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)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lapis Luna - Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $14
Region: Lodi, Cal
Year: 2006

I enjoyed a couple of bottles of wine this past weekend, but for the first time in a while, each of them were ones I had tasted, and most likely reviewed before. I had a wonderful bottle of V Sattui that was a birthday gift from a friend, as well as a bottle of Petit Petit (, which almost cracked my top 5 list. Anyway, for these weeks review I had to go back a couple of weekends to this bottle of Lapis Luna This is a wine my wife had picked up one Friday afternoon and that we opened on a Saturday night with some Chinese food.

After tasting this wine, I did a little brushing up on the Lodi region of California since I wasn't as familiar as some of the other more popular California wine regions. It actually sounds like it would be a nice place to visit, with some great wineries, and not too far from my favorite city to visit, San Fransisco. So as I sat down with a glass, the wine had a pleasant look to it, and was not overly dark red. The one thing I noticed when I took in a sniff were the earthy undertones. My first impression was more of a Shiraz then a Cab, but then again, I've smelled and tasted plenty of earthy Cabernet Sauvignon wines. I took a sip of this wine, and then another, and I thought it had good structure, and what stood out to me was the 'oaky' taste. Overall the wine had a good flavor, and decent balance, but it wasn't one that I would say I raved about. Definitely worth a try though.

Rating: 3.5 corks (A safe choice)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Courtney Benham - Lucca Red (Blend)

Price: $13
Region: Paso Robles, Ca
Year: ??

The selection to be reviewed this week is a bit odd in that I couldn't find the particular grapes that made up this wine, or the vintage. The bottle indicated it was a blend from various wineries, and that was about it. My wife had picked up a few bottles of wine last Friday, so this is one we decided to open with our Friday night standby, burgers from 5 Guys. This was actually a wine they were doing a tasting of in the store she visited, and she liked the little taste that she had, so she thought she'd give it a shot.

I poured a glass for each of us, and as I took a close look, the wine was very dark red. As I swirled the wine around the cup, it was one of those wines that is dark enough that it just appears to have a syrupy quality to it. When I brought the glass up and took in the smell, my initial impression was wow! This wine had a really great aroma with both some hints of fruit and flowers. I enjoyed it so much, I took another couple of sniffs before I gave it a taste. I think at this point my expectations may have been a bit high, because when I took a sip, I really had a lot of good comments to write down, but I think the taste paled a bit compared to the smell. The wine was very consistent, with a nice flavor of blackberries with a touch of vanilla. I'm not a big fan of a wine that taste heavily of vanilla, but a hint here and there is perfect for me. If I really had to guess the grapes that made up this wine, I would say Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Franc. There might a a bit of Merlot too. Either way, I really enjoyed this wine, and will compare it with the bottle of Courtney Benham Merlot my wife bought on the same trip. Maybe next week.

Rating: 3.5 corks (Very nice wine)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Barboursville - Merlot Reserve

Price: $20
Region: Virginia
Year: 2008

While I wrote a few weeks about the trip my wife and I recently took to Virgina to visit a couple of wineries, this is the first bottle from that trip that I am reviewing on its own. We actually opened this a few Saturdays ago to have with some pizza we were having for dinner. It was a pretty laid back Saturday evening, so the two of us sat down to enjoy a bottle of wine. Since we only brought back about 6 bottles of wines from the wineries we visited, we were hoping that we did a decent enough job of picking out the ones we liked best, but this was the firs test of how well we actually ended up doing.

From the very beginning, I was pretty sure I was going to have to throw out any of the biases I was going to have based on my relative familiarity with California Merlots. The color of this wine was somewhere in between a Cab and a Merlot. It had good clarity, but not overly dark in appearance. The aroma was a bit faint, so I had to give the wine a couple of swirls and subsequent sniffs to get a good smell, and my general impression was one of flowers, but again, a little light. As I took a sip, the flavor was consistent, with the fruit flavor standing out (I would lean toward cherries), but in line with the faint aroma, the wine just felt a little young to me. The wine was just a touch tart, but overall, it was very unique, especially for a Merlot. It is definitely not a wine you would compare to a California Merlot, but it really was a good change of pace. You can obviously find a pretty solid bottle of wine for $20, but would still recommend grabbing a bottle if you happen to be visiting the Barboursville Winery.

