Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi) 2021

Intense dark purple hue with aromas of Vibrant, black berry/cherry and tar, with fresh grape above the rim.

Palate--Big first impression loaded with dark berry fruit, savory spices, bold structure, with a cherry berry finish with more ash.

I love Zinfandel and while I prefer Sonoma Zins, I love Lodi for all its expressions and value Zins which abound. This Bogle I pay any where from $7/bottle as what I paid for this one on a closeout at Walmart to $12 in the local grocery stores.  It is always well made, reliable and a nice value for the price so raise a glass!

Yes, I review this a bunch for reasons explained in a previous post(s). CF. if interested...

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay 2021 Columbia Valley

Lovely golden hue with aromas of lemon-lime with gentle nudges of vanilla, not quite ripe pineapple, and a touch of steel.

Palate--Bright, lively acidity with lush stone fruit, slight vanilla nuance and steely finish on a creamy rear palate.

It was a lifetime ago that I visited St. Michelle with my wife as we were living in the Seattle -Tacoma area well before the silicon valley migration. It is a spectacular winery located in a spectacular, scenic topography and perfect for the outdoor sportsman who loved fishing, back-packing and mountain climbing. (My name is in the registry on the summit of Mt. Rainier at "Columbia Crest" the very peak of the 14,410 foot glaciated behemoth.) 

At a bargain price of $10, this is a must buy Chardonnay which I will be pairing tonight with my wife's Kale, white bean and parmesan soup.  Raise a glass!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Roustabout "Meritage" 2022 (Paso Robles)


Medium garnet hue with aromas of cherry pie crust, lots of fresh cherries, light cigar ash

Palate--Heftier first impression than expected with big fruity flavors of black cherry, very nice structure with surprisingly balanced tannins and acid with a palate cleansing freshness at the end. 

This "Meritage" (pronounced like "heritage") is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. The blend can differ.  I have never had an affinity for Meritage but I honestly LOVE this one especially at the $8 bargain basement price I paid.  

If you happen onto the is wine buy it and enjoy it!vI am pairing it with Cuban sandwiches and mac and cheese so raise a glass!

Monday, April 08, 2024

Buehler Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River) 2019

Pale gold hue with aromas of slight citrus note on the front with sweet fresh summer fruit in the middle with a subtle vanilla edge.

Palate-- *Solid structure with nice acidity an a bone dry fruitiness with lime mid palate.   Finishes quickly and is showing the beginnings of losing it's youthfulness but still drinking well.

This often quaffed Chard from a great AVA (Russian River) is always a nice California Chardonnay.  This one--marked at $25-- which is high for this Chard, was a special buy selling at $8 which is a steal! Normal price for this --pre-Biden inflation was $12-$15. Pair it with all kinds of lighter far. I am having Chicken and rice tonight and it will be perfect so raise a glass!

*Compare to my review of this wine back in 2022

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Vignobles Lecheteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2022

This numerously reviewed wine, albeit a different vintage is always a please and a great value.  Let's see if this vintage holds up under scrutiny! Pale straw ue with aromas of minerally citrus and tropical fruit cocktail, with a hint of vanilla pudding.

Palate--Classic acidity supporting an off-dry creation that seems not to be quite as potent as previous vintages. Never-the-less it is lovely, drinking qwell in its youth, full of tropical fruit and a nice palate cleansing acidity.

This Trader Joe's regular was on special at $8 which is a bargain! Put a bit of a chill on this and it should pair well with buttery dishes, seafood, possibly even some Asian cuisine. Chill it down a lot and serve it all by itself pool side and raise a glass! 

Friday, April 05, 2024

MBALI 2023


Lovely golden hue with aromas of sweet tropical fruits, the slightest twinge of citrus, a honeyed hint and ripe cantaloupe.

Palate--Wonderfully off dry big fruity palate with tremendous acidity to carry the *sweet profile, all kinds of wonderful fruits I can't even relate to in this quaff. 

*Sweet in this case means the sensual experience of sweetness when in fact this wine is quite dry. But fruitiness gives the sensation of sweetness. 

This wine from the cape of S. Africa is comprised of Viognier (pronounced VEE-oh--nyay) and Chenin Blanc, one of the cape's great growths. This is a lovely wine (Trader Joe's) which will pair with many varieties of foods and cheeses so experiment and at $6?  Raise a glass! 

