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Saturday, May 7, 2011

2006 Chronicle Zinfandel Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard

This 2006 Zinfandel from Chronicle is a lively red wine full of great fruit and spice.  There is sweet ripe fruit and pepper on the nose and in the mouth.  Lots of structure and flavor, provided in part to the 16 months in French Oak.  Bright red cherries and berry combine with pepper and chili powder towards the end of the drink and you get a very nice lingering finish.  Don't overlook this one!  Best to drink before the end of 2013.

About Chronicle Wines:
Chronicle wines are limited production wines available to members of their mailing list or at Luna Vineyards.  Visit their web site to find out more about their wines.

ABV:  14.5%
Retail Price:  $28.00
Score:  90

2009 Underwood Cellars Pinot Noir

Here's a Pinot Noir you could enjoy every day, take to the neighborhood barbeque and sip without breaking the bank.  Bright red in the glass with aromas of strawberry, cedar and a little spice, this Pinot Noir has very good flavors of cherry, strawberry, light brown sugar and spices in the mouth.  Very light feeling in the mouth with just a touch of tannins.  You could even label this one refreshing! 

About Underwood Cellars:
This winery is owned by Union Wine Company, which also produces the Kings Ridge label.  Their web site is under construction - check it often!

ABV:  13.31%
Retail Price:  $12.99
Score:  87

Monday, May 2, 2011

2006 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2006 vintage Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Corison is refined, elegant and rewarding.  The bright red color is stunning, but add to that a defined combination of dark cherries, plum, leather, herbs and smoky cedar aromas and you have a wine you want to get lost in.  I often like my Cabs meaty and chewy and full of fruit but this one is different.  It is restrained and showing signs of graceful aging that will allow you to enjoy it for up to 20 years or more.  The flavors will continue to develop in the bottle but now you'll taste blackberry, currants, smoky pipe tobacco and cherries.  I'd pair this with a delicious medium rare steak, but it honestly deserves to be enjoyed solo so you can absorb all this wine has to offer.

About Corison Winery:
Napa veterand winemaker Cathy Corison hand crafts estate-grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Her innaugural vintage was nearly 25 years ago and she is considered a pioneer in the wine world for women and men alike.

ABV:  13.8%
Retail Price:  $70.00
Score:  94

2008 Benton-Lane Winery First Class Pinot Noir

The First Class Pinot Noir from Benton-Lane Winery in Oregon is touted as their "best of the best" in Pinot Noir and it is easy to understand why.  This deep red wine shows solid color to the rim of the glass.  The aromas are not overly fruity, but more mysterious - showcasing blackberry, sandalwood, cherries, and damp forest floor.  This wine quickly opens up with swirling, bringing to light a flavorful combination of bright cherries, blueberry, dark mocha and ripe blackberries which create a very luscious feeling in the mouth for what is generally considered a medium body style of wine.  The tannins are very fine and as smooth as glass and the finish lingers in your mouth for what seems like minutes.  This is an wonderful wine with broad appeal for Pinot lovers and doubters alike.

About Benton-Lane Winery:
Steve and Carol Girard have owned Benton-Lane Winery since 1988.  They both wanted to produce top notch Pinot Noir and looked north to Oregon from their home in California.  Benton-Lane produced Pinot Noir exclusively until 2003 when they started producing small quantities of Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.  Their wines are distributed in 49 US states and several international markets.

ABV:  13.75%
Retail Price:  $60.00
Score:  93

2006 Brokenwood Semillon Hunter Valley

I had previously had the pleasure of tasting the 2010 vintage and purchased the 2006 at the recommendation of a friend.  This pale yellow wine has green hues and a distinctive aromas of lemon zest, wild grasses and green apple from beginning to end.  The palate embodies a miriad of great citrus flavors with an almost creamy sweek oak flavor despite the fact that this wine never touched wood.  Amazing to see the development of flavors in this wine when compared to the 2010.  The finish was softer but well defined and when served well chilled is lovely as a solo drinker or with lighter food.  There is still plenty of life left in this wine if you cellar it properly.  I would suggest purchasing this vintage and comparing it to a newer vintage to taste the flavor separation.

