Wine Prices

Wednesday random wine reviews…

As I was going through some tasting notes to write up for work, I came to the conclusion that I should start posting some of these once a week. Mostly because it is such a random mix of wines, and thought it might be fun…. and I have to type them up anyway! 🙂

 

2006 Château de Pibarnon Bandol les Restanques de Pibarnon

Region: Bandol (Provence, France)

Grapes: Mourvedre

Price: $27

Notes…Aromas of black currant, bit of oak, boysenberry, leather and a hint of chocolate followed by flavors of black and red currant, cherry, eucalyptus and black pepper.  Full bodied with huge chewy tannins, great value for a Bandol wine.

2007 Dender Patton “Wisdom” Old Vine Zinfandel

Region: Mendocino County, California

Grapes: 90% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah, 5% Barbera

Price: $30

Notes…Aromas of raisin, plum, fig and dried currants followed by flavors of blackberry, plum, raisin, tobacco and cocoa powder. Full-bodied, bit of spiciness at the back of the palate with velvety lush tannins.

NV Roncier Bourgougne Rouge

Region: Burgundy (mostly all declassified Mercurey fruit)

Grape: Pinot Noir

Price: $10

Notes…Aromas of cherry, plum, cola and a bit of red clay followed by flavors of plum, spicy clove, smoked mushrooms and black cherry. Medium to full body (for a Burgundy Pinot), long finish. Awesome value!!

Stay tuned for some more random wine reviews…

Cheers!

 

Categories: $10-$20, $20-$30, wine review | Leave a comment

2009 Macari Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

This time last year I was in Long Island Wine Country with Megan, enjoying some great wine and food, visiting with friends and making new ones. Since we aren’t in Long Island this year I decided to open some wine from the region to help relive the memories from last year. We have lots of red wine in the cellar from that trip, but we were making Indian food last night and I needed a white. I perused around and found the ’09 Macari Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($23). (Check out my post “From Poop to Juice” on our visit to Macari Vineyards last year)

My Tasting Notes…

Nose: pear, citrus, grapefruit, fresh cut grass, slate

Taste: sweet pea, lemon zest, minerality, green apple, grapefruit

Mouthfeel: smooth and crisp with racy acidity on the back of the palate

Finish: medium in length with lingering notes of citrus and sweet pea

Final Thoughts….

This is a very nice and complex Sauvignon Blanc that reminds me of a combination of ones from New Zealand and Touraine. You have great fruit forward nature of New Zealand and the racy acidity and minerality of Touraine. In addition it was a great pairing for the Indian food which was Channa Masala and Palak Aloo.

Cheers!

 

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

Revisiting some Kluge Wines

Being an owner at a wine shop has many advantages, one if which is tasting A LOT of wine. Most of what I taste is from all over the world with a small percentage of it being from here in Virginia. ( I should write a post about that!) Recently a new “rep” for Kluge winery presented myself and my staff with their current lineup. Having not had it in quite a while I was eager to give them a taste.  Over the years I have enjoyed Kluge wines but have had certain concerns in the past. One was their pricing when they got started about 5 years ago – they were crazy! That was quickly and thankfully corrected and I think their prices are excellent for the quality the wines deliver.  The second is the sort of sterile turn the tasting room took with the presentation of their wines. When they first started the wines were tasted with an associate in nice stems. Now they are handed to you with a tasting sheet and served in tulip shaped test tubes, seriously. So needless to say, it is hard to really “evaluate” the wines. Last I checked that this was still the case.

That being said I was glad to taste them in my “home” environment in decent glasses with a person who was well versed in their juice. My two standouts were the 2005 Kluge Estate New World Red ($25) and the Kluge Estate SP Blanc de Blancs ($28). The New World Red is a traditional Bordeaux blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a splash of Malbec. It has some good age on it, and the tannins show it as they have integrated very nicely. A fruit forward style, especially for Virginia, with a nice balance of leather and dried herb notes, graced by a hint of mocha.  The Blanc de Blancs is a traditional Methode Champenoise made from 100% Chardonnay.  Lots of straw and sourdough notes mostly on the nose with rich pear, apple and persimmon notes on the palate. Balanced structure and beautiful tight bubbles.

Needless to say these are two wines I’ll most likely be adding to the Virginia Wine wall at the shop.

