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Tag: Pinot Noir (page 1 of 2)

GUEST POST: 2017 Wines on a Budget

Budget Wines 2017

This guest post comes from Annabelle, who writes for Wunderlabel. She’s sharing her tips on finding the best bang for your buck when it comes to 2017 wines. (This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on a link and making a purchase helps to support what I do here at Wining Wife®.

Do you tend to drink a little more wine through the winter? I know I do. I have to keep an eye on my budget with all the meals to prepare. This includes my wine budget. I enjoy really nice wines, especially the ones that are gifted to me. But, I do need to plan for when my wallet feels slimmer. 

I look for good deals on wines that oenophiles and merchants report will be trending in 2017. I try to get my hands on a few bottles while the prices are still decent. Let’s take a look at some of the predictably good wine values you can stock up on for next year.

Hearty Red Wines

Cool winter nights are a perfect time to sink into the couch by the fire with a glass of rich, deep flavored wine. I am thinking chocolate and berries. Zinfandel is a wine that pairs well with comforting meals and desserts.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel is a bold, berry forward wine that has been aged in oak for one year. It is produced in Sonoma County, California. The 2008 and 2014 varieties are both available now. The 2008 can be found for around $10.00, while the 2014 is a couple of dollars more.

Dry, Fruity White Wine

In spring the air is damp and the grass is starting to grow. Everything smells a little fresher this time of year. I get that antsy feeling of wanting to be outside without a coat on. But, we aren’t quite there. This is the time of year you want to start bringing out the white wines that pair well with lighter meals that have plenty of spring vegetables. Chardonnay is what comes to mind.

Alamos Chardonnay, from Argentina, has crisp citrus notes and a buttery vanilla finish. The 2015 is available for $9.00 to $10.00 per bottle. It goes well with fish, chicken, and most vegetables. 

Dry Rosé Wine

I am a fan of dry pink wines in the summer that are blends of white and red grapes. They have enough body to hold up to barbecue fare, and are also fine for an afternoon backyard get-together with friends accompanied by a large bowl of fresh fruit. My favorites are from the south of France.

Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé is a complex wine from the Provence region of France. It has the flavors of summer berries and melons, and the lavender that is grown all over the region. It is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsaut and Cabernet grapes. The 2015 sells for between $11.00 and $12.00.

Medium Bodied Red Wine

As autumn approaches we see varieties of winter squashes, heirloom tomatoes, and plenty of apples at the farmers markets. This is a great time for platters of cheese, fruit, aged meats, and vegetables. It is also when you might be inclined to fill the house with the smell of spiced baked goods. This calls for a lighter red wine to share with friends. Pinot Noirs are perfect for this time of year.

HobNob Pinot Noir is a French variety that has softer tannins than some of the others. It smells faintly of violets and tastes of cherries laced with spices. It plays well with fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The 2013 can be found for between $9.00 and $11.00.

December is a good time of year to look for holiday wine specials. Many merchants are willing to offer case discounts, even if the case includes a mix of wine varieties. You just need to ask. Stock up and enjoy.

 

Author Bio: Annabelle is a wine collector and appreciates handmade crafts. Apart from that she loves to write. In fact, she writes for Wunderlabel’s Italian site and their US website.

Tasting Notes: Isabel Mondavi 2007 I Love Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR

wine bottle label We had this wine with our Thanksgiving dinner, and it paired very nicely. Wining Husband had kept Isabel Mondavi’s Pinot Noir from 2007 in our cellar for a while. It was smooth with lots of cream and vanilla on the nose, and was very balanced. Due to aging and cellaring, it, the wine had developed a lovely tawny color. It had that wonderful cigar box aroma that we love so much in wines. 

The Isabel Mondavi 2007 I Love Pinot Noir was only 13.5% alcohol, but it tasted a lot hotter than it was. It was fruity, but not overly so – notes of dry sour cherry and raspberry could be picked up upon tasting. In all, it was an amazing wine, and if you come across it, I highly recommend it.

