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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2005 Siduri Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This one ran us $27, which is in our “special occasion” range...what’s the occasion? Well, we’ve both decided a need to slow down on this blog, wine consumption, and caloric intake.

I’ve said this before...and I’ve tried it before. One excellent plan was to go out and fill the wine rack with $20+ bottles of wines since I refuse to open those on a whim....of course that only led me to stop at the grocery store on the way home every night and pick up bottles of things like “Andre Champagne.” The thing that pushed me over the edge was trying on my wedding suit (which was less than two years ago) only to find it fit like something from when I was twelve...and I wasn’t exactly thin at the ceremony.

This means that the number of reviews will go down to about once a week, they will also become far more positive as I’ll insist on only things we’ve tried and enjoyed at tastings or those that came with strong praise from reliable sources.

So, here we are. I recently read an article, I believe in Wine Spectator, about the Russian River Valley being the strongest region for Pinot Noir in the US so I grabbed the most affordable bottle from the region I could find...and it was still nearly thirty bucks.

The nose is funky, earthy, and a bit musty with perhaps a hint of raspberry...imagine a forest with wild berries glistening in the morning dew. (This blog is getting better already, eh?)

The first few sips were a bit harsh, but with a bit of air it eased up. Lots of earth and funk–tobacco, maybe smoke?--with just the slightest hint of green. Some raspberry and cherry for fruit and plenty of acid. My advice is to give it at least an hour of air (or some time in the cellar I suppose).

The finish has a sassafrasy sort of taste

The greenness hurts my overall opinion, but sadly Pinot Noir is going up in price, especially from highly sought after areas like this. You can certainly do worse. I look forward to trying more Pinot Noir from this area to compare.

2004 M. Cosentino The Zin Zinfandel

Calling a wine “The Zin” seems somewhat boastful, but I will refrain from holding this to a higher standard than other Zinfandel. This one ran us around $14 on sale, I don’t recall the regular price but it did strike me as a deal.

The nose is black fruit...dark berries and plums.

Lots of berries on the palate, blackberry, raspberry, plus cherries, medium tannins, and a fair amount of oak. I’m also getting some anise which isn’t really working in this.

The finish lingers with raspberry and cherry.

Certainly not bad, but it’s not really grabbing me. I can’t say I’d buy it again but I also wouldn’t dissuade someone from buying it if they wanted a Zinfandel for under $15.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

2005 Little Boomey Cabernet Sauvignon

A friend of mine picked this up for me and then almost apologized suggesting that my palate may be too sophistimicated for it. I tend to keep an open mind mainly because some of these popular wines (Little Penguin, Gnarly Head, etc) are actually pretty damn good.

A bit of spice on the nose, but not a whole lot.

A fruity palate, somewhat jammy...strawberry, blackberry, even some blueberry, with just a hint of oak. I wouldn’t think this is a Cabernet, perhaps a Merlot or more likely a Zinfandel.

The finish suggests chocolate and fades with some jammy flavors.

I have to say, if you’re reaching for a bottle of Yellow Tail just move down a few feet and pick this up. Ultimately it’s simple, jammy wine, but it has some subtleties just not present in many others of this caliber. If you want a cutesy Australian wine this one and Little Penguin are safe bets.

N/V Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut

You may have noticed this popular Spanish sparkling wine because of it’s unique black bottle. I picked this one up for around $7.

I get a bit of citron on the nose.

A crisp palate with some citrus and green apple and some nice toast plus long lasting bubbles.

The finish leaves a bit of lemon.

A good one for the price, simple, dry, crisp, and refreshing...perhaps the best we’ve had in the under $10 range.

Friday, January 26, 2007

N/V Stones Throw Winery Red Table Wine (MAM edition)

We recently took a trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum and I noticed they had two wines for sale. I picked up the bottle and noticed it was produce by Stone’s Throw Winery, which we’ve had some good luck with, so I picked it up at $16. This is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignane.

The nose is a bit funky, lots of earth, tobacco, tar, plus alcohol and a bit of blackberry.

The palate has a strange funk to it—perhaps from the Carignane–but it’s not a bad thing. I’d almost refer to this as “muddy”....there’s a lot going on, but it’s all just sort blending together, not much is really jumping out. Imagine putting black pepper in boysenberry jam, spreading it on toast, dropping it on the floor, picking it up, and licking it.

