Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: ***+ $ Dark Horse Double Down Red Blend, California, Non-Vintage = BEST VALUE

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Dark Horse Double Down Red Blend.

Original tasting and review : This is Dark Horse Double Down Red Blend, California, Non-Vintage, finished at 14.5% alcohol and first sampled in November, 2017.  This is said to be a limited release vinted by winemaker Beth Liston, but the origin (beyond California) of the grapes are not specified.  Varietals are tannat, teroldego, zinfandel and petite syrah. 

Inspired by this wine: We're at the picnic table, campfire smoke is blowing past, we're ordering up well done burgers. 

In the glass: Black burgundy, opaque within a half inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows smoky and sweet black fruit.   From the aroma, seems like this may be bold and layered.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact plenty of black oak surrounding a big, beefy dark red fruit.  Enough acidity to lift the dense fruit flavors.  Finish is modest, deep, but clean.

In summary: Overall, rates three plus stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, celebrating its bold layers and depth.  This is a no-brainer best value at its bargain price point.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Don't Miss: Burbank Winter Wine Walk - Coming up soon!!

I hope you have already procured your tickets to the Burbank Winter Wine Walk and Holiday Street Fair for 2017, being held this coming Saturday, Nov. 18, from 4-7pm in downtown Burbank, CA.   

Although tickets for the tasting are already sold out, anyone is welcome to browse the Fair, as shops along San Fernando Boulevard will be open for business.   If you were too late to join this year, consider visiting the shops so you can get a "taste" for what you can experience next year - but with real wine then!
There will be some 30 wine, craft beer and food sampling stops throughout the route.

Whether you are there to enjoy the wine or just the ambience, you'll have access to over 100 eateries in downtown Burbank (food not included in ticket prices), and there will be free live performances from a main stage set up at San Fernando Boulevard and Palm Avenue.

Hope to see you there!   BTW, Spirit of Wine will plan some select reviews of wines sampled at the Festival, so you can get an idea of what may be on tap (no craft beer reference implied!) for future years. 

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Lodi Old-Vine Zinfandel Virtual Tasting

Today we are pleased to be participating in an intriguing event: A Lodi Old-Vine Zinfandel Virtual Tasting as part of National Zinfandel Day 2017 festivities.  Please look for more information about the event at www.facebook.com/LodiWine or on Twitter or Instagram via #lodiwine and #LodiOldVineZin tags.

Of course, you can always find the most expressive and descriptive reviews right here, on Spirit of Wine.  But you already knew that!!

Below are tasting notes for the wines offered as part of the Virtual Tasting:


---------------
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Fields Family Wines Old Vine Zinfandel.

Original tasting and review : This is Fields Family Wines Old Vine Zinfandel, Stampede Vineyard, Clements Hills, Lodi, CA, 2014, finished at 14.3% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in November, 2017.

Inspired by this wine: My uncle passed me a cigar, we chatted about times past.

In the glass: Deep brick with hints of orange and maroon.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep, savory sage and tobacco.  From the aroma, seems like this may be bright, funky and playful.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact even a bit brighter and more playful than anticipated, with perky raspberry acids coating the fruit up into your nose.  Lingering bright red fruit finish.

In summary: Overall, rates a solid three stars for its perky power on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale

----------------
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Earthquake Zinfandel.

Original tasting and review : This is Earthquake Zinfandel, Michael David Winery, Lodi, CA, 2014, finished at 15.0% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in November, 2017.  There is a touch of petite sirah blended with the zinfandel.

Inspired by this wine: Zipping up a down vest against the chill, looking forward to a walk along the woodland lane. 

In the glass: Deep magenta at the rim, moving towards opaque black in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep black berry and surrounding oak.  From the aroma, seems like this may be full, lush and savory.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as anticipated, with a deep wave of full black berry fruit being the first attack, followed by soft, bright touches of oak and tannins.  A modest finish lifts with some cleansing acids.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a big plus for depth and power on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale

---------------
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Ironstone Rous Vineyard Zinfandel.

