Friday, July 31, 2009

Sterling Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Sterling Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Origin: Central Coast, California
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $6.99

Our review: Straw-gold in color, this lightly fragrant wine has aromas of peach and melon with citrus notes. The palate is a nicely balanced blend of fruit flavors and bright acidity. The finish starts aggressively with a mineral character to which a grassiness is overlaid; it smooths out over its extended length.

Our rating: We served our bottle with grilled chicken sandwiches and french fries, possibly not the best pairing but it worked for us! It should pair nicely with most poultry dishes. We actually purchased our bottle on sale for $7, a bargain. This Above Average wine is typically priced at $10 or more. Looking back on our notes, we previously rated the more expensive Sterling Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Excellent, though it may not be an accurate comparison as Sterling has several wine "collections". The 2006 was part of the Napa Valley collection, while the 2007 was part of the Vintner's collection.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Opens with classic aromas of tropical fruit, citrus and honeydew melon. The perfectly balanced flavors echo the bright fruit aromas, picking up stone fruit (apricot and peach) notes before culminating with a crisp finish. Intriguing hints of minerals and lemongrass add interest to the fruit character."

Winery website: Sterling Vineyards.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2007

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2007
Origin: Clarksburg (Sacramento Delta), California
Blend: Chenin Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $10.99

Our review: Medium gold in color and very lightly fragrant with an aroma of blended tropical fruit and slight sweet spice notes (almost floral but not quite). Nicely balanced on the palate but surprisingly weak in flavor, the wine has an extended, complex finish that adds a woodsy, spicy character and stone-like dryness.

Our rating: Several years ago we tried this wine and maybe we're remembering it more fondly than we should, but we were somewhat disappointed here. It's certainly an adequate wine, but equally certainly not a memorable one. It's rather hard to pair; we're thinking pork would be best; mild Asian cuisines might work as well. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill chenin blanc, and probably one worth trying if you're normally put off by the typical sweetness of this varietal. Average, and priced a little on the high side.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Aromas of honeysuckle, banana, orange peel and tropical fruit burst forward on the nose. The palate is defined by vibrant flavors of green apple, citrus, and melon that mingle with crisp acidity. The finish is harmonious, repeating the tropical fruit theme."

Winery website: Dry Creek Vineyard.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beringer Pinot Grigio 2008

Beringer Pinot Grigio 2008
Origin: California
Blend: Pinot Grigio (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $3.99

Our review: Light straw in color, this wine is quite fragrant, with aromas of apple, pear, pineapple and flowers, but also very slightly medicinal. Fruitful and crisp on the palate, the flavors unfold nicely into the finish, which then tends to bring out a more distinct alcohol character, not hot like some wines, just present.

Our rating: We served this wine with a platter of turkey sandwiches and side salads. It isn't terrific, lacking depth and overall interest, and the finish was very disappointing, but at the price we paid ($4), really not all that bad. Still, price aside, we'd rate it Below Average. On the value scale, though, it would rate higher. (We previously rated the Beringer Pinot Grigio 2006 Average.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: Beringer Vineyards.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lo Tengo Torrontes 2007

Lo Tengo Torrontes 2007
Origin: Argentina
Blend: Torrontes (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Light gold in color, this wine has aromas of tropical fruit (guava) and honey with distinct floral notes. The fruit flavors are moderated on the palate somewhat with a mild acidity, but are nicely balanced. The finish has good complexity with just a touch of smokiness.

Our rating: We enjoy this varietal, but unfortunately don't see it very often. We served this bottle with chicken and pasta in a creamy sauce, with which it paired very well. We previously rated the Lo Tengo Torrontes 2005 just Average; this vintage is better.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: Norton.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gnarled Vine Pinot Grigio 2007

Gnarled Vine Pinot Grigio 2007
Origin: California
Blend: Pinot Grigio (76%), Viognier (11%), Mixed Estate Varietals (13%)
Alcohol Content: 11.8%
Bottle Closure:
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $7.99

Our review: Gold in color, this wine has aromas of tree fruit and citrus with distinct floral notes and a hint of sweet spice. There's an unusual blend of flavors on the palate that is not entirely harmonious, which is carried forward into the lengthy finish where it fails to develop much further.

Our rating: This pinot grigio blend just didn't work for us. There seems to be more than a hint of oak cellaring here (and we could be wrong), but it doesn't add much to the wine's complexity. If anything, it makes the wine murky (from a flavor perspective). The wine is more successful when paired with a substantial dish. Still, we don't think it's very good and rate it Below Average.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: Oak Ridge Winery.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hogue Fume Blanc 2007

Hogue Fume Blanc 2007
Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (83%), Semillon (17%)
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Aromas of tropical fruit and peach with hints of spice are presented by this golden straw wine. The fruit flavors are quite crisp on the palate and quickly acquire a somewhat tart citrus character. The finish is long and expressive, though there is little to no evidence of any oak or smokiness commonly found in "fume" blancs.

