Tuesday, July 26, 2022

READY TO POST - Meiomi, Pinot Noir (Non-Vintage)

 

 

Meiomi, Pinot Noir (Non-Vintage)
     So I was doing a lot of work outside in the garden today and I asked Mrs. Desert Wine Girl if she would order me a bottle of Pinot Noir and have it delivered to the house. Before she even ordered, I just knew the wine she was going to get as it is pushed heavily by the wine store I normally order from. Since I was outside anyway, I ended up meeting the person delivering the wine when she pulled in. When I pulled the wine out of the bag I was not surprised that I was indeed correct, it was indeed the wine I expected. I have actually never tried any wine from this particular winery before and the reason is that I just get a bad feeling whenever I see the bottle. I get a gut feeling that I really will not enjoy what is inside the bottle. I know that is weird but....it's just a gut feeling I have and I usually go with my gut. Well anyway, let's get into this review and see if my gut is right.
Pinot Noir Grapes Hanging On The Vine
   Today I am going to be reviewing the non-vintage, Meiomi, Pinot Noir. I paid $18 for this wine and it is screw cap sealed. The alcohol percentage of the wine comes in at 13.7%
   Taking a look at the label now, yeah....still bad feelings galore. I mean, the label is nice and does represent the liquid inside as a nice red wine don't get me wrong, but I just can't shake the feeling that the wine inside is ......bad. Other then that feeling, the label does work very nicely so no complaints here.
   As far as the nose of the wine goes, I am getting notes of richness and mushroom with some slight sweet cherry as well.
   Now....onto the palate. As I taste the wine I get a sweet note, a really big sweet note. Intermixed with that very sweet note is one of mushroom which is to be expected as this is one of the notes Pinot Noir is known for. Did I mention that the wine is very sweet? Yeah, it is sweet. There is a note of cherry and what tastes like prune here as well and they don't help the wine do anything positive. By the way, these two notes are both overwhelmed by that constant, terrible sweetness and that prune note is really weird to be tasting here. Adding to all of this, the wine tastes as if it actually has a slight viscosity of sorts to it and yeah...... Anyway guys, I have tasted enough and I will go ahead and let you know that this so called Pinot Noir is a big mess. I am getting nothing positive here to talk about as the wine is also extremely limited in the notes it throws out. Having said this, I can't go on guys, I am sorry. I will see you in the next paragraph where I will wrap this short review up.
Pinot Noir Tasting Profile
   Okay so....guys....I really did try to be non biased with the tasting of this wine. I mean I even let two other people taste it in my home and they both agreed with me that the wine sucks, it was disgusting! Guys, this wine cost 18 dollars, that's 18 dollars for a non-vintage Pinot Noir! I think that I would have enjoyed Barefoot more then this wine and it is a heck of a lot cheaper. I really did expect a lot more from this wine but what I got was a heck of a lot less then I could ever imaging. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am rating this wine a "sink cleaner". I am now going to take the bottle and dump the liquid down the drain but not the sink as that would be too good for it. This wine is headed down the toilet drain. This is the worst wine that I have ever tasted.


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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Desert WIne Guy - 2019 Crestwood Barrel Riesling

 

2019 Crestwood Barrel Riesling

    What did I do today? Well, I had the pleasure (not) of going to Home Depot and dealing with a very happy (once again, not) cashier. Oh what a joy this women was to ......talk to (at). She was so much of a joy that when I left the store I realized ya know, it really is true, you do get the best answers talking to yourself. Why am I here in the first place you ask? Ya see, there I was, on my knees in the garden with sweat dripping down on top of my sweat (it was humid), with mud and soil all over my hands and up to my elbows. Every once and a while, I would I would have the pleasure of looking up to see that there were some beautiful rain clouds headed my way. Unfortunately, lately that is all I have been seeing in my part of Freedom Florida, beautiful clouds as the rain has been avoiding my area. Suddenly, what seemed out of nowhere, I realized that I was about to run out of drip irrigation heads and I needed them. In a hastily made decision, off to the computer I went, to re-buy a pack of 100 for $19 as well as a few other connectors and miscellaneous irrigation items.

Mosel Germany Riesling Wine
About five minutes later I realized that I could not (didn't want to) wait the 3 days it would take to get them so, what to do now? Take a twenty minute drive over to the dreaded Home Depot, that is what to do. Guys, $30 for 20 drip heads folks, yes, that's right, $30 for 20 as opposed to $19 for 100 on Amazon. Remember, I needed (wanted) these drip heads now and so I had no choice but to cancel the Amazon order of the same product which is made in the same country (China) and to not only deal with overpaying for the same product at Home Depot but had to deal with the fact that I couldn't even support an American business. Luckily, as a consolation, I decided to make myself feel better and review a Riesling. Would this wine brighten my day? That's a good question, so let's see just how this worked out for me.
   Today I am reviewing the 2019 Crestwood Barrel Riesling which is from the Columbia Valley in Washington State. I bought this wine at Aldi's and paid $7.99 for it. The wine is sealed with a cork and comes in at 13% alcohol.
   Looking at the label now, I actually like it. Where the ram on the label came from I don't know but I think the graphics were well done and really seems to fit the rest of the label nicely. I like the size as well as the font for "Crestwood" as well as all the other fonts of the other words. The Script used on the wines varietal is a nice touch as well and are well placed.
Riesling Grapes on The Vine
   Let's discuss the bouquet of this Riesling now. Honeydew and honeysuckle.....yep, that is definitely what I am picking up here. While there is a limited bouquet display, I can tell you that I am getting the impression that this is gong to be a very tropical and fruit forward white wine with a decent amount of sweetness to it as well.
   As I get to the palate now, I need to let you know that those bouquet notes I picked up definitely transfer over here and they are as expected, upfront and not shy about being there either. Those two notes also bring a super juicy tropicalness to the wine here on the palate and it turns out that juicy tropicalness is what this wine is indeed all about. At first, the wine left me with almost a slight palate feel of almost a peach/orange blossom type, sweetish nectar palate perception as it spread out across my tongue. In the beginning, I kind of sat back in my chair for a second as I really had to take this in because I was waiting (hoping) for the rest of the wine to "kick in". I have to admit, I did find it sort of.....weird and it kind of threw me off for a second or two. Luckily, the wine continued on and that nectar perception kind of lessened up a good bit and the rest of the wine did indeed, kick in. The wine continued to show itself off by presenting a unique note of a quick zippiness of sorts which itself lasted about two seconds and honestly again really caught my attention as well as I found it to be a sort of momentary shift, a distraction of sorts away from just tropicalness and into another direction. The wine wasn't done though as almost immediately and in keeping with the tropical theme, that peach note came on again only without the sense of nectar and seemed to latch onto that zippiness and wow guys, they get along so well. Have no fear folks as the wine was not harmed in any way by the abundance of a peach note. Another note that is intermixed here but also makes its presence known is that of orange blossom.
Riesling Palate Characteristics
I know I mentioned a combo type note earlier but this is different because the nectar note had clearly faded to a good extent which allowed both the peach and orange blossom note to stand on their own and really shine through. This standalone peach is a note which was almost hidden now and took a second to identify, at least for me anyway as I wasn't expecting it ti come back as it did. Once you do pick it up though, you see how it influences the rest of the wine in a subtle type of way. Now I have to tell you about a complaint I have with the wine and that complaint is that it is a bit over the top as far as sweetness goes. That nectar note was my first warning and I was alarmed a bit as it left a sweetness which spread across the wine and that did cause me some concern that I was never really quite able to overlook. Okay, so, Coming along next and at the same presentation level is a green apple note which is light yet certainly enough to be tasted and appreciated. Somewhere in this mix is some Meyer Lemon but you really have to sit back and investigate what you are tasting which I am not sure the average consumer (not my wine guys) will want to do. I know I was prompted to look into this note as it really bothered me that I couldn't at first get it. While it took me some thought, it was worth it. Following all of this up is a bit of nectarine which comes in at the same time as that apple. This is also a note that is ever so slightly more able to be picked up for the inquisitive wine drinker but nonetheless seems to make its mark here on the wine as well. Okay guys, you now have this review as it is indeed completed. Let's move onto the conclusion paragraph and wrap it all up.
Your Glass Being Poured
   Now that we are at the conclusion paragraph I will tell you that I wish the wine had a tad less sweetness to it. This sweetness certainly does have to be reflected in the final score this wine receives. As a positive, a big positive, I hope that I have convinced you that this is the ultimate Summer pool wine because it definitely is. I don't think there will be anyone who will complain about drinking this wine, wherever they are and whatever stage of wine exploration they may currently be in. If you gave me a glass of this at a pool I would be very happy. I bet you could even pass this wine off as way more expensive then it is just be careful you don't have any wine "experts" floating around on a raft when you do that :) On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am giving this wine 92 points.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Desert Wine Guy - 2020 Clean Slate, Riesling

