Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Price: unknown
Region: India
Year: unknown

I am having a little problem uploading the picture for my blog this week, and I think it may have to do with the fact I am doing mt first international blog.  Before I get into that though, I want to say 2012 didn't turn out exactly as planned.  It wasn't necessarily in a bad way, but in terms of my wine blog, I ended up with about half as many posts as previous years. That is definitely something I plan to fix going forward.  Part of the reason I have not posted a new blog in a while is that I am just getting used to typing with two hands as I broke my wrist pretty badly a few days before Christmas.  There wasn't much I could do except try to get it back to some working order.  It is better now, but not 100% there yet, so hopefully soon.

Anyway, this week I find myself in India for a business trip.  To be honest, the last thing I thought I would be doing is writing a wine blog entry for an Indian wine.  However, at a dinner put on by our hosts last night, I tried an Indian red wine from Sula wineries.  This particular wine was a blend of Merlot and Malbec.  I few people told me on the way over that if I tasted Indian wine, it wold be earthy, almost to the point of tasting dirt.  While I tend to be an adventurous type when it comes to trying wine, I wasn't sure I was up for drinking something that reminded people of dirt.  As this was the only red wine available for dinner, I thought I'd give it a try.  When someone poured me a glass, I saw right away the wine had nice color.  It looked to me to up to par with other wines of the same variety for sure.  Next I swirled my glass a bit and took in the aroma.  To my surprise, it had a very nice, but not overpowering smell of fruit.  In that same vein, as I took a sip, I tasted a wine with a very nice fruit-forward flavor (I would say predominantly blackberry).  I was quite surprised that overall I thought this wine was very solid.  It was a bit short, but the flavor was very good, and I found myself asking for another glass in a few short minutes.  I'm really not sure how much availability this is for this wine outside of India, but if you find yourself in these parts, it is definitely a safe bet.  I'll look for a good picture foer this wine when I am back home in a few days.

Rating: 3.25 Corks (If you are in India, give it a try)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Columbia Creat - Armitage Red Blend

Price:  $9.99
Region:  Washington State
Year:  2009

It is obviously getting very close to Christmas.  It is the time of year when I tend to gets lots of bottles of wine as gifts from various people (work, friends, etc.).  It seems like we are on track for the same again this year.  I hope to stay current with the new wines that come my way, which means I'm going to have to sit down and write more than once a week.  I don't think I can get much more current then writing about the wine I opened this evening to have with dinner and have a glass of right next to me as I type away.  This one was a gift I actually just received today from someone at work, so I thought it was as good a choice as any.  Interestingly enough, it is another red blend, which I've reviewed a few of lately.

This wine is a blend of a few different grapes, but from what I've read online, it seems to be mostly Syrah, with some Merlot, Cab Franc and Sauvignon.  With those grapes, it is no wonder it is a deep, dark red color.  It also has a very strong, but pleasant aroma.  What first came to mind, and still does as I take another smell, is mixed berries.  Nothing in particular stands out to me, but the blend is very nice.  The berries is a common theme as I take sip.  What I like about this wine is the flavor hits you right up front, and really lingers quite nicely for a strong, but smooth finish.  Now, it is not one of those $10 bottles of wine that you would think cost 2 or 3 times that amount, but it is a solid entry at a good price.  Might make a good wine to give someone at work as a present :)  Enjoy!

Rating: 3.50 Corks (Nice flavor, decent price)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Radius - Red Blend

Price:  $9.99
Region:  Washington
Year:  2011

I did a little holiday shopping at the local Total Wine & More this past weekend.  This is definitely my favorite time of year as I always put aside an afternoon or two to spend browsing the aisles of Total Wine.  I had bought a few wines that were a little above my normal price range that we will probably enjoy with family around the holidays.  When I get to a few of those, I will be sure to review them right here.  As I was rounding out my cart though, I was looking for something I could have with dinner that night.  I have tried the Radius Merlot before at my Father-in-law's house, and never something that knocked my socks off, but it is always in the top 10 list of wines sold at Total Wine.  This bottle caught my eye and was listed as one of the employees favorite wines, so I thought I would give it a try.

