Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2015 Napa Ridge - Silver State Red


  What do you think of when someone says Las Vegas? If you are like most people you think of  gambling & drinking until you no longer have a need to be Embalmed in the event of your death from that very gambling & drinking. If you're also like most however, when you think of Vegas you probably don't think about Vineyards or wineries and for good reason as there are none. While the city of Las Vegas itself does not have any Wineries or commercial vineyards, the neighboring city (cross the street) of Henderson, does. The town of Pahrump however which is about 45 minutes away has two (soon to be three) wineries & vineyards. Today we are going to be taking a look at one of the wines that comes from one of those wineries/vineyards. Today I will be discussing the Pahrump Valley Wineries, (http://www.pahrumpwinery.com/) 2015 Napa Ridge - Silver State Red.
  First off I would like to discuss a couple of the lesser known varietals that this wine is blended with. Let's begin with the varietal known as Ruby Cabernet. This particular varietal is actually better known as a varietal that is mostly used for bulk "jug" wine and is also used to add color to a wine. The varietal came about in 1936 as a cross between the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Carigan varietals. Originally developed for California's (San Joaquin Valley) hot climate, today the state of California is where this varietal makes its home. If it makes you feel any better, I have never heard of it.
  Let's talk now about the varietal of Mourvedre for a quick second. This particular varietal usually produces wine that is rather high in Alcohol content and is believed to have originated in Spain where it is known as Monastrell. The berries are small, thick skinned and absolutely love the Sun.
Because I believe we are all familiar with the other varietals in this wine which are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah I won't spend any time talking about them. Let's move now into my review of this wine and see what I thought about it.
  Let's begin with the price of this wine. At $25.95 I will tell you that this is not exactly what I would say is an inexpensive wine by any means, nor is it what I would expect to pay for a wine from a tiny, mostly unknown winery and one which is located in a state/city not known for its wine. The city of Pahrump is however actually known for its legal "Cat Houses" (yep). Well, I guess it is what it is right? The bottom line is that all wineries think their wines are Gold and charge as if they are selling Gold so I guess the pricing is to be expected.
  All right then, let's talk some specifics about this wine. I remember when I was at the Winery and I very first experienced the Bouquet and tasting of this wine, I think I fell in love with it right then and there. On the nose I detected a pretty serious bit of Oak (don't worry) and as it turns out, this wine did sit in both American & French Oak for 18 months. This and the fact that the wine is  blended with a total of five (5) different varietals also impressed me coming from a small winery. The note of oak by the way, screams to me that this wine is serious about what it is about to present to the drinker which appears to be an oaked but hopefully not overdone, serious  red wine. While this wine is fairly light in the glass as far as its appearance, it does posses a certain quality to it that exudes a sort of depth that I, myself found intriguing and promising.
There is also a Chocolate note that presents itself so very smoothly on the nose and seems to issue a promise that you are about to taste a very serious and well put together wine. Let me throw in a nice Toast note and you might be starting to get a small idea of what I am experiencing. The Bouquet itself overall screams for a Steak or some tenderly cooked Lamb. Meat, meat, meat is what my ears hear the wine screaming. Let's now head over to the next paragraph and do some tasting of this wine in the hopes that it will not be disappointing
  Let me begin by saying very early into this review, WOW. Well.....not just wow, but SUPER wow! First off  I will tell you guys who are scared that the oak I spoke of on the nose will transfer over on the heavy side onto the Palette. For you folks I will tell you that you can throw those worries away. Yes, there is oak on the Palette but it is nice and nothing that will laden down the wine or interfere with you tasting the other wonderfully presented and placed notes. There is certainly an initially fruit forward note that indeed is present however there is also a peppery spice (think serious Tempranillo) note which really stands out. Nicely placed Tobacco/Cigar Box notes combined with the peppery for the most part keep the fruit forwardness in check yet also help to elevate themselves in the process. There is a sense of a bright yet non offensive cherry that is picked up on the sides of the Tongue but the rest of the Tongue certainly is bathed in a wine that has some nice depth as well as complexity to it and is also quite able to present all its notes I have talked about and more, very adequately. The notes of Tobacco/Cigar Box, pepper spice and Tannins .....oh, is something wrong? Did I not already mention the wonderful Tannins that this wine presents? I'm sorry, let me do that now. Tannins are certainly expressed on the palate and while they are fairly noticeable, they are not in amounts where you need a scraper for your Tongue. Nope, in this wine those Tannins simply coat the Tongue with only a semi soft roughness that assists in toning that fruit forwardness down to where it is not over blown on one hand yet on the other, you will be allowed to taste it and appreciate it. Overall these Tannins actually greatly help make this wine what it is. For a minute now, let me get back to that Tobacco/Cigar Box note(s).
The wine has a semi-soft yet overall dark component to it and that component is the wonderful note(s) of Tobacco/Cigar Box. When these notes combine with the Black Peppery spice and the oak......yeah, its all good. To top all this off there is a nutty type note to this wine that also when combined all together with the other notes makes for a wonderful treat to the Palette. Now, does that Chocolate note I picked up on the nose transfer over to the Palate? Yes, yes it does. Not overly done or dominating, the Chocolate note brings a sense of an underlying smoothness in the wine, yummy. The next part of this wine that I want to discuss is one that might initially scare a lot of people away as it would seem to be one that is definitely not wanted in a wine. The note that I am talking about is of tartness that yes is also tasted on the Palette but NOT at a strength which makes one sit back and say "what the heck" and stare at the glass in disbelief. This particular note actually gets along surprisingly well with it's new friends (the other notes) and shifts your tasting from the direction the wine is currently going and lightly scoots you to a slightly new direction that makes you sit back to evaluate it a little more.

