Monday, July 26, 2021

2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet

 

2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet

We were recently in Chicago visiting family and, of course, we had to check out the local wine store.  It's always fun shopping for wines and bourbons in a "new" city.  You never know what you may find.  Since it can be tough to find Mollydooker close to us (it is hit-and-miss) we decided to grab this bottle.  We have long been Mollydooker fans but had yet to write about any of the 2019 vintages.

The 2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet is a fun way to step outside of MD's famous 100% Shiraz offerings.  This is a blend of Shiraz (69%), Merlot (16% and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).  Dark magenta in the glass with wonderful, long legs, the wine permeates the air beautifully with fresh raspberry, cherry and spices.  At 16% ABV this wine isn't for the faint of heart.  But it isn't fumy or bear any unpleasant hints of menthol that you can get from other high octane wines.  In the mouth is a effortless and polished feel of a wine that boasts hearty red fruits, aged peppered steak, vanilla and grilling spices.  If you like blended wines that are very flavorful and cost-friendly, you can't go wrong with Two Left Feet!

2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet close up


ABV:  16.0%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $30.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Rodney Strong Wine Estates REJUVENATION Virtual Wine Tasting

 

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Wine Lineup

It was a great day for a wine tasting.  But then again, isn't any day perfect to gather for some vino?  

Rodney Strong Rejuvenation Power Point

Our group of six gathered at our home (aka DrinkTheBottles HQ) for a virtual wine tasting provided by our friends at Rodney Strong Wine Estates.  This tasting was promoted as a media tasting and we invited our friends to enjoy some new wines.  Whenever we have a virtual tasting we always try to include others.  It would be a shame to "waste" six bottles of wine on two people.

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Portfolio

The folks at Rodney Strong Wine Estates have been going through a makeover, or a REJUVENATION as they call it, for the last 3 years.  They have touched every part of the business from the estate, the vineyards, the tasting room, the personnel and, as you may notice, the logo/label!

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Wines

The lineup consisted of six unique and flavorful wines.  The winery proves that you don't have to be expensive to enjoy quality wines.   We tasted these wines in order:
  • 2020 Rodney Strong Rose of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley:  $25.00
  • 2019 Rodney Strong California Chardonnay:  $17.00
  • 2017 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot:  $20.00
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon:  $22.00
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon:  $28.00
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Old Vine Zinfandel:  $25.00
Rodney Strong Wine Estates note taking

Everyone had the chance to taste all six wines and choose their favorites.  Jeff took notes.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

We started off with a bang!   Collectively and unanimously our group thought that this Rose of Pinot Noir got two thumbs up!  Strong strawberry finish with a medium acidic finish.  At only $25.00 suggested retail, this is an incredible deal.

Charcuterie Board

Melissa and Jeff tried their hands at their first charcuterie board.  You simply cannot have a proper wine tasting without charcuterie.  This is only a small sampling of all of the food that we had!

Rodney Strong Vineyards California Chardonnay

Great golden color and bright Chardonnay.  Some people tend to look down their noses at Chardonnay, like Merlot.  But this one full of flavor and you won't believe it is only $17.00 when you taste it!

Rodney Strong Vineyards wine close up

The nearly hour-long virtual wine tasting presented by Director of Communications Christopher O'Gorman and Director of Winemaking Justin Seidenfeld started out with a history lesson and background about the winery and vineyards.   Rodney Strong (or "Rod" as they referred to him) started off as a dancer and became a wine pioneer not just in Sonoma County, but throughout California.  The winery has been active for over 60 years and Justin is only the 4th director of winemaking in those 6 decades.  

RSV is a Certified Sustainable Winery that believes heavily in conservation, water management and solar energy.  The focus is now more on micro farming while they also plan extensive vineyard replanting over the next 7 years.  

The original tasting room at the winery was opened in 1970 under Rod's watchful eye and just went through a complete remodel.   The focus now is flighted wines by appointment, which will give wine lovers a better tasting experience.  

Rodney Strong Vineyards 2017 Sonoma County Merlot

I really have to applaud the entire Rodney Strong Vineyards (Rodney Strong Wine Estates) team for their vision.   While it may have been a bit overdue to some, they clearly have the right people making decisions both aesthetically and with their winemaking.  Change can be difficult.  But change is inevitable and often necessary to survive in business and to attract a new or emerging audience.  

If you haven't tasted any wines from the Rodney Strong portfolio recently, we would encourage you to do so.  You might find a new favorite.  While they do offer more expensive and exclusive wines like Alexander's Crown or Rockaway Cabernet, the bulk of their offerings are in the $20 - $30 range and affordable for most people.  FYI, our favorites of the day were the Rose of Pinot Noir and Old Vine Zinfandel.  Thank you for Alicia, Christopher and Justin for spending some time with us last week and sharing your labor of love.  Cheers!
















Friday, June 25, 2021

2016 Lagana Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah

 

2016 Lagana Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah

While Syrah and Shiraz are virtually the same grape, we feel that quality Syrah often gets over-shadowed by its Australian counterpart.  The 2016 Lagana Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah is a fine example of a tasty and memorable Washington State wine that will be easy on the bank account while popular at the dinner table.  Wonderful deep purple in the glass with magenta accents, this wine presents black fruits, balsamic glaze, sweet tobacco and suggestions of smoke after some heavy swirling.  Medium bodied and full of flavor, the dark fruits are dominant and joined by very mild pepper, herbs and pork belly for a tasting experience that will surely bring a smile to your face.  We think that this wine is drinking at or close to it's peak now, so add this one to your short list.  This Syrah was tasted solo and with grilled cheeseburgers.   GREAT pairing!  You won't regret it!

