Friday, August 3, 2018

Review and Ratings: Two Best-Value Bisol Prosecco's

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Bisol Prosecco.

By way of background:  Today we will sample two Prosecco's from the same maker, Bisol, both part of the Wilson Daniels import portfolio.  The Bisol family participation with wines dates all the way back to grape cultivation in 1542, well over half a millennium ago!  Today, the family is known for their range of Valdobbiadene designation brut Prosecco's, culled from some 20 vineyards in the region.  Both of these Prosecco's tap the glera grape predominantly, as is classic for the style, but the Jeio selection uses glera exclusively, without any blending.  Review samples of these wines were provided by the winery and importer's representative, Colangelo & Partners.
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Original tasting and review : This is **** $$ Bisol Crede Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Veneto, Italy, 2017, finished at 11.5% alcohol and first sampled one year from vintage date, in August, 2018.  It is composed from 85% glera, 10% pinot bianco and 5% verdiso grapes, all estate grown.

Inspired by this wine: Sitting in shorts on the dock, bare feet splashing in the cool bay waters lapping towards shore. 

In the glass:  Clear with hints of vanilla tones.

On the nose: Poured at cool temperature in a roomy glass, shows light, clean saline and white flower notes.  Bright.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact carrying forward a light, floral salinity, with perhaps touches of sweet peach moving along with the white flowers.  Clean, fresh, silky finish with just enough acidity to peak your interest for the next sip.

In summary: Overall, rates a powerful four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making it a best value at value-based retail price points.

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Original tasting and review : This is *** $ Bisol Jeio Brut Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, non-vintage, finished at 11% alcohol.  It is made of 100% glera grapes, mostly estate harvested.

Inspired by this wine: At the big spring family gathering, we're setting up plates and food on the huge, old wooden picnic table. 

In the glass: Clear with glints of golden yellow.

On the nose: Poured at cool temperature in a roomy glass, shows clean but dry, wispy fruit notes of peaches and pear.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a soft sweet stone fruit core that walks comfortingly across your palate.  A sweetness lingers in your cheeks, touched by just a hint of acid.

In summary: Overall, rates an easy three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, almost garnering a plus for its fruity friendliness. This too is a best value when obtained at discount retail prices.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Bisol Prosecco.

(c) Copyright 2018 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wow: Plenty of great value among the Locations Wines (E, F, WA and NZ)!

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wines.

By way of background:  This review comprises four wines exclusively from the Locations Wine series, which represents a unique line of wines built specifically to be typical of their country or region of origin, and labeled accordingly.  So today, we will be sampling E5 from Spain (think"Espana"), F5 from France, WA5 from Washington State, and NZ7 from New Zealand.  While not explicitly described by the winery, the "5"s and "7" are believed to represent the vintage year for these wines (2005 and 2007).


The first three wines are made of typical red blends from the associated regions, while NZ5 is made exclusively from sauvignon blanc.  The red wines all tip in at 15% alcohol, while the sauvignon blanc is a somewhat more modest 13.5% (though still admittedly big for a white wine.   All of these wines were built under the direction of winemaker Dave Phinney, and are being sampled three years from vintage date, in April, 2018.  Each wine comes in at a US list price below $20.  Review wines were provided by the winery through their representatives at Balzac Communications & Marketing.

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wines.

Original tasting and review: This is **** $$ Locations E5 Spanish Red Wine, Spain (2005).   It is a blend of grenache, tempranillo, monastrell and carignan, sourced from Priorat, Jumilla, Toro, Rioja and Ribera del Duero.


Inspired by this wine: A cool evening at the county fair, we're chatting by the ferris wheel.

In the glass: Mahogany with a deep orange wash.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a depth of red berries with a sweet spiciness.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact full, flush, sleek ripe red and black berries washing across your tongue.  Bright red fruits climb a gently sweet ladder into your cheeks, where the sip rests and fades, very, very slowly.  Clean and inviting finish.

In summary: Overall, rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this an easy win as a "best value" on our scale.

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wines.

Original tasting and review : This is *** $$ Locations F5 French Red Wine, France (2005).  It is a blend of grenache, syrah and other unnamed red varietals from the regions of Rhone, Roussillon and Bordeaux.

Inspired by this wine: Playing cards with friends - so much lively banter!

In the glass: Crimson, burgundy and mahogany.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft yet lively floral and berry notes.

On the palate: The palate brings a first sensation of sleek red fruit, with surrounding light spices.  Balanced acids and tannins lift the sip aloft for a modest-length finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, almost touching a plus for its clean balance.

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wines.

Original tasting and review : This is ***+ $$ Locations WA5 Washington Red Wine, Washington State (2005).  It is a blend of syrah, merlot and petit sirah.  It is also the first Locations offering from Washington State.

