Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and an Old Faithful!

Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $15,29-$17.99, 89 points, is a deep magenta color, and having a rather mute aroma at room temperature, but what I did get was sweet and and lovely.
The medium body carries light delicious flavors of plum, cranberry, and licorice, with a wonderful spicy finish with just a hint of menthol. 
The key to this wine is "balance", which it has, and for the money, ranks high on my buy list of Cabernet Sauvignon wines.



Robert Mondavi Napa Valley 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $15.56-$29.99, 91 points.
The "Old Faithful" is a wine ( First Review) I reviewed before, but wanted to taste with the Kendall-Jackson to get my taste bearings as a plumb-line.


The thing that struck me was the "balance". Again you find a wonderful wine for between $15-$30, again scored 91 points, having a balance of fruit, acid, tannin, flavor and finish, which make this a great table wine, gift, or just to drink alone.


Two wines, about the same price, with very little separating them, but their very popular and familiar names. Wines that you can buy almost anywhere, and at these lower price-points will not disappoint! 

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Duckhorn Napa Valley 2010 Sauvignon Blanc


Duckhorn vineyards presents one of the most interesting Sauvignon Blancs I've tasted yet.

Duckhorn Napa Valley 2010 Sauvignon Blanc,
 $26.99-$29.99, 92 points, with 25% Sémillon this is a White Wine most everywhere else as I understand it and is similar in style to White Bordeaux. This wine is delicious, it is round, aromatically floral as well as citrus (Lemon) with some fresh-cut grass, it is bright and complex, easy to drink, yet  a sipper of a wine, perfectly pair-able (We had this with Smoked Paprika French Fries and Blue cheese on crisp celery and fire-hot buffalo wings.  Note that the wine was tasted first, and not to confuse the fine long peppery finish with our cuisine. 
To the price ($26.99): Want something special? Then that's what you pay for. Whenever my son visits, it is always special. Ben, that means you too!


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2006 Shiraz



Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2006 Shiraz, Adelaide, Australia, $11.99-$14.99, 89 points, appears quite a clear ruby color, with a light sweet aroma, and medium body with a rich mouth-feel. This Shiraz reminds me a bit of a light high elevation California Zinfandel with hints of strawberry and red cherry, damson plum and licorice. The finish has some spice and some heat from the wine's 14.5% alcohol.
I liked this wine, but it suffers from a one dimensional (Though delicious) character, but for under $15.00 this is a buy, and I'll be looking for more recent vintages.

Penfolds almost always makes a great wine at all price-points and across all vintages, making this another go-to winery.

Question: How many wines tasted in one day does it take for you to look like Lucy?





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Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna 2005 Shiraz




Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna 2005 Shiraz, (Revisited) $19.95-$28.99, 91 points, is sourced from various appellations, but Peter Gago, the winemaker, has nicely tweaked this Shiraz into a prize.
A deep red wine, with cooking spice and floral hints wafting well into a bouquet. 
This wine is big and rich, but not over-powering, with good acidity and bright spices that makes for an excellent accompaniment to Lamb, Beef, or Buffalo for that matter, but this is also a stand alone wine, having flavors of mocha, blueberries, plum, and sweet cooking spices all diminishing nicely late palate into a peppery finish.  
Though I tasted this wine before, I thought a more thorough revisiting might be in order.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Rancho Zabaco Russian River 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve


Rancho Zabaco Russian River 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, $7.80-$29.00, 89 points, made my day, at $7.80 and hidden away for a couple of years (Sauv-Blanc: not a keeper I'm told), was just great with another night of fish (Spiced and baked) and Maine Lobster ($5.99 lbs).
To the wine:
Almost crystal clear with a slight golden color, and an aroma of  lemon-lime grass, which carried on a light plus body (good acidity) continued seamlessly onto the my palate, but late white grapefruit, and finishing with a brisk spicy finish, tied a nice bow to this wine.
There was just a hint of a sour note, but still a good stand alone wine for me. Ethan and I had no problem finishing this bottle with our meal, and we both had a mirror-view of just how good this wine was.



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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Neal Napa Valley Rutherford Dust Vineyards 2006 Petite Syrah



Neal Napa Valley Rutherford Dust Vineyards 2006 Petite Syrah, $30.59-$37.99, 88 points. 