 

2020 Clean Slate, Riesling

     Today it is a beautiful 84 degrees here in "Freedom" Central Florida and all I can quite honestly think about is the pool and of course, this wine here in front of me :) While you guys may find it hard to believe me when I say this, I normally don't find the humidity here in Central Florida to be all that crazy or overwhelming. I did say normally right? Besides when it comes to the garden at least, I always believe and say, "if you're not sweating, your not in the garden" and since I love being in the garden, sweating is good :) Today however, I do have to admit, it does feel a bit rough out here for some reason but that's okay because today is a well deserved day off from the garden and so staying "cool" and "clean" are the words of the day. With the weather being what it is, what better wine to enjoy then what will hopefully be a nice Riesling? While I usually don't review Rieslings, it doesn't mean I don't enjoy them as I certainly do. I normally stay away from the varietal because I always feel as if I am drinking my sugar rather then eating it. As a rule I stay away from sugar anyway and those of you who feel the same way can probably understand where I am coming from here. Besides, if I was going to have some sugar, I would rather have a piece of chocolate cake then a couple of glasses of wine. Hopefully this wine will at least be good and therefore be some consultation for my indulgence. As a final note here, I don't exactly know why but I am really excited to taste this wine for some reason so let's go ahead now and see exactly how the wine is as I get into this review.

Dominik Meyer - Winemaker
   Today I am going to be taking a look at the 2020 Clean Slate, Riesling (https://cleanslatewine.com/). This is a wine from the Mosel River Valley of Germany and was bought at a regional big box liquor store here in Florida costing me $10.99. The bottle was sealed with a screw cap and it comes in at 11% alcohol. As far as the producer of this wine goes, I can't find anything. What I have found is that an importer named The Winebow Group (https://www.winebow.com/) is responsible for bringing the wine into America. The winemaker for this wine is Dominik Meyer and the wine is 100% Riesling and was aged for 4 months on the grape skins.
   Taking a look at the label on this bottle now, I totally get it. I mean, it is a Riesling and for whatever reason, I don't believe it is a varietal to be taken too seriously. I do like the thin long label design as for some reason as it just goes well with the varietal. I also totally get the drawing of the Slate plates located under the crust of the Earth that represent the soil the grapes were grown in, nice job here.
   Let's talk about the wines bouquet now for a few minutes. Green Apple and kiwi are certainly present here on the nose and are not shy in their presentation. A gravely/Slate note is another note that I am picking up here (more reason to love the label) and I am completely in love with this note guys, like really. Before I move on, I have to ask, have you ever smelled something and even though you have never tasted that something (in this case Slate), you already know (or can imagine) what it tastes like? For those of you new to wine if you haven't already experienced this, you will very quickly see what I mean.
For those of you who have been into wine for a bit, I know you already get it. Next up is a White Peach note which comes along and adds a sense of what might very well be a dry, fruity zippiness to the wine yet doesn't appear as if it will be challenging for dominance however it does appear as if it is still going to be effective in adding it's two cents into the overall mix of things.
   It is indeed Palate time now. While the bouquet can be amazing (and it is here), what good is it if the wine doesn't taste good? As with the nose, the wine does put out both Green Apple and kiwi here on the palate and these two notes come together as one deliciously presented juicy note. Actually, as I take another sip I want to tell you that at least one great thing about this wine is that the palate is just swarmed by everything all at once which is awesome if you ask me because in the end, it works out incredibly well. As you taste the wine I found that my mouth didn't have time to dwell on any one note in particular as there are many and they come fast. Let me go back for a second and talk about those two notes that I first mentioned with the first one being that Green Apple. This apple is fresh....bright ....juicy and like....really super nice without being too over the top. Now the kiwi is presented in the same way and helps in making this wine robust and maintaining that tropicalness that this wine is exhibiting to a great extent. There is something that I need to tell you now. Yes, I know we are early into the review but I feel compelled to let you guys know if you haven't guessed already and that is, I am already highly impressed with this wine guys. Alright, moving on now, there is some incredibly nice minerality (Slate anyone) expressed towards the mid-palate of this wine and it really causes a nice type of a break from the tropicalness of the wine and the other awesome notes, this is not your average, everyday Riesling.
This minerality is nice enough to bring a bit of a dryness along with it as well which I found welcoming. So guys, I have to now let you know that I am not only impressed with the wine now, but I am indeed in love with the wine. Okay, so I am not done here. Guys, how about a Riesling with a spice to it? Would that be something that strikes your interest? If you answered yes then you need to read on.The wine exhibits an amazing spice to it that will not take a back seat to any fruit note. I am not talking about a pepper spice of course but rather one that I really can't find the words for. What this spice brings with it is a sort of "what was that" type effect. The spice and the minerality might as well have been brought up together because they just connect with one another flawlessly. Is spice in a Riesling a good thing or a bad thing you might ask? As you can probably guess, at least in this particular wine, I think it is a great thing. Keep in mind that this spice isn't trying to dominate, only trying to keep up with some of its lighter note friends. Let me go ahead and throw in some lemon which doesn't have it's twang thankfully so the odds of it tweaking the wine towards any sharpness is not good. This lemon is intermixed with everything else and is perfectly presented here guys, seriously. I am getting a hint of apricot here as well but it is an underlying bit. Underlying or not though, the apricot is tasted and again, I really enjoyed it being there for sure. I think what else is really nice here is that  the Slate terrain the grapes were grown in really leaves its mark here on my palate. This Slate is what I think adds a mineral note onto the palate that I mentioned earlier and as it is tasted it is a nice slight change of direction for the wine and adds a lot of complexity to it as well. Acidity in the wine is just perfect guys and is yet another note which  adds a lot to the wine. I am kind of tempted to say that without this wonderful acidity, this wine be missing a certain something. Acidity is super important in any wine folks and this wine meets that need nicely. If you think that I am done here, think again because next up is some White Peach that transfers over from the nose and again here, it's not fighting to dominate but is simply happily letting you know it is here.
Now with all this tropical fruit being present, I would certainly be remiss if I didn't mention that there is some sweetness to the wine, especially at 11% alcohol. Amazingly, on one hand, the nice crisp sweetness of the wine takes a back seat here yet at the same time, it is a note that you will pick up and actually appreciate. To me, there is the perfect combination of sweetness and other wonderful notes, with those wonderful notes certainly winning out over the sweetness. Keep in mind, this is a low alcohol Riesling and by its very nature, there is some sugar left in it. To me, this is the perfect compromise for those who both enjoy a semi-sweet Riesling and those who do not. So, that is it, this review is done so let's get to the conclusion paragraph and wrap it all up.
   As I go to close out this review, I have to just come straight out and say it. This is the best Riesling that I have ever had! Now, admittedly, I don't have a ton of experience with the varietal but I challenge you to tell of a Riesling that you have enjoyed more then this one once you taste it. The wine was super fresh and juicy. Super vibrant, flavorful and presented a surprise of spice as well. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am giving this wine 94 points. Guys, at $10.99, you have no excuse not to buy three bottles. I promise you that with the pool weather coming you won't regret it.

