Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saracina 2004 Mendocino County Syrah

Opaque purple-red.

Vanilla oak smell, dark stone fruits, unsurprisingly, it reminds me of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Warm plum and prune flavors, meaty, oak, rich mouth-feel, long finish ending in alcohol warmth.

Quite good full-bodied bottle for $32.20, something nice on a cold Winter day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Muller-Catoir 1989er Scheurebe Mussbacher Eselshaut Auslese

Cork was dry and hard, center pulled out when I attempted to remove with a ScrewPull, wound up having to cut it out with a sharp thin knife, then filter through a Melita filter to get the cork crumbs out.

Orange-brown color, as commercial iced tea.

Sweet smell, commercial peach iced tea.

Sweet peach flavor, apricot, mango, soon thins to a brief tannic finish with bitter hints. Pleasant but well past its prime, I think.

Inadequate medium-weight bottle for $35.99.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Robalino non-vintage(?) Rias Baixas Albarino

Pale golden color, some petillance.

Robust smells of grapefruit, wildflowers, freshly dried laundry.

Tart tastes of grapefruit, peach, weighty mouth-feel, food-friendly.

Outstanding medium-bodied bottle for $16.99. No mousy wallflower, this!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Arboleda 2007 Valle de Colchagua Carmenere

Opaque in the glass, cherry red at the rim.

Vanilla oak predominates the smell, over-riding various dark stone fruits.

Plum and black cherry fruit, bittersweet chocolate, big taste of oak.

Very good full-bodied bottle for $18.99, over-use of new oak notwithstanding. Worked well as a pizza wine, as it did with cold leftover pizza.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Chook 2008 South Australia VMR

84% Viognier, 8% Marsanne, 8% Roussanne.

Pale straw color.

Aromatic melon smell, apricot, peach, with hints of summer flowers and cheap hard candy.

Dry fruity melon flavor, apple, peach/apricot, substantial oily texture, very good balance of fruit and acid. No noticeable oak.

Good medium-to-full-bodied $16.99 bottle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cantina Vignaioli 1997 Elvio Pertinace Barbaresco

Bought a case. First bottle was definitely corked and was immediately poured down the sink. Subsequent bottles have, so far, been without taint.

Dark orange/cherry-red color with orange-brown at the edges.

Smells of strawberry, cherry, wet autumn leaves, menthol

Cherry/berry flavors, no noticeable oak, pleasant-yet-difficult-to-characterize organics, good acid, fully-integrated soft tannins.

Excellent well-aged full-bodied bottle of red for $59.99, though I had my doubts after opening that first bottle.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Atrea 2005 Mendocino County Old Soul Red

46% Zinfandel, 34% Syrah, 11% Petite Sirah, 9% Malbec. It'd be amusing if these accurately represented the percent of red grapes grown in Mendocino, but I don't think it's so. (*)

Opaque, purple-red at the very edge, only the thinnest part.

Blackberry smell, red cherry, mild oak hidden beneath the fruit and alcohol.

Warm blackberry and cherry flavors, some tar and chocolate, long ending tends to get a bit soft. Zinfandelly alcohol warmth from beginning to end.

Very good big full-bodied bottle for $20.53.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shingleback 2005 McLaren Vale Grenache

I realize that buying this violates the common prejudice against buying Australian wines with animals on the label. I snort derisively at such rules, after the fact.

Opaque, cherry-red at the edges.

Big initial smell of oak, quickly settling down to cherry/strawberry. Smoky.

Cranberry and red cherry tastes, blackberry, vanilla oak at the finish. Wood blends harmoniously with fruit.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $19.99.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Terra 2009 Lujan de Cuyo Sparkling Malbec

The winemaker's site advertises this as produced by the "Chaussepied Method", which seems to be more commonly known as the Charmat process. This wine is sealed with an unfamiliar black synthetic "cork", brand marking is unclear, OPI or TOPI or YOPI.

Short-lived streams of small vigorous bubbles rise in a wine a bit too deeply-colored to call rose; a true red, if a light one. They quickly settle down to tiny bubbles lazily rising.

Mild blackberry smell. I think carbonation can tend to anesthetize the nose, yet many proper Champagnes have wonderful aromas.

Blackberry flavor, black cherry, sweet-seeming fruit that develops some tannic bitterness at the end.

Good medium-bodied bottle for $16.99. As with Australian Sparkling Shiraz, some of the appeal is novelty, but its not without inherent, if simple, virtues.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Qupe 2007 Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne

Deep straw color, some petillance is visible.

Smell of honey and wildflowers, pear smells become more evident as the glass warms.

Taste of pear, white pepper, honey as the glass warms, mildly petillant on opening, some oiliness to the texture, long finish, satisfying acid.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $19.57.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Corte Cariano 2007 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Terra Solinas

The label features an artist's interpretation of a large bronze coin of Hadrian with the legend IMP CAES TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG PM TR P COS II (abbreviated latin for Imperator Caesar Trajan Hadrian, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, of Tribunician power, for the second time consul. Hadrian became consul for the second time in 117 AD. That year Trajan died and Hadrian acceeded to the "throne". (A later denarius of Hadrian).

Nearly opaque color, deep red at the rim with a purple-brownish edge.

Plum and prune smell, raisin, high alcohol content (15%) becomes apparent with time.

Dry fruity flavor of plum and prune, a little bitter almond at the finish, not blessed with an over-abundance of acid, but this doesn't suffer greatly from flatness.

Very good full-bodied bottle for $31.99. Budget Amarone, good fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mastroberardino 2007 Sannio Falanghina

Wikipedia suggests that that the Falanghina grape may have been a basis for the classical Falernian wine.

Medium-pale straw color.

Fresh clean sweet-seeming pear smell, melon, always-eager for another sniff.

Fruity dry apple/pear/peach flavor, long mineral finish, food-friendly acid, robust.

We'll never know what Falernian tasted like, but I'm quite intrigued by the notion that this excellent medium-to-full flavored $17.10 bottle may provide a clue.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hopkins Vineyard non-vintage Western Connecticut Highlands Silver Label Methode Champenoise Sparkling Wine

Made from Seyval and Vidal Blanc.

This year's Thanksgiving wine.

Very pale straw color, very vigorous streams of small bubbles.

Mild smell of pear and peach, just a hint of toast.

Dry flavor of pear and peach, very fruity, almost seems sweet at times (but quite Brut, in fact), brief mineral finish. (A hint of what a sparkling Viognier might be like.)

Very good bottle for $18.43. Admittedly, I want to approve of a Connecticut wine, and this isn't half bad but as I open bottles over time, I grow tired of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saracina Vineyards 'Atrea' 2007 Mendocino County The Choir

76% Roussanne 24% Viognier. *

Pale golden color.

