Wednesday, June 21, 2017

2014 Seven Hills Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Wine Wednesday!  It's been a harrowing week thus far, so I'm glad we made it past hump day!  Traveling for business is not as glamorous as you may think and this week was no exception with flight delays galore, but I'm home now and it's time for a nice glass of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle from one of my all-time favorite wineries, Seven Hills from Walla Walla.  Tonight I'm enjoying the 2014 Seven Hills Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, a 100% Cabernet from the Red Mountain AVA of Washigton.  So let's see if it tastes as good as the aromas I've been inhaling as I type!


The wine is a deep, brooding inky black at the center with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a lovely combination of leather, basalt and lovely ripe berries, blackberry, cherry and black raspberry.  The taste is wonderfully elegant, with a some lovely fruit up front, cherry and blackberries, that transitions to some earthy mineral notes midpalate that is a wonderful marriage of old world and new world.  The finish is just lovely, with fine grain tannins that provide multiple levels of complexity on the smooth, velvety and wonderfully dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's just a wonderful example of the potential for Cabernet from the Red Mountain.  This wine is an ideal steak wine, but would be nice with some rich pasta dishes, or earthy mushroom risotto.  But fortunately for me, tonight I am grilling a nice USDA Prime New York Strip, along with a baked potato with sour cream and fresh chives and some steamed broccoli.  Cheers!

Friday, June 16, 2017

2014 Seven Hills McClellan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Friday!  I have to admit, I've been looking forward to the weekend for many reasons, not the least of which is my upcoming steam train excursion on Sunday, but also for the chance to open up a good bottle or two of wine!  Tonight is no exception as I'm opening up one of my favorite varietals from one of my favorite vineyards made by one of my favorite producers, the 2014 Seven Hills McClellan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon!  So let's see how this one tastes!


The wine is a deep black color at the center with bright garnet along the edges.  The nose is a lovely breath of leather, dark cherry and smoky oak over the faintest hints of earthy minerals.  The taste is just divine, with some lovely black fruit notes of cherry, blackberry and plum that transition nicely to some notes of dusty limestone midpalate.  The finish is as pleasant as could be, with a bit of black pepper spice amid the well integrated tannins, providing a long, smooth and very dry finish that just make me want another sip.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 9, as once again this great wine doesn't disappoint.  This would be a great wine for grilling, which is a good thing since I have a nice prime New York strip ready to grill along with some fresh asparagus from Michigan.  The rich black fruit and dusty mineral notes are perfect to pair with a nice charred prime steak, cheers!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

2014 Sullivan Artist Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Thirsty Thursday!  It's been very hot and humid here all week long, so you might expect that I'd be opening a nice chilled rose on this sultry evening, but you'd be wrong!  It's so hot I don't even want to venture out of the air conditioning, so I've gone the other way and opened a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon!  Tonight I will enjoy the 2014 Sullivan Artist Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that I recently bough at a Wines Till Sold Out Napa Valley marathon, so let's see how it tastes!


The wine is a deep, inky black at the center with bright ruby along the edges, classic for a Napa Cabernet.  The nose presents aromas of blackberry, black plum and a hint of mint over the top.  The taste is a wonderful marriage of fruit and spice, with some ripe fruit up front that gives a hint of sweetness, with notes of kirsch and ripe plum intermingled with some white pepper and Asian spice notes.  The finish is quite nice, with a reprise of fruit sweetness along with the well structured tannins providing for a long, smooth and very dry finish that has you asking for more.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 as it's a very nice quality Napa Valley Cabernet that was also a bargain as I snagged this $85 bottle for just $30 on WTSO!  This would be a nice steak wine, but I could also see it pairing well wits braised short ribs or steak kabobs. But alas, since I don't want to go out to grill, I'm enjoying this one tonight with some spinach ravioli and tomato basil cream sauce.  Cheers!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

2014 Maison Bleue "Bourgeois" Grenache

Happy Sunday!  It sure feels like summer here, and it's supposed to be above 90 degrees for the next 5 days!  Given the heat, it seems like a nice time to open some lighter, more summer friendly red wines, and tonight's is a treat.  The 2014 Maison Bleue "Bourgeois" Grenache is a 100% Grenache from Monette's Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington, so let's see how this one tastes!


The wine is somewhat lighter in color with vivid garnet color and great clarity, as you'd expect for a nice Grenache.  The nose offers aromas of red currant, kirsch with undertones of earth and white pepper spice.  The taste is wonderfully light, with a lively bit of red fruit up front, cherry, raspberry and currant that transitions nicely to some notes of peppery spice, and earthy notes of peat and pipe tobacco midpalate.  The fine grain tannins offer great support for the long, smooth and very dry finish that beckons you for another sip.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 as it's just a light, pleasant and complex red wine for summer that pairs well with food, but could also be easily sipped on the patio on a nice warm evening.  This wine would be great with pasta, summer salads or seafood.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a lovely cedar planked sockeye salmon with a maple glaze along with some steamed asparagus and jasmine rice.  The fruit and acidity are perfect against the richness of the salmon, cheers!

Friday, June 9, 2017

2014 Reininger Walla Walla Carmenere

Happy Friday!  It's been an adventure this week as my hard drive failed last weekend and it took a few days for my good friend David to make the repairs (I still have many files to try to recreate and passwords to reset, but I think I'll live!).  So tonight we get a new blog post as it's my first opportunity to get back to reviewing wine (though trust me, I've certainly been drinking it during the technological hiatus!).  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2014 Reininger Walla Walla Carmenere, a 100% Carmenere from the Seven Hills Vineyard, so let's see how this one tastes!


The wine is a deep, inky black at the center with bright garnet along the edges.  The nose is a lovely combination of green grass, tart cherry and earthy notes of mushroom and black pepper spice.  The taste is lovely with a nice array of ripe black fruit up front that transitions effortlessly to some pepper spice and dark chocolate midpalate.  The finish is supported by some nicely integrated tannins that reveal a somewhat earthy, long and very smooth dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a lovely example of the varietal but still has some potential to improve over the next few years.  The wine would pair well with some hearty meat dishes, but tonight I am enjoying this wine with some wild mushroom ravioli topped with a bit of creamy tomato basil sauce.  The earthy notes of the wine really accent the earthy flavors of the wild mushroom.  Cheers!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

2015 Forgeron Rose of Sangiovese

Happy Sunday!  Boy it sure feels like summer here now, I was mowing the grass today and was sweating like mad as it reached the upper-80s today!  Hot is the perfect weather for a summer favorite, rose!  Today I've decided to open a bottle of our office wine club selection for June, the 2015 Forgeron Rose of Sangiovese from the Walla Walla Valley of Washington!  I reviewed the 2014 vintage (you can see that here) so let's see how the 2015 stacks up!


The wine is a very light peach color, perfect for a dry rose for summer!  The nose is a lovely combination of grapefruit, strawberry and orange blossom notes, with just a bit of minerality in the background.  The taste is a lovely rush of sweet strawberry and tropical fruit up front that transitions to some wonderful floral notes midpalate.  The finish is crisp, with mild acidity and a smooth, very dry ending.


Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's one of my favorite roses for summer, perfect for sipping on the patio on a warm evening light tonight.  This wine would pair well with a variety of summer fare, from caprese salad to lighter fish dishes, but tonight I am enjoying this wine with some pan seared sea scallops along with some bucatini tossed with broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and olive oil topped with a bit of shaved parmesan.  Sante!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

1996 Vigna La Villa Paiagallo Barolo

Happy Saturday!  It's the first Saturday of the new month, which means it's Cellar Saturday, when I raid the cellar and enjoy a wine that's at least a decade old.  Well of course some of you may have noticed that I didn't have a Cellar Saturday last month, and that's because I just totally forgot!  Yeah age-related memory loss really is a thing!  So to make up for it, I've doubled the normal 10-year requirement for this month's Cellar Saturday going back more than two decades and opening a bottle of 1996 Vigna La Villa Paiagallo Barolo!  Now a good Barolo needs at least a decade just to be drinkable in my opinion, but they usually begin to sing once they get to 20 years old, so this one should be singing by now.  I've decanted this wine for about an hour so let's see how she tastes!


The wine still has some nice garnet color at the center, with some orange-brown along the edges.  The nose is classic Barolo, with some wonderful floral notes overlaying some nice mint and spice aromas under the surface.  The taste is just marvelous, with some mild fruit notes up front, strawberry and cherry that transition to come lovely notes of mint and earth midpalate.  The finish is classic Barolo, with well structured tannins that leave you breathless on the long, smooth and meticulously dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's a really lovely example of Barolo and the potential for Nebbiolo over time.  This wine would be ideal with a variety of northern Italian dishes, but tonight I am enjoying this one with a rare grilled New York strip, grilled leeks and grilled broccoli rabe, and roasted red potatoes.  The bitterness of the broccoli rabe really plays well with the spice of the wine.  Cheers!

Monday, May 29, 2017

2013 Forgeron Red Mountain Mourvedre

Happy Memorial Day!  So yesterday I was reading an article on Twitter, maybe it was in Food and Wine, or maybe Bon Appetit, but in the article it had all sorts of wine pairing suggestions for the summer cookout season, and the one that I found fascinating was Mourvedre with barbecued ribs!  Well, it just so happens that I was planning to make some baby back ribs today, and I also happen to have a bottle of 2013 Forgeron Red Mountain Mourvedre on hand!  So here we go!


The wine is a lovely deep ruby color in the glass, classis for the varietal.  The nose is a lovely combination of leather, violets, white pepper and red fruit.  The taste is remarkable, as the aromas set your expectation for a rush of fruit, but instead you have more subdued notes of fig and tart cherry at the outset that transition to some wonderful notes of black pepper spice and caramel midpalate.  The tannins are well thought out and very supportive of the velvety and very dry finish.  Yes, this wine would be perfect for barbecued ribs, as the tart acidity and spice make a perfect foil for sweet smoky ribs!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a really lovely example of the varietal and my new go to wine for pairing with barbecue!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic start to the summer barbecue season, with some slow cooked baby back ribs, grilled corn on the cob, potato salad and beet and red cabbage slaw.  Cheers!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

2011 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Right Bank

Happy Sunday!  I know with the long holiday weekend, everyone probably has some plans for gathering with friends and family and honoring those who have served and sacrificed in the military.  My Memorial Day weekend usually involved going home and planting flowers on my parents' and grandparents' graves and then trying to relax a bit, which is what I am doing today.  And what better way to relax than with a nice bottle of wine.  Tonight's wine is a bit of a departure for a Napa Valley wine, in that it's not a Cabernet, but rather an homage to the classic Right Bank Bordeaux, which typically rely more heavily on Merlot in blending.  The 2011 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Right Bank is a blend of Merlot (78%) and Cabernet Franc (22%), so this one is comparable to a Saint-Emilion.  So let's see how this one tastes!


The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass with mild opacity.  The nose is a wonderful combination of green herbs, ripe red raspberry and currant, black licorice and a bit of rose petal, very similar to a nice right bank Bordeaux.  The taste is quite nice, with a nice bit of red fruit up front, raspberry, cherry and currant that transitions nicely to some wonderful mineral notes over some hints of tobacco midpalate.  The finish is elegant and subdued as the tannins are very well integrated such that the flavors just linger on the palate like a fine Bordeaux.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's certainly a great effort from a cool vintage that's just a pleasure to drink!  Of course, I have no idea where I got this bottle, it was just sitting in the wine rack, so I'll have to be thankful for such pleasant treasure finds!  This wine would be ideal with a variety of dishes, but as usually, I am enjoying this with a nice steak, in fact a big honkin' porterhouse grilled rare along with some nice grilled asparagus that just came in from Michigan.  Cheers!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2012 Krutz Family Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley CabernetSauvignon

Happy Wine Wednesday!  It's been a busy week so far, so it's nice to celebrate hump day with a nice glass of wine!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2012 Krutz Family Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that I purchased a month or so ago during a Wines Till Sold Out Napa marathon.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Malbec (13%) and Petite Verdot (9%) from the Stagecoach Vineyard, which ranges from 1,200 to 1,850 feet in elevation, situated between the Pritchard Hill and Atlas Peak AVAs.  So let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep inky purple at the center, with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is lovely combination of leather, oak and some earthy notes of peat and sage, somewhat more Bordeaux than big Napa Cabernet.  The taste is white nice, with a rush of ripe black fruit up front, black cherry, blackberry and currant that transition to some lovely notes of mocha and tea leaves midpalate.  The tannins are silky smooth and well integrated for the lingering and very dry finish, that brings a reprise of a bit of Bordeaux style funk at the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a wonderful example of an old world style Cabernet.  This wine would pair well with a nice steak or a variety of spicy Mediterranean dishes, but tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rare grilled Prime ribcap, along with some grilled leeks and Brussels sprouts and a bit of linguine tossed in garlic and olive oil on the side.  The earthy flavors and dark fruit really pair well with the richness of the steak.  Cheers!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

2016 DaMa Wines Rose of Cabernet Franc

What a day!  It started by pouring down rain this morning when I am in a pinch to get my yard and garden ready for having some folks over for a cook out this week (you can't be ill prepared for the first yard gathering of the season!).  But alas, I was able to clean all the patio furniture, pick up branches that came down in the storm, pull weeks and mow in what seemed like a very compressed timeframe, though now that I look at the clock it's been seven hours!  Well with patio get together's and warm weather, it's definitely the start of rose season, and tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2016 DaMa Wines Rose of Cabernet Franc.  This is a 100% Cabernet Franc, the second vintage from the Chene de Mille Vineyard in the Columbia Valley, so let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a lovely, very pale peach color in the glass, such that you might even mistake it for a white wine if you weren't paying attention.  The nose presents aromas of grapefruit, melon, strawberry and a hint of lemongrass.  The taste is quite nice, very fresh, notes of citrus, mango, and a hint of pineapple that transitions to some wonderful white floral and lemongrass midpalate.  The finish has nice backbone, clear acidity and a bone dry finish.

Overall, I like this one better than the 2014 or 2015 vintages, so I'd rate this one a solid 8.  It's crisp and refreshing and this girl is ready for summer!  This wine would pair with a variety of summer dishes, from salmon to a caprese salad, but tonight I am going way off script and enjoying this wine with some chicken Tikka Masala!  What's better with Indian food than a nice dry rose?  Cheers!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Snooth Murrieta's Well Virtual Tasting

Well, tonight is another wonderful Snooth.com virtual wine tasting featuring wines from Murrieta's Well Estate Vineyard located in the Livermore Valley of California.  The virtual tasting was curated by their winemaker, Robbie Meyer, who struck me as being very down to earth and truly connected to vineyards and someone that treat winemaking more as an art than a science.  In listening to him speak about the vineyards, vines and the wines, he reminded me of some of the wonderful wine craftsmen of the Northwest, like Chuck Reininger, who let their passion shine through their wines.  Overall a pleasure to listen and interact with such a wonderful artist!

