Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2014 Trader Joe's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

   So today I want to talk about the 2014 Trader Joe's Growers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. This particular wine claims to be grown with organically grown grapes. Now whether that makes a difference in taste remains to be seen. I was at Trader Joe's (TJ)  a few weeks ago and while Mrs. Desert Wine Girl looked for Lettuce and Organic Tofu I was in the wine section. I have always liked TJ's for wine because they seem to have those wine labels that no one has ever heard of. Whether it is small producers that the big warehouse stores don't carry or wine from small countries that are just starting to come up into the wine world, they seem to excel at finding interesting wines. TJ also has their own label of wine as well. Aside from their own label they love to sell the ahhh....famous, "Two Buck Chuck". While the TJ's own label wines have come under some hard times as far as ratings I was actually unaware of this at the time I purchased our review wine. Well here is what I have to say about one of their own label wines.
   So let's get straight to this. While holding the TJ Sauvignon Blanc to a White piece of paper I didn't see too much color in the wine. The wine was almost clear like water. On the nose the wine showed a little more impressive. The bouquet was filled with loads of Pear, Nectarine and the ever so slight but nice hints of Grapefruit and Peach. A nice job on the nose here folks and I am looking forward to seeing how this will be on my Palette. For the mouth feel of this wine there is the slightly dominate presence of Grapefruit and Lemon blended with Honey Dew. There is an Alcoholic finish that some might find harsh however that is on the finish. Now, let's put this all together and see whether it fits into being a wine worth buying or not.
   When the Cork was first removed my nose was swarmed with with scent os Pear, Nectarine, Peach and Honeydew but unfortunately the Bouquet does not materialize in the mouth to the extent that you would think or expect. The Nectarine and Honeydew are there but the other fruit notes have all but disappeared. Everything that the Bouquet leads you to believe this wine to be is not translated very well onto the Palette. If you go into this wine thinking you are in for a complex tasting Sauvignon Blanc you will be disappointed. This wine is extremely dry. There also is not even a hint of Sugar which you would think might be there since there is all that fruit on the nose. If you love a very dry, very lightly fruited, Grapefruit dominate wine then you might like this wine but this doesn't seem like a wine that will have broad appeal at all. This also isn't very characteristic of the varietal of Sauvignon Blanc either. The wine is lacking any form of Pepper or Grassiness that the varietal is known for. The wine is Crisp but flat.

   Well there you have it folks, my first review of a Trader Joe's self labeled wine. Unfortunately this first review was not of a wine that I could recommend to you. Whether this is a representation of all of TJ's own label wine is hard to say and not fair since this the only review of them I have done but right now what I can say with assurance is stay away from this particular wine.

                                                                                                               The Desert Wine Guy

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Desert Wine Guy - 2014 Courtney Benham Sauvignon Blanc

