Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Desert WIne Guy - Sanders Family Winery - Serenity White Wine Blend

Non Vintage - Serenity
   Folks if there was ever a wine made for the Summertime and at the same time made for those of us who don't believe that hot weather equates to a highly sugary White wine, this is it. Jack Sanders who owns the Sanders Family Winery ( came up with this blend of whites and boy did he create a smash hit in my book. Think for a second of a wonderful vacation pool where towels are provided for you and a super hot Waitress (or Waiter for you Ladies) arrives at your pool or ocean side table to take your order, where the only worry is which beach to go to for Dinner or what shorts to wear with those new sandals. Think of the Ocean you are in front of and the Dolphins that are swimming with the tourists just a few steps in front of you. You now have the perfect vision (or memory possibly) in your mind in relation to enjoying this wine. Jack has created the best summer white blend and bottled it up right here for you to enjoy. Let me move on now talk a little bit about what this wine has to offer and what it doesn't have.
Jack Sanders
   The first thing this wine has to offer is a softness that is truly experienced gently and softly on the Palette. While the wine is definitely full of light tropical notes, these tropical notes are subtle yet not not subtle enough where you don't or won't appreciate the level at which they are at. These tropical notes also have a unique way of displaying themselves without any particular one stepping on or exhibiting dominance over the other. Let's discuss now the note of Apple that is on the Palette. I would have to say that the Apple note would be more of the Red Delicious variety rather that of a tart Granny Smith if I had to explain the softness it displays. The light Honeysuckle is just that, light Honeysuckle and adds a sort of softness and subtly to the wine. Little did I know but my whole perception of a white wine blend specifically made for the Summer was about to be turned on it's head. I say so long to the Wine Cooler type Summer White wine that I would in the past have to subject myself to while at the pool if I wanted a really cold White. Moving on with the other notes now, there is a Peach note in here as well which I can only describe as light and tropical, it also feels as if half the sugar was removed from the fruit but yet enough was retained for you to experience the entire flavor of a wonderful peach. In case you are beginning to think that this wine was lacking that Summer punch, please do not worry, it lacks nothing except the overdone sweetness or fruit forwardness that we are all use to in this type of wine. None of the notes presented themselves as flat, dull or bland. None of the notes in this wine present a bitter or off taste in any way. To me folks this is all good as I have truly grown tired of the over the top, slightly carbonated sugary whites that are made for and seem to dominate the hot months. The notes of light tropical peach, light Honeysuckle, Red Apple and Pear (which I will get to in a moment) are more than noticeable and have a way of coming across bright yet not sharp or snappy on your Palette so please don't let the words "subtle" or "light" scare you as you will taste every not at perfect levels here in this wine.  The wine will indeed wake up your Palette without distorting it or overloading it with sweetness. As I have just previously mentioned, there is also a Pear note in this lovely wine that I absolutely believe was half of what helped make this wine great and as in the the other notes in this wine, are nowhere near being over the top. As far as the sugary level of the Pear have no worries, the Pear is right on par (hey, I like that :) with the other notes. As an added bonus there is a note of Jasmine that only adds to the wines gentleness, softness or delicacy on the mouth. So, now that I have told you about what the wine has that makes it great, let me talk about what the wine does NOT have that also makes it great. 
Guest Enjoying Themselves At The Winery
  Starting off here I will tell you that there is no harsh Alcohol presence in your mouth since the wine sits at a very reasonable 12.5%. There was no warming or burning sensation on the Palette. My glass in fact had almost no "legs" to speak of and that was good as "legs" are a sign of a wine that has either  high Alcohol or sugar levels. There is also no  "pucker factor" or anything overly bright concerning the fruit notes, nothing even close to being considered over the top that would ruin the unique softness or that would possibly offend the Palette. If you are looking for these things in a White summer blend than you should move on to another wine. As a surprise (at least to me) there was also no carbonation of fizz / tingle (secondary fermentation) that is usually felt on the tip of the tongue and that other light Summer white blends tend to throw into their wines to possibly cover up faults in the wine. One other item of interest that this wine doesn't have and this could go good or bad but in this case I take it as good since it really isn't needed in this wine is a Bouquet. The Bouquet is exactly on par to what the other wines notes are, yes you definitely smell the Bouquet but it is also certainly the epitome of subtlety. O.K, so the wine that I have described to you hopefully has peaked your interest in purchasing a few bottles, at least I hope it has. This is one of those wines where you owe it to yourself to enjoy. This is an awesome wine that is not meant to be taken seriously. That does not mean that it is lacking in anything because it is not, it does an absolutely wonderful job in doing exactly what Jack designed it to do and that job is to compliment and assist you in enjoying the sun and hot Summer months ahead yet at the same time not making it all about the wine. Now, it is time to wrap things up so let's get to that.
Sanders Family Winery

