Thursday, June 29, 2023

Giannecchini Family Vineyard 2019


Vibrant ruby hue with aromas of solid Cabernet, a touch of Sangiovese cherry and spiciness and a hint of blackberries.

Palate--Modest tannins, with bursting, vibrant cherry and ripe plum and blackberry fruit on an integrated foundation with beautiful flavors all around.

My wife is out of town and I am hosting a friend of 33 years to dinner of charcoal grilled Teriyaki steak tips. He supplied the wine. It is a beautiful match up for the meal 

The Shannon Family of Wines produced this "Super Tuscan" out of Mendocino fruit. I see it as high as $48 but that would be over priced. My friend paid $24 for it and that is pushing the edge. It is a nice wine, certainly a bold effort, and with some success but Tignanello it isn't. But then it doesn't cost $100 either. 

With our steak tips it was wonderful so raise a glass!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Vignobles Lacheteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2021


Pale straw hue with aromas of lemon-lime, fresh green apple, sweet pie spices.

Palate--Watery mouth feel, understated structure, robust l;emon-lime flavors with an off dry presentation. 

I have had this wine several times in different vintages.  This time not so much! Even at $10 I would pass on this as it is just "off."   

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Maison Barboulot "Cabernet-Syrah" 2021

Dark Aubergine hue with aromas of nearly floral sweet flowers, ripe black raspberry and sweet spices.    

Palate--Lively, with slightly tart, mixed berry fruit, a blast of cinnamon red hot candies, dry as dust, with a fruity finish that lingers. 

This previously reviewed wine although a different vintage (2020) is not classically characteristic of either the Cabernet grape or the Syrah grape although the intense dark hue of the pour is certainly Syrah. 

That being said the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon tend to be really silly bargains and this is certainly a great example of this.  At $6 (Trader Joe's) you just cannot go wrong. I will be pairing this with my grilled lamb chops and I know it will be superior so raise a glass!

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Cockburn's Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV) 2014

Tar colored hue with aromas of sweet rose blossom, tar, dark ripe plum and blueberry pie.

Palate--Thickish texture with silky, plush tannins and structure. Intense flavors deep and fruity on a velvety mattress, of ripe prune. 

This is a wonderful LBV, not to be confused with a "Vintage Port!" Vintage Port is something special and costs much more than Late Bottled Vintage Port. But for those of us who cannot afford to shell out $80-$150 a bottle for vintage port with some age on it, This is a great experience for a fraction of the price.

Treat yourself and pair this with dark chocolate and find out what comestible paradise is like!  At under $20, raise a glass!

Thanks Kim!

Bogle Old vine Zinfandel 2020

Plum hue with aromas of ripe dark berries, a touch of black raspberry this evening.

Palate--Rich spicy cinnamon right out of the gate, lovely Zinfandel fruit big and bold, and a lively finish!

A steady profile for Bogle and always a keeper at the $10 price point; yet again as a creature of habit I am pairing this with pizzaria pizza and enjoying a blast of Summer in Maine. 

Don't be afraid to chill your red wines down a bit in these summer days.  A wine served too warm, even a decent one will be greatly affected by sitting on a kitchen counter in an unairconditioned house. 30 minutes in the fridge before serving will do it wonders so chill away and raise a glass!

Saturday, June 24, 2023

High Valley Stage "1871" (Lake County) Cabernet Sauvignon 2020


Nearly black hue with rich ripe fruit wafting to my nose as the glass breaths about a foot away. Slight hint of mint, savory spice but mostly an overwhelming bouquet of dark berries.

Palate--Surprisingly balanced for so young a wine with a vibrant structure that is mouth filling with gigantic fruit. 

I was honestly expecting a more complex wine but I believe the vintner(s) produced this for "upon release" drinkability.  This tends to be the M.O. today since people are not really into cellaring a bottle of wine for 5 years --or more-- in order to drink it enjoyably. The tannins are quite mellow for a young wine which could lead to an "early" (relatively speaking) demise regarding cellaring. 

