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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2003 Odfjell Cabernet Sauvignon Armador

Medium crimson hue with a pleasant herb aroma. Bursting with over ripe black cherries and an undertone of dried herbs and toast. Unlike any Cabernet I've ever tried. It literally tastes like cherry pie filling, and the medium finish falls flat throughout the rest of the glass.
Buy It? Not now. The 2003 vintage is well beyond the ideal drinking window. But if you can find a later vintage, then Yes.

Score: 86

2004 Veramonte Primus

Nose was weak initially. Deep ruby color. After some time in the glass it was time to get down to business. I think the initial lack of aroma was because I was in the Cab mindset instead of the Merlot/Cab/Carmenere setting. The Carmenere mellows this wine and keeps it smooth with subtle dark fruit and vanilla. Silky with just enough tannins to suggest that this might last another 4-5 years. I picked these bottles up for a song and consider this a great daily drinker.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 88

2002 Marquis Philips Shiraz

Very fumey at first, so I decanted for about 35 minutes in the glass. Presented with dark inky purple color and the decanting helped a bit. On the nose was strong raspberry, plum, pepper, game and tomato. Suprisingly straightforward, not complex but a medium lingering finish. I'm afraid this one is towards the end of its window and I'm glad I drank it now. The finish presented with too much heat, a bit overbearing for this Shiraz. I'm a fan of Marquis Phillips AND Shiraz, but this didn't work for me. Again, I should have drank this when I first purchased it, which would have been more fair for thie wine and myself. I picked this up for next to nothing so it was worth it overall.

Buy It? Yes, if you can get it for a steal like I did.

Score: 84

2005 Wishing Tree Shiraz

Little nose but opened up with dark fruit and berry flavor with the faintest chocolate and pepper underlying trace. Dark garnet color and a bit rough around the edges. Overall a good QPR but I prefer the 2004 vintage. Nothing to be ashamed of here.

Buy It? Yes, but look for a 2004 vintage or anything after 2006.

Score: 84

2004 Marquis Philips Cabernet Sauvignon

Decanted for about 90 minutes. Strong nose of blackberry and dark plums. On the palate the blackberry continued with a soft but noticeable white pepper dusting, as well as some cedar and herbs. Dark purple throughout. Medium finish.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 87

2004 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir Marlborough

Thin on appearance and virtually no nose at first. After decanting noticed some wet straw and earth on the nose and an overwhelming tart cherry and cranberry palate. Not my favorite, but later vintages have been very very good.

Buy It: Yes, buy any 2005 and later vintage.

2003 Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico Chianti Colli Senesi Torri Riserva

Fumey at first, but softened up nicely after decanting for 1 hour. Very earthly with hints of mushroom and chocolate. Finish lasted for minutes and I was impressed with this, especially given the incredibly low price tag.
Buy It? Yes

Score: 87

N.V. Taylor (Fladgate) Porto First Estate

Finished my chocoloate fondue with this port. Wow - quite disappointed. There was little on the palate, too thin for my liking. Almost watered-down taste. The finish was surprisingly long, but I couldn't place it. Too bad.

Buy It? Yes! This may surprise you, but I think this particular glass was from a bottle that had over-extended its life in the cellar of the restaurant.

2001 Lockwood Merlot

Thin on appearance but cherry and dark berry aroma. Tastes of sweet cherry and a tinge of asparagus. Not bad but a little overly fruity. Worth the few bucks I paid.

Buy It? Sure.

Score: 83

2002 Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

This wine is wrapped around cherry with a vanilla background. Very simple, straight forward wine with alsmost no finish. I enjoyed the medium weight, but was upset at myself for not holding off another 3-5+ years before taking this from the cellar. In a couple of years this wine will have a lot to show us I am sure. I am going to shop for more in hopes of better things during the next decade.
Buy It? Yes. But you won't find this at retail.

Score: 87

2000 Château Marsau Prelude

A tinge thin, but this wine presented with a combination of blackberries, licorice and a very floral finish. Good QPR
Buy It? Yes, but you better drink it NOW.

Score: 85

2006 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Couldn't believe this was the same wine I drank nearly 6 months ago. Grapefruit and slighest melon flavor against a very pale yellow color. Wonderful crisp finish and a great value. You can find this at many major retailers (different vintages now of course). Serve well chilled.

