Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bad Boy 2005 Bordeaux Red Wine (Merlot), On Halloween, All the Big Boys Were Bad

Bad Boy 2005 Bordeaux Red Wine (95% Merlot), Approximately $20.00, 88 points, is a different kind of Merlot, it is aromatically earthy with grape and spicy cedar notes, and has the dark color of garnet, flecks and all. The flavor is dominated by a still firm tannin presence, with tangy licorice and Damson plum. 
Normally I would have waited for this wine to go on sale, but I'm working on my Halloween picks. Certainly I could have picked this up for about $17.00 if I had waited (Making this a fair wine purchase).
There is a story behind this wine, a story about French wine maker Ets Thunevin's insight into young-drinkable wines. If I see the more recent vintages on sale, I will gladly pick a bottle or two; that makes this a recommendation for this wine. 
Mister Anonymous is my model, and he knows the face behind the the message! Thanks MA, and just because you're one of The Big Boys, Don't Be Bad.
For a more insightful peek, check-out:Yumsugar.com

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Artemis 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Artemis 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $39.15-$58.00 (Seen on-line for $31.99), 93 points, is a remarkable gently sweet, lush, approachable Cabernet with deep magenta colors, a fair aroma of bright red cherry, cedar, and a bit of alcohol (14.5%), which does carry over onto the palate in a medium to full bodied wine, having flavors of licorice, espresso, and plum, but the best part of this wine, to me, is just how sleek and silky it is, as a good chocolate melts in your mouth, so does this wine sort of melt into your mouth, but the finish is yet long and still rich with a bounty of tannin that seem to say, "drink now, drink for years to come."

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Artemis 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is a bit expensive, but for those important occasions, especially with those who like big Cabs. this is a good choice.
This wine scores very well with almost everyone.


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Debauchery Sauvignon Blanc From Chile

Debauchery 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, $11.99-$13.99, 87 points, is very tart, and should be paired accordingly, sushi comes to mind. The color and nose are typical lemon-grass, but the flavor is quite tart lemon/lime and grapefruit, though the official web-site offers "orange blossom-mango and passion fruit", that's for you to decide. I do find Wineries' descriptions of their wines to be a bit elaborate, and, I suppose, if not them, then who?

So, is being debauched a Halloween trait? Does such a wine qualify?
I'm beginning to wonder why so many wines have names that give wine a "bad" name. Reminds me of High-school days when the guys use to say: "Oh, girls like the guys that mistreat them."
Well, if Debauchery works for your Halloween motif, go for it, but as for what some wineries title their wines, I'm dubious.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Hampshire Wine Advocate? Commentary! Read At Your Own Risk!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
New Hampshire Wine Advocate? Commentary!
I've considered this commentary for several days now, and I feel that I should say something, even though some might not like it.
I was reading this morning (Wednesday) about the 2007 Acorn Zinfandel, and the price was $38.99 at this nice fashionable wine boutique.
Well, I'm conflicted; I like small wine-shops and I have bought wine at the unmentioned wine boutique, but I also owe my readers the best advocacy I can, and here is an example: http://www.nh.gov/liquor/index.shtml  regular price of $32.99 now on sale for $29.99. That's a whopping $9.00 less; if I send my son out to pick-up a bottle of 2007 Acorn Zin for his friend, I wouldn't send him there, and why would I send anyone else there? I might send him there for something else.

Well, I'm not naming any names (If you are a savvy NH wine lover, you'll know of whom I'm speaking and where I read this), but I will tell my readers, as I see it, the best possible price on a wine I can find, whether I find it at Hannafords, Market basket, Bella Vino's, even the dreaded NHLS, or wherever.
What a wine enthusiast needs to keep in mind, is sometimes a wine will be difficult to find, and or might only be located at some small boutique; that's different. Also, you maybe there buying something else and pick-up, out of convenience, a wine that can be purchased for less at some other store . That is their edge in this difficult world of NH wine, like buying a six-pack at the corner store. I have ordered wine from a boutique and paid up to $15.00 more for that wine, but I'm not going to advise my readers to pay more for a wine they have not made any-kind of commitment to purchase (I did pay $15.00 more for a wine I ordered at a boutique when I did not know it was going to be available at the reduced price in another store), and  I don't know all wines available and their prices, and maybe the author of the article didn't know either; Maybe he should have, but if he did, he is not looking-out for your wallet.
However, $9.00 is a considerable sum of money, and unless you live next door, I'm inclined to spend my $29.99 at the State Liquor Store, though esthetically not as pleasing.
I have not been  paid by anyone to tell you this, but I must admit that I feel cheated when I pay more than I should have.
I have gotten no free wine, and as of today, I have not advertised for anyone; this blog has been for fun and education.
I have no vendetta toward anyone, nor do I wish to take away any advantage some wine boutique is seeking, I think that was made clear in my posts and good-will comments made about a number of boutiques and stores I have visited and bought wine from.
This wine blog is about advocacy as I see it, and this week, Mr. John  Doe (knowingly or not) led NH wine lovers astray, and I, for one, will hold him here accountable.
Dennis Tsiorbas
Posted by NHwineman at 8:28 PM

