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.