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Member Marks Zinfandel Old Vines 2021 (Lodi)


Deep garnet hue with aromas of tart raspberry pie, with sweet and savory spice.

Palate--Nice Zin first impression with fruit forward goodness and sweet/savory spice. Relaxed structure but fully Zinfandel.

This Sam's Club offering is a quality production for Walmart and because of their huge buying power they get great wine for a bargain price. I think I paid $8 for this and it is a great buy so raise a glass!

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Corvelia Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 21

Beautiful intense aubergine hue with aromas of dark chocolate, Lovely blackberry pie and fresh blackberries, with fresh blackberry above the rim.

Palate--Thickish texture with intense fruit forward dark berry presentation with luxuriant structure, tannins and acid melding together with a lingering finish of more dark berry fruit!

I reviewed this Paso Robles Cab back in October. This one has a bottle variation that is rather distinct. That this wine sell for $10 at Traders Joes is remarkable and is a definite more now kind of wine!  Raise a glass!

Monday, April 01, 2024

OXTE The Silence Red Blend 2022

Lighter crystalline purple/garnet hue with aromas of fresh and dried crushed red berries, ash and some spice.  Pretty nice!

Palate--First impression is tantalizing, with bolder presentation than I expected, with solid berry mid beam; loads of savory spice and ash. Finishes quickly but for the money -- $6 at Trader Joe's ya cannot pass this up.  

Blend of  Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo (the signature grape of Spain) although it doesn't present like Shiraz (lighter) but this is an amazing value and will go well burgers on or off the grill, pizza, and pretty much all kinds of middle of the road cheeses. Raise a glass!

Saturday, March 30, 2024

M. Chevallier "Carte Noire" Brut Cava NV

Nearly invisible pale straw hue with aromas of summery melon, sweet nuanced fresh summer fruit.

Palate--Lovely tiny bubbles on the palate dancing through the melony fruit even if tight on the presentation. 

This is uncomplicated but fresh and crisp  and for the price $8 chill it down a bit and serve it up before, during or after dinner. Raise a glass!

Ressurection Sunday wine


Depending on what your Easter Sunday dinner might be you don't need to go expensive to go well!

Let's make this short and sweet!

Having a traditional ham or ham based dinner you'll want something to offset the saltiness inherent with a smoked ham in particular. A "sweet" wine is the perfect foil to the saltiness of the smoked delight.

Speaking in broad categories sparkling wines (the sweeter variety) are great. I have a personal aversion to Prosecco but it is wildly popular. You can find decent enough ones around $10-$15. 

Spanish "Cava's" are one of my favorite inexpensive sparklers of which there are a myriad of choices.    Freixenet is one of my "go to" favorites and will run you these days around $12.

If you live near a Trader Joe's they have bargain sparklers for $6 and up!  M. Chevallier Carte Noir Brut Cava is a nice bargain and drinks easily. (see my reviews of this wine previously posted.)

If sparklers are not your thin, try a Riesling or Gewurztraminer both domestic and German/Alsatian are all quite nice but vary in styles and price. Washington State Ste. Michelle makes some nice ones at the great price of $12. 

Whatever you are planning the most important thing is to remember the occasion! Easter--better called "Resurrection Sunday" is not about bunny rabbits, or Spring.  It is solely about the Savior of mankind coming to Earth to bring about the redemption of the soles of all those who have put their trust in Him. 

"“For our sake God the Father made Him--Jesus-- to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

His empty grave sealed the deal and He is returning one day to usher in the end of all things. Be on the right side of it all!  :) 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

San Antonio Winery Cardinale (American Sweet Red)

Purple hue with *bricking at the edges. Aromas of baked toffee, fresh fruit nuances, cherry.

Palate--Sweetness out of the gate, yet an acidic foundation that allows such intense sweetness without it being nauseating.  Hints of the aging of this wine heading into its latter days of life are abounding but this is still **drinkable. It finishes quickly to which some may say, Yippee" but for those who say "I don't like red wine" just might take a liking to this. 

Chill it down for a Summer refresher and enjoy with some lighter cheeses and even Bleu cheese. The saltiness of the cheese will be lovely with the sweetness of this not so great wine. 

