Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ACORN Alegria Vineyards Russian River AXIOM 2008 Syrah

АКСИОМА реки виноградников Alegria ЖОЛУДЯ русская Syrah 2008, $22.94-$29.99, 89 points: Brilliant deep ruby and violet colors, distinct sweet red cherry, cedar, and clove on the nose, light to medium body carries a food friendly acidity, and a firm tannin structure, with pronounced licorice, plum, with some floral notes. The finish is a truncated culmination of the above with a dusty-wood hint and jalapeño.
We enjoyed this Syrah with a spiced lamb, fried kalamata olives and mushrooms, and a green veggie potato dish.
This is another diversion into a unique Syrah style of wine, and though a bit pricey, it is still certainly worth trying.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Rosenblum Cellars Solano County England-Shaw Vineyard 2005 Syrah

Rosenblum Cellars Solano County England-Shaw Vineyard 2005 Syrah, $26-$34, 90 points, is a deep garnet color, transparent at the rim, the aroma is a stout plum with hints of cedar and black olive.
A medium body conveys a pronounced sweet florality (Not usually to my liking), red licorice, plum, and juicy red cherry.
The finish has a serious flash cayenne-white pepper heat, which is what makes the sweet florality work.
This is another different kind of Syrah that broadens this varietal's boundaries. This is a wine that recalls roses and summer lightning storms; it is also a Shiraz by another name, and Australia is now in the middle of summer. So, whether Syrah or Shiraz, open a bottle and imagine summer zephyrs in the afternoon sun. 
Sorry, I can't remember where I bought this or how much I paid for it, but the above pricing info is from wine sellers on the internet.
Also, for what it's worth, and just to help you who might be interested in buying this wine to be informed, the WS scored this wine 86 points.


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Morgan Pinot Gris Is A January Thaw Diversion

Morgan Santa Lucia Highlands R and D Franscioni Vineyard 2009 Pinot Gris, $11.89-$16.99, 88 points, (Most often known by its Italian name Pinot Grigio) began cold (41 degrees), the color is a very pale transparent straw butterscotch, the aroma began as a gentle lemon zest and grapefruit, but as the Pinot Gris warmed it lifted hints of honeydew melon and pineapple. The texture is rich, but not as dense as olive oil. The flavor mimics well the aroma, and the finish ends nicely on faint ginger spice.
My January Thaw Diversion was the result of my having spiced Haddock fried in extra virgin olive oil, along with my homemade comfort mac and cheese topped with Gruyere and Italian bread crumbs.
You can tell by the label that I've had this wine for some time now, and maybe just past its prime (drink young is the norm), but some Pinot Gris, I'm told, can age for a few years.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

2009 Domaine Fond Croze Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Shyrus

Фонд Croze Côtes 2009 полей сел Рон заквасил Shyrus,
 is 100% Syrah, $16.99-$19.99, 90 points, is inky purple to a coal-black core.
The aroma needed a bit of coaxing, but when the aroma wafted upward, it wafted beautiful sweet cooking spice with a hint of mocha java. The medium plus body carried juicy black-berries, mild plum, and a hint of mocha java, but the noticeable acidity is very food friendly, the tannin is a bit sharp, but not bothersome.
All of this followed the finish nicely, with the addition of some black pepper and a hint of cayenne.
This is still a very young wine, and as of right now, not as "drink-alone" as some of the other Syrahs I've tried, but for the money, a very good deal in my humble opinion. With a year or two, I wouldn't be surprised to see my estimation of this wine go up. Yes, I bought two bottles, and " I' ll ist zurück! "

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen 2008 Syrah

Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen 2008 Syrah, approximately $14.00, 84 points, is deep ruby red with purple flashes, the aroma is bright sweet grape, and the medium body carries mild blueberry, strawberry, and juicy blackberry with a diesel after-taste which I dislike very much. The finish is spicy, but short. 
Having tasted a few of Coppola's wines, I'm not too enthusiastic about them; the best so far was Coppola'sIvory-label-Cab-NHwineman-/2011/01/winters-cabin-fever-brings-out-cabernet, the Chardonnay was okay, but the Zin and this Syrah have left me wanting.
I wish I liked every wine I tasted, but that's for Utopia.

