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Showing posts from 2009

Bridlewood Zinfandel 2007

Really really good. Bold and balanced with both spice and fruit.

Smoking Loon Syrah 2007

$5.99 at Safeway. Tasty stuff. I don't turn my nose up at many $6 bottles and this one turns tricks.

Touraine, Savignon Blanc

Whole Foods for less than $10. Really nice. Heaps of bell pepper, jalapeno, freshly cut grass. All the vegetal that I like in a Sav Blanc. This was a suggestion from a staff member, thanks.

Chateau De Rochemorin 2005 Grand Vin De Bordeaux

I was "volunteered" to take care of a friend's cat for the weekend. I tried to explain to her that the cat would be asleep most of the time and probably wouldn't even know she was gone. That didn't work. So we went to her house, only to find the cat waiting by the door and a cat poo waiting in the shower. Lovely. After the gagging subsided we noticed that our friend left us a bottle of wine, and this gesture did not go unnoticed. I opened it only to find that it was really tasty! (see photo) Well, thank you Coco the Cat! You keep leaving the good stuff on the table and I'll rinse your shower out and chase you into your little tent anytime. You sly old cat, you.

Trentatre Rosso 2007

Great wine for the money! About $6 at Trader Joe's, I will be getting this again.

Gaetano D'Aquino, Orvieto Classico 2008

Supposedly Orvieto's are made from the Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes and come from Umbria (Italy). This one is about $7 from Trder Joes and is pretty tasty. This was the second bottle we've gone through in recent memory. Try it for something different.

Wild Rock 2007 Pinot Noir

This is from Central Otago in New Zealand, we picked it up for $18.99 at the Jug Shop on a recommendation from the staff. This is awesome, there is plenty of rich stone fruit flavor but it is not over the top. Very well balanced. Fantastic pinot, try some.

Montevina 2008 Pinot Grigio

$8.99 on sale from (maybe) $12.99 from Safeway. It is light and crisp and totally worth $9. Try it sometime if you're in the mood for a dainty white.

Contadino 2005 Pinot Grigio

Tasty option. Grab this if you see it for less than $6.

Babcock 2005 Black Label Cuvee Syrah

What a wonderful and balanced wine! We've been sitting on this for years and a lovely (foggy), lazy, Sunday afternoon felt like the time was just right. And it was. There are strong notes of stone fruit, a good amount of oak, black pepper, a solid amount of tannins - all working harmoniously to level out what could otherwise be a hot wine at 14.3% alcohol. We still have the 2006... But we'll save that for next year. A great buy.

Rock Hollow 2005 Central Coast Merlot

We picked this up for $6 (or so) at Curtis Winery in Santa Ynez. Not sure the relationship between Rock Hollow and Curtis but we're glad these were part of some "everything must go" sale because they're a great buy. I'd even pay $15 for it.

Estancia 2007 Monterey County Sav Blanc

Tasty, and I picked it up nearly half off at Safeway.

Estancia, 2008 Pinot Grigio

$12.99 on sale for $6.99. Great PG for the dough.

Ridge 2004 Dynamite Hill Petite Sirah

Can I call this dynamite? Well it is. Another marvelous wine from Ridge. Money's been tight lately but when they keep sending us bottles like this one, we keep forgetting to stop the club. Highly recommended, get a few if you can find it.

Hitching Post's Generation Red 2006

I nabbed this from Whole Foods for $17. It is an interesting and non-traditional blend of Bordeaux (23% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot), Rhone (23% Syrah), and Northern Italian (6% Refosco). It has rich tannins, a strong peppery finish, and something about it seems distinctly Italian despite only a 6% influence.

The Crossroad Grenache 2005

Great jammy grenache, balanced with the spice of serrano and black pepper against currant and plum. This is one of the best bottles of grenache that I've had (not many people bottle it on its own) but it has many deep notes that seem to be lost when they try to keep it without blending it. We bought 2. Everything Curtis makes is golden. We picked up 3 bottles of their Viognier, 2 bottles of the Rousanne, and 2 bottles of their Rock Creek Merlot.

