Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2008 Castillo D Clavijo Rioja Gran Reserva

   Well readers here we are, together once again for another wonderful wine review. I trust that  everyone had a great Easter Sunday and got to spend plenty of time relaxing with the family. Let's go ahead now and get started and see what I thought about our review wine. To begin here, I have to say that based upon the majority wine varietal in this wine I found today's review to be very interesting to me to say the least. The wine I will be reviewing today is the 2008 Castillo D Clavijo Rioja Gran Reserva This wine is in a red blend with the predominate varietal being that of Tempranillo. The wine is blended with three (3) other Spanish Red varietals as well which we will look at in a minute. The wine comes from Bodegas Criadores de Rioja winery in Rioja Spain. The winery which was established in 2000 operates just over Two (2) miles of Vineyards. The winery and properties were constructed with the "purpose of balancing tradition with innovation" says the owners. The wines themselves are made by Paloma Redondo and judging from this little example that I am reviewing today, they are indeed crafted extremely well.
   Let's start this review off first with a little education for those of you who don't know anything about the Rioja region which is located in North-central Spain.  Lets start at the beginning however, shall we?  The word "Rioja" itself is a derivation of the two words "Rio" (River) and "Oja" (name of a tributary of the Ebro, located near the region's southwestern boundary). La Rioja includes the areas of La Rioja, Navarre and the Basque province of Alava. The Rioja itself is divided into three (3) different zones which include Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. The La Rioja area has around 500 wineries and the region is also known as well for sausage making which goes rather nicely with Tempranillo might I add.

   The wine as I have previously said is a blend of three (3) other Spanish Red grape varietals that by the way are also commonly blended with the Tempranillo varietal. In this wine there are the varietal reds of 10% Garnacha, 10% Graciano, 10% Mazuelo. The wine sits at an alcohol percentage on the slightly low end being at 12.5%. Because it is a "Gran Reserva" we (should) automatically know that this wine was aged in wooden barrels for a longer time than what is considered "normal". In this case the wine sat in both American & French Oak for twenty four (24) months and was than transferred to the bottle where it sat for an additional Thirty Six (36) months. Well with all that being said let's move ahead to my thoughts on this Rioja Red blend.
Now, those of you who follow me should also know by now that the Tempranillo varietal is my ultimate favorite varietal when it comes to a nice dark, spicy, red but for those of you who are new to The Desert Wine Guy here is a little tip. If you ever want to send me a present, a nice bottle of Tempranillo is the varietal that will endear you in my heart. For those of you have ever had this particular varietal you know exactly what I mean about the spice / pepper components in the wine  and for those of you who don't I really believe that you owe it to yourself to check out the varietal known as Tempranillo. As a side note before we move on here, the varietal has inspired me to actually rip up my Sauvignon Blanc vines which were planted in Mirror Image Vineyard and plant Tempranillo vines there instead with hopes that the Las Vegas heat won't make me regret my decision, I actually put a name to these hopes which I call "The Tempranillo Experiment". For those of you who follow my wine ONLY Facebook you will be kept updated on the latest developments of the experiment there. For those of you who don't follow my FB please check it out and click "like" while you are there. Well with all that being said let's move ahead to my thoughts on this Rioja Red blend.