I paid $15 for this marked retail for $30.  This is an easy drinking red wine at $15 but I am glad I didn't pay $30 for it. I am pairing it with my venison chili which we have a lot of because we are Mainers and we hunt and eat off the land, sea, and water. Raise a glass!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Pampa Estate Malbec 2022


Rich plum hue with aromas of big ripe dark berries, red berries and plum 

This Malbec has a finessed structure and tasty first impression with rich palate and zesty blackberry and notes of cherry.  Gentle spices that enhance the overall profile.  TASTY!

I paid $7 for this Argentinian delight and would buy more if I get the chance.  Really well made and delicious. Raise a glass!

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Grady family Vineyards Petite Sirah (Lodi) 2019

 Gorgeous inky dark magenta hue with aromas of rose petals above the rim immense, sweet black licorice, laced with fruity dark plum, definite cedar note, more flowers, violettes, perfume, gorgeous!

Palate--Silky texture with boatloads of dense fruit, beams of ripe plum, blackberry, and a finish that lingers a good while.

This is a beautiful expression of the grape masterfully made and numerous layers in the bouquet and will only get better with time. This is the difference between solid, well made $10 wines and is step or two up showing why certain wines cost more.

 I paid $17 for this lovely wine and would not have been disappointed if I had paid $25.  I am pairing it with my slow-cooked, BBQ'd spare ribs.  Raise a glass!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

El Miracle Garnacha Tintorera (Grenache) 2020

Brilliant cherry hue with aromas of bright red fruit, cherries and red cherry candies

Palate--Bright, mouth watering presentation with lip smacking tannins and a nice acidity. Nice fruit that needs to open up with air. 

I am pairing this Spanish Grenache with BBQ'd chicken on the grill--real charcoal--and home grown green beans with homemade cheese bread. Decent pairing!

Grenache tends to be a very fruity red berry/cherry kind of grape with a lighter frame than a lot of other bolder reds. Acidic, making it a good food wine more than an aperitif (a wine you might drink all by itself prior to a meal) but their styles do varying significantly depending on the country and vintner making the wine.    I paid $5 for this value wine marked down from $10 so raise a glass!

Monday, June 19, 2023

Marques De Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Finca La Moura (Single Vineyard) 2020

Pours nearly black with aromas of lighter fragrant, sweet fruit above the rim with denser, fruit in the bowl.  All kinds of goodness wanting to break out here. 

Palate--Intense flavor out of the gate, young, not integrated, but what you would expect from such a young cab. It has all kinds of potential.  Juicy blueberry and we'll see how it changes with breathing...

A well made Cabernet from Spain, not one of the "Cabernet" meccas of the world but certainly a nice and different Cabernet from an old world country. I paid $9 for this buy marked down from $16. The respected James Suckling gave this wine 91 points which seems a bit generous but then again I am not James Suckling. Bottom line--raise a glass and let it breathe and if you have the patience, buy a couple and lay one down for a few years. 


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Révélation Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Nearly black hue with aromas of fresh dark berries,blueberry pie, gentle savory spice. 

Palate--Profoundly "sweet" first impression but of course this wine is bone dry. Lacks structure to age well, but is a robus, drinking wine right now. 

From the Pays D'oc producers of Badet and Clement and Co. comes this somewhat generic, popular new-world style of wine that is ready to drink on release. It goes down easy, tastes great is simple and straight forward and tasty so what's not to like. At $7--Trader Joes, raise several glasses!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Givon Chardonnay (Galilee Dry White) 2021

Nearly clear hue with aromas of fresh lemon lime-fruit, and tropical fruit.

Palate--Too cold out of my wine fridge: Heavy on the acidity, mouth watering, clean and crisp, with a mouth watering palate cleansing acidity.

