A Party Temprañillo

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines

I’ve had Martin Codax wines before. In fact, I used to frequently purchase the Albariño, finding it to be a good deal for what you got in the bottle. The same can be said for the Temprañillo, especially at the $10 price tag I see if for online. It’s reliable, pleasing, and a great bargain mid-week wine or for a party if you’re looking to find something that your guests will enjoy for a reasonable price point. The 2006 Martin Codax Ergo Tempranillo had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and went well with our beef stroganoff.

On the nose I found spice, oak, cedar, black fruit, black cherry, and plum.  In the mouth I found more black cherry and plum, spice, cedar, and some black pepper notes. This wine is fruit driven, with the other notes being secondary to the dominating black fruits. It has mild tannins on the finish making it easy to drink and enjoy alone or with a good burger.





Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

When I think of sparkling wine from Italy, my mind goes immediately to Prosecco. I’m not actually sure that I’ve had sparkling wine from Italy made from other grapes before this bottle, so I was interested to give it a try.  The Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rose is composed of Nerello Mascalese and Prosecco grapes, which makes for something different from the norm. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne closure, and retails for between $13-$15.

The nose showed strawberry, raspberry, yeast, dough, sourdough, and cherry. I thought the fruit seemed quite vibrant on the nose.  In the mouth I got strawberry, cherry, and some floral notes. The palate was less vibrant than the nose, but displayed crisp, clean red fruit flavors and nice acidity, with plenty of bubbles.




Better Late than Never…

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Twitter Taste Live event.

Yikes. So I’m a tad behind in putting up my reviews these days. I’m trying to get back on track now that my baby is occasionally taking a nap and put up more than one post a week. (Newborns are exhausting. Especially ones that seem to abhor sleep…) I participated in this Twitter Taste Live Event, focused on Gamay, in November. Yes, I realize that is 3 months ago now, but I still wanted to tell you about the wines we tasted that night. I don’t have a ton of experience with the Gamay grape or Beajoulais in general, so participating in this event was a great opportunity to taste several of these wines side-by-side. One of which was this 2008 Domaine Diochon Moulin à Vent. The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $18 online.

On the nose I found spice, earth, cedar, some black fruit, almost a currant and perhaps some black plum. I thought the nose on this one was wound tight and it seemed young. It didn’t give up much fruit or really anything at all.  On the palate I found the wine to have a more red fruit characteristic with raspberries and some cherry, spice, earth, and cedar. I still thought it was tight and young and needed a couple more years before it would be ready to drink.


Emblem Wine

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Folio Winemakers.

I’ve written before about Folio Winemakers. (And a brief line about this wine before…my notes from 2 years ago actually track fairly well with these new notes!). The whole concept is a Michael Mondavi project, where wines are imported from various countries as well as made on the Mondavi Estates, among other places, and are available for tasting all in one location. It’s pretty cool and the tasting room is just lovely. Whiling away a day on the back porch overlooking the vineyards would be easy to do. One such Mondayi project is this 2006 Emblem Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. It clocks in at 13.3% alcohol by volume (wow, that’s one of the lowest abv levels I’ve seen on a Cab in quite some time), had a real cork closure, and MSRP of $50, though I see it in various online shops for around $40.

Black fruit is the name of the game on the nose of this Cab. Blackberry, black currant, black cherry, and black plums are all present on the nose, with some earthy and chocolate notes bringing up the tail. The nose had a an overall earthy/dusty character to it that I really enjoyed. In the mouth, more black fruit, blackberry, black cherry, black currants, and some of the chocolate I found on the nose. The wine had excellent acidity to help it along, which married well with the palate of mostly very juicy black fruit.

The overgrown rat said spring was coming

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards

So how about we spring into a more spring-like wine? Corny? Indeed. But so is waiting for a large rodent to see its shadow or not every year.  Plus, it’s 20 degrees here as a I write this…so I’m not seeing any sign that spring is around the corner!  We popped open the 2009 Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has always been a strong (ha! I’m full of the corny puns this morning.) as far as I’m concerned, offering a great CA Sauvignon Blanc at a wallet friendly price of around $10. It clocks in at 13.8% alcohol by volume and has a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found grapefruit, grass, hay, flowers, melon, peaches, citrus, lemon, lemon zest, and an overall fresh and tart aroma.  In the mouth I got peach, citrus, grapefruit, some lemon, melon, and a little hint of the grass from the nose. I realize that I often list “citrus” as an aroma or flavor and then distinguish specific citrus fruits that I find in a wine. I do this because not only do I find those specific fruits, but the wine has an overall citrus characteristic that I can’t (or rather don’t think I can) attribute to one particular citrus fruit. Initially I found this wine to be quite tart at the front of the palate, but it rounded out nicely mid palate leaving me with the sensation of clean, crisp fruit.



Making Trouble

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Produced by Hope Family Wine, the Westside Red Troublemaker is a blend of three vintages of wine, the 2007, 2008, and 2009. On first sniff I said “Syrah!,” and later upon examining the promotional materials that accompanied the wine I found that it is indeed dominated by Syrah, being a blend of 53% Syrah, 37% Mourvedre, and 10% Grenache. The wine hails from Paso Robles, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $20. We enjoyed this with a steak, but I think I’d have it with my homemade pizza next time.

On the nose I found plums, blackberries, black fruit, herbs, mint, pepper, chocolate, a meaty note (hi Syrah!), and spice.  In the mouth I got black cherry, plum, blackberries, spice, and pepper. Overall I found the wine to be juicy with some tannins and nice acidity which is why I think it would do well up against a pizza with tomato sauce. I’m always looking for good pizza wines, and this one seems to fit the bill well with vibrant juicy fruits and enough spice to carry it through.