Cheers!

Categories: $20-$30, virginia wine, wine review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Hermann J. Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling; better with food

Don’t let the title fool you, this wine rocked on it’s own, but the Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling ($36) is definitely a food wine. I tasted the wine originally at TasteCamp, where I bought a couple of bottles to bring home with me. I’m glad I bought two, wish I had bought more, but I couldn’t resist popping one open the other night. I hope I can hold on to the other one for a few years because I would love to see how this ages. Megan had made a mushroom, broccolini, carmelized onion and Piave cheese Quiche, that I thought the Magdalena would sing with, so I popped it open. I was right, the richness of the quiche was a perfect pairing for the acidity and complexity of the Riesling.  The flavor profile matched my notes from TasteCamp, but I didn’t note the acidity to be quite as high. (for the reason in the previous sentence, plus it was compounded with the acidity of the previous 5 wines)

The specifications for the 08 Magdalena aren’t up on on the Wiemer website, as the wine wasn’t exactly released yet. I do know it’s 100% Riesling that is all estate grown.

The wine provides lots of tropical undertones, with the addition of kiwi notes and a splash of fresh squeezed limeade. Great acidity, perfect for rich dishes, great slate/stone minerality and a bit of a chalky note on the back of the palate with a touch of green banana at the finish.

If you are a Riesling fan, definitely seek this wine out.

Cheers!

Categories: $30-$40, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Pinot from Patagonia

Yes, a Pinot Noir from Patagonia, Argentina. Yesterday I had the opportunity to taste this wine. It wasn’t knock your socks off good, but at $11.50 I was quite impressed. The wine region of Patagonia is growing as more winemakers are seeing the promise of producing cooler climate wines, such as Pinot Noir.  The southern Patagonia region includes the fruit producing regions of Río Negro and Neuquén (which is where this wine comes from) which has a considerably cooler climate than the major regions to the north which provides for a long, drawn out growing season in the predominately chalky soils.

Some specs…

Region: Neuquén, Argentina

Grapes: Pinot Noir

Alcohol: 14% (high I think for cool climate and the balance this showed)

Total Acidity: 4.65 g/L

Oak: 6 months 50/50 – French/American

Bottled: February 2008

Price: $11.50

What I thought…

The nose was a bit tight, floral and black fruit notes that were indistinguishable snuck out of the glass ever so slightly. Very smooth with lots of plum, black cherry, hints of floral & cedar notes with edges of red currant and cranberry. Medium bodied and smooth all the way to the finish with lush velvety tannins.

Cheers!

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

Quick Sip – 2008 K Syrah “Pheasant”—Wahluke Slope

2008 K Syrah “Pheasant”—Wahluke Slope

Wine Facts –

Appellation: Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla Washington

Vineyard: Pheasant; sandy, gravelly soil

Grapes: 100% Syrah

Fermentation: native yeasts

Ageing: 100% French oak, 30% new

Production: 193 cases

Price: $35

My Tasting Notes –

Interesting start on the nose with smoky bacon, blackberry and plum followed up on the palate by fig, date, more blackberry and olive notes. Layers of black pepper and an unidentified meatiness kept showing up on the palate which was quite nice.  Full bodied, rich and spicy and very well integrated for just being released in April.

Cheers!

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A different approach!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting with the folks at Lovingston Winery in rural Lovingtson, Virginia. Far South on the Monticello Wine Trail, they are set off of a back road, nestled into a hill deemed “Josie’s Knoll”. To say that they are on the Wine Trail is a stretch, they are quite a bit away from their surrounding wineries and that’s okay, it works for their business model. Their model is completely different from any other winery I have visited here in Virginia. Instead of focusing on tourism, events and traffic through a tasting room, or attending festivals, their primary source of sales comes via the wholesale market in retail shops and restaurants. Not to say they don’t welcome visitors to their winery, they are more than happy for you to make an appointment. It’s an interesting concept for a Virginia winery and one that comes with an adjustment to their pricing structure. Honestly when they handed me their tasting/price sheet I thought it was the wholesale version. They are pricing their wines to be competitive on a global scale, with their most expensive wine selling for $19 retail, the Reserve Merlot, and the rest from $12-$14. Their Cab Franc is very tasty and retails for $12, pretty amazing considering the amount of hands on production they have. (gravity flow, double sorting, seed removal during fermentation, etc.)