   So, here we go, let's wrap this up now. Straight out I will tell you that on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am placing this wine at 94 points (94–97 Superb a great achievement) for what it is. So, what exactly is it. What it is is a White wine blend made by a Man who knows not only what the books says about growing wine grapes and making wine but also what nature it self says about the vine, grapes they grow and the process of making wine.  This is a wine made by a man who also obviously understands what the word "grace" means. Folks, get online or head on down to the Vineyard and tasting room both located in Pahrump Nevada which is about 45 minutes to an hour North of Las Vegas and grab a bottle (no a few bottles) of this wine that sells for $11.95 than bring it home, relax and enjoy it.
  A previous release of this wine was reviewed by in in September of 2014 ( and I have to say that Jack continues to improve his wine making abilities as time goes on.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - The Realities Of Alcohol

  Great news everyone, Alcohol has now been declared to be healthier than water folks. Drinking Alcohol also helps you live 25 years longer that you would have without it. Drinking five shots of Vodka daily cleans your blood of all impurities as well. Did you know that drinking Alcohol cures all Cancers and eliminates all viruses? O.K folks, lets get real now. While these headlines might be exaggerated slightly there is research(?) concerning Alcohol that might surprise you and as wine drinkers, even thrill us, but is this ....research something that you should trust? While this may be a weird article coming from someone who drinks and writes about Alcohol, I want everyone to understand that there is such a thing as overdoing something as well. The question is how much ingestion of poison (in this case Alcohol) is too much? In my opinion while consuming very small Amounts of Alcohol might be O.K, moderate to large amounts are harmful and in some cases can even be deadly. Damage from Alcohol is cumulative as we probably already know. Years of overdoing it can in fact, lead to death. With this being said today I want to write about a subject that is something we all should be aware of and that subject is Alcohol. I also want to write this article because I am upset at all the junk science that is being spewed out today in the so called "news" media concerning Alcohol. It seems that everywhere you look there is news(?) or articles about how Alcohol is a positive thing and, even healthy for you. Yeah, that's right lately the news has been saying that Alcohol is actually good for you. Oh they may switch the conversation around and talk about 1 negative aspect of what is bad concerning Alcohol itself but for the most part the junk science wants to convince us all that Alcohol is really actually a good thing for us. Well, today I will address the Alcohol debate by simply starting off educating you about Alcohol. Now, please keep in mind that I am not a Doctor and I am not attempting to give you any medical advice. I recommend that if you have any questions you do your own research and investigation into this matter yourself. O.K, now to begin with, what is Alcohol?
  To begin with here the type of Alcohol that I will be discussing in this article is named Ethyl Alcohol which is drinking Alcohol and is produced by the fermentation of grains and fruits. Pure Ethyl Alcohol is colorless and toxic to the Central Nervous System. In the body, Alcohol is converted to Acetaldehyde and than to Carbon Dioxide and water ( Alcohol is metabolized primarily (90 percent) in the liver (Cirrhosis). The initial effects of consumption of Alcohol are being overly giddy or happy, relaxed or experiencing a feeling of tranquillity and can also appear to suppress anxiety, and even inspire feelings of confidence (liquid courage). The reason for these effects is that Alcohol relaxes us and removes our inhibitions is because it effects our brain by starting to slow it down. This alters our thinking process. So now that we have listed some of the seemingly acceptable, or more pleasant effects of Alcohol drinking let's move on to the progressive effects of the consumption of Alcohol. Before I get into that area however, I want you to remember that as always I am going to keep it real so to speak. For most if not all of you guys some of this information will be stuff you already know but I hope I have thrown information in this article that will also educate you as well. Let me kick the next paragraph off by stating that Alcohol is a depressant as well as a poison! Having said that bluntly, let's carry on.
  While Alcohol is indeed a depressant and a poison it can (as already stated above) in very small amounts indeed have some seemingly positive effects on us.While light consumption of Alcohol once and a while may be a good thing and in MY OPINION is better than being put on psyche drugs of any kind, too much Alcohol alters our thinking pattern dangerously and can also convince us that engaging in risky behaviors such as fighting ("liquid courage"), driving, swimming, having unprotected sex, or operating machinery is also O.K. As we continue to drink and the poisoning of our body becomes worse we start to exhibit more serious symptoms such as slurred speech, difficulty in focusing, mental confusion, becoming sad or crying for reasons that do not appear appropriate to those who are not drinking. I am sure we can all relate to some if not all of the lesser or acceptable symptoms and perhaps even the risky behavior as well. As the Alcohol poisoning becomes worse the slurred speech, difficulty in walking become more serious and progress until you not being able to be understood other people or things or you actually are falling down and injuring yourself, the Alcohol poisoning is progressing to the point where you are in now danger and serious consequences of the poisoning begin to occur. Let's briefly discuss that poisoning for a minute..
