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Saturday, February 19, 2011

2010 Hagafen Estate Bottled Napa Valley White Riesling Rancho Wieruszowski Vineyard

Pale straw color and crystal clear.  The nose has poached pear, mandarin orange and tropical fruit undertones.  In the glass is a complex and fruity combination of apricot, mango, peach and guava.  This wine has a very long, sweet and creamy finish and is a perfect accompaniment for many types of food or as an afternoon sipper when served well chilled.  Another fine example of an award winning wine from Hagafen and I'm glad I got to taste this new vintage.  Would love to re-visit this in a couple of years and explore the change.

Score:  93

2010 Brokenwood Semillon Hunter Valley

This fine example of a delicious Semillon is very pale golden in the glass with blue green hues.  Sweet grasses and lemon zest on the nose.  In the mouth is a very crisp flavor of sweet lime and apple pie with a bit of a lemon candy aftertaste.  This young wine is showing great zest and character now and should be re-visited over time to see how it ages.  I paired this with sushi and the combination was spot on.  This Semillon is a great food wine or afternoon sipper at only 12% ABV and a suggested retail price of $20 US. 

Score:  92

You can purchase this wine directly from Old Bridge Cellars and save 20% on your purchase at checkout by using the savings code MIDWESTWINEGUY.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2008 Cameron Hughes Winery Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

I've tasted several Cameron Hughes wines, and I've not been disappointed so far.  For the first CH wine, this 2008 Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County is a pleaser and one I'd consider a daily drinker.  Bright golden color and a spectacular nose of butterscotch candy, pear, apple and brown sugar.  The palate brings a forward flavor of pear, caramel, honey and peach with a vanilla kiss.  I cannot stress to you enough about what a bargain this wine is at $12 US per bottle.  Perfect warm weather wine and I am genuinely impressed with everything from Cameron Hughes so far!

Score:  90

2007 Carina Cellars Clairvoyant Central Coast

What you get in this dark violet wine is a blend of 55% Syrah, 33% Grenache and 12% Mourvedre.  Wonderful nose of dark berry and cherry with a nice compliment of damp dark earth and coffee bean.  In the mouth is an incredible full bodied wine with complex tastes of dark cherry, a little bit of mocha, cranberry, smoky game meats, plum and dark chocolate.  This wine throws some strong peppery spice at you at the last moment, providing some strength and tons of pleasure in a nice long finish.  Drinking wonderfully now and should easily for another 5 - 7 years.

Score:  91

2007 Newton Vineyard Unfiltered Chardonnay

If you like unfiltered Chardonnay like I do, you will go crazy at the incredible taste and richness of this wine.  The nose presents melon, fig, toasted butter and spices.  In the glass is a very full bodied richness with flavors of baked apple, ripe pear spices, fig, toasted oak and caramel.  The finish is smooth and full of creamy texture that make this a mouth watering favorite.  I wish there were more wineries producing unfiltered Chardonnay.  This is a fine example.

Score:  93

2007 Keller Estate La Cruz Vineyard Chardonnay

One of the finest Chardonnay of recent memory, this medium golden wine is very bright and crisp on the nose and in the mouth.  Wonder mineral flavor matched with pear, tangerine, orange peel and dried flowers.  Just the perfect amount of sweetness at the end with a gentle but lingering finish.  This wine will continue to develop some great characteristics in the bottle over the next 5 - 7 years.  It drinks very well now but you should consider putting a couple of bottles back to see what they will be like in the near future. 

Score:  94

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2007 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Allomi Vineyard

Dark red in the glass and a beautiful nose of black cassis, cherry, blackberry and damp earth.  The aroma reminds me of an old world style of Bordeaux, at a fraction of the price.  Incredibly tasty with flavors of black cherry, light cedar, roasted coffee bean, tobacco and the damp earthiness that are sure to bring a smile to your face.  There's a little bit of a sweet spice in the finish that helps the wine to linger for moments.  This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot and it works so well together.  You can find this for around $25 US at many retailers and it very well may be the Cabernet bargain of the week!  Drinking incredibly well now and should easily for another 7+years.