Visiting this historic winery in Los Angeles is a nice easy trip reliving the days of communion preparation for the Catholic Church at its beginnings. 

* Bricking= a reddish brown hue which develops at the rims of wine that is headin south pretty quickly. It's perfectly fine to drink but has a very distinct profile you will either like or not.

**Drinkable meaning "safe" but necessarily a "good" wine but to each his own!  At $4 at Walmart on closeout, I am glad a bought 1. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Bogle Merlot 2021 (California)


Youthful; purple hue with aromas of tightly wound fruit, with a slight "stink" [not a bad stink] with cigar ash and savory spices. Black raspberry, and needs some time to breathe!

Palate--Thickish texture with loads of immature fruit, savory spices, decent structure but needs a couple years to integrate to achieve its potential. 

Drinking well though and will be great with my Winter-charcoal grilled strip steak!  Sam's Club buy at $8 so raise a glass!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Earthgrown Red Blend 2020

Deep purple hue with aromas of gentle blackberry with a cigar ash touch at the rim. Sweet berry fruit with a soapy bouquet that is actually pretty nice. 

Palate-- watery texture with slightly, tart first impression, tannic nuances out of balance, finishes with a crappy mouth feel and tannic fatigue.

I bought this at Walmart out of curiosity for $8. It reminds me of what I call "kit wine" meaning the kind of wine a do it yourselfer makes from a kit purchased on line. 

This is a pass...

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Knock On Wood Chardonnay (Willamette Valley) 2021


Light golden hue with aromas of Tropical fruit salad with lemon undertones and minerally vanilla cream with sweet spices at the rim.

Palate--Impressive beginning with nice acidity, and loads of summer fruit, citrus rind, clean and crisp!

This is a lovely Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley AVA from a stellar vintage of record breaking heat which can also kill a wine.  But this wine is intense, well made and a bargain at what I found it for which was around $8 when it goes for $20 and up.  I reviewed this same wine back in Dec. as well and it seems to be a bit more open and complex.  Now I wish I had bought a lot more at $8.  If you chance upon it, grab it and enjoy!  Raise a glass!

Friday, March 15, 2024

Bogle Pinot Noir 2021 (California)

Cherry juice hue with aromas of cherry, pomegranate, raspberry with oak notes.

Palate--Somewhat acidic first impression with woody fruit front and center, oftart raspberry finishing a bit chewy and fleeting. 

Bogle is a reliable value winery!  Buy with confidence on everything they produce. I found this on closeout at a local box store for $7! I bought 2 bottles. No, this is not complex, exciting, or 
"must have" but C'mon, at $7?  It's a no brainer. Pairing with my wife's baked chicken thighs and root vegetables.  Raise a glass.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Bogle Zinfandel (Old Vine) 2021

This oft reviewed, (Sept.) -- and imbibed--Zin was on sale for $7.00 so I grabbed what they had left. 

Nice garnet hue with aromas of spicy blackberry, licorice, and spicy big fruit.

Palate--Good first impression with a load of rich berries, brooding flavors of more dark berries, and stout structure.

This is a reliable production and if you love Zinfandel it can be found very reasonably for $8.00-$12.00, sometimes less!  I buy it when it's at the lower range.

Tonight pairing with leftover homemade lasagna which works very well with this nice wine so raise a glass!

Monday, March 11, 2024

Belhara Estate Single Vineyard Malbec 2021

Nice rich looking dark purple hie with fruity aromas with yeasty baked bread, lovely dark fruit, grapefruit at the edge, sweet pie spice and savory spice as well...

Palate--Nice texture with big fruit front with hefty structure, blueberry pie nuances with a finish that lingers.

Reviewed just this past September, this is drinking very well and at $10 for a Single Vineyard Malbec it is is legal robbery!  This is a Trader Joe's super value wine so grab some and raise a glass!

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Cave De Lugny Mâcon-Lugny "Les Charmes" Chardonnay 2021


Nice golden hue with big aromas of lemon, vanilla, baby powder, and a sweet fruit salad.

Palate--Tart first impression, with a slightly bitter mid palate, supporting loads of lemon and lip smacking acidity. Finishes with a subtle honey ending. 

