Friday, October 28, 2022

Viu Manent Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2019


Medium bodied with dark black cherry hue and aromas of dried, dusty, red berries, with a hint of spice and fresh fruit at the rim.

Palate--Big fruit initial expression, young tannins but well structured for the near future, nice berry mid-palate with more fruit on the end.  Finishes well!

I used to "do" chilean wines big time. They are one of the the premier new world producers of wine outside of California in my humble opinion.  This Cab hales from the Colchagua Valley and is very nicely structured.  It has been too long since I last had a Viu Manent wine and I am not sure why. This is a keeper and would be great to have a case to lay down and taste it a couple times a year.  

I paid under $11 for this serious Cabernet and would like to grab several more.  I am pairing it with seared venison and tomorrow being opening day deer in Maine, I'll be looking to refresh my supply of this wonderfully, pure, healthy meat. Raise a glass!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Sandeman's 20 year old Tawny Port


The hue of this creation was spectacular presenting with a slightly caramelized orange hue and yet with a change of the lighting it was nearly glowing with a beautiful ruby amber.

The bouquet of this dessert wine was also spectacular with oranges, burnt caramel and mandarin orange a plenty.

Palate--Silky, mouth filling warmth and bursting with boiled orange marmalade, more caramel and orange with a silky lasting finish.  

This wine has received 95 points out of 100 from a few tasters whose opinions I have come to respect over the decades. It is every bit of that.  This wine may run you up to $60 but possibly as "little" as $40. I paired it with a flourless chocolate tort with a fresh raspberry garnish and whipped cream. It was heavenly!  

This was a splurge from a friend who shares a birth date with me so we have a special dinner every year. You have to live a little especially in these insane times so if you are able, this is a grand diversion from the crazies to the sublime so raise a glass!

Le Macioche Brunello Di Montalcino 2007

Showing its age on the pour with *bricking at the rim. Aromas of nice cherry are the first to hit your nose, a suggestion of mint at the rim with more aromas trying to break out in the first few minutes of opening!

Palate--Watery texture, sharp acidity, subdued flavors.  Will air it out for a few hours.

After some air, this is a tremendous food wine that paired exquisitely with our charcoal grilled bourbon marinated sirloin steak tips. 

This wine was a gift from my son-in-law and we raised several glasses!

*Bricking is when a red wine is again it goes through various changes in all aspects of the wine. Notably, the red color begins to yellow as it oxidizes over time. The color resembles "some red brick" hence the term.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Alki Merlot (Washington State 2018)


Lighter cherry hue with aromas of bright cherry Above the rim filling the area, with more charm with cherry berry pie, charming perfumey bouquet, that is quite delightful!

Palate--Tart on opening, saliva inducing acidity, tightly wound and austere. This needs to *BREATH!!!

*After breathing over night there is a cola aroma in the bowl. The palate is still wildly acidic, austere and frankly not too pleasant.  I paid $13 for this but see it on line for $20 so I would give it a pass.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Mendoza Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Nice pure plum hue with aromas of savory ripe, dark berry fruit,

Palate--Tart first impression has a steely beam and restrained flavors with sharp acidity and hard tannins. 

At the moment this is a confusing wine but needs to breathe for a while and perhaps will mellow out. Right now it is angular, awkward, not at all integrated and not very approachable. I will let it breathe and *update.

I paid $9 for this on a special marked down from $16. I think there is potential here but right now it is drinking like an old world wine of yesteryears where you needed to cellar many wines to be drinkable much less outstanding. 

*Okay--so this is why it is always valuable to allow a wine to breathe before passing judgment.  On opening it was not pleasant. After 40 minutes or so it was a different wine. What a nice value at my price of $9 but even at $16 this is a respectable Cabernet from Argentina. So Raise a Glass!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Dry Creek "Fumé Blanc" 2020


Pale straw hue with aromas of sweet melon, a citrus edge, green apple above the rim, perfumy melange of myriad sweet fruits with a slight "grassy" ending.

Palate--Lemony first impression, razor sharp acidity, ultra fruity mid-palate, finishes with a nice long ending. 

This Sonoma creation fermented entirely in stainless tanks, is what *Sauvignon Blanc should taste like. This is well crafted, juicy, balanced and delightful. At $16 this is a stellar example of how lovely the grape can be and Dry Creek does it well so Raise a Glass. 

