Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

A brief look back at wine in 2009.

Cheers to all and Happy New Year! This year, if anything was for sure, was that time went by with the blink of an eye and the dawn of 2010 is upon us. 2009 was, well, an interesting year to say the least. In many ways it was not interesting, C'est la vie!

One facet that was interesting was of course the wine drinking and tasting. We also had some very memorable meals and will highlight 5 of those meals, as well as two top 10 lists of the wines from this year. One list bearing no price that includes some legendary names and some legends in the making. The other list is a value list of those wines I found delivered the best value for under $20. Together we made 2009 more wine savvy! Let's make 2010 even better!

Top 10 Wines 2009

1) 1997 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia

Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri

2) 1977 Château Lafite Rothschild

France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

3) 1990 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon

France, Champagne

4) 2002 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

California, Napa Valley

5) 1995 Bodega Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon Saint Felicien Edicion Unica No 1

Argentina, Mendoza

6) 2007 Herman Story Grenache "On The Road"

California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

7) 1989 & 1990 Château Bahans Haut-Brion

France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

8) 2003 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60

France, Northern Rhône, Cornas

9) 1997 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

California, Napa Valley

10) 1997 Niepoort Porto Vintage

Portugal, Douro, Porto

Top 10 Value Wines 2009

1) 2007 J.L. Chave Côtes du Rhône Mon Coeur $15-20

France, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

2) 2006 Viña Cobos El Felino Cabernet Sauvignon (formerly Cocodrilo) $17-18

Argentina, Mendoza

3) 1992 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon $N/A

USA, California

4) 2006 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico $16-20

Italy, Tuscany, Chianti Classico

5) 2007 Clos de los Siete (Michel Rolland) Clos de Los Siete $14-18

Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco

6) 2007 StellaGrey Napa Valley Red $20

California, Napa Valley

7) N.V. Sokol Blosser Evolution No. 9 $14-$17

USA, Oregon

8) 2007 Bodegas Castaño Monastrell $7-8

Spain, Murcia, Yecla

9) 2004 Château D’As $15

France, Bordeaux, Graves

10) 2007 Domaine de la Chesnay Côtes du Rhône $6

France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône

Top 5 Dining Experiences 2009

1) Blue, Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Chef: Eric Ripert

Flawless, modern French cooking with classical roots – seafood inspired. The Surf & Turf Lobster could be the best thing I ate all year. Amazing tasting menus for local sourced and the Le Bernardin menu – we had both!

2) La Toque, Westin Verasa, Napa, Napa Valley, CA

Chef: Ken Frank

Sommelier: Yoon Ha

Practically splitting hairs having them at #2. The BEST wine service I have ever had with the wine & food pairing tasting menu: Potel Vosne-Romanee, Corison, Keplinger, Ladera, Royal Tokaji, Duck, Wagyu beef, Matsutake, Foie Gras, and Antelope

3) Campiello, Naples, Florida

Chef: Jay Sparks

Best chicken I have had in forever, airline cut, wood burning oven. Amazing lively scene in downtown Naples

4) The Brasserie, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Beautiful presentation, Talented cooking, Attentive & Stellar service, Colonial Island Setting

5) Craft, Manhattan, New York

Chef: Tom Colicchio

Best Carrots in a restaurant, Hen of Woods mushrooms, Duck, Steak, Octopus!


5) Keens Steakhouse

- Mutton Chop, solid wine choices, the Scotch list is longer then the wine list!

Below I will list a few of the tasting notes from the top wines listed above and add some pictures!

A toast to a Safe and Happy New! May 2010 be healthy & most prosperous to you and yours!



Friday, November 20, 2009

2006 Vina Cobos Malbec, Bramare $35-40
Lujan de Cuyo
Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo

Yet another reason why I love Vina Cobos' Malbec wines! In fact, I feel the same way about most of their other wines too. We had the 2007 Felino Chardonnay ($13-18) the other night and it was outstanding with this healthy spin on fried chicken (recipe).

"Bramare" is Italian for "to yearn for" and let me tell you, I yearn for this wine when I get a hankering for some Malbec! I usually pick up a few of the Malbec and the Cabernet Sauvignon as they are great values compared to any region in the world.

On to the notes...

Color: Dark and saturated deep purple to red edges, vibrant

Nose & Palate: Heady aromas of blackberry and raspberry, currants too. The palate that adds blueberries, crushed juicy raspberries, some licorice and blackberry. A touch of bitter sweet cacao chocolate, earth and minerality add depth and further complexity. A long, silky smooth finish!