And the odd thing about it all.....that’s a good thing. Some nice tannins come through on the back palate and there’s quite a bit of acid. It’s skirting the fine line between balanced and too acidic though so I’d say serve it with food.

The finish immediately hits you with currants and then fades with some dirt, but does fade fairly quickly.

Is it worth $16? Seeing as some portion of the price went to the art museum, I say yes. Bravo to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Stone’s Throw for making a decent and real wine (I’d bet a White Zinfandel would sell better but standards are important). If you’re at the museum, give this a whirl.

2001 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras

This Châteauneuf-du-Pape ran me just around $20.

Earth and barnyard on the nose...not much fruit, perhaps a hint of some overripe blackberry.

Smooth tannins, medium bodied–lighter than I expected–black fruit: blackberry, plum, currant, a bit of funk, and lots of herbs.

The finish has an interesting smokey taste to it. The more it opens, the more a blueberry taste comes through on the back end of the palate and finish, but all behind strong herbal notes.

Not bad at all...I’m not sure how much wine at this price is available from France with this level of complexity, I'm guessing not much. I like it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

N.V. Warre’s Otima 20 Year Old Tawny Porto

I opened this bottle around two weeks back and have found that I prefer my Port after it’s had some time with air. Not long ago we reviewed a Warre’s 10 Year Tawny, so this should be interesting to compare.

The nose has some plums, or is it prunes? Somewhere in the middle. Dark, rich fruit.

The palate hits me with raisins and prunes, dried fruit–maybe dried cherry, maybe cranberry, and just a touch of orange peel.

The finish is all nuts....walnuts...and leaves sort of an oily mouthfeel, even after the bottle had been open for some time, I found this improved in the first pour, it had a pretty striking burn, but after sitting in the glass for 40 minutes or so, it disappeared.

The interesting thing with Port is how it changes over time...there’s still quite a bit left in this bottle so I may write more about this in coming weeks. For now, I think it’s okay, but the 10 year was around $15 cheaper and far smoother and easier on the palate.

N/V Conde de Velazquez Extra Dry Sparkling Wine

I saw this one for $10 and figured it would be interesting to try a sparkling wine from Chile. This is a blend of Semillon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

White bread on the nose.

A bit of yeast and toast on the palate with some nice crisp apple and just a hint of citrus–lemon zest maybe.

The bubbles went flat on this quickly...the bottle has been open for around 20 minutes and within five minutes the glass I poured was flat.

The flavor on this isn’t bad, but the fact that it’s completely flat in under 30 minutes means I just can’t recommend it. You can do far better for $10.

2003 Bruno Sorg Muscat d’Alsace

We tend to avoid Alsatian wines...I like them more than Fran and I find some of them absolutely fascinating, but she can’t stand them. I noticed this at the local shop for $13 and I figured it would be interesting since, even if it’s bone dry, I’ve never had a bone dry Muscat, so why not?

Stone fruit on the nose, peaches, and some mineral as well.

The palate has more stone fruit. It’s not bone dry, but it’s certainly not sweet...hovering right on the edge I’d say. A touch, just a touch of honey and perhaps some green apple and even some strawberry. It certainly has a buttery feel, but I'm not sure if this has seen oak or not.

The finish fades quickly...I get some grapey flavors and that’s about it.

I wouldn’t buy it again, but if you are a fan of Muscat I would say it’s an interesting wine to try because you can clearly taste the varietal yet it’s different than any other one I’ve tried. I suppose the best way to put it is that I like this more for academic reasons than pure enjoyment.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

N/V Guillaume Brut De Peche

We had this at a tasting some time ago and I was convinced we liked it. The need to take and keep detailed notes rather than trying to remember vague things like “yeah, this was...this was good” is becoming more and more clear.

This is sparkling wine, from France–but not Champagne–with peach nectar added. If I’m not mistaken, since this has added peach it does not meet any specific appelation’s rules, so all we know about it is that it’s from France.

Peachy nose, peachy palate, peachy finish. Should I say more? It’s not all that different from one of those Bartles and James drinks except that I’m drinking it out of a flute that’s a pain to clean versus a bottle I’d just throw out. The big difference is the alcohol content, this one has 12% versus a wine cooler’s 4%. Even the bubbles are low-fi....many Champagnes can sit in the glass for an hour and still have a stream of bubbles, this one looks flat after five minutes.

