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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2007 Bolla Chianti

We had the option of seven dollars for a bottle or eleven for a double – eh, why not?

Chocolate and some spices on the nose.

On the lighter side of medium bodied, darker than I normally expect – chocolate, ripe cherries and blackberries. Good acidic backbone and reasonable tannins.

At eleven bones for a magnum, you can't really argue with this. To my palate, cheap Italian wine are consistently solid for the price – they're typically reasonably well balanced with solid acid and funk to balance out the fruit. This one is no exception. If you want to buy a larger bottle to drink over a few days, this is certainly a decent option.

Wine: 6
Value: Yep

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2006 Moselland Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Erzeugerabfüllung Riesling Qualitatswein

Ah yes, the beloved cat bottle. This was $11 at World Market. What's interesting is that this appears to be a different wine than our previous cat wine. German bottles are known as being somewhat confusing, but this has no mention of Zeller as there was last time.

A fairly simple nose – some grapefruit notes for the most part.

More white grapefruit on the palate – quite acidic and a bit of sweetness makes this a fairly balanced though somewhat one-dimensional wine.

The finish is more of the same – grapefruit and lingering acid which makes the mouth water.

While not bad, at $11 for a 500ml bottle, it's hardly a good buy. There's nothing here to dislike – it's fine, but you're absolutely buying the bottle more than the wine.

Wine: 6
Value: No – unless you have a use for the bottle or are buying it as a gift for a cat lover.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2006 Chateau Chantal Proprietor's Reserve Trio

We visited this winery a few months ago and loved the grounds, but found the wine to be just alright. I remember liking this bottle which ran $20.

A bold nose with earth, mint, and eucalyptus notes and dare I say a splash of Cherry Pepsi?

Damn – this is solid. Obviously all the Michigan wines we've reviewed are positive because we went to the tasting rooms and bought what we liked, but I don't remember digging this one so much. Cola, sassafras, earth, cherry, and menthol. Excellent acidic structure makes this beg for food, but then you almost don't want to eat anything as it'll ruin everything going on.

More of that cherry cola on the finish.

See, when I taste cola in a wine it automatically works its way up my scale – but even without it, this would still be an excellent one. I assumed this would be good when I opened it, but I have to say I'm pretty much shocked how much this rocks.

Wine: 8.5
Value: Yes

Thursday, January 22, 2009

N/V Asotria Lounge Prosecco

We haven't had luck with Proseccco - including several that are highly rated and respected, which leads me to believe that, like most Chardonnay, it's just not our style. So, why are we drinking this? Well, it's been about a year, our palates have changed, and I got swanky new Champagne glasses so I'm hoping for a surprise with this eight dollar bottle.

The nose has some bubble gum notes. There's some Japanese gum you can get at most Asian groceries – it's a collection of seven flavors – orange, grape, melon, strawberry, peach, green apple, and a seventh that has a frog on it, but no assigned “flavor” (that I can tell). This smells like that mystery gum flavor.

Light bodied, crisp, pineapple, just a tad bit sweet, but nothing cloying.

A slightly bitter finish with some lingering tropical notes.

I'm still not a fan of Prosecco, and I don't see buying another one anytime soon, but this isn't all that bad. It's fine, if you are into this sort of thing, then it's certainly worth your while. Personally, I recommend you hunt down that Japanese gum before grabbing a bottle of this.

Wine: 6
Value: Pass

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2006 Reserve Perrin Cotes du Rhone

This was eight bucks at Costco – a Cotes du Rhone with a screwcap? Hmmm. Why not?

Plum on the nose.

Tobacco, cedar, cherry – a bit short on acid – but overall not bad at all. As it opens, more strawberry comes through as well as some plum.

More strawberries on the nose and that's really about it.

Simple, but not at all bad and a nice value.

Wine: 7
Value: Yes

Monday, January 19, 2009

2005 Les Caves Joseph Bordeaux Rouge

I bought a bunch of cheap 2005 Bordeaux a while back and have been slowly hitting them. This one was seven bucks.

The big thing on the nose here is cinnamon.

Earthy, spicy, dirty, funky – some cherries as well, but this is a dirty, filthy wine with good acid and nice, velveting tannins. The fruit comes through as the bottle opens, but so does a strong, freshly tanned leather quality. I feel like I'm chewing on a leather jacket.

Dried spices linger on the finish – from the dark brown cinnamon and clove to the green oregano and basil.

Well - I'm in a phase where something be a bit too earthy is more forgivable than something too fruity. This certainly isn't great but for seven bucks who can complain?

