Monday, July 7, 2014

Bonny Doon Claret ????

Indeed-I never thought I would see a Cabernet based wine from Bonny Doon vinyards but here it is and it is called "A proper Claret ". This 2012 blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot ,Petit Sirah, Syrah, and Tannat might sound a little odd but the wine lives up to the name-it really smells and tastes like a red wine from Bordeaux . I bought this wine at the new tasting room on Davenport for about $ 20.00 just to see what kind of wine this would be. Eleven years ago I worked at the old tasting room in Bonny Doon for a summer and noticed that the selection of wines did not include much of the mainstream varietals such as Chardonnay , Cabernet or Merlot-that is why this wine is an unexpected item in the Bonny Doon inventory. I'll give it 8 swiggs and declare it a proper Claret , if you don't mind me saying so.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Drug store cowboy

Believe it or not, CVS stores can have a pretty decent selection of wines , as long as you don't have the hankering for something off the beaten track. Talk about beaten track, Kenwood Sonoma has been around for a really long time. I used to drink some of these wines about 20 years ago and had forgotten how good they could be. This 2011 Sonoma Merlot was only $ 8.99 a price range that does not feature many wines with an actual Sonoma designation. I bought this one and had it with dinner . This older style of winemaking, lower alcohol and earthier flavors is something that I still appreciate and miss in the current world of super fruity and high octane wines. I'll give it a solid 7 swiggs and declare it the value of the month.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Merlot has power to spare

I have been a fan of this winery for about 10 years, mostly for the Zin and Sangiovese. I figured that the merlot would probably be a good bet so I decided to bring one home and try it with dinner the following night. Typical for wines from the region there is a lot of flavor to balance the high alcohol, not unlike wines from other hot climates such as Livermore or the Sierra foothills. This Pietra Santa 2010 Cienega valley Merlot is very dense and flavorful-probably will last a long time in the bottle-of course, not at our house.....it was great immediately. This was found at Shopper's Corner in Santa Cruz for $ 14.99 but can be bought from the winery directly or at better nor-cal wine shops. This is a small production wine but available in more places than one would think. I'll give it 8 1/2 swiggs.....a super good weekend wine.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

California Syrah delivers

I am becoming a big fan of Kohler wines. This one was purchased from Trader Joe's as the other Kohler red 'Quartette' has become a house favorite.This 2010 Santa Ynez valley Syrah is every bit as good, maybe even a bit better and is the same price-$ 9.95 , a little steep for the weekday but in there for a weekend treat. This is a pretty big red without being overwhelming-there's a bit of restraint in the wine making here , unusual for the region where blockbusting high-alcohol reds are the norm. I say get this one before it is all gone-it is a real great dinner wine. 8 swiggs.

Weekend French red

This wine from the south of France was really great. It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre-not unlike a Chateauneuf du pape but from a region southwest of the Rhone. This was a gift so how much this wine costs and where it was purchased is not known to me but the Domaine d' Aupilhac 2011 Montpeyroux is a really nice red for California folks who are used to fresh, bold fruit. I'll give it an 8 1/2 swigg rating.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pat Paulsen wines

If you ever get a chance to get one of the offerings from Pat Paulsen winery I highly recommend it. This 2009 Wirth Ranch cabernet is really fantastic and at $ 19.95 is still affordable for a weekend treat. The complex flavors rival what you would get from Napa wines costing twice as much. I also tried the Alexander valley merlot and was equally impressed. I'm excited to look for more varietals at the local market where I found this bottle. I'll give it 9 swiggs and hope that New Leaf markets does not run out of it soon.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Parade of holiday cheapies

 One thing I like during the holidays is having affordable wines that don't taste like crap.....I'm sure that everyone will be on board with that plan. This is the time of the year when I look for sub-$10.00 bottles that are good enough that visitors will be very happy to quaff......and I'll be happy because I can afford to have a lot of this type of wine around. #1 is the 2011 Boeger  cab from Trader Joes at $ 9.99. I reviewed the zin awhile ago and liked it-the cab is even better-7 swiggs.
Here's one that might be tougher to find at Trader Joes-this 2009 Powers Columbia Valley cab is a bit nicer than the Boeger and $8.99-a dollar less. I give it 7 1/2 swiggs and recommend  it highly.
This one should be in good supply at T.J's -the Vintjs 2011 Paso Robles Petit Sirah. I reviewed the Lodi Zin from this label and was impressed. The Petit Sirah is just as good and at $ 7.99 a real buy. 7 swiggs. All three of these wines are definitely above average in quality at the price range and distinctive enough to keep people coming back for more.