2008 Saldo Zinfandel- comes from the esteemed Orin Swift Cellars so you know it’s guaranteed not to disappoint. A sister wine to the much raved The Prisoner from the same winemaker. Tastes just the way a good solid Zin should, with a smooth and not to overbearing fruit flavor on the palette with just a touch of a satiny finish. Pair it with: a Manchego, Aged Cheddar, and Pepper Jack cheese board while getting ready for a night on the town.
2008 Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz– one of my favorites since I first had it back with the 2005 vintage. A good Aussie Shiraz that is sure to delight comes with an updated label and a fancy new Stelvin closure. Big on the berries on the front side this beauty finishes like a toasted marshmallow in terms of smoothness and complexity. I can’t say much more other than you have to try this one. Pair it with: cheeseburger panini or a triple cheese board.
2007 Tobin James Zinfandel– a classic wine from a classic winemaker. This bottle was had at the wonderful Press 626 Cafe & Wine Bar although I must say it came out a bit warm and tight. We all know the fix for that… decanter! After some slightly concerning looks of confusion from the server we got our bottle decanted and boy did it pop like a champagne top then! Lots of spice and pepper before the decanting but afterwards just that good ole Zin Sin you all are looking for with a well balanced finish. Pair it with: pork tenderloin and sweet tater mashers.
2006 Finca El Reposo Bonarda– bright red and deep purple colors coat the glass after pouring this Argentinian beauty. A floral bouquet of roses and violets on the nose followed by a wash of intense red fruits and berries. A medium body and mild tanins lead to a balanced finish. Pair it with: a chicken or pork dish with a spicy kick.
Gruet Blanc De Noirs– easily my favorite American sparkler. Want a good champagne for a special event but don’t want to pay the Frenchy’s price? Pick up a bottle of this and you’re sure to be a crowd pleaser. Crisp, clean, and full of minerals and berries. Remember… sparklers are great to start any tasting with as they cleanse the palate and prepare it for the wonderful array of wines to follow. Pair it with: a special occasion or as a pre-taster at your next pairing party.
Evolution Wine Lucky Number 9– an amazing story follows this winery and it’s one you should definitely read. This particular bottle was released on 9/9/09. A blend of nine different grapes: Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sylvaner. It has quite the fruity and floral bouquet on the nose. Cleansing the palate with a blend of pear, peach, and honeysuckle flavors with a moderate finish. Pair it with: an exotic latin or mediterranean dish.
2008 Sant’Evasio Barbera D’Asti– this wine comes from the wonderful Catina or Cascina Sant’Evasio, which survived the World Wars and still produces this bottle, its most popular to date. A great floral and spicy bouquet compliments a strong and defined palate with good levels of acidity and a structured finish. Another great Italian red, make sure to open this bottle at least 30 minutes prior to serving and if you wish even decant the bottle to really enjoy the benefits of this well produced wine. Pair it with: a good red meat or red sauce dish don’t be afraid of something with body this big red will cut through just fine.
Bitch Bubbly– looking for a good gal gift? Pick up this semi-sparkling Rosé from the famed winemaker Chris Ringland and his R Wines Winery. Look for strawberries, raspberries, and a creamy finish. A tad sweeter than your typical Rosé but not over the top. The PERFECT pre-taster or entertainer at a party. Pair it with: a bubbly bitch personality in high heels.
2008 Rosso Del Veneto Verona Merlot & Raboso (Romeo & Juliet)– “Del Veneto” meaning it comes from the Veneto region of Italy. So where is that? Well good question, it’s located between Verona and Venice. This particular wine draws its name from the town where the famous love story of Romeo and Juliet takes place. Quite the interesting name considering the red blend does quite the nice job of blending and pairing varietals that interact with each other to produce quite the romantic bouquet of smell and taste. Pair it with: an unobtrusive Italian dish.
2008 Ca’Lunghetta Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio– I have to be honest and say that I have had Pinot Grigio’s I prefer better than this one BUT that doesn’t mean it’s a bad bottle of wine. A bit lighter than what I prefer in mine, this bottle has a great crisp profile. If you’re looking for something along those crisp, mineral, citrusy lines then this is definitely for you. Not a whole lot of body or an overly impressive finish. Pair it with: a light chicken, fish, or salad dish.
