Saturday, November 27, 2021

2020 Brothers Miller, Chardonnay - Santa Barbara County

 

2020 Brothers Miller, Chardonnay - Santa Barbara County

  What is going on with winemakers doctoring up their Chardonnay with oak? If you want my thoughts on the matter (thanks for asking:), I think this whole oakey mess is due to winemakers who either simply don't know how to create a good Chardonnay or, they just jumped on the band wagon of the latest craze which a lot of younger Chardonnay wine drinkers are riding as well. That craze is to sort of remake what the wine varietal is really meant to be. I don' t know about you but I certainly want to taste much more in a Chardonnay then oak. I want to taste some minerality, some acidity and of course, a clean bit of fruit as well. It's sad how a wonderful and classy wine varietal can be so perverted into what today at times is unrecognizable. Thankfully not every country oaks their Chardonnay of course and . countries such as France (white Burgundy), Chile & New Zealand to name a few, aren't big into the doctoring of Chardonnay thankfully. Now, you might think that I am completely against placing Chardonnay or any wine in oak but this is not accurate as oak does have it's place in the making of wine at times. Where I do have an issue however is when oak overtakes everything else in the wine thereby making it unrecognizable. Now, I feel so much better you can't believe it :) Let's get into todays wine now.

   Today I will be taking a look at the 2020 Brothers Miller, Chardonnay - Santa Barbara County. Here again is another wine that I bought from the on-line wine club named Naked Wines and yes, I am a member and yes, I do pay $40 a month. For this particular wine, I paid $11.99 and its alcohol percentage comes in at a rather high 14.2% alcohol.
   Let's continue here by taking a look at the label on the bottle as we always do. This is a wine whose label benefits from being a white wine. I think the label is very unique and I love the fonts used as well as the coloring of the shading of the label. The label gives off a nice rustic note to it and I happen to think that is very appropriate for the varietal.
   Now we move onto the nose presentation of this wine. Putting it bluntly, what does the wine smell like. First up is a note of a bit of butteriness but just a bit. White Nectarine comes along on its heels but a clean and minerality edged White Nectarine. A nice it of pineapple is picked up as well here on the nose and while the bouquet does not leap out of the glass and attack you, it does present itself tropically and certainly adequately enough to have you believing the wine might indeed be slightly fruity yet hopefully not overdone in this area and, well put together.
The "Oak Monster"
   As far as the palate presentation goes now, what I am getting up right up front is a semi darkness to the wine that I don't care for. You might ask, what the heck is "semi darkness" Desert Wine Guy? Well, while I know that is a weird description, what I mean is that the initially taste of the wine comes across (actually dominates) with a note of if I didn't know better would say is .....oak. There is a big edge of this oakey type note to this wine and it throws the palate off from what's expected of a Chardonnay, especially a non oaked Chardonnay. There is definitely a White Nectarine that is tasted and it does on one hand bring some tropicalness to the wine but on the other hand, it adds to the dryness of the wine as well which is not good in this case. Another overbearing note here in this wine is one of minerality. Normally I wouldn't complain about minerality in a white wine but here it is a good bit overbearing in my opinion. Do these notes do the wine in? Well guys, between that oakey type note and that overbearing minerality and dryness, yes, they ruin the wine. Next up is an overpowering bit of spice which comes along and joins in with that oak type note  and minerality simply making matters worse. As a matter of fact, I am done with this wine guys, yes, it is that bad. I am not even going to stick around and try to taste the wine any further, this wine is not for my palate.
   Here is the bottom line guys. The wine is very palate offensive with bitterness, minerality, over the top dryness and once again, that oakey type note. To me all of these notes are extremely harsh and a palate turn off. It's weird but you can tell in a way that the wine wants to be good. The fruit is saying "wait, we are in here" but I just couldn't see it being allowed to happen because unfortunately it is dominated by the those other notes and I just can't get past them. The wine and I are headed towards the Kitchen sink because on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine 85 sink cleaning points.

                                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Desert Wine Guy - 2020 Nova Cadamatre Finger Lakes Reserve Riesling

 

   Guys, today I am kind of excited because I just received my new set of white wine glasses from a company named Beneti (which in actuality does not exist). I bought these glasses on-line from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K3MQFLX?ref=ppx_pop_dt_b_product_details&th=1) the other day and they cost me $27.99 for a set of four. As soon as I saw them on-line and read the reviews, I knew these were going to be headed to my home and that the set would be my go to glasses for white wine. The glasses hold 14oz each and while not crystal, they are made of "premium clear glass". Having just removed them from the box and after inspecting them closely, they are indeed beautiful. I do have to issue a word of warning though because if you are thinking of buying them you should know that they are very thin and if you are rough with your glasses you might want to think twice. These glasses are also crystal clear and without any noticeable imperfections that I can see. The glasses give off the impression that they are expensive, fancy and ready for any occasion as well. Now the answer to your next two questions is no, I am not sponsored by either Beneti or Amazon and yes, I did pay full price (my own money) for them :) Now, what better way to check out a wine glass then to see some wine in them? With that being said, let's go ahead and do just that and start the review of todays wine.