I paid about *$10 for this Burgundy and it is quite the wine.  Acidity is a bit over the top for most palates but I happen to love razor edge acidity. I will  be pairing it with my wife's broccoli cheese soup! Raise a glass!

I just ate at a restaurant a couple days ago and this wine was on their limited menu. Restaurant price was $36 for a bottle; $10 for a glass. A restaurant gets 4, 5 ounce pours out of a bottle or 5, 4 ounce pours. Don't get me started on gouging at restaurants when it comes to their liquor sales. I am all for making a profit but 360% markup (bottle price) is gouging.  $50 for 5, four ounce glasses is, _________ you fill in the blank.

Friday, March 08, 2024

Innocenti Brunello di Montalcino 2017

Bricking at the rim already with a nice deep garnet hue setting off aromas of Beautiful fresh cherry fruit up front with a rustic, forest floor bouquet and a hint of licorice...

Palate--Mouth watering structure with savory mid palate on top of deep dark rich cherry berry fruit, earthy,and chewy tannins. It finishes with more lovely, slightly lingering, red cherry happiness.

This pricey Brunello is Sangiovese through and through and crafted for some life. The bricking (slight browning) is a bit surprising  in that these should be age worthy for 15 years and beyond. I would drink this NOW to experience the lovely fruitiness still there although it will e a different wine in a couple years, it will be very pleasurable.

This was a gift but I see it at the $60-$70 price point. That's a little overshot for the wine but a nice treat. I will be serving it with my wife's lasagna! 

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Confidencial Reserva 2018

Intense, inky purple with sweet aromas up front, spicy red and bark berry fruit with nicely balanced spices, tar, baker's chocolate.

Palate--Integrated, structured pleasant filling fruit, berry pie filling, savory spice at the end with a lingering finish. 

A $10 (reference point $15) this multiple grape blend is delicious and priced below its value. It is drinking lovely and a  bargain even if still at $15 so raise a glass!

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Joseph Händler Riesling 2022


Very pale straw hue with fruity aromas of spicy pear, apple, chinese five spice.

Palate--Lively spritzig (slight pin prick bubbles) with lovely tropical fruit flavors, subdue green apple and robust spicy pear.

This $7 Riesling from the Pfalz region of Germany is quite juicy a delicious. It is another Trader Joe's offering and is surprisingly good for the money.  Chill it down a bit, and serve it with asian cuisine or indian or all by itself and raise a glass.

Monday, March 04, 2024

Poco a Poco 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry Creek Valley)


Intense dark black/purple with aromas of pine pitch, spicy black cherry, 

Palate--Juicy foundation, lively savory, dark cherry and blackberry, pine, and a touch of mint. Finishes with a slight chewiness, and flavors linger a while telling you to get more! 

For such a young cab from this AVA it is drinking quite well. It will be even better and more integrated in another 2-3 years. The Wine Enthusiast gave this a generous 93 points.

This was a gift from a special friend and it is a lovely Cabernet from Sonoma (Dry Creek Valley AVA) and sells for around $30. It will be paired with charcoal grilled short cut steak and it will be perfect.  

Raise  a glass!


Thursday, February 29, 2024

Scotto Family Cellars Zinfandel (Lodi 2017)


Solid cherry red hue to the rim with aromas of sweet spicy Zinfandel fruit, spices and red berry through out.

Palate--Nicely made, relaxed profile, lovely Zin variertal fruit, everything in the bouquet shows up on the palate, with a nice finish that hangs on a bit saying "Drink More!"

This Lodi Calif. Zin is a fave of mine and you have seen it reviewed here many times. Trader Joes has a hard time keeping this in stock and the price has gone up from $7 to $10 in the past 3 years....... Still a value so raise a glass!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2020


Nice pigmented dark garnet hue with aromas of leather, spicy currant, cigar ash, with underlayer of fresher red cherry-berry fruit

Palate--Bold presentation with ample fruit, solid structure, mid-palate of ruby red grapefruit, toffee, rear palate of baked, burnt apple, chewy tannins, and a fleeting though fruity finish.

This Chilean Cab from the Colchagua is a nice example of how solid the Chilean Cabernet landscape has developed over the decades into a world class contender.  I paid $10 for this nice wine but expect to pay a bit more. 

