Sunday, May 29, 2011

Caparzo 2006 Brunello DI Montalcino

Caparzo 2006 Brunello DI Montalcino $32.29-$37.99, 92 points, is aromatically a bit closed, having just a hint of clove and black-cherry; there isn't a lot there.
The color is light Bordeaux with a strawberry tint.
The mouth-feel is a shade lighter than the other two Brunello wines I've tried, but this is still a medium-bodied wine with layers of flavors. With hints of plum, black-cherry, and cinnamon, complimented with a long black pepper finish, this is a great wine.
I paired it (Wonderfully) with a spice-burger, green peppers, and onion.


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Eureka! I Just Realized What Happened To Zin!

  I just realized that one reason I've veered into so many other wines (Italian is my latest foray) is that in New Hampshire, there is a very limited variety of Zinfandel wines available, and though I do have several Zinfandel wines waiting to be tried, very few of them have me biting-at-the-bit to taste.
  This is a perfect example of what New Hampshire Zinfandel lovers must face when it comes to variety: In the June issue of Wine Spectator Magazine, Tim Fish gives his current Top 16 Zinfandel Wines to drink NOW, and I have seen only one available in NH (Four Vine Paso Robles Biker). The Wine Spies reviewed 29 Zinfandel wines before I'd seen enough of our zin-scarcity, with not a single one of these Zins having been seen by me in two years, and only 3 were familiar wineries. Now, that doesn't mean that some others are not available, but as one who hunts them down, I have not seen them. Keep in mind, that all five Primitivo (Italian Zinfandel) wines I could find in New Hampshire, I bought, tasted, and reviewed.
  Having had my "Eureka event" I'll move on to other varietals without apology.
  I do have all five bottles of Red Wine from Portugal that I could find, (That tasting should be fun), but once again, New Hampshire continues to reveal why I've started this blog: helping to aid friends and family who just want a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price, all-the-while I'm learning, and for me, it is my adventure and pleasure.
  The other day a young lady at a sub-shop asked me about Red wine from Portugal, commenting that she couldn't find any, I was now on a mission, and so I bought her (Me) a bottle that came recommended ($7.99), and she loved it. However, not many of us want to go on a mission for a bottle of wine; I do! Ask me, and I'll check it out as best I can.

If you are interested in my reviews of Four Vines "Biker" Zin: Four Vines Paso Robles 2008 "Biker"  And Four Vines Paso Robles 2009 "Biker"


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Twin Italian White Wines and Clam-bake

Antinori Villa 2009 White Wine, $10.19-$14.99, 86 points, is a good wine with a creamy texture and flavors of apple and citrus, all holding together for a long time, even as the wine warms, which is nice when your having a picnic. 
With a light color and gentle aromas this White Wine is what I call a "Workman" of a wine: it will accommodate your guests, but won't wow them, and at the $10.19 price, won't break the bank either. 

Pieropan 2009 Soave (So-Ah-Ve),
$11.90-$17.99 (I paid $13.59), 87 points, has a light golden crystal color, and the aroma is a "good" morning on harvest day in the lemon orchard.
Early palate citrus and granite doesn't build much through to the finish, but the flavor is consistent and complimented my clams, corn-on-the-comb, and lobster.
Keep in mind that, usually, Soave is intended to be drunk within two years of bottling.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Castello Banfi DI Montalcino 2004 Brunello Makes For Marvelous

Castello Banfi DI Montalcino 2004 Brunello, $49.29-$57.99, 93 points.
I'm going to be a bit disorganized with this review, because of how this wine evolved from opening through two hours of tasting.
First, I want to say that it paired beautifully with a medium Strip-steak, and wowed me with Dark-chocolate.
I opened the Brunello at about 60 degrees.
The color is amber-tinted royal purple.
This is a gulper of a wine, it is smooth, it is rich, it is delicious, it is meaty, it is crisp and brilliant, and it has a good long white and black pepper finish; this is my kind of wine, and if you say this is your kind of wine, just maybe we have similar palates. 
Though the floral component was slight, it did make an appearance with some air.
As the Brunello warmed, aromas of plum, black cherry, and blackberry began wafting out of my glass, but best of all, was the developing "After The Lightning Storm" linen fresh fragrance.


