HOW TO DRINK WINE

9 12 2018

Today we are going to provide the Top 3 Methods For Tasting Wine.  Sure, you can just drink it, and enjoy the heck out of it.  But if you follow these methods, you will taste MORE of what your wine has to offer.  It’s like getting more information.  OK here they are: Read the rest of this entry »





Malbec shootout: Kaiken, Gascon, Clos d’Argentine

2 01 2017

Today we pit 3 malbecs in the $10-12 range against each other in a blind taste test conducted in our clean room laboratories in an underground bunker which have been meticulously designed to replicate my friend’s house. These malbecs are from from Mendoza Argentina (of course) and they are:

  • Kaiken Reserva, 2015:  Total Wine, $12.19
  • Gascon, 2015:  Total Wine, $12.19
  • Clos d’Argentine Reserva, 2013:  Costco, $9.99

The Kaiken hits you with a very big, full “mouth feel” borrowed from a more expensive wine. It has some

Read the rest of this entry »





Marques de Casa Concha carmenere review

13 02 2016

Hi there! Today we look at a 2013 carmenere from Chile, which I picked up at Costco for $18.

This can be quick, folks.  Although Marques de Casa Concha has a very nice aroma and is full bodied, with excellent mouth feel and a good balance of dark red/dark purple fruit vs. gentle spiciness, it is…. a little sour.

Because of that sour kick, I don’t recommend this one.  Maybe next year!

carmenere





Chateau Treytins bordeaux vs. Daou cabernet sauvignon review

25 04 2015

Today we compare a 2010 bordeaux (from France, of course) against a 2013 cabernet from Paso Robles, California.  Both cost $23.

The Chateau Treytins is a 2010 bordeaux that we found at Total Wine. It is 60% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 20% cabernet franc.  It is Read the rest of this entry »





LaCrema vs. Decoy pinot noir review / shootout

22 06 2014

Today we compare two 2012 pinot noirs from Sonoma County, California:  La Crema Sonoma Coast ($19 at Total Wine and Costco, but usually in the low $20s) and Decoy Sonoma County ($22).

Decoy first impression:  a beautifully sweet aroma, a delicious cherry-rhubarb pie taste, what could go wrong?  Read the rest of this entry »





Wild Haven reserve vs. BV Napa merlot shootout

1 06 2014

Today we pit the 2010 Wild Haven reserve merlot from Horse Heaven Hills in Washington State ($13) against the BV Napa Valley 2011 merlot ($16).

Whew.  These merlots were not easy to taste.  Both had unripe green vegetable flavors.  Both tasted sour.  Both make you feel like you have been really sick for a few weeks and you’re just now Read the rest of this entry »





Decoy merlot vs. Purple malbec shootout

21 05 2014

This is the debut of the new Wineguider:  all comparison shootouts, all the time.

Today, we compare:

– Decoy, a 2012 merlot from California’s Sonoma County, $19 at Costco

vs.

– Purple, a 2011 malbec from France, $15 at the local wine shop.

Aroma Read the rest of this entry »





Abbeyville reserve cabernet review

13 12 2013

Tonight we check out a 2011 cabernet from Napa Valley, California that  I bought at Total Wine for $20.

We have noted that most 2011 and 2010 cabernets from the West Coast are not so great.  The question is, could Abbeyville reserve buck that trend? Read the rest of this entry »





The Wineguider Thanksgiving Pinot Noir Shootout

21 11 2013

Hi!  Today, in anticipation of The Big Dinner next week, we compare five pinot noirs, all of which I purchased at Total Wine:

  • $11:  Castle Rock Monterey County, California, 2010
  • $17:  Cloud Break Reserve, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, 2011
  • $22:  Coelho, Willamette Valley Oregon, 2011
  • $14:  Harbor Front, California Coastal, 2012
  • $18:  Mark West Carneros, Sonoma, California, 2010

Here is how they ranked, based on taste combined with value:

Read the rest of this entry »





Domaine Des Quatre Vents Fleurie (red burgundy) review: TOTAL WINE! WHY ARE YOU CHARGING $22 FOR THIS!?

16 11 2013

Today we look at a 2010 red from Fleurie, in France’s Burgundy region.  I bought it at Total Wine for $22.

This wine is a nice choice for Thanksgiving.  It’s not too strong, it has a good balance between light tannins and mild fruitiness (i.e. it’s not bone-dry) and it has flavors of black tea, nutmeg and cranberry, unique compared to American reds.  Even with these interesting flavors and some minerality, it’s not a Read the rest of this entry »





Tiza malbec review

27 10 2013

Here’s a 2012 malbec from Mendoza, Argentina available at Total Wine for $20.

