Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2015 Charleston Peak Chardonnay

2015 Charleston Peak Chardonnay

   For today's wine review I decided to stay rather close to home. About an hour+- from Las Vegas is the little (but growing) city of Pahrump, Nevada. Pahrump has the same climate as Las Vegas which is very dry and very hot. They also have the same type of soil which is loamy/sandy & rocky. You can probably guess that Pahrump is also a Desert. There are two different Wineries located in the City of Pahrump with one being the Sanders Family Winery (http://sanderswinery.com/) which is owned by Jack Sanders and the other being the Pahrump Valley Winery (http://www.pahrumpwinery.com/) being owned by the Husband and Wife team of Bill & Gretchen Loken. This winery is also where our review wine comes from. Judging from their website the grapes for this wine are grown at Queensland Vineyard (http://queenslandvineyardbnb.com/) which is located in Dyer (Northern), Nevada. Now that we know a little about where the wine comes from, let's move to the review and talk for a second about the label on this Southern Nevada wine.
Gretchen Loken In The Pahrump Valley Vineyard
   The bottle labeling is very clean and presented the wine nicely. The Mountain on the label represents Charleston Peak here in Nevada, hence the wines name. I like the colors used on the label as they go very nicely with the color of the wine as presented sitting in the bottle. Let's check out the Bouquet of this wine now.
   The Bouquet is rather fruit forward and possess just a hint of Butter on the nose. Notes of Honeysuckle, Jasmine and Oak are really dominating here. I am getting a rather large sense that this is going to be a rather sweet Chardonnay.
  On the Palate now I unfortunately must begin with the fact hat there is a rather forward buttery note which is certainly caused by Malolactic (secondary) Fermentation. This buttery note is really rather strong and therefore noticeable. The note is more than just a bit over the top in my opinion. That note of Honeysuckle that I mentioned on the Bouquet is also very apparent and is on the back end of the Palate and also of course, not shy by any means. The wine also mixes in a note of sweet Pear that presents itself as almost overly ripe and somewhat sugary yet still in all helps to create a decent Palate feel. Speaking of notes which also transfer over, let's continue now with the note of Jasmine that also meshes decently with the other notes which I have so far picked up on the palate. There is a problem here however as this Jasmine note is very strong and helps to push this wine towards being over the top unfortunately in the sweetness area in my book. A note of super sour Apple comes forward in an underlying yet not strong note which also brings a change (or deviation) from the overall sweetness that seems to be starting to dominate this wine. There is the slightest bit of Acidity present in the wine that might at first go unnoticed unless careful attention to the wine is paid but certainly nothing to make a change in the direction in which the wine is unfortunately headed. So there you have it folks. Yes, this is a rather short review but there really is not much to talk about here. It is time now to move to my final notes on this review so let's go right ahead and do that.
Pahrump Valley Winery
   This wine truly express the fact and without any reservation that it is truly a hot weather Chardonnay. Over the top, tropical notes galore are exposed to the Palate. An over the top Butterness is also evidenced by the wine and can probably be blamed on the the fact that it was aged aged for five (5) months in Oak, unchecked. I can tell you for sure that there is no doubt that the wine was aged in Oak as it is unfortunately very evident. Also very evident is that the wine is over the top in it's sweet notes. Overpowering Honeysuckle & Jasmine truly dominate this wine in abundance.
   Let's go ahead and put this all together now.. Is the wine a bad wine? In my opinion, it is. Are the grapes grown in a hot climate? They sure do appear to be. To me this is not a well made Chardonnay. Does this Chardonnay hold in any way to it's varietal characteristics? The answer is no. Will the average Chardonnay lover enjoy this wine? That all depends upon their taste preference and their knowledge of what the varietal is supposed to taste like. I can put a Wine Cooler into this bottle and I can enjoy the wine as I enjoy a good Wine Cooler once in a while but that doesn't make it a decent or good Chardonnay. Did I enjoy the wine? That answer is no. I do not like the overly sweet components in the wine. This is a white wine that carries some characteristics also of being syrupy sweet. At first, the wine was just bearable but shortly after taking a few sips it exhibited the fact that it is clearly over the top in it's sugary notes. I was initially going to give this wine 85 points which is not good but I am going to have to change that to and even lower 83 points which is pretty bad. This can be a good pool wine for the hot Summer months so don't completely discount it but as far as a Chardonnay goes, yeah, not. Before I go I want to say something about the Pahrump Valley Winery. I have had some very good wines form the Winery in the past but like even the best Winemakers, at times even they create wines that just simply do not seem to work. Keep this in mind if you have an opportunity to visit the Winery.