Today I am going to be doing a short review of the 2014 Courtney Benham (Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery) Sauvignon Blanc from the California Central Coast. From the very beginning of this review I will lay out my feelings very simply.  I hoped for a lot more. I spent $15 for this wine and I was not impressed at all. From the beginning I will also tell you that this is a very light White. There we are, review done now back to your regular scheduled program. Alright, alright, let me get serious now.  Upon first tasting this wine I noticed that there was indeed a pretty nice note of Tart Green Apple that clearly stood out on my Palette. Unfortunately this nice note of Green Apple was followed by an also noticeable note of Alcohol that I did NOT care for (who would). 
While there are some fair notes to this wine, none of them except the Green Apple truly make you want to step up and take notice of them. To be fair, some do come close but overall they fall just short. There is a note of lemongrass very prominently and that displays itself decently but the wine is overall sort of acidic along with those notes and when blended with the Lemongrass AND the Alcohol note is also slightly on the harsh side. Another negative is that the wine finishes with a watery note on the end.  Although the other notes mentioned come along with it, the watery note is what is remembered for whatever reason. I think, as anyone would that watery notes on wine are always thought of as bad because.....well because they are. Any lover of wine is expecting a lot more than watery finish. Look, $15 isn't exactly cheap for a wine so there really is no reason that a consumer should have to deal with such a lame finish. There is some good parts to the wine such as Honeysuckle and Honey notes and yes, they are tasted BUT....they are just not enough for this wine to pull through for me. The acidity I mentioned earlier sort of tarnishes the other notes as well. You know, I am aware that you might reading this review and thinking to yourself that the wine sounds pretty nice as far as notes despite the Alcohol note and a few other drawbacks and being on the outside I might think the same thing I mean wine is subjective after all.  Let me tell you guys, please don't think that way. The acidity along with the Alcohol note and the acidity really do this wine in. Add to that the watery note which is a put off and the over done Lemongrass the wine is lacking in some areas and overpowering in others. The other notes such as Green Apple, Honeysuckle & Honey are indeed nice but nowhere enough to pull the wine past it's negatives in my book. The wine also literally leaves a bad taste in my mouth because of the previously mentioned Lemongrass that lingers. The wine could have been nice but some of the notes just hit me wrong and they put me off.
   Let me see if I can break this down in closing it a little better. Forget the overly acidic note. Forget the Alcohol note. Forget the watery finish. Forget the Lemongrass that blends with the previously mentioned notes I just mentioned, what are you left with? Honeysuckle, Honey, Tart Green Apple. Now if you simple had these notes the wine would be nice but unfortunately I just can't forget about those notes, they exist and are not all subtly. In finishing this review I will tell you that the wine try's to be liked but falls short of that goal, it doesn't try hard enough in my opinion. To astringent / acidic / overpowering. A very strange and mixed wine indeed. My initial taste of this wine I think did it in for me, that was really all I needed to know that this wine simply wasn't cutting it. While drinking some more I of course started breaking the wine down further and noticing that while my Palette was picking up more flavors there were good as well as bad. Legs (Alcohol) galore in my glass if that means anything to you but overall the wine was simply O.K. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am putting this wine at an 82 which is "Acceptable Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances".

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Desert Wine Guy - 2012 Gravelly Ford Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - Private Reserve

