Showing posts with label red. Show all posts
Showing posts with label red. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2019

2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

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 ribs or venison.  Absolutely wonderful!

2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.6%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $110.00

Drink The Bottles score:  96/100


Monday, March 18, 2019

2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

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 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $50.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100


Monday, March 4, 2019

2016 Coquerel Cabernet Franc Bennett's Vineyard

2016 Coquerel Cabernet Franc Bennett's Vineyard

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!


2016 Coquerel Cabernet Franc Bennett's Vineyard label

ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  SOLD OUT

Drink The Bottles score:  96/100


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Arns Winery NV Impromp2 2 Cabernet Sauvignon

Arns Winery NV Impromp2 2 Cabernet Sauvignon
This non-vintage 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery started out as an experiment in wine aging and Sandi Belcher and her team have hit a home run.  This wine is a fine example of smart blending, expert wine making and risk taking that paid off in a big way.  This wine has three separate vintages in a single bottle.  This wine is rooted in a gorgeous purple color and presents lung-filling aromas of ripe blackberries, chocolate, saddle leather and toasty cedar.  There's a great mid palate feel with this one and generous flavors of dark berries, cedar, dark chocolate, tar and spice box.  This is everything you want to see in a quality Cabernet Sauvignon and I think this is an experiment that went extremely well!  I love seeing winemakers step outside of the box and I think you'll love this too.  Only 200 cases were produced and at this price point, it won't last long.

Arns Winery NV Impromp2 2 Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.5%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $65.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100

2013 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery is another fine example of a powerfully restrained, still young wine with tons of potential.   I "Drink The Bottles" when I get them, so unfortunately, sometimes I miss out what are probably the best years of many stellar wines.  I think that is the case here with the 2013 Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery.  This wine has a gorgeous, sexy black color and a depth that you can see and feel.  Layers of chocolate cake, tobacco leaf, spicy paprika, and cherry cola marry with ease on the nose and in the mouth.  I feel like this wine has so much more to offer and the flavors will explode out of the glass in the next 3-5 years.  But who can wait??  This is a wine that is very tasty now, but will probably bring tears of joy to your eyes if you hold onto it and save it for that special occasion or special someone in the not-so-near future.  With only 300 cases produced, you better grab this quickly!
Arns Winery logo
ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $90.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100


2012 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 was a mixed year for many wine producers.  Some soared and some struggled.  Those who did soar rose way above the competition and this 2012 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery is a fine example of wine made gorgeously and with style.   There is a big contrast in color from the 2011.  This was is very dark and inky, leaving behind a beautiful stamp on the cork.  I decanted this wine for about an hour but couldn't help myself to get lost in the aromas dark fruits, black licorice and damp, loam earthiness.  Solid mouthfeel and the aromas carry over to the same flavors, but add in some cocoa powder and hints of sweet berries on the finish for a mouth covering and memorable drinking experience.   Arns Winery wines are those that you want to take with you to a dinner party.  These are also great wines to share with folks who are not traditionally "wine people", but beware that those folks may think that all wines are this delicious!

2012 Arns Winery Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $90.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon

Man, this one is BIG!   I received this bottle of 2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon last week and let it rest a few days before tasting.   Tasted over two days, this initially tossed around aromas of plum, leather, cedar, menthol and a touch of sage again big, rich tannins and a lingering finish.  Despite the 15%+ alcohol content, this wasn't hot at all.  In fact, it was beautifully made and a real pleasure to drink.  I was lucky enough to have some of this to taste a second night with a chicken pasta dish that I make regularly and the pairing was spot on.  The wine was more Bing cherry, cocoa powder and tea leaves with saddle leather and neither the pasta or wine overpowered each other.  I absolutely adore a 100% Cabernet that is completely mouth-coating as this one and if you're looking for an amazing wine to share with friends, this is your huckleberry!

2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Armillary Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  15.3%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $125.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100

Friday, September 28, 2018

2013 d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache

2013 d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache

Going back a bit on this one (the 2015 is currently available) with the 2013 d'Arenberg Grenache wine - The Custodian.  For between $15 - $20 you can get a ton of enjoyment with this solid wine that boasts aromas of black raspberry, plum, pepper and licorice.   It's a straight forward crowd pleaser that would really be an exception add-on to your thick, medium rare steak.  The finish is quick but memorable on this one and it would be hard for anyone to think otherwise.  I really enjoy d'Arenberg wines and this one should be on your radar.

