2012 Five Vines

  • Producer: Viszlay Vineyards
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2012
  • Price estimate: $54 (we did not pay that much for the bottle)
  • Tasting notes: Ruby red in color with a touch of pink at the edges. Aromas of dark berry, raspberry, bramble and cut grass. (Yes, in a red.) Very smooth on the palate with notes of black cherry, chocolate, raspberry, tootsie roll and a little herb note with some forest floor (but not unpleasant). Very nice chocolate finish.
  • Conclusions: Excellent wine. This bottle was incredible – even better than the bottle we opened before and surprisingly better than the bottle we tasted at the vineyard last summer.
  • Notes: This was one of our pick ups from our trip to Sonoma last summer. We loved this wine and I almost pegged it as a Cab Franc, but it is a blend with varietals I don’t usually enjoy – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah etc. But this … oh this was just amazing. Super smooth and so much depth of flavor. This is why I drink wine.

2018 Sangiovese

  • Producer: Malpasso
  • Location: Umbria, Italy
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: Not sure (wine and cheese box)
  • Tasting notes: Garnet in appearance with aromas of spice, unripe cherry and bramble. Smooth on the palate with hints of nutmeg, dark cherry and a little oak. Tart. Medium long finish.
  • Conclusions: I’m a sucker for a good Sangiovese and this one fits the bill. It has a lot of the dark red fruit and tartness that a good Sangiovese has but isn’t as earthy as some can get. Bob is not generally a fan of this varietal, but even he liked this one. Paired with a pecorino (and other cheeses, of course) it shows why people tell you that what grows together goes together.
  • Notes: This was the second of our cheese and wine box wines and I have to say, I’m super impressed. Not only as the wines (and of course the cheeses) fantastic, there is something about the pairings that not only compliments, but changes the way both taste. It was more prominent with the white, but it existed here too. The cheese rounded out the wine and the wine brought out the nutty notes in cheese – it was kind of fantastic.

Misunderstood Pinot Noir

  • Producer: Mutt Lynch Winery
  • Location: Sonoma County, California
  • Year: 2017
  • Price estimate: $20
  • Tasting notes: Beautiful nose of cherry, strawberry and a little moss. Garnett in color with a little bit of orange-brown at the edges. Flavors of ripe cherry, stone, a touch of fresh tobacco. Long finish with lots of cherry notes.
  • Conclusions: Delicious. This was a great pinot to open one evening and Bob and I savored each sip. It has that quality where you can sip and enjoy and not think about it, or pay attention to what you are drinking, savor it, and discover a few hidden layers. We did a little of both with this bottle and I’m just sad that I only have one more bottle left the in “cellar.”
  • Notes: Pinot Noirs are one of my favorite varietals, right up there with Zinfandel and Pinotage. There are a lot of pinots out there that are “meh” or “fine” and plenty that are bad. To find a really great pinot for $20 – I really wish I had gotten more, but in all honesty, I tend to under buy when we go to a winery because I’m always afraid it’s the atmosphere or experience that is making the wine taste so good. This isn’t one of those cases and I may have to get more of this once our weather breaks and I can get wine shipped to Florida again – somewhere around November.

Old Vine Zinfandel

  • Producer: Bedrock Wine Company
  • Location: California
  • Year: 2017
  • Type: Red Zinfandel
  • Price estimate: $20 (from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Opaque wine in the glass, but with some translucency at the edges. Inky and dark ruby in color – reminds me of a ripe plum. Aromas of black fruits, black pepper and some oak. Taste is tangy and spicy with lots of dark red and black fruits. There is a hint of coco on the finish. 
  • Conclusions: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one of my favorite wines. Period. The 2017 does not disappoint – it has a depth of flavor that my palate cannot appreciate, but it is easy to drink – not so easy that I’ll finish the bottle in a night, but easy as in two glasses over an evening is enjoyable. 
  • Notes: I am slightly biased towards this wine. The Whole Shebang (produced by Bedrock) was one of the first wines I took notes on when I started this little one journey and the first bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel from them blew me away. In my personal notes I had “wow” and “I need more of this.” That was the 2016 vintage, and the 2017 – with a little added pepper notes, but less smokey notes – is the same. This may be my favorite wine – it is the wine I would pick over many way more expensive wines because it is everything I like in wine. Lots of flavors, lots of character and just really nice to drink. Add to it that this wine is how Bedrock rehabs old vineyards and it makes my heart, as well as my taste buds, sing. Yes, there are probably “better” wines out there – Bedrock makes some that are technically better – but for me, this is just about the perfect wine. 14.4% alcohol by volume.

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La Grive Bleue

  • Producer: Evesham Wood
  • Location:Eola-Amity Hills Oregon
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Red, Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $30
  • Tasting notes: Dark red in color, almost like black cherries. Blackberry and bramble on the nose. Wild berry tart tasting with some bramble and cranberry. Bob said cassis, but given that I don’t know what that tastes like I’m going to have to take his word on it. Tart finish, but easy to drink.
  • Conclusions: I really liked this wine. It wasn’t my favorite and I won’t seek it out like I’ve done some we’ve picked up, but it was good and very easy to drink. Good body and a nice finish really help this wine, especially since there is an almost sour note at the very beginning, although that went away after a few hours after opening. 13% alcohol by volume.

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Black Magnolia

  • Producer: Real Nice Winemakers
  • Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Price estimate: $22
  • Tasting notes: Garnet in color and semi-translucent. Smells of strawberry, bramble and baking spice. Taste was great – cherry, strawberry, black fruits and a little vanilla. Very smooth and a really beautiful finish.
  • Conclusions: Fantastic wine. Loved drinking this – maybe a little too much. It has a lot of character without being fussy.
  • Notes: We got this in one of our wine club shipments and after drinking it and thinking about it for a week, I ordered three more bottles from the winery. Yes, it really was that good. It was one of those wines that holds my interest, but didn’t make me feel like I needed to study it and concentrate on the wine. It was just nice to drink. Bonus, we also ordered a rose from the same winery that, upon opening, was also great. Not the Lulu Rose great (my standard for amazing rose these days) but really good.

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Longboard Merlot

  • Producer: Longboard Winery
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35
  • Tasting notes: Opaque prune color with a tint of brown at the edges. Nose has notes of leather, metal and compost. (Yes, it was not my favorite smelling wine). Taste of herbs and cherry with a note of fresh tobacco. Medium long finish.
  • Conclusions: Not bad, but also not my favorite. Think it needs another year or two before it will be fantastic.
  • Notes: I love a good Merlot and given all of the other wine we’ve had from this winery, I was very excited. Mildly disappointed, but I really do think a year or so will help and it has the potential to be a fantastic wine. The depth is there but it’s still hiding.

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