Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wine Spectator Magazine Rates My Bragged About Pinot Noir as #67 in Their Top 100




Back on December 22, 2016 I said this about the Hahn Winery Estate Santa Lucia Highlands 'S~L~H' 2014 Pinot Noir: "Hahn has proved that a great Pinot Noir can be purchased for far less than $40, and just why I list Hahn Family Estates Winery a "go to" winery."
Well, this week Wine Spectator published its Top 100 wines and WS agreed with me that this is a very special Pinot Noir.



Some of the other wineries mentioned that I list as "go to"  domestic wineries were Hall and Ridge.
It's always satisfying to have confirmation that one is on the right track, at least some of the time.

Happy New Year!
Don't Drink and Drive!
Cheers!
AULD LANG SYNE ~ Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

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Bubblies For New Year's Eve 2016-2017



Bubblies For New Year's Eve, who has the inside scoop on what to celebrate with?
 
 
 
 
You have the inside scoop!
Champagne, they tell me, can be extraordinary; I wouldn't know, cause of the usually extraordinary price; I've veered toward some extraordinary Prosecco, Cava, Gruet from right here in New Mexico, and a few outstanding Champagne-like bubblies from California and the North West USA; not as 'traditional', but prices are much more reasonable, and the bubbles still go up, not down, contrary to BFG's concoction.
 
 
And here are my tasted and reviewed sparkling wines since I've been blogging:
 
 
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Pine Ridge Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon





Pine Ridge Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $39.99-$49.99, 92 points, poured core black grading deep purple/red at the glass edge of sticky sheeting and a clear circumferential ring.
Instigated aromatics resulted in a lovely and rich floral and mulling spice potpourri.
Full-bodied with good acidity and roundly supportive tannin carried a lush flavor of blackberry brandy accented by mulling spices, plum, and licorice.
Finished very long on the trailing palate, cedar, warm spices, and a well-balanced 14.7% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with our Italian-styled pizza.
I bought this PR Cab at the Whole Foods of Bedford.



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Friday, December 30, 2016

Bodegas Naia Rueda 2014 Verdejo (Castilla y Leon, Spain)






Bodegas Naia Rueda 2014 Verdejo (Castilla y Leon, Spain), $12.99-$14.99, 89 points, was a satin gold color.
An olfactory treat with lots going on here; there were pome, flowers, pine, and peach aromas.
Light, mouthwateringly acidic, round, and as complexly rich as the aromas, a bit sour, but melon rind, kiwi, and hints of white grapefruit were quite good.
Finished long on the trailing palate and a substantial 13.5% alcohol.
Paired fine with my spicy sausage and spinach pie.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Novelty Hill Columbia Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon






Novelty Hill Columbia Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, $18.69-$23.99, 91 points, poured core black and quickly transitioned to a deep purple/red with a clear wine ring and some sheeting on the glass wall.
Profusely aromatic with earth, blueberry, black currant, and ample violets notes.
The silky full body with good acidity and firm fine tannins carried flavors reflective of the aromas along with anise and hints of coffee.
Finished fair on the trailing palate, warm spices, and a potent 14.4% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my Texas burgers and chips.
Excellent Cab for the price point (QPR).




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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Castello di Querceto 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva (DOCG)






Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva (DOCG), $12.99-$24.99, 89 points, poured a burgundy color with flashes of maroon at the core concluding with a broad clear wine ring.
Aromas needed some coaxing, but the good earthy aroma was well accented with a spiced red cherry and sage.
Medium-bodied with bright acidity and tight thin tannins managed complex flavors of truffle, mint, red cherry and tart pomegranate.
Finished long on white pepper, orange pekoe tea, and a spot-on 13% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my tomato based goulash.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hall Napa Valley 2015 Sauvignon Blanc






Hall Napa Valley 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, $21.99-$24.99, 91 points, poured a light brass color grading water clear at the glass edge.
Lemon grass and fresh-cut hay aromas were excellent.
Light, crisp, appropriately acidic, and archetypically (think essences) Cali Sauvignon Blanc flavors complemented and easily cut through teriyaki chicken and spinach with feta cheese pie.
Finished long on hints of mandarin orange, ginger, watermelon rind, and a well-integrated 14.1% alcohol.
This was my fifth vintage of the Hall SB, and just maybe the best.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas 2015 Blanc White Wine






Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas 2015 Blanc White Wine, $18.69-$21.99, 91 points, poured a light glossy gold color grading almost clear at the glass edge.
Warm wet stones, apple, pineapple and subtle accenting smells were redolent of youthful experiences.
Slightly more than light-bodied with good acidity and intriguing flavors reminiscent of the aromas climaxing with excellent ginger notes, kiwi, melon rind, and a potent, but accommodating 13.5% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with our Christmas Chinese food fest.
Varietals were 56% Grenache Blanc, 23% Viognier, 12% Roussanne, and 9% Marsanne.
Now one of my favorite white wines.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Seven Falls Cellars Wahluke Slope 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington)







Seven Falls Cellars Wahluke Slope 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington), $9.59-$11.99, 87 points, appeared a deep purple/red with a leggy glass bowl and a clear wine ring.
Aromas of cedar and black currant were quite good.
Near full-bodied with good acidity and comfortable tannins redounded to a moderately smooth libation.
Seven Falls presented a rather fruity flavor profile highlighting robust plum and black currant accented by a soft boysenberry.
Finished well on a more pronounced fine/grainy tannic expression, warm spices, and a warm 14.5% alcohol.
Paired well with my rare spiced rack of lamb.
I bought this NW Cab. at the Whole Foods of Bedford.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

L'Ecole No 41 Columbia Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon




L'Ecole No 41 Columbia Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $29.99-$33.99, 91 points, poured a now familiar Pantone Burgundy color with a broad clear wine ring and a glass bowl of many 'tears'.
Dusty aromas of black fruits, roses, and a lovely faint hint of coconut were excellent.
Medium-plus body with fair-plus acidity, soft and mild supportive tannins, and good flavors of blackberries, a pleasant oakiness, cola, and dried cooking herbs excelled.
Finished long on the trailing palate, hints of damson plums, and easy spiciness with a warm 14.5% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my loaded pizza and every kind of chocolate I could find, from milk to dark to white chocolate with almonds.

Sublime Christmas Voices You Might Not Know.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Truchard Carneros Napa Valley 2012 Zinfandel







Truchard Carneros Napa Valley 2012 Zinfandel, $12.74-$27.9988 points, poured the darkest of raspberry reds with a clear wine ring and a heavily sheeted glass bowl.
The nose needed some teasing, but swishing brought-out an excellent bouquet of smoky plum, cinnamon, clove, cedar, and a floral vibe.
Medium-bodied with good acidity and fine grainy tannins managed mostly good flavors of blackberry brandy, chocolate, wild black fruits, and licorice.
Finished well on the trailing palate, a tad green, easy spices, more plums, and a restrained 14.2% alcohol.
Paired nicely with my buffalo-wings.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hahn Winery Estate Santa Lucia Highlands 'S~L~H' 2014 Pinot Noir







Hahn Winery Estate Santa Lucia Highlands 'S~L~H' 2014 Pinot Noir, $24.99-$29.99, 90 points, poured an unusual Pantone Burgundy color terminating with a broad clear wine ring.
Pinot Noir is seldom so fragrant; the S~L~H is grapy, dusty, earthy, and floral.
Medium-bodied with good acidity, mellow underlayment of tannin, stout backbone of 14.5% alcohol, and good cherry flavors with trailing notes of plum and alcohol inspirited hot spices.
Paired perfectly with my chicken cacciatore and warm garlic toast.
Hahn has proved that a great Pinot Noir can be purchased for far less than $40, and just why I list Hahn Family Estates Winery a "go to" winery.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Duckhorn Napa Valley 2015 Sauvignon Blanc






Duckhorn Napa Valley 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, $22.94-$29.99, 90 points, poured a light brass color trailing clear at the glass shallows.
Aromatic flowers and tropical fruit with a developing fresh cut hay smell were excellent.
Light-plus body with good acidity managed flavors reflective of the aromas.
Finished okay on good ginger notes and the lingering palate, but the 13.5% alcohol wafted excessive.
Varietals were 79% Sauvignon Blanc and 21% Sémillon.
Paired well with my skipjack tuna salad and deep fried battered sea scallops.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kunde Sonoma Valley 2014 Chardonnay






Kunde Sonoma Valley 2014 Chardonnay, $15.99-$19.99, 87 points, was a straw yellow color.
Smells of honeysuckle and lemons with a kiss of vanilla were good.
Medium-bodied with good acidity and flavors of quince, tart cumquat, just a hint of lemon, and a bit more oak than suits my palate.
Finished long on black pepper, hints of cantaloupe, ginger, and a reasonable 13.8% alcohol.
Paired well with my balsamic fig roasted chicken with butternut squash.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Christmas Wine Gifts (Sweet and Simple Picks)



Top wine recommendations for 2016,
based upon quality and price at the time of my reviews,
just in time for Christmas gifting.
 