This one was $10 and while it’s’s basically a French Fuzzy Navel. It is what it is, it’s a peach wine and no one is pretending it’s anything else. I think we’ve reached a somewhat depressing point where we just can’t enjoy things like this anymore...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2005 Layer Cake Shiraz

Why the large photo? Read on, friends.

I picked this one up for $15 without trying it, but with a recommendation from the woman at our local wine shop. I let this open for around four hours before even trying it, and as I approach hour six it only improves.

Big, fruity nose....think raspberry or blackberry jam.

Lots of big berry fruit...blueberry and sweet blackberry. Smooth tannins with just a hint of oak that’s suggesting chocolate, but make no mistake this is a huge fruity wine. The back of the palate brings black pepper.

The finish has a drawn out, lingering taste of Twizzlers. When I say lingering, I’m talking I stopped the clock at 75 seconds and I still taste it.

The more Fran and I discuss this wine, the more we are becoming a bit nuts about it....this is one of the finest wines we’ve had in some time, unbelievable balance, strong fruit, nice smooth oak to balance doesn’t get much better and for $15 it’s incredible—and we don’t even like Shiraz! If you see this, and you pass it up, you are a fool. Seriously.

If we did the whole “best of the year” wines, I can tell you right now this would be in our top five of 2007, and we’re barely two weeks in.

Monday, January 15, 2007

2005 Goats Do Roam Red

This label has picked up some wider distribution in recent months. I remember trying this at a tasting a few months back, but don’t recall much about it....I think I need to start making better notes at tastings. This one was $8 at Trader Joe’s and is from South Africa.

One would think this would be a Cotes du Rhone blend with the punny label, but it’s actually Shiraz, Cinsault, Grenache, Gamay, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot...not quite a Cotes blend.

The nose is fruit filled, blueberries mainly, with a bit of oak.

More blueberry on the palate, this is definitely fruit forward, with light oak and mild tannins.

The fruit on the finish fades quickly but some oak lingers.

Strongly recommended. We’re drinking this by itself and it’s excellent, but I’d certainly call this food friendly and would work well with almost anything. Go for it.

2005 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese

This will be our first new vintage/repeat wine. I made a point not to reread what we wrote about the 2003, so it should be interesting to see what we think of this one.

Nothing but peach on the nose.

The palate is mostly apricot, though I’m getting some peach as well with some spice...I’m thinking white pepper. Nice, crisp acidity balances out some sweetness. There’s a nice mineral, wet stone quality as well,

The spice lingers for quite a while on the finish and I’m getting some mild pink grapefruit as well.

Overall, a strong wine and one I’d recommend to fans of Riesling. This one was around $17 and it was certainly worth it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

N/V Cordon Rouge G.H. Mumm Brut Champagne

We picked this bottle up for $25

Nice strawberry essence on the nose.

More strawberry on the palate...a fair amount of yeast and some crisp red apple, citrus, with a bit of toast and vanilla. There’s just a bit too much acid which makes it somewhat harsh, but it’s hardly bad and if you’re serving it with food, not noticeable at all.

And the guessed it, lingering strawberry and toast and quite of a bit of vanilla.

Not bad at all.

2005 Carmel Road Pinot Noir

Some time ago we bought a few bottles of this wine, I forget the vintage but it was either 2003 or 2004...I just stumbled on the 2005 and based on its past vintages I decided to give it a shot. This one goes for $15.

Alcohol, raspberry, and cola on the nose.

A bit of cola, some cherry, and a lot of harshness on this one...lots of acid, and lots of green....bell pepper, even spinach soaked in cedar.

The finish is lingering but unpleasant...seriously, I’m getting collard greens and asphalt.

I thought it may need some air, but even after three hours this is still not working.

A bad bottle of wine is no big deal, but a bad bottle when I know I’ve enjoyed it before is depressing. This is disappointing to say the least. Perhaps it’s the bottle, perhaps it’s the vintage...all I know is we loved this before and if I didn’t have such strong memories of previous bottles I wouldn’t even consider buying this again. I’ll give it another shot after some time passes.

2005 Murphy’s Law Red Wine

I’m not sure what’s in this one, but the 2004 has Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sangiovesse. I’m going to guess it’s some blend of those, though this winery also has vineyard which produce Syrah, Grenache, and Blaufrankish.

Oak, spice, and berries...blackberry it seems...on the nose.

