Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fife 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

It is so hard now a days to find a complex Cabernet Sauvignon from California under 10 dollars. Really it's unheard of, but my friends, I have found such a bottle. This reasonably priced Cab is found at Trader Joes for only 8.00 dollars. Here are my notes on this wine, starting with the nose of course, I pick up Black cherry and berries, with a hint of cloves and tobacco. And on the taste, most of the nose seems to translate onto the palate. Upon my tongues encounter with this wine, it seems submerged in a sea of blackberries, black cherries and cassis. My palate also catches hints of tobacco and black tea in the mid. Then something interesting came about on the outside edges of my tongue, I enjoyed nuances of Blueberries transitioning into lush round tannins on the finish. All of the qualities found in this bottle, left my mouth watering for more. So in conclusion, definitely make a trip over to your local Trader Joe's and enjoy some good vino for cheap.

By the way Happy New Year, and if you are looking for some quality sparkling wines to bring in 2010, check out my posting entitled Bubbles, Bubbles, and more bubbles.

Bighorn Cellars 2005 Merlot - Broken Rock Vineyards in Napa

Forget about Sideways and it's take on Merlot, because along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and others, it is still a royal grape of Bordeaux. I've enjoyed enough wine tonight so I'm a get right into it. What I'm drinking tonight is Bighorn Cellars 2005 Merlot out of Napa. On the nose I pick up Berries, both red, black and blue berries. I also pick up a bit of plum and tea. The taste buds tend to follow the same suit as the nose, carrying with it the plum and rasberries. But the complexities come in the finish, I get the nuances of black tea and a hint of earth of soil. Basically if you love wine and have been neglecting Merlot, it's the time to revisit such a elegant grape. Try it and let me know what you think.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Spannotia Vineyards Garnacha 2006

So starting off, I would like to say, Merry Christmas. I'm sure most of you have been haunted by this seasonal gesture throughout the whole month of December, do not allow my greeting to leave you vexed, I mean it from the heart, even if it's after the day of giving. Getting into what I drank over the holiday, my primary wine of choice was the bubbles, yes, Champagne, Prosecco, white Lambrusco, some Asti for the lady and Rose Cava. Indeed it was a good couple of days, and sorry, I didn't review the bubbles, Christmas was for the Family. With the first day back at work, reality hit me and I realized, it's time to get back into the saddle and do the only thing that keeps me sane while working in corporate America, write about what I'm drinking tonight. My palates spotlight is shining on Spain's Garnacha grape tonight, which most wine enthusiasts classify as Grenache from the Rhone Valley in France. The bottle I'm sipping on tonight is Spannotia Vineyards Garnacha 2006. So before I get into the nose of this Garnacha, I must tell you that some people may not appreciate some of it's notes. But I happen to be one of those few individuals who become intrigued with different nuances in wine and how some bottles tend to translate the land of where they were created perfectly to the palate. This 2006 Garnacha on the nose carries notes of asparagus and herbaceous qualities. Although a bit tight on the smell I also pick up hints of rasberry, pepper, and smoked beef jerky. Getting in to the tasting notes, I pick the smoked beef jerky on the initial attack of the palate, and the pepper lasts throughout the mid, along with rasberry, black tea, and vegetation to the finish. I've tasted many Garnacha's from Spain and although the herbaceous notes and soil based vegetation intrigue me, I find the fruit to be, not so pure. All in all, this isn't an offensive wine to me, and I would like to try another bottle to see if the notes would be the same. If you get a chance to try it, please leave some notes on what your taste buds are telling you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier 2007 from South Australia

Take a trip down under and try the Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier 2007 from South Australia. A thing that numerous Winemakers in the past used to do was blend red and white grapes together. Many new-school wine maker have overlooked this process, and myself, I have been hesitant in trying such a blend for my consumption. In the last few years, I've shelved all of my prejudices, and by doing this, my mind and palate have been opened to much more exotic and qualities wines all over the world. The nose on the Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier 2007 is filled with a bit of chalkiness, Cassis, Cherry, a hint of beef, and a mixture of chocolate and cranberry on the back end. What I tasted was an abundance of red fruit, such as rasberry, cranberry, and cherry throughout the palate. Also, this blend had a nice little bit of chalkiness on the finish. One thing that really drew me into the this wine was, how much red fruit there was and how well the big fruit was contained, which is a great testament to the maker. So if you are a person who enjoys big fruit, but are interested in the wine makers ability to contain this fruit, you should try the Yalumba and leave a comment.

P.S you can find this wine at World Markets.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Viitiano 2007 - Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot

To all those new age drinker of Italian wine, who go to their local Raley's and buy the cherry based Chianti's who only carry one note, you may want to skip this entry. I have just tried a gem of an Italian wine that's complexity surprises me, especially for the price of this bottle. With that said, I'm a get right into the bottle I'm drinking tonight, I'm drinking the Vitiano 2007, with is a nice little blend from Italy. The nose of this wine is very interesting to me, it carrries blackberry, a little green herbaceous qualities, some chalkiness and a hint of Black cherry and Cassis. The mouth feel consisted of cherry, cranberry with a hint of Rasberry on the front end of the palate. Some of the initial flavors on the front end, translate to the mid and the finish, for example the berries and cherry in this wine. Also on the back end, there are round dry tannins, which also puts this wine into the category of versatility, for not only can this wine be adored by the wine snobs because of the complexity, this bottle still has the sour cherry component that is a characteristic of most Sangiovese infused wines from Italy. In closing I think that those who love wine, but are not a fan of Chiante, should go and try this wine. On the flipside, I say, if you love those super-tuscans from Italy, you will also enjoy this wine, so try it and leave a comment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pacific Oasis Pinot Noir 2005 Santa Barbara