BACK the truck up and load up!


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Recent Wines from Paul Hobbs

Many of you who have read my blog from the early days know I am a huge fan of Paul Hobbs’ wines. Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to taste a few of the new 2006 and 2007 vintage wines and as usual I am impressed and happy to be an admirer and buyer of Paul Hobbs wines. In fact, not only did I get to drink a few of his wines, but I had some time to chat with him for a few minutes and get a few pictures. We talked about the upcoming and highly anticipated outstanding 2007 vintage Napa Cabernet being extraordinary, some vinous and oenology small-talk about his wines, and the 2009 harvest in Bordeaux being the next blockbuster vintage (it already is being claimed as so, sorry early 2005 buyers). Paul is a really down to earth, friendly and matter of fact guy. From the few times we have chatted and those that know him and what they say about the man, I have no doubt of why he is such a success in his endeavors.

These tasting notes are from over two nights of wine tasting events. I rebuilt them from dribs and drabs I was able to jot down, put into my smart phone, and remember in my head.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley

This is the Flagship wine of the Paul Hobbs wine portfolio. The legendary To Kalon vineyard in Oakville spawns many great wines year in and year out and Paul has access to some of its best fruit. The Oakville Bench, the designated AVA the To Kalon Vineyard resides in, has some of the greatest Cabernet vineyards in the world beyond To Kalon. But none of them compare to the powerful and rich wines the To Kalon produces.

Color: Opaque center, almost black, ruby red edges.

Nose: Massive aromas of black currants, black cherry, cassis, earth & pencil lead.

Palate: Exquisitely precisioned. Rich and full bodied, but not overpowering. Long finish. Great acidity. Black currant, black cherry and cassis mingle with savory spice. A touch of oak adds more weight and texture as well as a touch of mocha toastiness. Firm, but ripe tannins.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

I have had every vintage if this wine going back to 2001. I almost had the 1999 and never saw the 2000 in the marketplace when I would have been looking. I do have the To Kalon 2000 at home and am thinking that one is on the “To Drink Soon” list. The “Napa Valley” bottling is a go to wine for me to recommend to wine drinkers looking for a solid, well made Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that can be of great enjoyment now or stand to age a few years and show nicely upon maturity. I have turned on quite a few people to this wine over the years and not surprisingly they are repeat buyers vintages later. Whether a splurge or if you are lucky enough to buy $75 Napa Cabernet consistently, this needs to be seriously considered as a wine you buy not matter the vintage – I know I do.

Color: Vibrant; deep and dark red with garnet edges.

Nose: Black currants, crushed blackberry and pencil lead, toasty well integrated sweet oak.

Palate: Delicious blackberry, cassis, earthy and spicy oak flavors fan out over the palate. Ripe, but not over the top, the tannins frame the wines structure and finish. The acidity focuses the freshness of the flavors. Big, but ripe chewy tannins are pretty standard for the 2006 vintage but in this wine are balanced and give you a well made and balanced wine.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley

I liked this probably the most of all the Cabernet wines I had all night, probably even best overall. The Hyde vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon had everything going for it: a wonderfully complex and rich nose and palate; great acidity and superb tannic structure to drink now or to lie down for at least 10 years.

Color: A deep reddish black hue, vibrant red edges. (The room was pretty dark for these next 3 wines, but I did my best)

Nose: Copious amounts of black currant, cherry, blackberry pie, and sweet toasty mocha and oak. I could not stop going back to this wine through the night. The nose alone was outstanding!

Palate: Rich and full bodied, but with a little more acidity than the To Kalon which is to be expected from the Hyde vineyard planted at the foot of the Napa Valley in Carneros. Ripe and fine grained tannins. Super-long finish.

2007 Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley

One of my favorite Pinot Noirs that Paul makes is his Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir. I have had a few vintages and this one is no different in style. Made in a riper style, this is a bigger Pinot Noir but maintains a great balance with excellent acidity. Great aromatics and a full body are standard character for this wine.

Color: Dark garnet red with youthful garnet edges

Nose: Crushed black and red fruits, earthy tones, some spice and a touch herbal wonderful intense aromas jump from the glass.

Palate: Crushed black and bing cherry, blackberry, a touch of earth and spice, and a kiss of oak round out this well balanced, masculine Pinot Noir.

2007 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma

I really like this version of the RR Chardonnay. It’s a little different in style than the past bottlings I have had of Paul’s. This one seemed to have the same rich texture and acidity, but with more tropical flavors and aromas with an earthy counterbalance. Well done.

Color: Glimmering golden straw

Nose: Pear and some pineapple, minerality, fig, some white flowers and a touch creme fresh

Palate: Great mouth feel and lingering finish. Nothing is too over the top here. The oak is in check, acidity is not over-powering, and the fruit is fresh and focused. Lemons, subtle pineapple, a touch of cardamom and vanilla, pretty exotic of Paul Hobbs Chardonnay. The oak is there, but a compliment.

2001 Merlot, Michael Black Vineyard, Napa Valley

Thankfully I have one more of these left (and am considering acquiring a few more)! There is plenty of time left on this baby. It could be at or near its peak it’s so good right now! If you have any they are drinking great right now, but have plenty of time left. Easily another 3 years of good drinking by my estimates.

Color: Medium-Dark and lighter red hues at the edges, darker red center but by no means overly so. No brick colors.

Nose: Beautiful aromas of cherry, chocolate, a nice earthy minerality, some sweet tobacco - very pleasing. I can smell it from the other side of the kitchen counter.

Palate: Amazing purity and complexity, velvety smooth and sweet tannins and surprisingly noticeable acidity. Cherries and mocha throttle the palate's super long finish, sweet oak and earth battle for secondary flavor supremacy.

The acidity is key to this wine's success. It really is refreshing and focus’ the wine’s finish. Superb Merlot, Miles would be proud to drink this.

Life is short, the economy sucks, at least the Yankees won so drink up and keep raising those glasses!


Awesome news - I am almost set to have my first spotlight on another blog. The Hoboken Guy and I have been talking for about 3 months on teaming up on a wine blog entry on his blog "The Hoboken Guy". The blog entry will be on the basic steps on "How to taste a wine" (no, not gulping it thank you)! It's a great idea as most of his entries revolve around the tasty offerings the great city of Hoboken has to offer covering everything from brunch to late night eats. His blog is pretty widely read amongst the Hoboken set and is very exciting for me to get some new reader exposure! If you live in Hoboken or frequent Hoboken - check out his Blog here. We are in the works of finishing up the entry so keep an eye out for the "Hoboken Guy" shortly!

If this is delayed I am playing with the idea of a Thanksgiving wine blog, but honestly I am not sure of the point. People should drink whatever they like. Most great wines of the world will go with a Turkey. But maybe I will drop my .02!



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wine Notes and BEER!

Just a quick update on a wine from my favorite wine maker and a new example of a style of beer that is new to the market from about as big a producer as you can find.

First, the wine of course.

Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay 2007

(USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

Pineapples and pear, minerality, some white flowers and crème fresh

Color: Glimmering golden straw

Palate: Explosive, yet refined. Great mouth feel and lingering finish, does pick up weight quickly the first 30 minutes as it warm up to room temperature. Lemons, subtle pineapple, a touch of cardamom and vanilla, exotic. Oak is there, but a compliment. Food: Crab and shrimp cakes, watercress salad. Great pairing!

Not the absolute best version of this wine, but very in line with the style, but a touch more exotic, very clean. The 2007 vintage is very apparent in this wine in its clean, layered flavors and structure. No flabbiness that you would find in a hot vintage like 2003, not a lot of extra oak that may seem more apparent in a leaner year. Not as supreme as the 2002, but darn good. It may not last as long as my last 2002 which was happily consumed this past January – and it was in great shape mind you, though at the end of its optimal drinking window.

2003 Etude Pinot Noir Heirloom

(USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros)

Rudy red, slightly lighter red edges(
USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros)

Nose: Pretty Pinot nose, strawberry, earthy, cherry and some flowers.

Palate: Fresh minerality, cherry and mocha. Supple tannins and good acidity.

Not on par with the last bottle (which was bought at the winery). This bottle was from auction sourced wine. The last version of this same wine, from the same vintage, was fantastic and led me to buying this wine at auction so I could later share it with Lisa as I had the first one by myself over the duration of one evening.

My notes from my previous tasting of this wine went something like this:

“This bottle was really singing tonight! A very solid wine example of the Etude single vineyard Pinot regime. Well made start to finish. Immediately it was impressive and after an hour grew more complex. Mellowed with time as this was a 2003, this could easily go another 5 years as it was still chock full of complexity and concentration, yet smooth as silk. I remember initially having this wine and remembering it was a big wine that would need time to mellow out.”

Well, what can I say; bottle variation is a real fact and can lead to a disappointing wine. It could have been much worse. At least it was still a good wine and not flawed.


OK, wheat and white beers happen to be a favorite style of mine, especially in the summer and fall. I don’t know much about beer beyond the styles and hops, in fact, I probably don’t know that much at all, but here it goes:

Bud Light Golden Wheat

“Brewed with Coriander and Orange Peels” (says so on the bottle!)

Just in time for all things orange: fall leaves, weird shaped squash, pumpkins and everything Halloween, Budweiser has released its newest mass produced product to the masses: Bud Light Golden Wheat. I wonder if Coors is pissed they created this Blue Moon “light”? Ok, it’s actually a lot better than a regular light beer, especially Bud Light. Personally, I am not sure what is wrong with Budweiser as I think they make the worst “light” beer in the big company category (I am a Miller Light guy and do like regular Budweiser). And to add to that, Bud Light Lime could be the worst beer since Tequiza. Weighing in at 118 calories, it’s not the lowest in the calorie count for a light beer, but much better than a Blue Moon at 171, and Hoegaarden at 176 if you are a calorie counter.

Color: Golden, pale and cloudy amber color

Nose: Yeasty, citrusy

Palate: Lots of citrus, yeast, and maybe a bit too much of the coriander, almost like it’s too obvious.

Cost: $6.99 for a six pack, about a dollar or so more than I would pay

Overall, Bud Light Golden Wheat is not a bad beer. Very drinkable if you like wheat beer, but do not worship them. If you happen to be a serious beer drinker, and an even more serious wheat beer fanatic you probably won’t be impressed. If you like Blue Moon and are looking for a low calorie alternative, this is your beer.

Happy Halloween if I don't check back in before then!



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello fellow readers, it’s been over a month and I apologize for not keeping up to date with The Wine Forum. Between work and life, I have been pretty occupied of late. Thus, my wine experiences have been filtered down to just bottles of wine with Family and Friends. I have not bee to a tasting in over 2 months, though that will come to s screeching halt over the next few weeks as the usual Fall tasting events are just around the corner! The cool weather means October is here; October means harvest is in full swing; and harvest time really gets me thinking about drinking some really good wines, especially those reds that have been collecting time over the warm (not this past one) summer! Lots of big, red wines are on the agenda, as well as some great blow out tastings by Zachys, the Wine Spectator, and many other great local shops.

So for my this Blog I decided that I had a lot of great tasting notes to share as that is all I have been doing, drinking bottles. Especially from our recent vacation in North Carolina where I raided my cellar to enjoy some excellent wines at the beach! It was cooler at night, great for reds, and warm during the day, great for some beer (Fat Tire anyone?) and crisp whites and my favorite rose from the South of France, Domaine Tempier, AOC Bandol.

I also incorporated “stars (*)” into my tasting notes, 5 being the best and 1 or No stars being bad to undrinkable. Though I usually won’t post on anything less than 2 stars.


2002 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

California, Napa Valley

Rock solid as usual, what more can I say? Paul’s wines fail to ever disappoint me. The ’02 Napa Cabernet was singing after an hour of air. Hobbs makes by far some of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon based wines from anywhere in the world. This being my last bottle of the ‘02 Napa Cabernet I have to go find some more – and so should you! It’s pricier, but if you are looking for a go to reliable, special occasion wine, this is it. Under $70 is a good price, though closer to $60 is a great price to pull the trigger at.

Color: Vibrant dark core and deep red edges, plenty of time left in this baby!

Nose: Wonderful complexity of black currants, black cherries, some tobacco and cocoa, a little lead pencil.

Palate: The flavors keep you coming back again and again they are so good! Cherry and black currants, some licorice, mocha, silky smooth tannins leap onto the palate and ride it out with a 60 second finish!


2008 Domaine Tempier Rose

France, Provence, Bandol

Hands down the best Rose in the world and at around $30 some would think it should be. But you should think of it as a “wine” and not just a pink wine where you get this idea in your head no matter how good a wine is, if it’s white or especially pink, anything over $30 is a waste of assets that could be spent on a red wine. Be that as it may, with that mindset you’ll never broaden your palate and knowledge as a drinker. But then again maybe you don’t want to. That’s the great part of wine, the choice is ours and taste is somewhat subjective.

Color: Pinkish copper, a little lighter than the normal Tempier rose.

