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Showing posts with the label 2016

2016 Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon

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  2016 was generally a very good year for California Cabernet Sauvignon.  By far, the growing season was steady and uneventful, allowing grapes to help produce solid wines.  This  2016 Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Mountain is 100% Cabernet (yay!) and one that is extremely fairly priced.  We won't say "value priced" wine as that tends to actually devalue a brand.  We are going to call this wine an incredible deal.  Juicy blackberry, plum camp fire and cigar box on the nose with, at times, hints of dried spring flowers.  A dark, robust wine with flavors of black fruits, cherry tobacco, allspice and earthiness.  The wine really pulls you in immediately and leaves a solid finish on the palate.  This is the first Counterpoint that we have tasted and these 50+ year old vines are really strutting their stuff.  Excellent choice!  Drink now or for the next 10 years. ABV:  14.6% Sonoma Mountain, CA Suggested retail price:  $50.00 Drink The Bottles  score

2016 Krupp Brothers Black Bart Syrah Port

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  When you find a port wine that you really enjoy, it's kind of like finding that diamond in the rough.  Port wines can be hit or miss if they aren't the primary wine produced by the winery.  The 2016 Krupp Brothers Black Bart Syrah Port is a fine example of Napa Valley port wine made with exceptional fruit, resulting in loveliness in the glass.  This wine consists of 86% Syrah and 14% Petit Verdot Stagecoach Vineyards fruit.  2016 was a great year for Napa Valley powerful reds and that success definitely bled over to this wine.  Inky purple in the glass with cherry cola, dried flowers and sweet candied pecans on the nose.  Flavors of chocolate covered cherry, blackberry pie filling and sweet wood unite for a dense and rich tasting experience that warms the heart.  We tasted this in a whiskey glass and for the smaller pour, it was spot on.  We may or may not (ok, we did) also have this later on with a Reese's peanut butter cup.  That was a great choice, as is this wine.  W

2016 Lagana Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah

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  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! ABV:  14.7% Walla Walla, Washington Suggested retail price:  $32.00 Drink The Bottles score:  91/100

2016 Patel Napa Valley Malbec

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  Malbec can be hit or miss for us, personally.  But when it's on fire like this one, you are absolutely delighted that you had the chance to experience the wine.  This 2016 Malbec from Patel Napa Valley is a very sexy dark burgundy in the glass.  Aromas of new leather and ripe red fruits swim freely.  Some wineries try to get cute with Malbec and manipulate it or blend it with some Cabernet for structure and flavor enhancements.   This wine has none of that nor does it need it!   This fruit is from the acclaimed Stagecoach Vineyard (a personal favorite of ours), producing wonderfully ripe and flavorful grapes.  There are wonderful flavor layers of blackberry, cola, tobacco, leather and small suggestions of dark chocolate here, all working in harmony beautifully.  We would say without a doubt that this is one of our favorite Malbec in the last 5 years, hands down.  Being such a young wine, we did allow this some quality air time after the initial taste.  It gets better and better.

2016 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

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  We love thinking about wine and what was happening in the vineyards when grapes are picked and turned into a lovely wine like this one.  You have to wonder how gorgeous the fruit must have looked to create a wine that is as black a night with such power and lovely mouthfeel.  The 2016 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful example of the unique and beautiful fruits that come from the Stag's Leap District (Napa Valley).  Amazing and definitive aromas of black licorice, raspberry pie filling and baking spices abound.  The color of this wine is hauntingly gorgeous and we knew as soon as we popped this cork we were in for a real treat.  Wonderful, layered flavors of black cherry, chocolate pudding and cinnamon were most dominant, but with additional time in the glass we picked up some very distinct espresso powder and allspice.  We should have decanted this wine for about 30-45 minutes prior to tasting, but Jeff couldn't hold back.  He absolutely LOVES

Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir Tasting

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Wow, weren't we the lucky ones?   On Tuesday, August 11th, we had the distinct pleasure of taking part in a virtual wine tasting with some great media folks, Sam Folsom of Folsom + Associates and the lovely Theresa Heredia, winemaker at Gary Farrell Winery.  We had a fantastic line up for 7 single vineyard Pinot Noir and want to share our thoughts on some of our favorites.... Here's the line up of these unique and delicious wines that we sampled.  We actually made an afternoon of it, ordering a charcuterie board and inviting a few friends.  It would be a shame to have 7 bottles of wine go to waste.  A few of the folks from our group had never tasted Gary Farrell wines, so this was a win-win for everyone! 2016 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley 2016 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinon Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview 2016 Hallberg Dijon Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (Green Valley) 2016 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russion River Valley (Green Valley) 2016 Martaella Vineyard Pino

2016 Knights Bridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

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This wine was the second bottle of the night and had so much going on.  The first bottle was an 'every day drinker' that we have a case of at the house.  Immediately upon popping the cork, we were pretty confident that we had something very special with this 2016 Knights Bridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  On the nose was a wonderful mix of violets, blueberry, tobacco leaf and suggestions of cedar.  This is one of those wines that really make your mouth water as you're pouring your first drops in the glass.  We were very pleased how smooth this wine is and what full flavors jumped out of the glass.  Dark cherry, cocoa powder and grilling spices were all showing their colors and left a gorgeous feel in the mouth and at the finish.  This is a wine that will really hold up well for the next decade or longer.  It is absolutely appealing to the Cabernet lover!  We encourage you to reach out to the winery to pick up this wine here:  2016 KB Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ABV:  14.5% Kn

2016 Coquerel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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"You really can't find any great wines under $100 per bottle" is a huge disagreement that you and I can have all day, every day.  It simply isn't true.  This 2016 Coquerel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect example of what I'm talking about today.  This wine is wonderfully delicious and won't kill your bank account.  And with only 322 cases produced, this wine surely won't be available much longer. In fact, the magnum is sold out, so you have been warned! This wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (about 82%) with a smart blend of Malbec remaining.  This gorgeous color reminds me of black raspberry pie in a glass.  It's deep and the aromas are soul-filling and mouth-watering.  You can really  appreciate the ripe black and red fruits, hint of cedar and dried spices and a bit of vanilla-y graphite.  In the mouth is a powerfully fruit-forward wine that introduces micro tannins with every sip, creating a sleek and persistent finish.  You can certainly

2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

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I have never sat in a French bistro overlooking the Champs Elysees while enjoying the finest cuisine.  I have never read a first print of The Call of the Wild  while sitting amongst the finest literary classics a prestigious library.   But those are two feelings that I get when tasting the  2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon .  This wine is an extraordinary example of winemaking with passion, care and diligence.  Many Napa Valley Cabernet examples are very fruit forward, but this one is more reserved, a big and powerful statement that is held back by the door of opportunity in a wine that can be enjoyed now or for the next 20+ years.  Dark purple, almost inky, this wine has a balance of dark cherry, tobacco leaf, cassis, and antique spice cabinet with satin-like tannin.  This wine was tasted at room temperature multiple times (hence, the wine streaks on the label!) with and without food and was a true champion every time.  I would recommend this with braised short r

2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

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Every once in awhile you taste a wine, taste it again, and then have to scratch your head at the price tag.  Could a wine this wonderful, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, really be just $50 retail?  Am I seeing that correctly?  The  2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is an unfiltered beauty that really pushed be back in my chair!  Absolutely mouth-coating and full of delicious dark fruits, dark chocolate, whisps of dried spices and incredibly satisfying tannins that dance on the palate from beginning to end.  I'll be honest with you.   I spent minutes just swirling and smelling this wine, both at the beginning and throughout the tasting experience.  It's that good.  And remember, you could go to a restaurant and spend $12 - $16 for a glass of wine from a $20 bottle that is mediocre or you go visit the Priest Ranch Winery web site and purchase a few bottles of this Cabernet, knowing that you are getting more than your money's worth!  Highly recommended.

