Saturday, December 5, 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015
Tip: this would be a great sparkler for the holidays that costs much less than Champagne.
Another wine that wasn't part of the tasting line-up that the Wine House owner, Bart, was kind enough to open and share with me was are rare one:
Last, I'll finish with a wine that I didn't taste last night but I have tasted a prior vintage and absolutely loved it; and I've noticed that the current vintage found at the Wine House has great public ratings on Cellartracker that are consistent over all vintages.
2012 Aia Vecchia Lagone Toscana IGT (Tuscany, Italy): this is a Super-Tuscan, i.e., an Italian version of a Bordeaux blend. I picked up a bottle of the 2012 vintage last night. My note on the 2009 Lagone was: this wine has dark red & black fruit on the nose, is big, dense and dry (read: not fruity) in the mouth, very tannic but balanced with a long finish.
Again, I'd recommend all of these wines if the characteristics in the notes are appealing to you preference. I also noticed a couple other reds on the shelves that I'll be picking up for the holidays that I'll write about soon.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
2013 Bodega Sottano Cabernet Sauvignon
Day 1: popped and poured. Immediately you notice that this is a big, muscular red with powerful red and black fruit on the nose and great structure in the mouth. On day 1 it is a little hot.
Day 2: the heat from day 1 is gone but the fruit and structure of the wine is still present.
This is an excellent wine for $12 and can be found at Market Square Liquors (Timblerlane Drive location).
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
- Beer: Summer style beers, Belgian (white) ales, (and my favorite) Jai Alai IPA (Cigar City)
- Wine: old-world whites, e.g., Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, dry Rieslings, Chilean Torrontes (which also tends to have floral characteristics)
- Wine: old-world style reds. Common favorite grape varietals include Italian Sangiovese, Spanish Tempranillo & Grenache and French Syrah
- Beer: these are easy to spot, with names like Cherry or Rasberry Lambic (Kreik or Framboise), Strawberry Wheat
- Wine: new-world Malbec
- Beer: Stouts and Porters (esp. those with “chocolate” in the name!)
- Wine: Spanish Tempranillo
- Beer: Stouts and Porters (esp. those with “smoke” in the name!)
- Beer: Light Lagers
- Wine: White wines and new-world red wines
- Beer: IPA, Barleywine
- Wine: Old-world red wines, e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Tannat.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Wine of the Month Club
To join or for more information contact me at
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Since March 2012 was the warmest on record in the US I don't think any would object to publishing the customary Summer wine post a bit early. I don't know about you but I really couldn't wait to start drinking some white wines to try to stay cool in this early on-set heat. I'm also starting to store my everyday reds in the fridge before serving so as not to experience too much of that internal warming sensation in my mouth since I'm already roasting externally in the summer-like temperatures.
The first wine that I picked up was the most recent vintage of Domaine Lefage Vin De Pays des Cotes Catalanes Cote Est (Languedoc Roussillon, France). This is a blend of White Grenache, Chardonnay & Marsanne from the interesting southern part of France that borders the northeastern tip of Spain. The Languedoc Roussillon region of France has an interesting collection of grapes and some very good values. I enjoyed the Cote Est. It had good weight, noticeable floral elements and a good amount of acidity. For $10 I thought it was a good wine.
The second wine was the 2010 Regis Minet Pouilly Fume VV (Loire, France). This Sauvingnon Blanc was a nice alternative to the New Zealand SBs (which I enjoy) with a some chalkiness and a less amount of acidity that lead to a seamless, enjoyable transition from beginning to the finish. This wine would pair very well with most kinds of shellfish and seafood that were prepared in a simple manner, e.g., raw, lemon/butter sauce, etc. This wine was a bit more expensive at $17 but I would still rate it a good value, which would be an even better value if enjoyed with the right food.
Both of these wines were purchased at the Wine Warehouse, which is recently under (mostly) new ownership (Bob Gorman).
