Friday, August 27, 2010

Ben-efits & Best Buds over Bourbon or Beringer Cabernet But We Rise To Riesling (Eroica)

Eroica Riesling, $16.99, 92 points,

Yep, it's true, I haven't the faintest idea how to rate White wines, but since you mentioned it, I'll give you my opinion of this one.

When I first looked at the name on the bottle I thought: "EROTICA", and so did some others I know (MAD MEN would be proud), but at last, the quality of this wine is not far from erotic. It is dry, with crisp citrus, a fine aroma; Eroica is perfect alone or on a hot afternoon or evening of relaxation or fun. Paired with Alaskan King crab, or lightly sauteed scallops with a hint of Cayenne, makes for a great treat.

This is a Chateau Ste Michelle wine from Washington State, but in the German tradition of wine-making.

At $16.99, this was a steal, so I bought three, but should have bought a case.

Eroica means Heroic in Italian, but you knew that.

Eroica also makes for fine listening pleasure:
I scored this wine a 92, but Wine Spectator scored it 90, while Wine And Spirits scored it 94.

Index of reviewed wines

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Break from Zinvinology to Some Big Picks

I thought I would take a break from reports on Zinfandel wines to just sharing with you some of my favorite wines, wines that are for special occasions or for wallowing in self-indulgence. These wines are affordable, but not cheap, and they are wines with special qualities that should cross palate divides and please everyone.

Two hands Bella's Garden Barossa Valley 2006 Shiraz, $46.74, 94 points, is the first wine whose beautiful bouquet wafted into my nose while pouring. Bella's Garden is dense and luscious (Acidity 7.2), its silky richness is elegant, bursting with berry excitement, it is pleasant alone, with ribs ,or chocolate, but by itself it is excellent and has a fine finish. This is a BIG WINE, and maybe just too much of a wine for those only accustom to Yellowtail Merlot;-)

Penfold's Bin 407 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon,
$25.49 (2016 $64.99), 93 points, (This post is not intended to be Australia exclusive), is next up for accolades; with a bouquet to be a pattern for greatness, rich, dark, and opulent, having a silky freshness that says: this is not a bare-bones Cabernet, but hidden in a multifaceted balance of lush grape, acidity 6.40 g/L, and 14.5% alcohol, results in a wine you will be proud to serve anywhere, and at $25.49, this wine was a steal.
Drink from 2010 until 2028.
Paired wonderfully with spicy lamb or T-Bone, but I found that it paired lusciously with chocolate covered blueberries.

HALL NAPA Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32.99, 93 points, (California here we come), which to the novice wine taster that I am, struck me as pure, rich and luscious, having a sweet, light bouquet. Having gentle espresso notes, but its complexity will leave you imagining many different flavors, all nicely balanced and concluding with a long spice finish to relish for some time.
The first time I bought this wine it was $32.99, but it is now at least $5 more, and at either price this is a good wine for what you are getting. The reports on the 2006 vintage are for an even better wine.

Duckhorn Howell Mountain NAPA Valley 2005 Red wine, $34.99, 92 points, surprised me with its overall balance in a complex structure of espresso hints and berry richness. Having been disappointed with the Decoy Red, I found this wine to be completely different, having gentle floral flavors that did not detract or overwhelm the grape-nature of this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet. Franc, and Petit Verdot.
At $34.99 this wine is a good choice for special occasions, and pairs well with a Porterhouse steak, or try with desserts like raspberry cookies or coffee ice cream.


Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Two Zinfandels, Two Results!

Zin 91, 2006 Zinfandel, $14.00, 83 points, is short in name and in flavor, finish, and focus; with grapes sourced from all over California wine country, which is suppose to maintain consistent results, I'm unsure that it was wise in this case.
Wine-Buyer scored this wine an amazing 90 points, and giving the NH wine lover some balance in making this their wine purchase.
When I think of Zinfandel, I think of Zing, of Zest, and some essence of spice, pepper (White or Black), undercurrents of tobacco, or, chocolate, mocha, coffee, even bacon, but always with berry-richness that fills the mouth with a sense of furring (Gentle or Luscious), that can be smooth or coarse, but properly balanced with acidity, tannin, alcohol, and fruit.
At $14.00, I can't recommend this wine.

