping acidity and tartness combined with bright fruit flavor and dense bubbles. For a light aperitif, this is a good choice. It's a crowd pleaser and won't last long once it's open. I recommend it, especially for the $15 price tag it carries. Raise a glass!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Lugana Cento Filari 2012 (Cesari) wine review by (PB)

Lightly golden presentation with aromas of big citrusy front, sweet floral orange blossoms with vanilla pudding and loads of summer fruit.

Palate--Fruity lemon and lime explosion with racy acidity and long finish of bright citrus compote with hints of vanilla.

This wine with the stellar name of Cesari on the label hails from the Veneto region (Cavion Veronese) specifically and is a nice palate cleansing fruit grenade that will complement my homemade ricotta ravioli with a rich buttery lobster cream sauce.

I paid $26 for this and all because of the Cesari name! I liked it for sure but when I spend that kind of money I want something special. This was Good, VERY good and enjoyable, but special? Not so much. I will pass only because of its price! I have had equally as good for $10 less.

Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah (Lake Copunty) High Elevation Collection 2010 wine review by (PB)

Deep black cherry hue

Bouquet--Plummy, jammy fruit bomb with nice aromas maybe a hint of tar.

Palate--Easy to drink, popular big fruity flavors with a finish suggesting milk chocolate.

Made in the fruit forward, popular style that most Americans enjoy, this inexpensive Petite Sirah is gently structured. I paid $9 for it and paired it with a grilled veal chop. I wouldn't buy it again but its an easy drinking wine with big presence so why not raise a glass if your on a tight budget?