Posts Tagged With: wine review

PeWho? Peju! 2005 Estate Bottled Napa Zinfandel

Megan and I picked up the 2005 Peju Estate Bottled Napa Zinfandel during our trip to the valley back in November.  We stopped in for a quick visit, trying to kill a little time before our scheduled visit with Christophe at Titus Vineyards. We were in luck because on our random visit we were treated to a unique tasting experience by the famous “Yodelmeister” himself Alan Arnopole. Check out Alan in action on in Wine Country for an idea of what our tasting experience was like.


On to the Zinfandel…


pejuzinThe 2005 is 100% Zinfandel and was aged for ten months in American Oak, ten percent of which was new. The remaining balance was aged in a mix of one to four year old barrels before being bottle unfined.  Although it was a pretty high octane wine at 15.7% alcohol, there was no heat on this wine and it was very nicely balanced.


Nose – plum, boysenberry, Cinnabon™ (yes I spelled it right, it smells like the smell that emanates from the Cinnabon™ store), raisin and fig

Taste – blackberry, pepper, pine and black tea

Mouthfeel – full body, good acidity, and leathery tannins

Finish – long and dry with a nice black tea taste


While I am not usually a huge fan of Napa Zin, I was utterly delighted with this wine. Lots of dark fruit, and fun sweet cinnamon notes on the nose, balanced with earthy pine and black tea on the palate. The acidity and firm tannins nicely complemented and helped to balance the superb richness of the wine. At $28 this wine is a bit pricey, but I think it is of comparable quality to some of the Zins in the same price range from the Dry Creek or Russian River Valleys.  Give this wine a try if you come across it out there–it could improve your perception of Napa Zin, as it did for me.



Categories: $20-$30, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Triple M – Martin Ray Merlot

From the unpredictable 2003 Napa vintage comes this Martin Ray Napa Valley Merlot.  This powerhouse reminded me of some of the Merlots that I have tasted from Washington State with its dark round fruit flavors, good structure and firm tannic grip.  In a world that is finally starting to warm back up the shunned grape post the Sideways phenomena, this Merlot definitely delivers.


We had this last night with what we call “poor mans” casserole. It is a baked gooey goodness full of veggies, soy ground beef, noodles and cheddar cheese that paired very nicely with the Merlot. The 2003 is blended with 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc sat in French Oak barrels for 30 months, but the oak was integrated very nicely into the wine and was barely present in the flavor profile.


My Tasting Notes

Nose – Blackberry, fudge, vanilla, anise, rhubarb

Taste – cherry, blackberry, leather, mint

Mouthfeel – smooth and round at the beginning with a quick change to fuzzy tannins

Finish – long with flavors of cherry and cola nut


This was a great value at $17, although I am not sure how much of the 2003 is still in stores and I was actually surprised to see this in our local wine shop. If you can find it give it a try!



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