Friday, February 29, 2008

2006 Isenhower Cellars Snapdragon 90 points

Roussanne, Horse Heaven Hills, $19

Another great white blend from Isenhower cellars, in 2006 the Roussanne component takes over, relegating the Viognier to 25 percent. Another racy tasty white wine, white pepper, with specks of orange rind and fresh green herb. It’s light for Roussanne, but very refreshing.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2004 Big Ass Zinfandel 92 points

Zinfandel, Sonoma County, $15

Another big powerful red with an unusual name and lable. This zinfandel Is dry, grippy in dusty tannins and complex, with earthin flavors of freshly ground coffee, dried cherries, tobacco, blackberries and black pepper. Not to sweet or hot as so many Zins are, The alcohol is a modest 13.9%. The wine is well integrated, with lots of finesse, and is a best buy in Sonoma Zin.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2004 Hugel Cuvée les Amours 91 points

Pinot Blanc, Alsace, $15

This company makes alot of high end wines and i't doesn't suprise me there entry-level is so good. This medium-bodied opens with aromas of flint and citrus, as it opens hints of green apples, lemon zest and honeysuckle come out. The finish is big and long for a great bottle wine and a best buy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2006 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut 91 points

Pinot Noir, Marlborough, $29

A blend of Dijon clones 667 and 777, with it's intense aromas of cherries, root beer, cola and chocolate. The texture has a silky mouthfeel, while the flavors take on an intriguing grassie edge that adds to the dimension of the ripe fruit and ample oak. Finishes complex, herbal and lingering; drink now–2012.

Monday, February 25, 2008

2006 Hall 91 points

Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, $20

A beautiful and alluring Sauvignon Blanc, with lots of acid and a intence mouthfeel. This wine bursts out of the glass with hints of grapefruit, lime and guava, add a little lemon zest on the finish for a classy bottle of wine.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2006 Wattle Creek 91 points

Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County, $17

Fruit, fruit and more fruit burst out of the glass and add to that, a little of this wine was barrel fermented in new oak. The majority was stainless-steel fermented. But that little bit of oak adds a subtle hint of richness to the brilliant fruit, which is a blast of tart lime and Meyer lemons. Totally dry, with relatively low alcohol of only 13.3%, another great Sauvignon Blanc.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Rioja Castillo Labastida Reserva 2001 ($19)

2001 was a great vintage for rioja and this wine does not dissapoint. This balanced red offers crisp cherry, cola, vanilla, tobacco and fresh herb flavors, supported by well-integrated tannins that give way to a spicy, floral finish. Drink now through 2011. 15,000 cases made

Friday, February 22, 2008

2005 Cayalla RTW 90 points

Red Blend, Columbia Valley (WA), $13

Red blends are hot this year! Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from Washington and Oregon vineyards are mixed into Cayalla, a tart, supple, somewhat chalky red wine. It’s medium bodied and lush, balanced and clean, with flavors are of wild strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb. Easy drinking wine and a great value at 13 bucks

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2006 Valley of the Moon 89 points

Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $16

I like a full bodied Chardonnay with lots of oak and this Valley of the Moon Chard did it! This wine shows how the art of blending can produce a really nice Chardonnay at a fair price. It shows a cool-climate acidity and is quite dry, with a rich under-tone of oak that gives way to a spicey vanilla-cream with hints of peach and pineapple fruit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2002 Taltarni Shiraz 91 points

Shiraz, Pyrenees, $20

Intense Blackberry and vanilla flavors take on a cinnamon character, on the palate, it’s all bouncy fruit and a lush mid-palate. Finishes with oakie vanilla notes. Great bottle of wine for 20 bucks, drink now thru 2010

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle 92 points

Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (WA), $26

Bold and concentrated from one of Washington’s oldest vineyards. Cold Creek gets really hot, and its grapes are scattered throughout many of the Ste. Michelle brands, often providing the core fruit. Here is the deal, this wine takes it's sweet time to open up, but has structure and concentration if you take the time to let it blossom. Dense blackcherry and cassis fruit is tightly wound with hints of tobacco and cedar while balancing acids. The use of new oak is restrained, but sufficient, put this one in the cellar for 5 years to mellow out a bit.

Monday, February 18, 2008

2006 Bonterra 91 points

Viognier, Lake County-Mendocino County, $18

Crisp and clean with key lime pie notes that are refreshing and lively, add papaya, mango and kiwi to the palate. Citrus, herb and floral notes jump out of the glass, with a long, lingering finish. Drink now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2007 Kim Crawford 93 points

Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand ($15)

Year after year one of my top picks, this New Zealand winery’s Sauvignon Blanc hits all the right notes, featuring lush stone-fruit flavors accented by ripe notes of passion fruit, lime, fresh herbs and capsicum. Lots of acidity for a zingy, crisp finish. Drink now and over the next six months.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2005 Stonier Chardonnay 90 points

Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula, $20

Stonier’s Chardonnay is a oak bomb, although it handles it very well and you can't beat that nutty subtle under-tone. Movie popcorn scents waft from the glass, but there’s also plenty of peach and tangerine fruit to support the oak. Long and citrusy on the finish, picking up hints of butter. This is good now, but may be slightly better next year.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dios Baco NV Oloroso 92 points