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ghost Pines Zinfandel And Halloween

Ghost Pines 2008 Zinfandel, $11.70-$19.00, 90 points, is the first of my "Halloween Wines"; these are wines that will go well with the Halloween Motif and will add to the paraphernalia of you party. Sin Zin-I recommend, and Lust Zin-which was to me, a TRICK and not a TREAT, (Already reviewed) could be included as well, but that maybe a stretch. At the end of my review of these wines, or close to Halloween itself, I'll link them all together.

Ghost pines Zinfandel is a product of the famous Martini Family, and is sourced from Sonoma and the San Joaquin Counties.
The color is similar to the Tannat wine (Dark and Violet), the aroma is alcohol, savory-sage, and cedar, the texture is rich and lush, and the flavor is bramble-berry with a long finish of plum-pepper. The 2008 has very firm tannins, it is a big jammy Californian Zinfandel without going over-the-top. I had read some not so good reviews, but my palate and my wallet were very happy. I paid $11.70, at Hannaford's, but some of their stores are now selling it at 25%-35% off of $19.00.


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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Joseph Mellot La Chatellenie 2009 Sancerre

Joseph Mellot La Chatellenie 2009 Sancerre, $17.00-$21.00, 90 points, is my first introduction to French Sauvignon Blanc and it won't be my last if I have anything to say about it. With a lemon/lime color, aroma of lemon-grass and tangerine, flavors of tart/crisp melon, and tangy grapefruit, and with all of that, it has a certain silkiness. needless to say, the value is not so much in the 90 points, but in the varietal integrity (90 points + $17.00 + Sancerre = excellent QPR) I know that is such #@#@&%%, but I'm having the darnedest time trying to justify a little extra dollars to buy this wine. I found this at Hannaford's markets.
Anyway, I'm glad I bought it. I found the Sancerre to be different enough from USA, NZ or other Sauvignon Blanc wines I've tried, to warrant buying again.


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Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier


Pine Ridge 2009 Chenin Blanc + Viognier,  $12.99-$14.99, 90 points, is simply delicious, refreshing, and interesting. Pine Ridge is nearly crystal clear with light hints of green, an aroma of candied violets, and a tart citrus flavor that is yet creamy.
So, get out of the box and try something new; this is a good value wine of crisp acidity and lush floral freshness.


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Monday, August 22, 2011

Primitivo: Italy's Zinfandel, And A Sangiovese So Similar!

Cantele 2006 Primitivo, $14.95, 89 points,  is a bright cherry red, an aroma of fresh basil-cedar, and flavors of cranberry (We all agreed on) and plum. There is a definite delicious factor here, but I found the the finish a little short.  Cantele 2006 Primitivo has 13.5% alcohol, which is most typical.This is one of the best Italian Zins I have found. I have family that has family from Italy, and they brought wine with them to the USA (2006 Fattoria Zerbina Torre di Ceparano Sangiovese di Romagana Superiore --reviewed below). So when I went, for a weekend of celebration, I had to bring my latest Primitivo wines with me; "Never heard of Italian Zinfandel" was the common reply.
A variety of Brick-oven pizza was the food offering and we went at the wines with a vengeance.
I found this wine at Angela's pasta and cheese  815 Chestnut St. Manchester, NH. Also bought at Angela's and reviewed was the Wingnut Zinfandel, so there are good wines to be found at this hidden-away "goldmine".

Fattoria Zerbina Torre di Ceparano 2006 Sangiovese di Romagana Superiore, $14.99-$24.99, 90 points, is almost the same wine. "What?" I couldn't believe what I was looking at, breathing, and tasting; this Sangiovese, out Zinfandeled (hyperbole) the Primitivo in all those categories, but added some heat (14.5% alcohol) which enlivened the finish enough to distinguish the two wines.
Both wines were moderately tannic and acidic, and both were delicious (Everyone liked the Cantele better, but me).