2013 d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache label

ABV:  14.3%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $20.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100

Monday, September 24, 2018

2015 Flora Springs Trilogy

2015 Flora Springs Trilogy

The 2015 Trilogy red wine from Flora Springs is a solid pleasure provider that was the star of the show on Cabernet Day this year, hands down!  Incredibly dark purple in the glass, the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (82%), Malbec (10%) and Petit Verdot (8%) is a slice of heaven in the glass.  So much flavor and elegance with sweet plum, tar, black currant, cedar shavings and black cherry showing off the fine tannins and long legs.  For such a young wine, this one is incredibly velvety on the tongue and the finish and you would swear it has been in the bottle closer to 10 years.  The fruit aromas carry over to the flavors and there is a sweetness that is reminiscent of swirling my vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup together as a kid.  The price point adds to the attractiveness of such a remarkable wine and while it would pair amazingly with a brisket, I chose to drink this one unaided and with a smile on my face ... and my glass!


2015 Flora Springs Trilogy label

ABV:  14.5%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $80.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

2014 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz

2014 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz

I first tasted d'Arenberg wines about ten years ago and fell in love instantly.  Fast forward a decade, they have an incredible offering of wines and price points for just about every taste bud and pocket book.  The Dead Arm Shiraz is wildly popular and this 100% varietal is leaping out of the glass with spices, black fruit, coffee bean and damp earth.  This is one of those wines that get better with each sip (if that's possible) and you can't help but to be mesmerized by the deep purple color, so much that you find yourself helplessly swirling this wine throughout the drinking experience.  It's enchanting!  Ripe, dark berries with hints of farm pasture are on the flavor wheel with this one and there is a definitive, long and welcoming spicy and slightly woody finish that begs for more.  There is absolutely no doubt that this wine is going to evolve into a beautiful butterfly and despite the wonderful flavors you experience now, it will be more incredible in 10+ years.   By then, it could be considered "the" perfect wine!

2014 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz label

ABV:  14.4%

McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested retail price:  $70.00

Drink The Bottles score:  95/100

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's a brand new wine label that I frankly, hadn't heard of but of course, I'm always eager to learn something new.  This 2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon is staight out of Columbia Valley, Washington, where many of my favorite red blends were born and raised.  A combination of Cabernet Sauvignon (81%), Merlot (17%) and Merlot (2%), this easy-to-imbibe red is a little fruity on the nose and at first sip.  Blueberry, vanilla and sweet spices predominantly fill the glass and if you like a softer, more subtle Cabernet blend, this is your jam!  In the mouth is more of the same but black raspberry and sweet tobacco round out the flavor profile with a very short finish.   My recommendation is to drink this with a bloody, salty, bone-in slab of beef or some hot Virginia ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches with spicy mustard.  It would be a match made in heaven.

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $12.99

Drink The Bottles score:  82/100

Monday, July 2, 2018

2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Sangiovese Sonoma Coast

2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Sangiovese Sonoma Coast

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!

2016 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Sangiovese Sonoma Coast label

ABV:  15.0%

Sonoma Coast, California

Suggested retail price:  $25.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100


Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Great Wine Glass Lie: Are you being duped?


Are differing styles of wine glasses really important?

Today I want to explore the wine glass industry and whether or not different styles of wine glasses are really that important in how you smell, taste and enjoy your wine.  For many years, I purchased dozens of different styles of wine glasses, from port to Champagne, to Cabernet, to Riesling, to............well, you get the point.  Why did I do this?   While I'm still asking myself this question, at the time, as a fledgling wine writer, it made sense to me.  I mean, in literally every wine publication I read or web site I visited, including forums, were ads for beautiful, lead-free crystal wine glasses that were the "best" for enhancing my wine enjoyment experience.   Well heck, these people must know much more than I do, so I better get them all!  (Or so I thought).

