Sunday, April 29, 2007


What makes this tasting special is that every wine poured is a top-scoring wine. I have been to a handful of Wine Spectator events over the past few years and they never disappoint. This year was no different. It featured lots of terrific wineries and amazing wines.

All of the previous Wine Spectator events I attended have been in New York City. This was my first exposure to one set at The Borgata in Atlantic City. The layout was first class, with booths draped in red offset by soft lighting that echoed what you might find in New York's finest restaurants. Although there was a bit of a crowd attacking the First Growth Bordeaux tables early on, the traffic flow through the spacious aisles allowed guests to pretty much hit every table with ease during the 3-hour event. By the end of the night, very few booths ran out of wine and I had sampled wine from nearly all 215 tables, even stopping for seconds and thirds at my personal favorites. This is usually rare for Wine Spectator events. I have grown accustomed to attacking the First Growths early on since they usually close shop early. By the end of the night, I only noticed that Chateau Margaux and Chateau Lafite Rothschild were poured out. Not sure if this was reflection of a lighter than normal crowd or a greater committment to the amount of vino provide by wineries.


Upscale, classy, refined and elegant. Guests were treated to some of the best of the best in wine and food from Joseph Phelps Insignia to Chateau Haut Brion to the most decandant pastries and fruit served on rectangular trays with heavenly liquid chocolate for dipping. Excellent cheeses, lamb, beef tenderloin, salmon, crab raviolis, pastas and vegetables highlighted food tables. The exorbitant $200 per person ticket price positions the show as a prestige event for the privileged and tends to attract as many trade as consumer guests. However, with most wines poured ranging from $50 - $150 a bottle, the value you are getting for your ticket is quite extraordinary.

I've listed my top wine honors of the night but have also included a full list of wines poured at the bottom of this review for the curious. It should provide a quite extensive overview of the show if you anticipate catching one of the other stops on the tour or one of Wine Spectator's future events.

Almaviva Puente Alto 2003 - lots of cedar and minerals in this 95 PT Chilean beauty.

Chateau Angelus 2004 - Amazing how well this is drinking right now. It is so young and approachable. Really impressive.

Archery Summit Pinot Noir Oregon Red Hills Estate 2004 - Seductive nose and impeccable smoothness and balance.

Castellare di Castellina Toscana Sodi Di S. Niccolo 2002 - Surprisingly dynamic and lush.

Catena Alta Malbec 2003 - This 100% Malbec 94 PT stunner pops out of the glass with creamy blueberry and blackberry. Wow!

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - The 2004 and 2005 weren't up to what this legendary New Zealand winery has built its name on. The 2006? Welcome back!

Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor 2003 - One of the best Cabs from Chile ever made. 96 PTS Wine Spectator.

Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2000 - Unctious Hungarian dessert wine.

Ernie Els Stellenbosch 2004 - Smoked bacon galore!

Feudi di San Gregorio Irpinia Serpico 2003 - Made from 250 year old vines that look more like trees than vines. Wonderfully unique and packed with truckloads of powdered cinnamon.

Gunderloch Riesling Auslese Gold Cap 2004 - This is what heaven with honey and nectar poured all over it tastes like. My wife adored this wine so it looks like I'll be shelling out $90+ to pick up a bottle of this 95 PT liquid gold elixir.

Quinta do Vale Meao Douro 2004 - Everything a Portuguese Douro should be with creamy blue and black fruit. It doesn't get any better than this. The kind of wine that entices you to finish the bottle in one sitting.

St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon Oroppas 2004 - I've had this wine on several occassions but this time was an extra special treat. The table had cherry Hershey's Kisses to pair with it. Anyone who doubts that red wine can enhance chocolate will be disproven on the spot. A rewarding experience.

Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes 2003 - Tremendous petrol on the nose with seductive honey and orange blossoms. Sweet without being cloying.

Turnbull Oakville 2004 - I've had this before at other tastings. It still impresses me with its creamy fruit.

Ramos Pinto Tawny Port 20 Year Old - Amber color with nuts and oak on the nose and pure hazelnuts on the finish. I went back and ended the night with this one and left smelling the glass on the way home.


93 PTS
Wine Spectator has definitely put together more impressive events than this one, but I still found it to be an excellent show. Some of the wineries did not bring their top wines, but it is really hard to complain. There was was not a bad wine in the room and nothing fell short of 90 points.