Buy It? Yes, but this vintage isn't available at retail. You won't go wrong with any vintage of this great wine!

Score: 91

2002 Yalumba The Signature

Gorgeous deep ruby red color and an initial nose of tomatoes, light pepper and plum. After an hour of decanting, this wonderfully entertaining wine turned to dark cherries, smoked pipe tobacco, and a trace of tanned leather. On the palate this wine danced around and the tastes intertwined like a well played symphony. There is nothing thin or weak about this wine, and the finish is as smooth as glass. I'm absolutely thrilled with this wine and equally thrilled that I bought half a case. Can't wait to see how this develops in the next 2 years - one of the closest things I've had to a perfect wine.

Buy It? YES! This is a favorite wine of the Midwest Wine Guy!

Score: 94

2001 Domaine de Ferrand Châteauneuf-du-Pape

This wine is showing much potential, but don't get over-eager like I did. WAIT! A couple more years should show a completely different side of this potentially outstanding wine. Right now there is some wonderful dampness, wet straw and minerality coming through the dark fruit, but it is very very young. Can't wait to re-visit this in the future.

Buy It? Yes, but hold onto it a few years before you drink it!

Score: 89

N.V. Simmons Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Huge fruit bomb and very tough to drink as this wine is incredibly tight and curls the tongue. I'll write this off as a lesson learned. Not a horrible wine, but not worth the $20 price tag by a long shot. Most Hoosiers seem to like their wines sweet which may be why Simmons made this one that way. But I don't want a sweet Cabernet.

Buy It? If you like a sweet Cabernet, go for it.

N.V. Yalumba Muscat Museum Release

Yalumba is one of my favorite producers hands down. They consistently produce top quality wines and this one is no exception. Very rich and smooth evening topper with caramel, molasses and background of apricot. Slightly sweeter than I had anticipated but overall well worth stocking a few extra bottles in the cellar. Will try this chilled next time.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 91

2006 Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino

Very comparable to Sauvignon Blanc with the initial tasting. Pleasing nose with fruit and crispness. Overall very thin and not worth a second look. Lacks great appeal.
Buy It? Pass

N.V. Grant Burge 10 Year Old Tawny

Have been enjoying this wine for over a week and find it hard to put down. This amber port is sweet and nutty, with vanilla and fig undertones. Throughout the week this port actually seemed to get sweeter, but I didn't mind for the warmth it left me with. This is quite a good buy for the price. This will keep me warm on cold nights!
Buy It? Yes

Score: 89

N.V. Graham Porto 20-year Tawny

I was very excited to try this port I've heard so much about, so I had a glass after a full course fondue meal, including chocolate fondue for the finale. The port presented with a sweet caramel and ever so mild nutty flavor, but not overbearing or overly complex. Hints of cinnamon were laced throughout, especially during the first few sips. While this port does impress, there are many others out there that would compare at a fraction of the cost. Very good.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 88

N.V. Fonseca Porto Bin 27

Bought a bottle while on vacation in AZ and consumed over the course of a week. This crimson colored port was a bit warm, but not overly hot. A perfect night cap and not overly complex.

Buy It? Yes. I'm a fan.

Score: 86

N.V. John Harvey & Sons Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Bristol Cream

This flavorful sherry ended a pasta and cheesecake meal and was right on target. Very very smooth! I don't honestly remember a lot about this wine other than 1) It was good and 2) I haven't seen it in any restaurant since that night!

Buy It? Sure, but can you find it?

N.V. R.L. Buller & Son Tawny Port

An incredible find for the price. Burnt apricot color with a smooth sweet feel and light bouquet. Not an overbearing port, but well worth the drink!
Buy It? Yes, and share it on a cool evening.

