• Wine Reviews

    2009 Cline California Ancient Vines Zinfandel

    Cline Cellars is known for awarding-winning Rhone-style wines and Zinfandels. They have been recognized for using solar technology to provide all of the winery’s electricity needs and for employing organic, sustainable practices in their production. The California Ancient Vine Zinfandels come from a blend of vineyards, some owned by Cline and others sourced from Lodi, Mendocino, Sonoma and Lake County. The ancient vines were planted more than 100 years ago by Italian and Portuguese immigrants in Oakley. The sandy soil is phylloxera resistant. Winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos styles his reds to be big and dark with lots of fruit concentration and delicate oak nuances. I’ve enjoyed the previous vintages of the California…

  • Wine Reviews

    2008 Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Noir

    Kim Crawford is widely known for award winning Sauvignon Blancs, so I though trying the Pinot Noir would be fun. A still controversial move, screw caps are used on all Kim Crawford wines. The 2008 Pinot Noir is a transparent crimson color with a light fruity aroma. Slightly sweet, fruit driven with a hint of oak, this wine tastes of cherries and strawberries. A few reviewers indicated that this Pinot was better the second day, and I agree – after a day, it had more of the typical Pinot flavors and spiciness. Grapes: Pinot Noir Alcohol: 13.5% Retail price: ~$17.00 From: Marlborough, New Zealand

  • Wine Reviews

    2004 Barons Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild

    The Rothschild family has been making wine since 1868 when James de Rothschild purchased Chateau Lafite. His great grandson, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, continued the family tradition purchasing land and establishing his own vineyards. Furthering his entry into the wine world, he has partnered with the Rupert family in South Africa and purchased land in Argentina. The wine is heavy on the tannins, wiping your mouth dry with each sip. If you’re used to drinking juicy California wines, you may think the wine a bit flat. It has a slight aroma of berries and is a very deep red color. A nice bit of spice and longer finish than expected.…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

    I hope I get to meet winemaker Adam Richardson sometime – he seems like he is as much fun as the wines he makes. A native Australian, Adam launched the Cupcake Vineyards line of wines in 2008. With a slogan like “Go ahead, live deliciously,” how can you go wrong? Aged in American oak barrels, this wine is a medium red color with a fruity aroma. A bit tart on first taste, this wine mellows after a few sips or swirls. Smooth, soft tannins, fruit forward flavor and a spicy finish make this an excellent everyday wine. Blackberries greet you on each sip. A great price to quality ratio. Grapes:…

  • Wine Reviews

    2010 Xplorador Malbec

    Concha y Toro is best known for vineyards in Chile, which were first planted in 1883 by Don Melchor with vines brought from Bordeaux. This large company exports a lot of wine to the US at various price points. The Xplorador wines are all very inexpensive, and some of them have unexpectedly impressive quality for the price. Héctor “Tito” Urzúa is Xplorader’s winemaker. His Malbec has a light plummy aroma with a hint of vanilla. Aged in French oak for 5 months, this wine is deep red, with a medium body and tannins balanced nicely by fruit flavors. Given the young age of this wine as well as the bargain…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Cigar Box Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

    Cigar Box Wines really puts their personality in their marketing. Their tagline is “Show everyone how swanky you really are.” The back of this bottle reads: “Drink this wine with good friends and good food… Or drink it alone in your room with the door locked… You’re the boss!” In Chilean wine law, “Reserve” has no special meaning and it was difficult to get solid details on this wine. So, did this wine make me feel swanky and fabulous? For the price, it’s a nice enough wine but I do think the marketing may have gone a tad overboard with the swank factor. The notes on the bottle describe this…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine

    A light-bodied, crisp wine with citrus and pear on the nose. From the Pays Nantais region of the Loire Valley, this Muscadet is made by Marc Ollivier. The grapes are hand harvested and the wine rested on its lees until the time of bottling, adding a depth of flavor. The wine is pale yellow in color. If you’re looking for a light, summer wine with some minerality to combine with seafood on a hot day, go for it! This has such a great quality to price ratio, you really can’t go wrong. Grapes: Melon de Bourgnone Alcohol level: 12% Retail price: ~$11-12.00