Rich smell, peach, apricot, melon, fresh-mowed grass. Reminiscent of a particularly fruity Sauv Blanc.

Fruity dry peach and apricot, long finish.

Excellent medium-to-full bodied bottle for $17.10, a stunner from this upscale brand of the former owner of Fetzer, declasse defined.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fonseca non-vintage 20-year-old aged Tawny Porto

Medium-dark reddish brown color, like iced tea.

Sweet alcohol dominates the smell, home-made iced tea.

Warm sweet plum flavor, the barest hint of cherry cough syrup, gentle tannins at the finish.

Very good full-bodied bottle of dessert wine for $57.99, a glass a time, lasts for many days/weeks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bodegas Silvano Garcia 2007 Jumilla Monastrel Vina Honda

Very dark purple-red but not opaque.

Exuberant red cherry smell with plums.

Plum and cherry flavors, restrained use of oak, long finish.

Very good full-bodied bottle for $14.99.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Palazzone 2008 Orvieto Classico Superiore Terre Vineate

Pale golden color. Much petillance is visible upon opening but it quickly blows off and is never very noticeable on the tongue.

Apple smell with walnuts and melon, peach at the end.

Rich dry apple and melon, pleasantly bitter walnut at the end.

Very good surprisingly full-bodied bottle for $13.99.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Familia Mayol 2007 Vista Flores Bonarda Pircas Vineyard

Bonarda is grown in California as Charbono.

Opaque purple, red at the rim.

Smell of plum, prune, raisins, cherry.

Dry taste of prune, raisin, and fig. Tannins in the finish.

Very good full-bodied bottle for a bargain $14.99.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Terres Dorees Jean-Paul Brun 2009 l'Ancien Beaujolais

Part of the 2007 vintage was not permitted to be sold as Beaujolais. Apparently that scuffle is over.

Medium-dark red/purple color.

Ripe blackberry smell, blueberry growing in dense bushes

Blackberry, raspberry, and red cherry flavors, long food-friendly acid ending.

Good medium-bodied bottle for $19.99.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Domaine Collin non-vintage Cremant de Limoux

Cremant de Limoux is an AOC defined in 1990 as a more Champagne-like alternative to Blanquette de Limoux and is made with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Mauzac. Sometimes, as in this bottle, Pinot Noir is added.

Extremely pale color, many tiny vigorous bubbles.

Smell of pear juice with a trace of peach.

Dry pear and apple flavors, fruity, lemony finish.

Very good light-to-medium-bodied bottle for $16.99.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nigl 2003 Kremser Freiheit Gruner Veltliner

Very pale color, petillance forms on the glass.

Smell of apple, melon, and grapefruit.

Big dry flavor of apple and grapefruit, some petillance evident on the tongue. Rich mineral finish among citrus.

Very good full-bodied bottle for $14.99.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Calera 2009 Central Coast Viognier

My first experience with the glass Vino-Seal closure.

Rich golden color.

Peach and apricot smell.

Dry peach and apricot flavors.

Very good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $19.99. While complete malolactic fermentation makes this a soft commercial alternative to a buttery Chardonnay, the use of neutral, rather than new, oak, makes it one that tastes more of the originating grape than of the aging cask.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Schild Estate 2006 Barossa Shiraz Premium

Quite thoroughly opaque, purple at the rim.

Smells of black cherries and black plums, vanilla and licorice.

Black plum flavor, oak, big wine that gets warm at the end.

Good full-bodied bottle for $27.99.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bastianich 2008 Venezia Giulia IGT Vespa Bianco

45% Chardonnay, 45& Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Picolit.

Medium golden color.

Fruity applesauce smell, dry, lime.

Fresh home-made applesauce flavor, spicy, lemon-lime.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $39.99, citrus fun, emphatic long ending.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Santa Rita 2007 Colchagua Valley Carmenere Medalla Real Special Reserve Single Vineyard

Opaque, quite thoroughly opaque.

Full prune, plum, and oak smells.

Big fruit flavor, plum, prune, oak builds.

Very good full-flavored bottle for $17.99. Something this oak-forward would be a bit distasteful in a less fruity wine, but it works well here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rolly Gassman 2001 Auxerrois Moechreben de Rorschwihr

Auxerrois may be a grape with the same parents as Chardonnay: Gouais blanc and Pinot noir.

Golden color, rich.

Musky melon smell, like unoaked chardonnay.

Fruity off-dry apple and melon flavor, some petillance at the beginning, some off-dry thin-ness at the end.

Interesting medium-bodied bottle for $22.87.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ferraton Pere et Fils 2008 Condrieu Les Mandouls

Rich golden color, clean and clear.

Smell of ripe peach, apricot, and melon.

Apricot flavor, peach, long finish that ends with some alcoholic warmth.

Very good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $59.99.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Villalta 2007 Valpolicella Ripasso

Medium-dark red color.

Warm smell of cherry, plum, leather, prune, chocolate.

Warm flavors of cherry, semi-sweet chocolate, walnut, long finish.

Very good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $14.99. A fine bargain.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Arnaldo Caprai 2007 Umbria IGT Anima Umbra (Rosso)

(80% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo.)

Medium dark-cherry color.

Smell of big bowl of cherries and peaches, underneath that some leather.

Fruity explosion of dry cherry flavor, accompanied with a good earthy/leather taste.

Reading the cepage on the label, you might assume this to be an Umbrian Chianti wannabe. While it can easily serve as an earthy robust accompaniment for pizza or spaghetti, it's not limited to that sort of thing, it is, in fact, a very good medium-bodied match for medium-to-full-flavored food at $16.99/bottle.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dr. Konstantin Frank 2008 Finger Lakes Rkatsiteli

In July, I tasted the 2006 vintage.

Very pale color, petillant immediately after pouring.

Apple, peach, pineapple smells.

Apple and pineapple flavors, hints of ripe peach, somewhat petillant. Benefits from being served 5-10° (Fahrenheit) warmer than is your habit for whites.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $18.67.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pierre Morey 2007 Bourgogne Aligote

Very pale burnished gold color.

Mild apple smell.

Tart apple flavor, no noticeable oak. Might work well with sea-food.

Aligote is the other white grape of Burgundy and this wine does little to dispell the common thought that it makes thin acid wine best suited to making kir.

Overpriced inoffensive light-bodied bottle for $24.99.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Arnaldo Caprai 2008 Grecchetto dei Colli Martani Grecante

Medium straw color.

Rather full smell of honey, apple, melon.