We tasted through the wines is a somewhat quixotic order, but I've organized my tasting notes putting the white wines first, followed by the rose and then the reds.


2015 The Whip, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (30%), Semillion (30%), Chardonnay (30%), Viognier (7%) and Muscat Canelli (3%) - Very nice aromas, notes of flowers, mild citrus and some marked mineral notes, very nice use of the Viognier and Semillion really come through on the nose.  Taste is a perfect summer food wine, I could easily sip this in the patio with some hummus or enjoy with a light summer dinner.

2016 Muscat Canelli (100%) - Pineapple, papaya, white floral, lovely crisp refreshing white, perfect for summer.

2016 Dry Rose, a blend of Grenache (55%) and Cournoise (45%) - Farmed to be a rose, canopy management, picking, to give a great fruit/floral expression.  Lovely floral notes on the nose, peach, apricot and some mineral notes.  Crisp acidity and a very nice, dry finish.  Would be great with cedar planked Coho Salmon filet.


2014 Spur, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Petite Sirah (22%), Petit Verdot (14%), Merlot (10%) and Cabernet Franc (9%) - Some may group this wine with a Bordeaux style blend, but the addition of Petite Sirah really makes a difference and places it outside the traditional Bordeaux Blends (it also makes a big difference in the taste of the wine, bringing in more fruit.  Nose just makes me want to drink this wine immediately.  Aromas of leather, smoke, oak, warm spice, lovely black fruit, blackberries, cherries.and some notes of dried fig.  Lovely fruit up front, lovely mineral and smoke notes midpalate.  Wonderfully dry, velvety finish.  This was absolutely my favorite of the wines we tasted, and would pair well with a big grilled steak any day of the week!

2014 Cabernet Franc, a blend of Cabernet Franc (88%), Cabernet Sauvignon (6%) and Petit Verdot (6%) - Great earthy nose, white pepper spice, perfect for a chilly autumn evening in front of a fire.  Great with pasta, perhaps with a creamy white sauce, would also be wonderful with a more mellow fish dish, perhaps a halibut steak.

2014 Merlot, a blend of Merlot (90%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Petit Verdot (3%) - you know I love me some Merlot and this one was a standout!  Notes of cinnamon and ripe blackberry on the nose, wonderful black fruit and spice midpalate.  Midpalate some notes of cocoa, mocha and vanilla bean come through.  The finish is smooth and very dry, well structured tannins on the backbone, pure Merlot joy!

Finally, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Snooth.com and Murrieta's Well for sponsoring this wonderful tasting, it was a real treat!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

2016 Healy Rose

Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!  So today, was a day of modest accomplishments, after church I went grocery shopping then did laundry and then decided to try my hand at assembling the bike that I recently exchanged United miles for.  Needless to say, I'm not super mechanically talented, and I've gotten as far as it looking a lot like a bike, but I still need to attend to the details, like the brake assemblies!  So perhaps next weekend I'll have my chance to finish it. At any rate, it's time for wine!  And tonight it's a nice 2016 Healy Rose, from Drew Bledsoe's Doubleback winery in Walla Walla, after all, it's now rose season, and what mom doesn't like a good rose?


The wine is a pleasant pink color in the glass, with hints of orange.  The nose is layered with rose petals, honeydew and a hint of grapefruit, a perfect affirmation of rose.  The taste is just summer in a glass, with some nice sweet fruit notes up front, strawberry and melon that transitions nicely to some lovely mineral notes midpalate.  The finish is loaded with bright acidity and ephemeral dryness, perfect for sipping on a summer evening.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 as it's a perennial favorite for rose season, and it's a good value at $28 for the limited production of just 411 cases.  This wine would be perfect for the patio, as well as pairing with a wide variety of summer dishes, from caprese salad to burgers and barbecue.  Tonight I am enjoying this one with a Santa Fe marinaded grilled chicken breast, with some grilled baby bok choy and some wild rice.  Cheers!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

2012 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Holy Moly!  I just came inside and realized it was 6:30 and I've just spend 7 hours working out in the yard!  At least I accomplished quite a bit: I planted 8 flats of impatiens, pulled up a forest of maple sapling that had sprouted this spring, mowed the lawn and helped a friend take one of my 7 ginko saplings that I've been trying to find homes for.


 And although I know my back is going to remind me of all this work tomorrow, tonight it's time to relax with a nice glass of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2012 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that I picked up at Costco a few weeks ago.  I've reviewed the 2009 vintage (you can see here) and the 2010 vintage (you can see here), so let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is an inky black color with just a hint of garnet along the edges, just what you'd expect from a big Napa Cabernet from a stellar vintage.  The nose is layered with leather, blackberry and oak that just dares you to take a sip.  The taste is just lovely, with a rush of blackberry and currant that gives way to cherry cola and dark chocolate.  The finish is classic Napa Cabernet, but somewhat softer than the many overpowering Cabernets coming out of Napa today.  This one has some well structured and integrated tannins that provide nice balance for the long, smooth and voluptuous finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, it's just a classic Napa Valley Cabernet from a terrific vintage and for $32 at Costco, this wine was worth every penny.  This wine would pair well with a variety of bold flavors, from steak to roast lamb to braised short ribs, but tonight I'm going with the tried and true, a rare grilled bone in ribeye with roasted Brussels sprouts and some linguine tossed in garlic and olive oil.  Cheers!

Friday, May 12, 2017

2012 Tobias Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Friday!  It's been a busy week and I am so ready for the weekend!  And since we are starting the weekend, it may as well be with a nice bottle of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet that I got in the Wines Till Sold Out Napa Valley marathon a month or two ago, the 2012  Tobias Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a 100% Cabernet from the Howell Mountain AVA.  So let's see how this one tastes!


The wine is a deep, inky purple at the center, with bright ruby along the edges, classic for a Napa Cabernet.  The nose presents aromas of cherry, oak and a bit of dried fig.  The taste is a rush of ripe cherry up front that blankets your palate.  The cherry transitions nicely to some notes of vanilla and a bit of oak midpalate.  The finish is rather subdued, with some nicely structured tannins providing for a very smooth, dry finish that's a refreshing departure from many of the in-your-face Cabernets on the market today.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's very nice quality, but not a terrific value at $29.  This is a classic big steak wine, though I think it would pair quite nicely with a variety of pasta dishes, smoked brisket or classic barbecue as well.  Tonight I'm enjoying this wine with a Thai chili rubbed New York strip along with some grilled baby bok choy and couscous.  Cheers!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2014 House of Cards Napa Valley Red Wine

Happy Wine Wednesday!  It's been a busy travel week, being in Toronto on Monday and Montreal yesterday, but now I'm home!  I went to the gym after work and now I feel like the entire evening has slipped away, but at least there's wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a recent Costco purchase, the 2014 House of Cards Napa Valley Red Wine, which is so appropriate as lately I feel like my entire life is a house of cards!  So let's see how this one tastes.


The wine is a deep inky purple at the center, more reminiscent of a nice Napa Cabernet as opposed to a blend.  The nose is a pleasant array of leather, smoke, tobacco and dried herbs over some more subtle fruit notes.  The taste is more classic red blend, with some lovely ripe berries at the outset that transition to some wonderful notes of cocoa and Italian spice midpalate.  The finish is very nice, with rather mellow tannins supporting a nice, smooth dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a pleasant drinking everyday table wine and a very good value for just $15!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a simple midweek dinner of Kielbasa with kraut and pierogis, a throwback to my childhood on the south side of Chicago, where every grandma force fed you smoked sausage, cured cabbage and giant pasta pockets every Sunday!  Cheers!