  The end stages of the Alcohol poisoning are now appearing such as Vomiting which by the way is your bodies way of attempting to rid itself of the poison you put into it and save itself (your life). You may now have lost the ability to walk at all or perhaps are pronouncing words coherently or you can no longer form sentences. In the final stage the Alcohol poisoning will cause seizures, coma and than finally death as the end result.
  For the sake of time I won't even get into the long term effects of Alcohol abuse such as Cirrhosis because I think I have gone on long enough but I will add that according to the World Health Organization, Alcohol is associated with over 200 types of disease and injuries and is linked to over 3.3 million deaths around the world each year (
  Let's now move on to what I call the new "junk science" that says Alcohol is actually healthy for you. Please note that as I have already said, I am in no way attempting to say that occasional small amounts of Alcohol have SOME (not many) short term benefits. My point is simply to give you the information that you need to know so that you can make up your own mind on the consumption of Alcohol. So, now that you know what Alcohol is and what it does let's look into what the new "junk science" is attempting to convince us of.
  According to the Sydney Morning Herald ( ".....moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of initially presenting with several, but not all, cardiovascular diseases,"" The Georgetown Dish ( says that "a recent study published in the Journal, Clinical Nutrition found that only light drinking (1-7 drinks per week) was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease". How about the May 2017 issue of Wine Spectator Magazine ( who posted an article entitled "More Proof That Wine May prevent Dementia". I guess poison is now actually good for you. OK, OK, I know what your going to say, what about Resveratrol, I thought there are studies that show it is great for the heart and doesn't that come from the Red grape skin? Well folks here is the real story about Resveratrol. According to WebMD ( there isn't any specific dosage recommendation". The article goes on to say that to get the dose used in some studies you would need to consume 2,000 milligrams a day".
The average glass of Red wine (5.3 ounces) contains around 1 - 1.5 milligram of  Resveratrol. That means that you would have to drink around 200 glasses of red wine a day.
  According to Palate Press which boast that it is an online wine magazine, "There is good news for diabetics. “Peak blood sugar concentration is 30% lower after a meal that includes a glass of wine,” Dr. D’Agata reports. “That lower blood sugar is at the core of why wine is good for you.” or “We could do something at the school level and get them early and promote a healthy way to drink wine,” concludes D’Agata. Did you read that? "get them early and promote a healthy way to drink wine". Now we see that people believe that we should be teaching our kids to drink wine. According to the Georgetown Dish ( ".... Through the decades, most studies have shown that light to moderate alcohol intake is connected to a reduction in all causes of death...". One last example here is on Cosmopolitan on line ( cardiologist Dr Alexander Jones of UCL “agrees that alcohol raises your risk of a wide range of cancers but believes there is decent evidence that alcohol can be beneficial for the heart." How about in the same article  "In the case of dementia, some research shows that those who are considered ‘light drinkers’ are less likely to develop neurodegenerative conditions, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases." After reading the facts about Alcohol that I have posted in the prior paragraphs and now after reading all these comments by .......doctors(?) that moderate Alcohol consumption is actually good for you, the choice is yours on what to believe. Keep in mind also that originally Doctors once said publicly ( that smoking cigarettes was actually good for you.
  So, what is the point behind this article Desert Wine Guy? Good question guys and here is my answer. It is pretty obvious to everyone that I consume Alcohol so I am not saying that you should stop consuming Alcohol. I think I wrote this article because I am so tired of reading one day that Alcohol is good for you and the next day reading that Alcohol is bad for you. I simply wanted to lay out what I believe are the facts and let you make your decision. I am tired of the so called "news" sending out mixed messages on everything (wine in this case). I am reminded of the literary classic 1984 by George Orwell and what is called in the book, "double speak". Folks, I have laid out the facts as I see them I leave the rest up to you.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2011 Chateau Ste Michell - Canoe Ridge Estate Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.