Flavors of apple and melon, honeyed texture.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $18.99. The last decade or so has seen some amazing advances among Italian whites.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trentadue 2004 North Coast Petite Sirah

Very dark, opaque, purple color. In the commonplace observation, tooth-staining. Sediment deposits in the bottle and in the wine that are noticeable to the eye, not to the tongue.

Prune, plum, blackberry, and oak smells.

Dry prune and blackberry flavor, dense and dark-tasting, oak is restrained. Tannins get chewy at the end.

Very good full-bodied bottle for $21.99.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jules 2008 Columbia Valley Washington Viognier

Extremely pale color.

Mild apple smell, no off smells, not much of anything.

Mild fruit flavor, apple and melon. Lemony finish.

Disappointing light-bodied bottle for $17.99. The lemony finish is the only virtue that makes the bottle worth finishing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Domaine Patrick Miolane 2005 Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Medium-dark red color.

Plum and peach! smells, mild scent of leather.

Plum and cherry flavors, elegant mineral finish.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $19.99.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dr. Konstantin Frank 2008 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling

Very pale straw color.

Sweet-smelling, honeysuckle, peach, key lime pie.

Dry fruit flavor, pear, peach, honeydew, citrus zest.

Excellent medium-bodied bottle for $17.73.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finca Coronado 2004 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla

Dark purple color, petillant in the glass after opening the bottle, but soon blows off.

Plum and black cherry smells, medium oak, fruit dominates.

Fruity plum and black cherry flavors, food-friendly finish, I found it to work well with low-end deli cheese and with junk-food burritos.

Good medium-bodied bottle for $19.99.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Marc Hebrart non-vintage Brut Selection Premier Cru Champagne

Disgorged 7/30/2007.

Extremely pale color, many streams of pinpoint bubbles.

Freshly-risen bread dough smell, wildflowers, a bit of peach.

Taste of pear, peaches, toast. A classic austere style.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $42.05.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kellerei-Cantina Terlan 2008 Alto Adige Pinot Bianco

Pale straw color, petillant.

Citrus smells, pear, floral.

Orange, tangerine flavors, pear.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $21.99. Benefits being served warmer than you may be used to for whites.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Icardi 2006 Langhe Nebbiolo Surisjvan

Langhe Nebbiolo is a DOC which requires only 85% of the grapes to be Nebbiolo.

Opaque color, dark cherry red at the edges.

Plum smell, leather, vanilla.

Plum and black cherry flavors.

Good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $26.99. I'm learning increasing respect for Icardi.

Friday, August 27, 2010

H. Billiot Fils non-vintage Grand Cru Brut Reserve Champagne

Pale straw color with many streams of tiny bubbles, vigorous almost to a fault.

Smells of apple, pear, and peach.

Dry tastes of apple, berries, cherry pie, and peach pie. Toast.

Excellent full-bodied bottle for $50.40. I've long loved Pinot-heavy Champagne, this wine reminds me of the special virtues of such a cuvee.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tenuta Sant'Antonio 2006 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso "Monti Garbi"

Ripasso is a process where, after the first few months of fermentation, dregs of grapes already used to make Amarone or recioto are added to the vats.

Dark purple color.

Smell of plum, leather, oak.

Fruity plum flavor, cherry, soft finish, begs for a ripe semi-soft cheese.

Fine full-bodied bottle for $16.99. I've only had a few Ripassos, some before the technique was openly spoken of (I'm particularly reminded of an '86 Dal Forno Romano!), but I've been pleased each time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Robert Gilliard S.A. 2008 Fendant Les Murettes

Medium straw color, very petillant.

Mild smell of apples and pears. Benefits from being served warmer than is usual for other whites.

Crisp dry apple flavor, little bit of grapefruit, distinctly mineral qualities in the long, high-acid, finish.

Very good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $29.30.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Extra! Extra!!

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2011 is now available.

Michel Torino Don David 2009 Lafayate Valley Torrontes Reserve

Pale yellow color.

Assertive sweet smell of honey, ripe pear and peach, pineapple, call fragrant Torrontes the muscat of the pampas!

Dry pear flavor, peach, lingering bright acid finish, matches well with an easy-going summer lunch. Fruit-bomb.

Excellent full-bodied bottle for $19.59

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Churchill's Estate 2007 Douro

As dry Douro reds often are, this is comprised of a blend of grapes like that used for Porto: 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz.

Opaque purple color, dark to the rim.

Plum smell, strong oak.

Dry black cherry, plum, currant, blackberry, fruity/warm finish.

Very good bottle for $24.99, full-bodied.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feudo Maccari Saia 2007 Nero d'Avola IGT Sicilia

Dark purple color, opaque.

Smells of plum, prune, black cherry, and oak.

Vigorous rich dry plum fruit, oak becomes more apparent in the long food-friendly finish, which is also a bit bitter, also smooth, and silky (and fast and bulbous, but that's another story).

Very good full-bodied bottle for $36.99. The biggest (and the best) Nero d'Avola I've yet tasted.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jean Baptiste Adam 2004 Vin d'Alsace Tokay Pinot Gris Reserve

“Tokay Pinot Gris” was an interim name after Euro wine laws made calling this wine Tokay d'Alsace impermissible in 1993, but before 2007, when the final rules took effect and it could only be called Pinot Gris.

Pale straw color, many tiny petilant bubbles form on the glass.

Smell of oranges and a summer of flowers, buttery.

Off-dry-to-dry melon flavor, citrus fruit salad, apple, very petilant, stinging the tongue, finish is decidedly off-dry.

Excellent medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $20.99.

The greatest challenge, I think, for the consumer of Alsace wines is knowing what to expect when buying a bottle. This importer's label ends “Flavorful dishes of ham, chicken, duck or turkey compliment this sometimes off dry wine”. Way to go, www.chapincellars.com, leave me guessing until I pull the cork.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weingut Eder 2006 Wachau Riesling Smaragd

Smaragd is a Wachau ripeness level roughly similar to Germany's Auslese, but vinified quite dry.

Deep golden straw color.

Smell of apple, melon, ripe peach, and warm summer breeze through a wildflower meadow.

Flavors of peach and apple, rich, dry, big ripe fruit.

Rich medium-to-full bodied bottle for $24.27. Does what Chardonnay never can for a wine & cheeser! It took me a while to learn to appreciate bone-dry Riesling, but I find that Austria can do some wonderful work in that regard!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finca Sophenia 2008 Tupungato Malbec reserve

Dark dark dark opaque purple, tends to be violet at the edges.

Black plum smell, blueberry. retrained oak in the background.

Dry fruit flavors, prune, blueberry, red cherry, cocoa, oak that never overwhelms, good acid, soft tannins at the end. Rewards a bit of air.