                                                                                                                The Desert Wine Guy

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Friday, October 25, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2018 Yali, Wild Swan - Sauvignon Blanc


   The other day I came to my Loft in order to do a review on the 2016 Le Charmel - Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. That plan quickly changed as the wine was so bad that I was only able to take a couple of sips before I had no choice but to dump the rest of the bottle down the drain. The next day I contacted the Wine of The Month Club (https://www.wineofthemonthclub.com/) which is where I bought the wine from and let them know that I had bought two bottles of the wine and exactly how I felt about it. The employee on the other end appeared very understanding and asked me if I wished to receive a credit for the two bottles or if I wished to pick two other bottles of a different wine instead. I informed her of my preference for two other wines and I let her know that I actually wanted her to choose them, I only asked that they be either Cabernet Sauvignon or Sauvignon Blanc. Around three days later I received a box in the mail from them containing one bottle of each varietal. Today I am reviewing one of those bottles which is the 2018 Yali Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. I am excited to see what this wine has to offer so let's begin.
   First up I want to talk about the label of our wine. I thought the front label was very appropriate considering this is a white wine, it was bright and lively and had a Swan on it as well. The back label describes this wine the following way "The wines are friendly, fresh and vibrant.....". To me this is letting me know that the wine is also not meant to cost a lot and that it is an everyday white wine. That being said, I think the label(s) was very fitting as it is a Summer friendly wine, was well thought out and appeared to be taking itself while not too seriously.
   Let's talk just a little about the winery now. Yali winery (http://www.yali.cl/en/#vinos) is actually part of Vina Ventisquero (http://www.vinaventisquero.com/en/nosotros/) and is the first winery to obtain the ‘Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile’ accreditation for 100% of its vineyards. The Winemaker for Yali wines is Sergio Hormazábal who is also President of the Chilean Winemakers Association. The wine comes in at 12.5% and cost me $10.
   Let's get to the Bouquet of our wine and see whats going on here. First up is a note of Nectarine and Gooseberry, Both of these notes are very nice and come across moderately fruity on the nose. A Green Pepper note comes out on the nose as well. There seems to be a promised hint of Palate sweetness that I believe comes from a Bouquet note of Pear. Last yet not least is a note of Lychee. All in all this is a wonderful Bouquet that would fool you into believing that the wine is from a hotter part of California as it is exposing a wonderfully tropical and fruit forward Bouquet. Last but not least is the fact that I really love this Bouquet.
   Moving to the taste of the wine wine on the Palate I wish to tell you that I did detect a bit of Carbonation on the Tongue. Now, this is nothing that will have you thinking that you are drinking a Wine Cooler or a "Spritzer" (hello Mom) but in my opinion it is noticeable. The good thing is that the Carbonation seemed to disappear after a short time and I am certainly glad that it did as I do not care for it in my real wine but I will accept it in something like a Bartel's & James Wine Cooler where I happen to enjoy it. Gooseberry is pretty up front and definitely obvious on the opening, it also sticks around on the Palate till the Finish. Peach, Nectarine and Pear, all three combine together for a pretty wonderful presentation. To me the Pear note comes first and brings a nice bit of that Pear sugar with it. The Peach brings a sort of semi brightness to the wine and the Nectarine brings a hair bit of tartness to the wine. A flowery type note comes shinning through here as well as the wine warms up a bit. How about a fresh Honeysuckle type note as well that shines through and is at the perfect sweetness level, not too sweet and certainly not too bland, just right. A note of Honeydew Melon jumps out as a sort of "Carrier Wave" and for those of you involved in radio you will understand what I mean. For those of you who are not involved in radio, I will explain it like this.
The Honeydew (Carrier Wave) is sort of like a base that everything else (the notes) rides on. All of the above mentioned notes are super smooth and without any sugar peaks to them. You taste the fruit and a sufficient amount of sweetness, no doubt but it is after all a hot weather Sauvignon Blanc. Never does the tropicalness level in this wine exceed my threshold or appear to even come close in any way to being too much. Folks, I must end this review now as it is late in the Evening. It is funny how this review went from opening up about talking about a wine that I hope you never got a chance ( 2016 Le Charmel - Sauvignon Blanc) to taste to one that I hope you do get a chance to taste. Let's get to the closing chapter where I put it all together for you. 
   Okay folks, can we talk? Here is the final deal with this wine. I originally drank this wine really cold and I was going to rate it at 85 points (not good) but as the wine warmed up slightly it developed into a pretty decent wine and I found myself actually beginning to enjoy it. I highly recommend that you do not drink this wine while it is to cold, you will thank me. I actually had this wine in the Freezer to quickly chill for around an hour and a half and when I tasted it, I did not like it as I thought the wine was flat and tasteless, I was highly disappointed. The wine sat on the tasting table as I periodically sipped on it and I soon started to notice the wine opening and beginning to develop rather nicely.  As the wine warmed up just a bit
a nice fruit profile began to develop. This wine once it opened and developed was never too sweet and never too bland. That Gooseberry that was strong right away, softened nicely and managed to live together in peace with the other notes. What a difference waiting a short time makes folks. my recommendation is to chill the wine in the Freezer if you are in a hurry to chill it as I was for no longer then  an hour and not any longer, you will enjoy the wine and you will believe that you are drinking a California, hot weather expression expression of the Varietal. So, check this out guys. Originally as I said I was going to rate this wine at 85 points which meant a wine that is very simply not worth mentioning in my book or in other words, a wine that needs to be relegated to the dumpster. A wine that I would never consider to be a serious expression of even a decent wine. After the wine developed and opened my rating changed drastically to 89 points which is "a wine that stands out above the average wine. A wine that while not exceptional is near varietal correct and has indeed made its mark on my Palate as well as my memory". Now that, is a huge change. This is a wine that went from one that I would tell you to stay away from to a wine that is now one that I would say to go buy and enjoy.