                                                                                                                              The Desert Wine Guy

 

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

2015 BV Tapestry, Cabernet Sauvignon

 

2015 BV Tapestry, Cabernet Sauvignon

     Keeping a promise is always a good thing. I made a promise in my last review that I was goint to be making some changes to this wine blog. While it will of course remain about wine, I did promise to incorporate some higher priced wines more frequently. Why the changes? You might ask. Well I very simply felt that they would help the channel and invite more of a diverse audience. For years I have targeted the audience that basically represented me, the average wine drinker and that was it. Today I begin a new era of targeting both the average wine drinker as well as the wine drinker that is slightly above that bracket. I have learned a lot about wine and the industry in the few years I have been doing this Desert Wine Guy thing and I hope you guys have as well with what I share. I think that we deserve to break out of the box we have many times, placed ourselves in. Okay then....let's see what I have to start off this new era of The Desert Wine Guy with.
   Today I will be taking a look at the 2015 BV Tapestry, Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine cost me a whopping $70 and its alcohol content also comes in at a whopping 15.2%. The wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot and is aged in a mix of French, American and Hungarian Oak (60% new) for 22 months. So, there I was visiting one of my daughters in Wyoming when her husband and I decided to check out the local big box (ahh yeah, anyway) liquor store which was named Town & Country. While I was there I of course just had to check out some wine that is made in the state but I also had to see what I could find in the Napa end of the wine country as well.

While looking around, I came across this wine and as the BV winery is one of my favorite wineries, and the fact that I had never seen this label before, I had to buy a bottle. Of course I did hear about it from Mrs. Desert Girl for spending so much money, in the end however, it was worth the punishment I received :)
   Let's move now to the label on this wine bottle. Like....wow! Like....beautiful. Guys, take a look at the label for yourselves and tell me what you think. Does the word "prestigious" come to mind? Perhaps the thought of a classic Cabernet Sauvignon served at a state dinner where the President (my President) would be seated next to other heads of state comes to mind? Guys, I am really impressed at whomever is responsible for this wine labels creation as major thought and talent went into it for sure.
   As far as the wines bouquet goes, black cherry and a brooding darkness of sorts comes across initially. There is a sense of a light plushness as well that comes lumbering through and together these notes are really nice.
   On to the palate I go now and I don't mind letting you know that I am really excited to taste this wine as it is after all a BV Cab and certainly represents a highly respected winery from the Napa Valley. Here goes the first sip. Okay...so...first up is a big time and dominate note of briary blackberry which is intermixed with a black luxurious note. It is certainly a presentation that is on the darker side and not (thankful) on the brighter and fruitier side as this after all is supposed to be a serious Cabernet. At first, I was like "wait, what is that I am tasting"? The wine is busy and once I had it all figured out (it took a while) I was really pleased with myself as I was initially banging my head against the wall trying to nail it down. I want you guys to know that there is a bit of bright fruit presented here but don't expect that fruit to dominate the palate or, even come close as the dark notes surround it and dictate just how much this bright fruit can put on display.
Lisa Peju (Left) & Winemaker, Sara Fowler
There is a bit of cherry that tries to come forth and it does a fairly good job of that but it also runs head long into blackberry which is still in the end, controlling by a fairly good bit. Tannins, tannins in the wine are certainly noted and while I can't say they were mostly in the background, they were certainly enjoyed. These tannins were not overboard and do show that the wine can go on for a few more years without any worries of the wine being past its time. That 60% new oak the wine sat in for almost two years is noted as well and if that has you shying away from the wine, you should just keep on going because this is not the wine for you. There is a dark depth and dark richness to this wine and when you add the tannins on top of all that, those of you looking for a Cupcake or Yellow Tail version of the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal need to truly look elsewhere and quickly. I think acidity really is a major component of this wine and really helps in making it what it is in the end. What is it in the end? Well, it is to early to tell you that now isn't it :) The acidity in this wine is definitely on the forward side but yet not crazy in any way. By the way, what is a great wine without acidity anyway? The answer to that question by the way is, nothing. If there ever were a red wine that deserved the term "concentrated" this would certainly be that wine. As I sat back and thought about what I am tasting, the term "concentrated" really hit the mark and I think it will with you as well. Let me move on now with the fruit note of blueberry but, before I go on, please know that this blueberry is not the cheap blueberry of a sweet "Cupcake" type wine (?) that some (not you) might be use to.
This blueberry is also another note which is held under deep control as I feel it needs to be in every red wine. This blueberry is almost a mid-palate note and a well positioned note at that. The question here is does this blueberry make a positive impact on the wine. The answer is oh yes, it does. To me, there is a very fine line between an effective blueberry note and a note that brings a wine in the jammy territory and this particular blueberry note is good, avoiding any jammy note worries. What about the alcohol in the wine, is it tasted? Ya know...while it is not tasted, it....feels noted but not in a burn way. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it as I believe it does the wine well. I don't believe that I have ever tasted a wine where the alcohol in it actually worked for the betterment of the wine rather then either remain neutral or work to the detriment of it. How about a nice mocha note? How would that sound here? Well folks, you want it, the wine delivers it. Yummy, that is all I can say when it comes to this note. Well....okay, I'll say more if you insist. This mocha seems to come about midway between the opening and the mid-palate and that is good because this is where it works wonderfully. Not too light and not too deep, this mocha note can't be missed and to me, keeps me thinking that this is a seriously well made, Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet spice, oh boy is there a spice kick to this wine. Don't get scared with that word "sweet" as this note goes amazingly well with everything else the wine is throwing out and for the most part, it works. With this wine though, I have to recommend you chill it just a slight bit as the spice can be considered to be ever so slightly over the top. Now keep in mind that I drink red wine at room temperature, I do not put it in the fridge at all. I have always enjoyed my reds like this and have no intentions of changing anything (except if drinking this wine again). Also know that I keep my house at 70 degrees so heat itself is not an issue :)
Tony & Herta Peju
If you chill the wine just a bit, I am sure that spice will be adequately subdued. Guys, that is it, this review is over and it is therefore time to get to the conclusion paragraph to wrap it all up. I will see you there.
   So, here we are, at the end of this admittedly rather long review. All I am craving right now is a very serious steak. I'm talking a steak from the finest, grass fed, totally organic cow that has ever been raised. That would compliment this wine just perfectly. This is an old school, Bordeaux type Cab and nothing less. The words seriousness and ominous are well suited as the first two that best describe what I have just tasted. If you enjoy an old fashioned Cabernet Sauvignon, I highly recommend you buy a couple of bottles of this wine because you will drink the first one and be very sorry you can't get hold of another one for the cellar. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am very happily giving this wine 94 points. Last point here. Was the wine worth $70? My answer is, absolutely it was.

