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)