If anyone gets a chance to visit Santa Barbara, don't just stop at the beach or wonderful restaurants on State Street, check out wine culture out there. There is definitely a different outlook on wine starting with the producers and ending with consumers in Santa Barbara. In this beautiful coastal community wine is everywhere, it is part of the culture without the underpinnings of wine snobbery that plagues other wine focused area throughout the United States. An example of a grape that has flourished in Santa Barbara County is "Sideways" theme grape Pinot Noir. What I'm drinking tonight is Pacific Oasis 2005 Pinot Noir. My notes for the Pacific Oasis starts, of course, starts with the nose. On the nose I pick up Black Cherry, bacon, and a hint of both earthiness and cloves. The taste consists of both sour black cherry and strawberry which is pronounced on the front to the mid of the palate. I also pick up a green plant type of vegetation on the transition from the middle to the finish, which is concentrated up the middle of tongue. This Pinot carries with it, good fruit and a long nice finish, especially for the price. I've tried a number of Oregon Pinot's in the past and this wine definitely reminds me, in some way, of their craftsmanship, especially in regards to the weight of the wine and the cloves coming through on the nose. Where this wine becomes more of a California play, lies in the big ripe fruit that sunny California weather is known to bring out in their wines. Although, a hard wine to come across at many stores, a person interested purchasing this wine can either go online or go to the Grocery Outlet in your area. The Pacific Oasis Pinot is going for $4.00 on sale at most Grocery Outlets. So try it and leave a comment. Peace and Love to you all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Royal Grape From Bordeaux That Needs a Crown

Most people think, even winos like myself, think that the royal grapes of Bordeaux consists of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Well there's one grape that most people overlook, Carmenere. Carmenere was pretty much the only varietal that could not be grown back in Bordeaux once the Phylloxera disease got into the roots, so Chile decided to adopt the grape, and there it has flourished. Although, many old-school wine critics consider Carmenere and other Bordeaux rejects (like Malbec and Pinot Verdot), as blending grapes, in the right terroir, these grapes have the ability to come into their own identities. So, enough with the history lesson, let's get into the wine I'm drinking tonight. I am drinking Anakena Carmenere 2005 Rapel Valley Single Vineyard. On the nose I pick up Blackberries, soil/graphite, and a hint of hickory stick and vanilla. I also catch a little bit of a vegetal note such as small green cabbage. Upon tasting this wonderful wine I realize that most of the nose translates directly to the palate. I'm tasting spice, blackberries, cherries, graphite, soil, and a hint of hickory stick and strawberries on the side of the palate. To be specific, I'm tasting most of the fruit in the front, except for the hickory and hint of strawberries on the sides of the mid palate, allowing the finish to stand alone with it's dry and round tannins. I, myself really love Carmenere as a grape, so if you get a chance pick one up, try it and leave a comment. All bottles are different, but for my palate, my deserted island wine collection would have to include a great number of Carmeneres, I love the complexities of this grape that much.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Montinore Estate - Willamette Valley - Estate Reserve - Pinot Gris Entre Deux Vineyard

See full size imageIt's been a weird day, and because of that I decided to switch gears. I know I've been reviewing Red wines as of late, but today I'm going to introduce the Pinot Gris grape. A place that is and has been receiving a lot of recognition for this grape varietal is Oregon. The wine I 'm reviewing from Oregon is Montinore Estate in Willamette Valley, Estate Reserve Pinot Gris Entre Deux Vineyard. On the nose of the Pinot Gris, I find Pear, Orange peel, Bananas, and peaches. On the tongue I get a rich wine with great balance of fruit and oak. This wine definitely has a great concentration of fruit. To elaborate, I also catch a finish that lasts very long. Oregon is not the only place producing great Pinot Gris outside of France, but I do believe that it is the place to find a great value in an area of exceptional fruit and great wine makers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rendez-Vous Beaujolais Nouveau 2009

Anyone who hasn't tried Beaujolais Nouveau from France, needs to seek a bottle out and expand their palate. Matter of fact Trader Joe's just added a new Beaujolais to their roster in the form of the Rendez-Vous Beaujolais Nouveau 2009, which is the wine I am now drinking. My notes on the Rendez-Vous starts, as always, with the nose. The fragrances that jump out at me consist of only two nuances, flowers and rasberry. I know I normally elaborate on the nose of the wine, but honestly, the only thing is rose petals and rasberry. So, moving right along, the taste consists of sour rasberry which translates from the nose to the palate. Also on the tongue, I get a hint of strawberry, with the rose petals hitting the mid-palate, extending through to the finish. Most of the fruit seems to be concentrated on the sides of the palate, and the finish is nice and long. By itself, this wine may not be for everyone, but try pairing it with pork dishes, turkey, of even ham, and you will understand the potential of this area in France. So, to all reading, live a little, go out and try a wine outside of Bordeaux and Burgandy, then let me know what you think.

La Rareza Prestigio Cabernet-Malbec 2006

Today I decided to travel to Argentina, minus the passport, wonderful food and beautiful eye candy. I'm sitting here in California, tasting a wine that truly reflects Argentina. What's on the menu tonight is La Rareza Prestigio Cabernet-Malbec 2006. On the nose, it seems a little closed, but some of the scents that came across were dark fruit mixed with cranberries. Also, I caught some woody purple paint chips that had me wondering what scents would translate to my palate. So, let's get into it, upon tasting the Cab-Malbec, I first noticed the great concentration on the sides of my tongue. Also, I'm not going to sugar coat the big tannins on the back end, which also took by surprise. Mixed in with the tannins was stone minerality and cranberries on the finish. I also enjoyed the length of the finish, which was a great reflection of the Argentina's terrior. This Cabernet-Malbec is an exceptional wine, which provides the pure fruit from the Malbec grape, but has the girth of the Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine does have one or two low points, but for those who want to understand how wine plays a good part in understanding a lands terroir, try this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ramsay - Cabernet Sauvignon - North Coast 2007

So, I've been a away for a while, and I sincerely apologize. I'm not going to bore you with details or excuses of why I haven't written anything in a while, I'm just going to continue where I left off, with a little twist. Wine will continue to flow throughout this website, but the posts will be a bit more concise, and with that I will start. I'm drinking Ramsay 2007 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon tonight. The Ramsey Cab's nose consists of figs, hint of eucalyptus, strawberry and vanilla. On the palate I get black cherry, some strawberry, and a nice long finish. I also get some light minerality on the finish. All in all, this is a decent wine, not really too much pizzazz, or wow factor but a solid well made wine. If you get a chance, check it out and post your comments. Till then, find your passion and run towards it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Dark chocolate pairs with Wine

With the spirit of Halloween I wanted to tie in chocolate. More specifically, dark mint chocolate. Maybe you're asking if I've switched from being a wino to being a foodie? Honestly I like both, but I love wine and of course, this being a wine blog, a pairing was inevitable. So after tasting numerous red wines, and pairing them with Dark mint chocolate, I only found couple that paired modestly. Then I thought, what about a Riesling? The reason being, the Riesling grape has the ability to pull off dry and off dry wines equally. This time I already know which Riesling will pair well. The Chateau Ste. Michelle is very accessible at the price of 10 dollars. When you pair it with, to be specific, the Ghirardelli Intense dark chocolate Mint bliss and this Riesling you get from the chocolate a light bitterness, and a subtle mint. With the wine you pick up green apples, a little spice and a earthiness that pair very well with the mint. This wine also has a spritz of lime and bell pepper, which enhances the good concentrated acid up the middle of the tongue. All in all, if you Halloween goers love Dark mint chocolate, here's a wine that can pair well with your indulgences. So to all you Vampires and Werewolves have fun, and be safe this Halloween while drinking wine.