Friday, May 5, 2017

2014 Forgeron Primitivo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I'm not sure I've ever posted on this most famous Mexican holiday, so here goes nothing!  Tonight I've decided to open a wine that I really liked when it came to the 2013 Vintage (see here) and since the 2014 recently arrived in a wine club shipment I couldn't wait to try it, the 2014 Forgeron Primitivo.  The wine is primary Primitivo (92%) from the Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, but this year, they added a bit of Zinfandel (8%) from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA to mellow the wine a bit, so let's see how this vintage stacks up!


The wine is a deep, inky black at the center, with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a lovely combination of leather, blackberry and anise, soft and velvety.  The taste is a rush of rich black fruit up front, blackberry, black cherry and plum that transition nicely to some notes of black pepper spice and a reprise of anise midpalate.  The finish is quite smooth and luxurious, the tannins are rounded making for a less abrupt finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's a great effort, but I have to admit I really enjoyed the 2013 vintage more.  This wine would pair well with a nice spicy pasta or pizza, but since it's a Mexican holiday, I'm enjoying it tonight with some wonderful tacos filled with pork chorizo and refried beans, topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and chipotle pepper sauce, the wine complements the spiciness so well!  Cheers!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

2014 Forgeron Facon Rouge

Happy Wine Wednesday!  I just got back from the gym and am ready for a nice dinner and a glass of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a recent wine club selection from Forgeron Cellars in Walla Walla, the 2014 Facon Rouge.  This wine is a GSM blend of Syrah (58%), Mourvedre (26%) and Grenache (16%) from the Columbia Valley of Washington, so let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass.  The nose is a lovely cascade of fresh herbs, peppercorn, berries and a bit of smoke.  The taste is a lovely combination of ripe berries up front along with some wonderful spice notes that transitions nicely to some notes of bergamot and tea leaves.  The tannins are young but nicely structured for the long, smooth and voluptuous finish that simply beckons you for another sip.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 8, as it's a very young GSM blend with some good potential to improve with a bit of time in the cellar.  This would pair well with a variety of dishes from summer barbecue to hearty pasta.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some Trader Joe's lobster ravioli with some pesto cream sauce topped with shaved parmesan and a baby arugula salad.  Cheers!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2013 V. Sattui Family Red Wine

Happy Tuesday!  Man how the weather can change, it has been hot and dry and we desperately needed rain (my grass and bushes were suffering severely!) but now it's rained the last three days and turned markedly cooler, the high today was only 48 and it was down in the 30s last night!  Oh well, that means it's a good time to open a nice bottle of red wine, and tonight it's the 2013 V. Sattui Family Red wine from Napa Valley, a blend of mainly Zinfandel with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  So let's see how it tastes!


The wine is a nice deep garnet color in the glass,  The nose is chock full of green grass, ripe berries and some earthy peat and oak.  The taste is quite nice, with a rush of black fruit up front, blackberry, cherry and plum that transitions nicely to some notes of spice box and pepper.  The tannins are somewhat subdued, but the wine still has a nice, smooth dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a 7.5, it's a nice everyday wine that's a decent value at about $20.  With the Zinfandel component, this wine would pair well with many summer dinners, from barbecue to burgers to pizza, but tonight I'm enjoying it with a rare grilled New York Strip with grilled leeks, haricots verts almondine and some couscous.  Cheers!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

2012 Forgeron Columbia Valley Zinfandel

Happy Sunday!  It finally rained today, my lawn has been in terrible need of rain, and of course that meant I couldn't do many outdoor chores today.  So instead I spend the afternoon doing laundry and picking up around the house, so mostly just relaxing!  And now it's getting to be Sunday supper time, which means it's about time to open a bottle of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2012 Forgeron Columbia Valley Zinfandel, a wine I've had in the cellar for a little while, and since Marie Eve and the folks at Forgeron do such a nice job with Zinfandel and Primativo, I can't wait to try it.


The wine is a lovely deep garnet color in the glass, classic for a nice Zinfandel.  The nose is filled with leather, smoke and an edge of earthiness.  The taste is just perfect, with a rush of ripe black fruit up front, blackberry and plum, with a hint of fig that blankets your palate.  The flavors transition nicely to some rustic mineral notes and hints of mocha and mint midpalate.  The finish is lively, with some spice at the end and wonderfully integrated tannins supporting the long, smooth and very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's been a while since I've had a Zinfandel this nice and sophisticated, as opposed to a jammy fruit bomb.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic pairing with Kansas City barbecued baby back ribs, grilled corn on the cob and fresh cole slaw.  Zinfandel is so yummy with barbecue and it just seems like summer has come early.  Cheers!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

2013 DaMa Walla Walla Valley Merlot

Happy Saturday!  I hope it's been a pleasant one for you, I was at a conference today and now I'm home and ready to relax with a nice dinner.  For wine, I've decided to open a bottle of a recent wine club shipment from Walla Walla that arrived last week, the 2013 DaMa Walla Walla Valley Merlot! This wine is 100% Merlot from the Golden Ridge Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley.  It turned cooler here recently, so perfect weather for a nice Merlot, and you know how I love me some Merlot!


The wine is a wonderful bright ruby color with great clarity, reminiscent of some great old world Merlot.  The nose is a great combination of green grass and ripe black fruit, for a perfect springtime red wine.  The taste is quite nice, with some nice blackberry and raspberry flavors up front that transitions to some lovely green spice notes of tarragon midpalate (if only I'd made some Bearnaise for my steak tonight!).  The tannins are still pretty tight, but the finish is long and very dry, with a bit of crispness at the end, an ideal spring Merlot!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just a lovely and refreshingly different Merlot.  This wine would be great with a variety of meat and pasta dishes, but tonight I'm enjoying this with a rare grilled New York strip along with grilled purple carrots and leeks and a baked potato with sour cream and chives.  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2016 Seven Hills Dry Rose

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Today it was unseasonably warm, 83 degrees, which felt remarkably summer like, which means it was a perfect day to chill some rose!  And tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2016 Seven Hills Dry Rose, a bottle I got a few months ago and I've been hankering to try once the weather warmed up.  Well tonight's the night!


The wine is a lovely peach color in the glass.  The nose presents aromas of peach, orange blossom and a hint of basalt.  The taste is crisp and refreshing, with some interesting Chardonnay like notes of buttery fruit, peach, grapefruit and papaya that transition nicely to some lovely mineral notes midpalate.  A rose like this, made primarily from Cabernet Franc has somewhat mellow acidity and a smooth, bone dry finish, similar to the classic dry rose wines of France.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's an ideal wine for summer, perfect for salads, lighter meals or just sipping on the deck.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a wonderful dinner of bucatini tossed with broccoli rabe sauteed in olive oil and garlic and topped with a bit of shaved parmesan.  And after dinner I'll finish enjoying this lovely rose on the deck as it should be!  Cheers!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2013 Edwards & Chaffey Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

All right, I made it home from work, filled the bird feeder and pulled a few dandelions, so now it's time to relax with a glass of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open up another bottle I bought from the Wines Till Sold Out Napa Valley Marathon a few weeks ago, the 2013 Edwards & Chaffey Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (98%) mainly from the Oakville and Mount Veeder AVAs, balanced with a bit of Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc.  So let's see how it tastes!