Rating: 3.25 corks (Different, but good)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seghesio - Zinfandel

Price: $17
Region: Sonoma, CA
Year: 2010

I still have a couple of wines to get through that I bought right before Christmas, and this is one of them. I think we actually had this wine a couple of weekends back with some homemade pizza. I actually had a bottle of Seghesio Zinfandel back a few years ago when I visited California on a business trip with some of my co-workers. So, when I saw a bottle at the local wine shop, I thought I'd give the newer vintage a try.

This wine is just a couple of dollars more then the normal everyday Zinfandels I usually buy (like Bogle, etc.), but I do remember enjoying this wine, so for $17, I thought it was worth a try. As I sat down for dinner and poured myself a glass, I was looking at a dark red wine with good clarity, that was nice an bright. It definitely wasn't clouded looking. As with many Zinfandels, it had a bold aroma, but was not unpleasant at all. Sometimes with a bold wine, you get a little too much of one kind of smell, but not so with this wine. So far I was liking my choice. When I finally went to take a sip, I knew the extra couple of dollars was well spent. This wine starts off a bit soft, but with wonderful upfront fruit flavor. The flavor really continues throughout and ends with a very smooth finish. There really wasn't much to dislike about this wine, but maybe the flavor was just a touch light. Overall a very good wine, and one I'll pick up again.

Rating: 3.75 corks (Quality!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cueva De Las Manos - Malbec

Price: $15
Region: Argentina
Year: 2009

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I stopped at the local wine store to pick out some bottles of wine as gifts for my team at work. This is a bottle that caught my eye as a highly rated Malbec. Many of the Malbecs I have tried over the past few months I have just grabbed off of the shelf to give it a try. This one was one that was highlighted as a best buy, so I thought it was a safe bet for a gift. The person I gave it to had really good things to say about it, so I thought I'd give it a try for myself. I actually had this wine a few weeks back, but am trying to get to a few reviews that I never got around to writing.

I opened this particular bottle one Friday evening after I arrived home with burgers from our local 5 Guys. It seems that is becoming all too common of a Friday meal, but I guess it could be worse. I noticed right away when I poured a glass that this wine was dark and jammy. It really seemed thick when pouring into my glass. It really had a great aroma as well, and a bit of a fruit/flower mix. When I took a sip, I tasted a really smooth and consistent wine with great flavor. It had nice tannins, and a pretty smooth finish. I think all in all I agree with the person who gave this wine a thumbs up, and I had found yet again, another great value in an Argentinian Malbec. Imagine that.

Rating: 3.75 corks (Yummy!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kitchen Sink

Price: $9.99
Region: California

This was a bottle of wine that I had tasted on a few occasions at my father-in-law's house for Sunday night dinner. Usually however, it was just a taste of a left-over bottle that he opened earlier in the week, but usually not as the main wine he would open for dinner. So, when I went to the store in late December to grab a few bottles of wine, I decided to grab one of these for myself so I could sit down and review it. This particular weekend was one of the Saturday nights that there wasn't a whole lot going on, so just sat down for a quiet dinner with a bottle of wine. Not a bad Saturday in my book.

