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Friday, July 27, 2007

2006 Castle Rock Mendocino County Pinot Noir

Being in yet another Pinot Noir mood, I grabbed this one from the wine fridge having completely forgotten why and where I bought it.

I get a bit of that earthy forest floor on the nose.

After about an hour or so, I got a bit of oak, some tart cherry, and a bit of acid – not much else really. As it opened more, notes of cola and earth began to come through and the acid really zings – almost suggesting a touch of effervescence.

Some raspberry on the finish but it fades quickly.

It looks like the local shop has this for $13, so I assume I paid somewhere in that neighborhood. I'd absolutely buy this again, but either let it pick up some age or throw it in the decanter for a couple hours before drinking it.

2004 Vitiano Falesco

Another Costco find for about $7.

Cherry and oak on the nose.

Raspberry, cherry, a bit of cinammon, spice, and a bit of oak...sadly, not much of that miscellaneous Italian funk I love though I do get some odd green notes. A nice sharp bit of acid and mild to medium tannins make this a food friendly wine – we had it with some baked pasta and it paired nicely.

The finish has some nice cherry and oak that lingers for some time.

Overall, not bad for the's a wine I'd probably only serve with food to cover some of that green. I'll give it a hesitant recommendation.

2006 Mollydooker The Maitre D Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2005 Mollydooker was such a huge hit, I didn't hesitate grabbing a few bottles of the 2006 line. This ran me $20.

Menthol and anise on the nose and not much else but alcohol.

Huge and over the top – no tannin to really speak of, lots of fruit – cherries and berries with a bit of oak.

The finish lingers with more menthol, oak, and perhaps cherry.

It's a big wine and I'd call it somewhat dumb, but still enjoyable. This is one I'd save for the winter and enjoy on a cold night. If you see this, pick it up, it maybe tough to find in the coming weeks.

2004 Shoofly Shiraz

We've been on a bit of a Shiraz kick so I grabbed this one out of the wine fridge – I had forgotten everything about it other than I liked the bottle, so I figured it was worth opening.

Cherry and raspberry on the nose.

Blackberry, cherry, menthol, anise, black pepper, earth, and a bit cedar. My advice is to give this one a few hours in the decanter. Very interestingly – on the second night this one assaulted the palate with black pepper – almost as if black pepper was added

Earth, blackberry, and wood on the finish which lingers nicely.

This bottle cost me $9 which makes it a steal and a half. It isn't a giant fruit bomb Australian Shiraz, there's a bit more subtlety and earthy flavors - I'd strongly recommend it.

2006 Monmousseau Rose d' Anjou

Last year's vintage of this was one of my all time favorite roses, I figured grabbing the new one would be worth a shot for $9.

An easy quaff – strawberries, a bit of citrus, and a nice acidic zing with a touch of sweetness. A simple, light bodied wine that's perfect for any picnic or simple summer faire.

Some lingering cherry and just a bit of spice on the finish.

Well, this is just as good as last year's bottle....a truly excellent rose at a great price.

2006 O'Reilly's Oregon Pinot Noir

We had this at a tasting a while back and enjoyed it thoroughly so I grabbed a bottle.

Strawberry, cola, and a bit of funk on the nose.

A nice bit of strawberry and raspberry, plus all sorts of wood, dirt, earth, barnyard and the like. Subtle, earthy, and overall a mild, yet deep, wine. A nice bit of acid would make this worth with almost any food but I would avoid serving it with anything too heavy. Personally, I think it stands wonderfully on its own.

The finish lingers for some time, notes of cherry and earth.

An outstanding subtle Pinot Noir and a bargain at the $17 pricetag. I would strongly recommend this one for someone looking for an elegant red wine.

2003 Penfold's Regional Selection Shiraz Coonawarra

A reliable producer, under $10 at the shop, and a “Limited Edition” on the label pretty much guaranteed I'd be picking this one up.

Black cherry on the nose with some notes of dried fruit.

Lots of black fruit – plum, black cherry, blackberry, even some prune. Some nice Shiraz spice with black pepper coming through the most. There's a slight touch of sweetness, but enough tannin and acid to balance it out.

The finish is spicy and fruity – a bit like spiced raisins.

A perfectly acceptable Shiraz for the price. I do prefer the more absurdly huge, and somewhat difficult to pair, Australian Shiraz, but give me a steak and I'd cheerfully pour a glass of this.

2005 Clay Station Viognier

A while back I picked this up for when I was in the mood for something different, I don't recall the price but it couldn't have been over $10. I don't know if I've ever purchased a bottle of Viognier before, but we've had it at tastings with no memorable results.

Lots of melon on the nose – honeydew mainly.

