Monday, November 10, 2008

Bogle Vineyards Phantom 2003

We sampled this wine on Friday evening at a friend's house and absolutely loved it.

It was a very smooth wine with a complex and delightful nose that is stunning. It rolls onto the tongue with in a deep, silky manner treating the drinker to flavors of berry, steak, black pepper and other spices blended in a manner that is very pleasing. And the taste lingers on the palette. It truly envelopes your whole mouth in a sensory experience.

The wine is a blend of Petite Sirah 55% - Zinfandel 42% - Mourvèdre 3% and truly is designed to please.

Recommendation: Buy and drink this wine. At about $20 per bottle this is a wine that can definitely be used for special occasions and will definitely impress. And I hear the 2005 vintage is every bit as good if not better than 2003.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

2006 Four Vines "Heretic" Paso Robles Petite Sirah

Wow--we tried this wine at a local wine store wine tasting, bought a couple bottles and discovered that it is fabulous from the bottle during an evening with friends and food.

The wine has a superior nose and is extremely smooth on the palette with berry flavors and some black pepper. There is a complexity to the wine which makes it very enjoyable. Not over powering, but pleasingly complex with berries and some black pepper which gives the wine some zing. And then it lingers for a while so that the full flavor comes out.

This is no ordinary wine. I believe it would be excellent with a meaty, spicy meal like ribs--and it would hold its own.
As good as the wine is straight from the bottle--it gets even better when decanted.

Recommendation: A bit pricey at about $35 per bottle--but so pleasing to taste and enjoy. A great bottle of wine for that special celebration.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cannonball 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a very interesting wine--not your traditional Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is bottled by Cannonball Wine Company of Middletown, CA.

This is a very complex, fruit forward Cab which starts with a strong and pleasant nose and lingers on the palate. The wine is 89% cabernet sauvignon and 11% syrah.

The label describes the wine as: "Exploding with black cherry, wild berry fruit and notes of chocolate and oak, the rich texture lingers long with a bright fresh finish."

I enjoyed this wine. It is one of those wines which allow you to enjoy each aspect of the wine to then appreciate the whole wine as a package. In addition to the tasting notes on the label, I tasted a hint of black pepper.

The syrah adds the zing and excitement to the cabernet sauvignon, and being a huge fan of syrah/shiraz anyway, it really added to my tasting experience with this wine.

This is a stand alone and wine and cheese kind of wine. It is a bit too fruity for heavy meals.

Recommendation: A solid house wine for treating friends. At about $15 (or less) this is a very enjoyable wine and will be an ice breaker for discussion.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Wine Review

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. I guess I'm catching up on the wines we have been drinking. And this one was an excellent wine which stood well on it own. It had a beautiful color and a wonderful full bouquet with a long finish.

Tasting Notes
Deep ruby red color, the expression of cabernet sauvignon is evident providing structure and elegance. Lots of berries fruits and hints of tobacco and vanilla. Promising abundant soft rounded tannins. The structure and balance of this full bodied wine makes it very pleasant and enjoyable. A very sophisticated wine with a delightfully long finish.

We enjoyed this wine with a full bodied fish and steak dinner (surf and turf): the fish was breaded and fried King Mackerel and the turf was very tender tenderloin kabobs done on the grill. The starch was a sweet potato. The wine held up well and enhanced itself and the food.

Recommendation: A special wine for a special occasion. At about $16 (for a good buy but seen in the $25 range) it is not inexpensive but carries itself like much more expensive wines. A definite quality wine that should be included in many meals.

See the review of the 2008 vintage ofthis wine here.

Big Ass Chard 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay Wine Review

Well in keeping the theme of white wines to go with a seafood dinner, the back-up wine for the evening was the Big Ass Chard 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay. We had been impressed with the Syrah from the same vintner and decided to give the Chardonnay a whirl as the second wine for our seafood dinner.

We were not disappointed in this wine either. It was very buttery with a hint of oak. A good light Chardonnay to accompany the meal. One purveyor of wines, the Salt Creek Wine Company, describes the 2005 as follows:

There is nothing subtle about our Big Ass wines! From the name to the label to the fruit-driven flavor profile, these wines make a bold statement. Big Ass wines deliver everything that typifies the California winemaking style: soft, round, buttery-toasty Chard. These wines are as big as their name!

