Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gamba Russian River Luscious Old Vine Zinfandel

Gamba Old Vine Estate 2007 Zinfandel, $43.99, 92 points, is a dense purple-red color and is almost black at the core with a clear rim.
The bouquet is grapes on the vine saturated in an afternoon sun having only the shimmering waves of earthy thermals wafting upwards into your senses.
The texture is Russian River luscious with early palate spice, almost cayenne, but tempered with the softness of currant. The closest I've come to this wine is the White Hall Cabernet, but with a profitably less Rutherford floral display of violet.
Gamba is in your face, full and refined in a balanced structure of berries-black, with hints of tobacco, with a finish of licorice and mild Tabasco.
With a 15.8% alcohol, this wine sneaks up on you very quickly, but is so balanced that you don't even notice the alcohol.
As advertised, this is a Zin for the aficionado.
If you took my advise and tried the Dancing Bull Zin, wait until the barbecue is over, and with your better-half, relax with a bottle of Gamba. You get what you pay for.
Is this the best value for a Zinfandel? No! However, if you love Zinfandel, this is a must taste wine.


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dancing With The Bulls & Gino

Dancing Bull California 2008 Zinfandel, $7.99, 87 points,  is very similar to what the Wine Buyer has to say: "Bright, playful, approachable. . ."
Dancing Bull has a fairly pleasant aroma, and is quite substantial considering the light-bodied nature of this wine; having licorice notes in a bounty of grape-berry drink-ability.

Dancing Bull redefines wine values by making available a quantity-quality wine for occasions (Barbecue) that require several bottles of a Good wine that won't cost you a fortune.

I want to stress that this is a good wine, though not complex, not going to cause shock and awe, but will satisfy friends and family, and at 13.9% alcohol you'll not have reasonable drinkers stumbling around.

I purchased this wine at the Market Basket supermarket.

At $7.99 this is the best value Zin I've tried.

Gino's Dry Creek 2005 Zinfandel,  $24.99, 87 points, has a cranberry color with a pleasant aroma. The 14.7% alcohol is not over whelming and adds to the aroma and the wine's complexity. Gino's reminded me a bit of Peter lehmann's Clancy's Red, and just as I found the Clancy's Red to be a bit unfocused, so I also found the Gino's Zinfandel to be a bit unfocused; neither of thesewines are bad wines, but price is important, especially as the economy falters.


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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Carol Shelton Wines 2006 Monga Zin Old Vine Zinfandel

I stopped by The Bedford Meat House this morning and picked-up this very interesting wine from Cucamonga Valley, California.

Carol Shelton Cucamonga valley 2006 Zinfandel $23.99, 89 points, has succeeded where Macchia failed: it  is focused, and though a bit too alcohol driven, it remains an exciting Zin, one that pairs well with many saucy, spicy, and meaty meals.
The color is deep red and  when I first put my nose to the glass all that hit me was alcohol, but hidden beneath that aura was a deep toasty-berry matrix that makes this wine so interesting.

I never for one moment disliked this wine as I have with other alcohol driven Zinfandels, but I'll probably not be back for another bottle. However I do recommend Carol Shelton Zin to Zinphiles. Let me know what you think!


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Marietta Zinfandel 2007 Sonoma County

Wine scores are often made with availability in mind.
I have very little knowledge of the availability of wine outside of New Hampshire, and thus my blog name.

When I score a wine, it is with the assumption that it is available in N.H. (with rare exceptions that are noted) if one looks for it.

There are a number of other places to look for wines besides the State Liquor Stores, and they tend to be hit or miss, but fun to explore.

The Wine Steward at the Hampstead Commons on route 111 is an interesting place to investigate.

When in Hannaford's super markets, it is always worth the time to check out their crate specials.

The Harvest market on 101 in Bedford is a great place for more interesting wines, but that usually means higher prices.

The Bedford Meat House, across the street on Wallace Road is a good place to shop for wines.

McKinnon's market on North Broadway in Salem is very interesting with a good variety of wines and a good price range.

The Mobil gas station-convenient store off of exit 3 in Windham is a good place to visit.

As I discover interesting wine spots, and please, if you own an interesting wine spot, post a comment to let us know, I'll be printing that information on forth-coming posts.