Being in retail wine sales for my day job, I appreciate the lower prices as a lot of times comments regarding Virginia wines are negativity towards the pricing. I do hope they can afford to keep pricing wine this way, as they are pretty small. At around 2K cases, I imagine it’s hard to absorb the chunk that the distributor takes, especially at the low retail prices they are shooting for. In addition to the fact that this is the primary means of their sales vs. most VA wineries, where wholesale is a small percentage.

large tanks setup for gravity flow operations

Both Stephanie and her dad visited with me and gave me the full spiel on their wines and impressed me with their knowledge of wine and wine making. I didn’t get to meet the winemaker, Riaan Rossouw who is South African, a shame because I hear he is a hoot to talk with.

Some notes on a couple of favorites from my tasting…
2007 Cabernet Franc ($12) – (10% Merlot) – full of earthy notes (especially on the nose) black currant, sauteed green pepper, and raspberry. Juicy in the mid-palate but still maintained a nice “leanness”, with a medium to full body.

2006 Reserve Merlot ($19) – load of fruit up front, highlighted by black cherry and pomegranate, with leather and a hint of cigar box provided some nice earth tones at the back of the palate. Full bodied and well structured – nice effort (from a non-merlot fan)

2009 Petite Manseng ($13) – (2% RS) – very rich, ripe apricot and mango, very tropical. The slight sweetness is very balanced as the wine had some good back end acidity.

Cheers to Lovingston for a nice visit and some tasty juice!

Categories: $10-$20, virginia wine, wine review, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The approachable 08 Chateauneuf du Papes

Some call the 2008 Chateauneuf du Pape vintage challenging, others call it a return to normalcy or more typical. The later are mostly critics who lament the recent hotter, drier vintages that have produced bigger, higher alcohol wines. “The 2008 vintage appears to represent a distinct turn-around from the recent heatwaves, especially that of the hyped-up (and juiced up) 2007s. Rain through the late winter resulted in a late floraison; rain through the spring saw mildew add to the growers’ problems. July and August ran closer to form, and then a heavy rain storm in September might well have destroyed the harvest if not for the strong Mistral on its heels. Growers had to exercise “severe sorting” to minimize under-ripe fruit, with the result that production was down by 35% and special cuvees were generally put aside for the year. The better producers were able to manage these conditions to make good wine.” (Tony Fletcher)

Having not had some of the other vintages that 2008 is compared to (2004 & 1999) I can only say that 2008 is much more approachable now than either 2006 or 2007 that I have recently tasted. I am a big fan of the 2007 and it is commanding a large section of my cellar (don’t tell Megan), but I don’t plan on starting to drink those bottles for a few more years, at least. At a recent trade tasting I had the opportunity to taste some some very nice 2008s and they were very drinkable.

What I tasted…
2008 Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf du Pape, La Reine des Bois (80% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah, 5% Vaccarese, 5% Counoise)(50% oak aging)($135) – beautiful interlacing of dark and red fruit flavors leading to more red fruit of currant and raspberry on the palate. Loads of secondary flavors on the palate including leather, mushroom, espresso bean with some more of those dark fruit flavors coming back towards the finish (blackberry). Structure was full bodied and intense, well integrated for such a young age.

2008 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge ($50) – baking spice and black cherry dominate on the nose in addition to nice notes of anise. Palate is full bodied and surprisingly mature with similar flavors as the nose alluded to, with hints of mocha and suede. Long finish!

I can’t say which is the “correct” vintage, but I can definitely say if you are looking to enjoy some CdP in the near future and can’t find anything on the shelf prior to ’06, look for an ’08.

Cheers!

Categories: $40+, wine review, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2008 Channing Daughters Tocai Friulano Mudd West Vineyard

2008 Channing Daughters Tocai Friulano Mudd West Vineyard

Wine Information –

Region: North Fork, Long Island
Vineyard: Mudd West
Grapes: Tocai Friulano
Price: $24

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: citrus, asparagus, cut grass, hay, cornstalk
Taste: honeydew melon, lemon zest, tangerine, mineral/slate
Mouthfeel: racy acidity, zippy, med body
Finish: long fruity – zippy acidity remains on the palate

More fruit than a lot of the Tocai Friulanos that I have had from Italy, but contains the same racy acidity and mineral overtones.  Awesome effort, and a nice wine for a grape that is rarely planted in the US, much less in New York state.