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two Hands Bella's Garden Beautiful

Two Hands Bella's Garden 2008 Shiraz is a wine too expensive for me, but I wanted the beautiful wine of last year (2006 vintage) which was so memorable. So I waited for Bella's  to go on sale before I would make the sacrifice and buy. Wine lovers in New Hampshire usually know, that at some point, wine will be discounted  at the New Hampshire Liquor Stores (NHLSs), but I waited and waited; maybe six months went by (November 2010 now) when the Wine Spectator Magazine (WS) arrived in the mailbox, and Two Hands Bella's Garden 2008 Shiraz was rated number 2 of their Top 100. Well, I knew a few stores that carried it for $62.99 (Higher than the list price in WS and my wallet), but I also knew what would happen to that wine. So I flew to the nearest NHLS that carried Two Hands Bella's Garden 2008 Shiraz, and paid the big bucks for a big wine. Two days later, I think that's what it is was, I went back and, just as I had expected, the store was cleaned-out, and I mean everywhere; every store I went to, the shelves were empty of Bella's Beautiful. 
I know this journal maybe a bit boring, but bear with me. Two months later the Bella's Garden 2009 Shiraz arrives, and the NHLSs have a 15% sale; I didn't wait this time. I grabbed Two at $53.54.
Now it's half-way through August, Wine-Thoughts ' Sandra Crittenden (June posting) had recently written a compelling review of Two Hands 2008 Bella's Garden, and now, as I join her and others in appreciation of a great Shiraz, here's my review:

Two Hands Bella's Garden 2008 Shiraz, $53.54-$62.99, 95 points, has an almost black core trending royal purple to the rim. The aroma (Bouquet) is a restrained power of crushed-composted grapes in a Redwood Box. Gentle flavors of plum and hints of blackberries leads to a trail, by way of a silky smooth full-bodied wine, to a long finish of spices and very mellow eucalyptus; the 15.8% alcohol was well integrated. This wine was very fine all alone, but paired nicely with a whole-wheat bread with olive-oil and melted goats cheese with a spiced rib-eye.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buehler Vineyards Napa Valley 2009 Zinfandel- Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2008 Chardonnay

Buelher Vineyards Napa Valley 2009 Zinfandel, $16.99-$19.99, 90 points, began at room temperature (68 degrees), with a deep purple to a dense core. The aroma was cedar and spice with black cherry and plum, all of which carried nicely over to the palate in a medium to full bodied wine experience. This is a sound Zinfandel, with a long finish of Black And White pepper, and at the lower price or the higher, still a great buy.
Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2008 Chardonnay, $33.14-$38.99, 90 points, reminds me of the gender terms masculine and feminine; for the most part, I find California Chardonnays to be big and powerful (Masculine), but the gentle Chateau Montelena is apropos to its name, with a light transparency to a feminine natural aroma of still pome orchards, and delicate flavors of pear and tangerine with vanilla hints. Did I like this wine? You bet, and the contrast to their recent Zinfandel was appreciated.

Commentary Time:
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is juxtaposed to the Buelher Zin, and though they are completely different wines, their prices don't equal (Subjective opinion) their value. QPR reaches across all varietals (Unless your a collector/Investor); I will buy another Buelher Zinfandel, but probably not another Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. Is that hard? Well, maybe, but for a "poor" guy like me, I made the Big sacrifice from my wallet to try a piece of history, which I did (I don't regret that), but that having been said, I have to live in the "real world".

Okay, this is what I paired these wines with, both were just fine. What is this? Greeks know, but for all others: Spinach Pita with Feta cheese.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

WhiteHall Lane 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Leap-Frog's Leap

$16.99-$18.99, 92 points, has a typical lemon/lime color, but the aroma! With early morning sea-breezes that bring back memories of Rye-beach, this Sauvignon Blanc stands alone (So Far) in that respect. Ethan (my son) had that too but with hints of lemon/thyme, and Ben (anonymous) began the flavors with grape-tomato frizz. We all noted a very long finish: Ethan had gentle sweetness coming back, and I had hints of ginger and pear, but overall, we were impressed by the complexity and balance. Ethan scored it 93 points, and Ben 96 points. This was a blind tasting.