The Rolling Stone - Best of Friends

Today your humble author has a wierd new twist for the blog. I received a letter, not more than five days ago, from my old friend Tiberius, living somewhere in southern Mexico and traveling freely about the country. The letter was written on a long sheet of papyrus and sealed inside an empty wine bottle, for reasons that have not been made clear.

It seems like a desperate attempt at publicity from this wretched bastard, and perhaps some last-ditch effort to increase the stock of the vineyard he has just invested in.

If for nothing other than the sake of entertainment, here is the letter, in its near entirety, courtesy of Tiberius Wellington Nero:

Dear Jay,

Trapped inside this fucking room with nothing more than a bleeding pen and this rancid shred of papyrus paper that I found in the corner. They must have abandoned me here for two hours already. Something about a drug deal gone bad. I was scouring through the room when I found an unopened bottle of La Redonda Vino Blanco Semi Seco; 2004.

Desperate with panic, I uncorked the bugger and twisted it toward my lips.

The first sip was filled with cork, which I swallowed down heartily. Never use a Swiss Army pocketknife to open a bottle, my friend. But then you already know that.

But back to the wine, eh?

Upon my first real sip, which I have just taken, I feel the zest of lemon, or some kind of sour citrus.

Fuck! The staleness at the tip of my tongue is wretched. Keep going. Tangy now. A twist of some kind of grapefruit. Maybe.

People are familiar with the wines from our Baja Region, but few know of the secret treasures of the cabernet and malbec vino here in Queretaro, Zacatecas and Aguas Calientes,

I am thinking of fish now. Suddenly. Maybe some Halibut or Mackerel. Yes. A squirt of lime with fish would be nice. Always squeeze the lime upward. Keep the seeds out of your food.

Fuck. Open the bottle Jay. Take a whiff of this sweet fruit. Grown right here in the bitter heart of Queretaro. Maybe, just maybe, this bottle will get me through the next few hours. Hopefully less. No one really knows the raw power of the beast. This sickly mead we sip on in the dark hours, when we think no one is looking. But that is for us to know and them to find out, eh? Women may have the call of the siren, but we will always have the upper hand -- as long as we control the booze.

Faster now. Half the bottle is gone, and I still have a ways yet to go on this papyrus. There is a damp, musty smell in this rotten room, and the oak-laden texture of this fucking grape soda is not doing much to help it.

But I apologize. I know better than to refer to wine as grape soda. Especially in front of an old merlot field like yourself.

....................[Edited due to obscene content].......................

Reaching the bottom of the bottle now. Too hazy to focus. I have to get out of this room. Shit, this letter may be the last I write. I am drifting off. Got to preserve it. Stick it in the bottle. I hope this letter reaches you well. Sorry there was no wine left. But

I have always been a liquor-monger.

Keep the Faith.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dolcetto: Where have you been all my Life.

In the world of wine, some varietals, in my opinion can only be described as sexy. My friends, let me introduce you to Dolcetto (dole-chet-toe). Based out of Italy, this wine is not as big in the United States market, as say it's fellow country grapes; Chianti or Pinot Grigio, but it's just as consistent of a wine. I personally love wines from Italy, and have tasted a good number of them, but because of limited access to Dolcetto, it took me awhile to get a taste of this grape. Well, now that I've sunk my teeth into this wonderful varietal, the word I would use to describe Dolcetto is sexy. And for around 11 dollars, you too can experience a Jonz in your Bonz without even listening to D'angelo (listen to the man's first album, and you'll know what song I'm talking about). The name of the specific bottle I'm reviewing is Bruno Porro San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogiani 2007. The seduction of this wine begins with it's nose which has a beautiful array of rose petals, smeared in candied red fruits such as cherry and strawberry. This Dolcetto also carries with it hints of vanilla and licorice. Now that this Dolcetto has teased your taste buds with a little four-play, it's time to consume it. As this wine embraces your mouth, your palate at the front end, is smothered with pure earthy wild cherries that travels through to the mid into the finish, but as it moves throughout your mouth it's joined by some other distinctive flavors. Joining the previous flavors it also introduces a chalky chocolate component on the transition mid to finish. This wine brings together a number of characteristics that when combined translate into silk throughout your palate. So to all you self-professed wino's out there, go ahead and romance yourself with this smooth as silk wine, I know I will, Cheers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wine Can Enhance Your Date

Do you remember back to when you were in your early to mid 20's and you would meet someone which after one of those "I want to get to know you" conversation over the phone, you were now planning a first date. At the age of 23 to 24 I found myself in the situation of wanting to step up my game, and look for a classy dame who's conversation could keep my attention over the phone. I realized that if I wanted to go from the minor to the major leagues in regards to women, I needed to do some work on myself. So I decided to take it upon myself to learn more about things further out of my reach financially, more specifically, wines. For some reason I felt as if a woman of a more sophisticated mind frame, all found wine pleasurable. I say all that to say this, rarely did my knowledge of wine help in smoothing out those awkward silent spaces that come about in most first dates. That was until I stopped worrying about the awkwardness and listened to how certain wines allowed for a woman's body language to speak out loud. So as I started to recognize that certain wines had the ability to stimulated a woman's senses I began to narrow the varietals down. Now these wine varietals aren't full proof, every palate's different, but these have been my "break in case of emergency" bottles. Hopefully this will help out some of my friends who call me panicking about what wine to get for a prospective date, and also all who are reading this. First, you want to find out how much the lady actually knows about wines, you know, whether they like white or red varietals. If your prospective date is anything like the women I used to date, most of them have a sweet tooth. Also, woman tend to lean towards the lighter wines, some grapes that fit into this category are Riesling, most Chenin Blancs from Vouvray, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, or muscato d'asti. All these grapes, mostly Rieslings or the Gewurztraminer are 80 percent deal makers for women. If after fact finding you realize your date is into reds, try to lean toward fruit forward, and young drinking wines. What I mean is look to more new world varietals like Shiraz from Australia (its the same thing as France's Syrah, but it's more heavy on the fruit and is better drunk in a younger vintage, at least in most cases.), A fruity Malbec from Argentina will also do the trick, or a pink blush wine known as rose from either Spain or the Rhone valley of France. I challenge you, both women and men, to go to your local wine shop (whether Trader Joe, Bevmo, or your neighborhood wine merchant), and find these wine varietals. For the guys, please tell me if my advice helped, and for the women, please comment about any varietals I may have missed, that always hit you in that right spot. Again, I'm just here to help, till then, live life one step at a time.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wine and Cigars - What a Pair