The wine is a deep, brooding indigo in the glass, with nice garnet around the edges.  The nose is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet with aromas of leather, blackberry, mocha and baking spice.  The taste is quite nice, with a rush of black fruit up front, blackberry, cherry and a bit of blueberry that transitions nicely to some mocha and spice notes midpalate.  The finish is lovely, with well integrated tannins supporting the long, smooth dry finish that surprises you with a bit of cherry cola at the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a really pleasant drinking Cabernet at a value price of just $20.  This would be another classic Napa steak wine, and tonight I'm enjoying this wine with a grilled London broil made from a coffee rubbed flank steak I picked up this weekend at Trader Joe's, along with some wild rice and green beans with sliced almonds.  The wine just perfectly accents the rich flavors of the meat, cheers!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

2013 Napa Bridge Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Sunday!  I had a rather relaxing Sunday afternoon, pulling dandelions (they are my nemesis!) fertilizing, taking down some dead branches, feeding the ducks, and now it's time to relax with a bit of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of Napa Cabernet that I bought in the recent Wines Till Sold Out Napa Valley Marathon, the 2013 Napa Bridge Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, so let's see how this one tastes!


The wine is an inky black at the center with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a pleasant combination of rich leather, graphite and blackberry, sort of a welcome party in anticipation of the lovely wine you're about to taste.  And the taste, it's a rich combination of ripe black fruit, blackberries, plum and cherries, that linger on the tongue before transitioning to some flavors of baking spice, dark chocolate and tobacco midpalate.  The finish is classic, big bold Cabernet, with still rather tightly wound tannins providing the punchy backdrop for the long, and exceptionally dry finish, that seems to linger for several minutes.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just starting to come into its own.  The wine was a pretty good value for this vintage of Napa Valley Cabernets at just $27.  This wine is destined to be a good steak wine, which is a good thing since my Sunday dinner is a rare grilled Prime Ribcap with some grilled asparagus and broccoli rabe along with a baked potato with sour cream and scallions.  What a delicious wine with the dry acidity really complementing the richness of the steak.  Cheers!

Friday, April 21, 2017

2012 Chateau de Pitray Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux

Happy Friday!  I admit, after a busy week, I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend, so why not start with a nice glass of wine?  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2012 Chateau de Pitray Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux that I recently picked up at Costco, so you know it was probably a bargain!  So let's see what she has to offer.


The wine is a nice deep ruby color in the glass, classic coloring for the blend.  The nose presents aromas of leather, oak and a bit of dusty limestone over a hint of green grass and mint.  The taste is somewhat fruit forward with a rush of blackberry and currant up front that transitions nicely to some mineral notes midpalate.  The finish is smooth and very dry, with modest acidity providing a bit of lift at the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a pleasant drinking, everyday sort of wine, particularly at just $10 from Costco!  This wine would pair well with steaks, chops, roasts or some hearty pasta dishes, but tonight I've gone a bit off the beaten track with some pineapple and bacon smoked sausage with sweet sour kraut and cheddar pierogies!  Polish people drink French wine too!  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2010 Long Meadow Ranch Bootstrap Napa Valley Red Wine

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Hump day is always a reason to celebrate and when you bring a bottle of wine even more so!   Tonight I've decided to open a bottle I recently purchased from Wines Till Sold Out on their Napa Valley marathon, what's not to like about red wine from Napa?  The 2010 Long Meadow Ranch Bootstrap Napa Valley Red Wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (62%), Sangiovese (21%) and Petite Sirah (17%), so let's see what this one has to offer!


The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, somewhat lighter than the typical Cabernet which isn't surprising given the addition of Sangiovese.  The nose is a rush of minerality, with some notes of dusty limestone and leather intermingled with some ripe cherry and notes of green pepper.  The taste is a rush of ripe berries and cherry cola that linger on the tongue, followed by some mineral and spice notes midpalate.  The finish is quite nice, with well structured tannins providing for a long, smooth and very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a very pleasant drinking wine at a decent price of just $25.  This wine would pair will with a variety of hearty Italian dishes, from linguine with mussels to a classic baked ziti, but tonight I am enjoying this wine with a simple dinner of prime ribeye grilled rare with some grilled Brussels sprouts and organic rainbow carrots.  The wine really complements the richness of the carrots and the heartiness of the steak.  Cheers!

Monday, April 17, 2017

2013 Seven Hills McClellan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Monday!  I know Mondays can be hard, so let's lighten things up a bit with a nice glass of wine!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of one of my favorites, the 2013 Seven Hills McClellan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the Walla Walla Valley AVA in Washington!  I reviewed the 2012 vintage way back in 2014 (wow how time flies!) which you can see here. So let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep purple color at the center with a bright ruby along the edges, just what you'd expect from a high-quality Cabernet.  The nose is just a breath of ripe berries and earthy leather and oak, that just brings back memories of autumn (lucky it's still spring, I just checked!).  The taste is a rush of ripe berries, blackberry, marionberry and black cherry that linger on the tongue before transitioning to some wonderful mineral notes of basalt and limestone midpalate.  The finish is divine, with a reprise of black cherry as the wonderfully integrated tannins set up the supple and very dry finish that seems to last several minutes.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's drinking wonderfully now, but could still improve with some time in the cellar.  This would be a great wine with grilled steak or braised short ribs, but tonight I'm enjoying it with a light dinner of bucatini tossed with some broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and olive oil topped with some shaved parmesan.  Cheers!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

2013 Anvil Cabernet Sauvignon Dionysus Vineyard Columbia Valley

Happy Saturday!  I have to apologize as I've been traveling so much for work lately that unfortunately my wine blog has taken somewhat of a backseat, but that's about to change!  My travel schedule is set to ease a bit next month, so I'll have more time to drink wine and share the experience with you!  Today was a wonderful day, a glimpse of summer as it was very sunny and the high reached 80 degrees, so I took the opportunity to get ahead on the yard work, raking up all the twigs and debris and then mowing for the first time this year!  So now I'm ready to relax with a glass of nice wine, in this case Forgeron Cellars 2013 Anvil Cabernet Sauvignon a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (92%) and Petit Verdot (8%) from the Dionysus Vineyard, which has some of the oldest vines in the Columbia Valley.  So let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep inky black color at the center, with bright ruby along the edges,  The nose is a wonderful combination of ripe blackberries, currants and a hint of violet floral notes intermingled with some defined spice notes of black pepper over a hint of smoke.  The taste is just wonderful with some ripe fruit that submits to some lovely spicy pepper notes at the outset, transitioning nicely to some dark chocolate and dried fruit notes midpalate, as you're set up for a reprise of spicy pepper on the long, smooth and luxurious finish.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 9, it's not your typical big, bold Cabernet, but it has such an interesting combination of flavors and a sturdy backbone that it would stand up well to a big Cabernet sort of meal.  Tonight I am enjoying it with a rare grilled Prime eye of ribeye with some fresh grilled asparagus and a baked potato with sour cream and chives.  Cheers!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

2007 Louis Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la Chapelle

Happy April Fools Day!  No, I'm not joking on this post, but at least it's the first Saturday of the month, which means it's Cellar Saturday!  That fun day when I open a bottle that's at least a decade old that's been waiting to be tried.  Today was a day of spreading mulch around the yard, so full of earthy aromas, which means it's probably appropriate to enjoy a nice earthy pinot noir from Burgundy tonight!  And for this Cellar Saturday, I've opened a bottle of 2007 Louis Boillot Volnay 1er Cru from Clos de la Chapelle, one of the 30 premier crus from Volnay.  I believe I may have received this wine as a gift from my boss, so let's see how it tastes!