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

A Beringer Knights Valley “4 for 1”!

I titled this post “4 for 1” because I am doing four Beringer wines, all from Knights Valley. The first three are all Cabernet Sauvignons from the 90’s and the fourth is the ’04 Aluvium, a Merlot dominated blend.

Wine Information for the Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon’s is unavailable! Even in the vast world of the interwebs, I couldn’t find specifics on the three back vintages.

My Tasting Notes –

1990: nice red fruit, hints of chocolate and cherry with an interesting note of adzuki or white bean. Still a decent amount of tannins and acidity – I just felt it was a bit tired, but still impressive for a 20 year old Cabernet.

1992: A bit of funkiness, the good kind, leather and earth laced with black currant on the nose. More funk on the palate, with additional blackberry and more red fruit notes interlacing in the mid palate. Smooth and rich, with great leathery tannins. Again impressive for its age, my favorite of the bunch.

1995: Oak was the first thing that hit me, and the fruit was a little muddled on the nose. Good notes of black cherry, fennel and more toasty oak and vanilla notes on the palate. Huge tannins for the age, surprising, and a little overwhelming as I don’t think it had the fruit to back it up. Felt a little disjointed but maybe just needs more time, seeing how impressed I was with the ’92.

I had the above wines at a tasting group that I attend once a month, and these were a treat that one of the girls brought for us to enjoy. On the way home, I thought I needed to keep the Beringer Knights Valley train going, so I opened a 2004 BKV Aluvium.

’04 Aluvium Information –

Appellation: Knights Valley
Grapes: 74% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $21

My Tasting Notes-

Nose: wet pine, blackberry, soy, kirsch, tomato pasted
Taste: black currant, cassis, black cherry, suede, fennel
Mouthfeel: full body, leathery – fuzzy tannins
Finish: long and fruity

Impressive, as I’m not partial to California Merlot in general. Enthusiast gave it a 93 and said to drink through 2010. I can almost agree with that high of a rating, as it was really good, but I think it can roll for quite a few more years, it is definitely not on it’s last leg.

Cheers!

Categories: $20-$30, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2006 Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Information –

Region: Napa Valley
Vineyards: Merryvale Estate Vineyard (St. Helena Appellation), Bayview- Oakville & Oak Knoll
Grapes: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16 % Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Oak: 15 months in French Oak (20% new)
Price: $25 – $30

My Tasting Notes –

nose: interesting “raw pumpkin”, fresh cut tobacco, cassis, blackberry
taste: blackberry, black cherry, cedar, vanilla bean, clove
mouthfeel: full body, leathery tannins
finish: dusty dry finish

The nose was a bit tight, as it took a minute to open up. The palate was very nice and full bodied with a smooth vibrant finish. Nice Cab – that wasn’t too oaky, with nice fruit and secondary flavor and aroma characteristics that don’t usually show up until the wine is a little older.

Cheers!

Categories: $20-$30, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2007 Nautique “Esprit de Rouge”

Nautique is a second label of Peconic Bay winery on the North Fork of Long Island, a little more value oriented brand meant for every day consumption. Currently they make a “Esprit de Rouge” and an “Esprit de Blanc”, and we picked up both during our visit to Long Island back in October.

2007 Nautique “Esprit de Rouge”

Wine Information –

Region: North Fork, Long Island

Grapes: 95% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc

Oak Program: Info not available, although based on the taste I was assume neutral or 2nd/3rd use barrels for a short time

Price: $16

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: cherry, raspberry, cola

Taste: black cherry, vanilla, licorice

Mouthfeel: medium body, with velvety but structured tannins

Finish: medium in length and fruity

Nice everyday wine that is ready to drink young, and went great with our pizza. Nothing too complex about the wine, but I believe that is how it was “built” and what it was meant to be. Lots and lots of cherry, with hints of cola and licorice to balance out the fruitiness. This wine has a decent distribution on the East Coast so if you live in NY, NJ, and CT – you should be able to find it.

Cheers!

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

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!

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

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

Cheers!



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