Score: 90

2006 Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red

The 2006 vintage does not disappoint. Very comparable to the 2005 vintage and a real crowd pleaser! YES, I realize this isn't much of a description. But you may remember that the 2005 vintage got the Midwest Wine Guy Award of Distinction! All I can tell you is -

Buy It? Without a Doubt

Score: 87

2004 Marquis Philips Cabernet Sauvignon

At first I found this wine to be a bit unremarkable, so I let it decant for an hour. Not an overwhelming Cab, but velvety smooth and a pleasant nose of berry and sweet smoke. The sweet berry and herb overtones combine with just a lace of pepper and cedar. Not a long finish but a good QPR. Nothing to be ashamed of in serving this wine. Pleased.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 85

2003 Arnold Palmer Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

Slightly thin in color and taste, but I got what I was expecting. Cherry pie and milk chocoloate on the nose and palate. Smooth feel but little finish. Could be a weekly drinker for the budget-minded Cabbie.
Buy It? Yes, but wouldn't rush right out to get it.

Score: 84

N.V. Sokol Blosser Evolution 11th Edition

Couldn't wait to uncork this bottle after chilling for several hours. We have a WINNER! Very proud of myself for buying nearly a case (to start) and will enjoy drinking this through the summer months. There isn't much this wine won't pair with. Incredibly crisp with a finish that lingers. A new favorite in our house - for the white and red drinker! Since the original taste, The Midwest Wine Guy has tasted this over and over again. This is one of my all around favorite wines of all time!

Buy It? Yes! Absolutely! Without a Doubt!

Score: 88

This is a great wine to purchase at the Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant. It works so well with every course. You won't be disappointed.

2006 Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

After the Goldwing Merlot I attempted to choke down earlier this evening, I had to get something - anything - to cleanse my palate and help me enjoy my mid-week evening. I had actually been avoiding this wine like an old girlfiriend, but it kept popping up in the cellar. I have several friends who buy this Cab, confident it is the $5.99 price tag they're attracted to, without caring about 'good wine'. So I pop open this bottle and the nose was nothing remarkable, yet at the same time, not offensive. Tastes like a very young wine (obviously) but there was a nice hint of brown sugar, wet earth.............and was that...............clove?? I wouldn't mind having this at the barbeque or as an almost-daily drinker, as long as it gets some time under its belt. I would like to try this again in about a year and a half. For a very inexpensive wine, it has some potential. Stable but a bit thin. Later vintages have proved much tastier and this is a great all around inexpensive wine.

Buy It? Yes. Great informal party wine for the price!

2003 Goldwing Merlot Columbia Valley

I'm going to have to mark this down as a hard lesson learned. When I started buying wine for my cellar I found a 'great deal' on 6 bottles of this Merlot at an online wine auction. I literally bought this knowing nothing (at the time) about Merlot - or wine at all for the most part. I wanted to fill my cellar quickly.........and that is exactly why I now use PATIENCE and KNOWLEDGE when purchasing wine. I'm embarrassed to say that I can't even find any information about this winery anymore. Maybe they have done all of us a favor and sold out! This wine nearly knocked me over upon opening. I let it breathe for about 40 minutes before pouring a glass. The prominent alcohol fume (15% in this bottle) was enough to probably keep my car running for a week. I just have NOTHING good to say about this wine. I try to remain objective and keep an open mind when scoring wine, but I just have nothing for this Goldwing Merlot. The tanins were incredibly sharp and my head was on fire when I finally drank (almost) the remainder of the glass. The rest of the bottle? Down the drain. I'm even more embarrassed to say that I have more of this in the cellar. looks pretty sitting there.
Buy It? No

2005 Chateau Andreá Cabernet Sauvignon

What a surprise. I felt like I had opened up a great toy on Christmas morning. To be honest with you I orginally pulled this from my cellar to get it out of there and make room for good wine. Wow! I'm putting my foot in my mouth. This wine had a very strong boquet upon uncorking. Dary inky purple colors added to the incredibly explosive fruit taste, dominant with blackberry and a secondary strawberry and pepper flavor. This wine was a bit tight still, but definitely worth the price. Who knew a wine club could pick such a favorful wine that would leave me wanting more? Very very pleased with this wine and hope the tanins soften up with time. The real test will be whether or not I can hold off on the other bottles that long OR whether or not I can get more of this other than at the wine club. Try it - you won't be disappointed!

Buy It? This was a wine club selection.

Score: 89 (Yes, 89 for a wine club selection - can you believe it?)

