Thursday, September 29, 2011

ACORN Heritage Vines Russian River 2007 Zinfandel

ACORN Heritage Vines Russian River 2007 Zinfandel, $29.99-$38.99, 90 points, sparkles with a dense crimson-purple color and has a beautiful aroma of black-tea and cinnamon. The flavor is brambles and plum, and finishes nicely with Tabasco spice. The wine is medium bodied and satin-like: very quaff-able, but the 14.8% alcohol is almost unnoticeable.
As with the 2006 ACORN ZIN, this is a good wine, though a bit pricey, but if you love Zin, then this is a must tasting.
Can't say I've had a Russian River wine I didn't like, but I'm sure there's one out there.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Murphy-Goode 2008 Pinot Noir

Murphy-Goode 2008 Pinot Noir, $11.99-$17.99, 89 points, was bought at Market Basket with a three dollar coupon.
Color is ruby-red with grainy orange flashes, the aroma is Black-currant and a bit vegetative, the body is light to medium, the flavor is a delicious gestalt (Balanced) of tart Red cherry mellowed as if by a cold mountain stream, and the finish is a first for me: a lingering candied spice finish reminiscent of a "Fireball" on the roof of my palate. This is a very good Pinot Noir for not much money! If low priced PN has disappointed you in the past, and even if your budget isn't small, this wine is a value and complimented our cuisine just fine.

We paired this with Ethan's culinary delight of pork-loin as presented: 


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Monday, September 26, 2011

St Hallett Barossa Valley Faith 2007 Shiraz

St Hallett Faith Barossa Valley Australian 2007 Shiraz, $12.15-$16.99, (Purchased at Hannaford's supermarket), review is in progress, but at this time I'm testing a new method of photography and its cumbersome software; sorry for the delay. Instead I have provided some links for you, provided this wine is of a pressing interest.

St Hallett Winery

Commentary is provided by Catie of the Wild Walla Walla Wine who has kindly given me permission to link and share some very relevant thoughts: wine-grace, wisdom, and yes, health. 

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil) Reserva 2010 Chardonnay Is The Perfect Halloween Wine


Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil) Reserva 2010 Chardonnay (Chile), $6.00-$10.99, 88 points, is a steal! 
For the newbie wine lover, here's a feast for your eyes, imagination, and ears (The wine, is the feast for your mouth and your nose):Casillero Del Diablo Video

CYT 2010 Chardonnay is mineral-water light (Almost Gavi clear with a warmer hue), the aroma is gentle to slight with a hint of honey dew melon, the body is light to medium (Refreshing and crisp like a Sauvignon Blanc with more texture), and the flavor is  Pomelo "like a sweet, mild grapefruit" and watermelon, with a slight ginger finish.
This wine is not going to wow your friends, but it is no trick, and is a refreshing treat, just not for the kids.
If you're looking to pair this Chardonnay, I believe it would pair with almost anything! Now I'm not suppose to say that, and I've mentioned "The Rules of Pairing before", but the acidity and drink-ability will clear your palate from fish to oysters, lamb to beef (South America almost means beef). Well, you get the picture. $6.00 was a down and dirty theft!

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Big House Beastly Old Vines 2008 & 2009 Zinfandel Wines For Halloween

Big House Beastly Old Vines 2008 Zinfandel, $7.99-$9.99, 85 points, is a deep magenta (crushed elderberry), the aroma is a moderately intense cedar and clove, the light to medium body harbors a jammy wine, but with a bit of  bitterness, and after breathing for sometime, there is a bit of plum. The finish is a fair licorice/spice that just maybe the best part of this wine.

Big House Beastly Old Vines 2009 Zinfandel, $7.99-$9.99, 84 points, is a deep magenta (crushed elderberry), the aroma is a pungent copy of the 2008 with the addition of alcohol, the light to medium body carries bright black and red cherry flavors that are too over-the-top, and the finish falls short of the 2008.
These Zinfandels are neither a trick nor a treat, but because $7.99 for a Zinfandel that is not too syrupy, nor too offensive, and is yet drinkable, can't be reasonably gainsaid, but neither were they a treat for me.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trefethen & Greg Norman 2009 Cardonnays

Trefethen and Greg Norman 2009 Chardonnays,  though one is from California and one from Australia they are remarkably alike, but they are separated primarily by just how dry the Greg Norman is. 
The color of both is clear and lightly lemon/lime, the aroma is quiet or tame without striking notes. However the finish is different:

Trefethen Oak Knoll Napa Valley Family Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay, $25.49-$34.99, 90 points, finishes with a lovely long and warm vanilla spiciness with hints of peaches and cream.

