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Wine Reviews

  1. Wine Review: Atalaya Almansa 2007

    Wine Review: Atalaya Almansa 2007

    The Atalaya Almansa 2007 will surprise you not only with its ridiculously low price tag, but also with its richness in flavor. The Atalaya Almansa is a distinguished blend of Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorera, and other grapes.  Brought to you from Spain, and aged eight months in French and American oak, its impressive nose consists of violet, blueberry, black cherry...
  2. Two Different Wines with One Similarity...

    Two Different Wines with One Similarity...

    Perhaps you’ve read our previous post, Fooled by Numbers: Wine and You?  If so, this short comparison between two very different wines compliments it nicely! I recently purchased, for the same price, a bottle of El Salegar Tinto Fino 2007 and a bottle of the Maison Elise Richard 2008 Corbieres Red Blend, without knowing at their ratings. Made from a...
  3. Wine Review: Piesporter Michelsberg 2009

    Wine Review: Piesporter Michelsberg 2009

    A white wine with a light golden color (and subtle hints of blue), this inexpensive summertime sipper hails from the banks of Germany’s Mosel river in Trier.  Though the nose is on the weaker side, this light, crisp wine is well-balanced.  Its body is delicately creamy, consisting of a subtle buttery texture slightly reminiscent of a Chardonnay.  Interestingly, the Piesporter...
  4. Wine Review: 2007 Maculan Pino & Toi

    Wine Review: 2007 Maculan Pino & Toi

    Unlike sweet Hungarian wines made from Tocai Friulano grapes, this Italian Pinot Blanc blend utilizes this curious grape to create an elegant and interesting combination of flavors and scents consisting of 60% Tocai Friulano, 25% Pinot Bianco, and 15% Pinot Grigio.  Fermented in stainless steel, the Pino & Toi is very fresh, aging little before bottling.  It is often recommended...
  5. Wine Review: Jelu Malbec 2008

    Wine Review: Jelu Malbec 2008

    This hearty, Argentinean Malbec is quite robust!  Its delightful nose contains pleasing plum and vanilla scents.  The wine itself has prominent spicy flavors--very characteristic of Argentinean Malbecs--as well as those of dark plums, blackberries, and traces of vanilla.  The finish is quite good, lasting well over 40 seconds, and includes satisfying blackberry notes.  This is a wine sure to...
  6. 2010 Château Montaud Côtes de Provence Rosé

    2010 Château Montaud Côtes de Provence Rosé

    This delightful rosé blend from Château Montaud makes a perfect picnic wine, or one to enjoy on a nice, hot summer eve.  With a very clear raspberry appearance, this evanescent wine has stunning visual presence.  The nose, very clean but low-keyed, presents pronounced berry and peach aromas, with hints of honeysuckle, strawberry, and even a wisp of pear!  Pleasant-tasting, this crisp wine has...
  7. Wine Review: Le Grand Pinot Noir 2009

    Wine Review: Le Grand Pinot Noir 2009

    This rich, dark red hails from the Limoux region of Southern France.  With sufficient aroma, the Le Grand Pinot Noir 2009's nose consists of delightful red berries, cherries, raspberries, currants, and a note of fig.  The wine is rounded, and delights the taste buds with exploding flavors of red berries, cherries, and currants.  Its semi-spicy kick is nicely countered by...
  8. Wine Review: “Ottone I” Piemont doc Barbera 2009

    Wine Review: “Ottone I” Piemont doc Barbera 2009

    I picked up a bottle of Cantine San Silvestro’s “Ottone I” Piemont doc Barbera 2009 the other night on a whim, not sure what to expect.  Consisting of 100% pure Barbera grapes from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, this full red was simply bursting with big fruit flavors.  Ruby red in color with a soft-but-sound nose including black raspberry...
  9. Wine Review: 2007 Forefront Cabernet Sauvignon by Pine Ridge

    Wine Review: 2007 Forefront Cabernet Sauvignon by Pine Ridge

    The delicious, first-class 2007 Forefront Cabernet Sauvignon pours out a regal, dark purple.  With a powerful nose consisting of aromas including blueberries, raspberries, slight truffle, leather, and light vegetable notes, this scintillating wine pleases before it is even sipped.  On the tongue, it certainly demands attention, too!  Surprisingly well-balanced for such a young Cabernet, it is mouth-watering, rich, and meaty...
  10. Wine Review: Oracle of the Wind Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2009

    Wine Review: Oracle of the Wind Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2009