Nose: Red and pink fruits, elegant strawberry and sweet grapefruits, citrus

Palate: Silky strawberry and red berry fruits, a touch of velvety citrus zest, great mid-palate, standard for this wine, good weight in the texture. I always am amazed at how yin and yang this wines balance is. Complex strong flavors, yet supple and elegant with a super long finish! Amazing!


1999 St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon

California, Napa Valley

Awesome and glad I held this back! Still another 2-5 years left, easily 2! I am very impressed with how this wine has evolved and stayed youthful over the last 10 years, even outperforming the top of the line (at the time) Oroppas. A great value, the ’99 Cabernet cost about $23 on release for Napa Valley fruit from the winery’s wine club, current srp is $36 but on I saw it for as low as $26.

Color: Deep ruby to medium red edges

Nose: Earthy and sweet tobacco, currants and spice

Palate: Cassis and black currants, some chocolate and sweet tobacco with a smooth silky finish. Very impressive!


2003 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico

Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico

Exactly what I want out of Chianti, with a touch more ripeness from the 2003 vintage. Classic aromas, flavors, mouth feel and acidity all with touch more fruit! I am currently doing a search for a few more bottles from this well regarded and high quality producer as the 2003 vintage was panned but this example fro this vintage has scored and by my accounts is a great wine for around $22. The excellent 2004 can’t be found for under $45 so at $22 this is a great deal.

Color: Medium dark garnet core, ruby edges.

Nose: Classic! Cherry, earth, leather, clove, and flowers (rose?). A meaty component came through after an hour.

Palate: Deep cherry and red fruits, some cocoa and earthy terroir, a touch meaty. Fine grained tannins fan out on the back and sides of the palate and the acidity brings at all back in to focus.A beauty! I want to try in a less ripe vintage!


2006 Williams Selyem Zinfandel Forchini Vineyard

USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley

Absolutely delicious! My favorite Zin this year next to the Carlisle and a notch or two ahead of the Seghesio Sonoma County bottling. Not heavy, yet nicely extracted. Wonderful aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and spice, earth, mingle and comprise a great and rare for Zinfandel, deep experience. It can be found is some retail shops, but in miniscule quantities. In fact I am only ever offered 2 bottles each year from the winery at $48.

Color: Velvety red with garnet edges.

Nose: Strawberries, raspberries and cream. Some cedar and pepper.

Palate: Black raspberry and cream, some cedar, sweet oak, luscious sweet tannins and a long, delicious finish.


2007 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

Great Cali Syrah! Full throttle, yet has traces of Northern Rhone pepper, meat and spice mingling with ripe California dark fruits. Robert Parker recently described winemaker Russell From’s wines as being “Balls to the Wall” – probably the first time this phrase has been used to describe wine by the world renowned wine critic. And at prices that are very affordable at around $28 from the Herman Story wine club.

Color: Dark core with dark red edges

Nose: Meaty and peppery, dimensions of blueberry and blackberry with a hint of earthy minerality.

Palate: Full bodied, more like a raven haired movie star from the 50’s than the waify 2000’s. A super sexy texture, blackberry, cassis, and subtle but spicy oak flavors fan out on the palate.


2004 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir Southing

California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills - Sta. Rita Hills

Squeaky clean as usual! At first you notice and can taste the oak and the tannin level is a tad higher than I like in Pinot Noir. After an hour the tannins mellowed out as the wine fleshed together nicely. Here are the notes after the hour open. Drink now and for another 2 years max. The fruit may stay in balance for a few years, but in time the tannins will outlast the fruit so drink up and keep an eye on this wine balance going forward. Price? Let’s just say you better sign up for the winery’s mailing list. Retail is small as this is mostly sold to wine dorks like me and then restaurants. Winery: $45

Color: Deep burgundy to ruby colors

Nose: Cherries, cocoa, sweet oak, deep earthy notes....nice perfume

Palate: Great entry, pure and concise. Cherries, cocoa, sweet cinnamon; tannins are a tad high but it works well with the amped up flavors.


