Thursday, September 27, 2007

Odds and ends for sept #2

Don David Torrontes Reserve 2006 The first reserve version of this relatively new grape type in this market. Pink grapefruit where usually I get more lemon zest. Too expensive for the money.

Cape Mentelle Shiraz 04 Beautiful wine with dark color and dark fruit flavors. Margaret River is a cool region in Southwest Australia so the wine almost tastes like a northern rhone with Iodine and bacon fat. Interesting combo I know but its typical.

Fattoria Lucignano 2005 Chanti Colli Fiorentini 2005 One of the lesser known regions of Chianti with Classico being best known. This wine had the typical rusty color of sangiovese whih is 80%. A fuller bodied mouthfeel and dusty finish . Pretty good for $16.

beer tasting

Change of pace today. Craft beer from Europe.

Kasteel Belgium ale. triple fermented with higher alcohol Rich creamy and not overly hoppy.

Kasteel Brune(Brown) called brown sugar in a bottle. made from a whiskey malt to me it tasted like the old time molassis candies that our neighbors gave us at halloween. If you like that taste its great. smooth too

Delirium tremens Triple distilled clean malty cute name.

Delirium Nocturum Dark malt, taste of coffee very smooth and a touch hoppy at the end.

Delirium Noel High in alcohol made with 7 spices such as Anise and nutmeg. This beer can age for up to 5 years because of the guts its got. Reminded me of the Brune but not as sweet.

After tasting these beers I was trying to think of foods to pair these with and it makes sense that german style foods are perfect because they , the beer, need a strong food to go with them otherwise everything would be out of balance.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hugo from Australia

Today I only had 3 wines to taste. John Hugo from Australia was here to show off his wines. The Unoaked Chardonnay and Shiraz are in the store. Good value wines that Parker loves. He had a Shiraz reserve that had me baffled. It had hints of maderization or cooked flavors but it still showed great fruit and meatiness at the end. I would like to try another bottle to see if that was just a bottle variation problem

He was also very nice in giving me a bottle of Olive Oil they make in small amounts at the winery. Only to their favorite customers or at least thats what he told me. :-)


Craig Rohner of Pinnacle

Schug Sauv Blanc 06 Sonoma In a word Cat Pee. very intense aromas that some people find off setting, having two cats myself not so much. Rich texture with a slight bitter finish

Au Bon Climat Hildegard White. A blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligote Very light color, strong aromas that do not sit well, Tasted a little maderized or cooked.

Schug Pinot Noir 06 As Craig says this may be the vintage to kill the Pinot craze because it is too French in style. Very light in color and palate. A little barnyard in the nose.

Rocky Gully Viognier and Shiraz 2005 I have this in the Corner so I am glad I liked it. Dark color, dark berry flavors with that lovely taste of bacon fat at the end.

Chester Kidder Red WIne from Washington. Bordeaux meets Rhone in United States.
Lots of cedar, hits the middle palate but doesnt give up much at the end. A young wine. Did I tasted garlic at the end or was I ready for lunch? This winery Long Shadows was built by the man who made Chateau st Michele famous. He sold out and made a winery that specializes in the winemakers from around the world. Interesting concept.


Doug from Golden Barrel

Tasted wines with my good friend Doug yesterday. He was very patient as we (I) was busy running around but we did have a chance to taste through some things.

Black Wing Shiraz 05 Australia Manure nose. reminds me of the story on Truman when reporters asked Bess couldnt she get him to stop saying that to which she replied"Do you know how long it took me to get him to say that!!"

Tapestry Bakers Gully Shiraz Australia 05 Coffee and mocha, nice acid, but there are dozens of Shiraz languishing on my shelves already.'

Chateau Cablanc Bordeaux 2001 Being that it is labeled Bordeaux it has to come from somewhere in that region but at $14 probably not any of the famous chateaus. Fragrant nose and light body. A good starter wine for someone wanting to try this region.

Regalat means Extraordinary but for me it tasted like a chemical I couldnt place. Lots of oak and not much fruit. Oh it was a Zin.

Salvestrin Cabernet 03 My answer to the Silver Oak Napa Valley at half the price. Pretty cedar nose. lots of grit that i like on the fromt of the palate. Definitely can age or be decanted. $50


Steele wines from Bommarito

A great story, this man Jed Steele worked for Kendall Jackson, developed their world famous Chardonnay and went out on his own. Jess Hollar was the rep from the winery.

