Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Villa Jolanda Prosecco


Villa Jolanda Prosecco, $14.99, 90 points, begs the question: Is this bottle designed for children? Even the cork has a smiley-face! Photographically, I love it, but is there a danger here?
To the wine:
Typical water colors with brassy tints, nice citrus nose, poured foamy, yet continued with a Prosecco-like volcanic stream of fizz for some time, And with an extra-light body and tart citrus flavors accentuated by a bright acidity, this is a winner Prosecco. Finishes long on grapefruit rind.


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Monday, July 30, 2012

Castel Giocondo (Marchesi de' Frescobaldi) 2007 Brunello di Montalcino



Castel Giocondo (Marchesi de' Frescobaldi) 2007 Brunello di Montalcino, $33.99-$59.99 ($39.99 was a NHLS computer error), 93 points, began with a very dense ruby color throughout.
A bright and lively aroma of red and black fruit with hints of cinnamon and cardamon all of which were pronounced.
I opened this bottle at about 65 degrees and immediately took a sip, swished, breathed, and swallowed, finding tart black cherry, firm acidity, and a gripping tannic presence carried on a medium-plus body that begged to be decanted, which I did, and periodically tasted over several hours. The decanting process calmed-down all the intensity of this very young wine, one which will mature and develop for years to come (I bought two). With the decanting I found blackberry, plum, and hints of cranberry. This is not a particularly complex Brunello as was the  Palazzo 2006 Brunello, or the  Mate 2006 Brunello, but delicious it is, by itself or with Spaghetti, T-bone steak, or Chicken Cacciatore.
With 14.5% alcohol, this Brunello is a bit warmer, especially on the finish, than the 2006 Castel Giocondo, which had 13.5% alcohol.
Brunello è sempre il miglior vino che conosco!
To your good Здоровья!


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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Primaterra Prosecco



Primaterra Prosecco, $11.99-$15.99, 88 points, has an almost water clear color with lime tints.
The aroma is reminiscent of the lemon/grass of some Sauvignon Blancs.
The favor carried on a light, acidic, and crisp body is tart apple that carries long onto the finish. 
This Prosecco is suppose to be semi sparkling, but seems slightly less than that, and the 10.5% alcohol is unnoticeable.
Primaterra seems like a value Italian winery, and there is good value here and in the other wines I've tried from them.




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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Castel Giocondo 2006 Brunello di Montalcino


Castel Giocondo 2006 Brunello DI Montalcino, $29.99-$59.99, 92 points, has a crystal bright ruby color trending carmine red, depending on light source.
The cool temperature aroma is pleasantly robust with sweet cooking spice, hints of cedar, and sweet red cherry.
This Brunello has a medium body with lip-smacking acidity, is very dry, and has layers of tannin.
A delicious wine with red cherry, blueberry and hints of tobacco. This red-wine finishes long on a well balanced backbone of juiciness, licorice, and spice. 
Castel Giocondo 2006 Brunello DI Montalcino was great by itself and paired nicely with a grass-fed tenderloin and vegetables. 
It is important to know that this wine is at its earliest stage of drink-ability, and will mature for ten years or more with appropriate care.  
Other accolades are:

Cellar Tracker being pretty stingy has an average score of 90.8,
with the top 25 reviewers having a LOW score of 87 points.
J.S. scored this wine 95 points, and
WS scored this wine 93 points.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Predator Old Vine Lodi 2010 Zinfandel


Predator Old Vine Lodi 2010 Zinfandel, $14.99-$16.99, 88 points, is the color of cranberry with a clear rim.
This Zin has an unusual earthy spearmint aroma that carries over to the palate, and picks-up some violet and sweet red cherry flavors along the way.
Having a medium body with fair acidity, but tenuous tannin, this Zin finished short with some heat (15%) and that sweet cherry.
This is a very different Zinfandel for me, and it paired nicely with our pizzas. 
In case you didn't notice the Ladybird beetle (The bottle calls it a ladybug, to Vinogirl's dismay) which is a "predator" of vine damaging aphids, and is earth friendly.
Good QPR for a good table wine.