I am pairing it with my wife's homemade beef pot pie and it will be just fine. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Porto Morgado Tawny Port (NV)

*Ruby hue with aromas of spicy prunes, currants, and brighter red fruit above the rim.

Palate--Sweet front palate with a hefty foundation to carry the intense port sweetness without being cloying and the silky texture is alluring. Lovely prune whip, with voluptuous ripe dark berry fruit and more prunes. Finishes quickly but for the price makes you want more.

Pair this with fresh strawberries, or dark chocolate for a wonderful desert. 

This Trader Joe's offering for $8 is al always bargain and buy more kind of wine. Our local TJ's has had a tough time keeping it in stock sop buy when you can and raise a glass!

This is as closed to being a "ruby" port as it gets but it is a Tawny.  Typically should be a "tawny" or light brownish red due to the way it is made. For more information read my comments on other Tawny and Ruby and Vintage ports.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2017

Rich dark purple, black cherry hue with aromas of pure black berry, yeasty bread, rose petal,

Palate-thickish texture with brooding dark fruit, cigar ash, bold tannins, good acidity promising aging potential. Fleeting finish, but a nice touch of carraway on the end.

The ridiculous thing here is I paid $6 for this Argentinian beauty which was listed at $16 which would have been a dc cent price at that point even. 

Argentina makes spectacular Malbec and their Cabernet has been coming around for decades. This is a wonderful bargain and will only get better over the long haul.  I believe this will pay big dividends if you can manage to wait another 5 years but is enjoyable right now.  Raise a glass!

Navigator Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2022

Lighter garnet hue with aromas of cola, dried cherry, ash, savory spice.

Palate--A touch watery texture with flavors of spicy fruit, a touch acidic and tannic. Finishes with a more sedate profile but nothing to write home about.

I paid $13 for this wine although it was marked down from $35. The latter price would have been absurd. At $13, it is "OK" but there are better values out there. This is a pass in my Zin book.

Friday, February 23, 2024

90+ Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) 2022


Pale straw hue with big grassy aromas with grapefruit, lemon, and vanilla touches.

Palate--surprisingly off dry with big grassy Sauvignon Blanc character, nice acidity, grapefruit rind, and a grapefruity finish!

This New Zealand S. Blanc is crisp, varietal, and will pair nicely with our seafood chowder tonight. 

This will run you around $12 and it is drinks well so raise a glass!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Buehler Chardonnay Russian River 2019

Gentle golden hue with aromas of pineapple, golden peach, tapioca pudding, and stronger sweet spice at the rim. 

Palate-luscious vibrant summer fruit, nice acidity, fleeting finish but some lingering tropical fruit on the very end.

One of my perennial faves this Russian River AVA Chard I found at $8 (down from $24) and should have bought a case. Rats...

Raise a glass!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Porto Morgado 10 year old Tawny Port

A true tawny hue that if you ever want to know what a wine with age on it looks like this is a great example even though this one only has ten years on it. Aromas are baked caramel with an underlying prune whip and a lovely sweet fresh prune bouquet at the very edge of the glass . 

 Palate -- super sweet, rich brooding fruit, creamy texture, and a pleasing finish that is quite lengthy. This is a Trader Joe's offering that they have had for years and years although I never wanted to spend the extra piddling dollars to get the 10 year old tawny. What a fantastically lovely, well made port that has everything you want and more. Try this with semi-sweet dark chocolate for a real treat!

At $13 this is a steel and is a definite buy more! Raise a glass!

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Gazela Vinho Verde NV

Sparkling effervescent lightly golden hue on the first pour, with aromas of limes with sweet touch of vanilla.

Palate--Lively pin prick bubbles with fresh, limeade on a dancing platform. Gives an off dry but mostly dry front palate.  Quite tasty.

This is a simple, but fun Portuguese Vinho Verde with a decent sense of acidity which will make it go well with any number of lighter fare and cheeses. Tonight I will pair it with my wife's cream of asparagus soup.  We'll see how it works--or doesn't. Asparagus is one of the more challenging foods to pair with wine but nothing ventured. nothing gained!  

At $8 for this quaff, raise a glass!

Friday, February 16, 2024

Corvo Colomba Platino "Insolia" 2019

 Lighter golden hue with aromas of sweet citrusy vanila with pineapple and green apple.        

