Monday, March 31, 2014

Château Haut Batailley Grand Cru Classé En 1855 Pauillac 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine



Château Haut-Batailley Pauillac 2010 Red Bordeaux,  $65.74-$71.99, 91 points, appeared nearly black at the core, trending opaque purple/red toward the clear rim and heavily draped glass wall.
Toasty black currant and perfume were the dominant smells.
Full lusciously bodied with good acidity and manageable, but persistent tannin carried rich flavors of black currant, hints of coffee with violets and other flowery perfume notes (a tad too much for me) that masked other fruit flavors.
Finished on a trailing palate with hints of the 13.5% alcohol and spice notes.
I'm not going to make this a recommend Bordeaux, because the QPR just isn't there for me, but if you like floral red wines, you might have a different opinion.
Varietals are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc.

 

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Château Magdelaine Premier Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Émilion 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine



Château Magdelaine Premier Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Émilion 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine, $93.49-$109.99, 95 points, poured a deep opaque crushed blackberry/black currant purple/red up to the circumferential transparent rim.
The beautiful aroma of coffee, roses, cedar, toasty black fruit, and sea-breeze excelled!
Medium-plus bodied with luscious and ripe crisp acidity, layered and persistent tannin (very dry), and flavors that faithfully mirrored the aroma were balanced, velvety smooth, and delicious.
Finished long on spice, cola, pomegranate, a touch of heat (14% alcohol), and eucalyptus.
This Red Bordeaux was reminiscent of the Chateau Monbousquet 2009 Saint Émilion, and just as good.
(Saint Émilion) How do you say that word?



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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Whitehall Lane (Bommarito) St. Helena Napa Valley 2011 Merlot





Whitehall Lane (Bommarito) St. Helena Napa Valley 2011 Merlot, $11.04-$26.99, 83 points, appeared very much like Welch's Concord Grape Juice: purple with just a shade of red with a clear rim, but oddly enough had the same smell as well.
This was another wine I had high hopes for; sadly the lovely smooth texture was not enough to elevate the flavors of petrol, black licorice, and yes, Concord grape-likeness to a level of the other Whitehall lane Merlots I've tasted.
The near medium body with a lackluster acidity, mild tannin, and just a too grape-like flavor brought back memories of Sideways.
Finished a bit flat and flabby for me, and even the 14.2% alcohol seemed lackluster.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Anterra I.G.T. Sicilian 2011 Chardonnay





Anterra 2011 Chardonnay, $6.79-$13.99, 89 points, poured a bright polished gold color, and smelled like the misty calm afterglow of a thunderstorm with hints of lilac and lemon.
The medium-plus body was crisp, slightly off dry (the label says dry), clean, had mineral notes with moderately acidic lemon flavors, and finished as it began, but with a touch of the 12% alcohol and ginger.
I loved this sleeper of a white wine, and I'm not the biggest fan of Chardonnay; this is not anything like a Cali Chardonnay (no butter here), but was produced in the Italian "traditional style" closer to a Chablis.
For the exorbitant sum of $6.79, I was very surprised and satisfied. Others will be disappointed with its lack of complexity, but food friendly and delicious with a lovely aroma and a long finish must stand for something.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ca' del Solo Estate Vineyard Monterey County 2006 Nebbiolo


Ca' del Solo Estate Vineyard Monterey County 2006 Nebbiolo, $15.29-$35.99, 72 points, appeared bright ruby with a thin band of bricking near the transparent rim and leggy glass wall.
Smells of cedar, celery, black currant, and coffee were just okay for me.
The medium body carried mouth watering acidity and moderate tannin, but the assortment of sour flavors (possibly just couldn't hold-up to 8 years of age) and its 14.3% alcohol were just not that good to me, and sadly could not compare with the La Spinetta Langhe 2008 Nebbiolo just tasted yesterday. I had looked forward to this one.
As a side note: Recently, Napa Valley Vintners issued a Q & A on FB which I asked one of my favorite questions, one in kind which I asked David Boyer sometime ago; as I understood it, there were three questions asked, but to my knowledge mine was not answered (impudent Newbie!). Let me just say that I've had very good older wines from Napa, but that doesn't seem to be the rule of thumb. Also, my guess is that the La Spinetta Langhe 2008 Nebbiolo will easily age two more years.
Certainly this is a complex issue, but wine is inherently complex, but it leaves the 'simple' wine consumer' to remember to be wary, because some wines drink young (most wines) and others are meant to drink with some age.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

La Spinetta Langhe 2008 Nebbiolo



La Spinetta Langhe 2008 Nebbiolo, $28.89-$33.99, 90+ points, appeared as a rainbow of sunburst orange reds all the way to the clear leggy glass wall.
Smelled like toast, flowers, grapes, and licorice (very nice).
Medium bodied with mouth watering acidity, crisp, bright, and enduring tannin, flavors that mirrored the aroma with black fruit and pomegranate, and a very long palate trailing finish of spice, grape skin, and some heat (14% alcohol).