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Monday, February 14, 2022

The Desert Wine Guy - 2020 Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay

 

2020 Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay
  
   Don't you just hate it when you find out that you overpaid for a wine? Two years ago (2020) I bought the 2019 vintage of the wine I am reviewing today from what at that time was my favorite wine shop here in central Florida and I paid $16.99 for it. Today I bought the 2020 vintage of that same wine only at my local supermarket and paid only $11.49 for it. Yeah, can you say "ripped off" guys? That wine shop that use to be my favorite is also $2 more on another particular wine that I love which is from the Napa Valley winery, Pine Ridge and is the Chenin Blanc & Viognier white blend (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2020/06/the-desert-wine-guy-2018-pine-ridge.html) which is awesome and highly recommended by the way. Small business owners, take note, this is how small business lose customers and eventually go under. I get the whole "bigger business have more buying power" thing, but a $5 difference for a single bottle of wine? Yeah, I don't buy it. Okay, I feel much better now so let's get into this wine :)
   The wine that I am reviewing today is the 2020 Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay and as I said, earlier, I paid $11.49 for it. The wine is cork (real) sealed, is 100% Chardonnay and, has never touched wood of any kind while sitting in Stainless Steel tanks for 13 months. The alcohol percentage comes in at a very comfortable 13% and the grapes come from the Maconnais region of Burgundy. As a final nete here, the label is a brand owned by Kobrand Wine & Spirits (https://www.kobrandwineandspirits.com/portfolio/browse_wines#search=&brand=&wine_type=&varietal=&region=&sub_region=&appellation=&price=).
   Lets go ahead and take a look at the label on this bottle of French, Chardonnay. I think that I said what I am about to say in my review of the 2019 varietal of this wine but my feelings still stand and so I will repeat myself. This is a beautifully designed label. The French have such a classic and fancy way of choosing the particular fonts/scripts used on their wine labels folks. These fonts/scripts scream French and shout precision crafted wine like you would see being enjoyed in a top notch restaurant or on a James Bond movie or something. What else can I say? The label very simply rocks.
   Now it is time to take a look at the nose on this wine. As I bring the glass to my nose I get a large sense of perceived brightness, acidity & stone fruit. Thankfully, I get the hint as well that there will be a bit of tropical fruit sweetness thrown into the mix as well. Notes of Brioche & a tad bit of honey come through as well here. As I sit here typing this review guys, the glass is now roughly 1.5 feet from my nose and I am still picking up the wines bouquet, amazing guys, a simply amazing bouquet.
   On the palate now.....ah, yes, the palate. When I first tasted the wine the first thing I got was absolute confirmation of what I thought I was picking up on the bouquet. Yes, this is a French Chardonnay that is run by notes of brightness, acidity, wonderful tropical stone fruit and a hint of sweetness. What I didn't pick up on the nose but what I am definitely getting here on the palate is the amazing minerality this wine puts out....wow! Superbly well integrated minerality really sets this wine off. I want to also let you know that what really allows this wine to express itself amazingly is that bit of tropical fruit sweetness I mentioned earlier.
Jadot Winery
Now before you guys go freaking out, I want to remind you that the acidity, stone fruit & minerality dominate this wine and I promise you, they have that tropical fruit sugar thing in deep check and there is no escaping that check. Yes, there is a fruit sugar type note here in the wine but it is done just right and I couldn't imagine the wine being as great as it is without it. Next up is a note of White Nectarine which is intermixed with White Peach and they present themselves as being fresh, juicy and picked at the peak of their ripeness. An apricot note jumps into the mix next and it also was picked at its peak because every ounce of its fresh taste is presented here as well. The wines acidity is pretty nice and while it doesn't override the minerality, it does give it a run for the money. How about some Yellow Apple guys? Would that be something that would sound interesting in this wine? Well guys, lucky you (and me) because you have it here and it's nicely presented as well. Something really different here is that this wine in general seems to have every note presented almost all at once and leaves it up to you to sort out. That sorting out of the notes that make up the wine is super fun because just when you think you taste this, you taste that, just when you taste that, you taste this. As a whole, the wine is busy trying to impress you and I for one am impressed for sure. In the process of trying to impress I can't forget to let you know that the wine puts out a wonderful lemon note as well. This lemon note that I am talking about thankfully leaves the twang at home and it therefore is never able to interject a sharp note onto the palate which would effect the wine, I think in a negative way. What is left is a lemon which nicely attaches itself onto the other notes the wine puts out and present itself as fresh and controlled. Let me go ahead now and wrap this review up now.
Picnic Time
   I'll just cut to the chase as I begin this final paragraph. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am giving this wine a very solid, 94 points. The wine was indeed very nice and I completely enjoyed it. That slight bit of tropical fruit sweetness was necessary in order to bring this wine down off of its dryness/minerality high horse. The dryness/minerality does indeed rule big time but is necessary as they allow those very effective stone fruit notes to interject themselves properly. Folks, the wine very simply is amazing and just works. So, that is all  have to say concerning this wine. If you want a dry expression of the Chardonnay varietal, this is the wine you want in your cellar. Buy three bottles folks because I promise you that if your palate is geared towards a French Chablis (Chardonnay) you will not regret it.

