Monday, January 27, 2014

Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon (Gran Reserva) 2009 wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue with interesting bouquet with aromas of black tea, sweet cedar/menthol, and underneath it all there is some ultra ripe sweet plum and a touch of dark berries.

Palate--Plush tannins with integrated dark berry fruit and a solid, pronounced beam of black berry. Finishes with some cedar and more blackberry.

This "Santa Rita" Maipo Valley (Chile) Cab. seemed just "too green" on opening. But then I let it breathe a couple hours and holy cow; a seductive, complex and unique bouquet emerges to where I just want to sit and smell it.

I paid $16 for this recently and it is drinking fabulously. This will be enjoyable for several years to come so to raise a glass!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chateau Mayne Guyon Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 2011 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Dark fruit and clove on the nose

Full bodied on the palate

Dark berries, roasted notes, and oak on the finish


Here's a great value Cotes de Bordeaux for only $10. It's made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and delivers big flavors along with a structured finish. Stock up on this one.

Enjoy with a variety of food, most obviously red meat and rich sauces. Raise a glass!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Guenoc (California) Petite Syrah 2010 wine review by (PB)

Garnet to black cherry hue on the lighter side for this grape;

Bouquet--spice rises over the blackberry and plum on the swirl but comes around with warming and air.

Palate--Thin texture, with numerous but confused tastes happening out of the gate; *will breathe it a bit also letting it warm up from my seasonal ambient cellar temp (56 currently)

Having done so, it does improve from what it was at the start with some nice *plummy, blackberry and black tea salvaging what it was on first impression.

It's still not a great example of what this grape can be and usually is even at this price point but it's not bad. I think I paid around $14 for this and I wouldn't do it again.

The reason I write reviews like this occasionally stating that I am going to re-review the wine later sometimes, is precisely so you can learn to better taste wines for yourself. This wine was going to be panned initially but allowing it to come around served it well. Sometimes first impressions can be deceiving with wine so be patient, and give it another chance later in the evening or even the next day. Sometimes there is a whole different wine waiting for you if you do! Raise a glass.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 wine review by (PB)

Pretty garnet hue with aromas rising of sweet cherry, with spices even from a distance. Up close on the swirl and into the bowl, bouquet of big earthy forest floor and evergreen galore,with notes of black licorice.

Palate--Relaxed, integrated structure, with mouth filling flavors of all the above aromas notes. Tannins are still a tad immature meaning this bottle has more age to go before fully integrated.

I reviewed this wine sometime ago and I will compare what I wrote then to now. I believe I liked this wine better the first time around which is why I bought more. This is till a really fine Chianti especially at the $20 price point. I just liked it better when it a was bit younger--at least that is my memory.

I reviewed this wine back in June of 2012 and indeed my memory was correct. I have heard of wines going through a "dumb phase" and candidly I can't say I know what that is or if it truly exists. But this is such a fine wine with all the right stuff, if there is such a thing as a dumb phase that wines sometimes go through, then perhaps that explains the clear distinction from this 07 to the last.

Either way, at $20, this is a stellar example of excellent Chianti from one of several recent storied vintages so raise a glass!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Novy Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah 2010 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Spicy plum and blackberry on the nose
Full bodied on the palate
Dark berries, charcoal, and pepper on the finish


Beautifully made, this Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah from Novy shows ripe fruit and dark, brooding notes accented by a peppery finish. It's a well-crafted wine and shows how this varietal can be both opulent and balanced. For $20 or so, it's worth every penny and I recommend you grab it if you can find it. Raise a glass!

Daniel Gehrs Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Central Coast) wine review by (PB)

Garnet hue with green aromas, cedar and green pepper, and black berry.

Palate--Berry fruit over shadowed by vegetal notes as listed above, quick finish.

I was not familiar with this label so decided to grab one and see who and what these folks were about. The wine is easy drinking, with a supple texture but it's just too imbalanced with all the green stuff going on. *I will edit my comments if it changes with breathing but... I will be paring it with venison stew.
I believe I paid around $12 for it and as of this moment I would not raise a glass.

*A day later the "green stuff" toned down and was more integrated than when I opened it. It still is not remarkable but was okay and pretty typical for the price point. It was nice with the venison stew which was outstanding!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Trentadue Old Patch Red 2011 Lot 36 wine review by (PB)

Darker garnet hue with big jammy aromas of extracted blackberry, and very ripe dark plum with loads of spicy goodness.

Palate--Big zesty, fruit bomb of blackberry fruit with dark berry and spice that is mouth filling with an easy to drink structure and a rigid of beam of bitter chocolate with a nice slightly tarry, dark fruit finish.

This blend is 85% Zinfandel and 15% Syrah that is bold demanding some hefty food to pair it with. (Or just enjoy it solo!) Around $11 raise a glass!

Norton Malbec Riserva 2010 wine review by (PB)

Cranberry jelly hue with aromas of cocoa powder and thick smelling dark berries with loads of spice and licorice (Good N Plenty candy) nuances.

Palate--Thick texture with plush texture, mouth watering dark berry fruit and a peppery beam finishing with lingering cocoaberry, oak and spice.

At the $20 price point you expect a remarkable wine and this fits the bill. It is young and yet drinking really well but will continue to integrate for several years.

I am grilling a rib-eye on the charcoal Weber and this will set it off nicely so raise a glass!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Atalaya Almansa 2008 wine review by (PB)

Very young purple hue for a 2008!

Bouquet--Really lovely and big blackberry jam and plum, smokey wood and spices galore.

Palate--Rich, bold blackberry fruit and dark berries with vibrant, young tannins, wells structured, with a smokey oak and berry finish that lasts.

