Saturday, October 31, 2015

Don Pascual 2013 Viognier Reserve (Juanico, Uruguay)




Don Pascual 2013 Viognier Reserve (Juanico, Uruguay), $12.56-$13.95, 89+ points, was a straw yellow color.
Aromas of tangerine, honeysuckle, and melon were quite good.
Light bodied, trending toward light-plus, managed good acidity with a Chardonnay-like flavor profile, excepting flavors of bright lemon and key-lime pie.
Finished fair on the trailing palate, hints of orange peel, citrus, and a surprisingly well integrated 14.5% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my spiced and breaded pork chops.
I bought this Uruguayan Viognier at Angela's pasta and cheese.





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Friday, October 30, 2015

Muga Rioja Reserva 2007 Tempranillo,



Muga Rioja Reserva 2007 Tempranillo, $21.24-$27.99, 90 points, poured a clearer, than previously tasted Muga Rioja wines, deep ruby trending orange/red, almost copper-color, toward the leggy glass wall and transparent wine ring.
Smells were not as pleasant as the others tasted; where early smells of earth and mushrooms, with some breathing, transitioned to a more fruity red cherry and strawberry.
Medium-bodied, good acidity, and mildly concluded tannins carried a rather smooth Tempranillo.
Flavors reflective of the nose with hints of sweet tobacco and mint were very good.
Finished well on a balanced 13.5% alcohol, easy spice notes, and trailing mint.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Freemark Abbey Napa Valley 2011 Merlot






Freemark Abbey Napa Valley 2011 Merlot, $25.99-$29.99, 89 points, was an opaque ruby trending cranberry red at the clear wine ring.
Red fruit aromas dominated subtle plum, rose, and sea breezes.
The medium-plus body was a bit rough, maybe just crisp, youthful, or just that the moderately strident tannin made for a somewhat edgy Merlot with good acidity. Either way, this wasn't like the more mellow Merlots as of late.
Plum, truffle, savory, oak, and dried herb flavors were okay, and carried long into the soft spicy finish with a well integrated 13.5% alcohol..
Paired well with a grilled roast-beef and cheese sandwich and spinach pie.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wente Vineyards Sandstone 2012 Merlot







Wente Vineyards Sandstone 2012 Merlot, $13.99-$17.99, 90 points, poured a pure maroon with a broad clear wine ring.
Aromatic red cherry, red raspberry, cedar, and clove were very good.
Medium toward medium-plus bodied with good acidity and round supportive tannin carried rich flavors of anise, cherry, pomegranate, plum, with hints of chocolate and mint.
Finished well on the trailing palate, a balanced 13.5% alcohol, and long warm spice notes.

Etymology of the name Wente
Here's an exercise for your olfactory sense: Buy a fresh package of Earl Grey Tea, and just enjoy the incredible sweet smell.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Evolucio Tokaj 100% 2012 Fermint White Wine (Hungary)






Evolucio Tokaj 100% 2012 Fermint White Wine (Hungary), 11.99, 92 points, was a very light brass color trending water clear at the glass wall.
This white wine was fragrantly generous with floral, soft melon, and citrus notes.
Light-bodied having good acidity, refreshing flavors reflective of the aromas, and a touch of apricot.
Finished well on the trailing palate, a hint of grapefruit, a touch of tangerine peel, a dash of ginger, a smidgen of kiwi, and a perfect 12% alcohol.
I've not seen this wine before, but it was truly lovely.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Merriam Vineyards Windacre Russian River Valley 2011 Merlot






Merriam Vineyards Windacre Russian River Valley 2011 Merlot, $25.99-$27.99, 91+ points, poured a dark ruby red with a clear wine ring at the moderately leggy glass bowl.
Smells were earthy and subtle with hints of black licorice.
Near full-bodied with good acidity and developing tannin.
Early palate Merlot mellow, lush with hints of damson plum and chocolate flavors.
Mid palate was the genesis of an explosive late palate burst of layered escalating tannins, bright cherry fruit, and intense cinnamon, clove, and red pepper spice notes.
Finished long on the trailing palate with a warm 14.4% alcohol.
Of all the blind tasted red wines of the day, the whole group picked this Merlot as best of show!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon



Chateau Montelena Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, $37.99-$47.99, 94 points, poured a lovely high clariety pomegranate red with an obligatory transparent wine ring.
Subtle aromas were softly floral, with autumn leaves, blackberry, and just a hint of sandalwood.
Medium-plus bodied, good acidity, and supportive grainy tannins managed a focused pomegranate, black currant, and cola flavor profile.
Finished very long on the trailing palate, warm spice notes, a touch of eucalyptus and truffle with a well integrated 13.8% alcohol.
The best wine from Chateau Montelena I've tasted.