So, along with the large amounts of wine consumption, I do love a good cigar. Because my vices include both wines and cigars, how do I pair the two. Now don't get me wrong, I've tried not to allow the two to cross paths, but because I enjoy them both immensely, it was inevitable. So I lit up a La Gloria and began to think, what wines would pair best with this cigar? My first question was, am I leaning towards a red or white wine? Maybe it's me, but the thought of trying to pair a cigar with let's say, a Pinot Grigio did not seem too appealing. Although I do believe a buttery Chardonnay from napa may have done a decent job. However, I believe the job of matching a cigar with wine, fall to the dark side of the wine world, the reds. So let's run down the list, Pinot Noir - mostly too fruity and light, Cabernet Sauvignon - mostly too big, and Merlot - too inconsistent. On to the wines that captured the rare essence of this cigars complexities. In this case Syrah and Zinfandel were the best pairing for this cigar. To be more specific, a person looking to syrah should focus on the Rhone region of France and Santa Barbara in California. You may ask, why these regions for Syrah, well let me explain. In the Case of the Rhone Valley (The birth place of Syrah) and Santa Barbara, the soil allows its wines to have pure round fruit cloaked in peppery minerality which seems to cater to some of the vanilla/cocoa nuances that most cigars tend to exhibit.

As for the Zinfandel Grape, it displays bright rasberry, jammy red currant, and a tobacco component, YES I said tobacco. Some places, I believe produces the kind of Zinfandels with the ability to match up well with Cigars, are Sonoma Valley and Lodi. Sonoma tends to produce Zinfandels with an ideology standing firm on the foundation of structure, meaning that the flavors are concentrated, but the fruit doesn't overwhelm your palate. Sonoma County's Zins tend to pair well with medium bodied Cigars. Lodi is a whole different story in regard to most of the Zinfandels they make in that area of northern California. Lodi leans towards the fruit first aspect of wine making. When tasting a Zinfandel from Lodi, red fruit bombs (high in alcohol) seem to drop heavily on your palate, accompanied by hints of tobacco that linger long after the wine has gone down, look to pair with big robust cigars. Although, I mostly lean toward a premium Scotch or Brandy when consuming a Cigar, if you have followed me on previous posts, I do like to try new things. See if these pairing work for you, and if you have any ideas of wines out there that I need to try, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some Like it Hot

Okay, maybe not hot, but some of you do like your wines at room temperature and some like them chilled. To tell the truth, it's your personal preference. Don't let some so-called wine expert (except for me, you don't have to reply to that statement, your silence is confirmation enough) tell you how you need to drink your wines. So take it or leave it, but here's my preference. I like my red wine at room temperature, for me, when it's chilled, it seems to mute the nuances and complexities that I love so much. There is a exception though, have you ever spent a good amount of change on a bottle of red and when you tasted it, it didn't sit well with your palate? I have two suggestions, the first thing is let the wine get more air in it, sometimes the bitter tannins in the wine can settle down, and the second thing is, if this tear jerker wine doesn't subside, throw some ice cubes in it and call it a day.

In regards to white wines I tend to straddle the fence. Like most people, I too like my white wines chilled, but because I tend to consume more white wine during the hot months, it's always refreshing drink something cold. The thing is, when I'm in my "wine nerd mode," I like my whites at room temperature, again allowing me to taste all of the subtleties in the wine. Chilling wines tend to mask some of the fruit for me, but for people with more discerning palates, maybe it doesn't matter, you be the judge.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Changing Perceptions of Pairings

When it comes to food and wine, some consumers believe that there is some sort of formula when pairing the two. Right now, I want you, who are reading this to remember back to a time that you were told to drink red wines with beef and whites with seafood and poultry, now remove that suggestion from your mind. In the words of Eddie Murphy who starred the Nutty Professor's, "Yes I Can." Following suit, I now say to you, yes you can switch up your pairings. If it's a hot day but you don't want to sit inside the restaurant (example, because of the hot weather, there's beautiful half dressed eye candy roaming thoughout the city), and for some reason you're in the mood for a flank steak, don't be afraid to pair it with a full bodied Chardonnay, a Pinot Gris from Australia, or a Blanc from Northern Rhone in France. On the flipside, if you are in Monterey county and you are sitting outside (note to anyone who isn't from the southbay of California, even on hot days, the nights tend to get a bit chilly out there), you order the broiled catfish, but are reluctant to drink a white wine because of the windy chill derived from the coast, "don't be scared," suck it up and order a red. It's okay to order a Pinot Noir from Oregon, Burgandy in France, Otago in New Zealand, or maybe if you're at a Italian restaurant, order a Sangiovese from Tuscany. Either of the previous wines should pair extremely well with your catfish, or most of big flavored fish. So step up to the plate, try new things and like in life, don't be afraid to make a mistake, if you want to better understand yourself, those mistakes are necessary to you truly understanding yourself and in the case of wine, your palate. To all of you wonderful foodies and winos who grace my site with your presence, have a good Labor Day, and if you are doing something interesting leave a response so I know what's crackin' these weekend. To good wine, food and company, I raise my glass to you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles - Lambrusco Dell’emilia Bianco Dolce Le Grotte