2007 A to Z Riesling– a classic Oregon Riesling, which I may enjoy more than those ones from that country across the Atlantic that is known so well for their beer and brats. If you haven’t tried the whites that come out of Oregon let me tell you firsthand you’re missing out, or just plain stupid. Coming from someone who personally enjoys their Rieslings not so much on the sweet side, this puppy certainly fits my favorite profiles. Lots of citrus, fruits, and a good clean strong mineral-y finish. Certain to delight your little taste buds! Pair it with: a light dish like seafood, salad, or an easy cheese board (aka none of those big stinky cheeses).
ChocoVine– if you have not tried this gem you must and I don’t mean some time in the next month or so I mean immediately. It certainly drinks well year round. In the summertime put it over rocks or throw it in the blender and make your own wine version of a mudslide. You can also warm it a bit and drizzle it over some vanilla bean ice cream for a real treat. In the winter serve it room temperature or on the rocks to cut through the viscosity. Yum yum yum. Pair it with: whatever you want just try it!
2007 Red Wire– comes to us from the same people that make the more popular Live Wire Cabernet Sauvignon. A good blend of red varietals it is an easy drinking every day table red wine. Pair it with: pizza, appetizers, or some munchies.
2007 Don Rodolfo Tannat– this is a really unique grape and I think you should give it a try. A varietal historically grown in South West France it’s now known as the “national grape” of Uruguay. Typically a pretty tannic drinking wine (hence the varietal name) this particular bottle isn’t quite as puckering as others. With a tad of a chill on the bottle I got a really nice fruity, berry, and jammy feel on the palate with this one. Pair it with: wrapping presents by the fireplace or any kind of lean meat.
2008 Keswick Vineyards Touriga– wow check it out, a Virginia wine made the Grapevine! Coincidentally, the Touriga grape is native to Portugal and is the main ingredient in Port (you know that fancy well aged stuff you give as an important gift). Anyways, some hot shots decided to plant some in Virginia and look it worked! On the nose of this bottle you’ll get a lot of berry-ness like strawberries, cherries, raspberries, etc. But don’t go far cause you’re certain to taste, if not smell the oaky, earthy tones in the wine as well. Pair it with: something sassy and saucy.
2007 L’Isola dei Profumi Nero d’Avola– again a Sicilian wine choice its “parent” would be the bottle of Alcesti Nero d’ Avola which comes from the winery in Marsala. On the nose of this bold red wine look for cherries, plums, blackberries, and figs. Give it a good swirl then put the sniffer close and go to town. Remember reds are always served best between 57-61F. On the palate taste the figs again as well as an earthy tone and some good spice bite. As Park Ranger described “its smooth like water… but not watered down.” Pair it with: a big dish of baked spaghetti and some good ole garlic bread.
2007 Cadis Kyos Grillo– this wine from Sicilia (hint: Jeremy highly enjoys Italian wines) has a pretty cool story… it comes to us as the product of two co-op farms in Italy both located on the island of Sicily. The first located in the northwest portion of the island is Cantina Sociale Santa Ninfa and the second being Cantina de Soave. Working together these two co-ops produced a great white using the Grillo grape variety native to Sicily. On the nose were hints of honeydew, pear, apple, and oak. Be sure this guy is chilled well and then swirl it around a few times and let the tastes of peach and white grape dominate your palate. Pair it with: homemade chicken alfredo or any other light sauced pasta dishes.
2008 L’Ecole No. 41 “Walla Voila” Chenin Blanc– the latest edition to the Grapevine comes to us from the great Pacific Northwest- home to fresh seafood, sassy wine, Starbucks, and sleeplessness (in Seattle of course). Hailing from Walla Walla, Washington (yeah the founders get an award for “Naming your Locality with Alliteration” on that one) this small winery produces some of the classic features of Washington State wines. You can learn more about those in the most recent “WineTube” Episode from Bon Vivant Market. On the nose I found the lovely scents of peach, orange, and a flowery bouquet. Let this chilled white hit the tongue and you’re greeted with a robust pear and apricot flavor profile along with some honey on the backside. Pair it with: a Chicken Florentine dish or some light/white sauce based pasta dish, would also compliment a succulent seafood smorgasbord well.
