Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review: **** $ Tinto da Anfora Alentejano, Portugal, 2006 - BEST VALUE

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Original Tasting and Review, opening thoughts, October, 2010: Made from a blend of grapes from Portugal's southern Alentejano region, Tinto da Anfora Alentejano, Portugal, 2006, is finished for about a year in small oak barrels.

By way of background: This is finished at 14.% alcohol.  For the record, the blend is arogonez 50%, touriga nacional 30%, trincadeira 10%, alfrocheiro 5% and (more familiar) cabernet sauvignon 5%.

In the glass: Tinto da Anfora is deep burgundy, opaque in the middle.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Portuguese red blend shows a full and fruity middle with deep oak overtones.  New world luscious fruit.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a fat, chuggable, almost luscious, mid-palate fruit.  Lightly supporting tannins and no notable acids. 

In summary: Overall, a full, leisurely, almost contemplative experience. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its reach towards profundity.  I believe this has been served well by the couple of years of additional cellar age in the bottle, bringing it to four years from vintage date.   Awesome best value.

Following long decant, one week kept cool under vacuum:   Aromas have grown more muted, acids have picked up a bit, but still solid.  I preferred right from bottle with brief decant.
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Updated review, over a year later, now five years from vintage,  October, 2011:  Consistent color.  Inky purple coming through on the nose.  Yummy, chewy and rich on the palate. Some gentle brightness on the finish.  Tinto da Anfora is still an awesome value.  Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Held its stuffing nicely.  Deep, red, rich and softly bright.
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Updated review, almost eight years later, now 13 years from vintage,  August, 2019:  All I can say is WOW!  The prior notes almost complete this followup review.  Hasn't lost any of the deep, perfumed profundity.  In fact, the brightness has sublimated into very pleasing layers.  Now four stars.  Crazy, crazy good value!!   Who would have thought a wine at this price point could be such an outstanding decade-plus ager!  Just remarkable. 

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Wine Tasting and Review: Face-Off of two Trader Joe's California Zinfandels!!

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By way of background:  Today we will be tasting two versions of the quintessential American wine, zinfandel, from the quintessential American vineyard state, California, produced by the quintessential American-founded retailer, Trader Joe's.   Both are available at bargain price points in the single digit U.S. dollar range.  Trader Joe's Grower's Reserve Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California, 2017, comes in at a VERY SLIGHTLY higher price point than Trader Joe's Coastal Zinfandel, Central Coast, California, 2018.   But, really, it is rounding error!   (Haha, you can somewhat tell the price pecking order by the corks - who said size doesn't matter?!!)

Let's see what we've got here...

Trader Joe's Grower's Reserve Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California, 2017: ***+ Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: Chopping tree-ripened plums and cherries for the big fruit salad!

Specs: This is finished at 13.6% alcohol, which is actually quite light for a Paso Robles zin.  First sampled two years from vintage date, in July, 2019.

In the glass: Medium magenta, consistent throughout the glass, with the slightest twist of brick at the edge.

On the nose: Poured at cool room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright ripe cherry notes.

On the palate: Shows deeper, soft, resonant plum fruit.  It slowly wipes across your palate with a light velvet sheen, bringing deep and ripe berry fruit along with some gentle sandy tannins into the swift but clean finish.

In summary: Overall, makes for an easy three-plus stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  It bears a remarkable resemblance to more classic (and vastly more expensive) zins.  This is a rip-roaring best value at its insanely attractive price point.

Trader Joe's Coastal Zinfandel, Central Coast, California, 2018: *** Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: Getting our nice but casual clothes together for a dinner with friends.

Specs: This is finished at 14.1% alcohol and first sampled one year from vintage date, in July, 2019.

In the glass: Light to medium magenta throughout.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a very lightly perfumed bright red berry.

On the palate: Brings a sweet and full first touch to the tongue, which resolves to brighter sweet berries with just a gentle touch of acidity.  The bright sweetness fades cleanly and briskly.

In summary: Overall, a pleasant-enough experience rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and makes it just reach best value status in light of its bargain price point.

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Overall:  In a nutshell, two strong wines for the price... to my mind, the Grower's Reserve is easily worth the very modest step up in price versus the Coastal.  I do commend Trader Joe's for bringing some decent quality to the bargain wine shelf with these young zinfandels.

(c) Copyright 2019 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.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

*** $$ Michael David Winery Freakshow Red Wine, Lodi, California, 2015: Wine tasting, review & rating

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Michael David Winery Freakshow Red Wine, Lodi, California, 2015: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: We're stoking red hot ashes in the big old fireplace, cups of steaming hot cocoa in hand.

Specs: This is finished at 15% alcohol and first sampled four years from vintage date, in March, 2019.

By way of background: The Michael David Winery Freakshow Red Wine, 2015, is a blend of Lodi syrah with a touch of petite sirah.  It is a follow-on from the winery's successful debut of Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the glass: Black - and I mean BLACK - black cherry, opaque about an eighth of an inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep blackberry and essence of nuts - maybe almonds.

On the palate: Brings a bright and somewhat smoky blackberry fruit to your tongue on the initial sip, followed by bold acids that bring the sip tight up into your cheeks, for a long fade to a completely clean finish.

In summary: Overall, it's bold but bright blended character rates an easy three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

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(c) Copyright 2019 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.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Exploring the entry-level Loosen Bros riesling line from Mosel: Dr. L

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By way of background:  The Dr. Loosen wine estate along Germany's Mosel River has been in the same family for more than 200 years.   The line, known primarily as Loosen Bros in the United States, is widely recognized for its rieslings.   Today we will sample two of the entry-level wines from this line, both showing as introductions to the Mosel region.   These wines are not estate wines, but are produced from grapes culled across the region.  One is dry and the other is off-dry.   Both are priced in the U.S. at the value end of the wine spectrum, and the review samples were provided by the winery. 

