Monday, July 31, 2023

Castle Rock Pinot Noir (Mendocino) 2021

Classic light crystalline magenta hue with aromas of truly beautiful hard cinnamon candies, milk chocolate on the edge--again very subtle, sweet pie spices.

Palate--elegant first impression with a zesty spicy mid palate with an integrated loveliness of crafted fruit, nuanced ruby red grapefruit and a warm inviting finish that lingers and screams MORE!

Castle Rock is one of my fave Pinots they do it so well and at a bargain of $10 it is a must to have on hand ALL the time!  Raise a glass!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Scotto Zinfandel 2017 Lodi


Cherry hue with bricking at the rim showing its age! Aromas of spicy lighter red berries, with and edge of red grapefruit!

Palate--Lovely, integrated front palate with loads of luscious red berry and spice Zinfandel fruit.

This wine is trending out with age but is still lovely now and drinking very well. Don't hold onto this and at $8 it is fabulous so raise a glass!

Friday, July 28, 2023

Montes LTD Selection 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon 70% Carmenere 30%


Deep nearly black hue with aromas of deep dark blackberries with a twinge of gree at the rim and very light savory spice.

Palate--Smokey first impression, robust structure, loads of rich ripe dark berries and black pepper and smoke on the finish.

Previously reviewed just a month ago with similar notes, this Chilean blend is quite nice even at its "too warm" serving temp which is my fault. I will chill it down some before another glass. Remember that the adage about red wines should  be served at "room temp" was a carry over from the days of yore when "room Temp" meant around 55 degrees in some big old castle or Chateau. So unless you have a temperature controlled cellar don't hesitate to chill your reds down before serving.  (20 minutes before serving or 30 if your wine has been sitting in an 85 degree kitchen.)

$9 marked down from $26 it's a no brainer--Raise a glass!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Orenellaia Del Cripini Sparkling Apple (Ltd production)

Lovely golden hue with pin prick bubbles and aromas of fresh autumn apples and a touch of pear.

Palate--Lively bubbles with a nice crisp presentation of sweet/tart apple and a clean finish.

This is my own production consisting of 16 bottles. For years I had a hobby vineyard (12 vines) of Marachel Foch wine grapes. After 17 bottlings of plonk I found two wineries that produced this obscure, cold weather hearty grape and they were both terrible. Mine were actually better but still pretty bad so I switched to apple wine since I had apples available to me. I have produced roughly 1-2 cases per year and they are delicious.  So I continue to this day.  Raise a glass!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewürztraminer 2021


Very pale straw hue with sweet baking spices, pear, green apple

Palate--Fruit filled, off dry first impression with a rather fleeting mid palate and finish. It could benefit from a bit more acid, but it is not off putting.This is not the best offering Ste. Michelle has produced and is rather disappointing. It finishes with a slight peachy ending which is very nice but still lacking from what they used to produce.

This runs around $12 and is "OK" but it could be much better. I am paring it with charcoal grilled bratwurst and it will be a nice foil to the stone ground mustard, sauteed onions and green peppers.  Give this grape another chance and then compare it with one made in Alsace!  Two very different styles, both wonderful when done well! 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Stark-Condé Pinot Noir (Elgin Vineyard) 2021

Muted, light ruby hue with a touch of brick-red at the rim with aromas of strawberry juice.

Palate--Perky front palate with lively structure, biting strawberry and gentle spice. 

This Pinot from South Africa is a stand out with a unique profile that is inviting and amusing. I will pair this with baked chicken legs and sauteed garden fresh beans from our own garden. Raise a glass!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Promesses De France Pinot Noir 2021

Rather dark ruby hue for Pinot Noir with lovely aromas of raspberry, strawberry, with a gentle savory spice on the end.

Palate--Classic Pinot first impression with a steely front palate, robust structure, a bit angular, and a really quick finish.

Honestly I find this Pinot lacking when compared to the many domestic Pinot noir's coming out of America and other new world expression.  I am going to put a slight chill on this and hope that it will improve. We'll see. OK, no change really, and even though tis is a really inexpensive Pinot Noir for the same price point I prefer a domestic Pinot with character and leaves you wanting a refill!  So this is just "Meah..."

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Torre Zambra Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2017

Dark berry hue with aromas of fresh, lively, spicy fruit. 

Palate--A richness precedes the actual flavor profile with lively mouth feel, lip smacking tannins full of red cherry berry flavors and a hint of rose water. Ends with a finish that is full of sweet and savory spices. 

