2011 Bruno Giacosa Barbera Casa Vinicola wine review by Billy

Nose: Young plum, spice and clove
Palate: strong warm tannins,  playful acids. Good construction that promotes the tannic structure
Finish: red stonefruit notes and coffee. Hints of cherry.
Overall: Let it breathe. Air softens the strong tannins and lets the structure support the wine.

Erasmo 2009 Red, Maule Valley

Background

European influence has always been a presence in the American wine trade. Up north the effect is more historic, but there are a few winemakers like Philippe Melka  still kicking about, making awesome wines. In South America, it’s a much more palpable influence. The last two decades have seen a great influx of European winemakers.  From Didier Cuvelier of  Chateau Léoville-Poyferré  to the Italian Count Francesco Marone Cinzano of Col d’Orcia estate in Montalcino. While Didier went to Argentina, the good Count Cinzano went  to Chile. Interestingly, both were determined to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau Léoville-Poyferré  is well known for it’s Cabernet-based wines, so that makes sense. Col d’Orcia  is famous for it’s Brunello di Montalcino, which is definitely not Cabernet. The winery has been growing Cabernet for it’s Super Tuscan bottles for several decades, including the Olmaia Sant’Antimo and the Nearco Sant’Antimo Rosso. The location the Count opted for in Chile is very similar climate to that of Tuscany: a region of rolling gentle hills that enjoys a dry mediterranean climate with just enough rain to allow for dry farming on alluvial terraces. It’s a small region in the  Maule Valley called Riserva di Caliboro. Most of the vines planted are now more than 15  years old.

South American Wine Review

Erasmo 2009 Red, Maule Valley

Wine Review: Erasmo 2009 Red

Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a percentage of Syrah. The Cabernet  is clearly dominant here, with aromas of graphite and cedar rising above wild flower and toasted spice. Black fruit and lusciously ripe plums ride across the deep tannins that smoothly fold into butcher shop elements. Vanilla and pomegranate come forward in the finish  which  jumps into a  slam dunk of tannin. This bottling is a constituent “Best Buy” vintage after vintage. A very good Cabernet-based wine and very attractively priced.

Wine Rating: 90 Points

The post Erasmo 2009 Red, Maule Valley appeared first on Wine School of Philadelphia.

A Syrah A Day

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery. Keeps the doctor away. That’s how that expression goes, right? Well, that’s how it should read, particularly if the Syrah in question is the 2012 Cornerstone Cellars Stepping Stone Syrah. The weather here in DC turned (for a moment anyway) to chilly and the reds in the cellar started to call my name.  The Cornerstone Syrah has a real cork closure and retails for $35. Four takeaways from this wine: 1.) The nose. Oh, my, the nose. This Syrah has that meaty note I love in Syrahs. 2.) We had this with beef stew. Perfect for a cold evening. 3.) I could also see this in the summer with my BBQ ribs. 4.) Cornerstone Cellars really delivers across their portfolio. On the nose I got spice, cinnamon, baking spice, berries, black cherry, meat, and the scent of bbq. In the mouth I found black cherry, spice, black fruit, berries, and anise.  I loved the tart black fruit with the spice lurking around.  
Filed under: California, Cornerstone Cellars, Red, Syrah, Wine

Wannabe Wino Wine Blog 2014-10-10 03:35:49

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR company for the brand. Eenie meanie miny mo, which Pinot should go?  Tonight it was the 2011 Star Angel Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The Star Angel has a real cork closure and retails for about $27. It hails from the Santa Rita Hills in California, though the Star Angel brand is the invention of the winemaker for the Montes brand from Chile. Four takeaways from this wine: 1.) Serve this at cellar temperature or slightly below. 2.) As it warmed I found the wine a bit soft. 3.) I served this with salmon, one of my go-tos for Pinot. I think I’d serve it with a vinegar based BBQ sauce given a 2nd chance. 4.) Overall, the wine is ripe and plush and would be a crowd pleaser for those “I don’t like red wine” folks. On the nose I got spice, pepper, strawberry, and smoke. In the mouth I found strawberry jam, raspberry, and other plush red fruits. There was some acidity on the finish.  
Filed under: California, Pinot Noir, Red, Wine