The wine is very light in color, almost appearing like a rose.  The nose is a lovely combination of bright red berries, floral notes and a heaping helping of earthy goodness.  The taste is interesting, as you have a good bit of ripe red fruit, raspberry, cherry, mulberry, that has a nice balance of acidity, before you transition to some wonderful earthy mineral notes.  The finish is quite dry but very elegant, with a reprise of mild acidity from the very well integrated tannins.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a very nice Burgundy, but unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of pinot noir.  This wine would be fantastic with lamb, mushroom risotto or about any hearty, earthy dish.  Tonight I am enjoying this with some classic comfort food, stuffed cabbage!  I used to love my mom's stuffed cabbage, but I put on a little twist simmering it with some arrabiata sauce and top with a bit of shaved parmesan.  Cheers!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2014 Seven Hills Summit View Vineyard Clone 191 Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Wine Wednesday!  My favorite weekday, just ahead of Taco Tuesday, so what's on the menu tonight?  Well it's a very limited production wine from one of my all-time favorite wineries in Walla Walla, Seven Hills!  This is reported to be a big, bad Cabernet Sauvignon from the Clone 191 block of the Summit View Vineyard.  There were only 57 cases produced, so let's see what this wine has to offer!


The wine is just a deep, inky black color at the center with a tint of bright ruby along the edges, just as you'd expect from a larger-than-life Cabernet.  The nose is surprisingly subdued, with modest notes of leather, black currant and a hint of sweet vanilla.  The taste is interesting, with some ripe black fruit up front, blackberry, currant and a bit of cherry, that transitions to some some warm spice notes midpalate.  The tannins are young, but show good structure as they shape the long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish that offers a reprise of black pepper spice at the end.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, understanding that it's still quite young and will no doubt improve with some time in the cellar (I'm likely to put the rest of my bottles away and revisit this one sometime after 2020).  This would be a great steak wine, but it would also go well with some hard cheeses out on the patio (you know summer is just around the corner!).  Tonight I'm enjoying this one with a simple grilled steak, some grilled Brussels sprouts and a baked potato.  Cheers!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

2012 Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

Ok, I confess, I've been on a weekend run on wines from Chile, from last night's edition from the Maipo Valley, I've decided to open another Costco bottle tonight, the 2012 Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from the Marchigue region of Chile.  So let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a somewhat lighter color, with some deep purple transitioning to bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is somewhat of an old world sort of blend of blackberry, cassis, intermingled with dried herbs and spice. The taste is a dichotomy of rich black fruit married against some fairly tart acidity, so that based on the aromas, you expect some dark fruit but are quickly flipped around by the acidity, before relaxing into some dark chocolate notes.  The tannins are tightly wound, leading to a more modest but very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a very pleasant Cabernet, and a good value, as I think I recall paying something around $15 for this one.  This wine would be great with steaks, roasts or lamb, but tonight I'm enjoying this with a little bucatini with spicy red sauce.  Cheers!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2014 Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

Well it was a classic Saturday where I went over to Mishawaka to Costco to pick up a few things, including some wine.  I tend to find some interesting and value priced wines over there and tonight I have an interesting one from the Maipo Valley in Chile, the 2014 Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva.  South America offers a nice variety of wines, perhaps the most famous being the Malbecs of Argentina, but I've found that Chile produces some very high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, so let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep purple at the center with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a rich combination of leather, oak, green grass and a hint of rosemary over subdued note of ripe black fruit.  The taste a rush of ripe, jammy fruit, blackberry, cherry and currant this at first is more reminiscent of a Zinfandel.  The fruit transitions nicely to some wonderful earthy mineral notes of tar and graphite midpalate. The tannins, while young are quite subdued, but still provide nice structure to the long, smooth, dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's drinking nicely now and might improve a bit over a few years, but it was also a great value at just $12!  This wine would be good with steak (as I'm proving tonight) but would also be great with barbecue, tacos, or a nice pasta dish.  Tonight I'm enjoying it with a prime sirloin grilled rare, with some grilled veggies and potatoes.  Cheers!

Friday, March 24, 2017

2014 Seven Hills Pepper Bridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Friday!  It's been a busy week of travel, but at least the highlight of the week was that I received three cases of wine from one of my favorite Walla Walla wineries, Seven Hills!  And although there were a number of different wines in those cases that we'll explore over the coming months, tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2014 Seven Hills Pepper Bridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.  This one is special to me as I recall first trying a Cabernet from the Pepper Bridge Vineyard back in 2003 when I was living in Seattle, so let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep, inky purple at the center, with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a magnetic chorus of leather, cedar, boysenberry and a hint of white pepper that combine to suggest something really special is about to happen to your palate.  The taste is an eye opening rush of fruit, with pronounced black cherry that settles in to some more subtle notes of mocha and dark chocolate.  The tannins are still young but remarkably smooth and well integrated, providing the perfect backdrop for the long, voluptuous and very dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9.5, with some modest room for improvement with time in the cellar - it's drinking very nicely now, I can only imagine what it will be like in the early 2020s.  This is a classic big steak sort of wine, which is a good thing since tonight it's 74 degrees and time to grill a nice big Angus New York Strip, along with some grilled asparagus and a baked potato.  It's springtime and this is a perfect way to welcome the warm weather!  Cheers!

Friday, March 17, 2017

2014 Maison Bleue Coureur des Bois

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  No green beer for me thanks, but I can still open a nice bottle of wine to enjoy with my traditional meal.  Tonight I've decided to open a wine club selection that I just received today, the 2014 Maison Bleue Courer des Bois, a classic Columbia Valley blend of Mourvedre (40%), Syrah (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), which provides a bit more heft than the standard GSM blend.  So let's see how she tastes!


The wine is a bit darker in color than your typical GSM blend, but still vibrant garnet.  The nose is a wonderful blend of leather, tart cherry and green cedar.  The taste is quite nice, with a more subdued bit of ripe fruit up front, that transitions to some lovely earthy mineral notes midpalate.  The tannins are well integrated and smooth, providing an excellent foundation for the long, luxurious dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, as I think it's drinking nicely now, but could certainly improve with a few years in the cellar.  As for the pairing, it would be wonderful with a variety of hearty meat dishes, from roasts to lamb chops, but today is St. Patrick's Day, so I'm enjoying this wine with a traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage with some oven roasted red potatoes and  carrots and some traditional soda bread.  Cheers!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2014 Forgeron Zinfandel

Happy Selection Sunday!  Now that all the NCAA seeding is complete, we can get down to business, and enjoy a bottle of wine!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2014 Forgeron Zinfandel, a 100% Zinfandel from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills.  This was a recent delivery from the Forgeron wine club so let's see how it is!