Tiza malbec is rich, inky black in your glass, and immediately Read the rest of this entry »





Paso Ranches cabernet sauvignon review

19 10 2013

Tonight it’s a 2012 cabernet from California’s Paso Robles area that goes for $20 at Total Wine.

California’s 2012 vintage was supposedly excellent, so I keep picking up their 2012 reds as I find them.  As I write this in October 2013, so far I’ve been disappointed.  Obviously, the good stuff is still in oak barrels. Read the rest of this entry »





Red Theory cabernet mini-review

19 10 2013

Hey there!  This is a mini-review, in case you’re wondering, what’s up with the new 2012 Red Theory cabernet, appearing at Total Wine for 10 or 12 bucks?

The answer is, it’s an average, fruity, cheerful cabernet Read the rest of this entry »





Santa Ema Reserve merlot review

25 09 2013

Today we look at a 2009 reserve merlot from Chile’s Maipo area, which I found at Total Wine for $14.

This wine is deep purple in the glass, and throws off aromas of caramel, honey, allspice and cloves.

It is 13,5% alcohol, comes in a heavy and stately bottle, and Read the rest of this entry »





Rosemount Estate pinot noir review

17 09 2013

Today we look at a 2011 Aussie pinot noir that goes for $9.99 at Total Wine.

Such a pretty color!  Regardless of anything else, this wine will look great on your table, with its nearly see-through pure rose color. Read the rest of this entry »





Chateau Guibon Bordeaux review

17 09 2013

Today we examine a 2009 red from France’s Bordeaux region, which goes for $14.99 at Total Wine.

OK I am not sure what Total Wine is thinking here, but I know what I’m thinking.  This wine is Read the rest of this entry »





Oak Ridge cabernet sauvignon review: PASS THE GRAVY

5 09 2013

Hi!  Let’s check out a 2012 cabernet sauvignon from California’s Lodi area, which I bought at Total Wine for $13.

If you like your red wines rich, jammy, and a bit different from all the look-alike California reds (make that taste-alike), you should Read the rest of this entry »





Vigneto Edoardo montepulciano review

3 09 2013

Today we look at a 2008 100% montepulciano from Abruzzo, Italy.  I picked it up at Premiere Wine in Delaware for $35.

Whoa.  This is one of those “serious” wines that makes you pause.

What do I have here?

What exactly is going on? Read the rest of this entry »





Butterfield Station cabernet sauvignon review

2 09 2013

Today we check out a 2012 cabernet from the ????? area of California (meaning, the label just says California).  I bought it at Total Wine for $10.

I have high hopes for the 2012 wines we are starting to see from North America, because of various reports that have said it was a particularly good growing season.

But I’m not sure that Butterfield Station cabernet is typical of what 2012 wines will bring us.  Although it is smooth and refreshingly Read the rest of this entry »





Cruz Alta reserve cabernet sauvignon review

2 09 2013

Next, it’s a 2012 cabernet from Argentina that sells for $12 at  Total Wine.

Similar to its reserve malbec brother, the 2012 reserve cabernet from Cruz Alta is an attractive wine in the glass.  It has a better aroma than the reserve malbec, featuring vanilla, blackberry and herbs.  And, the cab is $3 cheaper than the $15 reserve malbec.

However, Read the rest of this entry »





Cruz Alta reserve malbec review

2 09 2013

Today we check out a 2012 malbec from Mendoza, Argentina that I bought at Total Wine for $14.99.

As we close the summer of 2013, malbec has been a hottie among reds in the U.S. for a few years.  And rightly so — appealing dark red or even purple juice with conviction, malbec from South America has a subtle sophistication about it that belies its usually affordable price.  It can lack complexity, but that’s forgivable in the $9-$15 price range where it is often found.

This reserve malbec doesn’t do much of anything wrong. Read the rest of this entry »





Cono Sur Reserva Especial pinot noir review: WE, WANT, THE FUNK

31 08 2013

Today we review a 2012 pinot noir from Chile’s Valle De Casablanca.  I found it at Total Wine for $18.

Well, this can be short, ladies and gentlemen.  I suggest you Read the rest of this entry »





Kendall-Jackson cabernet sauvignon review UPDATE

13 08 2013

Today we update our review of a California cabernet that sells for around $18.

I praised the 2007 K-J cabernet in this little review right here, in which I laid down a gauntlet by actually guaranteeing that you would like it.  And I stand by that.  The problem is, the 2007 is long gone and we now have to contend with the 2010.

Now, things get a bit touchy.  If you have read my U.S. CABERNET REPORT: SPRING 2013, you know that Read the rest of this entry »





Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc review

21 05 2013

Today we look at a 2011 sauvignon blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region which I bought for $25.