The one downside to the event was that there was absolutely no seating or open tables to prop food plates. By the middle of the night guests were sitting all over the floor trying to eat. Even if chairs couldn't be accomodated, there was a strong need for some sort of standing high tables so one could rest a glass while juggling food and forks.

At the end of the night, each guest was able to take home their Grand Tour Tasting Glass and was provided with a thick brown bag to transport the glass home with ease.

The next two stops for the show are Las Vegas and Chicago.

Alphabetical list of wines poured:

Abadia Retuerta Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Cuvee Palomar 2003
Achaval-Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2004
Bodegas Alion Ribera del Duero 2003
Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2001
Almaviva Puente Alto 2003
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2001
Altos las Hormigas Malbec Mendoza Vina Homigas Reserva 2005
Chateau Angelus St.-Emilion 2004
Antinori Bolgheri Tenuta Guado al Tasso 2003
Archery Summit Pinot Noir Oregon Red Hills Estate 2004
D'Arenberg Shiraz-Viognier McLaruen Vale The Laughing Magpie 2005
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2001
Artesa Pinot Noir Carneros Estate Reserve 2005
L'Aventure Estate Cuvee Paso Robles 2005
Avignonesi Cortona Desiderio 2004
Castello Banif Brunello di Montalcino 2001
Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz E&E Black Pepper 2003
Batasiolo Barolo Vigneto Corda della Briccolina 2001
Beaulieu Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve 2003
Bennett Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003
Beringer Merlot Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch 2003
Bersano Barolo Nirvasco 2001
Wolf Blass Shiraz-Cabernet-Malbec South Australia Black Label 2002
Bollinger Brut Champagne Special Cuvee NV
Il Borro Toscana 2003
Chateau Branaire-Ducru St.-Julien 2003
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2006
Ca' Marcanda Toscana Magari 2004
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino La Casa 2001
Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Anni 2003
Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2004
Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2000
Castellare di Castellina Toscana Sodi di S. Niccolo 2002
Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino Campo del Drago 2000
Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza Alta 2003
Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 2004
Centolani Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta friggiali Riserva 1999
Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche Bricco Rocche 2001
Fattoria del Cerro Vion Novile di Montepulciano Vigneto Antica Chiusina 2003
Pio Cesare Barberesco 2003
Chalone Pinot Noir Estate 2005
M. Chapoutier Hermitage White Chante-Alouette 2003
Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Cinq Cepages 2003
Cheval des Andes Vistalba 2002
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cannubi 2001
Chimney Rock Elevage Stags Leap District 2004
Prats & Symington Douro Chryseia 2003
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2006
Cockburn Vintage Port Quinta dos Canais 2003
Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Ruchets 2001
Columbia Syrah Columbia Valley 2004
Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor 2003
Aldo Conterno Barolo Granbussia Riserva 2002
Chateau Cos de'Estournel St.-Estephe 2002
Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough Te Muna Road 2006
Croft Vintage Port 2003
Damilano Barolo Cannubi 2001
DaVinci Brunello di Montalcino 2001
Dei Toscana Sancta Catharina 2004
DeLille Chaleur Estate Red Mountain 2003
Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Red Rock Terrace 2003
Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2000
Domaine Chandon etoile Napa Valley NV
Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Oregon Laurene 2003
Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Mark Bradford Vineyard 2003
Dow's Vintage Port 2003
Engelbrecht Els Ernie Els Stellenbosch 2004
Etude Pinot Noir Carneros Heirloom 2004
Fairview Shiraz Paarl Solitude 2004
Falesco Lazio Ferentano 2004
Livio Felluga Colli Orientali del Friuli Sosso 2001
Russiz Superiore Collio Col Disore 2004
Felsina Toscana Fontalloro 2003
Ferrari-Carano Prevail Back Forty Sonoma County 2003
Feudi di San Gregorio Irpinia Serpico 2003
Feudo Maccari Nero d'Avola Sicilia Saia 2004
Finca Allende Rioja 2004
Flora Springs Trilogy Napa Valley 2003
Foley Estates Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Rancho Santa Rosa 2005
Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2001
Fontodi Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello 2003
Les Forts de Latour Pauillac 2003
Bodegas y Vinedos O. Fournier Alfa Crux Uco Valley 2002
Frescobaldi Toscana Giramonte 2004
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2001
Gallo Family Chardonnay Russain River Valley Laguna Vineyard 2004
Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto 2003
Chateau Giscours Margaux 2000
Glen Carlou Cabernet Sauvignon Paarl Gravel Quarry 2004
Gloria Ferrer Brut Carneros Cuvee Late Disgorged 1997
Green Point Shiraz Yarra Valley Reserve 2004
Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneeros 30th Anniversary 2004
Marques de Grinon Ptiti Verdo Dominio de Valdepusa 2003
Groom Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills 2006
Chateau Gruaud-Larose St.-Julien 1999
E. Guigal Cote-Rotie Brune et Blonde 2003
Gunderloch Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Rheinhessen Nackenheim Rothenberg 2004
HALL Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Walker Bay 2006
Hardy's Shiraz South Australia Eileen Hardy 2001
Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan 2004
Charles Heidsieck Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Blanc des Millenaires 1995
Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Brut Champagne Blue Top NV
Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Nap Valley Trailside Vineyard 2001
Hess Collection Chardonnay Napa Valley 2004
Hogue Merlot Colubia Valley Reserve 2003
Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage White Le Chevalier de Sterimberg 2004
Maison Louis Jadot Meursault 2004
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Chateau du Nozay 2005
Justin Paso Robles Savant 2004
Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 1999
Chateau Lagrange St.-Julien 2002
Landmark Chardonnay Sonoma Valley Damaris Reserve 2004
Domaine Laroche Les Vaudevey Chablis Premier Cru 2004
Chateau Latour Pauillac 2001
Leasingham Shiraz Clare Valley Classic Clare 2005
Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series 2003
Peter Lehmann Clancy's Barossa 2004
Chateau Leoville Barton St.-Julien 2000
Luce della Vite Toscana Luce 2003
Chateau Lynch-Bages Pauillac 2004
Chateau Margaux Margaux 1999
Markham Merlot Napa Valley Reserve 2001
Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Campolongo di Torbe 2000
Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2000
Matau Sauvignon Blanc Marlbororough 2006
Merryvale Profile Napa Valley 2003
Mer Soleil Chardonnay Central Coast Silver 2005
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan 2004
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Montes Alpha M Santa Cruz 2004
Morgante Nero d'Avola Sicilia Don Antonio 2004
Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero Malleolus de Sancho Martin 2004
Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2001
Movia Brda Veliko Bianco 2002
Bodegas Muga Rioja Torre Muga 2003
G.H. Mumm Brut Champagne Cordon Rouge NV
Bodgas Naia Rueda Naiades 2005
Silvio nardi Brunello di Montalcino Vigneto Manachiara 2001
Newton Chardonnay Napa Valley Unfiltered 2004
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Icon 2006
Vina Nora Rias Baixas Nora da Neve 2005
Greg Norman Cabernet-Merlot Limestone Coast 2003
Novy Family Syrah Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella's Vineyard 2005
Nozzole Toscana Il Pareto 2003
Numanthia-Termes Toro Numanthia 2004
Chateau Les Ormes de Pez St.-Estephe 2003
Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2004
Chateau Palmer Margaux 1998
Patz & Hall Chardonnay Carneros Hyde Vineyard 2004
Peju Province Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Reserve 2004
Penfolds Shiraz South Australia St. Henri 2002