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2016 Louis .M. Martini, Cabernet Sauvignon - Sonoma County


   The other day I was in the Airport here in Las Vegas awaiting the boarding for my flight to Florida (what's up with that) when I suddenly realized that I was hungry. Since I had about an hour and a half to kill before the flight boarded I thought that I would grab a quick bite to eat. I decided I would eat at the Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery located in the Airport and since I was by myself and had no kids with me, I also very happily sat down at the Bar. After reviewing their Menu I decided on the Crab Croquette which itself was just incredable but what made this an even more delightfull meal was the glass (or possibly two) that I had of the 2016 Louis .M. Martini - Cabernet Sauvignon that I chose to go along with it. Now hold on a minute there DWG, did you say that you had a red wine with Crab? Yes, I most assuredly did say that, and you know what, it was FANTASTIC. Being straight with you guys as always, I didn't really expect much from this wine. I guess I fell into the trap of judging a wine by its price tag.
My expectations of the wine changed however when I took my first taste of the wine, it was also at that point that I also decided you guys needed to know about this wine which of course was going to be accomplished by me reviewing it for you. One last thing here. The stares that I received while sitting in an Airport restaurant while judging both the visual and Bouquet presentation of the wine were amazing by the way. Anyway, it's been a few weeks and here I am, back from Florida and sitting in my Loft with a bottle of that particular wine so let's get into this review.
   This is a wine that is fairly common as I seem to see it everywhere wine is sold and for a very reasonable price as well. Speaking of price, the wine cost me $13 but does sell for $20 at the winery. The wine is also of course Cork sealed and comes in at a moderate 14.5% Alcohol as well. The grapes for this wine come from the Frei Ranch vineyards in the Dry Creek Vally AVA (Sonoma County) as well as the Barrelli Creek Vineyard in the Alexander Valley. The wine is a blend of  Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Merlot with unspecified percentages of each varietal and also sat for 16 months in French & American Oak.
   As for the label now guys I think that while it is obviously nothing flashy, it does present a certain element of clean simplicity to it. While it is on the plain side it is not too plain where it is what I would consider to be bland. I thnk the words are well placed and the Fonts were fairly decent as well. Overall a very simple label one hand yet on the other it does the job and I'm comfortable with that.
   Let's now go ahead and actually look at the wine. You know that while looks aren't everything (lucky for me) they can form an impression(s) on others, in this case the wine consumer. These impressions might carry on to their overall view of a wine or a product in general as well. Holding the wine glass up to direct Sunlight I will tell you that the wine is exposing itself an absouletly wonderfull Burgundy in color. If I were a betting man I would bet that the wine also probably looks as dark as the day it was bottled. What a wonderful & impressive visual presentation this wine is showing putting on display. Legs, legs on this wine were numerous, fairly thick and ran quickly down the sides of my wine glass. At times the wine also seemed to almost coat the glass, almost like a light oil.
   So now we discuss very briefly the Bouquet of this wine. Yeah, what's up with the Bouquet of the wine there DWG? Well red wine lovers, let me tell you about what's up with the Bouquet. I'll start off with the fact that the wine exposes a very nice inital yet moderate oak note on the nose. Along with this oak came some light Black Cherry which is also in the mix here and is so very welcomed as it fit perfectly here. The Bouquet simply screams of a wine that is going to be wrought with complexity and overall development if ever one could. A good note of Cocoa and smoke is certainly exposed as the wine opens up to it's implied greatness.