My general bias going in was that this was a solid wine, and since it was only $10, I really wanted to pay attention and see how solid. As the name would seem to indicate, there are a whole bunch of grapes in this wine. It consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Petit Shiraz. With a wine made of of these grapes, there was little wonder it had a deep, dark red color, but it didn't have the really thick look about it when I gave it a swirl. In the same vein, I was surprised that the aroma was a bit faint. I would have to say it was more in line with a Cab/Merlot mix when the Merlot seems to take some of the bold Cab smells down a notch. When I went to take a sip, I was hit with the same bit of surprise as I was with the aroma. It was good enough, but just lacked some follow through. I tended to lean towards bland as the description that came to mind. I think in general it is a good enough wine to have a few bottles around for an every day kind of wine, but nothing that really stands out as a must buy for some some friends are over.

P.S. I forgot to put the name of the wine in on my last review, but it is in there now, so if you haven't checked that one out, please do as it was a very good wine.

Rating: 3.0 corks (So-so!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chateau Jacquet, Tour de Cazelle

Price: $13.99
Region: France
Year: 2009

No other reason that I am reviewing a bottle of wine as I drink it today then it really wasn't a great day at work. Probably more of an excuse to have a glass of wine or two, but I'm just going to roll with it. I had bought this bottle late in December as I picked out a nice bottle for my birthday dinner. Lots of the wines as I passed through the French aisle at my favorite store indicated that 2009 was a great year for Bordeux blends. This particular wine is 80% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. I have a few other wines to get to from the last week or two, but I hate to review one wine as I'm drinking another.

For a wine that is made up primarily of Merlot grapes, this one is a bit darker red then I would have first anticipated. It really has a great look to it. As I take a smell of this wine, I find a really aromatic wine that just oozes fresh berries. It really has a wonderful smell that makes you want to give it one more swirl. By this point I was really looking forward to a taste. Again, maybe the long day at work was an excuse, but it worked for me. The flavor was every bit as berry-filled as the aroma. Really the one that sticks out the most is black cherry. It almost taste like one of those thick Chobani yogurts. Really good flavor and really good balance. I haven't tried any of the other vintages of this wine, but with as good as this one was, not sure there is any reason to.

Rating: 4.25 corks (Top Notch!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Region: Virgina
Wineries: Jefferson, Blenheim, & Barboursville

A little bit of a departure from the norm this week. I missed last week's review, but for good reason. My wife surprised me for my birthday last month with a long weekend away for two. The plan was to stay in Charlottesville, and visit a few close by wineries. This was actually a trip we had planned to take in 2009, but for one reason or another, it just never happened. I've only had one or two Virginia wines in the past, so really wasn't sure exactly what to expect. Interestingly enough, Wine Enthusiast just came out with an article listing Virginia as one of the top 10 wine travel destinations for 2012.

I decided this week to just write a little about the wineries we visited, with maybe a restaurant or two thrown is as well. We bought plenty of bottles of wines from the places we did visit, so I'm sure they'll be showing up in future reviews, but now I just want to give my view of the winery visits themselves. The first winery we visited was Jefferson Vineyards. We had just taken a tour of Monticello, and ate a down home Southern meal at Michie Tavern. If you are ever in an around Monticello, I think the Michie tavern is a must stop place to eat. After lunch and a very short drive, we pulled into Jefferson Vineyards, which had a nice view of the surrounding mountains. The tasting bar was quite full, so we paid our fee, grabbed our Reidel glasses, and squeezed in at the corner of the bar. We tasted a few whites, and few reds, and decided on the ones we wanted to bring home. While the facilities weren't overly impressive, the staff was nice, and for $10 we got to keep the Reidel glasses, so overall a winery that needs to be on the list of ones to visit if not just for the name.

After a short 5-10 minute drive, the next stop was Blenheim Vineyards. The only thing I knew about this winery was that it is owned by Dave Matthews, and it is right across the street from Trump Winery (former Kluge). We hadn't heard the best things about Trump, so we went straight to Blenheim. The facilities here was much nicer than Jefferson. The rustic looking tasting area with a great view and very friendly staff. I actually think this would be even better come warmer weather with a great deck overlooking the vineyard in the valley. Here they only offered one white, which seems to be the white of choice in Virgina (Viognier). Along with that, it seems Virgina is also known for Cabernet Franc as well as Petit Verdot. Both of these are rather bold red wines, and really right up my alley. Both were rather tasty. Overall, this winery visit was a step up, and I even bought a shirt with the annual painting that Dave Matthews puts on their top bottle of wine. A must visit winery as well.

