Sunday, April 30, 2023

Substance CS Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Deep garnet/purple hue with aromas of plum. prune hints, fresher dark berries above the rim, with ashy, spicy herbs and lovely pipe tobacco.

Palate--Solid structure with dense fruit, big black berry, black cherry and over-ripe plum--but not yet prune, with lip smacking tannins, and a finish that is somewhat quick. 

I met Charles Shaw at a Maine wine store many years ago. I always appreciated his avant garde approach to making wine and marketing without being annoyingly pretentious. I am a big fan of his most of his productions and was curious about this Cabernet. Definitely not your typical Washington state Cab.

I paid $11 for this although priced at $19. I like it at $11, would have been disappointed at $19. Will pair it with my shipped in Lou Malnatti's Chicago deep dish pizza and it will be perfect so raise a glass!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Pacific Rim Gewurztraminer 2018 Ramos Vineyard

Medium straw hue with aromas of lilacs, sweet baking spices, 

Palate--Slightly "spritzig" with a shy first impression and a tantalizing, creamy, mouth feel even if a touch *"flabby". I am hard pressed to identify a specific fruit flavor in this wine which is truly unusual. I am not saying there isn't a delightful presentation of fruit, I just am struggling to find a descriptor for them. I do get rose petal at the rear palate. It finishes pretty quickly and while this tastes great there is something just "off" with the structure. 

Pacific Rim makes some easy drinking white wines for around $8 making them nice value wines. This one is around $14 perhaps because it is a single vineyard production which yields higher price tags.  Gewurztraminer is one of my favorite white wine grapes and while I do like the taste of this wine, it is not exactly a great example of "Gewurztraminer." I bashfully suggest passing it up.

*"Flabby" denotes a lack of acidity. This isn't atrociously flabby but still could use a sharper edge.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Querceto Toscana 2019


Subdued spicy cherry aromas on a ruby hue with with a sweet side to it which is unusual for a Tuscan Sangiovese (grape).

Palate--Again, a touch "sweeter" impression than I am used to with Tuscan red wines, simpler than most with a slight but lovely licorice beam with enticing flavor profile that is amazingly "new world." 

Querceto is one of my all time favorite Chianti's having visited Greve, Italy drinking a higher level bottling in the breathtaking Tuscan countryside. Listed at $16 I paid $10 for it and would like to buy many more but the opportunity is gone. At any rate, Raise a Glass of this charming Tuscan offering.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Renwood Estate Zinfandel (Amador County) 2019

Cranberry jelly hue with aromas of ripe blackberry, ash and spice, 

Palate-- Big, bold fruit forward blackberry cream candies, with fresh ripe blackberries besides, finishes with a vanilla cream touch with rich spicy herbs in the ending and more vanilla.

I reviewed this same wine --a  lovely Zinfandel--10 days ago and it is just as lovely as the first time around. I didn't pick up the vanilla on the first review but it is certainly there on this review.  There is something there on the rear palate which is eluding my description but whatever it is I love it. 

At $14 it is a really nice Zin and I highly recommend it. I will be pairing it with charcoal grilled chicken thighs so Raise a Glass!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Montes "Limited Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere blend 2017

Purple/garnet hue with aromas of ruby red grapefruit, citrus notes, a tinge of mushroom, violets above the rim.

Palate--Big presentation with a robust, chewy structure with dark berry notes, still the red grapefruit mid- palate, plastic like finish. Admittedly an awkward first impression, puckery tannins, and a finish that is lingering and not off putting.

Montes is one of Chile's premier vintners, and generally reliable. This is a table wine level production around $14. I am ambivalent at this point and will update when it has breathed for a while. 
Update--This balanced out and was a nice accompaniment to my dinner of left-overs. Raise a glass!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Corvo Colomba Platino Nero D'Avola 2018


Garnet hue with the slightest hint of aging at the rim.  Aromas of gently spiced with sweet red fruit above the rim and a nuance of lilac with more red berries.

