Thursday, December 23, 2010

14 Hands 2008 Merlot

to merlot or not to merlot. so many people i talk to just don't want to get back into this classic grape, which is too bad. there are many very nice merlots out there, including this one from washington. 14 hands sells for about $10 and is 82% merlot, and the other 18% is a mix of grenache, cab, cab franc and syrah. because of those other grapes mixed in, it gives you an interesting nose and palate. it is a fruit forward, easy drinking red that has a nose of cherry and blackberry, some spice and a little earth. the palate is mostly cherry and a blackberry. i got some subtle spice and nice earth flavors too. nice and full on the palate with soft tannins and a velvety finish, this will work with pizza, grilled meats, milder cheeses, or pasta dishes. nice red for every day drinking.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Salneval Albariño Rias Baixas 2009

it has been a while since i have tried an albarino. to this point i have been most impressed with this little know grape from spain. and this continues with salneval. selling for about $13, this white has a nice citrus and herbal nose, with a little floral aromas too. the palate is crisp and clean, with flavors of citrus (mainly lime) and pear. there is some nice mineral notes and a hint of some mint in the finish. this one will work with seafood and chicken, veggie pizza, or with a nice salad. i tried it with cheese and crackers for a late evening snack. well worth a try, and it will be a very nice patio pounder when warm weather returns.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zaca Mesa Viognier 2008

i wrote about the 2006 vintage of this very nice white some time ago and mentioned that this 2008 vintage scored 90 points in a wine magazine. after trying it i would agree that this was better than the 06. the nose had tropical fruit, honeysuckle, and some slightly smokey aromas. the palate had nice white peach and melon flavors, and a little citrus. not too much minerality and the finish was crisp and clean. sells for about $18 and works with chicken, sushi, or lighter seafood dishes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Justin Monmousseau 2007 Chinon

as big and bold as the last wine i wrote about (gamble family vineyards red blend), this red goes to the opposite end of the spectrum. this wine is from the loire valley in france and is 100% cab franc. french wines tend to be subtle and are very food friendly. this one is definitely in that category. the nose has strawberry, tobacco, some inky aromas, violet, a little oregeno and some leafy green notes. the palate is subtle raspberry and currant, with earthy, musty, forest berry and fig notes. think about old books in a basement. but very subtle tastes that work with salmon, chicken, milder cheeses. sells for about $15 and is worth a try.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gamble Family Vineyards 2005 Paramount Red

i had the good fortune to win a magnum of this at the cincinnati wine festival a year ago. it is a blend of 35% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 30% cab franc, and 3% petit verdot. this is a beautiful napa valley bordeaux blend from a smaller producer. the 750ml bottle retails for about $60 and is well worth a try if you can get a bottle. lay it down for a while and open it for a special occasion. the nose has dark fruits and lots of leather, earth. and a little licorice. the palate reflects the terroir with lots of tobacco, leather, earth, chocolate and some slightly minty flavors, mixed in with blackberry and cassis. silky tannins and a long, finish round this out nicely. a big, beautiful red that works with red meats, red sauce pasta, hearty stews, or all alone by a fire when the weather tells you to stay indoors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Helix by Reininger Pomatia 2005

this red blend was something i tried in april of 2009 and have cellared since that time. selling for about $20, this is one very nice wine. the nose has lots of currant, which is followed by some coffee and pencil lead. i picked up some dark chocolate notes too. the palate is big and chewy with plum, black raspberry and currant flavors. there is also some real nice earth, cedar and pencil lead on the palate as well. the tannins are not overpowering and the finish is long and lush. this one works well with italian fare, red meat dishes, or maybe some good hearty soups or cheeses.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

St Francis Red 2005 Red Wine

at the suggestion of my sibling, shorty, i picked up a bottle of this red blend from sonoma. the blend is 58% merlot, 25% syrah, 9% cab franc, 6% cab, 2% zinfandel. the nose had some nice red fruit and spice and a touch of chocolate. the palate was a bit heavy on the spice at first but it mellowed into a nice fruit forward taste as the wine opened up. lots of raspberry and red currant, some plum and spice. there was a little earth and some chocolate notes. this one will work with pizza, pasta, grilled foods or a stand alone glass by itself. sells for about $10.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2006 Alpha Estate Axia Florina Red Blend

i tried this one some time ago at a wine tasting and purchased a bottle. it has been laying for a few months and i was having some pizza for dinner and thought this would go well. this wine is a blend of 50% syrah and 50% xinomavro, which is a bordeaux style grape that is grown extensively in greece. the wine had a nose of dark berry, spice and a little pepper. the palate was well balanced with flavors of plum, blueberry, spicy clove and vanilla. not to large and complemented the veggie pizza quite well. it sells for about $15 and i would also drink this with red meat dishes and pastas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2008

always a fan of kendall-jackson wines, i picked this one up at a recent wine shopping trip. i have had the vintner's, but never had the grand reserve. this one sources grapes from both monterey and santa barbera and sells for about $15. the nose had some nice tropical fruit aromas as well as some nice floral and spice notes. the palate had plenty of nice pineapple, tropical fruit and spice notes, along with honeysuckle, butterscotch and a little lemon zest. nice, long, creamy finish. try this one with some chicken or salmon.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Graziano Zinfandel 2006

there is nothing like thanksgiving leftovers and a nice zinfandel to go with them. this one from mendocino county sells for about $14 and has just enough body to go well with all the flavors of thanksgiving, even if it is several days later. the nose had lots of cherry and a little licorice and some earth. the palate was a juicy explosion of plums, raspberries, spice, dark chocolate, a little coffee and some earth. the tannins were medium and the wine had a nice long finish. perfect for the spicing of a leftover turkey dinner. try this with a hearty stew or just sitting by a fire with a glass on a cold winter day. you won't be disappointed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2009

i am returning to south africa for this enticing chenin blanc from winemaker bruwer raats. this wine sees no oak, thus the 'original' title. the nose is grassy, with lemon peel and melon notes. the palate is somewhat like a sauv blanc, with some tropical fruit notes (minus the new zealand grapefruit flavor), some nice peach, mineral notes, and honeysuckle, all in a really nice crisp finish. sells for about $13-14 and if you like sushi, this wine is perfect for that. this could easily replace some of the slightly more expensive sauv blanc patio pounders that i like so much.