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The 2004 Arboleda Chardonnay is made in an elegant style. The fine citrus aromas carry notes of lemon peel and mandarin orange, with a decided note of flint. Barrel fermentation integrated the vanilla and toffee characters, these combine with the malolactic notes of butter to provide depth and fullness. Lively acidity keeps the mouthfeel clean and fresh. The flinty, mineral note carries through on the long, rich finish. 90 pts. Robert ParkerMy Notes:
This is one of those times when I think I'm beginning to get the hang of this. I'm moving beyond the snobbery of twist off caps and my first taste was: "Oh, this ia an old fashioned oakey Chardonnay." But it's more than the oak. I taste the butter more than the citrus and there is some vanilla and toffee if I really pay attention. It's a good wine and I look forward to drinking more of it.
The 2004 Solanera is a blend of 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Tintorera raised in French oak. More complex than its siblings, this purple-colored wine offers fragrant aromas of spice box, smoke, blueberry pie and blackberry liquer. Full bodied, the wine is plush and full-flavored with enough structure to support several years of additional bottle age. It should drink well for 8-10 years. 92 pts The Wine Advocate
Supple with ripe plum, beetroot and pretty spice notes. Lively acidity, a dash of white pepper and mineral accents carry through the aftertastee. Drink now through 2009. 1,400 cases imported. -DS 89 pts The Wine Spectator
Rich and creamy, this shows a film structure, with peach and mineral notes, yet not the range or depth of flavors of the best kabinetts. Drink now through 2010. 1,100 cases made
The 2005 Roble was aged for 6 months in French oak. Dark, ruby/purple-colored, it coats the glass with legs and emits expressive aromas of toast, spice box, blueberry and blackberry jams. This is followed by a packed and stacked wine with well integrated oak, tannin, and acidity. The finish is long and pure. Although it can be enjoyed now, this terrific value will certainly evolve for 1-2 years and drink well through 2012. Bodegas Vizcarra Ramos was founded in 1991 by "garage" winemaker/viticulturalist Juan Carlos Vizcarra. All of the wines at this estate are 100% Termpranillo. 89 pts by Robert ParkerMy Notes:
This wine does indeed have good legs. I'm not sure what toast or spice box tastes like but I didn't get the jam flavors. This does present as a good, smooth red and I enjoyed drinking it.
Riper and softer aromatically with better concentration but less cut, vibrancy and finishing definition. There is a pleasant sappiness here and this should drink well immediatelyMy Notes:
I knew this was going to happen. I drank this wine about a month ago and honestly don't remember how it tasted. Had it been really good or really bad I'd have remembered it. I can only assume it wasn't bad but wasn't good either.
Contra Costa County, $25, spent 14 months in new and used oak (20% new French) and opens with cedar, black raspberry, and bittersweet chocolate which repeat, with the cedar last, as flavors laced with fine tannin. The medium-broad, medium-long finish adds spice. Well structured, integrated, and balanced.My Notes:
This may have happened because I wished it so, but I think I did taste some of the bittersweet chocolate here. This is not the fruitiest Zin I've ever tasted but I liked its smooth finish and balance. I'm becoming a fan of Zins as I keep tasting reds.
Its dense ruby/purple color is follwed by lovely aromas of blackcurrants, Cherry smoke meats and minerals. Superb purity, full body, good acidity and moderate tannins.My Notes:
I liked the body of this wine and am (perhaps) learning to tasete the fruitiness. I couldn't identify the blackcurrants but I did like the taste. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to buy this again but it was pretty good.
A powerful bouquet with white floral notes, reminiscing of lilacs and hyacinth. This is complemented with a slight citronella hint and a beautiful long well-balanced finish. Can be enjoyed now, or in 2 or 3 years. Tasted January 2007My notes:
Perhaps I should have waited 2 or 3 years. I almost never drink whites from outside California and maybe this isn't a world I'm familiar with but I didn't tast any of what they said. By the way, exactly what is hyacinth? I only know her as the old woman on the PBS series Keeping Up Appearances. This was almost certainly my last time tasting this wine.
Texture defines this Anderson Valley Pinot Gris. A luxurious viscosity gives this amber-colored beauty legs in the glass and a long finish in the mouth. Floral and spicy aromatics combined with a hint of residual sugar (.53%) places this Pinot Gris squarely in the cool-climate Alsation camp.My Notes:
One of the things I like about a good Pinot Gris is the fruitiness. This does have a long finish; it's just a good and enjoyable wine. It doesn't leave everything else behind but I could very easily see myself buying this wine again.
Color: Deep nearly opaque ruby. Aromas: Black raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, with supporting notes of baking spice, smoky bacon, and herbs. On the palate, there is a lightly sweet-ish character, velvety texture, and nice acidity, but little in the way of tannins. There is plenty of dark fruit and spice flavor evolving through the dry finish. Alcohol: 15%My Notes:
Here's the part where I have to confess a prejudice: I have a hard time with wines with screw top caps. I understand that this is probably the wave of the future and that cork is getting more and more unsustainable. But every time I look at the screwcap I look to see if a straw is taped to the side. This was a good light wine; I liked the velvet texture and lack of tannins, but again I missed the whole fruit thing.