   Today I am reviewing my very first wine from New York, and what better area to choose for that first wine then the Finger Lakes AVA. The wine I am reviewing is the 2020 Nova Cadamatre, Finger Lakes, Reserve Riesling. I bought this wine on the on line wine site named Naked Wines (https://us.nakedwines.com/) for a pricey, $17.99 as a member but would cost $34.99 if you were not. The wine comes in at 13% alcohol and is sealed with what appears to be a real cork. Before I get to the label of this wine, I want to let you know that I paid for this wine with my own money and yes, I do belong to Naked Wines.
   Let's take a look at the label on this New York Riesling. Once again my belief is reinforced that a white wine label can get away with so much more then a red wine label can. To me this label just screams "white wine". I get the feeling just from the label of summertime, the pool, the beach and definitely.....hot weather fun. What makes me think these things is the way the fonts chosen exhibit a hot weather, outdoors having fun type attitude. There is nothing fancy or really colorful about the label but then again, this is a white wine and there doesn't need to be.
   As for the bouquet now, the wine presents a bit of a Green Apple and also gives off the immediate impression of acidity & big time minerality being possibly present in the wine. If it is indeed possible to smell these two notes in a wine, this is certainly the wine to smell them in. Deep within the bouquet and ultra light there is an almost oak type note. I am talking about the super slightest bit here guys and I may indeed be wrong but nonetheless, it's pretty nice. Add in some pear and you have the bouquet.
   As I move to the palate now, the first thing I want to say is that the legs of this wine in the glass are displaying themselves amazingly, they are very simply, beautiful. After taking my first sip of the wine I'll tell you that it is certainly a dry wine but does present just enough of a beautiful bit of tropical as well as stone fruit sweetness to make that dryness actually work incredibly well. This dryness is very appreciated as it is just one of the notes which dominates the palate and therefore stands out but it is done perfectly and without being harsh. Here is what I get as I take a sip. The wine hits the palate with an immediate bit of tropical fruit sweetness but almost immediately, there comes amazing notes of acidity and minerality as well as an overall sense of dryness and crispness. Starting at the sweetness aspect of the wine, the bit of sweetness is just that, a bit but it is good enough to save the wine from being over the top in the dryness aspect. The sweetness is always maintained at this level which in my opinion is amazing. By the way, before I go on and just so your fears at put at ease, this is not a sweet Riesling nor is it anywhere near being a sweet Riesling. The wine is also not a Chateau Ste Michelle, semi sweet Riesling either so you can put that thought out of your mind.  Almost immediately the wine throws a palate twist of sorts into the mix and here is where the dominating notes come into play beginning with acidity. Acidity begins its cooperative reign almost immediately and is one part of the four notes which takes full control of the wine. Minerality is the next note up here on display and it is just spectacular in how it attacks the palate while not going overboard. This minerality I believe was super instrumental in putting this wine where it is on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale. As for dryness, the wine is indeed as I said, dry, but it is dry only to the point where it needs to be and then it is more then willing to open itself up to everything else as it is not looking to bask in the limelight for too long. Crispness here is just outstanding as an overall palate feel for this Riesling. My tongue is really getting a work out here as it is just dealing with this layer of crispness which opens it up for everything else the wine throws out which is a lot.This crispness is really an overall summing up of the four notes and I had to sit back and take it all in as my palate was in Heaven with everything the wine was throwing at it. Stone fruit notes of both White Peach & White Nectarine are the slightest part of where the above mentioned bit of sweetness comes from but again, it is presented very delicately so as to not throw this wine off balance. These two fruits notes taste super fresh and as if they were picked at the height of their flavor and like they were grown in the very best of organic soils. Now let me talk about he non stone fruit notes because they certainly do create an impact in the wines overall presentation. Green Apple and pear run the sweeter side of the wine but they do not ruin the wine in any way, they are very simply two fresh tropical notes which come across also as if they were picked at the height of their peak as well.
The pear is a bit lighter then the Green Apple but they both rock and help cause a break of sorts and provide the slight bit of a softening from the first four notes. All of the notes in the wine are obviously best of friends and there is no infighting between them. It is almost as if they were pulled into a room by the winemaker and allowed to work out their differences before being allowed to jump into the wine. Next up is a lightish and non tart note of yellow lemon. Intermixed and presented as one, I am also piking up a small note of lemongrass here which is nice. Neither the lemon nor the bit of lemongrass present themselves as a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand would, if fact no where near it so don't worry. Here I am talking about just enough of their flavors to make a slight impact on the wine but yet know what wine varietal it is in and where its place is here. This wine overall insists that an amazing cleanness is exhibited along with just enough fruit to let you taste it and most importantly, enjoy it to the max. Okay guys, that is my review, my thoughts on this wine. I loved the wine and will see you in the conclusion paragraph.
   As I close this review out I want to let you know that this is a white wine that needs to be enjoyed very cold. The wine is still enjoyable slightly warmer but it really needs coldness in order to achieve what it (and you want) really want and needs it to achieve which is being what it was created to be which is am absolutely, incredible & amazing Riesling and therefore, my rating of this wine on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale is 95 strong points. This is the best Riesling that I have ever had folks and I now know where my palate lies as far as the varietal goes. Guys, the wine is a little pricey, I will give you that but it lives up to every dollar of that $17.99 and takes liberties to go way past that price. What I am saying is that the wine is a steal and is even worth the retail price of $34.99. I challenge a wine producer to create a better Riesling then this. I am not saying there isn't any better, but I have not found it.