Sherry, Jerez, $18

This wine seems sweet st first taste, with a little time it will open up. Soon the nose will knit together to show mocha and that lightly oxidized elegance that is Oloroso. After that there’s a palate of coffee, caramel, brown sugar, and syrup and a tight, grabby palate that’s like your tongue is attached to a magnet. Give this one plenty of air for best results.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2005 Poet's Leap 94 points

Riesling, Columbia Valley (WA), $20

The first wine to be released under the Long Shadows portfolio, and this 2005 is one of its best!. Old-vine Riesling from Dionysus and Weinbau form the core of the wine, which is super clean, rich and generous. The fruits burst out like a county fair in summer—melon, stone fruits, citrus, honey—and the mix of residual sugar and racy acids is thrillingly on target.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2005 Kilikanoon Killerman's Run 92 points

Shiraz-Grenache, South Australia, $20

Rich and powerful on the palate, yet still wonderfully soft and enveloping, offering a playfull dance on the mouthful of black cherry fruit, yet not without ample complexity. The ripe cherry core is surrounded by flashes of vanilla, hints of peppery spice and cola, and finishes with a touch of licorice. Drink now–2012.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2006 Domaine de Nizas Rose 91 points

Rosé Blend, Coteaux du Languedoc, $16

Domaine de Nizas goes for a full-bodied style of rosé, but manages to pull it off because the fruit is so vibrant and lively. With a brilliant violet tint with notes of wild strawberries dominate, with acidity, a touch of caramel and minerality.
This cuvée is a refreshingly crisp wine that embodies the Domaine's style of finesse, elegance and complexity.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Malbec Luján de Cuyo Reserva $18

Big, bold and powerful , a great bottle wine that will only get better with age. Intence layers of black fig, coffee, bittersweet cocoa and dark licorice piled on top of hefty cedar-tinged tannins. A bit overpowering in style, but cellaring should soften its edges enough. Drink now through 2010. 57,000 cases made.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

2005 Mawson's Hill Block 3 91 points

Cabernet Sauvignon, Wrattonbully, $15

From the Yalumba group, this is an excellent value, delivering dark, concentrated aromas and flavors of cassis and chocolate, leavened with just a touch of mint. Finishes long, with silky tannins that should allow it to age through 2012

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2005 Robert Mondavi 96 points

To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Fumé Blanc, Oakville, $35

One of the best Sauvignon Blancs in California, the ’05 is a amazing. An elegant wine of both power and finesse that reflects the terroir of the famed To Kalon Vineyard. It brings new levels of richness and complexity to a variety that can be simple even in the best of hands. With 15% Sémillon, the wine explodes with zesty tangerine, lemon tart, coconut pie and smoky oak flavors, with an edge of wintergreen. The finish is absolutely dry. A triumph.

Friday, February 8, 2008

2005 Calina Alcance 91 points

Carmenère, Maule Valley, $15

This is a fabulous wine; this Carmenère opens with scents of dark fruit, dill sprigs and chocolate. The palate expands with olive, plum, blackberry and coffee flavors, and as a whole it works with a certain ease that announces i'm a best buy.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

2005 Mad Dogs & Englishmen 88 points

Shiraz, Cab and Monastrell; Red Blend, Jumilla, $10

This odd named, three-grape blend is a nice wine that’s sinewy and leathery; overall it ranks as a natural and controlled reflection of Jumilla. The nose is forward and fiery, while the palate has berry-driven ripeness with raspberry, loganberry and plenty of oak. Better with food; the tannins are kind of scratchy with nothing to absorb them, drink now thru 2009

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2005 Moon Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 88 points

A little sweet, this wine shows refreshing, ripe citrus, melon, kiwi and floral flavors that are offset by crisp, coastal-cool acidity, thanks to arresting malolactic fermentation. A touch of oak adds barrel complexities, drink now through 2008.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2005 Jim Barry The Cover Drive 91 points

Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia, $19

Eveything this guy make's has a certain wow factor for me. Blending various South Australian sources, it takes jammy blackberry fruit, backs it with darker notes of chocolate and layers atop a briary, herbal component and subtle vanilla componant all working together to ably conceal its 15% alcohol. Drink now–2012

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sonoma Crest 2005 Chardonnay 87 points

Sonoma Crest 2005 Chardonnay (Sonoma County); $10

This chard is dry and creamy with tons of juicy peachs, pears and apple butter with a hint of oak. Great 10 buck bottle of chardonnay you can get at you corner 7-Eleven.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

2006 Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 91 points

Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, $22

The Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2006 is intense with lime and other citrus aromas blast from the glass, leaving no doubt about it's power. Thankfully, it’s harmonious as well, blending ripe notes of melon and guava with strident citrus flavors and a hint of jalapeño on the finish. Crisp with lots of zing, drink now through 2009

Saturday, February 2, 2008

2005 Casa Castillo 91 points

Monastrell, Jumilla, $11

Powerful, young and handsome, this is what Jumilla can do when good grapes and winemaking come together. The palate is chewy and full of earthy blackberry and blueberry flavors, while the finish is smooth, ripe and long. Drink now–2008. One of the best Jumillas you’re likely to find.

Friday, February 1, 2008

2003 Kunde Estate Syrah 93 points

Syrah, Sonoma Valley, $20

Wow! Impressive, this sophisticated Syrah comes in at 20 bucks what a bang for that price. The wine is soft, dry and rich in red currant, white pepper, licorice and mocha flavors, with a hint of coffee and has elegant balance.