Sunday, January 31, 2016

Wine: What's the ruckus all about?

We just witnessed another "wine week" in Manchester, it happens in most major cities, but for the average Supermarket $5-$10 wine drinker, all the hubbub bursting extravagant with expensive fanfare and all, seems a bit out of place or just plain silly.
Motivation is a large part of the commotion; "I'm in with the in-crowd. . . money, money, money (business)",  Art, both culinary and otherwise, from labels to bottle design, and advertisements (did I say money), debauchery, and just for the sheer love of wine, from the poetic to the prosaic, from the historical to the hysterical.
Whatever side of the fence you may be on, wine is the motivation for books, movies, crime, and epicurean preoccupations, not the least is feasting festivities, music, and romance.
Just a few thoughts on "Wine week". NHWM

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Luce 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino




Luce 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino, $88.39-$$103.99, 96 points, poured a deep ruby trending blood-red toward the heavily draped glass wall and broadly transparent wine ring.
The nose was a sophisticated toasty black cherry, fresh linen, and rose, with cinnamon and mint accents (one of the most compelling bouquets I've experienced). 
The uncommonly (for a Brunello) near full body with bright acidity and intensifying tannin carried flavors reflective of the aromas with subtle hints of java and cayenne.
Finished long on hot spices, a touch of oak, a warm invigorating 15% alcohol, and a hybrid bourbon note.
Surprisingly, this Brunello began opening-up immediately and continued to evolve for more than an hour, was a bit more meaty than the examples I was used to, and yet impressed the three of us for the duration (combined rating of 95+ points).


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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Seghesio Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel




 
Seghesio Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $16.99-$21.99, 91 points, was a deep maroon drifting toward purple/red at the broad clear wine ring.
Profuse aromas of blackberry, plum, and coffee were very good.
Medium-plus bodied with good acidity, firm consistent tannin, and rich flavors of mulberry, blackberry, coffee, and a Ritz cracker component mid-palate were complex, but more typical of a Cali Zinfandel than the last four tasted.
Finished quite long on licorice, plum, and a hot 14.8% alcohol with hot pepper.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2013 Zinfandel




Ridge Pagani Ranch 2013 Zinfandel, $31.44-$36.99, 92 points, appeared an opaque red grading bright purple/red toward the broad clear wine ring and leggy glass wall.
Though the aromas of chocolate, cedar, and blackberry were unusually (for a Ridge wine) shy, they were still quite good.
The body was slightly heavier than medium, the acidity was good, and the building tannins were comfortable.
Flavors of plum, ripe blackberries, anise, and oak trailed into the long finish of eucalyptus, white pepper, and a warm 14.8% alcohol with a hint of citrusy mandarin orange peel.
Though hand harvesting is more expensive, I believe the quality is demonstrable.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ridge Ponzo Vineyard 2013 Zinfandel





Ridge Ponzo Vineyard 2013 Zinfandel, $24.64-$28.99, 92 points, poured core black lightening to a purple/red and a broad clear wine ring with heavy sheeting on the glass bowl.
Ridge's outstanding aromatic trademark remains intact, wafting lovey clove, cedar, cinnamon, sweet black cherry, and coffee notes.
Medium-plus bodied, good acidity, appropriate backbone of tannins, and a rather silky texture were propitious.
Black licorice and wild blackberry cordial dominated more subtle flavors of plum, coffee, and black cherry notes.
Finished fine on the trailing palate, hot spices, and a warm 14.8% alcohol.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Heitz Ink Grade Vineyard 2012 Zinfandel






Heitz Ink Grade Vineyard 2012 Zinfandel, $23.79-$27.99, 90 points, was cranberry red with flashes of maroon, a broad clear wine ring, and heavy tearing.
Subtle aromas of strawberry, red cherry, and a floral component were okay.
Medium-bodied with good acidity, appropriate grainy tannin, and flavors reflective of the aromas with a touch of oak resulted in a focused straight-forward Zinfandel.
Finished well on hot spices, a hint of toasted almonds, and a sweet-spot 14.5% alcohol.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wilson Winery Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel





Wilson Winery Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $20.39-$23.99, 90 points, poured a dark ruby transitioning cranberry red at the transparent wine ring and leggy glass bowl.
Smells of coffee, clove, and plum were good.
Near full-bodied with fair acidity and sweet/smooth tannins managed a well-balanced flavor profile of Japanese plum wine, licorice, mint, blackberry, and red raspberry with just a hint of coffee.
Finished fair on cola notes, mild spice, a warm 15.5% alcohol, and the trailing palate.



