Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cristom Willamette Valley Mt. Jefferson Cuvee 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Smoky cherry and plum on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Finishes with raspberry, dried herbs, and more smoky notes that provide complexity


This wine is always intriguing and enjoyable. It consistently has an alluring smokiness that gives it complexity along with the red fruit and herb core. The 2011 tastes great now and will be good drinking for the next few years. Give the wine plenty of air, and enjoy with lamb or anything roasted or grilled. Prices are typically in the $30 range, which is fair for a well-made Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon. Raise a glass!

Chateau Machorre 2005 wine review by (PB)

Nice vibrant garnet hue with some opacity.

Aromas--Rich dark berries with a subtle note of age combined with ample rustic spices and cigar box notes.

Palate--refined tannins, nice berry foundation with intense, lively foundation with a solid beam of mature fruit and a nice old world finish.

I have been cellaring this for a while as I bought several bottles when I realized what a bargain price it was.

This is what I wrote in August of 2012: "Should hold for a couple more years and might even improve a bit but either way it is worth raising a glass!"

I paid $9 for this Bordeaux from the fabled vintage of 05. What a steal! So Raise a glass!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

La Granja 360 Verdejo-Viura 2013 wine review by (PB)

Straw hue with ample aromas of sweet apple, vanilla and loads of tropical fruit.

Palate--Very steely front with nice mouth feel with cleansing acidity and more minerals with subdued green apple, ,melon, and citrus notes.

This is a blend of these two Spanish grapes and is a nice aperitif or I am serving with it my baked cod. It is BIG on flavor and minerally goodness with a palate cleansing acidity. I paid around $10 I believe and it is a solid "raise a glass" kind of wine!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011 wine review by (PB)

Black Cherry hue with aromas of bold,stinky dark berries and some funky, off aromas of damp basement. There is a slight suggestion of pomegranate and musty cigar box.

Palate--Unique first impression of inky, solid fruit with nice chocolate tinged berry beam mid palate, and a tasty little "something" that again is unique on the finish.

Okay this is certainly a weird example of the grape and especially from the folks at BV. But it's not corked and its not even "bad" it is just unique; I suspect breathing will straighten it out!

After some more time it takes on the traditional aromas you'd expect but this is still a stand out wine. I paid around $15 for it and I'd buy a case if I could; raise a glass while I get my NY strip Steak off the grill!

Vigne A Porrona "Toscana Rosso" 2011 wine review by (PB)

Medium garnet hue with aromas of forest floor, bright cherry, menthol and cigar box.

Palate--True Tuscan, rustic, flavors of sturdy Sangiovese with steally notes and a touch of dark berry. Finishes with graphite.

This is a blend of Sangiovese, the signature grape of Tuscany and some Syrah. I paid $11 for it and it is a great buy. A decent wine with a clear sense of place so raise a glass!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

San Felice Chianti Classico 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Nose opens with cherry accompanied by earthy notes

Full bodied on the palate

Decent depth on the finish with cherry, red currant, and herbs


This is a fairly straight-forward Chianti Classico at a reasonable price of $15 or so. It has a profile of red fruit with some savory notes that create depth and richness. In fact, as a young non-reserve wine it's better than the San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 which I recently had. Enjoy with hearty Italian fare, and raise a glass!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Santa Barbara Winery "Petite Sirah" 2010 (Santa Barbara County) wine review by (PB)

Youngish looking deeply pigmented cranberry jelly colored hue;

Aromas--sweet berries out of the glass, big, robust, dark berry fruit with licorice note and a rustic, cigar box, forest floor in the swirl.

Palate--Engulfing, fruit bomb that assaults your palate with a rigid acidic foundation befitting such a big wine. There is a tart beam of mouthwatering pomegranate mid palate and all this just on opening. Delicious!

