Saturday, December 26, 2009

2007 Paul Dolan Vineyards Chardonnay

I was pleasantly surprised when my shipment of samples arrived from Paul Dolan Vineyards ( to see a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet. I've heard many good things about the winery/wines (organic & biodynamic farming plus named Winery of The Year by the California Tourism Association) and grateful to have the opportunity to taste/blog.

I started with the 2007 Chardonnay. Nice crisp fresh smell on this wine. The pear/citrus aroma stands out at first and next a vanilla/spice combination. As the wine warms in the glass slightly the vanilla jumps right to the front. Light in color. I'm anxious to get started tasting.

Excellent flavor of pear at the start, juicy citrus in the middle followed by creamy vanilla at the finish. Outstanding combination of flavors all in perfect harmony. Just like during the smell as the wine warms, the creamy vanilla now brings itself to the front and finishes with a hint of pear. The flavors in either combination are awesome and you really hate to put the glass down.

Special thank you to Paul Dolan for the opportunity to learn about and taste the 2007 Dolan Vineyards Chardonnay. I truly enjoyed this bottle and will make sure its in my cellar for my friends to enjoy as well in the future. A must for Chardonnay lovers to have on hand.

I encourage you to visit the winery website as it has a wealth of interesting information on green farming. Amazed each time I visit the site I learn something new.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Humor For All

This version of Twas The Night Before Christmas appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette courtesy of Mike Dupree before he retired. It makes me laugh every year:
'Twas the night before Christmas for modern St. Nick
Mike Deupree
The Gazette

This column first published Christmas Eve, 1995.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through our place
Everyone was worn out from the season's rat race.
The cats were sprawled over the couch and the chair,
In the hope that nobody would notice them there.
My wife with her novel, and me with the clicker,
Had just settled down to surf channels and bicker.
When all of a sudden there arose such a racket
I tried to spring up, but I couldn't quite hack it.
What with candy and nuts and the seasonal beverage
The task of arising required too much leverage.
One cat raised an eyelid. A second one stretched.
The third brought up dinner - that is to say, retched.
Away to the window I finally shuffled,
Grunting and groaning, my muttered oaths muffled.
I drew back the curtains, cranked open the sash,
Expecting to see some loud reveler's bash.
Where what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a green snowmobile (I think a John Deere),
More swiftly than eagles, it came from afar.
It didn't have coursers, whatever they are.
Just a sign on the bumper of quite a rough kind:
"If you don't like my driving, call ..." well, never mind.
The man on the saddle was slim and was svelte
With 12 extra holes newly punched in his belt.
He could have been any Tom, Harry or Dick
Except that his vanity plate said "St. Nick."
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane swoop,
To clog up my gutters and flood the front stoop,
So up to the rooftop he guided his sled
And soon cursing and pounding rang o'er my head.
I yelled out to tell him he'd made a mistake:
"The fireplace burns gas. The chimney's a fake."
A moment of silence. An embarrassed pause.
Then there at the back door he stood: Santa Claus.
He was dressed head to toe in some kind of synthetic
And I scarce recognized the famed peripatetic.
His beard showed no white, except at the roots,
"L.L. Bean" said his coat, "Eddie Bauer" his boots.
No pipe in his teeth, no fur at his wrist,
A non-smoker now, an animal rightist.
No spectacles either, which quite puzzled me.
"Contact lenses?" I asked; "No," he said, "surgery."
"Come in, have a snack," I said, offering a plate.
"For an elf of your years, you look jolly great."
He shot a quick glance to see if I teased.
Reassured that I meant it, he looked very pleased.
"I work out a lot, and I watch what I eat,"
He said, shunning my cookies and gnawing a beet.
Without further ado, without stopping to ask,
He stepped over the cats and went straight to his task.
No toys did he have in his big, bulky stash;
Gift vouchers instead, as well as some cash.
When I mentioned to him that this seemed passing strange,
He said it was due to societal change.
People know more these days, sensitivity's heightened,
Compared to the days when we weren't so enlightened.
"It's not right," he explained, "when fathers and mothers
"Make personal choices for all of the others."
Then putting a finger aside of his nose,
He glanced at the gas fire and looked really hosed.
With a "hasta la vista," he dashed out the door,
Leaped astride his machine, started up with a roar.
I ran out behind him, and ere he could vanish
I asked him a question .
"There's just one more thing, and I really must hear it.
"With all of this change, what's the new Christmas spirit?"
He eased off the throttle to make himself heard
And - I swear his eyes twinkled - he gave me the word.
"It's the same as it was when you got your first toy.
"It's family and giving; it's love and it's joy."
With that he was gone in a deafening din.
It would be 12 long months ere we saw him again.
But I heard him exclaim, as he zoomed on his way,
"Happy solstice to all, and you have a nice day!"

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Can't thank you enough for following the blog, your wonderful comments and some super samples to taste and write. Many of you introduced me to wineries, winemakers and blogs of your own. You accepted me into your "wine community" and I am grateful for your help and friendship.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Port Tasting Benz Beverage Depot

Have to first thank my friend Jared (his brother Matt also) for the invite to his store Benz Beverage Depot 10 ports for tasters and I can honestly say I have only had port once in my life. I had no idea what to expect which had me a little scared. What I found throught the night is there are small differences between each but to me with the exception of some being smooth or softer flavor, most were the same. I'm sure its my lack of drinking but I did like each and every one of them.
The night started with the Ferreira White Port which I liked very well. Slight caramel flavor and sweet. We quickly headed to the table with the most expensive bottle a Summit Lake Clair Riley Zinfandel Port Howell Mountain Ca 2001. Holy crap this was smooth and rich and only $106.00 per bottle. I could have stopped right there but next came the Niepoort 10 year Old Tawny Port from Portugal. Nice fruity/nut flavor and only $47.99 per bottle. Next the d'Arenberg Vintage Shiraz Port Australia 2001. Slight spice to this one and warmed me up nicely ($35.99 per bottle). DeKrans Cape Tawney Port S Africa was in line to try and this was much more full flavored. Toffee and spice were the 2 flavors I identified most. $15.29 per bottle seemed like a steal. 2 more to go and then the next table was in sight but Brown Estate "Arrested" Zinfandel Port Napa Valley 2006 was really good. Smooth as silk, fruit and spice. $44.99 per bottle we all really liked this one as well and Kim decided this would be her purchase. We also all commented how arrested fit her perfectly. That's another topic. Finally I finished table one with Cedar Ridge Vineyards Port Lot 6 which I've had and is made right in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Made from Cedar Ridge grapes and fortified in it's own brandy, priced at $16.39. Sadly at this point the flavors are all running together.
The final table I'll run through fairly quickly as I had a hard time picking up the different flavors. The Ferreira Ruby Port $12.99, Ferreira Tawny Port $12.99, Ferreira 10yr Port $19.99, Quinta do Crasto 1997 Vintage Port $46.59 and finally the Broadbent Auctio Reserve Port $19.99.
Favorite of the night was obviously the Summit Lake followed by Browne Estate, Niepoort 10 and finally d'Arenberg. I commented how nice a port would be sipping out on the patio with friends including cigars or on a cold winter night in front of the fireplace. I liked the them all but I will need to review more of them one at a time to gain a better understanding of ports.

