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Showing posts from 2007

Villa Tontino 2005 Nero D'Avola

$6.99 from Paul Marcus Wines, 8 (1-10) Skip to my Lue my darlin' this is is a tasty treat! Another superb example of a stud Nero D'Avola for less than $10, less than $7 even [that's tough to do]. There is a nice amount of oak and spice that walk gently along with nuances of plum, raspberry, and dare I say...persimmon? (I said it) Its incomprehensible to me that someone took the time to grow grapes, harvest them, crush them, send to primary fermentation, store in oak, bottle, label, and ship to another continent. Maybe a greater feat is the fact that they do this not in developing country, but in Italy, and still keep the retail price below 7 very withered American dollars. Ming numbing. They must employ Santa Claus in the summertime, or have a team of Oompah Loompahs working overtime. Those guys have have a serious work ethic. Buy some of this if you see it. You will not be disappointed. Auf.

Gallo Sonoma Reserve - 2006 Pinot Noir

Dan brought this over, $9.99 (on sale from $17.99) - 5 (1-10) This was a simple shot at an inexpensive Pinot, which are a low yielding grape and an unwieldy wine to make (so they say...I've never tried, and I don't think I ever will). It has some typical Pinot characteristics of cherries and a light, albeit balanced, oak to it. For the price, it is only hoe-hum; nevertheless I've had much [much] worse. I would buy this again or shall I say, I would buy this, since I didn't buy this one. I do prefer 'old standby' - that's what we call Mondavi's Private Selection Pinot 'round here, but I could see myself changing it up now and then with the Gallo Sonoma Reserve. Let me justify the 5 here. Do not pay $17.99 and especially not $19.99 because I've seen it that high too. For $9.99, it is a perfectly acceptable bottle of juice that belongs on any table or at any party. But if there's some Argentinian Malbecs on the wall for the same price...I

"J" 2004 Pinotage

About $35 from J's winery direct. 10 (1-10) Great Scott!!! Sweet peaches!!! Have I died and gone to heaven? This is one of the best wines I have ever had, no questions please. Like all great operas there is a HUGE finish here (I've never been to an opera). The fruit, the oak, the earth, the spice - everything was balanced perfectly. The flavors lingered for 5 minutes after each sip. It was bold and although stupendious, FYI, it could have sat for another few years. At $35, this knocks the pants off wines twice and three times the price. That justifies the 10; you will not find me give that high a score to a $35 wine because it is so difficult to justify them. Get real, I know so many $17 wines I'd simply rather have two of. For those not familiar, Pinotage is its own varietal. It was a cross between Cinsualt and Pinot Noir developed in South Africa in the 1920's. I have not run into many before, and none outside South Africa. So to be honest, I can't tel

Sterling Napa County - 2006 Sauvingnon Blanc

About $15 from BevMo's wine club 6 (1-10) Another good pick from BevMo's wine club; I have been pleasantly surprised with the values they have selected for us here and I will recommend the club to anyone adventurous (i.e., not picky about what they drink). I may be stingy, even miserly, about the wine I buy [who isn't] - but no one can call me picky. This has a good balance of acid and it is exactly what one should expect from a $15 bottle of Sav Blanc. Would I buy it again? Probably not. But if I was in a jam, didn't want to pony up, and there were more expensive bottles to choose from; I know I'd be getting a decent glass with this one. Auf.

Tin House - Edna Valley - 2003 Syrah

?? a gift from some of our favorite people, ? (1-10) This wine is bold like Hulk Hogan's mustache! This was really really good. I wish I had a picture. I had their Pinot Nior many years ago and remember it was a bad ass too. Watch out for these "Tin House" people, they do a fine job on grapes.

Ridge - Buchignan Ranch - 2005 Carignane

From Ridge wine club, about $25 - 8 (1-10) Don't pull on superman's cape and don't get any of this in your eye! 14.6% alcohol but again Ridge is able to hold up the heat with flavor. We definitely drank this in its youth but it was still a stand out Carignane. You don't find this long-legged varietal bottled on its own 'too-too' often but Ridge did her justice with it here. Plenty of pizazz, sharp acidity balanced with oak and earth; not for the weekend winos! It is an eight because I can go cheaper than $25 (not much though) and still make my toes curl. Nonetheless this grape is bananas. (Did I really say that?) Auf.

'J' - Hoot Owl Vineyard - 2006 Viognier

About $22 from wine club, 9 (1-10) Like Jessica Rabbit, this is a full and heady bottle of juice - and I use heady in all the positive meanings of the adjective; rich, impressive, and shrewd (if a wine could be, this would be.) Don't let the score be misconstrued, this is fully worth $22, worth even $50 at a restaurant; but I'm that good at being a cheap bastard. Its a nine because I can do better, even if only a little. 'J' is best Viognier I've had from Sonoma County (Alexander Valley to be more precise), and one of the best there is anywhere. All in all; a big winner even if I think it is a little overpriced. Auf.

