Monday, July 25, 2022

Castle Rock Pinot Noir (Mendocino) 2019


Lighter water melon juice-like hue with aromas of sweet fragrant honeysuckle, and fresh squeezed berry juice with a touch of vanilla and baking spice. 

Palate--lovely, gentle, sophisticated on the palate with tasty strawberry and tart raspberry.

Castle Rock is one of those reliable "value wine" makers that seem to always rise to the occasion giving us lovely treats for a VERY reasonable price.  I am pairing this with stir fry and the off dry sweetness will be a foil to the soy sauce base and should be great.  At $9 or so, raise a glass!!! 

Gnarly Head Zinfandel (Lodi) 2020

Nice ruby/garnet hue with aromas of spicy jammy blackberries, fresh sweet berry fruit above the rim    

Palate-- Very nice mouth feel on first impression with loads of classic Zinfandel and why it is my favorite all around red wine. It is silky, and loaded with all kinds of ripe, dark and red berries, with a punch of savory, and slight blueberry? cranberry finish.

The wine is too warm because we have been in a unique heat wave for the extreme northeastern USA. Most of my cellar is cool enough in the my basement but the heat is getting my cellar temp. up to 85. Wine served too warm--a routine for run of the mill restaurants--so do not hesitate to ask to have your bottle of red wine put in a bucket of ice.  A wine too warm reveals less than favorable traits if there are any, so a $10-$25 bottle of wine will benefit by a 1/2 or so in the fridge before serving. 

The finish on this bottle of Zin is still lingering after several minutes and for a $9 bottle of Zin all you can say is "raise a glass!"

Friday, July 22, 2022

90+ Cellars Classic Series Cotes Du Rhone 2020 Lot 162


Medium bodied hue with big aromas of dried pie cherries, sweet hard candies with a slight touch of anise.

Palate-Nice first impression with big bold fruit, a back drop of ripe, dark red berries with a strong acidity. It finishes before it has hardly begun.

This is a classic blend for the Cotes Du Rhone of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. The Grenache takes center stage here with the vibrant cherry back bone, and loads of red berries with a deep flavor profile and lovely, "I want more" temptation. 

Another Trader Joe's exclusive (I think) which sells for under $9. It is worth the money and then some so raise a glass.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Villa Cerrina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2020

*Note--the label pictured is different than the actual. (apologies) 

Lovely ruby hue with aromas of warm cherry pie, above the rim, cigar ash, sweet red fruit, a hint of cinnamon and sweet spice, with a touch of savory.

Palate-- a relaxed foundation with an enticing fruity profile with all kinds of red berries and baking spices.  Finishes quickly.

This is a "Trader Joe's" offering and at $6 it is silly how good a value it is. Pair it with a myriad of foods, meats, and cheeses and raise a glass!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Duckhorn "Decoy" Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

Nice intense black cherry hue with a deep dense jammy aromas of dark plum, blackberry pie, hint of mint or cedar.

Palate--First impression is a lovely textured body, with full boy presence, silky tannins, lovely quality fruit with a lingering berry pie finish which just hangs on and on.

When my brother said he had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that I was welcome to as he was leaving for a couple day I was excited when I saw the Decoy label.  But then I saw "California" and my excitement went into the tank. 

As a "sourced" wine, meaning the grapes only had to come from somewhere in California which often means some grower's excess that he couldn't dump anywhere else. BUT--I also knew the character of the folks at Duckhorn and knew they wouldn't make crap.

Boy was I surprised on my initial slurp. This is a solid Cabernet expertly made and for the price of around $20, a value wine!  I happened to pair it with Chicago deep dish pizza as I was visiting my 93 yo mother on her birthday. A really nice surprise, well done and left me sad when the bottle was empty.  Look for it and try it and raise a glass!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

CARE Tinto Sobre Lias 2018

For some reason I cannot load a label image... Sorry

This value Grenache/Syrah blend from Spain is a lovely red/black berry bouquet with sweet spices and cinnamon abounding with fruit galore with a candided nose deep in the bowl like hard mixed fruit candies at a kid's candy store.

Palate--Brimming with lovely fruit, a stren structure that is lively and vibrant, with overwhelming fruity goodness through out. Finishes quickly. 

This is my second bottle of this wine and I loved the first. I think this one is even more vibrant than the previous reviewed bottle. I believe I paid around $12 for this if not less and it is a super value so raise a glass!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Charles Shaw Chardonnay 2003 (A shocking review!)


 Amber hue like a rich aged Sauternes with a nose of butterscotch and caramel yet with a beam of almost fresh, tangerine and a ridiculous hint of mint at the base.

Palate- This reminds me of some expensive French dessert wine.  First impression is tart but not as in a totally destroyed wine at all. A lively mid palate with some remnants still of fresh fruit although fresh isn't exactly the right word. The finish is of burnt caramel again just like in the bouquet. This would actually pair with a variety of desserts. 

OK the "get a grip factor: This is famously "$2 Buck Chuck which now runs around $3-4. This 19 year old cheap wine was stashed away in some basement where temperature differences were negligible. Most people think that wine is better with age but the truth is very FEW wines actually are made to age for long periods of time. A lot depends on the chemistry of the juice, the acid content, the tannins, and a host of other factors. One thing is certain, an American Chardonnay, a CHEAP America Chardonnay better be drunk on release and may hold for a couple of years to 3 or 4 years. 

So how do I explain this anomaly? I don't try.  I have been tasting wines for 40 years plus and I know bad wine, corked wine, poorly made wine good wine and great wine. This is my third experience in all those years with cheap, table wine actually aging for a couple decades.  It truly was a great experience!

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Rosa Dell Olno Barbera D'Asti 2020

Lighter black cherry hue with aromas of light cinnamon, sweet cherry pie, 

Palate--Supple mouth feel with spicy fruit and lighter acidity but enough to give a good lip smacking profile. 

Has a quick finish but for the pittance this wine cost--around $8--ya really can't go wrong.  Pizza, lighter cheeses, antipasto all will work with this so raise a glass!

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Cecelia Beretta Valpolicella *Ripasso (Superiore) 2019

Nice dark ruby with aromas of cherry, sweet cherry berry pie, with slightly sweet baking spice and a touch of savory.

Palate--Juicy, lovely bright red fruit flavors that tingle the tongue. 

This is a lovely, sprightly red wine for all kinds of lighter fare are just by itself slightly chilled if you're going to drink it as an aperitif.  It is well structured and absolutely prime drinking right now young though it is!   At $12 it's time to raise a glass.

*Ripasso is not a grape but a method of making this wine. In brief--Amarone, another Valpolicella wine, is made with grapes which are left on the vine longer to sweeten further and then dried through the winter. These grapes are then pressed and made into what is a beautiful and rather expensive wine. The grapes which had been used for the Amarone are repurposed and used in making the "Ripasso," wines which are considerably less expensive.