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Saturday, January 29, 2011

2009 Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc

Medium bodied and loads of flavor.  Melon and floral aromas with lemon lime and a touch of spicy pepper.  Crisp and creamy, there are plenty of citrus fruits in the glass with some kiwi and mild melon that provide for an aromatic and very nice finish.  This wine will continue to develop for a few years, so buy a couple of bottles and see the difference now and then.  Great stuff here!

Score:  92

2009 Lucky Star Chardonnay

What I enjoy so much about reviewing wines is finding a gem that literally everyone can afford.  The Lucky Star Chardonnay is an example of that.  For under $10 US you get a crisp and clean California Chardonnay that provides a great nose of pear, citrus fruits and honeydew.  The flavors are spicy stone fruits with a full body feel and a nice medium finish.  Consistently good and tasted two separate bottles.  Drink within 12 months.

Score:  88

2008 Babcock Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

Wonderful example of a dry Chardonnay with loads of flavor.  Green apple, lemon and melon in the glass with a stoney minerality that blends well with the fruit for a nice crisp long finish.  And you will love the price tag at around $20 US and the fact that this wine should drink well for another 5 years.  Despite the crisp edge of this wine it is very creamy and juicy and everything just meshes so well together.

Score:  90

NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Carneros Sparkling

Made from mostly Pinot Noir grapes, you get a bargain priced delicious sparkling wine here.  Pleasant nose of black cherry, yeast and strawberry with great small bubbles.  Crisp, yet creamy flavors of vanilla, cherry and lemon zest provide a finish that is a real palate pleaser.  Retail on this beauty is $24 US but you can generally find it under $20 at many retailers.  Best to drink before the end of 2012 to get the most enjoyment out of it. 

Score:  91

Friday, January 28, 2011

2008 Cameron Hughes Lot 197 Napa Valley Merlot

Wow, did this wine put a smile on my face!  This is a prime example of a fantastic wine at an amazing price.  Ok, enough adjectives?  Well hopefully you get the picture here.  I couldn't be more happy that I stumbled across Cameron Hughes awhile back, and I've loved everything of theirs I've tasted so far.  Very dark in the glass, this Merlot has a bold and chewy feel in the mouth.  Raspberry, oak and spices on the nose.  In the mouth are more fruit forward raspberries, black cherries, chocolate covered coffee beans and leather.  The tannins are surprisingly soft and this wine will keep pulling you back in for more.  The ABV is over 15% but the layered tastes keep the alcohol well in check.  I can't stress enough how you need to get this wine if you like bolder wines with flavor.  And you can find it on their web site for only $12 US.  Just wonderful stuff here and it will drink nicely for several years.

Score:  93

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2007 Ceja Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir

Dark, rich and chewy is the best way to describe this mouth watering Pinot Noir.  You get a potpourri of black cherry, plum, a hint of violet and spice in the nose.  The palate is forward with cherry, plum, sandalwood, spices and dried herb with medium oak.  This is just a wonderful wine with layers of flavor and soft tannins that provide a silky smooth finish.  Wow!

Score:  93

2007 Justin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

Great distinct flavors and aromas in this dark red wine.  Plum, cherry spice, leather and mossy toasted oak on the nose.  Forward cherry fruit and the soft tannins combine with rose petal and and juicy plum for a memorable and enjoyable finish.  Drink easily for the next 5 years.  Very tasty and you'd swear this is under-priced by the old-world charm it produces.  I like it a lot!

Score:  90

2008 Kingston Vineyards Lucero Syrah

Medium to dark purple and lots of smoky meat, peppr and cinnamon on the nose.  Very elegant and full in the mouth with peppered game meat, blueberry and more of the cinnamon on the medium long finish.  A real fun wine to drink, and will be in its prime for another 4 -5 years easily.

Score:  92

2008 2 Up Shiraz

Medium ruby red color and a little muted on the nose at first.  With air introduction there is a good amount of plum and loads of blueberry with cinammon and oak.  Very mild tannin and a short to medium finish.