I think I'm going to get some flak for this score, but I've got to call them as I experience them.
I am a fan of Neal wines, but this one, which I had great expectations about, caught me off-guard.
The color had a sliver thin silver rim lining, but quickly went black to the core.
The aroma was a quite nice clove/cedar wafting bright and clear.
A nearly full body carries an early palate sleek smoky earth, but then falters on a muted plum and black licorice with little spiciness. However, the finish has a long herbal cayenne quality. 
There may have been a problem with this bottle, but without having another or a more recent vintage, I can't say for sure, but this wine just did not have a brightness or lively fruit, or spiciness which I would expect. So, as it stands, this is not a buy for me.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

White Hall Lane Napa Valley 2010 Sauvignon Blanc



White Hall Lane Napa Valley 2010 Sauvignon Blanc,

$16.14-$20.99, 91 points, has a nice, but an expected lemon grass aroma.

The color is a crystal clear pale sun-flower yellow.

A medium body with an olive-oil viscosity (9% Semillon) has mouth-watering acidity, mild lemon-grass flavors give way to a delicious grapefruit and citrus zest, but a late palate sour note precedes a good ginger finish.

The White Hall Lane Napa Valley 2010 Sauvignon Blanc paired wonderfully with a fried peppered Haddock and Sea Scallop medley, and proves again that it is one of those go-to wines when mediocrity just will not do.


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Clayhouse Estate Grown . Paso Robles . Red Cedar Vineyard . Show Pony 2007 Petite Sirah


After I was so surprised by my enjoyment of the Clayhouse 2007 Syrah, I remembered that  last summer I had bought a bottle of their Petite Sirah, and my curiosity was sparked into a fire. So, though I've only tried a few  Petites my interest being rekindled set me a-lookin for that bottle, and for more information about the wine the Aussies call Durif.  I happened upon Dennis Fife's article : Petite Sirah / Petite Syrah , where I learned that he had worked at Stags' Leap Winery, the only Petite Syrah that I 'loved', and one of the very few American wines reviewed on wineweek.com.Stags'Leap #97, Danny and Brad gave this wine a glowing review. As I read Mr. Fife's essay I learned way too much to print here, but I did have a quote for you: "For example, when those of us who produce both, bring Petite Sirah and Syrah to a tasting, the press, trade, and consumers alike want to taste them side-by-side." Petite Syrah-winelabels by Dennis Fife Proprietor of Fife Vineyards.
Now, considering that the Shafer Relentless is 16% Petite Sirah, don't we all need to take a little excursion  to the valley of Petite Sirah in the shadow of Mount Syrah?


To the wine:
Clayhouse Estate Grown . Paso Robles . Red Cedar Vineyard . Show Pony 2007 Petite Sirah, $34.84-$40.99, 91 points, begins with a vibrantly violet color welling opaque. The aroma takes after the Vineyard's name (Red Cedar), but brings its earthy surroundings with it (forest floor and gentle floral notes), and even the bacon cooking in-that-there house adds to the nose.
Having a medium body, this Petite Sirah is smooth and not nearly so spicy as their Syrah, and the differences don't stop there: the flavor is not nearly so dusty nor is the plum notes present, but there is a delicious tang and tart in this wine, and a perfumed black currant carries long with hints of cayenne and white pepper. I have read that some wine enthusiasts feel that Petite Sirah does not have the polish of Syrah, but this is an elegant wine of many virtues, and I'd say polish is one of them.
Fear not chocolate lovers, this wine is excellent with milk and dark chocolate!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Clayhouse Paso Robles 2007 Syrah

Clayhouse Paso Robles 2007 Syrah, $10.80-$15.00, 91 points, is a standout wine. With so many wines that disappoint, this one is a surprisingly good wine, though it reminds me more of a Dry Creek Zinfandel than a Paso Robles Syrah. Now it is important to understand that I love spicy wines absent weird flavors, and this wine excels in this category; if spicy wines aren't your thing, then I'd skip this and go for a smooth fruit-forward Russian River wine, for example.
The Clayhouse Paso Robles 2007 Syrah has a dark ruby red color that rims garnet to transparent. The nose has hints of florality on sweet cooking spice.
Having a medium body with bright acidity, this Syrah delivers a juicy, briary flavor profile so pronounced as to mask its damson plum and spiced strawberry.
Clayhouse finishes long, very long on black and white pepper. You may want to decant this Syrah!
As for those chocolate lovers out there, don't miss the experience of tasting chocolate with Syrah, and this one pairs nicely with dark chocolate.
The Clayhouse Paso Robles 2007 Syrah was purchased at Hannaford's super market.  