Rosenblum Paso Robles 2007 Zinfandel, $7.40-$19.00, 87 points, greets you with a beautiful aroma. This is a softer Zinfandel, ripe and quite drinkable, but just might get lost with some of of the richer spicier fair. It does have a fine finish, just not the excitement.
Rosenblum has some high-end Zins, but priced between $7.40 and $19.00, and paired with lighter Zinfandel cuisine, this is a recommend wine.
For review of Cline Bridgehead 2008 Zinfandel.


Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Disappointing Zinfandels, Plus One very nice 2007 Layer Cake Primitivo, Equals Success


This formula did not find its Genesis in a bottle, but rather in the logic of a fulfilling exploration.
Now, getting down and to the dirty business of being critical.

Rombauer el Dorado Napa Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $26.99, 84 points,  is a Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde wine. On the one hand it seemed focused with fruity grape, ending in a soft-candied finish, but then Rombauer disappointed with over-whelming alcohol (15.5% abv) and floral notes; tasting quite different from moment to moment, I had the trickiest time trying to pair this Zin. First failure was salami pizza, then sweet and sour pork, porter-house steak. While none of this seemed to compliment this wine, a dark chocolate-raspberry truffle worked real well.

Macchia 2008 Zinfandel , $18.99, 85 points, is another Old vine Lodi Zin (50 years or more, I believe) though fruity and zippy, at 15.9% alcohol, this Zin is awkward and unbalanced, and I say this with two experienced wine tasters admittedly telling me otherwise; they would say go for it, but I say NO.

Now if you think I have something against the alcohol, you would be wrong, because I've tried wines like the Two Hands Brave Faces, and at 16.4% alcohol, I can vouch for a well balanced spicy wine that is great with ribs or just stand alone.

I don't want to leave you without the Plus One in the equation, nor do I want to leave you without a recommended wine to try.

Layer cake 2007 Primitivo (Zinfandel) is simply a wonderful wine, and at $15.99, 89 points, is a wine worth every penny. From Salento, Italy, some of the source vines may be as OLD as the Roman era (DNA testing suggests that since it appears that "Zinfandel" grapes came from Croatia in the 1700s), this may not be true; all input to the origin is welcome. This 2007 Primitivo displays soft tannins in a well balanced 13.5% alcohol structured fruit-filled, warm wine, and with gentle peppery finish, gives one the pleasant relaxation of a wine that doesn't make demands on the palate, but is a complement with friends and food (pairs well with many foods; try this Zin with good Munster cheese and sesame crackers, or a spicy tomato pasta, or just as a stand alone), or just have it as part of the ambiance; this wine will not whack you over the head and will not disappoint!

Don't forget, if you are buying wine in New Hampshire, your best selection will be at the State Liquor Stores, of which the new Flagship store at the Hannaford's Northside plaza on DW Highway North in Manchester-Hooksett is a beautiful experience.
Telephone # (603)622-5044


Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dry Creek Strikes Again With Nalle 2006 Zinfandel

Nalle Dry Creek 2006 Zinfandel, $24.79-$30.99, 91 points, is the most difficult Zinfandel wine I've tried to pin down; it is smooth, rich, and tasty, but it is out of order when it comes to spice, though it paired well with a hamburger pizza and a porterhouse steak, honestly, I sensed that this wine is more akin to a fine Syrah, with boysenberry, licorice, and a hint of tobacco, with a long finish of mild ginger rather than pepper.

Check-out Nalle Zinfandel here.




Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Twin Zins from Dry Creek California

Seghesio Sonoma 2008 Zinfandel, $15.20-$29.00, 90 points, is one of my latest conversation wines, and if you are like me, you have come to appreciate the quality of California Zinfandels, then this one is a must wine of note.
The 2008 is a big, powerful wine, filled with blackberries, acidity, and alcohol (15.5% ) which is well integrated in a well balanced and an undocumented [blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah from the Dry creek and Alexander valleys,] this wine is quite quaffable, and having a wonderful bouquet it is a special libation with a lasting and expected pepper finish.

