Thursday, January 29, 2009

Talus Collection 2006 Pinot Noir

the quest for a good pinot noir under $10 is always difficult. saw this one at my local grocer and decided to plunk down the $7 for the bottle and give it a try. nose was cherries and floral notes of violet and a little earth. the taste was actually not bad, with strawberry and spice as the main highlights. tannins were medium and the finish was fairly long. the wine was subtle and a bit green, but opened up nicely as i drank it. if you are looking for a decent pinot at a low price, this is one to start with. you will find better pinots at higher price points, but this is not a bad every day wine.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Duxoup Syrah 2005

this syrah was something the comely brunette and i tried at a wine tasting last fall and we purchased a bottle to lay for a bit. the nose was black cherry, licorice, and earthy, smokey notes. after some of the disappointing, mediocre wines of late, i was looking forward to something that really knocked my socks off and the nose on this one had me thinking i was in for a treat. i was not disappointed. the taste was black cherry, pepper, licorice and some dark chocolate notes. a bit tannic, but softened with time. this one does not fall into the really tight budget wine, selling for about $25, but it is very nice, very complex, very bold. a keeper and worth another try in the future.

Bolla Sangiovese di Romagna 2007

this sangiovese was purchased recently at the local grocer for about $9. i was looking for food wines that went with colder weather foods, stews, hearty soups. gave this one a try. i mentioned how sangiovese tends to lean toward the tar like taste after aging in oak. this one maybe didn't spend as much time in oak, because it was more fruity than anything else. the nose was black cherry and a little bit of leather. the taste was raspberry and black cherry with some hints of anise. and it was very tight and very tannic. even after pouring a glass, swirling and leaving it sit for almost an hour, it was still very tight and tannic. overall impression was mediocre and i'm not sure if more time in the bottle would benefit this one.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gato Negro 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

this is the third wine i have tried from this chilean winery. at $3.99 a bottle, you have to at least give it a shot to see whether it is worth buying as a nice everyday red to have around. much like the now famous two-buck chuck, this wine is not bad for a drinkable red, but if you are looking for bold, complex, hearty cabs, steer clear of gato negro. the nose was blackberry and spice. the taste was raspberry, cherry and spice with medium tannins. the wine was a bit young and green, not nearly as bold as it could have been. not impressed with this one.

DaVinci 2006 Chianti

another chianti from the homemade minestrone soup night. this one was not nearly as full-bodied and complex as the first one we tried. the nose was cherries, plums and some pepper notes. the taste was more plum than cherry, but i didn't get the complex licorice, tar and earthy flavors that i expected. mostly fruity with a little spicy pepper near the end. worked okay with the meal but didn't quite stand up to the full flavors of the soup as the first chianti did. this was actually the more expensive of the two wines, selling for about $15, although i did happen to find it on sale for $12. which just goes to show you that you can get better wines some times for cheaper prices.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cecchi 2006 Chianti

we were having some friends over for a dinner of home-made minestrone soup, and i picked up a couple bottles of wine to go with the meal. this chianti was one of them. the nose was violets, black licorice, and black cherry. on the palate, cherry, earthy tones, followed by soft, medium tannins and licorice. i haven't had many chiantis so this was an interesting wine for me to try. i am a fan of sangiovese with its tar-like flavors after aging in barrels. this wine was a bit more fruit forward. the wine sells for about $10-11, and really goes well with many foods, including the soup we enjoyed on this cold winter evening. i will definitely try another bottle of this in the future.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beaulieu Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006

finding a really good pinot noir for under $10 can be difficult. BV from france is not bad at about $8, but it isn't great. the nose is black cherry, plum and spice. not too complex on the nose. the palate is cherries, earthy, slightly mushroom notes and some hints of cocoa and spice in the finish. a very subtle pinot. like i said, not bad, just not great. if you are new to red wines, this might be a nice way to get started, as it won't scare you off with a big, huge taste and a nice price.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kono Barú 2006 Valle Central Unwooded Chardonnay

here is a chilean chardonnay i tried recently. they refer to it as unwooded, which the general public calls unoaked. it sells for about $7 a bottle, which is a nice price. the nose is tropical fruit, especially pineapple and maybe a little grapefruit. i also got a sweaty note that was a bit surprising. the palate was more tropical, dominated by passion fruit. i picked up some asparagus flavors in the mid palate and a slight apple note in the finish. there were also mineral notes in the medium finish. slightly crisp, very nice white for the price. a definite revisit for this summer. and remember when looking for this wine the label is upside-down.
a sad note on this wine. it is no longer being produced by the don and sons branch of sebatiani. not sure why, but found this out recently. they are apparently going to do an unoaked chard under the pepperwood label from chilean grapes to replace this.