Shooting Star Sauv Blanc 05 Lake County stainless steel, light style. Shooting Star is the Indian description for Jed Steele's middle name, Tecumsah.

Steele Pinot Blanc 06 I am liking this grape type more and more. Oregon makes some beautiful examples and this one from cali is good too. Nice ML (malolactic fermentation) smooth, round with a nice hint of mineral at the end.

Steele Chardonnay 2006 Sticks to the glass, lots of glycerin and natural sugar but not overly sweet on the palate.

Shooting Star Zinfandel 05 Juicy, briary finish you associate with zin. very nice finish.

Steele Syrah 02 Iodine was the first aroma I got, nice acidty and finish I wish more people enjoyed Syrah.


d'Arenberg wines

Late last week had an chance to taste through some very good wines from Australia with Chris Rowe . d'arenberg has been around the market for a few years but over a century of winemaking. The problem with this company is they do so many bottlings, almost 30. What one has to do is find one or two and stick with them. Their entry level wine Stump Jump has been a good everyday wine, both white and red.

Laughing Magpie Shiraz 06 Viognier and Shiraz together in the style of a northern rhone. lots of aromatics from the viognier. Deep rich color.

Twenty Eight Road Mourvedre 04 Big full bodied wonderful wine. Definitely coming into the store soon.

Derelict Vineyards 2004 Bush vine grenache. powerful nose. good acidity. hot but not overwhelmingly so.

Sticks and Stones. Tempranillo, Grenache and Souzou. 2004 Juicy acid. medium bodied.

Galvo Garage Cabernet, Cab Franc, Merlot 2004 Strange wine, after taste that I cant figure. Named because of the garage wines coming out of Bordeaux. Not my style.

Coppermine Cab 03 Tight. Glass staining color. Definitely needs aging and/or decanting.

LoveGrass Shiraz 04 For the money the best of the bunch. Minty, juicy nice acidity. $17

Dead Arm Shiraz 04 named that because of the look of the tendril that the bunch grows off of, i think, i always thought it sounded like a medical condition. Soft tannin, good fruit. I must have been in a minty frame of mind because that came through again.

This winery is well represented in the store. Prices range from $10 up. Parker favorites so you know they arent afraid of oak and alcohol.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Winebow wines

Winebow specializes in Italian wines. With the hundreds of varietals and local wines to choose from its very hard to get a handle on Italian . Usually finding a region that you like and expanding on that works.

Kris Pinot Grigio 2005 it tasted off to me.. a little moldy not a good bottle. I look forward to trying it again

Allegrini Soave 2005 minerals and light. 100% Garganega and stainless steel. Pleasant example of the type of wine that has been around for a long time. I remember when I first started Soave was synonimous with cheap italian whites. Not so this one

Zenato Valpolicella Superiore 2004 With any European wine that has Superiore on the label there will be more alcohol. This one had an interesting nose of supple leather and ripe fruit on the finish.

Argiolas Costera 2005 From the island of Sardinia. Cannonau or Cab Franc . Deep color with a dark cherry finish.

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2003 Usual suspects for Valpolicella region but they add 5% Sangiovese which makes it not being allowed to be called Valpolicella. This wine over the last few years has been a Wine Spectator darling even being in their top 100 several times

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Odds and Ends for Sept

Just a reminder that the next in store wine tasting will be October 25. Falliday will be the theme. Hearty reds and Turkey wines and Sparklers will be featured. Open to all over 21 from 6 till 8

Check out my new mid price discount bin. Wines that are around $20 originally marked down significantly to move out. The wines were ones that I had thought would sell or we need to get rid of to make room for the next vintage. Sounds like a car ad but not nearly as expensive.

Now that summer is over you do not have to give up on those rose' wines. They make the perfect aperitif wine, or for salads. When it comes to turkey it will be a very nice match.

Global vineyards

This company represents only Chilean wines. Boutique wines that otherwise wouldnt make it out of the country. Chilean wines are usually good value and flavors for the money.They tend to be better food wines so in tasting these they were a bit acidic for me, the reds anyway.

De Martino Chardonnay Legando or Legacy. Surprisingly rich for no malolactic fermentation. lots of tropical fruit overtones. but not sweet.