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Limerick Lane Collins Vineyard Russian River 2009 Zinfandel


Limerick Lane Collins Vineyard Russian River 2009 Zinfandel, $15.29-$35.99 (Power buy), 90 points, has a bright ruby color, verdant aroma of black bramble berries, cooking spice, and coffee, all carried onto the palate with lively red cherry, licorice, and plum.
A medium body with good acidity and firm tannin lead to a medium off-sweet finish, with spice and a hint of heat (14.6% alcohol).
A very good wine with a great quality to price ratio.
Barbecue anyone? get this one while it lasts, because when they're gone. . .


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bella Vino is closing!


I'm very sorry that Bella Vino is closing, as Paula is THE most friendly and cooperative vintner I know; she and her fine boutique will be missed.
Sincerely,
Dennis




July 24, 2012 
News from Bella Vino
Hi Everyone,


I have some news I need to share with all of you. It is bittersweet news and not easy for me to tell you. Because of a number of reasons that are mainly personal I need to close Bella Vino. Owning this shop for 5 years – 2 1/2 in Londonderry and 2 1/2 in Windham – has been an amazing experience. Not many people get to say they can drink on their job!! I have learned so much on this wonderful journey. The one thing that has made my decision to close difficult is that I am going to miss all of you. The best part of my job is all of the great friends I have made. But we still have some time together. Bella Vino will be open until the end of August. And we have one more great wine tasting planned. On Thursday August 2, Patrick and Sheila will be here pouring some “customer favorite” wines. All wine that is being poured at that tasting will be 15% off. So mark your calendar and I will send more information regarding the tasting next week.


We are selling everything at Bella Vino. All our lights, tables, mirrors, etc. We are selling all the beautiful wine racks! So if you are interested in building a wine cellar or know someone who might be I’d be happy to get you details.


Here are our inventory specials:


10% off all wine and beer
15% off a case of wine
10% off all food
20% off all gifts – never too early to shop for the holidays!!


If there is a special wine that you are going to miss and would like me to order you a case – just let me know – there will be a 15% discount.


We will not have a formal wine tasting this week but I will have some bottles open to sample – so if you want to stop in – I’d be happy to see you.


I look forward to seeing you soon.


Until Then – Cheers


 Paula
www.bellavinonh.com 
4 Cobbetts Pond Rd - Unit 4, Windham, NH 03087 ~ (603)-893-8466


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Zonin Prosecco


ZOnin Prosecco D.O.C., $13,99-$16.99, 89 points, is, like most Prosecco wines, light in color with brassy tints. However this Prosecco is more intense everything Prosecco, except the effervescence, which is medium fizzy and not "volcanic" like.
The nose is almost pungent, the flavor is robust, an adjective I've not thought of in describing Prosecco wines before.
With a hint of sweetness, this wine is yet Brut dry and crisp with less than a long finish, but paired nicely with our Lobster rolls:
Maine Lobster claws and tails ($3.99 lbs),
Mayonnaise,
Organic celery (diced),
Green pepper (diced),
and cayenne pepper all blended together on a bed of Romaine lettuce.


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Monday, July 23, 2012

Jammy Zinfandels



There is Zinfandel wines here, but so-much of what I have to write about is not wine related. Yeah, jams, jellies, preserves, and conserves make for a great way to ferret-out aromas and flavors in wine, but in researching this aspect of wine education, serendipity happened and I came across something other than Concord grape jams and jellies: Muscat grape jelly! Wow, what a lovely change-of-pace. Then there was-is Tangerine marmalade; I feel like my taste-buds were locked-up in some family tradition that had a governor holding back a world of flavor.
Everyone who reads this blog "knows" Bill and John. It was maybe four or five years ago I discovered the great flavor of Yellow-fin tuna, and I wasn't surprised to read Bill and John comment on this under-appreciated tuna; that is what has happened to me with jams and jellies, but just as I broke out of Madison Avenue's grip on my purchases of tuna, and jams, so it is with wine; step-out of the mold, if an untasted varietal is not too expensive, give a taste, what could you gain, but a renewed youthful approach to life.


