Basic info: Domaine Guy Mousset “Cotes du Rhone” Red Blend, France, 2015.
Price estimate: $13 (Total Wine)
Look: Very dark red, almost black plum. Minimal legs
Smell: Grape jelly and a little wood on the nose.
Taste: Bob and I disagreed on what this one tasted like. He got minerality, plum, black cherry and current with a dark, almost earthy end. I got the black cherry, but I had blackberry with only a tiny bit of mineral and cranberry.
Conclusions: We both really liked this wine even though it tasted totally different to each of us. It was a little on the thin side, but that made for a nice sipping wine. It was super smooth and very enjoyable.
Other notes: I wanted to get the rose from this producer, but Total Wine was out of it. I never remember the name so I was that annoying person who just kept saying I will know it when I see the label. Somehow the guy at Total Wine took this as a challenge, found this bottle and asked if I was looking for the rose version. I was. He found me a substitute (since they were out) and said the red is just as good, if you like red wine. I do like red wine, so I decided to try it and I am very glad I did. It isn’t a special wine, but a great every day red.
From the bottle: No bottle notes. 13% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Shannon Ridge High elevation collection Zinfandel, Lake County, CA – 2013
Price estimate: $20 (local wine store)
Look: Opaque. Dark garnet or plum in color.
Smell: hot. oak, charred wood.
Taste: jam. dark fruit and a little hot on the palate. Medium acidity and some black cherry flavors. Short finish.
Conclusions: I generally LOVE zinfandel, but this was not my favorite. It tasted of a lot of alcohol and I’m not sure of the bottle was bad or if it was just the style the one maker was going for.
Other notes: Zins for me are fruity, jammy and deep in flavor. This one didn’t do it for me. One of the great thing about a good zin is that you don’t take the alcohol, even when the abv is above 14%. They should be easy to drink and this one wasn’t.
From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the winemaker, ” The Zinfandel delivers extracted characters of raspberry and blackberry with notes of pie spice, clove and anise.” 13.9% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Prunus Private Selection Red Blend, Dao, Portugal – 2014
Price estimate: $18 (Weekly Tasting)
Look: Dark black cherry in color with minimal legs at first and medium legs when it warmed up. (thank you Bob and Ed for the color descriptor)
Smell: Sandalwood (I kid you not – that was the dominant smell in the glass and I almost didn’t try the wine because of it)
Taste: Some effervescence up front with taste of blackberry and jam. Thin for such a dark wine. Medium finish.
Conclusions: This wine was good and the taste was completely different than the smell. It was a bit thin on the mouthfeel, but there was more flavor than texture in this wine. We liked it – didn’t love it but liked it.
Other notes: So we opened this bottle when Ed and Erin were still here and we had the first glass after finishing the bottle of the Eyrie, so our opinions of this wine may be a little biased. The Eyrie was just such a perfect wine that I’m not sure what wine we opened after, it would not have compared favorably. That said, this wine was good – not great – but certainly very drinkable.
From the bottle: “Elegance on a grand scale. Lightly oaked and perfectly balanced with a silky texture and crisp edge. Supporting black cherry, plums and raspberry fruit flavors.” 13% alcohol by volume.
Look: opaque – black cherry in color with good legs
Smell: Strawberry and cherry on the nose. (Bob only got wine.)
Taste: Black cherry, current, hint of ripe plum with a touch of vanilla and granite. Beautiful, long finish.
Conclusions: This is one of the rare perfect wines. On the first sip it was just eye closing perfection and the wine only got better as it opened in the glass. While a little expensive, this wine was worth every penny.
Other notes: When we went to Oregon last year, we tasted this at the vineyard and fell in love with it. The wine got better over the last year and I think we drank it at the best possible point. Even better was sharing this bottle with Ed and Erin since they love Pinot Noir. Ed’s comment was simply, “This is what a Pinot Noir should be.”
From the bottle: Vineyard notes, “this Pinot noir is an embodiment of the vintage, offering 2012’s richness while also taking advantage of its lively acidity. The layers of dark fruit notes combined with the earthy spice of this lush wine make it difficult to resist drinking now.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: La Source du Ruault, “Clos de la Cote” Loire Valley, France – 2011
Price estimate: $25 (Chamber Street Wine)
Look: Plum, black cherry in color with significant legs
Smell: mild earth
Taste: mild earth, unripe raspberry and slightly harsh. Dry, short finish.
Conclusions: Drinkable. Not bad, but not the best Cab Franc ever.
Other notes: Ed, Erin and Bob made the tasting notes for this wine. We all had it with dinner, but I didn’t care for it as much and found it a little hard to drink. Ed is a huge Cab Franc fan, so it was his opinion I was really interested in. He found the wine good, but not great.
From the bottle: No tasting notes on the bottle or from Chamber Street. 12.5% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Bombina, Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon & Sangiovese), Puglia Italy, No vintage
Price estimate: $15 (local wine store)
Look: deep red with no noticeable legs
Smell: dark fruit, cherry
Taste: fruit. very smooth. nice acidity, but not too much.
Conclusions: This is a good drinking wine, but it isn’t memorable. I could not discern too many specific tastes or smells in this wine, but it was a nice wine.
Other notes: I almost didn’t post this wine, since I didn’t have much to say about it, but I decided this is part of the experience. I need to remember the only ok wines, and the wines I really don’t like, as well as the good ones. I also think I have a good baseline now and it may be time to start playing with smells and tastes, and take a look at what I’ve learned so far.
From the bottle: No bottle notes. 12.5% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Shebang Wines, “The Whole Shebang” red wine blend from Sonoma, California
Price estimate: $15 (Chamber Street Wines)
Look: Dark plum, opaque with good legs
Smell: plum, cherry, deep dark fruit.
Taste: Cherry, blackberry, ripe plum, dark fruit and chocolate on the back end. Long finish.
Conclusions: Fantastic wine and one that tics all the boxes for both Bob and I. It is rare that we both find a wine we really love, but this zinfandel blend is doing the trick. It is higher alcohol content than either of us guessed because we didn’t taste any alcohol and we didn’t feel anything in the back of our throats (sure sign of high alcohol). We had this with our cheese box last month and we were both super happy with the wine.
Other notes: I love zinfandels and I love the dark fruit taste of them and this wine is 55% zinfandel, so I was pretty sure I would like it. I wasn’t prepared to love it, especially not at $15 a bottle. We liked this wine so much we ordered more of it the next day. I don’t usually do that, and we have only ever decided a wine was that good that we needed to make sure we stocked away a few bottles twice. Because the wine is high alcohol, I can only do a glass of it, but I savored my glass and drank slowly because I wanted it to last. This is really an incredible wine.
From the bottle: No tasting notes from the bottle, but from Chamber Street, “55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.” 14.2% alcohol by volume.