   We move now onto the wines Palate presentation. Straight up I will tell you that at a half an hour into the wine being opened and my initial tasting of it, this wine is showing that it is on its way to demonstrating it is very serious concerning its presentation. Now, whether or not the wine will develop into a fruit bomb or not is unknown as I guess that remains to be seen but with inexpensive reds it is unfortunetly a common fault that crops up. Some forward Black Plum comes lunging out at you here on the initial Palate presentation but is subdued to an ever so slight extent by a note of the very same oak which I picked up on the Nose. In perfect tune with that oak and Black Plum is a note of almost ripe Black cherry. Real quickly here I want to tell you that this is a juicy wine on the Palate and your Mouth fills with robust & ripe red fruits, amazing. The fruit notes are very concentrated which also assists in making for an "Old World" type expression which you guys know I prefer in my reds. Now I did say the wine was of the "Old School" type expression right? Keep this in mind as I mention that there is a slight bit of fruit forwardness to it but that doesn't mean that this bit even has thoughts of dominance or even to makes the attempt at trying to steer this wine towards a Generation X type wine because it does not.
I am in actuality talking about a presentation which adds just a hair bit of softness and sugar that is mostly noticed at Mid-Palate and is from 1 - 10, a 2.5. I know that I mentioned oak earlier but I need to expound on that for a minute. This oak is at a level where it is just enough to make a slight yet defenitly positive impact on the Palate. That slight, positive impact is however just perfect as it does not even come close to dominating here, this is not an oakey wine. The oak is simply.....perfect. Let me go ahead and throw in a serious Leather note which is present just after the opening notes here guys and brings along with it lovely Tannins. Speaking of Tannins, the wine does have some nice yet not exactly subtle Tannins folks so be ready for that. As I already said, this is an "Old World" style Cabernet Sauvignon to a massive extent so be warned. A Black Pepper note is present here as well and it is evident as well but not overpowering. Ripe Blackberry guys, do you wnat that as well? Well if you do, you are in luck. Ripe Blackberries just thrusts forward on the Palate and I think plays a big part bringing out that bit of fruit forwardness as well that I mentioned earlier. Black Currants are massive here guys and helps this wine to create a sense of big money being spent on it. Acidity is well balanced and is not an issue here if you are sensitive or dislike that particular note although there is some present. The wine also exhibits a taste of Brown Sugar which works in coordination with any fruit forwardness the wine presents. Have no worries here guys as the wine is not what I would consider to be a sweet wine but there is a underlying slightly sweet component to it. All of the other notes do a great job at adequately covering up this Brown Sugar to a good extent and what is left is really well presented. There is a "grip" to this wine as it coats your mouth and you struggle to find out just how for this price such a wine can be created. Some Graphite and Clove is presented here in this wine as well and I have to say that this wine is very powerful and tastes so much higher then its price point suggests guys.
   Okay so we are in the final paragraph. Before I give you my closing thoughts and my rating on this wine, I have to make a comment on the Louis .M. Martini website in relation to this wine. When you first read the page the winery presents to you (https://www.louismartini.com/wines/sonoma-county-cabernet-sauvignon-2016) in referance to this wine you will notice that they say that the "Varietal Content" of the wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Merlot. As you get to the "Winemaker Notes" section you will see that they say the wine now has Cabernet Franc. I ask you, which is it? One other issue here is if you read the "Viticultral" section you will notice that we all of a sudden jumped backwards to the 2015 Vintage. One final issue here is that the Winery doesn't state anything about the French/American Oak in referance to the oak being new or old (neutral). For those of you who are unaware if indeed the oak is "neutral" then it really doesn't matter what type of oak it is or for that matter, how long the wine sat in it because a "neutral" it no longer imparts any flavor onto the wine. Alright then, let's finish up this final paragraph now. If you blind taste this wine at a party or perhaps another tasting venue, your guests will suggest prices of at least $50 if not more, that is how mpressive this wine is. If I hadn't seen the price per glass at the restaurant I also would have thought of that price range as well. This is a very textured wine and one which presents a rather nice plushness to it. I see that Mr. James Suckling has rated this wine at 92 points but on The Desert WIne Guy rating scale I am going to up him by one and give this wine 93 points.
I was very impressed by this wine and it's complexity as well as the fact that I have tasted many wines double the price which couldn't even hope to reach this score. By the way my Dinner at home that went perfectly with this wine was Hamburgers made from Wagyu Beef placed on the Smoker and cooked to perfection by Mrs. desert Wine girl. Lastly I will say Good job guys, keep up the great work.

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2017 Baus Family - Sauvignon Blanc