I have to agree. This was an excellent middle of the road Chardonnay.

An interesting tidbit I picked up about the winery: Big Ass wines are made at Adler Fels’ Sonoma County winemaking facility under the direction of head winemaker Harry Parducci Jr. The brand was introduced in 2004 and produces just over 30,000 cases annually of premium varietal wines from Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

Recommendation: A solid wine to compliment many foods and which will also stand on its own with cheeses. Very enjoyable. A good buy for $14.99.

Masi Masianco 2007 Wine Review

We were looking for a recommendation of a nice wine to serve with a seafood dinner and our favorite wine expert recommended this wine. It turned out to be a very nice choice and will likely become a house staple. Four of us thought this was the best light Pinot Grigio wine we had tasted. It went very well with dinner complimenting the flavors of the meal to perfection.

The label to the right is from the 2006, the 2007 says 2007 in the upper shield.

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar Review

Rated 90

A blend of 75% pinot grigio and 25% verduzzo. Straw-yellow with a gold tinge. Pleasantly sweet aromas of fully ripe apricot and tropical fruits jump from the glass, with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar adding complexity. The palate is rich with grapey, tangerine and almond flavors; there's a hint of sweetness but harmonious acids keep this fresh and lively. Offers a lovely rich mouth feel but the persistent finish shows noteworthy freshness. This unique blend of grapes is a very successful one; although not terribly complex, the wine is irresistible in its juicy, grapey appeal.

Wine Tasting Notes
The wine has an intense straw-yellow color. The intense and fragrant bouquet is characterized by floral (wisteria) and fruity (apple, pear, bananas) notes. On the palate, it has a pleasant acidity, good freshness and intense taste. Medium bodied. The over-ripened Verduzzo leaves a delicate hazelnut note on the finish. A unique wine with a distinct personality, Masianco balances the clean, white fruit and citric acidity of Pinot Grigio with the complex, buttery, tropical fruit notes of Verduzzo.

We agreed with the tasting notes and found this to be a delightful wine. Something that gives Pinot Grigio a little life.

Recommendation: Try this wine. At $14.99 it is worth the value as this is a special wine.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Big Ass Syrah 2005 Napa Valley Syrah - Wine Review

Big Ass Syrah 2005 Napa Valley Syrah
. OK--so I was a bit amused when we decided to try this wine based upon the recommendation of the wine guy at ABC Wines in Jupiter. FL.

The wine is described as follows:

Ample, full, rich, generous - Big Ass Syrah lives up to its name! Ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and cassis are meshed with caramel and toasty oak. This powerful nose also exhibits elegant aromas of dried rosemary, which adds complexity to this full-bodied wine. On the palate, flavors of blueberry and blackberry are exhibits on the entry, while savory, smoked bacon is found on the mid-palate. This wine is aged for 16 months in new French and American oak, which adds vanilla and a hint of pepper to the fruit characters. Dark chocolate flavors linger on the finis.

The wine is excellent. We served it with pork ribs which were very well spiced and the wine held its own. The wine is definitely fruit forward with an excellent nose and good staying power--but not over-powering. It goes down very smoothly and despite a name which might cause one to over look the wine--it is worthy of a good tasting.

Rating: If you like Shiraz/syrah--try this wine. It is good with spicy foods. The nose is excellent and the staying power is well refined. I really liked this wine and found it unique enough to become a house wine. The wine is between $11-15 per bottle.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

St Michaels Food and Wine Weekend - 2008

Food and wine weekend. What a fantastic idea. A get away to a bed and breakfast coupled with some great food and wine. Wow. We have been having a lot of fun sampling wines and talking to distributors.

The weather on Friday and Saturday was absolutely delightful. Today, it is a bit cooler and gray. But we have been lucky to be able to attend all three days of the festival.

The festival is great. We were there with friends. One of the highlights has been the B&B: Wade's Point Inn. A beautiful place right on the bay. I highly recommend it if you are planning a weekend get away. We enjoyed two fabulous nights at the Inn.

