Thursday, June 30, 2016

Merriam Vineyards Russian River Valley 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé






Merriam Vineyards Russian River Valley 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, $16.99-$19.99,  91 points, poured a pale maroon color.
Aromatic dusty loam smell accented strawberry, kiwi, and floral aromas.
Light, crisp, appropriately acidic with excellent flavors reflective of the aromas coalesced beautifully.
Finished well on the trailing palate, a sneaky 13.9% alcohol, and warm almost biting white pepper spice notes.
Paired perfectly with my summer-time BLT sandwich.
A real competitor for Provence.

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

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


 
 
  Okay, okay, Merriam Vineyards isn't Screaming Eagle, I get it, but "underwhelming wines"? I suppose someone has to show-up and appear as their own appointed expert, and who knows, maybe that's why some people hate wine critics while loving movie critics.
  As I continue to clarify my "Go To Winery/Vineyards" list, I have to remind myself of what I was thinking when I began this post: Quality/Price/Ratio (QPR), and would I recommend this winery out of hand; my proof is always my list of a winery's wines tasted; that's all I can do, and if you live in provincial hicksville NH, and not Napa Valley, Tuscany, or Bordeaux, it is humbling and who cares anyway?
  Before I give you my list of Merriam Vineyard's wines I've tasted, I do have a couple of comments: No winery gives me wines or pays me to say what I say about them.
  Though the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc wasn't up to the 2013's brilliants (JMO), it is important to note that the 2013 was my top pick of sixty two 2013 Cali Sauvignon Blanc wines tasted (underwhelming alright), and I always love their Merlots, a varietal from California I am often dissatisfied with (shadows of Miles).
 
 
 
Sauvignon Blanc

Merlot

Merriam Vineyards Windacre Russian River Valley 2005 Merlot, $29.70-$32.99, 90 points

Merriam Vineyards Windacre Russian River Valley 2010 Merlot, $18.69-$27.99 (NHLS gift card applied), 91+ points

Merriam Vineyards Windacre Russian River Valley 2011 Merlot, $25.99-$27.99, 91+ points

Chardonnay
 
Cabernet Sauvignon
 
Pinot Noir
 
 
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

`Chateau Paradis` Coteaux d`Aix en Provence 2015 Rosé




`Chateau Paradis` Coteaux d`Aix en Provence 2015 Rosé, $12.99-$14.99, 90 points, poured an unusually light transparent apricot orange.
Flowers, ripe melon, and strawberry aromas were good.
Light, appropriately acidic, delicate, and gulp-able, this was a delicious Rosé of easy strawberry, red raspberry, kiwi and a touch of hazelnut flavors; paired great with spicy tostadas, but I'd drink this with almost anything, from burgers to sardines and most sea-foods, or Asian cuisine.
Finished fair with a touch of ginger and a well-balanced 13.5% alcohol.
This is why I love French Rosés.
Differing web sites vary on the varietals, some say Cinsault, Carignan, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, others have a variation of those, but the bottle says 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley 2014 Pinot Gris






Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley 2014 Pinot Gris, $16.14-$18.99, 87 points, was a bright brass color with a light lime-green tint.
Aromas of lemon zest, and honeysuckle were good.
Light-plus body carried fair acidity with rather neutral flavors of lemon and kiwi which trailed into the fair finish of white pepper notes and a noticeable 14% alcohol.
Paired fine with my Maine lobster roll.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Orin Swift "Mannequin" California 2013 Chardonnay





Orin Swift "Mannequin" California 2013 Chardonnay, $24.64-$28.99, 93 points, was a deep burnish brass color.
Aromatic honeysuckle, kiwi, hints of orange peel, black pepper, and pome blossoms were excellent.
Full-bodied, viscous, and smooth as velvet.
Good acidity activated flavors reflective of the aromas, and considering that textually it was like drinking a delicious olive-oil, that acidity was an absolute necessity.
Finished long on hints of apricot, tropical fruit, and ginger, with an amazingly integrated 15.5% alcohol.
After breathing for some time the wine transitioned from fruity to a more oaky noticeably Chardonnay varietal.
Considering these varietals: 76% Chardonnay, 8% Viognier, 6% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, 3% Muscat and 2% Roussanne, it's not surprising that the Orin Swift "Mannequin" isn't like any other Chardonnay I've tasted, and the label isn't like any other as well.
Paired perfectly with my smoked pork goulash, but would pair well with lobster, shrimp, crab, and most rich seafood.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hoopes Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon








Hoopes Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was a birthday gift, but the average price for this wine was $72.00.
I scored the Hoopes Cab. 93 points.
It poured an opaque ruby trending bright red toward the clear wine ring.
Aromas of rich black currant, sandalwood, and cedar were excellent.
Medium to medium-plus body embracing a moderately smooth texture with good acidity and sweet fine-grain tannin managed a developing complexity of violets, black fruit, and dried herb flavors.
Finished long on white pepper, cardamom, a hint of mint, and an interesting 14.75% alcohol.
The gifting was an interesting affair, as I had recently noticed on-line that a local wine store had this wine on-hand, and having traveled there only to discover and be disappointed that the wine was already sold; subsequently the next day a relative called and asked me what wine I would like for my birthday: "If you see Hoopes 2012 Cabernet. . ." Gifter: "It's staring me in the face right now" (sounds of amazement on both sides of the phone). Don't you just love serendipity?

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Benvolio Friuli Grave 2014 Pinot Grigio







Benvolio Friuli Grave 2014 Pinot Grigio, $5.79-$12.99, 84 points, poured a light brass color.
Aromatic citrus with hints of pome fruit were just okay.
Light-bodied with fair to good acidity carried unremarkable citrus and apple flavors.
Finished consistently as it began: a rather neutral quaffer with an innocuous 12% alcohol.
The sad aspect of drinking this Pinot Grigio is its contrast with yesterday's remarkably excellent fare (Jermann Friuli Venezia Giulia 2014 Pinot Grigio IGT), but one often gets what one pays for.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Jermann Friuli Venezia Giulia 2014 Pinot Grigio IGT






Jermann Friuli Venezia Giulia 2014 Pinot Grigio IGT, $22.94-$26.99, 92 points, poured a light golden color.
Subtle stone fruit aroma accentuated hints of pome blossoms.
Almost medium-bodied with good acidity and flavors of lemon/lime, steely minerality, and hints of kiwi were excellent.
Texturally silky, and finished long on the trailing palate, pear, just a hint of ginger, and a well-integrated 12.5% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my steamed Maine lobsters in melted butter and spiced organic baby cucumbers.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley 2014 Viognier






Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley 2014 Viognier, $23.79-$27.99, 91 points, was a light glossy gold color.
Smells of orange peel and pome blossoms were very good.
Light, crisp, smoothly acidic, and delicious with flavors of Lychee, tangerine, pome fruit, and melon rind.
Finished strong on white pepper/ginger notes, tart citrus, and a potent 14% alcohol.
Paired great with my Tongol tuna on wheat with celery, lettuce, and spices.
The glass closure was beautiful and elegant if a bit tough to open.





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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Folie à Deux Alexander Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon



Folie à Deux Alexander Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.44-$19.99, 90 points, poured core black trending maroon with a broad clear wine ring of some considerable bleeding, and quite a leggy glass bowl.
Aromatic mulling spices, black fruit, and licorice were outstanding.
The moderately smooth medium-plus body with fair acidity and sweet layered and mostly resolved tannin carried good flavors reflective of the aromas.
Finished well on cedar notes with blackberry, warm spices, and a sweet-spot 14.3% alcohol.
Though Folie à Deux in this case might be named Une passion partagée par un, never-no-mind, it's a great Cabernet all by myself!
Paired great with my New Zealand rib lamb chops.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Martin Ray Russian River 2015 Rosé Of Pinot Noir





Martin Ray Russian River 2015 Rosé Of Pinot Noir, $12.74-$14.99, 89 points, poured a beautiful watermelon-red color.
If you buy wines based upon aroma, this Rosé is not for you, even though the aromas were not unpleasant, only nondescript, and shy to the point of imagination.
Light-bodied, but substantial for a Rosé; acidity seemed to me to be more at fair-plus than typically good, quite dry, and flavors of watermelon and flowers with white pepper were excellent and carried deep into the long finish; a well-balanced 13.8% alcohol capped-off an excellent domestic Rosé.
Paired well with my spicy chili.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Presto NV sparkling wine