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Duck Pond Columbia Valley, Washington State Desert Wind Vineyard 2009 Syrah


Duck Pond Estate Grown 2007 Syrah, $13.59-$14.99, 86 points, reminds me more of a Merlot than a Syrah, with a deep purple color, the aroma is very earthy (Maybe just a hint of leather) with grape and damson plum. The texture is smooth with good acidity. Flavors of plum, mushroom, and black currant with some green notes late palate are followed by a short pepper finish.





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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Rare Wine Thoughts!



  A number of conversations about 'cheap' wines, and the case of expensive wines being unduly stamped with high scores to lure unwary wine buyers, has caused me to make a couple of frivolous comments: Only you can tell whether a wine is good to you, I can't and either can anyone else tell you that. What I can say is that if wine is of an interest to you,  you need to, like a mountain climber, get out there and try, try, and try some more yourself. You shouldn't try climbing Mount Everest the first time, and you might not want to dip into a Two Hands Ares Shiraz first time out either; although the wine has a low probability of death. Once again, you will usually get what you pay for, "But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need".  This was the case for The Boarding Pass 2007 Shiraz (http://nhwineman.blogspot.com/2011/02/syrah-shiraz-899-vs-4999-vs-whatever.html) which was $8.99, the Ares was $149.00-$229.00 (Not tasted).
  Now for the 'experts' which I am not one, they have their own set of problems, one being that they need an income, they need to make money, like all of us, and they want to do this by influencing YOU; this can be a noble cause, or, like every human endeavor, can be tainted. No one can say!
With some, who'll never be in it for the money, it is comradely fun. So let's have a little cheer, share notes, and maybe get better at enjoying the wine we drink atop Mount Wine-not, and maybe, just maybe make friends along the way. I can think of many new friends like Claire, Bill, David, and others, many of whom are in the selling business, but who have wonderful personalities that make wine fun.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hagafen Estate Bottled Napa Valley 2007 Syrah



Hagafen Estate Bottled Napa Valley 2007 Syrah, $27.99-$29.99, 89 points, has a ruby red color to a transparent rim, but is black at the core.
Sweet spice, coriander, cinnamon, clove, and cedar comprise a nice array of aromas.
A medium body harbors a noticeable mouth watering acidity, a bit of chalkiness with a light tannin balance, tart cherry and plum flavors are complimented by a fair finish of black pepper.
This not an over-whelming Syrah, but competent and delicious. 



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Monday, February 13, 2012

Edward Sellers Paso Robles 2007 Sélectionnée Syrah



Edward Sellers Paso Robles 2007 Sélectionnée Syrah, $26.78-$31.99, 90 points.
Well, after yesterday's Syrah disappointment, my son stops by for grilled baby-backs and. . . 
Me: "I think you'll like tonight's Syrah!"
My son: "I figured after last night's wine, which I couldn't drink, you 'd have something special."
Edward Sellers would provide the contrast with this very nice Syrah.
The color is a brilliant and bright purple welling opaque.
With sweet grape and cooking spices garnished with hints of espresso, the aroma captivates.
The medium body brings out juicy black and blue fruit with hints of chocolate.
The finish is moderate with good spice, black pepper, and just a bit of alcohol heat (The bottle says 14.9%), but might be a little more. There is a balanced acidity and tannin presence, and as mentioned in part, was paired with BB ribs, butternut squash and buttered mashed potatoes.


Me: "Nice wine I'd gladly buy again."