This may be my first and only wine I have had from the Galilee region of the world. It is lip smacking with acid--and I love acid but this is a bit too much, but would certainly cleanse your palate of a nice buttery lobster dinner! I served it with Maine mussels, and bay scallops and it worked "OK" but it  is really "too" over the top structurally.  Never-the-less at $7, I enjoyed the experience of a wine from somewhere I wouldn't have expected. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Montes Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere 2017

Intense Plum hue with aromas of boysenberry with green notes, asparagus, some sweet cream notes

Palate--Perky first impression with enthusiastic structure, big dark berry flavors, finessed tannins, tar, loads of spices, and dried berries mid-palate, finishing quickly with a smoky ending.

Montes is on of the accomplished Chilean wine producers and does Cabernet quite well. This has a touch of Carmenere, a blending grape yet has been produced as a varietal with some success in Chile.  This is from the Colchagua Valley one of the premier grape regions. This 6 year old Cab blend is well made and a value at $9 when it runs around $18. If you haven't reached out to Chile and given them a chance you are missing out on some of the best the world has to offer so raise a glass!

Monday, June 12, 2023

Starscape Vineyard "Sleeper" Chardonnay 2018

Light golden hue with aromas of lemon, cinnamon, and mixed citrus.

Palate--Nice presentation, with vibrant acidity, off dry fruitiness, lingering finish of creamy tropical fruit.

This Russian River AVA (Sonoma) is quite nice and an excellent value for around $25. It is classy Chardonnay and well made. When I tasted this it was already open for a day so the first impression could be significantly different. Either way this was a nice treat so raise a glass!


Sunday, June 11, 2023

Casa De Campo Malbec 2021

Cherry hue with aromas of spicy berry with a touch of caramel, 

Palate--Acidic foundation with decent, if immature structure, lip smacking tannins, with a spicy finish.

I grabbed this on a recent trip to New Hampshire paying $7.50 for this regularly marked $14 Malbec. The signature of Argentia this is too young, tightly wound and austere. None of these are criticisms of the wine, just reflecting on the youthfulness of the wine. It has potential and with another couple years should improve greatly. If you see it for around $10 in a couple years give it a shot.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Tortoise Creek Zinfandel 2019 (Lodi)

Garnet to ruby hue with light aromas of Zinfandel grape and savor spice.

Palate--Richer than expected, mouth watering acidity, nice blackberry fruit with loads of Zinfandel character. Finishes with a rush of black licorice and a subtle, but lingering finish.

OK--stop everything!  I just stopped at a state liquor store where I love to shop for my wine cellar as they have crazy bargains galore. I snagged this--unknown to me--$6 Zinfandel on special from $15! So I opened it first thing not knowing what to expect except I tend to really appreciate Lodi Zins. Now I wish I had bought a case or two it is that good and an extraordinary buy. If you see one around, grab it.  Even at $15 it is worth a try!  Raise a glass!!!

Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2004

Slightly tinged, w/ bricking at the rim, flowing into a touch of amber with an amazing bouquet of a mature red wine, but with plenty of bright cherries and a touch of black licorice and savory spice accompanied by a touch of dark chocolate. 

Palate--Silky mouthfeel, bright acidity, cherry, spice, gorgeously mature Sangiovese grape with a lip smacking provocation.

I have such a history with this wine.  Was able to purchase it years ago by the case for around $12 a bottle when it was only perhaps 5 years old. It was so good I had to just keep buying more while it was available.  Then I exhausted my supple.  Shoot up to this 2023 and I find one hidden away at my daughter's house who doesn't care for red wine. So, I grabbed it and opened it not expecting it to be as preserved as it was after 19 years. What a spectacular treat and worth the wait. With my daughter's home-made pasta dish it was glorious and we raised a glass til it was gone! 

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2020

Youthful purple hue with aromas of Spicy ripe plum and blackberry.

Palate--Wonderful fruity, black berry fruit bomb with highlights of savory spice, well made, delicious, and great all by itself.