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Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Desert Wine Guy - 2019 Matt Parish, Petit Verdot - Special Bottling

 

     As I sit out back in the beautiful Central Florida sun and write this review it is January 1st 2022 (I now huh). Today is the start of a new year and the day that a lot of people make resolutions to either do or not do certain things. I think that this is a great thing as today can indeed be used as a reset of sorts but not just any reset, a reset with big time definition, a hard reset if you will. I myself don't have any real resolutions but that doesn't mean that I don't have something pretty cool planned for The Desert Wine Guy label this year..... my own sort of new beginning. My family and I are moving, upgrading location and home but definitely still remaining in "freedom" Florida as we love it here. For some time now, I have wanted to incorporate the current Desert Wine Guy platform (this blog) with a video channel as well. There are not a lot of people using this video format and the ones that do use it are pretty good at it so that will give me something of a frame work to start building off of. As this endeavor gets closer to the launch of that channel which will actually be my current YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgCUb3w1n2S_UGU2yYRkFYQ/videos) I will be keeping you updated on my Facebook, Twitter & Instagram channels whose links are at the bottom of this article. I feel the need to do the video channel because I find that while writing is great and I really love it, sometimes there is nothing quite like seeing a video to really set things off, to really convey feelings. Right now however I am excited to talk about another Matt Parish red wine I recently got so let's get to it.

   Today I am going to be taking a look at the 2019 Matt Parish, Petit Verdot - Special Bottling. This wine is from one of my favorite winemakers, Matt Parish. I bought this wine from Naked Wines (https://us.nakedwines.com/) which I myself belong to and yes, give $40 a month of my own money to as well:) The bottle is cork sealed and the wine cost me $34.99. The alcohol percentage comes in at 14.8% and the grapes are from a single vineyard in the Rutherford AVA of the Napa Valley. In answer to your question, Matt doesn't tell us what vineyard the grapes are actually from however he did let me know the vineyard "is off Zinfandel Lane in Rutherford". Matt also says that the wine sat in 40% new French Oak for 18 months with the rest being 1-3 years old, now that is pretty nice if you ask me. The makeup of this wine is 97% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon as well.
   On the pour now this wine is the epitome of "inky' and when I first poured it I actually laughed because it was something you would see in a textbook for a wine education class. The color of the wine is consistent from the middle of the glass all the way to the edge. If nothing else, this is at the very least a very serious looking red wine.
   Now for the label folks. If there ever was someone who deserves a graphic arts award it is hands down the designer of Matt's wine labels. My goodness folks, this label is creating such an ominous perception in my mind as to what surely must be an incredible wine that lays in wait inside the bottle. If I didn't already know what the price of the wine was my wallet would be holding on for dear life :) My only issue here with labels is the back label which is a very plain white and really doesn't do the main label any justice. Aside from the color, the back label says nothing about the wine and I find this to be a disappointment especially after staring at the front label for so long.
   As far as the nose on this wine goes, blackberry is presenting itself along with an ever so slight bit of a smoky spice. What really sets this bouquet off though is a bit of cassis that brings back memories of a great Cabernet Sauvignon I once tasted. Once again, judging by the nose of this wine, I am getting the distinct impression that this is going to be a very serious wine indeed.
   Onto the palate I go now and immediately as I begin here I have one word that my mind is just wanting to scream and that one word is, BAM!  How is that for an opening statement concerning the tasting of a wine? As I continue on here, you need to know right out of the gate, big time acidity is certainly the guiding force behind this wine. I think this acidity in the wine is probably so upfront mainly because it is a very young wine and at this point in its development it actually causes the wine to to be slightly out of balance as well. I tried hard to put aside the over the top acidity and I was mostly successful which is great because this allows the wine to really show off its power and ultimate greatness. While that acidity is definitely continuing on, I am also now able to get some rather nice, non sweet, non jammy black fruit in the form of both black cherry and Black Plum. These two notes comes also are both sort of in your face yet to an extent they are also offering up both a sense of refinement and sophistication as well. Another comment concerning these notes is that they leave the sugar behind as the wine is not sweet nor is it jammy. For those of you who haven't experienced it yet, there is a difference in how a quality wine presents certain notes in general in comparison to how an "average" wine presents those very same notes. The reason this is so is due to the fact that a lot goes into making a great wine such as the actual grapes, the soil and the winemaker just to name a few of those things. I can tell you after tasting this wine that in this particular case neither the quality of the grapes, the soil nor the talent of the winemaker are in question. None of the notes in this wine are presented in an "average" way, instead, they present themselves with grace and dignity, they are here to impress. Getting back to the black cherry & plum notes now, I promise you, you will be hard pressed to find any average red wine that exposes these fruits in the exquisite way this wine presents them and with such a sophistication and polish as well.What would a serious red wine be without some wonderful tannins? Well folks, you don't have to worry about not having tannin's here because they are really showing themselves off as well and totally working it on the palate. The tannin's in this wine could by some be considered slightly on the abrasive side but in my book, while I certainly do think they are on the forward side, that is exactly how I like them. These tannin's do certainly leave a bit of a coating on the tongue but it's nothing super crazy and definitely nothing to take away from the rest of the wine. Let's talk now about that 40% new French Oak because this brings a toast note onto this particular wine but also has been known to ruin many a wine as well. In this case, that French Oak the wine sat in is simple just amazing on its presentation, PERIOD! Getting back to that toast note for a second, the wine is offering it up just beautifully and is actually presenting the note in a way which is above the wines price point. I have to add that I wouldn't expect anything less from Matts reds or a high quality Petit Verdot or for that matter. Now guys if you think that I am done with this review, you are wrong because there is more. There is a spice to this wine that seems to become absolute best friends with that acidity and in combination they are just heavenly. You may ask what about that acidity being over the top that I mentioned more then once? For the answer to that question check out the conclusion paragraph which is coming up shortly. One final note I want to mention is of a light blackberry which is more a mid-palate note but is well placed and also leaves its sweetness at home. Well there you have it folks, my review of the amazing 2019 Matt Parish, Petit Verdot - Special Bottling. Let's wrap this all up now and put my Desert Wine Guy rating out there.
   Remember that I talked about the wine being high in acidity? I highly suggest that you give this wine at least two years (as Matt suggested) to relax a bit and to develop or settle down a bit. This two years will allow this wine to calm down just enough to have that acidity give way a bit and leave its throne it currently sits on and allow the nice fruit notes to come forward a bit more. Guys, while you certainly can appreciate this wine now I would follow Matt's recommendations and hold off (if you can) until 2023 or later. This wine can be cellared past that point as well in my opinion so I suggest you buy a few bottles in order to appreciate it down the road. One more note in reference to the acidity. I ended up coming back to this wine the next day to finish this review and after having used the cork as a stopper, that slightly over the top acidity of yesterday was more manageable and enjoyable so here is certainly another option. Serious Petit Verdot lovers, you are needing to buy this wine because on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this incredible wine 95 glorious points. if you enjoy a full bodied, powerhouse Petit Verdot, this is your wine.
 