2006 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir Carneros

My 1st sample from Amelia Ceja was awesome and the 2nd was just as good. The 2006 Pinot Noir was an excellent wine and one where I wished the bottle would never end.
Straight from the cellar into the glass I could smell the aroma of plum, dark cherry (love cherry) and finally spice. What impressed me was how those aroma's married together. When the wine warmed slightly the cherry/spice combination was dominant and honestly I could smell the wine all day vs tasting (yes that would be crazy and glad you are all awake).
Excellent wine folks. Dark cherry followed by a hint of plum and then finishes nicely with spice. Each taste the cherry can always be identified start to finish. Amazing smooth wine which I rank up at the top of my list as favorite Pinot's. Ceja wine is a must to have on hand and serve for holiday gatherings.
Finally a huge thank you to Amelia Ceja for allowing me the opportunity to taste/blog Ceja Vineyard wines. I've become a huge fan and you will as well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2007 Ceja Vino de Casa Red Wine

I had the pleasure last night of enjoying a wonderful bottle of wine courtesy of samples sent to me by Amelia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards. The 2007 Vino de Casa is a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah to which Amelia commented "I'm delighted you enjoyed our breakfast, lunch and dinner wine."I will describe what characteristics I liked in a moment, but the story behind the family and the wine really touched me.

Ceja Vineyards website tells the story of a man's dream to one day own his own vineyard but more importantly his family was involved along the way. Pablo Ceja had found a beautiful place in America (St Helena in Napa Valley), fell in love and one day would move his family to California. In 1967 the dream became reality and the family moved to California. The Ceja family was growing in numbers as the years past but true to their values they all contributed working together. Because of what happened in 1983 we as wine drinkers in my opinion are spoiled as this is when Pedro, Amelia, Armando, Pablo and Juanita purchased their first small piece of land. The vineyard had begun. Today there are over 113 acres producing grapes for their wine production. Family is still very important with new generations of Ceja's working the family business. While I touched on some of the highlights of the Ceja history I hope you visit their website and read their entire story start to where they are today. I hope it touches you and reiterates how important family is especially during the holiday season. Now you all want to know how I liked the wine :)

When I poured my first glass the wine gave the appearance of richness and smooth as glass. The juicy cherry was the first aroma, fresh and ripe. Second I could smell rich dark fruit (dark cherry/berry, plum), a perfect balance of spice and a hint of oak. Excited and time to taste.

I enjoyed this wine by itself. The cherry flavor is outstanding at the beginning followed closely by what I would categorize as a combination black cherry/berry, followed by spice and a smooth silky finish. With each drink the flavors compliment each other perfectly and leaves you wanting more. My compliments to Armando, Amelia and all the staff for a wonderful wine. I will need to have a bottle of this wine on hand to share with friends and celebrate as the Ceja's would.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2008 TLC Chardonnay Argentina

I was so impressed by this unoaked chardonnay at the wine tasting before thanksgiving I wanted to try another bottle at home in a controlled environment (multiple wines tasted when this was offered). Found Old Dan really enjoys both oaked and unoaked chardonnays.
Poured into the glass and the apple really hits you followed by a nice orange citrus. Nice fruity aroma, excellent light color and looks like a nice summer wine.
Yes the first drink was like an old friend. So much fruit in every taste, crisp and light. First the apple fills your mouth followed by the orange citrus and then a tickel of cantalope (yes I said cantalope). Flavor is awesome and no oak. If your a chardonnay fan I promise you will like this wine.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cedar Ridge Vineyards Grand Opening of the New Tasting Room

It was my civic duty (roll eyes at this point) to attend the grand opening of Cedar Ridge Vineyards new Tasting room now located at the vineyard. Here Jeff and the staff also make spirits which includes a new still just installed from Germany (for pictures check out their website

A nice crowd and appears they were steady at least when I was there which included a free tasting of all Cedar Ridge wines (see why it was my civic duty) and a nice tour of the wine and spirits operation. I can't wait till the spring when music and events are now held there. A great accomplishment considering the former location downtown Cedar Rapids was caught up in the great flood and several thousand bottles were ruined.

Yes I tasted every wine available from Brianna to the Port. My favorites of the day were the Port and the 5 Seasons Red which I purchased (must support your local winery). Please check out their website for more info on all their products.
Congratulations Jeff.

2008 Cavit Pinot Noir

Once again an old favorite from Cavit this time the 2008 Pinot Noir. I tasted the Cavit Collection as its called at Olive Garden when dining with friends and I have been a fan ever since. Its a very good Pinot in my opinion that ranges on sale at $8.99 to reg price of $12.99.
In the glass the aroma of red raspberry, cherry and spice all in harmony. Wouldn't it be great to visit Italy?
The wine in the mouth is silky smooth with a juicy cherry/raspberry start followed by a cola/oak/spice combination finish. This wine never dissapoints and I always have one on hand and ususally enjoy a bottle weekly.

2006 Cupcake Merlot

Finally some time to update. I actually tasted one of the 2006 Cupcake Merlot's myself the re-tasted with a friend who by the way only drinks merlot. Nice wine for the 8.99 price (normally $13.99).
In the glass I could smell red berry, plum, coffee and spicy oak.
Once in the mouth this was a smooth wine which gave me a cherry/plum flavor at the start and right before the finish a quick hint of chocolate followed by oak and an earthly ending. Decent wine offering from Cupcake.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1st Avenue Wine Tasting Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Traci always does a great job with her tastings (love the snacks) and the new releases this evening were from MJ Distributing and poured by Josh O'Donnell. We started the evening with an unoaked chardonnay courtesy of TLC Argentina. Very nice chardonnay, huge fruit flavor of tangerine, apple, cantaloupe. Very crisp my favorite this evening. I could tell it's going to be a good night.
Wine 2 was the Frias Rose'from California. Little dryer but nice strawberry/watermelon flavor. Time to head to the second floor.
Floor 2 started with a Sua' White from Argentina. A blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin and 20% Torrentes. This to me had a citris flavor and bubbly along with sweet. The second wine was an Ass Kisser Red Blend from Australia consisting of 59% Shiraz, 41% Grenache. Spicy bite to this wine at the start but smoothed out the longer it was in the glass. Finished with a soft vanilla berry flavor. Like it better the second time I tasted. On to the 3rd floor.
Floor 3 started with Ass Kisser Shiraz Australia. Very nice smooth wine with an excellent berry spice flavor. I'm a fan. Wine 2 was a Chocolate Box GSM Australia. Little more full flavor with spice and cinnamon the dominant flavors. Surprised how smooth the finish was. Back to floor 1 for the finale.
Chocolate Box Shiraz Australia was an excellent wine. Black fruit, vanilla (love vanilla), oak and spice. Impressed and only $15.99 but seems more expensive. Finally a wine my daughter would love Sua' Red Argentina. 60% Sangiovese, 30% Bonarda and 10% Moscatel. Sweet red served chilled. Wine with bubbles.

Wow a wine packed evening right before thanksgiving (yes Traci it was a 4 bottle purchase). I love little events like this because it will showcase some very nice value wines with the more expensive (tried to drink water to stay hydrated but the wine was better). I recommend every chance you get to taste different wines, take full advantage.

Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Everyone.

Monday, November 16, 2009

2005 John Tyler Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

I waited too long to try this excellent Pinot Noir from the folks at John Tyler (the flu/crud bug even got the best of me and for a few days no wine). Talking with Katie & Nicole Bacigalupi about their wine I decided to purchase the 2005 because as you all know I love Pinot.

From the minute the real cork was pulled from the bottle the scent of cherry was present (I do not recommend trying to sniff wine while pouring into the glass). Outstanding color and aroma on this wine. Beautiful cherry and leather notes and then pomegranate with a touch of spice at the end. The excitement builds now time to taste.

Wow what an elegant smooth wine. Excellent cherry/leather spice beginning and as the wine warmed, just a touch of vanilla/oak at the end. The harmony of the flavors in this wine are perfect (the bottle did not last the entire night). Complimented my pork medallions with a cherry/pomegranate sauce like no other wine. If you are a fan of wine and Pinot I highly recommend you purchase and share with your friends wines from John Tyler Winery.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

2008 Seyval Blanc Lynfred Winery

From my last post you all know where Lynfred Winery is located and a litte backround about them. The second sample Lynfred sent me was a white wine made with the seyval blanc grape. The seyval blanc grape as you can imagine is a hybrid grape suited for cool climates (Illinois being in the Midwest)and is primarily grown in England and the Finger Lakes region of New York (I had to research this folks). The grapes harvested for Lynfred's 2008 game from Correll Vineyards in Newton Illinois. Ok enough on the backround you say what did I like about the wine.

Once in the glass the first thing hitting the nose is the smell of fresh peaches followed by citris. You also get the sense prior to taste this is a crisp wine. Can't wait time to drink and taste.

First taste didn't take long to identify that peach flavor. Light not overpowering and followed by a citris fruit flavor. The finish brought out the mineral characteristic of the wine (and the grape). Minerality is so hard to describe but think of it as getting a soda from a fountain at your favorite restaurant minus the syrup (haven't we all had that). Now add the flavors of the wine to it and you get my description. There were some summer days when I really would have loved a glass of this award winning Seyval Blanc from Lynfred Winery. Stop out and say hello to the gang for me and make sure you take a bottle home. I'm sure you will like their wines as much as I do.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lynfred Cuvee Premium White Table Wine

My latest taste comes from the fine people of Lynfred Winery in Roselle Illinois (my home state). What I didn't know was that Lynfred Winery is the oldest and largest in the state and produces 50 varietals and 25,000 cases per year. They asked if I would blog about their wine and could they send me samples. As you can tell my response was YES!

So my first sample was the Lynfred Cuvee Premium White Table Wine. I liked how they included a tasting sheet telling me this is a 100% Chardonnay blend. My first sniff screams pineapple but also it gave me the sensation of a crisp cool chilled bowl of fruit. Spicy, oak and as the wine warmed a touch, here came my favorite vanilla. Nice aroma on this one.

Excellent white wine and 13.5% alcohol. The taste was a perfect combination of creamy pineapple followed by buttery vanilla and you can sure tell the finish because Mr. Oak is definately present along with a touch of spice. Very impressed. I see why Lynfred Winery has such a large following. Stop out today, say hi to Christina and the gang while you sample Lynfred's award winning wines. Take a few bottles home too for your friends.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2006 Willow Crest Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley Washington

When I first purchased this wine from my friend Traci (courtesy of a birthday gift certificate) the only thing I knew was the store had a couple followers. My first 2006 Willow Crest Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley Washington was in fact very good and I can now understand why there is a following.
Once the bottle was open and poured a real wonderful scent of red berry and cherry really hit my nose. Leather, cola, spice and oak rounded out my additional "whiffs".
My first drink was definately a blast of juicy cherry and completely different from my expectation (in my mind dry, bold flavors of a cabernet). With each taste the flavor of red berry was evident along with an earthy oak finish. The juicy berry flavor holds from start to finish which surprised me for such a light wine (I'm used to flavors where the first is not necessarily the last).
While this may be my first cabernet franc it won't be my last especially if they are all this good. I will serve this one to the friends next time so off for another bottle.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2007 Apex Cellars Chardonnay

Please admire this fine photographic event. Appears the camera operator (ahem) may have been off kilter as the picture leans left. No idea why and one can only guess grape juice was involved :).

What a great bottle of wine this 2007 Apex Cellars Chardonnay from Columbia Valley Washington turned out to be as my my first from Apex Cellars.

First sniff gave me the fresh crisp ripe apple aroma as if I were standing in an orchard. Next was a comination of lemon juice/zest as if fresh squeezed into my glass, a slight pear aroma and finally finishing with my favorite vanilla and oak.

Very nice first taste. Buttery, creamy vanilla, apple and oak. My god have I gone to heaven? Excellent smooth chardonnay. Each glass impressed me more with the layers of flavors. Apple followed by creamy butter vanilla and just the right amount of oak at the finish. I'll need to stop back and see my friend Traci at 1st Ave Wine and buy more of this chardonnay.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

2008 Russian Jack Pinot Noir Martinborough New Zealand

Well this is my first Pinot Noir from New Zealand and I will say very surprised and very pleased. Yes my New Zealand friends you make good wine.

First in the glass the aroma of dark fruit come to the forefront. Strawberry still dominant followed by plum (fooled me) then spice. I pick up some leather/oak as well. Nice color.

Taste and its wow!. Nice combination of the juicy strawberry, spice and is that chocolate at the end? Seems earthy but not sure if my taste buds are off. I do get a lingering oak taste. Keep this one on hand. Nice price at $14.99.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

2007 Hahn Chardonnay Monterey

I know my last post mentioned cold weather, snow and time for reds. Yes even I can be swayed for a good bottle of Chardonnay. The 2007 Hahn is just that bottle.

Really nice aroma on this chardonnay. First it's a crisp fresh lemon followed by peach and an orange/citrus combination finish. You can also pick up a hint of vanilla spice. I could smell the wine all day but that makes no sense. Time to drink baby.

Drink is so harsh (that's what we do with beer) so my first "taste" of this wonderful chardonnay produced a juicy peach/lemon/vanilla combination and finished with an orange zesty spice. Slight oak at the finish as well. Great combination of flavor a quality chardonnay by the folks at Hahn.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2007 Eola Hills Pinot Noir Oregon

Yes its been a week but very busy and time for wine. The weather has turned colder (we have already witnessed the snow flakes) and red wines will be the norm but a white will sneak in especially when chicken or fish is served for dinner.

I really like the 2007 Eola Hills Pinot Noir. On the nose at first the ripe cherry followed closely by spice. Second smell gives me the aroma of red berry (red raspberry comes to mind). Excellent color and my mouth is watering.

What flavor this Pinot gives with the cherry beginning, strawberry/spice combination in the middle and finishing with juicy raspberry begging you to drink more (no need to twist my arm). Medium bodied yet a soft finish. Hard to believe this wine was purchased for $12.99. Make sure you serve this to your friends.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

2007 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay Alexander Valley

Ok back to the really good wine courtesy of a very nice friend. I really like the 2007 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley. Come to think of it is there any bad wine from Alexander Valley?