Simi 2005 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

got this california cab as a gift. always love the free wine. i have had bigger and bolder cabs, but this one was not too bad. the nose was blackberry, spice and hints of cedar. the taste was very fruit forward with loads of blackberries. this was followed by leather and spice. the tannins were fairly powerful and they softened just a bit as the wine opened up, but not enough for my taste. my first taste, the impression was positive, but i curbed my enthusiasm the more i tasted this one. like i said, not a huge wine and probably a lot more fruit forward than your typical california cab, but a little too tannic for me. sells for about $20.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Burnet Ridge 2004 Super Tuscan

back to another outstanding wine from burnet ridge. this is the first time i have tried this wine from chip emmerich. this is 78% sangiovese and 22% of chip's purple trillium blend, which is an excellent wine all its own. the nose was plums, vanilla, and a really nice herbal note. the taste was very complex, with blackberry, licorice, cedar and and some floral notes. i'm sure this wine would pair well with food, but enjoy it by itself first. the tannins were medium and the wine got more complex as it was exposed to air. long, excellent finish and well worth the $25 price.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gato Negro 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

i tried a red from this wine maker not long ago and it wasn't bad so here is a white. i love inexpensive sauv blancs like barefoot, and this one compares very favorably. the nose is citrus, papaya and floral notes of jasmine? the palate is grapefruit right up front, followed by minerals and then a nice, crisp, slightly spicy finish. it was a bitter cold night when i tried this but it hit the spot as i sat down to have a glass of wine and blog about it. sells for about $4.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2005 Ten Mile "The Broken Road" Proprietary Red Blend

a blend of 64% petite sirah, 18% zinfandel, 8% barbera, 8% malbec and 2% carignane, this california red has a nose of black raspberry. there is also some spice, pepper, earth and leather. the taste was a bit of a let down. the nose gave you the impression there would be more there. it was a whole lot more fruit forward with not much complexity. maybe it just needed more time in the bottle. the taste was blackberry, with small hints of leather, anise and pepper. but these minor players on the palate were very subtle. they remained that way even after the wine opened up. i only paid $12 for this bottle, and i might consider buying a second bottle to lay for a couple years to see what might happen. this bottle was in my cellar for 8 months and didn't do much, so maybe longer bottle time would help.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Animus Douro 2005

i tried this red from portugal at a local wine tasting and picked up a bottle to lay for a while. opening it last evening was a real treat. the nose was very complex with black cherry, raspberry and herbal notes, there was a parsley like aroma and hints of leather also. the taste was big and bold with medium tannins. flavors of strawberries, leather and licorice. a long finish that begged me to take another taste. this wine is a blend of tinta roriz/tempranillo, touriga nacional and touriga franca and sells for about $10-13 dollars. a really nice, bold red that is worth every penny.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Columbia Crest Two Vines 2005 Chardonnay

this is a nice washington state chardonnay that is priced right at about $8. this chardonnay doesn't spend a great deal of time in oak, so the aromas and flavors are not the big buttery style you traditionally get in a california chardonnay. the nose is apples and pears. the palate is pears and spice with a lighter, creamy mouth feel and a nice, easy finish. worth a try for those that don't like big, bold chardonnays. a nice wine that will go well with many foods. try this with some pork chops and steamed vegetables.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wine Wisdom

The wines that one best remembers are not necessarily the finest that one has ever tasted, and the highest quality may fail to delight so much as some far more humble beverage drunk in more favorable surroundings.

