This wine, which I previously reviewed several months ago, has softened and opened up appreciably. It now warrants an A-. Fragrant, intense, very linear, loads of intense stony minerals. Very clingy flavor persistence. I have one bottle left, which I'll try to hold off on drinking for at least another year.
I really like old vine reds from the freakishly deep sands of Contra Costa County. They really represent a unique American terroir. This wine is composed of 100+ yr. old vines from26% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Sirah, 25% Mataro, 20% Carignane, 3% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Black Malvoisie. And it's really good.
Very dark, plasma-like ruby/violet. Enchanting nose of rich berries, cocoa powder, minerals, and ashy embers, with a single line of tangy rhubarb at the end. Rich, low-toned, and darkly berryish, with a the cocoa component still there. It's quite dry, with lots of soft tannin coating the sides of the mouth. And despite the 15.2% alcohol, there's some very nice acidity buoying everything up. Although this winery's single varietal wines tend to be a little mote expensive than its "field blend," I think I usually like the filed blend a little more. A-. If I'm remembering correctly, I think I got this several months ago for around $18 from WineAccess.com.
This is a big, extroverted Chablis.
Very pale gold. Nose burbling over with green apple, peach, lemon, and chalky minerals. Fleshy, flashy, and vigorous in the mouth. The first day the fruit was at the fore, and it seemed ripe, intense, and somewhat simple. But the next day, the minerals were out in force, with intense chalky-stoniness overshadowing the still ample fruit. The first night it seemed almost -- unusually for a Chablis -- like there was a bit of residual sugar, but as it aired, that sweetness decreased. By the second day it seemed bone dry. Good acids for such a large-limbed Chablis. What it lacks in complexity and elegance it makes up in sheer force and vigor. B+. Drink over the next 2 years, over which it will probably gain a bit of complexity. Was $21.99 from WTSO.com, and imported by Louis Latour, San Rafael, CA.
This wine has been consistently very good, year-after-year, since I can remember first trying it (in the early 80s). It usually walks a line somewhere between the lighter, fresher regular Valpos many wineries offer as their entry level wine and their somewhat denser, riper, earthier Ripassos. The 2010 is really nice.
Vibrant ruby with a purply tinge. Gobs of ripe, dark, crunchy berry fruit on the nose. The first night, the fruit obscured all else. Then I left it under a Vacu-Vin for 48 hours, and it had developed some of the almondy characteristics frequently associated with Valpos. Wonderful concentration and vibrancy in the mouth; a wine that just begets sip after sip, and would pair with all sorts of meals.Nice length and wonderful purity. A-. Was $16.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax, VA. Imported by Vintus LLC, Pleasantville, NY.
This excellent value red is fruity, deep, balanced, and soft. A fantastic choice for summer cook-outs. 45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre.
Deep ruby with purply highlights. Lively, straightforward nose of crunchy, ripe dark berries and clean stony mineraliness. Lovely, tight, ripe berry fruit in the mouth. Very soft. Decent acids, and some very fine tannins for a bit of structure on the finish. Not complex, but fun to drink and flavorful. Calls out for mesquite-grilled grilled burgers. B/B+. Was $9.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax. Imported by Saranty Imports, White Plains, NY.
A deep, full-bodied, minerally, fully-mature and smooth red. Think of this as a Spanish Gigondas from a very warm vintage.
Almost jet black, fully saturated color . . . ruby adds the highlights to the black, rather than the other way around. Striking, low-toned nose of a squished carton of uber-ripe blackberries, whisked together with crushed stones and a hint of dark baking spices. Massively rich in the mouth, with dark, brooding flavors of dark stones and blackberry syrup/skin extract. Great intensity yet not overblown. Dry and full-bodied, sporting a texture akin to hot chocolate due to loads of medium-fine-grained tannins. It went well with a braised brisket. This is a wine that will overpower anything less than a stew or pot roast type dinner, although it may pair well with after dinner cheese too. Drinking very well now, this wine will soften further over the next 2 years. B+. Was $14.99 from WTSO.com. Imported by Classic Wines, Stamford, CT.
A very large-framed, delicious Sangiovese. Color, body, tannins, acids. This is a wine that hits the gym.
Luxurious-looking saturated dark ruby. Rich nose of tangy but ripe black raspberries and black cherries, with sweet-scented smoky-gravelly notes. Mouthfilling dark cherry fruit, quickly molting into loads of chalky, stony minerals. Bone dry, with lots of fine-grained tannin and lots acidity, giving it a lean, muscular, very vigorous mouthfeel. Lots of crushed stones as the finish resolves. A-. Youthful but starting to drink very well now, this wine will improve over the next three years in a cool cellar. Was $18.99 from WTSO.com, which is cheap for a CC Riserva. Imported by Castelli del Gevepesa, Manhasset, NY.
A really good value in a tasty, mature, flavorful, balanced, soft Rhone red. 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache.
Dark, black-ruby. Nose full of ripe, rich blackberry essence and pungent, slightly scorchy minerally-stony scents. Very soft and mouthfilling, with nose-paralleling, bone dry blackberry and scorched gravelly flavors, along with a dry underbrush component. Full-bodied, but with good balancing acids. A bit drying as the latter half of the finish, but this is a minor quibble, particularly if, like me, you're using this wine to wash down a bowl of pasta-and-meat sauce, or some such dish. B/B+. Was $9.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax. Imported by Saranty Imports.
I made this up the other night, and had the Aglianico reviewed below with it. I think I read a recipe that had the spinach/almond thing a few years ago, so I can't take credit for that concept.
A very good value, this wine is fragrant, soft, full-flavored, and has a bit of complexity. Hard to beat at $12.99.
Very dark black ruby. Surprisingly youthful-looking for a 5-year old wine. With air, the nosy displays lots of smoky, fragrant embers and sun-dried gravel, together with very nice blackberryish fruit. Fairly full-bodied, but with excellent acidity for a southern Italian red, it got ripe, winey, dark berry fruit, with a nice gravelly overlay. Fairly long finish, and loads of palate-refreshing acids. This will work very well with pasta and meat sauce, or Italian tomatoey braises. B+. Got this from WTSO.com. Imported by Superior Wines, Cranford, NJ.
I have drunk some Pecorinos before, but this is the first I've heard about "Offida" being a DOC . . . "G" to boot! Pecorino is a white Italian varietal that's typically fragrant, fruity, crisp, and simple. This one is a very nice example.
Light brassy gold color. Fragrant nose of pears, citrus zest, chalky minerals, and a fleeting note that reminded me of the smell of largemouth bass slime (fishermen will know what I'm talking about). A weird note in this context, but not unpleasant. Mouthfilling, dry, gentle flavors of pear and minerals. Very clean in the mouth. I think this was about $12.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax. Imported by Saranty Imports, White PLains, NY.
A simple but very flavorful red that shows off a very sweet, black cherryish side of Cabernet. This wine does not skimp on flavor. My main criticism is some noticeable residual sugar.
Black black ruby. Nose dominated by sweet, very ripe black cherry syrup scents, along with some nice fruitcake notes. In the mouth, loads of very ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit, but little else. Mercifully, no oakiness, but this wine, while very flavorful, is very simple. While I got this at a chain restaurant (CPK) for $24, I imagine it should be around $10 in stores and supermarkets. I'd rather drink this wine, which is true to its grapes, than some god-awful chocolatey, cab in the same price (that got its oak from chips), it's still way too simple to be recommended. C+.
(Sorry, 2007 shown).
A really zesty wine that is both drinking well now and will age. Keeps changing as it gets exposed to more and more air.
Black ruby purple color. The first night, it showed mostly the typical mineral oil, toasted walnut oil, and brambly underbrush I associate with Cab Francs from this northerly clime. Then after two days under a Vacu-Vin, it started to display a lot more tangy, black cherry fruit. It kept evolving over that third night, hitting notes of licorice and barnyard at various times, all the while keeping the faith with the black cherry fruit. Fantastic acids, keeping this thing tangy and electric on the palate. Bone dry, fresh, medium-bodied, soft-textured, and possessing a really pure, medium long finish. Very engaging. A-. Was $25.99 from Winex.com. Imported by Aliane Wines, San Diego.