Our rating: It's been years since we last tasted a fume blanc from this winery, long before we started this blog. Though we didn't take notes at the time, our recollection is the wine was overpowered by an oakiness, and thus we were relunctant to try again. There is no such problem here. In fact, marketed as a fume blanc, some oak character is expected and we detected only the barest hint. This wine is more in the style of a South African sauvignon blanc, a good choice for many dishes but not an outstanding one. At $9 it's a little overpriced; look for it $2-3 less. We rate it on the high side of Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Aromas of grapefruit, peach, guava and grass, along with vanilla and a hint of smokiness. On the palate are varietal flavors of grapefruit, white peach and honeydew melon. The wine is crisp, smoky and round with moderate weight and richness contributed by the semillon added to the blend"

Winery website: Hogue Cellars.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chateau Haut-Guillebot White Bordeaux 2006

Chateau Haut-Guillebot White Bordeaux 2006
Origin: Bordeaux, France
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (50%), Semillon (50%)
Alcohol Content: 12.0%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $9.99

Our review: A greenish gold in color, this wine exhibits aromas of citrus, asparagus, and fig, with faint floral notes; there is also a touch of evergreen evident. There is not much depth to the flavors on the palate, which one might expect of this blend. It also seems somewhat unbalanced. The finish has considerable mineral character and is lengthy but develops a slightly unpleasant chalkiness.

Our rating: We weren't overly impressed with this wine, but this particular vintage may be past its prime at this point. Not best as an aperitif, but it should be reasonably food friendly in terms of cuisine, especially vegetarian dishes. (Our pairing, admittedly, was less than ideal.) We rate it, as such, on the low side of Average but it is probably better than this.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Appearance : Crystalline. Gold yellow with hints of green. Nose : Notes of boxwood and broom. Hawthorn. Very fresh and intense. Palate : Very fresh, refreshing, lively and fruity. Good length, rich."

Winery website: Chateau Haut-Guillebot Vin Bordeaux.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pigmentum Ugni Blanc Colombard 2008

Pigmentum Ugni Blanc Colombard 2008
Origin: des Cotes de Gascogne, France
Blend: Ugni Blanc (60%), Colombard (40%)
Alcohol Content: 12.0%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: June 2009
Purchase Price: $9.99

Our review: A golden straw in color, this wine has fragrant aromas of tree fruit (notably golden delicious apples) with sweet floral notes. Of light- to medium-body on the palate, the fruit flavors are balanced nicely with a crisp acidity. The finish, of moderate length and fairly complex, is slightly too acidic though.

Our rating: This is more of a summer picnic wine than a dinner party wine, light and flavorful. We enjoyed ours with grilled white fish filets, but it should pair nicely with a wide variety of cuisines. It's not a memorable wine, but it is a nice one. Above Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Its brilliant colour with light green tints confirms its freshness and youth. You will be attracted at once by its explosive aromas of citrus fruits, exotic fruits and white flowers. The intensity persists on the palate thanks to a beautiful balance between the freshness of aromas and the fat issued from the well-crafted maturing on the lees."

Winery website: Pigmentum.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mendoza Station Torrontes 2008

Mendoza Station Torrontes 2008
Origin: Mendoza, Argentina
Blend: Torrontes (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $5.99

Our review: Tropical fruit aromas with notes of vanilla and spice are exhibited by this wine. The fruit flavors are a bit flat on the palate, which itself is unbalanced, being ever so slightly on the sweet side. The finish is marred with a somewhat chalky character, though is otherwise lengthy and of interest.

Our rating: Because this varietal is so uncommon here, we look forward to trying a new one. This particular wine isn’t among the best, but it isn’t bad either. And at just $6 it is a real value. We enjoyed our bottle with grilled chicken tenders, a good choice. Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker (from the bottle): Rose petals excel with hints to jasmine combined with orange skin notes. On the palate, it has a rich full-bodied texture, balancing acidity with summer fruit flavors. Enjoy as an aperitif or partnered with grilled vegetables or seafood dishes."

Winery website: None found.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Botter Verduzzo Prosecco NV

Botter Verduzzo Prosecco NV
Origin: Veneto, Italy
Blend: Verduzzo (51%), Prosecco (49%)
Alcohol Content: 11.0%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $8.99

Our review: A pale silver-green in color, this wine is both lightly fragrant and lightly sparkling. There is considerable mineral character that accompanies the citrus (mainly lime) flavor on the palate. The finish is clean, though brief.

Our rating: This dry wine makes for a delightful aperitif or an accompaniment to a light brunch. It is not overly flavorful, but has a brisk, fresh taste. It is priced a little high to be used as a mixer, but if so used, it would complement the base drink rather than overwhelm it. We rate it on the high side of Average. (Additional note: the cork in our bottle was rock hard and nearly impossible to remove. This wine comes with a standard bottle cork, not the oversize ones typically found on sparkling wines.)

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Pale light yellow colour, with fine perlage. Delicately fruity, slightly aromatic bouquet with hints of flowers among which honey and wild apple scents can be perceived. Well balanced and light body."

Winery website: Botter s.p.a..