   Today I watched an interesting video about a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. For those of you who aren't familiar with who Gary is Gary started a successful wine store named Wine Library (https://winelibrary.com/) as well as a YouTube channel called WineLibraryTV (https://www.youtube.com/user/WineLibraryTV/videos). On his video channel he talks about and reviews wines which most of the time are the same types of wines that I review and that is, wines for the average wine drinker. What Gary talked about in this particular video was about marketing a wine business. Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4T84SGUGDk) is a link to the video as I think that you might find it interesting. One big item that I personally took from the video is that Gary (mostly) agrees with me in as far as wine is meant to be fun and that wine can also be chosen because of mood or atmosphere. There should be no stuffiness when it comes to wine.
Now I myself do think that when you are spending some good money on a wine that the presentation of the wine by both the winery (label) and the restaurant (pour) are super important however those things alone are not the sole determiner of whether or not a wine is good or bad or for that matter whether you will enjoy that particular wine or not. As The Desert Wine Guy, these factors were really why I started my whole on line presence in the first place. It is great to see that someone who started as a wine nobody, has actually become a "marketing expert" and for the most part, agrees with me. Yes, it is at times nice to experience the pomp and circumstance surrounding proper wine etiquette but when it really gets down to it, wine is really about enjoyment. One other thing and as I have always said, wine is VERY subjective. My trash wine may very well be your wine to Cellar and vise verse. There is actually a ton more that I want to say about this subject but it will have to wait for another day. Until then please check out the WIneLibraryTV videos, you will enjoy them. So, here we go guys, a new wine review.
   So just what am I reviewing today? Well folks, today I am reviewing the 2017 Baus Family Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc. I am also going to at times be comparing this particular vintage to their 2016 vintage which I recently reviewed (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-desert-wine-guy-2016-baus-family.html) and which I rated at 89 points. Let's go ahead now and get into the heart of this review and see if this vintage fared better or worse then the previous vintage.
   Let's begin by talking a little about the basics of the wine first. I bought this wine from one of the usual alcohol warehouse type stores here in Vegas for $10.99 which is slightly less then the average price for this particular wine as the average price is around $15. This by the way is also the same price as last years Vintage. As for the Alcohol percentage it come in at 12.5% and last years was 13%, not much of a difference at all. The Label appears to be identical as well other then for the Vintage change. There still is no Baus Family Vineyards at that I can find but what little I did find is that Great Domains & Estates LLC which is a Marketing company made the Label for whoever actually made the wine. The Baus Family Vineyards name is also trademarked by Great Domains & Estates LLC as well. Whoever the producer is they have held to using a Cork to seal their wine, I am super glad to see that.
   Lets take a look just at how this wine sits in the glass. Once again as with last years Vintage, when you look straight down the center of the glass the wine appears clear like Water. Looking at the wine from the outside, the wine presents itself as being an extremely pale and Straw in color wine.
   On the Nose the wine is certainly putting on a display of a fairly mild yet a certainly effective note of White Peach mixed with the same Nose level of ripe Nectarine. There is a super nice Note of Honeysuckle here as well which stands above the other two notes as far as it's presentation. In my opinion this Bouquet is somewhat more pronounced then last years expression of the varietal. Now, as I have said MANY times in the past, a Bouquet no matter how bad or good it is has not much to do with the actual taste of a wine.
   Now, the part we have all been waiting for, the Palate presentation. This wine simply explodes with flavor guys. Oops, did I jump the gun with that comment? Let's get back to the beginning of exactly how the wine comes across in the Mouth shall we? Taking a first sip of the wine straight down the middle of my Tongue reveals flavors of the same ripe White Peach and Nectarine notes that I picked on the Nose. Now, as the wine slides to the side of my Tongue I am getting a note of a fruity & forward Lemongrass that allows just a small little bit of sweetness to invade its personal space. This Lemongrass really shines in the wine and is very apparent and forward from the opening of the wine all the way through to the Finish of the wine. Oh yeah, speaking of the Finish, there is a bit of wonderful lively and semi bright Acidity on that end that I am really enjoying. Let's go ahead and throw in some totally evident Honeysuckle as a partial reason for the sugary type note that the wine moderately presents. This Honeysuckle is another note which transfers from the Nose and is so super refreshingly bright on the Palate that I can't help but want of this wine. I have this feeling that the Honeysuckle is also preventing the wine from becoming too Acidic and therefore doesn't even let the wine come close to that point so there should be no worries there at all.
By the way, this is as you would expect, is a fruit froward wine as I believe all of expressions of this varietal are when the grapes are grown in hotter climates which I truly believe these grapes were. Now, I don't want that to throw you off guys as this wine is not some poorly made, generic "white wine" by any means, it simply is very tropical. To add to these notes there is a mid Palate note of light Lemon Meringue that while it carries onto the Finish it doesn't present any overly tangies to the wine which I appreciate, its not a Chardonnay folks. There is a sort of sharpness to the wine but you can tell that the Honeysuckle does it's job expertly and allows just a bit of that note through yet covers the rest with its sweeter note. Quick interruption folks and I may be jumping ahead of myself here but I am loving this wine. This is a prime example of the grape and what can be done with it when properly done. All right, let's get back on track now. Lets discuss the Tropicalness (is that even a word) of the wine. Folks, this wine is just that, tropical but not to the extent where it is offensive, repulsive or a sugar bomb, there should be no worries at all pertaining to these things. Finishing up the description of this wine is a note of almost a tanginess throughout the wine that matches or passes for that Acidity and is what elevates this wine from the average hot weather expression of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal. I have just now taken a sip of this wine again and actually am clapping my hands at the awesome taste that is in my mouth. Well I am done with this review so let's move to the closing Paragraph and wrap this up.

   Readers I simply must be done now because I have a half of a bottle of this wine left and I am going to kick back with my home made Blu-Ray of both 70's & 80's music videos and enjoy both. Right about now there are visions of the spring time and the Heat. I am thinking of going swimming in my Pool because this wine brings that to mind but then reality hits and says that this review is being written at the end of November so I just sit here in my Loft wishing. Wine lovers, there is a time and a place for the cooler grown grapes of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal but as for the expression of the Varietal from the Napa Valley region or regions where the heat dominates, this is the wine to beat in my book. if you have ever heard a reviewer refer to a wine as leaving a "fresh mouth feel" but didn't know what that means then drink this wine and you will have no further questions. Folks, this is not a Wine Cooler by any means and if you are looking for one that you need to go buy some. This is exceeding all expectations for the $10 range or for that matter, the $30 range of the varietal. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine 93 super well deserved points.

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2015 Coastline, Pinot Grigio


