Bombina – Red Blend, NV

  • Basic info: Bombina, Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon & Sangiovese), Puglia Italy, No vintage
  • Type: Red
  • 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.


Shebang Wines – Red Blend, No Vintage

  • Basic info: Shebang Wines, “The Whole Shebang” red wine blend from Sonoma, California
  • Type: Red
  • 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.


Edmunds St. John – Gamay Noir, 2015

  • Basic info: Edmunds St. John, Bone Jolly – Gamay Noir, El Dorado County, California, 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $23 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: ruby red, translucent with noticeable legs
  • Smell: blackberry and cherry
  • Taste: Raspberry and dark fruits with currants on the back end. Bright wine with just a little effervescence and some mineral on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Good wine and fairly interesting. It is a little like a pinot noir, but just different enough to make me want to try more.
  • Other notes: Gamay noir was one of the grapes on my list that I really wanted to try. I didn’t want to get just any bottle, I wanted to find one that would be a good example of the grape and I think this was it. I would like to try one that is just a little more expensive because I think I will get more depth to the wine. This one was good, very good, and easy to drink, but there were subtle things that make me think I can find something just a little better.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street, “Made from 100% Gamay Noir, it is beautifully aromatic with candied black cherries, orange blossom, hibiscus and sweet spice aromas rising from the glass. Candied fruit abound on the palate pairing well with an array of different meals.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.


Vischio-Vaglio Serra – Barbera, 2014

  • Basic info: Vischio-Veglio Serra, I Tre Vescovo, Barbera d’Asti Superiore, Piedmont Italy – 2014
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $22
  • Look: Garnet with slight brown tinge at the edges. Good legs.
  • Smell: Wine. (Really, that was all I got)
  • Taste: Cherry, a little earthy with an undertone of plum. Bob said unripe plum with a dusky finish.
  • Conclusions: This is a good drinking wine. It has enough character that you go back for another sip, but not so much that it overpowers what you are eating. Like a lot of Italian wines, it pairs nicely with food. This one has a good mouth feel and the taste was better the second day.
  • Other notes: This was one of our local wine club wines and it was the first one we opened this month. It was very good the day Bob brought it home, but it opened really nicely after sitting for a few days.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the club note, “Ruby color with orange overtones and an excellent body. A strong bouquet of dried fruit and a slightly woody flavor. The taste is dry and long lasting.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.


VistAlba – Red Blend, 2014

  • Basic info: VistAlba Corte B, Red Blend, Argentina – 2014
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $30 (local wine store)
  • Look: dark ruby in color. No legs when chilled slightly, but more legs as it warms.
  • Smell: Cherry and nutmeg
  • Taste: Tart cherry, blackberry, jam. Bob thought this one had an herbal finish and we both agreed that it was a high alcohol wine.
  • Conclusions: This was better than expected, but I might say that because after a glass, everything felt really good. It had a nice tart start, but a cleaner finish. This wine had a lot of body to it, but no bitter notes, which is unusual.
  • Other notes: This was good, but not one that I’m going to seek out. It came in our local wine club, which is why we had it and I’m glad I did. I tend to like lower alcohol wines – I’m not a big fan of wines that I can’t contemplate a second glass of and this was one of those.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the wine store, ” Intense ruby red in color with violet hues. Subtle note of rose, pepper, ripe prunes. Tobacco and cinnamon notes appear due to its rest in oil barrels for 12 months. Sweet entrance, full body, velvety tannins and a finish that highlights dark and dense chocolate.” 15% alcohol by volume.


Chevalerie – Cabernet Franc, 2012

  • Basic info: Chevalerie Bourgeois, Cabernet Franc, France – 2012
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $22 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: deep plum color with good legs
  • Smell: blackberry jam and spice (don’t know what kind of spice, just spice)
  • Taste: Slightly thin wine for the color. Stone fruit, blackberry jam. Very smooth back end.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine. I thought it was very drinkable. It was not my favorite wine ever, but it was good on it’s own or paired with food. Bob didn’t comment much on it, he liked it but wasn’t gaga over it.
  • Other notes: This wine was a bit of a surprise to me. I generally remember Cab Francs as very heavy, very bitter and woody and this wine was none of those things. It had a thin structure and was very smooth. I may have to give Cab Francs another try.
  • From the bottle:  No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street, ” The lovely 2012 Chevalerie shows vivid aromas of berry liqueurs, bitter chocolate, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense and supple with ripe blackberry, cocoa, earth and mineral flavors balanced by cool acidity.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.


Monte Bernardi, Chianti – 2014

  • Basic info:Monte Bernardi Retromarcia Chianti Classico (Sangiovese) – 2014
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $19 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Garnet, medium legs, slightly translucent
  • Smell: wine (seriously, I could not discern anything specific and neither could Bob)
  • Taste: Smooth, slightly thin, but well structured. Some hints of cherry initially with strawberry at the very back-end with a little bit of tartness.
  • Conclusions: I loved this wine! I like Chianti in general, but this was something pretty special. I was tempted to just keep drinking it, but I stopped at two glasses so I could savor it more the next day. This was such a good chianti that Bob liked it (Bob doesn’t like chianti and tends to cringe when I pick one up) and that is unusual.
  • Other notes: This is apparently an organic wine, which I don’t usually place a ton of emphasis on, but I really do wonder if the flavor of the grapes comes through more than it might in a traditionally farmed vineyard. I may have to find more of this one as it really hit all the right notes for me, and if Bob is willing to drink it (two days in a row as a matter of fact) than it might be worth a space or two in the wine fridge.
  • From the bottle: The bottle is in Italian, so I have to go with the notes Chamber Street sent with the wine. “A fantastic Sangiovese, aged for about two years in neutral barrels. Nice earth, subtle leathery tannin and a long mineral finish make this Chianti Classico a great paring with any fall or winter feast.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.