 

Best value red wines under $15:
Best value white wines under $15:
Best red wines under $50:
Best white wines under $50:
 
 
If you haven't found what you are looking for, try two previous year's picks which were more comprehensive, and probably still current:
Wine as a last-minute Christmas gift (2014)
Above all, have a Merry Christmas and don't drink and drive!
 

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Darioush Napa Valley 2013 Merlot






Darioush Napa Valley 2013 Merlot, $50.99-$59.99, 93 points, poured a deep American Natural Red color
with a transparent wine ring and a glass wall of some sheeting.
The floral/herbaceous aromas were excellent.
Full round body, even velvety, with good acidity and fine supportive tannins carried a delicious balance of herbs, spices, and a touch of Slivovitz (dried plum brandy).
Finished long on a pleasing oaky plum, tobacco notes, hot spices, and a not so shy 14.8% alcohol.
The three of us loved this wine, a bit pricy, but in general the lowly Merlot in its more rarified incarnations, are usually pricy.
The 2013 Darioush Merlot is just a babe, and will drink well for years to come, and dare I say: improve in finesse.
Varietals were 97% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Historic Rows 2013 Malbec




Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Historic Rows 2013 Malbec, $41.99-$49.99, 91 points, poured core black grading purple/red close to the thin clear wine ring and heavily draped glass bowl.
Aromatic black fruits accented with a whisper of lavender and cilantro were good.
Full-bodied with good acidity, lush round tannins, and a smoky flavor rendition of the aromas plus plum notes were satisfying.
Finished extra-long on the trailing palate, hints of eucalyptus, hot spices, and an accommodating 14% alcohol.
The three of us loved this wine, and it might be safe to say it out Zinfandeled many Zinfandels.



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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Château Greysac Médoc 2011 Bordeaux Red Wine,







Château Greysac Médoc 2011 Bordeaux Red Wine, $17.99-$19.99, 91 points, poured a lovely ruby grading purple/red toward the clear wine ring and heavily draped glass bowl.
Aromatic black fruit, mint, and a soft floral bouquet were excellent.
Medium-plus body carried good acidity, grainy supportive tannins, and excellent flavors of plums, citrus, tobacco, and blackberries.
Finished well on the trailing palate, warm spices, and a balanced (reasonable:) 14% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with Debbie's American chop suey with peeled plum tomatoes.
This Château Greysac was far above the price-point for such a good Bordeaux, and I'm so glad I recommend this wine to the gentlemen at the Bedford NHLS last week (you know who you are).
Varietals were 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Stags' Leap Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon




Stags' Leap Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $42.49-$59.99, 93 points, poured almost core black grading burgundy purple/red toward the leggy glass wall and clear wine ring.
Aromas of fall leaves, sandalwood, cedar, and blackberries with hints of chocolate and black currants were delightful.
This smooth near full-bodied Cab with good acidity and firm/fine tannins supported flavors that mirrored the aromas plus a kiss of black cherry and cola.
Finished long on the trailing palate, anise, plum, warm spices and a most reasonable 14.1% alcohol.
Stags' Leap was a good pairing with my spaghetti and meatballs.



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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Concannon Paso Robles 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon






Concannon Paso Robles 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, $10.79-$12.99, 88 points, poured ruby with flashes of maroon trending a candy-apple red toward the broad clear wine ring and glass wall of some tearing.
Aromas of cedar, unripe mulberry, hints of rose, brine, and sandalwood were good.
Medium-bodied with good acidity, slightly astringent tannin, and bright flavors reflective of the aromas which carried deep into the fair finish of red pepper, mint, hints of plum, and a balanced 13.5% alcohol.
Paired fine with our Texas burgers.
This is a high quality/price/ratio (QPR) red wine.
I bought this Cabernet at the Shaw's Super Market of Londonderry.

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