   Today I am going to talk about the 2011 Chateau Ste Michell (  Canoe Ridge Estate Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine sells for $28 and has an Alcohol percentage at 14.5%. You know guys I have to tell you something. I was speaking to a representative from a wine distributor the other day and she almost laughed when I told her my thoughts are on Chateau Ste Michelle wines in general. I found out right then and there that there are a number of people in the wine industry who don't take Chateau Ste Michell seriously and I have no idea why. Well everyone I happen to love a lot of the wine that they put out and today you will be reading a review on a wine that reinforces that belief and perhaps changes or influences yours as well.  So lets go ahead and see what I think of the 2011 Chateau Ste Michell Canoe Ridge Estate Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. One last thing. Please be aware that there is the Indian Wells vineyard available as well. This is not the wine I reviewed so if you run out and get the wine please ensure it is from the Canoe Ridge Vineyard. This wine was aged for 22 months in 47% new French Oak and 28% new American Oak and is a blend of 95% Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot. the production amount of this wine is just over 10,000 cases.
Chateau Ste Michell

   I want to start off in a weird place for this wine but it is an place that I feel is important in my even looking at a wine. The  place I want to start off is with the label of this wine. In my opinion the way the bottle looks is whether I will even take it seriously. What I mean is I don't want to see a wine with goofy designs or pictures of painting or skeletons on Horses. If you want me to spend $30 as in this case, on a bottle of wine than at least try to convince me that there is a serious wine inside the bottle and you do that by starting off putting a serious label on the bottle and the second thing is put a cork in it. This wine had both. The label of this wine happened to be very professional and classy and I appreciated it.
   Let's begin here with the Bouquet. Here we have a wine here with actually a rather wonderful, full featured bouquet. A bouquet that I was simply floored by. To say that his is a busy bouquet would be an understatement. We are talking about very serious, Dark Plum here . How about some Anise spice in the Bouquet? The Anise spice adds a hint of sort of Licorice to the bouquet which is amazing combined with the next note which is Dark Cherry.  Sometimes when I am relaxing in my loft and enjoying the bouquet of a wine I find it truly amazing how one can smell different aromas in a wine. Think about it. This Bouquet comes from a grape. You and I can take a wine grape and it would not taste like it would when an experienced wine maker gets done with it. Finishing up on the Bouquet now, no one note dominated over the other as can be in some wines although this is not necessarily a bad thing. I think I know now where the word "Heaven" in the Vineyards name cane from.  Lets move to the tasting section now.
Chateau Ste Michelle Tasting Room