Score:  86

Monday, January 24, 2011

2008 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Williamette Valley

I love Oregon Pinot Noir.  And this wine is a fine example of a lovely Pinot Noir - great taste and a fair value.  The folks make handcrafted wines without the handcrafted price.  Dark red color with black cherry, violet and some raspberry.  You might think this is closed at first, but a little air introduction opens this up to a full mouth but light feeling medium fruity wine.  A bit of earthiness and herbs also come through with the swirling.  I've tasted three vintages of this Pinot Noir now and this is my favorite.  This is drinking very nicely now, but another 2 -3 years will bring out more flavor. 

Score:  91

1997 Sandeman Vau Vintage Port

Lovely dark purple color and very full bodied.  Medium sweetness of lush berry, cherry and dried flowers in the glass.  Towards the end, light chocolate, and dusty cedar come to the light with moderate tannins and little heat.  Elegant and approachable now or worth cellaring for another 10 years.  If drinking now, decanting is recommended to remove the sediment and maintain a clear and colorful wine.

Score:  92

2007 d'Arenberg Lucky Lizard Chardonnay

Very concentrated flavor of soft yellow apples and whipping cream.  Just the right amount of oak with vanilla and a toasted wheat flavor round this out for a very tasty and medium crip finish.  d'Arenberg has made fantastic red wines for decades.  This white wine is a fine example of their ability to hand craft all varietals.  And they have a price point for every budget.  Hope to see other vintages of this Chardonnay and taste other white wines from them.  Recommend drinking this over the next 3 years for best enjoyment.

Score:  91

2008 Casa Lapostolle Merlot

I like a Merlot you can pop and pour.  This dark red Merlot has a moderate amount of oak and very light rounded tannins that allow for a great drinking experience, despite the youth of this wine.  Forward red fruit combines with dried tea and rosemary, plum and chocolate for a tasty and easy drinking wine.  This high production wine should still be readily available at online retailers.

Score:  93

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NV Hope Family Wines Westside Red Troublemaker

Wow, now this is some fun wine!  Dark red in color, there's a bunch of smoky oak and bright fruit that fills your mouth with a full mouth-watering blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache grapes and makes you laugh because it just tastes so darn good.  Bold, bright, clean and flavorful is how this wine feels in your mouth.  The spice of the Syrah is kept balanced by the Mourvedre and Grenache influences here.  The finish has a earthy, medium spicy and chocolate undertone.  This wine is around $20 US and is a lot of fun to drink!

Score:  91

2008 Trust Cellars Syrah

Dark and very fragrant, this Washington Syrah is full of ripe dark berries, roasted game meat, mocha and wonderful earthiness.  This is 100% Syrah here folks, so it is bold and packs a powerful punch.  Lots of spice and dark fruit on the nose, and you get a finish that goes on forever.  Drink this one now or put it away for a couple of years.  Either way this is a unique and great wine.

Score:  91

2008 Kennedy Shah Auntie Meredith's Picnic Blend

I like the hip looking modern art label on this wine and I'm guessing that was part of the attraction when this was purchased.  If you like Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier or Gewurztraminer, you're going to enjoy this wine.  This is a Chardonnay and Muscat blend with a very refreshing and approachable 12.6% alcohol content.  I love the creamy ripe pears, wildflowers and raw nuttiness you get in this wine.  Bright, sweet and refreshing and only $20 US from the winery.

Score:  88

2008 Bookwalter Winery Foreshadow Merlot

What you get here is a Cult-style wine without the outrageous prices.  Retail on this nearly black beauty is around $40 US.  That's an incredibly fair price to pay for what you get in the bottle.  Once you open and taste this, it is clear that you're getting some of the best Merlot from Washington State.  You can't help but to keep swirling and smelling this wine as you go, even several times before the initial taste.  Sweet fruit dominates the nose, lifting blueberry, plums, milk chocolate and some dried herb.  Medium sweet on the palate with blueberry, blackberry, cooked plum, shale and spices.  Incredibly layered Merlot with a very long finish.  This wine is young and delicious and will drink well for another 7 - 10 years.