Château Margaux, 1994

In a mid budget hotel in central Manchester, the CEO of a small software company took the stage to address his staff. It was the day after his 50th birthday, business was going well, but a plot had been hatched. There were no traitors at the gate on this occasion. We are not Nabisco. Merely the pleasant surprise of a presentation of a birthday gift, a certain, and very generous, bottle of wine. Jerrrrrryyyyyy!!!! The trouble with very expensive bottles of wine is one is never sure when to open them. What could possibly justify the celebration of opening a bottle that runs into hundreds of dollars. In the end, I was persuaded to drink the Château Margaux, on an unremarkable Sunday afternoon over a family roast dinner. I learnt a lesson in 2003, when my father died, that I didn’t want to pass away and leave my finest wines to somebody thoroughly undeserving of them. Since my wife doesn’t drink, I can only imagine the scoundrels and cads that might benefit from the unqualified pleasure. It also helps that 1994 is a vintage that is recommended for drinking right now, right here in 2014. Margaux 94 is a powerful wine that is more notable for its mouth feel which is pure velvet, than its flavours, which are smoky, fruity, and with rather attractive fudgey tannins. And, like many French wines, it improves gradually. As the last glass was sunk, it left me with a slight sinking feeling. Why can’t I have my (fudge) cake and eat it? All of which brings me back to some life rules:
1. Remember that cake (and wine) goes off at some point.
2. It is nearly always better to eat your cake, than bequeath it.
3. Never underestimate the kindness and generosity of your work colleagues.

Poser? No, Pousseur.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery. Theoretically it is spring here in the DC area. Given today’s weather with a high of 61 and cold rain, I remain unconvinced. However, I am taking the opportunity to work my way through some of the red wines still lurking in the basement. Tonight I chose the 2010 Bonny Doon Le Pousseur Syrah which has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 12.8% alcohol by volume, and the current 2012 vintage retails for $26. I can’t find the photo I took of this wine. Four takeaways from this wine: 1.) Pass the lamb please. 2.) We had this with sausages, which also worked, but I really wanted some grilled lamb. 3.) Lots of complexity in the wine at this price point. 4.) The wine had an incredibly long and lingering finish.   On the nose I got plums, pencil lead, spice, and meat. In the mouth I found cocoa, plum, berries, blue fruit, spice and a finish full of lingering dusty cocoa covered blueberries. I kept imagining myself sipping this on an early September night around a campfire.  
Filed under: California, Red, Syrah, Wine

Two Nights Two Pinots

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I managed to pluck the same wine from two different vintages two nights in a row from my basement. Let’s just say the Pinot Noir called my name this winter and the two Rodney Strong ones that were lurking (that sounds ominous, I promise it’s not) in my cellar got caught up in a few day Pinot fury. Had I actually realized I had both of them down there, I would have done a side-by-side comparison. On night one we tried the 2010 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. More on night two’s wine, the 2012, another day. The 2010 had a real cork closure and likely retailed for about $25 originally. Four takeaways from this wine: 1.) Overflowing on the nose with red, red fruit. 2.) Pair with a roaring fire and a cozy couch. 3.) Or with an herbed, roast chicken. That would work as well. 4.) Once again, Rodney Strong comes through with a solid offering for a great price point. On the nose I found raspberries, red cherries, spice, mint, herbs, and sage. (Yes, I’m well aware that sage and mint are herbs, but there were more than just those there, more of an overall herbal note.) In the mouth I got pomegranate, raspberries, spice, and other red fruit. Overall the wine has acidity to spare and a long finish.    
Filed under: California, Pinot Noir, Red, Rodney Strong, Wine

Let’s Get Blended

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the brand. Winter persists. Spirits falter. Red wine is a necessity to strengthen the soul. Why not a red wine from a warmer climate to ease the pain of the never-ending winter? In Argentina it’s been in the 80s during the day. Tonight I think it is going to be 9 at my house. With needing a warming red in mind, I plucked the 2012 Graffigna Reserve Elevation Red Blend from its comfy resting spot in my basement. The wine has a Diam closure and retails for around $10-$12. It’s a blend of 20% Bonarda, 20% Cabernet Saugivnon, 20% Malbec, 20% Syrah, and 20% Tannat. Four takeaways from this wine: 1.) While it warmed us on a winter night, I really wanted it with some grilled meat. 2.) The Syrah really dominated the nose of the wine for me. 3.) The palate was more mixed, with the Merlot and Syrah both really shining for me. 4.) At $10-$12, this is a crowd pleaser for a bargain price. On the nose I got smoke, meat, pepper, black cherry, and blueberry.  In the mouth I found black cherry, dark fruit, herbs, blueberries, and plums. Overall the wine showed good tannins and left me smacking  my lips a bit.    
Filed under: Argentina, Red, Wine

Always a Good Day

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery. My day definitely looks up when my wine glass contains a treat from Jordan Winery.  Particularly when that wine happens to be their signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Our weather has been, shall we say, chilly, and a big red wine warms the soul when the thermometer can’t seem to get up over 9 degrees.  On this evening, we had the fortune to try the 2009 Jordan Cab Sauvignon. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $53. Four takeaways from this wine: 1.) We drank this with grilled lamb done with rosemary and garlic. Absolutely fabulous match. 2.) I really appreciate that Jordan keeps their alcohol levels pretty darn reasonable for a CA cab. I enjoy not feeling like my nose is on fire when I smell a wine. 3.) I’m not sure I ever got around to posting about our visit to Jordan, but if you get the chance, you should definitely try to go on your next trip to Sonoma. 4.) Jordan only does two things: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. And it does them really well.