Frog's Leap Napa Valley 2009 Sauvignon Blanc,
$18.99-$21.99, 90 points, had a different aroma of pink grapefruit and old lemon grass. The color is light-golden/lime.
Flavors began with Ben who hinted at wet concrete and sage, while Ethan had a minty orange and tangerine. I had smooth mature White grapefruit, not as crisp as the St. Supery, but mellower and creamier.
Ethan scored the Frog's Leap 87 points, and Ben had it at 88 points.
QPR becomes an issue, but die-hard Frog's Leap fans, will no doubt, continue buying.


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Saturday, August 13, 2011

St. Supery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

St. Supery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, $15.99-$19.99, 90 points, is a delightfully grapefruit dominated wine (Light Lemon-grass is typical). This wine has the light lemon/lime color of White grapefruit, the aroma of White grape fruit, and the over-powering flavor of. . . with hints of tangerine, the subtleties of a good Sauvignon Blanc, it is crisp and refreshing, and the finish is, you guessed it, White grapefruit, all the way into the next life.
I have heard it said that grapefruit flavors were, in the recent past, much sought-after, and as soon as I opened this St Supery, that is what I thought. So if you still like that not-so-old trend, $15.99 is a good buy, but the 2008 may not be around anymore; let me know the trends of 2009 and 2010.
Went well with corn-on-the-cob, roasted chicken, and Red-potato salad.
Just in case you (my enthusiastic wine lovers) don't read the comments, Bill Rosich's- ugawino.blog, did leave a "vertically" interesting comment.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Chateau St. Jean 2007 Reserve Chardonnay

Chateau St. Jean 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, $19.99-$45.99, 88 points, is a light sun-gold color, and on the nose there is a bit of burnt-toast and lemon oil, but more importantly, Vanilla! Oaky vanilla overwhelming not only the aroma, but the flavor as well. Yes, the wine still tastes fine enough, especially if you like vanilla, the texture is wonderfully rich without being syrupy, and there is a fair finish of spiciness.   
This is not a quality to price ratio Chardonnay, and I'm oh-so-glad I didn't pay more than $19.99 for it.
The last two expensive wines I've tasted, reveal that the cost of a bottle of wine is NO guaranty of a "Good" wine. 
You may remember that I did not want to try any more Ridge and Decoy wines, but I went on to find that you can't judge all wines bad from an individual winery, because of "one" disappointing wine. However, a "Flagship" wine, like this Reserve, will leave me reserved when I go to buy another.


I paired this Chardonnay with: (Pizza below). Does the picture help or hinder the post; so often these sorts of photographs look less than tasty?

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Domaine Servin, 2008 Chablis Premiere Cuvee Les Pargues

At this time Chablis, of all the wines of Franceis the one that captivates me the most.
Chablis is like drinking pure water from the Alps making its way through a Tour de France via miles of stone aqua-duct, to a rarefied finish in the fields and orchards of orange and lemon blossoms, where the night air transmutes the heavenly dew into bitter-sweet memories.

Okay, okay, enough of that!

Domaine Servin 2008 Chablis, $14.29-$19.99, 90 points, is all the above, and three of us emptied that beautiful "nectar" in less than an hour; at 12.5% alcohol, no one was in danger of falling down, but the sad (Good) thing was I had only the one bottle.

The word across the table was "citrus" on the nose, early, mid, and late palate, awash in stone. Refreshing, crisp, and totally drink-able, were the other adjectives. 

How can you go wrong with this? We paired this Chablis with barbecue chicken and potato salad with seeded rye.

Index o -reviewed wines

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Mommy's Time Out Rosso Primitivo

This is very silly, but I will always buy a new Primitivo when I see it; I saw Mommy's Time out for $5.49 with a coupon. I did what Maslow's dog would do, and grabbed it. 

