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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Frontier Red Lot No. 122 Review

Fess Parker Winery
Santa Maria, California, USA

14.9% abv on the label
$11.99 a bottle
From: Super Fine Wine & Liquor
NV – No Vintage
California Red Wine
Blend: 36% Syrah, 20% Cinsaut, 12% Petite Sirah, 11% Grenache, 8% Carignane, 6% Tempranilla, 3% Souzao, 2% Counoise, 2% Mourvedre
I think they may have missed one or two other grapes!

Appearance: ruby red body

Aroma: after letting the glass breathe for a while the nose seems a little more under control; big time peppery spice at first, as the nose settles – a berry bowl mixture comes to mind and it seems on the tart side of the berry taste

Flavors: right after opening the bottle it is a little tart; the tannins and acidity seem a little wacked out for the moment; black currant, raspberry, dark cherry, and cranberry come into play; nice spice note; a little earthy – more like a watery earthy style or mineral water

Mouthfeel: tart; soft flannel feel; tannins have a little bite; moderate acidity; mineral water on the edge; thin on the back and aftertaste;

To the Point: not bad for a 12 dollar bottle; drinks like a 12 dollar bottle; Lot No. 122 drank like a 25 dollar bottle for only 12 bucks; probably at it end for age; Lot No. 90 is out – I’ll have to look for this one.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Big Easy 2010 Review

Fess Parker Winery
Santa Maria, California, USA

14.9% abv
66% Syrah, 19% Petite Sirah, 15% Grenache
Aged: 20 months in 40% new French & American Oak
Runs around $35.00 bottle
Purchased: Super Fine Wine & Liquor Canton Michigan

Read the posting on the 2009 The Big Easy

Appearance: garnet with a purple edge, nice legs on the glass

Aroma: let this bottle open before enjoying; big juicy dark berries: blackberry, mulberry, boysenberry; solid earthy tone of soil – it’s like you can taste the soil the vines were grown in with each sniff; has sweetness and creaminess of a 55% dark chocolate; here and there I get a whiff of ground white peppercorn with its musty style;

Flavors: the first few sips right after opening the bottle it seemed a little thin; after letting it open the flavors really popped; rich dark berries mingle with the 55% like dark chocolate; a touch of campfire toasted marshmallow; tart cranberry on the mid; peppery spice seems to be more on the finish; nice earthy notes evolve – lighter earthy tone on the front and moderate earthy tones on the back;

Mouthfeel: tannins are under control; nice acidity; hint of sweetness swirls around the dark berry like bitterness; rich berry profile; pleasing earthy tone; dry feel;

Daniel Boone Coon Skin Cap

To the Point: decant this bottle for 30 minutes before enjoying; fresh out of the bottle comes across thin and once it opens up boy is it tasty; just as good as the 2009 blend; might not be as complex as that vintage but damn close; I highly recommend; can age till 2019; I bought a six pack case and I don’t think one of these bottles will make it to 2016 – so, I guess I should buy another six pack!

And, for the cigar lovers – this is great with a fine cigar.  I would recommend a medium rare filet mignon topped with blue cheese and cherries or grilled lamb chops; I will do a full dinner review with this wine down the road.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

the Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Review

North Coast 2012
Geyserville, California, USA
13.5% abv

A collaboration between Dave Matthews and acclaimed wine maker Steve Reader.

Appearance: crimson body with nice ruby edges

Aroma: herbal upfront; lighter dark berries follow mixed with a hint of spice

Flavors: tart cherry; light dark berries; floral; herbal; toasted bread; dark chocolate bitterness on the finish;

Mouthfeel: tart upfront; nice bitterness on the finish; tannins are at work; nice acidity; seems simple and easy to drink

To the Point: you got it simple and easy to drink; 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trivento Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Reserve Review

Mendoza, Argentina
14% abv

I bought this bottle at a fund raiser for Waggin’ Tail Dog Rescue.
From what I recall it was around 10 or 12 bucks but, don’t quote me on that. 