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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Vini Menhir, Quota 31 Salento IGT 2012 Primitivo






Vini Menhir, Quota 31 Salento IGT 2012 Primitivo, $12.56-$13.95, 86 points, was a rainbow of red and purple hues with opaque blood red and maroon flashes being dominant, while the clear wine ring was broad.
Aromatic fragrance of circus peanut candy, plum, and truffle were quite good.
Quota 31 was an unusually full-bodied Primitivo, possessed fair-plus acidity and mild tannin which complimented a smooth libation.
A rather straight-forward flavor profile of plum, red/black cherry, and black licorice seemed a bit syrupy.
Finished a little short, but okay with coffee, cardamom, and cola flavors on an easy 14% alcohol and marked by an uptick in tannin.
This wine gained favor with me as it breathed for some hours, but note that other reviewers were not kind to this Italian Zinfandel.
Paired okay with ricotta ravioli in a marinara sauce.
I bought this wine at  Angela's pasta and cheese.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Merriam Vineyards Simoneau Ranch Alexander Valley 2010 Chardonnay






Merriam Vineyards Simoneau Ranch Alexander Valley 2010 Chardonnay, $9.99-$19.99, 88 points, poured a rich copper/brass color.
Look, this is a big archetypically oaked Cali Chardonnay, and as a Chablis fan I struggle to be fair to its full-body, fair acidity, overwhelming oakiness, its butter/caramel notes, and its dense tropical flavor character.
Smells were familiar toasty cantaloupe with a hint of lemon.
Finished well with ginger, white pepper, a well integrated 13.8% alcohol, and yes, oak!
The secret with these big Chardonnays are an appropriate cuisine; I satisfactorily paired this with a rich chicken, broccoli, cheddar cheese stew.
To give some perspective on these big Cali Chardonnay wines, I scored the Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley 2008 Chardonnay, $26.49-$34.49, 89 points.
The lesson here is, if you like great big buttery Chardonnay wines you'll get little sympathy with me, no matter who you are.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos D.O.C. 2011 Douro Red Wine (Portugal)





Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos D.O.C. 2011 Douro Red Wine (Portugal), $19.99, 89 points, poured core black trending cranberry red at the broad clear wine ring.
Smells of toasty black cherry and sea breezes were quite good.
Medium bodied with good acidity, layered mild tannins, and good flavors of tart black cherry, pomegranate, nutmeg, fresh mushrooms, brine, and licorice were excellent.
Finished fair on the trailing palate, snowballing tannin, red pepper spice notes, and a well integrated 14% alcohol.
I bought this wine at Lucis's Bodega in Windham, NH.
Paired well with manicotti.




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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tormentoso 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (South Africa)

 
 


Tormentoso 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, (South Africa) $7.99-$17.99, 87 points, poured a deep ruby red with flashes of maroon, and grading toward rosewood red at the broad clear wine ring.
Upon opening the aromas wafted out in waves and settled down to pleasant notes of blueberry, blackberries, and sea breezes with a furtive floral fragrance.
This wine defies most categories of a young Cabernet, with soft easy tannins (the finish excepted), mild acidity, luscious texture, single-minded flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, black currant, and chocolate with hints of tar and tobacco.
Finished on the trailing palate with hints of truffle, a well integrated 14% alcohol, and a noticeable uptick in tannin.
Varietals were 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot.
Not usually my style of Cabernet, but it works for me.



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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Robert Hall Paso Robles 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon





Robert Hall Paso Robles 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, $13.99-$18.99, 87 points, was a Bordeaux purple/red blackberry color with a broad clear wine ring.
Smells of what is often called funk was what greeted me, but slowly transformed into a more toasty mulberry with cedar notes.
Full-bodied with fair-plus acids and tannins appropriate to a young Cabernet were good.
Flavors of black currant, plum, licorice, and hints of nutmeg were okay.
Finished fair on the trailing palate, easy spice notes, and a well integrated 14.5% alcohol.
Paired just fine with a pepperoni pizza.