Smooth and medium bodied...I think I can actually taste the Sangiovesse. Blackberry, raspberry, cherry, mild oak, a hint of anise, and mild tannins.

The finish has oak and fades somewhat quickly but is pleasant.

Not bad at all. It's light enough and well balanced so this can really be paired with anything. Give it a shot.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

N/V Andre Brut

This one cost a whopping $4 a bottle...I thought it would be interesting to try the cheapest sparkling wine I could find.

Lemony with a bit of pineapple. The bubbles are soda softness to them, you pour a glass and a huge head forms, yet within a few minutes the glass is flat.

The label calls this Brut, which is false advertising to the hundredth degree. I’d call it sweet, think a moscato with some added sugar.

One thing I’ve learned with this one and Cook’s is that a terrible still wine isn’t remotely as offensive as a terrible sparkling. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this but if you’re on a plane and your choice is some sort of White Zinfandel or this, pick this one up.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2001 Murfatlar Pinot Noir

We dumped the previous bottle, but still wanted wine, so I reached for the cheapest thing we have: a $6 Pinot Noir from Romania

Earth, plums, and some cherry on the nose. It has a strange funk to it.

The palate is earthy, some nice cherry and deep strawberry, with a bit of that cola that I love. Smooth tannins and fairly light bodied, this would go well with anything.

The finish is a touch of cinnamon and oak with some berry fruit, but I can’t quite put my finger on what....close to raspberry though.

Quite frankly, this is a revelation. I would never expect a wine at this price to be this good. I plan on buying this again in the next couple of days and trying another bottle to see how it holds up...if it’s anywhere near this one, this will be one we serve to every guest that drinks wine, bring to holiday functions, suggest to everyone who will listen, and may be the death of this blog since we’ll just be drinking this one by the case.

2005 Carmel Winery Vineyards Selected Cabernet Sauvignon

I stumbled upon this $8 wine from Israel and thought it would be interesting to try a kosher wine. I’ve had the Manischewitz syrupy sweet Concord, but this Cabernet Sauvignon looked more like a typical dry table wine.

What makes a wine kosher? Well, it can’t have non-kosher ingredients obviously, but there are also production rules that vary depending on what type of kosher one practices. Consult:

This wine is also officially designated vegan. Many wines use animal products in the filtration process...if you care to learn more, consult:

(You will note I am vegetarian and I drink pretty much any wine regardless of how it’s produced. I find worrying about things like filtration processes nonsensical and counter-productive, but many will tell you I’m not a good vegetarian.)

Onto the wine itself: the nose has some raspberry and lots of oak.

The palate has lots of oak, funk, earth, spice–cinnamon mainly, not much fruit but there is some cherry. It’s not really working for us.

The finish has a hint of BBQ sauce, or maybe A1...not pleasant one bit.

It’s difficult to say....this is so bad that part of me thinks this bottle is potentially corked or cooked....or it could be part of the kosher thing...not sure, I’ve had wine that’s obviously “gone bad” and I just don’t quite get that from this...there different degrees of how flawed a wine can be, perhaps this has just slightly turned.

Either way, I won’t be revisiting this one.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2005 Rosa Regale Brachetto D’Acqui

We’ve had this one before (I think a previous vintage) and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was browsing a local wine shop and saw this 187 ml bottle for $5 and I figured it would be something fun to try. A full bottle goes for around $18. The varietal on this one is I didn’t mark off on our “Wine Century” checklist, so we’re getting ever closer....last count is 74.

Cranberry on the nose with some strawberry,

This one is slightly sparkling which gives it a nice texture. Strawberry, raspberry, grapes, and some rosewater on the palate. It’s certainly sweet, but there’s some acidity which help balance it a bit, but don’t get me wrong–this is a dessert wine.

The finish has a fair amount of cranberry and raisins–craisins and floral (rose, for the most part) notes.

2005 Eroica Riesling

This is a label put out by Chateau Ste Michelle and goes for around $20 a bottle. The wine was originally called Bonaparte, but after Napoleon declared himself emperor the winemaker violently scratched out the name “Bonaparte” and replaced it with “Eroica.”

My apologies for the sad attempt at humor.

The nose is peaches and tropical fruit.