Palate--Tart first impression with mouth watering acidity, everything in the bouquet is present in the mouth. It's a tropical paradise of slightly tightly wound fruit but definite and delicious. 

Insolia is the signature white grape of Sicily and has a great reputation and now I know why.

Here's the "get a grip factor:"  This was $6 at a state liquor store I frequent when I am in the vicinity and they get massive buying power super good buys. I have made the 4 hour round trip several times just to go to these wine stores. Did mention they also have no sales tax so that is another 5.5% savings from what I would pay in my state if I could even them which I can't. So even with roughly $16 in tolls, gas and the time, it is still worth while making the trip. I was not familiar with this wine and I like it and will be pairing it with my wife's stir fry and it will be lovely so Raise a Glass.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Gibbs Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 "Three Clones" Saint Helena (Napa Valley)

Dark purple nearly black hue with big aromas of fruit carrying across the counter to my nose.  Elegant ripe blackberry, currant, rich Damson Plum.

Palate--Silky tannins, somewhat austere opening, tightly wound and needs time to open up. Foundationally a solid Cab from a great AVA but right now, too closed to appreciate fully.  Another 4 years would do it well but drinking enjoyably nevertheless. 

Will be serving with charcoal grilled, prime sirloin steak for my Valentine of over 50 years.  This was a gift and at about the $40 price point I expect more out of a wine. This is quite straight forward lacking complexity and muscle. Tasty? Again, yes but over priced by $15 or so. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Hubert Meyer Sylvaner 2021

Nearly crystal clear with aromas of gentle yet sweet citrus, tropical fruit melange deep in the bowl.

Palate--An off dry first impression with a good line of acidity, tightly wound at the moment but with warm, flavors of tropical fruit cocktail. Finishes rather quickly but with satisfying fruit.

A common grape of Alsace but also grown in Northern Italy and Germany. It is a very dry white wine yet its fruitiness can be confused with being "sweet."  It is not.  Chill it down some and enjoy it with buttery sauces, lighter cheeses and cream sauces with poultry. 

I paid a ridiculous $6 for this wine so raise a glass!

*Obviously the label shown is a different vintage!

High Valley Stage 1871 Cabernet Sauvignon "Lake County"

Dark, eggplant hue with aromas of elegant dark berry fruit, pipe tobacco, fresh red berry, a touch of sweet spice. Off to a great start...

Palate--Well structured fruit on an intense front palate, all kinds of dark berry and ripe berry pie on opening.  Needs to breathe!  Even after a few minutes this wine is presenting as a refined, artfully crafted wine.

I am pairing this with charcoal grilled lamb chops and it is going to be spectacular. Raise a glass!              

Saturday, February 10, 2024

VINO Rosé 2020


Straw hue with big aromas away from the glass of ripe rich summer fruit, 

Palate--Surprisingly tart first impression with auster fruit.

This is a $7 rosé on sale and because of who made it, I grabbed it.  Charles Smith is a noted Washington state winery who makes reliably good wine at numerous price points.  At this juncture, this is surprisingly "tight." The bouquet is lively but the palate not so much. 

If you pair this with the right food it will be ok for the price, but I wouldn't recommend it as an aperitif.

Galharda Douro 2020

Garnet hue with a slight opacity to it with aromas of red berry, pomegranate, sweet/savory spice.

Palate--Slightly tart front palate, with puckery tannins and robust acidity. Tart raspberry and cherry.

Whoa!  This is a lip smacking, over-the-top Douro (Portugal) creation that may be beyond mellowing out. 

At 4 years of age it is not very approachable but then again I just opened it.  I will see how this pairs with my Carbonara as sometimes these wines that are questionable by themselves are great with food. We shall see!

***With our dinner of carbonara, it really was a very nice pairing. For $6 raise a glass!

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Cabernet Franc 2019

Nice intense, pigmented dark purple hue with aromas of wild berry, fragrant cherry, wood, more wild berry fruit

Palate--Still youthful a bit austere, tightly wound, high acidity, medium tannin structure.

This wine needs to open up so I will return to this and go at it again.  