2015 Coastline Pinot Grigio
   The other day I decided to pop on over to one of the big alcohol warehouse type stores near my home. As luck would have it, I had just walked into the store when I noticed a Shopping Cart to my right with a sign on it which read "clearance". In this cart were numerous bottles of wine. Now I am sure you know that I just had to check it out, after all, I am The Desert Wine Guy, so I did just that. Today's review wine on one of those wines I picked out of that cart and is the 2015 Coastline Pinot Grigio. The wine normally retails for around $12 but I was perhaps fortunate enough (time will tell) to buy it for $4.99. The wine comes in at 12.0% Alcohol and is also happily Cork sealed. A little research turned up that this label is owned by Adler Fels Winery (https://adlerfels.com/) although their page for some reason makes no mention of this particular label. Surprisingly there is very limited information in general concerning this wine available on-line for some reason. Now.......prior to moving on I have an admission to make here guys and here it is. I don't believe that I have ever had this varietal before. This is particularly embarrassing because it just so happens, Pinot Grigio is the second most popular white wine in America. I know huh, like I said, embarrassing. With all this said, let's go ahead and together learn just a bit about the Pinot Grigio varietal.
Pinot Grigio Flavor Profile(s)
   The varietal of Pinot Grigio originated in France (Burgundy) where it is known as Pinot Gris and unlike other white grapes, Pinot Grigios skin color has a greyish blue hue, but can also sometimes vary from brownish pink to black and even white in appearance. There are typically three different types of geographic presentation styles for the Pinot Grigio varietal and here they are. The first one is a wine which presents large notes of dryness & minerality "Old World" style. This style of the varietal usually comes from Italy, Austria and even Romania, Slovenia and Hungary. The varietal from these areas usually lacks any real fruit notes whatsoever and they are very simple in their expression of the grape. The second is a wine which exhibits both dry & fruity notes or "New World" style. These expressions of the grape usually exhibit the oily or buttery type notes typical of Malolactic Fermentation and are similar to an oaked Chardonnay. Notes of ripe tropical fruit such as melon, Mango, Apple & Lemon can be exhibited as well. The areas of the world making this expression of the grape just to name a few are California, Argentina, New Zealand & Chile. The third expression of the grape is one which presents a wine which is typically sweet & fruity (Pinot Gris). This expression is usually limited to the country of France. Okay now it is time to get into this particular wine and see what I think of it.
Hanging Pinot Grigio Grapes In The Vineyard
    Upon opening the bottle a pretty serious tropical Bouquet came rushing out of the glass and to my nose. Tropical notes of Peach and Pear as well as Lemon & Mango came to me in a wonderfully nice wave of mostly ripe juicy fruit. Bringing the wine now out to the pool, I was very excited to taste it.
   On the Palette now I will tell you that I drank this wine at near room temperature and the wine exposed all that it had, which was indeed quite a bit. The first note that this wine threw at me was that of Lemon. The Lemon was not super tart yet did indeed make it's presence known. I must tell you that this Lemon note is the dominating Palate note and spreads it's greatness across the entire Palette. Now, before anyone dismisses this wine as being astringent, I want to beg you not to do so as this Lemon note does not have a massive "sharpness" to it and therefore is not overbearing, it also is accommodating enough to leave room for all the other notes the wine effectively presents. There was nice Pear on the Palette as well that was not to over the top in its sweetness, a nice semi-ripe Pear that almost exposed itself in equal amount in comparison to the Lemon yet not quite. I have to say that this is a good thing as you will see when you drink the wine......you will drink the wine won't you? One of the other notes that I thoroughly enjoyed was that of semi crisp minerality that was spread evenly at all stages of the Palette as well. Once again not an overdone acidity or minerality by any means but both simply presented at a nice & enjoyable level as well as at a level which compliments the other notes and allows these notes to still be able to fully express themselves. Did I talk about the "oily" sense on the Palette yet? Well I must do that but prior to me talking about it I would like to caution you not to immediately discount this wine as the note is adequately held in check.
Beautiful Pinot Grigio
There is an "oily" (Malo-Lactic conversion) type note that comes across the Tongue that you might experience in a oaked Chardonnay. Again I must tell you that this is not overpowering and you will have to pay some attention while tasting the wine as you will not want to miss it because I think you will enjoy it. There is also a Honeydew Melon that comes across the Palate rather nicely but also does not dominate over the other notes of the wine. For what should be a simple wine based solely upon it's retail price, I am impressed. I am not done here guys as there is also a freshly cut Green Apple note that adds it's two cents to the wine in the forms of semi sweet note as well as adds a semi brightness and liveliness onto the Palate. Rounding off the Palate presentation is a Honeysuckle note to the wine as well that will make you stand up and take notice of it.
Seared scallops garnished in a salsa verde sauce
 
   So....$4.99 huh? What is the real deal with this wine Desert Wine Guy? The real deal is that this is a rather nice although a bit sweet, wine. This is certainly one of the "New world" expressions of the varietal with all the tropical fruit and bit of sweetness they can most certainly poses. Hot weather definitely dominated these grapes for certain but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This wine fits right into the family of a perfect pool or picnic white without any doubts. Whether you paid $4.99 as I did or the $12 it normally retails for, you win as you will be picking up a very satisfying wine for a bargain. Guys, I am sensing a serious baked chicken going with this wine or perhaps a nice Pasta sauce with Spaghetti. On the fish side I am sensing some Trout or Shark, both cooked without Lemon but with some Garlic, Butter and Black Pepper. Perhaps however, you would prefer some Seared Scallops? I would recommend enjoying this wine slightly chilled as that will take care of the lemony note that some who shy from that sort of thing might prefer. On The Desert Wine Guy rating schedule I am giving this wine 91 points.