2012 Gravelly Ford Cabernet Sauvignon - Private Reserve
   So today I am reviewing the 2012 Gravelly Ford Vineyards ( Cabernet Sauvignon - Private Reserve that I received from the Wine of The Month Club (  I have received many wines from them and some of these wines have even gone on to be some of my favorites such as the 2013 MSH Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, which I have reviewed ( previously. The interesting thing about the wine club is that they sell small and virtually unknown wines from small vineyards around the world so a lot of times it seems as if I am the only one reviewing these particular wines which is always interesting since I don't have any idea initially what I am tasting (talk about unbiased tasting). That is the case here with this wine guys. All I could find is that O'neill Vinters and Distillers ( distributes the wine. Here is another small vineyard / winery that you can barely find any information on. I have to tell you readers before we move on that I love it when I open a wine that is from a small unknown vineyard and get to experience what I consider to be a treasure or as it is referred to in a movies as a "sleeper". I love and feel sort of privileged in a way when I have the opportunity to review an unknown wine (spoiler alert) and I find it to be a treasure. That is the case here with this wine folks. O.K, now let's get into the heart of this review and I'll tell what this wine is all about. Oh, one other item of note. I can promise you that there is a surprise waiting for you guys in this review and one that I found pretty cool and perplexing. Well folks let's go ahead and get into this review and see what I thought about the wine as well as just what that surprise at the end is.
Jeff O'Neill - Owner of O'neill Vinters & Distillers
   On the pour we are looking at a medium Burgundy in appearance with a nose of incredible Graphite that struck me immediately as simply..... AWESOME. Here is an interesting note on this wine. If you have ever read a review where a nose of wine was described as having a note of "graphite" but have never experienced it, this wine is a prime example and it is truly something that must be experienced for oneself. Prior to going on with this review I feel it is incumbent on me to remind you to keep in mind throughout the review that this note of graphite is heavenly influencing the other notes that I will be discussing. What would normally be a simple note of Blackberry for instance is no longer a simple note of Blackberry, it is a note of Blackberry that is meshing with that awesome Graphite to form a super Blackberry note that coats your tongue with smoothness of pure pleasure.  Please keep this in mind because there are a lot of wines that carry the same notes as this wine does but few that I have found that are able to move to this level of brilliance in a wine. There is the note of Tannin's as well that are still rather pleasantly noticeable and still have room to tone down some even after the few years the wine has been bottled and also as I just mentioned, definitely still at a level you would not expect with this age on the wine and from such an unknown wine.
Mark Rasmussen- Winemaker
These Tannin's are bold and straight up in your face way. With an Alcohol level of 12.5% which is not bad, this wine is maintaining itself superbly which speaks to the ability of the winemaker as well as the quality of the grapes grown. Some other notes that are invited along for the ride are a super deep Currant and Cassis that scream their presence and definitely make themselves known on your Palette throughout the wine. Whatever you do here guys, don't shy away from this wine folks. True (as you will soon see) the wine is not for the weak hearted or the medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon drinker and as we go on further with the description of the notes you will see exactly what the surprise is and what I mean. Despite all these powerful notes the wine also exhibits a sense of velvety smoothness as well that the Tannin's, Cassis & Currant can't cover up or dominate although they do surely try. Just as the Graphite note brings this wine to another level so does the smoothness of this wine in it's own way which also does indeed take the wine to another level.  You would think that the smoothness note would sort of diminish the power notes listed above especially with that Graphite that is mixed in but it doesn't it simply adds sort of a free flow on your Palette. So now is the time to present to you the surprise or dilemma that I mentioned in the opening paragraph. The note I am speaking of is that of a lovely and super deep / dark Black Pepper that reminded me way too much of a Syrah than a Cabernet Sauvignon. Yeah, there is the surprise. An unusually powerful Black Pepper that once again raises this wine to a place you would have never thought it would be. It is not normal for the varietal known as Cabernet Sauvignon to expose such a note to this extent. I'm not done though because the next note elevates this wine past the varietal standards of the Cabernet Sauvignon  to a place it is not supposed to be. The note of Black Pepper joins forces with a note of Leather as well. I feel compelled to say that if I was originally unaware of the fact that I am reviewing a Cabernet Sauvignon I would bet that I was sampling an expensive and aged varietal of Syrah here folks. If your mouth is watering right now as you read this review you should stop right here and go buy a few bottles because it gets even better and I don't think you can take it :) Not being satisfied with itself, the wine exhibits further notes this time of dark earth that is overflowing in my glass folks. This wine is certainly an in your face, bold, spicy and impressive wine. That is it, it's as simple as that.
