Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2005 & 2008 Ravenswood Zinfandel Wines Remarkably Different

In the movie Sideways, Maya is waxing philosophical saying that a bottle of wine is going to" taste differently on any given day" (Don't you wish your palate was that attuned?); well, if that is true for a single bottle of wine, just imagine different vintages?
How many times we've seen a vintage of a particular wine in the top ten of a nationally recognized contest, only to see that it did not even make "Honorable mention" the next year?

Vintner's Blend-Ravenswood did not fare well in my wine tasting some time ago, but since, in some sense, over 80% of wine drinkers decide to buy their wine BY BRAND, I thought it would be interesting to try two of the same wines together, separated only by year. Of course this is elementary stuff, but for a newbie like me, it's new ground and another beginning in my experience of wine tasting.

Ravenswood Napa Valley 2005 Zinfandel, $15.99, 86 points, magenta in color, grape nose, and can be described as a bit early palate light, but only a fair spice finish with no unpleasing flavors (Not much in flavor at all); a quaff-able wine of a fair tannic structure, lively acidity, and clarity.

Ravenswood Napa Valley 2008 Zinfandel, $15.99, 85 points, is a vastly different wine having a somewhat pungent floral, almost Lilac aroma with a hint of kerosene on the late palate, a taste more associated with White wines, and a somewhat short spicy-pepper finish. The 2008 is more fruity than the 2005, but can't over-come its unbalanced qualities.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2006 Westside Zinfandel is a PEACHY Paso Robles Canyon Wine

Peachy Canyon Westside 2006 Zinfandel, $17.77, 88 points, is a totally different animal from its weak-kneed underling from the Paso Robles Appellation reviewed earlier (Peachy-Canyon-not-always-Peachy-Keen).
The color is deep and dark with youth still flexing its muscle.
The nose is a more typical spice and black cherry aroma of good Zinfandel wines. The early palate is lush and smooth with lots of fruit and a very big black pepper finish.
I'm very glad that I found this wine and decided to fight my last experience with Peachy Canyon, for I delight in giving this Zinfandel a good review.


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Chipping Away At Chardonnay; Clam Bake Anyone

Chardonnay, An Early Foray!

I'm not a White wine drinker (As you Know, if you follow this blog) but I do on occasion try something different.
I do know what I like, and I don't always know why; wine is configurationally a whole, a "gestalt" where the sum of the parts does not equal the end-result, but almost mystically gives us "Character."

For me, a White or Red wine must be pleasant, that doesn't mean that it should be without the dynamics of crispness (Usually due to acidity), or flavor (Fruit that's not Flabby), but the wine should be fun and without grimacing. The wine experience should deepen my life like seeing a mountain view with pastures of alpine flowers and a striated sky.I think that the average wine purchase is about the paraphernalia of fun, and cost is so important (In some sense, cost represents more than 90% of why we decide on one wine over another), but why buy a wine to get drunk because it is a cheap wine (Whisky is Quicker)? Wine is food and compliments food as well.
My point today, is I've come across two of what I think are great Chardonnay wines, that as a last minute gift or for a versatile White wine to pair with that Duck, Ham, or Turkey on Christmas day, will not disappoint. 

Mer Soleil (Sea and Sun) 2008 Chardonnay, $24.99-$37.99, 91 points, I found this Chardonnay to be a well balanced wine of silky flavors of vanilla, butter, and citrus.
Described on Mer Soleil's own web-site as (a little paraphrasing): "Citrus driven nose. Hints of matchstick, pineapple, and banana. Soft and round entry. Oak is apparent but not defining (vanilla, coconut). Mid-palate goes on to reveal other layers of flavors— lemon meringue pie, and again coconut. Finish is rich with viscosity that coats the mouth for minutes after your last sip."

If you are unconventional about your Christmas feast: King Crab, Clam-Bake, or all by itself, this Chardonnay cuts the butter and refreshes the palate.