Presto NV sparkling wine, $10.99-$12.99, 85 points, is of course an attempt to find a niche that reaches those seeking convenience; don't look for excellence here, but rather sufficiency, adequacy, and ease; that is this little frizzante Italian white wine.
The nose is near dumb excepting a slight orange note.
Light, crisp enough, off-dry, neutral flavor save for subtle hints of vanilla, banana, and citrus.
Finished weakly with an unnoticeable 11% alcohol and a touch of ginger.
Paired okay with my Yellow-fin tuna salad, but was better with my almond lemon cake vanilla ice-cream à la mode.
This is a specialty item at Whole Foods.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Beran Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel




Beran Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $25.49-$29.99, 90 points, poured core black trending deep purple/red toward the broad transparent wine ring and heavily trapped glass wall.
Smells of vanilla, roses, sandalwood, black currant, and red raspberry were excellent.
Medium-plus bodied with good acidity and moderately supportive tannin managed well the flavors of red cherry cordial, intense clove notes, licorice, blueberry, and rum chocolate balls.
Finished long on the trailing palate, warm spices, and a remarkably well balanced 15.2% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my spiced-rubbed rare bone-in rib-eye Angus steak with a spinach feta cheese pie.
A label note: one of the ugliest labels I've tried to photograph, and I found that a brown paper-bag and a Pete's coffee pouch to be just about as 'good' looking, but keep in mind that "you can't judge a book by its cover."

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Charles Smith VINO 2015 Sangiovese Rosé





Charles Smith VINO 2015 Sangiovese Rosé, $13.49-$14.99, 88 points, was a spring peach color.
The nose was a shy strawberry.

This was a wonderfully delicate light-bodied Sangiovese Rosé with good acidity and soft flavors of watermelon and strawberry with a subtle floral note.
Finished on a bit of cotton-candy, the trailing palate, and a shy 12% alcohol.
This gentle/shy Rosé was a satisfying if not nearly a phantom pairing to my spicy sloppy-Joe.
I bought this wine at the Bedford Whole Foods.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Hobo Dry Creek Valley 2008 Zinfandel





HOBO Dry Creek Valley 2008 Zinfandel, $15.30-$22.00, 90 points, was bright red with flashes of maroon and a bleeding broad wine ring at the glass wall of heavy sheeting.
Aromatic and interesting aromas of juniper, spearmint, sandalwood, clove, and cedar were outstanding.
The medium to medium-plus body managed well its fair-plus acidity and mostly resolved tannin.
Flavors of spearmint, truffle, and red cherry were highly enhanced by hot spices and the restrained 14.7% alcohol.

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Michael David Earthquake/Lodi 2013 Zinfandel






Michael David Earthquake/Lodi 2013 Zinfandel, $19.54-$28.99, 87+ points, poured a deep ruby trending a bright red toward the clear wine ring at the glass edge.
Profusely aromatic mulling spices were accented by cocoa powder, sandalwood, blueberry, and black fruit.
Full-bodied with good acidity and medium luscious tannins carried a slight syrupy cherry flavor which trailed those reflective of the aromas.
Along with my delight in the bouquet, I was also fond of the exceptionally spicy finish and hot 15.5% alcohol.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

St. Clement Vineyards Napa Valley 2013 Sauvignon Blanc




St. Clement Vineyards Napa Valley 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, $10.19-$21.99, 88 points, poured a glossy gold color trending straw yellow.
A wonderful honeysuckle aroma was accented with hints of tropical fruit notes and the slightest whiff of petrol.
This was a light-bodied white wine with good acidity, though not as lively as the current Cali Sauvignon Blanc wines, but still quite tasty on the aroma reflective flavors.
Finished fine on the trailing palate, a potent 14.1% alcohol, a hint of Lychee and ginger.
Paired perfectly with my Maine fried whole clams.
Flag of Maryland reflecting the LOGO of St. Clement's founding Fathers.





