Thursday, September 30, 2010

Casillero del Diablo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Casillero del Diablo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Origin: Casablanca Valley, Chile
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: September 2010
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Grassy, herbaceous aromas are presented by this light gold wine, with significant citrus and gooseberry notes. Crisp and tart on the palate, the citrus flavors dominate, though are reasonably well balanced. There's a bit of astringency in the moderately long finish.

Our rating: A fairly typical example of this varietal, though the tropical fruit and herbal characteristics are overwhelmed a bit by the citrus flavors. It is probably best paired with white fish filets or shellfish, though we enjoyed our bottle with a vegetarian dish. Priced a little high for what is at best an Average wine. We previously rated the Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Average as well.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Color: Straw yellow with soft green hues. Aroma: Fresh and citric. Peaches notes with hints of gooseberry and tropical fruit. Taste: A gentle, round and mouth-filling wine, with crisp acidity and balanced natural acidity."

Winery website: Casillero del Diablo.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Harvest Time Clearance at Wine.com!

Wine.com: Harvest Clearance Up to 50% Off

It's time to make room for the next vintage which means up to 50% savings for Wine.com shoppers. For 5 days only, from September 29th through October 3rd, 2010, you can save up to 50% on select wine during the Harvest Time Clearance. No promotion code required. Prices are as marked and quantities are limited to stock on hand.

For even more savings, use one of the following October coupon codes during check-out:

FALLTEN: Save $10 on orders of $150 or more;
FALLGIFT: Save 5% on any gift basket;
FALLCLUB: Save 10% on any 3-, 6-, or 12-month wine club membership.

Coupon codes may not be combined on one order, and expire October 31, 2010.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blitz Riesling 2009

Blitz Riesling 2009
Origin: Mosel, Germany
Blend: Riesling (100%)
Alcohol Content: 9.5%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $9.99

Our review: Light gold in color with aromas of apple, peach blossom, and honey. Rich tasting on the palate, the fruit flavors tend toward the slightly overripe and add some tropical character (melon). The finish is fairly long, and reminiscent of cider.

Our rating: An interesting sipping wine, suitable for casual get-togethers with friends and family. Probably best served alone, it would also pair with finger foods. Overall, it's more complex than we expected, yet we still rate it only about Average, for which it seems priced a bit on the high side.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Balanced toward the soft side, and has an infused character of peach and apple. The taste has an immediate appeal, marked by a nice juicy finish and a hint of minerals."

Winery website: Dr. Heidenmanns-Bergweiler.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Deinhard Medium Dry Sparkling Wine NV

Deinhard Medium Dry Sparkling Wine NV
Origin: Germany
Blend: "Cuvée of classic varieties"
Alcohol Content: 11.0%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: July 2010
Purchase Price: $9.99

Our review: Greenish straw in color with fresh tropical fruit aromas (pineapple, mango, papaya) accompanying an initial burst of bubbles. Lightly sparkling, the tropical fruit flavors are forward on the palate, becoming slightly sweeter into the finish, which is long but somewhat flat.

Our rating: It's always hard to discern what is meant by "medium dry"; this sparkling wine seems more sweet than dry, but it's a pleasant sweetness, one that would be welcome with a brunch of fresh fruits and pastries. Not really a dessert wine, but one that you might want to try with appetizers. We enjoyed our bottle al fresco, as is, and rate it Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Fragrant scent of tropical fruit. Whiff of citrus and apple, lined with a light scent of yellow-gold bananas. Freshly titillating on the palate, uncomplicated, long-lasting aftertaste."

Winery website: Deinhard: Wiune and Sparking Wine.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Courtney Benham Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Courtney Benham Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Origin: Napa Valley, California
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (90%), Chardonnay (10%)
Alcohol Content: 13.9%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $10.99

Our review: An exceptionally pale straw in color, this wine has aromas of tropical fruit (papaya, melon, pineapple) with slight lemongrass notes. Smooth, almost silky, on the palate, the fruit flavors are paired with a mild minerality. The lengthy finish has some smoky heat to it.