    This delicate white hails “from the sun, the rain, the wind, and the soil” of South Africa.  Though described as a “light yellow with flashes of green,” my glass appeared a surprising golden yellow of medium intensity, usually indicative of mature, concentrated whites.  Being a very affordable wine (I only paid $7.99 for a bottle), I knew not what to...
  11. Wine Review: Schmitt Söhne Riesling Qualitätswein 2009

    Wine Review: Schmitt Söhne Riesling Qualitätswein 2009

    This little guy’s not bad! And by “little guy” I mean the wine, though the wine’s “mascot” happens to be an adorable, little German man. This good-value, summertime sipper proved exceptionally clear, with a shimmery, pale-yellow color. With an aroma of sufficient intensity, though a little plain, scents of lemon, berry, slight pear, apple, and honeysuckle became more pronounced as...
  12. Wine Review: Stray Dog Zinfandel 2006

    Wine Review: Stray Dog Zinfandel 2006

    What a name! Stray Dog Zinfandel, though it may be a fairly new name, is crafted by a man who’s been producing quality wine for 20+ years, Mark Gendron, who recently sold JanKris winery (founded in 1990.) Mark currently owns JK Estates, and the Wildfire Cellars brand. (Stray Dog Zinfandel is released with the JK Estates label.) Stray Dog's interesting...
  13. Wine Review: Casa Julia Sauvignon Blanc 2009

    Wine Review: Casa Julia Sauvignon Blanc 2009

    The affordable Casa Julia Sauvignon Blanc 2009 is a delicious white that hails from Chile’s Aconcagua region.  Similar to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but with tamer acidity, this wine is full of vitality and great, well-blended flavors.  Following a full, satisfying nose, the wine delights the tongue with lush fruit, tropical fruit flavors, and tasteful citrus notes.  With good body...
  14. Wine Review: Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    Wine Review: Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    I’ve been a big fan of Gnarly Head’s Cabs for many years, and the Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is no exception.  This regal, concentrated wine is rich with dark fruit flavor (currants, black cherries, and tart cranberries), and has a velvety “cab” texture that briefly exposes its well-integrated tannins just before a subtle taste of cloves and violets. ...
  15. Wine Review: Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence 2007

    Wine Review: Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence 2007

    A “Red Rhone Blend” (a wine made from two or more traditional Southern Rhone grape varieties), this rustic French wine is a well-balanced, fantastic find!  Consisting of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Carignan, 20% Grenache, and 9% Syrah, its slight barnyard nose, common to many “old world” wines, also includes blackberries, raspberries, and candied scents.  On the tongue, wild berries...
  16. Wine Review: Block Nine Caiden’s Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009

    Wine Review: Block Nine Caiden’s Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009

    This relatively inexpensive Pinot Noir is quite a treat!  Beautiful garnet in color, its nose consists of violet, iris, strawberries, and black cherries.  Its velvet-like texture is soothing to the tongue, and its body is solid.  For fans of sweeter Pinot Noirs, the Block Nine 2009 is a good find; the typical earthiness that turns people off from many Pinots...
  17. Wine Review: Frey Pinot Noir 2009

    Wine Review: Frey Pinot Noir 2009

    It may be September, but it’s not too early to start planning your trip to the 2012 Millésime Bio, Europe’s largest and most impressive organic wine conference that takes place yearly in Montpellier, France.  Among the winning wines from 2011 was a curious 2009 Pinot Noir from Frey Vineyards.  (It won a bronze medal.)  What is most interesting is that...
  18. Jake's Corner: Wine Spectator Grand Tour

    Jake's Corner: Wine Spectator Grand Tour

    Vintage Cellars' Jake Austad at Wine Spectator Grand Tour Last Saturday, on a warm Las Vegas evening, representing Vintage Cellars, my wife Lindsay and I were able to attend the Wine Spectator Grand Tour.  Wines were poured from more than 225 producers, representing 15 countries and four states.  If you’re interested in good wine or learning about good wine...
  19. Jake's Corner: A Great Cabernet Sauvignon

    Jake's Corner: A Great Cabernet Sauvignon

    Cabernet Sauvignon is often referred to as the "King of Red Wine Grapes." Though it's grown in nearly ever major wine-producing country, it is most famously cultivated both in the soils of the Left Band of Bordeaux and California's Napa Valley, Cabernet is one of the world's most sought-after wine grapes. Part of what makes Cabernet so special is its...
  20. Jake's Corner: Tasting a Spanish Wine for Summer

    Jake's Corner: Tasting a Spanish Wine for Summer

    With the prospect of long, warm summer nights stretching before them, many people automatically reach for a white or rosé, something chilled to counteract the day’s heat lingering in the air. But just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean that you should give up on red wine for the season. In fact, summer is a great time to enjoy red...

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