Frog's Leap 2009 Chardonnay,
 $20.39-$26.99, 92 points, I found this Chardonnay to be a very refreshing, crisp citrus with layers of buttery smoothness, which is a combination that make this White wine intense and uniquely and unimaginably delicious.
Described on Frog's Leap web-site (A most interesting web-site): “Crisp and clean” are not often ascribed to a California Chardonnay but with a nod to the great white wines of the old world, the 2009 Frog’s Leap Chardonnay is just that. Vivid flavors of green apple, citrus and peach are delicately touched with hints of vanilla and toast. The interplay of fresh fruit and bright acidity, marked by notes of wet stone and slate, offer fantastic complexity and drive the wine’s clean, refreshing finish. . ." Frogsleap
Judging from all my glowing reviews of Frog's Leap wines you would think that they are shipping their wines to me. They are not. In fact they didn't even answer my last e-mail, but no matter, Frog's Leap makes great wines.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Seghesio Old Vine Sonoma County 2007 Zinfandel Trifecta

Seghesio Old Vine Sonoma County 2007 Zinfandel, $29.99, 92 points, is dark, almost a black color with yet a young transparent edge.

Wafting pleasant aromas of spicy earth, I knew right away this was going to be a special Zin.

Having an early palate of pepper, mild tobacco notes, and black fruit, complimented with a long gentle finish of white pepper and subtle hints of ginger, this quickly became a favorite of mine.

This is a well structured wine of distinction, balanced and very pair-able with most spicy foods and red meats (I enjoyed The Old Vine Zin with general Tso's chicken). Great as a standalone wine.


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Victory of Vintage or variance in Viticulture (Dueling Beringer Merlot Vintages Brings it on)

2007 Beringer Merlot Founder's Estate is a staple wine in my home, in fact it is the number one wine consumed here, but now the 2008 vintage is replacing the 2007; so as any wine-taster worth his stipend of grape, I blind-tasted the two.

These two wines are very different, yet they have a core of quality and economy that binds them together.

The  2007 Beringer Merlot Founder's Estate is more aromatic with a robust fruitiness with hints of mint.
The  2008 Beringer Merlot Founder's Estate is aromatically thin.

No contest here.

The 2007 is more fruit-forward and a bit minty, having a good finish, but sweeter
The 2008 has a heavier body with a quite spicy flavor and a long Black-pepper finish.

Well, you know me and a spicy finish!
I scored both vintages an 87 Points, and with a spicy price tag of just $6.99, both Beringer Merlots are a steal.

Just a little history: Jacob and Frederick Beringer started their NAPA valley winery in 1876 and it has continued until today, making its continuity the leader in longevity; their higher end wines are prized for their value, quality, and collect ability.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kenwood Gets The Kinks Out Of Lodi Zinfandel

Kenwood Yulupa Old Vine Lodi 2007 Zinfandel, $9.99, 88 points, is a wonderful rebound from that Plungerhead Lodi Old-Vine 2008 Zinfandel.
The nose was the first tip-off: sweet blackberry and toasted blueberry followed by a dark-ruby color folding into a well balanced combination of white pepper and plum.
I paired this with a peppered tenderloin and a breaded rainbow pepper and spinach baked dough.
The finish diminished quickly, but over-all, Kenwood keeps surprising me with good red wines at very reasonable prices.
So, the Lodi Appellation comes through with a good Zinfandel at a good price, proving I'm not just an elitist Grinch, and that Claire-uncorked, has the experience and advice to keep this newbie in line; thanks Claire.


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Hampshire Wine Man Plunging Head-On Into Plungerhead Zin

Plungerhead Lodi Old-Vine 2008 Zinfandel, $11.70-$15.80, 79 points, is dark red in color, and hits you in the nose with strong vegetative aromas (A Negative for me) and with heavy out-of-balance flavors of licorice and stale dark-berry (my guess is that my displeasure is showing).
Plungerhead reminds me of a more spicy ECCO Domani delle Venezie 2007 Merlot, $8-$12.00, 79 points, which I found to be a bitter almost sour Merlot.
Plungerhead has a Dry Creek Zinfandel , which is a better appellation for Zinfandels in my opinion, (not yet tasted), than is the Lodi appellation. Keep in mind that many wine enthusiasts like the Lodi Zins equally or better, but I will stand by my assessment.
Standing alone in the wine-tasting world and criticizing a wine company's "pet" may be frowned upon, but if you buy this wine, come across this blog, and agree that this is a No-buy wine, let me know; all others may-NOT comment, because I've already read several reviewers that liked this wine (3.5 out of 5). Wow! Another wine I wouldn't drink if it was the last wine in the world!
Since I bought this wine, since no one is paying me to gloss-over my opinion, and since this is my palate, I'm telling you what I really think. I hope you, the buying public, will benefit from my experience.
Now, what to do with a wine I don't like?
First, I'll cork it, put in the refrigerator, keeping it handy to deglaze my stainless-steel pans.
Secondly, I might try and combine it with another OK wine (I've done this before) that is not expensive, but counters some of that unpleasant bitterness (Usually Beringers Founders Estate Merlot).
Trying different things is a good idea and may just save me and you some money.
Let me know what you have done.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Cabaret Of Cabernet