   To say that all day I waited in anticipation of tasting this wine would be an understatement. Having bought this wine around two (2) months ago and like some other wines I buy, it sat on the Kitchen counter away from any heat simply screaming to be next in line for a review. For some reason I haven't been in the mood for a red wine however. Today though was different, today a Red wine is what I wanted and Tempranillo is what I craved. Opening the bottle and pouring the first glass showed that the wine was fairly light in appearance. When held up to a White piece of paper the wine was actually incredibly light. I have learned in my education of wine however that the color of a red is not always something to be alarmed at especially depending upon the varietal although it is a factor at times in rating a wine and this particular wine is no exception. In general the Tempranillo varietal itself should generally be a medium to Ruby Red, this wine unfortunately does unfortunately not meet that standard. This wine sits a light to lightish medium red in the glass and I am believing that is possibly due to the fact that there is a total of 30% other red varietals which is acceptable. Visually however, I don't believe that the wine was that impressive. Whatever the reason for the semi lack of color, the wines approach on the nose is straight forward with notes of Green Pepper, Blackberry Jam and plenty of herbal notes galore.
A deep Cocoa note displays itself rather nicely for a while which is always rather nice. On the Palette the wine exhibits Black Pepper as well as the same Green Pepper / herbal qualities that it exhibited on the nose. There are super nice yet still semi soft and non offensive Tannins that are really rather pleasing to the Palette. As far as acidity in the wine, there is some but it is held in check nicely and blends rather nicely as well with the Tannins to exhibit a rather wonderful and herbal mouth feel. With all the Oak this wine is created in you have to already know that the wine certainly exhibits it's characteristics. Yes, the Oak is certainly noteworthy as well. A nice toasted note is present due to the wood that the wine spends two years soaking in. This note of Oak presents itself as a darkening on the Palette which adds tons of depth to the wine but don't get me wrong here, the wine itself has tons of depth by itself it's just that that toast note truly sets the wine off and where it the Tempranillo is best suited. Here are some notes that this wine does NOT exhibit, which is a good thing. There is no creaminess or smoothness to this wine, there also is no harshness or bitterness to endure.
The wine as I stated does have a bit of Tannins and they will be noted on your Palette so if you are one to be offended by even the word Tannins than this is not the wine for you. Getting back for a moment to what this wine does have now. A really nice Cocoa note is present on the Palette as well as I previously mentioned, on the nose. While the Cocoa is not something that jumps out at you, if you take the time to actually taste this wine with the thought of evaluating it or relaxing with a glass or two, you will pick it up and enjoy it. Be warned however, it does fade rather quickly unfortunately. One other positive aspect to this wine is the serious note of cassis or Black Currant that is in this wine. There most definitely is some fairly serious Cassis that is also enjoyed on the Palette.  This note seems to top the wine off and also brings us to our closing section which wraps things up. Let's go ahead and get to it then.
   As with all my wines that I review, this wine wasn't exactly expensive but at $20 a bottle I expected a lot especially with how great some less expensive wines can be today, especially from small and unknown producers out of the country as in this case Spain. While the Napa Valley is continuing to raise their prices for wines that can't even a score in the low 90's Spain continues to pump out quality reds and probably whites (I haven't reviewed whites from Spain yet) at a price that is impressive to say the least and this wine is certainly no exception everyone. While as I said, $20 isn't really what I would consider cheap, it is I believe, fair and certainly worth it in order to taste this great Rioja. If you love the Tempranillo varietal than you should head to the store and buy a couple of bottles. We are looking at a pretty well put together wine here and one that I enjoyed very much. The overall score I will place it on The Desert Wine Guy point rating scale is 92 (Excellent Highly recommended) points which takes into account the lack of proper color.

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy      

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2012 Pennywise Chardonnay

The 2012 Pennywise Chardonnay

   Hello everyone and welcome to the first few days of Spring. I don't know about your weather but here in Las Vegas (on the day I am writing these notes at least)we are experiencing full Sun and temperatures in the low 70s with slight breezes that feel simply wonderful actually. What better day than to open a nicely chilled bottle of Chardonnay. Today's review is on the 2012 Pennywise Chardonnay with grapes sourced from various parts of California. The 2012 Pennywise Chardonnay is a blend of mostly Chardonnay (96%) and Viognier (4%) and comes in at 13.5% alcohol. We will get into the company and where the grapes come from in a few minutes. First however lets begin by talking a little bit about where I got this wine. I received this wine from the Wine of The Month Club which by the way, I highly recommend belonging to. This wine was listed in their "Classic Wine Series" and I received it in my monthly shipment. If you are interested in finding out some more about the club, here is a link to a review I did on it in December of 2014. All right then, let's move on now and learn a little bit more about this Vineyard.
  Let's start off by first understanding that the "Pennywise" label is made from grapes sourced from various vineyards in California. The Pennywise label itself is produced by a beverage company named "3 Badge Beverage Company" and does not come from a particular vineyard.
( was founded in 2010 and is located in Sonoma, California. According to their website the name "3 Badge" actually comes from old fire services badges from the Sebastiani family. The company itself also happens to be run out of an old fire station in Sonoma. Digging a little deeper I also found that the 3 Badge company is in reality owned by Don Sebastiani & Sons ( although for some strange reason their website makes no mention of the Pennywise label nor the Leese-Fitch wine label that they also handle among others although the 3 Badge website does make mention of these labels.
3 Badge Beverage Corp