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
- 2009 Annabella Pinot Noir (Carneros, CA). This is probably the best $15 Napa Pinot Noir in town (New Leaf Market)
Sunday, August 21, 2011
It is produced in the French region of Savoie, east of Burgundy and south of Jura. (Map below.) The grape is Jacquere. According to winegeeks "wines from the Jacquère are often very light, higher in acidity, and crisp with scents of fresh grass and flavors of citrus fruits." And the Giachino Vin de Savoie is no exception. I called Jacquère obscure--obscure is relative, obviously--because my audience is most readers in the southern US many of whom aren't wine geeks, and my use of (a dry or off-dry) Riesling as an analogue to describe the acidity of this Vin de Savoie caused some disagreement. But the high, vibrant acidity (that almost pulsates in your mouth!) is what grabbed me and reminded me of the acidity in some very good Rieslings and Sancerres and even the occasional excellent Provencal rosé. In any event, I found this off-the-beaten-path French white to be one of my favorites of this summer. You can find this very good Vin de Savoie at Wine Warehouse in the $12 range. I'll be buying more.
Friday, February 4, 2011
1. '09 Les Hexagonales (Sauv Blanc), $12: Tart citrus passion fruit nose but not much sweetness. Medium acidity (read: not New Zealand SB acidity levels), some chalk, balanced. Short-med finish. 85-6
2. '09 Jardin de la Fruitiere (Melon-Chard blend), $9: Tart, passion fruit and small amount of anise. Sour fruit (I'm at a loss for an example here--any ideas?), chalk, balanced. 84-5
3. '09 Chardonnay de la Fruitiere, $10: Similar to 1 but more muted nose. More body than 1 & 2. Some/mild toast. Mild bitter (steel) finish. 84
4. '09 La Craie, Vouvray, $15: Similar nose to 1-3 with some honey; pleasant. Mild sweetness/honey, bigger body/more viscosity than 1-3. Lower acidity. Medium finish. 88. IMO, wine of the night...yes, I bought a bottle.
5. NV Louis De Grenelle, Samur Brute Rose (100% Cab Franc), $17: Strawberry nose muted. Fine bubbles, mild creaminess, focused body, balanced. 88 IMO, runner-up wine of the night.
6. '08 Les Hexagonales (Pinot Noir), $15: Red fruit (cranberry), spice and mild oak. Near perfect Pinot nose. Somewhat flat (not enough acidity). Let down after such a nice nose. 83
7. La Claux Delorme, Valencay Rouge (Gamay, Malbec, Cab Franc, Pinot Noir blend), $15: Red fruit and... kitty litter (!) nose. Some pepper, mild green veg (raw collards) some oak. 85
8. '08 J. Merieau, Cot Cenit Visage (100% Malbec), $16: Super dry, tight prune brown leaves... bizarre nose! Dry but Not bone dry. This needs cellar/decanting time... or a blackened steak to reveal everything it has. 84
9. '09 La Paradou, Provance (Grenache), $12: Button mushroom, moist forest floor nose. Fruitest of all the reds. Acceptable everyday red. 85
Saturday, August 7, 2010
2002 Segal Merlot Special Reserve (Israel, Galilee, Galilee Heights)
- Nose: stewed prunes & cedar. A great nose, IMO.
- Taste: medium bodied, stewed prunes (again), molasses on the finish. Very focused still. A fairly long, smooth finish.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
2009 The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, Awatere Valley, Marlborough)
Color: transparent pale yellow.
Nose: bold pink grapefruit with some orange blossom. Screams NZ SB!
Taste: balanced, light-medium mouth-feel, lime peel/oil with a mineral finish.
The only way this wine could improve is if it were more tightly focused (it was slightly flabby esp. on day 2) and for my tastes a little less sweet. But, again, for a sub-$10 white wine I was very happy.
I found this wine at the Timberlane location of Market Square Liquors.