Cabernet Sauvignon is a most universally known and imbibed Red wine.
You knew that! Cabernet Sauvignon

Though Merlot's smooth drink-ability, its less tannic mellow nature (Some people are sensitive and prone to headaches), and Merlot's availability and price, often making Merlot the choice for many people drinking Red wine, not withstanding the misunderstanding of Sideways' main character Miles, and his comment: "No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any f___ing Merlot!", Cabernet is still King!
I have enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon's structure and intensity, its rich and unpredictable nuances, and its Berry-appeal.
Well, to the wine and the heart of this post.

I have tried some interesting Cabs lately and thought I might share my thoughts with you.
From Chile:
Root 1 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $5.60-$15.00, 86 points, has a sharp edge to it (seemed a bit green to me) and may need a couple of years in the bottle. It is lively and somewhat predictable, with black-berry and tart cherry. However, for $5.60, I bought a case!

Jim Barry Cover Drive Coonawarra 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $17.99, 89 points. is a distinctive Australian wine, lively and more spicy than many Cabs. It is rich yet has a ripe tang to it. My son is not a Cabernet fan, but very much enjoyed this wine, and I suspect that at a cost of $17.99, you will too.

Zinfandel fans will remember "I'M BIG ON BUEHLER" endorsement, and here I go again with: 
Buehler Vineyard Estate 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $17.99, 89 points.
This Cab is liqueur-like, it is rich, the alcohol stands out, it has sweet black-berry, and is altogether a delicious Cabernet.
The Buehler has been an undervalued wine for most of the year (I paid $17.99), and for a wine of this caliber, one that will finely mature, this is a steal. If you intend to quaff, see Beringer Founders Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, (reviewed below) or check out the Root 1 already mentioned.

Beringer Founders Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $6.49- $7.99, 87 points, is an all-around good wine, it is a typical Cab, and works well with many foods, by itself, with dessert, quaff-able and inexpensive for a wine which comes very close to being as good as Beringer's other more expensive Cabernet ($15.00-$25.00) wines.
With this wine, you CAN'T hardly go wrong.

My last Cabernet Sauvignon for your consideration is the most pricey Cab, but (In my opinion) the best Cabernet Sauvignon of this group:
Clos Du Val Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $26.99-$30.00, 91 points, is a firm, cohesive, quality rich, and balanced wine that is consistent and has all the grape-bearing-berry elements, is aromatic and has a fine finish, all that one could want under $30.00. This is a wine for today and tomorrow.

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Let me remind you NOT to drink and drive, be safe and enjoy the blessing of family and friends today and tomorrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bonhomie Boon Wine Or Busted Boondoggle

Bonny Doon Santa Maria 2007 Bien Nacido Syrah, $40.99, 89 points, is an interesting Syrah, yes, it is rich, easy to drink with gentle aromatics, robust late palate black-berry and currant, with a mild spice finish. Yes it is a curious wine, an intriguing blend of cigarette and bacon, but just a bit over the top for me, which, had it been another wine that cost less, this Bonny Doon would go a long way toward my endorsement; however, I can only recommend this wine as an experience for those looking for something curious, interesting, and intriguing.
I let the 2007 Bien Nacido Syrah breathe for a few hours, and found it developing a nice tame structure and balance; as an alternative to Zinfandel, it is not, because there just isn't that gamy quality. The Bonny Doon is more relaxing and maybe just plain true to its pedigree.
This is not a massive wine like the Two hands Bella's Garden or the Tensley Colson Canyon Syrah, and just maybe I go for that BIG wine feel, at least when it comes to Syrah-Shiraz.
Bonny Doon Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido 2007 Syrah Second tasting One Year Later

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Peachy Canyon Not Always A Peachy-keen Pick

Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Paso Robles 2006 Zinfandel, $6.00-$12.00, 80 points, is magenta in color, having only a fair aroma, with an over-the-top licorice flavor, and a somewhat lightweight quality I'm not as impressed as many others are. the finish is not note-worthy. As a food Zinfandel it's just okay, but as a standalone wine it does not pass muster.
Most of this post is my trying to understand wine and wine tasting as something people do critically, but some of this figuring-out process seems to just be common-sense.
I have read that some wine-tasters have scored the Peachy Canyon "candy-tasting-wine"as high as 88 points: I need to warn you, that if this is a true evaluation of this Zinfandel then there is a long way to go for Peachy Canyon's $16.00 to $40.00 Zinfandel wines to justify buying and drinking them with that review criteria. In other words, their $40 wine should logically (common-sense) have a score of 97-100 points. Is that true?
What is clear to me is my disappointment with those who blithely throw-out such accolades as to give this wine 88 points; if your wallet is of prime importance, then the Peachy Canyon may just be for you, but if you want a "good" Zinfandel, I would look elsewhere.
There is some brag that the Peachy Canyon has only 13.9% alcohol, but I have tasted better Zinfandel wines with that range of alcohol, and with a similar price (See earlier posts).
I first tried this wine over a year ago, and I was disappointed then, but have since more appreciated the QPR (Quality-Price-Ratio), however, I would only consider this wine as a mass effort at a party that requires a Zinfandel wine for pairing, and that choice would have stiff competition with my favorite inexpensive Italian Pimativo (Zinfandel) wines.
Wow, I said all that!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Zincentricism Drives Me To Dry Creek To Taste Test TEST UNTI Vineyard Syrah

Stephen TEST Dry Creek Unti Vineyard 2006 Syrah, $29.70, 90 points, is a Black Berry, Very Rich Wine with notes of cigar-box, mocha, and espresso.
When I see a Syrah from Dry Creek, famous for its Zinfandel wines, and since, to me, a GOOD Syrah and a GOOD Zinfandel have so many of the same qualities, I just have to explore the "countryside" of either wine.
The TEST Syrah is complex and surprising as it unfolds its mysteries with repeated tasting; the aroma is a bit reticent, yet on the second day began to release a smoky, almost bacon aroma.

I like this Syrah, and though $29.70, this is a very GOOD wine.
I found that peppered lamb paired nicely, and a buttered rye helped to clear my palate.


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bella Vino Bells


Wingnut 2008 Zinfandel, $14.99, 88 points, is sourced from Amador County California, boasting 35 wineries.
Wingnut is an interesting medium-bodied wine with the aroma of grape, which most people would expect from wine, being that it is from grapes, but grapiness is not the aroma I find in most Zinfandel wines.
Wingnut is dark and fruity, pleasant and spicy, not outstanding in itself, but rather a generally good and a worthy Zinfandel. I liked it better after "she" breathed some air. 
Bought at Angela's pasta and cheese .

At Bella Vino, Linda and Sheila where very helpful, informative, and fun; I was looking for something new, which I found and bought, as well as two old favorites.

So often I find such interesting people who love wine and the stories can be great too; make friends and join Paula and company at Bella Vino in Windham NH
Sorry to say that Bella Vino is no longer:(


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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Time & Wine In New Hampshire

Wine gifts are often ideal for bosses, family members, or friends who we know like wine.
But the nub is often we don't have a clue what to buy.
Winter is Red-wine time, and most of the time Red-wine is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot,
but I have one Zinfandel for you too.
Want to impress, but not break the Bank?

Well, if you have visited this blog before, it is about wine tips, especially for New Hampshire residents and visitors here.

The link below is to the New Hampshire Liquor Stores; click on the product number that precedes the item you are interested in, and a location will pop-up where you can find the wine that interests you.
There are other places I recommend, but this is for convenience at this hectic time. In other posts I recommend several good wine shops, of which I most highly recommend Bella Vino in Windham New Hampshire. Sorry, now out of business:(

New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlets

Cabernet: Under $10.00

Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon$8.99, 88 points.
"#25 of the Top 100 Best Buys of 2010"-Wine and Spirits-November 01, 2010
NH Wineman says: Hands down your Best Bet (My opinion for under $10.00) for insightful gift-giving this Christmas. 
Cabernet: Under $15.00

Cannonball 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.99, 90 points.

SNOOTH contributors say: "Best value of the year. . . Best under $20.00." Some contributors give the Cannonball a 5 out of 5 rating.

The NH Wineman Scored the Cannonball  90 Points.