*Sauvignon Blanc and Fumé Blanc are the same grape.  The legendary, late Robert Mondavi coined the name to distinguish it as a stand alone, superior creation with Sauvignon Blanc.  

Thursday, October 20, 2022

"Koudiat" Cotes Du Rhone 2019


Dark plum hue with room filling aromas of sweet spices and gentle purple fruit. after breathing there is a nice red grapefruit nuance as well!

Palate--Steely first impression, with lots of tart fruit and loads of zesty spice. This wine needs to open up some. Decent structure, with solid fruit and a finish that hangs around for a bit. Nice!

On opening, there's another wine trying to break out which I hope it will with some breathing.  The break out is a really nice strawberry suggestion unique for a Grenache and Syrah blend. 

I paid $13 for this with a supposed retail price of $25 on it. I'm glad I didn't pay that for it but at $13, raise a glass!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

OXTE Red Blend 2021

 Lighter black cherry hue with aromas of sweet bright slightly baked cherry above the rim, with a candied aroma at the edge. Quite nice!

Palate--Tart but flavorful if a little watery, fades quickly but is interesting none-the-less.

This wine is a blend of 40% Tempranillo, 25%Syrah, 25% Garnacha, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

I read a review of this wine a moment ago and it hammers it for being absolute plonk. Well, "taste" is very personal and is totally one's preference however there are objective realities about wine.  The reviewer IO believe is trying to find a unique niche in the wine review field and focuses on BAD wines. So while there are some fair adjectives used it is over the top and after almost 50 years of wine experience I am having this $7 wine with grilled hamburgers and mac and cheese!  And it will be fun and delightful. At $7, I am giving this a "raise a glass"! 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Bogle "Essential Red" 2018


Inky black hue with aromas of dark berries and a touch of spice.

Palate--Fruit forward with loads of jammy black berry with cinnamon on a nice textured popularly styled wine with a hint of smoke on the end.

This is a California sourced blend of *Petite Sirah and Syrah with Zinfandel in the mix. The inky dark color is classic of the Sirah varietals and the spicy Zin is a nice complement to the other grapes. Bogle is one of the growing, reliable California vintners that know how to make popularly structured wines at a value price. 

This Red will run you around $10 and it is a delightful quaff if you like fruit forward wines. It is a lovely pizza or spaghetti wine or all by itself or ideally with some heftier cheeses. Regardless, you can't lose so raise a glass!

*Petite Sirah is a varietal unto itself distinct from Syrah! I note this only because I was in a wine store once and overheard an employee explain to a customer that "Petite Sirah" were small little Sirah grapes....Good thing I didn't have any liquid in my mouth...  Raise a glass!

Friday, October 14, 2022

Shannon Ridge (Lake County) Zinfandel 2020

Very nice dark rich nearly black hue with aromas of dense blackberry, hints of boysenberry,  and plum.

Palate--Nice first impression with a silky structure, dense mouthfeel with intense fruit flavors nad a long lasting finish. 

I have not had this particular Zin and it is a winner! It is all I like to see in a quality Zinfandel with finesse, mouthfeel, rich tastes, character and all for bargain value price around $8 that I paid for it. That is not the normal price however.

I have not had many "Lake County" Zins but will be looking for more.  After all is said and done, this is my initial review on opening meaning it will only get better so raise a glass!

Cline Viognier 2020 (North Coast Calif.)

A beautiful golden hue with aromas of  vanilla pudding, creme brulee, pineapple,  baby powder, and a melange of tropical fruit.

Palate--Super fruity with a touch of citrus, mouth filling flavors of tropical fruit compote, ripe apricot, razor sharp acidity, and a lingering finish of more tropical fruit. 

Viognier (pronounced-- Vee-on--YAY) is known for its super fruity, even floral bouquet. It is mistaken for a "sweet" wine as many white wines are. But "sweetness" is an objective quality of a wine which is based on residual sugar, meaning sugar which has not gone all the way through fermentation thus being converted to alcohol. This wine is 14.5% alcohol so there is NO residual sugar remaining.  