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In case you want some Su Yuen entertainment I do have 
a link for you, but I can only recommend it as much as 
the wine: 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chatom Calaveras County 2005 Syrah

Chatom Calaveras County 2005 Syrah, approximately $23.00, 89 points, is dense, opaque to rim purple. The aroma has a gentle candy-cane note on plum and grape. A medium plus body carries the aroma toward a full palate flavor with hints of licorice and espresso.
The finish is long on pepper, and though the 15.2% alcohol is noticeable, it is fairly well balanced as is the wine overall. 
I have a bottle of Chatom Merlot and a bottle of their Red wine, which I'm looking forward to tasting as well. The winery web-site says: "The vineyard is nestled in the breathtaking Esmeralda Valley of Calaveras County, in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California." Chatom vineyards

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

AMON-Ra Barossa Valley 2006 Shiraz

AMON-Ra Barossa Valley 2006 Shiraz (Glaetzer winery), $80.74-$94.99, 96 points, is a Syrah/Shiraz that transcends the trend I've been on, i.e. inexpensive wine and a decline in ratings.
AMON-Ra has a color almost as mysterious as its name; it is deep dark garnet with rubies to the core and flashes of violet, but though the wine is a bit cloudy (unfiltered) there is yet a brilliance here.
The aroma is subtle, but pervasive with toasty spice and bright black fruit.
The near full-body has a gestalt of complexity that radiates throughout the wine experience and is a cinema, a spectacle, a drama that separates this Shiraz from the run-of-the-mill wine: a beautiful color, an enticing bouquet, a developing palate that is both deep and delicious, refreshing and (dare I say) cerebral, with damson plum, blackberry, sweet cherry, and licorice, but the finish explodes and lingers long with black and white pepper with hints of cayenne on tart cherry. The 14.5% alcohol is perfectly integrated and unnoticeable.
My son cooked a Roast pork tenderloin stuffed with mozzarella, and tomato onion chutney, over sauteed Broccoli with a tomato creme sauce, which paired nicely, though this wine, which is excellent by itself, will pair well with lamb or beef, or almost anything, in my opinion.
I found the Amon-Ra at store 33 in Manchester's North end.
Amon Ra 2006 Shiraz revisited

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Bridlewood Central Coast 2006 Syrah

Bridlewood Central Coast 2006 Syrah, approximately $11.59-$15.99, 87 points, is a wine I recommend you let breathe for a few hours, as I enjoyed this wine more with some air; usually I like to taste the transition in a wine right from the start into its conclusion. 
Ruby to purple in color, aroma begins quite strong, but settles down to a nice plum, cedar, coffee, and bay-leaf, The medium body carries an interesting array of flavors dominated by plum, espresso, licorice, with hints of tart cherry. The finish is only so-so, but the flavor is still quite good with just a hint of pepper. We paired this with an old fashion homemade pepperoni pizza, but the Bridlewood would go well with most red-meat cuisine, from lamb to America's favorite burgers. 
Bridlewood Central Coast 2006 Syrah, is another Syrah wine that should invite those who have not tried Syrah to do so.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Niner BootJack Ranch Paso Robles 2005 Syrah

Niner BootJack Ranch Paso Robles 2005 Syrah, $17.99-$20.99, 88 points.
Deep ruby red, with blueberry, plum, cedar, and just a hint of alcohol on the nose.
The first thing I noticed on my palate was the bright acidity, mild tannin, and just how dry this wine is. 
On the back of a medium body there is mild, but flavorful black currant, blueberry, and juicy blackberry, with hints of caramel late palate.
The finish carries as much fruit as it does spice, but it's fair and delicious.


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Monday, January 16, 2012

Smoking Loon 2007 Syrah

Smoking LOON 2007 Syrah, $9.99-$12.99, 89 points, is another in a surprisingly good array of affordable Syrah wines. If you are finding your everyday Merlot just a bit boring, want a bit more excitement with a little spiciness, then here you have an inexpensive (Under $10) wine that'll liven-up your burger, pizza, baby-back ribs, or what-the-heck, by itself, then this good tasting Syrah cuts it. If you buy the Smoking Loon 2007 Syrah, because I recommended it, I get nothing but the satisfaction of steering you to the trough that so many before had steered me, but until now I didn't get around to tasting (Always a first time), please let me know what you think.
To the wine:
Smoking Loon 2007 Syrah has a ruby to garnet color, the aroma is sweet cooking spice with a hint of hibiscus, all of which covers your palate in addition to the appropriately smoky strawberry, juicy tart cherry, and just a hint of plum. This wine is a bit lighter-bodied than the other Syrahs recently tasted, a bit sweeter, and with a finish less a factor than the others, but what this wine has is warmth, richness, and frugality that begs oblivious shoppers to "bring me home."