Palate--Surprisingly bold presentation for the grape, with balanced foundation holding the red berry fruit and sweet/savory spices on the edge.

This is a different presentation than I am used to from one of my routinely inexpensive, old world varietals. Nero D'Avola--pronounced "NERo DA vola" is the signature grape of Sicily and it is fruity, cherry pronounced, with a decent acidic line making it nice to pair with all kind of food.

I paid $8 for this $16 reference priced Sicilian red with some age on it and it is drinking great now and at its peak. Grab any varietal of this type and give it a try; I expect you will like it!  Raise a glass!

Acre & Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


Nice aubergine hue, ash and subdued fruit on opening green herbaceous notes, dark berries.

Palate--Tart first impression with lip smacking tannins, wood, coarse spices, blackberry with a quick finish and an awkward mouth feel. 

This is a Columbia Valley Cabernet which generally have a fairly distinctive "terroir" but this one is just meah. Maybe there is hope after it breaths. After some air time, it is angular, clunky and unpleasant.  Pass on this one...

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Bash! Sparkling Rosé

Pinkish-orangeish hue with aromas of Cream sickle (ice cream novelty), and needs to warm up a tad  as aromas are quite subdued.

Palate--Lovely pin prick bubbles scintillate your tongue with gentle flavors of strawberry, whipped cream on a clean and very fresh palate. There's not a lot going on but I seriously LOVE this new sparkler.

This sparkler from the Plymouth Wine Co. (which is new to me) lists at $22 but I bought it for $8!  $22 is a hefty tag on such a simple wine but again I want to emphasize that although simple it is crisp, clean and hard to stop sipping...or guzzling.  I am serving it with my wife's Chicken tortilla soup and it is going to be perfect for it.  If you happen to find this around the $12 price point grab it and several more bottles because you will find it versatile, exceptional and fun!  Raise a case!

Friday, April 21, 2023

Shannon Ridge *Appellation Series "Red Blend" 2019 Kelsey Bench, Lake County


Medium garnet hue with aromas of a rose bouquet above the rim, black licorice, Good N Plenty candies, and sweet charcoal cherries.  This bouquet is fantastic!

Palate--Lovely textured presentation with deep brooding dark berries, tannic back bone that is silky and vibrant finishing with finesse even if a little quicker than expected.        

This has all the makings of a wine that will age for years to come and the best wine I have had in quite a few years. A friend gave me this to review and it is wonderful.  The State of NH Liquor Store was $18 but it tends to run more around the $25 price point. It's definitely worth it so raise a glass!

*Deciphering this wine label: Shannon Ridge is the winery; "Appellation Series" is the branding of the winery for a certain quality level of production; Red Blend tells you that it is a blend (duh) of various grape varieties. In this case it is comprised of Malbec, Merlot, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Touriga Nacional, Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Franc. What is unusual is that these are not classic "California" grapes nor a classic blend and yet this has been done artistically and superbly. 2019 is the year the grapes were harvested, Kelsy Bench is the sub sector of the broader AVA (American Viticultural Area) called Lake County. This has been a highly supervised, crafted wine and you have the results for yourself. 


Thursday, April 20, 2023

El Coto Rosado 2020 (Rioja)


A rosé orange blush with aromas of sweet baking spices and a touch of strawberry!

Palate--Lively on the tongue with a touch of carbonation, bone dry although seemingly sweet due to the bountiful fruit melange. The flavors of this wine are manifold and large! This is a wonderful Rosé and one of the best I have had in a LONG time.  

I paid $8 for this normally available at $12 but worth every penny at the top end. Grab a case or two of this and keep it around for that uncertain wine drinker who doesn't like this, that or the other. Raise a glass or better a CASE! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Josh Cellars Chardonnay 2021

Straw yellow hue with citrus notes, tart white peach, perfumy vanilla, 

Palate--Fruity first impression with a nice balanced acidity, loads of citrus and a creamy finish.