Now for the Zinfandel of the week, a real "RIPPER" too:
Marietta Sonoma 2007 Zinfandel, $20,99, 89 points, is rich, wonderful on day two too. My own view on this wine differs greatly from what I've read, but the end result is that it is a good wine. With 15.2% alcohol (That can be 1% or so off) and a thick licorice flavor, this wine is surprisingly balanced and smooth, blackberry-filled, but not so spicy as others I have reviewed; described as full-bodied, and that, I agree with.
It has been advised that this wine should be good drinking for 3-6 years.
As for pairing this Zinfandel, I wouldn't be as inclined to pair this with a spicy Mexican cuisine, but it went well with a black-pepper prime-rib.

Do you get lost when it comes to French wines? Just remember the wine tasting of 1976: California wines won.
I'm not pooh-poohing French wines, and have tried some fair priced good wine from France, but for the beginner, like me, it can be a mine-field of complexity and high prices. Why not begin with value wines from the USA that can help to get your own palate oriented before you get discouraged?
Just a thought for other Newbies out there.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behind the Zinfandel Eight-ball

Roshambo The Reverend Dry Creek Valley 2006 Zinfandel, $18.14-$24.99, 88 points: Brambly is the most notable quality of this Zin, and though a bit light-bodied, I like this wine, and at the average price of $18.14, this is a fair value.
I paired this Zinfandel with a mustard-pepper lamb which paired well.
The aromatics were slight and with just a fair finish of white pepper and licorice hints I still found a nice overall flavor.
FREI BROTHER Reserve DRY CREEK 2007 ZINFANDEL, $16.00-$18.99, 88 points, had a deep red color and a pleasant fragrance.
I always seem to second guess myself when I score a wine 88 points and Robert Parker (Noted authority) gives it 90 points, but "To thine own self be true" rules, whether I or you are a newbie wine lover or not.
My flavor impression was that this Zin was more Merlot-like, but having a bit longer-spicy finish. I would never have guessed its Dry Creek origins and even the varietal was lost in the unobtrusive fruit-forward nature. I would easily use this wine as a Red-Table wine which went well with spinach pie and Feta cheese.
Edmeades MENDOCINO COUNTY 2007 ZINFANDEL, $14.99, 88 points, is a well balanced Zinfandel with a blackberry-pie quality, smooth and easy to quaff, having a nice aroma and a great long black pepper finish.


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Thursday, September 16, 2010


I'm going to have to go with THE WINE NEWS and score this wine 90 Points.

Dry Creek Heritage 2006 Zinfandel, $20.99, 90 points, is deep red.
Upon opening I greatly enjoyed a bouquet so pleasant that I just wanted to keep my nose in my glass, with cooking spice and fruit, this was beautiful.
First taste was WILD wild-berry, medium bodied, but plenty rich with a very fine toasty spice finish.
Pairs well with red meats and spicy foods, such as Taco Pizza with sour cream, and will go well with most beef dishes, lamb, or barbecue pork, Yet this is a stand alone wine as well.


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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Flying Bricks And A Strong Response To Three Good Zins

Rodney Strong Knotty Vine Russian River, Alexander Valley 2008 Zinfandel, $18.99, 89 points, strikes me as the rich, berry flavorful wine I had expected with one of Rodney Strong's Cabernets which fell short for me. However, add to that "rich berry flavorful" quality, spice and a fine black-pepper finish and I found what I had been looking for in their 2008 Zin.
This is a good Zin, a bit more luscious and Cab-like than say many a Lodi or a Dry Creek Zin would be, but it works for me.
Will pair well with many different Beef or Lamb recipes, Mexican or American.

Downing Family Oakville Fly by Night 2006 Zinfandel, $29.99, 89 points, is interestingly complex, but is a bit expensive for the curiosity when other Zins can do the same thing at a much better price. However, if you are like me, you'll be tempted to go there!

Klinker Brick Old Vines 2007 Zinfandel, $16.99, 89 points, has a cranberry color, near syrupy aroma, but  yields a silky-smooth, fine-finish.
So, if you are looking for a Zin to pair with your Tacos, Saturday Barbecue, or for a spicy-night alone, this is a "Ripper".


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