   So there I was sitting in my Loft and sipping on this wine, holding it in my mouth and simply enjoying the flavors that it had to show off. While the wine was in my mouth I was thoroughly entranced.  If not for the fact that I had a whole bottle ahead of me I probably would have just sat longer and contemplated life while keeping the wine in my mouth. I truly can't say enough about how this wine impressed my Palette. No note dominated over another and each note was distinct and able to stand on it's own.  To the palette there were numerous notes and they consisted  of Dark Plum, Anise as well as Dark cherry. WOW!!! To say that my mouth was really busy tasting all these different tastes is an understatement. I remember sitting back in my chair saying "cool".  There were also slight notes of Black cherry, Black Pepper,  Cassis and some fairly nice Tannins. With the exception of the Tannins the notes were all in small amounts but they definitely were enough for one to take note of. There was also the Anise spice in here as well which added a Licorice type note as well. What a wonderful wine I was holding in my hand. I have to say that I believe Chateau Ste Michelle has made some pretty nice wine in the last few years. The wine has some nice complexity to it and is not a typical "pool" red that I have review a few times. This wine is meant for a serious Cabernet Sauvignon drinker and one who is use to spending a lot more that $30 on as quality a wine as this one. Well if you are thinking that I am done with how the wine was expressing itself in my mouth you would be wrong.  You want Oak? You got Oak. The wine is on the Oakey side as well, a nice soft Oak that isn't harsh by any means.  To top things off there was even the note of Bing Cherry. Getting back to the Tannins for just a minute, there are more than enough Tannins to keep this wine going for some time so I wouldn't hesitate in picking up a few bottles and putting them away in a cellar for some time.  If you think NOW that we are done with the various notes in this wine you would still be wrong. There was an amazing Green Pepper note present in here as well.  What an exceptional wine.
   On The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale I very comfortably place this wine at 92 points.
Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard
In my wrap up of this review I wanted to see just how my rating of 92 points held up to the so called "professionals" ratings. What I saw was interesting. Wine Spectator rated this wine at 92 points as well and Wine Enthusiast rated it 91 points.

***I would like to end this review by releasing the new Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale***

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

  • Unbelievable   98-100 - Perfect or just about
  • Excellent         90-97 - Wine just blows you away. Just makes you yearn for more.
  • Very Good      86-89 - Has character, is well balanced, & distinctive.
  • Good               83-85 - Drinkable, ordinary, non-distinctive, does not hold to varietal standards
  • Did not like    78-82 - Not recommended

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Desert WIne Guy - A Look At The New IG WInery In Cedar City, Utah

   Hello everyone and welcome back to The Desert Wine Guys wine blog. Today I am going to switch it up a little bit and put the wine reviews on hold in order to do an update on IG Winery ( previously as well. IG Winery has just recently moved and undergone a whole new look to them and so we are back to checking out what Doug McCombs who is the owner of IG Winery as well as the wine maker, is up to.
So, what did I think of the new location and the wines?  Well before we go there I would like to talk about one aspect of wine in the state of Utah that I feel that I need to discuss (or warn you about) before we get into that. Before I get into that warning I need to state right out that the issues I raise are not caused by or endorsed by Doug or the IG Winery, they are however, Utah state Liquor law.
IG Winery is a Winery which is located in Cedar City, Utah and one that I have actually visited a few of times in the past few years and reviewed (
In 2015 the population of people claiming the Mormon religion in Utah was 55%. I say this simply to
say that as a rule the Mormon Church is not in favor of the use of Alcohol and openly works to make consumption of Alcohol very difficult in general. From Beer being sold at only 3.2% to all other liquor having to be purchased from a Utah state liquor store or a package agency, Liquor in general is very controlled. With that being said here is the part of Utah laws pertaining to the use of Alcohol (wine in particular) that will effect our trip to the IG Winery or any other Winery in Utah for that matter. When you visit any winery you would expect to be able to sit
down and enjoy a glass of wine. You would also expect to be able to purchase a bottle of wine that you just had a tasting of and perhaps enjoy it while relaxing
with friends at the Winery. Well unfortunately folks, that would also be illegal in Utah. O.k so perhaps you think your smart (like I did) and you think you found a work around for these archaic laws by attempting to purchase a couple of tastings. Well while that might sound like a
workable solution however aside from also being illegal, it would also be expensive. In the case of IG Winery you will pay $20 for a White or Red Flight and $25 for a "Mix And Match Flight" or how about the "Winemakers Reserve Flight" which will run you $35 . Do you still want to have more than one flight? Look guys, I am not trying to really knock IG Winery here
(although I do think the pricing on the tastings are a little pricey) they are not in favor of the Alcohol law(s) any more than you and I are but they do have to abide by them. Having put all of this out there please also understand that your Alcohol tasting FOR THE DAY, twenty four (24 hours) is limited to a mere five (5) ounces. One other drawback which I found to be pretty significant is that I have two (2) children who are directly involved in the grape growing process here in the Vineyards who are under twenty one (21) and  are not even allowed in the Winery. Once again, Utah law. With these issues having now been put out there let's move onto the winery and the wine of IG Winery.

