Category Archives: California Wines

Wine review – Wente 1883 Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013

This is a celebratory blend to commemorate the formation of two

great American Icons in both grocers and wine making.   Kroger and Wente both found their way onto the scene in America during the year 1883 and have had a bit of a partnership as Icons in their respective industries.

I’ll be honest.  Much of what I’m seeing in the grocery stores that passes for wines from California does little to thrill me.  Perhaps it’s years of living in the Bay Area and having access to much of the wine up front, or having access to inexpensive wines that were under priced.

The Wente Cab isn’t a bad Cabernet.  Fruit flavors and cherry from the get go start off the wine.  It’s a deep red in color.  The nose of this wine is light, but the berry tartness can be picked up easily.  The wine has a mellow flavor, almost like that mulled wine flavor I keep picking up in CA wines that I buy from the grocer.  I did manage to pair it with tritip from the cast iron, and that helped.

This is not a disparaging review by any means.  I have had a ton of wines from California (particularly from Underground Cellar and Firstleaf)  and this wine serves as an excellent table wine with friends.

Wine review: Isolani 2016 Pinot Blanc

I picked up this wine from First Leaf wine club along with two others which are resting now. The advertisement said the wind would retail for over 25 bucks at least so I was a little skeptical because the only one program I’ve found so far has been underground cellar.

And I love everything Underground Cellar has sent me.

Anyway this was the first time I’ve ever had a Pinot blog and it was from 2016 Monterey California. And it was pretty amazing. It started off with a really fresh nose with hints of grapefruit. The wine was pale yellow, but the text. The taste was chalky, very very minerally, slightly off dry with a medium finish. Perfect for summertime

Wine Review – Bonny Doon 2015 Pinot Meunier

As a gift to myself, I decided to join the D.E.W.N. club from Bonny Doon Vineyards.  As a member of the Distinctive, Esoteric Wine Network, I’m paying for shipments of four bottles quarterly.

img_3909This shipment arrived and last night’s meal was lamb burgers.  The recipe I used was a variation I have to rework a touch, too much spice and not enough savory, but the lamb flavor came through in spades so that’s good.

The newsletter goes on to talk about having planted Pinot Meunier and giving it a go after revisiting the idea and memories of tasting a wine from Domaine Chandon (who know a thing or two about wine) made of 100% Pinot Meunier.

Point is, the wine itself has the following statistics:

Bonny Doon 2015 Pinot Meunier
Bonny Doon 2015 Pinot Meunier

Varietal: 100% Pinot Meunier
Vineyard: Yont Mill
Appellation: Yontville
ABV: 14%

Now the juice.

A quick swirl in the glass gave me bright cherry flavors.  The taste itself was more or less like sour cherry, with some candied fruit on the palate.  Light tobacco and a hint of charred oak made me fairly happy.  The finish was medium, more light-medium than anything.

According to their newsletter, the wine is drinkable now, but could benefit from 6-8 years of ageing.

Wine Review: Au Bon Climat 2009 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

Au-Bon-Climat-Pinot-Noir-sb-500x500I’ve been drinking more wine lately, thanks to a relocation where California wine isn’t the only game in town.  Today, I present to you, the folks at Underground Cellar – Curated, Limited Edition Wines with a Twist.  

I think I discovered them via Facebook, maybe?  Anyway, the deal with them is that they put out an email with standard great wines,  only they have a spin on it where you may purchase the wines they offer, but if you buy two or more bottles,  oftentimes at least one of those bottles will be upgraded to either a better wine, a more expensive wine or something even greater than that.

How awesome is that?

Being skeptical, because other online alcohol programs I’ve looked at say they feature deals, but the reality is, they feature deals for booze if you live in a town like Morristown, TN.  Four package stores and it’s hard to get good juice in general.  Surprisingly enough, they had this unique wine from Moldova in the local store I shopped at.

So, how does the first wine stack up?

First thing is that the color is vibrant, almost maraschino cherry. It has a great nose, typical of Pinot Noir, hints of vanilla and tart berry.

Taste Profile:  Right up front, hints of tobacco.  Slight herbaceous notes with light cherry.  Nice medium bodied mouthfeel to it.  It’s not typical of a lot of California Pinots in that those wines are lighter in body than Au Bon Climat.  I was right on the vanilla, the berry and oak tastes.

I hope to put this up in an audio format too, once I figure out how with the file off my iPhone.

Wine Review: Noble Vines 181 2012 Merlot

Lodi California
$11.00181 Noble

Color: Deep Red
Nose: Classical merlot nose of spice and berry.
Taste: Immediate earthiness from chalky soil. Intense tart cherry followed by subtle spices and soft tannins.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this went well with braised lambs, hard cheeses or certain Italian sausages.  Overall, it’d a good starter merlot because the tannins don’t punch your palate to hell!

Medium finish. Paired with a Liga Undercrown Toro by Drew Estate for a soft, cigar/wine combination.  In fact, the the sweetness of the Undercrown paired beautifully with the softness, cutting through some of the tannin structure of the merlot.  This was a wine made for drinking with deep, well made maduros.

Oxidation opens the wine slightly.

Wine Review: Silver Creek 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Picked up this wine for what seemed like a steal at Grocery Outlet. I think we paid less than $5.

Anyway, really light red color, strong berry nose with an extremely light body and short finish. This is NOT a typical cabernet but wasn’t overpowered by the rosemary salt hamburgers I served with it.

As far as wine reviews go, this is on the lighter side simply because the wine wasn’t so massively impressive, but again, it was a Grocery Outlet buy. Those tend to be hit or miss.