Brander, Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This is a great one, I like how much grassiness they get in there, more than most California Sav Blancs. They do also called Nicole's that is a little sweeter that has a beautiful bottle that make a great gift.

Jaffers, Mourvedre 2007

We went to the winery in downtown Santa Barbara and EVERYTHING was AMAZING! They poured a Viognier, this Mourvedre, a Syrah from Thompson vinyards, a Syrah from Bien Nacido, a Sangiovese, and a Petit Syrah. I was thrilled with everything and we are contemplating joining the wine club. 4 - 3 bottle shippments per year at about $100 each. I think I'm going to give them a call on Monday (805-962-7003).

Gustave Niebaum, Sauvignon Blanc 2005

This "Captain's Reserve" is got a deep yellow hue and a mellow character. It seems to have a little more oak than most Sav Blancs, but then again that could be the age. You can check them out at

Oxford Landing, Sauvignon Blanc 2008

From Whole Foods, this $8 Sav Blanc from Australia makes me want to throw another shrimp on the barbie! Just kidding, but we actually ate a shrimp pasta with it and it paired well. A great deal for $8.

Cellar No.8, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

I think I nabbed this at BevMo during their 5 cent sale. I got two bottles for $10-12. I can't remember exactly. At full price it would be OK, but for $6 or so, it's great. Not the most stout of Cabs but a solid find for the dough.

Contadino, Pinot Grigio 2007

$3.99 at Trader Joes and a steal. Grab some if ya see it.

J RRV 2005 Pinot Noir

The is the flagship Pinot Noir from "J" Vineyards, the Russian River Valley (RRV). Wah-wah-wee-wah! What a delicious blend of cherries and cedar! This is exactly what I liik for in a great Pinot. They do this so well, congrads J. I'm lovin' it!

Rancho Sisquoc, Sylvaner 2007

The last of wines from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."   Sylvaner is a relatively common varietal in Central Europe but doesn't often make it to the New World bottled on its own without being blended.  The wiki says that Sylvaner is an an cient grape and is a cross of  Traminer  and the  " hunnic ."   This one comes from Santa Barbara, California.  Of all the "Weird Ass Whites," this was the only one I have had previously.  It has a sweet noes but is quite dry on the finish.  I think that's typical of whites from Alsace.  Tasty, and a deal at only $12.

Rippon Estate, Osteiner 2006

Also from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."  Rippon Estate is in Central Otago, New Zealand and they are some of the only people, it seems, making wine from the Osteiner - a varietal that, rumor has it, is genetically identical to the Mission.  The Mission is commonly grown in California and ends up in the produce department in the super market.  This is a jammy white and almost tastes like Concord grape juice.  It is just barely 11% alcohol so the fruit really come through.  Very unique.  We bought one for $17.

Bodegas Izadi, Viura 2007

Also from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."   Macabeo is the varietal and is commonly used in Spanish Cava but for some reason when it is made in Rioja (like this one), they call it Viura .  This one is very oaky , almost too much, and they tell me that is typical for the style.  This would pair well with something grilled or something with a lot of paprika in it... typical Spanish fare.  $18.

Susana Balbo, Torrontes "Crios" 2008

Also from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."  This white hails from Salta , Argentina.   Torrontes is the name of the varietal and they tell me that it is a cousin to the Muscat.  I can taste similarity immediately because this is dry, there is a complex sweetness in both the nose and the palate.  Very floral.  $14.  We bought one.

Hungerford Hill, Semillon 2008

Also from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."   Semillon is a common varietal in Bordeaux, often blended with Savignon Blanc .  This example comes from New South Wales (Eastern Australia) and I found a solid vegetal presence; green bell pepper and serrano chili.  Not unpleasant.  I'm not sure if that is typical of the style but it was quite scrumptious.  Would be great for a hot summer day.  $20.

Vinaceous, Verdelho "Divine Light" 2008

Also from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."   Verdelho is a common white in Portugal.  This one; however, comes from West Oz (Australia) and has many grassy notes and an oily finish.  This is excellent and they only want $15 for it.  They told me that the winery "reverse engineers" the wine.  They think of a style they want and they go get the grapes that will produce it.  Interesting concept.

Cara Posip, "Marko Polo" 2005

Also from the  Jug Shop's  tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."  Cara Posip is the name of the varietal. This one is named Marko Polo because it comes from Korcula , Croatia - and Marco Polo used to live there.  This was tasty enough but didn't stick out amongst the other bizarre whites.  It had a good minerality to it and would be good with or without food.  $20.

Berthoud, Chasselas Dore 2006

This was the first pour for the Jug Shop's tasting "Weird Ass Whites Under $20."   Chasselas is a varietal common in Switzerland. This one is made in Sonoma.  They were talking that Berthoud may be the only winemaker in the US producing Chasselas.  This was good, unlike anything else; dry but otherwise difficult to describe.  Worth trying.  $20.

Curtis 2007 Roussanne

Holy frijole George of the Jungle, watch out for that tree! My first sip is like the scene in Slumdog Millionaire where Jamal finally gets to kiss Latika. This is what I'M talking about! There is a real bouquet of perfume notes; rose, lavender, jasmine. But it is weighted against a spicy and dense finish, slightly oily. Love this!

Sterling Vineyards 2007 Savignon Blanc

This an excellent Sav Blanc, well balanced. I usually like mine pretty grassy but this does well as an after work refresher.


Antu 2006 Syrah, Chile

I think we picked this up at William Cross Wine Merchant for about $15 and it's a really good value. There is a solid spice to it and an inky black color that makes it a sippin' Syrah.

Zaca Mesa, Santa Ynez Syrah 2004

Picked this up at BevMo on their 5 cent sale. The first cost $19.99 but the second was only 5 cents. What a bargain! This is an incredible example of a central coast Syrah, big, jammy, and a strong smokey finish. Love this stuff, I picked up 6 of them.

Fontanafredda, Barolo Lazzarito 2001

This was also from the tasting of the Tre Bicchiere Producers Tour and was incridably rich and succulent. There was such a depth to this barolo but it was still approachable. $124.99.

Cordero di Montezemolo, Barolo Enrico VI 2004

We went to a special tasting of award winners from the coveted Tre Bicchiere Producers Tour and this was our favorite. Deep cherry and cedar wood notes, plenty of earthy, just very well balanced. $79.99.

Corbu, Marche Rosso

Italian Rosso called Corbu. Very inky black with dried stone fruit notes and a long finish. It was about $15 from William Cross Wine Merchant in San Francisco and tastes like it was $40. Brilliant!

Remole, Toscona

Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Tuscany. Picked this up at an Italian joint. Good balance of oak and spice with enough dried fruit to round everything out.


Aglianico Dry Red Wine from Italy, DOC. From the Vinosia group, this super-dark and rich red has deep dried cherry notes and a black inky hue.

Bridlewood Syrah 2005

This is Bridlewood's Santa Ynez bottle (their cheap stuff) and it is awesome! They make a small handfull of botique ones but this is the bottle you can find at wine stores, grocery stores, etc. Killer Syrah, pick one up if you see it.

Ridge Syrah/Grenache 2005

Ahhh, the Ridge Syrah/Grenache.  This was one of the best wines I've had in months! Since Christmas at least. I was not expecting something so rich and chocolatey and this blew me away. I'm going to have to get more of this, much more.

il Gufo Barbera 2003

From Lodi CA, this Barbera was produced and bottled by L'Uvaggio Di Giacomo. I thought it was quite good but my wife totally adored it. We picked it up at The Wine Garage in Calistoga CA. She's been looking for it closer to home to no avail. We may have to either drive back up, or have them send us some more.

Le Boris Jacou, Gamay 2007

From Jean-Francios Merieau in the Loire Valley in France this Gamay was bigger and fuller than many I've had before that I've liked. It was brought over to our apartment, thanks Michaw!