                                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

 

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Friday, October 29, 2021

The Desert Wine Guy - 2016 Savor Collective, Sauvignon Blanc

 Well folks, it is mid September as I sit in my office (my loft :) and write this review. Currently there is a large hurricane that is being dealt with on the other side of this great country and I pray that all the people who live in that area as well as First Responders remain safe.
   Today we will take a long trip from America to the country of New Zealand, the Marlborough region to be exact, and taste what I hope to be some pretty good Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough region is well known for the varietal of Sauvignon Blanc and after drinking some of these wines I can definitely understand why. Todays wine review is of the 2016 Savor Collective, Sauvignon Blanc. Many people might say that it's getting a little late in the year for this varietal but they obviously don't live in Las Vegas as it is 95 degrees currently at my house and living in Las Vegas that means it is still pool weather and as such, the need for a wonderful pool wine is in full force (get busy one time:). Aside from this, I don't play that game with wine varietals or clothes (no white in the Winter). Todays review wine cost $12.99 and it's alcohol percentage comes in at 12.5%. Let's move on now and I will tell you all about this wine and whether this wine is a good representation of the region.
   Beginning at the nose here I will tell you that the wine has a really nice bouquet and it is picked up the minute the screw cap (yeah I know) was lifted off the bottle. Starting off here is a wonderful and really tropical bit of passion-fruit. This is followed up by beautiful nectarine, and light to moderate honeysuckle.
   Let me talk for a second about the color of the wine in my glass. An almost clear liquid is currently resting in my glass however there are also nice tinges of gold that shine through as the sunlight hits it. Take the sun away however and the wine presented itself visually clear like water.
   Now, a little commentary on wine color in general. I have said this a million times and I will probably say it a million more times, unless a wine was made badly or something happened to it, its color really doesn't matter. As an example, if this Sauv Blanc is a little lighter or darker then "normal", it means nothing. I have had many wines in the past that did not show off anything special visually but in the end, the wine ended up being very nice. Yes, I get the fact that folks who are supposed to be wine "experts" always want that "perfect" color but again,  truth be told, aside from being visually appealing, it really doesn't matter. I too have watched those videos where those experts look at the color from all angles and make weird sounds as they take those different looks. The reality is that the color alone does NOT make for a good or great wine. All right, now that I have offended the so called wine experts, let's move on.
   Passion-fruit......there, I said it. This is the dominate note coming at me and it begins from the very moment I tasted the wine. Right now honestly I am a little put off by this note as I have never had it presented so upfront and in such an in your face way. The first thing I thought was "wow, I hope this tones down a bit because I don't like it and don't  believe that this note should dominate a wine like this wine is dominated by it". Thankfully, and to my delight, as I continued to taste the wine, a note of honeysuckle which initially sat in the background for a bit, decided it was time to step forward which was great as it assisted in subduing that passion-fruit just enough, to make it really enjoyable yet still retain some of its forwardness and slight dominance.
The honeysuckle definitely helped save the wine from what would have been certain disaster. Next up I have to say that there is a wonderful crispness / acidity here and it is something the wine is proud to show off as it absolutely should be. While this crispness / acidity is not overwhelming or in full force (any 80's R&B fans out there?) they do make their impact known starting from the mid-palette and ending at the finish, nice. Part of this crispness / acidity impact on the wine is that it also serve as a  a diversion to the passion-fruit and honeysuckle and draws the palette away from the sweetness which is expressed. No guys, the sweetness is not what I would consider to be overbearing but it does get a little closer then I would normally like. Moving on now, there is a lemony aspect to this wine that throws it's two cents into the mix as well. This lemony note is not a harsh note and ends up being inter-weaved with the passion-fruit as if they were best friends. Yeah guys.....it's nice. The lemony note is much deeper than some simple, passing note, however my mouth did not pucker and my tongue was not hit with some weird harshness that can occur with some lemon notes which are simply thrown into the mix because it is "supposed to be in there". I can always tell (and other reviewers can as well) when this note is not controlled and allowed to run wild. Many wines have been ruined because the winemaker looses control or uses this note as a compensater of some kind. There definitely is a stone fruit note here as well and it is of a light yet tropical White Peach that is blended in here which seems to "ground" the wine in a way that simply adds to its enjoyment.
   All right then, lets put this review to bed now. Simply said, I liked this wine. Yes, I'll admit that at first the passion-fruit was a little overbearing. Yes, it did it take some time for the other notes to kick in and to sort of subdue it a good bit. Was the sweetness over the top? No, but while it wasn't over the top, it was present enough to have an impact on my rating of the wine. Well how about those tropical notes? The tropical fruit notes were right on point. Did the passion-fruit remain up front? Yes, it did but as I said, it did die down enough to allow for the wine to be able to expand. Is the Marlborough region represented correctly? Well, yeah, kind of. Am I impressed with the wine? While I wouldn't say that I was impressed, I also wouldn't say that I was disappointed either. What is The Desert Wine Guy rating of this wine? On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 91 points.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Desert Wine Guy - 2020 Chloe, Sauvignon Blanc

 

   How often do you guys find yourself stuck on a particular wine varietal? That is whats happened to me the last month, I got hooked on Chardonnay and I didn't want to change or move onto another varietal. I have said before here on this blog that I am a creature of habit but this habit I took a little too far and so I had to do something, I had to go to my nearest wine varietal management class at my local church, admit that I had a problem and find a way to simply move on :) Today I am successfully in my recovery and am going to be taking a look at another white wine varietal in the form of Sauvignon Blanc which is actually my favorite. As with most wine lovers, I do love a particular style of each varietal and when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc that style happens to be the French expression, followed by the Marlborough, New Zealand expression. I believe this Marlborough style usually exhibits a balance of crispness & some (I said some) tropical fruit as well. Don't worry guys, I promise I will not get stuck here because I saw a Pinot Grigio in the store the other day that I will be looking at next. Well okay guys, let's dig into today's wine now and see what is going on with it.