Our rating: This is an elegant dinner wine, or a fine wine to serve at Thanksgiving. We enjoyed our bottle with roasted chicken, potatoes, and onions, an excellent choice. We previously rated the Courtney Benham Sauvignon Blanc 2007 excellent; this particular vintage rates just a tad lower at Above Average, nearly Excellent.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Inviting tropical aromas of honeydew melon and grapefruit with light grassy overtones. Rich flavors of melon, tangy grapefruit and pineapple continue in this wine. This smooth, full wine has an ample palate with lingering bright flavors of refreshing fruit."

Winery website: Martin Ray Winery.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Albet i Noya Xarel-lo 2008

Albet i Noya Xarel-lo 2008
Origin: Penedes, Spain
Blend: Xarel-lo (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: July 2010
Purchase Price: $10.99

Our review: A pale golden straw in color, this wine has fresh tropical fruit aromas (pineapple, banana) with notes of orange blossom. Very fruitful on the palate, there is a nice balancing acidity to the fruit flavors. The finish is relatively brief, though has an interesting complexity to it.

Our rating: This is a lovely wine, one that is easy to enjoy as is, watching the sun set or while relaxing with a good book. If served with a meal, we suggest a light lunch or possibly an afternoon tea. We rate this wine, made with organic grapes, Above Average, nearly Excellent.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: Albet i Noya.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Soria Prosecco Vino Spumante Extra Dry NV

Soria Prosecco Vino Spumante Extra Dry NV
Origin: Italy
Blend: Prosecco (100%)
Alcohol Content: 11.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2010
Purchase Price: $9.99

Our review: Silver straw in color with a brief burst of bubbles, this lightly sparkling wine has aromas of green apple and stone fruit (apricot) with faint citrus notes and maybe a hint of floral. The flavor profile leans towards apple but there's definitely some sweet fruit present. A light minerality develops into the moderately long finish, which has an almost nutty character to it.

Our rating: We enjoy proseccos, particularly for sipping late in the afternoon. This is a nice example for such a purpose, but seems more appropriate for pairing, either with a light lunch or maybe an appetizer platter. A little food helps round it out. We rate it on the high side of Above Average, an identical rating we gave to a bottle of prosecco we tasted last year, the E. Soria Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry NV. However, we're not at all sure what we're reviewing here and what we rated a year ago are one and the same. The differences include the name ("E. Soria" versus just plain "Soria"), a completely different bottle and label (blue label versus clear label with red banner), and a slightly different price ($10.99 versus $9.99).

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A-Mano Pinot Grigio 2009

A-Mano Pinot Grigio 2009
Origin: delle Venezie, Italy
Blend: Pinot Grigio (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: A very pale greenish yellow in color, this wine has citrus aromas coupled with green apple and a touch of kiwi. Very tart on the palate, the fruit flavors are masked a bit by considerable acidity and some minerality. There isn't much of a finish.

Our rating: This is a very aggressive example of this varietal, much more intense than we were expecting and not all that enjoyable. It's most definitely not a sipping wine, but food does tend to balance its acidity somewhat. We were disappointed overall, and rate it Below Average.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Si Soave 2008

Si Soave 2008
Origin: Soave, Italy
Blend: Garganega (90%), Trebbiano (10%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $9.99

Our review: Greenish gold in color, this wine has a significant floral aroma with tree fruit (peach) notes. The flavor profile on the palate is reminiscent of jasmine and similar floral or fruit-flavored teas. The finish is lengthy and rather complex.

Our rating: We enjoyed this wine, which is presented in an unusual curved bottle. We think it is best served with a light lunch or as an aperitif. We mis-paired it with a chicken and pasta dish; it was just OK but we could readily see its potential with lighter dishes. For what we rate to be an Average wine, we think it priced a little on the high side.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Intense and slightly aromatic bouquet [with a] delicate flavour."

Winery website: Si Soave Italia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cottesbrook Sauvignon Blank 2009

Cottesbrook Sauvignon Blank 2009
Origin: Marlborough, New Zealand
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $11.99

Our review: An exceptionally pale green with silver highlights in color, this wine has fresh aromas of lime zest, lemongrass, and gooseberry. The characteristic flavor on the palate is not dissimilar, reminiscent of slightly undersweetened limeade, tart but refreshing. The finish adds some minerality.