Greg Norman 2009 Cardonnay Eden Valley Australia, $12.74-$14.99, 89 points, finishes long with a hint of spearmint, menthol, and spice.
Both are nice Chardonnay wines, but QPR goes to the Aussie, unless a noticeably dry wine is not your cup of tea.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rex-Goliath New Release Sauvignon Blanc

Rex-Goliath New Release Sauvignon Blanc, $5.99-$7.99, 87 points, is remarkably fresh and crisp, delicious by itself or with Sauvignon Blanc food-fare. The color is almost clear with a grassy hue, the aroma is apple, watermelon, and as it warmed, grapefruit, the feel is thin, but the flavors are handed-down from the aroma, they are clear and without any annoyance; you're not going to find complexity here, but the drink-ability is very good and so is the price!



Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shafer 2008 Chardonnay, Red Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair

Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros Napa valley 2008 Chardonnay, $38.24-$44.99, 94 points, is not as elegant a wine as the Far Niente, but what it lacks in elegance it makes up for in power. It is mercurial, and densely golden, the aroma is honey and flowers, peaches and pome with layers of fruit like pineapple; it is a thing of beauty!
What has happened to the Zin-man in me? 15% off of Chardonnay and my quest to explore the wonderful world of grapes, that's what; this Chardonnay has complexity, and is an excellent example of not only the grape, but the sheer geography and demography of the winery and its people, not to mention the compliment to the food, friends, and places shared with such a wine.

Controversies and commentary: Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay seems to be one of those wines reviewers just can't agree on; I've seen this wine rated 91 points, but that is a guide, as discussed by Steve Heimoff (The original link is no-longer available): "The 100 point system is a “guide”, it’s not engraved on a tablet. . ." There are some who've scored this wine 96 points and said why: "all the flavors in the aroma and then some." I found that true, but others had over-whelming "butterscotch", which to me, was balanced nicely with the overall fruit and alcohol (14.8%). This is a big Chardonnay, but one of the few big Chardonnays that I liked, rather loved.

I want to invite you to visit
Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch web-site for some very interesting information.
There you will note "Sustainable Agriculture", and that hasn't seemed to harm their quality (Great!), but too often "Organic" has ostensibly been used to lure "us" into purchasing wine for that reason and not the quality of the wine itself. Here I found myself in conflict with "good" wine and/or organic viticulture (The two can be the same). The same tension exists when I go to the grocery market and have to choose price, availability, sale-date, perceived health benefits, and aesthetics; sometimes I purchase organic foods (usually tubers), but I'm not chained to them, and if my choice is between shriveled-up organic tomatoes or plump-red hothouse miracle-grown tomatoes, I'll pick the later every time.
I doubt this is a simple issue, but for me, if the wine doesn't taste good, then I don't care how it's grown, or what it's called, I'll not buy it or recommend it. So, unlike the great wines from Shafer or Bonterra (Good earth) wines, Organic, Bio-dynamic, Sustainable, or Earth-Friendly can just be a marketing pitch, one which has burnt me, and does a disservice to the concept.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nickle & Nickle Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay

La, La, La, Means I Love You by the Delfonics expresses how I feel about the Nickle And Nickle Far Niente Napa Valley 2009 Chardonnay, $48.44-$56.99, 95 points.
I heard a popular sommelier mention that Far Niente is the quintessential California Chardonnay, my brother, writing in an old note-book, expressed glorious impressions of two vintages of Far Niente, and rumors abounded concerning this very expensive Chardonnay. Oh, the Maine lobster was $4.99 a pound.
Well, when the lower price was offered, the "Dare-Devil" lure swooshed close by me, and the good trout that I am, struck, and now I'm smitten, I'm hooked on the most beautiful Chardonnay I've tasted. How will I ever drink Bare Foot Chardonnay again! As David Boyer would say: "it will ruin your life for a while. . ." 
For the record, the color is a light golden crystal, the aroma (Cold) jumps out of the bottle with apple and pineapple, and a hint of grapefruit, this carries over to a gentle creamy palate, balanced and immaculate, with a hint of ginger on the finish.
Definitely a wine to store for the perfect occasion. 


