Friday, April 29, 2011

Paul Dolan Zinfandel gets back to the "Garden"


Paul Dolan Vineyards Mendocino County 2007 Zinfandel, $15.29-$17.99, 88 points, is even lighter colored than the Cake Bread Zinfandel (light Shiraz), almost a Raspberry red, very light and delicate, even as the aroma is light floral, as the flavor is light red fruits with an almost spritz washed into a light spice that carries modestly into the finish. Though the alcohol is 14.5%, it is almost unnoticeable and fits this style of wine well.
I like this wine, and at either price point, it is a buy, but the Dolan Zin is more like a lively BEAUJOLAIS, than a Californian Zinfandel, and if you are looking for something "powerful", this isn't it.





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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jess Jackson, Kendall-Jackson Winery Founder

Jess Jackson, Kendall-Jackson Winery Founder passed away on Thursday April 21, 2011.


As I dig into American wine and its culture, I find that events that would never have caught my ear, now do get my attention. With all the wines I've reviewed on the NH Wine-Man, I've neglected to comment on the three Kendall-Jackson wines I've tried; so, to commemorate American wine-history and one of those who had such an impact on what wines we drink and what prices we pay for those wines, I'll post two reviews.

Kendall-Jackson Sonoma County Grand Reserve 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.99-$23.99, 90 points, is one of those premium wines that you'll find in your local Market Basket, or any number of other wine shops and grocery stores; this is a wine for those occasions when something special is desired, but time to hunt-down that special wine is just not there (I know we are all in a hurry).
The Grand Reserve is beautifully aromatic with sweet dark fruit.
Color is clear Bordeaux.
This wine is a balance between rich, but not heavy, smooth, but with a tart finish keeping this wine lively in the context of a typical California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve 2006 Pinot Noir, $14.99-$17.99, 89 points, is a gentle balance of flavors unique to Pinot Noir, not too tart nor too sweet, not too Gamay light, nor Cabernet heavy, but the balance leads to a true Red table wine with the widest pair-ability.
     
It is difficult to find a "good" Pinot Noir under $40.00, but with the Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve you're under 
$20.00, which gives this wine a great QPR. 







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Summertime Chardonnay-Times-Two Workmen-Like Chardonnay Wines


Cupcake Vineyards Central Coast 2009 Chardonnay,
$7.00-$12.99, 86+ points, is another workmen-like wine that will serve many folks at a picnic or barbecue, but on that important date? Not my choice! However, I paid $7.00 for a "daily wine" that had a bit of a spark to it, (0.65 g/100mL) some crisp citrus fruit well integrated with 13.5% alcohol, a bit of oak, and just a hint of creaminess.

Kenwood Sonoma Valley 2009 Chardonnay,
$11.99-$13.99, 86 points, does what it is designed to do, be good enough for general wine drinking, but will not get more than that from me (I have come to really appreciate Kenwood wines, but I am disappointed with this one); uninspired, and with lack-luster fruit that's on a scale with their disappointing 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (6.5 acidity). So far, for me, it's Kenwood's Reds!




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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wellington Vineyards Sonoma Valley Zinfandel



Wellington Vineyards Sonoma Valley 2005 Zinfandel, $18.99, 88 points, began my zinperience (Zinfandel wine experience) with a crystal-clear "crushed currant", youthful Bordeaux, and purple-ruby color.
The aroma was pungent plum and cherry upon first pouring, but settled down a bit as the wine breathed. However, the alcohol (14.8%) was always present in the aroma throughout my two hours of drinking (two glasses).
The Wellington was early-palate-light, with mid-palate cayenne, and finishing moderately with white pepper and a hint of ginger.
This is a light to medium-bodied wine that has good flavor, good enough as a stand-alone Zinfandel; I paired it with a buffalo-Cornish-hen taco, and Monterey-Jack nachos, but watch the intensification of heat with Habanero or Jalapeno salsa (FIRE!).

The Wellington Vineyards Sonoma Valley 2005 Zinfandel was found at Janice Morin's Harvest Market Route 101 Bedford, NH.
Good place to pick-up a Lobster with that bottle of Chardonnay!

(603) 472-5017
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Molly Dooker Australian Shiraz Is Rich And Smooth At All Three Price Points

My guess is that you got it from my last posting: I loved  the Mollydooker Carnival Of Love 2007 McLaren Vale Shiraz 94 points, but that awful price is just too much? (2009 Velvet Glove Shiraz $196.99 not in my price range) Well there is a number of ways to look at this, but I want to focus on these other two Molly Dooker Shiraz wines that give a similar feel, flavor, and power and at a reduced price.



Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy 2009 McLaren Vale Shiraz, $49.99-$52.99, 93 points, begins with its dense Shiraz purple color, and wows you with aromas of cinnamon, clove, and cherry; the aroma is more pronounced than the Carnival Of Love 2007 Shiraz. The Tannins are enormous (2009 could be cellared for some time to tone them down.), the feel is silky smooth and rich, yet not as supple or as elegant as the Carnival Of Love, and having a slightly diminished finish,  but plum and licorice are outstanding companions of this big-smashing Shiraz.


