Send Me Free Wine

Wine tasting notes with an emphasis on the value proposition equation: function of quality and price. Remember, wine is relative to other wines, and so an absolute score won't tell you much other than how I felt about a particular wine on a particular day as it relates to my own set of figures. Grab a bottle and delve into the decadent nature of scoring wine on your own; and remember, imbibe responsibly.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Crandall-Brooks, Merlot (Napa Valley), 2002

From the bottle, this Merlot is yielded from grapes grown in Napa Valley California, vinted and bottled in Santa Rosa CA and is 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Where did I find it: Cost Plus

What did I pair it with: N/A

Appearance: Very dark red, almost black.

On the nose: Though pretty light, I do get hints of perfume (alcohol & flowers) and white pepper.

Palate Entry: the palate takes its cue from the nose, not offering up much of anything.
Mid Palate: Some tannins strike the mid-tongue, zinging me a bit, with some vegetal flavors starting to show.
Finish: The finish is dry, unexpressive, and easily forgotten.

Price: $10.99
Quality rating: 82/100
Value rating: 45.55/60

Takeaway: This wine wasn’t overly flawed, it was simply overly boring. Was it balanced? Yes. Was it complex? Not at all. If you enjoy simple wines, this one is okay, though it didn’t express any of the varietal character known to some of the more opulent Napa merlots that I’ve grown to love. If paired with a simple dinner of sharp cheeses and French bread, this wine will hide itself well, otherwise, skip it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Chateau Ste Michelle, Syrah (Columbia Valley), 2002

From the bottle, the Syrah is harvested from grapes grown in Columbia Valley California and is 13.9% alcohol by volume.

Where did I find it: Fry’s

What did I pair it with: N/A

Appearance: Murky purple with flashes of crimson as I swirl; it appears to already be developing sediment as well.

On the nose: Light pepper and vegetable overtones.

Palate Entry: The entry is almost imperceivable; it isn’t hot, sweet, tart, or anything that one normally picks up – simple beginning
Mid Palate: The tannins finally show up mid palate, bringing with them a hint of berries and cherry.
Finish: The finish hits the back of the mouth, and is actually longer than I would expect it to be, given the simplicity of the entry and mid palate.

Price: $7.99
Quality rating: 85/100
Value rating: 48.76/60

Takeaway: I’m hesitant to bad-mouth the wine because it isn’t bad, just very simple; in a word, it is quaffable. If you’re eating something equally simple, like a meatball sandwich, then this wine will do fine, especially at the price point. There are better wines at this price point, to be sure, but I turn my nose at it just because of the simplicity.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ironstone Vineyards, Obsession, 2004

From the bottle, the Obssession is sourced from Symphony grapes grown throughout California. This unique grape is a blend between Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris; it is 12.0% alcohol by volume.

Where did I find it: Cost Plus

What did I pair it with: Spicy BBQ wings

Appearance: Pale straw w/ flashes of gold (it has the look of a New Zealand sav blanc).

On the nose: What a fruit bomb! Honey, grapefruit, orange blossoms, and pear.

Palate Entry: It begins like it smells, with a touch of honey and citrus zing.
Mid Palate: The acidity remains constant, adding an additional layer of deciduous fruits.
Finish: The finish is light, and crip, like a honeydew mellon drizzled in honey-lemon sauce.

Price: $5.00
Quality rating: 93/100
Value rating: 56.50/60

Takeaway: I am in love with this wine; if my wife weren’t so wonderful and pregnant, I’d run away to Vegas to have Elvis marry us. Seriously, I do not think it is possible to find a better summer white wine for a better price; it drinks young so drink up!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wines to drink in 2006

Now, I don't write-up every wine I taste, and so invariably a lot of gems ultimately slip through the cracks. In the event that I skip over a few wines, or simply don't have a pen and paper handy when I'm drinking, below is a sample of what I have slated to pour in '06 (more or less in the order I want to consume them):

