Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Blog is One Year Old Today - Meeker 2002 Barberian

today i celebrate one year of blogging with a huge red blend from meeker. i thank all of you who have spread the word and helped this to grow. this is a true joy for me. now on to the review. i have had this bottle in the cellar for about a year or so waiting for a worthy time to bring it out. this occasion was perfect. from what i understand, this blend of barbera and zinfandel was a bit of a mistaken blend that turned out very well. the nose is huge with blueberry, blackberry, vanilla and a sweet pork or bacon note coming through. as the wine opened up i got more earthy notes that were almost animal like and very sexy. the taste was big and bold with the blueberry and blackberry flavors, dark chocolate and some slight licorice notes. the alcohol level is a bit warm at 15% when you first open the bottle, but the flavors shine through as the wine opens. medium tannins and a nice long balanced finish with hints of pepper and oak round out the drinking experience. the wine sells for $32 and at a recent visit to the meeker website, the 2003 could be purchased for $20, which is a steal. this wine is worth every penny. excellent big, bold red. think of a juicy steak meal and add this for a real treat.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Marquis Phillips Sarah's Blend 2007

at a recent wine tasting i was told this was worth a try. at $14, i said, why not. this is a wine that is made in australia in collaboration with american wine maker dan phillips. the blend is 60% shiraz, 25% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot and 5% cabernet franc from mclaren vale vineyards. the nose is big and jammy with plums, spice, almond and chocolate aromas. the taste was black currant and a bit warm with a 15% alcohol content, which was a bit of a distraction to the flavor. i got some spicy notes and struggled a bit with the tannins at first as they were a bit bold as well. after letting the wine sit for a while in the glass, the nose mellowed and i got more chocolate aromas. the palate also softened up and there was a little more flavor coming through, with black pepper and dark chocolate the predominant flavors. overall not a bad red blend but it requires decanting and patience.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yellow Tail 2007 Shiraz Cabernet

back to the inexpensive wines again with another offering from the australian yellow tail label. i tasted this wine with pizza and it complemented the food well. aromas of plum, black cherry, eucalyptus or menthol notes and a little spice. the flavor was very fruity with black cherry and raspberry, followed by a nice chocolate flavor. i also got a bit of black pepper and a touch of licorice toward the back. medium tannins and a medium finish rounded out this very drinkable red which sells for about $7. not a great wine, but for the price, a fun wine that will go with the fast food menu quite well.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2006 Cupcake Merlot

when i first started to drink wine, merlot was the go to grape. it was fruit forward without the drying tannins of a cab. i still enjoy a good merlot and this one from cupcake vineyards was very nice. the nose was red berries and i also got a coffee note. on the palate this red is cherry and cocoa and maybe a little spice. a very well balanced red, this is not a super complex wine. just a nice easy drinking red that will go well with food. i think it would go especially well with italian fare . and the price is nice at about $14 a bottle.

Artazu Artazuri Garnacha 2006

another wine fest wine, this grenache was also a part of the dinner. i am a big fan of 100% grenache, and when you can find it at this price point ($11) and it is a decent wine, it is worth your time and money to try it. the nose was very fruity with aromas of strawberry and raspberry. there was also a subtle hint of spice, like pepper in the nose. the taste was very fruit forward with black cherry and raspberry as the main flavor. there was a little bit of an earthy flavor as well, like baked earth. the tannins were not overpowering and the finish was very nice. this would benefit from time in the bottle and definitely needs to be decanted for a bit before pouring. it opened up a great deal as it sat in the glass.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Clement Oroppas 2005

one of the fun things about a big wine festival is getting the opportunty to taste wines that you might not ordinarily try because they don't quite fit into your budget. oroppas, a napa valley cab, is one such wine selling for about $45-50 a bottle. the nose was very nice, with aromas of blueberries, cherries, chocolate and spice coming through. the palate was black cherries, raspberries and dark chocolate up front. the tannins are silky and the long finish is highlighted with hints of pepper and more dark chocolate. an exquisite red that left me wanting more. every once in a while i will spend a little extra to get a real nice wine, and this one will be on my list of wines i would like to buy when i can afford it.

Celler de Capcanes "Mas Donis" Barrica 2005

another nice red from the wine dinner we attended last week. i am referring to this wine as a grenache even though it is technically a blend with 15% syrah in it as well. once again this was pared with the protein/meat portion of the meal and it worked very well. the nose was very nice, with many aromas coming through. i got licorice, violets, black cherry and some mineral notes as well. the palate was a bit tight and i wished they had decanted the wine ahead of time, but in a large format dinner such as this, that may not have been possible. the flavors were blackberry, black cherry, some hints of vanilla and a little spice as well. the wine opened up nicely as it sat in the glass so i would expect a one hour or more decanting would benefit this one. sells for about $11 and i will be getting a bottle to lay for a bit and try again.

Tomas Cusine Vilosell 2006

the comely brunette and i enjoyed this red blend at the wine dinner. the blend consisted of 62% tempranillo, 14% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot, 5% syrah, 3% granache, 3% carinena. this was pared with several meat courses and went very well with the food. the nose was very big, with pepper, blackberry, and some cocoa aromas. the flavor was full and balanced with raspberries, black currants and spice coming through. i also got some smoke flavor and black pepper in the finish. medium tannins and a nice long finish. this sells for about $18-22 and is well worth the money. it is also worth picking up a second bottle to lay for a few years, because this is only going to get better with time.

