Monthly Archives: February 2011

Nistri Campi Salti Sangiovese-Syrah 2009

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CampiSalti Sangiovese Syrah2009
Tuscany, Italy

What a gem! Jewel-like garnet red, wonderfully rich from the 40% Syrah, bubbling with spirit from the 60% Sangiovese, and 100% yummers. Fruit-forward with blackberries, plums and dried cherries in the nose; plums, dark cherries, oak and cranberry in the mouth with a vague herbal note. The finish is soft and silky with firm but well structured tannins. I do recommend breathing to open it up–it was twice the wine after a few hours.

Cocobon Red Table Wine

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Cocobon 2009

2009
California

Livermore??? Yes. And it’s good, too! “Blended to take you to Nirvana!” claims winemaker Georgetta Dane, and I’m with her. I love a complex wine, and this one is seriously layered: starts out kind of light and minerally, then gives you some boysenberry and pomegranate, pepper at the end and mocha in the finish. A friend was picking up aromas of Dr. Pepper and prunes. An odd little wine that is just delicious and just $8 at Trader Joe’s, bless ’em. Stock up!

Mark West Pinot Noir

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Mark West Pinot Noir

2009
California; Sonoma County

Light, translucent and wonderfully perfumed–this soulful wine is full of oak and floral notes. Fresh cherries and pipe tobacco in the nose, with a woodsy tang. Tannins are firm and a little chewy, but smooth, and the finish is very earthy; gamey, even. This wine isn’t especially complex and there’s not a lot of fruit, but the flavors it does offer go deep.

We found this bottle at Beverages and More for $10.

Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo Garnacha

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Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo Garnacha 2008
Navarra, Spain

This Spanish blend (52% Tempranillo, 48% Grenache) is harmonious and complex, with flavors that strike deep and long. Purple-red in color; rich, ripe scent of blackberries and spice; boysenberry on the tip of the tongue with oak and pepper in the middle. The finish has a bitter, mineral character that might be a bit off-putting for some, but also adds a welcome touch of spunk. $9 from Vons.

St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon

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St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon

2007
Sonoma County, California

Opaque, almost black, with thick, heavy legs — this big, burly wine’s appearance attests to its deep flavor and thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Scents of cedar, tobacco smoke and raisins, with lots of oak flavor. Fruit? Not so much. The finish is dry as a bone and leathery. Very rich, very textured…and too much for this drinker’s palate. If you like ’em thick and heavy, go for it — but enjoy it with a friend, otherwise you’re in for one hell of a headache.

This is a 2006 but it’s available online from wine.com: Saint Francis 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon .

Panilonco Reserve Carmenere

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Panilonco Reserve Carmenere

2009
Colchagua Valley, Chile

OK, folks — this is one of the best values I’ve had in ages! $4 a bottle at Trader Joe’s. FOUR. BUCKS. And it’s one tasty glassful, brimming with berries and oak and a surprising hit of mint. Smells like blackberries and plums and spice. The finish lingers, and it’s just a wee bit tart (this mellows out with some breathing). Mildly tannic, big but not bold: a gentle giant.

Bridlewood Reserve Syrah

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Bridlewood Reserve Syrah

2006
California Central Coast

I could have sniffed this wine forever. Rich and almost floral, for a red. Vanilla, jasmine, dark chocolate-covered cherries; like a box of gourmet chocolates, almost. The flavor is really big and dry, too, but smooth–notes of licorice, smoke and bittersweet chocolate. This is not a dessert wine, but I ate a truffle with this and was not disappointed. (Or maybe anything goes with truffles.) Naturally, this Syrah will stand up to big, hearty dishes, but if guests are lingering over dessert and coffee, you might consider breaking out a bottle of this to keep the party going.

SPECIAL NOTE: $20 at BevMo!, but currently offered as part of their “5 cent” sale (buy one bottle, get the second for just $.05). Purchase now at http://www.bevmo.com

Lucky Star Pinot Noir

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Lucky Star Pinot Noir2009
California (Graton)

Luck seems to be a lady for this Pinot. She’s a pretty garnet m’amselle with some nice legs and a delicate perfume of cherries, leather and oak. Light and lively with cranberries on the tip of the tongue and a dry but tannic finish — a nice touch that keeps this lighter red from being a lightweight. A real lucky find, too, for a mere $10.

We found this wine at Beverages and More.

Blason de Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2008

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Blason de Bourgogne Pinot NoirI really need to explore French wines in greater depth. I’ve enjoyed many, but can never keep those elaborate names straight (yes, I know–horribly American of me; somewhere out there, a Frenchman is farting in my general direction). Which is a terrible reason to shy away from one of the great wine cultures of the world. I am not proud of this.

Here’s an interesting Pinot–can’t pronounce it to save my life, but you might want to try it. It’s a light, crystal-clear reddish brown, with a delicious aroma of cherries and vanilla. Medium bodied, as most Pinots are, with soft tannins and lovely structure. Plum and cedar notes, and a raspberry flavor on the tip of the tongue. The cranberry finish was too piquant for my tastes, so I’d definitely recommend drinking it with food to tame that tart touch. Loaded with personality, with a little bit of an edge…not a reliable crowd pleaser, but will make for satisfying sipping for those with an adventurous palate.

Blason de Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2008