2016 Coquerel Cabernet Franc Bennett's Vineyard

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Admittedly, I am not a huge Cabernet Franc fan because historically most of it has left me wanting more, often wondering if all Cab Franc was lackluster or if I had just been unlucky.  After today, I am putting all of that behind me and all Cabernet Franc will be judged against this 2016 Coquerel Bennett's Vineyard Cabernet Franc.  Yes, you read that right.   This wine spoils you because it is a 100% varietal and made from a single vineyard - and it shows!   Incredible dark maroon color with lifting aromatics of very ripe blackberries, cassis, hints of barn wood and cherry show the same on the palate with very juicy tannins and a finish that is surely a fist clencher.   I know it was for me.  This wine would pair well with braised short ribs but if you truly love Cabernet Franc, I would recommend this wine with a good book or a lazy Sunday on the sofa.   It's truly a work of art and at only 96 cases you should grab this quickly! ABV:  14.8% Napa Valley, Cali

2016 Ste Chapelle Special Harvest Riesling

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Full disclosure:  I have absolutely no experience with Idahoan wines.  Well, that's not true.  The first one I tried a few weeks ago was corked, but that happens to wines from any region so it's a loss and shouldn't be symbolic of the wines in general.   Now that we have that out of the way, let's discuss this 2016 Ste Chapelle Special Harvest Riesling from the Snake River Valley AVA of Idaho.  I actually leaped at the chance to taste these wines because I love discovering AVA's and producers that I'm not familiar with.   If this 100% Riesling is indicative of what this region can produce, they've got a real winning combination with grapes and terroir.   If you love sweet white wines then this is your jam!  If sweet wines turn you off, find something else to drink.  I started out with this well-chilled and the honeysuckle, pear, peach and wildflower aromas were really prevalent.  As I've said dozens of times, I taste nearly all of my wines around

2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Sangiovese Sonoma Coast

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I am really digging this 2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Sangiovese and think it is drinking very well right now.  This is definitely a great Chicken Parmesan pairing now or you could hold it for 5 years to enjoy more depth and less brightness.  This wine is slightly peppery with berries and a bit of funky, wet earth on the nose.  In the mouth, this light-to-medium wine shows off some gorgeous dried cherry bits, hints of candied apples and vanilla.   There's a suggestion of cedar box towards the end and I think it would be great to taste this vintage again in 3 years to see where that goes.  This is a very flavorful wine and one that I think is best enjoyed with the aforementioned meal.  Great value! ABV:  15.0% Sonoma Coast, California Suggested retail price:  $25.00 Drink The Bottles score:  89/100

2016 Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay

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This post is a couple of weeks overdue, but the timing is right considering the scorching heat that most of the US is experiencing right now.  Many people feel that heavier red wines are cumbersome when the heat index is hovering around triple digits and while I am not one of those people, I think some white wines (slightly chilled) are better suited for the sweltering heat.  With that, I give you the 2016 Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay.   This is Chardonnay exactly - e x a c t l y - how I like it to taste.  Whether or not oak is your thing, this 100% varietal has just enough that isn't overpowering, but it definitely helps bring the flavors together.  This wine has a really welcoming light gold color with lemon candy and warm buttered bread dominant on the nose.  Extremely creamy on the palate (again, just how I love it), lemon cake, baked cinnamon apple and baking spices combine beautifully and create a finish that clean and extremely satisfying.  This is defin

2016 Dawn's Dream Winery Bel Sogno Pinot Noir

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So, here's the deal.  I've been lucky enough to taste several Pinot Noir from Dawn Galante's amazing team at Dawn's Dream Winery and each one is unique and pretty special.  Some are more fruit forward, some smoky, but this 2016 Bel Sogno Pinot Noir takes its own beaten path and stands out from the rest.  Wonderful dark purple in the glass with aromas of muted currant, black cherry, rose petal and vanilla cream.  This wine isn't a high acidic bomb and has a more mellow characteristic in the mouth, creating a finish that is welcoming and leaves you yearning for more.  The flavors are muted at first, but mid palate the sour cherry, black raspberry and red currant jelly blend for a tasting experience that really is satisfying.  When Pinot Noir is made this well, I prefer to sip it with good company, sans food.  I do think that a lighter, brothy soup would be a good pairing as would a braised duck breast or just good 'ol fried mushrooms!  Lovely bottle.