So why do we buy so many styles of wine glasses?  Or maybe a better question is, why do the larger wine glass companies create and market so many styles of wine glasses to the masses?  Do you really care if you're drinking a Cabernet out of a Syrah glass or a Gewurztraminer out of a glass that is labeled ideal for Riesling?  Maybe the bigger question here would be can you even tell the difference?  My answer would be no.  No, you cannot tell a difference.  Even if you are the very top sommelier at the pinnacle of your career, I challenge that you are full of crap if you think that there is a real need to stock a dozen or more different styles of wine goblets in your cabinets because they each pair wonderfully with your 1982 Chateau Overpriced Plonk.  Let's get real.

So then, why do we purchase different wine glasses and why are some of them ideal for different types of wine?  Red wine.   Ahhhh, let that soak in for a minute.   It's lovely and my personal favorite - Cabernet, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Petit Syrah, Merlot - I'll take it all!   And I'll drink it all from one wine glass.  For these lovelies, I use only one style (which is ironically called the One Red Wine Glass, which I purchased off of Amazon for about $12.50 each in bulk) and this glass has a 19.5 ounce capacity, a medium-to-long stem and a very well rounded bowl, great for cupping the glass and swirling.   I constantly swirl when drinking, probably to a fault, but I can't help it and I love the way the aromas waft upwards out of this glass.  If your budget only allows for one type of wine glass, get a "red" wine glass.  It's versatile enough for nearly everything you will be serving and 95% of your guests have no clue or care about varying styles.  So check off the first glass you need - RED.  

If you're going to have only one wine glass, make it a "red" one!

If you don't care what you serve your wine in to your guests or what you're drinking your Boone's Farm Strawberry wine in (other than straight from the bottle), you can stop reading now - if you even made it this far.  Game over.  You're welcome.  But, if you want a little variety and want to enjoy your Champagne (sorry America, all of ours is actually "sparking wine" made Methode Champenoise but we generally call it "Champagne" similarly to a tissue is a "Kleenex" for most), then you need to get some flutes.   No, this isn't that one time at band camp.  These are Champagne flutes.  Why?  Because they look pretty and classy?  Sure, let's face it.  That's one aspect of why we quaff from these dainty glasses.  But there is actually truth that the smaller, narrow, elongated design helps keep the bubbles in check and dancing around in the glass, which is why we drink Champagne, right?  It's the tasting experience that counts.  It's the lovely tickle in our noses and the yeasty tastes that are accentuated by the thousands of little bubbles that make this wine fun, delicious and memorable.  Truth be known, if I didn't have a flute and only had a coffee mug, well, this blogger would be partaking anyway!  But if you want the best drinking experience and have a budget for it, then check off your second wine glass here - Champagne flute.

Champagne flutes will keep the bubbles tickling your nose
You need nothing else.  No port glasses, no $200 Sommelier glass.  That's it.  But I will suggest that if you have regular wine parties, have some extra bucks that you aren't spending on one of your many wine club memberships or hell, maybe you just don't like to re-use wine glasses, then consider a white wine glass.   But don't get cute and don't get fancy.  Don't stress over Chardonnay versus Sauvignon Blanc or any other fake, commercialized, make-believe styles that are the "best" for your wine.  Just get something that has a smaller bowl than your red glass, has a good stem for gripping and for God's sake, don't get a stemless set!  More on that later.  A simple white wine glass with a stem will keep your wine the proper temperature, allow you to enjoy the flavors of your juice and if on a table setting, will remind your lovers that you have class damnit and you serve both red and white wines at your house!  The days of rinsing out red glasses for white wines and vice versa are over.  Spend a few bucks.  Get some whites.  Enjoy.  And we're done!   The third and only wine glass I would recommend is a white wine glass, and it's totally optional!

White wine glasses - optional but a good idea

I'll finish this ramble with a few pet peeves.   I guess I should start by saying that if you invite me over to your house, I'm not going to poo poo any of your drinkware and I'm confident that you and I and our band of hearty drinkers will have a hell of a good time.  But, if we can avoid a few things, I want to put those out here right now.  Stemless wine glasses.   I'm on the fence here.  I have actually used these recently with our neighbors and I admit that I really like the way they fit in my hand and there is much less of a chance that I'll knock one over and break it while sipping by the fire pit.  For that I am very thankful and they immediately generate a more relaxed atmosphere.  Ok, I have it!   Let's call these outside-only glasses, ok?  I now ban everyone from using these indoors, but have at them outdoors.  I have to add that the idea that the stemless wine glasses are "bad" because the temperature of your hands messes with the wine temperature and creates a lesser tasting experience is a bunch of shit.  There.  I said it.  Unless you are Marvel Comic's Human Torch, I don't think you'll have to worry about your "hotness" screwing with your wine.  And if you're sipping on one glass of wine all night while I'm opening my second bottle, then this will probably be the last time we drink together, so there's that.   Fingerprints on these glasses are the devil's work and the real problem with these glasses.  But if you concentrate on the friends and the wine, you can most likely get past your paw prints all over the glass.