Mark Federighi as Senior Vice President / Chief Sales Officer
   I am not sure why this wine didn't take off when it came to market perhaps the winery didn't have the financial resources to pay for advertising, I don't know but I guess this does show the power of the establishment wine magazines as well. I have read a few reviews of this wine and honestly they score around 89 points. I think that the reviewers are stuck in the fact that the wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon. I forced myself to jump out of that box as you will soon see. Another great aspect of this wine is that it is also one of those wines that I can describe as almost a meal except for the fact that it is not super rich and the richness that it does have is complimented rather nicely by the Graphite and the other notes that bombard your palette in a superior way. Your Palette is mostly distracted from the fruit forwardness that is present but is layered deep beneath. Spread evenly across your tongue there are notes of a deep and not sharp too Cranberry as well that is assisted in it's toning down of it's usual sharpness by that graphite I mentioned earlier that also appears by the way elegantly on the Palatte. I can't tell you enough folks just how impressed I am by the notes of Graphite, Leather, Tannin's, Cassis and Currant among the others. Five key notes that not just pull but forcefully and steadily push this wine away from the pack of not so much Cabernet Sauvignon lovers but Syrah lovers and wines Syrah that cost more than double what this wine does.
O'Neill winery - View #1
This wine costs $12.99 at the time it was sent if I wanted to buy more. If you love the deep note of pepper (as well as the other notes previously mentioned) in your reds (Syrah anyone) you MUST, absolutely MUST find this wine if it is available. I recommend three bottles since you will be drinking one right away.  A little more (sort of a warning actually) on the surprise I mentioned. If you love the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal and the things it is noted for, you might find it very hard to enjoy this wine and probably won't like it and if that is the case I certainly can't blame you. On the other hand, if you love the full bodied Cabernet AND the Syrah varietal you will absolutely love this wine. While this wine came from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, when it grew up it evolved and became a VERY serious Syrah type wine. I myself am lucky because I happen to love both varietals (as well as the Spanish Tempranillo) so I am lucky in that sense and extremely pleased with this wine other than the issue of it seriously not meeting varietal standards. With all this being said now I believe it is time to wrap up what has become a rather perplexing review.
O'Neill Winery - View #2
   So, we are at the end of another great wine review but as you can problem guess I have a issue. Here is a wine which is presented in reality to be a Cabernet Sauvignon yet mirroring and presenting itself as an absolutely incredible Syrah. I would pay anything to have a Sommelier review this wine blindly and be informed it is a Syrah and see what their rating was. I guarantee that particular review would bring the winery, vineyards and wine maker to the wine worlds attention. I personally have reservations rating this as a Cabernet Sauvignon because it really doesn't have the characteristics of a Cabernet on one hand yet it is an awesome Syrah on the other. Another interesting item of note here is if this wine can sustain itself like this from a small unknown winery and winemaker since 2012 and not skip a beat AND appear to still be on the upswing than you are looking at least another 10 years in proper Cellering life. I will be researching purchasing this wine because my wine cellar is screaming for this. In another life this wine would have surely been born from Syrah grapes and not from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Unfortunately that is not the case, so what to do, I am left with a problem. Here is what I have decided to do and I may be wrong for doing it but what the heck. I am going to give this wine 86 points as a Cabernet Sauvignon varietal and rate it as a Syrah instead, at 94 points on the Desert Wine Guy rating scale. I highly recommend this wine if you love Syrah but suggest you might want to think again if you are in the market for a Cabernet Sauvignon varietal.
   One last item and I feel that I have to say the following. While searching for some information on the Gravelly Ford label from O'Neill Vinters I found it impossible to uncover any information on it including the technical aspects such as if the wine is a blend or not. This was extremely frustrating as a consumer let alone a reviewer. Why a company should insist on hiding useful information on a product they make is beyond me and bothersome. Hopefully in the future this will change.