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Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Desert Wine Guy - 2019 Matt Parish, Montierrasant

 

     Are there winemakers whose wines you seem to be drawn to? I know that there might be some people out there who will find that question rather weird because they feel that a winemaker doesn't really have a style of wine they create, they just simply, create wine. I must respectfully disagree with those people as I think that each winemaker displays in the making of their wines, their own unique palate expectations for the specific wine varietals they choose to work with. As an example, I can always spot a Peju or Beaulieu Vineyards (BV), Cabernet Sauvignon, which by the way are two of my absolute favorites. I think that if you are someone who simply drinks wine without any specific varietal expectations or expectations in general other than to either enjoy it in the pool or use it as an occasional substitution for beer, that thinking might be fine for you and that certainly is your prerogative. I however do believe that as a persons general inquisitiveness about wine turns more serious so does their expectations of wine become more defined or precise. I am also of the opinion that a specific varietal of wine should have certain specific characteristics in general and while slight deviations or differences based upon AVA or soil and weather are all well and good, in the end a Cabernet Sauvignon should taste as well as look (it's not a white wine) like a Cabernet Sauvignon. I guess the bottom line here is that while we are certainly all welcome to enjoy whatever wine(s) suits our particular palate, the wine industry should be policing itself and should form some set of varietal standards that wines have to at least semi closely adhere to. As an example, one of the winemakers I follow is Matt Parish and I buy his wines from the on-line wine club, Naked Wines (https://us.nakedwines.com//). I follow Matt because his red wines are always on point and while I certainly would not use the word "approachable" in reference to his wines as they certainly do have a serious and robust edge to them, Matt has a style that I prefer when I am looking for a serious red wine (always). These wines are geared more towards the old school red wine lover, those who desire refinness and at the same time, boldness to their reds. Speaking of Matt, today I will be reviewing one of his wines and I'm excited to taste what he has put together in this particular red so let's get to it right now.
   Today I am reviewing the 2019 Matt Parish, Montierrasant. The wine uses a real cork which is always a nice touch in my book and comes in at 14.5% alcohol. The wine costs me $14.99 and it's grapes come from Spain. The wine is a red blend of mostly Grenache (Granacha in Spain) but there is also a little bit of "old vine" Carignane thrown in for "depth and complexity" as Matt himself has informed me. Another interesting thing concerning this wine is that the vines the Greanache comes from are 35 years old....interesting. The wine also was aged "....in a combination of barrels and tanks for 12 months" according to Matt as well.
   Let's talk label now for a bit before I actually get into the tasting of the wine. This is label that is very similar to the label on Matts last wine I reviewed (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2021/05/2019-matt-parish-pilot-hill-gang-red.html) which was the 2019 Pilot Gang and also a red blend. I had an issue with that label as I didn't care for the contrast between the top half of it and the bottom half. While this wines label uses the same style, I find it works a bit better due to the colors used. While I am not 100% sold on it, I can deal with it.
   As I move to the bouquet part of this review I am curious as to what this wine will present here on the nose since I am not that all that familiar with either the Grenache or Carignane varietals and I will be doing some learning myself as I go. Immediately out of the gate I want you to know that starting off the wines bouquet presentation there is a big peppery note that comes rushing up from my glass and in my humble opinion is a great way to start off this review. Following this up I am getting a nice cherry note here as well. Adding to these two notes is the slightest bit of an old leather note and I have to say, I didn't expect that in such a young wine. This old leather note adds to the wines very nice bouquet and brings a sense of seriousness to the wine in general. What I find really interesting about this wines bouquet is that it just does not stop guys. Even when I let the wine sit in the glass for a while, the bouquet just keeps on going. This wines nose is in your face and has my mind going crazy thinking about what the wine will actually taste like.
   On the palate now, I should tell you that I am smiling as the wine is by no means shy. That pepper I got on the nose certainly does mean business as it translates over to the palate so very nicely. This peppery note makes its presence known immediately here on the palate just as it did on the nose. That cherry note I picked up on the nose also is exposed here as well and it goes very nicely with the pepper. Next up is a wonderful cinnamon note which goes rushing across the palate but in a gentle yet effective and not attacking type of a way. In combination, these notes work amazingly well together and offer up a juiciness as well as an in your face vibrancy. Adding to this wonderful experience is another note that made the trip from the nose to the palate which is that bit of leather (which will increase with age) and comes into play just after the mid-palate and I have to say, it is most definitely well placed and again, not another note that is overdone and delicious. As much as I hate to say this, what really sets this wine off is it's jammy characteristic. For me to compliment jamminess in a wine is a huge feat and almost unheard of as I normally hate the note. I have to say though guys that in this wine it really works out well and I enjoyed it. So....as I sit back on my leather sofa, in my study with thousands of classic books, and smoke my Cuban cigar....wait, what? Hold on a minute, let me try that again. So.....as I sit here outside in my canvas chair I got online at Amazon and sip on this wine from my non crystal glassware from the kitchen cabinet, my mouth just feels as if it is almost being attacked a sense of sophistication and that jamminess. Each sip I take of this wine is consistent and from the first sip to the last sip left in the bottle the wine presents the same vibrancy and robustness throughout. Topping this wine off  I am also getting a bit of a smoke note here as well. When put all together this wine really make its mark on my palate and is certainly a very well crafted, balanced and robust wine not meant for the weak of heart.
   Here we guys, finishing this review up. The first thing that I need to tell you to do is to break out the chocolate because that is what this wine is screaming for. I said it before and I must say it again, this is an expressive wine in both the nose as well as the palate and neither areas seem to understanding the meaning of the word, moderation. Don't allow this to deter you guys because when it comes to this particular wine that is a good thing. While I did review this wine without food as I review all of my wines, I can most definitely see this wine pairing well with a peppery chicken or even a quality steak very nicely. I mentioned earlier as well, the wine does exhibit a noticeable bit of jamminess but here in this wine, it simply works and because of that, the wine itself just wouldn't be the same without it. I was actually really impressed (shocked actually) that this wine worked so well with a jamminess note as normally that note just destroys a wine for me. I think that everything else the wine offered up kind of covered just a bit for the jamminess yet without lessening its palate presentation too much. So, there you have it folks, my review of the 2019 Matt Parish, Montierrasan. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am giving this wine 93 points.