Loosen Bros Dr. L Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2017: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: Busy getting rehearsal costumes ready for the festive town play.

Specs: Dr. L Dry Riesling, 2017, is finished at 12% alcohol and is first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2019.

In the glass: Clear with light golden glints.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, shows polish sugar and sweet peach fruit.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are, first, soft, sweet, crisp white peach and apple, followed quickly by a race of acids that wash the sweetness and tuck away deep in your cheeks.  Finish is relatively brief, but quite clean.

In summary: Overall, rates a solid three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and is a "best value" bases on its value price point. 
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Loosen Bros Dr. L Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2017: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: The children are boisterous as they await the start of the birthday party.

Specs: Dr. L Riesling, 2017, is finished at 8.5% alcohol and is first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2019.

In the glass: Clear with hints of gold and beige.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, shows clean, stainless-steel and stone fruit.

On the palate: The palate first brings a melange of sweet, muddled ripe pear and kiwi fruit, followed by a light wash of acid.  The acid does not wash the sweet away, but allows the sip to linger with sweet fruit for the duration.  A bit of caramel sugar remains even after the sip has fully faded. 

In summary: Overall, just makes three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, allowing it to also just touch the "best value" point driven by its attractive price point.



Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Loosen Dr. L wines.


(c) Copyright 2019 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, March 27, 2019

Exploring Loosen Bros Villa Wolf line of Rhine River valley (Pfalz) German wines

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By way of background:  These two wines hail from the historic J.L. Wolf estate in the Pfalz region of Germany, founded in 1756.  Ernst Loosen of Loosen Bros took over the vineyards in 1996 and began a long-lived effort at an upgrade in the estate's stature, changing the brand to Villa Wolf in the process.  Today we shall sample the Pinot Noir Rose and the Pinot Gris from this line.  Both are priced in the U.S. at the value end of the wine spectrum.  Sample wines were provided by the winery.

Loosen Bros Villa Wolf Pinot Gris, Pfalz, Germany, 2017: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: Sharpening my ice-skating blades, ready for a spin on the crisp ice.

Specs: Villa Wolf Pinot Gris, 2017, is finished at 12.5% alcohol and is first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2019.

In the glass: Clear with light gold and yellow hints.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, pushes lifted, sharp stainless steel notes right out of the glass. From the aroma, seems like it will be sleek, polished and bright

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are sleek as expected, but with a much fuller and plush spread across your tongue.  Soft peaches and apricots offset the brightness and lead to a clean and balanced finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a big plus for the nice opposition of sleekness and comfort.  Based on its value price point, this hits the "best value" mark based on the Spirit of Wine algorithm.
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Loosen Bros Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rose, Pfalz, Germany, 2018: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: We're slicing crisp, cold stone fruits for a big family salad.

Specs: Vila Wolf Pinot Noir Rose, 2018, is finished at 12% alcohol and is first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2019.

In the glass: Clear with modest pink peach overtones.

On the nose: Poured at chilled temperature and swirled vigorously, shows sleek notes of chilled apple and almost-ripe pear.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate show a light effervescent sweetness coming across as a crisp, cold, crunchy apple note, with light red berries supporting a lingering, slightly sweet finish.

In summary: Overall, just touches three plus stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, demonstrating an overall friendly personality.  This also touches the "best value" point based on the price point and quality.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Villa Wolf wines.

(c) Copyright 2019 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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Exploring Loosen Bros Sanssouci line of French red wines

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By way of background: Some years back, Ernst Loosen of Loosen Bros was looking for high-quality red wines that he might import from France into his native German market.  He began working with Laurent Delaunay at the Abbotts & Delaunay winery in Languedoc, from which was born the Loosen Bros Sanssouci line of Pays d'Oc wines.  The winery is situated in the Aude valley, amidst the appellations of Corbieres, Minervois, Faugeres and Limoux.  Today we shall sample the red blend and the cabernet sauvignon from this line.   Sample wines were provided by the winery.

Loosen Bros Sanssouci Le Rouge Red Blend, Pay d'Oc, France, 2017: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: A hearty dinner being prepared as the wood stove sparks its heat.

Specs: Sanssouci Le Rouge Red Blend, 2017, is finished at 13.5% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2019.  This is a blend of mostly syrah with a touch of grenache.

In the glass: Magenta with a red velvet rim, not quite opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, wool-blanket fruit with bright aromatic flecks. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a soft and furry first blush of deep red currant fruit, followed by a note of cinnamon, and then spreading and friendly lift of acids and tannins into your cheeks.  Red berries hold and slowly trickle back to your tongue for a lengthy finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its beguiling bright layers.
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Loosen Bros Sanssouci Cabernet Sauvignon, Pay d'Oc, France, 2017: Wine tasting, review & rating 

Inspired by this wine: Wrapped in a double-thick purple blanket, we're sipping fragrant hot cider.

Specs: Sanssouci Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017, is finished at 13.5% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in March, 2019.

In the glass: Black cherry and magenta, it moves to an almost opaque cast about a half-inch from the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bold purple and violet hues, with plum and cherry notes. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate start as a bright and fragrant muddle of red and black currants, bringing sweet acids across your tongue.  There the sip pauses with a bit of creaminess and rests for a moderately lengthy fade.

In summary: Overall, rates an easy three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, almost touching a plus for its balance of soft texture and acids.

(c) Copyright 2019 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.