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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Altadonna Toscana I.G.T 2012 Vermentino



Altadonna Toscana 2012 Vermentino, $7.64-$13.99, 86 points, poured a bright lime green tinted brass color.
Sweet aroma of lemon/lime with honeysuckle was lovely.
Light-plus body carried good acidity on flavors of honey notes, melon, and citrus (off dry).
The finish followed the palate, but revealed a bit of the 12.5% alcohol and a good climax of ginger spice.
Remarkably food friendly (I paired this with baked spiced vegetables in a butter sauce with toast) white table wine, and will be very interesting for your guests, but as a stand alone wine, I found it just okay. The bottle had a lovely table-setting appearance.





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Monday, March 24, 2014

Carpineto 2007 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (D.O.C.G.)



Carpineto Riserva 2007 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (D.O.C.G), $25.49-$32.99, 90+ points, appeared dark opaque ruby, but near the clear rim and leggy glass wall the color transitioned to a band of sunburst orange.
Beautiful aromas of cinnamon, cedar, tobacco, and soft rose wafted bright and sweet, though this red wine was very dry.
The smooth medium-plus body carried fat-cutting acidity with silky tannin.
Flavors were dominated by floral notes (a tad too much for me), but strawberry and red cherry added adequate fruit with those of tobacco, a hint of thyme, and dill.
Finished long with cayenne spice, mint, a well integrated 13.5% alcohol, and tart pomegranate.




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Sunday, March 23, 2014

P.J. Valckenberg 2012 Gewürztraminer





P.J. Valckenberg 2012 Gewürztraminer, $11.99-$13.99, 86 points, had a light brass color, the aromas of green apples with a touch of lemon and honeysuckle.
Medium bodied with mild-plus acids, almost unnoticeable 10% alcohol, off dry sweetness, flavors of overripe grapefruit, cantaloupe, and warm wet slate throughout the palate.
The finish offered only the trailing palate.
However, a cuisine of baked cod in a mild cheddar cheese sauce and a chef salad paired well with the P.J. Valckenberg 2012 Gewürztraminer.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Clos Pegase Mitsuka's Vineyard Carneros-Napa Valley 2008 Merlot





Clos Pegase Mitsuka's Vineyard Carneros-Napa Valley 2008 Merlot, $15.99-$27.99, 91 points, poured a deep opaque ruby with a band of sunburst orange before the clear rim.
Aromatic cedar and violets dominated, but warm earth developed after some air.
Medium-plus body carried bright acidity, moderate tannin, and flavors of tart-tangy pomegranate, wild blackberries, oaky bourbon (reminiscent of some Brunello wines I've tasted), and hints of mint.
Finished very long on the trailing palate with considerable heat (14.3% alcohol) and spice notes.
This atypically lively Merlot was an excellent value (QPR) which I bought as a NHLS 'power buy'.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Mad Dogs and Englishmen 2008 Red Wine (Spain)






Mad Dogs and Englishmen 2008 Red Wine (Spain), $10.99-$14.99, 86 points, appeared an almost beet red with some bricking toward the broadly transparent rim.
With hints of violets, roasted coffee, and sweet black fruit, the aroma seemed to promised something better than what was delivered, though a good red wine with a medium-plus body, good acidity and tight tannin with a tart, almost sharp texture (maybe some not-so ripe grapes), this wine was another in what I've coined, "Doctor Jekyll Mister Hyde" wines (Now I like it, now I don't); sometimes rich and complex, sometimes just biting.
Flavors mirrored the aroma faithfully, and transitioned into the fair finish of spice, some heat (14% alcohol), and a hint of mint.
I read that English setters have their DNA rooted in Spain, so why not a wine named Mad Dogs and Englishmen being root there also?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pacifico Sur Reserva Curico Valley Chile 2011 Riesling





Pacifico Sur Reserva Curico Valley Chile 2011 Riesling: $11.99, 88 points, appeared a very light burnished brass color trending a bit gray toward the glass wall, smelled of light lemon with a hint of fresh cut grass and honeysuckle, drank like a delicate Sauvignon Blanc with flavors that mirrored the aroma, but more a lemon meringue, and was carried on a light, crisp, and dry body with good acidity.
Finished on the trailing palate with ginger, citrus, and a hint of the 13.5 alcohol.
Pacifico Sur Reserva Curico Valley Chile 2011 Riesling paired beautifully with a Filet of Sole.
I bought this Riesling at The Wine Studio in Manchester's North End.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TorCalvano 2008 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano



TorCalvano 2008 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, $15-$30, 90 points, appeared opaque ruby at the core with a broad band of sunburst orange toward the clear rim and the leggy glass wall.
A robust black and red cherry on the nose, with hints of mushrooms and earth were pleasant.
The medium-plus body carried good acidity with firm though pleasant and enduring tannin.
Flavor notes were hints of coffee, tobacco, black cherry and red cherry with dried herbs.
Finished long with an intensifying spice, heat (14.5% alcohol) and mint.
Having had so few Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines doesn't take away from the excellence of the ones I've had.




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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tenuta Friggiali 2008 Brunello di Montalcino



Tenuta Friggiali 2008 Brunello di Montalcino, $32.99-$79.99, 89+ points, poured a bright cranberry red, but tapered sunburst orange toward the transparent rim.
Sadly, the aroma suffers from weak strawberry and red cherry notes with a bit of rubber dissipating after hours of decanting.
Medium body, texturally a bit sharp, carried good acidity and recessed tannins that are quickened in the finish.
Though the flavors of red fruit with plum were a bit one dimensional for a Brunello, they were tasty, and trailed long into the finish with those tannins, some heat (14% alcohol), a hint of coffee, and mild spice notes.
I was disappointed and can't say that this Brunello excited me, but for those looking for a good Sangiovese red table wine, this would be quite interesting, though atypical for a Brunello!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Château Malartic Lagraviere De Graves Pessac-Léognan Grand Cru Classé 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine





Château Malartic Lagraviere Grand Cru Classé De Graves Pessac-Léognan 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine,  $76.49-$89.99, 93+ points, appeared an indiscernible color from the Château Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien's leggy glass wall, its clear rim, purple/red colors which trended deep ruby and terminated black at the core.
However, the nose revealed a big difference: toasty plum and a profuse coffee with black grape smells abounded.
This Bordeaux was more full bodied, smoother, and more opulent as well, yet with good acidity and restrained moderate tannin (Very drinkable now), the flavors of ripe sweet fig, damson plum, hints of mulberry and blackberry were wonderfully delicious!
Finished long on the trailing palate with moderate heat (14.5% alcohol), an intensifying tannin, mint, and gentle spice notes.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

NHWM Photo Gallery #2


Just trying to remember what green looks like!






Oh, the Red-eyed vireo with chick was photographed sometime ago when I could hike-about looking serendipitously for the lovely things in nature!
The little bird on the binoculars is a much easier subject to photograph!
A little spring in some musical steps?
Rick Wakeman - Close to the edge



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NHWM Photo Gallery

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Château Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien Grand Cru Classé 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine



Château Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien Grand Cru Classé 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine,  $107.09-$125.99, 95 points, began with a leggy glass wall and a clear rim with the wine body having purple/red colors trending deep ruby and finally black at the core.
Beautifully aromatic with cedar, toasty vanilla, a hint of caramel, roses, cocoa, and blackberries all perfectly balanced.
The medium-plus body was acidic, the tannin, though striking, was texturally fine, exciting, and enduring, the flavors translated faithfully from the aroma to the whole palate with the addition of violets and licorice, while the palate trailed into the long finish of escalating tannin, the well integrated 14% alcohol with hot white and cayenne pepper were climatic.
This is a big red wine with a big price, but for some, this one will make a special occasion wine.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Warm-up with Zinfandel!







  You can tell we just had another snow storm (March 13-14) and this morning's temperature was 8 degrees (you'd think we should all be used to this by now). Yes, those are Zinfandel wines I brought home, one of which was a wine-tasting disaster, but these hot wines are intended to warm-up with, and if you are in need of some warming-up, here's my link to New Hampshire found and bought Zinfandel wines: Warm-up with Zinfandel, the hot red wine!
  Oh, those cuts on my left hand? My twin's new puppy Maxx!

six hats-South Africa-2009 Shiraz


Six hats-South Africa-2009 Shiraz, $10.10-$11.99, 86+ points, appeared as a bright purple/red with a slight pink tint and a broad clear rim.
A rather leathery/earthy nose with a whiff of violets was just okay for me.
The medium body carried fair acidity and mild tannin with a bounty of strawberry and red cherry flavors which tapered into a somewhat short finish of little spice, a hint of mint, and well integrated alcohol (14%).
Six Hats Shiraz has a role to play as a fair red table wine (paired well with an Australian grass-fed rib-eye).