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Merriam Windacre Vineyard Russian River Valley 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon



Merriam Windacre Vineyard Russian River Valley 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, $27.99-$29.99, 91 points, appeared core black grading blood red at the transparent wine ring.
Smells of anise, black currant, cocoa, and sweet tobacco were pleasant.
Medium-plus body carried wonderful flavors of violets, anise, toasty black currant, chocolate, cola, and boysenberry.
A well balanced Cabernet with good acidity and layered supportive tannins.
Finished long on the trailing palate with a warm 14.5% alcohol, hints of eucalyptus, plum, and easy spice notes.
Paired perfectly with my spiced tenderloin and cauliflower in a mild cheese sauce.



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Monday, October 19, 2015

Plantaze Lake Skadar Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Montenegro),



Plantaze Lake Skadar Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Montenegro), $10.99, 87 points, poured core black trending a rather murky purple/red toward the thin clear wine ring.
The aromas were soft, but pleasant, with dark fruit, chocolate, and a touch of cedar.
Full-bodied, moderately acidic, luscious-firm tannins, and flavors of truffle, plum, and mint.
Finished fair on the trailing palate, easy spice notes, more defined tannin, and a well integrated 13.5% alcohol.
Varietals appear to be 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with Vranac and Merlot.
Here's a link to all things Montenegro (.com) for those interested in more than wine.


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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vino Dous 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Slovakia)




Vino Dous 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Slovakia), $13.99, 87 points, appeared a deep ruby trending a blackberry purple/red with a broad clear wine ring.
The aromas were a soft black currant with a hint of truffle.
Slightly heavier than medium-bodied, good acidity, and grainy tannins managed a straight forward, without bells and whistles, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Black fruit driven flavors, a hint of savory with plum notes rounded off a very impressive effort.
Finished fair on cayenne pepper, an easy 13.5% alcohol, and slightly drying tannin.
Paired great with my barbecue ribs and butternut squash.
My first Slovakian wine (red) was surprisingly good, and when a sale comes along, I'll grab a few more bottles for the cellar.



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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Summers Knights Valley Sonoma County 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve






Summers Knights Valley Sonoma County 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, $19.99-$39.99, 86 points, was more a pawn than a knight (JMO).
Poured more a red than a purple/red with flashes of maroon and a clear wine ring at the leggy glass wall.
A toasty black currant on the nose was good.
The body was medium-plus.
The acidity was fair.
Tannins were moderate, unobtrusive, and consistent throughout.
Licorice, black currant, and spearmint flavors were slightly marred by green notes which almost seemed to be from stems (would be interesting to find the harvesting technique).
Finished fair on the trailing palate, easy spice notes, and a well integrated 14.2% alcohol.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Guido Natalino La Caplana Gavi (Piedmont, Italy) del Comune di Gavi DOCG, 2013 White wine (Cortese)






Guido Natalino La Caplana Gavi (Piedmont, Italy) del Comune di Gavi DOCG, 2013 White wine (Cortese), $15.26-$16.95, 89 points, was a straw yellow color.
Smells of orchard blossoms and orange peel were exceptional.
Light bodied with good acidity carried a broad range of citrus flavors, from orange peel, lemon oil, tangerine notes, with hints of lime and grapefruit were most complex and unusually strong for a Gavi wine.
Finished long on citrus, green melon, a touch of ginger, and a well integrated 12% alcohol.
This very sophisticated white wine from Italy, with great table-setting gravitas, was bought at Angela's pasta and cheese.
 
Butch Lavigne,
 Angela's, passed away; my deepest sympathies.
He will be missed.
 
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Carpineto Farnito Toscana IGT 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon





Carpineto Farnito Toscana IGT 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $12.29-$29.99, 88+ points, poured a core opaque ruby trending a crushed black currant purple/red with a broad clear wine ring.
Aromatic violets, roses, cedar, clove, black currant, blackberries, and savory were good.
Full-bodied, good acidity, layered grainy tannins, and flavors reflective of the aromas were okay together.
Finished on plum notes, warm spices, drying tannin, and a well integrated 13.5% alcohol.
Though I was hoping for a more elegant Cabernet, at $12.29, I really have no complaints, and those which like a big heavy Cabernet will find this a great value.




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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What is a "go to winery"?






A "go to winery" is a winery that almost never, if ever, fails to deliver satisfaction with its wines across the whole spectrum of its production.
Why talk about this subject?
The other day I was listening to a wine-spokesperson list a bunch of wine companies she would recommend, and if or when you buy any of their wine products, you'll be happy or satisfied that you did so; I couldn't, based on my own experience of some of those wines, disagree with her more.
My comments are not about whacking any particular wine company, but there are not many across-the-board wines from a winery (found in the tiny state of NH) that I'd say "buy" without a thought to the Quality/Price/ Ratio value of the wine(s) you're buying; don't have the time, don't care too much about the cost, and just want to get a bottle or two of wine and run; I'd definitely would go with any of these wineries.
So, rather than criticize her choices, here I offer-up my own "go to wineries" of the USA.
This is a work in progress.