Given the Merlot is not one of my favorite wines, I really tried to go in with an open mind.  It is obvious lots of people like this vineyard based on how well the Merlot sells.  The one thing that was not listed on the bottle were what grapes actually make up this blend.  I did a little looking around online, but didn't find it right away, so didn't worry too much about it. When I poured myself a glass, I was a bit underwhelmed by the color.  Not a huge deal, but just a bit clearer then I was expecting.  It had a decent enough aroma though.  A bit of flowers mixed in if I had to chose what stood out most.  So, when I went to take a sip, I wasn't that surprised that it just didn't do much for me.  It was smooth enough, with a consistent flavor, but didn't stand out to me in any way.  Interestingly enough, I asked my wife to take a sip and she just loved it.  Maybe I'm missing something because they seem to sell a lot of wine, but I will pass on this, and the Merlot, based on the fact I've tasted quite a few quality wines in and around the same price range lately.

Rating: 3.0 Corks (Not my favorite)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Red Rock - Winemakers Blend

Price:  $10.49
Region:  California
Year: 2010

Getting back into the swing of things, and just have a ton of wines that I need to write about.  I have a lot of notes from some wines I tasted while I took a little break from this blog, and I hope to get to them soon (always good intentions), but it is sometimes just a little easier with wines I tasted recently.  That is the case with this week's wine.  There was nothing in particular that made me grab this wine as I was strolling through the aisles of my favorite wine store a few weekends back; except for the fact I was looking for a new red blend to try.  This one fit the bill with a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah.  So, I added it to the growing pile of bottles in my cart and decided I would have it with dinner that night.

With having moved to a new house within the last couple of months, there are a whole new set of takeout restaurants close by to try.  This night we ordered from a great Mexican/Burrito shop that is quickly gaining popularity in my book.  I poured myself a glass and loved the looks of the wine in my glass.  The dark red, almost black color of red blends like this one is just one of the things that really draw me to these wines.  When it came to the aroma, the Cabernet was really what stood out for me.  Now, I promise this was not on purpose, and who knows, maybe it was subliminal based on the name of the wine, but the word I wrote down a couple of times in my notes for this wine was balance.  The wine really did have great balance and consistency from the first sip, through the last taste on the back of the tongue.  Even after I write my notes down regarding a wine, I rarely read the back label, but for some reason I just happened to do that with this wine, and everything about this wine (and winery overall), talks about balance.  All I have to say is that this is one of the few wines that I ever thought truly hit the mark with how they described their wine on the bottle.  If balance what their goal, it was certainly achieved. I will definitely go back for another round....

Rating: 4.0 Corks (Great 'balance')

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First Crush - San Francisco

A little change of pace this week.  Traveling on business this week, and I find myself in my favorite city to visit, San Francisco.  It is a relatively short trip, so not a whole lot of time for non-work activities, but one has to eat.  Although I don't end up in San Francisco that often, I do try to make a point to visit a great little spot called First Crush whenever I have the opportunity.  I enjoyed two different flights tonight, and picked a wine from each to write a little something about..

1.  Peirson Meyer Pinot Noir (2009) - The thing I like about a wine flight is that you usually get a nice sized taste of a quality wine.  That was no different tonight.  A bottle of this Pinot Noir sells for around $60, and while that isn't a price range I find myself buying in often, I would consider this wine for a special occasion (especially around the holidays).  This wine had a beautiful rich color and a great fruit based aroma.  This wine had a really nice flavor that really made me think of blackberries.  There was nothing weak about this wine and one I really enjoyed along with two other stellar Pinot Noirs.

