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.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Arsonist Red Blend 2017


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Dracarys! The Arsonist is their label for wines a price point or two higher than their flagship Matchbook label, and their 2017 Red Blend is 53% Petit Verdot from Dunnigan Hils, 24% Malbec from Dunnigan Hills, and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon from Chalk Hill.  It was blended before being aged in French, American, and European/American hybrid oak barrels for 24 months, 30% of which are new. The final ABV is 13.9%.

As always the color is a beautiful garnet. On the nose there's aromas of black cherries, blackberries, orange blossoms, anise, and... yes... as I say every vintage: root beer. Why is that? Am I just crazy? The palate has a much brighter fruit to it this year though, with flavors of red cherries, cranberries, mocha, and root beer, on a full body with a rich mouthfeel and grippy tannin. It finishes with cranberries, mocha, and a spike in mouthwatering acidity.

This is one of those wines that everybody loves once they've tried it, and 2017 is probably the best vintage that I've had of it. Dude, it's AWESOME. A fruit forward stress relief wine by itself, but also making me really want a Porterhouse right now. Arsonist finishes Matchbook Month with two Highly Recommended ratings!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 5/5 = 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, April 26, 2020

The Arsonist Chardonnay 2018

The Arsonist Chardonnay 2018

April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

The Arsonist is their label for wines a price point or two higher than their flagship Matchbook label. Their 2018 Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay from the Matchbook Vineyard in Dunnigan Hills, California. It was barrel fermented and frequently stirred, and 100% when through malolactic fermentation. 10% of the best lots from the Chardonnay in the vineyard were aged an additional five months longer in oak, and only half of those were selected to become the final blend for the 2018 Arsonist Chardonnay.

Year after year this is one of my favorite Chardonnays. There's aromas of pears, melon, buttered grilled corn muffin, and vanilla ice cream topped with butterscotch. On the palate it's full bodied with a rich and smooth mouthfeel, and an acidity that pops on the finish. There's flavors of melon, canned pears, banana, and vanilla. Then it finishes looooooong with melon and banana. The Arsonist does it again. This is an incredible Chardonnay for the price!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 5/5 = 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.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Mossback Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Mossback is the Sonoma label for Matchbook, and their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon from Chalk Hil, 15% Merlot from Chalk Hill, and 9% Petit Verdot from Chalk Hill. 6% of the wine was fermented in French oak barrels and aged in those same barrels, while the larger tank fermented portion would be aged for 22 months in French, hyrbrid, and American oak. The final ABV is 13.9%.

On the nose there's aromas of cassis, blackberries, black tea, dried tobacco, and mint. On the palate it's medium bodied with little spike of acidity perfect for food. The Merlot and Petite Verdot provide lushness and smoothness on the mouthfeel, making this a softer / sweeter tannined, more mellow and easy drinking Cabernet. There's flavors of cassis, pomegranate, dark chocolate, oak, and a little bit of licorice. This is a very enjoyable Cabernet for the $25 that it will cost you. And it’s pairing pretty darn good with these Rice Crispy Treats.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $25
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.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mossback Chalk Hill Merlot 2017

Mossback Chalk Hill Merlot 2017

April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Mossback is the Sonoma label for Matchbook, and their 2017 Merlot is 85% Merlot from Chalk Hill and 15% Petit Verdot from Dunnigan Hills. It was aged for 22 months in in American oak, 27% new, and it has an ABV of 13.9%. The nose is just amazing with anise, cherries, cranberries, dark chocolate, olives, and a big ol' chunk of dirt. On the palate it's medium bodied with a rich mouthfeel, a balanced acidity, and soft chalky tannin. All of those aromas return as flavors, and it finishes with long lasting cranberries and dark chocolate.

You know I'm a big fan of Merlot and this one is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! As Matchbook says themselves, it combines Old-World earthiness with New-World fruit, and I gotta say it's just enjoyable as all hell and a fantastic Merlot for the price.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $25
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, April 17, 2020

Colomé Auténtico Malbec 2018 for Malbec World Day


It's #MalbecWorldDay and tonight I'm enjoying this killer Auténtico Malbec 2018 from Colomé. It's a deeply pigmented violet purple in color with aromas of medicinal cherries, cranberry juice, figs, sweet tobacco, a little bit of licorice, and I swear a little bit of cumin or another spice that I can't quite place. It's medium bodied with moderate acidity, and the chalky tannin give its mouthfeel a bit of a harshness (not in a bad way, but in a rustic way). There's flavors of black cherries, raspberries, espresso, vanilla, and concrete. And it finishes with black cherries, espresso, and those chalky tannins. This is an awesome, awesome, Malbec! Cheers everybody, and happy Malbec World Day!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Mossback Russian River Chardonnay 2018


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Mossback is the Sonoma label for Matchbook, and this Chardonnay is 92% from the Aquarius Vineyard (Russian River Valley) and 8% from the Matchbook Estate Vineyard (Dunnigan Hills). Despite just a small amount of the wine seeing oak aging, to me vanilla is the most prominent feature in the aroma and flavor. There's also pineapple, peach, lime, and honey. It's got a wonderfully rounded palate and is an overall balanced wine, and then there's the addition of butterscotch on the finish that ties it all together to be a solid, serviceable, and reliable Chardonnay for the price.