In the glass the first smell I grab is the ripe pineapple closely followed by pear. Smell 2 brings fruity apple and a slight hint of oak.

Once in the mouth I knew this was one excellent wine. Smooth ripe apple at the beginning and then here comes a perfect dose of pear which lingers and then finishes with a slight hint of oak. Truly amazing harmony of flavors.

This was my first wine from Ferrari-Carano but it won't be my last. I am ranking this as one of my top Chardonnay's all time.


Barefoot Pinot Noir

Every now and then I get a little nuts, see a bottle and buy it for the name. Barefoot has a Pinot Noir and its on sale for $4.99? Oh kill me with curiosity because I'm not going home without it. Plus isn't this the official wine of the beach volleyball tour?

Ok so I pour the glass and yes it smells like real wine. Cherry, vanilla, red berry somewhat fruity. Seems to have traits of a pinot noir. Heck let's have a taste.
Fine its much sweeter than my liking for a pinot noir but actually this isn't bad all things considered to this point. Juicy cherry, red raspberry and spice. This wine reminds me of thanksgivings when I was younger and grandma served wine (the all popular white zinfandel because she said it went with everything).
I bet I would have like this wine more if I was drinking it with those professional beach volleyball gals :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

2008 St Supery Sauvignon Blanc

Well gang my 4th sample from the good folks at St Supery and Rick Bakas was excellent just as the prior 3 bottles I tasted. For the record I am now a big fan of St Supery and I suggest you try their wine as well. Excellent fruit, perfect balance you can't get any better wine. Iowa wine stores please check with your distributor and carry St Supery. California visitors make sure you stop by their winery and tasting room.

The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc gave me an aroma of grapefruit, ripe melon and a hint of peach. Other Sauvignon Blanc's I've tried the grapefruit overpowered the whole glass but each fruit in St Supery's blended together as if in harmony.

While tasting I was enjoying a Bertolli Garlic Shrimp, Penne, Roasted Red Pepper/Tomato dish and what a combination. The wine started with the grapefruit flavor followed closely by the melon and lime (fooled me at first), finally finishing with soft peach. The fruit worked together nicely. Elegant and refreshing.

Again thank you Rick Bakas and St Supery for introducing me to your wines.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2001 King Estate Pinot Noir Oregon

The Friday wine taste was absent most of the group due to vacations and other planned events. Yours truly forgot the camera so its a bottleless view this week. Just happened that a bottle was donated by a part time member of the group so rather than open up a bunch we decided this to be our bottle and we will save the others for next week.
The 2001 King Estate Pinot Noir received the "it's good" rating from the group (simple minded wino's). Its our first wine from King Estate.

In the glass the aroma of strawberry, spice, cola, red berry and leather was present. Very nice on the nose I thought.

Nice raspberry start followed by the strawberry and finally a slight spice/oak finish once we drank. For Pinot Noir fans I would recommend you purchase a bottle and share this wine with your friends.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

2008 St Supery Cabernet Sauvignon

Can you say 3 for 3 on excellent St Supery Wines. I opened my sample the 2004 St Supery Cabernet Sauvignon and found this to be a big flavored wine.

Once in the glass the the first thing my nose identified was the sweet smell of oak followed by dark berry and spice. Excellent deep red color this wine looks rich so............. time to taste.

Wow this cabernet is huge. Blackberry/blackcherry combination at the beginning followed by spice and oak. I first tasted this at 60* and I found the flavor excellent and as the wine warmed to around 65* the fruit and spice became dominant and the oak faded to a hint.

The St Supery Cabernet was the best Cab I have ever enjoyed. Perfect both before dinner and with a fresh grilled beef filet, I considered myself spoiled. St Supery Cabernet is a must to keep on hand.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2006 St Supery Virtu Napa Valley White Wine Meritage

My second St Supery sample thanks to Rick Bakas and the fine people of St Supery Winery was the 2006 Virtu White Wine Meritage. This wine is a blend of 52% Sauvignon Blanc and 48% Semillon.

In the glass I could smell the aroma of oak, melon and a slight hint of grapefruit. Fresh and crisp as well. Alright enough on the smell let's get to tasting.

Nice big citrus flavor and crisp. The combination of grapefruit/melon followed by the oak gives the wine excellent flavor. Juicy citrus finish leaves you wanting another glass.

I enjoyed this wine before dinner and with a dish of baked chicken in broth over pasta. Either way your friends deserve to be served this excellent wine.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2008 St Supery Moscato

Thanks to Rick Bakas and the fine people of St Supery Winery for the samples they sent me to taste. I have heard so many good things about their wine and I had the opportunity to taste for myself.
I started by choosing the 2008 Moscato because after dinner I craved a glass of wine and what better than a nice Moscato (the daughter bailed on me but her loss my gain.... more for me).

Once in the glass this wine screams ripe peach followed by a citris/orange scent. I just love the balance of the fruit aroma this wine gives.

Excellent flavor and so light for a Moscato. I've tasted others that were heavy almost like a syrup but St Supery is so very good. Peach aroma explodes into a peach flavor throughout. Towards the end I get the cantaloupe/peach combination and its wonderful. Ripe juicy fruit yet light.

If you want to impress your friends serve them St Supery Moscato and promise you will invite me for a glass or two.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2008 McManis Pinot Noir

Its been a few days since my last post and I'm back now. My latest taste was the McManis 2008 Pinot Noir. Juicy fresh fruit for this wonderful wine.

The aroma of this wine starts with big cherry followed by creamy vanilla, raspberry, strawberry and a touch of oak. Nice red berry emphasis.

Time to taste and does this wine over deliver in my opinion. Fruit taste just explodes in your mouth with cherry and cola at the beginning followed by strawberry and finish with juicy raspberry. What an awesome balance of fruit and oak (just a hint of oak in this wine).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Francis Ford Coppola 2007 Rosso &Jargon 2007 Pinot Noir

Another excellent Friday wine taste with co-workers who love wine as much as I do. Deb started us off the is evening with a 2007 Francis Ford Coppola Rosso. The wine is a combination of Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. I thought this would be a heavy wine but I was wrong. Very smooth and silky. Because I once again forgot my glass it was a makeshift wine drinking cup. Nice aroma of cherry, vanilla, little strawberry, slight oak and dark fruit. In the mouth I love the black cherry/raspberry combination, then a slight spice (Ah the Zin).

Our second wine was a 2007 Jargon Pinot Noir (Deb said it had been awhile since we had a Pinot and I couldn't agree more). Big black cherry aroma and taste along with strawberry and cola. Inexpensive at $10.99 and a screw top!! I really think for the price this Pinot overdelivered.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

2008 Mirassou Pinot Noir

While visiting the local wine department just required to buy a bottle of wine so tried the 2008 Mirassou pinot Noir. Priced at $8.49 I couldn't resist.

