Friday, May 31, 2024

PRADOREY 2019 VALDELAYEGUA (Single Vineyard)

Intense aubergine purple hue with aromas of rather elegant berry bouquet with floral violet, and a touch of cumin!

Palate--Fruit forward beginning with spicy, rich berry fruit, savory spices, with a rear palate of darker berry pie. Finishes with lingering berry and spice.

This "Single Vineyard" Tempranillo is quite lovely.  Listed at $25 I found it for $15 and it is quite a find at that price point. I am having a bone in grilled rib eye steak which will be perfect for this wine. If you can find it, raise a glass!

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2021 (Lodi)

Garnet hue with aromas of tighter blackberry fruit, with sweetish and spiced nuances

Palate--Heavy on the palate, loads of luscious dark berry fruit, with loads of zesty spices that are both savory and yet sweet. Finish is a touch coarse but it works!

I found this today at a local Walmart on closeout at $7.  What a steal!  I only bought 4 bottles but should grab the rest. Raise a glass!

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Vignobles Lacheteau "Touraine" Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Very pale straw hue with aromas of classic Sauvignon Blanc grassy bouquet, with light lemon/lime undertone aromas and perhaps light melon but the grassy bouquet is over powering.

Palate--Green melon first impression with a somewhat flabby structure but grassy S. Blanc flavors are strong and solid with a slightly bitter ending but lingering notes of grass.

Central France is the home of the Touraine and the Loire Valley. This producer makes lovely super value wine around the $8 price point at trader Joes.  I have never had this particular bottle by them and it is another nice value if you like Sauvignon Blanc. It is surprisingly "new world" in its make up and I won't bore you with the blah blah blah wine speak.  Branch out and see what you think.  Chill it down first and raise a glass!

I am pairing this tonight with home-made asparagus soup... which is a particularly challenging pairing so we shall we see what happens.  

Friday, May 24, 2024

Rosa Dell'Olma Langhe Nebbiola 2021


This is one of my favorite Italian grapes, the Nebbiolo. When you pour it, because of its very pale cherry red hue that it might be watermelon juice.   But that is classic Nebbiolo. Aromas of floral spring flowers, with a light touch of sweet savory spices.

Palate--It is a bit tart, with mouth watering acidity, stingy cherry fruit with those same spices you get in the bouquet.  

Now first the "get a grip" factor. Nebbiolo can cost you into the $20-$40 range and higher and they are quite lovely. This Trader Joe's regular is under $10!  Is it the classic Nebbiolo profile? Not if you mean voluptuous fruit, no, but with food friendly, mouth watering acidity, yes; Old world structure, yes, an eye pleasing shimmering ruby red in the glass, yes, and will it go with lovely tomato based pastas as well as Pizzas, ravioloi.s etc., yes.

So for Pete's sake, if you see these, grab them and enjoy them for what they are--a nice value wine!  Raise a glass!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

"Vint" Mondavi Pinot Noir 2022

Thin Pinot hue with aromas of strawberries, ash and spice.

Palate--Juicy structure with more structure than flavor; solid acidity, austere Pinot flavors but what's there is tasty.  Finishes better than it starts.

I could write a book on Robert Mondavi and the legacy he left to Napa Valley and the country of wine as a whole. When he passed, Mondavi wines changed. They "may" still produce elegant, desirable wines but I am now at an income level where I probably couldn't afford them even if I wanted them. 

At any rate this is a $7 dollar Pinot Noir sourced from California and it is to be passed on. My wife grabbed it on sale which I am glad she did as I have not had a Mondavi wine in many years.  I STILL haven't had a Mondavi wine...  Pass on this.

Saint Roch Old Vines Red 2020


Deep purple hue with aromas of ash, and tart plum.    

Palate--Velvety texture, with spicy red fruit, cherry and a touch tannic, with black olives galore.

This blend of Grenache and Syrah is from the Cotes Du Roussillon Villages where they just tend to turn out value wines. 

I am not crazy about this one and for the tag of $16 I was hoping for more. I will pair it with charcoal grilled rib eyes and we'll *see how it goes...

*It was "ok" with my steak but not exceptional...

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hook or Crook Old Vine Zinfandel Reserve 2018

Solid ruby hue with aromas of blackberry pie, spice.

Palate--First impression is a bold, juicy, fruit filled wine that is drinking at peak. It is fleeting in its presence but what's there is solidly Zinfandel.  

