Sunday, June 7, 2020

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava


Vilarnau is located near the city of Barcelona. They've been making Cava since 1982 but their current vineyards were acquired in 1990. On the nose their Brut Reserva Cava has a pleasant yeasty breadiness with green apples, lemon, vanilla and flowers. It's zippy on the palate with a sharp acidity and flavors of apples, lemon, and yellow pears. Then it finishes with an increase in floralness and a slight touch of sugar. It's very refreshing and lip smackingly yummy, but you're not going to sit and savor it with every sip. This was made for some fun downing of thirst quenching and affordable bubbly.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $15
Rating: 3/5 = Satisfying (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was provided free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Wine Review: Beronia Rioja Reserva 2015


Beronia is a frequent guest on the blog and here they're back for more! Their 2015 Rioja Reserva is 95% Tempranillo, 4% Graciano, and 1% Mazuelo. It's dark cherry in color, with aromas of black cherries, blackberries, cocoa powder, sweet tobacco, and vanilla extract. Like the 2013, I spent a lot of time just enjoying the nose. It's wonderful! On the palate it's medium bodied with perky tart acidity and a chalky mouthfeel from the thickly chalky and sweet tannin. There's flavors of cranberries, plum, cocoa powder, vanilla, and mint. Then it finishes with that tart acidity and flavors of cranberries, cocoa, and mint. This is a delicious fruit forward wine that still has a rustic aspect, and for $20 it's an excellent Rioja Reserva.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was provided free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Eden Vermont Heirloom Blend Ice Cider


It may not seem to everybody like a good time of year to pop open a dessert wine style cider, but I gotta tell ya it's totally appropriate year round. Especially when you need something to sip on while you're hanging out on the patio at night reading and listening to music. This bottle was a gift from a friend and colleague. Thanks, Chelsey! 

The Eden Heirloom Blend Ice Cider is made from 15 different heirloom apple varieties. Just like ice wine does with its grapes, the apples have been concentrated well into the winter months. However, the fruit is picked when the apples are ripe, put into cold storage until winter, and then put back outside for another six to eight weeks. The result, when pressed and fermented, is a sweet dessert wine style cider. It took 8 pounds of apples to make this one 375ml bottle.

Oh man, this is just gorgeous. Not just that beautiful caramel color, but everything about it. I mean, I can't get too much into detail on the aroma and flavor other than "apple cider and caramel" because that stuff is pretty straight forward, but it's all about the rest of the experience. The weighty body, the silky smooth mouthfeel, the way the sweetness plays with the acidity. It's so good! And, in my opinion, an excellent choice for slow summer sipping.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $25
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was a gift from a friend that I decided to also use for this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Morgan G17 Syrah 2018

Morgan Syrah 2018

It's wine number 3 of 3 in this round of Morgan reviews, and we're ending it with the 2018 G17 Syrah. This wine is 94% Syrah, 3% Grenache, and 3% Tempranillo. Enough of it is from California's Santa Lucia Highands to be legally labeled as such, it was fermented in open top tanks, and it saw 10 months in French oak (20% new). The ABV is 14.5%.

The color of the wine is garnet. The nose is just loaded with fine black table pepper enough to make you sneeze, followed by blackberries, strawberry candy, lavender, graphite, tar, and ethanol fumes. Ooooof! That nose is serious business! On the palate it's medium to full bodied with a rich mouthfeel, balanced acidity, and bitter, bitter tannin. The flavors are lead by those bitter tannins with cedar, dark chocolate, and tar. The blackberries are still there, as well as a ton of fine black table pepper, with the addition of vanilla and licorice. And they all continue on forever on the finish with burning ethanol heat.

Who is in the mood to barbecue or grill some meat? I ask because I've got the right wine for you right here. This is a Syrah that comes with the requirement that you light up that goddamn grill.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $25
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Morgan Tempranillo 2018


It's wine number 2 or 3 on this run of Morgan reviews, and this time it's their 2018 Tempranillo out of the Riverbank vineyard in Arroyo Seco. Whole berries were fermented in small open-top tanks while being gently punched down, and then it saw 11 months in 100% French oak; 10% new. It has an ABV of 13.8%.