Don Sebastiani Jr  CEO and chairman.
   Before we actually start delving into describing this wine I have to admit something to you readers. I have to tell you that after tasting the first few sips of the wine my first thoughts were in reality to simply forget about writing this review and just kick back, relax and enjoy this wonderful Chardonnay. In reality it actually does take a lot to put together a rough draft of my review wines as opposed to simply sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the wine. Well, as I said, that was my original thought but than I than started thinking about you guys, my readers and how you deserve to be able to appreciate this wine (at least thru my writing) so I simply had to follow thru with the review so that you guys can begin to appreciate this wine like I did. This is one of those wines where you can pick up the Bouquet from a few feet away, I love it. From the minute I opened the bottle in my Kitchen the wine exposed to the air notes of rich, tropical, Honeysuckle, Green Apple and melon just jumping right out there, I truly wasn't expecting this from such an inexpensive wine that sells for $10.98 thru stores. Truthfully, early on I was starting to be impressed and also started developing hopes for the wine that I held in my hand. How this wine up up on my Palette however is the next question we need to answer. I am hoping that this wine doesn't disappoint on my Palette folks, really I am. Starting off on my Palette now I'll say that this wine appears to be extremely well balanced. All the notes present in the wine seem to mesh very well together with none really dominating over the others. Honeysuckle seems to be the first note that I picked up on my Palette. WOW folks, really nice. No overpowering sweetness here to ruin the wine. Am I saying there is no note of sugar here, no, I am certainly not. There is definitely a note of sugar to the wine. Think about this for a minute. A note of Honeysuckle, does that bring to mind a sweetish addiction?  How about our next note of Green Apple, does Green Apple not also bring to mind a sense of sweetness? I guess before I go on let me say this about the wine.
While the notes may lead one to believe that the wine is a "sugar bomb" it certainly is not. This wine is not dominated by sugar, it is actually not dominated by anything except expressive tropical fruit. You clearly taste each and every individual note and you clearly love it. How about Papaya, does that sound enticing? Well, you bet it is enticing, especially when you taste it in this wine. An ever so slight (and yes, I do mean slight) note of toast here in the wine perhaps from the Oak the wine sat in adds a bit of crispness and with very little acidity here in this wine it is simply perfect. As I have already stated, this indeed is a very tropical wine that I am reviewing here, no doubt about it readers so please don't think that this is a dry wine at all, if you are looking for a dull, dry Chardonnay you should look elsewhere. These grapes were grown in a semi hot climate and the Chardonnay exhibits that element. So I am into about a half of a bottle right now and I have to say that the wine is not losing anything on the Bouquet or mouth feel after being open at least an hour, this wine is still going strong. One thing I want to mention before I forget. readers of this blog should already know about how I feel concerning wine closures (Cork vs Screw Caps) this wine is actually sealed with a cork and not a screw cap, that is nice. Perhaps this is due to the vintage and the Screw Cap fad hadn't caught on yet, I do not know. I hope however that in their current  vintages that 3Badge Enology have continued to stick with sealing their wine bottles in this way.
Glass of The 2012 Pennywise Chardonnay
   O.K everyone, let's wrap this up. Let's see now. Folks.....what a wonderful Summer Chardonnay we have here. Beware that this is certainly a "New World" wine with notes of tropical fruit delivered to prove it. This is a wine whose grapes are obviously grown in very warm locations or experienced some sort of Malolactic Fermentation, either way the wine is absolutely awesome n my book. I do believe that I could have this wine everyday (if I drank alcohol everyday, which I don't) in the Summer as I sit out by the pool. All right folks, here is the moment we have all been waiting for. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am putting this wine at the superb rating of 94 points which means that it fell into the level of wines judged at "Superb, a great achievement". My recommendation is for you to track at least a few bottles of this wine down and wait for your pool weather to enjoy it, you will not be sorry you did.

   UPDATE - I have actually just finished E-Mailing the Wine of The Month Club for information on possibly purchasing more of this wine. According to Khalil at The Wine of The Month Club it is not possible to get any more of this wine, how sad.

                                                                                                                The Desert Wine Guy 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay

   Hey everyone today I want to write a very short review on the 2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay.  I usually write a short review on a wine because the wine is bad and there really isn't much to say about it. This time however I am writing a short review on a wine that actually isn't that bad at all. While not what I would say is a "great" wine by any means, the 2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay is a fairly pleasant wine that I think you guys might enjoy while at the pool this Summer or sitting on the Porch in the Springtime which by the way will be here soon. This is a wine that I got from The Wine Of The Month Club about a year ago and had put away on a shelf and forgotten about since then. At the time I honestly wasn't much of a White Wine drinker but lately I have been developing a taste for it more and more. I came across this wine while going thru my wine racks in the Living Room the other day and decided that this wine was sitting around long enough and that it was time to give it a shot.  So lets go ahead and do our little review on this wine and see what there is to see.
   In the glass this wine appeared  a very nice Golden in color and displayed a very classy robust as it rested in my glass waiting to be tasted. I actually was rather impressed with the depth of color that this wine presented and was looking forward to it showing itself off some more.
   As for the Bouquet I felt that was rather nice as well. There were notes of Pear and Honeydew and one of my five year old actually commented after giving it a sniff that there was actually a note of Apple as well. By the way I agree with there being the note of Apple.On my Palette there were notes of Grapefruit and of grass which are both pleasant in taste and not overdone. There is a slight not of Honeysuckle in here as well that provided the only real hint of sweetness that I detected. The wine is slightly on the acidic and dry side as well which I feel might come from the slight Alcohol taste which was on the finish. This is a fairly mellow wine yet compact in its own way.  The notes that were tasted were fairly light and non offensive. There was more than enough flavor to be noticed but not enough for any one to stand out over another. So what do I think about this Chardonnay? Well lets start at the fact that this is a simple wine and doesn't pretend to be anything but. It is fairly dry and not a sweet or fruity wine. It is not a typical Chardonnay that would have that "buttery" note, that it definitely is lacking. Overall I must say that I did enjoy the wine and I think it would make a great Summer / pool wine. As for a good representation of it's varietal, I don't think it really lives up to that in any way. Would I drink the wine again? Yes, I would. It was a very pleasant wine to drink. It had bright notes in the sense of the Pear, Honeydew but overall it was a very mellow Chardonnay.
  On The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale I give it a solid 83 points.