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carneros VS Monterey County Chardonnay

Carneros Napa Valley VS Monterey County Chardonnay (Not much of a sample, 
but. . .) is not really a fair contest, yet the results are much the same.

Two Chardonnay wines, both a bit nondescript, but both way good, good flavor, drink-ability, and both are food friendly.

Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Gold Label Monterey County 2009 Chardonnay, $10.20- $15.99, 88 points, stands-out in two areas, price and a nice ginger finish; if these two things interest you, then this is a go. There is some pleasant toastiness here, but I couldn't find melon or citrus, but there was an almost Sauvignon Blanc quality when chilled.

Molnar Family Poseidon's Vineyard Carneros Napa Valley 2008 Chardonnay, $21.74-$24.99, 90 points, is quite a bit more painful on your pocket, but the delicious factor is amped-up too. This chardonnay has a good balance of green apple and vanilla, with just a hint of ginger on the finish, the color is a beautiful golden green, and the texture is lightly mercurial.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Buehler 2009 Chardonnay

Buehler 2009 Chardonnay, $8.49-$18.99, 89 points, what is there to say? This Chardonnay, right now (My opinion of course), is the BEST bargain in New Hampshire White Wine: Buehler Chardonnay is crisp, refreshing, and tangy, it has minerality, just a tiny toastiness disavowing its Chablis like character, and more real or imagined fruit flavors than the farmer's market. 
How can you go wrong?
I can tell you, the pros liked it more than I did, and remember: this Chardonnay will keep for some time, so, buy the 12 bottles, cause once they're gone they're. . .

More commentary: read at your own risk!
My last post had "Humble" in the title; I trust that's true of my opinions, but a well-known wine-expert has said something to the effect that wine is "business"; so far, wine is still fun for me, and my advice is sincere (I haven't received any wine, nor has anyone sent me money or advertised on my blog; my palate is way young, but I'm not jaded yet either (As of 2013, I'm getting there!).
There are a number of bloggers who have refused to post any of my remarks (That's their prerogative), but often I see it as a snub (Wine-Snobbery) rather than judicious editing (Okay, I know my writing is deplorable); I feel quite bad for those who are looking for HONEST views and reviews though, because not coming down from "Olympus" to where the common man/woman is, invites an incestuous and unapproachable class with the rest of us "Lepers" fending, groping for HONEST advice.
Well, I think you snobs know who you are, I trust your pillars of expertise hold-up the Terroir for you. In the mean time I'll be available to New Hampshire wine drinkers, if they should feel the need for my reviews (I'll keep at it as long as I can), and who knows, commentaries on the wine-business.

Dennis Tsiorbas

PS, thanks to those who have humbly condescended to make this blog more interesting and informative; you too, know who you are.

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Humble Piont Noir and the Humble Review

Goldeneye Anderson Valley 2006 Pinot Noir, $34.79-$74.99, 91 points, is the "BIG" wine of the bunch, it is darker (Dark Ruby Red), it is more aromatic (Power of Cedar climaxing with Red Fruit and Alcohol), floral flavors dominate, and the finish is strong with Szechuan spice (My son says Chipotle).

Yering Station Yarra Valley 2007 Pinot Noir, $14.44-$26.99 (NHLS), 88 points, has the color of light ruby-red and flashes of orange, the aroma is raspberry and alcohol hints, the flavor is an undistinguished, almost a boring fruit  in a light-bodied, but quite quaff-able wine.
This morning (12/06/2011) I bought this wine for $11.99 at Market Basket in Londonderry, NH.

Thumbprint Russian River 2008 Pinot Noir, $22.99 (Power buy NHLS)-$45.00, 90 points, is light ruby-red with amber highlights,  earthy aromas with floral notes, silky mouth feel in a light to medium body, with some blueberry and candy-cane flavors, having earth notes and well balanced fruit, with a spicy finish; at the $22.99 price: a very good QPR, but may now be unavailable, since Power-buys, like the Buehler in my next post, when they are gone, they're. . .