I love the fruity simplicity of Montepulciano but this one just kind of leaves me puzzled. James Suckling gave this wine 92 points which is a big score for any wine. I reluctantly wonder about this score on this wine. I'll reserve my assessment for another bottle which I have laid down for a bit. Even at $9 the jury is still out. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Marques de Colbert Utiel-Requena Reserva 2017

Garnet/cranberry hue with lovely aromas wafting above the rim as I sit at my computer. There's almost a candy like quality of the bouquet, filled with cherry, red berry, and just a twist of spice on the end.

Palate--Lively structure with an acidic beam mid palate with a bungle of fruit/spice/ash all jumbled together in the mouth. It needs to breath and I believe it will open up. Indeed it did.

This previously reviewed quaff (February) is comprised of 50% Bobal grape and 50% Tempranillo, the signature grape of Spain.  Now here is the get a grip factor: I paid $6 for this at Trader Joe's and it is a crazy value!  Raise a glass!

Monday, July 10, 2023

Loudenotte Pinot Noir 2021

Lighter cherry hue with aromas of strawberry and spice and a light touch of cinnamon.  

Palate--Sits lightly on the tongue with medium body, intense spiciness, cherry and strawberry fruit.

This is one of those exclusive Trader Joe's buys and at $7 it is a BUY!  The Pay's Doc (pronounced "PAY Dawk") In the south of France the large region comprises many vineyards which produce solid fruit and make superior quality wines at super-value prices. Distinctively different than the domestic value Pinot Noirs of the United States --West and Pacific Northwest--are fresh, fruity, with nice structure and just shouldn't be passed up. 

I will be paring this tonight with a French onion tart which is basically pizza dough with onions tenderized in sour cream and cottage cheese, then topped with loads of bacon! Raise a glass!



Sunday, July 09, 2023

Tortoise Creek Zinfandel "Lodi" 2019


Zesty Zin aromas of stewed berries with spicing on a purple hue.

Palate--Mouth filling flavors of spicy Zinfandel, ripe and ready to go out of the gate. Mid-palate-- zesty tongue feel with stewed fruit and a fleeting but nice finish.

Reviewed previously, I just grabbed another case of this $7 Zinfandel so I will be repeating reviews as I go along looking for consistency in my own reviews as well as how temperature and age affect this wine.  

Until then--raise a glass!

Perseverance Rioja Reserva 2018

Cherry hue with what looks like bricking at the rim. Aromas of nice fruit with yeast notes in the background, subtle root beer suggestions, with snappy spices. 

Palate--Cherry/berry front palate with bold structure and loads of mouth watering, sustaining influences for a number of years of improvement. 

I paid $11 for this bargain Rioja ($23) made from 100%Tempranillo (pronounced Tem-pra-NEE-O and is a nice compromise between "Old World--must be aged a decade" and "New World-- at it's prime close to release." It is juicy, classy and will accompany my charcoal grilled prime rib celebrating my wife's and my 50th anniversary. 

Sweetheart--the moment I laid on eyes on you in high school, I knew you were the ONE. "Forever, for always, no matter what!"  Raise a glass!

Monday, July 03, 2023

Corvelia Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Side by side review of Scotto Old Vine Zinfandel 2017

Dark magenta hue with lovely aromas of ripe, late season plum, sweet and savory spices.

Palate--Nice even first impression with loads of fruit leading the way, on a relaxed foundation of tannins, lovely dark berry and perky mid-palate, with a lingering finish that makes you want more. 

Darker deep burgundy nearly black hue with aromas of spicy Zin fruit and wild blackberries

Palate--Balanced, supple, straight forward, loads of Zinfandel goodness, spice, and a nice smoky finish.

These two wines "should" be as different as night and day yet they are remarkably similar. Why?

Well for one thing the price point of each wine is about the same, ($10) and what happens is that all the compelling characteristics which are unique to each of these great grapes just aren't there.  This is a result of the quality of the grapes. This is why one Cabernet may run you $150 and a hallmark single vineyard Zinfandel pushing $50. You can only get as good a wine as the quality of the grapes you use. What these wines testify to is the artistry of the winemakers who can use "ok" grapes and make such delicious, even if simple, varietals for this price.  

To be candid, unless you have an experienced palate, you are rather throwing your money away spending $150 on a Napa Cabernet if you have no real idea about the intricacies and complexities of wine. 

Bottom line--These two wines are well made, delicious, and my hat's off to the makers of both!  Raise a glass!