Very good dry full-bodied bottle for $15.99, uncomplicated, matches well with simple full-flavored food.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Terres Dorees Jean-Paul Brun 2008 Beaujolais Blanc (Chardonnay)

A little less than a year ago, I tasted the 2007 vintage.

Medium straw color, a little petillance forms on the glass soon after opening.

Apple smell, peach, bosc pear.

Dry peach flavor, apple, pear, hint of pineapple in the background, lemon finish become more apparent as it warms.

Excellent bottle for $17.99 which well displays the many benefits of fermenting this grape in stainless steel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weingut Eder 2006 Wachau Riesling Federspiel

Pale straw color.

Fresh apple smell, peach / apricot, melon, delightful diesel exhaust stink.

Rich dry apple / melon flavors, at its best with richer food. Somewhat petillant on the tongue.

A good light-to-medium-bodied bottle for $14.99. I note that, in general, an Austrian Riesling Federspiel is a more serious wine than a German Riesling Kabinett, though the must-weights are similar. I speculate that the 1985 Austrian wine scandal wound up ruining the market for inexpensive sweet or off-dry Austrian wine just when world tastes turned towards drier wine.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

H. Billiot Fils non-vintage Brut Rose Champagne

Long-lasting streams of pin-point bubbles rise in this orange/pink wine.

Apple and strawberry smells, and a hint of a dark-smelling organic something that others liken to cocoa (I'm more put in mind of a bruised stem of Datura, but that's poison and thus inappropriate for a tasting note on a wonderful wine like this.)

Apple and strawberry flavors, cherry pie, long lemony finish.

Excellent (if pricey) full-bodied bottle for $60.67, the finest pink champagne I've ever tasted and a reason to explore further.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Robert Gilliard S.A. 2008 Dole des Monts

Like Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains, Dole is a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, though the French wine must contain 33% Pinot Noir and the Swiss 51%. While Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains virtually never contains more Pinot Noir than the mandatory 1/3, this bottle of Dole apparently contains 4/5, though only a bit more than 1/2 is legally required.

Medium-dark red color, opaque only when it gets deep.

Cherry smell, blackberry, no oak obscures the fruit.

Black cherry flavor, blackberry, strawberry, fruit is for-for-forward. Tart food-friendly acid is resplendent.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $31.03, was an excellent match for a baked ham lunch. Upon consideration, I've bought a case of this to accompany baked ham and other lunches in the coming year that call for a medium-bodied pinot (or an analogue thereof).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dr. Konstantin Frank 2006 Finger Lakes Rkatsiteli

Rkatsiteli was, I understand, one of the most common grapes in Soviet winemaking and may be an older variety than any more commonly known in the West (save, perhaps, for Muscat).

Extremely pale color, petillant.

While the smell of Rkatsiteli is frequently likened to Riesling and Gewurztraminer, I find that not to be true of this bottle, which has a pleasant apple/floral/pineapple aroma which lacks the intensity I expect from the two aforementioned varieties. Intensity improves as the glass warms, but it's still no perfumed Gewurztraminer.

Dry grapefruit/pineapple flavor, peach, apple, fruit beautifully balanced with acid. If asked I think I'd liken it more to Sauvignon Blanc than any other grape, but it's distinct. A very good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $18.67.

Drape collecting: always one more variety to try.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bottega Vinaia 2003 Teroldego Rotaliano

Deep purple color, violet at the edges.

Blackberry smell, oak, peach. Intriguing, appealing.

Blackberry flavor, restrained oak, hints of peach and pear. I'm reading some negative reports on this as a young wine and plenty of people convinced that it won't age. I think it was perhaps closed and now has opened nicely. Lucky me, to try it now.

Very good medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $15.99. Extremely food-friendly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yalumba 2008 Eden Valley Viognier

Pale straw color tinted green.

Smells of peaches, apricots, wildflowers.

Tastes of peaches and apricots, warm alcohol finish with lemon zest, rich texture throughout.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $18.99

What I thought of the similar 2007 South Australia bottling, a bargain at $10.99.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tenuta Coppodoro 2006 Pescorosso

75% Nero di Troia / 25% Aglianico.

Opaque color.

Smells of prune, white pepper, no apparent oak.

Dry, flavors of cherry / berry, peppery, soft-textured, long tannic finish.

Excellent medium-to-full-bodied bottle for $14.99, berries and cream.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mas Arnaud (non-vintage?) Cotes du Rhone

55% Syrah, 45% Grenache. I can't find a vintage anywhere on the label or the cardboard case, though this retailed as a 2007. Web writeups on the 2007 show a different cepage (40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 5% other), so I wonder if the vintage wine sold out quickly this year and was replaced with a non-vintage bottling.

Opaquely dark wine.

Bowl-of-fruit smell, blackberries, black cherries, strawberries, oak in the background. Vaguest hint of volatile acidity, maybe I'm imagining.

Cherry / berry flavors, strawberry notes. Fresh and fruity, a wine for enjoying young, while the fruit can best be appreciated, I don't believe this'll age in any positive way. Matches well with a medium-weight summer dinner.

A good medium-bodied bottle for $15.99.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weingut Eder 2006 Wachau Gruner Veltliner Federspiel

Extremely pale straw color.

Fresh smell of river-washed stones. Gruner Veltliner is often said to be characterized by a white pepper smell.

Dry peppery flavor, crisp, food-friendly to a fault. More than a little spritzig.

Outstanding bottle at $14.99, not a very complex wine, but an entirely enjoyable one. Once-trendy Gruner Veltliner is out of fashion in the USA right now, but I think it has every superior quality save novelty.

Federspiel is a Wachau ripeness category roughly similar to the German Kabinett, but made in a drier style.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Descendientes de J. Palacios 2006 Bierzo "Villa de Corullon"

Bierzo is a newly-trendy region of Spain making red wines from the newly-trendy Mencia variety (they also make whites from Godello, but I haven't tasted that yet.)

Deep red color.

Vanilla oak smell is the first impression, plum fruit is slow to reveal itself.

Black cherry and dark plum fruit flavors under a substantial layer of oak.

Darn oaky bottle for $40.95, rather hides the Mencia fruit I was hoping to learn about.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chartogne-Taillet 2002 Champagne

60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay.

Pale straw color, many streams of vigorous pin-point bubbles.

Smells of ripe red cherries, toasted home-made bread.

Peach and cherry flavors, buttered baking-powder biscuit at the end, lemony-good finish.

Pricey but not painfully so bottle for $60.67, I accept that Champagne is never cheap (especially vintage Champagne) and the degree of hand-work in producing it somewhat justifies that.