Chateau Petit-Village Pomerol 2003
Petrolo Toscana Torrione 2004
Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley 30th Anniversary 2003
Chateau Pichon-Longueville-Baron Pauillac 2003
Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District 2003
Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne Cuvee Rare NV
Planeta Sicilia Cometa 2005
Poliziano Toscana Le Stanze 2004
Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2004
Produttori del Barbareso Ovello Riserva 2001
Provenance Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2004
Prunotto Barolo Bussia 2001
Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano Poggio Valente 2004
Querciabella Chianti Classico 2004
Quinta do Crasto Douro Reserva Old Vines 2004
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port Noval 2003
Quinta do Vale Meao Douro 2004
Ramos Pinto Tawny Port 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom-Retiro NV
Roscca delle Macie Toscana Roccato 1997
Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L'Ermitage 2000
Rosemout Syrah McLauren Vale Balmoral 2002
Rosenblum Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso Vineyard Reserve 2005
Rubicon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Cask 2003
Ruffino Toscana Romitorio di Santedame 2001
Rutherford Hill Merlot Nap Valley 2003
St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Oroppas 2004
St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2002
St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Spatlese mosel-Saar-ruwer Piesporter Goldtropfchen 2005
Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto 2004
Sarget de Gruard-Larose St.-Julien 2001
Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc 2003
Domaines Schumberger Pinot Gris Alsace Grand Cru Kitterle 2002
Schramsberg Champagne
Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2006
Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley Cherryblock 2004
Seghesio Zinfandel Alexander Valley Home Ranch 2004
Sette Ponti Toscana Crognolo 2004
Siduri Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Keefer Ranch Vineyard 2005
Simi Chardonnay Russian River Reserve 2005
Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafite Pessac-Leognan 2003
Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2004
Pierre Sparr Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Schoenenbourg Vin d'Exception 2001
La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo 2004
Spring Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley Frederick 2003
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Fay 2003
Stags' Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Leap 2002
Sterling SVR Reserve Napa Valley 2004
Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes 2003
Symposium Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2000
Tasca d'Almerita Contea di Sclafani Rosso del Conte 2004
Terlato Family Pino Grigio Russian River Valley 2006
Terrabianca Toscana Campaccio 2003
Terrazas del los Andes Malbec Afincado 2003
Terredora di Paolo Fiano di Avellino Terre di Dora 2005
Tormaresca Aglanico Castel del Monte Bocca di Lupo 2003
Trapiche Malbe Mendoza Vina Victorio Coletto 2004
Turnbull Oakville 2004 (Black Label)
Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden 2005
Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 2003
Castello di Volpaia Toscana Balifico 2003
Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2004
Ciccio Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Sallis Castrum San Clemente 2002
Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2001

