Thursday, January 28, 2010

Napa for less than $ 15.00

I had the good fortune of meeting a work related goal this week....a small goal , but one that was significant nonetheless so I broke out this bottle. Since the celebration wasn't a big one , this wine at $ 12.95 fit the bill......not a bargain weekday price but well under the $ 20.00 mark. This Rutherford Ranch '07 Napa Valley cabernet is a ready to drink light-bodied wine that isn't overpowering and/or tannic. While it may not be the blockbuster rich cab , it isn't in the price range of those wines and has appeal for its immediate swiggability , something you won't get out of a bigger wine. No need to decant this one, just pour it out and enjoy it. I'll give it 7 swiggs.......not the very best but pretty darn good for the price. Available at Cost Plus imports.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend special

I have no idea what this wine costs as it was a gift but I'll say that it was a really fine swigg, indeed. This Peju Napa Cabernet 2006 could probably have been cellared another few years and been better but I had to check it out. I'll say that the tannins are strong but there's a lot of very nice flavors that come through . I'll give it a solid 8 1/2 swiggs-a mighty big wine that would reward a more patient drinker than myself. This is a good one to hold onto for that special occasion. I guess my special occasion was a little early........

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rosenblum redemption !

When Kent Rosenblum sold his winery recently I was saddened at the possiblity that the wonderful quality of the zins would suffer. I bought one of my favorites , the Richard Suaret vinyard cuvee. The recent purchase pretty much confirmed my was a big step down in overall quality . I have avoided Rosenblum wines since but decided to try this one, the 2006 north coast zinfandel as it was $ 9.95 at Trader Joes. Expecting something sub par , I was amazed to find the old complexity and wonderful flavors of my old favorite were back. Here's my verdict : Maybe no all the Rosenblum wines are as good as they used to be but take a chance on this will not dissapoint. I give it 8 swiggs , fully good enough for a weekend dinner with folks that don't drive you crazy ! My faith in my old favorite has been restored.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

$ 4.99 Napa Cabernet ???

Yes, that is correct. With a glut of grapes , an economic downturn and a sluggish market , the possibilty of good fruit winding up in an affordable bottle is better than in the past. This wine is really something that one couldn't purchase for less than about $ 15.00 maybe 10 years ago but times have changed. The Spiral Wines 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet is actually very tasty and could easily be a weekend wine but at this low price it is affordable any day of the week for most folks. The Spiral Wines really has Napa Cabernet characteristics although it isn't a really rich , full bodied wine. I don't mind the light body as it works better with food and the 13.9 % alcohol isn't overpowering like many Napa wines. I give this one 7 1/2 swiggs....quite high for the price point .....this one is a real bargain. You'll find it at Trader Joes if it isn't all gone yet.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Old world red , 2003 La Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape

My wife and I have been to this town.....we were lucky to get a hotel room in this tiny but supremely famous source for the best grenache-based blends in the world.Whe we were there the dollar was strong so we got to really try many of the Chateauneuf du Papes that we can rarely afford now. La Gardine is one of our favorites and its earthy taste isn't like any of the new world versions of the same blend of grapes . It is impossible to compare the original with California versions, although the local editions can be outstanding. While not overly fruity and alcoholic like California wines , this wine posesses a wonderful array of flavors that speak of the lavendar and soil of the area....something you'll have a tough time picking out from say ,a zin with %16 alcohol. While the zin is a real treat by itself, La Gardine is really part of dinner. At $ 36.95 this wine will have to be a special occasion bottle. I give it 9.5 swiggs.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Near perfection from a legendary winery

I like 2004 for red wines from California and Washington state. I don't think I have had one that I was disappointed with so I was excited on new year's eve to open up this Ridge Geyserville 2004, a wine I consider to be one of the great wines of the world . the 2004 Geyserville is a blend of zin, carignane and petit sirah but it can also have mataro, grenache and other varietals in other vintages. I can't say that this is the best Geyserville I have had but it still is exceptional, even at $ 32.95. I can't quite give it a perfect score but it rates a 9.5 swiggs and should be on your short list of epic wines for special occasions. I always try to have two or three vintages in my cellar-the Geyserville can hold up to many years of aging, unlike a lot of Calif. zins.

Syrah from a local establishment

Ahlgren is a local small lot winery that produces some boldly flavored reds. This Syrah from the central coast is no exception and it is super good. There's a 'meatyness' about the flavor and body..I can't really describe it any other way. There's a big hit of raspberry on the palate.......I know, yeah...the dreaded wine speak-but taste this wine and tell me it dosen't taste like fresh raspberries . The price makes it almost a weekday special but it is good enough for a weekend dinner. I'll give it 8 swiggs. This one is the 2003 but I think the 2004 os all you'll be able to find right now and I have yet to try it. Knowing Ahlgren, it will probably be every bit as good. $ 8.99.