Want another change-of-pace?
For the "old": Post-modern music


For the "young": Impressions from the past





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Tenuta Marchese 2005 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva


Tenuta Marchese 2005 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva, was bought for $16.19, but last I bought the current vintage was $23,99, and today the sale price is $26.99, but retails for $32.99, and I scored this wine 91 points; should anyone accuse you of greed for buying a case of this wine on sale? This is a current topic of discussion, and though I did buy a lowly three bottles at the $16.19 price, it turns out to be a lowly good wine investment (If I was rich, I would have bought two cases).

Tenuta Marchese 2005 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva has a dense Rosewood color that is nearly opaque at the core and has a transparent rim.
Has a bit of toasty vanilla on the nose with hints of sweet cooking spice.
A fair floral flavor is enhanced by black cherry and licorice, and is carried on a matrix (Not pixels) of good acidity, rich tannin, and medium rich texture.
A prominent spicy and floral finish is long and worthy.
Paired nicely with a rare porter-house steak!


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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Desiderio JEIO Prosecco


Desiderio JEIO Prosecco, $14.99-$16.99, 92 points, is a remarkably delicious frizzante wine; with effervescence swirling madly as in an eddy and forming a foam-head reminiscent of a cold brew, this wine actually matches any beer I've had paired with Buffalo wings (Cayenne and  Cholula).

This wine is Brut, has good acidity, and a near medium body carries on its neutral character bright elegance, refreshing and crisp with hints of pear and beech-wood, lively and delicate.
With nearly invisible gray/brass hues, and feather-light aroma of citrus and melon, this wine is as pleasant as a slight breeze on a hot beech, sounds of terns and gulls, children splashing, and an ambiance of calm joy; this is the wine I want in my glass as I pass the time away.
How I love this wine? Let me count the ways.


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Codorniu Traditional Brut Cava



Codorniu Traditional Brut Cava, $8.99-$10.99, 86 points, looks and pours like traditional ginger-ale; the bubbles are all-at-once intense.
The aroma has some funk to it, with hints of citrus.
The light body carries good acidity with flavors that fall between Segura Viudas and Gramona Gran Cuvee, especially Spanish olive, but adds a finish with a metallic (minerality?) quality. 
As the Brut implies this is a dry sparkling white wine.
The bottle-labeling is quite attractive and maybe exactly what a particular table-setting needs to accentuate the decor.



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Friday, July 20, 2012

Limerick Lane Cellars 2010 Cuvee Blanc


LIMERICK LANE 2010 Cuvee Blanc,
 $10.19-$23.99 (Power buy), 90 points, is 67% Sauvignon Blanc, 18% Roussane, and 15% Frumint.
The color of water with a lime hue.
A floral aroma has hints of lychee; a subtle aroma, but lovely.
The medium body is lush, refreshing, delicious, and with a fair acidity is food friendly as well as a great aperitif.
This off dry white wine is on the neutral side of flavor with hints of honey dew melon and a  nondescript citrus on the finish.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava


Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, $9.99-$11.99, 90 points, has a very light (almost clear) lemon color.
The aroma is a lovely light lemon/lime and white grape with gentle, almost unconscious floral notes.
A lightly crisp, dry and effervescent body with good acidity, carries a Prosecco-like neutral flavor with an intense fizz camouflaging delicate tangerine and pear.
The finish is a long refreshing reminder of the body of this wine.
I like this wine very much, recommend it, and will definitely buy it again.
Want to surprise your friends? We all do, but being pleasantly surprised is the idea, and for so little money! Don't let "strangeness" stand in the way of their enjoyment.



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Monday, July 16, 2012



MionettO Prosseco Treviso D.o.c., $12.99-$14.99, 90 points, has a clear color with brassy hues.
The aroma is a lovely tangerine with hints of white grapefruit.
A light body with a steady stream of bubbles cascades upwards in a center eddy of effervescence.
The finish is fine with just a hint of ginger.
This is a dry wine having neutral flavors dominate, while hints of pear tend to hide in the intense fizz, but do rise to the fore.
Paired nicely with our Snow crab salad roll.