Beringer's Vineyards
Beringer Wineries, Why They are go to wineries.

Buehler's Winery

Buehler Vineyards of Napa Valley, why it's a "go to " winery.


Clos Du Val Family Owned Estate Vineyards
Clos Du Val Family Owned Estate Vineyards, Why it's a "go to winery".


Darioush of Napa Valley

Dry Creek Vineyards

Dry Creek Vineyard, why it's a "go to" winery.

Frogs Leap Winery

Frog's Leap Napa Valley, Why it's a "Go to Winery."

Grgich Hills Estates Vineyards

Grgich Hills Estates, why it's a "go to winery".

Groth Vineyards

Groth Vineyards, why it's a "go to" winery.

Hahn Winery

Hahn Family Estates Winery, why it's a "go to" winery.

Hall Winery of Napa valley

Honig Vineyards

Merriam Vineyards

Merriam Vineyards, why its "go-to" winery.

Pine Ridge Vineyards

Ridge Vineyards

Ridge, why it's a "go to" winery.

Rodney Strong Winery


Sequoia Grove Vineyards

Shafer Vineyards
Shafer, why it's a "go to" winery.

Stags' Leap
Stags' Leap Napa Valley, Why it's a "Go to Winery."

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Waterstone Winery


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Vega Sindoa Navarra (Valdizarbe) 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Spain)



Vega Sindoa Navarra (Valdizarbe) 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Spain), $11.99-$12.99, 88 points, poured a crushed black currant purple/red with a broad clear wine ring.
Smells of cedar, black currant, violets, and earth were quite good.
Medium-plus bodied, unusually acidic with firm layered and slightly astringent tannins, though a bit raw, were good, and paired well with my steak quesadillas.
Flavors faithfully followed the aromas with just a touch of tobacco.
Finished long on an escalating tannin, tart pomegranate, good spice notes, and a warm 14% alcohol.
This Cab needs time to mature for most palates (JMO), and it's unclear if the edge will smooth-out in the near future. If you like edgy red wines with a bite to it, then the QPR of this Cab is very good for you.






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Spanish Navarra Red Wines

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bodegas Castano Hecula Yecla (Spain) 2005 Monastrell (Mourvèdre) Revisited




Bodegas Castano Hecula Yecla (Spain) 2005 Monastrell (Mourvèdre) Revisited (4 1/2 years later), $10.19, 87+ points, appeared a rainbow of red colors ending rosewood red with a clear wine ring.
Aromas of licorice, coffee, plum, and with a tenuous brine note were okay.
Medium-plus body carried fair acidity, mellow tannin, and flavors reflective of the aromas.
Finished fair on earthy truffle notes, a hint of tobacco, and a noticeable 14.5% alcohol.

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Spanish Yecla Red Wines

Monday, October 12, 2015

the girls in the vineyard Lake County, California, 2014 Sauvignon Blanc







the girls in the vineyard Lake County, California, 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, $15.29-$18.99, 86+ points,
was a very light brass color trending water clear at the glass shallows.
Smells of honeysuckle, cantaloupe, and sea breezes were good.
Light-bodied, crisp, citrus tart, a dominant flavor profile of white grapefruit with hints of honeydew melon, watermelon rind, and juniper berry were okay.
Finished fair on a well-balanced 13.9% alcohol, a touch of ginger, and citrus notes.
It is said about white wines, that when cold they hide their deficiencies, but I liked this one better warm, which seems counter intuitive, but the grapefruit flavors smoothed-out, and that was better for me.
Paired well with fried sea scallops.




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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Buil & Giné 17-XI 2012 Montsant Red Wine



Buil and Giné 17-XI 2012 Montsant Red Wine,
$16.99-$20.99, 89 points, poured a deep ruby trending a soft crushed black currant purple/red with a broad clear wine ring.
Smells of mulberry, gentle clove notes, and a warm earth aroma were good.
Medium-bodied, good acidity, moderately supportive tannin throughout, and flavors reflective the aromas with hints of licorice, tobacco, and blueberries were good too.
Finished fair on a hot 15% alcohol and warm spice notes.
Paired great with my barbecued pork ribs, butternut squash, and buttered mashed red-skinned potatoes.

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Spanish Montsant Red Wines