This is a big hefty wine made from Grenache (70%) and Monastrell(30%) that is amazingly young and has a few years to go before it's prime. I paid $14 for this nice wine and call it a nice value so raise a glass and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Concha Y Toro Puento Alto Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Blackberry, cocoa, and earthy notes on the nose
Full bodied
Incredibly long finish of roasted coffee, cocoa, and currants

This wine has become incredibly harmonious and well integrated with some bottle age. It's just about perfect right now, so if you have the 2005 go ahead and enjoy it. The nose is fragrant and the finish is long and nicely layered. At Christmas dinner with PB of this blog, it was perfect with prime rib and all the trimmings.

Sadly, the bin is running low on Don Melchor from the early 2000's. Back then, prices were in the $30s and $40s for one of Chile's greatest wines. I used to buy as much as I could. Now, unfortunately, recent vintages of this wine retail for $75-90. I'm done buying it, but if you want to pay up for "the Don", it won't disappoint. Raise a glass to PB's generosity and the great Cabernet of Chile!

Maison Sichel Sauternes 2005 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Apricot, honey, and spice on the nose
Full bodied  and rich on the palate
Nice layers on the finish of orange marmalade, apricot, and vanilla


Good Sauternes is always a treat. PB of this blog surprised us with this bottle for a night cap on Christmas. Needless to say, it was emptied pretty quickly. With fragrant apricot and just enough weight, it complimented an assortment of pies and other treats for dessert.

The price on this wine is in the $40 range. I recommend it, if you can find it. Raise a glass!

Yalumba Viognier 2012 wine review by (PB)

Hue--medium golden with bouquet of hard to pin down sweet fruit, perhaps melon or cantaloupe, Lychee, hints of vanilla and touch of citrus.

Palate--Surprisingly dry as dust with rigid acidity that chokes out the fruit. I need to let this warm up and breathe!

This Aussie Viognier (pronounced Vee Oh NYAY) is not as floral as most I have had and is a bit over the top being very angular and not well integrated. This is the "Y" series which is their table wine at the $11 price point. For what is out there and what this wine can be I would pass on it.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Trenel Beaujolais Village Nouveau 2013 wine review by (PB)

Pretty garnet to fuschia hue with tantalizing bouquet of powdery rose pedals, ripe banana, and something else sweet that defies description.

Palate--Minerally front, mouth watering acidity, subdued fruit, and a beam of Gamay and subtle strawberry with more minerals on the finish.

This is certainly the most interesting Nouveau I have had this year. The bouquet is the best part but this is a food wine with it's acidic foundation.

I will be pairing this with a french onion tart and it should do nicely. For the full story on Nouveau wines, please see our other entries. I paid $12 and is a nice experience and more than what I expect from Nouveau so raise a glass!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Alamos Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Wine Review (NW)

Tasting notes:

Rich dark berries on the nose
Full bodied on the palate
Wild berries, cocoa, and a touch of mint on the finish


Alamos, produced by Catena in Argentina, has been known for good, value priced Malbec for many years.  Recently, the Cabernet Sauvignon is even better than the Malbec. This 2012 is an exceptional value at $10 or less. I paid just $8 and have seen it priced similarly in many places. Highly recommended, so raise a glass!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Man Vinters Chenin Blanc 2011 wine review by (PB)

Gentle pale gold with bouquet of powdery tropical fruit with a touch of vanilla.

Palate--Mouth filling tropical fruit compote with racy acidity,and a lively finish that makes your mouth "zing!"

Chenin Blanc (which is a grape not a cheap white wine) is the signature grape of the lively Vouvrays of France. This one however comes from S. Africa where Chenin Blanc (known locally as "Steen")has been one the South Africa's consistent wines over the years. It is usually quite inexpensive (I paid less then $8 for this one) and they are generally super value wines as is this one. Chill it slightly and then enjoy it by itself or with food. I will pair this tonight with what we call "Country Scramble" which is grits, over the top of homemade biscuits, topped with fried ham, gravy from the drippings, and fried or scrambled eggs as you prefer. It is superior comfort food especially with the sub-zero temps we have been enduring here in Maine and the Chenin blanc with this acidity, will cut right through the creamy, buttery grits without killing the gentle tastes of the dish.

Whatever you do with this wine, enjoy it, it's a nice one and raise a glass!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Four Vines "Truant" Old Vine Zinfandel 2010 wine review by (PB)

Black Cherry hue with a bouquet of rich blackberry and spice with an ever so subtle note of bacon fat.

Palate--Really extracted, maybe even an over-ripe fruit bomb with tons of rich blackberry jammy goodness and nearly velvety tannins. Finishes with a decent dark berry jam finish.

The Four Vines company makes multiple varieties of Zinfandel. I grabbed this one because I had never seen this particular label and it was only $10.

I am a big Zin fan and I liked this with its big jam foundation and all. It's not for everything but I am pairing this with a grilled venison steak and polenta. The jamminess may not be ideal for the pairing but it doesn't matter when you love what you're drinking and eating. For $10, I will be Truant again! Raise a glass!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Borgianni Chianti 2007 wine review by (PB)

Bright cherry red hue with nice, sweet Luden's red cherry cough drops from afar. Into the glass is spicy cherry with forest floor and red fruit with ample cedary notes.

Palate--Integrated flavors of spice laden cherry with a rustic mid palate, refined tannins, and a quick finish. Subsequent tastes yield a less impressive tasting experience. (Breathing may improve this which I will update if that is the case.)

This is a classic Chianti with unmistakable terroir. I plan to have it with a "Lou Malnatti's" pizza imported from Chicago by my mother-in-law as a birthday present. Maine isn't actually known for its pizza...

I paid $10 for this marked down from $20 and I grabbed it because of the vintage as 2007 was a great year for Tuscany. At $20 I would have been disappointed; at $10 it's "raise a glass" and happy New Year from the WCB!