Jordan in the spring.

On the nose I got pepper, black fruit, bramble, slight green notes, black cherry, and baking spice. In the mouth I found blackberry, black cherry, a mineral streak, and herbal notes. Overall the Jordan had great structure and acidity to carry it through.    
Filed under: Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Red, Wine

Osoyoos, Le Grand Vin, 2009

Spending so much time in North America is forcing me to learn new words like Diaper, Vacation, and Soccer, in order to be understood. The upside is the opportunity to learn about new wines, often unavailable in the UK.

Take this Merlot from British Columbia for example. Following the path trodden by many South American wineries of recruiting a little friendly advice from the old world, this Osoyoos was made with consultation (and, no doubt, a financial interest) from the owners of Saint-Julian stalwart, Gruaud-Larose.

Osoyoos from Canada

And it shows. To me it was indistinguishable from a Bordeaux, probably right bank. Fruity, deep and lovable and not at all chewy. I wonder if they’ll export it any time soon.

If not, you can copy me and buy it from SAQ in Tremblant Resort for CAN$44.50, which equates to about US$39, or £24. That sounds expensive but Canadian sales taxes are fierce and this price even includes a 3% “resort association levy”. NYC taxes are more reasonable. I never thought I’d say that about anywhere.

Cold Winter’s Night

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong.

Cold has settled into the DC area. Most days it’s been 13 degrees or under when I leave for work and the same when I return. Standing on an outside platform to catch the Metro is extremely unpleasant, and I come home chilled to the bone. On one of those nights, I bundled up for a trip to the basement and returned with the 2010 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It seemed like an excellent choice to counteract the weather. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $28.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) On the cold cold night, this wine warmed my soul.

2.) Rodney Strong is an incredibly consistent producer.

3.) This Cab offered lip-smacking black and blue fruit.

4.) I will get to Rodney Strong on my next Northern CA trip. Now to work on having that trip!

On the nose, I found the Alexander Cab to be quite spicy, with pepper, herbs, a slight green note, black berries, and other blue fruit.  In the mouth I got blueberry, brambly fruit, black fruit, spice, and pepper. The wine had nice tannins and mouth-filling fruit.

 


Filed under: Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Red, Rodney Strong, Wine

Boedecker Cellars, Pinot Noir, 2005

New World Pinot Noir is never going to age like a Burgundy. If this bottle is anything to judge by, some are more likely to age like a Médoc. Witness the tawny Cabernet glow, the rich vanilla flavours, and the dark fruits from a wine that sounds more like a middle distance runner’s dog.

Yo Decker! Boedecker Pinot Noir!

No evidence of any barnyard or chicken run. Nor anything thin. But if you want a full flavoured fruity Pinot that sits between Burgundy and New Zealand (depending on how you circumnavigate the globe), nip down to Epicure on Alton Road, South Beach and they will be delighted to lighten your wallet to the tune of five $10 bills. There must be somewhere cheaper to buy it – can you help?

Sponsored Wine Review: Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2009



In The Glass: Deep dark ruby in color with youthful, translucent purple at the edges.  Pretty.
Nose: Wet leather, earth, mushroom with plum and cherry.
Palate: Tight tannins wrap a big-boned acid core though which come juicy berries and flint.
Finish: Cinnamon and cocoa hint during the long finish.
Overall: Let this wine breathe if you open it any time between now and 2018! It was incredibly tight in the beginning, betraying its relative youth.  But after 90 minutes open and breathing this Amarone relaxed a bit and the flavors, crafting and quality were incredible.  Even so, the wine is drinking young now.  Its multi-layered nose and mid-palate flavors have huge promise for aging over the next 5 years.  It is worthwhile to purchase a case (or even a half-case) and open one bottle a year just to see how this magnificent wine comes together.

Because this is a sponsored wine review, we received this wine at no charge.  However, it retails for an average of $53 with a SRP of $70.  However, some local stores may have it on special for under $30 (if so, pick up several, it's a steal!)