I am pairing this tonight with roasted pork chops and sauerkraut.  The fruitiness of the wine will be lovely against the kraut but is so lovely and full of flavor it makes a great aperitif, chilled a bit and at $11 you will want to raise a glass! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Giapoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2020


Garnet hue with aromas of "fish" seriously, berries and savory spice, nothing wowing...

Palate--"Sweet" profile up front with spices in the middle, burnt wood, and lots of decent berry fruit all over. 

First impressions are that this is an easy drinking wine with some character and lots of flavor which is a decent start for any wine. 

Now there is a "get a grip factor here" which is I paid $7 for this bottle but I see it on line for twice this.. 

Why did I dare to get a Cabernet Sauvignon at this price point?  The tag on the shelf of this wine said it was sourced from NAPA fruit. What this means is that a farmer had some left over cabernet grapes and was dumping them at a greatly reduced rate. I have had many experience with such sourced wines which were unbelievably good precisely due to of the source of the grapes. It doesn't happen often but when it does you can get a sensational bottle of Napa Cab for example at a fraction of the price you would pay if you bought a labeled NAPA Cabernet. 

So how is this wine?  I didn't want to like it on first impressions but it has really grown on me. Of course it is young and will improve for a couple three years and is quite pleasant. If I have the opportunity I will buy more so raise a glass! 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Excelsior Syrah 2020

Nice dark hue expected and aromas of jammy dark berry fruit, perfumy above the rim that is very nice,  and I wish I had another adjective for the loveliness of the fruit but it is simply lovely!

Palate--A bit angular, acidic, a mite harsh, but has nice potential for a few more years down the road. An abundance of dark berry fruit and a finish that carries on.

This South African creation is quite decent at the $9 price point but it just isn't ready yet. Mind you, it is drinkable but will be so much better in another couple years. This is a value enough wine that you can buy 3, taste one now, lay the others down, and taste one a year and watch the improvement.  Raise a glass!

Friday, October 07, 2022

Honig Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011


Darker garnet hue with aromas of pronounced olive on opening, (the wine is at cellar temp. (54 degrees F) and hasn't been breathed. Subdued bouquet with light berries--needs to breathe and warm up.  After breathing and warming up, there is an amazing fresh fruit in abundance 3 inches above the rim of the glass. Nose in glass has a sweet chalky presence with a hint of spice.  A subtle hint of mocha at the rim after sitting a while but it is fleeting. The prominent olive aroma has dissipated greatly which is nice
because it was too pronounced on opening.

Palate--Mouth filling rich dark berries with espresso, tar, nice balanced tannic structure which can still mature, smoke, more intense fruit flavors.  Finishes with a sense of a mouth full of wine and a hint of black licorice. 

I bought this in LA about a million years ago for $45 and laid it down in my small, temperature controlled wine fridge. It is always hard to open special bottles of wine but the day must come. This is it and I am serving it with grilled filet mignon.  The finish is still lingering in my mouth. 

This wine at 12 years of age is still young. The structure of acid and tannins will keep this wine for many years to come where it will only become more integrated, and more complex. Now I wish I had another 6 bottles to keep again but I cherish these rare occasions where I can taste a different level of wine. This was a great treat and a perfect accompaniment with my tenderloin. All I can say is "Raise a Glass!"

Monday, October 03, 2022

Vignobles Lachetteau Muscadet Sévre Et Maine (Sur Lie) 2020

"Sorry I cannot find a label pic!"

Methode De Champenoise. Pale straw hue with aromas of lemon-lime, green apples, orange, sweet powder at the rim.

Tart first impression is a slightly creamy beam with razor sharp acidity. Everything in the nose is present on the palate. The acidity is lovely and will cut nicely through the richest, fat laden sauces you may encounter.   

This is a favorite of mine which I have had many times running around the $10 price point and is a great value wine. I will be pairing it with root vegetable soup my wife is making but is wonderful with lobster, mussels, and anything really with a hefty, cream sauce and/or BUTTER!  

Geek stuff-- It is made by leaving it sit on the sediment of fermentation meaning all the little dead yeasts that gave their life to the making of your wine. I am a hobbyist who makes his own sparkling apple wine in the Methode De Champenoise meaning that after my initial fermentation, it is bottled with an addition of yeast and sugar. The result is a high powered wine with plenty of sparkle and character. 

Raise a glass of this French delight.