Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year!


I hope you all have a safe and happy New Years Eve, enjoyed with family and friends and of course some great Champagne!

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Review of the 2007 Finca La Linda Bonarda

Finca La Linda is a second label for Luigi Bosca, who’s Malbecs I have had in the past and quite enjoyed. I was sent some wines from the La Linda label for review and the Bonarda is the first one I tried. I think I have only had one other 100% Barnarda in the past so I don’t have much of a reference point, although I have had dozens of wines in which the grape was part of the blend. The wine had excellent structure – good acidity and tannins – but the flavor profile just wasn’t for me.

Wine Information –

Region: Mendoza, Argentina (Lujan de Cuyo)

Grapes: 100% Bonarda

Oak Program: 6 months in American Oak

Alcohol: 14% ABV

Price: $10-$11

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: raisin, plum, cooked fruit, portish

Taste: portish, cooked, bit of mocha and blackberry towards the finish

Mouthfeel: full body, peppery – leathery tannins

Finish: decent length although the lingering cooked fruit wasn’t too enjoyable

Definitely some interesting flavor notes, but the dominance of cooked fruit and weak port flavors just wasn’t appealing to me – at least in a table wine. I was hoping that the La Linda line would be not to far off from Luigi Bosca, but so far it is. Maybe the Malbec will be better!


Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Quick Sip on a Wednesday with the 2006 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Wine Information –

Appellation: Napa Valley

Sub-Appellations: St. Helena, Howell Mountain, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and Mt. Veeder

Grapes: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc

Cooperage: 20 months in 100% French Oak

Price: $32

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: boysenberry, black currant jam, roasted meat, brown sugar and suede

Taste: blackberry, sweet cedar, eucalyptus, mocha, black currant

Mouthfeel: full body, leathery to dusty tannins, just a bit spicy

Finish: long and tight – black currant flavors dominating the finish

The Cab was very good and I have enjoyed almost all of the Elizabeth Spencer wines I’ve tasted. The 2006 Napa Cab is still young though it is does taste good now. The structure just needs a little more time to balance out, as it is still a little rough around the edges.


Categories: $30-$40, cabernet, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A little Sparkling to brighten your Monday.

Recently I had a chance to taste through some great Champagne’s and sparklers from around the world. It’s that time of year that Champagnes will (hopefully) start to fly off the shelf, so I thought I would write about a few of my favorites. I always find these tastings the “hardest” because for me, discerning one really good sparkler from another is usually a fine line. To me I think the biggest difference isn’t with flavor or aroma but texture and weight (mouthfeel), the ones that I tend to like better are fuller bodied with nice tight bubbles. I also got to join the likes of Jay-Z and sip on the “famous” Ace of Spades.

Here is a sampling of what we got to taste…

NV Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blanc ($77) – extremely bubbly, very tight bubbles, medium body, interesting rose and pear flavor combination, light bread basket aromas

NV Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi Cuvee ($19) – full body, medium to small bubble size, lots of fruit with apple core and lemon rind predominating with fondant flavor on the back of the palate

NV Nicolas Feuillatte ($34.75) – med/full body, loads of tight bubbles, rich yeasty “breadiness”, apple, pear and citrus.

NV Armand Brignac Brut Gold (Ace of Spades) ($325) – very interesting flavor of ginger, creamed corn and apple pie. For me it was a little to light on the mouthfeel, but had nice tight pin prick bubbles.

NV Perrier Jouet Grand Brut ($50) – excellent structure, loads of very small bubbles, rich mid-palate, med/full body, flavors of sourdough, hay, Asian Pear, and grape must

We tasted about 22 sparklers in total but these were my favorites of the evening.


