Grayson Cellars cabernet sauvignon review

1 10 2010

Today we review a $10 red wine from California.

Bottom line: This one doesn’t taste bad, but it’s not good enough to recommend.

Uh oh.  OK folks, this will be quick.  Grayson Cellars 2009 cabernet sauvignon tastes OK, but it’s too sweet, kind of generic, and it doesn’t really taste like a cabernet sauvignon.

The reason for the “uh oh” — it tastes similar to their pinot noir, which your Wineguider recommended.  So it makes me wonder if THAT wine also tasted too sweet and generic to recommend.  I mean, a pinot noir that tastes similar to the same winemaker’s cabernet? Really? You’re recommending that? Well, uhh. . . yeah, I think. I mean, it wasn’t the DEFINITION of pinot noir, but it was pretty close.  And yeah, it was a little generic and sweet… but it was OK!  I’m pretty sure!

Oh well.  At least we have clarity for today’s review: the 2009 Grayson Cellars cabernet sauvignon is a no-go.  Although it’s easy-drinking and not bad by any means, it just isn’t dry enough, “cabernet” enough, or delicious enough to recommend.



Grayson Cellars pinot noir review

22 07 2010

Today, we review a 2009 California pinot noir that sells for $11 a bottle.

The 2009 Grayson Cellars pinot noir is a good value at $11, but something bugged me when I first tried it.  I couldn’t figure out what it was, until I spoke with Alexis at Capers & Lemons, a modern Italian restaurant in Wilmington DE.  She mentioned that she likes it very much, but hadn’t in the past.  Bingo!  That’s what it was.  I kept thinking, “this stuff isn’t supposed to be this good . . . “, but I kept sipping it, and liking it.  That’s because, as Alexis reminded me, a few years ago this stuff wasn’t as good — still a decent wine, but unexceptional. 

What’s changed?  The 2009 Grayson Cellars does a fairly good job of actually tasting like pinot noir.  I know that sounds strange, but most cheaper pinots taste like something else.  They might taste good, but they are often too sweet and you miss that spicy, layered, floral, earthy, gentle-yet-potent pinot character.  Grayson Cellars wins the “most improved” award of 2010.  NOTE:  I preferred the 2009 over the 2008.

Specifics?  It smells like black cherries.  In the mouth it is easy drinking, with a variety of berry and earthy flavors with a touch of oak, making it nicely interesting for an $11 wine.  However, one bottle I tried had no black cherry aroma and was less friendly, with too much alcohol smell and taste.  Why?  Maybe it’s this year’s blast-furnace summer, as wines literally cook on their way to the store, being altered in diabolical ways.  Pinot is famous for being especially sensitive in transport.  I will try it again in the fall to confirm, but for now I’ve tasted enough good Grayson Cellars to decide that this wine is:


Grayson Cellars pinot noir review