I have had this very wine several times and I will review my previous reviews of it when it is much younger. 

I paid $9 for this 6 year old Zin and has much life left in it so raise a glass.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pecchenino San Luigi Dogliani 2021

A glistening ruby with aromas of baked bread, savory and sweet spices, Loads of red berry hard candies and violets. 

Palate--A rather relaxed yet nicely structured first impression with gentle if not playful red fruit trifle, with a strong beam of those spices right down the middle.

This Piedmont (Italy) grape called Dolcetto, are derived from various vineyards in the region. It is a grape that doesn't get the respect it deserves being over shadowed by the great Nebbiolo and the more forward, Barbera.  I would liken it to "Chenin blanc" in the white wine world in that it gets little respect but deserves so much more.  The advantage of this is that it is a relative bargain.

I am pairing it tonight with my wife's home made "Italian sausage and kale" soup with homemade cheese bread.  At $9 this is a definite raise a glass! 

BTW--Put a nice chill on it and enjoy it pool side with appetizers of all sorts!

Friday, May 17, 2024

Series '68' (Calif. Red Blend)

Garnet hue with aromas of spicy plum and black cherry.

Palate--Fruity front, a somewhat "clunky" structure but decent fruit comes through with a decent finish that might be better than the original presentation.

A somewhat confused if non-descript attempt at making a red blend with who knows what grapes... Fetzer has such a prestigious name that I am afraid they are grasping at bulk, cheap wines in order to stay profitable. I hope I am wrong. At $10 I would pass on this.


Espiral Vinho Verde

Pale straw hue with aromas of lovely stone fruit, a hint of lemon lime, and a touch of vanilla pudding.        

Palate--Gentle spritzig (sparkle) on the tongue with a nice beam of balanced citrusy, sweet fruit, with a very dry finish.

This Portuguese white wine is a non vintage creation and is inexpensive and ever so nice to quaff with a nice chill on it.

I may have paid $6 for this Trader Joes offer and it is a lovely summer sparkler for pool side, light appetizers.  How can you resist at this price.  Raise a glass!

Monday, May 13, 2024

ZOLO "RED" Argentina 2020

Lovely purple hue and a dark black bowl with lighter savory and yet sweet spiced apple and mixed berry fruit.

Palate-- Bright red berry fruit and, wait for it, grapey nuances, with nice structure and a hint of red grapefruit. Finishes quickly with lip smacking tannins and a jellied berry compote.

This is a mash up of numerous Argentinian grapes for an interesting blend that will pair with a variety of more robust cheeses, BBQ'd chicken, pizza and red sauce pasta.

A the $10 price point it is a change from the usual and is worth a peek so raise a glass.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (California)

Truly gorgeous magenta-crimson hue with aromas of blackberry compote, mocha above the rim and a sweet bright red fruit I cannot put my finger (or should I say "nose" on).

Palate--A pleasant tartness out of the gate but is mitigated by the ample blackberry fruit in the mid palate. It held up well to my charcoal grilled rib-eye for my wife for Mother's Day. 

Benziger Family has been doing wine well for a long time and this $17 Cab actually has some Cabernet characteristics.  For the $10 I paid for it, I'd do it again so raise a glass!


Thursday, May 09, 2024

Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon (Lodi) 2021


Nice garnet hue with aromas of gentle red berry and cinnamon nuanced bouquet. 

Palate--Slightly "sweet" first impression but this is NOT a sweet wine. It is a well made inexpensive Cabernet that stands out for its care in structure. 

If you read the previous review a bout $10 price point Cabernets this may confuse you and understandably so.  Yes this is another $10ish Cabernet and yet it is actually froman AVA named "Lodi." This in itself puts it above all the myriad "California" Cabernets. Lodi being a much more narrowed region for the terroir to express itself in these grapes and it shows.  

I would buy this wine again even though it is a cheap $10 Cab. So, raise a glass!

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Line 39 Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (California)

Ruby/garnet hue with aromas of light cherry/berry and savory spice.

Palate-Plum on the front palate, with spices and finishes with a fairly weak but fruity berry finish.

Another "California" generic Cabernet that is in a field of gazillions of such wines. This is no more a good example of Cabernet Sauvignon  as the myriad other $10 Cabernets that flood the fields of cheap wine.