Mollydooker The Boxer 2009 McLaren Vale Shiraz, $29.99-$32.99, 90 points, continues the color of the others, the aroma is sweeter and fruitier, and The Boxer retains most of the flavor and feel of the more expensive Carnival Of Love and Blue Eyed Boy, but suffers a hint of bitterness which bites, but is more pronounced in many lesser Australian Shiraz wines. This is still an expensive wine and that bite hurts the QPR (See Index-of-reviewed-wines under Australian wines for comparison).
The Boxer's alcohol  (16%) is more noticeable and gives considerable heat, but is oddly the same as the others. This is still a very good Shiraz, and if you want a feel for Molly Dooker but don't want to go hungry, this one will do, but The Boxer too has the big Tannins and could use some time in the cellar.


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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mollydooker Carnival Of Love 2007 McLaren Vale Shiraz





Mollydooker Carnival Of Love 2007 McLaren Vale Shiraz, $84.99-$99.99, 94 points, is a mega-mouth-filling-meaty wine that is big in price and flavor, deep, dark, aromatic (Sweet-spice, Cedar, Clove, and Cinnamon, all in the misty afterglow of an early spring thunderstorm), silky smooth, but finishes long and strong on cayenne spice and reflecting the unrestrained power of all its well integrated fruits of Damson Plum,  Black Cherry, Black currant, and just a hint of Watermelon accentuating this wine's acidity. Carnival Of Love is just that: "carnal" with 16% alcohol that is so well built into this wine that the pleasantries of the wild Australian countryside are tamed within its elegance.  
Wow, don't miss out on this wine experience that will commemorate graduations, weddings, or just a simple reunion of loved ones and friends. This wine is no joke, but a carousel of taste.



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Monday, April 18, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon Vignette #15 Caymus Napa Valley 2008




Caymus Napa Valley 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $56.09-$65.99, 93 points; I just love a wine that begins with a lovely aroma, and this Caymus doesn't disappoint, but wafts pleasant subtle hints of mocha and cinnamon.
A royal purple color splashes beautifully.
The rich and luscious texture is embodied in big black fruit and big black licorice, chewy and delicious, and some heat is in on the long finish, but the 15.2% alcohol is well integrated and blended.
This is a good experience, and will reward special occasions admirably.
This will be the last in this series of vignettes, as I have acquired some Zins and Shiraz wines that are calling for attention, especially the MollyDooker 2007 Carnival of Love Shiraz, a wine I've been looking forward to for some time. Robert Parker scored it 96 points, and WS scored it 95 points.


I'll be "blasting you."


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

VILLA MARIA Sauvignon Blanc MARLBOROUGH New Zealand


Villa Maria Marlborough 2010 Sauvignon Blanc,
 $13.49-$18.99, 91 points, is my rare recommendation for spring and summer white wine drinkers.
With a transparent appearance, a transcendent tropical fruit aroma, flavors of peach and papaya, crisp feel (Total acidity: 7.7gL), all of which is surrounded by a gentle ginger spice and finishes moderately with a fruit-spice.
Pair with Oysters or White fish with lemon, green salads, Feta, Gruyere, and Sharp Cheddar cheeses.
I bought two of 750 ml bottles for the lesser price, but wished I had bought a case. At $13.99 you can hardly beat the QPR, nor will your guests be disappointed.

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Cabernet Sauvignon vignette #14a & #14b Kenwood Cabernet Wines-Sonoma Valley & Jack London




Kenwood Sonoma Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $13.99-$16.99, 88 points, has an almost rose color, the aroma  breaks with an earthy quality (Carries over to palate) and as the wine breathes, a bit of black currant and a hint of mocha fragrances appear.
The Kenwood 2007 Sonoma Cabernet is a light to medium bodied wine with little early palate flavor, but with grapey-plum late palate flavors, and with a fair spice finish; this is a clean wine, quaffable, delicious, and pair-able, or as a stand-alone wine. This is just what I've come to expect from Kenwood: a good wine at a fair price, for the QPR is very good.

Kenwood Jack London 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $29.99-$35.99, 90 points, is the 30th anniversary of this Sonoma Valley wine.
The color is darker than the above reviewed wine, and less bright, the early palate is richer, but overall the flavor is similar, however the finish is long, spicy, and rich, all wound together in a heavier-body than the 2007 Sonoma. The QPR does not stand-up to the 2007 Sonoma, but if you can find the Jack London for a better price than I bought it ($29.99), I would recommend this wine.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon Vignette #13 Burgess Napa Valley 2005

Burgess Napa Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $28.99-$38.99, 89 points, has a lighter Bordeaux color than the 2005 Supery, but the strong vegetative aroma (Hints of which carry-over onto palate) and overall feel makes these two wines difficult to tell apart in a blind-taste-testing. With just a bit more fruit, the Burgess defines itself, but the price is hard to justify with so many good Cabernet wines available, and lacking great distinction, I'm not inclined to try this one again, at least not until another vintage and a GOOD sale present themselves enticing.