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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Deceptive Words On The Wine label

 

Caveat Emptor

  Hello everyone. Today I will be forgoing the usual wine review because there is something in particular going on in the wine world that I want to talk about and, that I think you should all be made aware of. The more I read wine reviews and articles that those so called "professional" wine reviewers write, the more I seem to came across a lot of fallacies that they insist on pushing to the masses (wine lovers) who just don't know better. While that isn't the only reason I decided to write this article, it was for sure a big one. I guess you could say that I was tired of the marketing of wine that was being passed off as if it was fact. I very simple had enough and so I wanted to...no, need to take some time here to vent a bit about one fallacies in particular. This fallacy is pushed by both the professional wine reviewers as well  as the wineries themselves. By the time I am done with this venting I hope you guys will have learned a little something and end up not only saving some money but be a more educated wine consumer as well.
   When a wine producer designs a label for their bottles they have certain laws or regulations to adhere to because all wine labels must be approved by the Alcohol Tobacco and Trade Bureau (big brother). Aside from a lot of fluff, you can actually get a lot of useful information from a wine label if you pay attention and understand what it is you are actually reading. For those of you who are interested in identifying the useful information a wine label can give, here (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-desert-wine-guy-wine-label-mystery.html) is an article I wrote on the subject.

Marketing Attacks
It is very easy however for the consumer to be fooled into assuming or believing that everything they are reading on a wine label actually means something other, or more then what the words themselves actually say. Now certainly in a lot of cases the consumers assumptions might very well be correct however, there are many times those assumptions are just plain wrong and lead you to believe things about the wine that are very simply, not true. Before I go on I want to let you know that for a long time, I myself fell into the trap of reading what I wanted to into specific words used on the wine label, in other words, I myself was assuming that a particular word (or words) on the label meant what I wanted them to mean and not what they really meant. I also believed that certain words on the label of a wine bottle was a guarantee that the wine inside the bottle was something very special and therefore of course, automatically worth more money. I mean there I was with his special wine in my hands that I was of course lucky to have. Mot only was I lucky but because certain words were on the label, it simply had to be not only a special wine but one worth more money then the wineries usual wine submission, right? Now, I know, none of you guys think that way or for that matter, have ever thought that way. Your also just shocked that I of all people could be so gullible as to think a mere word or words on a wine label meant that particular wine was any better then another wine the winery sells. Alright guys, let's stop now and get real :) The overwhelming majority of you guys have at one time or another (some still are) being fooled by certain marketing words which is very simply a form of marketing....advertising.
Angels Landing Napa
Companies spend millions of dollars a year on marketing because very simply, it works so don't feel too bad if you either still are or have been fooled. Here in this article is the real deal on a form of wine marketing that some consider to be done with deceptive words but in reality is simply the consumers assumptions.
   Let's me begin here by using the example of a wine named "Angels Landing Napa". This is a wine I have done a review on but have not yet posted. This is also the wine that originally helped to bring this whole issue to mind and got the wheels rolling on writing an article on this subject. I'll give you a one sentence sneak peak into the article by telling you the following "there is no Angels Landing Napa nor is there an Angels Landing Vineyard or Winery in Napa". As a matter of fact, the name of Angels landing Napa on the bottle is just a label represented by the Mendocino Wine Company and which represents many brands. So, what do you call this when you see advertising like this on a bottle of wine? If you ask me, you can only call it what I have already called it which is mere marketing. This marketing gives the consumer a false belief that the Napa Valley had something to do with this wine when in actuality it had nothing at all to do with this particular wine. In keeping it real with you guys, yes when I bought this wine I assumed that I was buying a wine from the Napa Valley and when I had it home and did some research on the company for the review, I felt taken.
Grand Reserve
So with all that being said, Lets go ahead and break down some misleading marketing terms that we might see on the wine label.
   The first marketing term that I want to open this article talking about is the word "reserve" or "grand reserve". In America, while the word reserve or, grand reserve on a wine label can indeed mean a particular wine is special, most of the time these words mean nothing other then you are simply paying more for the wine as the word(s) is not actually regulated. American wines are not alone in this aspect, as there are a few other countries that are the same way. The one thing you can bet on is that the wine with the word reserve or grand reserve on the label will be higher priced even though it may actually contain the very same juice as the wineries normal release of the very same wine but without the word reserve on the label. As a matter of fact, probably the only differences in reality is that the words reserve or, grand reserve are on the label and the price is higher.
   The next thing I want to talk about is the marketing term "old vine". Here again is another marketing trick that wineries use in order to make us believe that the wine we see on the shelf or the bottle we are holding in our hands is indeed special and yes, I fell for this as well.
Old Vine
The phrase old vine is very subjective and once again legally means nothing in America. There is no legal definition in America as to exactly what is considered to be an old vine. So, exactly what is meant by old vine? To answer that question, check out this scenario. In my right hand I have a grapevine that is 1 year old and in my left hand I have one which is 10 years old. The one in my left hand can rightfully be considered an old vine....when in comparison to the 1 year old vine. Producers know that a term such as old vine automatically brings thoughts to the wine consumer mind of (once again), something special. Unfortunately and most likely, this term only applies to our thoughts rather then to an actual better wine. If you think about it though the winery or vineyard technically isn't actually being deceptive, the vine can be considered old when in comparison to two or more grape vines with one being even just a few months older then the other. I hope you are seeing how the phrase is left open to interpretation. If you or I, the consumer, believe the phrase means a better wine that's great for the winery as the consumer is now more then willing to spend the few dollars more for the wine, a wine which in its original bottle and with the original label sold for $3 to $4 less. Now why does this particular marketing ploy work and to whom is it even geared to? As a grapevine gets older it produces less fruit but the fruit is does produce is more concentrated so theoretically, the wine itself will be more concentrated though (here's the kicker) not necessarily better. The usage of the term old vine is really geared towards the slightly more educated wine consumer as they are the only ones who would know about the grapes of old vines being more concentrated. Having said this, remember that just because a wine was made from the juice of grapes grown on an old vine, even a twenty year old vine, doesn't mean the wine is even any good or any better then a wine made from a five year old vine.
Old Clone
Now, would it be interesting to try a wine made from the grapes of a vine that is 100 years old (think Zinfandel)? Yes, it sure would but that doesn't mean that I would be shocked if that wine was no better then the wine the winery sells from a younger vine.