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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Justin Central Coast 2012 Sauvignon Blanc



Justin Central Coast 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, $6.79-$14.99, 89 points, poured a bright polished gold color, wafted lemon, honeysuckle, a hint of toasty vanilla, and cut grass smells, sharp mouth-watering acidity (almost austere), near medium body, and citrus/green melon and honey flavors were carried deep into the finish of ginger and a noticeable 14.5% alcohol.
Maybe the best value in a Sauvignon Blanc I've seen this year, though the alcohol level is a bit much, and it's last year's bottling. Still, this is an exciting, crisp, and pair-able dry white wine.
Speaking of the alcohol level, I'm not sure why I've tended to exclude that information in Sauvignon Blanc wines, but it's my experience that most of them have been between 12.5%-13.8% alcohol, so this should help give some perspective on the 14.5% of Justin' SB (FWIW).


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Domaine des Saumades 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape



Domaine des Saumades 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape,  $18.99-$34.99, 92 points, began deep ruby at the core trending a rich red with a slight burgundy purple toward the transparent rim.
The aroma is subtle and non-descript, though as it breathed it opened-up considerably and reminded me of what orange blossoms should smell like or faint lilac with a hint of pine sap and cinnamon, but no matter the blossom you smell, pleasant notes reign.
Medium-plus body possessed mouth watering acidity with moderate-almost a lazy tannin lingering in the background.
Prominent flavors of red licorice and flowers spearheaded the blackberries and red raspberry which trailed into the long finish that accentuated the 14.5% alcohol, fig notes, and a relaxed cayenne-like spiciness. (100% Grenache)




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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Goats Do Roam 2008 and 2010 Red Wine



Goats Do Roam 2008 (86 points) and 2010 (85 points) Red Wine, $6.99-$9.99. I saw the 2008 just a hint more brick red than the 2010, but a very subtle difference, with both having an overall bright ruby red and a clear rim.
The 2010 was a more toasty red raspberry with a hint of red cherry on the nose, while the 2008 was more an earthy red raspberry.
Medium toward medium-plus body carried good acidity with mild tannin.
Flavors were spicy red fruit and plum which continued deep into the peppery finish with some heat (14% alcohol) and tart pomegranate.
Both vintages had varied and complex blends of a total of six varietals between them, with Syrah making up the bulk of these wines.
These are fairly good red wines, and for the price I have no complaints, but the back label is a typical salesmen's brag which in no way makes these comparable to a Justin Vineyards Isosceles Red or, except for maybe two, Bordeaux or Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines I've tasted (Goats Do Roam is really Red Rhone styled), but  once again consider the price.


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Monday, March 10, 2014

Hillgate Lake County 2011 Zinfandel





Hillgate Lake County 2011 Zinfandel, $8.49-$18.99, 78 points, began in the glass as a slightly murky deep purple, purple/red with a clear rim.
The nose was more prune with a hint of cedar than blackberry.
Full bodied with good acidity and mild tannin.
Tart prune and a floral note pervaded the entire palate and into the long unpleasant finish with a bit of heat (14%5 alcohol).
I wish I could say something nice, but it is what it is.






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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Château Lagrange St. Julien Grand Cru Classé 2010. Bordeaux Red Wine







Château Lagrange St. Julien Grand Cru Classé 2010. Bordeaux Red Wine, $90.09-$105.99, 94 points, poured a rainbow of purple, red, and pink hues, but was near black at the core with a transparent rim.
Toasty rich black fruit on the nose was beautiful.
One of the most fruit-forward Bordeaux red wines I've ever had, but don't get me wrong, there is nothing over-the-top here, only flavor in abundance: this is one I did not want to stop drinking: smooth, luscious, and lively.
Medium-plus body carried bright acidity, sweet layered tannin (I think this wine should be drunk now and way into the future), and the bounty of fruit I referenced before. Black licorice, tobacco, coffee, roses, cedar, and a breath of oak contibuted to the complexity which trailed into the finish of spice with just a touch of the warm 13.5% alcohol.
Varietals are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot.