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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon Vignette #12 2006 Toasted Head



Toasted Head 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon , $12.99-$14.99, 85 points, has a fair, but muted aroma, Bordeaux Black-currant color, and a rather one dimensional  black-fruit flavor, but lacking anything distracting, not a bad social Cab.




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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon Vignette #11 FRANCISCAN NAPA VALLEY 2007



 Franciscan Estate Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $18.99-$22.99, 90 points, has a strong aroma of Black currant wafting up from a deep purple full-body.
This cab begins with an instant tannic bomb which maybe too much for some, but for me the tannin adds a dynamic that otherwise might leave the Franciscan Cabernet a bit boring; of course with bottle age that tannin should relax, but I like it now; I think the tannin wakens this wine, while the 13.5% alcohol will hardly dent the overall good flavor of plum and licorice, it is smooth and suitable for most Cabernet cuisine. 
Want something different, or just want to impress friends? At $18.99, this is a big wine for a fair price.






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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BERINGER CABERNET SAUVIGNON PRIVATE RESERVE 2007 NAPA VALLEY

This wine cannot be presented as a vignette because that would be an oxymoron.

Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $67.99-$115.00, 94 points, is one of those wines you don't just open and mindlessly gulp-down.
 I was in no hurry. There was no competition, just me and this Cabernet to listen to; I was prepared by a hard day at work and being left alone; I was up for the adventure which began with hues as crystal-clear as a dense Australian Shiraz could be, and with flashes of deep ruby.
A beautiful bouquet of gentle Red cedar, hints of cinnamon, and sweet Black currant was, in the modern vernacular, AWESOME!  With supple flavors of prune and smooth licorice resting on mid palate, and just a hint of espresso late-palate. The long finish of spice, and just hints of mint and menthol  imprinted forever this pleasant wine experience, which was totally in harmony with a friend of mine.
Now, what to pair this mammoth Cabernet of full-body, silky texture, and weight, with?
This wine will dominate most cuisine, but was okay with a bacon-black-bean stew.
This is a show-case wine for important friends and occasions, or for R and R.
Robert Parker scored this wine 95 points, however Wine Access has him scoring it 97 points. Some confusion here, but I'm uncertain which is correct.
Stephen Tanzer scored it 92 points.
WS scored it 91 points.
It's hard to justify paying BIG dollars for a 91 point wine, but I can assure you this is not a 91 point wine.
Laurie Hook Winemaker and Ed Sbragia have carved a fine wine out of the hills and fields of Bancroft Ranch, Steinhauer, Chabot, Lampyridae, St. Helena Home, Marston, and Rancho del Oso.




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Monday, April 4, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon Vignette #10 2005 ST. SUPERY NAPA VALLEY



ST. SUPERY NAPA VALLEY 2005 CABERNET SAUVIGNON$24.99-$34.99, 89 Points, is to me, not as described by the St. SupĂ©ry Estate Vineyards and Winery,
but just maybe, you'll find this wine as I have found it: dark Bordeaux color, strong vegetative aroma (Hints of which carry-over onto palate), long Tabasco finish, but mid palate hints of plum, licorice, and eucalyptus lightly wrapped in a light body of glycerol.
This wine is not a typical fruit-forward Cabernet, but more Syrah-like to me, and maybe that's why I like this 
wine so much, but I think many Cab drinkers will not, and at this price not an enthusiastic recommendation.

 

 

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon Vignette #9 2006 Benziger, 2005 Ferrari-Carano, 2007 Justin PASO ROBLES

Three vignets of California Cabernet Sauvignon wines, all 88 points, all are a good buy on sale, all rich and full of flavor, and  all will pair with appropriate cuisine. Availability and price will help in choosing which Cabernet is right for you. Need help with that pairing? Check-out: .foodandwinepairing.org


Benziger Sonoma County 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $16.99-$18.99, 88 points, has a pleasant aroma, is rich, smooth, and earthy. Though a friend of mine thought it thin (I did not), for these dollars you have a good wine.


Ferrari-Carano Alexander Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $22.99-$36.99, 88 points, has a pleasant aroma, lush and wonderful, but maybe just too fruit forward for me, but at the lower price, this is a good buy. Also posted on: Winter's Cabin Fever Brings out the Cabernet In Me


Justin Paso Robles 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $21.99-$29.99, 88 points, is more complex than the others, more a light-bodied wine (That could be the feel of a 13.5% alcohol), but rewards with a fine long finish. Again, Quality, Price, Ratio (QPR) is important, but with these three Cabernet Sauvignon wines, QPR is quite close when found on sale.




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