Score:  94

2007 Ash Hollow Headless Red

In addition to a great tasting wine, this label will catch your eye.  I love the fact that Ash Hollow added a unique label that has appeal on the shelf.  Small in production, your best bet is to purchase this direct from the winery.  And you'll be glad you did.  Dark Cabernet Sauvignon with Petite Verdot blended in, the cherry and black raspberry flavors combine with some black olive, medium spice and damp earth.  A wonderful medium oak flavor rounds out this well balanced and mouth watering wine.  Drink now and for the next 4 years for the best enjoyment.

Score:  92

2007 Ash Hollow Dry Gewurztraminer Columbia Valley

Nice example of a Columbia Valley dry Gewurztraminer in this lemonade colored wine.  Powerful tropical fruits, with a concentration on sweet and spicy lemons, brown sugar and a flutter of dried peaches.  Creamy and crisp, this wine is a steal and you will love it!  Long lingering finish.

Score:  91

2008 Wakefield Promised Land Riesling

Drinking beautifully right now!  A hint of green against a pale yellow in the glass, the floral characteristics are almost masked by the vibrant citrus aromas.  Once in the glass and swirled, those floral notes become more evident and welcoming.  Lots of citrus in the glass - lemon, lime, orange and a hint of tangerine all balanced very well and leaving a crisp edgy finish.  This is an every day Riesling you will be proud to serve to company, and the crisp citrus taste will pair with a wide variety of foods.  I do wish this was more readily available in the midwest because the price is fantastic around $12 US per bottle.

Score:  90

2008 Wakefield Estate Chardonnay

If you're looking for a different Chardonnay than what you're used to, check around online to find this gem.  Suggested retail is $17 US, but I've found it for considerably less at select online wine merchants.  You should chill this well and drink it now.  As it sits in the glass, the roasted nuts form a union with pear, peach, pineapple and honeysuckle in this sweet and supple wine.  I wish I had more. 

Score:  89

2008 Joseph Jewell Redwood Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

A great thing about most Sauvignon Blanc wines (other than their taste of course) is their price.  This is a stellar example of a top shelf Sauvignon Blanc, and one you should buy.  There.  I said it.  Go buy this wine!  When you put this in your mouth, it feels so lively and fresh that you are hesitant to swallow it because you want to savor the feel.  But once you do taste this, you get a dance of pink and white grapefruit, a lemon lime zest, wet mineral, graphite, honeysuckle and flowers.  Expertly made and the suggested retail on this wine is under $25 US.  I don't know what the production is on this wine, but I'd get it now with spring just around the corner.  You might scoff at the high score, but this wine is more than deserving!  Amazing.

Score:  94

2009 Hall Sauvignon Blanc

I feel like a lot of people don't understand or under appreciate Sauvignon Blanc.  Lets face it, if you get a bad one, that might be your first and only impression of this refreshing and crisp wine.  But if you haven't visited Sauvignon Blanc before, or if you're looking to give it another chance, the 2009 Hall Sauvignon Blanc might be just the wine to change your opinion.  Wonderfully rich and textured, this dry wine gives you a lot - citrus, tropical fruit, fig, mineral and vanilla.  Powerful and refreshing, this will pair great with grilled seafood.  Find this one now for your 2011 spring and summer deck parties.

Score:  92

2007 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain

Classic Cabernet in color and flavor.  A blend of blackberry, smoky oak, black currant and spice combine with an earthy minerality tha makes for a very firm and lingering finish.  Strong tannins suggest that you should consider decanting if you're going to drink it now.  This will probably be at it's peak in a few more years, but it is very tasty now and a wonderfully structured wine.  You can find this under $30 online and it should be considered a bargain at that price.

Score:  91