If you follow my blog and understand my vast experience of wine for over 40 years it might seem like I sing the same song over and over and over with respect to the vast majority of wines I review.  You would be correct.  This is the result of having a limited budget, on a fixed income, so I focus on the $10 price point wines which is what most people buy.  You will never experience or understand the particular grape varietals and how distinct and glorious they can be.  Because you have to be willing to pony up the price.

A $10 Cabernet, or Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay or --fill in the blank-- is going to have the same basic profile regardless of where it is from.  Yes there are exceptions but exceptions are exceptions because they are "exceptional."   [You can quote me on that!]  :)  

Monday, May 06, 2024

Pradorey 2019 Fince VALDELAYEGUA (single vineyard)


Inky dark black hue with huge aromas of blackberry and plum, gentle sacory spicing--needs to breath.

Palate--Bold youthful presentation with gigantic fruit bomb flavors, silky tannins, and so much fruit you almost overload...almost!  :) 

This (crianza) Tempranillo wine is from the Valdelayegua vineyard then aged for 12 months (which is what "crianza" means). 

*I will add notes when this has had time to open.  I paid $15 for this gem though it lists at $25. I am serving it with charcoal grilled chicken. It is a wonderful pairing and wished I would have bought a case!

*This is a majestic Tempranillo, expertly crafted and wonderfully presented. I am fortunate to have found it.  Raise a glass!

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Shannon Ridge Wrangler Red Lake County 2020

Dark garnet hue with aromas of juicy fresh rd berry, pipe tobacco, and gentle spice.

Palate--sophisticated first impression with bold fruit profile and numerous iterations of red berry and some black berry as well.  Finishes with a lod of savory spice once it opens, and lingers for a good bit.

Shannon Ridge in my limited experience with their wines has a nice blend of structured wines and a talent of blending all sorts of grapes.  This is a melange of Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Sirah. It tends toward a slightly confused presentation but is never-the-less tasty.  Listed at $20, I found this for $9. 

Having it with our Sunday night pizza and it will be perfect so raise a glass at the $10 price point.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Vintage Northwest Riesling Columbia Valley 2020

Very pale straw hue with scant aromas of "oily" tropical fruit, and not much of it.

Palate--Flabby, structure, subdued flavors of some tropical fruit but seriously lacking.

I paid $5.50 after discounts and sale of an otherwise price tag of of only $7.  Is it drinkable?  Yes.  But... if you aren't familiar with Riesling and how glorious it can be, you want to avoid this effort.  Washington state can do very nice Riesling but this is not one of them. And the fact that it is over 4 years old doesn't help its cause. 

Thursday, May 02, 2024

The Immortal ZIN 2021 (*Lodi-ancient vines)

Nice darker black-cherry color with aromas of rich blackberries, violets, and rose petal.

Palate--Rich, intense, baked bread under a rich layer of deep brooding dark berries. Finishes with a gentler presence of cherryberry but it's fleeting. Nicely structured and endearing.

This $14 Zin was marked down to $9 and I am always on the hunt for solid but affordable wines. This is pretty decent for the price and it will pair excellently with my homemade venison chili.  Raise a glass!

*Lodi as one of many California "AVA's" [American Viticultural Areas] giving it a special (higher) status.  The designation "Old Vines" is to suggest that because the vines of these grapes are generally close to 100 years old or greater, They have been stressed through weather, fires, etc. which at least in theory gives the grapes and the wines more "character" of the area called "Terroir." 

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

The Orignal SMOKING LOON Old Vine Zinfandel (NV)


I am not going to even review this properly since it is a total loss!  I just noticed it is not even a "Vintage" Zin. It is sourced from California Zinfandel grapes and that's about as far as this wine goes being "Zinfandel" like.  

It is fairly awful so pass it up. I do not know what they were thinking as they cam produce some pretty decent wine.  This is NOT one of them.  Even at $7 it is a LOSER.   Caveat Emptor!

Mark West Pinot Noir 2022 (california) (No picture available)

Light cherry colored hue typical of domestic Pinot with stingy aromas of fresh baked bread, (yeast) light strawberry.

Palate -- Light weight Pinot, fruit, steel, and well, not much else to commend it.

This is a cheap California Pinot that is not typical for Mark West. You would never know what you drinking even with an experienced palate. Is it drinkable?  Well yeah, but then most things are. While this isn't offensive, it isn't a good example of what is one of the most prestigious rapes in the world. For the same price ($13) there are numerous an Oregon Pinot's that out shine this by far.