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Showing posts from 2010

Beaulieu Vineyards 2007 Blend

Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Tapestry Red Wine Napa Valley 2007 Cost: $32 Meritage / Blend Complex and well layered yet very approachable given its youth, smooth and very appealing to a wide crowd. Cab dominant but well rounded with other varietals. No arguments with its high rating. Very mild, easy drinking, nice flavor. Ate with: filet mignon, potatoes & spinach. *WS: 93 points, best from 2011-2020.

Vitaluce Cellars 2004 Syrah

Vitaluce Cellars Syrah Paso Robles 2004 Cost: $14 Nice nose, fruity as would be expected from CA syrah, but has mellowed with age. Smooth on the pallet. Long, lingering finish, at least a minute. Chewy like Chewbacca. Drink now - age appropriate. We drank straight from the bottle - no time to decant properly, but we did cheat a bit with the help of our Vinturi. A nice third bottle of the night, drank post-meal, would be best with food. At this price, the 2004 is a good deal. *WS: unrated

Pazo Senorans 2008 Albariño

This dry Spanish white has a complex floral note that is first and foremost on the nose. There are some tropical fruits that come through because there isn't too much oak. Notes of pineapple and mango and just a little effervescence to tingle the tongue. I dig.

Argiolas D'elegant Nuragus Do Cagliari 2006

This Italian white comes from Nuragus grapes, which I've never heard of. It is pretty big and bold for a European white which tend to me more restrained and approachable. There is a big yeasty/bready component which I like. This was a grab at Wine Steals.

Babcock 2005 Classic Rock Cuvee

This Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Ynez Valley breaks all the rules. First: it is bold and jammy and has none of the vegetative notes typical in Central Coast Cabs. Second: it has very little oak which allows the fruit to come through. Lastly: it is reasonably priced, less than $20 if I remember, and is a great value for an amazing botique Cab from California. Classic Rock is superb like 30 Rock is funny.

Salcheto 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Holy macaroni Batman, this was one of our loot from our 2004 trip to Tuscany. This DOCG has all the components of a great Italian wine: fruit, dirt, sun, leather, and Vespas. We paired this with an amazing ragu that had the depth and body to hold its own. There was heaps of Bacon and parsley, n dill in the salad to balance the fruit and earth of the wine. Check them out at

Beginner 2009 Founder's Estate Chardonnay

Got this at Vons, discounted from $10th down to $6 and it tastes just like a $6 bottle of wine, so I'm happy. The dominant flavor is oak, and although there is some acidity, no fruit comes through at all. What are you going to do about it?

Kanga Reserve 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, South Eastern Australia

The origin of the name Kangaroo: From the bottle, "Legend has it that explorers to Australia asked an Aborigine about the strange hopping animals they had seen. He replied "kangaroo," meaning "I don't understand" your question, but thinking that was the animal's name, "kangaroo" came to be. This a tasty, mellow Sav Blanc; maybe because it has had a few extra years to stop listening to the Top 40 and mature. Maybe it never sat in the front of the class, maybe it never sat in the back, but it paired well with a Stouffer's French Bread Pizza, a salad, and a pear.

Montes 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Chile

This is a good, solid example of a food-loving, crisp Sav Blanc. The artsy label is juxtaposed with a screwcap. We "paired" this with a leftover Roast Beef Sandwich and a big salad (we're classy like that) and it danced the foxtrot well with both. There aren't many wines that will pair with anything but this Sav Blanc probably could.

Curtis 2003 Ambassador's Vineyard Syrah

Holy guacamole. Curtis Winery, they bring good things to life. This is another example of a, "not for sissy's" wine. 7 years of age allowed much of the tannins to mellow but this could still handle a few more if you want. It is ripe and ready to go now if you have one of these, I would pop it, but like I said it is in its golden years and still has some life left. There are big flavors and although this would pair well with a thick steak or some lamb, we had this with Turkey a la Thanksgiving and it was balanced enough not to overpower everything. This was our last 2003, and we'll miss this vintage but we still have plenty of the 2005 left. Cheers!