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wine.com Offers 1 Cent Shipping with $99 or more This Week!

Anything But Chardonnay ("ABC") Wine Reviews periodically provides our readers with current promotions that offer discounts or other incentives for purchasing wine or wine-related products and services through our partner websites. Below is an offer we recently received that we're pleased to pass on at this time.

For the fifth consecutive year, Wine.com has been ranked the #1 online wine store by Internet Retailer magazine and they’re thanking their customers with 1 cent shipping! Starting tomorrow, Monday July 13th, everyone pays a penny on shipping when they order $99 or more. Simply enter code THANKYOU at checkout. But hurry! This special shipping offer ends Friday, July 17, 2009.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Villa del Borgo Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Villa del Borgo Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Origin: Friuli, Italy
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $9.99

Our review: Deep gold in color, this wine exhibits soft tropical fruit aromas of pineapple, melon, even a little banana. Of moderate body and very fruitful on the palate, there is a good balance to the acidity introduced. The finish is smooth with a touch of spice.

Our rating: We rarely purchase older wines; to be honest, we neglected to check the vintage on this when we bought it and likely would have passed it by had we noticed. But it seems to have aged well, and we enjoyed it very much. Sauvignon blancs from Italy are not commonly found here, but this one is rather different and Above Average.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bellini Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2007

Bellini Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2007
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Blend: Vernaccia (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $10.99

Our review: This light-bodied wine is straw in color and very aromatic, with a fragrance of tropical fruit (pineapple), tree fruit (peach), and spice. The palate has an interesting, earthy character, with a good balance between the fruit flavors and acidity. The finish is complex and of considerable length.

Our rating: We rather enjoyed this wine, with the second glass (after being opened for 15-20 minutes) being better than the first. Moderately priced, it’s a fine choice for most meals. Above Average, nearly Excellent.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava Brut NV

Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava Brut NV
Origin: Spain
Blend: Macabeo (50%), Xarel-lo (15%), Parellada (35%)
Alcohol Content: 11.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $7.99

Our review: Golden straw in color, this sparkling wine has aromas of tree fruit (notably red apple) and spice with slight floral notes. In addition to the fruit flavors, there is a considerable toast character on the palate, almost nutty, and a moderate amount of effervescence. The finish is very dry and of considerable length.

Our rating: This is a very nice cava, suitable as an aperitif or with a light meal. It's also a good choice for a brunch al fresco. A terrific value, we rate it Above Average.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava may available to purchase from Wine.com.

Winery website: None found.

Note: At the request of the winery, we have updated this post with the new name of this wine, together with a new bottle image. (02/2011).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Origin: Marlborough, New Zealand
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $9.99

Our review: This wine is silver-green in color with classic aromas of grapefruit, gooseberry and a touch of grassiness, typical of this New Zealand varietal. Light and crisp on the palate, the flavors are reminiscent of a tart, freshly made limeade. The finish exhibits considerable minerality and is a little too astringent.

Our rating: There’s not a lot of depth or complexity in this wine, and that’s a bit disappointing. It probably pairs best with shellfish but could also be served with appetizers or a crudit├ęs. Nice but not memorable; just Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "A vibrant zing, reminiscent of your grandma’s lemon chiffon cupcake. The flavors are integrated, delighting the senses with Meyer lemons, Key limes and a finish that awakens the appetite. This wine pairs well with oysters on a half shell or with a rich and succulent Lobster Risotto."

Winery website: Cupcake Vineyards.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Campaneta Pinot Grigio 2008

Campaneta Pinot Grigio 2008
Origin: Veneto, Italy
Blend: Pinot Grigio (85%), Garganega (15%)
Alcohol Content: 11.5%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $9.99

Our review: Pale yellow with a pleasant bouquet of apple and pear with citrus blossom notes, this wine has a similar flavor profile on the palate. There's a good balance of acidity and the finish, while somewhat flat, is pleasing nonetheless.

Our rating: We initially had a glass of this wine before the start of our meal and were not impressed. However, our second glass was served with stir-fried chicken tenderloins and almost seemed like a different wine, coming alive when accompanied by food. As such, we rate it Above Average (but don't recommend it as a sipping wine). Note: We were unable to confirm the percentage of garganega included in this wine; our source suggested it was 15%.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sanrocchetto Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2007

Sanrocchetto Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2007
Origin: Marche, Italy
Blend: Verdicchio (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: May 2009
Purchase price: $10.99

Our review: Presented in a very unusual, attractive bottle, this pale yellow wine has aromas of tropical fruit, melon, and citrus blossom; there’s also the barest hint of nuts. Quite smooth on the palate, the initial flavors are of slightly sweetened fruit. A dry, stone-like character is introduced into the finish, which is surprisingly complex. There’s a somewhat bitter aftertaste that enhances rather than detracts from the overall experience.

Our rating: A most enjoyable wine. We served ours with herb-roasted chicken and believe it pairs best with poultry. It would also make a fine Thanksgiving wine. Verdicchios are best served young, so look for the most recent vintage you can find. This particular one is Above Average, nearly Excellent.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.
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