Monday, August 2, 2010
So any opportunity to sample a bottle of a Chapoutier wine is exciting. And his most recent vintage of his Bila-Haut for $11 shouldn't be missed.
2008 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Domaine de Bila-Haut (France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon): this wine is a Grenache blend, which is very common in the Rhone.
- Color: slightly transparent edges.
- Nose: raspberry, muted cinnamon and soil.
- Taste: primarily raspberry, but also tempered notes of nitrogen/soil and graphite/lead. Dry, medium tannin. All of the elements are very well integrated. Balanced
I found this wine at the Wine Warehouse, but I'm sure that you can find it at Market Square Liquors too.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I hope you haven't had an AC unit stop working like mine did--it's tough to sleep when it's in the upper-80s...mid-90s with the heat index! I did, however, luck out with only a $100 repair, avoiding a new $5-thousand unit. For this reason (and because it's the beginning of a new month) I decided to try a couple new effervescent wines that are great served chilled. Both are available at the Wine Warehouse (WW).
The first was a South African sparkler; the second a Moscato D'Asit
NV Graham Beck Brut (South Africa, Western Cape) 58% Chard, 42% Pinot Noir. This evolves slightly in the glass slightly but shows consistent fine bubbles, very little sweetness, a frothy mouth-feel (but without creamy/yeasty notes) , with clear lead/graphite secondary elements. And with good balance. WW, $13.
2008 Oscar Bosio Moscato d'Asit La Brusciata (Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d' Asti) Light bodied, super-fine bubbles showing clear honey, peach/apricot flavors. WW, $13.
Neither of these white sparklers are complex, but are enjoyable nonetheless. I enjoyed them with some prosciutto, baguette with Fontina cheese & fig & guava jam.
A good way to beat the heat and relax.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Denogent Cuvee Claude 2004 1/2 bottle (pictured, left above). Retail $40/WW $15. Balanced, restrained 100% Chardonnay that IMO is what Chardonnay should taste like. Rating: 90-91.
Le Soula Blanc 2004. Retail $45/WW $25. A white Rhone blend from 13 grapes that is medium-bodied, focused, complex white that among other things showed an unusual sweet-tart element. Simply put: my favorite white wine of 2010 for sure--my favorite white wine since as long as I can remember. Rating: 94.
Brokenwood Area 2002. Retail $30/WW $19. A balanced, medium bodied 100% Shiraz. Rating: 90.
Roeder Brut 2002. Retail $72/WW $40. Perfectly balanced, complex elements of roasted marshmallow, seamless smooth finish. IMO drinks like some $100 Champagnes. Rating: 93-94.
Vieux Telegraphe 2004. 1/2 bottle retail $35/WW $20; full-bottle retail $60/WW $40. A virtually perfect example of Chateauneuf-de-Pape. This wine is drinking perfectly NOW. Incredibly food friendly. Rating: 93-4.
Quinta Do Noval 2003 (pictured, right above). Retail $95/WW $40. Not enormous mouth-feel that you find in lower quality ports that try to compensate for other . Simply put: the best port (vintaged or non) I've ever tasted. Rating: 96. If you're a port love, you simply cannot afford to miss out of this port at this price point.
Monday, January 25, 2010
This winter I've had the desire for something to drink that could warm you up… something fortified. So I decided to try a few ports. Always in pursuit of variety I decided to try one aged port and another blended port; both are non-vintage. And since I’m always in pursuit of good values, I chose Warre’s 10 Year Old Otima and Trevor Jones Jonesy Tawny Port. (Both pictured above & below.)
Both of these ports are made using the traditional Portuguese blend of grapes, e.g., Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cão. After fermentation it is fortified with brandy. And the alcohol content is 20% by volume.
The Otima is made in the Douro region of Portugal and is a lighter style Tawny (pictured right, below) that clearly shows aged aromas and flavors on the finish, e.g., Sherry or Madeira oxidized characteristics together with honey, hazelnuts, orange peel on the mid-palate.