Ridge 2004 Mazzoni Home Ranch

Great Scott! This is exquisite, I can see my mouth stain purple from the inside out. This is a wine-drinker's wine, amateurs need not apply. This Zinfandel is blended with 33% Carignane and 5% Petite Sirah so it has that drinkability factor that is hard to define. Its 14.7% alcohol is cloaked in layers of flavor; you would never guess. This is one of the best Ridge wines I've had, and that's saying a lot because I am a big big fan. If I ever see this again, I'll buy a case.

Ridge 2005 Buchignani Ranch Zinfandel

This Zin is blended with 4% Carignane, I'm going to assume to add a little spice to balance out the jammy-ness of the Zin fruit. Although there are strong notes of berries, especially raspberries, this blend isn't a complete fruit bomb. Ridge is does it again. This is a great bottle, and expresses the Zinfandel grape exquisitely. I could go swimming in a big pool of this stuff.

Clos des Andes 2004 Malbec, Argentina

This vineyard was established in 1935 and is solely made up of Malbec. This was at my mom's house so I don't know how much it cost. It has big jammy notes of cherry, plum, there's a hint of anise in there too. At 14%, it packs a punch; it is almost a fruit bomb but there is a deep earthy note that's keeps it together.

BV 2007 Coastal Estates, Pinot Noir

This is one of our go-to $10 Pinots and at Thanksgiving with a bunch of, no offense, "token wine drinkers"; what, are we going to break out the 2000 Foxen Bien Nacido? I don't think so. This has a strong fruit nose with heaps of cherry, blueberry, and blackberry. It isn't too big, hot, not acidic so it pairs well with everything. Tonight, we wanted it to par well with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry relish, rolls, and gravy. It played its part masterfully.

Animus 2008 Douro Roasado

This is an excellent Portuguese Rose; it is bright, and crisp - with a strong, but not overbearing, fruit component. There seems to be a light oakiness that makes itself known in the form of a feint vanilla hint. We scored this from the Grocery Outlet (I know, I'm starting to sound like an ad) and it was less than $4. I will grab another couple nest time I stop in.

Handmade red wine by Bob Salsbury 200?, Zin? Merlot?, Healdsburg CA

Bob grows grapes on his property in Healsberg and gave this bottle to our freinds Scott and Jen Zuppan, who brought it over to dinner last night. There was no label on it and Scott couldn't remember if it was a Zin or a Merlot. Upon tasting it, we couldn't form a consensus either but one thing we were sure of, it was atomic. If it was a Merlot, it may have been the best Merlot I've ever had. Not that there's anything wrong with Merlot, I just don't buy or drink it very often. If it was a Zin, it was one of the best Zins I've ever had; and I have had dozens of tip-top Zins in my life. In any case (get it? Case? Nevermind), bravo to Bob Salsbury and thanks for sharing!

As Sortes 2006 Valdeorras, Val do Bibei

Another score for The Grocery Outlet! I splurged on this $10 Spanish white because I've never had, nor heard of, a Valdeorras before. After looking it up, Valdeorras means "Valley of Gold" and produces whites dominated by the Godello varietal in the north-western corner of Spain. It has been a wine making region since the Roman Empire marched in, a long long time ago. This example of Valdeorras is a full-bodied white, akin to a California Chardonnay. There is a lot of oak and smoke, still, even though those notes have likely been tempered by 4 years since bottling (it's a 2006). I really enjoyed this, I don't know a thing about Spanish whites and this makes me want to try more.

Sacred Hill, 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand

This grassy Sav Blanc has a richer mouthfeel than most. It isn't a bad thing, it's just different having more of a malolactic oiliness I most associate with Chardonnay. I'm not sure if it is malolactic but that's the impression I get. I grabbed this for $3 at the Grocery Outlet in Oceanside. Yes folks, $3. That's not a typo. I've paid $10 or more for worse. This is an absolute steal. I think they even had a "WOW" hanger around the neck of the bottle. Although not a crisp as one may expect from a Sav Blanc, this has all the vegetative and bell pepper I have come to enjoy in New Zealand Sav Blancs, especially those from Marlborough.

Sebastopol Hills 2008 Sonoma County Pinot Noir

On special for about $10, this is a great value - in my opinion, most $10 Pinots are a watery waste. I would grab this one again, although I prefer Central Coast and Oregon Pinots over Sonoma, this is has a good balance of oak and fruit whereas many others are just oak bombs.