-H. Warner Allen
(From the wine list of Commander's Palace in New Orleans, LA courtesy of John McDonald, Dallas, TX)

i am always looking for good quotes to inspire me and saw this one on the internet, and it struck a chord with me. so true. i have had some very memorable wines, usually based on the company i am with or the circumstances surrounding the time i tasted a particular wine. cheers and happy new year!

Gnarly Head Old Vines 2006 Zinfandel

here is another lower priced zinfandel that i tried recently. selling for about $10 a bottle, gnarly head is worth a try. the nose is raspberries and cherries, with hints of dark chocolate and spice. the palate is full and juicy, with flavors of plums and chocolate. i also got some really nice pepper notes and a licorice taste as well. the finish was a little weak, but not bad. if you are on a budget, this is a nice, drinkable zin. not a huge wine, but at $10 it is pretty good.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ortas Tradition Rasteau Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2006

this cotes du rhone blend of 70% grenache, 20% syrah, and 10% mourvedre was sitting on display at my local wine merchant with some rather nice descriptions so i thought i would give it a try. the nose was black cherry, spice and a little licorice. the palate was full of ripe red raspberries, earthy flavors of tobacco and spice, followed by some soft floral notes. we enjoyed this with a chicken and smashed potato dinner but it really would be better with a nice steak. it was good but i think it had not yet reached full potential. it sells for about $15 and would benefit from time in the bottle. worth another try.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gato Negro 2008 Malbec

i am always on the lookout for the low priced, high quality wine. i tried this malbec which sells for about $4 a bottle. the nose was spice and blackberry. nothing too complex. the palate was a bit green, but had some nice spice notes that you typically find in malbecs from argentina. this was more fruit forward, with juicy black currant flavors. there was a little bit of licorice that came through as the wine got more air. not a bad malbec for the price. i've had better ones in this price range.

Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Copertino Riserva 2001

had a bottle of this italian wine some time back and liked it so i had a second bottle laying in the cellar for a while. it is mostly the grape negroamaro. the nose is dark fruits and earth, anise and tar. on the palate, black cherry comes through and is followed by the earthy flavors of tobacco, anise and tar. truly big and bold when it is first opened, this wine softens up nicely as it gets more air. i was getting some nice dark chocolate notes toward the end. nice complex wine that sells for about $12-15.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ruffino Fonte al Sole Toscana 2006

the comely brunette and i enjoyed this super tuscan with some italian fare recently. there was an interesting nose on this wine of cherry and spice and something earthy. it was almost a little barnyard like, in a good way. the palate was cherry, followed by earthy, woody flavors that reminded me of cedar. this wine is not 100% sangiovese. it has some merlot in it as well and this really makes the wine a little softer in the mouth. very nice long finish. overall, it went very well with our meal and is worth a second look, especially at the nice price of about $8 a bottle.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2004 Mad Housewife Cabernet Sauvignon

had a glass of this at the blondies house. at a price of about $7-8 a bottle you never know what you are going to get. nose was not very complex. black cherry, a little spice and oak. nothing to intense. palate was cherry and mocha, some spice and soft tannins. not a big cab at all. drinkable, but not great, especially compared to the covey run i had about a week ago. on a budget, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jekel Vineyards Monterey County 2004 Merlot

another gift wine, which is always a nice thing! this merlot is a blend of 78% merlot, 8.6% cabernet sauvignon, 6.3% syrah, 4.2% cabernet franc and 2.9% petite verdot. the nose was a nice blend of plums and mocha with hints of tobacco. the palate was more of the plum with cherry flavors as well. i also got some of the tobacco notes in the flavor as well. medium tannins and a nice long finish. overall, this wine was not too complex, but very drinkable. this was a nice merlot that sells for about $15.

Ponzi 2005 Pinot Noir

i received a gift card for a local wine merchant and this was one of my selections. oregon produces some of the best pinot noirs i have tasted and this one was no exception. the nose was very nice with aromas of strawberry, black currant and earth. the palate was velvety with soft tannins, flavors of strawberries, earthy, mushroom and spice. i also got some chocolate flavor as well. a very nice pinot that sells for about $30-35. this would easily lay for 5-10 years, but is very good now.