   Starting off here I have to say that Doug has done a wonderful job in designing his new Winery. While the outside is rather plain and unimpressive the inside more than makes up for it. Walking in to the Winery it gives off a very open, bright and comfortable feeling. Proper spacing and size of the Tasting counter as well as the "re-purposed" wood that the counter and furniture is made out of really sets the place off. Toward the back of the tasting room is a decent sized semi-private room with a Fireplace and a large re-purposed wood table as well as matching high back wood chairs to to with it with it that are really nice. Walking straight back and up a few stairs leads you to the wine production and holding room where both the wooden barrels and Stainless Steel tanks are located.

There are tours available of this area and if you are lucky (like I was) Doug himself will take you on the tour. Doug is also more than willing to talk to you and answer your questions about the Winery and his wines. Staff at the Winery was extremely friendly and truly appeared as if they wanted to be there pouring wine just for you. When they had some free time they used it answering questions and elaborating on the wines that they were pouring for you as well as conversation in general. Staffing was also in sufficient numbers as well, there was no waiting for your tasting and the employees
seemed as if they truly wanted to be there pouring wine for you. I had a long talk with Doug and he explained all the wines to me including his "Reserve" wines which is a fairly new label that he is producing. It was explained to me that the grapes for his 2014 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon "Reserve" were purchased from a high end grape and wine producer who will remain nameless, in the Napa Valley. I was not able to get a tasting of any of the "Reserve" wines unfortunately so I am unable to judge them. I did however have a Red Flight where I tasted the 2014 (non reserve) Cabernet Sauvignon
which sells for $35 as well as the 2006 Tempranillo ($26) and I thought both were really nice Cellar worthy wines. I purchased two of each which will allow one (1) of each to go in my Cellar since the Tannins in it both I believe will allow for some aging. The Winery had a rather nice crowd of what appeared to be college students show up to enjoy Doug's wine and the place was very lively as the afternoon wore on.
   My overall thoughts on the new IG Winery are that I am impressed with what Doug has done and I believe that he will be very successful in his new location. I can see that there was a lot of thought put into the design of the interior and I like the look of the "re-purposed" wood.
I think that if you look at the pictures you will think they are rather nice as well. The labeling of the new bottles I really liked although I did like the old labeling as well. The one thing that I will miss from their old location is the Apple Tree they had out front. Mrs. Desert Wine Girl and the kids would love to sit on the bench under the tree and enjoy the Apple. I won't give any further comment on the Liquor laws of Utah since I think I have said enough. Now, as for the wines I tasted. I thought the wines were really done well and that there is the ability to age them for a few years.which was a plus. I did go with to the winery with a friend and he did a tasting of the 2016 Riesling. His thoughts on the Riesling ($25) was that it was very good and not overly sweet. I did on his recommendation,
buy a bottle and when it is reviewed I taste it I will do a review on it. So that is about it folks. If you are in the area I area I do recommend that you stop by the Winery and have a flight of the "Mix And Match Flight" in order to get a sampling of both styles of wine. While you are there, tell him The Desert Wine Guy said hello.

                                            The Desert Wine Guy

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