Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fetzer Crimson Pinot Noir 2011 wine review by (PB)

Ruby hue with tantalizing aromas of sweet raspberry syrup, candy apple coating, sweet spices,

Palate--Steely front with vigorous light cherry and raspberry with a palate scraping acidity and a gentle finish of light red berries.

I don't remember what I paid for this but it seems to sell for $8-11. When I started my wine obsession in the mid 70's Fetzer was one of California's premier names for producing value wines with sturdy rigor. I don't see the name out in my neck of the woods which is one reason I grabbed this one. Fond memories of the Fetzer name and this wine is an honorable production fitiing of the Fetzer name.

At this price you shouldn't expect much but this is a value Pinot and even at this price point is a good example of the grape so raise a glass!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Reserva 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy plum and berries with hints of earth on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Rich finish of dark berries, currants, and some savory, earthy tones with good length


Here's a very good, rich and well knit Rioja from Spain. It's a great value if you can find it in the low teens. I actually paid just $12 for this. Considering it's a 2005 that tastes youthful and leaning toward the modern style, I think it will drink well now and for years to come. Enjoy with a hearty meal, and raise a glass!

Frei Bros. Zinfandel Reserve "Dry Creek" Sonoma 2012 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with nice aromas of understated wild blackberry with rustic spices and sweet dark fruit.

Palate--Dried dark berries on top of lively wild blackberries with solid Zin flavors that keeps you pouring the bottle empty.

I think I paid around $15 for this Zin which is a nice one and a solid example of the varietal so raise a glass!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lofthouse Vineyard Bay and Barnes Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Tasting notes:

Lemon-lime and quince on the nose

Medium bodied with bright acidity on the palate

Fresh, acidic finish of grapefruit, lime, and herbal notes


Add this one to the rotation! It's the first time I've had this wine, and I was a bit skeptical because there are already so many good New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs to choose from in my neck of the woods. I like because it's bright and lively but also shows a depth of flavor and persistence to the finish that's impressive for $11. Look for it at Wegman's or your local wine shop. Raise a glass!

Serie Riberas Concha Y Toro "Gran Reserva" Cabernaet Sauvignon 2012 wine review by (PB)

Deeply pigmented Black cheery garnet hue with aromas green peppers, sweet ripe blackberries, and plum with a touch of blueberry and cedary spice.

Palate--Foundational varietal dark fruit berry flavor with anise, vanilla cherry cream, and finishes with some smokey oak. This drinks better after 24 hours but should be rewarding for a couple more years in the cellar.

I think I paid $13 for this which is a bargain and a half. Wine Spectator gives this wine 91 points. I concur so raise a glass!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bodegas Francos-Espanolas Rioja Bordon Reserva 2008 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy currant and aromatic, woody balsamic notes on the bouquet

Medium bodied on the palate

Red fruit, dry earth, and moderately tannic on the finish


This is a nice wine. It's a bit more woody than a typical Rioja from Spain, but with that said Rioja is a region that is showing a variety of styles emerge beyond the classic profile of soft red fruit. It should compliment a variety of dishes, particularly barbecue. Expect to pay in the mid-teens- the average price I've seen is $16. Raise a glass!

Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Gorgeous sweet cherry and spice on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Dense finish that's earthy with red berries, tobacco, and spice


Excellent wine! I could have waited longer with this one, but it didn't disappoint with a few years of cellaring. It has an amazing nose that's fragrant and full of power, emanating from the glass with remarkable strength and purity. It's also extremely dense with a long finish that's classic Brunello.

The wine was released at $50, and was listed at number four on the Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2011. I mention that because it generally means you won't find it sitting on store shelves anywhere. If you happen to source a bottle, give it plenty of air and plan to linger over this wine. Raise a glass!

19 Crimes 2012 "Red Wine" wine review by (PB)

Brilliant ruby hue with aromas of dark berry, ripe plum, cigar box, and sweet spice with a touch of chocolate cake.

Palate--Light mouth feel, sturdy construction with forth right flavors of sharp black berry, blue berry, and cocoa nuances.

This Aussie red is a Shiraz blend. Shiraz is also known as Durif in case you ever see that on a label and wonder what the heck it is. The weight of this wine and mouth feel is sound with a lighter expression for a Shiraz which I attribute to the blend of Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Wine Spectator gave this wine 89 points and Best Value designation. I paid $10 for it but tends to run a couple bucks more. Either way, a pleasant and easy drinking wine so raise a glass!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chateau St. Jean Le Petite Etoile Vineyard Fume Blanc 2012 wine review by (PB)

Pale straw hue with big bouquet of grassy perfumy, lemony citrusy, sweet pineappley, hard candy!

Palate--Like a thick flannel comforter on the tongue this Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River (single vineyard) has finessed but pronounced varietal flavors, flinty with bold citrus flavors, and grassy wildness,with a touch of cream.