                                                                                                              The Desert Wine Guy 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2012 Milflores Rioja Tempranillo

   Today I am doing a short review of the 2012 Milflores Rioja Tempranillo. Ah yes.... a wonderful Tempranillo, my favorite varietal. A usually peppery red with leather and Cranberry notes that dominate this varietal has propelled itself to the top of my list for about two years since first tasting it. Today's wine is once again from Spain so let's see what I thought about it.
On the pour we are looking at a very light almost watery looking reddish in color wine. In the glass the wine sits the same way, unimpressive. The wine was watery around the edges and didn't appear to promise me anything but a diluted tasting red. It was actually weird to see the edges so watery but I figured I opened it so I have to at least give it a try. On the nose the wine was dominated with Cherry, Blackberry and a slightly burnt smelling oak. After seeing and smelling all this I was confused (although I thought a pretty good idea ) as to exactly what the wine was going to offer me when placed in my mouth to taste.
   In my experience I have learned that simply because a wine is light in color does not necessarily mean that the wine is bad or un flavorful. Let me issue a warning here. If you plan to open this wine and immediately drink it you are going to be VERY disappointed. This wine needs at least two hours to open up or develop. If you insist on drinking it right away you are going to be drinking a wine dominated by Cherry & Cranberry, very strong Cherry & Cranberry. Now a weird issue with this wine. This wine is constantly changing its taste, quickly. At first it is bitter and harsh. I decide to give it another chance since I was too lazy to get up and spill it out. Almost in the next sip about 5 minutes later the wine became overpowering with notes of Cherry & Cranberry than it moves to ending in a sort of watery taste. Finally after about two hours of nursing on the wine and having three quarters of the bottle left I noticed that the wine settled down and became slightly more serious, it evolved in the bottle which I guess should be no surprise since wines do "open up" most times. I have just never experienced such a dramatic opening up of a wine before. The wine developed fairly nice notes of black Cherry as well as moderate spice. There was also ever so slight Tannin's.
    Bottom line here is that the wine did not have enough depth or personality to break into the 90 point mark but I do think it was a decent wine and able to reach to the level of an 87 point wine. The wine in the end did end up being ever so slightly Cranberry dominate but I thought that was nice here, it did not degrade the wine in any way and went nicely with the peppery and Cranberry notes as it usually does. Despite the way the wine is described I did enjoy it and I would buy it again it just didn't measure up to what a true Tempranillo should be.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2002 Beaulieu Vineyard Merlot, A Wonderful Blast From The Past