2016 Lagana Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah label

ABV:  14.7%

Walla Walla, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $32.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

2017 Fifty Row Cabernet Sauvignon

 

2017 Fifty Row Cabernet Sauvignon Alice Block

We absolutely love being introduced to new wines and when they are single vineyard beauties you can really appreciate what is in the glass as the grapes are very select and concentrated.  Recently we tasted the 2017 Fifty Row Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is from their Alice Block in Rutherford and the tasting experience was absolutely stunning.  We tasted this straight from the bottle and then with the aerator, both with similar notes.  Lovely, solid dark purple in the glass with long legs.  The nose welcomed aromas of blackberries, pencil lead, dried loose leaf tobacco and toasted brioche.  This is truly a mouth-watering wine and we couldn't wait to taste it.  In the mouth are flavors of blackberry, chocolate bits, plum and cappuccino.  Hints of beautiful, dusty earth really came through with the aeration.   This wine would pair well with some rare prime rib and herb roasted potatoes, but I think you will really enjoy this one sans food.  This is a fine example of Cabernet from the Rutherford AVA that will continue to age well for the next 12 years or more.  Enjoy!

2017 Fifty Row Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  14.6%

Napa Valley, CA

Suggested retail price:  $85.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

2018 Patland Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Malbec

 

2018 Patland Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Malbec

We have recently had the opportunity to taste several Malbec and admittedly, in the past, this has not been our favorite varietal.  Mostly it is because many of the Malbec we have tasted have been "good" but not great.  That certainly isn't the case with the 2018 Patland Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Malbec.  Before we get into our thoughts, we will make a bold statement that this is probably the best Malbec we have EVER tasted!  Read that again.  It is absolutely stunning on all fronts - visual, aroma and taste!   In the glass is a concentrated, nearly opaque, incredibly dark colored wine.  It's gorgeous.  On the nose are lifted aromas of plum, mocha, chocolate bits, blackberry preserves and spring flowers.  This is one of those wines that fills the soul and while you can't wait to taste it, the aromas just want to make you swirl this glass over and over and really appreciate the goodness.  In the mouth is a gushing collection of dark berries, chocolate bar, ciabatta bread, and hints of espresso.  The wine finishes effortlessly and will continue to become more polished for years as it is very young right now.  This wine is drinking splendidly and we would love to visit it again in a few years.  If you are a Malbec lover, this wine is absolutely a "must have" wine for you!  

2018 Patland Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Malbec label

ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, CA

Suggested retail price:  $110.00

Drink The Bottles score:  98/100






Tuesday, June 8, 2021

2018 Flora Springs Trilogy

 

2018 Flora Springs Trilogy

We have been fortunate enough to taste this delightful selection over the years both on this blog on our previous one.  This wine always puts a smile on our faces and never disappoints!  The 2018 Flora Springs Trilogy is an exceptional example of marrying three amazing varietals flawlessly, resulting in silkiness, body, incredible flavors and wonderful memories.  I kick myself for not getting a picture of this in the glass.  I guess it's incredibly easy to get excited and become lost in this wine.  I would love to show you the wonderful crimson colors and beautiful, ripe tannins but that will have to wait until next time.  The wine introduces itself with dark red and black fruits, cocoa beans, a wisp of book leather and roasted coffee.  These aromas make the mouth water and make way to ripe blackberries, juicy plum, mocha and dark toast on the palate.  The wine flows effortlessly that would pair well with an delicious prime rib, but we tasted this solo.  For us, it's the best choice.  This wine is absolutely delicious and it is easy to recognize why this is Flora Springs' flagship wine.  Wow!  It's almost perfect....

2018 Flora Springs Trilogy label

ABV:  14.2%

Napa Valley, CA

3,900 cases produced

Suggested retail price:  $85.00

Drink The Bottles score:  95/100




Friday, May 28, 2021

2019 Upshot White Wine Blend - Rodney Strong Vineyards

 

2019 Upshot White Wine Blend

Once in awhile we are introduced to a wine that really opens your eyes, especially at this price point.  The 2019 Upshot White Wine Blend by Rodney Strong Vineyards is just such a find.  If you're looking for a daily drinker for summer or a fun treat for your guests at your next outdoor dinner party, we think this one is a great choice!  Stone fruits on the nose joined with new spring flowers and a fresh summer rain.  In the mouth are ripe peaches, fig jam and just the perfect touch of salinity that opens up for an incredibly crisp finish.  You'll likely want this one chilled (but not over chilled) and we think this wine would be a great accompaniment to some hard cheeses and cured meats.  Enjoy!

2019 Upshot White Wine Blend Label

ABV:  13.0%

Healdsburg, CA

Suggested retail price:  $19.00

Drink The Bottles score:  85/100



2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet

  We were recently in Chicago visiting family and, of course, we had to check out the local wine store.  It's always fun shopping for wi...