2009 Firestone Suvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez

A sharp acidity and a slight effervescence make this Sav Blanc dance on your tongue. I heard Bill Foley owns Firestone and the Firestone family still owns Curtis. I haven't been a big fan of Firestone reds in the past but this wine makes me want to revisit them. In any case, I grabbed this for around $10 and I will grab it again, it is a great example of a Central Coast Sav Blanc.

Martin's Rake 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand

Old Man Martin walked with a slightly leaftward lean, supposedly. In any case it makes for a nice story on the bottle, even though they also describe this wine of having notes of gooseberry - as if anyone knows what those taste like. This was on a double discount, down to about $11 at a Ralph's in Carlsbad. I like it. That's about my limit for what I'll pay for some Sav Blanc but this one it worth it. I've paid as much for a crappy martini in a dive bar.

Curtis 2005 Ambassador's Vineyard Syrah

Ohh La La! This is ready to drink with its luscious jamminess. There is a hint of anise and leather that keeps the berries in balance. Amazing stuff.

Jaffurs 2008 Upslope Syrah $75, "Yea. It's that good."

Borsao 2009 Red Wine

This blend of 75% Grenache 25% Tempranillo is a great drinking wine. This bottle lasted a whole 20 minutes with our friends.

Foley 2005 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

This sublime Pinot comes from the Dijon Clone 667. Its has big dried fruits, especially cherry, and plenty of caramel and oak. This seems like it could be put down for several more years but was amazing tonight. Really, a wonderful example of Central Coast Pinot Noir. Bill Foley's daughters Lindsay and Courtney have their own fantastic winery, LinCourt.

Hoopla 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Yountville Napa

This was a grab at the local Vons; it was $10 off, marked down to $10 from $20. It has a little more body than a lot of Sav Blancs, not as crisp or acidic. Kind of a nice change-up, really. More like a refined, adult version of your standard.

Curtis 2003 Vogrlzang Vineyard Syrah

This is a little lighter body than their Crossroads, but it is scrumptious nonetheless. Huge fruit, well balanced by cedar, smoke, and a swift kick in the pants. I love Curtis. Thank you for making such divine Rhone-style wines.

Curtis 2003 Crossroads Vineyard Syrah

This is one of my favorite wines of all time. Hands down. No second guessing. We've been sitting on this for quite some time, 5 years likely, and it exemplifies what cellaring a wine properly can do. The bold tannins have mellowed into a counterweight for the bright fruit notes of raspberry, blackberry, and plum. There is a solid oak character with a hint of smoke that makes each sip open new doors of flavor. I love this.

Cameron Hughes, Lot 145 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County

a This was about $10 at Vons, it has a good woody, yeasty, bready character without being too oaky. I'm not a big Chardonnay drinker but this one isn't overbearing, it's approachable and for $10, worth it.

Ridge 2005 Syrah/Grenache

Warm and chocolatey, there are a lot of cedar and unsmoaked tobacco notes here. A strong tannin backbone would make this a great pair with a Rib Eye. I wish I had one right now.

Sauvignon Republic 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

"A windswept terrior of hills and dry gravelly-clay..." This is one of the cheaper Sav Blancs from Marlborough at Trader Joe's coming at $7 or so. Doesn't have too much of that fresh-cut grass scratch-n-sniff that I like but it is a great value for under $10. Buy again.

Tienen Duende 2008 Garnacha

This Spanish wine has a good spice to it. My in-laws served it slightly chilled and I liked it that way. It paired well with a roast beef.

Four Sisters 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, South Eastern Australia

This has a good acidity and has a fuller mouthfeel than a lot of Sav Blancs but not much is there in the finish. It may have been $10 at Cost Plus and it tastes like a $10 bottle. Not disappointed at all, but not a big winner either.

Bridlewood 2006 Arabesque Central Coast Syrah

Considering how big many of their other Syrahs are, this one is surprisingly light. It could be mistaken maybe even for a Pinot Noir on a dark and stormy night in a blind tasting. This wine is excellent, and the 2006, although could stay down for a little while longer, is ripe to drink right now.