I'll open another bottle in a year.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chateau Lalande 2005 Saint-Julien

Very dark, opaque, color, purple at the edges.

Plum and cigar-box cedar smells.

Dark stone fruit flavors, no shortage of acid. A bit thin by the end.

Adequate, unspectacular bottle for $32.99, but I suspect this markets based on the similarity of the name to better-known Chateaus.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rene Mure 2007 Alsace Gewurztraminer Tradition

Rich golden color. Petillance forms on the glass after half an hour or so.

Ripe floral aroma, mineral, lazy bumblebees buzz in the flower garden on a warm summer day.

Off-dry spicy baked apple flavor, quite petillant, warm at the finish. There's a degree of bitterness at the end that I find surprising in so sweet a Gewurztraminer.

My preferences in Gewurz are either quite a bit drier than this or quite a bit sweeter. Still, it's not entirely fair to downrate a well-made bottle for a style that's appropriate for the variety but not much to my taste. A good value for $18.67 for those who prefer an sweeter Gewurztraminer style, and the smell is wonderful, but personally I'm unlikely to buy it again. I must admit, my acceptance increases near the bottom of the bottle.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kellerei-Cantina Tramin 2004 Lagrein dell'alto Adige

Quite opaque color, red wine from the northern edges of red wine production really lives for this color, perhaps in preference to a fuller-bodied wine that suffers from lighter color.

Raspberry smell, aromatic.

Mild cherry/berry flavor, pleasantly bitter finish

Good medium-bodied bottle for $17.99, (far better than my previous bottle of Lagrein) made a good accompaniment for a baked ham lunch for which I usually would have chosen a light-to-medium-bodied Hungarian Pinot Noir.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feudi di San Gregorio 2007 Fiano di Avellino

Medium straw color, some petillance visible on the glass .

Big smell jumps out of the glass: ripe pear, dates, figs, honey, walnuts.

Dry flavors of pear and apple throughout, honeyed at the beginning, nutty at the end. Good food-friendly acid. Full and round. Petillant.

Outstanding medium-to-full-bodied white for $28.99. I'm astonished by how good this is. Over-oaked Chardonnay's everywhere, Fiano's almost unheard of. TANJ!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Warre's non-vintage 20 years of age Tawny Porto

Brown, pale red color.

Prune/plum smell, brandy, some oak.

Sweet oaky prune and warm alcohol flavors, nutty, long somewhat syrupy finish.

Good bottle for $53.99, a small glass each day for dessert for a week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Domaine Montvac 2007 Vacqueyras "Arabesque"

Very dark color.

Blackberry smell, plum, black pepper.

Blackberry flavor, black pepper, long finish.

The good things you've heard about the 2007 vintage in the Rhone are true. Very good full-bodied bottle for $19.99. Vacqueyras has positioned itself as a bargain alternative to Chateauneuf du Pape. A few more vintages like this and they may decide to stand on their own.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Petit Rimauresq 2008 Cotes de Provence

A blend of unspecified percent of Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan.

Salmon-colored pink/orange.

Strawberry, raspberry, citrus smell.

Dry fruit flavor, grapefruit, strawberry, red cherry. A palate-cleansing bitterness builds at the end as does the food-friendly acid. Petillant by the end.

A nice bottle for $18.99, something rather traditional to welcome an early summer evening.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Chook nv South Eastern Australia Sparkling Shiraz

The last time I had a bottle of this it was called "The Black Chook" and it suffered from overenthusiastic use of new oak.

Dark red / purple color, raises an inviting foamy head.

Oak dominates the black cherry smell.

Bitter oaky opening flavor, then sweet dark stone fruit.

Only the name has changed, this is still a fun bottle for $16.99 that suffers from an oak-before-fruit philosophy.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Coppo 2005 Barbera d'Asti L'Avvocata

Medium-dark color, a bit petillant.

Smell of plums, dark cherry, oak.

Sweet fruit flavor, plum and prune, tongue-tingling petillance, alcohol warmth at the end. All in all, an inferior bottle for $16.99, from a maker who produces some better examples.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jean Saint Honore 2005 Pouilly-Fuisse

Rich straw color, tinted green.

Oak and flint smells, apple fruit.

Flavors are buttery, oaky, mineral, peach and pineapple.

A few years ago, Pouilly-Fuisse was a bottle for the wine-snob-wanna-be: an affordable wine without much merit, thin and harsh. This is a good-enough bottle for $16.99,food-friendly and not lacking in fruit.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Taylor Fladgate 2003 Late-Bottled Vintage Porto (Bottled in 2009)

Quite opaque purple color.

Brandy alcohol warmth dominates the smell, then prune, black cherry.

Sweet prune danish flavor(minus the pastry)(or crumbs,) vanilla. Alcohol warmth at the end.

I've never had an LBV before, but this is a fine full-bodied $20.99 bottle, dessert for a few days.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Viticcio 2007 Toscana IGT "Bere"

This IGT from Tuscany is 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot.

Very dark color, nearly opaque.

Black cherry and leather smells, violets.

Fruity goodness, Chianti-like, but with Cab/Merlot adding a cherry/berry super-structure just when the wine threatens to get a bit thin in the middle.

Medium-bodied wine, very good bottle for $15.99, food-friendly, super-Tuscan on a budget.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bastianich 2008 Friulano

"By order of the European Union, harvest 2007 marks the first vintage that the grape variety formerly known as "Tocai Friulano" must be called "Friulano"

Pale straw color, petillance forms on the glass.

Smell of peach, apple, herbs.

Dry taste of fresh peach, citrus fruit, good food-friendly acid, zingy. Long finish, somewhat bitter at the end. Petillant on the tongue.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $19.99. Versatile.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Giacomo Bologna "Braida" 2007 Brachetto d'Acqui

The second Brachetto I've had. The first here back in January. Then I said "not something I'd want very often", oh well.

Medium-ruby color, fizzy-frizzante with big bubbles.

Sweet-smelling, honeyed, overripe peach smell.

Sweet muscat, honey flavor, peaches, trivial fun, an amusing dessert. Sweet berry soda. Gimme a tiramisu with a bit of chocolate painted on the dish.

Overpriced but fun bottle for $19.99.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bishop's Peak 2006 Edna Valley Syrah

Very deep color.

Blackberry smell, oak, black pepper.

Blackberry jam flavor, oak, alcohol warmth at the end.

Good bottle for $19.99, medium-to-full bodied. I'd like it better if the oak was a little more restrained.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Henri Badoux 2007 Aigle les Murailles

My first Swiss wine, Henri Badoux is one of the few Swiss vintners to treat the USA as an important market.

Pale straw color, petillant pinpoint bubbles swim in suspension.