   The other day I was bored and decided that it was cleaning day and re-inventory day of my cellared wine collection. Yeah, I was bored and decided that it was time to do a little dusting of the wines kept in my collection.  While performing this re-inventory I also decided to run each wine (again) thru some respected websites that rate wines just to see how each wine was holding up. While doing this I came across the fact that our review wine, the 2002 Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Merlot did not appear (according to the so called experts) to belong in my cellared collection. The price tag which read $3.99 was still left on the bottle. The tag also had a business name on it that said "Close Out Wines" which does not appear to be in business any longer and no, I do not remember purchasing this wine.  I pulled the wine out and set it aside until the next time I opened a Red. Well about two weeks after pulling this wine out I decided that it was now time to open a Red, a Merlot to be exact. The "Century Cellars" label appears to BV's label for their wines that are crafted with the intention of being a wine to drink within the next few years. This  lends me to a pretty big worry and that worry is, did the wine hold up with time, all this time? That is what I intend to see. Let's move on now and discover what exactly is going on with this 15 year old inexpensive Merlot. I for one am not expecting much to be left of this wine but we will see. I have always loved BV wines since my very first trip to the Napa Valley. Not only was my first experience there wonderful as far as the wines went, I also thought the property was delightful as well.
Let's begin with the nose of this wine. With deep and expressive Caramel on the nose as well as Cocoa this wine so far appears to be holding strong. After all these years this wine is still showing on the nose the initial qualities of a super, really nice wine. While it is early in the reviewing of this wine I am indeed impressed so far by how the Bouquet has held up. Is it wrong to hold out hope for the other qualities of this wine? While it may be a lot to ask of this inexpensive Merlot my hopes are indeed  I am hoping that the rest of the wine has held up as well as the Bouquet.     
On the Palette believe it or not there was still a nice note of Tannins that are present to enjoy. On the front is a Cherry that meshes with a Caramel as well as Cocoa. Plum comes across in generous amounts and none of these comes across as sharp or harsh on the Palette. There was a note of slight Raisin which I thought was rather nice and seemed to mesh well with the Cocoa the note also complimented the other notes in the wine and was perfect with the next note which is Prune. On the finish, or back end there is the still present notes of Pepper and slight Acidity that I tasted. For these notes to still persist in a wine of this age that I'm sure wasn't originally meant to hold up this long is simply astonishing. To me this wine is still tasting like a wine I could have just purchased fairly recently. The wine is very open and while it does have various notes I would not really consider it to be complex but would say that it is light to medium bodied. I can envision this wine being a knockout when it first was released as it is a knockout years later as I drink it. There is a sort of semi brightness as well that is presented here on the front Palette in the form of a Brown Sugar or Molasses that I was rather shocked to be tasting. A smooth and yet at the same time in your face Blackberry is presented right here as well to add to your enjoyment of the wine. One way to sum this wine up prior to the closing paragraph is like this. This wine is almost a Bordeaux style wine and makes me wish I had another bottle to keep for just a little longer. There, that should give you what you want to know about this wine so let's move on to the summary and wrap this review up.  So here we are, the end of the review of the 2002 BV Century Cellars Merlot. Now is the time to put the whole review together and let you know my final thoughts. Did I enjoy the wine, Yes. Was this a Merlot that Merlot lovers will like or love, ohhhh yeah it is. Is this a wine that Bordeaux lovers will die for, well I guess that you already know it is. This wine has a certain smoothness to it on one hand and yet there is on the other hand notes of Tannins / acidity that I mentioned earlier. Am I  impressed with this 15 year old wine? I have to say that I certainly am. I have learned a very important lesson with the tasting and my enjoyment of this wine and it is something that I wish to share with you. I learned just how important proper storage or aging conditions are to the preservation of your wine is and just how it can extend greatly at times the life of your wine. Do I regret drinking this wine today or do I recommend that you open yours sometime soon? I'll tell you this.
   I wouldn't go past another two or three years at the most before enjoying your bottle, I mean you want to enjoy it right? Would I Decant this wine or does or did this wine change in any way while sitting in the bottle? I most certainly would recommend that this wine still either be Decanted or sit in the bottle for a while prior to enjoying it because this wine did soften in one way yet also did come into it's own in another way. Here is now what you have all been waiting for, what is my rating of this wine? This one is crazy guys because I should not be enjoying this wine as much as I did at this stage of the game. This wine should have been spoiled a long time ago, however it was not so on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I put this wine at 94 (Superb, A great achievement) points. 

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - A Review Of The Wine Reviewer - An Update