Here is what Masi says about their 2009 Costasera Amarone: the estate’s specialty -- to produce this unique Amarone, Masi combines ancient varieties (Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara) and winemaking methods (vinifying grapes semi-dried on racks for 3-4 months) with the latest techniques: bamboo racks in temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions induce natural drying; selective exposure to botrytis cinerea (‘noble rot’); strictly controlled fermentations through the use of Saccharomyces bayanus, a rare yeast that produces high alcohol. This deep ruby-red wine has powerful, complex aromas of dried plums and balsamic (anise, fennel, mint) traces. Quite dry (not sweet) on the palate, soft and with bright acidity, the wine shows flavors of baked cherry, chocolate and cinnamon. Structured but noble, delicate tannins precede a long finish.

Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre, Caremenère,2011

The best recommendations for a wine do not come from journos, PR samples or special offers. For me, they come from genuine wine enthusiasts who trouble their pockets to retrieve a cherished bottle from their cellar to share with you. Either in person or in absentia.

This bottle was given to be at a board meeting by one of my colleagues who has travelled extensively around South America and hearing my mild enthusiasm for Chilean Carmenère, passed a Cuvée Alexandre into my dirty paws one rainy Tuesday morning in Newton le Willows.

Lapostolle....for some reason

This grape, widely planted in Chile but d’origine Bordeaux often reminds me of real wood fires on cold winter days. Rich and herby, yet smooth and oaky, this example is full on, but refined and very moreish, albeit bound to give me a headache in the morning.

I daren’t look up the price, because the quid pro quo is that I need to return the favour. But, knowing Chris, this is not a cheapy £5 bottle of wine. I think I’ll be reaching into my Eurocave for a decent Bordeaux or Argie blockbuster, maybe not quite stretching to a Catena Zapata or Cheval des Andes.

If you want to buy some, try your local independent.

Sordo Barolo, 2007

I’ve written many times of my quest to find the perfect wine to accompany beans on toast. But, what about that other saccharine Heinz staple, Tomato Soup?

Everybody tells me that Italian reds are powerful, tannic and rich – like sucking a teabag that has been left in the pot overnight. So that won’t work then, will it?

Sordo Barolo. And England beating Poland to qualify for the 2014 World Cup...for some reason

Well, yes actually. This wine is soft like a fresh raspberry teabag (should you wish to to commit brewed beverage bastardisation) with just a smoky hint of genuine tea (Earl Grey), and there is a slight sweetness that really brings out the flavour of the kids’ teatime favourite.

And as I write, England qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals! Great goal by Gerrard. Let’s hope we don’t face Italy first up in the competition. Like their wines, they are tough early on, and soften up over time.

Mine cost me £32 from the Sunday Times Wine Club and the 2007 is STILL AVAILABLE. But, not cheap, so maybe better to buy the 2008 and save it to drink when England win in Brazil?

To a Treat

 

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards

As I am well into my second week of the furlough, I figured it was time for a treat in my wine-drinking queue.  I can’t always look for the cheap and cheerful wines, it kills your will to taste lots of not so great wines in search of a single gem all the time.  Instead, I bustled around in the basement looking for something opulent and sure to please and came back up with the  2007 Rodney Strong Symmetry.  The Symmetry is a Meritage blend with a real cork closure, 15.1% alcohol by volume, and a retail price of about $50.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Opulent is really the proper word for this wine: it’s luxurious and rich in all aspects.

2.) $50 may seem a little pricey, especially these days, but I think you get quite a bit for that money in this bottle of wine, it’s enticing and layered and tastes much more expensive.

3.) Rodney Strong is generally so consistent to me as a producer that I never hesitate to recommend their wines.

4.) I’m still not sure how I’ve never actually made it to the actual Rodney Strong facility in all these years.

Right from the off you just look at this wine and observe how incredibly dark the juice appears.  In fact, my notes say “dark dark dark.” In the mouth I found dark chocolate, dried cherries, mulberry, spice, black cherry, and currants.  On the palate got herbs, spice, pepper, anise, coffee, blackberry, and black currants.  The wine had a long finish with good tannins and needed some time in the glass to really open up. Do yourself a favor and run it through the decanter (or your Wine Soiree!) if you pop open this bottle soon.