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ninety Plus Cellars McLaren Vale 2010 Shiraz


Ninety Plus Cellars McLaren Vale 2010 Shiraz, $9.99, 83 points, is a muddy black to purple wine with coffee notes on plum and a bit of diesel on the late palate. The aroma has just a hint of cooking spice on plum and a bit of pond-water. Having a full body doesn't save this wine, and being new and having a screw-cap doesn't warranty this Shiraz against faults, but my guess is that this is just another in a long line of poor Australian Shiraz wines that would cause, if not for Amon Ra, Mitolo, Two Hands and some others, me to forego them completely; If Miles were from down-under, these wines would have been his 'Merlot'.
The 14% alcohol is well integrated, and the finish has some truncated pepper, but they are not enough for me to buy another bottle. I bought this wine at Market Basket.
A final note: with some air this wine did slightly improve. Also, I get no pleasure in gainsaying this wine or any other wine, but when I plunk-down my money and come away with something I can only force myself to drink, I'm not a happy camper! If you have tasted this wine and disagree, feel free to kindly comment.






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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bonny Doon San Luis Obispo Alamo Creek 2007 Syrah



Bonny Doon San Luis Obispo Alamo Creek 2007 Syrah, $31.03-$36.99, 89 points.
This is the most unusual Syrah I've tasted, and this wine has more characteristics than just about any wine I've had the pleasure to 'inhale'.
You will not believe me when I tell you that this wine's characteristics come from a tannery, bakery, greenhouse, fruit stand, grocery store, and from a breakfast diner, but what does that mean? It means that this wine shifts its identity from moment to moment; call this wine a quantum-maceration.
The color is purple-red and the deepest of ruby.
The aroma is grape, cedar, hints of leather, earth, mushrooms, and fresh-baked-bread.
The medium body carries mouth watering acids and flavors of hibiscus, perfumed grape and blackberries. 
This wine reminded me of Two hands Lily's Garden, and though interesting, for me it's not a stand alone wine, but this wine paired nicely with a Porterhouse steak, broccoli and a mustard sauce.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

innocent bystander 2005 shiraz





innocent bystander 2005 shiraz, 3% viognier, $15.00-$23.00, 89 points, is opaque to a violet-garnet rim with a transparent ring.
The aroma is sweet cherry, cocoa, and cedar with some gentle floral quality.
The medium plus body carries good acidity and noticeable tannin. The flavor profile is a straight-forward plum with hints of licorice and some black fruit. The 14.5% alcohol is slightly noticeable, and this Shiraz probably should be decanted.


Paired nicely with fusilli in a beef, peppers, tomato sauce. 


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

MITOLO G.A.M. McLaren Vale 2006 Shiraz


MITOLO G.A.M. McLaren Vale 2006 Shiraz, $33.14-$38.99, 93 points, is named G.A.M. after each of the Mitolo children's first names.
This Shiraz is delicious, very drinkable, yet has a balanced complexity that affords a conscious tasting experience.
The color is black, and Burgundy toward the rim with a sliver of transparency.
The aroma is a powerful combination of sweet cooking spice on a bed of roses-very nice.
This is a big juicy Shiraz with a medium plus body carrying plenty of dark fruits, boysenberry, blackberry, and hints of pomegranate with rich grape flavors.
The finish is long and strong with white and black pepper.
You might want to decant this wine.
The 14.5% alcohol is well integrated and unnoticeable. 
QPR is very good with this wine, and I'll be looking forward to more recent vintages.




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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chateau Nicot 2008 Bordeaux and Picheral 2006 Merlot




French Wine detour. Everywhere I'm coming across French wines (Haven't as of yet seen their Syrah), so when I get a chance to taste them I don't mind detouring my Syrah/Shiraz exploration.



Chateau Nicot 2008 Bordeaux, $10.00-$14.00, 88 points, 85% Merlot-15% Cabernet Sauvignon, is their Grand Vin (A winery's best wine).
The color is typically Bordeaux with garnet showing, and very young.
Having a quite pleasant, but subtle aroma with hints of clove, cinnamon, and boysenberry jam.
This is a quaffing wine (By itself or with food), with good acids and tame tannin carried on a light-plus body with mellow flavors of pomegranate and boysenberry.
The finish is a surprisingly spicy affair, with cayenne and white pepper.
The alcohol is a perfect 13%.
À votre verre!