   Today I want to re-visit or update an article that I wrote about a couple of years ago. Today I want to revisit an article about the wine reviewer / critic. Many of you out there actually rely on these individuals in order to choose the particular wines that you are going to buy. What people fail to also realize however is that these wine reviewers are also very important to wineries and wine businesses as well. Let me give you an example. If a famous wine critic happens to say that a particular wine is bad, the sales of that wine can be negatively effected. There was a movie entitled "Sideways" that had a particular line in it by the character named "Miles" that said "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving, I am NOT drinking any (expletive) Merlot!". While Merlot sales dropped simply because of the movie, sales of the varietal Pinot Noir (which was praised in the movie) actually went up 16%. Some wine reviewers hold a lot of sway as to whether a wine sells well or not. If these wine critics happen to say that a particular wine is great, the sales of that wine can be positively effected and a lot of money can be made. The money side again also includes not only the winery but the wine establishments that we visit to buy out wine. On the other hand, these wine critics can also single handedly destroy a wines potential for sales. While this may seem like common sense to some, to others it isn't something they really think about. Some people will simply read that wine critic "A" loves a particular wine and they will go out and buy that wine. If enough people go out and buy that particular wine of course, up go the sales and therefore profit for all involved except for the consumer of course who might not benefit if they don't like the wine. At the bottom line there is one reality. Wine critics critique wine and get paid as their living to do so, they make money. Now, with that understanding let's move on.
   How long would a wine critic be around if he bombed wines from a winery, vineyard, magazine or store that he actually worked for or was getting paid either officially or unofficially by ? The answer of course is, he wouldn't be around long at all. Let me give you an example. When was the last time you read about or went to a winery who was just releasing a particular wine or their wines in general and advertised that wine or their other wines it to be of the worst vintage or wines they have ever experienced or made? Yeah, me neither.   Here is another example. If a certain wine reviewer works for a particular popular wine magazine do you think that there might be a chance that there are (unofficial) incentives involved in giving high acclaim to particular wines who in turn give (unofficial) incentives to the magazine? How many of you have ever heard of the term "pay to play"? For years record companies were paying radio stations to play their music or promote performers more often than other music or performers, this is illegal and the government stepped in and SUPPOSEDLY put a stop to it. Go ahead right now and Google the term (pay to play) and see if you are convinced that the practice has indeed stopped. How about wine distributors? Have you ever gone to a wine tasting in a store or elsewhere and been told that a particular wine that they have available for tasting that day is not good and that it is suggested that you don't buy it? Once again, yeah me neither. Did you also know that there are investors and collectors who just wait for wine critics to rate a particular wine before deciding whether to go buy the wine? Let's break this down now. What this means is that if a particular wine critic loves a particular wine there are tons and tons of people who will go buy that wine solely because 1 person whom they never met says it's great. I hope you also know that that particular wine will jump in price as well. A particular vineyard that had a huge hit (review) on last years vintage will boost the price of the next years vintage through the roof. Let's take a particular Champagne as an example for a second. We have all heard of Dom Perignon. When was the last time you have read a review on that particular Champagne? I haven't seen that particular Champagne rated well in a long time. What if I told you that I had a bottle of the Champagne that has been kept chilled and out of the Sun for 5 years and I wanted to sell it to you for $10? I bet many people would take me up quickly on that offer solely based upon the name. What if I told you that that particular champagne in the 2003 vintage was rated only at 91 points by two big wine magazines yet sold for $159.99? Does that sound like a great deal? What if I told you that the 2003 Don Perignon "Kooms" Brut Rose Champagne was rated at 94 points by a famous wine critic yet sells ( for $419.99?

To me that is outrageous. Can you now see how a vineyard or winery name or a particular review / reviewer can carry a product (good or bad) sometimes for many years? As with all products that become "hot" it all comes down to marketing or advertising. Do some wine reviewers get paid for their positive reviews? That I cannot answer for you. My opinion is, yes they do.What I can tell you though is what I always tell you in my reviews and that is my opinion. I firmly believe that there are reviewers of all different products including wine that get "benefits" for reviewing certain wines or products in a positive light. I once had a wine Dinner with a winemaker from a prominent wine vineyard and when my Wife and the winemakers handler went to the bathroom I was finally able to talk to him one on one. His answers to some of my questions along the lines of this article reinforced my views and beliefs that there is indeed a lot of "pay to play" in the wine industry. I guess the old saying of buyer beware still holds.
   O.K so your next question should be, what about you there Desert Wine Guy? You review wines. That is a good question and here is my response. Without giving away too much personal information I will tell you that I have had my job for the last 24 years. My family and I are comfortable. I really  do this whole wine thing (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and this wine blog) in my spare time because I enjoy it and it helps keep me and my kids in shape in the garden. As I have said previously many times, I don't do this for money. I also do this to tell you about good wines, bad wines and what is going on in the wine world. I hope that you guys do notice that when I get an invite or a wine that is comped I do disclose that fact to you, the reader, right away, Now of course it is still left up to you to believe me or not believe me but I guess you could also assume that I have an ulterior motive behind all this. I have a way around all the doubts though and I'd like you guys to think about this. If you read an article about a wine that I have reviewed and liked or loved, say for instance the 2009 Vino Egui, Tempranillo Reserve ( and the description that I give you as far as the wines notes what you can do is read the review first and see if what I am describing in the wine is what you would like in your wine. If the description sounds good than go buy the wine as a test. In this case the wine costs $4.99 which is a very small price to pay to see if you have found someone who has your taste at least in that particular varietal. If you determine that your tastes match mine than you might have found someone that you can follow and trust, again at least in that varietal. If on the other hand your tastes do not match mine that you know that you know at least on that varietal that our likes do not match and move to someone else on that particular varietal if you so choose.
   So that's about all for this article, it's pretty straight forward but I have discovered that for some people they aren't thinking along the lines I have laid down in this article. I hope however that I have opened some eyes with my thoughts today. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this article.