Josh Cellars has been one of the up and coming producers of reliable value wine around the $12 pricepoint. This is a decent expression of the grape and a good wine at this price so raise a glass!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Renwood Estate Zinfandel (Amador County) 2019


Gorgeous Purple-Maroon hue with aromas of wild, brambly zin bouquet with lovely rustic spices, dark cherry and red berry fruit that is sweet and beautiful above the rim.

Palate-Structurally bold first impression with baker's bittersweet chocolate mid-palate, ash, finishing with more zesty spice and lingering dark fruit.

This will be even better when it's had some time to open up more. I stock up when I go out of state where there is no sales tax (There's a savings of 5.5% for me even before their specials. They have super bargains on a lot of wines. This was $14 but I ended up paying $10.50 for it when the going price is $25.  

Renwood is a reliable producer of some nice wines and this Zin is a winner at this price point.  It will only improve for the next 5 years or more so "raise a glass!"

Flat Rock Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Nice deep purple hue with aromas of one dimensional red berry fruit.

Palate-flavorful, mixed berry fruit, with a fleeting finish.

This is not a good example of the classy Cabernet Sauvignon nor did I expect it would be at the price I paid. This is sourced from California cabernet grapes and is not off-putting if you're not expecting a superior, complex wine.  

So here's the deal, after the various sales reductions on this bottle I ended up paying about $4.50. I am having it with our traditional Sunday pizza and it will be an okay pairing for the occasion.  So at this price point "raise a glass" but not $1 more.  

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Angeline Vineyards Pinot Noir (Mendocino County) 2021 RESERVE

Beautiful crystalline hue with subtle aromas of milk chocolate, enticing strawberry, red berry and really nice touch of brambly wildness.

Palate--On opening, the palate is clean, razor sharp acidity, lip smacking structure, ultra fruity, and produced with an elegant edge to it. It finishes quickly but again, this is on opening. I'll update a necessary. 

I paid $15 for this Reserve Pinot and is very well made and a great buy.  Raise a glass!

Friday, April 14, 2023

Seven Daughters --Red Blend-- 2017


Really light red hue with aromas of cherry, and well, cherry...

Palate--Very sweet first impression with a touch of "sparkle" on the tongue. Light blue berry and cherry fruit, super simple but honestly, kind of delicious even though I don't want to admit it.  Finishes with a lingering blueberry aftertaste.

Okay stopped at a State Liquor store where I tend to stock up since they get these ridiculous "Outlet Buster Buys." So this California sourced blend of who knows what was $6 and then another 15% off because I bought a case of "West Coast" wines which was another "special" they were running.  

So--here's the story: You wouldn't want to pair this with real food, LOL, but chilled down on the sunny summer deck, or pool side or just having a let your hair down afternoon, this is really easy to drink so be careful and raise  a glass!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Vignobles Lachetteau Muscadet Sévre Et Maine (Sur Lie) 2021

Pale straw with aromas of citrusy (lime) and vanilla pudding, 

Palate--Nice off dry first impression with tropical fruit melange, balanced acidity, and a slightly tart finish making this a nice wine to pair with a nice buttery dipped lobster or clams or whatever!

Trader Joe's bargain at $10 so chill it slightly with food or give it a good chill to sip poolside all by itself. Raise a glass!

*Reviewed not long ago my notes are fairly consistent. So raise a glass!

Fior di Vino Chianti Classico Riserva 2018

Med. crystal garnet hue with prominent aromas of dried cherries, cherry cream candies, floral nuances and hard cherry candies.

Palate--Lovely first impression with loads of Tuscan sangiovese, terroir, well made and down right delicious especially at the price point of $8.

I reviewed this same wine just a few weeks back which I like to do especially if there is something that just seems a little off but more I do it as a check of my own tasting consistency. While I have not gone back and checked my previous review, I know I liked it the first time around and I also believe that the bouquet is more expressive on this bottle and just all around even better than the first time I reviewed one.