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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2017 Joel Gott - Sauvignon Blanc


  Today's wine review is of the 2017 Joel Gott - Sauvignon Blanc. As with most white wines today, the closure for this wine is unfortunately secured with a Screw Cap. I got the wine at Costco while doing some shopping a few weeks ago, they always seem to have something from Joel Gott to choose from among their many other wines. This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and sat in 100% Stainless Steel as well. The wine comes in at an Alcohol percentage of 13.9% and the grapes for this wine are from five different Appellations in California as Joel Gott is a wine broker who buys grapes from whatever locations or Vineyards he desires
  While I usually spend some time on the label of the wines I review, today I will simply say that all of Joel's wine labels are the same which is not to say they are bad. His wine labels do strike me as both classy and sophisticated and creates a sense of there being something spectacular in the bottle.
  Let's see how the wine looked in my glass. This wine simply sparkled in the glass as it appeared almost clear but did appear to show decent hints of Gold streaks to it. To me it appeared like some wine in a reality TV show that "The Women of Whatever County" would be drinking. These are the wines you see the rich & famous drinking when they are at a Restaurant relaxing and there is a white wine on the table and you are like "oh my goodness, what are they drinking?" Folks, they could be drinking this wine.
  Next up is of course here is the Bouquet. Some medium bodied Gooseberry escapes from the glass followed by an also medium bodied and ripe Yellow Peach as well as some ripe Nectarine as well. These two notes are amazingly effective yet soft and about equal in presentation. There is also an undeniable nose of Melon that makes me begin to think that this might be a fairly tropical & fruity wine. A Red Apple presents itself here on the end of the Nose and all in all, I really like this Bouquet.
  So, moving to the Palette now I will straight out tell you that I think this wine is a good bit different from the 2016 expression that I reviewed but remains as of yet, unposted. There is a bit of a difference however as the 2016 is more of a slightly cooler weather expression of the varietal and this I do believe is a warmer weather expression of the varietal as its Nose at least, is more on the tropical side. First up on the Palette is Gooseberry. This Gooseberry is not overpowering as I think I said the 2016 was. This note is indeed a bit more controlled here in this wine yet still slightly forward on the Palate and I think this is perhaps because of the White Peach note which I will talk about now that assists it. This White Peach brings with it some and adds sweetness to the wine but it is not an overdone sweetness. Yes, this White Peach assists the wine in it's tropical weather fruitiness but it does not equate to the wine being a "sugar bomb" by any stretch of the imagination. This White Peach also thankfully
adds a medium bit of Minerality to it yet does not overdue it to the point where you can say this is an overdone wine in reference to that note. Moving forward I have to tell you about a Pear note that is on the Mid-Palette. The Pear is almost hidden so you must take the time to search it out but without it the wine would be missing a certain something for sure. Now, when you do find it, the note is more then worth the search and you will forever add the note to your list of Palate notes. So I said that we had some Melon on the nose didn't we? The Melon translates super nicely onto the Palate and really shines here as well as supports that White Peach in the tropical fruit department. So.....how about some Honeysuckle, would you like that in a tropical Sauvignon Blanc? Well, if you want it, it is in here for sure. This Honeysuckle brings with it a tropical fruit note but with just a hint of softness. Aside from this note there is an ever so slight bit of Butteryness as well yet it can't subdue that Minerality which the wine possesses and that I mentioned earlier. I feel as if I must comment a second here on the "butteryness" note This note can really make or break a Chardonnay for many people (including me) so I feel the need to say that is almost more felt then actually tasted yet it does it's job well as manages to make it's presence known and also has a super positive impact on the wine and your Palate for sure. How about Acidity there DWG? Yes, there is some nice Acidity exposed on the palate and it makes for a note which causes a break of sorts from the tropical fruit and leads the Palate for a second, in a different direction. The Acidity is I feel another much needed as I enjoyed that break and thought it was well timed as well as well presented. I also believe it added a certain sense of complexity to the wine.
  Wow, I'm done with this review and sadly the wine is almost done as well. I truly liked this wine as I really personally am partial to the hot weather expression of the grape especially while I am at the Pool or even in the Winter when I am thinking about the Pool. Now, please do not get me wrong here because I can certainly see and understand the need for both the hot weather expression and the cooler weather expression of this varietal as they are both correct yet can have some wonderful differences to them. Like me, there are people who prefer, or favor, one expression over the other. Whatever expression you like, you are correct on loving the Varietal itself. 
    So I have now completed this review and I totally liked this wine but I have a question, how come other reviewers rated it three (3) points lower then I did? I mean I don't really care too much as I understand that wine itself is very subjective but I am curious. For some reason it just seems to bug me though. I think that a lot of people forget that there are standards that a wine varietal is supposed to be judged by. Now, sometimes reviewers will base their score solely on how much they actually enjoyed a particular wine and not really on just how well the wine holds to such varietal standards as well, I don't know. Now where your preferences lie is up to you but in my opinion this wine is following along with varietal standards fairly well and I enjoyed it.
Okay, okay, I guess I got a little carried away here but at least you can rest assured that I do keep it real for you guys. If you also love a warm weather expression of the varietal then you must not miss this wine guys. Looking at the "growing season" notes from the winery I see that it indeed was a "warm spring" followed by a "late summer heat wave", this information just reinforces my feelings about the wine. Closing out this review I must tell you that for someone to choose Vineyards here and there and make a wine such as this, I am really impressed indeed and shows great talent. Without any further waiting, I will give you my rating on this wine. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 93 solid points.