Stemless wine glasses are on the fence - damn fingerprints!

Finishing off my pet peeves are glasses that I just don't like.  I don't care for them one bit.  They're wildly popular with the gift-giving crowd who occasionally sips the Moscato and thinks they are "big wine fans".  I'm not judging here (ok, maybe a little).   I guess I don't have a dog in this game because I'm not crafty and I won't drink from these.  I give you, the novelty wine glass...

Wine glass with a "deep" message - Pass!

Stick to the cookies and milk Santa.   Holy crap.
I will say that anyone who can create a wine glass that is unbreakable, beautiful, affordable and not full of poisonous materials will be my new best friend.  If these are your glasses, send them to me and I'll promote them until the cows come home.  That's a midwestern phrase and for those of you who don't know, that's a really, really good thing.  I've had too many accidents over the years that ruined a delicate wine glass and beautiful wine, just like the overpriced Riedel pictured below.  RIP.

Give me unbreakable and affordable wine glasses!

At the end of the day, you're going to drink wine out of whatever you want and I'm not mad at you.  But whatever you do, drink wine!   By the end of the night, we're all going to be having a grand old time and might even be following our buddy Miles and drink whatever we can get ahold of however we can get it down our throats!   Cheers!

Interesting way to drink wine!








Sunday, June 10, 2018

2015 Galante Vineyards Olive Hill Petite Sirah

2015 Galante Vineyards Olive Hill Petite Sirah

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.  This 2015 Petite Sirah from Galante Vineyards is presented in a shorter bottle outside of a traditional bottle (but it's still 750ml).  Clever marketing and it confirms that good things are indeed found in small packages.  Jack and Dawn Galante really have wonderful wines and this 2015 PS is no exception.  Medium to dark purple with flowery fragrances of rose petal and dusty spring flowers combine with blackberries that are so ripe I picture them being as dark as night.  The flavors are well defined and don't mess around.   Cherry, blackberry, vanilla and peppery braised brisket are distinct and welcoming.  Sweeter on the exit and very memorable with a lingering finish.  This is my type of Petite Sirah.  Just over 250 cases made, so get it quickly!

2015 Galante Vineyards Olive Hill Petite Sirah label

ABV:  14.1%

Carmel Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $50.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100

Monday, June 4, 2018

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious

This wine makes me super happy.  I'll be honest, I had to look up the meaning of the word Bodacious to even see if it was a legitimate word.  I found very quickly that Bodacious should not be the name of the wine, but rather the wine review.   Bodacious.   That's all you need.  Holy cow, this wine from Jon Nathaniel Wines is a head turner!  I'll tell you what's in it soon, but what you really need to know is how it tastes and feels.  This wine pops in the mouth with cherry cola, black raspberry jam, chocolate bits, some hints of coffee and what I can only describe as dust from an old book depository at the tail end of the finish.  Weird?  Sure.  But accurate?  You bet.   Aromas of ripe red fruit, funky earthy dampness, cedar, vanilla and mocha are most prevalent.  This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Syrah (29%), Cabernet Franc (19%), Petit Verdot (11%), Merlot (10%) and Malbec (1%).   Can you cram anything else into the bottle?   Maybe, but why would you?  Deep red to medium purple in the glass and unmistakably memorable, you'll be sad when you tip this bottle for the last time.  Super easy drinking and one that I think you can enjoy right now!  If you love wines with tasty fruit, get it!