Nice aroma of cherries, fresh picked strawberry, vanilla and spice. Tasting this wine excellent fruit complimented by spice. Nice cherry/strawberry beginning, spice and oak followed by smooth vanilla. Nice young wine.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2007 Red Door Cellar Pinot Noir Oregon

Just so happened to send my friend Traci at the 1st Ave Wine House in Cedar Rapids an email asking her if she had any new Pinot Noir. Oh yes she came through again as usual. Notice to the left I have a link to her site. She ships wine also so if your in need give her a call (no I do not get free wine for free plugs)

Purchased for 14.99 the 2007 Red Door Cellar Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon and what a buy this wine is. 13.5% alchohol this super smooth wine exhibits cherry, strawberry and spice thoughout the taste. The nose gets a ton of cherry/strawberry scents. Lock me in this cellar and toss the key.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2007 Cupcake Chardonnay

This last weekend in August and it just felt like a chardonnay night. I opened the 2007 Cupcake Chardonnay and what a nice aroma this wine gives off.

Pear, apple and loads of vanilla (if you read this blog you know I Love Vanilla). Sticking the big snoz in a 2nd and 3rd time I sensed some oak but really nice fruit balance.

First in the mouth nice apple/pear mix with a citrus hint, then comes the vanilla with spice and finally here comes mr oak at the end but not overpowering.

Nice inexpensive Chardonnay and my first try at Cupcake Vineyards. I'll recommend to my friends to try.

Friday, August 28, 2009

2000 Hogue Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon

I was very surprised by this wine. Most Washington wines I have tasted seem medium to full bodied and big. Fooler here with a more soft approach.

Very nice selection this 2000 cabernet was very smooth (like butter). Aroma's of cherry, vanilla and oak.
The taste was silky with cherry and blackberry at the start and a liquorice/spice finish. Excellent balance of fruit, spice and long finish.

2005 Meridian Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot

Finally I worked a Friday and was able to participate in our weekly wine drink session. I would refer to it as a taste but after the first sip it turns into a drink free for all. Wine one was a Meridian 2005 Merlot. Nice aroma of vanilla and spice ( even out of a makeshift cup). On the palate nice raspberry start followed by blackberry and a cola/spice finish.

Wine two was the 2005 Meridian Cabernet Sauvignon. A very mild cabernet this wine had an aroma of cherry and a slight vanilla/oak combination. This wine on the palate gave me an excellent balance between vanilla, cherry and spice.

The merlot was the favorite choice from these 2 selections.

Monday, August 24, 2009

2008 Castle Rock Cuvee Pinot Noir

Excellent selection from Castle Rock. The 2008 Cuvee a nice ruby red color with a wonderful big cherry aroma when first opened up. I also smell spice, red berry and hint of cola. Excellent smooth silky wine with a perfect cherry flavor start to finish and a slight spice at the end. Year after year Castle Rock produces excellent Pinot. I paid $10.99 for this bottle and should be much more.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2008 Bogle Sauvignon Blanc

Crisp white wine from Bogle. Citris and grapefruit were the flavors of this wine (big grapefruit but not overpowering). Very mild and soft at the finish. 12.9% alchohol.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2007 Bogle Chardonnay

What a nice wine from Bogle. Into the glass the aroma of apple and pear and then the vanilla just perfect ( I love vanilla). On the palate apple to start and a butter/vanilla finish with a slight touch of oak. My second Bogle wine and so far I have been amazed by the quality for such a low price. Both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir taste like they should be $25.00+

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tassel Ridge Prelude White Wine

An excellent wine from the folks at Tassel Ridge Winery here in Iowa. Prelude is a very nice crisp white wine with a big citris taste (perfect on a hot muggy Iowa summer day). Hints of lemon, lime, orange, pear and a tropical fruit sensation at the end (felt like I just dove into a fruit bowl yum). Excellent balance of fruit and sweetness. I'm told this is their second most popular white wine and I can see why. Made of grapes from both Iowa and California (St Pepin from Ia and Muscat from Ca). Tassel Ridge Winery is one of the top 3 producers here in our state and they are located in Leighton Iowa (SE of DesMoines). Check out their website for more outstanding Iowa wines.

Friday, August 7, 2009

2007 Kenwood Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Wow! Awesome Pinot Noir and was on sale for less than $18.00. Beautiful ruby red color and a huge cherry aroma. Cherry flavor with a slight redberry/spice middle to finish. Found this wine to be very smooth and silky. Enjoyed this wine with some fine chocolate from one of our locally owned chocolate shops. Make sure you have this on hand because its a gem from Kenwood.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2007 Bogle Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Good stuff here folks. Opened both bottles (yes there were 2) and a big cherry aroma filled the nose. Next comes the cherry/cola combination in perfect harmony, slight oak and some excellent spice at the finish. Nice ruby red color. $15.00 RRV Pinot and this ones a gem. Keeping this one on hand.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2007 McManis Petite Syrah

Stopped in to talk with my friend Traci at the First Ave Wine House in Cedar Rapids Iowa (link to the left and yes you should buy some wine from her) and darn the luck I walked out with a bottle of 2007 McManis Petite Syrah. Deep purple color, huge dark berry flavor, slight vanilla in the middle and (are you kidding me) a smooth chocolate sensation at the end. Always thought petite meant small but not this wine. Full body big fruit holy cow this is good. I have had other McManis wines and they all over deliver in my opinion for the price.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

2007 Firesteed Pinot Noir from Oregon

Very nice wine for the $15.99 price. In the glass big cherry and red berry aroma ( to me both strawberry and raspberry). Smooth taste and while the wine boasts that its medium bodied I felt is was more on the light bodied with a soft finish. Enjoyable wine and a keeper.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2005 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir Bourgogne

Given a hint by a friend to open this wine and let set for 20 minutes. Right. I tried as soon as I opened and was overtaken by the earthly taste so yes I waited. Once able to breath this wine had a huge cherry aroma and was very silky smooth (hard to believe 20 minutes decantered made a big difference). Still earthy after 20 minutes I found my first french pinot enjoyable. Price appropriate at 15.99.

2007 Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Pinot Noir

Inexpensive everyday pinot noir should one choose. Smooth wine with cherries and red berries along with spice at the end. Swear I smell a hint of cola. I have had earlier releases of Mondavi Pinot and they remain consistent very good value wines.

Friday, July 17, 2009

2006 Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon

Nice wine this evening from Ravenswood. The 2006 Cabernet has a nice deep red color and medium bodied. Cherry and berry aroma with a hint of spice to give it a kick at the finish. Surprised this wine was only $16.00. I'll be picking up more.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Forest Glen Pinot Noir

A very nice wine for a minimal price. The 2006 Forest Glen Pinot Noir. At first smell the aroma of cherry is huge. On the palate flavors of cherry, black fruit and an excellent vanilla finish. This was being served as a house pinot at an upscale dinning extablishment. At the local wine shop it sells for less than 10.00. Keep this one on hand your friends will love it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 12th Wine Taste

Old Pat's turn this evening and 2 full bodied wines were offered. We started with the 2005 Castle Rock Petite Syrah from the Russian River Valley. Spicy, cherry plum and blackberry would be how I describe this wine. Seems this would be good with a rack of bbq ribs. The second wine was a Yellow Tail 2008 Shiraz. Hints of cherry and strawberry and that familiar spicy finish of a shiraz. Very good choices this evening.