The wine is a lovely, bright ruby color in the glass.  The nose is a wonderful combination of leather, spice, boysenberry jam and clove with just a bit of earthiness.  The taste is a rush of ripe black fruit up front, blackberry and boysenberry, that transitions nicely to some notes of dark chocolate, tobacco and pepper spice.  The finish is very nice, with balanced tannins providing a nice base for the long, dry and very smooth finish that leaves you thinking about your next sip.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a really nice example of a varietal that can be difficult.  This Zinfandel would pair well with a variety of dishes, from a London broil to a smoky barbecue, but tonight I am going a different route.  My local market had red, yellow, green and orange peppers on sale today for 2 for $1 so I decided to make my mom's old recipe for stuffed peppers!  The richness of the peppers with a bit of spice in the sauce and creamy mozzarella melted on top makes an ideal pairing for this wine.  Cheers!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

2009 Tero Estates Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Saturday!  It's been a long day of running errands and now it's finally time to relax for a little while before I head out for an evening at the Elkhart Civic Theater.  So I've decided to open a bottle that's been in my cellar for a few years, the 2009 Tero Estates Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Red Mountain AVA of the Columbia Valley.  This was a fairly limited run with just 120 cases produced, so let's see how this one has matured!


The wine is a deep, inky purple in the glass, with a subdued garnet tint along the edges.  The nose is just a dream, wonderful notes of leather, cedar, a hint of peat and some peppery spice notes, just the ideal combination of aromas that I've come to love in a good Washington wine.  The taste is a rush of rich fruit, sweet cherry, black plum and a hint of fig that transitions nicely to some mineral notes midpalate. The finish is soft and voluptuous but still quite dry as the tannins are elegant, not the big, brash, in your face tannins you see on so many Cabernets today.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's just a really solid example of a high-quality Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.  And since it's a Cabernet, what better to enjoy it with than a nice steak, and tonight it's a marinaded New York strip, with some grilled asparagus and a big steak house baked potato.  Cheers!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2011 Rosso Col D'Orcia

Happy Taco Tuesday!  I bet you'll never guess what I'm having for dinner, but what wine to pair with said tacos?  Well, tonight I've just randomly decided to open a bottle of last month's office wine club selection, the 2011 Rosso Col D'Orcia, an interesting Sangiovese blend from Tuscany.  What makes this one interesting is that it's a blend of select Sangiovese clones, many of which are endangered.  This wine is a result of blending a number of those clones with two native Sangiovese varieties (60%), balanced with Celiegilio (30%) and Foglia Tonda (10%).  So let see how this will work with tacos!


The wine is a lovely garnet color in the glass, classic for a Tuscan blend.  The nose is wonderful rush of leather, black cherry, dried herbs and peppery spice.  The taste is a lovely blast of fruit, an interesting combination of sweet currant and berry offset by some tart cherry notes.  The fruit transitions nicely to some mineral and spice notes midpalate before we experience a reprise or red fruit on the finish.  The tannins are somewhat mellow, leading to a lovely, smooth dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it was a good value at $18 from Wines Till Sold Out, and it's drinking quite nicely right now.  With the red fruit, it would pair very well with a lot of casual dinners, from pizza to barbecue to tacos!  Cheers!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2013 Spring Valley Vineyards Uriah

Happy Sunday!  Today the weather turned a bit nicer, reaching the mid-50s so I decided to go up on the roof and clean out the gutters!  Who ever said home ownership wasn't glamorous?  Well to make up for that, I've decided to open up a nice bottle of wine to celebrate Washington Wine Month, and what better than the 2013 Spring Valley Vineyards Uriah, which I recently found at Costco.  This wine is a blend of Merlot (45%), Cabernet Franc (34%), Petit Verdot (8%), Malbec (8%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%), so let see how this one is drinking!


The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, with a nose of leather, black cherry and a hint of mint.  The taste is just lovely, with a rush or ripe fruit up front, blackberry, cherry and plum that transitions effortlessly to some lovely mineral notes of dusty limestone and dried herbs midpalate.  The finish is quite nice, with soft tannins that form a base for the long, smooth and very dry finish that beckons you for more.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just a wonderful blend with an emphasis on Merlot.  This wine would pair well with a variety of hearty dishes, but tonight I'm enjoying this one with my classic marinated New York strip, with baked potato and grilled rainbow carrots.  Cheers!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

2007 Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Cellar Saturday!  Today is the first Saturday of March, so it's a day where I raid my cellar and open a bottle that's had at least a decade of life, and since it's 2017, that means all those wonderful Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from the outstanding 2007 vintage are suddenly eligible!  And tonight we have just such a wine, the 2007 Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (90%), Cabernet Franc (3%), Merlot (3%), Malbec (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%) that's been waiting for me to open since at least 2010.  This wine is also interesting in that it blends wine from a number of different mountain appellations, including Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain and Mount Veeder, so let's see how this one is drinking now.


The wine is a classic Napa Cabernet, with deep, inky black at the center and bright ruby along the edges.  The nose a fantastic rush of leather, oak, vanilla and ripe dark fruit that practically begs you to take a sip.  The taste is just amazing with a rush of ripe fruit, black cherry, blackberry and blueberry, that lingers a bit as the more complex notes of vanilla, mocha and spice rise up, only to be displaced by some lovely mineral notes with just a hint of mint.  The tannins are remarkably structured, to give the wine a velvety, and full mouthfeel and an incredibly smooth, voluptuous and dry finish that seems to last five minutes.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as this is just a fabulous Cabernet from an outstanding vintage that was well worth the wait.  This wine would pair well with just about anything, but of course Napa Cabs are classic with steak, so tonight I'm enjoying this wine with a rare grilled Angus New York Strip, with a big baked potato with sour cream and chives and some grilled asparagus with olive oil.  Cheers!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2012 Chateau Vrai Caillou Les Vignes de la Garene Bordeaux Superieur

Happy Tuesday!  It's just started to rain, so I've decided to open up a nice bottle of Bordeaux, in this case a wine club selection from last year, the 2012 Chateau Vrai Caillou Les Vignes de la Garene Bordeaux Superieur, a nice blend of Merlot (70%), Cabernet Franc (20%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), so a typical right bank Bordeaux with a high Merlot concentration.  So let's see how she tastes!


The wine is a beautiful deep ruby color in the glass, classic for the varietals.  The nose is a lovely expression of ripe berry fruit, leather and graphite that so often characterizes the terroir of the right bank of the Gironde.  The taste brings me back to my time in France two decades ago, with a rush of dark fruit, blackberry, currant and black cherry that transition to some wonderful earthy notes of smoke, minerals and green cedar midpalate.  The finish is very smooth and quite dry, with fine tannins that are very well structured.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's just a very pleasant drinking Bordeaux and a terrific value as I found this one in Grand Rapids at G.B. Russo's for just $12.  The wine would pair well with a variety of hearty dishes, from stews to roast beef to steak, but tonight I'm enjoying it with a simple mid-week dinner of linguine with a bit of arrabiata sauce garnished with shaved Parmesan and frech basil.  Cheers!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2015 Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc

Happy Sunday!  It's been a somewhat more relaxing weekend, with the normal errand running and chores with a bit of work tossed in, but now it's time for a nice relaxing Sunday dinner.  Tonight I am doing something a little unusual, in that I've opened a bottle of white wine!  Tonight it's a bottle of 2015 Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough New Zealand.  To be fair, this is a bottle of wine that's been in my fridge since my Christmas party, and since no one ever drank it, I thought it would go very well with my dinner tonight.  So here goes nothing!


The wine is rather light in color, with a nose full of  tropical fruit, mango, Meyer lemon, and a bit of pineapple over some hints of green grass.  The taste is rather nice, with a good bit of fruit up front, but with a nice tart acidity throughout, leaving you quite refreshed by the time you enjoy the crisp, dry finish.

