Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sierra Batuco Carmenere "Reserva" 2011 wine review by (PB)

Intense deep garnet hue with aromas of over the top herbal, green bouquet that overwhelms the sweet raspberry and and dark berry fruit.

Palate--Supple tannins with peppery big berry fruit on an immature foundation that will benefit from another year or two of laying low in your cellar.

I like this wine a lot as I envision what it will be in another couple years. It is drinking pretty good right now but the person with patience will be glad they waited for this one to come around.
Chile has come into its own sometime ago as a world class wine producing country. Their Cabernets tend to be excellent even at the entry level end of the spectrum. With their humongous bottle production they can sell great wines at bargain prices. This Maule Carmenere has a bold future and at $11 buy some to lay down and a few to enjoy on the way to becoming a big wine! So raise a glass!

Truchard Zinfandel (Carneros) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Opaque ruby hue with solidly spiced out berry aromas with spicy, peppery tomato jelly.

Palate--black pepper notes on the front, with spicy red berry and plum fruit on a hefty structure. Finishes with a bit of charred oak and smoke.

This is the second Truchard Zin I have had and while this lists at the $30 price point, I buy it at a state store when they run a "super buy" on it meaning I pay around half the price.

It is a hefty Zin and a nice example of the grape. At $15 I would buy more, at full price I think I would pass. At any rate, at this price
raise a glass for sure!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Banfi Centine Toscana 2011 wine review by (PB)

Opaquish garnet with aromas of spicy red cherry-berry fruit with a hint of cocoa.

Palate--Mouth watering acidity with edgy, eye opening structure, short lived tart berry flavor and a fleeting finish.

This Tuscan is a blend of 20% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. James Suckling formerly of the Wine Spectator gives this a glowing review and a score of 91 points on a 100 point scale. Having followed Mr. Suckling for years I respect his critiques highly but I am having a hard time seeing what he sees. This is a tasty and certainly a perky wine--what I call eye-opening structure--and in fairness, I will let this air out for a while.

With air my conclusions remain the same. I bought this on sale for around $10 which is certainly fair so raise a glass!

Z 52 Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with Zinfandel brambly aromas of ripe raspberry and dark berry.

Palate--classic Zin profile with easy to drink structure, nice full flavor and balanced presentation with a subtle cocoa finish.

This Lodi sourced Zin is a nice example of the grape. It is well made and sells for around $13 although I found it for $8 and wished I would have a bought a few more bottles.

Learn from my mistake and raise a glass!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Banfi Chianti Classico 2011 wine reivew by (PB)

Purple hue with aromas of sweet spiced apple rings and cherry fruit with cigar box bouquet.

Palate--Slight stewed tomato front with chewy tannins and rigid acidity. Salty foundation with dried cherries underlying it all. Finishes quickly with a touch of pencil lead and rustic lichens.

This inexpensive Chianti Classico from the storied family of Banfi is okay as an informal accompaniment to pizza or tomato based pasta recipes. It is not striking my fancy at the moment however but that's just me.

I think I grabbed this on sale for under $10 when the avg. price seems to be around $13. It's hard to go wrong with Banfi wines so this may not be my preference tonight but its a decent, well made wine so raise a glass!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2012 Wine Review by Billy

Nose: Fig, Plum and Smoky Tar
Palate: Plush tannins and medium acid make a delightful front-of-mouth play like a new lover's kiss; all exploration and some fumbling around to find the right fit.
Finish: More fleshy plum and prune flavors on the finish combine with forest mushroom notes for an earthy, autumn finale.
Overall: I purchased this at the local wine store for about $9.00. This Malbec comes from Mendoza Argentina and is a big bodied wine with some nice structure for a very affordable price. If you're tired of the fruit bombs but still too timid to try something more subtle, this 2012 Santa Julia Reserva Malbec may be just the ticket. It has the flavor to stand up to big meals and the plushiness to be enjoyable as an evening treat.  Raise a glass!

Mariana Vineyards "Sierra Foothills" Cabernet Franc 2010 wine review by (PB)

Dark garnet hue with aromas of sweet tobacco, cigar box notes, with candied dark berry fruit with solid notes of cedar and black licorice.

Palate--dark blackberry cream suggestion on a foundation that will benefit from another 4 years of cellaring. Tight flavors and young tannins bode well for a vibrant future. Finishes with a thin beam of red berry and strawberry fruit.

Cabernet Franc is one of the classic blending grapes of Bordeaux used in melding Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This single vineyard varietal is interesting and unique. It was a gift from a dear friend, and a great gift it was. Raise a glass.

La Merika Pinot Noir (Central Coast) 2012 wine review by (PB)

Very light pale watermelon juice red hue with aromas of Candied apple hard cherry coating aroma with strawberry with gentle spice and a touch of bright fresh cherry.

Palate--A burst of wood before the fruit, then woody, spicy thin strawberry and I mean "thin" berry fruit finishing with a little more wood.