June 5 Wine Taste

Brett dipped into his wine club stash for this weeks selections. We started with a 2005 Slide Mountain Cabernet. Nice easy drinking wine with a gentle fruit flavor at the start and a slight pepper finish. Smooth cabernet. Wine 2 was a Sierra Almiron 2008 which was a blend of 90% Malbec and 10% Syrah. At the start of the wine you get the plum and cherry of the malbec and a spicy/pepper flavor of the syrah at the finish. Malbecs and Syrahs are becoming very popular.

May 29 Wine Taste

Amy's turn this evening and we start with an XWinery 2005 Cabernet. Big dark fruit flavor at the start, cherry in the middle and and a minty finish. Nice wine to pair with a steak or drink alone. The second wine was a Chocolate Lab desert wine. Great after dinner drink or sipper with a big chocolate taste. I commented it tasted like a liquid tootsie pop. Very good wines again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2007 Clos du Bois Chardonnay North Coast

Wow what a Chardonnay. When I first opened the bottle and poured 2 glasses the aroma of apple was monster. Very crisp with flavors of apple, pear, a hint of oak/spice and buttery. My guest was more of a sweet wine fan but enjoyed this wine and went out and purchased 2 more. I will always keep this Chardonnay on hand as it tastes like a 25.00 bottle but sells for 11.99.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beringer Cabernet 2005 and Meridian 2007 Pinot

Holiday weekend and what better to celebrate with a few glasses of wine. Started off with a Beringer 2005 California Cabernet Sauvignon. Full bodied, dark cherry/raspberry, oak and vanilla. Enjoyed with beef off the grill. The second wine was a 2007 Pinot Noir from Meridian. Cherry and strawberry notes this smooth inexpensive wine. Guess I'll need to open a Chardonnay to round out the weekend.

May 22 Wine Taste

Darren had the female wine theme going this evening with Seven Daughters Wine Makers Blend Red from California and Mad Houswife (which his wife was a couple weeks ago after too much wine) 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Seven Daughters is a blend of 50% Merlot, 17% both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, 11% Zinfandel, 2% of Syrah and Carignane and finally 1% Sangiovese. Definate dark berry flavor at first with just the right hint of vanilla. Silky smooth and preferred as the nights favorite. The Mad Housewife Cabernet was also a smooth wine with cherry flavor in the beginning and what tasted like plum towards the finish. The longer we drank it one in the group said its not a fruit flavor at the end but something else. In research it might be the mocha which makes sense. Both excellent selections once again this week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15 Wine Taste

After a 2 week absence I am back. My turn this evening and we started with a Conquista 2008 Malbec from Argentina. Soft plum and spice were the main flavors with a slight vanilla accent at the end. After research I found their 2005 was award winning. The second wine was a 2006 Red Truck Pinot Noir from California. Cherry and spice make up this smooth wine which is medium bodied. One of my standbys used to entertain, the group favored this wine. A 3rd wine showed up unexpectedly which was a 2003 Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Cherry, spice, raspberry and a hint of chocolate were the key characters in this wine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2007 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir

Excellent smooth wine. This is my second bottle. Cherry both in flavor and smell, and cola at the end with a hint of spice. The 2008 is now a new release but I have not found it yet. If its as good as the 2007 buy a case because it doesn't last long in wine stores. I drank the 2007 young and aged and both were identical.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2007 Castle Rock Central Coast Pinot Noir

Excellent bottle of wine. First poured into the glass a big cherry aroma followed by a hint of spice. Excellent flavor of cherry and spice. More bodied than the cuvee I've had from Castle Rock and I actually like the 2007 Central Coast better. Better keep this one on hand.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 23, 2009 GreatAmerica Tasting

Pat was the person on the spot this evening. We started with a 2006 Las Rocas Grenache from Spain. Flavors of black cherry, raspberry and a spicy pepper finish. For the majority of the group this was their first grenache. Wine 2 was a Casillero Del Diablo 2005 Merlot from Chile. Blackberry, chocolate and an earthy finish for this wine. Out of the blue a 2004 Duck Pond Pinot Noir showed up. Raspberry and strawberry at the start with a spicy dry finish.

Monday, April 20, 2009

1st Ave Wine House April 20th Tasting

The weather didn't want to cooperate but an excellent evening tasting wines from Owen Roe Vineyards in Oregon and having the winemaker David O'Reilly on hand talking with tasters and signing bottles. We started off the evening with a 2007 O'Reilly Pinot Gri. Station 1 allowed us to taste the 2007 O'Reilly Riesling from the Wallula Vineyard. Next a 2007 O'Reilly Pinot Noir with grapes from the Willamette Valley. Station 2 upstairs brought the 2007 Sharecroppers Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Both excellent wines and the Cabernet was a purchase this evening (very smooth). On to station 3 where we tasted Syrah. 2006 Sinister Hand Syrah was the first. Excellent blend. Next the 2006 Ex Umbris Syrah which was lighter in color and taste but very good. The 2007 Ex Umbris Syrah was full bodied and explosion of flavor. The last wine at station 3 was the 2007 Abbot's Table Blend. Rich red wine that surprised me. The final station yielded 2 Oregon Pinots the 2007 Kilmore Pinot Noir and the 2007 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir. Excellent berry flavors with the Amity Hills being slightly more earthy. Next a 2007 Solomon Hills Pinot Noir from California. Classic california Pinot. Finally the 2006 Lady Rosa Cabernet Franc. So much flavor in this wine (huge berry taste and smell). Excellent Night Traci.

April 17 Great American Wine Taste

Joe was our designated "wino" this evening. We started off with a Deloach Private Collection 2006 Merlot. Smooth wine deep red color. Raspberry, black cherry oak and vanilla were the features of this wine. This was a selection from his wine club. Very good choice. The second wine was a 2005 Mestizaje Bobal. An excellent red blend with cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Touch of oak at the finish.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

2006 Brassfield High Serenity Ranch Pinot Noir

Excellent wine on the advice of my friend Traci at the First Avenue Wine House in Cedar Rapids Iowa. This wine was a new arrival to the shop. Light bodied but a ton of flavor. Juicy cherry smell and taste, vanilla and a hint of spice. The winemaker notes say the spice is cinnamon. The winery is located in Clearlake Oaks California.

