Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Apothic Red

Price: $12.99
Region: California
Year: 2009

Here I go with my last review of 2011. I set out with high expectations for the number of wines I would review this year, but I fell woefully short. As I've mentioned before, this had absolutely nothing to do with not having enough subject matter, but with simply not putting aside the time to sit down and write. If there is at least a bit of good news, the month of December was the one month this year that I at least averaged a review a week (which is my goal each year). So, here's hoping that as we enter 2012, that I make this site what it was originally intended to be, which is a weekly wine blog.

The wine I am reviewing this week is one that we opened up one Saturday evening in early December. It was a wine that my wife picked up along with a group of others one Friday afternoon. It had a pretty cool look to it, and I knew it was some type of blend based on the name. After reading the label a bit, I saw that it was a blend of three grapes, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Shiraz. The wine that I poured into my glass was very dark indeed. It was more in line with what I would expect from a pure Zinfandel. I didn't actual write down the percentage of each grape, and I'm sure if I looked online, I could figure it out, but my guess is that it leans a little heavier towards the Zin. That being said, while the aroma was pleasant, it wasn't as bold as the dark red color would have you believe. It was pleasant, with a little earthy undertone, but a touch faint. Along those same lines, when I took a sip of this wine, I tasted a very smooth wine that was not overly bold. It was very well balanced from start to finish. The overwhelming taste was that of vanilla. It just kind of jumps out at you, and stays until the last little bit fades away. I do enjoy the hint of vanilla in a wine, but this was a touch more than just a hint. It was a good tasting wine for sure, if not a touch too much vanilla. A good change of pace though, and not a bad wine to end the year on.

I have lots of wines lined up for this weekend as it is my 40th birthday, so if I'm ambitious, maybe I'll start the year off right with two reviews next week. A very Happy New Year wish to all and hopes for a prosperous 2012.

Rating: 3.25 corks (If you like vanilla, you'll love this wine!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sivas Somoma - Zinfandel

Price: $16
Region: I'm guessing Sonoma
Year: 2008

Another wine from our recent neighborhood wine tasting. again, I didn't pay full price, but this one is reasonable at around $16 retail. We opened this bottle last Saturday night as we cooked some spicy sausage on the grill. I usually try to save my Zinfandels for something with a little kick to it, so this seemed like a good pairing. I would say that I was cheating with this one because I had tasted it before, but in reality, it was far down on the list of wines during the tasting, so at that point they were all kind of blending together. That being said, I did recollect this was one of my favorites of the night. It was time to see just how good my memory was of that night.

There was no mistaking as I poured a glass that this was a very deep dark wine. It even had the appearance of pouring a little slow into the glass (like molasses). The aroma of this wine was really wonderful. I smelled a bucket of berries with a hint of sweetness which I really wasn't expecting for a Zinfandel. At this point, I was thinking I was right on with my recollection of the small taste I had of this wine a week or so back. To my surprise, it was actually even better than I remembered, and most likely due to not having tasted 4 wines in advance. It was really smooth with awesome balance. From beginning to end it was consistent, and silky smooth. The overwhelming flavor that came to mind for me was blackberries, and I just couldn't get enough. Interestingly, my wife is not a big Zinfandel fan, but she loved this wine as well. It didn't have that over the top in your face flavor, and was enjoyable all around. Luckily, we also have a bottle of Sivas Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. I hope this is right up the same alley, because if so, I'll definitely go back for more..

Rating: 4.25 corks (Best one in a while)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ruca Malen - Malbec

Price: $18
Region: Argentina
Year: 2008

Maybe it is the glowing bottle of the wine I reviewed last night, but what ever the reason, I felt like sitting down and writing another review tonight. My wife and I had gone to a neighbors wine tasting event a few weeks back. A local distributor was present and had a good number of wines for us to try. Luckily, their house is right across the street :) Anyway, he was selling any of the wines we tasted at wholesale price. While this Malbec in particular retails for around $18, we ended up grabbing a couple of bottles for $8. A bargain for sure. Interesting enough, I had reviewed the first bottle we bough about two weeks back, but my wife and I shared the second bottle tonight. So, while the notes are a little old, the wine is definitely fresh in my mind.

The first thing you notice about this wine is that is it a very deep, dark red, almost purple wine. I'm not sure there is much not to like about a wine that looks like this. As bold as the color is, the aroma stands out just as much. I just get the sensation of lots and lots of berries. Really, just a great smelling wine. By this point I was really looking forward to a great tasting wine as well, and was hoping I wasn't going to be let down. Fortunately, it lived up to the billing. This wine had a great flavor, with excellent balance throughout, and wonderful tannis. There really wasn't a lot not to enjoy about this wine. You can find lots lots of nice Malbecs under $15, but for a couple of extra dollars, this one wine is definitely worth a try.

Rating: 4.0 corks (A very good wine!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Vampire - Pinot Noir

Price: $9.99
Region: Napa, Ca
Year: 2010

As I sit here and drink a very good Malbec on a Thursday evening, I just have to get to some of the wines I haven't made the time to review. I really need to set aside some time to sit down and write reviews more often, but until then, I'll be reviewing wines that I tasted a few weeks back. In this case, it was actually over the Halloween weekend. It seemed fitting to try a wine called Vampire over Halloween, so that's what we did.

I must admit, the $10 Pinot Noir wines that are worth getting a second time, are few and far between. I love the Angeline, and would buy that any time I am in the mood for a Pinot, but one of these days I need to find something on par with that wine for a similar price. I think this may be the first time I have reviewed Pinot Nior wines in back to back weeks. So, here goes. It wasn't really about the food pairing so much this time as is was to try a wine called Vampire on Halloween. I poured myself a glass, and to no ones surprise, I had a very light colored wine in my glass, but it was an interesting shade for sure. Really it wasn't that bad to look at, but you can only look at a wine so long before you have to give it a taste. For those who are wondering, I did have my Pinot Noir glasses out on this night instead of my usual steam-less Reidels. I gave the glass a nice swirl, and along with a light color, came a light aroma as well. A bit earthy, but not very strong. For the trifecta, when I took a taste, it was a bit faint on the toungue, but really had a pleasant taste. I liked it much better then the $25 bottle of Pinot I reviewed last time. Not top notch, but an enjoyable wine nonetheless. Worth a try....

Rating: 3.25 corks (Getting warmer!)