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Pine Ridge Chardonnay is from Napa Valley, Carneros. Known its consistent quality and lots of critical acclaim, the winery was founded in 1978.


Golden color with caramel, honey and oak on the nose and palate. Good acidity and rich with butter, butterscotch and toffee notes.


89 PTS
Perhaps a bit past its prime and on the decline, this white which made the Wine Spectator Top 100, is still solid. Retailed for around $25 a bottle. If you have this one in your cellar, it is time to open it. It won't get any better than its drinking now.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Each year, I look forward to the tri-state area's top wine events. For me, those include Wine Spectator's Grand Tour or Wine Experience, The Benefit for City Harvest, and Lauber's Grand Annual Tasting, which is a trade event, but top-notch and a personal favorite. However, I realized that there was another large scale event, Toast of the Town, that I had never attended.

Now in its sixth year and having expanded to three cities, Wine Enthusiast has done a marvelous job marketing and positioning Toast of the Town as one of the can't miss wine experiences of the year.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been skeptical about this event. Their list of participating wine distributors tend to be a little lackluster, with no presence from top tier heavy hitters that one might expect from a high profile tasting sponsored by a major wine publication. This has been the number one reason I have not attended Toast of the Town in the past, but last night I put my preconceived notions aside. I decided to give the show the benefit of the doubt, especially since, in addition to wine, it also featured a fairly impressive list of participating restaurants.


Gorgeous setting at the Lincoln center featuring over 500 wines and spirits and 30 restaurants. Lively, party atmosphere with more coquettes and cleavage than swirlers and spitters. If you are an inexperienced or casual wine drinker looking to try different varietals, sample some NY restaurant creations, or flirt and hobnob, then this is the social event for you! However, if you are looking for some serious wine tasting, you will be disappointed. Most of the wines featured were 84 - 88 point wines and fell into the $10 - $25 a bottle range. Concha Y Toro was there but without any Don Melchor. Clarendon Hills was there but there wasn't any Brookman Syrah to be found. Penfolds was there but no Grange. You get the picture. And for every wine that exceeded the overall quality in the room, there were three or four that fell significantly short.

My top wine honors of the night go to:

Banfi Rosa Regale 2006 - A red sparkling wine with rose petals and raspberries on the nose. A crisp, dry and refreshing palate cleanser.

Dios Baco Pedro Ximenez Sherry - Wonderful stewed fruit nose with enormous concentration of raisins and hints of figs, prunes and honey.

Chateau Reynella Old Cave Port - Spicy nuts on the nose with an impressive hazelnut finish that goes on forever.