April 10 Great American Wine taste

Brooke was the lucky contributor this week as we had a limited crowd as the holiday loomed (just more for us darn the luck). The first wine was a Redcliffe 2006 Pinot Noir. Dark cherry/berry aroma with a red berry/cherry flavor. Medium bodied wine excellent choice. The second wine was a selection from Francis Ford Coppola 2006 Rosso. The wine is a blend of 48% Zin, 27% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep purple in color again medium bodied. The wine is an excellent balance of spice from the zin, black berry flavor from the syrah and red berry from the cabernet. Both excellent choices again this week. We have yet to duplicate selections.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2007 Zaca Mesa Chardonnay

Watching the National Championship Game just had to pour a glass of Chardonnay. Opened the 2007 Zaca Mesa from the Santa Ynez Valley. Ton of tropical flavor with mango, papaya and tangerine (being the dominant I felt). Definately a different chardonnay but this would be great a conversation wine on the patio with friends.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 3 Great American Wine Taste

Thanks Amy for 2 excellent selections tonight. The 1st was a 2006 Mitolo Jester Shiraz. Very smooth almost like drinking milk chocolate. Deep purple in color a definate dark fruit flavor with hints of oak. The second selection was a 2007 Hey Mambo Bistro Style Wine "Sultry Red". A blend of several different grapes (Syrah, Barbera, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Alicante Bouchet). A full bodied wine with a dark cherry flavor and spice finish.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2006 Meridian California Pinot Noir

I really like this wine for an everyday glass if so desired. Cherry and Strawberry dominate this silky smooth glass of wine. Inexpensive at regular price of $10.99 but most times our local stores sell for 7.99. Located in Paso Robles California an excellent area for wine. I have served this to friends who enjoy red wine and nothing but compliments.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Time to Break Out The Whites

While spring is here in Iowa the 5 inches of snow over the weekend and the chilly temps have put a hold to my whites. While I love my reds, spring and summer are times I start with Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnay's along with Pinot Gris. Excellent conversation wines, cheese and good friends. Warm weather has to be here soon.

2006 Angeline Pinot Noir Sonoma & Mendocino

Poured the 2006 Angeline Pinot Noir. This wine is made from 75% sonoma grapes and 25% mendocino grapes. Bold cherry flavor with spice. The finish is a combination of raspberry and strawberry. I prefer the Russian River Valley Angeline or the Martin Ray Pinot Noir both the higher end wines from Martin Ray winery but this is still a good wine.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March 27 GreatAmerican Wine Taste

Brett brought 2 very good selections this evening. The first a 2006 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Merlot. Plum, strawberry, spice and oak. Deep purple in color full flavor. The second wine was definate full bodied a 2005 Grand Vin De Bordeux Chateau-St Bernard. Black fruit theme (black cherry, blackraspberry) and a slight strawberry finish with a heavy oak accent. The longer in the glass the milder this wine got. I think we should have allowed the wine to breath longer. Both very good selections purchased at Benz Beverage Depot Cedar Rapids Iowa.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2004 Rutz Sonoma Cuvee Pinot Noir

Stopped off at the First Avenue Wine House in Cedar Rapids and Traci Weber owner suggested I try this wine knowing I'm a Pinot nut. Strawberry at the start with cherry and spice at the finish along with raspberry. Very smooth ruby red in color. Excellent flavor. A definate keeper.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trinchero Family 2006 Pinot Noir Napa Valley

A nice Pinot with flavors of strawberries, cherry, spice and vanilla. My first wine from the Trinchero Vineyards who have produced wine sine 1948. The pinot grapes come from their South Napa Estate vineyard San Pablo Bay. Share with friends.

Zolo Malbec & Echelon Pinot Noir

My turn and everybody figured 2 Pinots but wrong. The first wine was a 2007 Zolo Malbec from Argentina. Flavors of Blackberries, Cherries, Raspberries and Oak. This wine was the favorite of the group. The grapes come from the Fincas Patagonicas Vineyard on the province of Mendoza. Malbec is the vineyards signature wine. Wine 2 was a 2006 Echelon Pinot Noir. Cherry, plum, rasberry, licorice and spicy cinnamon favored this ruby red wine. Different tasting Pinot but a good selection. Echelon Vineyards released its first vintage in 1997 and the grapes come from the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Both wines purchased at Benz Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids Iowa.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Forest Glen 2006 Pinot Noir California

Excellent young Pinot with aromas of cherry, blackberry and my favorite vanilla. Little spicy on the finish but my first purchase from Forest Glen Winery in Sonoma. Definate thumbs up.

March 13 Wine taste

Sorry for the delay. Been very busy and traveling. Daren brought the group wine this evening as yours truly was out of town. Wine 1 was Menage A Trois Red 2006 which is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet. The wine is spicy with a soft finish. Appears the group rated the wine good. The second selection was a Rubicon Estate 2004 Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet. Sour cherry, dark berries and licorice were the flavors. Again the group gave excellent reviews.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2007 Mt Pellier California Pinot Noir

Cherry, strawberry, spice and oak. An inexpensive Pinot which I enjoyed for less than 12.00. Nothing better than a nice glass of pinot after a stressful day in the financial sector. Appears this winery is in southern california. First time for this wine.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 6 GreatAmerican Tasting

Jared our wine establishment owner treated us first to a 2006 Archery Summit Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Excellent pinot with flavors of black cherry, well balanced vanilla and a hint of plum. A very smooth long finish. This one will be in the cellar for special consumption. The second was a d Arenberg 2004 Love Grass Shiraz which was also very good. Flavors of cherry, licorice, slight oak and plum. Another very good wine and enjoyed by the whole group. Daren decided we needed a 3rd bottle a 2006 Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County. Blackberry/cherry with a strong vanilla flavor (and smell but I like vanilla). I also tasted a smokey oak flavor. Hopefully the group stayed sober as they headed on a team outing to the casino (knowing this group most were blind drunk at the end of the night).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Iowa Vineyards will be alive soon

In the next couple weeks yours truly will be venturing out to Cedar Ridge Vineyards to help during the spring pruning. Can't wait till the first party, seeing the grapes progress, oh and drinking wine :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

2006 Martin Ray Pinot Noir

Excellent bottle of Wine. Classic cherry with hints of vanilla and oak. I know this winery produces the Angeline wines and this is a steal at 18.00 per bottle. Couldn't put the glass down till the whole bottle was finished.

Friday, February 27, 2009

GreatAmerican Wine Taste 2/27/09

Its been a long month and Deb was todays provider of the grape juice. We started with a 2005 Jacobs Creek Grenache Shiraz. The wine boasts a blend of 60% grenache and 40% shiraz. Smooth at the start and the finish was (not exagerating here) a blast of sweet raspberry. Very fruity. The second was a 2006 Zen Of Zin Old Vine Zinfandel. This was my first zinfandel and some of my friends would describe Zins as bold, full bodied wines. I found this wine very tame with flavors of black berries and spice and leather with a smooth finish. Again excellent choices.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feb 20 Great American Friday Taste

Joe's designated night tonight. We started off with a 2005 Rabid Red California red wine. Defininate full bodied full flavored wine with a bold spice taste followed by oak. Uses the Cabernet and Petit Sirah grapes to make this wine. The second wine was the always smooth 2007 Castle Rock California Cuvee Pinot Noir. Cherry, blackberry and plum combine to make this a very good Pinot. Once again the wine ghost somehow slipped a white in the tasting tonight which was a 2006 Schug Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp with a bold grapefruit/citris flavor. A good summer time wine.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lindeman's Australian Pinot Noir

A friend brought over a bottle of Bin 99 Lindeman's 2007 Pinot Noir from Australia and proclaimed "its a good cheap wine". Can those words really be used (considering I have noticed this wine in the grocery store on sale 2 of $9). This pinot is much sweeter , light bodied and a different spice taste but has the traditional raspberry flavor along with a slight oak finish.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

John Ernest Winery Tama Iowa

To my knowledge the only Iowa winery producing Pinot Noir is the John Ernest Vineyard and Winery in Tama Iowa. This wine has all the character of a typical Pinot Noir with cherry and raspberry exploding in your mouth and an oak finish. What differs is the "earthy" or "dusty" taste from this wine that I never had in a Pinot. After calling the winery I found the juice is shipped in from Chile which has a tendancy to have an earthy flavor. Try Iowa's only Pinot Noir at