The palate...well, I have to say this is probably one of the finest Rieslings we’ve had in some time, and by far the best American Riesling we’ve ever had. Crisp, tangy acid, a very nice bit of sweetness–perfectly balanced. Lots of peaches on the palate, some nectarine, tangerine, a bit limey, even some strawberry, and some nice minerals,

A clean finish, except for a bit of tropical fruit...pineapple perhaps, but I can’t help but think banana...lingers slightly for quite some time.

Impressive to the say the least. Strongly recommended.

Monday, January 08, 2007

2005 Pillar Box Red

We had the 2004 of this one a while back and I seem to recall enjoying it, so I picked up the 2005 for $10. The one thing I remember is that it was big and needed a lot of air so I let this open for around three hours before starting and enjoyed the bottle over another three hours.

Alcohol, oak, and cherry on the nose.

The palate is fruity–berries for the most part...blackberry and some blueberry. Plenty of wood, and at first (mind you, after three hours of air) a bit of spice, and lots of herbal notes...fennel and mint, but after this had been open for six hours a lot of the herbs disappeared. This is a 15% wine and it tastes like it...a big burn right at the end of the palate.

Mint on the immediate finish with lingering oak and a small bit of plum.

My thumb is directly in the middle, I give it two stars, 5 out of’s alright, if you want to give it a shot I won’t dissuade you but I wouldn’t go too far out of your way to pick it up.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

N/V Rex Goliath Pinot Noir France Vin de Pays

I recall reading some very strong things about this some time ago but I can’t place my finger on where. I know we tried it, but I have no memory of it so I figured for $8 we’ll give it another shot.

There’s no date on the bottle so I did a bit of research and basically: I can’t find any information about this. Every Rex Goliath Pinot Noir seems to be “Central Coast” California...this is clearly labeled “Product of France” on the back, and front label–see photo--says “Vin de Pays d’Oc” (country wine...from France, but no appellation specified).

Earth, cherry, and oak on the nose.

The palate has cherry cola, oak, earth, some spice (cinnamon and something in the oregano family), a bit of bell pepper and mild tannins. Not a whole lot of fruit here.

The finish is so quick I’m not sure it even qualifies....cherry disappears quickly and then all you feel is the tannins.

For the price I doubt you can do better (especially with a Pinot Noir) and you can do far worse. I’d have it again.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

N/V 1+1=3 Cava Brut

Yes, more sparkling wine. This one from Spain retails for about $12. The producer’s math is terrible but how does their wine hold up?

The nose has lemon and that’s about it.

Tart and a bit toasty on the palate. Lots of lemon zest and grapefruit. A lot of US sparkling wine has a touch of sweetness, even in Bruts, this one is bone dry (not a bad thing).

The finish lingers with a bit of citrus...mainly grapefruit.

Not bad for the price, but certainly not great. There’s just not a whole lot happening in this one.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2004 Cellar No. 8 Merlot

The other day I was in the wine shop and realized we really haven’t touched much Merlot, I saw this bottle and recall buying a wine from this label before...I’m not sure which varietal, but I do recall enjoying it so I figured I’d give it a shot. I paid $11 for this one.

Black fruit on the nose, plums mainly, with a touch of oak.

I’m getting a bit of blackberry, cherry, chocolate, and tannins that are certainly present with some backbone, but nice and smooth. I also taste a bit of spice...I’m thinking anise and basil specifically. It’s not terribly complex but it’s well balanced and drinks easily with and without food.

The finish is mainly oak, cherry, and chocolate....the chocolate lingers for quite a long time.

At $11, this is a steal. Strongly recommended and one I’d happily serve to guests.

2004 Elyse Rose

Roses are nice, simple wines...rarely complex, but typically enjoyable and quaffable...I frequently hear them referred to as “patio wines” which is a fair assessment. I haven’t had a rosé in some time and figured I’d pick one up.

I get very little on the nose....nothing I can place anyway.

If this was served to me in a dark room I’d guess it’s a light Beaujolais. Fruity but dry...some mild tannins even--Strange. Mostly raspberries, cherry pie filling, and maybe just a touch of peach. The more air it gets, the more the raspberry flavors come out and I’m getting some nice strawberry as well.

I get a bit of oak on the finish, but my guess is this hasn’t seen any...other than that I get strawberries on the immediate finish, but they fade fast.

I like my roses a bit more fruit forward with just a touch more sweetness. At $9, it’s hard to complain...but if you check back a while, we reviewed another rose from the Anjou region, and I’d recommend that one over this.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

N/V Pommery Champagne Brut Royal

I picked up a half bottle of this for $15.