My top food honors of the night go to:

Roosevelt Grill's Coulibiac of Smoked Salmon, Cilantro Lime Emulsion, Micro Herb Salad

Blue Fin's Rhubarb Parfait with Almond Streusel and Raspberry Pate de Fruit

MarieBelle's signature chocolates

Woo Lae Oak's KeSelmari Dungeness Crab, Leek & Spinach Crepes in Light Mustard Sauce


85 PTS
If you are a true wine enthusiast, you are better off spending twice the ticket price for the Wine Spectator events. At those events you are guaranteed that 90 point wines or better are poured at every table and you're likely to taste all the First Growth Bordeaux, California Cult Cab Stunners, Super Tuscan Sensations, Oregon Pinot Noir Elegance, Australian Shiraz Fruit Bombs and Spanish Toro Dazzlers you can imagine.
However, if you are simply looking to have a good time, this light-hearted affair won't disappoint. The mood is jazzy and fun. It is not a serious or snobby event and it provides a good introduction to the wine world and tasting events.

The Lincoln Center location may no longer be ideal for Toast of the Town. Although it is beautiful, it was hot and overcrowded. There was not enough space between aisles creating major traffic jams which made it difficult to get to tasting tables. Again, the event planner could learn a lot from Spectator's events which are more spacious and tend to spread out top wine attractions like an amusement park would roller coasters to avoid congestion in any one area. It is entirely possible that this event has grown too big for this setting (a sign of its success and growing popularity) and might be better served by expanding to a different venue.

Toast of the Town would definitely benefit heavily by including more top tier wines. While the VIP Tasting Admission for $185 grants entrance two-hours early and the ability to taste an extra higher echelon wine, it still left something to be desired. The $95 ticket price for the Grand Tasting would be much more appealing with a few marquee wineries pouring expensive and highly sought after wines.

Kudos to Spiegelau who sponsored the event and provided it with glassware. Every ticket holder took home a beautiful piece of stemware. It was also very classy of them to allow guests to exchange their used tasting glass at the end of the night for a new clean one. Other shows rarely grant this courtesy leaving guests with the hassle of trying to get the dirty glass home without staining bags or clothing.

The next stop of the show is in Chicago on May 3, 2007. For tickets or more info go to
Toast of the Town.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


This Spanish red is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an alcohol content of 14% and was aged in a mix of French and American oak. Alvaro Palacios trained at Chateau Petrus before creating his own Priorat in 1989.


Garnet red color with black cherry and wild berries on the nose. Thick and juicy with strawberry, cocoa, plum, oak, minerals and lots of tart cranberries and sour cherries on the finish. Smooth but with chewy tannins.


90 PTS
A very well made Spanish Priorat that is a good food wine. Pleasurable and solid all around but not showy. Retails for around $27 a bottle which is overpriced for what it has to offer. There are too many dynamic Spanish reds out there in this price range that are more satisfying.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This South African red is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier. It has an alcohol content of 14.5% and is from the Franschhoek Valley.


Lively purple color with rich ripe berries on the nose. Medium bodied. Fruity blackberry with sour cherry and grape Sour Patch candy flavors. There's some tartness and slightly off-balance acidity on the finish almost a bit vegetal. Hints of chocolate and spice are lurking underneath.


88 PTS
Previous vintages of The Chocolate Block really impressed me. They were so rich with chocolate and coffee. This vintage has not quite come together yet. I was somewhat disappointed. It is almost more Spanish in style with its fruit forward grapiness. This is a good bottle that will improve with cellaring, but it feels a bit young right now.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


This D.O.C. dessert wine is derived from selected white grapes, mainly Trebbiano and has an alcohol content of 16.5%. The grapes are dried for several months in the traditional manner on cane matting. The must is then fermented and matured for over four years in cherry-wood, oak and chestnut casks.


Dark amber color with citrus and caramel on the nose. Thick, sweet elixir on the tongue with ripe candied fruit and nuts, honey and a blatantly obvious (and enormous!) hazelnut finish!


94 PTS
This is simply awesome! The finish on this wine is astounding. The hazelnut is so pronounced and delicious it blew me away. Really, really phenomenal dessert wine.