Lindemans South Africa Merlot 2006

stepping away from the wine festival tastings, i opened this bottle of merlot last evening. this is another inexpensive wine that will be sure to please the casual wine drinker, especially when budget is a consideration. selling for about $7 a bottle, this merlot is a blend from several vineyards. the nose is fruity with cherries and dark chocolate. the taste was plums, chocolate and a little licorice. this is not a complex wine, but more of an every day red that you can enjoy with many different foods. if you want something complex, look elsewhere, but expect to pay a bit more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gramona Gran Cuvee Cava 2004

at a wine festival dinner i was served this very nice cava (sparkling wine) to start off the evening of dining. the nose was minerals and citrus, with hints of apples and floral notes. the palate was very robust with crisp, zesty lemon peel, a little apple, violet and pear. starting your evening off with a light summer fare or in our case asparagus on top of salmon which rested on a slice of what i think was potato, excellent! good food wine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cincinnati Wine Festival Commentary

as a wine lover, a big wine festival can be a great deal of fun. this past weekend i was able to meet many people in the wine industry and hang out with my fellow wine lovers, exchanging thoughts, getting recommendations, and pointing people in new directions. my enthusiasm for the grape was only pushed to a new high. to everyone i met this weekend, thank you for returning the enjoyment for the grape. to the wine makers and vendors, keeping doing what you are doing, creating and selling wonderful wines. i'll keep tasting and blogging, because 'wine is life.'

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

one more from the tasting last week. this cab is one of the best i have had in this price range. the nose was blackberries, dark chocolate and black cherries. got some really nice earthy, wet leaves also. the taste was cherry and raspberry, with more of the chocolate coming through as the wine opened up. the earthy flavor also showed up as well. this was a very balanced wine with a great deal of complexity showing through. i would like to try this again and taste it on opening the bottle, then decanting for an hour or more to see the difference as the wine opened up. big, beautiful cab that sells for about $14.

Yellow Tail Shiraz Grenache 2007

i will try to get a few more entries in before the weekend, when i will be attending the cincinnati international wine festival, and won't have as much time to blog. this low priced blend of 80% shiraz, 20% grenache from australia sells for about $7 a bottle. the nose is strawberry and some light spice. a bit green when i first poured it, the wine took on a more interesting aroma as it opened up. i got a lot more earthy and spicy aromas as i swirled and waited. the taste was bold blackberry up front. the pepper shiraz notes came through on the back side, along with an earthy note, and some black licorice as well. for a $7 wine, this was actually very nice. not as complex as other blends at a higher price point, but for an every day wine, well worth the price.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Torres Vina Sol 2007

a second wine from a tasting this past weekend. this time a white from the spanish winery. the grape is parellada, which is typically used in sparkling wines from this region. here in a still wine, it truly shines with a crisp, clean taste. the nose was floral with hints of spice and some light apple aroma. the palate was very light and slightly dry with flavors of apple and pineapple. there was also a little spicy note of fennel as well. this is one i will have to remember for the coming warm weather months. a real nice deck wine that will go well with summer foods. and the price was nice at $8, although i got it on sale so it may be a few dollars more wherever you buy wine.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Torres Sangre de Toro 2007

i was at wine tasting at our local merchant, and they were pouring 4 varietals from this spanish wine maker. i brought a bottle of this home at a cost of $9. it was a blend of grenache and carignan from the catalunya area. the nose was blackberries and spice. there was also an undertone of earthy mushroom that i always find intriguing. the palate was black currant, some warm spice notes and a nice licorice finish. it had a nice long finish and the tannins were not too overpowering. well worth the price. and look for the little bull hanging on the neck.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lindeman's South Africa Shiraz 2005

i picked up a bottle of this shiraz recently at my local grocery store (Price was a big factor as it sells for about $7). south africa is one of those wine producers that most people don't pay much attention to. i have tried a few and haven't been disappointed yet. that trend continues with this wine. the nose was earthy and loaded with cherry and raspberry. the palate is plums and earth and i also got a really interesting tar like note. for the price this is really a nice shiraz. a bit different than the aussie varieties, not as much in the peppery, spicy arena. give this one a try and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hardy's 2006 Shiraz

here is a nice australian shiraz in the under $10 price range. not a big bold shiraz, but a more fruit forward, friendly shiraz. the nose was raspberries and plums. i also got some pepper aromas (an australian shiraz staple in the aroma department) and a cordial/chocolate smell. on the palate, a fruity burst of blackberry and plum, with red licorice and chocolate flavors coming through as well. a slightly spicy finish which was a bit short to me. this is a drink now wine that will go with red meats and sells for about $7. a fun red wine that is not pretentious and would make a nice every day wine.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Black Opal 2007 Chardonnay

if you are a regular visitor to this blog you will notice the reds tend to get a bit more attention. i will try to sneak in a few whites like this one from time to time during the colder weather. i tend to enjoy white wines like this one when the warmer weather is with us. black opal chardonnay is from australia. we were enjoying a dinner of tilapia so a nice crisp white was in order. the nose was citrus, peach, and i also got a nice herbal note as well. the flavors were lemon zest, a little melon, and some nice crisp mineral notes. is had a very pleasant, clean finish and really paired well with the fish and asparagus. and it sells for about $8 which makes it a big hit at my home.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Black Box California Merlot 2007

back to the box wines. when you are on a budget, as many people are these days, and you want a decent wine when you expect company, boxed wines can work. but you have to know which ones will be good. i have written about bota box and how they tasted. black box, which sells for a bit more than bota at $24 a box, can be a good choice for you. the merlot has a nose of cherries, cedar and spice. the taste was fruit forward with flavors of cherries, strawberries, spicy notes and some chocolate flavors as well. it had a smooth, medium length finish with medium tannins. this wine also gets high marks in wine magazines as a best buy. i have to agree. good choice for an every day red to keep on hand when you have company.