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Zinfandel suffers, not from a lack of interest . . .

 

 Zinfandel suffers, not from a lack of interest or quality, but because of the price of good Zinfandels and their availability, but mostly because of competition (I covered this topic five years ago in my post Eureka . . .). Yup, since August I've only tasted less than a dozen of my first-love red wines, and many of them were deep discount-wines; yea!
  It's not because the Zinfandels I've tasted weren't good, with an average rating of 87+ points they shine brightly enough, but once you begin with a varietal-intro into the epiphany of the mystery of wine, one path leads to another; Zinfandel lead to Syrah, and then to Petite Sirah, to Tempranillo, Sangiovese, to Bordeaux, to Cali Cabernet, etcetera, and even to White Wines: Exploration and competing varietals now sets the pace for the explorer (will he ever rest, will he ever come home?).
  However, Zinfandel has come full-circle with this fine collection of newly purchased wines; let the tasting begin!



  After tasting with various cuisines and alone, the first three Zinfandel wines had one primary and striking difference, that none of them is alike, none have pure "varietalness", but their own wonderfully unique qualities; I was very pleased with the straight-forward focus of the Heitz, the genesis to concluding unraveling complexity of the Ridge, and the sheer roundness of the Wilson's Zinfandel.

Heitz Ink Grade Vineyard 2012 Zinfandel, $23.79-$27.99, 90 points
Ridge Ponzo Vineyard 2013 Zinfandel, $24.64-$28.99, 92 points
Wilson Winery Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $20.39-$23.99, 90 points

  Following the first three Zins, these three unique wines with marvelous expressions of the varietal have captivated not only me, but myriads of red wine fans.
  The Pagani went from sophisticated subtleties to a trimmed citrus note, while Seghesio's Sonoma competed with more complex Nobel red wines, and finally the great value 3 Ball Zin which mastered the balance of a more typical Cali Zin while avoiding the overemphasis of fruit, alcohol, and simplicity.

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2013 Zinfandel, $31.44-$36.99, 92 points
Seghesio Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $16.99-$21.99, 91 points
3 Ball 2012 Zinfandel, $11.05-$15.99, 88 points

  This is why Zinfandel is so much fun, rewarding, and a great partner with many a cuisine, especially comfort food with an edge, think Mexican, supreme pizzas, mac and cheese with peri-peri, etcetera.

Finally, a full-bodied Zin typifying fruit and spices, and all for less than $10.00.

Sebastiani Sonoma County 2012 Zinfandel, $9.99-$18.99, 87 points

Cheers!

Zinfandel Wines
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Mac Murray Russian River Valley Ranch 2011 Pinot Noir





Mac Murray Russian River Valley Ranch 2011 Pinot Noir, $19.99-$33.99, 88 points, was a deep red grading bright red at the glass edge and broad clear wine ring.
Aromatic mélange of red fruit, earth, and leather were good.
Medium-bodied with good acidity, moderately supportive tannin, and rich flavors of red raspberry, red cherry, and strawberry made for a fruit forward, almost jammy PN; flavors of cola and red grape added depth to the flavor profile.
Warm spice activated by a slightly high 14.7% alcohol, and watermelon rind jazzed-up the fair finish.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Campogiovanni 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino






Campogiovanni 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino, $42.49-$49.99, 93 points, poured a deep ruby-red trending brick-red toward the leggy glass edge and broad clear wine ring.
Aromatic red cherry and soft crème brûlée notes were good.
This very dry red wine, enshrined in a medium-plus body, was marked by firm grainy tannins, near hyper-acidity (not a complaint), intense bourbon notes, truffle, tar, mint, and cherry cordial flavors.
Finished long on a hot 14.5% alcohol and cayenne pepper.
I believe that this wine will appeal strongly with whisky drinkers, and less with fruit-loving Merlot fans (STO, I know).