Friday, April 13, 2007


This St. Estephe Bordeaux has vines very close to Cos d'Estournel. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


Medium to dark red color with black fruit, smoke and toasted oak on the nose and palate. Blackberry, black licorice, and black currant dominate this smooth well-structured yet heavy red. Dry with thick tannins and some spice on the finish.


90 PTS
I purchased this bottle on sale for $15 and it delivered. This is a very good Bordeaux that is drinking exceptionally well for its age. Right now it shows more power than elegance. It is a bit tight when first opened but it has a wonderful toasty oak nose that gently yields to black fruit. Hard to justify reaching above $20 for this wine and I've seen it retail for as much as $25, but a very solid effort.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I needed half a bottle of Pinot Noir to make a Shitake and Portabello mushroom bisque, so I picked up this value red. In the past, I've always been impressed with Concannon's Petite Sirahs. They are a solid producer of quality wine so I was curious to see what they could do with Pinot Noir.

The Pinot has an alcohol content of 13.5% and comes from the Central Coast of California.


Light red color with cherry, earth, violet and spice on the nose. This is literally the description on the back of the bottle. They were on the nose with the nose! The mouthfeel is thinner than I would prefer for Pinot Noir but there's lots of cherry, raspberry, and vanilla oak. The finish is cherry cola, earth and a hint of ginger. Good acidity and fairly smooth.


For a $12 Pinot Noir, this is a solid effort. Won't blow you away, but enjoyable with some real character, aromas, and style.

Monday, April 09, 2007


A blend of 30% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 30%Touriga Franca, 5% Tinta Barroca and 5% Tinta Amarela. The wine has an alcohol content of 14.5%.


Dark color with a saturated blueberry and licorice nose. Lots of blueberry, blackberry, black currant, chocolate liqueur and vanilla on the palate. Dense with lush tannins, clean, rich and powerful.


Ripe fruit with great concentration. There's simply no denying how good these Douros out of Portugal are being made. Tremendous quality. For $18 a bottle the value here is immense. I'm convinced that a bottle like this will cost twice the price in the years ahead as Portuguese wines grow in popularity.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The Furstentum Grand Cru lies at 400m altitude, facing due south. It is one of the last remaining vestiges of the sub-Mediterranean era which Alsace experienced. The soil is very stony and drains well because the calcareous bedrock breaks through.


Golden yellow color with tropical fruits and floral nose. Creamy sweetness, honey, citrus, melon, spice and minerals. Clean, fresh and smooth with tremendous aromatics.


This is an excellent Gewurztraminer and a phenomenal starter wine for a wine evening. Rich, well balanced, bursting with flavor and aromatics, and very alluring.

Friday, April 06, 2007


This 14.8% alcohol wine consists mostly of traditional grape varieties from the Grenache and Caignan areas, from well establsighed vines which are between 50 and 80 years old and of small yield. It is a blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Carignan, 5% Tempranillo, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah. The wine was aged in French Allier oak barrels for 18 months and is unclarified and unfiltered.


Dark ruby color with chocolate rum cake, berries and toast on the nose. Flavors of cherry liquor, cocoa, pain grille, black fruit and roses. Smooth with lots of power and finesse and a nice harmonious finish.


91+ PTS
Perhaps a bit young but still really impressive right now. The nose straight out of the bottle is sexy and seductive. This Spanish blend sports the Jorge Ordonez stamp of approval on the label. Retails for around $30.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007



Golden yellow color with a peach and floral nose. Gobs and gobs of honey are accented by pear, apple, caramel and minerals on the finish. This big, sweet elixir has a slightly heavier than normal mouthfeel for a white but is smooth and clean.


91+ PTS
This Chenin Blanc Loire white wine is delicious and makes a great after dinner drink. I found this to be a great sipping wine. Very big and a great compliment to food as well. Lots of acidity will allow this wine to cellar for quite some time.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


A 7000 case blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah with 14% alcohol.


Light garnet color with an earthy nose of herb, green pepper, sweet vanilla and barnyard. There's zippy acidity on the tongue and loads of black pepper notes, black currant, licorice and tobacco leaf. There's also a bit of alcohol/heat on the finish, but fairly smooth overall.


86 PTS
Robert Parker scored this one 90 points and if you absolutely love peppery Cotes Du Rhone then you'll probably agree. I just didn't find this wine very exciting. It is extremely dry and not completely balanced. There is great value here for $10, but not great enjoyment.