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious label

ABV:  14.2%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100





2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

It had been a spell since I had enjoyed any wine from Frog's Leap Winery, so I was really pumped about the opportunity to taste their latest Cab.   The 2015 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Merlot (13 %) and Cabernet Franc (9%).  Selfishly, I wish I had a case of this wine and if you want to invest in something that will pay you back ten fold in taste over the next 10-20 years, this wine is for you.  It's super young now, but you can discover some great  mocha, saddle leather, dark plum and medium spice on the nose.  Some might find full bodied flavors that you usually expect from a Cabernet at first, but thing wine is young and the Merlot addition adds structure and balanced flavors of black cherry, gravel, licorice and grilling spices.  I found this finish to be very long with a hint of peppery spice.  I'm loving this wine and I think it will continue to be fine polished if you give it some time.  Eat this one with a rare to medium rare ribeye and some hearty, starchy side dishes.   As a side note, I think this is an incredible value for a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.   If you're looking for a fine wine that won't break your budget, this is a very smart choice!

2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  13.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $55.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100



Thursday, May 24, 2018

2016 Dawn's Dream Winery Bel Sogno Pinot Noir

2106 Dawn's Dream Winery Bel Sogno Pinot Noir

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 Dawn's Dream Winery Bel Sogno Pinot Noir Label

ABV:  14.1%

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Suggested retail price:  $70.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

The J Bookwalter Winery team never ceases to surprise me with their wines, whether with their more "value priced" Readers Merlot or with this savory and heart-warming red blend.  The 2015 Conflict is a product of the Conner-Lee Vineyard consisting of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (47%), Merlot (45%) and Malbec (8%), making it a powerhouse in color and flavor.  Black fruits with violet and whisps of peppered rare beef swim in the glass.  This wine is immediately mouth-watering and has a welcome brightness that is married by the vibrant red colors throughout.  The black fruits carry over in the flavors and I think a hint of cardamom is carried by the spicy, slightly woody finish that to me, is as beautiful as the legs in the wine glass.  This is such an easy drinking wine and one that I would avoid with food.  It would pair well with a number of beef dishes, but I enjoy this wine so much that I want to remember it just as it is.  I think you'll get enjoyment out of this for 15 years easily.

J Bookwalter Winery logo


ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  97/100


Monday, May 21, 2018

2015 Krupp Brothers The Water Witch

2015 Krupp Brothers The Water Witch
I have long been a fan of Krupp Brothers wines and absolutely love the story of the determination and passion behind how this winery became to be today.  Some of the best terroir in the area was there, but getting to it by removing a nearly infinite amount of rock and having little to no water were two huge obstacles.  This wine pays homage to the dowser that found water for Krupp Brothers and helped turn it into.......wine!  This 2015 Water Witch is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (38%), Malbec (24%) Petit Verdot (10%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Tempranillo (9%), Syrah (6%) and Merlot (3%).  This blend is a home run with a medium to dark ruby red color and long legs that run parallel to the glass stem. Aromas of cherry turnover, clove, cigar box and floral bouquet dance in the glass and sing loudly with some vigorous swirling.  This wine is very young but you know that it will continue to gain weight in the bottle over the next 10+ years.  Velvety in the mouth with a finish that seems to linger for minutes, the cherry leads the way with semi-sweet chocolate, cigar smoke and dried earthy spices falling in suit and helping create a memorable and delicious treat.  With just over 500 cases made, this wine is an exceptional value and would be a great accompaniment to smoked brisket if you're wanting to show off your taste of great wine to friends.
Krupp Brothers Winery logo
ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $70.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100


2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

I do not drink many French wines for one reason or another, so when I tasted this 2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon I was incredibly pleased and surprised by what I found.  I did absolutely no research on this wine before decanting and tasting it, and this wine immediately moved me to a quaint cafe, sipping this gem with good friends along the Champs Elysees under a mid day sun.  This medium to dark purple wine has very balanced aromas of blackberry pie, campfire smoke, seeping tea and cocoa powder, and none of these are overpowering.  This wine is an eyebrow raiser for sure and the flavors of blackcurrant, blueberry, smoke, dark chocolate-covered coffee beans and hints of grilling spices all combine for a velvety, savory broth-like feel that fills the mouth and lingers for many moments.  This wine was such a lovely surprise to taste and could end up as a "perfect" wine with a few more years under its belt in the cellar.  You'd never know that this is tipping close to an alcohol content of 15%.  It is made so beautifully and really puts a smile on your face. Simply incredible!  

2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  14.7%

Red Mountain, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $110.00

Drink The Bottles score:  96/100