Picheral 2006 Merlot, Vin De Pays (Country-Wine of France) approximately $10.00, 83 points.
Purple to plum in color.
Warm spice, subtle earth and milk make-up the aroma.
This is an austere wine, with a demanding acidity and an over-whelming tannic presence making this wine (For me) almost undrinkable without a food accompaniment (My porter-house steak was okay), all of this austerity masking this wine's fruit. The alcohol is 13%. 




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Two Oceans South Africa 2009 Shiraz



Two Oceans South Africa 2009 Shiraz, $5.99-$10.99, 88 points, is a wine I first tasted over a year ago, but I just opened my first bottle last night. At the tasting almost everyone was pleased with this inexpensive wine; my mistake was not buying a case. 
The aroma has hints of the oceans themselves, but plum dominates with a bit of cedar, cooking sweet spice, and warm rose.
The color is dark strawberry to ruby.
The Two Oceans Shiraz, though a bit thin, is very smooth, and a medium body carries pleasant flavors of strawberry, juicy blackberry, and light-earthy cherry cola.
The finish is a suppressed ginger rather than a peppery finish.
This is a nice dry table wine, not much in the way of tannin, but maybe just what the average table needs for a refreshing, young, and accessible serving wine, or an everyday quaffer.




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Sunday, February 5, 2012

ONYX Darling South Africa 2007 Shiraz



ONYX Darling South Africa 2007 Shiraz, $13.50-$18.00, 87 points, is without doubt a different style of Shiraz/Syrah: with a full-almost heavy body that seems to permeate everything about it, from its pronounced woody plum and pungent cooking spice aroma, to its dense inky color, and flavors of plum and cherry jam, and just a hint of violets and cocoa, with a sink-your-teeth meaty finish. 
This is almost a match for the Michael-David Lust Zinfandel, but better and for a lot less. So, if you are into BIG plum fruity wines, not too spicy, then you might want to give this a try, and at the lower price point you'll not be as nearly disappointed as I was with the Zin.


http://nhwineman.blogspot.com/2011/02/index-of-reviewed-wines.html 
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Shafer RELENTLESS Napa Valley 2007 Syrah

Shafer RELENTLESS Napa Valley 2007 Syrah (16% Petite Sirah), $47.59.-$59.99, 95 points, is exemplary of the truism: "You get what you pay for." Last time I was at store 33, someone was buying a case of this wine; now that I'm tasting it, I know why. Good for that guy!
I was saving this wine for a special day, and since my day was so difficult, this is it. I wanted to get my mind and my attitude off of all that hindered me from relaxing and leaving the past in oblivion.
To the wine:
The color is a rainbow of red and purple at the rim with a 'silver lining', but the core is opaque.
The aroma is subtle cedar and spice, toasty cherry, and blueberry preserve.
The body is deceptive, it seems light and juicy at first, but evolves to a medium body carrying layers of delicious flavors of grape, blueberry, and blackberry, then escalates mid-palate with licorice and tart cherry without sour notes. The finish continues its 'relentless' progression with coffee, chocolate, and a spiced meat juiciness. 
When I think of a great Cabernet, I think of a  Royals Royce, but when I think of a great Syrah, I think: Ferrari, and the Relentless takes me for a brisk spin up the coast of California with warm air over my bald head and beautiful hillsides of green, a deep blue sea, and songs of larks whistling from their fence perches. Crazy to get so much out of a wine, but it is what it is, and anyone who has tasted this wine should know that it is special. Now I'm more than anticipating the Hillside Select I have in my cellar.


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Estates Grown 2007 Syrah



Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Estates Grown 2007 Syrah, $11.99-$13.99, 88 points, is a powerful Syrah.
Having a dense purple color with deep ruby hues, this wine is black at the core. Having a pronounced cedar and clove on the nose masking a dense dusty black currant fruit, this portends its richness. Flavors of plum, currant, and a heavy cherry fruit weigh this Syrah down just a bit. This is a medium plus bodied dry red-wine carrying layers of tannin, and finishes strong on powerful red pepper.
If you like your Syrah rich and dense, try this one for not many pesos, but if hot spice is a problem, and you're new to Syrah, then I'd consider the Acorn.

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The "Big" talk around the wine world has been 'The Undercover Boss' Rick Tigner of Kendlall-Jackson. If that interests you, check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/24/kendall-jackson-undercover-boss_n_1229701.html