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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chateau Maris La Touge 2007 Syrah

Chateau Maris La Touge 2007 Syrah,$11.51-$29.99, average price on the internet is approximately $15.00, 89 points, manifesting a very good wine at a very good price. As a red-table wine, this one excels.
Chateau Maris La Touge 2007 Syrah has a magenta color, a Mediterranean aroma of black olive, espresso, earthy-plum and grape, all of which are carried throughout the palate on a creamy medium-plus body with grainy tannin and mouth-watering acidity (This is a very dry wine). The 15% alcohol is well balanced and the finish is fair on warm spice. This wine is both a stand-alone good and a food friendly Syrah. At $11.51, I'm glad I picked-up more than one last summer.
For information on the Minervois appellation: Minervois


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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bonny Doon Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido 2007 Syrah

Bonny Doon Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido 2007 Syrah, $34.84-$40.99, 90 points, is a California Syrah I've waited to taste again for a year now, and this too does not disappoint. This was my second tasting of this wine (Dec.10, 2010 First tasting), and I think I liked it just a bit better with more than a year's bottle age.
The color is deep purple with magenta, the aroma is very fruity reminiscent of a very good Merlot, but with some florality, the medium body carries a considerable amount of black and blue fruit with hints of plum and subtle hibiscus. The Bien Nacido finishes fair on white pepper. 
This is a very different Syrah from the Shane, and maybe more food friendly; we tasted the Bien Nacido with a vegetable chicken pie, while we had the Shane with spiced-rubbed lamb rib chops with sweet snow peas in spiced olive-oil.


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Friday, January 13, 2012

Shane 2008 Syrah

Shane Judge Vineyard Bennett Valley 2008 Syrah, $36.54-$42.9992 points, is one of those Syrah wines from California I've been biting-at-the-bit to purchase, but I've waited patiently for the New Hampshire Liquor Store's 15% sale to do so. Not long ago I reviewed the 2007 Bonterra-vineyards-mendocino-county-Syrah, there I talked about finally finding an American Syrah that the Newbie wine taster would find appealing for its quality and price, but here we have an American Syrah that takes the Syrah experience a couple of notches beyond the Bonterra. Though on sale, the Shane is more than twice the price; if you want a greater sense of what a Syrah is about and want quality, and value, have a special occasion, or are willing to do what it takes to expand your wine knowledge (Syrah is capable of reflecting the earth in its aroma and on the palate), then I think you'll find this up to the task. Sorry for all this non-relevant info, but prefacing some posts seems important to me, and this is one of them.
Shane Judge Vineyard Bennett Valley 2008 Syrah, has a deep vibrant purple color that wells nearly black to the core, the aroma is vibrant too with cinnamon, clove, and a strong floral character. Vibrant acidity on a nearly full-body carries an herbal black currant flavor that is strongly back-lighted by mint, menthol and eucalyptus, and finishes very long on layers of those palate flavors and finally ends with white pepper and hints of tobasco .


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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ridge Paso Robles 2009 Zinfandel

Ridge Paso Robles 2009 Zinfandel, $25.49-$29.99, 91 points, has a bright and lovely magenta hue, the aroma is an amazing brown sugar-cinnamon, clove, and plum, the medium body carries gentle hints of black bramble fruit, but culminates in a long finish, though not overwhelmingly so, of white pepper with hints of cayenne. This is more of a quaffing wine than the Pagani Ranch and less complex, easier drinking, yet still delicious, and at a better buy, having a comparable QPR.
The Wine-maker rightly writes about the balanced sweetness/acidity, and recommends drinking the Paso Robles 2009 Zinfandel over the next five years.


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Monday, January 9, 2012

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2009 Zinfandel

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2009 Zinfandel, $30.59-$35.99, 93 points, is another fine Zinfandel wine by the winery that excels with this varietal, so much so that Ridge is saying that this wine will develop for fifteen years, and I believe them. In case you've noticed that this wine is 80% Zinfandel and you are not familiar with the 14% Alicante_Bouschet and if you care about that stuff, the link provided is quite interesting.
The 2009 Pagani Ranch begins with a deep ruby color with flashes of violet, the aroma is again a wonderfully weaved intricate blend of sweet cooking spice, cedar, blueberry, and some floral character, the mouth feel is rich and smooth, medium-bodied plus, with a bit more acidity and a firmer tannic presence than has been tasted recently. Flavors are layered and harmonious with plum, blueberry, and a smoky cherry, but having an unusual hint of tangerine late palate (That's a first for me with a red wine), and the finish is a whole component, it is very long, spring-boarding from the tangerine morphing into their traditional black and white pepper with hints of cayenne.

Though the price on sale was still a bit steep (A Cabernet this good could cost you as much as a $100.00), for Zinfandel lovers, this is the one, no, two or more to get, and whether you'll say "cheers" or "raise a class" or whatever, you'll thank me for steering your behind toward this gem.