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Desert Wine Guy - My Recent Experience With The "Wine Of The Month Club"

   Today I want to just do a quick little article concerning a recent experience I had with the Wine of The Month club ( On November 19, 2016 I ordered three (3) bottles of their 2012 Supper Club Cabernet Sauvignon. One night shortly after receiving these bottles I retired upstairs to my study to do a review on the wine and just get to the point.....I was terribly disappointed. The wine was so bad that I could only take a few sips of it before heading downstairs to the Kitchen sink which was the final stop for this wine. It's not often that I cannot find a use for a wine but in this case I had to make an exception. The wine was so bad that I didn't even want to waste my time or yours in doing a review. Moving to my wine (only) Facebook ( I posted a picture of the wine and simply posted the following "Heavy note of Prune and acidic....THAT'S IT! Ultra light in glass. No need to say anything more let alone waste time on a review." A couple of days later I sent an E-Mail to the Wine of The Month Club requesting that they substitute the three bottles of Supper Club for three bottles of the 2009 Rioja Vina Eguia Tempranillo (OUTSTANDING WINE) which was the same price. So, I waited for approximately 4 days and to my disappointment I heard nothing back from them. Looking at their "Frequently Asked Questions Page" I noticed that the first question on this page was the following:

"Q. What if I get a wine that I don't like or just doesn't taste right?
A. We guarantee your satisfaction with every wine you receive from WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB. Occasionally, you may discover a bottle which has not traveled well. Tell us. We'll replace it or reimburse the purchase price."
2012 Supper Club - Cabernet Sauvignon

   Aside from this question and answer, Paul Kalemkiarian, the owner of the wine club is quoted on a Vimeo site ( as saying the following "Here is my guarantee: You never pay for a wine you do not like. If for any reason at all you don't think the wine is for you, call or email us and we will send you something you do like… no questions asked." Well that settled it I wanted three bottles of different wine. I have never had cause to check out this aspect of the wine Club of The month previously (which is a good thing) and now was as good a time as any. After waiting approximately four (4) days I decided to call them instead. Looking at their main page I noticed two (2) phone numbers and called one (1) of them at 626-303-1690. I was given the run around there by a computerized voice prompting me to punch in the directory of the person I was trying to contact, there was no other option available (yes I pressed 0). Now I was starting to become a little irritated but noticed another phone number (1-88-949-9463) and I called that one. This time a very pleasant Lady answered and I informed her of my displeasure with the wines and inquired of HER if I could substitute the three (3) bottles of the 2009 Rioja Vina Eguia Tempranillo. The employee on the other end gave what sounded like a very sincere apology for my experience with the Supper Club wine and agreed instantly to my suggestion. She informed me that the wine would go out in the Morning as their mail had left for the day and that I would get the wine Friday.
2009 Rioja Vina Eguia Tempranillo
   I have to say that while my E-Mail was unanswered I am willing due to my past experiences with the wine club to chalk this up to possibly heavy volume due to the holiday season. I have dealt with the Wine of The Month Club many times in the past and have been always very happy with their wines and customer service, that included this recent experience.  I have even written an article on the club ( If you are looking for a very reasonably priced wine club that offers great deals on mostly very good to great wines I highly recommend you give the Wine of The Month Club a shot.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy 