The palate is big on melon, lots of fruit, some floral – almost herbal tea – notes, a nice acidic zing, just the slightest touch of sweetness, and a small bite of alcohol. This may sound odd, but as the wine warms up, I get an almost fishy taste – and strangely, not in a bad way. Imagine taking a bite of salmon, taking a swig of wine, and swallowing it – wine and fish blending together nicely (and we're drinking this alone, so dinner is not interfering with my palate).

This has one of the longest finishes I've encountered in a white wine, long lasting notes of melon – mainly a muskmelon – not quite honeydew and not canteloupe, but somewhere in the family as well as some more of that herbal tea.

I'll be trying more Viognier in the near future, I think this is a varietal I can get behind.

N/V Cockatoo Ridge Brut

This one was $12 at my local wine shop and came with hearty recommendations from the owner.

A bit of honey on the palate and some crisp green apple.

The finish has some yellow apples – tart, but not sour – a bit of pear, and it lingers for a fair amount of time.

Basically, this is as good as you'll get for the money. Some nice flavors, but ultimately the typical tart, acidic, somewhat dry flavors we've come to expect at the pricepoint.

2005 Bistro Wine Pinot Noir

I found this one for about $8 at the local Costco a couple weeks back and felt that since we've had luck with cheap French Pinot Noirs I'd pick up a bottle.

I'm not getting a whole lot on the nose except for some cherry.

Perhaps the biggest thing I get on the palate is cola. In fact, the cola is such a large part a lot of the other flavors – cherry and strawberry are very muted.

The finish lingers for quite a while with cherry cola notes.

I'm sold. There's not a whole lot of complexity, but for $8 the fact that this has Pinot Noir characteristics and is well balanced is enough for me. This is a wine I'd gladly buy multiple bottles of.

2005 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Valley Shiraz

Not to be confused with the Gnarly Head Zin, this is the Gnary Dudes Shiraz from Australia. I found this at Costco for $25, which is at least $5 than I've seen it elsewhere....being familiar with the producer I figured it may be worth a shot.

Black fruit and licorice on the nose.

The palate was very approachable immediately after opening. Big palate, lots of fruit, rather sweet actually, and not much tannin. Twizzlers, ripe strawberries, Rainier cherries, licorice, anise.

The finish lasts for a while with a bit of anise lingering.

I don't recall the last time I had a wine that really struck me as “sweet” as much as this does, dare I say that may lead one to think this one is cheap. Unlike cheap wine, this has some excellent depth and a lingering finish. It is a style that some may not like – and for a bit less money you can get Layer Cake or The Boxer so though I enjoyed it, I won't be picking this one up again.

2005 Trader Joe's Late Harvest Moscato Paso Robles

I saw this one for $5.99 at Trader Joe's and figured it would be worth a shot. The only “bad” dessert wine we've had was still perfectly drinkable, so I'm all for the gamble.

Orange on the nose.

Orange blossom, sweet tangerine, a bit of honey, and nice zing of acid. Very nicely balanced and not over the top sweet.

Maybe some floral notes on the finish, but that's a bit of a stretch – it disappears quickly.

For $6, why not? It's a simple dessert wine, not a whole lot of complexity but nice and drinkable after a meal – perhaps with a bit of ice cream. I'll probably be buying this again.

2005 Turn Me Riesling

This one grabbed my eye and for $8 I thought it was worth a shot.

Not much on the nose really, a bit of alcohol and that's about it.

The palate has some crisp apple, a bit of citrus, and some honey. Nicely balanced – it's a touch sweet but the acid does more than enough to balance it out.

The finish lingers with some grapefruit.

I really didn't expect a whole lot but this is a very nice Riesling.

2006 Kirland Central Otago Pinot Noir

Since we've had some decent luck with the Kirkland label before, I figured I'd grab a bottle of this at $17.

Not much else but earth on the nose.

Even after two full hours of airtime this one was still tight. A fair amount of dirt, funk, forest floor, some green notes, and raspberry.

The finish lasts for a while starting with cherry, then dirt comes through, and finally it trails off with lingering raspberry.

Maybe it needs some more time in the cellar, but this one is a bit too tight at this point. While there's some nice complexity and a bit of varietal characteristic,I think it would be worth picking up a bottle and sitting on it for a while to see what happens.

2004 Fox Valley Winery Heritage Collection

I felt like supporting a local(ish) winery and saw this one for $15. We've visited this winery about a year ago and felt they were easily one of the better wineries in Illinois. If I had one gripe, it was that all their dry reds were a bit expensive. This is a blend of Chambourccin and Frontenac – two common Midwest varietals.

Funk and cherry on the nose.

Earth, funk, dirt, even some barnyard, oak, cherry and raspberry on the palate – outstanding depth not only from the region but for the price in general. Low tannin overall.

The finish comes through with some earthy notes, a touch of oak, and perhaps some berry.

I have to say this is much better than I anticipated it being. If I had to compare it to anything, I'd say a nice Chianti Classico. If you see this – or if you're in the area – I strongly recommend both the wine and the winery.