I paid $14 for this Pinot Noir which seems to be at the top of the range for this wine. It has a lot of wood in it; I would say too much but I think that is more a matter of preference. I tend to like "some wood" in many of my wines but this is bit over the top obscuring the gentle fruit that is there. My verdict is you have to be the judge of what you like.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chateau Lestage Listrac-Medoc 1982 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Cigar box aromas, mushrooms, and earthy notes on the nose

Medium bodied on the palate

Finishes with silky texture, showing faded currant and ash notes


A good friend and neighbor arrived for dinner with this already decanted and ready to pour. It was a surprise for sure and a real treat to revisit the 1982 Bordeaux vintage with this well-made Cabernet and Merlot blend. The flavors are muted and more earthy than fruity, but it's still hanging on and showing harmonious integration and good texture. If you have some, drink it now and don't wait. This is its last act.  If you see some act auction or on-line, expect to pay $50 or so. Raise a glass!

Foris Pinot Gris "Rogue Valley" 2012 wine review by (PB)

This Oregon state white has a bouquet that knocks your socks off full of tropical fruit, with a a hint of vanilla cream pushing apple, melon notes.

Palate--Out of the gate super flavorful with a velvety texture which separates this from lower end Pinot Gris. This is brimming with glorious, sweet fruits on an off dry foundation. Finishes with a nice solid beam of apple! This is a lot of wine fro the $13 I paid for it.

I paired this with a fried calamari and mussels appetizer. Sword fish is on tap for the main course. There is no doubt on this one but raise a glass!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2012 wine review by (PB)

Medium black cherry hue with a bouquet of spicy, almost cedary, with subtle fudgey notes at the edges of the glass. Big berry nose setting off the fruit potential fruit bomb.

Palate--Big bold presence on the palate with big gobby dark berries, mocha, bitter chocolate, with a strange mid-palate and a smokey finish.

This Boekenhoutskloof, S. African Syrah is quite different than our domestic Syrahs. It is big and bold like ours but the rest of it lets you know you're not drinking a domestic Syrah.

I paid $11 for this and I'm not sure if I like it or not. It might just be better with food--we'll see.

With my pairing it was indeed a better quaff; some wines are just great by themselves and others just go better with food. If you're in a fruit bomb kind of mood, you love Syrah and you want one with a change of pace, try the South African variety and raise a glass!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sebastiani Merlot 2010 wine review by (PB)

Lovely garnet hue with impressive aromas of bold red berries, a clear beam of dill with some smoke and spicy black cherry with strawberry fruit.

Palate--Mouth watering acidity with integrated structure, and a perfumy mid-palate with a very metallicy almost "fishy" like accent. A day later this is a beautiful fully integrated, prime drinking Merlot with more woody, chocolate and mocha notes.

This is a luscious Merlot from the always outstanding wines of the famous Sebastiani family. This Sonoma wine runs for around $13 and it is a GREAT value so raise a glass!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Girasole Vineyards Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Light hue of cherry juice with a nice bouquet of cranberry, pomegranate, sweet cocoa and brambly/spicy notes with complicated fennel/licorice and dried cherries. One of the best Zin bouquets I have smelled in ages!

Palate--Relaxed presentation on the palate with nice Zinny flavors that are robust with nice zesty structure, dried, red fruit and dried fruit finish.

This is one nice wine for under $10! I have been disappointed with the Zins that are out there these days so this one is an exciting find. And if you happen to see it for around $14 it is still a nice find! All of which means Raise a glass!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

L'Oca Cuica Brunello di Montalcino 2006 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Expressive nose of cherry, earth, and licorice

Full bodied on the palate

Long finish with currants, forest floor, and spice


This Brunello is very good, with a lot of density to the flavors that are still emerging at eight years of age. Made from 100% Sangiovese, it shows a nice balance of fruit and earthy notes. Now that Brunello is firmly established as one of the leading red wine regions of Italy, prices are routinely high. At $35 or so, this one is a relative bargain. Raise a glass!

Symington "Altano" (Douro) 2011 wine review by (PB)

Heavily pigmented black cherry and garnet hue with aromas of rich, sweet "port-like" suggestions accompanied by rich dark berry and raisin and a subtle stewed tomato influence.

Palate--Nice rich flavors of slightly tart and balanced ripe berries with a friendly presence on the palate with touches and finishes of spicy red berries.

The Douro is the home of the great port wines we so love and the fruit in this ultra-value wine from Portugal reminds you of what a port wine might taste like if it wasn't fortified to stop fermentation leaving that gloriously thick and sweet desert wine that comes in so many iterations.

This wine is selling for $9-$11 and it is a must buy. The Wine Spectator gives it a hearty 91 and it lives up to its score. Grab several of these and enjoy for the next couple-4 years and raise many glasses!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 2009 wine review by (PB)

Black cherry hue with wonderful bouquet of slightly spiced cherries, dried tomatoes, fresh cherries above the glass, rustic overtones and a hint of fennel.

Palate--Fruity stewed tomato hints with bright cherry and forest floor notes with spices finishing with a touch of smoke.

I believe this is my last bottle of a NH state liquor store "power buy" where I bought it for the ridiculous price of $10 ( you'll see it as high as $25). This is a previously reviewed wine that just gets better and better. Compare my review to previous reviews!

I will pair it with Italian sausage in a customized marinara sauce with homemade angel hair pasta. This is a bargain so raise a glass!