Cloud Break, Petite Syrah – 2016

  • Basic info: Cloud Break, Petite Syrah, California – 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $9.50 (Total Wine)
  • Look: Dark red with some staining on the glass. Good legs and almost opaque in the glass.
  • Smell: Wine. Nothing very discernible on the nose.
  • Taste: Dark berries. Smooth and very fruit forward. Really short finish with a hint of leather on the back end.
  • Conclusions: Eh. I drank most of the glass with my dinner (it went pretty well with grilled cheese, but not well at all with the cucumber salad) but didn’t end up finishing the wine.
  • Other notes: This was a bottle I picked up because Petite Syrah is one of the few “major” varietals that I haven’t tried since I started keeping track. I remember really not liking Petite Syrah – too woody, too earthy and a bit bitter – so it wasn’t one that I was trying to get to. However, when at Total Wine, I broke down and picked up a bottle. If you had put the glass in front of me with no indication of the wine, I would have called it as a Merlot. It had the fruitiness of Merlot and none of the heavy characteristics I generally associate with Syrahs of any kind. After about half a glass, it also tasted a bit like doctored wine. The kind of wine that has so much chemistry added after nature does its thing that it is very generic. I want to say there is nothing wrong with that, but really, it didn’t taste great.
  • From the bottle: “From the last rains of winter to the flowing of spring vines, nothing is as exciting as the cycle of the vineyard and the promise of new wine. This year’s near perfect combination of long warm days and cool evenings produced a gorgeous wine with ripe, concentrated fruit flavors, a rich texture and a great length.” 13% alcohol by volume.


Louis Latour, Pinot Noir – 2015

  • Basic info: Louis Latour Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Cote D’Or, France – 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: unknown
  • Look: Garnet colored that is slightly translucent at the edges. Light legs evident in the glass.
  • Smell: Raspberry and cola
  • Taste: Raspberry, black cherry, tart with a little oak. Nice acidity. Mid palate has a little candy cola flavor (think bottle caps) and some chocolate. Long finish with a black forest cake taste (chocolate and cherry).
  • Conclusions:Really good wine. Pleasantly surprised and I would have thought this was a new world pinot since the fruit is so present. It doesn’t have a lot of the earth I usually associate with French reds.
  • Other notes: This wine was a gift from a family I worked with this year. I was surprised not only that they gave me wine, but that it hit all the right notes for me.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the website, “This Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015 has a bright ruby color. The nose reveals notes of Morello cherry, liquorice and moka. The mouth is round and supple with a delicate woody taste.”


Authentique Wine Cellars – Pinot Noir, 2015

  • Basic info: Authentique Wine Cellars “The Corridor” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR – 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35 (Backcountry Wines)
  • Look: Dark garnet in color. Good legs.
  • Smell: Subtle alcohol with dark berry aromas.
  • Taste: Raspberry, black cherry, caramel and a little milk chocolate. There is a black forest cake note in this wine and the finish is pretty good with the caramel and cherry flavors lingering.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine. It was really nice to drink, but it wasn’t one that blew me away. I’m not sure why, either. Looking at the description it should be something I’m ga-ga over, but it just wasn’t. It was good, very good, but not one I’m probably going to remember six months from now.
  • Other notes: We had this when John came to town – I showed him the spreadsheet of wine and said, “pick.” It was nice to share a bottle with him and get another opinion on the wine.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the winery, “Enigmatic. Pomegranate, bergamot and dusty raspberry.  The palate is bright with yellow raspberry and great tension lingering for a long baking spice finish.  16 months elevage in 40% new French Oak.” (I forgot to write down the abv and can’t find it on the website. Oops.)


Peterson, Zinfandel – 2013

  • Basic info: Peterson “Old School Zinfandel” Dry Creek Valley, CA – 2013
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $20
  • Look: Dark garnet in color. Opaque. Nice legs with a little time in the glass.
  • Smell: Cherry, oak, fresh tobacco and strawberry.
  • Taste: Tart cherry, dark fruit with a touch of vanilla and oak. Black cherry on the finish maybe a touch of chocolate in there.
  • Conclusions: I loved this wine. This is what zinfandel should be for me. Lots of layers of flavor with none of the bitter notes that some reds can get. Deep cherry and a touch of chocolate with a hint of sweetness, but not a sweet wine by any stretch. Yeah … this one goes on the “get again” list.
  • Other notes: I was nervous when I saw the bottle because I was a little afraid that the wine would match the art and I’d have an over-heavy punch-you-in-the-face wine. But it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton of flavor in this wine, but it held back the punch. Just lots of great drinking here.
  • From the bottle: The bottle itself doesn’t have any notes, but from the website, “Blended primarily from vineyards in the Northern Dry Creek Valley, Old School has a style that is full of flavor and character but not over the top. We want a wine that is refreshing and “highly drinkable” and satisfying; the type of Zin you can either open on a weeknight or take to a party without hesitation. As a bonus to an already great wine, each year our designer Chris Blum comes up with a new image and accompanying story to entertain and amuse, starting on the front and finishing on the back label.Robust dark-toned aromatics—briary berry, plum, spices and oak—fill the senses and lead into this easy-sipping wine.” 13.9% alcohol by volume.

img_20180522_193327Yes, I went heavy on the pour after tasting it. And I don’t regret it in the least.


Midnight Cellars, Red Blend – 2013

  • Basic info: Midnight Cellars “Full Moon” Red Blend, Paso Robles, CA – 2013
  • Type: red
  • Price estimate: $19 (local wine store)
  • Look: Dark garnet in color with good legs on the pour. Lighter color at edges
  • Smell: Hint of oak on the nose with some red berries
  • Taste: Red berries, good acid, and a little sage. Medium finish with a little bramble.
  • Conclusions: Good drinking wine. It was better the second day and went well with food. This probably isn’t a wine that I will search out again, but it isn’t one I’d shy away from drinking again either.
  • Other notes: I had to rely on Bob for most of the smell and tasting notes for this wine as I was suffering from the cold that would not end. A week without wine (yes, a full week of no drinking) and I really could only do a glass even when we had this. On a side note – Bob got us new wine glasses! I’ve been wanting one really good all purpose wine glass but put off getting them for some reason (cabinet space mainly), but Bob found a sale on Amazon and ordered us two glasses. I love them and even he commented that you can taste the wine better with them. My job is done.
  • From the bottle: “The 2013 Full Moon Red Wine is a lighter-style, easy drinking red wine that can be enjoyed with a wide variety of foods, or by itself. It is a well balanced wine with flavors of black cherry and strawberries together with minerals and spice.” 2400 cases produced. 15.5% alcohol by volume.


White Rose Estate, Pinot Noir – 2011

  • Basic info: White Rose Estate, “The Neo-Classical Objective” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR – 2011
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: (I honestly forget)
  • Look: Prune colored, medium dark red with a tinge of brown at the edges
  • Smell: oak, ash, bramble
  • Taste:Raspberry, wine, oak. Medium finish with some dark berry.
  • Conclusions: This wine was definitely past it’s prime and it may have been a little spoiled or oxidized. The color gave us some clues that it wasn’t going to be great, but the taste was just off.
  • Other notes: When we went to the winery in 2016 we brought home two of these and the first was fantastic. Over the last two years, this one just did not hold up. I think it went “off” just enough to make it not pleasant to drink. It was ok with food, but really, the bottle was not good.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes and I forgot to check the abv numbers so …


1692 Spier – Pinotage & Shiraz, 2017

  • Basic info: 1692 Spier Discover Collection, Pilotage & Shiraz blend, South Africa – 2017
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $8
  • Look: Opaque, dark ruby color with good legs that stain the glass a little
  • Smell: oak, smoke, hot. Smells like wine.
  • Taste: Dark berries and earth. Short finish. Berries are not discernible. Acid level is ok.
  • Conclusions: Easy to drink and I don’t feel guilty for opening this one on a just because day. With a higher alcohol content, I can only have one glass, but it is fine for a wine with dinner as food does bring out some of the flavors. It is perfectly acceptable and pretty good for an everyday drinking wine, especially since it was under ten dollars.
  • Other notes: I looked at my spreadsheet of wine (don’t judge) and realized that we have a number of bottles that are super good, but a little more expensive than I really want for an everyday wine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to drink them, but I thought sprinkling in a few less expensive wines would be appropriate. We plan to open the better bottles too, but I like having something under $20 so I don’t feel guilty. Pinotage is one of the varietals I really love and the blend with this one is good. It isn’t memorable or a wine I would break out if I was trying to impress someone, but it’s not bad for something a little different. I also don’t want my taste buds to get super use to the really good stuff.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes. 14.5% alcohol by volume.