A classic golden straw-colored Chardonnay, showing a full body with the elegance of a crisp finish influenced by the coastal fog the Russian River Valley. This wine features a beautiful balance of tropical fruits, mineral notes, oak and bright lively acidity.My Notes:
This is a decent Chardonnay. I'm partial to oaky California chardonnays but I have to confess that there was nothing distinctive about this wine. It wasn't a bad wine but there was nothing to make it a particularly good wine.
Clean and fruity, with fresh red and black fruit character. Medium-bodied, with lots of fresh acidity, I might take this bottle and let it sit for a month or so as it just came into the country and could use some time together! This is just a real winner!My Notes:
Well I did let it sit for a month (or at least nearly a month). This isn't a bad wine and I did taste the fruitiness. I liked this wine but I don't think I'd pay a great deal of money for it. It currently sells for $25 to $30 and I'd feel better if it were closer to $15 to $20.
Deep ruby. Smoky aromas of blueberry and blackberry, with mineral and tobacco notes adding complexity. Plummy and round in the mouth, the fruit showing serious sweetness but also good focus and precision. Finishes juicy and fresh, with a lingering flavor of ripe blackberry.My Notes:
Again, I don't know if this says more about my dull palate or the wine itself, but I felt this wine was unsubstantial. This was a smooth wine and I did like the roundness but I just couldn't find the blueberry and blackberry. I don't think I'll buy this again.
Leesy aromas of peach, minerals, nuts, and vanilla oak; rather Meursault-like. Sweet and creamy in the mouth, with orange and nut flavors nicely framed by firm acidity. A bit youthfully aggressive but silky and light on its feet. Firm finish features good gripMy Notes:
I had tasted this wine before and was pleased to see it again. I shared this wine at a family cookout and it was well received. Not everyone likes this but I enjoyed the vanilla oak. I can easily see buying this again.
Pale gold and just slightly effervescent, it has a very aromatic nose (as one expects from Albariño) filled with apples, limeaid, fennel and carnations. Complex flavors of sweet white cherries and crunchy applemeat are the first things you taste, then on the midpalate, all of a sudden, a blast of lime zest, and spice blend to make your mouth water. This wine cries out for fresh just-caught seafood simply prepared and preferably served to good friends.My notes:
The tasting notes make it sound like an explosive fruit salad. Honestly I tasted the fruitiness but found this wine a little thin on the tongue. It's certainly not overpowering but I was looking for more flavor.
L'Hiver is Mendocino syrah that makes an excellent food wine. The electric blood color is eye catching for starters. Tart cherry flavors and a reduced cranberry-ness fall short of bringing a pucker and is well balanced. Fairly strong in the mouth but not all hefty. Very nice simple syrah.My notes:
As I look at the tasting notes, it's almost as if the review was tepid. I have to admit that I found this wine a little bland. I wasn't able to taste any of fruitiness; maybe this says more about me, but I doubt I'll buy it again.
Superopulent , with delicious layers of fig, apricot, citrus, honey and smoky oak, with a toasty marshmallow flavor folding in on the finish. Never loses its intensity, finishing with a full-throttle aftertaste.My notes:
I liked this wine, as did my father-in-law. It is perhaps one of the oakiest wines I've tasted and Nancy didn't get past one quick taste. It's good and reminds me of Clos du Bois or William Hill Chardonnays. It's not outstanding and I won't go far out of my way to get it, but it's a good bottle.
Chocolate, plum and toasted oak aromas spill out of this dense, ruby-hued wine. Flavors of black cherry, mushroom and a hint of smoky cedar are nicely integrated into the rich palate.My notes:
I'm afraid my palate isn't nearly as sophisticated as this and I never taste all the things they say I should taste. That said I found this wine fruitier and smoother than I expected. I'm learning to appreciate red wines and my tastes normally go toward Merlots and Zinfandels but this is an excellent Cab. This is a wine I will buy again.
Here I have listed wines that I've enjoyed but were not sent to me by the wine club:
In the summer of 2006 Nancy and I found a wine store hear Petco Park called Fifty Seven Degrees. They provide storage for your wine collection (we're unlikely to use that service). They are also a wine bar and we tasted some great wines there. I had a Zinfandel from Orchid Hill Wines and Nancy had a Australian Chardonnay from Palandri Vineyards. I liked the Zin because it was one of the few times I could actually taste what they were talking about and I liked the frutiness. Nancy liked the chardonnay because (unlike most American chards) this wasn't aged in oak and didn't taste (to her) like a picnic table. We've become big fans of Fifty Seven Degrees but only wish it were closer. It's near the ballpark but we're normally on a tight schedule when we're down there.