Dinner last night was at 208 Talbot. A very high end dinner which was nicely done. Although a bit more than just a night out dinner, it was worth the price to be reminded about classic and gourmet prepared dishes.

We have been having fun. I am just amazed at what I learned about wines and soils and growing conditions. And how to begin to identify different types of wines and then where in the world the grapes were grown. I found a new appreciation for Pinot Noir form Oregon. I was not a huge fan of Pinot Noir before the weekend, but I found the Oregon Pinot Noir very appealing. I especially was impressed with the Willamette Valley Vinyards and highly recommend their Pinot Noir.

We had a great time and I am already looking forward to next year.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sol De Chile - Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (Estate Bottled)

Well, we tried two bottles of this wine to be sure, but despite the following tasting notes from the wine maker:

Our Cabernet Sauvignon has a rich and concentrated ruby-violet color. It has aromas typical of its variety and added hints of chocolate and coffee. Its tannins are mature and firm.

My experience was much different. The wine seemed very immature. I was overwhelmed by the tannins and never found either the coffee or the chocolate. The nose was very hard but it did linger.

Not being a fan of this wine I cannot recommend it for anything even though it seems to be a reasonably priced wine.

Recommendation: Must miss. Not suitable for use as even a gift to someone you do not like.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Luna Di Luna Chardonnay-Sauvignon

So we were given this wine over the holidays and have kept it chilled. I love the jaguar green bottle. We served it the other night. I had felt it would be a good wine for cheese and light snacks. It had a nice light refreshing bouquet and the initial flavor, just before hitting the palate, was very crisp and fruity. And then the full flavor of the wine hit. That is where this wine fell apart. The flavors and tastes just didn't go together and it felt as if this wine were at war with itself in my mouth. This is definitely not a wine I would buy for myself or a gift. There was no balance.

The official tasting notes say: Pale straw yellow with greenish highlights. Very aromatic with hints of melon, green apple and tropical fruit. Pleasingly crisp with an abundance of fruit flavors.

Recommendation: Must miss, it just didn't do it for me

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Smoking Loon Merlot 2006

We tried a bottle of this wine last evening. It is a great bottle of wine for under $10 and i highly recommend it if you like a Merlot with a good, fruity bouquet and a nice finish. The wine slips off the tongue very nicely. It is very drinkable and enjoyable. We were drinking it with a nice mild French cheese and it complimented the cheese very nicely.

The review on this wine from is as follows: "This Merlot has a dark ruby color and the aromas are reminiscent of raspberry jam with hints of lightly toasted oak and caramel. This wine is made in a fruit forward style exhibiting mouth filling Bing cherry, white chocolate, and just a touch of cranberry finishing soft with ripe plum and delicate vanilla oak flavors."

And I agree with everything--it is all right there to enjoy.

Recommendation: Good house wine for all occasion

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Silverwing Shiraz 2005

OK--the label at the right is from 2004, but we drank a bottle of 2005. It was spicy and had a definite bit of zing and classic Shiraz body. A bouquet that smelled of dark fruits and a deep purple color made this a fun wine to drink and enjoy. It is a good table wine and I recommend it as a starter before dinner to set the mood, loosen the tongue and get the party rolling.

Recommendation: Solid table wine/possible house wine

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wine Tasting Saturday

Chris and I love wine. We love tasting wine and we have a group of friends who also love wine and tasting and trying new wines and of course the foods that go with them.

Saturday night was a great night. We were invited to join an existing wine tasting group for tasting, food, and relaxing fun. There were about seven couples assembled who each brought a food dishes to taste wines that the wine master had picked to go with the meal.

The surprise wine of the night for me was Shoo Fly Aussie Salute 2005. I love Australian wines, so it shouldn't have been much of a surprise, but I was surprised after reading the description which indicated the wine was a blend of "spicy Grenache, succulent Shiraz, and a whiff of Viognier. It was very drinkable on its own.

Another surprising wine was the Covey Run Riesling Washington 2006. It is a great cheese party wine. Fruity and clean on the palate. The fruits were especially strong and enjoyable. A great starter wine for a party or a tasting.

All in all, it was a very fun night and we had a great time. I will be buying a couple bottles of these wines, too. I recommend them as they are very adaptable and enjoyable.