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Monday, May 23, 2011

Red, White, and Italian Wine Too

Bolla Della Valpolicella Classico 2006 Amarone, $29.99, 90 points, is the first Amarone I've tried, and though raisin is suppose to predominate, I didn't find this to be the case.
With the color of a young Bordeaux, a gentle aromatic floral presentation, and a beautiful mouth-feel, smooth and rich, having plenty of black fruit flavor and just an appropriate touch of "dirt" to keep you in Italy, you then discover, that with this wine, you have more than just another wine, but with the unique flavor, you have a history and a way of life.

Though the tannins were generous, building a sense of balance, the acid level seemed to be on the low side, resulting in a fine sipping wine, but maybe not quite crisp enough, or as food-friendly as some might expect.
I like this varietal (Provided that the Bolla is typical), and I have some others waiting in the wings.
The price is a bit high, but the wine-making process is more involved and time-labor intensive.

Bollini Trentino 2009 Pinot Grigio, $11.99-$13.99, 86 points.

There is this kind of information, making it irresistible for romantic wine purchasers: "breezes from lake Garda and a cool nocturnal climate. . ." Words alone cannot change water into wine, and though this White Wine was okay, I was a bit disappointed; not with the color of ginger-ale, the nose of lemon-grass, the typical light gentle early palate, late palate lime, or even the finish of lingering grapefruit, but the overall flavor was a bit weak and unfocused.
With so many great Pinot Grigio wines from Italy available, this is not my recommendation.


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Coldi Sole Brunello DI Montalcino 2005

Coldi Sole Lionello Marchesi 2005 Brunello DI Montalcino, $45.05-$60.00, 92 points.
This wine needs to breathe; the second day was better than the first day, and sometimes (Taste first of course) this is a good idea with BIG Reds from Italy.
Upon opening, I was struck by the Walnut-Burgundy color, rich, yet still quite young.
The bouquet was beautifully pleasant, raisin-like, nutmeg hidden within floral fennel hints, and as the Brunello breathed, it morphed into a more traditional black-berries-grape fragrance. 
With early-palate acid (This is a food wine), to a mid-palate tannic grip, this wine demands your attention, it is not a gulper of a wine, not a frivolous wine, but an everyday table-wine for the well-to-do, or a special dinner-wine for more humble situations (decanting is an option). 
The flavor began too floral for me, but toned-down considerably, and with a complex and interesting structure of tart cherry and an INCREDIBLY long lip-smacking finish of cambium bark and white pepper zest I was sold me on this wine.
In the case of the Coldi Sole, QPR changes as it would with a dessert wine; you'll drink less and be satisfied more. Go out and buy a bottle, because it will enliven your palate, expand your wine-tasting experience, and last twice as long.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Santa Margherita 2009 Pinot Grigio-Italian Wine Has Me On The Hunt


  Italy and wine go together like black and white/day and night, but it would seem that many of us just have no idea how complex and voluminous viticulture is there. Admittedly, I'm not the one to be talking about this subject (Newbie that I am), but as one who has discovered Primitivo (Zinfandel) and its delicious Italian character, I felt a NEED to understand Italy and Italian wine a little better, not withstanding my desire to begin exploring those wines. Foremost, is that in Italy, wine is food.
  In the beginning was price and value, most of us believe that value-wine is under $20.00; all five of the Primitivo wines were around $10.00, and that makes Zinfandel from Italy a good (QPR) value wine, but what of other Italian wines? Well, that's where I'm headed, as I explore Wines From Italy.
  Though I'll not be commenting solely on Italian wines, I thought I'd prepare readers of this blog for the inevitable posts on Italian wines with the above preface.

  You may remember my infatuation with Banfi 2009 San Angelo Pinot Grigio, $12.74, 93 points, but following or leading, depending on your point of view, is my latest inspiration for summer-time wine enjoyment, but most of you may know this wine, it is the number ONE imported Pinot Grigio wine requested in fine restaurants (W and S Mag. Apr. 2011): Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (2009 is the Vintage I tried) seems available almost everywhere, is produced in Northern Italy's (Trentino-Alto Adige region).
  Santa Margherita 2009 Pinot Grigio, $19.99-$23.99, 92 points, is at the upper limits of value wine, but is worth the little extra money for the quality wine that you are purchasing.
  Light-lemon color, gentle citrus aroma, gentle citrus flavors throughout, an ironic smooth-crisp feel, but it is the lip-smacking, very long subtle spicy finish that impressed me the most.
  Pinot Grigio lovers and white wine lovers will be happy to be served this wine, especially on a hot afternoon, lunch or just as refreshment, early dinner or aperitif will be magnified and enhanced with this wine.

For an unending well of info on Italian Wines, see:Tuscan Vines.
Oh, he's not a fan of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio.
For wines bought in NH, and reviewed by NHWM, see:

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Cellar No. 8 Zinfandel

Cellar No 8 2008 Zinfandel, $7.99-$10.99, 85 points, is a straight-forward fruity Red Table Wine, barely resembling the Zinfandel varietal.
From the cranberry-Burgundy color, to  the vegetative aroma (Similar to some Cab-Sauv wines), to the overwhelming flavors of prune and licorice, which is the focus of this wine, but it is smooth, almost silky, and the flavor held-up for the two days the bottle was opened. The finish, on the back label, says "long and complex", but I found very little spice that is the typical trademark of Zinfandel wines.
The price is right, but not the character. Still, not a bad Red Wine.


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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Italy Comes On Strong With Zinfandel (Primitivo)

Matane Puglia 2009 Primitivo, $9.99 (I paid $11.04)-$12.99, 88 points, (87 points  Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate) tells the story: a very good Zinfandel for little money.
This is an exciting wine with fair complexity, brilliant magenta hues, rich grape aroma, early palate smooth with noticeable acidity and tannic prowess wound nicely into a bright flavor of red berries and cherry with the hallmark plum medium.
This is a food Zinfandel, as one would expect from Italy, but it is good enough as a stand-alone wine. A hint of bite smarts just a bit, but gets lost in a good spice finish.

Primaterra Puglia 2009 Primitivo, $9.00-$15.00, 87 points, is darker than the Matane, the aroma is more interesting (Spiced plum, earth, and a hint of clove), but the bite is stronger, though less so on day two and three (a bit green), it is less interesting, less bright, but smooth black berries comes through; this is a good wine, but not quite as good a stand-alone wine as the Matane;  the red fruit is missing, but  the spice finish is long and pleasing. Pair with roast beef, beef in rich sauces would be complimented, and I enjoyed it with a heavy sauce on chicken and dumplings. I tried the  Primaterra Puglia with both milk and dark chocolate, but was not happy with either of them.

Flaio Salento 2008 Primitivo, $7.64-$10.99, 89 points, is the richest of the Pirmitivo wines I've tried. It is darker, more earthy aromatic, smoother, more full-bodied, more plum-like, more Californian-like. The Flaio has a fair spice finish and complimented Asparagus in cheddar cheese sauce, and tenderloin well.
Flaio Salento 2008 Primitivo is a perfect example of QPR, and the bonus is that this is another Zinfandel wine (As are all three of these Italian wines) of good flavor, structure, and character for under $10.00 (A rare find indeed).

All of these Pirmitivo (Zinfandel) wines are 13.5% alcohol.


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Friday, May 13, 2011


Okay, I am a "Newbie", and White Wine is not my bag, but, but, but  this blog is about what I've tried and my experience, my palate and how New Hampshire wine drinkers might identify with that experience as I attempt to communicate what I discover; how that can profit NH wine-drinkers financially (Value wines and finds, both in quality and value-QPR), as well as honest advise concerning the good or bad taste of the wines tried.
With this disclaimer to having authority outside of economic gain (Which clouds perspective), or some magical transmutation of palate due to "paper" (Certified Wine Taster), this post is just a continuation of my exploration into the very deep world of wine as I find it.
Don't get mad, but understand that I'm looking to express vino verità; when I say that a vintage of Bare Foot Merlot was undrinkable to me, I'm not trying to  make an enemy (I have met others that love this wine), but honestly, I would not drink wine if that was the only wine in the world; I'd rather drink Grape juice, and maybe this is the key to this post's White Wine recommendation for summertime wine lovers, even Red Wine drinkers, like me, just might find how good some White Wines are.

Though I've read about Verdelho White Wine, I've never come across this varietal (Until now). Verdelho has its origins in Portugal (Prominently on Madeira Island), but has become rooted in Australia, Spain (Verdello), and Argentina.

Molly Dooker McLaren Vale (The Violinist) 2010 Verdelho, 
$24.00-$33.00, 92 points,
made a first impression of lush flavor: of crisp pure pear, cool green apple, sweet kiwi, and a hint of lime, but don't miss the pure glassy mineral color, aroma of subtle honeysuckle-pear, and a gentle finish of sweet spice (Medium-dry).
This wine can stand alone, a sipper or a gulper, but I loved this wine with Lobster Rangoon and General Tao's Chicken, but believe me, this wine was even OK with Hamburg Pizza as well.
I am not one for the overwhelming taste of alcohol, and this wine didn't disappoint at all, and with 15.5% alcohol, that's amazing.
I felt foolish scoring this wine 92 points, because the professionals scored The 2010 Violinist in the mid eighties, but this Newbie stands by my high praise

Index of reviewed wines

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Sunday, May 8, 2011


Hendry Block 7 and 22 Benchlands Napa Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $35.00-$39.00, 90 points, was a very nice wine, but the QPR made this a probable one time Zinperience (unless someone gives me a bottle;-).
Beginning with a young Bordeaux ruby color, and an aroma of spiced grape, which becomes more pronounced with air.
This medium-bodied wine was spicy on the early palate and continued through a long white pepper finish.
Hendry Block 7 and 22 Benchlands Zinfandel had just a hint of bitterness in that finish, a bitterness which was accentuated with some pairings: tenderloin, and green pepper black olive pizza, but much less with smoky baby-back rips and sharp cheddar cheese and crackers. As a "stand-alone" wine, that bitterness was hardly noticeable.
This was a nice wine, smooth and flavorful, but not quite what the price would fulfill in the anticipation.


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Dry Creek's Peter Paul 2006 Zinfandel

Peter Paul Sorracino Vineyards Dry Creek 2006 Zinfandel, $16.14-$18.99, 89 points, has a nice aroma of cinnamon and spice with clove.
This is a typical Californian Zinfandel, a quintessential Dry Creek wine with bramble fruit and pepper, crystal clear ruby color, medium bodied, with a tannic kick coming in on late palate and finish. Having hallmarks of plum and licorice, this is a smooth rich wine, that after breathing for some time brought out black currant and more plum and just a hint of menthol.
I found this Zinfandel to be much better than the newer Peter Paul Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.


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Monday, May 2, 2011

Chablis Château

Daniel DAMPT et Fils Grand Vin de Bourgogne 2008 Chablis, $17.10-$22.99, 91 points, I'm afraid this might not be so easy to find; I bought mine at Hannafords Supermarket (Londonderry) as a "close-out". However this is such a nice wine that I felt an obligation to those who like a clean Chardonnay and to present it as a great stand-alone White wine, but it was wonderful paired with boiled Maine Lobster and fried Sea scallops.
Having a silver-sunshine hue, aromatic hints of honeysuckle in tango with the lightest, elegant airs of citrus, and a subtle flavor of sweet pink grapefruit; this Chablis is crisp yet lush, balanced acidity in an underlying minerality.

Albert Bichot Domaine Long Depaquit 2009 Chablis, $17.99-$19.99, 86 points,
 seemed a bit too slate-like to me (unpleasantly so), but my son liked this wine very much. Light color, crisp, and a Chardonnay that will compliment oysters or  Gruyere cheese and sesame crackers.

Francine et Olivier Savary 2006 Chablis,$20-$30, 87 points, closely parallels the Albert Bichot, without the emphasis on slate, but begins with a light ginger-ale color, having aromas of butterscotch and lemon, with a smooth texture, and a flavor of lime, ending with a brisk grapefruit finish.

Index of reviewed wines

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

AMADOR Foothill Shenadoah Valley Zinfandel

How many different expressions of Zinfandel wine are there?
How many different Zinfandel wineries are there?

Amador Foothill Ferreo Vineyard Shenandoah Valley 2006 Zinfandel, $20.00-$22.99, 88 points, is almost a  ZINFANDEL Rosé, with a ruby color, an earthy nose, a light body with a hint of spritz, and a finish of East-spice. This is no kind of Zinfandel I've ever tried, more like a French red-wine of HAUT-MEDOC than a Californian Zinfandel.
I liked this wine, quaff-able, delicate, and mildly floral, but again, this is not what you or I might expect from a Californian Zinfandel.
The Amador Foothill handles the 14.5% alcohol easily, and paired well with a spinach-artichoke dip with a meaty flat-bread.


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