*After checking back at this point to my earlier review, this wine is much more charming and fuller than the previous one. How do you explain this? Well, "bottle variation" is a "real" thing in wines finding them a bit variable here and there, though not wildly. But there is a profound difference in this bottle with my previous bottle. This is just plain better.  So again, at the Trader Joe's silly price of $8, RAISE A GLASS!

Monday, April 10, 2023

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV) 2016


Dark gorgeous plum purple hue with aromas of prune whip, with fresh ripe plum behind, 

Palate--Thickish, supple, velvety texture with rich, mouth-filling flavors of elegant sun ripened plums transitioning into prune, with a touch of tar, and a lingering, epicurean, taste sensation reminding one why it's worth spending a bit more on a quality port. 

I paid under $20 for this and it is simply marvelous. I have had "Vintage" ports at three times the price that were not this good. Do yourself a favor and make the splurge! Raise a glass!

Sunday, April 09, 2023

LAGRANJA (Cava Brut)


Straw hue with pinprick bubbles and very subtle aromas of hazelnuts, citrus and a touch of maple.    

Palate--Lively effervescents with somewhat benign flavors with nothing standing out. Flavors are minimal, very dry, and fleeting to no finish.

At Trader Joe's this runs around $7 and honestly for that it is the kind of wine you would buy for a Summer pool party without breaking the bank and yet providing a fresh, vibrant (because of the bubbles) chilled down, sparkler that will not offend. (Unless you paid $15 for it which I have seen it listed at this.) 

I paired it with our Easter ham and I should have chosen the Gewurztraminer I had in the cellar but this was a good foil to the fatty, smoky, salty ham we had.  So again, at $7 considering what I have said raise a glass for a frugal occasion! 

Monday, April 03, 2023

*D'Aquino Gaetano Sangiovese di Toscana 2021

Watery garnet appearance on the pour with aromas of lovely sweet cherry edged Sangiovese with fresh cherries in the nose and savory spice that is gentle.

Palate-- Awkward first impression although the flavor profile is not bad for the price. Cherry, savory spices, dried cherry and pie cherries round out the palate with a very quick finish.

Another Trader Joe's offering that is priced at $5! Let that sink in and then taste it again. If you're having the gang over and need a half a case of drinkable wine that has come character rather than some bottle with animals on the label, I'd take this everyday. 

*Do not confuse this wine for a recently reviewed wine by the same producer.

Lodole Rosso di Toscana 2018 (Super Tuscan)


This "*Super Tuscan"(Trader Joe's)  is brimming with rich Sangiovese rustic cherry with big bold hefty Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for the ride.  Sweet red licorice notes, all bound up in this beautifully aubergine colored quaff.

Palate--Lively, youthful palate even with 5 years of age on it, Sangiovese is somewhat subdued beneath the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blending grapes. As the wine breathed, there is an unfortunate trace of "cork taint." 

The average person probably wouldn't detect the "cork taint" which tastes and smells like mildewed cardboard. 

This one isn't horrible on opening but it may be why the bottles are selling for $7 (instead of $16) they were released at earlier on in their life. 

*A "Super Tuscan" is a regional blended Italian wine which does not adhere to the strict wine making laws governing the production of Sangiovese. A "Super Tuscan" is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot as this one is but it can be made from pretty much anything. When done well these can be rather pricey approaching even $100 a bottle. They are extraordinary and prized but beyond most people's wallets including mine. Obviously at $7 this is not a good example of a Super Tuscan.

Saturday, April 01, 2023

Sauvignon de Seguin 2022


Light straw hue with aromas of grassy, lemon/lime citrus, and sweet vanilla.

Palate--Tart first impression with off dry, fruit with vanilla beam and citrusy mid palate and a slightly bitter finish that lingers and a nice mellony ending.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the key white wine grapes of the world being produced in many countries. This is not a good example of the grape although it is characteristic of the basic profile--sort of...

Trader Joe's sells this for $7 and if you chill it down well, it would be "ok" for serving poolside with some light fare and cheeses. But don't let this sway you from trying a better Sauvignon Blanc which can be found for $12. I would pass on this myself.