MBF Zinfandel

  • Producer: Mutt Lynch Winery
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Price estimate: $32
  • Tasting notes: Dark ruby color in the glass and hints of cherry on the nose. Dark cherry, ripe raspberry, a little plum on the palate. A little dusky, but not unpleasant. Back end has notes of chocolate and black pepper with lots of spice on the finish. Good finish. Very smooth.
  • Conclusions: Mutt Lynch is one of my go-to wineries. The Man’s Best Friend Zinfandel is one of their more expensive wines, but at $32 a bottle, I’ll still drink it and not feel guilty because it is that good, but I won’t grab it every day like I might with some of their other wine. This was a particularly good bottle.

Evangelho Vineyard Red, 2018

  • Producer: Desire Line Wines
  • Location: Contra Costa County, CA
  • Year: 2018
  • Varietal: Carignan and Mourvedre
  • Price estimate: $35 (from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Dark purple in the glass, just a touch of pink at the edge; good legs and a nice weight to the wine. On the nose, cut wood and dark fruit. Tastes of plum, cherry, a little bramble, tootsie roll and tart black raspberry. Long finish ending with a touch of black pepper.
  • Conclusions: This was a wine that was well worth it’s price and more, Perfect tartness, lots of complexity and amazing flavor. This is a wine to sip and linger and to have with food. (Paired nicely with pasta.)
  • Notes: Normally I order the Riesling from Desire Line and call it good. Their Riesling is amazing, one of my favorite, so I try to get some every year. Last year I took a chance and picked up this bottle, and one other red just to see. I am so glad I did, and really wish I had gotten more than one. This was a really beautiful wine – fruit forward with lots of mineral notes and tons of character. Even at $35 a bottle, I would get more if I could.

Friend & Farmer Tempranillo

  • Producer: Friend & Farmer
  • Location: Castilla La Mancha, Spain
  • Year: 2019
  • Price estimate: unknown (from our cheese & wine box)
  • Tasting notes: A purple-ish ruby color in the glass and opaque even at the rims. Aromas of dark fruit, licorice and chicory. Alone, the taste is sour, tart and sour like an underripe plum. With the cheese, chocolate and sour cherry come out and only a hint of the sour remains. Short to medium finish.
  • Conclusions: By itself, I was not a fan of this wine. I wasn’t certain how I would drink it, but once paired with the cheese, it really came into it’s own. Good, strong flavors that compliment food. Not my favorite wine, but as long as I’m eating I wouldn’t turn it down.
  • Notes: My local cheese shop does a monthly cheese and wine club that we decided to try after years of just doing there regular monthly cheese. This was paired with Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar and it did go really well with it. I personally liked it with the gouda we picked up for our cheese plate even better – the chocolate notes in the wine complimented the caramel notes in the cheese really well, but not in a way that made either sweet. Just a nice wine with cheese.

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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