Appearance: dark garnet body with a purplish-red rim

Aroma: nice dark berry notes with a touch of sweet earth

Flavors: black currant, plum skin, sweet herbal, light toasty oak,

Mouthfeel: smooth, tannins and acidity seem under control for a young wine, dark berries and earth on the aftertaste, fairly simple, easy to drink, 

To the Point: for the price – good; should make a nice wine to serve at a party; a good inexpensive restaurant wine. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Anderra Carmenere 2012 Review

Baron Philippe de Rothschild
Maipo, Chile

You can find this for under $12 a bottle

Appearance: black plum with a purple rim

Aroma: juice black berry; soil earthy tone; herbal note followed by a fine grind black pepper with a hint of pink peppercorn; sweet cedar

Flavors: black berry; red cherry; soil; spice; toasted vanilla; herbal tea; hint of brown spice

Mouthfeel: nice acidity; tannins under control; nice depth to the black fruit; good variety of flavors to make it interesting; the berries and spice coat the palate

To the Point: for the price a very nice buy; pleasing to drink

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Review

Bodegas Trapiche
Mendoza, Argentina

14% abv
Oak Cask for 9 months
$13.99 from a grocery store

The first time I had this wine was wine I went to a restaurant, here in Michigan, and they just started the ‘cork the bottle’ law.  This is when you order a bottle of wine at a restaurant and you don’t finish it you can have them cork it and you can take in home.  That was a few years ago (I’ll look it up when that went into effect). 

This is an easy wine to drink.  A nice ‘restaurant’ wine.  Maybe, even a nice everyday wine.  Nothing big, nothing special, just pleasing to drink. 

I am finally doing a review on this wine for I don’t think I have ever reviewed it – once again – I’ll have to look that up too.  No I have not reviewed this wine. 

Now, dealing with wine laws, I stated the first time I had this wine was when they made a new law regarding ‘carry out’ wine.  Today, I just heard the State of Michigan passed a law that you can now bring your own bottle of wine into a restaurant ‘if they don’t have that wine’.  The person told me that the establishment will charge an ‘opening fee.’  And, once again I’ll have to look this wine up.  Damn, I have a lot of research to do!

Really, there is a big demand for this.  And, doesn’t this hurt the restaurant.  Let’s say that mister cheap skate comes in with this wine – a $14.00 bottle – and then he pays, I don’t know, let’s say a $5.00 opening fee.  That would bring the bottle cost to 19 buck for the consumer.  Yes, it would probably would have cost them $29.00 for the same bottle – saving the person ten dollars.  But, the restaurant owner is losing out.  And NO, mister cheap skate is not going to order ten more dollars’ worth of food.

Just looked up the new wine law.  It is called, House Bill 5046 and it was signed in December of 2013 according to  It sounds like the big thinkers up there in Lansing Michigan think that it will help the Michigan wine industry.  REALLY!  What is there fifty wine drinkers, in the whole state, out there with their Michigan bottle of wine saying, ‘let me bring my bottle of Michigan wine into this restaurant?’  How about passing something really important to the people of Michigan.  Click here to read more about the new law

Let me get to the review.

Appearance: deep purple (not the music group from my time); purple edge; nice legs

Aroma: a pleasing nose; big dark berries reminding me of black berry; nice cedar spice; oak;

Flavors/Mouthfeel: juicy dark berries follow the nose; nice peppery spice; oak; good touch of tannins and good acidity;

To the Point: a very nice wine; like I said, a nice everyday wine; pleasing body, pleasing flavors; yes I would buy this again. 

Back to the new law.  Restaurants are encouraged to participate but, do not have to follow the new law.  It sounds like they can make their own ‘opening’ cost but, it cannot be the cost to cover the ‘difference’ of what they would charge. 

Personally, I can think of only one or two places I would do this.  The one place is up north in Port Austin where I like the food at the restaurant but, damn they have the cheapest wine a place can serve.  This law would help this place because I would go there more frequently. 

This law also hurts the server – you know the waiter or the waitress.  I bring in my $50 bottle of wine – do I tip them on that or the uncorking fee?  Answer: the uncorking fee.  I would tip on the cost of the bottle I brought in but, I would put money on it that the majority of people would not. 

Here is the side of me who likes this idea.  I like to go to a restaurant in Plymouth Michigan called La Bistecca.  The price of a bottle that I usually buy there would be in the 60 to 100 dollar range.  That would mean that the price of that bottle is really 25 to maybe 50 or 55.  I could now bring in a real 75 dollar bottle of wine that I really love at that price and I would be happy as a double peckered goat.  Just remember, that is if they don’t serve that wine and if they allow you to bring your own bottle in. 

I personally don’t think many people will take advantage of this new law.  I also don’t think it will hurt the owner of the establishment – they have enough money.  I think it will only hurt the server.  So, if you do this mister cheap skate – tip the server on the price of that bottle at least 10% and 20% on the rest of your bill. 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cigar Box Reserve Malbec 2012: Review

Mendoza, Argentina

$16.99 saw it at some grocery store and had to buy it

Appearance: black-purple body with deep purple highlights; slow dripping leggs

Aroma: black fruit, reminding me of black currant and black plum; touch of floral and mineral; on the bottle it says violet, I got a bottle of violet vinegar out of the pantry and yep violet it is;

Flavors: fresh black berry, plum, black currant; light tart cranberry in the mix; a 70% dark chocolate like note swirls around the berries; mild cedar spice; moderate mineral earthiness;

Mouthfeel: dry; tannins are moderate and under control; nice black fruit bitterness on the back and aftertaste; a pleasing thickness to the body on the first glass – starts to get a little jammy on the second glass; I’ll give it a 6 on my strength scale – just inside the medium-full range;

To the Point: a pleasing Malbec; 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Bridge 2009 Syrah Cabernet: Review

Vinifera Wine Company
Paso Robles, California, USA

14.9% abv
Blend: 55% Syrah; 45% Cabernet Sauvignon
Under 10 bucks @ Meyer
I bought this over a year ago. I guess it is time to get the cheap stuff out of the cellar.

Appearance: big purple

Nose: nice syrah type spice and some dark berries swirling around; not complex but interesting

Flavors/Mouthfeel: thin on delivery; dark berries, little peppery spice, lacks depth and character but for around 9 bucks what do you expect; a generic bitterness – seems contrived;

To the Point: save your 10 bucks and put it toward a good bottle of wine; don’t ever serve to a friend – foe you are okay – friend never;

The aroma was okay – nice – after that forget it – since it is winter I’ll make purple snow 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Sonoma County: Review

Louis M Martini Winery
Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California

This is a decent cab. It’s not bold; there is nothing special here; it is just a good decent wine. 

Appearance: deep garnet body with a purplish edge

Aroma: dark berries, throw in a little earth, and a touch of spice; moderate-light nose

Flavors: dark berries; plum skin; black currant; soft earth; soft peppery feel

Mouthfeel: tannins are moderate; nice acidity; flavors are nice but, nothing special nor complex here; moderate depth at best; just seems to be missing something

To the Point: I liked the 2008 much better than this 2010; like I stated earlier – it’s decent; should be easy to pair with any type of food

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cook’s Brut Grand Reserve: Review

Cook’s Champagne Cellars
Madera, California, USA

11.5% abv
They say it has a ‘special dosage of Brandy’

Appearance: crystal water with plenty of bubbles

Aroma: citrus … and I am thinking of a dusty citrus … no … toasted white bread and a soft citrus peel – Yes. With a touch of floral.

Flavors/Mouthfeel: on the bottle it says, ‘hint of delicate vanilla’ – a little redundant.  Maybe if there was a hint of vanilla I might pick it up or maybe if the vanilla was just delicate I might pick up the aroma and/or flavor of vanilla … but, no … it had to be a ‘hint of delicate vanilla’ and I don’t get it at all.  No vanilla for me.  I pick up white bread on the front with apple and then the bubbles explode on the palate followed by dry citrus meat and tart apple on the mid and finish along with plenty of effervescence to keep it lively; nice tartness that lingers on the palate for a minute or so; damn, I think I noticed a ‘hint of delicate vanilla’ as I was trying to figure out the aftertaste … maybe it was a delicate hint of vanilla … a whiff … a trace … a vestige …

To the Point: for a cheap sparkling wine this is not all too bad; if you are having a big group this should do; if you are looking for an everyday type of sparkling wine this should do; if you are looking for a sparkling wine to go with a fruit tray or salad this should do;