I just returned from Santa Barbara visiting several tasting rooms which is where I grabbed this bottle. I think I paid around $30 for it and was pleasantly surprised of how good it was when I got home. There is a strange phenomenon that I experience at tastings and that is that usually nothing tastes wowing. The wines I had on this trip were WAY too warm which is a wine snob thing, it's a chemistry thing! Alcohol is a very volatile chemical which means it vaporizes easily sending molecules of its substance into the air and into your nose! When a wine is served too warm, the alcohol can easily overwhelm the other chemical components of the wine and leave you less than impressed. I only bought two wines on this trip and this one in particular I didn't even taste at the winery tasting room. I bought it because I just knew that it woulod probably be good.

For any of our winery readers, please note the above; it is a real concern. You want to show case your wine not discourage people from buying it to state the obvious.

Well done Santa Barbara Winery and raise a glass!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune 2007 Wine Review (NW)

The four wines below were served by PB this past weekend as part of an incredible wine dinner. Best meal of the year!

Tasting notes:

Red currants with spicy notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Finishes with red berries, dry earth, and spice


Here's a good, dry, and elegant Chorey-les-Beaune from Burgundy. It's ready to drink now and shows a nice balance of fruit, dry earth, and spice. Paired with a variety of appetizers and cheeses, it will transport you to a small village in France. Expect to pay $25 for the pleasure. Raise a glass!

Hugel & Fils "Gentil" Alsace 2012 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Bouquet of Asian pear with honey accents

Medium bodied on the palate

Silky finish of stone fruit, floral notes, and good acidity


It's seems this wine is always good and easily approachable. It's well balanced and has a nice flavor profile, all for $14 or so. Paired with roasted fig "bruschetta", it disappeared quickly as part of an intermediate course between red wines. Raise a glass!

Chateau Leoville-Barton St. Julien 2002 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Opens with a beautiful nose of berries and tobacco

Full bodied on the palate

Rich and intense finish of black currant, spices, and tobacco with good length


Excellent wine, and one of my favorite reds from Bordeaux! It's fully integrated and harmonious with a style that's pure Bordeaux classic. The release price was around $50 but expect to pay $100 now if you see it available.

We paired it with grilled, sliced sirloin over a bed a greens. Fabulous, of course! Raise a glass!

Dow's Vintage Port 2007 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

The nose opens up with layers of pepper, plum sauce, and hints of charcoal

The palate is full bodied and dense

The finish is incredibly dense, with prune, dark berries, and touches of anise and spice, all with amazing length


This is an excellent Port. In its youth, it's the best I've ever tasted. It shows amazing length and is already seamlessly integrated, youthful, and dense. If you don't see this collecting dust in your local wine shops, it's because it received a perfect 100 points from Wine Spectator. For $80 on release, rest assured, all the bottles are collecting dust- but in wine cellars all over the world.

We drank this young with some dark chocolate and almonds because, well, carpe diem. /What a way to finish out the dinner. Raise a glass!

Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2012 wine review by (PB)

Pale straw with aromas of vanilla, sweet apple pie and pie spice, with a tangy citrus beam.

Palate--A mouth full of lemon lime with spicy notes and vanilla on the finish,. An Acidic structure that is razor sharp and will perfect with our Labor Day Lobster dinner on the porch.

Lobster is running $5.99 a pound which is rather high for this time of year but we'll enjoy it with fresh local sweet corn and we'll definitely raise a glass with this $12 Alsatian delight.

Robert Hall Syrah (Paso Robles) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Black Cherry hue with aromas of mulled blackberries with Christmas spice, and a touch of cherry cream.

Palate--Tightly wound at the moment with woody smokey presence and austere plum and dark berry fruit.

I don't remember what I paid for this but I am sure I bought it because it was on sale. Reference price seems to range about the $18 mark so I probably found it for $12 or so. Tasting on opening was not impressive but it clearly needs to breathe. The review that follows is after it has opened up which may be helpful to see these reviews before and after.

After breathing-- pretty much the same with the addition of a definite beam of cocoa running down the middle. This was a disappointment of a Syrah; nothing remarkable or memorable so while it was "ok" I'd give it a pass!