Original tasting and review : This is Ironstone Vineyards Ancient Vines Zinfandel Reserve, Rous Vineyard, Lodi, CA, 2015, finished at 15.0% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in November, 2017.  Vines are a remarkable 106 years old.

Inspired by this wine: Grandpa is taking me to the basement to hunt for some of those long-buried boxes of treasure!

In the glass: Deep bordeaux-colored center with light orange bricking at the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a layered, dusty, sweet aged oak.   From the aroma, seems like this may be full with depth and sophistication.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are, at once, sweet, rich, dark, chalky, with fully ripe deep blackberry fruit and layers of sinuous oak.  It tapers graciously to a clean, deep, and just refreshing-enough finish.  Remarkable.

In summary: Overall, rates an impressive four stars, and touching a plus, on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, recognizing its resinous depths.

----------------
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel.

Original tasting and review : This is Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel, Lizzy James Vineyard, Lodi, CA, 2014, finished at 15.7% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in November, 2017.

Inspired by this wine: We're readying chairs and blankets for the family to enjoy a high-energy Labor Day parade!

In the glass: Deep mahogany with bricking at the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows an energetic candy apple upfront, with soft fruit behind.   From the aroma, seems like this may be fun and expressive.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact black fruit surrounded with subtle wash of clean white sugar.  Oak elements poke through the sweetness to bring depth and layers.  The finish is a slow fade to a rounded, clean wisp of fruit, pulling for the next sip.

In summary: Overall, just touches four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, representing both depth, layers and an unmistakeable friendliness and expressive invitation. 

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading thtis full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Monday, October 30, 2017

New Zealand in a Glass!

"New Zealand in a Glass" was an informative seminar presented by New Zealand Wine, focused especially on local renditions of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.  The seminar provided some quick facts about New Zealand, including reference to its deep southern lattitude, several hundred miles south of the southern tip of Australia.  The seminar proceeded to a sampling of a number of both typical and atypical New Zealand varietals.

Here they are, with inspirational suggestions and brief tasting notes: 

Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, 2014, Hawke's Bay:
Inspired by this wine:  Prepping for a big family picnic, we're all chopping food!
Light clear yellow, tropical and earthy
aromas.  Fresh and vigorous fruit, with a soft finish.
3+ on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Te Mata Cape Crest.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine:  Watching stars on a dark and gently cool evening.
Very light yellow.  Light sweet funk.  Round, soft, lightly sweet filling palate.
3+ on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Greywacke Wild Sauvignon.

Astrolabe Taiho Sauvignon Blanc, 2015, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine: Fun playing raucous video games with friends.
Gentle light yellow.  Soft round fruit.  Lays out for a sweet and full fruity finish.  Minor pepper hints.
4 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Astrolabe Taiho.

Nautilus The Paper Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine: Sombre yet uplifting conversation with a good friend.
Crystal with hint of yellow.  Solid, lightly sharp nose.  Clean, clear body and lengthy mineral finish.
3+ on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Nautilus The Paper.

Dog Point Chardonnay, 2014, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine:  Exhaling deeply after an ambitious run.
Clear crystal.  Light fruit with hint of funk. Clean and lightly spritzy, sweet finish.
3 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Dog Point Chardonnay.

Jules Taylor Pinot Gris, 2016, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine: Shopping for jewelry!
Hint yellow.  Clean, bubbly, hint earth.  Sweet acid wash and soft finish with hint of sugar.
3+ on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Jules Taylor Pinot Gris.

Framingham Old Vine Riesling, 2015, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine: Reconnecting with an old mentor.
 They are challenging you to think.
Light yellow.  Sweet with black pepper.  Soft and peppery wash into the close.
3+ on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Framingham Old Vine Riesling.

Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling, 2016, Central Otago:
Inspired by this wine: Heading for a date - excited and nervous.
Hint yellow on crystal.  Subtle with funk.  Clean sweet with fresh acid wash to keep things uplifted.
4 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling.

Martinborough Vineyard Home Block Pinot Noir, 2014, Martinborough:
Inspired by this wine: Curled on a wool blanket, eating s'mores.
Very light mahogany. Stark with black pepper. Soft with sweet black pepper.  Quick but full finish.
4 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Home Block Pinot Noir Martinborough.