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday GreatAmerican Wino Tasting 2/13/09

Brook to thank for this evenings wines. We started with Sebeka 2006 Shiraz Pinotage Cape Blend from South Africa. 60% Shiraz 40% Pinotage the wine had flavors of Blackberry, Dark Cherry & Spice of the Shiraz and Red Berry of the Pinotage. Some coments included "earthy" and another said this would be a good wine to pair with a pasta/cream cheese dish. A different taste but very good. The 2nd was a Banrock Station 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon South Eastern Australia. Soft plum and cherry along with an oak finish. Very smooth for a Cab almost light bodied. Again an excellent choice. Somehow a 3rd bottle appeared (bad week perhaps) a 2006 Elk Cove Pinot Gris Willamette Valley Oregon. A crisp refreshing white wine with hints of pineapple, citris, grapefruit. Thanks wine ghost for the extra tasting tonight.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2007 Pinot Noir

NCAA basketball and a few glasses of Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir. Always a good bottle to have on hand for friends or parties. Cherries, berries, spice and oak at the finish make this a classic California Pinot Noir. Light bodied excellent wine under $12.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

J. Lohr 2006 Riverstone Chardonnay

A slight change of pace last night with the 2006 J Lohr Chardonnay. Not your typical buttery Chardonnay with a strong flavor of grapefruit and long finish of spice. Nice flavor well balanced. Friends enjoyed this selection.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Estancia 2007 Pinot Noir

This weekend brought a very fine Pinot in the 2007 Estancia Pinot Noir Monterey County. Definate berry flavors of Cherry and Raspberry with a smooth finish of spice. Bravo to the winemaker on this one as this would be an excellent pinot with food or with friends. Priced at 17.99..

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cedar Ridge Vineyards 5 Seasons Red

Dinner tonight included a bottle of 5 Seasons Red from Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery Cedar Rapids Iowa This wine is a blend including grapes St Croix, Marechal Foch, Frontenac and Geneva Red all grown at their vineyard and then Merlot to finish. Dark berry flavor, deep red color and a taste of spice at the finish. I enjoyed this with a burger but I also enjoy this by itself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Feb 5 2009 GreatAmerican Thursday Wine Taste

Brett was the designated buyer this evening and treated us first with Penfords Koonunga Hill 2005 Merlot from South Australia. The description claims to be medium bodied with plum and berry fruit flavors. This was very smooth for "medium bodied" especially an Australian Merlot and a definate fruit flavor. Excellent choice. The 2nd wine was a Pinossimo 2005 Pinot Noir from France. A typical Pinot taste of cherry and raspberry, light bodied and smooth as silk. The group recommended both wines this evening purchased at Benz Beverage Depot Cedar Rapids Iowa. Visit them at

Monday, February 2, 2009

Columbia Crest Cabernet

Great way to watch the superbowl Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. Definately a full bodies Cabernet with flavors of Vanilla, Black Cherry and Oak. Inexpensive at $10.99 per bottle. Ok for an everday wine.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

2006 WoodBridge Pinot Noir

Robert Mondavi makes a good everyday wine especially the Pinot. Flavors of berry and a slight oak but also I taste some cola which may or may not be my taste buds tonight. Cellar has holes so new wine descriptions this week. Craving some Cabs and Chards. Maybe a Bordeaux or 2

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cavit Pinot Noir

Dinner at Olive Garden with the old standby Cavit Pinot Noir from Italy. Medium bodied with flavors of red berries and cherry. Slight hint of oak. Outside of the restaurant a very good Pinot for $10.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wine Group Thursday Taste

Tonight we started with a 2004 Doghouse Merlot from California. Flavors of black cherry, boysenberry and pomegranite. A nice mild california wine which the group rated the best this evening. The second wine was a Hogue 2006 Cabernet Coulmbia Valley Washington. A little more full bodied with flavors of vanilla, cherry and toasty oak. 2 very good selections this evening.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Angeline Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Past couple of nights have brought from the Russian River Valley one of the steals in wine is the folks at Martin Ray Winery the producers of Angeline Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. The 2006 Chardonnay is smooth with a creamy vanilla flavor and slight apple flavor. The winemaker also says you should taste some peach flavor but I do not but very much enjoyed the wine. The 2006 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is one of my favorites. First I taste raspberry followed by a smooth cherry sensation. One I could drink every day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Southern Hills Winery

A winery located in Osceola Iowa produces some very good wine. Splendor in the Glass is a white wine blend of Vidal Blanc, Diamond & Brianna Grapes. On a scale of sweetness it ranks 4/10. Wonderful fruit flavor, crisp with hints of vanilla. I compare it to a Chard or Sav Blanc because to me it has both the traits. Visit them at

Saturday, January 24, 2009

La Crema

Friday night brought out a white and red from one of my favorite wineries La Crema. Enjoyed with friends a 2007 La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. Opening the bottle the smell of apples first then tasting you get the apple, vanilla and carmel with a silky finish. Awesome. After those bottles finished it was on to the 2007 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast with its flavors of cherry and licorice and as velvet as fine chocolate. Always keep some La Crema for you or friends.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The GreatAmerican Thursday Wine Taste

Correct on the blend prediction. Both wines were very good. the 1st a 2007 Italian Tormaresca Neprica which is a blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo & Cabernet Sauvignon. The taste was berries, chocolate and spicy licorice. Very smooth. The 2nd was a 2003 Madiran Torus (French) blend of Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc. More full bodied it had a concentration of deep black fruit. Again very good. Tonights consensus most wines are good. Sure there are bad ones but we to date have only found one and it was purchased by yours truly. Both of these wines were purchased at Benz Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids Iowa

GreatAmerican Group Wine Tasting Tonight

Can't wait for tonights after work selections. I'm betting blends. Check back tonight.

Red Truck California Pinot

While watching basketball one of my favorite everyday Pinot Noir Red Truck 2006 California. Blend of berry flavor with hints of vanilla. Treat yourself and friends. Enjoy with any food or just casual.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oregon Pinot Noir

Adelsheim 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was last nights dinner wine selection. A wonderful berry taste of black raspberries, cherries. One serious great Pinot.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery

2008 Brianna from Cedar Ridge Winery in Cedar Rapids Iowa is a favorite of mine for white wine. Crisp with the flavor of tropical fruit I enjoy this wine anytime of year (limited production so buy enough to last). I had the pleasure of visiting the vineyard and actually tasting the Brianna grape from the vine. A very good Iowa wine.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Last nights personal consumption was a 1995 La Croix De Beaucaillou Saint-Julien Bordeaux. Deep red in color full bodied with dark berry flavor yet very smooth like fine milk chocolate. Allowed the bottle open for 2 hours before drinking. Definately recommend.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

How we enjoy wine

10 coworkers get together each Thursday after work to taste wine from California to France and places inbetween. Each week one in the group brings 2 bottles to share red, white or blend. We are not experts but merely enjoy tasting wine and hope that others find our rating of wine beneficial.