Author Archives: nls

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

Canard Sauvage Petite Syrah, 2009

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Canard Sauvage Petite Syrah2009
Sonoma County, California
Dry Creek Valley

So big, so firm, yet smooth, too…a noble savage is this. Inky black-red with some solid legs and a definite spice character. Cardamon, clove and blueberries in the nose, and jammy berries with a hint of smoky oak on the tongue. I liked that touch of tannin in the finish; it hasn’t been tamed into submission. I love me some wild duck.

Da Vinci Chianti, 2008

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Da Vinci Chianti2008
Italy

Ah, chianti…that unassuming pizza and pasta standard best drunk from an old fashioned glass. Well, break out the Riedel, because Da Vinci elevates the light and lively varietal to an impressive level of sophistication. Smells so good — berries and plums and spice. It’s a study in contrasts, too. Deep, dark red color…but light legs. Medium bodied…but chewy tannins and a dry, leathery finish. Lush with strawberry and bittersweet chocolate flavors. Surprisingly luscious and balanced. A Renaissance masterpiece!

Da Vinci 2006 Riserva Chianti – Sangiovese Red Wine Note, this is a different vintage.

Norton Bodega Malbec, 2010

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Norton Bodega Malbec2010
Mendoza, Argentina

Norton was my intro into South American wines years ago, and the label remains as reliable as an old pair of jeans. This malbec is a perfect pizza wine, and at just $8 a great value, too. It’s that smoky edge that makes it so special, I think — and a good foil for rich tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. Beautiful garnet color, plum and tobacco scented, dry, lingering oak finish that bites back…gently. A fantastic standard for everyday drinking.

Bodega Norton 2010 Malbec – Red Wine