Bubbles bubbles and more bubbles, It’s hot outside and champagne is in full effect. Let’s be serious though, not everyone has the pocket book for quality champagne. There are many sparkling wine wannabes out there, but to me, they always seem to fall a little short from the real thing. So I thought, let’s try some sparkling wines from different countries... and what a surprise! My search for a good sparkler lead me back to my favorite wine regions, Italy. Although, primarily known for their great red wines, Italy has some of the most interesting white wine varietals in the world. Some great white wines that spring to mind are Pinot Bianco, Vermentino, and of course Pinot Grigio. I’ve also come to find that Italy makes a number of high quality sparkling wines at a very, very reasonable price. Two out of the many great Italian sparkling wines that I found were Prosecco (for the wine connoisseurs, you probably already know about this great, light, acid laden white wine) and the second wine being the Lambrusco Bianco. In the past I had only crossed paths with the red version of Lambrusco, therefore, I had to try the white. So, let’s get on to what this wine brings to the table. The actual name on the bottle is Lambrusco Dell’emilia Bianco Dolce Le Grotte. For those who are interested, the only place I’ve been able to locate any white Lambrusco has been at Trader Joes. What this Lambrusco brings to the nose is hints of sweet smelling Acacia flowers and lychee fruit, this is a wonderful smelling bottle of wine. But as happy as I was with the nose I was even more impressed with the taste. This wine held within its grasp lychee fruit, which translated beautifully from the nose to the mouth, also on the mid palate a hint of orange peel and floral aspects meshed together very well. You add the variables of lychee, flowers, orange peel and pair it with the high and light acid, and this recipe brings my taste buds to life like Frankenstein. This is a beautifully executed sparkling wine which at that price point of 4.00 dollars, yes I said 4.00 dollars, it's an absolute steal. If you don’t believe me, buy a bottle and post your comments.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Everyday Drinking Wines - Vendemmia 2007 Beneventano Anglianico Epicuro, Riserva 2005 Salice Salentino Epicuro

Yes, my wonderful wine drinkers, we have two bottles. Today my taste buds take me to Italy. Well not Italy as in the Boot in Europe, but Italy as in soul of the country found in both of these bottles I'll be reviewing. Both bottles contain not well known grapes of Italy, at least not in the United States. The Vendemmia 2007 has 100% Anglianico and the Salice Riserva 2005 is 80% Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera is 20%. Now ask yourself, have you ever tasted any of these grapes let alone heard of them, for 80% of you, the answer is no, well you are in for a treat. These wines are easily accessible, they are located at the nearest Trader Joes in the Italian section. So let's get into my tasting notes. The Vendemmia 2007 Beneventano Anglianico Epicuro (priced at 5.99), on it carries with it cassis, strawberry, hints of hickory and some floral aspects. There's something about this nose seems pretty silky, which excites me a little. On the front I taste a mix of red ripe cherries and black berries which extends into the mid-palate adding hints of vanilla. This wine finishes silky, still allowing the fruit to remain intact, this is an everyday wine that is not too complex, but because of the fruit and sexy silk appeal, I find it delicious.
The Riserva 2005 Salice Salentino Epicuro (also priced 5.99) has a big fruit forward nose. This wine contains plum, cassis, candied blackberry, and oak. The taste contains good acid, good mouth feel, plum from front to mid, with a long finish of ripe cherry. Also like this wine's brother in brand, there is also a bit of cream in the mid which makes for a silky transition to a chalky cherry finish. For the price these are definitely a good couple of wines, and maybe a good choice for the fourth of July. Happy fourth of July to all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The New Popular Grapes to Indulge in California

For all of us, there are foods that our taste buds seemed to be drawn to. As we grow, these taste buds that seemed so enthralled with these certain foods of infactuation sometimes, down the road, starts to look for the exit door of your mouth. I am no different, for me I had an enormous sweet tooth, and as a child I loved sweets so much , that when my parent bought any type of economy size container of airheads (try to think back that far), I could literally smell them out in whatever hiding place my parents had at the time. So after my parents went to sleep I would sneak out of my room and sniff out my treats. I continued this until, I ate too much one night and felt sick the next day, that was when me and sweets parted ways. I know that my story is different from most, but underline message is that as we get older our taste buds change. I believe the same thing applies to wine, and if you've read any of my previous writing you know that I'm all about different types of wine. Everyone knows I drink alot of wine, and I believe that as my palate broadens I should be sharing whatever new knowledge I obtained with any anyone willing to read or listen. And yes, I know that because we live in California , most of our knowledge of wines lie in the grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Well my friends, my home work for you is to check out some new grapes, some grapes that are world wide in their exclusitivity, and also could save you some money in comparison to buying California's current social lubricants from Napa. Some of my favorite new white wine grapes, at least new to the California market, or maybe they are just rising out of obscurity finally, are: Torrontes, Vouvray, Vermentino, Viognier, and Vinho Verde. Also some red wines grapes that should be on your radar if you don't already know about them are Carmenere, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Malbec, and Tinto Cão (from portugal). I've tried all of these grapes in different forms, most were good , some were not. All in all, what I ask for is that people try new things,and for the price point on these wines, it's worth the money to try and expand you palate. Now I normally would break all of these grapes down for you readers, you know, what characteristic they hold, but, I really want to know you're true reactions to these grapes. So go out, spend less and drink better wines, whether it's today or a whenever down the road, if you try one of these grapes, go ahead and leave your comments. Till then take care and God bless till next time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Carr Winery - Santa Barbara, nice escape for an enlightened soul