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Desert Wine Guy - What's all this about Resveratrol?

    Today I will take a break from reviewing wines in order to do an article on a specific aspect (actually a benefit) of Red wine in particular. I will also attempt to write this article in plain English and avoid any scientific talk in order so that you (and I) can understand what is being discussed. Today I will discuss the topic of  "Resveratrol".  I want to begin by telling you what Resveratrol is and where it comes from. Resveratrol is available in peanuts and other berries but for the purpose of this article I will limit discussion to wine grapes.  Resveratrol is a compound found in large quantities in the seeds, stems and leaves of the Red grape. Resveratrol levels are highest in the skins of Red wine grapes (Vitis Vinifera) with the varietals of Malbec and Muscadine having the highest level of all the red grapes. So what is Resveratrol claimed to be able to  do? Resveratrol is an antioxidant like Vitamin C and Vitamin E and is believed to also be an anti-inflammatory as well as provide anti cancer benefits by preventing their proliferation and mutations. It is  produced by plants in order to protect them from things such as ultraviolet light, infection, drought and inflammation.  Resveratrol assists in elimination oxidation which effects our body's cells and helps repair these cells as well. The compound is a great protector of our DNA as well. Resveratrol has also been studied for around 20 years and has also been found to protect heart the heart and circulatory system. The antioxidant is absorbed and put to use rapidly by our bodies.  Now that we have the claims that the wine and supplement industry has spouted, what do the medical doctors and independent research say?
    In the November 2011 issue of Cell Metabolism ( it was shown that taking 150 mg of  Resveratrol once a day for 30 days significantly lowered mean Systolic (top number) and arterial blood pressure. Systolic by the way is the amount of pressure in your arteries during contraction of your heart muscle. The study also showed a lowering of blood sugar and insulin concentration  just to name a few benefits. Oregon State University also did a large study ( of Resveratrol that showed major benefits in taking the supplement.CBS News also did a report  ( on Resveratrol that discussed a Harvard Medical School report establishing the compound provides anti-aging benefits. From what I have researched there isn't much if any evidence that Resveratrol does not have significant benefits to it.

   It is now time to wrap this short little article up. I have learned all that I feel that I need to know about the antioxidant know as Resveratrol to in my mind , make a decision as to whether or not I feel it is a supplement I will be adding to my daily routine. As far as I am concerned the health benefits are amazing and not only will I be continuing (yes I said continuing) to take the supplement. I have decided through my research that I will up my dosage from 100 mg a day to 500 a day.  I purchase all my vitamins from Vitamin World ( and no, I get NOTHING from the company for this plug. I really do purchase from them regularly.

I hope you have enjoyed this article but before I go I feel that I have to put the following out there. I am not a Doctor and I am not giving any medical advice to you. Before deciding to take or not take this supplement I recommend that you see your Doctor FIRST.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Desert Wine Guy - Iron Gate Winery - 2013 Instant Gratification Chardonnay