   Todays wine if you haven't guessed yet is a Sauvignon Blanc and it is indeed from Marlborough, New Zealand. The wine itself is the 2020 Chloe, Sauvignon Blanc(https://www.chloewinecollection.com/wines/sauvignon-blanc/) and it cost me $11.99 at my local grocery store. The wine is screw cap sealed (unfortunately) and its alcohol percentage comes in at 12.5% alcohol.
   Checking out the label on this bottle now I had to ask myself, who is Chloe and what does she have to do with the wine? Let me be the first to tell you that there is no Chloe. There is no Chloe vineyards, there is no wife or daughter of the winemaker named Chloe. In fact,the winemakers name is not even Chloe nor is the winery the wine comes from named Chloe. I don't even think the producer of the wine even actually owns any vineyards as the back label says "extraordinary grapes, from prized vineyards in Marlborough." Chloe is simply a brand that is owned by a company named "The Wine Group" (https://www.thewinegroup.com/). As a further point of interest, the name "Chloe" is an ancient word which means "blooming".
   As for the bouquet of this wine, it is very limited. I get a light to medium note of grapefruit and some light Lychee.
   Now for the palate presentation. Before I get into this I want to tell you that I reviewed the 2019 Chloe, Sauvignon Blanc and while it is not is posted as of yet, I'll tell you that I rated it at 88 (not good) points. I hope this vintage can go it a lot better than that. The first note that comes across here on the palate is actually a combination note. This combination note is a blend of light to almost medium notes of grapefruit and Yellow Lemon. These notes are pretty in your face and surprised me coming from this wine. Presented at the same strength are notes of White Peach & nectarine. As a combination, these notes are joining in for an attack of harshness and it is pretty noticeable. Being a New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc, there is at least one more note we can expect and the wine delivers which is Lychee, what would this varietal expression be without it? My answer to that question would be, lacking. Overall there is a big sense of dryness to the wine especially towards the finish. This dryness just jumps on the bandwagon with the other notes mentioned and yeah....not good. Thankfully there is a bit of fruit sweetness and yes, it does find a way to ever so slightly tear the dryness aspect away for a second but in the long run it is too little too late to make a real difference. Gooseberry is definitely evident here as well but in reality the note just kind of adds to the wines dryness and harshness which I am disappointed in. So guys, I really don't have much more to tell you about this wine as it was rather overdone and fairly offensive on the palate. I hate to do this but I think it would be best if I just got to the conclusion of this review, I will see you there.

   Here we are, at the conclusion paragraph. Let me begin with the fact that I simply didn't enjoy the wine. The grapefruit & lemon notes was way over the top in my book and overwhelmed the palate. Those notes of Lychee & Gooseberry really just continue the hurt. I am looking some for tropicalness, fruit tropicalness in this expression of the varietal and I simply am not getting it to the extent I consider to be necessary to make this an effective or enjoyable Marlborough, New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc. Lack of fruit, acidity and any crispness do this wine in. To me this was a carton wine transferred over to a bottle in order to make it appear to be more impressive. I am sorry guys but I have to end this review here, the wine is bad, I was not in the least bit impressed. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale am giving this wine 87, drain cleaner points.

                                                                                                                                     The Desert Wine Guy

 

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

2018 David Akiyoshi - Ink Ink Ink

 

2018 David Akiyoshi - Ink Ink Ink

  What I am about to say is kind of meant in a semi light hearted way folks so please don't take it too seriously as it is really not meant to be. Are you guys big on commitment? I'm talking here in reference to a winemaker in general and their choosing to not commit to a particular grape varietal when creating a wine. Yeah, I know I might be very well off base here but I really do like people who commit. Have I had some very nice red or white wine blends in my time? Yes, I certainly have but it is always is in the back of my mind that somewhere along the lines, people were either bored and wanted to experiment (which is cool) or they just didn't, or couldn't commit to a single varietal. I would think that as a winemaker, you either create a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, a Pinot Noir or a Tempranillo etc; Yes, I know that red blends have been around for some time and they are popular but I like commitment nevertheless. Give me a varietal that I can have a decent standard of reference for and I can then have some framework for a review. I think that without varietal standards as a framework we are left with one aspect of reviewing which is very simply, did I like the wine? While I certainly do believe that question is important to answer, it is not (or should be) the end all, be all of a wine review. I completely understand if you believe that my thinking is wrong but it is something that I wanted to share with you guys. Okay, I feel better now and so it is time to move onto the wine itself:)