                                                                                                             The Desert Wine Guy  

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2009 Vino Egui, Tempranillo Reserve

2009 Vino Egui, Tempernillo Reserve

   Today I am excited to once again be reviewing my absolutely favorite varietal of wine. For those of you who aren't regular readers of this wine blog I'll go ahead and tell you that the varietal I am talking about is that of  the Tempranillo, which means "early one" due too it's early ripening. Today's wine review is on the 2009 Vino Egui, Tempranillo Reserve from Spain. Let's now go ahead and discuss a little about this varietal as well as it's growing in Spain. By the way this wine was purchased at Costco for $7.99.
Tempranillo Grapes On The Vine
   The Tempranillo (Tem-prah-nee-yoh) grape is native to Northern Spain with the area of Rioja being the preferred area and further South the area of Ribera Del Duero being the preferred area. Tempranillo is the most widely planted grape in Spain and is used in blending other varietals such as Port. Tempranillo makes up for approximately 75% of Riojas Vineyards. Although Spain is famous for their Tempranillo, California has been growing the varietal since 1996 and originally named it Valdepenas up until 1996 when the BATF officially chose the name of Tempranillo. So, that is a little bit about the grape and I hope I was able to she some light on it for those of you who might develop a sudden interest in the grape after reading this review. It is now time to move on to the main body of this review. 
Different Styles Of Tempranillo