2. Miner 'Aia' Red Blend (2007) -  This Bourdeaux style red is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, & Malbec.  I'm fairly certain the wines I tasted prior to this one may have had an impact on how this one tasted, but it definitely didn't bother me.  At first glance, this is just a nice dark colored red wine, which isn't uncommon for a wine made up of the above grapes for sure.  It also had a touch of a floral smell to it that was quite nice.  It surely didn't disappoint with the flavor.  I'm generally a sucker for a blend like this, and I guess tonight wasn't any different.  Great fruit forward flavor, with a consistent experience through to the end.  A perfect way to top off a very enjoyable meal.

Rating: Great food & great wine! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bogle - Essential Red

Price: $9.99
Region: Napa
Year: 2009

It was never my intention to take a 6 month hiatus from my wine blog, but unfortunately that is what happened.  Once all of the craziness around buying and selling a house kicked in, I never made the time to sit down and write.  I surely didn't suffer from a lack of new bottles of wine to review.  Now that we are settled in our new house, I am going to be sure to get back into the routine of weekly reviews (as best I can :)

I don't want to give this one away too early, but I must say one of the things that jump started me getting back into the swing of reviews was this particular wine.  So let's jump right in.  My wife actually bought a bottle of this a few weeks back for us to have with dinner one Friday evening.  I didn't sit down and write any notes as I tasted it, but we both commented on the fact we didn't feel like we were drinking a $10 bottle of wine.  So, in a subsequent run to my favorite wine store, I picked up a few more bottles.  Last night was just a quiet evening home with my wife to sit down and watch a movie.  The first thing I noticed as I was taking notes was this wine is a blend of Old Vine Zin, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Sirah.  For those that have read some of my previous reviews, you'll know the Bogle Petit Sirah is really one of our old standby wines.  Definitely one of my wife's favorite reds.  I also enjoy the Bogle Old Vine Zin & the Cabernet is pretty good.  So as I poured a glass, it was no surprise that I saw a deep, dark red wine in the glass.    The aroma was also very pleasant.  It was bold like you would expect the Zinfandel to be, but was softened a bit with some great floral aromas.  The kicker for this wine to me though is the flavor.  I have now had about four bottles of this wine, and the taste is very consistent.  Not just from bottle to bottle, but also throughout a single taste.  The one word that comes to mind with this wine is juicy.  I think they have just done a very good job with the blending of these grapes to create a very tasty wine at a great price.  This one is definitely taking the place of the Bogle Petit Sirah on my default wines list.  Enjoy!!

Rating: 4.25 Corks (Buy a few bottles at this price)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bota Box - Malbec

Price: $14.99
Region: Argentina
Year: 2011

Wow, it has been entirely too long since I've sat down to write a review.  All hell seems to break loose when you decide to put your house up for sale.  Suddenly, your usually limited free time becomes completely non-existent.  Anyway, I decided to try and get at least one review in during the month of April.  I'll definitely have to make up for it down the road.  So, two weekend's ago as I stopped on my way home from work, I really had no idea what to buy.  It was one of those days where I just couldn't make up my mind.  Not quite sure why, but what I ended up grabbing was a box of Bota Box Malbec.  For the equivalent of 4 bottles of wines, it was very inexpensive.  Even $4 - $5 dollars cheaper then any of the Black Box wines.

There was nothing special on the menu this night, so I sat down with my Friday evening dinner and a glass of wine.  Things started of well enough.  This wine was a nice dark red color as expected for a Malbec.  also, the aroma of this wine did not stand out for any reason in particular, but it wasn't bad either.  If anything it was a touch light, but had a bit of an earthy feel to it that was kind of nice.  So, when I went to take a sip however, I was a bit nonplussed.  The wine to me was short with a much younger impression than I was expecting.  Overall, it wasn't a bad wine, and really for a little under $4 a bottle, it was quite a bargain, but I think for a few dollars more, I'll stick with the Black Box for sure.

Rating: 2.75 corks (Good price, not a great wine)