David Akiyoshi - Winemaker
   Today I am reviewing the 2018 David Akiyoshi - Ink Ink Ink. I paid $12.99 for this wine at Naked Wines (https://us.nakedwines.com//) as a member and it is cork sealed. The alcohol percentage for this wine comes in at a fairly high, 14.8% and the wine is a blend of  three different grape varietals which are Tannat, Teroldego & Petite Sirah.
   After completely reviewing this wine and giving it my Desert wine Guy rating, I simply had to come back here and add this section because I believe Mr. Akiyoshi deserves to be talked about. Who is David Akiyoshi and how is he qualified to make wine? These are two very good questions and I have the answers. David has worked as Director of Wine making for 25 years at Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi. Not only is David creating wines for Naked Wines but he currently is also working at LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards (https://langetwins.com/) which is located in Lodi, California. If this doesn't qualify Mr. Akiyoshi to create wine, nothing does. Alright, now to the wine.
   As I get closer to taking a look at this wine I want to do a little education for myself as well as you readers concerning the two uncommon grape varietals of Teroldego (teh-ROHL-deh-goh) and Tannat. Let's start off with the Teroldego grape varietal. This grape is in the species of Vitis Vinifera and is native to northern Italy in particular the regions of S├╝dtirol and the Trentino-Alto Adige DOC. About 98% of this grapes production comes from Italy and the grape is believed to be the sibling of the Syrah variety crossed with either Pinot Noir or the Lagrien grape (northern Italy as well) varieties.
Tannat Grape
As for the Tannat varietal, this grape is also of the Vitis Vinifera species and is native to the country of France, the Basque region. Today the varietal is actually the most planted variety in Uruguay. The varietal also has some serious health benefits as well as the fact that it contains the highest polyphenols (antioxidants) of all red wine grapes. The varietal does very well with oak aging as well although there is also some wine from this grape being made without any oak. Okay guys, let's get into the wine now.
   Let's begin where I always begin and that is talking about the label on the wine bottle. This label was actually created by a Tattoo artist whose name is Zhou Dan Ting, Ting is also known as China's "First Lady of Tattoo". According to David Akiyoshi, it was actually the members of Naked Wines who chose this design for the label which I think is really cool. Okay so my feelings. I most definitely get the "Ink, Ink, Ink name based upon the artists background and I do think it is really pretty and well designed. Normally, without the knowledge of the artist, I wouldn't have seen any connection between the label and the wine inside the bottle but in this case I do believe that the fact that a tattoo artist created it certainly does allow the freedom for the label to be more abstract.
   Now I actually get into the wine. On the bouquet now the nose starts off with a smell of a sheet of Bounce, you know the sheet of fabric softener that you throw in the dryer to make your clothing smell nice.....even though....they are already...clean. The nose also possesses a nice brightness to it of lively and certainly fresh, red fruit. There is the slightest bit of black pepper and it is on the end of the bouquet and is on the ultra light side.
Zhou Dan Ting
 Such an incredibly well presented note of oak is available here on the nose as well and it is very integrated with everything else the nose offers up. The slightest bit of vanilla is also another note the wine exposes here and as with the other bouquet notes, it is nice. This vanilla gives up just a hint of softness but the notes in the end, don't seem to be having any of it and the bouquet in the end actually maintains a nice entertaining boldness overall.
   Now, we are going to discuss the palate characterization (presentation) of this wine. Pepper. Right off the bat I want...no, need to let you know that if you do not enjoy pepper in your red wines, do not buy this wine. The peppery aspect of this wine is very simply totally awesome. I have had many red wines in the past that presented a peppery note but nothing as delicious as this. This peppery note spreads itself throughout the wines entire palate presentation and is not overpowering and certainly not willing to take a back seat to any other notes the wine brings out. While I am on the topic of spice, I kind of find it funny how while the percentage of the Teroldego varietal isn't listed and I have never tasted the varietal prior to this, there is a part of the wine that in a soft way I feel can be identified as coming from that grape. My research on the grape also shows that it is known for this spice note. This particular spice note that I feel comes from the Teroldego varietal comes in at the mid-palate and makes the wise decision not to try and overpower the original spice note. What I have to say next might scare some folks as I know it would scare me as well had I not actually tasted the wine but don't be alarmed. There is some decent fruit forwardness to the wine and it is to the point where I have to even use the dreaded word.....jammy. While the wine does exhibit some jamminess to it, I have to tell you that it really works very well here as alll of that spice I mentioned would never (could never) work as well as it does without it. Control folks, control. That control I speak of was rather obvious to me as I have normally found that usually when a wine shows a decent bit of jamminess it usually progress as the wine develops and that was not the case here. For those of you who do not follow this blog, you should know that I absolutely hate jamminess in a wine, like.......hate it so if I am saying the jamminess works, it truly does work and I actually wouldn't want to imagine the wine without it. Moving on now, there is an incredible refined, tightly bound intentness to the wine, it is a refindness & power which the wine (and my palate) truly embarrasses.
Teroldego Grape
This tightly bound intentness is rather amazing and is another really instrumental note in this wine which exceeded my expectations and helped in allowing that previously mentioned jamminess to excel in making the wine rather incredibly. How are tannings sounding right about now? If you said "great", you are going to be happy. The tannins here in the wine guys are plentiful but not abrasive by any means. These tannins are another note that I would certainly recommend that you enjoy in a red wine prior to buying this particular one because they are indeed instrumental in the wines overall presentation. I completely enjoyed these tannins as I do all tannins in reality but these again, really exceed my expectations as to keep it real, I didn't expect any at all. Moving on now I want to let you know about a brightness to the wine as well as the fact that here again is another note which I think makes this wine so great and while I know I am repeating myself, I don't believe the wine would be what it is without it. This brightness seems to come partly from the jammines the wine puts out as well as the fruit forwardness. Have no worries guys because I promise you, this brightness note remains very well under control at all times. Let's talk now about Black Currant. Yes guys, black currant, a roaring, lightly palate coating, Black Currant is displayed throughout the entire wine and it really coats the palate especially when a black cherry note is presented which is just after the opening. Oh, I didn't mention black cherry? Well, I certainly do apologize, allow me correct that error. The wine puts out a very nice black cherry note and that note becomes instant best friends with the black currant and the two work amazingly well together, like, really amazingly well guys. If you get a chance to taste this wine (you should) you will see just how well. Firmness, structured & expertly done, those are the perfect words for this wine especially after it is given a period to develop.  Last but certainly not least is the perfect presentation of an oak, an oak that is not heavy and is happy right where it is as far as palate presentation is concerned. Too much more of a palate presentation and it is overdone, any less and the wine would be lacking a certain something. Well folks, that's it. Let's get to the conclusion of this review now. I will see you in the next paragraph.
Charcuterie Board