Have you ever driven an Audi A6?  I have, once.  It’s a great car — I mean truly great, in the most grand sense of the word — but in such a calm way.  Its greatness kind of creeps up on you, over time.  This is what I get from the 2011 Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc. Read the rest of this entry »





Cellar No. 8 pinot noir review: UPDATE

21 05 2013

Here’s a 2011 California pinot noir that costs $8.50 at Total Wine.  We gave the 2010 vintage a positive review here.

Cellar No. 8 has a nice new reddish-purple label, but more importantly the juice inside the bottle Read the rest of this entry »





Cruz Alta reserve malbec: Tale of Two Vintages

9 05 2013

This is a quickie review of a malbec from Mendoza, Argentina which sells for about $15.

The 2009 Cruz Alta reserve malbec is a very welcome reprieve from today’s California reds.  It tastes real.  Fresh.  Juicy but deep and dark, and not too sweet.  A perfect Read the rest of this entry »





U.S. CABERNET REPORT: Spring 2013

27 04 2013

I’ve noticed a funny thing with cabernet this year.  That being, I can’t find one that I like.  So we set up a shootout and recently tried these 2010-2011 cabernet sauvignons, over a period of two consecutive nights.  Listed in no particular order:





Morgan “Twelve Clones” Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir review

20 04 2013

Today we look at a 2011 pinot noir from California’s Santa Lucia Highlands (“SLH”) region, which I picked up at Total Wine for $26.  List price is $32.

California’s SLH grows mostly pinot noir.  On the bright side, these wines are “big, fleshy and mouthfilling,” says the San Francisco Chronicle.  But to me, they are too hot (high in alcohol), too fruity and tannic, and often taste burned.  An example:  the inexplicably expensive Siduri Sierra Mar, reviewed here.

In short:  I am biased against SLH pinot.

Morgan‘s “Twelve Clones” pinot is pleasantly spicy.  It has 14.3% alcohol, yet isn’t overly hot. Read the rest of this entry »





Red Theory chardonnay review

7 04 2013

Today we check out a 2010 chardonnay from Washington State’s Columbia Valley.  I picked it up at Total Wine for $12.

You’re looking at a guy who generally dislikes chardonnay, Read the rest of this entry »





Heavyweight cabernet sauvignon review UPDATE

16 03 2013

We reviewed the 2007 Heavyweight cabernet right here, and concluded that it’s a recommended wine.

Now it’s the 2010 Heavyweight, which is $12 at Total Wine and still features 1800’s-style drawings of various boxers like “Bob the Bruiser” on the labels, which vary from bottle to bottle.  And so, what is the decision on the 2010 vintage?  Read the rest of this entry »





Montebuena rioja review: cuchi-cuchi!

11 03 2013

Hello!  Today we check out a 2010 rioja which is 14% alcohol and sells for $9-11.

This bright ruby-red 100% tempranillo from Spain is easy to drink, with a lot of acidity and snap for your ten bucks.  It’s earthy, spicy and dry.  Yet it also has some real Read the rest of this entry »





Coastline Reserve cabernet sauvignon review

20 02 2013

Tonight we look at a 2011 cabernet from California’s Paso Robles area that sells for $12-$13.

I sometimes use the phrase “California goulash” to describe that generic taste you get from so many of California’s affordable red wines.  Coastline’s regular cabernet ($6-$9) fits this term perfectly, but this reserve version Read the rest of this entry »





Mark West pinot noir review: 2011 update

9 02 2013

Let’s check out the 2011 vintage of California’s Mark West pinot noir, shall we?  It’s $8.99 at Total Wine, a slight price increase.

This wine is a rock star, because of its Read the rest of this entry »





Menage a Trois pinot noir review

9 02 2013

Today as we approach Valentine’s Day, we check out a 2011 pinot noir from California that sells at Total Wine for $16.

Menage a Trois.   Ahhhh… such a provocative name.  And such a history of good value in red Read the rest of this entry »





Cult cabernet sauvignon review

26 01 2013

Today we review a Napa Valley cabernet that sells at Total Wine for $27.  It is non-vintage, meaning its grapes come from various years’ harvests.  It is 14.8% alcohol.

So — “cult” wines are those rare few captivating bottles – usually red – that make rich winos spend days looking for them, and then fork over seriously big bucks for their heavenly goodness.  Does Cult cabernet sauvignon live up to the lofty goal of its name? Read the rest of this entry »





Cameron Hughes Lot 404 cabernet sauvignon review

23 12 2012

This 2010 red is from Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap district, one of the Rolls Royce wine areas in California.  It cost me $27 but routinely sells for $22-$25.

Nice to drink, with a very pleasing, medium-bodied mouthfeel — Cameron Hughes Lot 404 cab says “friendly” more than Read the rest of this entry »





Boedecker Cellars “Stewart” pinot noir review

5 12 2012

Boedecker Cellars pinot noir reviewToday, it’s a 2009 pinot noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon, which I purchased online for $34.