I don’t get much on the nose other than some white bread.

Some lime and minerals on the palate. A bit more citrus...I’m thinking zests, orange and lemon...maybe some Granny Smith. I enjoy the mouthfeel of this one, the bubbles are tiny and foam up in the mouth nicely. This one has a bit of yeast, but none of the toasty flavors that make some Champagne so interesting.

The finish lasts for quite a while....mostly with lime and minerals.

Strongly recommended. Note: this is different than the Pommery Pop, available in 187 ml bottle with a straw. I believe the Pop is Extra Dry, this one is Brut.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2004 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir Bourgogne

Most French labels don’t have the varietal listed, this seems to be a growing trend with the lower quality, more mass produced wines. This is the low end offering of a decent producer, so I figured I’d give it a shot even at $15.

Raspberries, plums, and oak on the nose.

Right after opening, this one is a bit harsh once it hits the much acid it’s bordering on sour. After breathing for an hour, it improved experience is that Pinot Noir typically does not need much, if any, aeration. Raspberries on the palate with some nice mild, though present tannins. A bit of oak, a touch of anise, chocolate, earth, and cherry as well.

Some funk and earth on the finish, along with a bit of oak and some lingering berry.

Even after opening, it’s still not great...I can’t recommend this one, especially at the $15 pricepoint.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2004 El Felino Malbec

I figured since we dumped a Malbec we should open another of the same varietal. We tried this one at a tasting a few months back and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one set us back $16.

The nose is powerful with pine and herbal notes.

The palate has some strong blueberry–not the large grape sized ones, the tiny ones that just assault your palate when you eat them. I’m also getting some cherry and a bit of chocolate as well. Since the nose had so much wood I was expecting more on the palate, but it’s far in the background. Nice, chewy tannins on this heavier medium bodied Malbec.

I felt my first glass had strong anise on the finish, almost like you just finished a glass of it opens, I get far more chocolate.

An excellent wine and one I’d recommend without hesitation.

2006 Argenta Malbec

This brings us to the end of our $4 Trader Joe's selections. I let this one sit for two hours before making these notes.

The nose is a bit flat with nothing more than alcohol.

The palate has a very unpleasant glycerin mouthfeel. It's a strange wine, everything is muted....there's some fruit and oak but I can't really put my finger on much. It’s jammy, there’s no acid, this is below Yellow Tail in terms of quality.

The finish has no flavor but more of that strange coating.

With the very strange feel of this wine, I decided to dump a glass, and rinse it in hot water, dry it thoroughly, swirl some wine around in the glass, dump that, and retry it....I was hoping that perhaps some soap residue was affecting this one----sadly, no.

I was optimistic that we could do alright with an Argentinian wine at this price point, but no such luck. The cheap wine experiment was a failure...I’d like to say I’ll never be tempted to buy a bunch of dirt cheap wine from Trader Joe’s again but I’m sure it will happen again. Hopefully in the next round I’ll have better luck.

2005 Silvan Range Oregon Early Muscat

We had this one at a tasting and snatched it right up at $12 for a 500 ml bottle.

The palate has peaches, pear, honeydew, orange blossom, and honey.

This is a semi-sparkling wine so the bubbles are very soft and mild...they disappear in the glass after around 20 seconds, but they are present on the palate and add a nice bit of very subtle texture which really pushes it to a higher level.

I get a bit of cantaloupe and muskmelon on the finish. Sweet and refreshing, not cloying or syrupy at all.

This is a phenomenal dessert wine....nice and smooth, not too sweet, lots of fruit, some nice floral notes, and overall strongly recommended. A wine I’d buy a case of if I had a cellar. Strongly recommended.

N/V Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut L.P.

I picked up a half bottle of this for New Year’s Eve at midnight as we decided on big plans of staying in. The half bottle was $16 and a full bottle is $33....I tend to assume that a half bottle will cost more than half the price of a full bottle but not here. This would be a great way to a French Champagne without spending all that much money.

I get nothing on the nose.

This one is tart and acidic: white grapefruit, orange zest, a touch of Granny Smith apples in the background all with a bit of toast.

More orange zest on the finish and a mild toasty finish.

Enjoyable and recommended, though it doesn’t approach the wonder of our previous Champagne review, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.