The late Robert Mondavi is credited with the label Fume Blanc which is just another name for the Sauvignon Blanc grape but at the time, Sauvignon Blanc was unknown in this country as the French wines made from Sauvignon blanc weren't necessarily mentioned on the label. In Mondavi's genius, he marketed this "new" wine as Fume Blanc--pronounced Foo-may blawn--and the rest is history.

I paid $13 for this special at a state store; normally sells for $20. I just had it with cheese and crackers and will serve it with butternut squash raviolis with a sage butter. Raise a glass!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spalletti Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 wine review by (PB)

Medium garnet hue with aromas of rustic red berry with fresh wild cherry underneath though subtle with a touch of mint.

Palate--Nice Sangiovese varietal flavors of forest floor, tart cherry, and a finish of oak.

I paid $15 for this on sale from $28. It's a good example of the grape and the region with a nice sturdy foundation and flavors so raise a glass at $15.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bodegas Ordonez Triton Tinto de Toro 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Bouquet that's bold with dark berries and cocoa

Full bodied on the palate

Juicy dark berry finish, slightly tannic, with coffee and spice


This is a lot of wine for $14-a value Tinto de Toro for sure. Made from Tempranillo, wines from this region of Spain are generally modern and full bodied. Prices are starting to creep up, so value wines like these are a good find. I recommend you seek this one out because it tastes like the $30 wines on the same shelf.

Give this wine plenty of air because it is moderately tannic and sharp. I usually pour young reds through an aeration device into the glass rather than take the trouble of decanting. Decanting is often more ceremonial than anything else.  Enjoy with flank steak over a bed of greens, and raise a glass!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Castle Rock Pinot Noir (Sonoma) 2010 wine review by (PB)

Slightly aged but brilliant garnet hue with aromas brimming with bright red strawberry/raspberry/cherry fruit! Subtle cherry cream and hints of spice finish off this classic Pinot bouquet.

Palate--Plush textured, and full of Pinot flavor with exciting acid and brilliant cherry/berry front with smokey oak and fruit finish.

There's nothing complicated about this $10 Pinot but it is delicious and a steal at this price point so it goes without saying--Raise a Glass!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Truchard Zinfandel Carneros (NAPA) 2010 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with Blackberry aroma and a nice touch of sage, and a gentle touch of mint on the edge.

Palate--This is a bold Zin with a sturdy foundation to carry the big rustic blackberry flavors with a smokey finish.

I paid $15 for this on a "super buy" from an out of state store. It normally runs around $28. I am not positive that I have ever had a Carneros Zin but this one is certainly enjoyable. I love it at the $15 price point; at close to $30 I'm not so sure. But I will raise a glass tonight but still not sure what dinner plans will be.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Snoqualmie Riesling Winemaker's Select 2012 wine review by (PB)

Pale gold hue with nice aromas of tropical fruits with an "oily" note that I find typical of many Rieslings and Gruners with vanilla cream and a touch of wood.

Palate--Zippy acidic foundation, off dry and fruit filled with lite stone fruit and tropical fruit salad. Even liners a bit.

You'll find this wine at the $8 price point and it is always a great buy! Year after there is a constancy and with the acidity, this wine will work with heavy buttery fare, lobster, or chilled as an aperitif. This is an automatic buy and I will be pairing it with fried Mahi-Mahi so raise a glass!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford (Napa Valley) 2006 wine review by (PB)

Sturdy magenta hue with slight opacity:

Aromas--Fresh ripe berry rising from the glass; black berry, and mint with twinges of black licorice, an under layer that is subtle but awesome cherry cream with dark fruit with rustic berries and a touch of cinnamon at the edges.

Palate--Mature tannic foundation, with big black berry fruit with touches of extracted ripe plum, a bit of smokey oak and a finish of more fruit.

I saw this in a local roadside produce shop for $25. Knowing that it would be difficult for me to find anything like this in my parts and knowing the price was a great value, I grabbed it. If you can find it expect to pay more like $35. Glad I grabbed it; this is solid Napa and typical of BV Cabernet. At this price point, I may have to grab the other one I think I saw. I will pair it with charcoal grilled Delmonico steaks. Raise a glass!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Domaine de la Chanade "Les Rials" Loin de l'Oeil Sur Lie Vin de Pays des Cotes du Tarn 2012 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Fragrant floral notes and pear intertwined on the bouquet

Medium bodied on the palate

Lightly sweet fruit finish with honey and floral notes balanced by just enough acidity


Without a doubt, this is my wine of the Summer! It tastes great, has an interesting profile, and is easy to sip on a warm day. Best of all, it's only $10. In fact, I bought a case on sale for $8.

If that's not enough, it's made in Southwestern France from an ancient wine grape that's rarely used today. This domaine has helped to resurrect this now exotic varietal- Loin de l'Oeil- and for good reason. With results like this, it never should have been lost to time. Chill it down and enjoy it on a warm afternoon. Raise a glass!