2003 Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

I love everything Sterling. I really do. I haven't had a bad bottle from them and I hold onto them like a two year old with a favorite blanky. This particular bottle was nothing extraordinary, but the fruit flavors came through. Wish I had held off drinking this for another 12+ months. Would drink again. I blame myself for drinking this too early.

Buy It? Yes. It's probably ready to drink now.

2004 Wishing Tree Shiraz

You might be starting to notice a trend here. I love Shiraz, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. While they are my favorite varietals, I really do enjoy all types of wine. Ok, I don't care for Sake. This wine has rich fruit flavor and a pepper accent. Great from the first taste to the last drop. Going to get more of this and enjoy it this summer. Strong finish. Love this wine and it will love you back. Delicious AND affordable!

Buy It? Yes, yes, yes!

Score: 89

This wine receives the Midwest Wine Guy Award of Distinction because of its flavor, availability and price!

2005 Sutter Home Winery White Zinfandel California

Everybody and their brother makes a White Zinfandel, don't they? For the most part they all taste the same. Don't get me wrong -that's not a bad thing for those who love the stuff. This wine was pleasant and tasted like everyone else's White Zin. A nice alternative for the sweet tooth in you.

Buy It? Sure. Or any other White Zin from a mass producer.

2005 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese Terre degli Osci IGT

Opened last night and found absolutely nothing on the nose - NOTHING. Decided to re-visit this tonight and I can find some faint charm in this wine. Was unpleasantly surprised by the overwhelming mineral taste resonating throughout. Not a terrible wine, but have tasted many other $10 bottles that would keep this one sitting on the cellar shelf.
Buy It? See Above!

2004 Burley Fox Shiraz

Strong fruit flavors but a little bitter at first taste. Decanted and re-visited after about 90 minutes and it softened up. Still a young wine that will be re-visited over the next 12-18 months. If you're looking for an Aussie with a great nose, this is it!
Buy It? Yes

Score: 84 (Tasted when it was VERY young).

2004 Valentin Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon Famiglia Bianchi

From Argentina. Not a strong nose, but pleasant. The initial taste was very good, with a hanging flavor of maple and just a hint of pepper. I really enjoy this wine and would consider it an every day drinker, but one you could serve family and friends with a fine dinner or a cigar on the back deck. The finish was long and kept me wanting more. Great!

Buy It? Absolutely

Score: 88

2003 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Estates

The nose offered little, but very tasty. Color was good, and I was a bit sad when I was at the end of the bottle. These Washington wines provide an exceptional smoothness that is hard to find in some young Cabernets. I liked this so much I went out and bought a case!

Buy It? Yes

Score: 86

2002 Erik Banti Morellino di Scansano

This is the second bottle I consumed. The first was just before Christmas 2006. What a difference. This bottle fumed of alcohol when opening, so I was a bit nervous. However, I did not find a high alcohol overkill - but rather all. This was probably one of the most boring wines I have tasted. Nothing remarkable at all. The previous bottle two months ago had flavor and body, but not this one. Sad to report that I actually poured this bottle down the drain. It might be a good 'late evening' bottle at a party where you're offering a variety - sneak it in on the not-picky-at-all red drinkers.
Buy It? Not me

Score: Lets just call this one "average".

2005 Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red

Opening provided nothing out of the ordingary and actually nothing that stood out dramatcially. HOWEVER...............found this to have a great fruit flavor and a finish that stayed with me for minutes and beyond. Did not notice an overwhelming alcohol like some people have talked about in other reviews. I'm going to buy a case next. I would definitley pour this for friends and would consider this a daily drinker. I would feel like I struck a bit 'o gold at under $9 a bottle too! Well done.

Buy It? Heck yes! Every vintage of this wine is delicious!

Score: 87

This wine gets the Midwest Wine Guy Award of Distinction for its flavor, availability and price!