Apaltagua Carmenere 2004 No oak. Last month in the Tastebud magazine I said something to the effect of wine with tacos..not so much. This wine had an interesting jalapeno spice to it that might work. By itself though it was a little offputting.

Apaltagua Cabernet 05 Dark rich color in the glass pretty cocoa on the finish that turned a little bitter.

The winner of the group was Antiyal 2004 A Carmenere, Cab and Syrah blend. This vintage received 92 from Spectator. Really pretty cab nose and long finish. Cost on the shelf will be around $45. You will have to look for this in the lay down French section though because my Chilean section does not have a lay down area and this needs to lay down.


Monday, September 17, 2007

other monday tasting

Two other wines that came in with different reps. One from Saintsbury Brown Ranch Chardonnay 05 Saintsbury is known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. One of the first wineries to explore the potential of Carneros for those grapes. Brown Ranch is a single vineyard that they use.. This wine is so typical California its surprising its from a cool area. lots of malolactic fermentation and not heavy handed in its oak. the finish was a little short for me though.

Domaine des Chazzelles Vire-Clesse region of Macon in Burgundy. 2005 A great year for Burgundy, white and red. This wine though leaves a bit to be desired in both approach and finish. It wants to be fruity but isnt and wants to leave refreshing on the finish but it disappears. Maconnaise wine is a good bargain for Burgundy but there are better.

Please check out the 05 Burgundies that we have brought in for the holidays


monday wine tasting

Chateau St Michelle or Stimson Lane is a monster wine company out of Washington. Today I got to try a few of their boutique wines from Mark Schroeder the rep for that company. Stimson has gone on a buying spree recently buying Stags Leap Wine Cellars a premium winery in Napa.

Conn Creek Anthology 03 A bordeaux blend from Napa 60% cabernet with the rest merlot, cab franc. Deep Opaque color with lots of cab influence on the nose and palate. Good acidity though. Should last many years.

North Star Merlot Walla Walla 2003 Northstar only produces Merlot, this bottling is their high end. Pretty blueberry notes on the nose and nice lush mouthfeel. The problem is people do not usually want to spend over $50 on a merlot since that wine has tendency to be inexpensive. Try the Northstar Columbia Valley that I have in the store though. This winery hasnt been around but for a few vintages.

Col Solare 2003 This means shiny hill. This winery is a collaboration between CSM and the Italian family Antinori. With 80% cab it could be classified as such but they search for the idea of the blend. Dark ruby color with acidity on the mouth to be good for steak or fatty foods. had a little spike of tannin at the end which would also smooth out with some red meat.

Friday, September 14, 2007


So not all the time am I tasting wine. Today a distributor brougt by some new Cognacs and such for me to try. However, Cognac is made from grapes. Usually from the Ugni Blanc which in Italy is known as Trebbiano.

Prunier VS VS stands for very special having been aged 3 years in oak before bottling. Prunier is told to me to be the 3rd oldest cognac house. I wonder though if that isnt like Kansas City saying it has more fountains than Rome. Who is really going to check. Light caramel colors with hot aromas of lemons. The heat is expected but a little harsh for the first sip of the day. There is a reason most Cognac is served at the end of the meal and end of the day.

Pineau des Charentes Blanc A light aperitif drink, which by definition is before dinner to help whet the appetite. This particular bottling is made up of Chardonnay grapes and Cognac. A bit of a sherry nose with a nice light finish.

Menorval Calvados Prestige basically this is Apple brandy produced in the region of Calvados located in Normandy where it is too cold to grow grapes. The apple juice is distilled. The aromas are definitely of apples with hints of meringue or toasted marshmellow. The finish though is dry and long.

Liqueur d'Orange Prunier A blend of Cognac and orange. Immediate nose of Orange (duh) and cocoa Not terribly hot on the palate and a pretty long orange finish. Lots of acidity nice and fresh on the palate. Not as heavy as I remember Grand Marnier to be which would be a similiar libation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Adelsheim Winery

Today Michael Adelsheim from the eponymous winery from Oregon. This was one of the first Oregon wineries that was in my wine awareness back in the late 80's. For quality and price they are really hard to beat. And of course I am not saying this because they are going to help me get to Pinot Camp next summer.

