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Saturday, February 16, 2013

2010 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot

Many folks get skeptical about a mega winery's ability to make wine that appeals to the more sophisticated palate and some have received a bad rap over the years.  But Kendall-Jackson stays true to their roots with the Vintner's Reserve series of wines, including this 2010 Merlot that is 100% estate grown.  The composition of the wine is 99.5% Merlot with just small touches of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc that add some depth, contrast and color to the Merlot juice.  Dark red in color, this wine promotes expressive aromas of plum, black cherry and baking spices. On the palate is much of the same, but at times I detected a hint of sweet ginger and chewy berries that brought out a nice strong finish in this well rounded wine.  I have to tell you - I'm a fan!  To me, good Merlot is often great Merlot and this is no exception.  This 2010 Vintner's Reserve stands on it's own merit and it can be enjoyed with or without beef or bison.  

ABV:  13.5%
Appellation:  Sonoma County
Retail Price:  $19.00
Score:  90 

2008 Stave 28 Reserve Red Wine

Friends, listen closely.  Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this wine, let me stress that there were only 80 cases of this bottled, so do yourself a favor and get some now.  This 2008 Reserve from Stave 28 will take you to the small wine chateaus of France without leaving your home.  I had the pleasure of tasting this both as a pre-bottle sample and now in bottle, and the wine is really amazing and I loved seeing the contrast between the two.  This wine will be a good one to lay down for a few years and see what further develops, but the current indications are both promising and rewarding.  Gorgeous red and purple blend in the glass with sexy legs and a nose of dark fruits, sweet but subdued smokiness and an earthly aroma that is subtle enough to be reminiscent of a French counter part.  In the mouth is a very smooth and satisfying wine of depth, providing the palate with dark fruits, vanilla, black currant, cigar smoke, hints of leather and pine needle.  According to wine maker Michael Weyna this juice spent over 3 years in French oak, which is an impressive feat and the long nap has been kind to this wine.  This blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot is married beautifully and the finish is memorable with well integrated tannins.  Again, this wine will only continue to bring more pleasure with age and you'll be glad you found it!

ABV:  14.3%
Appellation:  California
Cases Produced:  80
Retail Price:  $45.00
Score:  94 

2010 19 Crimes Red Wine Shiraz Blend

The 19 Crimes wines from Victoria, Australia features three different labels, all with the mugshot of a different criminal on them.  You really need to check out their web site to find the stories behind the criminals. This wine is a blend of Shiraz and Durif that features lots of ripe fruits and vanilla on the nose.  In the palate is a lighter bodied wine with ripe and sweet red and dark fruits and a softer touch by micro tannins that make this wine an easy drinker, even for someone who traditionally doesn't drink red.  I think this is a good entry level red or 'crossover' wine from white to red.  The finish is short but the wine is memorable and for this price point is a very good value.

ABV:  14%
Appellation:  Victoria, Australia
Retail Price:  $12.99
Score:  87