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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Plungerhead Dry Creek Old Vine 2013 Zinfandel




Plungerhead Dry Creek Old Vine 2013 Zinfandel, $17.84-$20.99, 90 points, poured opaque ruby trending a deep purple/red toward the clear wine ring at the leggy glass wall.
Aromas of blueberry and blackberry were very good.
This was a full-bodied red wine; the luscious texture was juicy and gave a sense of being a tad sweet without being sweet at all; it had tangy flavors of black fruit, blueberry pie, chocolate, and a hint of juniper; tannins were an easy sufficient underlayment.
Finished long on the trailing palate with hot spices and a hot 15% alcohol.
Almost six years ago I tasted and disliked the Lodi offering by Plungerhead; at that time I mentioned they also made a Dry Creek Zinfandel; well, I finally found this one, and it exceeded my expectations. Who knows, maybe I'll even try the Latest Lodi Labor of Love by Plungerhead!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cecchi La Mora Maremma Toscana 2014 Vermentino






Cecchi La Mora Maremma Toscana 2014 Vermentino, $13.99-$15.99, 88 points, was a straw yellow color.
Bright melon/grapy aromas with a floral hint were rather straight-forward.
Light-bodied with mouth-watering acidity managed good flavors of tart lemon, melon rind, a hint of orange peel, and a floral vibe with a limestoniness.
Finished fine on the trailing palate with a hint of ginger and an unobtrusive 12.5% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my Maine raw oysters with peri-peri and fresh squeezed lemon.

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Vermentino White Wine

Monday, June 13, 2016

Alexander Valley Vineyards (Wetzel Family Estates) 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon






Alexander Valley Vineyards (Wetzel Family Estates) 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $13.59-$19.99, 90 points, poured core black trending a deep purple/red toward the crystalline wine ring at the leggy glass bowl.
Smells of black currant, cedar, clove, hints of spearmint, and loam were excellent.
Medium-plus bodied, medium acidity, layered consistent tannin throughout, managed a balanced flavor profile which mirrored the aromas.
Finished long on the trailing palate, warm spices, licorice, and a reigned-in 14.2% alcohol.
Very much a wine reminiscent of an excellent red Bordeaux, and having dollops of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot you can understand why.
Paired perfectly with my spaghetti and meatballs.
I highly recommended this red wine for its extreme QPR.




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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Canvasback (Duckhorn) Washington State Red Mountain 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon







Canvasback Washington State Red Mountain 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $33.14-$38.99, 92 points, poured as black as a starless/moonless night, and barely showing purple/red near the broad clear wine ring and leggy glass edge.
Canvasback was full bodied, was velvety, showed aromatic fruit with cedar, ripe blackberries, flowers, and cigar-box; its flavors were delicious and reflective of the aromas with cocoa notes; acidity was fair-plus, and the tannins were sweet and easy.
Finished fine on licorice, clove, warm spices, and an appropriate 14.5% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with my spiced Australian lamb rib chops.
One of these days to come, this wine will be too expensive for the average wine lover, but that's just my guess based on the Napa Valley 2013 Cab. costing about $66.00.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bieler Père et Fils Bandol 2015 Rosé




Bieler Père et Fils Bandol Bandol
2015 Rosé, $19.99-$24.99, 90 points, was a dark peach pink.
Aromatic strawberry, watermelon, and a floral vibe were good.
As has been so typical of these 2015 Southern French Rosés, this Bandol was light, crisp, acidic, dry (this one was brut dry), and displayed flavors reflective of the aromas.
Finished long on red cherry and strawberry flavors with a trailing floral note and a remarkably balanced 13.9% alcohol.
Paired well with my spicy tostadas.
I bought this Rosé at the Whole Foods of Bedford.





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Friday, June 10, 2016

Rock Wall Wine Co Monte Rosso Vineyard 2014 Zinfandel




Rock Wall Wine Co Monte Rosso Vineyard 2014 Zinfandel, $33.99-$39.99, 92 points, poured core black trending maroon toward the clear wine ring at the glass edge.
Redolent smells of warm wild blackberries, roses, and a hint of mint were excellent.
Medium-plus body carried good acidity and moderate to intensifying tannins toward the long finish.
Flavors of wild briar black fruit, licorice, plum wine, and warm spices began the silky early palate which morphed rougher and hotter on the late palate and long finish due to its 15.2% alcohol.
Paired perfectly with our bacon pizza.
Only 646 case were produced.




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