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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley 2011 Merlot





Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley 2011 Merlot, $36.54-$42.99, 93 points, poured purple/red trending ruby with a broad clear wine ring at the glass edge.
Great smells quickly evolved from warm brownie and white chocolate toward cedar, earth, and black currant.
Near full-bodied with fair acidity, building tannins, and an unusually meaty flavor profile with cola, fresh mushrooms, and red cherry notes impressed.
Finished long on cayenne pepper, mint, savory, and a well-balanced 13.5% alcohol.

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

 
 
Grgich Hills Estates, why it's a "go to" winery.
 13 out of 13 wines were 90 points or higher.
 
 


Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2012 Fumé Blanc, $23.99-$29.99, 91 points
Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2014 Fumé Blanc, $25.49-$29.99, 90 points




Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2006 Zinfandel, $39.99, 92 points
Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $30-$35, 92 points
Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2009 Zinfandel, $24.99-$34.99, 92 points
Grgich Hills Napa Valley 2011 Zinfandel, $29.74-$34.99, 90+ points




Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley 2011 Chardonnay, $40.69-$49.99 (NHLS gift card applied), 93 points
 
 
 
 
Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, $50.99-$59.99, 93 points
Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, $47.99-$59.99, 92+ points
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cheers!
 

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Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt (RK) 2011 Riesling (Revisited)





Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt (RK) 2011 Riesling (Revisited), $12.74-$16.99, 88 points, began in the glass as a light brass color trending straw-yellow.
Dominant apple/pear with hints of caramel, honey, and petrol were good.
The near medium body carried good acidity and a nice balance between tart apple and mild sweet green melon flavors.
Finished fair on a trailing palate, guava, sour apple, a touch of ginger, and a warm 12% alcohol.

First reviewed Dec. 2013

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Castello Di Cacchiano Millennio 2009 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione




Castello Di Cacchiano Millennio 2009 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, $33.99-$39.99, 93 points, poured an expected sunburst orange/red, being a core bright red trending orange at the leggy glass bowl.
Though the aromas were quiet, subtle fragrant floral red raspberry managed to impress.
Elegant early palate medium body with a delicate balance of near perfectly supportive tannin complemented the expected cuisine mastering acidity.
Varietal was 100% Sangiovese.
Flavors of hibiscus, red raspberry, strawberry, leather, and a hint of white truffle manifested an almost Rosé finesse.
Finished long on the trailing palate, mint, and mouth-buzzing tannin and a 14.5% alcohol.




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Chianti Classico Gran Selezione


This post is an introduction to New Hampshire Chianti wine lovers, because, though it took a while, the Top Tier Chianti Classico (Gran Selezione) wines are trickling into New Hampshire wine stores, but will the high prices warrant buying them.
I found two producer's offering, and will give you my opinion.





Castello Di Cacchiano Millennio 2009 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, $33.99-$39.99, 93 points

Castello Vicchiomaggio La Prima 2012 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, $42.49-$49.99, 93 points

IL Grigio Da San Felice 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, $32.29-$37.99, 92 points

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Gran Selezione 2010 Chianti Classico DOCG, (100% Sangiovese) $36.54-$42.99, 93 points

Lamole De Lamole (Vigneto DI Campolungo) 2011 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, $36.99-$39.99, 92 points

Mazzei Castello Fonterutoli 2011 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (DOCG), $40.79-$47.99, 92+ points

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, $29.74-$39.99, 92 points


Chianti Classico (Italy's Flagship Red Wine)  
Chianti Classico Riserva, Sangiovese With Class!
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

T-Vine Napa Valley 2012 Petite Sirah





T-Vine Napa Valley 2012 Petite Sirah, $12.74-$35.99, 88+ points, was an opaque ruby that graded purple/red and finally matador-red at the broad clear wine ring and leggy glass bowl.
Redolent smells of cocoa, earth, black olives, and plum were very good.
Full-bodied, good acidity, and robust tannin managed early palate syrupy black cherry which mellowed nicely into flavors of black licorice, marzipan, and plum.
Finished long on the trailing palate, a chalky blackberry with warm spices and the 14.5% alcohol.
The label states that only 850 cases were produced.