Curtis Heritage Blanc 2006

About $12 from Curtis' wine club, 10 (1-10) Beam me back down into another bottle of this Scotty! Superb balance of floral and fruit, there was this burst of honey with my first sip that dwindled after several more - but other nuances then took it from there. I have never had such a honey nose on a Viognier/Roussanne blend before and I liked it. I really liked it. We've been drinking this blend for a while now (aren't we special) and if my memory serves correct, this is the finest vintage yet. Contemplating buying a case. Contemplate it yourself, why don'cha. Auf.

Groth - Napa Valley - 2006 Savignon Blanc

About $15 from BevMo's wine club, 8 (1-10) Badda bing! Totally impressed with this, our second wine from the BevMo wine club - for real, they could have been sending us all the scuzz they couldn't sell at the store. That doesn't seem to be the case. There's some sharp acidity that is well balanced with some earth tones of grass and... well, a prairie after a fresh rain? Maybe that's a stretch but it is crisp, refreshing, and easy drinking. Like a good Sav should be. There I said it. Its good. I would buy this again if I was looking for a Sav Blanc. The reason it didn't score higher? I've found just as good for $10. Auf.

Shoofly 2004 Shiraz

$15 from BevMo, 10 (1-10) From the footsteps of mighty Odin this was a surprise ringer! We joined BevMo's wine club and this was in the first shipment...thank you BevMo, I think I have a crush on them. No pun intended. This is a big shiraz, really big for a $15 bottle - and with a screw cap to boot!!! I like them even more because of that. I'm fully impressed; there are notes of chocolate, licorice, raspberry and plum. Next time I pop into a BevMo, I'm fully going to pick up a few more. Auf.

Bridlewood - Central Coast - 2006 Viognier Reserve

$15 bought from their wine club, 8 (1-10) Superman's cape! This is one of my favorite Viogniers there is. It has perfectly balanced the acids and that perfumey/floral nuance that I seek in a Viognier. Mmmm Viognier, my lovely and still unpopular stepchild of the Rhone. Thank Zeus that they didn't mention her by name in 'Sideways' or we would be paying twice as much for these too. There is nothing uncanny or unusual about this, its just plain delicious. Unfortunately, I may be losing the novelty of the Bridlewood Viognier because I've had it so many times. I'm starting to think all good whites should taste like this... Who's the big winner with a bottle of this? I am. Auf.

Row Eleven "Three Vineyards" 2006 Pinot Noir

$26 bought from Wine Styles San Francisco, 7 (1-10) A nice Pinot Noir, which come from feisty little grapes that are difficult (for them) to grow, and thus difficult (for us) to buy a decent one for less than $20. This one at $26 is good although not window shattering. Good chocolate and cherry flavors and coming in at 13.8% alcohol, not a wimp either. The flavors somewhat resemble a raspberry tart, and the astringency would probably mellow out with a few years on the shelf. I'm thinking that we may have opened this too young and with time the delicate Pinot-ness would have an opportunity to shine. Oh well, we were thirsty. Auf.

Ridge "Sullivan" 2005 Zinfandel

Maybe $25, bought via wine club. 10 (1-10) By the beard of Zeus this is good! 95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Syrah and I think it shows the Petite (or, maybe I'm dreaming). The wine is big, deep and lots of dried red fruit flavors. I feel like the spice and earth of the Petite Syrah balanced what would have been otherwise a really fruit-forward Zin. From its edge, it would benefit from at least another 2 years (I'm guessing). At 14.5% alcohol, you may think it would be showing a little heat but I don't think it is. There was enough deliciousness to mask the ethanol well. I would call this a 'Classic'. Another big winner from Ridge. If they can make a bad wine, I haven't had it yet. But I'll gladly keep looking... Auf.

Trader Joe's "Captain's Reserve" 2002 Syrah

$9.99, bought from Trader Joe's. 10 (1-10) So this is "Ten Buck Chuck!" What a sweet deal! The grapes are organic, came from Mendocino County and boy were they potent. Like little purple juicy balls of heaven, they came through with this one. It surprises me slightly that Joe put his name on it instead of calling it something silly like 'Trader Purple Feet.' This is a bold wine and being a 2002, has been given 5 years to mellow. 13.9% alcohol. It is a big, rich Syrah that is fairly jammy; which I like to find in the varietal. The label states that there were only 4032 bottles produced and I'm going to pick up more next time I'm there, for sure. Get some for yourself because you know how TJ's has the ability to drive the cheap wino's through their doors...they may not last very long. Auf.