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Castello di Querceto 2006 IL Querciolaia IGT

Castello di Querceto 2006 Il Querciolaia Colle della Toscana Centrale IGT, $50.99-$59.99, 92 points, has a dense rosewood color, an earthy cedar aroma, nearly full bodied, good acidity, and muscular tannin.
Flavors of flowers, licorice, and plum are dominant, but there is layers of fruit and spice that become more apparent on the long finish that is accentuated by grape skin and hot spice.
The Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon is blended beautifully, very dry, and the flower flavor is nicely balanced within this wine's structure.


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tenute Silvio Nardi 2007 Brunello Di Montalcino


Tenute Silvio Nardi 2007 Brunello Di Montalcino, $49.99 (Full price), 93 points, appeared a maroon trending more ruby to cranberry red.
Silvio Nardi has many "faces" and changes radically with any fluctuation in temperature; thus any claim that this is a one-dimensional Brunello is hollow to me. It is important to understand the depths of quality in this wine, and the best way I can express that is by noting how whatever state of change this wine maybe in, its flavor is always delicious and without any fault I can find.
I tasted this wine right out of the Euro-Cave (Approx. 55 degrees), as it warmed to room temperature, and on occasion into the early morning.
The aroma was sweet red cherry, cedar-chest, sweet cooking spice, and just a whiff of cigar-box.
The medium body seemed appropriate to its cooler temperature, but the mouth-feel was fuller and rounder as it warmed.
Moderate tannin complemented this wine's structure as the bold-bright acidity was dominant.
The flavor was mostly the nose with some pomegranate, but as the wine warmed, plum and pomegranate became prominent. 
Served at about 65 degrees is probably best, but I love tasting wine in transition.
Food friendly? You betcha!
"If only I had John from Tuscan Vines to have prepared the cuisine!" John's Tuscan Vines

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gramona Gran Cuvee 2008 Cava


Gramona Gran Cuvee 2008 Cava, $16.99-$18.99, 89 points, wasn't at all like the Freixenet Cava; Gramona Gran Cuvee is more Champagne-like and is made with Xarello, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes (traditional Cava blend), where Prosecco is, without getting too complicated, the grape varietal in Prosecco wines. Cava is more a style of wine and wine-making that follows certain legal and traditional rules.
To the wine:
The color is light gold with bubbles that are mostly all-at-once after pouring.
The aroma has hints of toffee, butterscotch, and vanilla, all of which carry-on to the early palate.
The body is near medium, carrying good acidity and is quite dry.
Mid to late palate flavors include Spanish olive and a nuttiness which descends somewhat with the long finish, which also has hints of tart apple and ginger.
This is a vastly more complex wine and should be drunk very cold and not allowed to warm, unless you like your white wine more viscous and almost oily in flavor.


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Freixenet Cava


Freixenet Cava, $10.99-$12.99, 87 points, is my first Cava
Where to begin? It seems to be very much like Prosecco, but the fizz is different (more all at once fizzy). The color is almost clear with tints of gold, the aroma seems a bit more citrus and tart. Still, a rather neutral-light and refreshing wine, stand alone or paired nicely with my sauteed scallops (good acidity).
With a hint of ginger the finish is okay.
The bottle design is intriguing and will complement certain settings.
Is this a complex wine to die for? I doubt it, but if you want something different on a hot day, something non-intrusive, and refreshing with a hint of fizz, costing little in the way of pesetas, then get out of the mold, be brave, be bold! In New Hampshire, this wine is widely available.


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gionelli Prosecco


Gionelli Prosecco, $11.99 at Market Basket in Londonderry, 90 points, is lightly gold in color, with pear and apple on the nose, and a long stream of very small bubbles.
This is a very crisp and refreshing Prosecco, almost neutral in flavor, with good acidity and a long finish, but wonderfully brisk and a appropriate to a hot summer afternoon.
What can I say, but that Prosecco is consistently wonderful and so far lacks any ill flavors. The parameters of price and relative quality are so close that it's nearly impossible to say which Prosecco  is your best value, however, this one is right up there.