The color of the wine is a dark garnet. On the nose here's aromas of raspberries, blackberries, aquarium gravel, crushed red pepper, and brambles. On the palate it's medium bodied with a bit of a sharp mouthfeel that smooths out on the finish, bright acidity, and light but sweet tannin. The aromas are repeated in the flavor, keeping it fruit forward with some good spice, with the addition of a scoop of cocoa powder. The finish is just wonderful, with the fruit and cocoa going on for days, and that acidity making your mouth salivate.

Morgan, again, killin' it. This is an awesome Cali Tempranillo for the price.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $24
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Morgan Cotes du Crow's 2018


I've got three wines by Morgan Winery to review and I'm starting off with what they call "Cotes du Crow's", which is their Rhone-style blend. Normally it's just Grenache and Syrah, but this year they threw in a bit of Tempranillo to spice things up a bit. So it's 66% Grenahce, 31% Syrah, and 3% Tempranillo. It spent 10 months in 100% French oak; 7% new. 

It's ruby red in color with aromas of raspberries, blackberries, anise, and sweet spices. On the palate it's medium bodied with a soft tannin and a tart acidity. There's flavors of raspberries, plum, vanilla, and oak. It's boozy on the finish, and the plum goes on forever. This is just an outstanding Rhone-style wine from Cali at $20, and a no-brainer to pick up when you spot it at the wine shop.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Talley Vineyards Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2018 & Rincon Chardonnay 2018


Talley Vineyards is having a big celebration of Chardonnay, so here's reviews 3 and 4 of the Chardonnays that I have from them!

Talley Estate Bottled Chardonnay is their flagship wine, and apparently it was the first Chardonnay made in Arroyo Grande Valley after the region became an AVA in 1986. It was sustainably farmed I don't have any more information other than that, such as how long it was aged in oak or whatever. It's definitely worth the price of $34, though. When I first opened it up it was overchilled and smelled a bit oxidized, but as the wine warmed up that was remedied. On the nose it's got a cloud of minerality over aromas of peach, pineapple, banana and ginger. On the palate it's medium to full bodied with a bright acidity that plays nice with its round mouthfeel. There's flavors of pineapple, apple, melon, and ginger. Then it finishes with a thick coating of pineapple and banana. Very nice!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $34
Rating: 3.5/5 = Satisfying / Recommended (what does that mean?)


The Rincon Vineyard in Arroyo Grande Valley was planted in 1983 by Don Talley. Not only is it the location of the Talley Vineyards tasting room, but also what the family calls their "home vineyard". Aaaaaan hooooo boy, it's godamn delicious! There's aromas of bruised apple, lemon meringue pie,  and buttered cornbread. *SQUEEL*! It's full bodied on the palate with a rich, weighty mouthfeel and moderate acidity. For flavors, minerality comes out of nowhere to all of a sudden be everywhere. There's pineapple, pear juice, orange peel, and vanilla. Then this Chardonnay finishes off STRONG with impressively powerful and long lasting tropical fruit. I freakin' loved this stuff. $50? MORE THAN WORTH IT.

Talley is one hell of a Chardonnay producer. What a cool experience this was! :)

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $50
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Both bottles used were supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Talley Vineyards Rosemary's Chardonnay 2018 & Oliver's Chardonnay 2018

Talley Vineyards Rosemary's Chardonnay 2018 & Oliver's Chardonnay 2018

Talley Vineyards is having a big celebration of Chardonnay, and I've got FOUR CHARDONNAYS made by them here to taste. So today I'm reviewing two of them, and in a few days I'll review the other two. Three of them are single vineyard Chards ranging from $50 to $60, and one of them is an Estate Chard for $34. I should have done a little research before I took pictures and opened the wine for today's review, so I could start with the $34 one, but it's too late for that now. Oh well! C'est la vie!