Our rating: This wine gives the impression it should be consumed on a hot summer day, maybe while waiting for a chicken breast or a tuna steak to be grilled on the barbecue. We served our bottle with a roasted chicken, not an ideal choice, but possibly because we were thinking we should have grilled it outdoors instead! We previously rated last year's vintage, the Cottesbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Above Average, and this year's garners a similar score.

No taste profile from the winemaker found.

Winery website: None found.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Origin: Lake County / Mendocino County, California
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (~100%); may include a touch of Muscat and Chardonnay
Alcohol Content: 13.1%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $10.99

Our review: Aromas of gooseberry and lemongrass, together with very slight vegetal notes (asparagus) are exhibited by this light lemon yellow colored wine. Silky smooth on the palate, almost creamy, the fruit flavors are at first slighted muted before evolving into a mildly tart, but well balanced, flavor profile on the palate. The finish is quite long.

Our rating: This is a fine example of this varietal. Increasingly (and thankfully), California wineries are abandoning oak cellaring of sauvignon blancs, allowing the characteristic flavors of the grape come through. This would make for a nice choice with many cuisines, but we think simply prepared poultry or fish dishes are probably best. We rate it Above Average, nearly Excellent. (Note: this wine is made with organic grapes.)

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Intense aromas of grapefruit, citrus, kiwi and fresh cut grass greet the nose. As you drink, the crisp acidity gives the wine a fresh vibrant feel with flavors of grapefruit, lime zest and grass that closes with flavors of melon and a nice tart fi nish."

Winery website: Bonterra Vineyards.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Selection Prestige Bordeaux Blanc 2009

Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Selection Prestige Bordeaux Blanc 2009
Origin: Bordeaux, France
Blend: Semillon (60%), Sauvignon Blanc (40%)
Alcohol Content: 12.0%
Bottle Closure: Synthetic Cork
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $12.99

Our review: Silver straw in color, this wine has a pleasing fragrance, with aromas of lemongrass, orange zest, with slight honey, almost spice notes. Somewhat tart on the palate, the citrus flavors take a moment or two to develop. It is nicely balanced and has a faint mineral character. The finish is clean, if relatively brief.

Our rating: This would make for an elegant dinner wine. Fairly light, we would suggest serving it with an early course, either the salad or the fish. With no particular dinner plans -- elegant or otherwise -- on our social calendar, we served our bottle with lightly seared tuna, a good choice. We enjoyed this wine, and rate it Above Average, nearly Excellent.

Taste profile from the winemaker: Information about this wine cannot be found on the winery website.

Winery website: Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vignal Verduzzo NV

Vignal Verduzzo NV
Origin: delle Venezie, Italy
Blend: Verduzzo (100%)
Alcohol Content: 11.0%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2010
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Light golden yellow with an abundance of bubbles, this wine has aromas of peach and other tree fruit with distinct notes of nuts. Very light and initially slightly sweet on the palate, the fruit flavors emerge into the finish, which is on the dry side and a bit toasty.

Our rating: This very fine sparkling wine would be a perfect accompaniment to a brunch or to serve at a festive occasion. We, on the other hand, were in a mind for pizza, not a traditional pairing to be sure, but we enjoyed it just as much. This is our first sparkling verduzzo, but it certainly won't be our last. We rate it Above Average, nearly Excellent. (Note: the bottle image shown is somewhat different than the bottle we reviewed.)

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Colour: brilliant yellow. Fragrance: fruit-like taste. Flavour: pleasant, sapid and properly sweet."

Winery website: Vini La Delizia.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One Cent Shipping, Three Days Only This Week at Wine.com

Wine.com: 1 cent Shipping

You'll find great deals on wine all month long at Wine.com, but don't miss out on the three days when you can enjoy 1 cent shipping on any 12 or more bottles. Use code SHIPSPT at checkout. Valid three days only: September 7th through 9th, 2010.