Adelsheim Pinot Blanc 2006 A warm year like 06 in Oregon helps the grapes reach a degree of ripeness that makes Pinot Blanc a little rounder than usual but still an interesting drink. Pinot Blanc being a mutation of Pinot Noir does well in Oregon.

Adelsheim Pinot Gris 2006 As with the Blanc the Pinot Gris is a mutation of Pinot Noir and yes I know its a white grape. With the ripeness this one has picked up just a hint of sweetness but still good acidity to keep from becoming cloying.

Adelsheim Pinot Noir 2006 Lush ripe and almost Californian in style but still enough earthiness to let you know its not. I will have this in shortly and if its anything like past vintages it will be gone by Christmas

Adelsheim Pinot Noir Deglace 375ml
A dessert wine from Pinot Noir. Sweet because its on the vine longer but not syrupy sweet with enough acidity to keep it fresh after every sip, perfect for creme brulee.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Broadbent wines

Ok this is my third wine saleman with more than 5 wines in 2 hours. Rebecca Foulk of Broadbent with Madeline Pulley of Classique wines. This supplier specializes in European wines.

The first is Broadbent Vinho Verde A wine already in the store. From Portugal this is a light slightly effervescent wine that is not a vintage wine. These wines are set with a little CO2 at bottling which gives the wine a spritz at opening.

Musar Cuvee Rose 2004 The current vintage which is interesting because the wine comes from Lebanon. A rose made from Cinsault one of the Rhone grapes but here found in Lebanon. Not Missouri either but the country. very nice aromas of strawberry and dry finish.

Musar Cuvee Rouge 2003 Lebanon Okay here is a cautionary tale. As I was tasting this wine I found it to have a slight maderized or cooked taste. What this means is the wine got heated at one time since bottling. I was cautious about this but did ask her to try it. She agreed that it was cooked. The thing is I didnt want to say something because after all this time I still didnt trust my palate. So if your dont like a wine do not be afaid to mention it to a clerk or server,

Chateau Musar 1999 The big boy from this winery. Made up of Cabernet, Carignane and CInsault. This wine historically needs lots of aging to open up. Madeline even decanted the wine and it was still tight. Cedar seemed to be the dominant aroma and the wine was very tight on the palate, This is a cult wine for several of my wine buyers, I have had them in the store since the 193 vintage.



Yes these are the people that bring the fish shaped bottle but also other Italian wines. Matt Sharpe with Fred Germaine from Seven Seas Distributor.

La Colombaia Bianco di Custoza A light wine from the Custoza region of Italy. A blend of wine but mostly Garganega which is a light not very impressive grape. They do stainless steel which keeps it fresh which helps.

Carpeneto Chainti Classico 05 A good vintage with traditional brick colored juice and a good finish. Sangiovese and Canninolo traditinal grapes.

Carpeneto Reserva 2003 From a hot vintage which produces less acidity which means less longevity. But since most wine is comsumed within hours of purchase that really isnt a problem. Fruity wine with a nice finish.

kendall jackson imports

One of the things I enjoy about the wine business is meeting people in the business through the years. In this case I met with Joe Siler with KJ Imports who was with another wine distributor when we met back over a decade ago Its not always just about the wine but developing friendships too That being said here were the wines I tasted. I did kid about him going to the dark side with such a corporate giant as KJ but the wines showed well.

Benvolio Pinot Grigio 05 Italy Not yet in the market but nice light and inexpensive. Would probably range about $8 or so when it comes in the market

Yangarra Chardonnay 06 McClaren Vale Australia This was a wine that has been unoaked and no malo which means pure expression of fruit.. From a selling point the price point of around $15 for Australian Chardonnay is a hard sell

Arceno Prima Voce Italian 03 I wrote it had an interesting leather thing going on. It is I believe a super tuscan which means it has other grapes than typical Italian varietals . In this case Cab, Merlot and Sangiovese

Chateau L'Abbaye Bordeaux Superior 04? Merlot, Cab Franc and Cab Sav. Cocoa was the flavor that stuck with me. Interesting low prived Bordeaux.. This is an example of how vintage can make a difference because I did not like last vintage at all but this one is a winner.Around $14

Domaine Lignere"Aric" Corbieres France This is one of those regions that really doesnt get the press it deserves. Caragnane one of those workhorse grapes Lots of spices and a long finish. It will be in the store for about $30 so mostly a hand sell for me,

Yangarra Old Vine Grenache Rich ripe with good acidity that keeps me liking this wine as opposed to a lot of Aussie Shiraz Usually too syrupy and hot with alcohol. This one is well balanced and will be around $28


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This wine features a cute gimick of having the label upside to represent the fact that it is from Southern Hemisphere. I wonder if when i spit it out it will swirl the other way? As I said before cute labels scare me.