Inspired by this wine: Talking in the living room, but deciding to sit together on the appealing purple horsehair blanket.

In the glass: Burgundy moving to opaque only a half inch from the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep violet and blackberry fruits.

On the palate: The palate brings nice silty black and red berry fruit, resting bold at first, then fading to a gentle, clean, somewhat bright finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a plus for its lively depths on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a "good value".

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wines.

Original tasting and review : This is **** $$ Locations NZ7 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (2007), and represents Locations' second release of wine from this location.  The 100% sauvignon blanc wine was sourced from the New Zealand valleys of Wairau, Awatere and Waihopai.

Inspired by this wine: Running across the wide inclined meadow, arms outstretched and absorbing the sun and light breezes.

In the glass: Transparent with the slightest yellow glints.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, shows stainless steel, cut grass and a slight, but pleasant, funky hay. 

On the palate: The palate brings a funky, minerally and saline-tinged sweet wash of white grapes and gooseberries.  The sip sits in your mouth just long enough to have been enjoyed, then clenches for a completely crisp and clean finish.

In summary: Overall, rates a rare four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, showing a lovely balance of depth, crispness, funk, fruit and minerality.  "Best value" by our assessment.

(c) Copyright 2018 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Side-by-side Tasting of Lodi Cabernet Rose Wines; d'Art and Peltier

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Lodi Rose wines.

By way of background:  Today we will do a side-by-side tasting of two sister rose wines - sisters because they both hail from the Lodi, California, region; but sisters too because both of these roses are composed from cabernet sauvignon grapes.  Remember that "rose" is not a type of grape, but a preparation made typically from red wine grapes where the contact between skin and fermenting juice is kept to a minimum.  That process retains hues of red color in the wine and a freshness and acidity more consistent with white wines.   Lodi, of course, is well known for its red wine varietals, and especially cabernet sauvignon.  So today we will sample two cabernet sauvignons constructed as roses, from two different vineyards, and finished at two distinctly different alcohol levels.  Rose wines are often served chilled to retain their fresh crispness - we will be sampling them that way as well.  Review samples were provided by Lodi Wines of California, through their agents Calhoun & Company Communications. 


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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Peltier Rose.

Original tasting and review : This is Peltier Winery & Vineyards Black Diamond Rouge Rose, Lodi, California, 2016, finished at 12% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in April, 2018.

Inspired by this wine: Enjoying a sweet, friendly lunch as sunshine warms the cool, early spring air.

In the glass: Blood orange and cranberry glints.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, shows subtle, deep red aromas with tiny wisps of citrus. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate bring an initial gentle sweetness and salinity, washing gentle raspberry fruit across your tongue.  Strawberries with their characteristic acids perk up into your cheeks and bring the sip to a slowly fading finish.

In summary: Overall, rates a solid three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, for its layers, freshness and balance.

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for d'Art wines.

Original tasting and review : This is d'Art Wines Cabernet Rose, Lodi, California, 2017, finished at a much bigger 14.8% alcohol and first sampled one year from vintage date, in April, 2018.

Inspired by this wine: Sipping a fragrant cocktail by the fireplace on this cool spring evening.

In the glass: Light pink and orange tones.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a bright, fragrant, liqueur-styled tone with notes of citrus and elderflower.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact bold but sleek orange and lemon curling quickly into the top of your cheeks, rushing up with some smooth alcohol.  There is nothing shy about how the sip lodges high in your palate, holding its fragrance and flavors for a very slow release and eventual fade.

In summary: Overall, with its strength and fragrance, reaches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

(c) Copyright 2018 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Reviews of two best values from Wente Vineyards: $$ Riva Ranch Chardonnay and $$$ Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon

By way of background:  We've sampled and enjoyed a number of Wente Vineyards wines in these pages in the past.   (You can check out our full review history here.)  Today, we will assess recent releases of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.  Review samples were provided by the winery's agent, Charles Communications Associates.


Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay.

Original tasting and review : This is Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Monterey, California, 2016, finished at a whopping 14.5% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2018.  A full 90% of this wine is fermented in French and American oak barrels, of which 60% is new.  The resulting wine is further aged sur lie for eight months in barrel. 

Inspired by this wine: A spring picnic replete with family and cotton candy, adults talking animatedly at the tables.

In the glass: Clear with light golden hues.

On the nose: Poured at cool serving temperature and swirled vigorously, shows sweet stone fruit with light hints of tobacco smoke.  From the aroma, seems like this may be layered and bright.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact buttery and gently sweet, with sugars on the first attack, gliding into your cheeks with a cleansing wash of light citrus acids.  The finish holds with the brightness fading to a crisp gentle finish.