Clean floral smell, pear, freshly-clapped school eraser.

Totally dry flavor, lemon/lime, mineral, petillance added to the grape acids make it a food-friendly treat. Convention matches this with seafood, but don't be shy, this light-weight surprise will work well with any delicate-flavored meal and may well stand up to more robust fare. At $37.57, I paid extra for novelty.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chateau Potensac 2004 Medoc

Opaque, lavender-color at the edges.

Plum, prune, and black cherry smells.

Dark stone-fruit flavors, oak, very much the way I think a Bordeaux is supposed to taste.

No bargain, but good enough for $37.67, great company for a simply-prepared steak. I shall reserve the case for just that use. (I hope my cardiologist ignores this blog. Safe bet, I guess.)

My thoughts on the 2005 here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Abadia da Cova 2008 Ribeira Sacra Barrica

Opaque appearance.

Plum/prune smell over smell of oak.

Plum and prune flavors, some spicy oak in the finish.

Very good bottle for $25.99, full-bodied, fruit-forward, and food-friendly: just what I look for in a table wine.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Herm. Donnhoff 1989er Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese Nahe

Rich golder/orange color. Petillance develops.

Fruity peach, apricot, tangerine smell, hints of diesel bus exhaust.

Off-dry peach flavor, ripe and rich, some petillance. Fruit sweetness is wonderfully matched with acid.

Proof that good Riesling ages as well as any white. I'm in awe of how much a fresh and fruity Riesling can improve in 20 years or so, even in a Spatlese(!) I have a few more bottles, so I'll see about it again in a few years more.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poggio al Tesoro 2007 Toscana Vermentino Solesole

Pale yellow color.

Fresh clean aroma, capture this smell for a fabric softener FTW.

Mild lemon flavor, apricot/peach at the end, refreshing, a bit frizzante.

Very pleasant light-bodied bottle for $24.99. This calls for shellfish.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Joh. Jos. Prum 1988 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese

Medium orange color, had to dig out a wet cork that broke up on a ScrewPull.

Ripe peach smell, mango, iced tea. Touch of diesel exhaust.

Sweet peach/mango flavor, rich, sugar in harmony with acid in the long finish. Traces of petillance on the tongue.

At 22 years, this is fully mature, but I'll delay opening my two further bottles to see if there's anything to my suspicion that this still has room to improve.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Villa Rosa 2005 Barolo

Medium-dark garnet color

Plum and prune smells, blackberry, leather, tar.

Black cherry, herbs, minerals, little bit of menthol at the end.

Excellent bottle for $29.99, full-flavored, I believe this'd pair very well with a good steak.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dr. F Weins-Prum 1988er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling Spatlese

My favorite local internet wine store recently uncovered a mixed case of 1988 & 1989 German Riesling for me that very much takes me back to when I was first learning about great Riesling, with the added benefit of 20 years or so of age.

Orange color, bright as an early Spring sunrise.

Smell of orange and peach, trace of diesel exhaust.

Sweet peach, orange flavor, rich, well-balanced with acid. Trace of petillance on the tongue, hint of coconut in the finish.

Very good bottle, not the best I've had from this Einzellage, but I don't think I've ever had a bad Wehlener Sonnenuhr!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kim Crawford 2009 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Pale straw color, petillance forms on the glass.

Bright lemon and lime smells, herbaceous notes.

A noticeable amount of residual sugar in this citrus-tasting wine. I feel condescended to, and not in a good way. Tingly petillance is apparent on the tongue.

Inadequate bottle for $17.99. I mark down severely for a normally dry wine presented with significant residual sugar. Your mileage may vary, this isn't technical incompetence, this is a marketing decision of which I disapprove.

I tried to enjoy a second, later, bottle knowing it was off-dry and to not prejudge, but then become distressed as the herbaceous, vegetal, smell and taste. Still a negative.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

J.u.H.A. Strub 1989er Niersteiner Olberg Riesling Spatlese Rheinhessen

Golden color, petillance forms on the glass.

Ripe peach and apple smells, diesel stink is apparent (and much welcome!)

Rich off-dry peach flavor, petillant on the tongue, seems to have less than the optimum amount of acid.

An interesting bottle, good but I don't greatly regret the absence of further bottles, fair to say this is in decline.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vina Aquitania 2007 Malleco Valley Traiguen Chardonnay Sol de Sol

Pale straw color, green highlights.

Apple, pear, pineapple, and oak smells.

The first taste is tart lemon which is soon joined by fruit-sweet pineapple, peach, and pear flavors, smoky oak, a big tropical fruit-bomb. Much better acid finish than is often seen in such exuberant Chards.

I admit, a heavily-oaked (partially) malolactic Chardonnay is one of the wines I can least appreciate, but I do recognize that this is an excellent $32.99 bottle for the style and it grows on me as the bottle gets empty.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Heribert Kerpen 1988er Wehlener Sonnenuhr Reisling Auslese

Golden orange-brown color (I see I've already done the "I'm Brown, from the Sun" bit, so I'll refrain from repetition).

Bus-stop diesel smell. Here's a most esoteric tasting note that strains "organoleptic" beyond any reasonable breaking point: this wine reminds me of seeing F1 cars streaming through a chicane at Spa-Francorchamps, and a crisp Belgian day, rain threatening after a rain-soaked qualifying jumbled the starting order. Spa as it was before 2004. Or so I hear.

The sweetness inherent to an Auslese has diminished while a rich flavor, characteristic of well-aged Riesling, has developed. Way tangerine, peach, coconut.

Excellent bottle, medium-bodied, a one-of-a-kind example (well, today it is!) from the sundial, a famous Moselle vineyard, delicate, powerful.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Domaine Pichot 2008 Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette

Pale yellow straw color, glints of green.

Smell of green apple and lime, elementary-school erasers freshly clapped.

Off-dry fruit flavor, ripe apple and pear, sweet lime pie, pumpkin-pie-spice.

Good light-bodied bottle for $19.99, a food-friendly little trifle that keeps pouring for a light dessert. Lime pie with whipped cream at the end.

Update: Another bottle proved a wonderful accompaniment for an off-season roast Turkey dinner, with suitable trimmings.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Peter Geiben Karlsmuhle 2005 Kaseler Nies'chen Riesling Auslese

A very tight cork in this bottle, required the use of a sharp knife and, eventually, passing a wine / cork-crumb slurry through a coffee filter.

Straw color, petillance is noticeable on the glass.

Sweet peach smell, more than a hint of Botrytis edelfaule.

Sweet noble-rot-infected peach and apricot flavors, petillant on the tongue, rich dessert treat. Impressive for such a young Riesling, but I'll come back for another bottle (which I hope is easier to open) in five years more.