HOBO Dry creek Valley 2006 Zinfandel, $15.30-$22.00, 90 points, is deep red in color, and having a fruity aroma with some spice.
Newbie wine taster that I am, I didn't know what to expect with this Zin (does anyone?), but I was pleasantly surprised as to just how much I liked this hither-to unheard of wine (There are lots of those). A dense, dark , chewy Zin, with enough of a spicy finish to satisfy me. This wine is so focused that it can stand alone, or with a great pepperoni pizza, which still remains a memorable pairing.


Copyright 2010  Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Moving away from ZZZs to Tip for the Frugal

Beringer Merlot Founders Estate. New Hampshire Liquors and Wines

Can be found in most NH markets as well.

Yes, this is your tip. When you just want a good red wine, easy to drink, but not too obviously a mass manufactured libation, then take my word for it: this is the one. If you prefer a bit more bite try the Beringer Cabernet Svgn Founders Est.

I have done a blind tasting on this wine and could not tell the difference with two more expensive wines by Beringer. I heard that neither could 50 professional wine tasters (Sommelier). My wife only drinks these two Estate wines, and with good reasons.

Now the price is near perfect: $6.49-$7.99


Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just Want A Bottle Of Wine!

Good Things Come In Threes

7 Deadly Zins 2007 Zinfandel, $13.59, 85 points.
OZV (Oak Ridge Wine) 2005 Zinfandel, $16.00, 86 points.
Decoy 2008 Zinfandel, $19.00, 91 points.
See below for more information on these wines.

If you've been following my exploration into the wonderful world of Zinfandel wines, you probably have noticed that I try to avoid over-complex characteristics in the description of wine; The reasoning behind this is that some of it is imagination, some of it is for the most advanced wine-tasters, but my message here is the joy of exploring unencumbered wine tasting for someone who doesn't want to go through the technology of buying a bottle of wine, but just wants a hint and a suggestion or two (If you discover that the wines I like, you like too, then this blog is for you). If you want the wine notes, just go to the wine producer's web-site and click on on the appropriate link.
I have provided a link below for the Decoy 2008 Zinfandel.

OK, I do put my nose in an appropriate wine glass and take several quick whiffs, but what I'm looking for is the same thing one looks for when breathing-in the aroma of a rose, the pleasure of its beauty. If a wine competes with certain flowers for beauty, then so be it. As for Aroma (Less complex or simple fragrance)-Bouquet (Complex fragrances, multiple aromas) texture, flavors (Good Bad), finish (Long and memorable, Short and of minor note), color, these all play into the tapestry of what makes wine the most interesting libation.

Today's Zinfandel wines provide the partaker with some choices in intensity, from a highly intense 2007 7 Deadly Zins, just loaded with flavors, maybe just a bit unfocused, but at about $13.59, a very good buy. I often can tell a wine from the Lodi appellation, and this one was a bit over the top, but its richness and good finish contribute to its worthy reputation. I rate this wine 85.

Another Lodi Zinfandel, a bit more expensive ($16.00) and less available to New Hampshire wine drinkers, the OZV (Oak Ridge Wine) 2005 Zin. is true to its Lodi origins in a gentle and aromatic way that pleases the senses. OZV is a bit berry-like as a Merlot, easy to drink, but with a short finish. I scored this Zin. an 86, and not as good a value as the7 Deadly Zin.

The 2008 Decoy Zinfandel (Napa Valley) finishes my report, but oh, what a finish! I almost didn't bother with tasting this wine, because I had tried its sister wine, The Decoy Red and was disappointed, but the Zinfandel is another animal altogether. The aroma is gentle and lovely, deep red color, light (easy to drink) yet complex and rich enough to thwart any doubt that this is a serious Zin. Now I'm not trying to get weird about this wine, but it has floral hints that are great here, where in the White Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and the Rutherford Hill Merlot 2004, were troublingly too intense. Having a long white pepper finish seals the deal. I rated this a 91, and at $19.99 a very good buy!
This wine, in some ways, reminds me of the Frog's leap Merlot and not the Frog's leap Zin, which some may find a bit crazy, but without the intensity of the Zin, the overall flavor and to a lesser degree the finish is reminiscent of the Decoy.

Decoy wines


Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger