Monday, August 29, 2022

Pithon-Paille Anjou Mozaik Blanc, 2017

This is not a Savennieres but a similarly styled dry Chenin Blanc from Anjou in the Loire Valley. It is still available for $11.99 as a "buy now" wine at

Deep gold color. Best when only slightly chilled and well aerated. Scents of honeydew melon and white peach emerge slowly but surely. Same on the palate. Ripe fruit flavors, almost pretty for a Chenin Blanc. Does not have the depth or complexity of a Savennieres but it is very good and drinking well right now.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Wind Gap Santa Cruz Mountains Woodruff Vineyard Chardonnay, 2013

I have enjoyed several bottles of this 2013 Woodruff Vineyard Chardonnay over the past several months. This bottle seemed a notch above the others, perhaps because it matched up so perfectly with pan fried whitefish from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Deep golden color but not overly mature. Crisp apple and freshly sliced lemon. More than ample acidity that blends well with flavors and texture of the fish. Hints of butter in the flavor but not the body or texture. Crisp apple fruit on the satisfying finish.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Tenuta Arnulfo Costa di Bussia Barbera d'Alba, 2015

This Barbera comes from vines planted in 2006-2007 on the Bussia hill near Monforte d'Alba--Barolo country. And the estate produces several very good Barolos from nearby vineyards. At $12 to $15, it is one of my favorite mid- to low-priced Barberas. And we stayed four days at the estate in October of 2019.

Beautiful red ruby color. Scents of cherries,strawberries, flowers and spice. Characterisrtic Barbera acidity, almost tart, but countered by firm tannins. Has been matured in French oak barriques. The estate considers this a 5- to 7-year wine, but I can envision greater complexity with at least another year or two of bottle age.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Collection Rhone Cotes du Rhone, 2020

A few years ago, Trader Joe's offered some very good Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Villages wines that I bought regularly. The Rhone selection right now is slim and some do not measure up to my expectations. This Collection Rhone--55% Grenache, 35% Carignan and 25% Syrah--is the exception. It is, in my opinion, a good example of a traditionally made Cotes du Rhone. And it sells for $6.99.

Medium crimson/ruby. Vibrant young fruit with yeasty tones. Red berries, earth and pepper. Rich on the palate, well balanced. Lovely now and will improve over the next three years or so.

Maison Noir O.P.P. Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2019

The O.P.P. that dominates the label of this wine designates "Other People's Pinot Noir." What that is supposed to mean I do not know, but it is an accessible, relatively inexpensive Pinot from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Deep and dark for a Pinot Noir. Could be mistaken for a Syrah or Cabernet. Has the lilting aromas of Pinot Noir. Cherry, pomegranate, earth and ginger. A big wine, lacks the delicacy that is usually associated with Pinot Noir. But the flavors are rich and unmistakbly Willamette Valley Pinot with a peppery, spicy, orange zest finish.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Kenwood Six Ridges Alexander Valley Cabernet, 2017

I bought a lot of Kenwood Cabernets in the early 1980s. They were reliably good and well priced. There are no more Kenwood wines in my cellar, but this wine was offered by the glass at the excellent Out of the Fire Cafe in Donegal, PA.

Deep, dark Cabernet color. Intriguing nose of dark cherries, cassis, mint and vanilla. Nicely developed for a five-year-old wine. Tannins are ripe and countered by a good level of acidity. Grainy texture that teases the  taste buds at the back of the tongue. Long, beautiful finish. At $35, this is still well priced for a California Cab. I am going to put Kenwood Cab back on my shopping list.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Taylor-Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port

Taylor-Fladgate's 20 Year Old Tawny Port is one of my favorite after dinner drinks. At a more reasonable price ($30 vs $50 plus), 10 Year Old Tawny is a good alternative. Both are at their best slightly chilled. Unlike Vintage Port which ideally should be aged 20 years or longer, tawny port is ready to drink when purchased and will not benefit from time in the cellar.

Deep tawny color with amber at the rim. Rich bouquet of dried berries, nuts, dates, figs, toffee and more. Mellow and rich on the palate with amazingly complex flavors that seem to last forever. A pefect conclusion to a fine meal.

Duxoup Dry Creek Syrah, 2015

I like French Syrah from the Northern Rhone and some Australian Shiraz, but I don't have much experience with California Syrah. That's why I ordered this wine when I spotted it on the wine list at the Out of the Fire Cafe in Donegal, PA. The Duxoup Syrah does not have much in common with Crozes-Hermitage, Saint Joseph or even most Australian Shiraz wines. But it was an enjoyable accompaniment to an excellent entree of roast New Zealand lamb.

Dark, opaque. Duxoup usually incorporates about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon in its Syrah wines, and it shows. Big, extracted smells and flavors. Boysenberries, dark plums. Full bodied with moderate acidity and big fruit flavors that linger on the finish. Not a lot of complexity at this stage of its development.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Pelassa Piemonte Oltre, 2014

After smelling and tasting this wine, I immediately pegged it as Langhe Nebbiolo, a baby Barolo. And it is part Nebbiolo, although only 10% along with 90% Barbera, according to the Pelassa website. Oltre is the Italian word for beyond, and this wine is beyond Nebbiolo, beyond Barbera. And very good.

Dark ruby, the color of Barbera more than Nebbiolo. Dark cherries, blue plums, flowers, black pepper and a hint of menthol. Very aromatic. Full bodied in the mouth but elegant. Acid, tannin and alcohol in perfect balance. No hard edges. Ripe, round and smooth. I could drink this wine every night.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Domaine du Haut des Terres Blanches Chateauneuf du Pape, 2000

Domaine du Haut des Terres Blanches Chateauneuf was widely available in my marketing area in Michigan in the early part of this century. I sampled the wines at tastings and bought them enthusiastically. Tasted over the last several years, the 1998 did not meet my expectations, perhaps because of poor storage or transportation before I received it. This 2000 bottle meets my expectations plus plus.

Medium crimson with amber at rim. Bouquet is slow to open but clearly very deep and concentrated. Cherries, red berries, pomegranates and a touch of black pepper. Very concentrated old vine character. Teases the taste buds, then slowly releases flavors that build to a crescendo long after the wine is swallowed. This wine is already 22 years of age but has a long life ahead of it. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Domaine des 3 Messes Basses Ventoux Rouge, 2018

This is Southern Rhone wine the way I like it. It is produced by a cooperative of growers, Vignerfons du Mont Ventoux, from 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Carignan matured in concrete vats.

Medium deep crimson. Intense red berry fruit backed by a peppery spice. Full bodied with appropriate warmth but no heat. Very easy to drink but not at all simple. I usually buy this for about $10 a bottle at the D&W online wine sale.


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Wind Gap Woodruff Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay, 2012

Wind Gap produced some excellent high-end wines...before it folded. Fortunately for me, I was able to secure some of the old stock at give-away prices on WineBid. This 2012 Chardonnay is one of the best of the lot.

Very deep gold. Looks like it is overly mature but the smells and flavors are bright and youthful. Apple, lemon cream and hints of butter. Modest oak but big, ripe fruit flavors. Not at all oxidized as the color might suggest. Although it's a year older and a lot deeper in color than the 2013 vintage of the same wine, it is, in my opinion, far better.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Domaine Sainte-Anne Cotes du Rhone Villages Saint Gervais, 2005


The Mouvedre-rich Saint Gervais of Domaine Sainte-Anne is one of my favorite wines, and this 2005 vintage is particularly good. Reminds me of the excellent 2000.

Dark ruby red, shading to brown at the rim. Beautifully bright. Dark cherries, violets, Mourvedre spice, herbs and even a hint of black pepper that I don't usually find in Sainte-Anne wines.Plush mouth feel. Majestic. Deep flavors that run from front to back, ending in a long, delightful finish.

60 to 70% Mourvedre, 15 to 20% Syrah and 15 to 20% Genache from vines planted in the early- to mid-1960s.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Terramata Barbera d'Alba, 2017

Terramata Barbera d'Alba is made by a growers' cooperative and, as a result, is an excellent value in Piedmont Barbera.

Beautiful deep ruby red. Dark cherries black raspberries, mushrooms and herbs. Abundant youthful fruit, medium bodied. Acidity seems to be showing more prominently than it did a few months ago but that gives the wine vigor and intensity.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Kirkland Signature Friuli Pinot Grigio, 2020


Kirkland Signature, of course, indicates that this wine is sold by Costco, and it is available at my local Kalamazoo Costco for only $4.99. At that price, I think it compares quite favorably with MezzaCorona or the inexpensive Pinot Grigios available at Trader Joe's. Friuli is a cool climate appellation near the Alps in northeastern Italy.

Very light, almost clear. Green apples, pear, lime zest. Medium body for a wine with only 12.5% alcohol. Fewer herbal tones than MezzaCorona and more flavor interest than Giacomo d'Aquino, a similarly priced wine sold at Trader Joe's. Clean, fresh finish.

While the wine is not made for aging, I suspect it would develop some interestring nuances if I kept it for a couple of years. At the price, of course, I probably won't.