Chateau Paradis Casseuil, Bordeaux, 2004
B.R. Cohn, Zinfandel, 2002
Columbia Crest: Two Vines, Shiraz, 2002
Corbieres, Les Duex Rives, 2004
Crandall Brooks, Merlot, 2002
Geyser Peak, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002
Selby, Zinfandel (Old Vines), 2002
Terra D' Oro, Zinfandel, 2003
Bridlewood, Syrah, 2000
Callaghan Vineyards, Zinfandel, 2003
Chateau Labegorce, Margaux, 2001
Chateau Ste Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon (Canoe Ridge Estate), 2001
Cline, Syrah, 2002
Cosme Palacio y Hermanos, Rioja, 2001
J, Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley), 2003
Los Vascos, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003
Luna, Canto, 2000
Merryvale, Syrah (Napa), 2002
Michel Lynch, Bordeaux, 1999
Morgennhof Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000
Q, Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma), 2002
Robert Mondavi, Private Selection: Syrah, 2002
Selby, Merlot (Sonoma County), 2002
Selby, Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley), 1999
Valiano, Chianti Classico, 2001
Vieux Chateau Haut Beard, Bordeaux, 2000
Villa di Capezzana, Carmignano: 80% sangiovese, 20% cab, 2000
William Hill Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001

Friday, December 16, 2005

Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Shiraz Cabernet Monastrell, 2003

From the bottle, this shiraz / cabernet / monastrell blend is sourced from grapes grown in the Jumulla region of Southern Spain. This intriguing blend is 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Where did I find it: Costco

What did I pair it with: N/A

Appearance: Flashy garnet red, with a slight cloudiness.

On the nose: Barnyard, white pepper, cherry, and faintly hot spiced prunes.

Palate Entry: It is dry from the very beginning, with a gripping tannins; not much fruit.
Mid Palate: The tannins expand the mouth feel, turning somewhat bitter (tar and earth).
Finish: The finish is moderate, with the tannins lingering on the tongue for 5 seconds or so.

Price: $7.30
Quality rating: 87/100
Value rating: 50.35/60

Takeaway: This is a pretty solid wine, especially considering bargain pricing. If you like wines with a strong mouth feel, you’ll like this, though do be certain to pair it with food – parmesan reggiano and some milk chocolate would have been a fun mix, to offset the bitter and smooth out the tannins.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Callaghn Vineyards, Mourvedre, 2003

From the bottle, this mourvedre is made from grapes grown in the vicinity of Elgin, Arizona. It was grown in the Buena Suerte vineyard and is an astounding 16.5% alcohol by volume.

Where did I find it: Callaghan Vineyards tasting room

What did I pair it with: Meats and cheese

Appearance: Deep ruby red w/ unbelievable legs.

Smell: Spiced raisins and fig.

Palate Entry: Asian spices pave the way for a silky smooth cassis.
Mid Palate: Chalky dryness expand the mouthfeel nicely, bursting with red berry fruit.
Finish: The finish is void of tannins, but lenghtly. Like this wine’s legs, it takes its time.

Price: $19.00
Quality rating: 92/100
Value rating: 48.63/60

Takeaway: I was really impressed with this wine; mourvedre is not a common stand-alone wine, but if you get a chance to try it, have a glass. Callaghan continues to impress me.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hayman & Hill, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley), 2001

From the bottle, this reserve cabernet is made from grapes grown in the Napa Valley region of California. This cabernet is 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Where did I find it: Fry’s

What did I pair it with: N/A

Appearance: Crimson purple, with decent legs.

Smell: Light on aromas; bright cherry and asian spices are the most notable.

Palate Entry: It begins with a slightly alcoholic cassis.
Mid Palate: A good mouthfeel rounds with firm tannins bring life into the wine.
Finish: The finish is merely an extension of the mid-palate, and is quick, but the tannins do remain.

Price: $11.99
Quality rating: 83/100
Value rating: 45.67/60

Takeaway: There are better cabs out there for this price point; I was disappointed that an ’01 Napa reserve cab would be this bland…skip it.