This is exactly what you want from an $18 Chardonnay without swinging too far to the left or too far to the right in the political spectrum of the Chardonnay oak & butter war. It's momma bear's "just right".

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $18
Rating: 3/5 = Satisfying (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, April 12, 2020

Chasing Venus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Although they're located in California's Dunnigan Hills, Chasing Venus is their New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc project out of the McLean vineyard in Marlborough. As much as I love Matchbook overall as a winery, I have always been honest about the ones that I just didn't dig (as I am with every wine). My reviews on previous vintages of this? Not all that good. The 2018 got a 2 out of 5. My review on this vintage? Much, much better. Drastically better.

Yes, it's clearly a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but it isn't the "POW, NEW ZEALAND PUNCH TO FRIGGIN' FACE!" that I've grown weary of. The acidity isn't out of control and it's got this lovely silky mouthfeel that coats your teeth and tongue on the finish. I get more passion fruit than anything on the nose and palate, but there's also lime, gooseberry, and freshly cut chives. And I don't feel like my mouth was assaulted after I swallow. I feel completely happy and like I want more!

What a huge turnaround this wine took. It's not pungent and intrusive. It's in harmony with all of its components and a real joy to drink. Chase down some of this 2019 Chasing Venus!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $16
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.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Matchbook Red Gravel Cabernet Sauvignon 2018


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! To see all of my reviews by this winery for the last five years, check out my Matchbook label. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec, this wine was aged in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels for 12 months. The color of the wine is ruby red. Like the 2016 vintage, on the nose there's aromas of tobacco, eucalyptus, mocha, black cherries, and a pinch of sea salt (maybe more like ice melt?). Such a good nose. On the palate it's medium bodied with a rich mouthfeel, dusty tannin, and a brighter acidity than I remember from other vintages. There's flavors of black cherries, cassis, black tea, anise, and vanilla. Then it finishes with black cherries, anise, pencil shavings, and astringency from that dusty tannin.

This Cabernet has been a favorite suggestion of mine for $15 for years. As mid-range California Cabernet seems to be trending more and more to being lush juice bombs, this is always just a solid Cabernet for the price with the classic Cabernet profile.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $15
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.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2018


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! This is the second time Matchbook has had their own month on this blog, but I've done A LOT of reviews of their wines in the past six years. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Their Old Head Chardonnay has become one of, I'd say, my top three suggestions for a Chard in the $15 price range. I've been reviewing every vintage since forever and I've loved it every time. The 2018 vintage is made from 100% estate grown Chardonnay using Clone 4, Clone 17, Dijon Clones 95, 76, 124, and Clone 809. 75% of it was barrel fermented while 25% was fermented in stainless steel. 78% saw aging in 2 to 5 year old French and American oak, 22% of that new. The final ABV is 13.9%.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Tinto Rey Rosé 2019, April Wine Pick


April is Matchbook Wine Company Month, with reviews focusing on their wine all month! This is the second time Matchbook has had their own month on this blog, but I've done A LOT of reviews of their wines in the past six years. To learn about their history, read my article "A Brief History of Matchbook Wine Company".

Tinto Rey is one of the labels that Matchbook produces, and their Rosé is my wine pick of the month!  It's April! It's officially Rosé season! This wine is made from 50% Tempranillo, 35% Tannat, and 15% Verdejo. It was fermemted in stainless steel hand has an ABV of 12.8%. For the third vintage in a row, the color is  Crayola peach. There's aromas of white peaches, limes, strawberries, and potpourri. On the palate it's medium bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel and bright but not overpowing acidity. There's a bit of saltiness among flavors of cherries, peaches, limes, and strawberry. Then it finishes nice and juicy, with the acidity brightening the fruit. Yum yum! This is a very good Rosé for the price!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $19
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.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

McIntyre Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2018

McIntyre Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2018

Holy Moly, this is my kind of Chardonnay! The 2018 McIntyre Chardonnay is out of Santa Lucia Highlands, which is in Monterey, which is in the Central Coast of California. The strongest aromas on the nose are ginger and banana and vanilla, followed by pineapple, cooked apple, and buttered biscuit. Uuuuuungh!!! When was the last time that I expressed my love for Chardonnay to you all? It's been too long. So, DAMN I LOVE CHARDONNAY! On the palate it's full bodied with a buttery mouthfeel and moderate acidity. There's flavors of pear juice, banana, vanilla, baking spices, and ginger. It finishes smooth and lush and eloquent, without a bit of tartness from the acidity and a bit of ginger heat. And, call me crazy, I even get a little white chocolate on the finish.