After Blenheim, we decided to head back to Charlottesville, and stroll around downtown and pick a place out for dinner. We settled on the Orzo Kitchen and Wine bar, which is about halfway between where we were staying and UVA. Service wasn't great, but the food and atmosphere were very good. I also had a Spanish glass of red with my Colorado Lamb to top off a very nice day. The next day we decided to hit one more winery, and this time we went North of Charlottesville to Barboursville. This was another very nice layout, with a nice fire roaring as we walked in out of the cold. The one thing I was surprised about at all of the wineries was how many people were out tasting wine on a weekend in January. The bar here was pretty full as well, and for $5 a piece, we started out tasting a few whites, including the signature Viognier again. The all around experience at this winery was also very good. We tasted 15 different wines, including some very good red wines. We have a few ready to be opened, and a couple that will probably be better with a little age. The one wine I am really looking forward to from here is their Reserve Merlot. A little different character than a California Merlot, but I think in this case, that's a good thing. There was one more winery we wanted to vist called Mountfair, but unfortunately they did not have tastings at this time of year. Based on the bottle of Mountfair Cabernet Franc we bought on our first day in town, it will definitely be on the list next time around.

As I mentioned earlier, I really wasn't sure what to expect from the wine, and after only a couple of stops, I couldn't have been more impressed. Obviously Wine Enthusiast knew what they were talking about when Virginia made their list for 2012 destinations. Given it is only a few hours drive for us, I think we'll definitely plan on heading back some time soon.

Rating: A lot of fun!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chappellet - Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $49.99
Region: Napa
Year: 2008

Quite often I cheat a bit and go outside the original guidelines I set up for this wine blog, and review a wine a few dollars above the $15 limit I try to stay under. Then there are times like these when I just blow it out of the water. Those times are however, few and far between. This past New Year's Eve just happened to be one of those times. New Year's Eve also happens to be my birthday, and on this particular one I turned 40 years old. I had originally set out to spend a few hours browsing the local Total Wine store, and find a bottle of Napa Cabernet in the $75 range. So, when I first got to the store, I found the bottle I intended to buy, and then decided to go find some additional wines for this blog while I thought a bit longer if that was actually the bottle I was going to buy. When I was all set to go back and put it in my cart, I starting getting into an interesting conversation with one of the very helpful individuals at this store. What ended up happening was that he actually talked me down from the original bottle I had (to remain unnamed), which was $70, to this bottle of Chappellet Cabernet at around $50. He almost had me go with a blend from Washington State called Cadence, which he said he would put up against any of the wines I was looking at, but in the end, I decided to go with the pure Napa Cab.

My wife and I ordered a nice sushi spread for dinner, and we sat down really looking forward to tasting this wine. From the get go, this wine had a lot going for it. Even the pour into my glass made this wine look good. It had a very silky look to it, and was a deep, dark red color. The aroma was really nice, with a full berry smell, and hints of chocolate. As good as the look and smell of this wine was, the taste and feel of this wine was off the charts. The word that most comes to mind was consistent. It was velvety smooth from the very first taste, had great length had more hints of chocolate, and maybe even a little coffee, and finished with the same great structure it started with. I knew I had some really good sushi to get to, but I was enjoying the wine so much, I slowly finished that glass before putting any food in my mouth. I sometimes wonder if certain wines are worth the extra money, and I'm not going to get int he habit anytime soon of buying $50 bottles of wine, but as a special occasion, it was more than worth it. I need to take a little off for the price, but this is as close to a 5.0 as I have ever had.

Rating: 4.75 corks (Treat yourself, I did!)