 

From the description on Wine.com:

“The extended 2007 vintage resulted in a rare combination of robust yields and great quality. A long, warm and dry growing season in the Willamette Valley fully ripened the Pinot Noir grapes, leading to beautiful balance and concentrated flavors. This wine has a brilliant garnet color with supple body, bright red cherry nose with cherry blossom top notes and a hint of exotic spices like cardamom and star anise. Smooth entry with even texture through to the finish with red cherry flavors.

Pair this versatile wine with salmon, duck, and cheeses made from cow or sheep milk.”

California Delicious Wine Basket Review

California Delicious Gourmet Gift Baskets

Napa Valley Gourmet Red Wine Basket by California Delicious

Napa Valley Gourmet Red Wine Basket by California Delicious

*I was provided with a wine basket from California Delicious in exchange for an honest review. There may be affiliate links in this post. Should you click on one and make a purchase, you will be supporting this blog and I will receive monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.*

Recently, I was approached and asked whether I would be interested in writing a review on the wine and baskets produced at California Delicious. I chose to try the Napa Valley Red Wine Gourmet Gift Basket. When it arrived, I was very pleased with the packaging. As you can see to the right, it’s very aesthetically pleasing, and nicely arranged. The picture really doesn’t do it justice. There were little decorative grape bunches in the basket (I have plans for those), and the bow was really festive. It makes a really nice impression right from the get-go.

Upon opening the basket, we found two bottles of wine (a Pinot Noir and a Zinfandel), cheese spread, pretzels, spicy honey mustard, bruschetta, and Ghirardelli chocolates. We decided that we would try the wines with meals that followed snacking on the other items.

Now, it’s important to note, we do not generally eat processed foods in our house (in fact, I’ve even been on a candy-making kick after donating some homemade candy to our church bazaar recently.) We tried the cheese and bruchetta and the pretzels and hot sweet mustard. They are about what you would expect from a gift basket – the real highlight was the collection of Ghirardelli squares.

The wines were both decently good. The 2012 Regalo Valley Ranch Artist Series Pinot Noir had a musty and aromatic nose. We paired it with my spaghetti (1lb ground beef, 2 pounds tomatoes, 1 onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, a splash of red wine, and basil added at the end). It paired nicely, and it was an easy-drinking wine. It was very versatile as a light red wine. The flavor was light, very cherry. It was on the fruitier end of Pinot Noir wines, and it had a vanilla and berry finish. You could also pick up balsamic notes with a little bit of pepper. It’s a great wine for those who don’t drink a lot of wine or who don’t like heavy wines.

The Regalo Valley Ranch 2011 Artist Series Zinfandel was a light Zin. It was all grapes and berries, it was smoother and had more of a coffee flavor than some of the big cigar box Zins we’ve liked in the past. It had notes of vanilla and hazelnut as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. It was easy drinking, with very little heat on the back end. We paired it with a simple steak with a bleu cheese crust and baked potato, and it paired well that way.

The basket would make a very lovely gift for a friend or family member with a special event or celebration. The mild wines make it a nice gift for those who aren’t necessarily “wine aficionados,” but they have just enough complexity to appeal to those who are. The snacks are fun, and the chocolate – who doesn’t like chocolate?

California Delicious has a lot of different gourmet gift baskets that range in pricing. Some of the other baskets of interest include:

Champagne Gift Basket

The Giant All-Star Gift Basket ($59.99) – Do you know someone who is still celebrating the San Francisco Giants’ recent World Series win? This is the perfect gift basket for them.  It includes Giants-themed peanuts and Giants-labeled Mumm Sparkling Brut.

Noah's Ark Newborn Baby Gift Basket

Mickey Mouse Basket of Baby Boy SurprisesMinnie Mouse Basket of Baby Girl Surprisesand Noah’s Ark Baby Gift Basket (all $99.99 each) – These adorable baskets make great little gifts for the new arrival among your friends or family members. I have to say, they are pretty awesome. I’m loving the little stuffed animals in the Noah’s Ark basket.

Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Gift Set

For Thanksgiving, if you can’t be with family or friends, you can let them know you are thinking of them. The Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic ($29.99) gift set would be a nice gesture for the gourmet in your life. The Classic Chardonnay Wine and Cheeseboard ($39.99) includes a gift the recipient can keep using (I didn’t mention this before, but I kept the basket – it makes a nice place to keep fruits from our CSA available for snacking). I also think the Fall Pumpkin Spice Serenity Spa ($59.99) is a great idea. How many people do you know love the PSL?