The Wine Garage's 2007 Clone 6 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

We got a case of this as a futures purchase and we're so glad we did. It is unreal how much flavor comes out of a little purple liquid. It is big and jammy and has just the right amount of oak to sweep the knee Johnny. It paired amazingly with some Mocha Filet Mignon, the bitter-sweet of the dry rub played nice with the tannins and the fruit. Amazing stuff, party on Wayne, party on Wine Garage.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards 2008 Chanteloup

This Chardonnay/Viognier blend from Georgia (the state, not the country) was a gift from some old family friends. Chanteloup is French for "Song of the Wolf," and I was pleasantly surprised having never tried wines from Georgia before (the state, not the country). There is a good amount of oak on it and if I didn't know it was 13.2% alcohol, I would have guessed it to be much lighter because it is crisp and refreshing, like a Sauvignon Blanc.

Ridge 2004 Carmichael Zinfandel

This is excellent. It is a very spicy zin as opposed to a jammy one. Cedar, cracked black pepper, and a hint of anise blend into the notes of dried fruit. It is 90% Zin, 6% Carignane, and 4% Petite Syrah.

A to Z 2008 Pinot Noir, Oregon

"Aristocratic wines at democratic prices." 503-554-1918. This is a good pinot that, at this age, should be decanted or let to air a little. Rocking the screwcap, boom.

Rias Baixas 2004 Torroxal

This Spanish wine is 40% Souson, 30% Brancellao, 30% Caino tinto. It has great balance of spice and fruit. This was $9 at Grocery Outlet.

Sapphire Hill 2004 Old Vine Zinfandel, Bastoni Vineyard Sonoma County

This vineyard was planted in 1903 and the resulting wine has a heap more barnyard than you'd expect in a Zin. This may be due to the fact that this is also 17% Alicante Bouschet and 3% Carignane, but then again, maybe not. There is also a bit of "brat" that lends a hint of anise and mellows out with some decanting. Picked this one up at, yup you guessed it, the Grocery Outlet for about $6 and it's worth at least $20. Grab one if you see it.

Babcock 2005 Santa Rita Hills Grand Cuvee Pinot Noir

Holy ghost! There is such a minerality to this that you don't often find in pinots from California. It adds another dimension to the fruit; which in this case is more old-world than new-world. Prune, date, and fig dominate the nose rather than simple cherry and bubble gum. This wine is Blanch from the Golden Girls, it's been around the block a few times but still has it going on.

Westerly Vineyards 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez

Yet another from the Grocery Outlet in Oceanside. This was $6 and has a real distinct vegetal note, green bell peppers, that I like in a Sav Blanc. The label says it comes from "ancient soils," I wonder, aren't all soils ancient? I'm tempted to call them (805-686-9558) to ask what they mean by that. Izz good though and I'd buy more, maybe two next time.

Tamborine 2008 Shiraz, Granite Belt

Another score from the Grocery Outlet. This was $5 marked down from $24-something and it shows. The screwcap notwithstanding, this could have been put down for a little while longer. It has good cherry and stonefruit notes.

Murdock "dos trios" 2006 red blend, South Australia

60% grenache, 25% tempranillo, 15% shiraz. $10 at the Grocery Outlet, marked down from $27, or something like that. This is a lighter red with a good balance of cherry (I think from the grenache) and spice (I think from the tempranillo). This would go well with a wide range of foods and is definitely worth the $10.

Monte Ducay Reserva 2005 Red Wine Carinena

From Trader Joes for about $6, hand wrapped with love or so the story goes. Not a bad little Spanish red for the price, I could see myself getting this again.

Seven Terraces 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough NZ

Got this from the Grocery Outlet in Oceanside, CA. This is really nice; it's crisp, and has a refreshing acidity. Don't arrest me because at $5 it's a total steal!

Houghton's Jack Mann 1999 70% Cabernet Sauvignon / 30% Malbec

Um, in a word, AMAZING! I just got this at the Grocery Outlet in Oceanside for $10 and I'm going back to buy a case.

Hogue 2005 Merlot, Columbia Valley WA

Got this in a gift basket. Not bad for a screwtop, althought I'm just not a Merlot kind of guy.