Cabernet:Under $20.00

Josh Cellars Sonoma Amber Knolls Vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $15.99, 91 points.
Ray Johnson says: "This is an ebulliently fruity Cabernet, featuring blueberries and Cassis in the nose. In the mouth it is light-bodied and quite soft, very accessible right now, where the fruit is the key feature."

Twenty Bench Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.99, 91 points.
This not an over-powering Cabernet, but a pleasant, warm, balanced, and comforting wine for those cold-winter-nights, and for the merriment of the season.
Wine Library says: "Our favorite Twenty Bench vintage ever. . ."
NH Wineman Scored Twenty Bench Cabernet 91 Points.
Cabernet: Under $40.00

Hall Napa Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32.99, 93 points.
Hall Napa Valley 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32.99, 94 points.
These wines, and at this price are great values, and will probably increase in value and cellar well.
The Hall 2006 is WS' #18 Top Wines of 2010.

Frog's Leap Napa Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, $37.99, 92 points, With hints of tobacco, this wine is dense, drinkable, and aromatic. With a long lush finish, this is a great Cab, and reminds me of a more lush Volver Spanish wine.
I've not had a disappointing Frog's Leap wine.

WS says: "Best Buy", and Scored it 94 Points.

Merlot: Under $10.00

2008 Yellowtail Merlot RESERVE, $9.99, 85 points is my pick! The 2008 is a nicely balanced wine, sweet aroma, fruity, and a rich enough finish.

Merlot: Under $20.00

William Hill Estates Napa Valley 2006 Merlot, $18.99, 90 points, is a great value for a great wine; nice aroma, velvety and smooth, having balanced fruit and tannin, with an over-all pleasant palate and finish.
William Hill Estates Napa Valley 2007 Merlot, $18.99, 90 points, is equally good, maybe a bit more robust, but black-berries nuanced and priced the same. An old friend, who has been a Merlot sipper for many years, thought this might be "the best Merlot" she has ever tasted.

Merlot: Under $30.00

Whitehall Lane Napa Valley 2006 Merlot, $25.99, 92 points, has a light, but beautiful bouquet, with a flavor hint of tobacco and is smooth, yet complex with a Syrah-like spicy finish. 

I hope these tips help.
I'm sure that many other wine varietals need to be reviewed, but I think that the average shopper is looking for Cabernet or Merlot.

Finally, this week's Mega-Zinfandel recommendation: 
Ridge East Bench 2007 Zinfandel, $28.99, 91 points, has a ruby color, is another aromatically resplendent, smooth and easy drinking red wine, but packed with purposeful power pleasure in its succulence. A medium to full-bodied wine that at first is deceptive, but then comes the hammer, and the impact of a plethora of intense black fruit, cigar-espresso-spice flavors that are well integrated, with a spicy finish, making this a FINE Zinfandel wine.


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Speculate With The New Hampshire Wine Man

Today "Wine Spectator" came out with its Top 100 wines of 2010.

Perspective is hard to come-by for Newbie wine tasters, but I'm jumping in.
Of the three, just 3 Zinfandel wines mentioned, I have not even seen them in New Hampshire, as is true of most of The 100; availability is part of the scoring used by Wine Spectator, but that does not mean you can find these wines everywhere; the number one (1) wine of the year (Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles 2007) I have not seen in NH either.

However the few wines I have scored HIGHLY on my blog, the Tensley Syrah (Which I could only find at Bella Vino), Hall, Zaca Mesa Syrah, and though the Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz is the 2008 vintage, I did have high marks for the 2006, all these wines made Wine Spectator's Top 100.

When "Top" wines are considered, you can easily pay $300.00 or $400.00 a bottle, but that is not what this blog is about, though I don't have a problem with a $500.00 bottle of wine, there are maybe five people in New Hampshire that will buy one; the wines I've mentioned above are under $60.00, and that is quite high a price (Zaca Mesa was $19.99)
Well, this is a learning experience, but one thing is for sure: we can have a good time on the trek!


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Polite Petite Palate (No Way Syrah)

One "good" thing is just how impolite one can be when one is new and untethered to customs and rules and money.
Now what does this have to do with wine?
We have already talked about personal palate, finding and enjoying wine that suits you; being driven by price and marketing; that's where I come in: I'm on my own, I am not marketing anything, but sharing my love of wine and what I have "stumbled" upon.
You can make of it what you will. Candidly, there is so much out there, so many wines, so many voices, that I see people throwing-up their hands and just "blindfoldedly" grabbing a bottle of wine, but as I digress into Petite Syrah today, you don't have to be blindfolded.