In all, I enjoy gift baskets. I received one when I graduated from my Master’s degree program many years ago, and I savored every moment.  It stood out as a gift for years, because it was pretty, I got to try some new products, and it felt like I was being spoiled.

Wine Review List: A Southern Hemisphere Sampler

The wine notes included in this post are from prior to the closing of Creekside Cellars*, the establishment responsible for putting together the list of wines I will discuss. There were two wines we did not order in the tasting: Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Marlborough, New Zealand) and d’Arenberg “Hermet Crab” 68% Viogner and 32% Marsanne from McLaren Vale, Australia.  We’d had both of them previously and have them in our cellar. They come highly recommended.

**This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling, 53% Chardonnay & 43% Pinot Noir, South Africa – $16 – This wine was good. We gave it a star. The wine had notes of vanilla and almonds, and it was very smooth. This would be a great sparkling for pairing with appetizers.

Concha Y Toro 2011 Chardonnay, Limari Valley, Chile – $20 – We liked this wine a good bit; we gave it a star and an exclamation point. It had a curry like spice to it, like turmeric, ginger, and spice. The wine was very full bodied and creamy. It was heavy on the tongue. It had lime and oak notes, and it paired well with creamy flavors.

Staete Landt 2009 “Paladin” Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand – $27 – We also gave this wine a star and an exclamation point. It was light, similar to the Hickman Family Vineyards Grenache we enjoy, with flavors of spice, cloves, tannins, and plums. In all it was a decent, easy-drinking wine.

Urban Uco 2011 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina – $14 – This wine was a decent value. For under $15 you could have a reasonably good Malbec. It is more understated than Antigal Uno. It had flavors of plums, oil, red pepper flakes, and blackberries. It would pair wonderfully with my tacos or with this stuffed pablanos recipe from Cookie and Kate.

Thorn Clarke 2010 “Shotfire” Shiraz Barossa Valley, Australia – $22 – Out of all the wines we tried, this was our favorite, earning a star and two exclamation points. It had hints of chocolate and paprika, but it also had a caramel and tobacco finish. I can highly recommend this wine to readers who would like something that doesn’t cost too much for their cellar. I strongly suspect it will age well.

Santa Carolina 2009 “Reserva de Familia” Carmenere, Valle del Rapel, Chile – $28 – This wine had a very sweet, like candy, nose and was very fresh smelling. On the tasting, however, it was surprisingly very dry. It was tobacco, spice, oil, and must. It was nice, we gave it a star.

Mulderbosch “Faithful Hound” 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 13% Petite Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc and Malbec, Stellenbosch, South Africa – $25 – This wine was…weird. It could be good so long as it was paired with strong, peppery flavors. However, on its own, it was must, rubber, and tasted like it was sweetened with sugar. We gave it no stars.

Have you tried any of these wines? What thoughts did you have about them? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

 

 

Five Popular Red Wines

Old Vine cabernet from Chateau Montelena, Napa...

Old Vine cabernet from Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’ve decided that I will accept guest posts for this blog, especially while I’m pregnant, in order to provide you with fresh wine news. Here is another post from Chuck Withers over at Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog.

 

Wine has long been known as a social drink. People like to get together and have a glass with their dinner, but they are not drinking the same bottle every time. There are many, many different types of wines. Some are red, some are white. Some are dry and others are sweet. As you consider which drink you will serve at your dinner party, make sure to learn all that you can about different wines and the food they can pair with so that you serve the very best drink for your guests. The following are five of the most popular reds.

 

Merlot

 

If you are new to the drinking world, Merlot is a good place to start. It is soft, round, and not too tannic, making it a good drink for the beginner. You can pair Merlot with any foods, which is part of the reason why it is such a popular choice. Scents for this varietal often include blackcherry, plumb, and herbs.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Arguably the world’s best variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes blended with Merlot. This wine is full-bodied and the older it is, the less bitter the flavor. It becomes rich and the grip goes away as the drink ages. Many times, this drink will undergo an oak treatment, giving it a vanilla note. Cabernet Sauvignon is often served with simple red meats, such as steak. The grapes were most popular in France for many years, but now also grow in Australia, Chile, and California.

 

Shiraz

 

This drink is also often referred to as Syrah because they are from the same grape variety. It goes well paired with all types of meat, including steak, beef, and other wild game. Gripping tannins often pull the fruit sensation out of Syrah. You can typically find wild black fruit flavors in Shiraz. Not only can you find average wines created with this varietal, but you can also find some of the world’s best wines with the intense flavoring of Syrah.

 

Pinot Noir

 

The Pinot Noir grapes are hard to grow and are not rough at all. They make the best reds of Burgundy, with a delicate, soft, and fresh structure. While fruit is the main aroma in Pinot Noir, you can often find tea-leaf or worn leather undercurrents.

 

Malbec

 

The characteristics of Malbec vary based on where the grapes were grown and how they were transformed. Many people consider Malbec to be easy to drink, with plumb and berry flavors. Beginning in France, this varietal is also grown in California in some of the cooler areas. You can pair Malbec with all kinds of meals containing meat. Malbec is great for dishes with strong flavors, such as Cajun or Indian meals.

 

If you are getting together for a drink or for an all out dinner party, make sure to serve the right drink. Learning about the different varieties and flavors of each of the red wines can help you to decide which drink you will choose to serve for your get together. Not only will you discover what food to pair with your drinks and what flavors they carry, but you may also realize that there are health benefits associated with drinking red wines.

 

Article courtesy of Chuck Withers of the Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog, follow him on Twitter @twoguyswine for more updates on wine, travel and many more international delights.

 

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Creekside Cellars’ Wine and Cheese Fest

English: Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermen...

English: Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermenting in a wine cave in Amador County, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year, Creekside Cellars hosts wine and cheese fest. During the event, many people come in to taste wine and cheese from around the region. Wining Husband and I were curious and decided that we would attend. Boy, were there a lot of people there! We were glad we showed up a few minutes later into the event so that we wouldn’t have to claw our way through lines of people to get to a place where we could try the various wines featured by our favorite spot.

Our favorite wines of the event came from Epic Wines, Doe Mill, and Youngs Market Company. Standouts included:

  • A to Z Pinot Gris ($16) **
  • Breggo Pinot Noir ($30) ***
  • Titus Cabernet Sauvignon ($43) *
  • Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel ($36) ***
  • Montsara Sparkling Cava ($15) *
  • Sequoia Grove Cabernet ($49) **
  • Michael David 7 Heavenly Chardonnay ($28) *
  • Treana white blend ($23) *
  • Doe Mill Old Vine Zinfandel ($24) **
  • Doe Mill Smokey Ridge Red Table Wine ($24) ***
  • Doe Mill Zinfandel Rose ($16) *
  • Doe Mill Late Harvest Zinfandel ($24) ***
  • Trefethen Harmony White ($50) **
  • Talbot Logan Chardonnay ($20) *

There really was quite a range of wines both in terms of quality and taste (the first table we visited was disappointing to us) and in terms of price point. The great thing about events like these is that you get to try out such a wide range of wines, so if you’re someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about wine, you can learn more about what you like and what you don’t like. we definitely added some of the wines to our cellar wish-list.

Creekside: A Little of This and a Little of That

Napa Valley

Napa Valley (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)

 

This week’s Creekside Cellars tasting as a mish-mash of different wines. Of the 9 we tasted, we liked 9 of the wines. Here are our notes on the wines we tasted.

 

2011 Fillaboa Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain ($17) – This wine was floral, crisp, and refreshing. It tasted of mandarins, sweet apples, and various citrus fruits.

 

2011 Chehalem “Three Vineyards” Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($19) – This wine was smokey, hazy, and buttery. It had a sweet flavor and accompanied the Purple Haze cheese quite nicely.

 

2010 Pine Ridge “Dijon Clone” ChardonnayNapa Valley ($30) – This wine had Dijon mustard notes. It was easy drinking but robust, with hints of butter and oak. It had a finish with multiple seasonings, but it was not overpowering. It would pair quite well with ham or fondue. (We gave it a star and exclamation mark).

 

2010 Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey ($32) – This had a strange nose – it was like nail polish remover and fruit – but the wine itself was complex and sweet. There was spice that could be drawn out, it was sweet and chocolatey and was quite versatile when paired with the various cheeses. It also had that lovely cigar box finish that we love so much.

 

2010 Sextant “Wheelhouse” Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($20) – This wine had a Nesquik chocolate milk nose mixed with cheap jelly to be eaten with Wonder Bread. It was okay, but frankly was too jammy for our palates. 

 

2010 Peter Lehmann “Clancy’s” Cabernet 38%, Syrah 39%, and Merlot 23%, Barossa Valley, Australia ($18) – This was tannic with a tight nose. It had hints of leather and fruit which came out as it aerated. It was very good with creamy cheeses, which brought the spice out, and it paired wonderfully with the Purple Haze.

 

2010 Tamarack Cellars “Firehouse Red” Cabernet 54%, Syrah 32%, Merlot 12%, Cab Franc 10% with Malbec, Sangiovese & Zinfandel, Columbia Valley, Washington ($18) – This was the final wine we had and it was a higher end version of one of our favorite go-to wines, 14 Hands Hot-to-Trot. The wine was a classic silky red. It had notes of vanilla, chocolate, cloves, and nutmeg.

 

 

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Five Wine Drinking Movies You Shouldn’t Miss

It’s one thing to drink wine while watching a movie, it’s another experience entirely to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine while watching a movie about wine.  Here are a few classics and a few that may have gone overlooked.

 

Cover of "Sideways [Blu-ray]"

Cover of Sideways [Blu-ray]

Sideways – What is a wine drinking movie list without mention of this film. Who can forget that Miles does not drink Merlot? This is the movie that many vineyards credit with an increasing popularity of Pinot Noir and a decreasing of popularity with Merlot. This is one of those films that can always make me laugh, no matter what my mood is. There’s something about watching a misanthropic middle aged guy have a nervous breakdown in the middle of a winery’s tasting room that makes me chuckle just to think about it.

 

 

 

Cover of "A Walk in the Clouds"

Cover of A Walk in the Clouds

 

 

 

A Walk in the Clouds – Okay, so Keanu Reeves is a bit cheesy in the end of this film, but it’s one of my all-time favorite movies (let alone one of my favorite wine movies). Reeves plays a returning soldier who meets a young lady. The young lady asks him a favor, and he winds up on a vineyard helping to make wine. It has what I believe is one of the most romantic scenes in a movie ever. Watch it. Ignore the line “If you plant it, it will grow.”

 

Arachnophobia – This film scared me when I was a kid. Killer spiders invade a house – and the wine cellar in the house is literally to die for. I mean, I saw this film when I was 13 and after watching it, I thought, “When I grow up, I want to have a wine cellar.”

 

French Kiss – This is a fun film with Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein. The film involves a woman unwittingly smuggling a grape vine, lots of good wine references, and a lot of fun and romance. This is a very charming film for those who want to take the time to sit down with it.

 

 

Cover of "The Princess Bride (20th Annive...

Cover via Amazon

 

The Princess Bride – This is my all time favorite movie. You know the scene. “Plato, Socrates, Aristotle? Morons.” Next time you watch the film, see if you can drink your favorite wine. It’s such a great movie – for a date, for cheering up, for a fun party celebrating movies from times before. I love it.

So, what is your favorite wine-drinking movie? Please post your recommendations in the comments section. I’d love to check them out!

 

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Celebrate! September is California Wine Month

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California (Photo credit: the_tahoe_guy)

 

This week’s tasting at Creekside Cellars was in honor of California Wine Month, and all wines were from California vineyards. As always, there were some real stars of the show and there were a couple of wines that were fine, but would have specific uses (for example, as an end of summer wine). Here are our thoughts on the eight wines we tasted.

 

2011 Honig Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($17) – We have had this wine before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a decent wine. It had notes of honeydew and a sweet nose. It had hints of clove-like spices and it was light and summery.

 

2011 Pine Ridge 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier, Clarksburg, California ($17) – this is a nice end of summer wine. It is a heavier and rounder wine than the Honig. It had more of a cantaloupe bouquet than a honeydew melon bouquet. Overall, it was pretty good.

 

2010 Sextant Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($30) – This wine had almost a paint thinner nose – but in a good way (oh, come on, admit it sometimes there is something alluring about the smell of paint thinner!). It had notes of walnut and oak, and it was quite smokey. It would be a lovely wine to accompany Wining Husband’s feta-green pepper bagel dish.

 

glass & bottle of Syrah rose

glass & bottle of Syrah rose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2011 Ampelos Rosé of Syrah, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara($18) – This was a pretty good rosé that held up well to both cream and sweet cheeses and fruits. The wine was smokey and spicy. It was a nice, easy-drinking wine.

 

2009 Leveroni “Seven Oaks Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma ($20) – This wine was peppery, tannic, and yet smooth. It had notes of cloves, nutmeg and plums. It would pair very well with teriyaki steak.

 

2010 Morgan “Cotes du Crow’s” 55% Syrah, 45% Grenache, Monterey County ($18) – This was a nice wine, but it would be interesting to see whether it would open up over time. It was light and had a grape-like flavor (think Welch’s Grape Juice). It was perhaps a little two smooth and needs more spice. I’d be interested in trying it after it was decanted to see what happened.

 

2009 Three Saints Syrah, Santa Rita, Santa Inez, and Santa Maria, Santa Barbara ($18) – This wine was tannic and had a bit of a rubber note to it (but not in a way that detracted from the quality of the wine. It had a lot of spice – both in the form of paprika and cloves. It also had hints of semi-sweet chocolate.

 

2008 Carol Shelton “Karma” Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($33) – This wine had notes of hazelnut, vanilla, and coffee. It was a cigar box and had a lot of spice. This was a wine we enjoyed very much.

 

2010 Educated Guess “Hypothesis” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($40) – This was our favorite wine of the tasting. It was smooth and spicy with notes of brown sugar, maple, espresso, and chocolate. This wine would be absolutely lovely with filet mignon with an olive tapinade.

 

 

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Worldly Selection

Pinot noir grapes growing in late August in th...

Pinot noir grapes growing in late August in the California wine region of Anderson Valley, Mendocino county. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This week’s wine tasting at Creekside Cellars centered on wines from around the world. We tasted eight out of nine of the wines. The only wine we didn’t taste was the d’Arenberg “Hermit Crab” and that’s only because we’ve had it before, loved it, and purchased it for our cellar. Here are our notes on the tasting.

 

Jeio Sparkling Cuuvee Rosé, Veneto, Italy ($15) – This wine was sweet with a buttery nose. It had honey notes and reminded us as a Gewurztraminer. It also had hints of dried apricote, mango, and spice on the end.

 

Unoaked Morgan “Metallico” Chardonnay, Monterrey, California ($22) – We’ve had the oaked version of this wine, so the unoaked was an interesting adventure. IT was nutty and had hints of cashews. It needs a strong taste for pairing. It would pair well with tabbouleh or a citrus salad.

 

2010 Nautilus Pinot Noir Marlborough, New Zealand ($30) – This wine was buttery, and honestly, it was very Merlot-like It was plums, straw, and raspberries, but very good. It’s one that’s going on our wish list.

 

2009 Spice Route Pinotage, Swartland, South Africa ($20) – This wine had notes of cloves, tobacco, vanilla, cocoa, and a hint of amaretto. It was also tannic. There was a lot of heat on the end of the wine. It was a pretty decent wine, but we’ve had better wines that were comparable in nature.

 

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2008 Numanthia “Termes” Tempranillo Toro, Spain ($30) – We were on the fence with this wine. On one hand, it seemed very good. On the other hand, we weren’t sure whether we liked it. On the nose, it had olives and must. When sipping, we picked up notes of black pepper, paprika, oregano. It was a very unique and interesting wine.

 

2008 Bell Cellars “Canterbury Vineyard” Syrah Sierra Foothills, California ($25) – This wine was creamy, vanilla and floral. It was spectacular, full-bodied, and very nice. It comes with a high recommendation.

 

2011 Achaval Ferrer Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($25) – This wine is very full, heavy and tannic. It had hints of cherries. It pairs well with cheddar to smooth it out and one it down. This wine can be very good and spicy.

 

 

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