Wine: 7
Value: Yes

Sunday, January 18, 2009

N/V Lynfred Winery American Sparkling Wine

This was twenty-five big ones, which is a fair amount, but it's important to support local business. Unfortunately...

Some interesting melon notes on the nose.

More melon notes on the finish, but the whole thing just tastes artificial, walking very close to the line of unpleasant, but not quite making it. There's that fake sugar – aspartame – quality not to mention an unpleasant oiliness.

Some tropical notes, almost some kiwi flavors, come through on the finish.

Part of me feels bad even writing this, but this winery is established enough to take it – if they keep up the work and start refining their sparkling wine products, there's potential. Lynfred makes some good products – we'll be reviewing a shockingly good ten dollar bottle from them in the coming weeks – but this is a giant miss.

Wine: 3.5
Value: No

Friday, January 16, 2009

2007 Mollydooker The Scooter Merlot

Alrighty, Mollydooker's Merlot offering. It's freezing out, so a gigantic, alcohol fueled wine seemed like it would fit the bill – the going rate for this one is about $25.

A big fat nose – almost like a blueberry infused brandy. Giant alcohol, black fruit, and licorice.

A big fat palate – blackberry, big fuzzy tannins, almost a cough syrup like quality – just gigantic and somewhat dumb, there is a fortified sort of quality, just a big alcoholic burn. Unpleasant on a warm day, but sitting in a drafty apartment when it's literally ten below zero – it does hit the spot nicely. This is the sort of bottle you'll want to let open for several hours – some nice oak and vanilla notes come through after a few hours,

A big fat finish – cinnamon, clove, and an array of miscellaneous dried green spices all with loads of Twizzlers.

I liked The Boxer a lot – I don't mind over the top wines, but there's a fine line between huge and ridiculous. I can't say this one works for me.

Wine: 6
Value: No

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2007 Two Lads Winery Off Dry Pinot Grigio

I've been sitting on this one for a while. We visited this winery over the summer and loved it – so much so that we'll most likely be heading back to the area with the intent of visiting these guys, L. Mawby, and the Bad Dog Deli – anything else we hit will be nothing more than gravy.

A mildly peachy nose with nectarines and a bit of green apple.

Fantastic – this is definitely off dry, the sweetness is present throughout but there's enough acid to balance it out. Loads of peach, red apple, a bit of spice – serve this to me blind, I'd probably guess this to be a Gewürztraminer.

Spicy peach pie filling on the finish.

The depth, my friends, the depth. I wrote not long ago that another Michigan Pinot Grigio made by Left Foot Charley was my favorite PG ever – this is a close second. Pinot Grigio from Michigan - who would've known?

Wine: 9
Value: Hell yes

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2007 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay

You can snag this one for about $15 at most places, but I saw it at $13 at our local Costco.

Pineapple on the nose.

Thick, actually rather sweet, not much acid, a bit buttery with a bit of vanilla hanging out. It's not bad – this is one of those things, for a "white wine" I don't really care for it, but as a "Chardonnay" is awesome. It's big and one-dimensional but it's tasty enough.

Pineapple ice cream on the finish.

I respect this wine, but I can't say I care for it. It's a bit too rich, too buttery, too sweet, and too flabby for me to really dig it.

Wine: 5.5
Value: Not our style, but it's well made and at the very least worth a “Pass.”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

N/V(?) Free Run Cellars Union

This wine intrigued me at the tasting room and thus I felt compelled to grab a bottle for about eighteen bones.

Funky garbage and carob on the nose.

Very Italian like on the palate – very much like a Chianti. Less intriguing than I remember, though by no means bad – in fact, this is pretty damn good if you're into Tuscan style wines. Tart, slightly sweet strawberry, loads of acid, and some earthy, chocolatey notes.

Chocolate, cigar box, tobacco, and cherry on the finish.

I remember this being far more unique in the tasting room – perhaps it was a different batch or the bottle had been open a while. For eighteen dollars, this definitely isn't a strong value, but it's still a perfectly good wine that I'd give the go ahead to someone who enjoys Tuscan style wines but wants something a bit different.

Wine: 7
Value: Pass

Friday, January 09, 2009

N/V Patratki Greek Rose

So....we've never reviewed a Greek wine, and we recently enjoyed a dinner at a Greek restaurant where we had a nice rose. I decided to snag a bottle of this for kicks for eight bones.

Man, I struggled with this one's nose, but I finally got it. Grapes – like the skins of red seedless grapes you get at the Jewels.

Simple and quaffable – honestly....this wine is a decent thing to just drink but now that I sit and really think about it, I can't place's definitely wine. There's some alcohol and there's some mild tannins, but I can't say there's anything else. Maybe strawberry? I'm reaching.