   Guys, now that we are onto the conclusion paragraph I really have to put this out there. This wine is able (and does) take two notes that I normally really shy away from in my reds and manages to have me love them. The two notes I am talking about is fruit forwardness and jamminess. Yes, the wine is a bit jammy as well as a semi fruit forward driven one. Each of these notes is tamed to an extent (especially after the wine is opened a bit) and therefore presented in such an amazing way that they really work, extremely well together without being offensive. The wine has some very serious structure to it and not one bit of flabbiness, I promise you that. There is no subtlenness to the wine as it is in attack mode from the minute the first drop hits your tongue it goes on the attack. Folks, I recommend that if you do not enjoy jamminess or pepper in your wine that you stay away from this wine, it is not made for you. I would give this wine at least 2 hours to decant because while the wine was really nice prior to the 2 hours, it really opened up afterwards and was amazing. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine 96 points. If you want an old world, red wine presentation this is it. 

                                                                                                                                     The Desert Wine Guy

P.S - After this review was completed, I went back to the Naked Wines website and purchased three more bottles of this wine for......me and only.....me :) Yes, the wine is that good. By the way, I am a member of Naked Wines and pay them $40 each month to be a member so this is not a push to join.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

2015 El Prado Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon

 


   So today I was at a "big box" wine & beer store and I purchased this 2015 El Prado, Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a blend of two of my favorite red varietals which are Tempranillo 70%  & Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, the wine also has a pretty reasonable alcohol percentage of 12.5%. Topping this all off but scaring me nonetheless is the fact that the wine costs a mere $6.59 and that begs the question, why would I buy a $6.59 wine in the first place? Here is the answer to that question. When I saw this wine on the shelf in the store I was immediately interested in it as I thought it sounded like a nice combination of varietals since I believe they both can/should go superbly together providing of course that both wines were made decently to begin with. Honestly, I am really excited to be tasting this blend and I truly hope it turns out to be a great wine and that both varietals are expressed as they should be. Now, let's gets into this review by starting off talking about the wines presentation in my glass.
   Starting off here the wine in my glass showed itself with the appearance of a cherry cough syrup type red and was slightly on the watery side around the edges as well.
  On the nose the wine was mostly peppery (typical of both red varietals) but did have a slight nose of caramel as well as coco. Overall however, the nose was (unfortunately) nothing really special and all three notes faded rather quickly.

   On the Palette now the wine initially presented what came across with an ugly and definitely overly acidic and peppery dominance. Now while the peppery dominance note is also common for both varietals and I love it, the overly acidic part however should not be happening, for either varietal. Let me say this straight out right here, right now before I even get any further into this review. You would benefit greatly by allowing the wine to decant for at least a couple of hours prior to drinking. When I first opened this wine and tasted the first couple of sips I almost threw it away and had it not been for the fact that I was too lazy to get up, ( I know huh:) that is what I would have done. Thankfully however I took a break to hang out with Mrs. Desert Wine Girl who graced me with her presence in my Loft and when we got done hanging out two hours later, the wine had definitely opened up quite a bit and softened...a lot especially in the area of acidity thankfully. That overpowering acidity that ran over all the wines other notes had now toned down and was actually useful. As any worthy Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon should, this wine maintained a pretty moderate but palate leading, black pepper note after it had a chance to open up. A really nice palate note of cocoa that to me always goes hand in hand with mostly the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal but can be present in the Tempranillo varietal as well was picked up and I was certainly able to appreciate it as well. As a side note I want to tell you that I believe this cocoa note was actually instrumental in helping to tame down that over the top acidity. As I continue on with that cocoa, it also allowed for a note of black cherry to interact with a note of a cranberry type acidity which was being presented very gracefully here on the palate. Another note that I believe was effected positively by the cocoa note is one of that black pepper mentioned briefly earlier.
This cocoa note also has the ability to stand on it's own and is only complimented by the pepper. Yes folks,the pepper is number one on the palette but close yet not too far behind is indeed that Cocoa and it appears thankfully to be more than happy to take a back seat. Right about here is where the acidity that is left in the wine really begins to as it is at a level this time where it goes great with all of the notes this wine has to put out. Let's talk black cherry now because this is another note that the wine presents very nicely and that I enjoyed. Here is another note that is more than happy to take a back seat to the notes already presented. As a matter of fact none of the notes here fight one another and each sip is consistent in their agreement as to who takes the lead and what the others purpose really is which is to act as support of sorts for the each other. If you want some tannins you are looking in the wrong place because while there is a note of Black Currant the tannins are for the most part non existent. If tannins are a must in a red wine for you then I have to advise you to look elsewhere. If however you will suffice with a Black Current note instead then you are in luck because this wine is full of that and in my book this is more then good enough. There was also an ever so slight background smoothness to the wine that I think was much needed and placed in just the right place here in this wine.
This wine is in some ways what I would consider to be a big wine and the bit of smoothness actually helps out. A spice that is not of black pepper but just as nice and just as in your face in apparent throughout the wines presentation. If you are thinking the wine is overly on the peppery side, don't be as that bit of smoothness manages to work it all out.
   Well now it is that time, time to wrap this review up. After drinking this wine I want to lay out some points for you. Before I do however I would like to tell you that I very well might be biased. The Tempranillo is as I said indeed my favorite varietal and one that I gladly run to when I am looking for a red wine that is in your face, spicy and robust. To me there is no substitute however Cabernet Sauvignon can give it a run for its money.
By the way, in my opinion you can forget about the American version of Tempranillo, to me the Spanish have it down pat. Keep all this in mind as you read this review, Having layed all this out, here are my points that I would like to get across to you.