Hello all, for any of you who have been following me on this little journey of exploring wines who's low price tags contradict the quality of it, here's another little fun fact about me, other than wine, a secret passion of mine is music. I feel as if life is a soundtrack. Normally my day starts off with a little jazz, then transitions into hip-hop throughout the period of my nine to five, and by the evening my days long set is concluded with some smooth R&B. But when I'm in a total relaxed mood, meaning I'm away from work, and the day is ripe with sun, wine and a good cigar, for me, nothing is better than some soulful Aya, Dwele, Blue Six, or a Rebirth album. I know you guys could care less about my self-indulgent rumblings, you want to hear about the wines. Well here it goes, last weekend a few of my friends whom I hadn't seen in a while, decided we wanted to get away from our normal lives and drive down to Santa Barbara. Although, the trip was supposed to include four of us some last minute roads block came into play for some of my journey men, so from four we were two. That was fine, I personally just wanted to see something different and Santa Barbara did not disappoint. Walking from winery to winery, my feet moved at the tune of Om Lounge and Jamiroquai, allowing the flow of the city to guide me in this relaxing place of beautiful beaches, beautiful people, beautiful culture, and beautiful wine. Ododa and I went to a number of different places but there was one place that seemed to stimulate all senses was Carr Winery. When walking into this place of understated sophistication, the layout itself was curious to the eye, with a square bar to the left outlined by bar stools and animated with classic and new world vintages (or should I say patrons), smiling and drinking in each others merriment. As a person who loves how wine allows people to interact with different types of other people, I personally was all smiles and once I had walked in pass the bar on the left, there sat an open space with tall round tables, a space big enough for a large party. My friend Ododa and I sat down expecting that with all this eye-appealing scenery, the wines would fall by the waist side. I was indeed surprised by a number of their wines. To spotlight some wines, there was Pinot Noir Rose 2008 that was complex enough on the palate to turn me back into a fan. This Rose was not that typical Rose that tasted like lightly sugared cherry kool-aid, this had hints of vegetation, black-berry and mint leaves. The word refreshing comes to mind when drinking this Rose, which means a perfect drink for those hot days and a perfect pairing for those dishes of spicy game, fish and shrimp. Along with this refreshing Rose, Carr had many other wine such as the 2006 Cabernet Franc. This wine held within it's confines; chalky shavings of chocolate, cherry, hints of cinnamon and spice. It was definitely a big boy's wine, and because of the winemakers touch of class, it had concentrated hits on the palate. All in all, Santa Barbara supplied me with good impressions and a good quality of life. Life should always be about the quality, not about how many hours you work at the job you are not even interested in. So with saying all of that, I implore you to find you passion an invest in it, also find your personal soundtrack and move to it. Everyone is different like food and wine tasting palates, so embrace yourself, I will continue to do so myself........

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chateau Briot 2007 - My good cheap wine of the week

Chateau Briot 2007 Bordeaux

As a child, a statement that seemed to be forced into my head like a screw, which of course at that age I had couple loose (if you missed that, re-read), was you cannot understand the future without revisiting the past. Well in the case of wine, it's past lies in France and to be specific, the Bordeaux region. Because of all of the new world wines I have been tasting from places such as Chile, Argentina, and of course California, I felt the need to visit France, not physically, because at the moment my bank account will not allow me to do so, but through my well document vice of wine. What I picked up was the Chateau Briot 2007 bordeaux red blend(priced at 12 dollars retail, from Trader Joes). This Briot is a Cabernet based wine at 60 percent, 25 percent Merlot, and 15 percent Cabernet Franc. What I have noticed since beginning this journey in wine is that old world wine for example Italy and France, tend to have different complexities from a place like California. For example with this Chateau Briot, on the nose you get a good amount of vegetal characteristics along with cassis, sour cherry, and hints of mint, which when put together offer up a wonderful bouquet. On the taste you get green vegetation on the front end which stays all the way to the back end of the palate. Also, there is a little amount of black currant on the finish. The mid palate has sour cherry/rasberry and is decent but could be better. In saying that though, this wine does pick up steam on the finish. This wine is definitely still young which can be observed in it's tannins. But all in all, a good wine that can definitely help those just starting in wine to understand that by tasting as much different types of wine from different types of places will allow you to better understand your palate, and ultimately help you to understand what wine really hits your sweet spot. And by the way, I'm sorry I've been away for a while, I'm back now, and ready to get back into the wine and I hope all of you will join me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nevada City Winery Cabernet Franc 2005 - My cheap wine of the week

Welcome again my friends, I'm curious, are you guys familiar with Cinderella? Of course you are, everyone knows about Cinderella. Well, if you remember, Cinderella used to cook and clean for her evil step-mother and sisters, because of all the work she did on a daily basis, no one could see her true beautiful self. So, recently a good friend and I decided we needed to get away from all of the craziness that comes with a recession in the economy What we did was drive up to this quaint town themed in western architecture from the late 1800's to early 1900's but with better restaurants. Driving through Nevada City, California, thoughts of the OK corral comes to mind. But we aren't there to site-see or take pictures, we were there to get some writing done without the distractions of city life. Robert finishing up his first novel and I working on my second, it was something we both needed to do, at least in respect to our sanity. Well, after staying up writing all night intoxicated off of numerous bottles of wine and cigars, the next morning we decided to break the rules and go check out the town. While walking down the street in the snow on a sunny day, I noticed a winery interesting, I thought, why not go in and try some. Now, to tell you the truth, I didn't expect anything out off the ordinary, I mean, I live in California, there's a winery or wine tasting on every corner. What I found was a diamond in the rough, once I took a sip, this elegant beauty tickled my tongue. A little like Cinderella, once she was dolled up, her beauty was surprisingly breath-taking, just like this wine. The Nevada City Winery Cabernet Franc 2005 (23 dollars) was the wine that seduced my palate. The nose carried creamy vanilla, bright cherry, and hints of earth and spice. The taste filled my mouth with fresh fruit, chocolate, and soil. The balance was manicured with good transitions from beginning to mid, and had great concentrated of cherry from mid to finish which lasted for about a minute and ten seconds after the wine went down. Now all of this is well and good, and I know for the average person, getting this wine may be a problem, but you can order online at If you can't orderthis wine, and get the chance to get away, definitely drive up to this gem of a town to be transported back in time, it will be an experience that will be hard to forget.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gascon Malbec 2008 From Argentina - My Good Cheap Wine of The Week

Thanks to all those visiting this site for the first time, and a special what's up to those who have graced me with your presence in the past. I happen to be in a very good mood tonight, I feel as good as a 19 year old college boy finding out his girlfriend isn't pregnant. The reason for the good mood, is the fact that I've just tried a wine that for most of you fruit forward tasting wino's, you could grow to love. The Gascon Malbec 2008 from Argetina is definitely a wine that people who are big into the Australian wines can appreciate. Normally, when I deal with wines from Chile, Spain, and Argentina I tend to look for certain characteristics, such as soil and vegetation. What's interesting about this wine is it plays around with a more fruity characteristic, also incorporating chocolate on the mid palate, with a strawberry finish. Because this wine is so young, the alcohol is apparent in the nose (because it's young, you could let it sit for three to five years before consuming, the alcohol should digress by then), but if you know what to smell for, you'll also catch Cassis, dark currant, vanilla, and a hint of leathery tobacco. Upon tasting, there is great transition from beginning to mid palate, which is definitely something to be desired in a 12 dollar bottle of wine. I don't know about you, but I like anything that transitions from Cassis to chocolate to strawberry, and this wine does just that. This Argentinean Malbec is a good wine all in all, and for all of those who are looking for a pair with this wine, don't look for seafood or steak, but maybe a prime rib or chocolate dessert. Lastly, to all of you wino's, continue to love, live, eat and drink wine.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Enjoying LIfe Through Friends and Wine

This week I wanted to get away from the normal Good Cheap Wine of the Week, I wanted to focus on friendships, food, and wine. About six years ago, around when I was starting to realize a real passion for wine, as luck would have it, I met a couple of friends who knew much more about earths sweet nectar than I did. One guy, an old friend of mine, Nick, who now stays up in New York, used to say "wine brings people together," at that time I did understand his meaning, but had not yet grasped it's depth. Well, it's six years later, and I've had quite a long time to ponder what Nick was really saying, the man was absolutely right. Most people, especially in the present time, are overly stressed because the economy and life has dictated so. For some, I'm sure that it has been a while since you've connected with anything outside of your day job. From what I've been hearing in the media, 2009 is supposed to be about change, so when was the last time you changed your weekly routine. Well I decided to do just that this past week and I just feel like sharing some of it with you.
Just to highlight some activities I participated in this past week, a few guys I know, we all try to get together bi-weekly, and either have dinner, go to the cigar shop, or a chosen Wine Bar. This week, a couple of us went to Vintage in San Jose CA, at Santana Row(good call by my good friend Jafari). While we were tasting our flights of wine and speaking of world domination by us, ambitious young renaissance men, both my friends Ododa and Jafari took a sharp right on the road of this collective conversation and started talking about how being places like Vintage (for example), helped them get through the week and I immediately agreed. Ododa then followed up asking about my wine blog, and why not make an exception this week and write about how wine and places like this brings people together. Nick's words immediately jumped to forefront of my mind and I realized, wine and good converstions, for me is like therapy, it helps me to escape this corporate mindset I get stuck in throughout my work week.
To tell you the truth I was blessed enough to have two really great experiences this week in relation to wine, food, and good company. My experience started at Vintage on Wednesday, which for those who ever watched Cheers, I feel like Norm when I walk in this place. The staff there are inviting, and not to knock other wine bars, but Vintage employees are very knowledgeable about their wines and enjoy helping first timers understand that quality does not always come with a huge price tag on a bottle. So for all of you, who may have been to a wine bar in the past, and maybe was afraid to ask questions, go to vintage, and ask away.

My next experience led me up to Half Moon Bay, to a wonderful restaurant called Crab Landing. A beautiful place with beautiful ambience, and as told by the staff, because I arrived at night, there are also wonderful view of the ocean during the day. A good friend of mine Named Dante, invited my lady and I up there to hang out with some of his friends. Now for anyone who knows "The Mayor," I mean Dante, knows that he knows everyone in the bay area and he also loves to bring people together over good food and wine. So because it was Dante inviting us we drove up, and it was worth the trip. In the dinner party there was about 12 of us and the conversation was lively, as we shared many a dishes. One of the dishes that stood out to me was the Calamari that was on point like a military sniper taking a shot, it was literally that good, with sweet breading that paired extremely well with the only bottle of Vouvray on the current menu. Another dish that tickled my fancy was the Bluepoint Oysters, which also caught the sweetness on the finish of the Vouvray very well. We as a group ordered a number of wines which I will not bore you with, but the wine list is strong, and as I heard from the manager himself, and also witnessed in his cellar, patrons can expect an even more balanced to come. So definitely if you are in the area drop by Crab Landing and enjoy the atmosphere of quality service, food and wine.
Lastly, I know with the recession, people have been stressed out which has led to them cutting down on spending money. I say continue to be frugal, but sometimes it's okay to step outside of work life and catch up with some friends or loved ones, you may, as I did, find some sanity. So go out this week or weekend with some friends or family and leave a response online, I would love to hear what you guys and gals experienced while out. Oh yeah, and include some wine or food to the equation. Take care as usual and I'll be back to wine next week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Veranda Cabernet-Carmenere 2004 - My Good Cheap Wine of The Week

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, it's been a busy last two weeks. You've got to love California weather, it feels like winter one day and the next, the sun is shining and its mid 70's outside. Well with these drastic changes in weather comes colds and flu season,which I was became a victim to this last week, and let me tell you, it definitely wasn't fun. Along with having a cold, the yearly reminder of one's mortality came about, which of course was my Birthday, and by the way, to all who helped me celebrate, thanks for coming out, and all of those who couldn't be there, I'll save a spot for you next year. When I wasn't coughing, blowing my nose, or whining to my Girlfriend about not having a fever even though the thermometer sat in contradiction, I got a chance to try a few more bottles of wine. By the way, shout out to my lady, Edna, thanks for taking care of this sick, hard headed, old man last week, Love you. Enough with the mushiness, I know this Blog is not about my relationship with my lady, it's about wine. Everyone who has been taking this journey with me in which we have been learning about numerous wines that have the ability to expand our palates, let me help you to understand that ever so often you run into a diamond in the rough. It's inevitable when drinking wine, if you drink enough you'll find something that hits your spot. It's life, you try enough things and you find out what you really like or dislike, well let me introduce you to a new Diamond in my life, Veranda Cabernet-Carmenere 2004.

I don't know, maybe it's puppy love, but all who know me, knows I drink a good amount of wine, and for something to really surprise me, it takes a lot, well here it is, I'm Surprised. To start off with the nose, which was intriguing enough for me to want to bite through the glass, you can smell plum and wild cherry, bitter chocolate, redwood bark with a spicy undertone, and yes, let me assure you, I haven't gotten to the taste. You know what, let's get down to it, I was going to get into the history of the grapes in this wine, but you know, I fill like drinking because this nose smells too interesting. Anyone who is reading this and is actually interested in the history of these grapes, it'll be in the next paragraph, but let's talk about how this wine tastes. A silky smooth transition from the time the wine hit your tongue, to the mid palate, which has intensified fresh fruit, and fulfills this experience with a long finish, that lasts for about a minute and a half. Just to kind of break down how many characteristics this wine has, it goes from cassis to vanilla and chocolate to wild cherries on that very long finish. Elegant is the word that describes this wine, and what makes it such, is the balance found between the floral fruit components and how it's cultivated in the hands of the wine maker. The food that perfectly matches this wine is nothing less than a Filet Mignon, so for all of you looking for a pairing, be ready to pull out your wallets, because the cassis in the wine adds bright enough fruit to compliment a medium rare cut of one of the finest aspects of Beef.