2007 Hedges Family Estate C.M.S.– coming to us all from the great state of Washington this bottle’s mysterious name stands for Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Syrah… hey if you guessed it’s a blend you’re right! Pouring directly after uncorking revealed to the sniffer, well much of nothing actually. I guess at most I got some berry on the nose and a bit of alcohol. Let this animal get to your tongue and you’ll find the classic pepper and spice, currant, fig, and dark cherries. Pair it with: baked ziti (as I did tonight), another tomato based pasta dish, and even a good salad would work well.
2005 Bodega Benegas Don Tiburcio– hailing from Mendoza, Argentina (read Ar-HEN-tina), the roots of this winery extend back to 1883. Talk about experience, that’s not bad for a South American wine. This particular bottle gets its name from the pioneer of the vineyard/winery the great Tiburcio Benegas. Himself the Governor of the province and a lover of viticulture and viniculture set out to establish a world famous winery, known as El Trapiche. Can you tell I have latin american roots? Regardless, on the nose of this beauty you’ll find some fig and other earthy scents. Let this puppy open up a bit as my bottle came out on the first pour a bit tight. If need be, you could always employ the Smithfield Decanter (1 gallon milk jug, rinsed well, insert wine, shake vigorously for ~2-5min, let settle, pour and enjoy). Once it opens up you should taste some of that fig, a good hunk of dark chocolate, black pepper, and some grape juice. Pair it with: well if you’re like me tonight… nothing but a glass; or I’m sure it would go well with an Italian/Mediterranean dish- or get Sassy and try it with some Lebanese Hummus.
2008 Auka Torrontes– this wine comes from the San Polo Winery in Argentina. On the nose you get front-loaded with a lot of fruit, especially pear and apricots. As one “father of bride” said “you would expect it to taste like a Riesling.” Rather, when this shimmering white his your palate you’ll get a distinct taste of pear, white peaches, and grapefruit with a back-end hint of white grapes. There’s also a citrusy profile to the wine that’s not too overpowering. Pair it with: anything from the water or by itself.
2006 Chiarello Family Vineyards Bambino Cabernet Sauvignon– click on “Library Wines” then choose the 2006 Bambino Cab to get the full view of this bottle. It comes to us from (clearly) Chiarello Family Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. I like this little vineyard because they (like I do) believe in organic and sustainable farming. This wine packs a hint of fresh topsoil on the nose (yeah sounds funny but that’s what I smell, I’ll add on that I have some legit sinus issues so who knows…) Take a sip though and you’ll definitely get a taste of the spice and pepper thats in the wine as well as some fig that creeps in on the back side. Pair it with: great local and fresh seafood!
2006 Anthony Dell Pinot Noir– this classic Willamette Valley, Oregon wine comes from Anthony Dell Cellars & Winery. On the nose there’s a bit of blackberries and cherries. Bring this bottle down like you should with all reds to about 61F. Pop the cork out and pour your first glass, be sure to get a good swirl on to open it up a bit. Savor that first sip and you should taste some dark chocolate, cayenne and black peppers, and then finish with some berries and classic red grape taste. Pair it with: tomato based pastas, anything Italian or a good grilled/broiled salmon dish.
2007 Sella and Mosca La Cala– produced by Sella and Mosca, a winery in Sardinia, Italia. You’ll get the classic white grape and pear on the nose. Take a good swig of this chilled white and you’ll taste the white grape and pear I mentioned plus an added boost of apricot and a nice grapefruit thrown in there too. This particular bottle came from Bon Vivant Market. Pair it with: any seafood or light pasta dishes.
2005 Old Zin Vines Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel– from the Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi, California. This Zin, picked up at Kroger (who actually has a decent wine selection) definitely impressed me and exceeded my expectations. On the nose it has a waft of blackberries and cherries. When this value wine hits your palate you’ll taste the blackberries, a little hint of cherries, and the strong presence of dark chocolate. Pair it with: dark chocolate or anything with a little spice like say Three Meat Chili.