In summary: Overall, just touches four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, reflecting both its deep layers and crisp edges.   Awesome value. 

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon.

Original tasting and review : This is Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore VAlley, California, 2015, finished at 14.5% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in March, 2018.  While fermented in stainless steel tanks, the wine was subsequently aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. 

Inspired by this wine: My grandfather is teaching me how to manage the wood fire - he promises me a secret puff on the cigar if I handle it well.  

In the glass: Deep crimson and cranberry, moving to opaque from about a quarter inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows smoky tobacco, hints of chocolate and clean, wet earth.  From the aroma, seems like this may be fresh and taut.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact layered with big, deep, well-structured black fruit.  Tannins bring depth and presence to bold, ripe blackberry elements and some ripe black cherry.  The sip holds in your mouth, lifting very slightly into your cheeks with the pleasantly gritty sweet tannins.  Things fix there for an extraordinarily long time, eventually fading and beckoning your next sip.  Powerfully convincing, yet pleasingly soft and seductive too.

In summary: Overall, rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a rare plus for its well-integrated balance of depth, brightness and sensuousness.  Best value.

(c) Copyright 2018 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Reviews: Pacific Crest Wine Co Columbia Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon = GOOD and BEST VALUES!

By way of background:  Today we will sample two Columbia Valley AVA wines from the Pacific Crest Wine Co, produced under the direction of winemaker Linda Trotta.  The cabernet sauvignon is built from grapes pulled exclusively from the McNary Vineyard site in Horse Heaven Hills, while the chardonnay is designated as a broader Columbia Valley label.  Review samples were provided by the winery's representative, Balzac Communications.


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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Pacific Crest Wine Co Centennial Trail Chardonnay.

Original tasting and review : This is $$ Pacific Crest Wine Co Centennial Trail Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2015, finished at 13.2% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in February, 2018.

Inspired by this wine: Singing in the choir, bright, soprano melodies and harmonies.

In the glass: A light and bright 18-karat gold sheen.  Almost sparkles.

On the nose: Poured at a cool temperature and swirled vigorously, shows clean stainless steel plus notes of sugar crisp cookies.  From the aroma, seems like this may be almost riesling-like in its sharpness.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact fuller and more robust than expected.  Sleek, bright apple and peach notes emerge first, with more doughy, yeasty notes following.  The sip tucks into the back of your mouth, bringing forth more spices mixed with apple into a relatively lengthy finish. Finishes clean with no cloying sweetness.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and just touches a plus for its generosity, layers and overall lively balance.  Good value!

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Pacific Crest Wine Co Cabernet Sauvignon.

Original tasting and review : This is $$ Pacific Crest Wine Co Cabernet Sauvignon, McNary Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2015, finished at 13.7% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in February, 2018.

Inspired by this wine: Wrapped in a massive plaid maroon wool blanket, enjoying the warmth from the fireplace.

In the glass: Deep black cherry, fully opaque from three-quarters of an inch from the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows solid blackberries and black currants, roasted lightly from the fire.   From the aroma, seems like this may be bold, deep and structured.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as suggested by the nose... First notes enter of big black fruit and cocoa, with savory portobello mushroom overtones.  Tannins extend the deep fruit across your mouth and against your cheeks, bringing along savory spices.  The sip lingers with the tannins, then slowly settles, quite clean with just light wisps of ripe blackberry remaining.

In summary: Overall, rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a best value based on our cost/quality criteria.

(c) Copyright 2018 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Review: ***+ $$ Oregon Trails Wine Co OTWC Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2016 = GOOD VALUE

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Oregon Trails Wine Co OTWC Pinot Noir.

By way of background:  Today we will explore a classic offering from Oregon, a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  This one, a vintage 2016 from Oregon Trails Wine Co, is third in a series of highly rated vintages in the valley and is a wine which undergoes minimal intervention in the winemaking process.   Review sample was provided by the winery's representative, Balzac Communications.

Original tasting and review : This is Oregon Trails Wine Company OTWC Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2016, finished at 13.2% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in February, 2018.

Inspired by this wine: In the metalworking shop, hot fires yield inspired, intricate pieces of stainless steel art.

In the glass: Dark cranberry, doesn't quite move to opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows streaks of fire and elements of bright stainless steel.  From the aroma, seems like this may be taut and shy.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact anything but shy, bringing a big, solid core of fresh red currants, blackberries and generous spices.  Bright tannins and acids lift the beefy sip quickly into your cheeks.  There it settles, growing richer with air and time, and gently fading into a clean wash and light whisper, inviting another taste.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a big plus for structure, layers and pleasantness on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Good value.


(c) Copyright 2018 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.