2016 JACK Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

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I had the pleasure of tasting this 2016 JACK   Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, but I missed the mark by not enjoying it over a major league baseball game.  (Check out their story to see what this means!).  What first catches the eye on this specimen is the beautiful golden color and the logo that ties into the story of the founders.  This bottle is as handsome as Vernon and Chris are and popping the cork permeates the air with wafting aromas that suggest something special is about to happen to you.  I love California Sauvignon Blanc because it doesn't express overly grassy aromas like its New Zealand counterparts and it spotlights more fruity and floral aromas, which is the case here.  Honeysuckle and spring bouquet are dominant and inviting.  In the mouth is a silky example of a wine that has been well refined and initially has me dreaming of pineapple whip ice cream. This wine has bits of honeycomb and loads of baking spices along with a crisp green apple finish that is long and doe

2016 Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz

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I fell head over heels for Mollydooker wines about seven years ago.  It was an accidental tasting on my previous wine blog, Midwest Wine Guy, that allowed me to taste a bottle from everything they produced, and I was like a kid in a candy store.  Fast forward to the 2016 Carnival of Love and once again, I am completely enamored by the quality, value and overall loveliness of Mollydooker wines.  Gorgeous dark purple colors with plum, vanilla, country gravel road and raspberries that you just picked and squished in your hands are the wonderful, wafting aromas that leap out of the glass.  The balance on this wine is incredible and despite a 16% alcohol content, this wine does not come across as hot or with any type of medicinal feel.  This is truly skilled wine making at its best.  The mouthfeel is full, warm and inviting.  Flavors of raspberry cream, vanilla custard, earthly herbs and grilling spices blend beautifully and leave you wanting more....and more!  You cannot and will not

2016 1000 Stories Zinfandel

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When we think of red wine, we commonly think French or American oak barrel aging.  We wouldn't normally think bourbon barrel aging in present day when the aforementioned are so prevalent and readily available, certainly more than they were 50 years ago.  But aging Zinfandel in new and used bourbon barrels in small batches is exactly what 1000 Stories Wines is doing.  The use of used barrels is smart because the barrels provide a mellowness that makes this wine ripe for immediate drinking and the barrels also add some character to the wine.  Not overly complex but beautiful in a medium red color, this California Zinfandel exhibits primarily bright cherry aromas with spicebox and vanilla.  In the mouth is a softer Zinfandel with flavors of cherry, strawberry hard candy, carmel and hints of vanilla syrup.  This is a fun and very drinkable wine that I personally wouldn't pair with a food due to it's softness and sweet flavor.  It packs an alcohol content that is nearly 16%

2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Amador County Barbera

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Barbera, in my opinion, lacks popularity in the US compared to many other red wines, and that is a shame.  This Italian grape produces a memorable and flavorful wine that is incredibly inviting and easy to drink.  The 2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera from Amador County is a fine example of this dark purple, crisp wine.  Black cherry and steel on the nose, this lovely wine exhibits flavors of sour cherry, black cherry, floral bouquet and juicy young raspberries.  This wine would be an excellent companion with braised spare ribs and stuffed mushroom caps.  Very mouth watering wine! ABV:  14.0% Amador County, California Suggested retail price:  $28.00 Drink The Bottles score:  90/100

2016 Chateau St Jean Creamy California Chardonnay

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Bright golden yellow in the glass, this 2016 Chateau St Jean Creamy California Chardonnay is a solid pairing for spicy Spanish foods.  A complete steal at under $15, this wine displays notes of baked apple pie, lemon and mineral.  In the mouth is a medium bodied and luscious creamy combination of creamy lemon cheesecake, stone fruits, dry mineral and hints of cedar.  Straight forward with a finish that is silky and sweet, this Chardonnay could be a daily drinker and I've seen it closer to the $10 price tag online, so you're going to really win with this one! ABV:  14.5% California Suggested retail price:  $12.99 Drink The Bottles score:  87/100