1) Both varietals as expected work nicely together.
2) As also expected the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal is dominated by the Tempranillo due to the very natures of there being more of the Tempranillo then the Cab as well as the very nature of both wines characteristics.
3) The Cabernet Sauvignon does influence the wine by presenting an underlying though nicely presented sense of smoothness & cocoa but this does not in any way deter from the Tempranillo.
4) Decant this wine for at least two hours.

 On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 91 (90–93 Excellent highly recommended, holds to varietal standards.) points. This is certainly not a bad wine, especially for the price.

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy


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Friday, July 2, 2021

2016 Annabella - Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection

2016 Annabella - Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection

   Yesterday, I was searching for a nice restaurant to take Mrs. Desert Wine Girl to Dinner at and when I finally came across one that sounded interesting, off we went. While at the restaurant I was presented with the wine list (of course:) and as I searched that list I came across a winery name as well as a wine that I had forgotten about probably because I do not see the winery nor the wine name them for sale all that often. The wineries name is Michael Pozzan Winery (https://www.michaelpozzanwinery.com/Wines/Annabella) and the wine that I am talking about is the 2011 Annabella Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection. I actually ended up reviewing (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-desert-wine-guy-2011-annabella.html) and buying a few bottles of the wine as well. Before I get into today's wine review, please allow me tell you the story about that first interaction I had with an Annabella, Cabernet Sauvignon.
   Back in October of 2015, Mrs. Desert Wine Girl and I were invited to participate in a special pre-grand opening of a ritzy restaurant here in Las Vegas and of course we couldn't be rude and not go, so off we went. After we were seated and introduced to our waiter, I asked him to recommend a good Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mochael Pozzan - Wine Barrels Aging
Immediately the waiter suggested that I try a bottle of the 2011 Annabella, Cab, Special Selection which as I said, I ended up later reviewing (see above link). I figured that since I was getting comped in exchange for a review of the restaurant that I could (and would) throw caution to the wind and I ordered the bottle without even checking the price. As I already said, I ended up loving the wine so much and I began immediately to wonder just how much this wine would cost if I were actually paying for it. The next day I did some research on the wine and discovered that it actually sold for around $18 retail. That was great in my book and while I did have a very hard time tracking that particular vintage down, I finally was able to manage to find it and bought four bottles, one to review, one to give away and the two others to cellar.
   Now, we get to our review wine, the 2016 Annabella (after Michael's grandmother), Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection. This is indeed one of those wines that I am so very excited to review, I just hope that this vintage can at least come close to the greatness of that magnificent 2011 vintage. Let me go ahead and provide you with some background information on today's wine. Starting off here, I am pretty sure that I don't have to tell you that the wine is cork sealed. The wine comes in at 14.5% Alcohol and as I previously said, is made by the Michael Pozzan Winery which is located in the Oakville AVA of the Napa Valley. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Napa Valley and the wine is made up of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot & 2% Merlot. The wine sat in French Oak for 12 months.
   Let me continue on now by talking about the label of this wine. Alright so I am going to begin by saying that I have never (and I do mean never) seen such an impressive looking label on a wine bottle......PERIOD! Folks, you need to look at the photo of the label above. Tell me that the label is not just......outstanding. If you have never thought about just how much a label can convey about a wine or have just blown off the label as just another piece of paper, you should now be aware of just how important it is. Take a look at the scripted fonts and the gold color of those fonts. Take a look at the placement of those fonts as well, amazing. When I very first saw the bottle presented to me at the restaurant my mind went immediately to thoughts of this wine probably has a huge price tag and, thank goodness this is free. These thoughts were followed by the absolute need to try the wine. This is part of the power or the mystique that a label can hold in general. As I pour the wine I am actually scared to get this label stained guys, that's crazy huh? As weird as it sounds, I want the bottle when it is empty to have a spotless label even as it does go into the trash. Now, this is just the front label so now I want to talk about the back label for a moment. I haven't even read the back label yet but I will tell you that I can almost bet that everything it says is important. Give me a second as I read it and get back with you. Okay so I was so right. Loads of useful information as well as a the actual meaning of the name "Annabella" which means "easily lovable and disposed to please". As I end this section of the review I want to ask you something, what are you are expecting from this wine just based upon of the label? Alright, I do believe that I have said enough about the label and it's now time to move on to the bouquet of the wine so let's get to that.
Michael & His Son, Dante