I have a crush on Athena Pappas.  Unfortunately, today’s pinot noir is named after her HUSBAND, Stewart Read the rest of this entry »





Siduri Sierra Mar Vineyard pinot noir review

23 11 2012

Today we review a 2010 pinot noir from California’s Santa Lucia Highlands.  I bought it tonight for $45.

Pinot noir often delivers elegant, light-on-its feet and earthy layers of spicy red fruit.  The more you pay, the more elegance and complexity you usually get, and sometimes, the less “light on its feet” the wine gets, which can be wonderful.

This medium-bodied pinot from Siduri‘s Sierra Mar vineyard is giving me strong Read the rest of this entry »





Wineguider’s two tips for better coffee

22 11 2012

Tips for better coffeeHello and Happy Thanksgiving!   Today we review two simple tips that will result in better coffee for you each morning if you use a typical drip coffee maker. Read the rest of this entry »





Bogle Phantom review: UPDATE

11 11 2012

I drooled all over the 2007 Phantom in my “holy cow” review, right here.

However, the current vintage (2008) has lost that loving feeling.  I am sitting here trying to Read the rest of this entry »





Bridlewood cabernet sauvignon review

5 11 2012

Tonight we check out a 2009 cabernet from California’s Paso Robles area, which goes for about $13 at Total Wine and more elsewhere.

Bridlewood cab has some big things going for it.  The label rocks.  I mean, you look at it, and you just WANT this wine.  Plus, it’s only Read the rest of this entry »





Avalon merlot review: OH, SANDY

30 10 2012

Here’s a 2010 Napa Valley, CA merlot that costs around $12.

Tonight I had one of the best bottles of wine I’ve ever opened.  It was Avalon merlot.  A Napa Valley red that you can find at Total Wine for a mere $11.  Why was it so great?

I opened it during Read the rest of this entry »





Les Martinieres table wine: YOU MAKE ME WANT TO –

14 10 2012

Today we look at a French white wine.  Seven dollars at Total Wine.

If you get excited about great food.

If you get excited about delicious wine.

If you like a bargain, but you love an extreme bargain — then it’s time to discover Read the rest of this entry »





Cono Sur merlot: MINI REVIEW

7 10 2012

Today it’s a 2010 merlot from Chile that costs around $10.

Cono Sur is impressive when you first open it — dark, rich, with an earthy, manly taste.  Blacker-than-black blackberries.  Smoky leather.  Plum and maybe a touch of prune.  Spicy and dry for a merlot — in fact, it almost seems like a juicy carmenere.

The problem is, for me, Cono Sur is a tad bitter.  A situation that did not improve on day 2.  I like this winery’s bicycle theme though, and I want the reserva now!  Unfortunately, this one is:

Not recommended.





La Crema Sonoma Coast pinot noir: IMPORTANT NOTICE

26 09 2012

ALERT!  La Crema 2010 Sonoma Coast pinot noir is delicious — and right now it’s just $16.89 at Costco.

Wow.  I’m used to seeing this wine for around $23.  Regardless of the price, it is compelling: light, but spicy.  It smells Read the rest of this entry »





Benziger merlot mini review

24 09 2012

Hi!  Today it’s a 2008 merlot from California’s Sonoma County.   I found it at Costco for $13.

Benziger Family Winery’s Sonoma County merlot uses grapes grown with sustainable farming methods.  And it tastes that way – Read the rest of this entry »





Kendall-Jackson Avant chardonnay review

23 09 2012

I purchased this 2010 California chardonnay at Costco for $11.

As you may know, I am not a huge fan of California chards.  Kendall-Jackson’s relatively new Avant chardonnay has less of the chemistry-experiment taste than their regular chardonnay, and less oak and butter.  From the front label:  “Fresh.  Crisp.  Clean.”  Read the rest of this entry »





Lapis Luna Moon Eyes cabernet sauvignon review: IT’S COOL

21 09 2012

Tonight it’s a 2007 cabernet from California’s Lodi area.  I paid $14, but I’ve seen it online for $9.99.

Wow, this wine is cool.  It is different from the usual California stuff — instead of Read the rest of this entry »





Apothic Red wine review: Newwww, Worrrrrldd, Mannnnnnn

21 09 2012

Today it’s a 2010 California red blend that you can buy at Costco for just under $9.

Quick lowdown:  Very cool black and red bottle, very popular, a warm, sweet blend of  syrah, zinfandel, cabernet and merlot.  Smells like Read the rest of this entry »





Mini review: Marius red wine blend

18 09 2012

This 2010 French red blend with the cool label cost me just $10.

Marius, from France’s Rhone valley, is a blend of syrah and grenache.  The aroma is spicy and Read the rest of this entry »