Rosemary's Vineyard surrounds Rosemary Talley's home in the Arroyo Grande Valley. It's the coolest of the Talley vineyards and has chalky shale soil that produces Chardonnay with refreshing acidity. That acidity is pretty prominent on the 2018 vintage, but I also got a lot of chalky minerality and salinity all over this wine. On the palate it's a lot lighter and crisper than I was expecting. There's aromas and flavors of green apple, white peach, lemon, nuts, and ice melt. It's super delicious, and even though I peronally like the next wine more mono e mono, this one is clearly the more of a versatile food wine.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $60
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)


PICTURED: A BIG DORK
This is the one that I was the most excited about and, honestly, it's because of the name. My dog's name is Oliver (we call him Ollie) and he's named after DC Comics' Green Arrow, AKA Oliver Queen (because we're a bunch of nerds here). So I got excited seeing a wine with my buddy's name on it. He's a good boy. An enormous goofy blockhead, but still a good boy.

Oliver's Vineyard is located in Edna Valley, and no it's not named after Green Arrow. It's named after Oliver Talley; the founder of Talley Vineyards. The 2018 Oliver's Chardonnay has a bigger body than Rosemary's, although I still wouldn't call it full bodied on the Chardonnay scale, but is also more buttery and oaky, while I wouldn't say it's super buttery or oaky. It's all about the tropical fruits like pineapple, banana, and mango. And of course, vanilla and caramel. It's not like you're sucking on a Werther's or like you're going to get splinters on your tongue, but it's just enough of that kind of profile without going all-in and making the ABC people run away screaming in absolute horror. Dude, this is the kind of Cali Chardonnay that sends dopamine straight to my brain. Oak and butter while still being elegant and not over extracted. Perfection for $50.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $50
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

Both bottles used were supplied free of charge
 for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Enate Somontano Tempranillo 2018


Later in the summer I'll be reviewing some more wines by Enate but for now, while I wait for those to arrive, I've got their 2018 Tempranillo out of Somontano. Somontano is in the Aragon region of Spain, way up in northeast of the country. This Tempranillo does have a splash or two of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and that's all I really know about. You can definitely tell that it spent some time in oak but I'm not sure how much time.

Enate suggests that you serve this Tempranillo chilled at 55°F to bring out its youthful fruits, so that's just what I did. And man, they are right. The nose has some vanilla and tea leaves, but it's bursting with fruit aromas of black cherries, plum, and strawberry flavored hard candy. It's medium bodied on the palate with a very smooth mouthfeel and moderate acidity. There's flavors of juicy black cherries, plums, cola, vanilla, and a little tiny bit of licorice. Then it finishes with a thick coating of plums, vanilla, and chalky tannin.

This is a tasty bottle of Tempranillo for $10! Juicy and fruit forward but still with some of that rusticness in the background that you want from the varietal. And that slight chill is going to make it a very fun and inexpensive summer red.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $10
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Fetzer Shaly Loam Gewürztraminer 2018


Fetzer is all about sustainable farming, and their 2018 Gewürztraminer out of Monterey is made with just a little bit of Muscat added to it. Why's it called "Shaly Loam"? Well, that's the soil type that the vines are planted on. On the nose it's got aromas of lychee, oranges, honeysuckle, ginger, and pastry glaze. It's full bodied with a nicely rounded mouthfeel and a crisp, bright acidity, and a slight touch of sweetness. All of those flavors return back as flavors, but it gets green apple-y on the finish while lychee lingers long.

Fetzer's Gewürz is always solid quality year after year for the $11 price. It's fun, lip-smacking, and it won't ever let you down! And there's a reason why it's so sought after during Thanksgiving time because it goes perfectly with your traditional turkey dinner. But this and Thai food? What a good pairing that is. Grab a bottle and pick up some Thai! 

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $11
Rating: 3.5/5 = Satisfying / Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.
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