Mahana Clays & Gravels Pinot Noir, 2014, Nelson:
Inspired by this wine: Enjoying an evening by the outdoor fire.
Light mahogany.  Funk deep red fruit.  Tangy flesh through the finish.
3 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Mahana Pinot Noir.

Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir Reserve, 2009, Marlborough:
Inspired by this wine: Let's plan a vacation!
Light red.  Soft tangy red.  Clean, balanced finish with light acids.
3 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir Reserve.

Mount Edward Pinot Noir, 2011, Central Otago:
Inspired by this wine: Gathering the gang for a big, exciting
reunion.
Violet deep red.  Deep settled red fruit.  Violet depth in the fruit, clean and long finish.
4 on the five star Spirit of Wine scale.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Mount Edward Pinot Noir.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Reviews: *** **+ ** $ Yellow Tail wines, South Eastern Australia, 2016 = Chardonnay is best value

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

Original tasting and reviews : This is a look at the line of Yellow Tail wines from South Eastern Australia.   You can think of this as part of our "take one for the team" series, since Yellow Tail, while widely consumed, is an infrequent wine to be subject to tastings and reviews.  The pinot noir, merlot and big bold red are each finished at 13.5% alcohol, while the chardonnay tips in at 13%.  Vintages are all 2016, except the Big Bold Red shows no vintage date

---------------------
Inspired by Yellow Tail Chardonnay:  Enjoying crispy fireworks on a cool summer evening. 

In the glass: Gleaming light gold.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a crisp and sparkling sweetness.  

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact bright sweet fruit with some surrounding acids.  Quick clean finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Best value at bargain price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

---------------------
Inspired by Yellow Tail Pinot Noir:  For some reason, we're all dressed in purple, eating crisp tangy apples.  

In the glass: Light magenta.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a bright and tangy fruitiness.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact showing bright acids and some backing dry fruit.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Consistent quality to its price point.  It's tough to find a really compelling value-priced pinot noir, although we have unearthed just a few in recent years. This one doesn't quite hit the mark

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

---------------------
Inspired by Yellow Tail Merlot:  Curled in flannel blankets, stoking the fireplace to bring down the chill. 

In the glass:   Deep mahogany, almost opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, furry, fluffy fruit, with soft, velvety surrounds.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact brighter fruit than anticipated.  Full acids surround your palate and bring the sip to a close.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its compelling aroma.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

---------------------
Inspired by Yellow Tail Big Bold Red:  Sitting, chatting and whittling sticks with a few friends. 

In the glass: Deep maroon and mahogany, opaque from a half-inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, muddled fruit.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact fuller and more layered with fruit than suggested by the nose, bringing some acids, rounder tannins and hints of darkened oak along for the ride.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars with a big plus for its layers on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Review & Rating: ***+ $ Gnarly Head Authentic Black, Lodi, California, 2014 = BEST VALUE

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gnarly Head Authentic Black.

Original tasting and review : This is Gnarly Head Authentic Black, Lodi, California, 2014, finished at 14.5% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in September, 2017.  This is one of a number of "ambiguously vinted" value-priced red wine blends with higher alcohol levels.   Only the fact of aging for more than 12 months is disclosed on the label.  No grape varietals.  No hint of what it was aged in.  Nope.  You're on your own.  (From the appellation  designation of "Lodi, California," you do know the general region from which the mystery grapes originate.) On the winery's web site, you will find the additional hint that the wine was fermented in stainless and then aged in French and American oak of indeterminate age.  Still no hint of varietals.

Inspired by this wine: Walking along the river bank, we sit to skip some stones across the quiet, muddy waters. 

In the glass: Black magenta, opaque from about a quarter inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep, hushed, almost-muddy fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be dry and tight.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much rounder, bolder and voluptuous than anticipated.  Beefy deep blackberry and ripe red raspberries bring depth and brightness.  Finishes with some sweetness and solid, surrounding, furry tannins.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale with a big plus for its palate of flavors and textures.   With more aromatics, would have been an easy four-star catch.  This is a best-value at its attractive price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gnarly Head Authentic Black.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.