Single vineyard wines are by definition (sort of) the best quality wine you can buy since all the grapes come from the same source meaning they were all grown and treated and ripened in the same way at the same time. That inherently implies a better quality wine. 

As I ams tasting this I am saying to myself, "This is not a very representative Cabernet Sauvignon."  LOL That might be because it is NOT Cabernet Sauvignon... :) 

There is potential here so I let it open up and see what we get!  

Messias Tawny Oporto

Burnt orange (tawny) hue with keen "browning" at the rim; aromas of baked orange peel, evergreen bouquet, stewed prunes, small hint of bright red berries in the rear palate.

Palate--Super sweet with silky texture, caramel or toffee, with a finish of baked caramel with a finish that lingers nicely.

 I have not had this particular Tawny port and it is quite a nice wine especially for the price. It was a gift from a friend for whom I repaired their watch (I am a hobbyist watch devotee). Ruby ports are a dark cherry, "ruby" red whereas a tawny port is well, tawny or slightly brown. All ports are fermented as usual but the fermentation is stopped by adding a high alcohol beverage like brandy. The high alcohol kills the yeast and stops fermentation leaving a lot of residual sugar which is why ports are truly "sweet" wines. Because of the addition of alcohol to kill the yeast, ports are higher in alcohol than other red wines.  This wine is nearly 20% alcohol.

This price point is around $18 and is a value for this wine so raise a glass.

Hubert Meyer Gewurztraminer 2021


Truly a beautifully golden hue with aromas floating across the space between me and the glass highlighted by ripe pineapple fragrance, cinnamon, 

Palate--First impression is tropical fruit salad, pears, sweet spices, a lively touch of *spritzig (sparkle) and a creamy mid-palate screaming for you to take another quaff!

This is an Alsatian wine from Alsace which is sandwiched between France, Germany and Switzerland. I would call this the signature grape of Alsace (pronounced All-Sahs) although Sylvaner is another grape of the Alsatian wine industry. 

This is SO ridiculously delicious I now regret not having bought a case! It was on sale for an absurd $6 when I would have given this wine rave reviews at 3 times the price. If you happen to be fortunate enough to find this in your neck of the woods, BUY it even at $18.  It is fabulous example of what the pure Gewurztraminer (which means spicy traminer) grape can be. 

I am pairing it with baked pork chops and sauerkraut and I think it will work superbly.  Raise a glass!

Monday, February 05, 2024

Montes Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (Classic Series)


Rich dark blackish, purple hue with big aromas in a distinctive bouquet that I am having difficulty identifying. Woody cedar? with underlying dark fruit, and black olives which is a first for me! 

Palate--Big, angular first impression, with a rich texture, huge berry presence, with rich savory spices, and a mouth feel that is luxuriant. Finish is long and vibrant with those black olives very present. This wine needs another 3-5 years of age to be appreciated. 

Chilean Cabernet is a wine worth seeking out and always is a great value. Even the pricey "Don Melchor" from Concha Y Toro is a relative bargain for the price. This is a lesser level of Montes' productions and it well done. It can be enjoyed now but so much MORE will arise later down the road.  I found this gem for a ridiculous $6 on a special so Raise a glass!

Saturday, February 03, 2024

Hook or Crook Old Vine Zinfandel 2018


Deep dark eggplant hue with aromas of dense fruit--ripe blackberry and plum with cigar ash and wood. 

Palate--Big zesty mouth feel with dense dark, thickish, rich brooding fruit and loads of exciting Zin fruit that lingers on the finish!

 I just got this on special and then on sale from the special so I paid $7 for this gem. Lodi is coming around as one of my favorite Zin regions that I have available near me.  (Sonoma is still my fave) 

I just discovered that I reviewed this wine just back in October 1. Sheesh, I had no idea.  At any rate at the end of the day, though a slightly different review, I liked it then and I love it now!  Raise a glass!

Friday, February 02, 2024

King Fuy Girl Riesling 2021


Light straw hue with aromas of sweet vanilla, orange blossom, tropical fruit and creme brulee.

Palate--Lovely acidic front with loads of mouth watering fruit with tropical fruit, ripe pineapple, mandarin orange, and a fruity finish that lingers a good while.