2003 Turning Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Reserve

Very fruity for a Cabernet, maybe even a bit jammy. Very soft tanins but overall a very pleasant 'every day' drinker if you don't like a powerful wine. Very light, but really a nice change. Reminds me of a house wine from an Italian restaurant. I've tasted Casa LaPostolle that tasted very similar. I'll buy again and think you should to.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 86

2002 Jewel Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi

Pleasant on the nose but didn't follow through to the soul like I want a good Cab to do. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this wine, but it's just not a 90 pointer. I'll buy more and try again in a year or two.Opens with a smooth and mellow boquet but nothing that stood out. Let the wine open up for about an hour and went back to it. The taste was a noticeable grape and berry with very slight hint of leather. Finished with a caramel syrup and near-ripe melon and is very pleasing at the back of the throat. Too often many of the reds I've consumed have been overshadowed by the rude and bold alcohol taste, but not this Lodi. A good, fun, safe wine that any Cabernet lover will enjoy drinking.

Buy It? You bet!

Score: 88

2001 Kidron Shiraz

Very light boquet, but surprisingly pleasant during finish. First Kosher wine I have tasted and the wine popped a bit on the palate. Noticeable blackberry and blueberry with hints of brown sugar. I have to be completely honest and tell you that this works well with PIZZA of all things. Finished with a chocolate and the two paired well. This is one of the lesser bold wines I've had from Australia.

Buy It? Yes

Score: 82

2003 Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Had to breathe deeply 3-4 times to find the bouquet. Received this as a gift, so I was skeptical, yet committed to remain open minded. Color is even and relatively strong, very very light tanins, given the amount of glycerin on the sides of the glass. Weak on flavor. Good thing about these types of wines is that everyone can afford them and they are often a daily drinker.

Buy It? Yes, if you're looking for a good daily drinker.

Score: 82
Don't let the score discourage you. This is a solid "good" wine.

2003 Barrelstone Winery Barrelmaster's Red

The Barrelmaster's Red is a soft bodied, light boquet red that won't break the bank. After decanting, opens with a mellow aroma of milk chocolate, wet earth and mint. All of the tastes blend well when swirled and follow through to the end of the bottle. Pairs well with beef or any meat with a dark gravy. This Columbia Valley wine would be a great daily drinker that won't break the bank.

Buy It? Yes

Rating: 84

NV Kokopelli Wine-A-Rita

Ok, I'll admit that I tried this at a tasting because it was different - it is GREEN! I mean, this stuff is the same color of your favorite St Patrick's Day draft beer - bright green - and it tastes strongly like a margarita. Made exclusively by the Kokopelli Winery in Arizona. It is a great conversation piece and a cure for those who need something sweet and off the beaten path.

Buy It? Yes, if you can find it. I don't know if they still make it.

NV Oliver Winery Soft Red

My parents have always wanted to try red wine as it "looks like it would be so good". They also were under the impression that red wine tasted like grape juice, as they are NOT drinkers. They accidentally found this Oliver Soft Red (made here in Indiana) and were pleased. I have since purchased a couple of bottles to have when they are over, or if I'm up to something different. Made from CONCORD grapes, this wine compares to a sweet desert wine, and it touts a low 11% ABV, so you definitely taste the sweet grape flavor. There is little to no boquet, so don't try this if you're looking for a bold, powerful red. The name says it all - SOFT Red wine. Finishes like grape juice and is good with cheese and turkey sausage. A fun alternative and the best selling wine in Indiana. NV = Non Vintage. If you're ever through southern Indiana, stop by Oliver Winery for some tastings. It is a beautiful property!

Buy It? Yes! You can get this one for about $7 at most grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

2001 Reynolds Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a pleasant wine for a gathering of good friends on a chilly day or for ordering some pizza carry-out. Pleasant but not over-the-top in your face bold.

Buy It? This is a good wine to share with friends who don't necessarily drink wine but want to fit in with the crowd.

Rating: 84

2000 Indigo Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Have consumed several bottles of this full Cabernet now, and each bottle is more pleasing than the previous. Opens with a semi-bold boquet, which you can drink right after opening, although I prefer to allow it to open up for a bit. Swirling introduces the true body of the wine and allows for the black currant, dry earth and smoky flavors to develop correctly. For the money, this is an incredible buy! I am definitely placing a few of these in the cellar for future consumption. Anxious to see what another year or two does to do this Cali wine. I think Wine Enthusiast had originally rated this a a Best Buy wine too!

Buy it? YES!

Actually, you probably can't find this anymore but if you can it should still be drinking well.

Score: 89