Pricey bottle for $56.99, but good!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Domaine Coste-Caumartin 2005 Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grain

Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains is a blend of 1/3 Pinot, the rest Gamay. It's neither widely available nor widely respected.

Medium ruby color, purple highlights.

Strawberry, walking-in-the-country-in-Spring smell with spicy oak, some blueberry.

Strawberry and cranberry flavors, fruity wine well-balanced with acid. Worked well with a ham & swiss sandwich, even with a healthy schmeer of Dijon mustard.

Pleasant light-to-medium-bodied bottle for $19.99. It looks red but it drinks rosé! A bit over-priced, I think.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

St. Amant 2008 Amador County Verdelho Miss Independent

Extremely pale color.

Clean cantaloupe smell, apple.

Dry cantaloupe flavor, hint of apple sweetness at the end.

Very good light-to-medium-bodied bottle for $19.99, this American interpretation of a classic Madeira grape shouts USA, USA, USA!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Muller-Catoir 1989er Gimmeldinger Meerspinne Gewurztraminer Auslese

Medium golden-tan color, "I'm Brown, from the Sun," the long-set sun of 1989's summer in a bottle. Quite a few tartaric acid crystals. Still Spritzig after all these years: petillant bubbles from on the walls of a glass of this 21-year-old wine.

Smell of tangerines, honey, peaches, distinct hints of roses. There'd be a market for this perfume,I think!

Tannic taste of sweet iced tea, honey, mango, and tangerine.

Outstanding bottle for $59.99, but I doubt you'll be able to buy an example (or that I'll be able to buy more. I cherish those that I have.) Time has been kind to it, but I doubt it will improve further.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Amant 2008 Lodi Barbera Tools of the Trade

This is my first US entry in the festival of Barbera and temporarily ends it (I'm out of fresh examples.)

Dark purple red, not quite opaque. Violet at the edges.

Surprising pencil-box oak is the most noticeable smell, then dark stone-fruit.

I haven't run across a Barbera with a significant degree of new oak in the flavor before. Plum and prune fruit, seems particularly sweet at the finish.

Not a bad bottle for $19.99, but a tad bit flat, it seems to lack some of the food-friendly acid I'm so very used to tasting in Barbera d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Romano Clelia 2006 Fiano di Avellino Colli di Lapio redux

Last year I tasted a bottle of this, and put five more aside for annual repetition.

Pale straw color.

Fairly neutral smell, perhaps apple, not much else going on.

The petillance I commented on a year ago is still very much there. Where last year I tasted "melon and green apple fruit", today I find an apple richness that reminds me of a lesser degree of the richness that develops as Riesling ages.

This was a good match for roast chicken, and I'll wait a year for the next bottle, and see how its developed further.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pine Ridge Forefront 2008 Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

Dark ruby color.

Rich sweet-smelling fruit, plum, prune, and dark cherry. Oak in the background.

Prune and plum flavor, a bit of an exuberant fruit-bomb. Ripe.

Good bottle for $26.99, a nice medium-to-full bodied wine, works well as company for a lunch of ham and vegetable, though my first choice would have been more restrained.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Conterno Fantino 2008 Barbera d'Alba Vignota

Another entrant in the festival of Barbera!

Very dark color

Smell of lots of fresh oak, plum and prune.

Dark stone fruits, vanilla oak, deep flavor.

Full-bodied bottle for $30.99, fuller than any of the other Barberas I've had recently. Would be better, though, with a little more restraint in the cooperage.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Boroli 2006 Barbera d'Alba Quattro Fratelli

Another entry in my festival of Barbera.

Very dark color.

Plum and prune smell.

Dark plum and prune fruit, oak with restraint, sweet fruit well-balanced with plenty of acid.

Very good bottle for $20.99, medium-bodied but a bit fuller-bodied than the examples of Barbera d'Asti I've enjoyed over the last few days.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben 2007 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese

Very pale color, extremely petillant, raised a significant, if short-lived, head when poured into the glass.

Peach smell, face-first in a home-made tub of applesauce, strolling in a night-blooming garden.

Sweet peach nectar, sweet farmstand apple cider, remains quite petillant on the tongue.

Right now this is a damned expensive bottle for $36.99, I foresee it calming, drying, and developing a strangely attractive petrochemical smell in five years or so. Time, I've learned, is Riesling's friend.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Montecalvi 2007 Chianti Classico

Very dark color.

Tarry smell, tobacco, plum, mineral, and smoke.

Dark plum and cherry fruit, mineral, good food-friendly acid.

Fine bottle for $26.99, darker-seeming that the barbera I've been enjoying recently, but better-suited to match a fuller-flavored meal, though it matched well with a spaghetti & meatball lunch.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Coppo 2006 Barbera d'Asti Camp du Rouss

A fresh entry in the festival of Barbera, a celebration of one of my favorite general-purpose reds.

Near-opaque wine, violet at the edges.

Cherry and plum smell, leather and basil, evidence of some young oak which doesn't intrude.

Cherry and plum fruit flavors, bright with Barbera-typical acidity.

A fine medium-bodied bottle for $19.99, suitable for a lighter lunch or dinner.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Icardi 2008 Barbera d'Asti Tabaren

Dark clear ruby color.

Black cherry smell, oak, wet leather.

Plum and black cherry fruit flavors, new oak spice, vibrant with tart acid.

Good food-friendly medium-weight bottle of wine for $15.99.

More and more, I find Barbera an unfussy accompaniment to a simple dinner. Tonight I declare the festival of Barbera!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monticello Vineyards 2005 Napa Valley Oak Knoll District Merlot Estate Grown Corley Family

I aerated this vigorously and let it then rest for about two hours before drinking.

Dark ruby color.

Oak / berry / cherry smell.

Cherry / berry flavors, juicy, delicious. Oak is always noticeable but does not dominate.

Good bottle for $29.99, matches nicely with steak and vegetables (with rice.)

I enjoyed Sideways well enough but am not convinced that it has any opinions worth basing my life on or otherwise following).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Micheal Pozzan 2007 Napa Valley Pinot Noir

Very dark garnet color, transparent under strong light.

Ripe blackberry smell, blueberry, wet leather.

Blackberry, strawberry, cherry flavors, a bit of chocolate at the end. Restrained oak.

Full-bodied wine, powerful but well-balanced. Good value for $18.99.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anders-Lane "Marley" 2008 Carneros Chardonnay

One of the dangers of concentrating on unfamiliar grape varieties is ignoring the popular justly-famous varieties. Chardonnay is one variety I've been mostly ignoring.

Very pale straw color.

Clean ripe apple and peach smells.