   Before starting out here On my review of the 2013 Instant Gratification Chardonnay I feel that I have to suggest to you that this particular wine should be left off of the "must impress list". This wine is simply not  a wine that I would present to anyone as a serious attempt at trying to impress them with a quality Chardonnay. Simply said, the amount of carbonation present throughout the win is really a distraction to the Palatte, it reminds me of a wine cooler in that sense but without the overwhelming sugar. One other drawback to this wine is the fact that you must wait almost a minute  after pouring before you can taste this wine due to the overwhelming fault of that carbonation and even then the carbonation is sensed as an intruding tingle and never really seems to go away. I am totally put off by these two factors and I also don't think I can bring myself to put these factors factors aside. Now it is very unusual that I start off a review with the major negative to the very wine that I am reviewing but in this case I could not help it. With that being said here is my review.
Iron Gate Winery Barrel Room
   Today we are going to review the 2013 Instant Gratification Chardonnay from I.G Winery in Cedar City, Utah ( This wine is made from grapes grown on the Central Coast AVA of California. So....what can I say about this wine? Well.....let's get into into this review real quickly because it will be a rather short review indeed.  On the opening of this wine there is a large note of carbonation. Both in the glass and on the Palatte this carbonation is at the least moderately annoying and at the most at offensive levels. When I first tasted the wine I remember almost being jolted back with surprise because the carbonation was that noticable. Somewhere along the wine making process there was either a second fermentation or perhaps the wine maker ran into what is known as "stuck fermentation". Sometimes during the making of the Chardonnay varietal the second fermentation process is used in order to bring about a softer, butter like note. I do not know. What I do know is that the amount of carbonation in this wine did it in in my book. The wine does have some nice qualities however to it so let's now move into that. There is a semi nice, semi dry note of Kiwi. I thought the note was nice on one hand yet slightly subdued on the other hand. As an opening note it did it's job and brought you along for what was to follow. The Kiwi was followed up with a nice and rather lively Pear note which was developed rather nicely and is rather unusual for a Chardonnay grown in a cooler climate. Both the Kiwi and the Pear notes compliment one another nicely and present themselves on the Palatte with confidence.  What is missing? Theirs no "buttery" mouth feel whatsoever present in the wine that would have possibly cut the carbonation to an acceptable extent or been the reason for the secondary fermentation.  There are however fairly simple yet sufficient notes of Peach and melon notable which is uncharacteristic of Chardonnay grown in cooler climate (such as the California Coast) the grapes were grown in. A slight higher note of Alcohol (14.5%) is also exhibited on the Palatte but to my surprise it is a note that works to attempt to bring this wine (almost) into balance. Look folks, I don't really feel that bombing this wine is in order. I just really wish that the carbonation was not as prominent, offensive and did not always linger in my mouth that is all.The wine did have saving graces in the levels of notes listed but that darn carbonation just killed it in my book.
Iron Gate Bed & Breakfast

   So it is now time. Time to wrap this review up and put this information all together for you. Yes, this review was fairly short but I believe that I have said all that there is to say about this simply mediocre wine. I just did not feel inspired and in that aspect this wine also failed. Do my thoughts of not presenting this to someone you want to impress still stand? In a simple answer, yes, you bet they do. If you like carbonation that persists in your wines or distracts from the rest of the wine than you will indeed like / love this wine. If you however are like the folks I know, that carbonation note will not sit well with you. Are there redeeming qualities? The simple answer as you can probably guess depends on what qualities you are talking about having to about redeem this wine with. If you want me to redeem the wine into the "Very Good - 86-89 - Has character, Well balanced, & distinctive" rating then you will have to keep on wanting because that is not going to happen. If you are talking about a rating of a wine that I would rate an "83-85 - Fairly drinkable, Semi-distinctive, Does not hold to varietal standards, Might have some undesirable notes that prohibit elevation to the next rating" than you are in line with me. On The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale I am placing this wine at an 85. As a pool wine or a wine that is for friends who are not real knowledgeable on the subject of wine or like what I would call "so so" wine this will fit the bill. If you are presenting this as a Chardonnay to people who know anything about Chardonnay or the wine making process I would do some more searching folks because this is not the wine.
Iron Gate Winery Entrabce

   One last item here guys. I have reviewed an I.G wine previously ( giving it a rating of 90 points so Doug does make some rather nice wines but I feel that this is not one of them. Aside from the NORMALLY decent wine that Doug makes there are other reasons to visit the winery and Cedar City, Utah. When you do visit the winery go ahead and sit outside at the tables and enjoy the wine they offer. While you are sitting at the tables you will also notice the wonderful Apple Tree that sits right along side the Bed & Breakfast on the property. I hope it is Apple season when you go because the Apple Tree grows Apples that will blow you away. The apples will also be a distraction should you bring your children since Utah has what is known as the "Zion Curtain" ( law which prohibits anyone under 21 from watching Alcohol poured. No one under 21 is allowed in the winery.  By the way right across the campus of Southern Utah University (which is literally 1 block away) holds the annual Shakespeare Festival ( as well as other theater events that is unbelievable to experience.