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Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Black Stallion Winery, My Experience & A Favorite Wine

   Today I want to talk about the Black Stallion Winery (https://www.blackstallionwinery.com/) which is located in Napa, CA. I want to talk about the customer service experience Mrs. Desert Wine Girl and I had at the winery. I also want to talk about a particular wine. The very first time I came across a wine from the Black Stallion Winery was at a really nice restaurant that Mrs Desert Wine Girl and I were invited to so that I could do a review, this was in late 2015. At this restaurant it was suggested by my Waiter that the 2011 Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon would be a great wine to accompany my dinner. Let me tell you that the Waiter was indeed correct and the wine really rocked as it complimented the food incredibly well. The very next day I went out and purchased a couple of bottles of the wine as I had simply fallen in love with it the night before. I also of course, did a review (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-desert-wine-guy-2011-black-stallion.html) on the wine in which I rated it 93 points.

   Back in April of this year Mrs. Desert Wine Girl as well as the girls of Mirror Image Vineyard and myself took a trip to the Napa Valley to visit some family as well as the wineries. One of the wineries that was mandatory to stop at was of course, the Black Stallion Winery. Allow me to now give you a brief rundown of the experience that Mrs Desert Wine Girl and I had at the winery. First of all the winery is simply beautiful. Walking into the winery, it was bright and laid out really nicely. The winery was clean, spacious, bright and smelled wonderfully of great wine. The winery luckily was also not busy at all probably because it was the middle of a weekday. We walked in and wandered around for a while and I thought it was nice to also see the Vineyards form the Tasting Room. I almost immediately noticed as we walked to the Tasting Bar, a very prominently displayed gift set which the winery calls the "Triple Crown". The gift set consisted of the 2017 Limited Release, Sauvignon Blanc, the 2015 Limited release - Cabernet Sauvignon & the 2016 Limited release - Pinot Grigio. I thought buying this gift set was simply a no brainer, of course I did also taste each of the wines and remember being really impressed by them. Aside from the wines there were two people of note that I need to mention here in this article. The first individual is the person who poured our wines and that is Jorge Chavez. When we approached the Tasting Bar aside from me being in awe at the Triple Crown gift set we also met Jorge as he was the person performing my tasting. Jorge was just absolutely awesome and spent so much time with us, engaging us in conversation about the wine industry in general as well as of course the Black Stallion wines, the winery itself and the Indelicato Family. Jorge was super interesting as well and very down to earth.
   Now we get into the main reason why I wrote this article and that is because of the second person that I need to talk about. Not only is Jorge a perfect example of great Customer Service but so is their person in charge of Direct Sales & Wine Club Rep, Mrs. Celeste Cooper. Celeste was on one hand very professional in our communications and on the other she also came across as super cheerful and as someone who truly loved her job and dealing with people. Let me tell you how I came into contact with Celeste. One of the wines that I was poured that day at the winery and which really impressed the heck out of me is the 2016 Black Stallion - Limited Release, unfiltered Chardonnay. I did a review on this wine https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-desert-wine-guy-2016-black-stallion.html) and it scored 96 points on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale. The wine is in fact the highest rated white wine that I have ever reviewed. The only mistake that I made at the winery which turned out to be a big problem was that I only purchased one bottle of the wine and this leads me to a problem. The problem on my end cropped up after the review. That problem was I loved the wine and I wanted more. Well I did what anyone would do and got on their website but I could not find the wine, in fact I couldn't find it anywhere including at my local big box Liquor stores. Go ahead and search for yourselves. Check their the Black Stallion website and try to find the wine to purchase, keep searching because you will not find it.
The wine is unfortunately available at the winery only, or perhaps from their wine club(s), that I am not sure about. I still needed more of this wine though. Being The Desert Wine Guy I decided that I had to do something. I managed to find Celeste's name somewhere on their website and I contacted her to see if there was a way that I could get a few bottles of the wine shipped to me at my home. Celeste was suprprisengly more then happy to accommodate me and I very happily ended up purchasing three bottles of the wine from her. I have to once again say thank you so very much to Jorge and Celeste for making it a pleasure to do business with the Black Stallion Winery.
   In closing I must tell you that the Napa Valley has a lot of wineries to visit and a lot of wines to choose from as well. For some reason a lot of those wineries have the attitude that the wine consumer should be grateful that the winery actually let them in to have the honor of sampling their wines. Now to me that is a great way to have me not come back to that winery. A business (in this case a winery) should actually have the opposite mindset as the customer should be embraced and thanked for spending their time and their money at that business. The Black Stallion Winery is not one of the wineries that  treat you as if you owe them, they treat you like you are indeed a valued and appreciated customer. I highly recommend that if you are headed to the Napa Valley that you make a stop at the winery and of course buy a few bottles of their wines. Should you however not be headed to Napa anytime soon you need to get on their website and buy some incredible wine from them or find their wines at your local retail store, you will not regret it.
  One last thing before I finish this article. As far as the actual delivery of the wine goes, keep in mind that the wine is due to arrive tomorrow but I am constantly getting updates on the whole delivery process from their chosen carrier, FedEx. All around, the Indelicato Family is a top notch winery to do business with and I highly recommend their wines as well. This may be kind of weird but on The desert Wine Guy rating scale I give the Black Stallion Winery itself 100 points.

P.S. - I received the wine today and I have done a video on the unboxing and the wine which I will be working on getting posted soon. Take a look at the picture I included and look at how they placed special insulation around the wine, also included freeze packs to ensure your wines are well protected from the heat that they may encounter during shipment. All in all I am thoroughly impressed with the Black Stallion Winery and will be buying more wine from them in the near future.

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