O'Reilly's 2009 Pinot Noir, $20.99, 88 points, was located and bought at the The Wine Steward. This is a competent fruit-forward Pinot, but lacked the liveliness that I've had in other NW Pinots. 


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fontana D' Italia 2007 Merlot

Fontana D' Italia 2007 Merlot, $11.00-$14.00: This wine may have been slightly "Cooked"-Cooked Wine
The aroma was dull, the flavor was predominately stewed prune, and the cork was, unnoticeable under the capsule, just slightly protruding. Though the wine had these problems, it wasn't a totally bad experience. I went back to the store I bought this wine from (Shaws in Londonderry), and some of the other bottles had the same slightly raised corks and some were not.
The lesson is, pay attention. This time, it cost me $11.00, but what could happen?
I hope to find this wine somewhere else and give it another tasting.

Now, to commentary time.
What advise (benefit) do you, the New Hampshire wine "lover" get from wine reviews? The answers to this question will not be answered here, but rather, if you are interested in the subject-if you look for reviews to help you in buying a wine, then it makes sense to give it some thought.
As for benefiting from my mistakes, I hope that the two faults (Corked-Cooked Wines) will be of some help, but as for ratings, which I've discussed before, they can be a guide to you when a reviewer tends to match your own palate (Not a science).
I came across this interesting wine-tasters conundrum-point of view, which should give much to ponder.

"I have to arrive at quick decisions. But it does trouble me. I wish I could review one wine a day, taking the time to let it develop in the glass, trying it with different foods, letting my mind change. But I can’t. Unlike Gus, I have to limit each wine to its immediate appeal, day after day. I’m not saying that’s the best approach. But it’s what we wine critics have to deal with."

I don't know Steve Heimoff (Hope this isn't too presumptuous), but it seems that having a blog does allow for that "one wine a day" review, while giving less attention to other "assembly-line" wine tasting duties he has with Wine Enthusiast or whatever his employment obligations are; what's needed (My thought) is with all the wines he has only minutes to judge, just maybe there is that one wine which Steve can embrace and comment on.
After all, there is a blog called: 2daysperbottle

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yalumba 2009 Viognier-Barossa Patchwork 2008 Shiraz

Yalumba 2009 Viognier, $10.99-$15.99 (I paid $11.99), 88 points, has a rich off-lime color, the nose is almost honey-suckle, the mouth feel is the same as the wine "moves", like a light olive-oil. The flavor is bitter-sweet, but not offensive, with kumquat and and mellow grapefruit. 

Yalumba Barossa Patchwork 2008 Shiraz, $15.99-$17.99, 91 points, was found at Market Basket, and what a find it is was; The color is a dense purple with a thin layer of russet at the rim (Will benefit with decanting), the aroma is rich and strong with cedar-spice, the flavor has plum, licorice and mocha hints, and the finish is long crushed black-pepper and residual Kahlua. This is a typical Big South Australian Shiraz, and will pair nicely with Big Beef, Lamb or Barbecue. 


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Clos Du Val 2007 Carneros Chardonnay

Clos Du Val 2007 Carneros Chardonnay, $16.99-$24.99, 90 points, strikes me poetically as the color of  a New England autumn morning as the fog lifts. Okay, corny, but when you look through this wine, there are all kinds of red, yellow, green, and orange colors that seem to mimic its surroundings. Again, okay, and I've never gone on with the color of a wine before, but there is always a first time.
French name, and rightly so, considering the Chablis quality of this California (Napa Valley) Chardonnay; with apple and lemon-oil on the nose, and a clean crisp texture that carries-over to the palate, finishing long with ginger-spice.
Clos Du Val continues to impress me.

Index of reviewed wines

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

White Hall Lane 2007 Merlot & Campo Rioja Gran Reserva 2003 Tempranillo, Week-End Duo

White Hall Lane Napa Valley 2007 Merlot, $25.99-$30.99, 92 points, is like an old friend with a new hair-cut and new shoes. However the old friend (wine) is still the same person we've always loved.
White Hall Lane 2007 Merlot has a clear Burgundy red color with flashes of amber tints.
The Bouquet is of sweet-spice, slightest of earth tones, and the three Cs: a pleasant balance of Cinnamon, Clove, and Cedar.
A sleek silky mouth-feel gains power throughout the palate with espresso, plum, licorice, and gentle floral notes.
The finish is long and wonderfully spicy, my Zinfandel taste-buds were a-singing.
Often, I try to review wines for my "average" reader: people who don't want to spend more than $10.00, $20.00  Maximum, for a bottle of wine, but if you wanted a vacation day to have a special wine (Like We Did), this Merlot fit the bill perfectly (Paired with "Hot" Salami pizza and dark espresso chocolate).
So, with a Merlot from France and one from Washington State, the reviews were ordained to have a California Merlot in the mix.

Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2003 Tempranillo, $14.99-$18.99, 90 points, is 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo.
The color is a clear rusty red with orange hints.
The aroma is gently sweet, with cedar-spice, plum-coffee, and grape hints.
The mouth-feel is supple and smooth in a light to medium body.
The flavors are strawberry and plum with a light bitterness.
I loved this wine. Some others who were with me thought it just okay, but for the price, this wine is a good introduction to Rioja wines.

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Italian Chardonnay and the Cucco

Casina Cucco 2009 Chardonnay, $27.00-$24.00, 87 points, has an unfortunate name, in my opinion. The bird on the bottle resembles a cuckoo more than the "Chicken-like legend", and if indeed it is the egg-supplanting sneak, it is unfortunate, because the wine itself is a bit of a sneak: chilled, it was reticent and a bit bitter, but as it warmed I found its creamy-citrus to be pleasant enough. The color is a deep off-gold with shades of green. The aroma is a light orange/lime, but diminishes. With just a hint of vanilla in a matrix of citrus, this was not a notable wine for me, and the price made this Chardonnay one I'll not soon buy again.
One store manager said: "I've never had a good Italian Chardonnay." I have to disagree with him. The Casina Cucco 2009 is  a "good" wine, just a bit over priced for me. However, you might remember the Antinori-Umbria-Cervaro-Della-Sala Chardonnay, and just how much I loved it. I haven't gotten any feed back or comments on that Chardonnay, but, as for me, I don't require it.
We paired the Casina Cucco with Lobster rolls and chips.

Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chateau-Wine Estate-Bordeaux-Burgundy And Mr. Boyer Quickens My Interest

Chateau Pesquie 2004 Quintessence , $22.99, 92 points, is probably a good choice in trying French Red Wine, a Syrah-Grenache blend (Ventoux appellation) having a deep red-purple color , a fragrant aroma, with a fair amount of fruit and spice; the finish is long and sweet-spice. Pesquie is a wine for the American palate (Me), and Robert Parker scored this wine 91 points, but the 2005 he scored  the Quintessence 93 points. So, you can't go wrong with that one, and if you find the price in the vicinity of $20.00-$25.00, you'll be a "happy camper".

Chateau Coufran 2005 Merlot, $20.17-$32.99, 88 points, from the Haut-Medoc appellation, is an earthy wine  of leather and black fruit on the nose and on the palate. Wine Enthusiast scored this wine 93 points (He's the expert), but my "young" palate was a bit over-whelmed, and since I bought two bottles, I'll try this again next year. My advice is, if you are like me, if you find this Merlot for the lower price-point, experiment, let me know what you think, but if the "earth-tones" are too much for you, I'd go with the "Bad-Boy" Bordeaux (Merlot) or the Quintessence.

Laurent Tribut Grands Vins DE Bourgone 2009 Chablis, $21.24-$24.99, 89 points, is clean, crisp, and, oh so Chablis, like a transparent jade jewel in a glass, light aroma of citrus, generous minerality and acidity: pairs nicely with scallops and haddock, light salad, or alone.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Velvet Devil 2009 Merlot

The Velvet Devil 2009 Merlot, $11.89-$13.99, 84 points, has a very clear magenta color, and aroma of Welch's grape juice and a hint of diesel, both of which carry-over to the palate. There is a an over-whelming syrupy licorice flavor, but the the texture is somewhat "velvety". 
I thought a Halloween Merlot from Washington State (Columbia Valley-A Charles Smith Wine) would be interesting, juxtaposed to the French Bad Boy Merlot, but there's no comparison! So if a wine for Halloween is your interest, this one won't cost you an arm and a leg, but the Devil is in the details.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reservedTemplate provided by Blogger