About Brokenwood Wines:
Brokenwood Wines of Australia produces an array of premium quality wines that include Shiraz, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.  Their mission statement is "to make great wine and have fun."

ABV:  12.0%
Retail Price:  $26.00
Score:  90

You can save 20% on your wine purchcases from Old Bridge Cellars be entering the savings code MIDWESTWINEGUY at checkout.  Old Bridge Cellars represents some of the finest Australian wines at great prices.

2009 Methven Family Vineyards Pinot Gris

This new 2009 vintage Pinot Gris from Methven Family Vineyards of Oregon is just what you will need for the upcoming warmer weather.  Almost blue gray in color, this wine opens with a very refreshing a crisp pear and citrus aroma.  Great mineral and pear flavors upfront with a mid palate of candied lemon and baked apple.  This wine is moderately sweet and has floral fragrances near the end of the taste.  I think that this Pinot Gris is delicious now, but I would love to see how the flavors develop further in the bottle in about 3 years.  I think this white wine could age for 5 years or more and still be enjoyable.

About Methven Family Vineyards:
Allen and Jill Methven have family all over the United States, but they love the land they live on and farm in the Williamette Valley of Oregon.  They are known for their boutique wines that include Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

ABV:  13.9%
Retail Price:  $18.00
Score:  91

2007 Stave 28 Raven Merlot

I've said it time and time again that Merlot has received a bad wrap, and in some cases rightly so.  But when you get a 100% Merlot that receives the care and attention that the 2007 Raven has from Stave 28, you quickly begin to wish that all Merlot was like this one.  Keeping in mind that this wine is young and tight, it already shows well integrated aromas of plum, black cherry and chocolate with a hint of tea.  In the glass is a beautiful crimson colored wine that lifts a medium bodied experience with flavors of cherry, cinammon candy, herbs, chocolate and plum.  Very nice texture and the tannins soften up with some air time, as they will with a few more years in the bottle.  These grapes are from the Swanson Vineyard of Napa Valley.  Drink now or hold it for 2 - 4 years and see some real magic!  This wine is not filtered, which adds more appeal to me.

About Stave 28:
Winemaker and owner Michael Weyna has spent the last 20 years in the wine industry - importer, educator, buyer and restaurant owner.  Many years ago while living in the midwest he experimented with winemaking with grapes from the west coast and caught the bug.  Now we and co-owner Rob Mintz produce small lots and utilize a "shepherding" approach to deliver hand crafted wines.

ABV:  14.2%
Retail Price:  $29.00
Score:  93

2009 Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir

The newly released 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir from Kings Ridge is a lovely dark red wine with aromas of dark fruit, black cherry, rose petal and currants.  On the palate is a medium bodied flavor boquet of ripe dark fruits, black cherry, nutmeg and very light sweet vanilla.  Despite its young age, this wine is very soft and approachable and satsifies you with a nice smooth but lingering finish.  This wine is a bargain at this price too!

About Kings Ridge:
Kings Ridge Wines is owned by Union Wine Company, a partnership created by Ryan Harms (Owner and Executive Winemaker) and George Hillberry (Owner and Vineyard Manager).  They believe that the best wines are a union of gifted winemaking skills and precise farming techniques in the vineyard.

ABV:  13.9%
Retail Price:  $17.00

Score:  91

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2008 Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Gewurztraminer

This sweet dessert wine from Anam Cara Cellars of Oregon is a fantastic Gewurztraminer made in the ice wine style.  It is medium golden in color and is full of floral aromas combined with pears and peaches.  There is a very full mouthfeel in this wine that is inviting and provides a nice long finish.  On the palate are tropical fruits, dried baking spices and ripe melon.  I sampled this at room temperature and well chilled with consistent notes.  This is a 375ml bottle and produced from only one acre of Gewurztraminer.  I absolutely love this wine!

About Anam Cara Cellars:
Anam Cara is Celtic for "friend of my soul" and every wine you taste from Anam Cara Cellars is from the vineyard the Nicholas family lives in and planted themselves.  Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Vineyard has achieved the Low Input Viticulture and Enology Certification.

ABV:  9.0%
Retail Price:  $24.00 (375 ml)
Score:  93