A bit of citrus acid lingers on the finish – it doesn't taste like anything in particular, just a vaguely citric quality.

Well, there's nothing wrong here but there's nothing really here. This would be fine with something extremely spicy to wash down, mainly because a good quality rose would almost be wasted. I don't know – consume this like water isn't a ringing endorsement, but what can I tell you?

Wine: 6
Value: Pass

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2007 Colombelle Vin de Des Cotes de Gascogne

This was six bucks at Costco.

A fairly strong nose – orange, vanilla, and lemon with loads of floral notes.

Peach, pineapple, grapefruit, and a bit of spice with some lime zest.

Maybe some floral notes on the finish, but it's pretty mild.

This tastes like it could be a blend of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc but is apparently a blend of two less popular grapes – Colombard and Ugni Blanc. All this being said, while this is a fairly well structured wine, especially at the price, the combination of flavors here simply doesn't work for me. I'll rate this fairly highly because for six bones, the complexity is good -

Wine: 6
Value: Yes

Monday, January 05, 2009

2006 Pillar Box Red

I wasn't thrilled with the 2005, but for ten bones I snagged a bottle of this.

Ripe plums, leather, and some raw hamburger – maybe a blood quality - on the nose here. Did some get caught in the harvesting machine? Do they have harvesting machines? I don't think so, but now I wonder.

A fuzzy feel – cinnamon, cedar, cigar box – with some super ripe cherries and plums, less pure fruit, more jam on this – blackberry and even a bit of blueberry. I recall the 2005 having a harsh sort of burn which is not present here at all. There's some green olives hanging out in here too along with some chocolate – it all works though.

Some green spices seem to come through on the finish – dried Italian spice with some anise and a punch of black pepper.

Do note, this bottle has a ton of sediment. Keep it upright for a day or two before serving and pour slowly.

At ten bucks, it's hard to complain – in fact, this is pretty damn solid. This is definitely one of those gigantic Australian reds, so if that's your style this is certainly worth your time.

Wine: 7.5
Value: Yes

Sunday, January 04, 2009

N/V Incanto Rose Vino Frizzante

This was something I saw at Trader Joe's – I sadly don't recall the price but it wasn't more than seven bucks.

A mild nose, with just a bit of candied apple.

This is a slightly carbonated wine – it has a regular cork that requires a corkscrew, but it makes a pop noise when you open it. There's no real stream of bubbles – just some hanging on the side of the glass. The bubbles give it a very interesting mouthfeel – it's not quite fizzy, but you definitely feel it. Red apple and a few toasty notes and that's it. If it didn't have the fizz, I'd probably call this quite boring but it adds a layer to make it interesting.

I get some strawberry seeds on the finsh.

This is an extremely simple wine – very little is going on – but the bubbles give it a bit of depth, and there's nothing funky or unpleasant going on. For this pricepoint, that's not bad at all.

Wine: 6
Value: Yes

Saturday, January 03, 2009

N/V Gloria Ferrer Brut Sparkling Wine

I used to only see this at wine shops, but lately I've been seeing it at grocery stores – frequently on sale for as low as $13.

A fairly large, yeasty nose with all sorts of lemon.

The palate here is solid and bold – loads of light berry notes, some lime, and tart green apple. The palate is large but the mouthfeel is light and crisp, fruity and ultimately quite dry.

Lemon and lime, both juice and zest, linger on the palate.

I feel fairly strongly that this is the best sparkling wine for under $15 out there – especially in wide distribution. It's better than most things closer to $20 and even some of the more basic level Champagnes.

Wine: 8.5
Value: Hell yes

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2005 Girard Petite Sirah

I've been sitting on this a while, at the $25 pricetag I figured I'd save it for a special day – like New Year's Eve.

A bit of licorice – both cherry and black – on the nose with some cinnamon notes.

I don't normally comment on color, but this wine is ridiculously dark – purple/black – do yourself a favor and don't spill this one. Bold but not over the top – a nice balance overall. Black fruit – blackberry, black plums, dark black cherries – dominate. Some nice vanilla notes plus some interesting herbal qualities. The tannins are present and give some nice depth but are very well integrated. As the bottle opens I seem to think blueberry takes over.

Blueberry and some spices stick around on the finish – a bit of clove and perhaps some tobacco.

A solid wine – I rated this higher but the more I drink it and think about it, the more I think it's just a tad simple – if a big, bold, yet smooth wine sounds like your thing, this is certainly worth it.

Wine: 8
Value: Yes