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Monday, July 9, 2012

CAPANNA 2007 Brunello Di Montalcino

CAPANNA 2007 Brunello Di Montalcino, $47.66-$55.99, 95 points is a spanking-new wine having gestated for more than three years in its Slovenian oak womb.
Having reviewed the 2006 CAPANNA Brunello, I resisted referring to that review, and as I examined the 2007 Brunello's color I described it as Burgundy-ruby red with a broad transparent rim; turns-out that's the less flamboyant 2006 description, but I'm also using the
Plochere color system, and with that the 2007 Capanna matched with vermilion red on their chart, but I can assure you that's not the same color as the Vermilion Flycatcher!
Aromatic and beautiful this wine wafts dusty clove and cinnamon, with bright black fruit.
Having a medium body and carrying a lively acidity, this Brunello is made for food (try a tenderloin with this), but it is also a wonderful stand-alone wine, and though the tannin is yet gripping (mouth-tingling), I for one find that it adds richness and complexity that boldly makes the trek to its very long and persistent finish.
Flavors of black cherry, black currant, and blackberry are quilted with notes of licorice, tobacco, and coffee which trail to that very long finish, all-the-while gathering notes of menthol and chipotle along the way.
This wine is as good as any Brunello I've had, but keep in mind the hurdle presented by the 15% alcohol and powerful tannin. With prolonged air, subtle flavors of black olive and tardy tar notes became apparent, and I'd expect this wine to evolve for at least two days.


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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Quinta De Azevedo 2009 Vinho Verde



Quinta De Azevedo 2009 Vinho Verde, $6.74-$10.99 (last chance wine), 87 points, is light pistachio green in color, the aroma is a dull lime with some floral character, the body is near medium and carries good acidity, off dry with the flavor of lime dominating, but other citrus flavors are present and linger long into the finish.
This wine paired nicely with my sea-food.
Okay, not much to say, but a fair white wine at a fair price, and if you've not tried
Vinho Verde (White Wine) from Portugal, give it a try and let me know what you think.
This 2009 Vinho Verde wine may be a bit on the mature side of its life, for it wasn't that crisp nor did I find any fizz.
Now that I've tasted and have seen that it's quite nice, I'll be looking for other more current releases.




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Friday, July 6, 2012

Fess Parker Frontier Red Wine Lot No.113


Fess Parker Frontier Red Wine Lot No.113,  $10-$12, (Bought at Market Basket in Londonderry) 89 points, has a clear cran-ruby color, with sweet cherry, violets, and hints of cooking spice on the nose, all of which nicely follows-through onto the palate with some plum.
A smooth medium body handles a light acidity (slightly sweet) with tentative tannin, and finishes long on spice and a touch of heat (14.9% alcohol).  There is some intrigue in the grape varieties in this wine, with the 57% Syrah accounting for some of that spice, and a long list of other less recognizable varietals: 14% Cinsault, and traces of Grenache,  Napa Gamay,  Souzao,  Touriga Nacional,  Tinta Cao,  Cabernet Franc,  Mourvedre, Alvarelhao.
Want a good red-wine value for your barbecue? This is up there with the best values I can think of; with so much to appeal to so many, you'd have a hard time not winning some kind of applause for serving the Frontier Red.


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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Canella Prosecco


Canella Prosecco, $14.99-$16.99, 90 points, reminds me that almost every time I grab a Prosecco, I'm satisfied. Can you say that about any other wine?
The question isn't about exclusivity, but of reliable value. Want something non-obtrusive, something refreshing and easy to drink, that pairs with a host of foods or is great all-by-itself? Well, leave the road most traveled and put one of these in the fridge, pop open and enjoy in the 98% humidity and 100 degree weather, and you'll know what I'm talking about.
I'll admit the unacceptable: Champagne doesn't appeal to me (Blasphemy!), but then I've not spent more than $50 for a bottle, but that's my point! Okay, I want to buy a $100 bottle of Champagne, but since the lesser ones are not the bread-crumbs of Hansel and Gretel leading me to the Gingerbread-house of satisfaction, I'll leave Champagne to the experts and hope someone will turn-me-on to the golden fleece of wine.
Canella Prosecco is lightly gold in the midst of its effervescence. The aroma is a pleasant apple-ginger that travels throughout its light quality into its long finish. This wine is off-dry with good acidity.
Want something complex? Not with Prosecco, but if you want what I've already described, then don't hesitate;buy!