So, as I promised, for the history buffs, The grape Camenere is one of the 6 original grapes from Bordeaux in France, so it has a bit of royal blood. During the 1880's in the bordeaux region there was an outbreak of phylloxera, which destroyed a number of vines, one being the Camenere, so when they tried to replant the grape it did not take due to the cold weather. One of the few places where Camenere, in the future, found a home was Chile, and now it is the most planted grape in the country. I'm not goin to waste you time with the Cabernet Grape (I know this is a Blend) because it is probably the most favored out of the bordeaux region, and you should already know it by now, but if you don't, feel free to leave a comment I promise to get back to you. My last thought to you is to take a walk on the wild side, expand you palate, try something new and whether you like it or not post a remark and let me know how you feel.

By the way, for all those that read my rambling, I'm considering, in the future, doing a tasting of some of the wines I've showcased, with appetizers that could pair well, at a location I'm working out at the moment. Let me know what you think, I would love to hear your feedback.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bogle Vineyard Merlot 2006 - My Good Cheap Wine of the Week

Hello to you all again and happy new year. My hopes for all is that this new year brings new money, new friends, new romances, new aspirations, and yeah, new wines. For some, I believe that this current wine of the week may be a good start for you. Let me introduce you to Bogle Vineyards Merlot 2006, and yes, I've watched "Sideways," and to tell you the truth, when done right, Merlot is one of the most complex grapes around. My opinion to those who look to expand their palate inregards to wine is to not get caught up in what people say you should drink, try new things and let your taste buds do the talking. Now that I'm off of my soapbox let's get down to it, this Merlot, which you can buy at any Raleys or Safeway grocery store, is a great buy at 13.99. Let me tell you, there are certain smells that will always bring a smile to my face, the smoke from a good cigar, the smell from Cinnabon, fresh bread, and lastly inhaling the interior of a new car. I love the smell of a new car, this Merlot captures that characteristic. There is an array of vanilla, rasberry, and a hint of earth tones in it. Also, what's so great is that with all these aromas tickling your nose, this Merlot does not over do it, the balance and structure is very much apparent in this young wine.
I know, I know, I went off on a tangent without even tasting this Merlot yet, but I was just trying to paint a picture for your sense of smell, now let's get to the good part. Upon tasting the Bogle Merlot, you catch hints of cinnamon and ripe cherry. As the Merlot hits the mid palate, black currant is apparent along with chocolate, which transitions nicely into the finish and is topped off again with ripe cherry. Truthfully, I would buy 2 of these bottles of wine, one I would drink now, and the other I would hold onto for at least 3 to 5 years. The idea of holding onto this wine derives within the finish. This 2006 Merlot has a finish surrounded in tannins(pucker effect in your mouth), with an array of fruit playing a symphony on your palate, but what is interesting is the fruit apparently has not yet reached its full potential. Although young, this intriguing Merlot is so well made, the structure mutes the complexity just enough to let the drinker know that down the road this wine could move up from a good wine to exceptional. This is a very well balanced wine and after a few years the tannins will mostly subside and the fruit will explode in your mouth. Once you try the Bogle Merlot feel free to comment, let me know how you feel about any of the wines I've showcased, I would love to hear your feedback, positive or negative, everyone has a different palate, enjoy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kenwood Vintage White Wine 2005 and Chateau Grande Cassagne 2006 "G.S." Costieres de Nimes - My Good Cheap Wines of the Week

First, happy holidays to you all, I hope the turkey was tender, the ham was healthy , and the sweet potato pie was plentiful. Now that we gotten the pleasantries out of the way, I must apologize for neglecting you last week, you know how the holidays get. To make up for my neglect last week, I will feature two wines that I drank over the holidays. Let me introduce you first to the Kenwood Vintage White Wine 2005 (You can find this wine for under 9 dollars). There are two ways to enjoy the Kenwood, you can either invest in a block of sharp or smelly cheese, or if you are not a cheese fan, buy a big peach, take a bite of either, and sip the wine, this will give you an understanding of its characteristics. I know plenty of you reading will probably skip this part, but, I like to smell a new lady before I partake of her, and the same thing is true with my wine. When I smell 2005 Kenwood, the nose holds a round, fruity smell, submerged in lemon peels, nectarines, and a hint of grass. Now that I've taken a chance to breathe her in, my taste buds obviously need to be satisfied. For the price point, this Kenwood 2005 is a gem, the taste is round, with a well balanced medium finish. The Kenwood hits you with a strong mid palate engulfed in citrus light grapefruit and lasting hint of sweetness throughout it's finish. For guys into wine, this is a great date wine for a woman, you may be seeing who you have introduced to wine and is growing pass the muscats, late harvest rieslings, and other dessert wines. This Kenwood is a must for a person just getting into white wines and want to broaden their horizons with a fruit forward wine.
Now it's time to go from the light to the dark side of the force. Sorry, ignore the reference to Star Wars, please, ignore that, I'm a guy, that stuff will come out every once in while. To get to the point, the Chateau Grande Cassagne 2006 "G.S"(online retail price at about 8.99). Costieres de Nimes is a good reflection of a classic french wine. Just like with most old school wines from France, the fruit is apparent but it's all about the complexity, and this wine follows suit. Although upon the nose of the wine you catch dark currants mixed with hints of vanilla, there are also light fragrances of top soil and vegetation. What overpowers the nose is the arrays of ripe fruit, and this is apparent when tasting the wine, and you definitely can tell the balance between grenache and syrah, with bright cherry and rasberry. The G.S. also holds within it's core a great mid palette which does a decent job of lasting into the finish, although a bit dry and tannicky, after a few years of maturation, just like with most old world wines, could be very good. I'm always about expanding you palette, and I believe that these wine have the ability to do so, so enjoy both bottles and let me know what you think, post anything.