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy 



Friday, November 25, 2016

The Desert Wine Guy - 2015 "Little Black Dress" Cabernet Sauvignon

   Hello folks and welcome back to my wine blog. I want to start off by by refreshing you guys on what I am all about. "This blog is dedicated not only of course to wine but to wine that someone from a middle class point of view would be interested in." Today of course is no exception. Today I will be discussing a wine that sells for around $8 at your local store, now THAT'S middle class I would say. Approximately two weeks ago I received an E-Mail from Stephanie Fray of Conundrum Marketing ( inquiring if I would be interested in sampling some of the varietals from Little Black Dress wines ( I responded back letting her know that I was very interested and would like to taste both the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the 2015 Chardonnay varietals. Approximately two weeks later I received a package in the mail with my wines of choice. On my next days off of work I enlisted the videography skills of Mrs. Desert Wine Girl and had a short YouTube video produced (
Gabrielle Bonheur - Coco Chanel
where I introduced the wines and talk a little bit about them. A little research on the company taught me that LBD is a wine label marketed toward Ladies. Simply the mere name of the company should have told me that but I guess I am a little slow sometimes :) It is a good thing that I have a mystery (Female) wine reviewer on staff who will describe her thoughts concerning this wine. Let me go on now and talk a little more about LBD themselves and their marketing strategy in reference to this label of wines. 
   Little Black Dress (LBD) is actually a label that is owned  by (parent company) Excelsior Wine Company ( and backed by Concha y Toro ( The marketing strategy of LBD is rather simple and  gears their label and therefore their wine toward Women which to me is a great idea. I think that done correctly this is a market that is looking to be filled. Doing the research and investigation into this strategy they are right on track to accomplish this goal.  It appears that research shows that a wine marketed toward Women is usually geared toward the 21-34 year old age group. I am unaware of whether there is a specific age group that LBD itself is geared for but I see no reason why it would be any different. According to research 26% of  Women say that they like to purchase a wine that is specifically geared toward them.  LBD appropriately hit the shelves in 2006 to mark the 80th anniversary of the introduction of its iconic namesake, Coco Chanel’s (Bagrielle Bonheur) Little Black Dress. Mrs. Bonheur is more famously known for her perfume line of Chanel NO. 5.
Coco Chanel - 1920
   Well now that we have gone a little bit into the company and it's marketing strategy's lets move into the actual review of this Cabernet Sauvignon. I will now turn this over to the "mystery" reviewer for her thoughts on this wine. Good evening everyone. Before you ask the answer is yes, I actually do have a little black dress that is reserved for the times I feel spontaneous myself. Now that I have set your mind at ease as to my qualifications to rate a Little Black Dress I wish to thank The Desert Wine Guy for offering me the opportunity to taste this wine and tell you what I think about it seeing that I have never reviewed a wine before. So the first thing of interest is that LBD still maintains the
closure of a cork on both the red and white wines (even in the white varietals) and I like that. It seems that a lot of inexpensive wines both red as well as white are going away from cork and to screw caps. Both the Desert Wine Guy and I are in agreement here that this is a negative. As for the actual wine itself the first thing I tasted is a taste of Bing Cherry, you know like the cherries you buy at the supermarket when you go shopping. This was like one of those cherries but the ones the ones that are almost kind of like have one more day before they are inedible. This is a different taste from what most would call "fresh" cherries but when it comes to wine, a taste that is superior in my book. So, you say this wine is $9? What I say is good for me because my girlfriends and I will be buying more once I introduce them to this wine. This wine is not what I would consider a "light" Cabernet by any means ALMOST on the medium tasting side. Moving on with the taste of this wine you will notice that there is almost a slight bit of acidity and (believe it or not) some Tannin's that I felt on my
tongue. I know huh? I don't know about you guys guys I cook for the kids a lot and I happen to love Green Pepper and there is a taste of that in my wine along with the super tasting Cassis which kind a sort a really add to the depth of the wine, and yes there is indeed depth to this $9 wine. Girls, let me tell you something. If you have a last minute party or any party really that your friend(s) have just invited you to and you and the girls are "warming up" for the night than this is the wine. A couple of bottles of this wine (around $20 with tax) and my girls and I are set on a good note for the night.  There is a taste of a semi bright tasting cherry, nowhere near as deep as the first cherry that I was talking about but at the same time certainly not a bright, overbearing cherry. I really liked that the sides of my pretty wine glass I was drinking this wine from was just enveloped by this wine and that the sides of glass spread the wine evenly and I thought what wonderful eye candy indeed. I noticed that when I first looked at the wine when I poured it the wine was so pretty but yet very light at the same time. I think that my girlfriends and I could drink this wine for a while as we get dressed and finalize plans while still being able to have a few more drinks at the club
without any worries. To my friends and I this is important because the last thing we want to do is be out of control while trying to have fun. You know girls, on one hand there is the taste of a really deep supermarket cherry that you can only get at the very best organic type store but also seems to be combined with a Brown sugar or Molasses taste which truly mixes it up radically. You know what I also like? I sent a picture of this wine to my best girlfriend and asked her what she thought of just the bottle. She text me back that the "Little Black Dress" name brought memories of what she called a special night between a guy friend of hers and a night (of course) that she actually DID wear that "little black dress" which she never wore again after that night. She also said (after I described the wine) that we had to "warm up" with a few bottles of this wine this Friday. I concur with my friend. Well I think that I did the best that I can do for my first time so I am going to pass the torch to The Desert Wine Guy to finish this off. I really enjoyed the opportunity to do this and yes, I will be buying the wine for this Friday so my girls and I can start off our Friday in style. I also want to thank him for the crash course in wine and terminology used for wine. 
   Well I want to thank the "mystery" writer for her input and for doing this review. If you guys like her writing style please do let me know and I can invite her back. I guess there are times when a Ladies perspective can be more fitting for my audience especially on wine geared toward the Ladies. As far as the wine goes now I must say that I generally agree with her. I think that the cherry note is indeed one of an overripe Bing cherry and of one that is of an almost overdue and time to eat cherry. A deep and yes Molasses type sugar is here and presents itself rather nicely. A deep Cabernet I would not say it is but a light Cabernet it isn't either. This wine does fit the bill rather nicely for kind of a mix of people who are either caught in between a "real" Cabernet and one of not a beginners Cabernet but moderately advanced Cabernet lovers Cabernet Sauvignon. As I am sure you already know, the holidays are almost upon us and with that there are invites to party's, some to dress up in a little black dress for and some to "come as you are" but to me this wine is simply perfect for both and crosses over extremely well. I would differ from our "mystery" writer in the fact that in my opinion that I thought the Alcohol content was initially noted (not negatively) and therefore is certainly capable of sneaking up on you while you are putting on that little black dress so do be careful because the Alcohol content is about average in this wine.
   O.K everyone it is time to wrap this review up now. The very first item of business in the closing is the same as the very first item in the initial part of the review and that is thanking Mrs. Stephanie Fray of Conundrum Marketing. Her contacting me and sending me and my staff this wine to sample really introduced me to a red that I will definitely buy (or have bought for me :) While not a wine that I think will age for more than 5 more tears it is a wine that will certainly surprise any wine lover, both Ladies and guys who is expecting a light wine from looking at the label as well as any real Cabernet  lover who enjoys a fairly decent and medium bodied Cab. I commend also the Excelsior Wine Company,  Concha y Toro, Fetzer vineyards and of course Conundrum Marketing for going the marketing route they did and targeting what appears to be the young to middle aged female professional market. Mrs. Fray I believe that your sense of marketing is right on here and that the direction you are headed with this wine is where you need to be. Now, while our "mystery" writer didn't place a rating on this wine I most definitely will. Before I do though I want to let you know and understand. This wine does indeed crossover between a true medium bodied Cabernet and is very serious an slightly fruit forward but yet powerful nonetheless Cabernet Sauvignon. So......with all this being said now, I am very happily placing this wine at 91 points on The Desert Wine Guy point rating scale.   

                                                                                                          The Desert Wine Guy