For $28 this is one hell of a Chard. It gives you everything that you expect in an oaked Chardonnay while not getting carried away with malo or oak, while both are still present. This should be a consistent case buy for Chardonnay fans who can drop the bucks, and I don't think I've ever said that about any other wine on this blog. I loved this wine. It's got solid Chardonnay expression with a great price for its excellent quality. 

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $28
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.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ferllen Gran Reserva Malbec 2014


The color of the 2014 Ferllen Gran Reserva from Mendoza, Argentina is a dark cherry red. The nose is just amazing! There's aromas of plums, cranberries, roses, vanilla, dark chocolate, sea salt, and sweet tobacco. This is another one of those wines that you could smell all night without drinking and be happy. On the palate it's medium bodied with a silky smooth mouthfeel and moderate tannin. There's flavors of plums, cranberries, table grapes, dark chocolate, black table pepper, and mustard seed. Then it finishes with plums and leather and tobacco.

Oh hell yeah! From my first sniff to my last sip I loved every aspect of this wine. Seriously, I fell in love. It's just sooooo gooooood! I expected it to be double the price that it is when I took a look at what it would cost your wallet, and for $30 this is A GODDAMN STEAL. Dude... amazing.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $30
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

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

Monday, March 23, 2020

Joey Casco is on The Sommeliers Choice Awards "Top Wine Influencers In 2020 You Need to Pay Attention To"

Once again I've been included in the Sommeliers Choice Awards "Top Wine Influencers You Need to Pay Attention To". WOOHOO!!! :)

As you've seen, I've only been posting a few times a week this year instead of almost every day like last year. My reviews are shorter and more to the point, and I've been putting far less effort in obtaining website traffic. But it's so nice to know that TheWineStalker hasn't lost relevance, and in the eyes of the SCA still deserves to be followed and paid attention to.

Thanks, guys! I am honored to be recognized among all these other great influencers! I'm mentioned on the same list as Jancis Robinson... AGAIN. Wow!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ferllen Reserve Malbec 2017


The 2017 Reserve Malbec from Ferllen is from a Single Vineyard located in Los Chacayes, Uco Valley, Mendoza. Fermentation took place with 100% indigenous yeasts, then 100% of it spends 18 months in used French barrels. The color of the wine is a beautiful cherry red. There's granite minerality over aromas of blackberries, plums, vanilla, a bit of sour milk (in not a bad way), and sweet spices. On the palate it's got a smooth mouthfeel with low moderate acidity and sweet but tightly grained tannin. There's flavors of blackberries, plums, dark chocolate, green peppers, and vanilla. Then it finishes hot with ethanol heat and tannin, with flavors of blackberries and vanilla.

This is darn good Malbec for the price! And it paired excellently well with Filet Mignon!

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $19
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, March 19, 2020

Dominio Fournier Reserva Ribera del Duero 2014

Dominio Fournier Reserva Ribero del Duero 2014

Ah yes! Ribera del Duero, Spain! One of my favorite red wine regions in the whole world! And I've got two wine from there by Dominio Fournier lined up! First it was their 2016 Crianza and then now I'm on to their 2014 Reserva.

The 2014 Reserva is also from the Finca El Pinar vineyard like the 2016 Crianza, which sits on the fluvial soil of the Duero River. Also like the 2016 Crianza, t's 100% Tinta del Pais, which you may know better as Tempranillo. Pre-fermentation maceration was carried out cold, with dry ice, so as to extract high levels of color and sweet tannins prior to alcoholic fermentation. That alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks, and it spent 25 days on skin contact before being pressed. After that, it went through malolactic fermentation and saw 18 months in French oak barrels.

The color of the wine is a cherry red. On the nose there's wonderful earth, leather, chocolate and vanilla with dark fruit aromas like blackberries and black cherries. On the palate it's medium bodied with low acidity, and a LOT of minerality from tight tannin that gives it a chalky mouthfeel. All of the aromas return as flavors, and then it finishes tight and chalky with blackberries and vanilla.

Even at six years old this wine could use some more aging in the bottle to mellow the tannin out, but even if you open it right now it's worth the $50 you'll spend. It's fantastic, and I could a big ol' ribeye right about now to go with it.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $50
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.

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