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Copyright © Wines & Vines

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Copyright © Wines & Vineshas been planting this varietal for around 100 years the grape is best known and grown in Spain. There are usually three different labeling requirements for Tempranillo, here is a breakdown of the three. The first one is "Vin Joven" These Tempranillos are released while they are young and meant to be drank right away. These are usually not seen outside of Spain. The second is 'Crianza". This Tempranillo requires 2 years and 6 months in Oak. The third is "Reserva" our review wine). These Reds are aged for 3 years with 1 year in Oak. The last is called "Gran Reserva". These reds are aged for a minimum of 5 years with 18 months in Oak. The Tempranillo varietal is also known for it's strong Tannins and high acidity that add to the wines complexity and body.
   From the beginning I will put it out there and tell you that this wine is seriously impressing me. I gave the wine no time for Decanting due to the fact that I originally had no intention of actually tasting this wine but was sort of forced into doing a tasting of it as this was actually a substitute bottle that I opened in place of another wine that I had originally planned to review. That wine I originally had opened and intended to review was the 2012 Supper Club Cabernet Sauvignon. That particular wine was Decanted for approximately 1 hour and tasted. The wine didn't last 5 minutes in my glass before the entire bottle went down the sink, good bye!. Thankfully the replacement bottle is our review wine because simply put, this wine is great. This wine is why my preference / appreciation for a Spanish Tempranillo (especially from the La Rioja region) has developed and why I would choose the Spanish version over an American version which to me seems a light lighter and does not seem to have as much complexity nor that peppery note that I have grown to appreciate and look for in the varietal. So, let's go ahead now and discuss the Bouquet of this wine because this is truly where the greatness begins. A super and intense note of  dark spiciness on the nose makes your senses come alive. Simply by what I am getting from the nose is making my mouth water. The nose also presents a good amount of French Oak and lively dark Licorice. An ultra wonderful note of earth is incredibly blasting its way to the mouth of the glass but stopping just short enough to allow for complimenting of the other notes without overpowering them. There are notes of black fruit that are escaping the
La Rioja Wine Map
glass as well and the overall result is a Bouquet that seems to never want to stop showing the wine off. There very simply is a lot going on here folks and just enjoying this Bouquet could almost be enough to satisfy me. Continuing on the nose is also a superior note of smoke as well. Once again I cannot say enough great things about the nose on this $7.99 (later to be $4.99) wine. In fact I'm going to go on about the great Bouquet if you don't mind. The notes of Vanilla and rich berry across the nose really made me breath deeply in the glass in amazement. Topping it all off is a smoky Tobacco note. Folks I am telling you that this wine delivered an aromatic meal to the nose in a simple breath. If this wine review ended right here it would simply be a tease and I wouldn't do that to you. The wine deserves to be explored fully not only for it's own sake but for you, the readers sake. You don't want to miss this wine.
   Well, now it's time to dig a little further and go beyond the Bouquet and allow you to discover what I am discovering and that is just how truly amazing this wine is. As you read this please keep in mind that when I review a wine I will move between wine magazines to music DVDs and than back to writing notes on the wine in review. Between these things there might be 20 minutes that lapses. Of course these times will give me time to really taste a wine. O.K, let's move on now. I have been hoping for some time now since I first experienced the Bouquet that the wine, when on my Palatte wouldn't disappoint me. I have previously had wines that had really nice Bouquet but unfortunately simply failed miserably in presenting themselves well after that point. I am left wondering and
Varietal Characteristics
worrying, could that be the case here?  It's time to now find out. On the Palatte this wine is straight forward a true Spanish Tempranillo. Spice galore, Oak galore, Earthy galore, Tannins / acidity galore here even though this wine is 7 years old at the time of this writing and sold fairly recently for $7.99 and at this minute for $4.99, this wine has held up beautifully. On the pour I had (and you might have as well) some reservations due to it being a fairly light Red in the glass. I know I was somewhat concerned that this wine might fall flat on it's face.  I have previously tasted wines that do not show well in the glass only to turn out to be a wonderfully surprise when it came to the Palatte. I can tell you after tasting this wine that you should have no worries because this wine is in deed a powerhouse of a wine guys. This also is one of those wines that exhibits on the Palatte all of what it exhibited in power and finesse on the nose and more! Sensory overload here anyone? There is almost too much to talk about. I just want to scream out  "just get the wine" but I know that simply wouldn't suffice nor do any justice to this wine so lets move ahead. Dark spicy Oak on the Palatte is to be noted here and is expressed in a simple yet effective and straight forward way. Actually all the notes in this wine express themselves in a simple and effective way and that way is to simply blast those note onto your tongue and say "here we are" and they simply leave it at that for you to accept or not accept. Ripe, spicy, dark fruit are in abundance as well. To me the spice (peppery, earthy) in a Tempranillo is a must and decides whether the particular wine lives or dies in my view. The originators of this varietal designed the Tempranillo that way, this is a big component of the varietal and once you taste it you will understand. Simply said,  I can't have as Tempranillo without spice, lots of spice. The Oak in here when blended with the dark and earthy spice is, as Ralph Kramdon of the T.V show The Honeymooners always said is "to the Moon", not with Alice (his Wife on the show) this time but with flavor. This is a super dark (on the Palatte) Tempranillo and if you are not into this kind of wine don't waste your time. If however, you are into this type of Tempranillo than you have to hope you can still find a bottle. Folks the smoky Tobacco note that is on the nose displays itself here on the Palatte like a juicy steak.
A serious note of baking spice also envelops the Palatte along with the other dark notes mentioned to create a wine here that is almost as close to perfection as I have ever found. If you are wondering where the Tannins are don't worry because along with a crazy note of acidity come are the Tannins. The Tannins are powerful and very serious and they mean business. One last note I must talk about is that dark Cherry that is almost to the point of being no good BUT hasn't really gotten that far and is still at the height of flavor. Those of you who love Bing Cherries like the stores sell in the produce section at certain times of the year know what I am talking about. To me I don't like those cherries in that context when they are at that particular point mentioned of being ALMOST overripe HOWEVER, when I taste them in this nice deep red I loved it and feel that it really sets the wine off and in a way also gives it that smooth type note of powerful cherry. This wine is like a meal in a bottle folks with all that it has to offer. No shyness here in this wine at all. I think that the wine forgets that it sells for $7.99 instead of $100 wine and is not supposed to get this kind of a review. If you thought I was done with what this wine has to offer you would be wrong. This wine exhibits probably the darkest, purist Blackberry that I have ever tasted. Now I don't know if you are putting this all together in your mind as to what this wine is offering but let me tell you this, this wine is over the top in boldness, flavor, complexity and body. With all this being said, and I know it is a lot, let's go ahead and wrap it all up for you.
   Let's me start off this wrap up by telling you that as mentioned earlier I paid $7.99 for this wine. About 1 year later I came across it at Wine of The Month Club ( for $4.99 if it is still available when you read this. You read that correctly, $4.99. Needless to say I purchased 6 more bottles of the wine and three ended up in my wine cellar. In answer to your next question, yes, I do believe that this wine will continue to develop and only get better. With acidity levels at above average for the varietal. With a Blackberry note that is the deepest and purist level that I have ever tasted. With an earthiness that is unmatched. With Tannins that manage to stop just before the point of over doing it. With the darkest of dark Bing Cherry that you have ever tasted. With dark spices that take claim and ownership of the wine as they should, this expression of the Tempranillo classic is what all other Tempranillos should strive to beat. An expertly crafted Tempranillo from Spain that will make you stay away from all other countries versions of this wine forever. In closing I will tell you that the highest rating that I have ever given a wine is 97 points for the 2011 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon ( but I have to tell you guys that this wine came super close to tying that rating. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am putting this wine at a big, bold 95 points.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy