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2008 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay

Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 Wine Tasting



With a play on words, i.e. "naked", comes this steel fermented chardonnay from Santa Barbara County. Regardless of the witticism shown by the winemaker this was a very tasty bottle. Allison told me that she still prefers a sauvignon blanc, but I was ready for something different and this hit the spot nicely.

Lots of peach and white floral notes both on the nose and palate, with a bracing bit of acidity along the edges and a lingering finish. This would stack up nicely with a lot of food, which is not a typical baliwick of chardonnays, particularly from Califonia.

If, like us, you do not like oaky chardonnay then this would be an ideal choice. At $12.99 I think it is a very good value for the quality and would not hesitate to recommend or serve it.

Cheers!


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2005 Monte Antico

Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 Wine Tasting



We have had this before and really enjoyed it. I was pleasantly surprised to see the other day for $7.99 a bottle and picked one up. While we still liked it fine, it was fairly different than what we remembered or expected.

The wine is blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. I guess you could technically call it a Super Tuscan although I prefer to think of this as just a red blend.

The nose gave up blueberry with hints of dusty earth. On the palate it was pretty light initially, growing to a medium weight. The acidity was very pronounced, almost to the point of being harsh early but then settling down with some air. The fruit leaned towards red cherry and it finished moderately with some toasty oak and a hint of medicinal nuances, almost like cough syrup.

If not for the odd finish we would probably call this an everyday wine. We will likely pick up another bottle just to see if there was something funky with this one, and post the results here.

Cheers!


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2008 Domaine Jean Bousquet Malbec

Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 Wine Tasting



Looking about the other day in the malbec section, I spotted this bottle which we had never had before. Knowing that we had been drinking a lot of the same stuff lately I thought it was time that we started venturing out again and so put a bottle in the case.

Overall this was a good, if not great, bottle of malbec. The nose showed a lot of fruit, notably some blackberry, and hinted at some spice. On the palate the fruit definitely asserted itself but was balanced out by firm tannins. The finish was solid, with an abundance of fruit and a bit of licorice spice.

We were somewhat divided on this, with me liking it more so than Allison did. At $10 I thought that it was an enjoyable bottle of wine, but it certainly was neither the best nor the worse malbec that we've ever had.

Cheers!


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Venta Morales Tempanillo

Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 Wine Tasting



I tossed the bottle shortly after snapping the picture and did not realize that the vintage was not on the front of the bottle. However, I am almost positive that it was a 2008 as that was the first vintage made of this wine and I would be surprised to see 2009 on the shelves just yet.

This was recommended by my buddy over at Norman's Liquors as something new. It was also reasonably priced at about $8.

Unfortunately, while we generally are fans of tempranillo, this was nothing but a fruit bomb. Seriously over the top red fruit with only slight hints of tannin and spice underneath. Definitely not our style of wine. If you like big, bold, fruit-forward wine this would be a very good selection for you. If on the other hand you are looking for a more traditional rendition of the tempranillo grape you probably want to skip over it.

Cheers!


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2000 Chateau Tour St. Bonnet

Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 Wine Tasting



We were fortunate several years ago to have good contacts in the wine industry and even more fortunate to receive as a christmas gift a magnum (1.5 liter) of this bordeaux one year. Those were the good days indeed ;-)

Thinking that we were going to have some company the other evening we decided to give this one a try since there would be plenty to share. Neither of us were familar with this producer, but if you recall 2000 was perhaps "the greatest vintage in bordeaux's history" or at least until the 2005's and more recently the 2009's started getting reviews. Another reason to take professional wine reviews with a grain of salt. Yes, they are very useful for general overview and reference points but as I have always advocated you must taste for yourself and let your own preferences tell you what is good... for you. But I digress...

One other quick side note that I think is important to note. A larger bottle such as this will not age at the same rate as a standard 750ml bottle. So, when reading any review try and note what size bottle was being tasted... most reviewers and bloggers use 750ml as the baseline (us included) and should note when a different size bottle is tasted. Remember that the larger the bottle, the slower it will develop.

Okay, so we popped this one open to give it some time to breathe. We decided not to decant it as the nose suggested that it was fairly approachable as is and we did not want it to break down with too much aeration. Subtle notes of earth, mushroom and hay sat atop black cherry fruit on the nose, while on the palate the fruit took on a more subdued role to velvety tannins and toasty oak. The finish was moderately long with nuances of leather and black currants.

This bottle probably still had some ageability to it, although we are glad that we drank it when we did. In a standard size bottle I would certainly recommend drinking it now.

Cheers!


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2007 Volver Tempranillo

Date: Sat, Jun 19, 2010 Wine Tasting


In getting ready for a tasting that we are participating in, I was surprised to see that while we have drank a lot of this wine we had never done a full write up. I saw that I am surprised because it is darn good for the money.

Unlike a Rioja which is made from the tempranillo grape, this does not have the rustic, earthiness but is rather a more robust and upbeat style. The palate shows black cherry, some hints of licorice, smoke and well integrated tannins. It is pretty full bodied, without being overly heavy.

While we all know my general adversion to wine review scores, this one did rack up 90 points in both Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. In this case, I have to agree that it is a great bottle of wine for $12.99. We like it enough to consider it an everyday wine.

Cheers!


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HR Bill 5034 --- This needs to be stopped

Date: Wed, Jun 16, 2010 Wine Tasting

We are not going to turn this into a political blog but this is something that I just feel is wrong and all wine (as well as beer and liquor) lovers need to help get defeated.

The basic premise of the bill as I understand it would essentially remove the ability of consumers to sue for direct shipments and would effectively eliminate direct shipping by allowing the states to regulate this again, much as they did before Granholm v. Heald.

Of course this bill has huge support from the wholesaler's, because if direct shipping is banned then they once again control the flow from the wineries to the distributors and ultimately to you. This will of course negatively impact smaller wineries by not being able to get their product out to a wider audience and it will impact you by limiting your choice to whatever the wholesalers decide should be in your market. And the fact that the wholesalers do not sell directly to the consumer completely negates their argument that they are preventing the sale of wine and spirits to underage drinkers. C'mon... give me a break!

Anyway, I am really worked up about this and I hope that you are too. Read more about this bill on Steve Heimoff's blog, the actual bill being discussed and this article on Fermentation - The Daily Wine Blog and then call and write to your representatives in congress and urge them to vote against this bill (You can find them here).

I am off my soapbox now :-)

Cheers!


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2009 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc

Date: Tue, Jun 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



Are you looking for a reasonably priced, non-descript sauvignon blanc to open? Look no further than this one. While there was nothing wrong with the wine it just did not deliver anything that made us think we would want to buy it again.

This was so pale as to be almost clear in color. The nose showed very little except for hints that the acidity was going to be dominant, which it was. The palate showed some pear and notes of limey citrus but was quickly overwhelmed by the acidity. Fortunately the finish was rather quick.

Honestly I was a bit surprised at this one. Mondavi generally makes some really decent stuff, even at this level, but I think they missed here.

Cheers!


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2007 Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc

Date: Tue, Jun 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



This was a rich, medium-to-full bodied style with a nose of honeysuckle, peach and cinnamon while the palate boasted nectarine, wet stone and a touch of spice on the finish.

The weight of this wine, coupled with so much fruit showing, gives what could almost be perceived as a sweet quality. Allison actually did not enjoy this one because of that. It certainly is not the austere sauvignon blanc that makes up a large portion of our white wine inventory.

For domestic pinot blanc, 3 years is probably pushing the envelope on a lot of wines but I thought that this one was drinking very well. I enjoyed it quite well but at $16 probably will not pour it on a regular basis.

Cheers!


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2007 Banfi Centine

Date: Tue, Jun 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



Unfortunately we do not get to drink great 2000 bordeaux or 1998 barolos every night (if you've read the previous two posts, you will understand) but that does not mean we are not still drinking some good things.

This medium-bodied blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot was a very tasty wine that would pair up quite well with a red-sauced pasta dish or, even simpler, a grilled burger... which is what we had it with.

The nose was rich with mocha and mullberry. The palate showed lots of black fruits with hints of leather. The only negative that we found was that the tannins were a bit gritty, making the finish a bit rougher than we would have otherwise liked.

Even though there are a lot of tannins showing in this one, I think that it is better consumed now. It certainly is drinking well enough, and at $12 it is a very good bargin.

Cheers!


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1998 Clerico "Ciabot Mentin Ginestra" Barolo

Date: Tue, Jun 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



Another example of a wine that maybe we should not have drunk just yet, but we are darned glad that we did. It was absolutely fantastic, and probably the best bottle of wine we have had this year.

This one is not for the faint of heart... it is absolutely full-bodied with serious tannins. In March 2009 Robert Parker noted that the tannins would probably outlive the fruit in this one. After tasting it, I would have to agree.

While the tannins are massive, there is a good bit of fruit hidden in here. Cherry and plum fruit lurk behind the mask of tannins but are easy enough to detect. There was also some mint, a touch of licorice and a good bit of toasty oak on the finish.

We have never found a Clerico that we did not absolutely adore and this is no exception. I think it could easily drink well for another 20 years. With only one bottle left in the cellar though we may not be able to wait that long to see.

Cheers!


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2000 Chateau Rauzan-Segla

Date: Tue, Jun 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



Yes I know that we are drinking this one too early but we decided that we needed to open something really nice and this is what I pulled out. It is drinking fantastically and will probably continue to do so for another 15-20 years.

When we first popped the cork, the wine was completely shut down. It took a good 30 minutes of aeration to find the hidden good stuff that was lurking in the bottle. Unfortunately, we drank the whole bottle... I would have liked to try it the next day to see how much it improved overnight.

Once it opened up, there was a lot of stuff going on. The nose was not as earthy as a lot of bordeaux but rather hinted at sweet red fruit. There was some minerality and a hint of pencil as well on the nose. The tannins are strong but not over-powering in this one. They were a touch on the gritty side but only just so. The palate was full of ripe, black currants with notes of cedar and earth to balance it out.

This was an outstanding wine from one of the best bordeaux vintages ever. I only wish we had more than two bottles of it left.

Cheers!


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Still here.... just been crazy the past little bit

Date: Tue, Jun 1, 2010 Wine Tasting

Don't worry... we are still here and still tasting. Unfortunately it has been a very busy couple of weeks and the next 10 days or so prove to be as much so if not more.

We'll be getting some posts back in the pipeline by the end of next week. One in particular that is close to being ready is a 2000 Chateau Rauzan-Segla.

Cheers!


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2005 Greenpoint Shiraz

Date: Sun, May 16, 2010 Wine Tasting



Spotted this bottle the other day while picking up a mixed case of wine from our local shop. Having never seen it before thought it might be worth giving a try. Allison thought that it was a great choice!

The nose is somewhat subdued but shows some blackberry and hints of spice. On the palate the fruit was dominant but there was an underlying currant of pepper and black licorice. The finish was moderate and showed some rustic tannin.

Overall I thought that this was a good, if not exceptional, shiraz for the money ($15) whereas Allison really liked it a lot.

Cheers!


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