There's a touch of residual sweetness in the apple flavor, which I don't appreciate and an absence of oak, which I don't miss.

Accetable bottle for $19.99, as much as I'd prefer it bone-dry, I recognize that would probably hurt sales.

The "Marley" label is a brand of Anders-Lane, but I don't see it on their website. It may be a proprietary cooperation to them and my local internet wine-store.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Matteo Correggia 2008 Roero Arneis

Golden straw color, some petillance visible.

Peach and apple smells, almonds, lime.

Dry apple and pear flavors, crisp acidity, petillant on the tongue.

This is my introduction to Arneis, a grape brought back from near-extinction in the last 4 decades.

An excellent bottle for $13.95, wants to be served a little bit warmer then the average white wine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blockheadia ringnosii 2006 Sonoma County Zinfandel

Medium-dark garnet color, a bit of petillance forms on the glass.

Toasted oak dominates the smell, tobacco, cherry/berry in the background.

Tart cherry flavor, woody notes, only a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish, quite surprising in a wine of 15% ABV, effect can creep on up you a bit from such a fruity, food-friendly wine.

Very good bottle for $27.99, a pleasant surprise from restaurateur Michael Ouellette. The faux-Linnean name is not explained.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

iGreco Filo 2008 Calabria Greco Bianco

Color of straw, some petillance on the glass.

Smells of peach, apple, and clean laundry.

Dry fruity flavor, peach and apple, mineral and saline character, petillance on the tongue.

Very good bottle for $17.99.

I'm not certain that this wine is made from the same grape variety used in the DOC Greco di Tufo, but I think it is.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pannonhalmi Apatsagi Pinceszet 2007 Pinot Noir

Clear medium-dark garnet color, some pinpoint bubbles form on the glass.

Oak and leather smells, very organic-seeming but clean with no bacterial problems evident.

Oak, cherry, a trace of menthol, ends with food-friendly acid.

This is, I think, my first red from Hungary, and I realize I'm forgiving an oak component that is prominent to a degree which I would not so forgive in a wine from another country, but I remain convinced that the wines of Hungary remain worth exploring and even supporting.

So, bottom-line, this is nice, a good match for a medium-bodied dinner, even if a bit oaky. I matched this with a baked ham dinner and I pronounce it a win!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bodegas Pedro Escudor Fuente Elvira 2008 Rueda Verdejo

Medium yellow color with green tints.

Aromatic honey, lime, and peach smells.

Fruity dry melon and citrus flavors, honeyed texture. Sprightly and petillant on the tongue.

Excellent bottle for $16.99, this confirms my fondness for this Verdejo, an increasingly fashionable white grape that nearly went extinct.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haut Marin 2008 Petit Manseng Gros Manseng Vin de Pays Cotes de Gascogne

55% Petit Manseng, 45% Gros Manseng.

Applesauce, pineapple smells.

Fruity sweet flavor, applesauce without cinnamon.

Adequate bottle for $14.99 The sweetness was unexpected and a bit disappointing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kendermanns 2007 Mosel Riesling Spatlese

Bright golden / yellow color, petillance forms on the glass.

Fruity enticing peach smell, floral quality.

Candy-sweet peach flavor, drinking the sugary syrup from a can of peaches. Petillant on the tongue

Tolerable bottle for $17.99, soda-pop (almost) without the fizz.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kendermanns 2007 Gewurztraminer QbA

Very pale color, petillance forms on the glass.

Floral/fruity smell, gardenia and peach.

Off-dry peach, apple, floral flavors.

Very good bottle for $14.99.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Au Bon Climat 2008 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

Medium clear garnet color.

Cherry soda smell, blackberry, black pepper.

Blackberry and oak flavors.

Acceptable bottle for $24.99, would be better for $5 less.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Felsina Berardenga 2007 Chianti Classico DOCG

Dark but transparent red color.

Cherry, berry, and leather smells, tar at the end. Am I imagining or is there just the least little whiff of wet dog brettanomyces?

Raspberry flavor, tart cherry, leather.

I think this very good $22.99 bottle would benefit from some vigorous aeration. Both the smell and the taste are a bit shy and they might be more likely to come out to play with some more oxygen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Familia Mayol 2008 Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza Malbec Montuiri Vineyard

Near opaque, dark ruby glints in the depths.

Spicy smell, nutmeg and cinnamon, cigar-box cedar, plum and prune.

Dark fruits, plum and prune and currants. Full-bodied and fat.

Very good bottle for $17.99. Big food-friendly wine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rosenblum Cellars 2007 Sonoma County Zinfandel

Slightly translucent ruby color.

Blackberry, oak smells.

Black cherry flavor, blackberry, red raspberry, well-balanced with oak.

Simple but good bottle for $20.99, an exuberant celebration of juicy ripe fruit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fetzer Vineyards 2008 California Gewurztraminer Valley Oaks

Rich golden color, green highlights.

Fresh clean floral smell, the first deep breath as you enter the florist.

Ripe fruit, sweet apple and peach, pear and petillance on the tongue.

At $12.95 a bottle, cheap and cheerful fun.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rosenblum Cellars 2007 California Petite Sirah Heritage Clones

Purple color, dark as the allegorical hour just before dawn.

Smell of black plums and oak, something like cinnamon.

Dark stone fruit and oak flavors, dark chocolate, black pepper. Thick, almost chunky mouth-feel. Warm alcohol finish.

Good bottle for $20.99.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Duckhorn Vineyards 2008 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Extremely pale straw color, just the slightest tinge of green. Some petillance on the opened bottle and on the glass.

Fresh melon smell, lemon and lime, toast.

Dry citrus fruit, melon,

Good bottle for $28.99, tart refreshing acid that cries out for full-flavored food.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Matteo Correggia 2007 Barbera d'Alba

Opaque dark purple color.

Smells of plum and black cherry.

Full flavor of plum, blackberry, and blueberry. No oak, all fruit.

Extremely good bottle for $19.99. Full bodied wine that's a fine match for any full-flavored food.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

d'Arenberg 2008 Adelaide Viognier 72% Marsanne 28% "The Hermit Crab"

The color of mass-market American lager, a little petillance is visible.

Peach/floral smell, pear, melon.

Fresh tart peach flavor, not-quite-ripe melon, alcohol warmth, oily mouth-feel, salt-water in the finish, some petillance tingling on the tongue.

Pleasant, if imperfectly so, bottle for $15.50. I remember when Viognier was rare, expensive, and almost always quite good. There's a certain perverse satisfaction in seeing it common, sometimes fairly cheap and occasionally rather ordinary, as long as the good can still be had.

Some bottles may not assert Adelaide,