Unwooded (Not Unoaked) Chardonnay 06 Valle Central Chile
typical bright yellow that is found in chardonnay. light fruit easy drinking a well made if boring wine

Cabernet Sauvignon 05 Chile I have never been a big fan of Chilean red and this did nothing to make me change my mind. A bit dirty a bit green olive. tastes of steak sauce. My guess it would go well with red meat,

Shiraz Australia 05 bright fruit in the glass with not a lot of aromas coming out. juicy not a lot of tannin or follow through

These are from the Sebastiani people who brought Screw Kappa Napa and Smoking Loon to name a few. So i imagine there will be a lot of advertisement for them. They can sell themselves which means I do not have to. Salut

Cloudy Bay sauvignon

Just a quick note that I got in a few cases of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc that goes fast. Salut

french and spanish wines from steve miiles

Ok so we are trying some inexpensive wines.'

Via Terra Genanacha Blanc one of the white grapes of the rhone and spain, full bodied and mineral with a hint of dried fruit'

Pazo San Mauro Albarino Rias Biaxas 05 I usually love Albarino Such an interesting grape from the northeast corner of spain.This one does not disappoint Fruity but not sweet Medium Bodied Perfecct for fish or paella Around 15dollars

Optimus Chardonnay Languedoc or Southern France 06 Stainless steel so it wont show that oaky flavor which is oky with me. nice roundness but not overwhelming either.

Marco Real Granacha Rosado 06 Rose is in big time this year, Parker gave ut 88 pts.Light strawberry color, a little tinny on the nose then some rose. A little fuller bodied than I thought it would be from the nose. Maybe a little late in the season for rose though Around $10

Domaine De Saline Pinot Noir 05 from Corsica I am aware of these Corsica and Sardinia producing good fruit but this is a first for me.
Bricky color like sangiovese but surprisingly full bodied for a $12

Marco Real Garnacha 2005 Navarra A up and coming good price wine region from Spain. 88 pts from Parker Pretty color and nice full aromas on the nose. Cherry finish that is just a touch sweet .great wine for my corner. My corner for those who do not know is where the wines that get great press and great price go. These wines are not in the market long enough to put on shelf but definitely need to be highlighted

Tumbleweed Vin de Payes 04 Cute name doesnt always mean terrible wines this is a blend of different grapes. Nice color light flavors but not terrible interesting not bad either could be a possibility

Domaine l'Estagnol Safran 2005 Vin de Payes Vaucluse Southern france made from Carignane and other southern rhone grapes. definitely french on the nose with woody notes Juicy mouthfilling fruit but not a long finish.

Zaris Barrica 2004 Ribera del Duero One of my first favorite regions in Spain. All tempranillo Dark ruby color Surprisingly fruity on the nose that translates to the finish. Very nice for the money if you like a more new world style. $14

Acustic 2005 Interesting because I am tasting a wine I have never heard of before. Samso which could be another name for Carignane which i will investigate also with granacha 92 parker points. Old vines too which usually create a richer wine.Fruity and delicious not very tannic, perfect for game or steak Another great corner wine. $19 high end for the corner but worth it,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome to Wine the Blog

This will be my second attempt to do a wine blog. What I hope to accomplish with this writing is two fold. I am approached by wine salesman daily with new wines to try or revisiting wines with new vintages. So this blog will allow me to set down in writing my opinions.I have done that in the past but almost immediately it seems I lose that paper. If I put it on the net I can find them when i want. Also it allows you the reader who I am sure will be fascinated by my musings. Sorry that was my homage to Rush Limbaugh who seems to think everyone wants to know what he is thinking.

Also I will use this post to announce when a special wine comes into the store that I only get a few of. For instance I just got in three bottles of Pride Merlot. Not a lot but I was glad to have it back in the market after a 3 year absence.

Much more to come. Salut Alan