Side Note: to me Champagne is like Single Malt Scotch.  Some people go by price to say, this is a great … fill in the blank.   The guys at the cigar store did it with Single Malt Scotch and Blended Scotch … they said, ‘Johnny Walker Blue Label was the best and they could pick it out of any line up of Scotch.’  So, I called their lame little bluff (knowing they would never buy Blue for $200 a bottle) I said, I’ll buy five or six different Scotches and you could never tell which one is Blue.  Well, we did a blind tasting and Blue was ranked #5 out of 6 and Macallan 10 was the number one pick and nobody picked the right name for it – but, they liked it the best.  I think Champagne is the same thing.  With opened eyes and know the price they pick they fancy one; with a blind tasting … you would have a different result.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927: Review

Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927
Montilla, Spain

16% abv

Appearance: looks like raisin juice or a deep mahogany if you like; long dripping syrupy legs hang on the glass

Aroma: thinking raisin, it smells like sweet raisins and fig; touch of chocolate and a light nutty note

Flavors: just like the nose

Mouthfeel: sweet; syrupy feel; light in body; short or thin on the aftertaste; the alcohol does not play a role in the taste or mouthfeel; a light spice, maybe from the alcohol, on the back; easy to drink

To the Point: a nice sherry; seems like a porto to me but, I don’t know a thing about sherry wines - I just say call it a Raisin Late Harvest, Late Harvest is just short of an IceWine; if I was going to grade this wine I would give it a solid B; short on the aftertaste, nice on the nose but nothing special, pleasing flavors; if you like dessert wines this is worthy of a bottle purchase

I’ll bet this pairs well with dark chocolate or a fine cigar.  I already have the cigar burning with this wine and I am going to get some dark chocolate. 

Just a side note: this is not a 1927 vintage. They make this sherry or raisin wine with the wood used from 1927 - so the belief is that it imparts some of the 1927.   

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jackson-Triggs 2008 Vidal Icewine: Review

Jackson-Triggs Estate Wines
Niagura-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada

VQA Niagara Peninsula
9.5% abv
187ml bottle

The crystal golden-yellow body looks so nice in the icewine glass.  Light sweet tropical notes greet the nose.  The flavors follow the nose; candied mango, papaya, and nectarine swarm the palate and clines to the cheek and gums; a nice sweet pineapple note shows on the aftertaste.  This icewine like all good icewines has a syrupy feel that is silky smooth and coats the palate. 

To the Point: this is a great dessert wine; a true sipper; only have one glass maybe two – the sugar content is high; Jackson-Triggs Icewine is still one of my favorites.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

THE SHOW Malbec 2012: Review

Three Thieves
Mendoza, Argentina

14.1% abv
You should be able to find this for under $13.00
I found this bottle at Kroger’s

Appearance: deep purple body with ruby highlights; nice legs drip on the glass

Aroma: dark berry aroma with an alcohol peppery spice and toasted oak; as the wine opens I am picking up a touch of green spice, not basil, not thyme, maybe the two together (I tried this at the spice rack in my kitchen) – close to marjoram   

Flavors: blackberry; black plum skin; toasted oak; spice; the alcohol and acidity are showing their teeth here on the first glass (did not decant); on the second glass the alcohol note itself subsides and comes across with a nice peppery note of white and green peppercorns; the flavors mingle together for a tasty Malbec

Mouthfeel: thick; almost jammy feel; the alcohol is a little noticeable on the first glass after opening; lingering blackberries and spice on the palate

To the Point: I think this might be a good one to age a few years; the alcohol and acidity I think are showing their youth; this should mellow in a couple of years; a nice Malbec for the price;

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

L. Mawby Cremant Classic Sparkling Wine: Review

L. Mawby Cremant Classic
Brut Sparkling Wine
L. Mawby
Suttons Bay, Michigan, USA
100% Vignoles
Estate Grown
11% abv

Appearance: crystal pale yellow

Aroma: white peach, buttered fruit-nut white bread, light toasted oak

Flavors: summer fruits, red apple up front, yellow peach and tart apple on the back and aftertaste; citrus meat (lemon) on the back and finish, just a touch of toasted oak

Mouthfeel: plenty of bubbles to please the palate; summer fruits up front; tart and dry fruits on the finish; dry to very dry

To the Point: Damn, another sparkling wine that I like from this winery – that means I’ll have to make another trip to the winery.