2002 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cellar Scraps

USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District

Well, we did not exactly want to drink this wine on this night. But as fate had it we had no choice. Just like fate brought us to the winery and to one of our favorite memories on a day trip to the Napa Valley when Lisa lived in San Francisco. I was shuffling around bottles to make room for some new arrivals when this bottle slipped out and cracked when it hit the floor. I triple filtered it through our super-fine wire mesh filter incase any pieces happened to be in the wine and enjoyed the half bottle or so that was left. We originally stumbled into Sherwin as we were early for an appointment at an adjacent winery. Steve Sherwin, the owner and proprietor, greeted us as we knocked on their door to see “what’s happening” and if the could offer us a tour or the chance to buy some wine. I had not heard of Sherwin Family Vineyards before, but quickly liked Steve and was impressed with his hospitality and his wines. He had some guests over that day, but was gracious enough to spend about 30-45 minutes with us showing us the fermentation room and the team assembling the most recent 2003 wines being waxed on the neck of the bottle (instead of foil). We ended up leaving with a memory we’ll never forget and a half a case of wine! At the time, Steve had no idea what to call this wine, but we liked it and purchased a few bottles of this and their estate Cabernet. Price? Priceless! It was never up for retail sale from what I have seen.

Color: Opaque center, vibrant maroon edges.

Nose: Chocolate, cherry, black berry, vanilla and oak.

Palate: Lots of milk chocolate covered cherries, a touch of balsam and coffee. Sweet ripe tannins finished up this rich wines finale.


2006 Château Pipeau

France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

This baby is coming together nicely. I may try another out in a few months as it could use some time, it is Bordeaux after all! If decanted a few hours its good to go. The nose is ready from the get go so feel free to sniff away, but give it some time! Before the market went bust last year, this wine at release in a good year would go for about $35 or so. I was able to pick this up for $17 and change as the 2008 wines have started to overshadow the 2006 wines creating a glut and forcing suppliers and retailers to cut prices. Keep an eye on this trend. I like the 2006 Bordeaux wines to drink now and for the next 10 years or so on average while the 2000, 2003 and 2005 age. Also be careful not to buy in to much into the 2008 wines. The Bordeaux marketing machine has used revised scores and reviews from Parker to create buzz on the wines. The actual amount of wine for sale in futures is something like only 20% of the wine available. The strategy is to create buzz combined with low prices at first with small quantities of wines that immediately sell out. Then, as demand is stoked from the "sold out" status, the wine shop just so happens to get some more inventory but creep up prices quickly as the demand is there and people do not want to "miss out". This is why I have yet to pull the trigger on the 2008 vintage as I am not willing to lay out money on wine I won't see for 2 years when prices then may be the same or less than what they are today. It worked. Most 2008 futures were released at the lowest rock bottom prices in many years, but quickly climbed in the month after Parker’s review by 20-25% as supply was scant and the new higher scores fueled demand.

Color: Darker claret, garnet edges

Nose: Smoky toasty oak, tobacco, subtle black and red fruit. Great classic Bordeaux nose!

Palate: Smooth and balanced. Nice concentrated fruit, tannin and acidity fan out over the palate.


2004 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Reserva Ygay

Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja

What a value at under $20! Rioja does not get that much better than this at this price. Muga is another $5 or so dollars, and I prefer this wine to the more modern styled Muga. The top of the line Murrieta Gran Reserva only goes for $50 but is one of the most traditional and highly touted Tempranillo based wines in the world. The little brother is not too shabby either!

Color: Dark red core and velvety red edges, very inviting

Nose: Black Currant, cherries, minerality and a floral touch.

Palate: Mature but still fresh currants and ripe cherries, earthy minerality undertones, fine grained tannins and laser like acidity.


2007 StellaGrey Napa Valley Red

USA, California, Napa Valley

The Stella is a great standard red wine from the Napa Valley. Lots of currant, mocha, and cherry. At $20 it is a great value for a Napa based red composed of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon.

Color: Dark red hues, medium red edges

Nose: Currants and cocoa with a hint of spice

Palate: Cherry, currant and mochas flavors deliver a complete experience. Smooth tannins frame the finish nicely.


2007 Mouton Noir Wines Montgomery Place

USA, California, Napa Valley

A nice wine, though it left me feeling it needs more time or in need of some more depth. Then I did some research and found that it is mostly Cabernet Franc, explains a lot. Cabernet Franc grown in the US is a tough grape to spotlight as the primary grape in a wine. Many try, but few achieve great heights with Cabernet Franc in the US. I have to say this is in line with Lang & Reed – a fun wine that does not disappoint, yet does not make you think about it - uncomplicated. Nice aromatics, some sweet oak and a very smooth finish. It was great with the steak we paired it with. Price: $25 retail

Color: Dark purple to red

Nose: Black currants, chocolates and dark raspberries, some sweet oak whiffs.

Palate: The attack was great, more of the black currants, sweet oak, finishing nice with some fruit echo and smooth tannins. My only problem was the mid-palate was a little weak and dropped off, but the finish reclaimed some of the fruit.

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