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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Banyan Monterey County 2011 Gewürztraminer

 
 


Banyan (Beautiful) Monterey County 2011 Gewürztraminer, $15.99, 91 points, was bought at Butter's in Concord, N.H.
The more I taste these Gewürztraminer wines the more I like them. This one is lightly lime tinted, with lemon zest and Lychee on the nose.
Having a medium body with plenty of acidity (bone-dry), this wine cut right though my soft-shelled lobster with butter like a hot knife . . .
The flavor paralleled the aroma nicely, but it was crisp yet creamy, which seems to be an oxymoron.
The finish was fair with just a hint of minerality and ginger.
For those who are not familiar with the term
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Monday, July 2, 2012

St Hallett Eden Valley The Barossa 2009 Riesling


St Hallett Eden Valley The Barossa 2009 Riesling,

$9.99-$19.99, 82 points, and has me wondering: are all Australian Rieslings marked by an oily aroma and a petrol tasting wine? Okay, I know, it's only two in a row and that makes for a "straight line and not a pattern", but I'm now wary of them! This is beginning to remind me of when I hit several Australian Shiraz wines that were sub-par.


Light lemon/lime color, and an oily aroma with hints of lemon.
Has a medium body with some tartness to its acidity, but my enjoyment could only follow as this Riesling warmed, and on a hot day I'm NOT looking for a warm white-wine, but something crisp, refreshing, and doesn't offend my nose or palate.
Upon opening there was a hint of fizz and a bit of lemon zest.
The finish was weak.
I'm sorry if this review offends someone, but I don't recommend this wine.
Petroleum in Riesling,  Chow:
"TDN is associated with aging, but also with climate that is too hot for riesling. I have no cites for this, but German vintners have said to me that riesling grown in warmer new world climates (such as Napa Valley) will develop the petrol prematurely."
Permalink | Reply
By Melanie Wong on Sep 18, 2009 12:14 AM 
I assume that "too hot" climate just might be Australia!
Now, there is a battle going on about the "acquired" taste for TDN in Riesling, and I just heard a famous sommelier say that she "loves it". Well I have an interesting link as fodder for the flames of wine passion. Petrol Smell in Riesling is a-mistake-says Chapoutier
Opinion, and an adamant one at that, follows.
One thing I was glad for, was that I was given permission (sommelier's guest speaker) not to buy these wines! Unfortunately, it costs money to buy these wines before you can know that's how they taste.
Let me assure the Australian Riesling industry that after I go through a few more of their TDN Rieslings which I've already purchased, I'll never buy another unless the bottle says this taste is not in the bottle. Sorry! I'd rather drink white grape juice. 

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Perfect Union 2009 Red Wine, Whitehall Lane Winery


Perfect Union 2009 Red Wine from Whitehall Lane Winery, is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (with some Merlot and Syrah) from Napa Valley, and was a steal at $16.14, having a New Hampshire retail price of $35.99.
Though other wine tasters were not as fond of this wine as I was, scoring this Red Wine 91 points was a no-brainer to me.The color is a deep magenta, with a transparent rim, and it is opaque at the core.
A bouquet of flowers, cinnamon, clove, earthy cedar, tart cherry, and a hint of espresso blossomed from my glass to give a striking nose.
Having a near full body, gave a smooth mouth-feel yet carried fair acidity and mild tannin.
Flavors of plum, tart cherry, and hints of mocha were up front, and the finish is a long nuanced blend of spice, a hint of heat and menthol.
The release date is suppose to be July 4, 2012, but somehow I have a bottle, and I for one, am glad for it.

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July 4th always reminds me of Dvorak's New World Symphony



Arabella South Africa 2011 Chenin Blanc


arabella (love of Arabian horses)-South Africa's-2011- Chenin Blanc,
$12.99, 86 points, was bought at the Wine Studio in Manchester.
Transparent with golden hints, a pleasant aroma of vanilla and pome, and having a quite tart white grapefruit flavor to round-off this brisk light-bodied and acidic Chenin Blanc. 
The bottle label has a load of other descriptors, some or all of which you may find (making this wine more appealing), but I'm not a big fan.

Index-of-reviewed-wines

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