Score:  91

2006 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Collins Vineyard

Great full red color bricking all the way to the rim of the glass.  Complex aromas, all in check, of dark ripe berries, chocolate, toasty oak, plum and black currant.  The mouth comes alive with a potpourri of full flavors of plum, dark berry, dark cherries, spices, black licorice, soy and a touch of chocolate.  This wine has full rich tannins and a finish to match.  This wines hits you right in the palate pleaser and is just fantastic.

Score:  93

2007 Kuleto Estate Syrah

Nearly black in the glass, there is a sweet and spicy aroma blended with fresh tar, coffee and white pepper.  Very balanced and full of incredible flavor, this wine lifts the sweet blackberry and and coffee bean flavor mid palate and has an incredibly long finish.  Very full and luscious.

Score:  92

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2008 Odfjell Vineyards Carmenere Armador Maule Valley

Deep crimson color.  Big combination of red berries, spices, smoke, cherries and dusty earth.  Soft and supple, this wine has a lot going on with the flavors - sweet red berries, cherry tobacco, dark chocolate, and a mild leather.  Initially there is not much spice, but they grab on at the finish and help produce a very nice and gently sweet wine.  Drink before 2012.

Score:  90

NV Sokol Blosser Meditrina

Debuting in 2004, this Sokol Blosser stunner has fast become a favorite.  This red wine is a blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel.  If you've ever tasted any Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, you know what kind of quality you're getting.  This medium purple wine has a complex nose of red raspberries, flowers, baking spices and earth.  There is just the perfect amount of sweetness and spice, combined with juicy fruit flavors that make this wine an outstanding choice for your pasta meals - or drink it alone!  Lots of structure here and a soft but meaningful finish.

If you're looking for a great recipe, check out the Easy Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine on this site.  Sokol Blosser is our February 2011 Winery of the Month.  Their wines are simply GREAT!

Score:  92

2009 Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah

A Rose of Syrah?  You bet!  This wine is a dry dark pink wine made of Syrah and the result is quite good.  You have strawberry, floral boquet and citrus on the nose with a mild pepper spiciness from the Syrah.  In the mouth is a very textured and elegant dry wine with micro tannins that help produce a lingering and light sweet finish.  Very interesting wine and well worth the $20 US or less price tag.

Score:  87

2007 John Duval Wines Plexus

Deep scarlet red in color.  This wine is a blend of 51% Shiraz, 28% Grenache and 21%Mourvedre.  The nose is a combination of red raspberry, cherry, cranberry, dried herbs, mineral and pepper.  The palate casts juicy red berries, mild pepper, baked earth and a distinct minerality.  The finish is lingering and semi sweet with very fine tannins.  A great wine for around $30 US.  Drink now or for the next 6 - 8 years.

Score:  92

2007 David Arthur Cabernet Sauvignon

This Napa Valley wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.  I've become a big fan of Petit Verdot lately and I love how it blends with other varietals.  The Petit Verdot helps produce a memorable dark purple color that extends to the edge.  Dark spices, blackberry, cassis, black currant and earth are predominant in this complex wine.  The mouth is a medium bodied and very focused wine of blackberry, anise, minerals and dried spices that have a flicker of licorice and dark espresso.  The medium firm tannins give way to a sexy and velvety smooth finish.  Wonderful example of a Napa Valley Cabernet with an old world feel.

Score:  93

2009 Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato Victoria

There is nothing about this wine that I don't like.  I love the pale pink lemonade color, I love the unique bottle top, the label and the way you feel when you drink this.  This is a 375ml bottle that can be found for around $10 - $12 US.  Strawberries, red raspberries, and spring flowers with some citrus on the nose.  In the glass is a wonderfully light fizzy and gently sweet wine that is bursting with a relaxed energy that comes through in the strawberries, citrus and tender sweet spices.  At a mere 5.5% ABV this wine is one that you won't want to share, so stock up on it and serve it chilled for those long summer afternoons when heavier wines won't suffice. 

Score:  91

2009 Beaulieu Vineyard Chardonnay Coastal Estates

This should be considered a value priced every day drinker.  Pale golden in color, this 2009 Chardonnay presents aromas of apple, pink grapefruit and citrus.  Bright and crisp but not over the top.  The texture keeps this smooth and palatable.  Flavors of apple, peach, slate and cream cheese make this enjoyable and you can afford a case at around $10 US per bottle. 