Overall, as a dry red wine lover, this wine is actually pretty nice, so I'd rate it a solid 7.5,  I'm sure I didn't pay anywhere near $10 for this wine, so it was also a good value.  The main reason I opened this bottle was to go with my dinner tonight, which is a classic Midwestern Sunday dinner of oven roasted chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and some steamed asparagus.  The tart acidity in this wine is perfect to cut through the richness of my chicken dinner, cheers!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2014 Reininger Walla Walla Malbec

What a fantastic Sunday!  It was about 65 and sunny so I took advantage of the weather and spend the afternoon in the yard, catching up on a number of things, mainly cleaning up some leaves and branches, and although it was enjoyable, I sure am tired now!  And what's better when you need to relax than a nice glass of wine.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of a recent wine club selection, the 2014 Reininger Malbec, a 100% Malbec from the Pepper Bridge Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley.  Now you'll recall that I'm not the biggest fan of Malbec, but for some reason I really have come to like Chuck Reininger's efforts with this varietal, so let's see how this one stacks up!


The wine is a deep, inky black at the center, with garnet along the edges.  The nose is a rush of green grass, leather and ripe black fruit.  The taste just wonderful, with a rush of ripe fruit at the outset, blueberry, cherry, plum and currant that transition to some vanilla and black pepper spice notes.  The tannins are somewhat soft, but very well integrated for the long, velvety smooth and very dry finish.  This Malbec struck me as being very Cabernet like, which is probably why I like Reininger's interpretation!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's still very young and will no doubt improve with a bit of time in the cellar, but it's still drinking very nicely now.  This would be a great steak wine, but tonight I am enjoying this one with a classic Italian Sunday dinner of hot Italian sausage with onions and peppers and some spaghetti tossed with garlic and olive oil.  Such a great wine to balance the strong flavors of the sausage and peppers, Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

2013 Charles Krug Generations

Happy National Drink Wine Day!  Of course I usually think that every day is National Drink Wine Day,  but I suppose I'm biased.  In any case, I've decided to celebrate the official day with a wonderful Bordeaux style blend that I picked up on my visit to Napa last year, the 2013 Charles Krug Generations.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (88%), Malbec (6%), Merlot (4%) and Petit Verdot (2%), so legitimately it could still be labeled as a Cabernet.  I tried a bottle of this when I was in Napa in 2015 (see here: 2012 Charles Krug Generations), so let's see how this vintage tastes!


The wine is a deep, inky black at the center, with bright ruby along the edges, classic for a Napa Cabernet.  The nose is a lovely combination of graphite, leather, black cherry and a hint of blueberry.  The taste is a lovely rush of black fruit, cherry cola and mocha that transition to some mineral notes midpalate.  The finish is wonderful, with firm, youthful tannins providing for a long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, it's drinking very nicely now, but is sure to develop with a bit of time in the cellar (lucky I bought an extra bottle!).  This wine would be perfect for a hearty meal, from pot roast to Italian pasta dishes, but since it feels like spring today, I've decided to grill out!  I'm enjoying this wine with a nice Thai chili rubbed New York strip with grilled asparagus and a big baked potato with all the trimmings.  Cheers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2011 Grand Napa Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Wine Wednesday!  You'll be happy to know that I once again have internet at my house, granted it's not the fastest, but it certainly works for wine blogging and checking e-mail (fortunately I'm not a teenager, so I don't play video games or do much streaming).  So let's get down to business, wine!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2011 Grand Napa Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%) and Merlot (22%) from a somewhat underrated vintage.


The wine is a deep inky black color at the center with bright ruby along the edges, just what you'd expect for a nice Napa Cabernet coming into its prime.  The nose presents aromas of ripe black plum, cocoa powder and a hint of anise.  The wine is a lovely rush of fruit up front, with some tart cherry and plum that ease into some notes of fresh herbs and minerals midpalate.  The tannins are well integrated, supporting the long, smooth and very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's just about reaching it's prime.  And although it's likely not as stellar as the 2012 vintage, this one is drinking very nicely for just $25 from Wines Till Sold Out.  This would be an ideal steak wine, but tonight I am enjoying it with pizza, because why not?  Cheers!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

2012 Helix Columbia Valley Syrah

So so here is the big news this week I disconnected from Comcast! I became very tired of paying so much money for such little service which means now I have no Internet at home.  So until my Internet is installed on Tuesday, I will be blogging in from my phone.  So please excuse any typos. Now for today's wine the most important thing!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle that I recently got from my wine clubs selection at Reininger the 2012 Helix Columbia Valley Syrah!  So let's see how this one tastes. 



The wind is a deep inky purple in the glass. The nose presents aromas of leather, blackberry green grass and smoke. The taste is a rush of ripe fruit upfront with blueberries, current and a hint of boysenberry that transitions to some white pepper notes midpalate. The fine grain tannins provide a great foundation for the long smooth and exceptionally dry finish, that leaves you wanting more. 

Overall I would rate this wine a solid eight as it's a great red wine for a variety of dishes, from lamb to pasta to barbecue. Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a little different pairing, some seared sea scallops over a bed of spring greens along with some linguine tossed with garlic and olive oil topped with shaved Parmesan. Cheers!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2014 Stonehedge Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage

Happy Sunday!  I won't say which "Sunday" it is since I don't want to pay a royalty, but rumor has it there's some sort of big game on tonight!  Well in honor of the big game, I've decided to open up a big wine, the 2014 Stonehedge Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage, a Bordeaux style blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Franc (20%), Petit Verdot (20%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%).  This wine was our office wine club selection last month, and I got it from Wines Till Sold Out, so you know it was a good value, so let's see how it tastes!


The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, classic for a blend that is heavy on Merlot.  The nose is a breath of smoky, mineral goodness, with hints of leather, blackberry and toasted oak.  The taste is really nice, with a rush of ripe fruit up front, cherry, red currant and raspberry that transition nicely to some cherry cola and black pepper spice midpalate.  The tannins are young, but surprisingly mellow, perfect to support the long, supple and very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's drinking very nicely now but will likely improve with a few years in the cellar, and it was a solid value for just $20.  This wine would be great with a variety of meaty dishes, from hearty Italian pasta to Yankee pot roast, but tonight I'm enjoying it with a grilled prime sirloin steak with some roasted Brussels sprouts and a baked potato with all the trimmings, classic Sunday dinner...you might even call it super!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

2006 Hendry Napa Valley Pinot Noir

Happy Saturday!  Well it's the first Saturday of February, which of course means it's "Cellar Saturday" when I get to raid the cellar for a bottle of wine that's had a bit more time to mature, a decade at least.  So tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2006 Hendry Napa Valley Pinot Noir that my boss gave me last year.  Now Napa is known more for Cabernet than Pinot, so let's see what this wine has to offer.


The wine is a lighter garnet color, somewhat darker and with a bit more of a brownish tint than your typical Pinot,  The nose is classic Pinot, with a rush of ripe strawberries and plums overlaid with some mineral notes and a bit of smoke.  The taste is actually quite nice, with a rush of ripe fruit up front, strawberries, cherries, and currant, that transition to some notes of green cedar and basalt midpalate.  The finish was quite nice, with smooth tannins and a very nice, long dry finish that has nice acidity but doesn't have the harshness that some Pinots can exhibit.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a very enjoyable Pinot Noir from a region that's really not known for the varietal.  This wine would pair with a variety of dishes, from lamb to seafood, but tonight I'm enjoying it with an old school seafood Newberg, a wonderful combination of scallops, shrimp, mussels and crab in a decadent sherry cream sauce served over puff pastry.  The acidity in this wine is perfect to counter the richness of the sauce.  Cheers!