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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dry Creek Vineyard (Hillside and Benchland Vineyards) 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon





Dry Creek Vineyard (Hillside and Benchland Vineyards) 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, $16.99-$19.99, 92+ points, was a crushed black currant purple/red with a broad clear wine ring and a heavily draped glass bowl.
Lovely floral aromas were accented by robust tobacco, cedar, clove and black cherry notes.
Near full-bodied with good acidity and grainy layered tannin supported a complex flavor profile reflective of the nose, but accenting red licorice, red fruit, and cola flavors were wonderful.
Finished long on the trailing palate, cocoa, blackberry, white pepper, and a warm 14.5% alcohol.
It will be rather difficult to beat the QPR of this value Cabernet.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Ridge Lytton Estates 2013 Petite Sirah




Ridge Lytton Estates 2013 Petite Sirah, $25.49-$29.99, 92 points, poured black throughout, except for the deep purple/red toward the glass edge with its broad clear wine ring.
Aromatic violets, toasty black fruits and olives with an unusual buttery waffle, kept Ridge's reputation lively.
Full-bodied, lip-smacking acidity, and wild tannins, which were reigned-in by massive fruit, espresso, and tobacco flavors complementing the whole.
Finished well on the trailing palate, plum, a balanced 13.9% alcohol, mint, and cayenne/white pepper.
Ridge's Petite Sirah is a big warm red wine that has years to age, but it's accessible now to the oenophile or the oenologically intrepid.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kumeu River 2014 Chardonnay (New Zealand)



Kumeu River 2014 Chardonnay (New Zealand), $15.29-$17.99, 90 points, was a light brass color.
Aromas were soft stone fruits with a floral component.
Less than medium-bodied, surprisingly good acidity, and particularly neutral flavors that quasi-mimicked the aromas.
Finished fine on white pepper, wet slate, bright key-lime, and a well-balanced 13.5% alcohol.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon





Grgich Hills Estate Grown Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, $53.54-$62.99, 92 points, poured a crushed black currant purple/red with an obligatory wine ring.
Aromas of black currant, toasty java, and soft violet notes were lovely.
Near full-bodied, texturally a bit sharp at this young age, with good acidity and grainy layered tannins managed the overall theme of this Cabernet: black currant, though accents of plum, mulberry, chocolate, and mint added good complexity.
Finished long on the trailing palate, warm spice, hints of eucalyptus, and a balanced 14.7% alcohol.
Varietals were a Bordeaux-styled 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot 3.5% Petit Verdot, and 3.5% Cabernet Franc.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Frei Brothers Dry Creek Valley 2013 Merlot Reserve





Frei Brothers Dry Creek Valley 2013 Merlot Reserve, $16.99-$20.99, 88 points, appeared an opaque maroon with a broad clear wine ring.
An overbearing grapey aroma with hints of cedar and violets were okay.
This 2013 Merlot just passed the threshold of a medium-plus body, and manifested good acidity and moderately supportive tannin.
Frei Brothers managed with aplomb the many flavors of mulberry, black grape, red cherry, tart pomegranate and cedar.
Finished fair on spearmint, plumb, a well integrated 14.3% alcohol, and mild spice notes.


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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wine And Soul Manoella 2013 Douro Red Wine (Portugal)





Wine And Soul Manoella 2013 Douro Red Wine (Portugal),
$16.99-$21.99, 89 points, poured a bright Shiraz purple/red with a teary glass bowl and a clear wine ring.
The smells of toasty tobacco and black currant were soft and innocuous.
Medium to medium-plus body managed good acidity and early palate-mild supportive tannin.
Pleasant flavors of coffee, blackberry, and an accelerating tannic presence transitioned a moderately smooth libation into a rather strident one.
Finished long on plum, truffle, and a warm 14% alcohol and spice.
Paired perfectly with my Mexican cuisine.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Antico Colle Rosso Di Montepulciano 2013 Red Wine





Antico Colle Rosso Di Montepulciano 2013 Red Wine (Sangiovese with 10% Merlot), $8.49-$11.99, 88 points, appeared ruby-red trending orange/red toward the leggy glass wall and clear wine ring.
Aromatic espresso, roses, and ripe blackberries were quite good.
Medium-bodied, mouth-watering acidity, supportive grainy tannins managed tame flavors reflective of the aromas with hints of red raspberry.
Finished fair on a well-balanced 13% alcohol, stubborn tannin, kalamata olives, easy black pepper, plum notes, and a hint of mint.
I'll go out on a limb and highly recommend this wine for its value.





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