Score:  86

2006 Mollydooker Sparkling Shiraz

Now here is something unusual and fun.  I don't come across too many Australian sparkling wines, let alone a sparkling Shiraz!  But I'm always up to try something new and I'm glad I found this, albeit somewhat tough to find in the US.  Dark purple color with strawberry jam and berry candies on the nose.  In the mouth you get a flavorful blast of strawberry, blackberry, dark chocolate, and a mildly pepper and violet finish with just the right amount of sweetness.  I was told to serve this very cold, which I did, and I'm passing that onto you as well.  I really like this sparkling wine!

Score:  91

2004 Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port

For the port lover, you should consider the Dow's 2004 Late Bottled Vintage Port.  At around $20 - $25 US, you can still find this, but snatch it up quickly as it is becoming extinct.  Deep red color and a nose of blackberry jam, raspberry and pepper, this port has very soft tannins and is a drier port that produces a long and lingering finish.  Drinking well now but should be consumed within the next 12 - 18 months for the best enjoyment.

Score:  92

NV Yalumba Museum Reserve Antique Tawny Port

I've tasted and rated this many times over the years, and I never take advantage of how delicious this wine is.  Absolutely wonderful flavors of plum, prune, fig, dark honey and light brown sugar.  The aromas of ripe plums, prune and fig come bursting out of the glass.  Swirling in the glass takes out the initial heat (in other words, don't pop and pour) and lifts the aromas straight to your soul.  This pairs wonderfully with many desserts such as cheesecake, toffee flavored cakes or chocolate, but can be enjoyed as a dessert itself.  If you're a cigar smoker, this would be a great accompaniment as well.  This wine comes in a 375ml bottle and I consider it a great bargain at under $20 US per bottle.  Consistently fabulous!

Score:  97

2009 Banfi Rosa Regale Branchetto Sparkling Wine

For those with a sweet tooth or looking for an after dinner apertif, this might be your wine.  And with Valentine's Day just around the corner, this Valentine colored wine is festive too.  Ripe strawberry colored, there is a mixed but slightly muted bouquet of strawberry, red raspberry and floral bouquet in the glass.  Much of the same in the mouth with a short but pleasant finish and the low ABV keeps this refreshing and light.  Due to the popularity, this is becoming easier to find in many grocery stores and online retailers for around $25 US or less. 

Score:  88

2006 Opus One

For the wine enthusiast who wants to experience wonderful flavors, make an impression and has the pocketbook to back it up, you can't go wrong with the 2006 Opus One.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, this 14.4% ABV red wine is stunning in near-black color, aroma and taste.  There is so much going on with the nose here - chocolate, blackberry, rose petal, and smoked meats with a touch of licorice and mocha.  In the mouth is a very full and rich flavor palate of blackberry, black cherry, dark chocolate, espresso bean, black currant and smoked game.  Incredibly smooth and just the right tannin structure to let you know it is still young and will drink very well for the next 15 - 20 years due to the great structure and muscle in this incredible wine. 

Score:  95

2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc

The Robert Mondavi Winery is considered "the" trailblazer in Fume Blanc for California.  They have made it for many years and they still make it very well.  The 2008 Fume Blanc is a blend of 92% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Semillon.  The Semillon provides a sweet and soft aspect to this pale and aromatic wine.  I find this to taste best chilled, but not so much that you lose the aromas of lime, sage and dewy grasses.  In the mouth you can taste lemon, peach and just a hint of mineral and subdued spices.  Very smooth wine with distinctive flavors and a pleasant finish.  You can also get the Fume Blanc Reserve at about twice the price.

Score:  91

NV Yellowglen Pink Sparkling Wine

Pale pink in the glass with tons of bubbles and lovely aromas of strawberry and ripened fruits - citrus and pear primarily.  This sparkler is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and at a low 11.5% ABV this sparkling wine is not only affordable and tasty, it invites you to have 3 or 4 glasses.  Just the right amount of sweetness and no bitter after taste.  This is a fun wine you could sip on any day of the week and can be found for around $10 US at most stores.

Score:  89