Previously reviewed just about a month ago with a slight variation in the hue. Otherwise, consistent review and always well made, Bogle wines are value wines (around $10) so raise a glass of their many offerings and you won't be disappointed.

Marquis De Colbert Utiel-Requena Reserva 2017

Impressive garnet hue with aromas of sweet red fruit punctuated with spicy herbs, faint floral red flowers, and more spice.

Palate--a slightly tart first impression with puckering tannins, somewhat shallow structure with a somewhat austere presentation which may be due to tasting on opening.  Finishes with a stingy even if lingering presence of dried red berries.

This previously reviewed wine (back in February) seems to be fading quickly based on my review back then. Don't let this one sit around! Again, this is a Trader Joe's offering at the $7 price point which is crazy and even though this isn't the wine it was just 5 months ago, it is a crazy good value at this price.  I will be pairing it with a home made pasta dish and Prosciutto.  *I am confident it will be a very nice match so raise a glass! 

*It was indeed a very nice pairing with my pasta dish!

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Tènébres (GSM) 2021

Intense deep purple hue with aromas of rose petals, dark fudge, and rich ripe blackberries and the slightest note of cinnamon.

Palate--Silky first impression with relaxed tannins, and loads of nice dark fruit, blackberry pie, and maybe a touch of blueberries.

This is a blend of the three classic Rhone wine grapes consisting of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre. The color is due to the Syrah grape which is always intense in its vibrant color. This is a "jammy" wine if you ever wondered what someone meant by this.  It is full of fruit and truly reminds you of blackberry pie.

Another Trader Joe's super value wine at $7 and it is a really easy drinking creation with character aso raise a glass!

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Summer Wine Suggestions!

Ya want to chill down a tasty wine beside the pool, a picnic, the lake sitting on your deck with friends. You walk into the wine section of your grocery store or even more discombobulating, into a real wine store. The choices are a maze of hundreds of wines of myriad colors and hues. 

My first rule: Stay away from basically any wine with a "cutesy" label, animals on the label, or some crass name like "Fat Bastard." Also avoid the ubiquitous "Yellow Tail" brand. For the same price or less, you can get a decently made wine!

1. Rosés:  Most are not the sugary, flabby, or tasteless wines they were 20 years ago. Available from a host of countries, and made from a plethora of grape varieties, these are nice, chilled-down wines (in an ice bucket or fridge, NOT by putting ice in your wine glass!)

2. Whites:  A host of super fruity white wines that are great by themselves like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, or blends of a varying nature. These might urge you to say, "This is sweet" when in reality they may be bone dry but because they are so fruity, you may think they are sugared up when they are not. Chardonnay, Muscat, Muscadet, Semillon (can be dry or sweet) and Pinot Gris. 

3.  Reds:  Beaujolais (which will be French) are delightful with a chill on them, and Pinot Noir as well. Solid and value Pinot Noirs are coming out of California, and Oregon as well as Europe.

4.  Bubbly: Sparkling wines are always easy to find and usually refreshing and crisp. 

Bottom line: If you are at a wine store, their staff tends to be knowledgeable and can make great recommendations.  Just tell them your price point (how much you want to spend) and they can make some solid recommendations.  Have fun!  Stay safe! And savor the glories of Summer! 

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Josephine Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (PAYS D'OC)


Garnet hue with a lighter presence and aromas of ripe black raspberry and plum with a touch of spice.

This Cab from the southern region of France is easy to drink, fresh, full of fruit, simple and not exactly representative of the classic Cabernet Sauvignon but easy to enjoy nonetheless. 

Now here's the get a grip factor:  This is a Trader Joe's wine selling for $7 and while it is not "classic Cab" it is well made, tasty and a nice accompaniment to my lamb burgers on the grill but will pair nicely with a whole bunch of cheeses, game or just all by itself chilled down a little bit.  At this price you can't really complain so raise a glass!