Petite Syrah is another name for the Durif Grape, and in Australia Durif is the common understanding for Petite Syrah where massive wines with big tannic structure, which allows for or demands long aging, are made, but if you're inclined to know about the Grape rather than the taste (As I Reflect On Some Samples) go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druif

Concannon Central Coast Limited Release 2006 Petite Syrah, $6.00-$12.00, 85 points, is a simple, yet effective combination of quaff able light flavors of plum, grape, other berries, and spice, with a fair aroma, that for the price is an outstanding value, and would be at twice the price.

Stags' Leap 2006 Petite Syrah, $31.99, 93 points, is blended with other varietals to tone down the massive tannins, but fear not, this is a super wine; beginning with an expansive bouquet that is gently expressive and aromatic, with the shear pleasure of just breathing it in, we can continue with its appealing appearance, its rich silky texture, but the lush early palate pleasure soon welcomes wide with white pepper ascending espresso, chocolate, and restrained berry madness, it is smooth yet complex.
This is a stand alone wine, but if paired with food it should be something on the order of big, red, and juicy; if you wanted to know what I ate with my first glass of this wine, I will not tell of the satisfying "sacrilege", unless you ask.

Fleur 2006 Petite Syrah, $14.00, 86 points,  is a medium bodied wine, fair and typical, though light on the palate Petite Syrah that leaves you with a memorable finish. A good everyday red table wine that compliments red meat dishes.

Zinfandel update: last month I tasted the McManis California 2008 Zinfandel, $9.00, 84 points, and not having a very good report (overtly fruit forward-too syrupy-over-whelming flavor of licorice), but for $9.00 not a bad price if you're having a party and it is appropriate to your cuisine.


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Morphing Morgon Makes My Heart Turn To France

Okay, I did warn you about exploring French wine, often expensive and fraught with a mine field of confusion, but when visiting my friend Mimi, she steered me, she assisted me, she gave me her experience, and I took a chance. That is what it is all about my friend: "word of mouth".
If you want to try something different, it is great to have a trusted friend or counselor who knows your palate, or shares the same tastes as you, and the more of these counselors you have, that is, if you want to get out of the rut, if you want to save money, and if you want to enjoy the wine you have, all the better.
So, here it is:
That is only part of what you'll read on this bottle, but what you need to know is that BEAUJOLAIS is a wine made mostly from the Gamay grape, is a gentle (low in tannins) higher in acid easy to drink wine that pairs well with almost everything.
My first taste of BEAUJOLAIS was terrible, and without the help of Mimi, I might not have gotten around to tasting another for another ten years.
MORGON 2009 BEAUJOLAIS is NOT a BIG wine, it is NOT overpowering, it is NOT overtly distinctive (Subtle sensuality rules here), it is NOT for those looking for a buzz (Alcohol 13%), it is NOT leathery, wild (You Zin Lovers) or earthy, but what it is, IS Pure Delicious.
I scored this wine a 91 points, and at $14.99, a good buy, but I have seen it listed for $13.00.

Very little of this applies to Geroge Dubceuf's other Gamay production of Beaujolais; (2009 Saint-Amour) though having a sweet-spice mid-palate the wine is just too floral for me, it is almost eucalyptus, though that's mostly an Australian trait (See Ravenswood 2003 Dickerson Zinfandel) . There are those who like that trait, at least to a certain level, but for me it sometimes leaves an odd, unnatural aftertaste, but that just means there is something for everyone. Let me know if you try both of these and what you think.

GEORGE DUBCEUF 2009 Saint Amour Beaujolais Scored 84 from the New Hampshire Wineman and at $14.99 not a buy for me, and seen elsewhere for $11.99


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Philosophy Of Wine (Price, Alcohol, and Quality) And Be Thankful

Quality to Price Ratio is foremost in the minds of Newbie, uninformed, or even intimidated wine shoppers; they intuitively know this, but don't have a clue how to utilize the concept, so marketing is key as it is in almost everything else.
There was a women looking for a bottle of wine to serve with her Thanksgiving feast, and she asked one of the market's employees what was what with wine, and as I am not bashful, I entered the fray. After the market employee and I got finished with our thoughts and recommendations, she turned around and bought one of the worst, but cheapest wines for her guests.
What was a chance for her to shine at her feast, became a disgraceful pandering to price and marketing, even after two, supposedly knowledgeable people spent fifteen minutes advising her to buy several quite comparably priced, but ever so slightly more expensive alternatives (Hers $7.99 a bottle to ours $9.99 a bottle), she blithely picked one of the wines neither of us had advised was WORTH the money. So she saved $2.00. A meal she would spend at least $100.00 for, she accented with a disgrace of a wine to save $2.00 that would only spoil her effort to please her guests.