 

 


Filed under: California, Red, Rodney Strong, Wine

To a Treat

 

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards

As I am well into my second week of the furlough, I figured it was time for a treat in my wine-drinking queue.  I can’t always look for the cheap and cheerful wines, it kills your will to taste lots of not so great wines in search of a single gem all the time.  Instead, I bustled around in the basement looking for something opulent and sure to please and came back up with the  2007 Rodney Strong Symmetry.  The Symmetry is a Meritage blend with a real cork closure, 15.1% alcohol by volume, and a retail price of about $50.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Opulent is really the proper word for this wine: it’s luxurious and rich in all aspects.

2.) $50 may seem a little pricey, especially these days, but I think you get quite a bit for that money in this bottle of wine, it’s enticing and layered and tastes much more expensive.

3.) Rodney Strong is generally so consistent to me as a producer that I never hesitate to recommend their wines.

4.) I’m still not sure how I’ve never actually made it to the actual Rodney Strong facility in all these years.

Right from the off you just look at this wine and observe how incredibly dark the juice appears.  In fact, my notes say “dark dark dark.” In the mouth I found dark chocolate, dried cherries, mulberry, spice, black cherry, and currants.  On the palate got herbs, spice, pepper, anise, coffee, blackberry, and black currants.  The wine had a long finish with good tannins and needed some time in the glass to really open up. Do yourself a favor and run it through the decanter (or your Wine Soiree!) if you pop open this bottle soon.

 

 


Filed under: California, Red, Rodney Strong, Wine

Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot, 2009

http://bacchusliquors.com/

Beef friendly, delicious, easy drinking, and easy on the wallet. Not something you see every day on the carte des vins of a top end London Steakhouse. But I found Chateau (sic) Ste (sic) Michelle (sic) at Goodman‘s Mayfair branch. Served by the glass at one point, it disappeared and then they told me that had trouble sourcing enough to keep it on the list.

I am not really surprised. It must have been flying out of the Eurocave faster than a Batmobile powered by used rape seed oil.

Here’s the secret. I’ve found a plentiful supply and at a mad price of only around 10 quid a bottle (which, if I remember rightly, is less than Goodman used to charge for a glass). If you want to stock up, simply visit Bacchus Liquors. Not much use to Londoners I admit, but if, like me, you are stationed in South Beach for a while, a must-visit-venue. Ch. Ste Michelle is about $16 from this excellent and well stacked store at 1445 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139.  Massive collection of worldwide wines right on the premise, and literally just round the corner from my temporary home.

Cigar? No, Cigare.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for review from the winery.

Fall! And red wines! Who knew how quickly the weather would turn in DC? I got scolded by my kid’s preschool teachers for not sending her in warm enough clothes today. I guess that means it’s 1.) time to move her to New England so she toughens up 2.) bust out the long pants 3.) eat lots of apples and 4.) switch (gradually) back to the red section of my basement again. Tonight we broke out the 2008 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant En demi-muid. The Volant sports a screw cap closure, clocks in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and retails for $45 a bottle. It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Carignane.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Fall in a glass! Spice, tea, lighter red fruits, this wine screams fall.

2.) En demi-muid means the wine is aged in 500 and 600 liter barrels instead of typical barrels which hold about half that amount of liquid.

3.) The price is a little lofty.

4.) While I enjoyed just sipping the wine watching trashy tv, I would pair it with marinated pork chops.

 

On the nose I found spice, tea, cherry, current, raspberry, earth, a little meat, and some darker fruit notes. In the mouth I got black cherry. So much black cherry that it took me some time to move on and find anything else. eventually some raspberry, tea, and another berry I couldn’t quite identify emerged. Overall the fruit on the palate showed as tart and fresh.

 


Filed under: California, Red, Wine

Aldi “Exquisite” Sud de France, 2011

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. Classic French grapes. And an oenological warning of an eye-watering punch in the greenback gonads, delivered by a fancy named winemaker, and quadrupled after the addition of a central London restaurant markup using the name of some international chef.

So, what chance value? Supermarkets, perhaps?

I’ve had warm experiences with Tesco and Asda and certain wines of theirs that seemed to open their legs way wider than their pecuniary groin muscles would permit. But Tesco and Asda are veritably upmarket compared to German imposters like Aldi. Surely no hopers?

Well, this one tastes tannic, rich, spicy and fruity like a Southern Rhone. Stewed apple and black currant. Tastes slightly green – I doubt it is full of stalks but you know what I mean. You can’t really hand harvest grapes and sell a wine for £5.99, albeit on a “summer special”. So if you want to drink Hermitage La Chapelle on your wedding anniversary, good luck to your wallet. If you want something cheap and cheerful for a Monday evening meal, Aldi is one of the growing number of UK supermarkets who can offer your bank manager redemption.

Drink cool. It gets a bit jammy once it’s above 20°C. But do drink it.