Riesling is one of the most under appreciated grapes around. It is a lovely aperitif, or a gerat Summer chilled kind of poolside wine all by itself and it is lovely with normally hard to pair wine to go with Asian and Indian cuisine. 

King Fu Girl is a Washington State Riesling made by the iconoclastic Charles Smith. His wines are well crafted, and reasonably priced.  At $12 it is always a pleaser so raise a glass!

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Sadler's Well Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) 2020

Pale cherry hue with aromas of raspberry, a unique teak of menthol, 

Palate--Juicy structure with mouth watering acidity, gentle, fruity, spicy raspberry, with a solid mid-palate but a somewhat watery finish but the profile lingers.

This Pinot from the Santa Barbara AVA is a bit disappointing at this price point ($18).  I have toured Santa Barbara having visited several of the wineries and had a lovely chat with Craig Jaffurs of Jaffurs winery.  I am not "feeling" the review by Matt Kettman of the respectable Wine Enthusiast. Different tasters have different sensitivities but what is clear is this is a solid Pinot with nice Pinot character.  For about half that, the Castle Rock varieties of Pinot Noir off a commensurately pleasing Pinot Noir. It's a decent Pinot Noir but at this price point I would give it a pass.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Bogle Petite Sirah (California) 2020


Classic intense deep dark purple hue with aromas of dark rich blackberry, ripe plum and a hint of blueberry

Palate--Nice first impression with loads of fruit forward goodness, Savory spice, ash, and chocolate covered cherry finish.

Just reviewed this same wine in October for comparison. It is a nice value at the $8 price I paid byt they have since returned to the $12 price point. Raise a glass!

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Ricardo Santos Semillon 2020


Straw hue with aromas of dried mango at the rim, light vanilla, gentle citrus 

Palate--Sharp acidity, mouth filling flavors of fig, and citrus with the congealed honey on the finish.

Semillon, pronounced "Seh-mee-own" is often a blending grape but is also one of the hallowed grapes of the great Sauternes wine of that region in France.  This one surprised me being from Argentina! It is nicely made and I love the racy acidity. I am pairing it with my wife's potato, bacon and horseradish soup tonight.  We'll see......

I paid around $12 I think so raise a glass!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Artie Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) (NV) non-vintage

I saw this in my local supermarket with a shelf tag advertising 2 for $12. I looked at the label and noted that it is a non-vintage "Cabernet Sauvignon" which means outside of the grapes originating in Australia and being primarily "Cabernet Sauvignon" grapes, this doesn't tell you much about the quality of the wine.

The label saying "Australia" means only that the grapes from anywhere and everywhere in Australia. The fact that there is no vintage showing on the label means it can be made from juice that has been sitting around from any vintage and then pulled out of storage and made into "wine." For $6, I thoiught it would be interesting to see what you get for that price.  Here goes nothing...

Actually presents with a very nice deeply pigmented hue of aubergine (egg plant.) Aromas of berries, blackberry? and gentle spicing on the rim.

Palate--The moment of truth: perky front palaste with lively acidity, decent enough dark-berry flavor with a zesty mid-palate and a finish that lingers a bit with a savory spice.

OK! Look ya have to be honest; this is a simple but decent wine for the price.  Better than what you would expect. 

This is why I learned early on not to be a wine snob. Some times in years of great harvest, farmers cannot sell off their grapes to their usual buyers because there are just too many. So they dump them for whatever they can get out of the winery buying them and what this means is that occasionally you get a decent wine.  On one rare occasion you get a FANTASTIC wine of surplus grapes that normally sell to high end wineries but the origins cannot be listed on the label.

So bottom line? At $6 I will probably buy a couple more!  Raise a glass!

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Monday, January 22, 2024

Ninety + Cellars Rioja 2020


Deeper garnet hue with aromas of dried cherries, leather, bright fresh cherry above the rim, hints of licorice.

Palate--Big first impression with loads of fruit, vibrant structure, dried cherry with a finish of subtle spice.

This is nice $12 wine made from the signature grape of the Rioja (Spain) Tempranillo (pronounced Temp-ra-NEE-oh) and will pair well with italian foods, bolder cheeses, bolder sauces, or even pizza. Raise a glass! 

"Ninety + Cellars" claims to produce wines that would rate 90 points or more... Not likely but they do tend to release value wines which are reasonably priced.