For additional savings, use one of the following September coupon codes during check-out this month:

FALLTEN: Save $10 on orders of $150 or more;
FALLGIFT: Save 5% on any gift basket;
FALLCLUB: Save 10% on any 3-, 6-, or 12-month wine club membership.

Coupon codes may not be combined on one order, and expire September 30, 2010.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2009

Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2009
Origin: Portugal
Blend: "Selected grapes of the indigenous Loureiro and Pedernã varieties"
Alcohol Content: 11.0%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: May 2010
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Pale silver-green in color, this wine has bright aromas of citrus and green apple. The flavors are similar on the palate, with a grapefruit tartness dominating, accompanied by a little effervescence. Some minerality develops into the finish, which is brief and not all that memorable.

Our rating: These "green wines" are intended to be consumed as early as possible after bottling, so we appreciate that more of them are clearly dated. We recommend that vinho verdes be served as either an aperitif or with appetizers, which is how we enjoyed our bottle. Last year we rated the Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2008 Above Average, but we weren't as thrilled with this year's effort, being too dominant on a single flavor (grapefruit) and rating it just Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Very bright and clear wine with a pale, citrus-yellow hue. Its bouquet is intense and complex with a prevalence of citrus notes complemented by tropical fruit and floral tones. In the mouth it has lively acidity balanced by complex flavours that makes for a wine full of character. It has a fine body, an intense flavour, and a long, lingering finish."

Winery website: Sogrape.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Spier Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Spier Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Origin: Western Cape, South Africa
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Alcohol Content: 13.0%
Bottle Closure: Screw Cap
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Pale gold in color, this wine has aromas of grapefruit, lemongrass, and bell pepper with some very slight floral notes. Nicely fruitful on the palate, the slightly tart citrus flavors have a good balancing acidity. There isn't much finish, but it is clean and refreshing.

Our rating: Those who tend to enjoy New Zealand-style sauvignon blancs but are put off a bit by how aggressive they can be will likely enjoy this wine. It retains many of the characteristics of this varietal but softens them a bit. Likely to be very food friendly, we served our bottle with a salad course of tomatoes and marinated onions, an excellent choice. We rate it on the very high side of Above Average.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Green in colour with a yellow hue, the wine shows fresh tropical fruit aromas with figs, and grassy undertones. Layers of tropical fruit show on a well-structured and -balanced palate."

Winery website: Spier South African Wines.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Caposaldo Pinot Grigio 2008

Caposaldo Pinot Grigio 2008
Origin: Veneto, Italy
Blend: Pinot Grigio (100%)
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Bottle Closure: Natural Cork
Purchase Date: August 2010
Purchase Price: $8.99

Our review: Lemon yellow in color, this wine has bright aromas of peach and apple with significant floral notes. The fruit flavor profile on the palate is remarkably similar, clean and crisp, with a touch of minerality. The finish maintains its intensity for quite some time.

Our rating: This is a fine example of this versatile varietal. Readily served as a sipping wine or as an aperitif, it would pair nicely with most any seafood dish. We served our bottle with a crisp mixed green salad and fresh baked bread and found it delightful companion. A real find at this price point, we rate it Excellent.

Taste profile from the winemaker: "Pale, straw yellow. Delicate white fruit and apple aromas. Flavors are offset by notes of acacia blossoms and almonds. The texture is crisp and vibrant with a well-balanced, bright acidity and a clean, fresh finish."

Winery website: Kobrand Corporation (Importer/Distributor).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Big Savings on California Wines during September at Wine.com

Wine.com: Big Savings on California Wines

In California, September is California wine month – so Wine.com is featuring huge savings of up to 50% on amazing California wines. California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries, and 90% of all wine produced in the U.S. comes from California.

For even more savings, use one of the following coupon codes during check-out:

FALLTEN: Save $10 on orders of $150 or more;
FALLGIFT: Save 5% on any gift basket;
FALLCLUB: Save 10% on any 3-, 6-, or 12-month wine club membership.

Coupon codes may not be combined on one order, and expire September 30, 2010.

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