   Another marketing term you will see on a wine label sometimes is "Old Clone". Once again the phrase is very subjective and actually means nothing of consequence because it is simply a comparison of two or more grapevine clones. If a particular clone of Sauvignon Blanc for instance was created two years ago and another one was created one year ago, that two year old clone can be considered an old clone, again, in comparison to the one year old clone. Another issue here with the old clone phrase is the fact that the wine made from the old clone doesn't necessarily mean it is better Sauvignon Blanc so who cares how old the clone is? It would be more important to know the particular clone name so you can know the usual traits (notes) it is known for rather then if the clone is old or not. Again, if you or I, the consumer, believe the phrase means a better wine then we will open our wallets a bit wider to get that better wine.
   How about the marketing term "barrel select". What does that actually mean? A real barrel selection means you took a portion of your best barrels, as determined by tasting, and bottled them separately. Unfortunately, most wines labeled barrel select don’t seem to have undergone this sorting out process.
Barrel Select
Theoretically if I am a winemaker and I select a particular barrel to bottle for whatever reason, I can theoretically call it barrel select and I am telling the truth. Does the fact that I picked one particular wine barrel over another with both being on the same shelf and both being the same wine, guarantee that the wine in the barrel chosen is something special? The answer of course is no, it doesn't. The wine is in the end, is the same as the other barrels except I happened to pick one barrel over the other and for no particular reason. As a winemaker I could have twenty barrels of the very same wine but I just so happened happened to pick one particular barrel to bottle with a different label and of course, charge more money for that wine as well.
   Let's deal with another marketing term, this time we will talk about the word "vinted". To the average wine consumer, seeing this on the back label (where it usually is) one would think it has to do with the winery on the front label having actually made the wine but is this true?The answer is no, not necessarily. The winery most likely bought the wine from someone else and might have only added sugar, water, or flavoring of some kind.
Vinted By
The winery on the label might also have simply performed filtering, pasteurization or just refrigerated the wine. In other words, vinted by ABC Winery does not mean ABC Winery actually made the wine or even had much if anything to do with the making of it.
   How about the marketing term of "bottled by"? Here is an example again where a consumers false assumption can come into play. Check this out. You are entertaining some guests at home and your all enjoying a bottle of Johnson & Sons, Cabernet Sauvignon. You look at the back label and see that the winery has an address of 123 East 123 st, Napa, Valley. You remember buying the wine the last time you were in Napa and as you are showing this wonderful high priced wine bottle off you further check out the label because it is so awesome and filled with great fonts & graphics, you see that it says bottled by Johnson & Sons, Napa California. Well you don't think anything of it as you remember exactly where you got the wine from and yes, they indeed are located in Napa, California. The wine ends up being amazing and you say (brag) to your guests "yep, just what I expected from my favorite Napa Valley winery, it was worth all the money I spent on it".
Bottled By
What you don't know is that Johnson & Sons Winery did not make that wine they very simply.....bottled it. Think about it, there is no lying involved, no deception, the winery never laid claim to the creation of the wine, you simply assumed they did.
    Let's talk about the marketing term "Limited Production". This simply means that someone made the wine.....in limited amounts (production). This really says nothing about the quality of the wine but many times the term will fool the consumer into thinking that the wine is indeed again, something special. Just because something is created in a limited amount doesn't automatically mean it is good. The only thing the term bottled by is good for is for the producer to make more money on as you know the price of that wine will play right into the your belief of the perceived greatness of it.
Limited Production
   French Oak - Here is a marketing term that you will sometimes see on the label and definitely will see on the Tech Sheet (wine geekery). So you buy an inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon and you read on the label that the wine sat (aged) in 100% French Oak for one year. That sounds really impressive for a wine you paid $10 for huh? This is another term geared more towards those slightly more educated in the wine world. What the winery purposefully isn't telling the consumer other then perhaps on that Tech Sheet which you usually have to search for (most people don't), is that the French Oak is "old" or "used". Wineries know that in order for French Oak to impart the notes true red wine lovers want (toast, nuttiness etc), the French Oak must be fairly new which means 1-4 years old. Since in this particular case it is a bad connotation to use the words old or, used, what a winery will say instead is that the French Oak is "neutral" and what they also won't say is that since the French Oak is neutral it no longer imparts any of those French Oak notes onto the wine and is therefore useless for that purpose. In turn some benefits for the winery aside from charging more for the wine is that the price for these barrels drop considerably and wineries can buy them and still market the wine truthfully as sitting in French Oak for a year. They also know that you will still be impressed.
French Oak
Now these neutral French Oak barrels are still useful as they allow a wine to age gracefully by allowing small amounts of air to intermix with the wine. The winery can also use the barrels for a lot longer rather then getting rid of them after 4 years and save money.
   So what have we learned in this article? I would hope you guys learned the old term, caveat emptor which means, let the buyer beware, is indeed accurate. Just because you interpret a specific word or phrase to mean a particular thing doesn't mean the person who initially used that word or phrase intended the meaning of that word to match yours. A lot of words are ambiguous or subjective and if you the wine consumer think a word means a winery is selling a better product then what they actually are that is your interpretation and only benefits the winery. While there are more misleading phrases or words used on wine labels, I think that I have addressed the most commonly used ones.
   Now....here comes what might upset some people especially those who just love big government (Big Brother) and see it as the answer to everything, At this point, you history buffs might recall the name "Federalists". For those of you who don't know what this refers to, they were a group of the founding fathers of this country who wanted a strong Federal Government, they fortunately lost the argument.
The Federalist Papers
While many people after reading this article might be upset and screaming for "Big Brother" to intercede and help them, I for one do not believe the Federal Government has the right or the given Constitutional ability to regulate wine labels.Now having said that, please don't misunderstand me as I certainly am not saying that I agree with wineries using misleading words on their labels, again however, that is up to you (the consumer) to actually understand what you are reading and not interject your personal thoughts onto a particular word or phrase. At the very least this is a states issue. Now, all of the words or phrases I talked about here are either subjective to what they are in reference to or simply say what they say all the while knowing you will place a different and more prestigious interpretation onto them. The next time you are at a winery and you see these words or phrases on a wine bottle, ask the server what they mean. Ask why that particular word or words are used and how they relate to the wine and make that particular wine so special. Don't be surprised if you are given a crazy look because it is highly probably that even the people pouring the wine will not know the answer as they themselves also fell into the same trap. By the way, after you save some money on that trip to the winery, you can thank me:)

SPECIAL NOTE -  One last item of note before you leave. I only chose the labels I did in this article because they were the first I came across to use as an example. These particular wineries might indeed have created the wines represented as special and I am not trying to imply that they in particular are trying to be misleading.

                                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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