A friend of mine wanted a Chardonnay and just blindly picked-up a 1.5L el-cheap o and there it sat for months, one glass poured. So I say: how was so and so Chardonnay? "Okay", is the reply..

I pondered these things for some time, but failed to understand their logic, so please, if anyone out there can help me to understand, chime-in.
New Hampshire Wine Man

Philosophy of wine must also have a PSYCHOLOGY of wine that deals with the interaction of the senses with the mental interpretation of what is sensed, and what that means, but that's for the experts.
For you and Newbie me, our want is to find a good wine at a good price that fits our circumstances.
Maybe I can help as I slosh through the slough of my own path

Here is some last minute wine recommendations for Thanksgiving in New Hampshire:

Bearboat Russian River 2006 Pinot Noir, $14.99, 91 points, is smooth and flavorful, a great wine at a great price.

Acacia Vineyard Carneros 2007 Pinot Noir, $23.99, 90 points, palate pleasant in every way,
and a great wine at still a reasonable price.

Duckpond cellars Willamette Valley 2008 Pinot Noir, $18.99, 90 points, is light, yet robust, complex, yet approachable,
Another great wine at a great price.

A good Pinot Noir can cost upwards of $40.00 or more, but these can be very good wines that will pair well with most Thanksgiving cuisine.

White wine is the usual fare with Turkey, so let me recommend some Sauvignon Blanc wines to pair with your Holiday meal:

1: Hall Napa Valley 2008 Sauvignon Blanc$13.59, 89 points, is crisp and light.
2: Honig Rutherford Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, $16.0088 points, is
gentle and tropical.
3. Robert Mondavi Napa Valley 2007 (Fume Blanc), $14.00, 88, points is creamy peach and lively.
4: Covey Run Columbia Valley 2007 (Fume Blanc), $3.99, 87 points, is a "I can't believe" Best Buy;
balanced and pair-able with a very good QPR.

So, if you haven't gotten that wine for Thanksgiving, and you intend to do so, try one of these and let me know; I think your guests will be Thankful.
Serve whites at about 40-50 degrees, and the Pinot Noirs at about 55- 60 degrees.


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Trusted Truchard Estate Vineyard Syrahs

Truchard Carneros Napa Valley 2005 Syrah, $24.99, 92 points, is a fine wine that I tasted over a year ago. A complex wine, smooth and flavorful, packed with subtle black pepper, with blackberry, having a slightly creamy Bourbon Vanilla wash, and finely paired with almost any hearty cuisine.

Truchard Carneros Napa Valley 2007 Syrah, $24.99, 90 points. I found a new tasting note, at least for me, and that was a gentle finish of red pepper. still a great wine, maybe needing a couple of years resting in the bottle, but wonderful plum and blackberry notes, maybe not quite as full-bodied as the 2005, but great with Mexican sausage and spiced tomato pasta.

Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's The Ballyhoo Bout Baileyana Zin & When Is A Zin Not A Zin?

When Baileyana is a Firepeak Vineyard Syrah. It does have many qualities of a luscious Russian River Zinfandel with full-bodied richness, a bit of Dry Creek liveliness, and Napa Valley complexity and pepper finish.

Baileyana Edna Valley Firepeak Vineyard 2006 Syrah, $23 99, 91 points, (http://www.baileyana.com/firepeak_vineyard.php) is an exciting wine that got better three days after opening (True to its Rhone Pedigree). Grapes grown in this appellation have the longest growing season of just about anywhere, with exceptional soils and weather resulting in a unique Syrah.