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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Four Vines Paso Robles "Biker" 2009 Zinfandel-Sextant Paso Robles "Wheelhouse" 2008 Zinfandel And HOBO Branham Vineyard Rockpile 2009 Zinfandel

The Three Amigos were at it again last night with three new Zinfandels. Once again the tasting was "blind" and the three of us all agreed on which was the "best" wine, but our descriptors ranged from my more mundane to Ben's quite interesting if warmly whimsical, and Ethan's almost bar-room interpretation as he used terms like "liquor finish and alcohol burn" to describe the Zins. All of these wines have a medium body and all are a robust, youthful ruby color, all had similar aromas of  strawberry, sweet spice, and hints of clove, but Ben picked-up a hint of juniper from the Sextant, and butternut squash/pepper steak from the "Biker". I found the HOBO to have hints of sweet-rum, while Ben sensed "Sharpy" on the nose.

Four Vines Paso Robles "Biker" 2009 Zinfandel, $21.25-$24.99, 92 points, is a quaffer. I liked it better than the 2008 vintage. The "Biker" is a beautifully balanced cherry-plum, licorice (Ethan was picking through the flavor layers and tasting basil), with an unnoticeable 14.8% alcohol. The finish is fair sweet spice (Ben had nailed it with ginger-94 points) and (Ethan had the finish lingering-92 points).

Sextant Paso Robles "Wheelhouse" 2008 Zinfandel, $15.29-$19.99, 89 points, is a high QPR Zinfandel with lots of quality and flavors of plum and cherry fruit with good acidity, but it is the "bold but delicate finish" Ben scored this Zin 87 points, "drastic burn finish" Ethan scored it 90 points, and my own sense of bourbon on the finish which stuck with us (14.9% alcohol listed on the bottle, though their web-site has it at 15.3% sextantwines.com2008-20Wheelhouse.pdf).

HOBO Branham  Vineyard Rockpile 2009 Zinfandel, $20.70-$31.00 (Bought at Hannaford's super market) but you could find this at Bella Vino as well), 90 points, is another excellent QPR wine.
Now for the "warm whimsical": spiced pair, raspberry truffle, and mid-palate Novocaine (Ben 85 points). Ethan, 88 points, found cranberry fruit and an imbalance of whiskey notes (14% alcohol).
I was a bit more sanguine about taking the HOBO train, finding gentle damson plum, cranberry, and strawberry along with a fine ginger-spice finish with slightly more tannin than the other two.

All in all, we had mucho gusto with these three Zinfandel wines; none of them disappointed and all paired nicely with a variety of foods provided. 


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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gamba Russian River Old Vine Moratto 2007 Zinfandel

Gamba Moratto Russian River Old Vine 2007 Zinfandel, $39.59-$43.99, 93 points, is another big Zinfandel wine, but unlike some big alcohol, rich textured, and fruit-forward Zinfandels, this one, with some air, is vibrantly layered with sharp cherry-plum, with licorice, and hot spices that carry well with the BIG 15.9% alcohol, but these are magnified on the long finish.
The color is deep purple, the aroma is bramble fruit with cedar hints, dried herbs and jalapeno pepper.
This wine competes with some big Cabernet Sauvignons, and though not as elegant as an  Isosceles, it boasts the power of a sophisticated punch. 


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Carol Shelton Wild Thing 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel

Carol Shelton Wild Thing 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino County, $13.59-$24.99, 90 points, has a deep ruby-red color, a nice red berry aroma with mild cinnamon hints, a light to medium body that is juicy, but not syrupy. The flavor is a nice blend of red raspberry, plum, sweet strawberry with hints of cedar, and a fair finish of white pepper and a bit of heat from the 14.8% alcohol. 
Just in case you need some music to go with your Zinfandel, try this: The Troggs - Wild Thing

I bought "Wild Thing" at Bella Vino, but it is now at the NHLS, where I picked-up another 01/09/2012


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Mohua Marlborough 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Mohua Marlborough 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, $10.00-$14.00, 91 points, is a very pale straw color, the aroma (cold 40 degrees) is fabulous white-grape with  floral  Lychee, which is  very lovely! 
The texture is slightly creamy with nearly singularly sweet white grapefruit on the palate, but with hints of pineapple on a long fine finish. As the Mohua Sauv-Blanc warmed some grassy notes evolved, but they are subdued. 
I paired this perfectly with batter-fried deep sea scallops.


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Just in case your interested in the winery's details (I found this interesting), here is their pdf., but give it a moment to download: Mohuavineyardbrands.pdf