The Jonesy is made in the Barossa Valley in southern Australia and is a blend averaging 46 years in age. It is dark brown (pictured left, below), with notes of candied black cherry and molasses.
I found the Jonesy more approachable than the Otima but enjoyed both for their differences.
You can find both of these Ports at The Wine Warehouse; the Jonesy is $11 and the Otima is $25.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I have to confess that when Argentine Malbec first hit the market, I was not a fan because I tended to dislike malolactic, oak-y, prune juice. But since we are in the dead of winter I drove myself to my local merchant and asked for some recs for substantive reds under $15. In the process I consciously decided to put aside my aversion to Argentine Malbec. Then in my inability to decide between two different Malbecs, I decided to pick up both of them. Due to sheer coincidence I happened to purchase another cheap bottle of Malbec a few days earlier at another local merchant. So I found myself with with three Argentine Malbecs... and here they are:
2007 Urban Uco Malbec (Mendoza)- Medium bodied, red & black fruit, discernable amount of spice & oak, balanced. 90
2008 Dona Paula Estate Malbec (Mendoza) - small amount of earth disappeared quickly after opening, medium bodied, not much fruit, almost no attack, seamless transition from middle to end, longest finish of the three. 89
2008 Gouguenheim Malbec (Mendoza): light bodied, strawberry (fruitier than expected), dry finish, balanced. IMO a nice table wine. 87
The first two Malbecs were purchased at Wine Warehouse for $9.99 each. The third was purchased at New Leaf Market for $7.99. Both the Urban Uco and Dona Paula were very good and I'd recommend both, but personally I preferred the former because it had more complexity and because the Dona Paula did show more oak. But I was pleasantly surprised by all of these wines mostly because none showed any malolactic treatment. If you are like I was--Malbec-phobic--please give any of these a try and shed your Malbec phobia.
Monday, November 30, 2009
- 41% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 26% Merlot
- 16% Syrah
- 4% Cabernet Franc
Some white grapes are grown, e.g., Chardonnary, Viognier, Riesling; and some growers in Walla Walla are starting to break out of the Bordeaux paradigm and are planting other red varietals. But red grapes dominate this AVA.
During my visit to the three tasting rooms I tasted three whites--a Sauvingnon Blanc blend, a Viognier blend and a late harvest Semillon. I found the white blends to be average; the late harvest Semillon was better, but still doesn't compare to a $25 half bottle of Sauternes. The rest of the reds were almost all blends; except for one 100% Syrah at Northstar. Without exception I found the reds to be very well made. None of the wines showed the slightest hint of being off balanced; all had a seamless transition from the attack to the finish. All were incredibly polished. In general they were fruity; and all received some amount of oak treatment--some more than others, but even for someone with old-world preferences like me none of the wines had an offensive amount of oak. To me these wines tasted like they were made by very skilled people with state of the art technology. Although I personally prefer something from the south of France to these reds, I can see why people would enjoy these wines. They're seductive. I look forward to going back soon to visit more wineries... oh yeah, and family too!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In light of typical variation in a wine rating on the 100 point scale, purchasing wines on the basis of a single rating, even of a professional critic (no one shall be named), is… well, irrational. So what should consumers use to guide our purchases? I have two suggestions—neither of which are infallible, but are more reliable than using a single score from a professional critic. First, you can stick with ratings and use the average from multiple ratings provided by professionals, non-professionals or some combination thereof. How many ratings are sufficient, you ask? It’s unclear, but 6 or 7 is a standard range of series to eliminate bias. One popular source for ratings that automatically calculates an average (as well as the median) is CellarTracker! (If you want to a more reliable average rating, you can drop the high and low score, etc.) Second, you can forego ratings altogether and use good old-fashioned word of mouth. That is, find a trustworthy friend who reliably recommends wines that you enjoy. My friend is a clerk at my local wine shop; and her recommendations are reliable even in the face of contrary evidence, e.g., a $10 price tag, etc. One might argue that the scores and tasting notes of a single professional wine critic can be as reliable as the recommendations of your trustworthy friend. But I would argue that because I have more access to my trustworthy friend at the local wine shop, and therefore access to more information, her recommendations are more reliable than those of the professional critic to whom I have no personal acess.