2006 Beau Chene Pinot Noir– it says Pinot Noir in the title but for those of you used to those big, bold, beat you up Oregon Pinot Noir bottles this guy doesn’t stand a chance. A great wine, don’t misinterpret, just a different style. This French Pinot Noir has a distinctive representation of the terroir of a French burgundy. Very distinct cherries on the palate with a hint of chocolate on the end of the taste. This wine is distributed by Siema, LLC in Virginia its a great choice! Pair it with: anything that a Pinot Noir normally goes with silly!
2007 Pfeffingen Dry Riesling– a different style of Riesling than what’s usually found in the local supermarket shelves. This particular bottle comes from the German winery Pfeffingen. You’ll get a bit of frizz or sparkle when it first hits your palate but that doesn’t stay around too long. It will fade into less sweet fruits like pear and white grape. Pair it with: a good movie, your favorite television show, or a light meal.
2008 O’Reilly’s Pinot Gris– this comes from the value label that Owen Roe Winery puts out. A bit different than some of the traditional tastes you might see in Italian Pinot Grigios. A bit more apricot, pear, or that “bitter” fruit comes out in this one to me. Pair it with: any chicken or seafood dish, also goes with light sauce pastas.
2008 Cantina Villafranca Frascati Superiore– this little juice from Italia scored 89 points from Cork’d in a recent review. A good chill on this bottle and your mouth will be watering. The crisp, sour citrus front end of the Frascati is classic of this particular wine. You’ll really enjoy the refreshing rush brought on by the acidity courtesy of that sour citrus. Pick up on the subtle sweet notes like a little Apple Juice. Pair it with: steamed shrimp, bacon wrapped scallops, or any other fresh seafood for that matter!
2008 Borges Gatao Rosé– grilling out burgers or chicken and not in the mood for beer… this is your choice. Again, put a good chill on the bottle and have more than one ready if friends are over, this stuff will go quick! Be careful though, this bottle may have a little kitty on it but the Rosé nature makes it as dangerous as a tiger’s paw! You should get a lot of fruit on the front end of this cat and it should finish nice, quick, and smooth. Pair it with: anything off the grill, pizza.
2008 Case Ibidini Insolia– this wine comes from a little island with a big name: Sicily. I like to compare this wine to any fine woman you’ve met of Sicilian descent. My experience is they’re sweet, charming, and smooth on the front but inside they’re solid, strong, and not to be taken lightly. This well balanced wine has subtle fruits on the nose and a crisp acidity on the palate. As always, cool your whites before drinking. Pair it with: chicken, seafood, lamb, light pastas.
2008 Cantine Riondo Pink Prosecco Raboso– also another sneaky lady from Italia (noticing a trend- what can I say?!). This is my go to bottle for the beach, pool, or anything outdoors. Put a good chill on the bottle and clear the area if you enjoy popping the cork. This bottle comes with a little “frizzante” but it’s not a full sparkler, just enough to put a clean, refreshing feeling over your hot and/or diaphoretic self. You’ll get a lot of berries on the nose and front side with a prickly, fresh feeling on the palate. Look for some mild fruity tones as it finishes out. Pair it with: a beach, bathing suit and some SPF! or goes well year round with salads and light pastas.
2007 McManis Pinot Noir– a venture into the reds finds this nice one. A Pinot Noir from Cali, it doesn’t pack the same punch as the Oregon boys but has all the classics of a Pinot Noir. Smell some cherries at first then sip away and let the rush of vanilla, cola, and that noticeable oak aged taste simmer for a strong, rich finish. Pair it with: broiled salmon, italian sausages/brats, or a pork tenderloin.
2005 Benton-Lane First Class Pinot Noir– coming to us all from the folks at Benton-Lane Winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon. The particular bottle I enjoyed was rather tight and benefited beautifully from about a 20 minute decanting- the choice is yours though. On the nose it has some cherry and berry scents. Let it grace your mouth and you’ll find, hopefully as I did, some notes of dark cherries, plum, fig, and a chocolaty truffle taste. Pair it with: a good Asian dish as I did at Tao Restaurant in NYC.