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich 2011 Riesling Spätlese





Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich 2011 Riesling Spätlese, $23.84-$37.99, 90+ points, poured a bright golden color with just a shade of gray toward the glass wall.
Smells of crisp fresh green apple, honeysuckle, and enough petrol notes to make me uncomfortable.
With lemon zest, slate, and tart apple flavors on the palate, overlapping petrol flavors remained restrained.
Light body carried mouth-watering acidity throughout the palate and into the long finish with a nicely balanced 8.5% alcohol and a touch of white grapefruit.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Château Jean De Gue Grand Vin Bordeaux Lalande Pomerol 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine




Château Jean De Gue Grand Vin Bordeaux Lalande Pomerol 2010 Bordeaux Red Wine, $36.54-$42.99, 89 points, appeared a bright and beautiful purple red, near opaque at the core and with just a hint of orange toward the clear glass rim.
The multifaceted aroma of black currant, plum, cedar, and clove didn't bother me, but it just didn't impress me either.
Medium-plus bodied with good acidity, lusciously smooth tannin, and loads of black fruit did impress. However, too much perfume-like flowers did distract from it balance of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon's youthful fruit.
I really get the sense that this wine needs more time to mature, though it drinks lovely now (rich and smooth), hiding behind this present bounty lurks subtle notes not yet in evidence to me, and promising a more complex and subdued pedigree.
Finished fine with a touch of warmth (13.5% alcohol), light spice, and a touch of mint. 




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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Zeller Schwarze Katz Mosel 2012 Riesling


Zeller Schwarze Katz Mosel 2012 Riesling, $9.99-$11.99, 89 points, poured a bright golden color with a slight graying toward the glass wall.
The aroma was reminiscent of jasmine and warm wet pavement (quite nice).
A light-plus bodied semi-sweet rendition of German Riesling, and packed with good acidity, smooth texture, minerality, with flavors dominated by pineapple and sweet grapefruit which carried deep into the finish with a touch of the 9% alcohol, and warrants a taste from anyone wanting a gulper white wine that transitions from sweet to dry with some class!
Paired nicely with Greek styled chicken-lemon soup, but certainly would be very good with Asian cuisine.
The short cork should be noted, because it's easy to auger through it; so hold back about two twists.

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Nebbiolo wine and the confusing issue of buying, aging, and storing them.


  Nebbiolo: If wine was simple everyone would make their own, and though educational and fun to make wine, not many of us can make really good wine, with far fewer of us growing and making really good Nebbiolo.
  You are asking: What's this? Well, let me start with Wine Spectator's Dr. Vinny: "What characterizes Nebbiolo and the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco? I find the wines very distinctive, with aromatic tar, rose, licorice and truffle notes. The wines can be a highly tannic and have a reputation for aging well. In general terms, Barolo is the more massive, tannic and rich of the two, while Barbaresco is considered more elegant and approachable."
  So often when buying older wines (older than two or three years listed on the label) we forget that not all Nebbiolo wines are created equal (true of all varietals), and we forget that when buying older wines which have not been cellared properly they will tend to spoil, even wines that are structured to age well.
  Like all wines, buying them can be hit or miss, but when it comes to lesser know wines it helps to ferret-out some recommendations that you can trust, and sadly NH has so few I'll have to recommend outside of NH for those recommendations, or you can just experiment like I do, but remember to ask how a wine has been stored if it has some bottle age and check the cork for protrusion or staining, as these may indicate a problem.
I'm not the expert on the subject (tasting wine is my only method), so, if this varietal interests you, I'll refer you to a previous post and the links provided, as well as a link to Sandra Crittenden's post on the subject of wine storage.
Cheers!

Barolo the Enigma of the Nebbiolo Grape Produced in Piedmont Italy

Wine Thoughts and wine storage


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tridente Castilla y León 2009 Tempranillo



Tridente Castilla y León 2009 Tempranillo,
$10.19-$18.99, 90 points, poured with a transparent circumferential rim, near black toward the core, deep ruby hues, and heavy draping on the glass wall.
The complex aroma of toasty oak, black currant, plum, coffee, tobacco, and the kitchen sink with a hint of celery were very potent.
Full bodied with good acidity and moderate-plus tannin carried the aroma onto the palate with an escalating heat from the 15% alcohol which rolled into the long finish of spice and black licorice.
Paired perfectly with my buttered spinach/asparagus and rare rib-eye!





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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Château SUAU Cadillac 2013 Bordeaux Blanc Sec



Château SUAU Cadillac 2013 Bordeaux Blanc Sec, $11.99, 89 points, appeared with the slightest brass hue and tapered gray toward the glass wall.
Hints of peach complimented the subtle floral notes on the nose.
Light bodied with fair to good acidity carried over the aroma onto the palate without any fanfare, but as a rather nondescript off-dry 50% Sémillon, 35% Sauvignon (Blanc), and 15% Sauvignon Gris, and finished with slate, perfume, white pepper notes, and having a well integrated 12% alcohol.
Not a particularly complex or gaudy white wine, but be-that-as-it-may, I found this wine very pleasing and it paired inconspicuously well with my fried North Atlantic cod.
I bought this wine at the Londonderry Market Basket.




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