Friday, November 13, 2009
1. Chocolate Box White ’08 (100% Sauv Blanc): Med-Big bodied SB, balanced, tart citrus fruit. $13 TWG: 86
2. Duck Duck Goose White ’08 (100% Chardonnay): Tropical notes, balanced. $11. TWG: 85.
3. Ass Kisser Red Blend ’07 (40% Petite Verdot, 29% Shiraz, 29% Grenache, 2% Mataro): Mushroom, clay nose. Dark prune, medium bodied, balanced. $9. TWG: 84. Interesting blend worth a try for $9.
4. Kilroy Was Here Shiraz ’07 (100% Shiraz): Mushroom, clay nose. Dark prune, medium bodied, balanced. Similar to 3 (above) but more focused, more tannins. $19. TWG: 87.
5. Kilroy Was Here Cabernet Sauv ’07 (100% Cab Sauv): Mushroom, clay nose. Dark prune, balanced. Similar to 3 & 4 (above) but leaner and longer finish. $19. TWG: 89.
6. Chocolate Box GSM Red Blend ’07 (Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre): same nose as the other reds but with the addition of 5 spice. Dark prune, balanced, medium bodied.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Gruner Veltliner, Godello, Prieto Picudo, Gamay, Bonarda and Petit Verdot.
Those that I thought were the best are:
1. Crios by Susana Balbo 2008 (100% Torrontes; Mendoza, Argentina) $14. Fruity, floral, light, crisp, steely finish. This is a nice everyday white that has the same body as, and is a great alternative to, Sauvingnon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. 87/100
2. Huber "Hugo" 2008 (Gruner Veltliner; Austria) $13. Lime, honeydew, minerals. Also a good everyday light white. 86/100
3. Bodegas Godeval 2007 (Godello; Galacia, Spain) $15. Excellent balance, good acid, seamlessly transition from beginning to end. 91/100 - my favorite wine of the night. (Label pictured above)
4. Pardevalles Gamonal 2006 (Prieto Picudo; Tierra de Leon, Spain) $15. Dark bitter cocoa, black cherry.
5. Pirramimma 2003 (Petit Verdot; McLaren Vale, Austrailia) $17. Medium bodied red, red & black fruit but not fruity.
Monday, August 31, 2009
1. Jermann Vinnae IGT 2007 (90% Ribolla, 5% Tocai, 5% Riesling) $25. Medium, smooth mouth-feel, pear, nut & a hint of sweet, roasted marshmallow. Try for a change of pace from the traditional Italian whites. 91/100
2. Falseco Montiano IGT 2003 (100% Merlot) $30. Light-medium bodied, stikes a great balance between fruit (cherry), acidity and tannins. Long finish. 91/100.
3. Orlando Abrigo Nebbiolo 2005 (100% Nebbiolo) Cherry cough syrup, bittersweet chocolate, honeycomb. Well-balanced, well-integrated elements. 91/100
4. La Meridiana "Vitis" Barbera d'Asti 2006 $14 Anise, clear cherry cough syrup, bittersweet chocolate. 86/100
5. Coppo Brachetto d'Acqui 2006 Red sparkling dessert wine with caramel, dark cherry and nut. Paired perfectly with dark chocolate. Interesting alternative to the common dessert wine. 91/100
The tasting also featured the following wines that were very good or excellent but in my opinion not significantly better than the 90-pointers above and so were not worth the money. But if you have the money and love Italian reds, by all means go ahead and pick up a bottle:
Feel free to leave a Italian wine-related comment....