   Right off the bat I want to tell you that the wine is exposing what seems to be a super refined black cherry note and it is picked up right away as the glass is brought to my nose. A slight hint of spice as well as some cassis (Black currant) is noted here as well. The bouquet continues on with some more awesome notes, the first is of a light yet seemingly complex one of old & well worn leather, the second is of what appears to be a moderate, yet not strong note of cocoa. I certainly can't forget to mention a nice bit of blackberry that is here is well. Both the black cherry as well as that nicely presented blackberry are both coming across with what seems to be an air of confidence. All of these notes in total really contribute to the fact that I have my hopes set even higher now for a great wine and only reinforces the fact that I am super anticipating actually tasting this wine.
   Let's talk about how the wine is trying to sell itself visually now. Presentation of this wine in my glass was very simply nothing short of amazing. Visually this wine appears to be a mix of black cherry & blackberry in the glass. With a white piece of paper held underneath the glass, the writing on the paper was just barely able to be seen. The wine once again gave off the impression that it had cost a lot of money. As I continue on here, there are massive amounts legs running down the sides of my glass here and the wine actually leaves a sort of coating on the glass as well that is rather intriguing. I am left with the impression due to the combination of both the labels appearance and the wines bouquet that the wine is both inviting as well as a high class power house of a wine. These assumptions will now be either confirmed or denied as it is now time to finally, taste the wine.
Michael Pozzan - Vineyard
   I now finally get to move to the Palate presentation of this wine as I want....no, need to see what is this wine is really all about? Okay so after tasting this wine I will first tell you what this wine is not. This Cabernet Sauvignon is not about being fruit forward. This Cabernet Sauvignon is not about being jammy. This Cabernet Sauvignon is not about catering to Generation X wine lovers, and last but not least, this Cabernet Sauvignon is not about being a blackberry, blueberry dominated, jammy expression of the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal. Now that I have said all of that, let me tell you what this wine is about.This wine at first presents complex notes of both Cassis & leather right up front and seems to hold nothing back. This leather brings with it both a rustic note and is really expressed so very nicely in this wine although it actually came as a surprise even though I did pick it up on the nose. Black Pepper is presented wonderfully yet is also controlled here and this wonderful trio is simply outstandingly powerful and vibrant on the Palate. The wine is what I would certainly consider to be a juicy wine and one with an edge of enjoyable tannin's to it as well These tannin's are brambly and although they do assist in bringing about a refinness to the wine they also bring with them a bit of a palate roughness that comes into play at the Mid-Palate and is once again simply.....outstanding. If you are a Cabernet Sauvignon lover who demands tannin's be in their wine, look no further as this is that wine. This is a big & complex wine and it's flavors are really just taking control and exploding all over my palate and I am loving it like crazy. There is also a warmth of sorts to the wine and it is not a warmth of alcohol but rather of a refineness, a feeling that the juice in this bottle was aged and intended for another, much higher priced label.
Michael & His Wife, Mary Ann
   This warmth over the palate feel meshes just wonderfully with everything else this wine is throwing out. There is a blackberry note here but it is not a ripe blackberry note and as such, it does not bring any overdone sweetness or jamminess along with it which is a great thing considering how so many of today Cabs are overdone in these aspects. This blackberry note simply presents itself for what it is and what it is a note that does not wish to be in the spotlight yet also at the same time, doesn't want you to forget that it is there. If you believe that I am done describing this wine you are certainly wrong, there is so much more as the black cherry I got on the nose is rather evident here but it also comes across without it's normal sugar which is exposed in so many red wines. In this wine, brings just it's flavor. Can you imagine the fruits of both black cherry and blackberry with all their fruit taste but without what would normally be overpowering sweetness? Combine this with a note of some rather nice acidity that is apparent on the sides of the tongue and you are now getting the point of what this wine is all about. Did I mention a refinness that this wine also brings with it? Yes, I did but it does bear repeating (a few times:) because this wine simply exudes that feeling all over your palate.
   Guys, as I move to close this review, I certainly hope that I have expressed my feeling on this wine and that you give this wine a try, I do not believe that you will be sorry. If you are lucky enough to be able to find a bottle of this wine I highly recommend that you give it at least a couple of hours to decant and you will be floored at just how amazing it is. Folks, $20 for a Napa Cab at this level of perfection is simply unheard of. Ladies & Gentleman, this is what a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or anywhere else for that matter should taste like. You can keep the jammy, fruit forward, red liquid that so many today love to call wine, As far as I am concerned, I need a real "old world" expression of the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal and this is it. I'll cut to the chase guys, this is a wine that I am cellaring. I have two bottles left and they are headed straight to the Cellar. On the Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine an amazing 96 points.
My recommendation is that if you can find it, you buy three bottles of this wine and enjoy one now and put two away for the future, I promise that you will not regret it. Please do not judge this wine by its price as $20 seems really inexpensive for a Napa Cab but have no doubts, this is the real deal. One last thing, if you are a Generation X type wine lover, look elsewhere because this is an old school, old world, Cabernet Sauvignon and will not be to your liking.

                                                                                                                                     The Desert Wine Guy

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