Mommy's Time Out Rosso 2009 Primitivo, $5.49-$9.99, 86 points, has a large water-rim (Young wine) and deep magenta welling into opaque. 
The aroma is reticent allspice and earth.
This is a medium-bodied wine wound in tight tannins, without which this wine would fail. There's just enough to carry it beyond mediocrity, except for what isn't there: foul flavors, over-whelming black cherry and plum, but their more subtle appearance, has a bit of bitterness on mid to late palate, and hints of grape-skin on the finish, somehow, like a pop-up in mid field, dropping between the three frenzied fielders, lands for a base-hit, so too, this wine.
Mommy's Time Out Primitivo comes from the Puglia (PU-eeya) region of Italy, but Rosso on the front label mean's what? This I haven't been able to discover; any sleuth worth his/her Mediterranean salt should be able to help.
Well, mommy should be able to take a siesta, have a glass of Primtivo (Paired nicely with "hot" salsa and lime-corn chips) and get back to work, 13.5% alcohol, without falling over.
A final note of pairing, I have my doubts that this will pair well with the usual Italian cuisine, but if it works for you, I'm all ears. A final note on Mommy's Time Out 2009 Primitivo is that it will surely benefit from More Time In The Bottle.


Now, if mommy were drinking Lust Zin, she just might not be able to read: Chris Muir's in-vino-veritas, all others should read at your own risk, and get ready to pay that $10-$100 for the CO2 cover charge; it's nice to be filthy rich;-)

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

White Wines For Summer Refreshment, OR Not!

White Wines are so much fun.
Many are less expensive than Micro-Brews, and often much more refreshing.
I'm not going to be presenting "serious" wines here, just Crisp White Wines, refreshing, easy-drinking and fun, with food or not. If you shop at most large markets in NH, you'll likely find these inexpensive White Wines (Look for coupons). This month NHLStores are doing 15% off 12 bottles or more NW wines.

As an alternative to expensive Champagne (France), Prosecco (Italy) is a light bubbly White Wine that will please almost anyone. I've heard it said, the vino veracity of the statement is undetermined by me, that you can't get a "good" Champagne for under $40, but these two offerings of Prosecco are wonderfully delightful and under $20.00.

Caposaldo Prosecco, $13.99, 89 points, swells you glass with a frothy fresco, frivolous and fun, fine alone or with food. Having a hint of lemon/lime on the nose, and will-o-the-wisp creamy citrus flavors, this crystal hued dynamite in a glass is sure to please.

Santa Margherita Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, $17.99-$22.99, 90 points, is very much the same as the Caposaldo, but with a bit of nondescript tension, an edginess that subliminally says: there is more here than just a gulper sprits.

Rex Goliath Pinot Grigio (No vintage given), $6.00-$9.00, 88 points, especially at the $6.00 price point, is a great buy. Not a complex mind-bending wine, but delicious, crisp, and refreshing, goes with light food-fair; I had mine with not-so-light fried lobster and sautéed scallops.
The color is light metallic lime, with pome notes on the nose, and tangerine on a mild citrus finish.

Big House 2009 White Wine,
 $6.79-$7.99, 88 points, is another great buy. There's a number of varietals in this wine, but what I'm after here, is down-home inexpensive fun with food and wine.
The color is clear lemon/lime, the nose has a slight citrus aroma and just a hint of honeysuckle, and the flavor is marked by hints of pear-tangerine, and finishes with zesty citrus.

Ferrari Carano 2010 Flume Blanc, $13.99-$16.99, 88 points, has a bright lemon/lime color, a lemon-grass aroma (cold), with a slightly creamy texture, yet crisp with just a hint of sprits, zesty, but not frizzante.  While cold, there was very little oak to distinguish this Flume Blanc, though it did spend time in old French oak and stainless steel.
I liked this wine, though it is not the best QPR wine mentioned here, it has a character that is interestingly smooth, which, for some, is a betrayal of varietal character; I think it is ever-so-slight.

Now for the "OR Not" in the title; these White wines are not recommended, either for price, or flavor, or both.

Dry Creek Clarksburg Wilson's Ranch 2009 Chenin Blanc, $11.99-$13.99, 86 points, is not a bad wine, but with so many pleasing wines out there, including MAN-Vintners Chenin Blanc, Wilson's Ranch is not my recommendation.
Light straw color, followed by a grassy aroma, and flavors of fruity white grape, nutty late palate, and lemon-meringue pie on lips, with a hint of sour ginger on the finish.

Woodbridge 2009 Chardonnay, $5.99-$7.99, 83 points, has a straw yellow color, aroma has hints of lemon, the flavor has too much dry hay, and is just unpleasant to me.

Conundrum 2009 White wine (a blend of four varietals), $18.99-$22.99, 89 points, is in my "OR Not" group, because of the price; the wine is complex with layers of honey and aromas of honeysuckle, and having a golden color, this white would be fine at $15.00-$17.00, if you can find it for that price, or if you are like me, and just want to experiment.


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