Showing posts with label 2018. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2018. Show all posts

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!
















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




Monday, April 19, 2021

2018 Flora Springs Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 

2018 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon

To me, this wine screams, "I am a perfect daily drinker and something that most everyone can afford."  This wine won't break the bank but it will allow you to experience a classic tasting Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  It's one of those that will be a great gift as well.  The 2018 Flora Springs Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is exactly what I've learn to expect from this producer over the years.  You get a wine with forward, mouth-watering aromas of blackberry, seared oak, baking spices and vanilla.  It's a beautiful burgundy color with tiny tannin and a ton of flavor.  While a young wine, you can really taste the dark fruit, bold coffee bean and vanilla, followed up with hints of juicy, ripe plum.  This wine is a solid pleaser.

2018 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon label


ABV:  14.2%

Napa Valley, CA

Suggested retail price:  $50.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100



Friday, March 26, 2021

2018 Patland Estate Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

 

2018 Patland Estates Select Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

What really impressed us by this Cabernet Sauvignon is the huge structure, sustainability and tasting profile that went along with this young wine.   The 2018 Patland Estate Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the eleventh year for this limited edition wine and you'll have to jump on this quickly if you want to secure yours.  At only 3,540 bottles, the allocation surely runs out quickly, and for good reason!  Medium to dark garnet color with pomegranate, leather, black cherry and mint on the nose.  In the mouth is a medium-tannin, polished wine with dark red fruits, leather, vanilla and droplets of soy sauce towards the finish.  For such a young wine it drinks effortlessly and is as sexy as it can be for the greatest grape varietal in the world!  If you are lucky enough to acquire this wine, get as many as you can.  Drink one now and age the others for 5, 10, 15, 20 years.  Enjoy!

2018 Patland Vineyards Barrel Reserve Cab


ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, CA

295 cases produced

Suggested retail price:  $200.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100



Friday, July 31, 2020

2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity



If you are looking for a wine that pairs with just about anything in your pantry or freezer, you have found it in the 2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity blend.   Don't roll your eyes and scoff about red blends....certainly not this one!  The picture above should really be all that you need to know about how much we enjoyed this wine.   The bottle is empty!  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (36%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Syrah (7%) and Petit Verdot(2%) is exceptionally balanced and a real palate masseuse!  This wine opens with grandma's homemade preserves, dried spices and some incredible hints of earthiness.  It is absolutely full of fruit flavors like juicy bing cherries, ripe plum and multi-berry cobbler, including the taste of spice racks flavors in the crust.  It is always incredible to sip a wine like this, sit back and just laugh at how wonderful it is at this price point.  This wine is young but it drinks like it has been bottled for 10 years.  The color on this wine is absolutely captivating and you just want to get lost in those legs.  We applaud Michael Baldacci on this lovely bottle.  You can find this online directly from the winery here:  2018 Baldacci Fraternity Red Wine


ABV:  14.5%

Napa Valley, California

2,833 cases produced

Suggested retail price:  $50.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100



Tuesday, June 16, 2020

2018 Calculated Risk Sonoma County Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon



Full disclosure here.   I purchased a few different cases of "close out" wines from an online discounter just to have some cheaper, every day drinking wine.  One of the purchases was this 2018 Calculated Risk Sonoma County Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  I bought 4 bottles and for the price (and free shipping), I thought it was worth the..................wait for it...............calculated risk.  (Insert laughter here).  I digress.

This wine really didn't disappoint.  Of the wines that I purchased from the discount vendor, this one was one that I preferred over many that were less than spectacular.  There was a very distinct Cabernet nose and medium red color.  Sometimes you can open a cheap Cabernet only to find that you struggle to identify the aromas that typically accompany these grapes.  This was not the case here.  Dried fruit with dark chocolate yielded to dark, ripe cherries and a faint dusty book taste.  The finish wasn't incredibly long but it was pleasant and kept me coming back to finish the bottle.   I'm definitely not mad at myself for trying this one, although the suggested list price tag on the winery web site would leave you scratching your head (I paid $14.99 and free shipping).  I don't think this bottle would be one you could take a glass or two from and put back for another day.  It's a one and done deal!  Drink now through 2024.

ABV:  14.0%

Sonoma County, California

Suggested retail price:  $49.99

Drink The Bottles score:  86/100

Friday, June 12, 2020

Yes, You CAN Find a Good Wine for Under $10

Have you ever picked up a cheap bottle of wine ($20 or under) and found that it nearly blew your socks off?  No, it wasn't the 18% alcohol or high octane fuel smell coming from the cork....er, make that bottle cap....but an actual LOVE for a bargain bottle of vino?  A couple of months ago while we were all hunkered down during the Coronavirus pandemic, we received a bottle of this 2018 King Rabbit Rosé as a gift.  I'm not normally a rosé wine fan, but I immediately fell in love with the cantaloupe-colored juice and gorgeous package.  

While we had planned to save this bottle for Easter dinner, it didn't work out that way and we popped this open on a whim one late afternoon.  This bottle had been in the refrigerator chilling (the best way to drink a rosé in my opinion) so we filled up a couple of glasses and headed to the back deck.  


The nose presented with lemon, lime and stone fruits with some flowery undertones.  This wasn't an intense aroma, but pleasing and yes, I admit, a bit mouth watering.  Rosé wines are dry and this one was no exception.  However, this little gem packed a ton of fruit including peach, cranberry and strawberry syrup.  A nice pop of acid rounds out the tasting on this Whole Food exclusive wine and the lingering finish keeps inviting you back.  


This is a VERY recommended wine, especially if you have guests who are looking for a lighter option or those who don't drink red wine.  Yes, believe it or not.........those people exist!   Enjoy!

ABV:  12.0%

Languedoc, France

Suggested retail price:  $9.99

Drink The Bottles score:  88/100


Monday, December 31, 2018

Drink The Bottles 2018 Wine of the Year!

It's really very difficult to pick a singular wine that sums up the best of the best for an entire year.  In some ways, it just doesn't seem fair to show your cards, point and say "This.  This is the one", but scores of folks clamor each year for every wine publication, including bloggers, to tell them "what a good wine is" that they would like.   That question always hurts my head.   Let me start by echoing my own sentiment and one that I always say....

Every wine listed on Drink The Bottles is worth your attention.   They are all worth your hard-earned money and they would not be here if I did not think you and your tribe would enjoy them.  It's that easy.  I taste hundreds of wines each year.   The ones on this blog are the ones that make it.  Some don't.  And that's ok.  You might still love those and hopefully you've fallen in love with a producer or varietal that is your jam.  

Before I get to "the" wine of the year, here are some very, VERY incredible honorable mentions in no particular order:


So, the downside of listing some of my favorite wines is fact that some feelings may get hurt.  That may cause some folks to delete my email address and not take my calls anymore.  I hope not.  Again, every single wine on this blog is a keeper.......or, make that a drinker.   

When I was trying to think about the 2018 Wine of the Year, I had to ask myself, "what in the heck does that mean"?  It comes down to this.  Is the wine readily available?  Is the wine memorable?  Is the wine affordable to most people who appreciate drinking with friends?   This wine was on my radar most of the year and I had no doubt at all that this was going to be the one.

(Drum roll please...............)

The Shepherd 2014 Estate Red
Drink The Bottles 2018 Wine of the Year

This beautiful wine is only $20 and for that price you need to do yourself a favor and pick up half a case....at least!   If you do nothing else today, check out my thoughts on this wine on the blog.

I am really looking forward to 2019 and sharing dozens of wonderful wines with all of you.  If you want to be part of the project, connect with me here on or Instagram.  Cheers!

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