Rockblock Reserve 2006 Syrah, $34.99, 92 points, is another wonderful find, robust, well structured, distinctly balanced and big, smoothly quaff-able; this is a great Walla Walla Valley wine (http://www.winesnw.com/walla.html ) with a fine finish and pleasant flavors of plum and grape, but I'm sure you'll find some other slightly sweet berries locked deep inside this treasure. The alcohol is listed at 14.5%, but it seemed a bit higher and quite potent, but that maybe the result of its easy drink-ability.


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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Tale Of Two Zins

It was nearly the worst of Zins and nearly the best of Zins, a tale of opposites; two wines so different, so opposite, one drinkable with almost anything and by itself, the other almost not drinkable at all.

Frey 2008 Mendocino Zinfandel, $11.04, 75 points, might be labeled Medicine County California. The label says, in part, it is delicious, jammy, dry fruit, and ripe berries, but when it mentions cherry, it should mean one of the Luden's cherry cough drops with a 13.9% alcohol splash.

Frey advertises its wine as organic, but if that was my reason for drinking wine, I would quit.

Maybe the problem for my negative experience with their 2008 Zin was I had just finished a bottle of Four Vines Biker Paso Robles 2008 Zinfandel and the comparison was too much for the Frey.

FourVines Biker 2008 Paso Robles Zinfandel, $24.99, 90 points, now this is a Zinfandel, deep red, and cooking spice on the nose, luscious drink-ability with gobs of gamy fruit, having a somewhat wild early palate flavors; tames as it goes down in an easy and fair spice finish.

Again, Paso Robles sports a Dry Creek-type wine having plenty of spice. I can't wait until this Zin goes on sale, but being that Four Vine's web says that it is sold out, I just might not get that chance. So, if you haven't tried this Zin, get to it.


Copyright 2010 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zigzagging The Zin Zephyrs

Lists, don't you hate them?
Well, today I have an ascending list (in quality) of Zinfandels for you, and you can make of it what you will, but I will end with a very good Zinfandel.
Sadly, I'm just giving you a quantitative score which was my cursory impression of most of these wines, and though some will require color, aroma, body, acidity, degree of tannin, flavors, and finish, I just didn't have time. So, make of it what you will.

1. Renwood 2005 old Vine Zinfandel  $18.00, 74 points.

2. Artezin  mendocino County 2007 Zinfandel, $14.99, 79 points

3. Ravenswood Vintner's Blend 2007 Zinfandel, $7.64, 79 points.

The above three wine I don't recommend, but if price is your major concern, I would go with the Ravenswood.

4. Joel Gott 2008 California Zinfandel, $12.74, 81 points.

5. Rancho Zabaco Sonoma 2007 Zinfandel ,$13.99, 81 points.

6. A.Mano 2007 Primativo (Italian Zin), $8.99, 81 points.

Concerning the above three Zinfandels, I remain neutral, but having tasted once I will probably not try again, but if price is your issue, A.Mano would be my choice.

7.Rancho Zabaco Reserve Dry Creek 2007 Zinfandel, $17.99, 87 points is complex and well structured.

8. Quivira Dry Creek 2006 Zinfandel, $18.99, 86 points, is fruit-forward, having a nice aroma, and a fair spice finish.

9. Ridge Three Valleys 2006 Zinfandel Red Wine by definition , $22.99 86 points, has a nice aroma, and a fair finish, and is palate pleasant, but a bit pricey. 74% Zinfandel makes this just shy of being labeled Zinfandel, and more properly a "Red wine."

10. Charles Krug St Helena Napa Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $18.69  89 points is a good value wine, with a sweet aroma, textually dense and rich, and having a long finish; there seemed to be an odd flavor, an imbalance that held me back from awarding this an exceptional rating.

These last four Zinfandels are all good wines, but for my money I tend toward the Rancho Zabaco Reserve.

Now for the hands-down best Zinfandel of this report, it is the cousin of the #9 on my list.

11. Ridge Paso Robles 2007 Zinfandel , $27.99, 92 points, is the stand-out Zinfandel: deep red color, beautiful aroma, wild bramble berries, and unlike the typical (Is there any typical Zin?) Paso Robles, this Ridge doesn't know anything about being smooth or mellow. This briary Zin has the longest black peppery spice finish of any wine I've tried. This wine pairs well with peppered lamb, Tacos, or barbecue cuisine. I sipped on my first glass of this 100% Zinfandel for an hour an enjoyed every sip and every taste.
Nicholas Ponomareff, described the Ridge (Paso Robles “Pass of Oaks”) as "very appealing. . . very highly recommended." 


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