Categories: wine tasting | 1 Comment

Another winning Cabernet Franc from the North Fork

On a slightly chilly rainy October day in Cutchogue, New York Megan and I made our way into the tasting room at Peconic Bay Winery. This was our first visit to the winery and we were shown a great time by Pascal Zugmeyer, Hospitality Director and Jim Silver, General Manager. We tasted through the entire lineup of Peconic wines, including their new more value based line Nautique. On the day I felt the 2007 Cabernet Franc ($22) was the winning wine for me with a very close second being the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (75% Cab, 25% Merlot). On a non wine related note, the bathrooms at Peconic have the coolest hand dryers I have ever seen, the Dyson Airblade, very energy efficient and dries your hands in like 2 seconds.

A couple of nights ago I broke open the 2007 Cabernet Franc for dinner, and again it did not disappoint. Here’s what I thought…

nose: red currant, roast beef, brussel sprouts, brown sugar

taste: fennel, raspberry, red currant, cherry and oak

mouthfeel: medium to full body – a bit spicy, good acid and young yet approachable tannins

finish: fairly long – leaving red fruit and green veggies on the palate

As you can see from the notes, lots of green veggies and meaty, earthy herb notes on the nose and palate of this wine. Don’t let that discourage you as it is not “green” in anyway. Very well put together and excitingly zippy with it’s bright acidity. There was something slightly off on the palate for me that I couldn’t identify, but wasn’t strong enough to affect the overall perception.

Look for future notes on the Cabernet Sauvignon, although it may be a while since it needs a bit of time in the cellar.


Categories: $20-$30, New York Wines, wine review | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Exploring Super Tuscans with the 2006 Aia Vecchia Lagone

Whether you call them a Super Tuscan or an IGT blend, rich red blends from Tuscany provide everything from great values to high priced cult legends. The 2006 Aia Vecchia Lagone falls into the value category at $18 and is a blend of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Cabernet Franc.

So what is a “Super Tuscan?”

Originally Super Tuscan’s were declassified Chiantis because they failed to follow the DOC (and then DOCG) requirements for grape blends and aging. Many winemakers at the time (1970’s) felt that Chianti wines were becoming too watered down and not showing the true class and structure that the region could provide. This philosophy brought in new non typical grapes into the blends such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc to provide increased structure and complexity. Although many of the wines were still of superior quality, not following the rules brought these wines down to Vini da Tavola status or basic table wine. In 1992 to give some status and classification to these wine the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) was formed. Although still not carrying the same status as DOC or DOCG wines, it was better than being called table wine. Funny enough current DOCG rules for Chianti and the sub regions of Chianti allow for up to 15% of these grapes that 30 years ago were not allowed.

My tasting notes for the 2006 Aia Vecchia Lagone

Nose: fig newton, leather, black currant, sun-dried tomatoes
Taste: black currant, fig, pie dough, black cherry, prune, crayon
Mouthfeel: full bodied but tight, strong leathery tannins
Finish: long with lots of depth and flavor

A very delicious wine, but kind of all over the place. It is still a young wine in many ways and needs some time to pull itself together at which time it will definitely shine. That being said it tastes great now and will delight most non-discriminating drinkers early, but given another year or two I feel it’ll show much better.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Savigny–les–Beaune 1er Cru Les Narbantons

2006 Mongeard-Mugneret Savigny–les–Beaune 1er Cru Les Narbantons

Wine Information:

Country: France

Region: Burgundy

Appellation: Savigny-les-Beaune

Vineyard: Les Narbantons

Cooperage: 35% in new French Oak

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

Price: $48

My Tasting Notes:

Nose: mushroom, slight barnyard, raspberry

Taste: black cherry, red clay, leather and black pepper (taste not spicy), wet forest

Mouthfeel: silky and balanced with great acidity and young leathery tannins

Finish: long with dark fruit and slight earthy notes

Beautiful wine, that is drinking well now but shows that it still has a lot of life left in it. Not inexpensive by any means, but definitely a great value for a Premier Cru red Burgundy.


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Categories: $40+, Burgundy, wine review, wine tasting | Tags: , , | Leave a comment