Once evaluated a little further however, you realize that the bit of tartness is indeed nice and also actually helpful to the wine. Keeping the tartness in total check is also a note of slight Acidity that completes this package and gift wraps it for you as the two seem to mesh into one note.   
  Let's get to the bottom line here. Yeah, this wine is a fruit forward red but thankfully that fruit forwardness is not without merit, actually a lot of merit. If I can say this then you know the fruit forwardness is not anywhere near overbearing as I generally shy away from fruit forward wines.  When I initially tasted this wine my mouth just exploded due to the notes and how they were presented. I just sat back and allowed the wine to dictate the direction in which it took my Palate and I was certainly grateful that I did. I would say that ultimately this wine is a semi dark and slightly fruit forward wine with some rather nice depth and spice.
All five varietals of grape are able to have their presence noted as the wine displays the notes to some extent that they are known for. I give tons of credit to the wine maker as he or she clearly knew what they were doing. If I were the small town winery I would do what I could to hold on to this person because if the word should get out there, will be more substantial wineries that will come calling. It is now time folks to give my rating of this super nice wine. On The Desert  Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 92 points.

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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Monday, July 1, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2015 BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon


   Have you ever been excited by something that really in the big scheme of things in reality is nothing special? That is how I was the other day when a local grocery store named Smiths (Kroger) opened a new location near my house. The store was double their normal size as it now sold clothing and also had a section for a few small appliances. Basically it was almost a mini Walmart but without some of the..... unique Walmart clientele. What really was the exciting part for me was that Smiths has always had a pretty nice Wine and Beer section so I figured that since I was going there anyway I check out the wine section that was supposed to be huge and use my new Go Pro Camera at the same time to make a video for my new Brighteon Channel (https://www.brighteon.com/5812832805001) that I had just established. Guys, please go check out the video to see the fantastic wine selection & bar they have. By the way for those who don't know, Brighteon is just like YouTube but without the censoring of speech (Liberal or Conservative) and I STRONGLY suggest that you check it out. Anyway, while I was there doing the video I of course had to pick up a bottle of wine. The wine that I decided on was the 2015 BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (https://www.bvwines.com/en-us/wines/napa-valley-portfolio/rutherford-cab/2015).
At the stores normal price of $39.99 it was fairly expensive in my book but as luck would have it the wine was on sale for $31.99 which while not much better is still cheaper and closer to "wine for the average person". By the way, the wine at the winery itself sells for $42 (higher of course). Let's get started digging into this wine now and see what it's all about shall we? One thing before we begin however is that I want to give you guys a heads up. Please read the entire review as the wine changes drastically as it opens up and I think you will be interested in this change. I won't go into any further detail right here but I will tell you that things certainly do take a turn for the..........oh never mind, read on.  So, without any further delay, here is my review of this wine.
   Let me begin this review by talking about the label the bottle carries on it. From time to time there comes a wine that has a label which just simply outright sells that particular wine. The label on this bottle appears to stand out and it conveys in my mind at least, a wine which is pure, elegant and of ultimate perfection. The label of the 2015 BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon folks conveys all of that and tons more. This particular wine is represented by a label that looks as if whatever is inside the bottle is certainly fit for royalty, or to be served at a presidential celebration. The different fonts chosen as well as the different sectional coloring completely brought this wines to life on the shelf as it screamed to get my attention.
Take a break for a second and actually study the bottles label and see if you are able to break away and come back to this review. Okay, I see that you were indeed able to break away and you made it back, that's great. Now, before I go on with anymore of this review I have to tell you something that you must know and I just....want to tell you in general. I am extremely partial to BV wines as a whole as well as a very limited few other Napa Valley standout wineries (Peju anyone). I will also admit that, yes being "extremely partial" played a part in my purchasing of this wine. I will also tell you  that I never make it a habit to purchase the BV Coastal wines as I feel that this expression is far inferior to the Napa one. Okay, moving on now to the bouquet of this wine, let's see if it holds up to this wines label presentation. 
   Moderate oak on the initial nose presentation along with cassis and pipe tobacco come barreling through, SUPER wow! A sense of darkness and depth continues to creep into the nose with a deep note of mocha combined with light coca that also comes rushing from the glass and up to your nose. A nice note of oak comes to the nose as well but nothing too dramatic or at a level to scare those of you who wish to stay away from the "Oak Monster" (thank you Gary Vaynerchuk), you will certainly appreciate it nonetheless.  As the wine opens up a bit there is a nice note of caramel as well. So think about this for a second. oak, mocha, cocoa, caramel and cassis as well as a true Napa Valley, Rutherford, Cabernet Sauvignon presentation. Are you guys getting the picture yet? I hope so.
   Moving now to the wine on my Palate. Yep, this is a serious, straight out awesome wine and a near perfect representation of the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal. Let's back up though and allow me to talk some more about this wine as I've jumped far ahead. From the minute this wine graces your Palate you will know that you have come across Gold. If you have ever read about "Rutherford Dust" and either have never experienced it or doubted that it exists then you simply must taste this wine. The Rutherford Dust is throughout the Palette and mixed with fresh blackberry that are themselves not overpowering yet present enough to let you know that they are proud to be there for sure. A semi rich and yet moderate fruit forwardness is without a doubt present and elevated in the sugar area by the molasses on the Palette and comes in honestly as slightly overwhelming although it was certainly proud to show itself off here. If you are scared of oak you won't have any concerns here as it is indeed present yet not approaching overwhelming although you will inhale it every time you you take a sip of the wine, weird huh? How about talking about the Black Plum that is evident on the Palette.Take a medium sip of this wine, breath and let it gently flow across your entire Palate. Tilt your head back and gently allow it to continue to spread across your Palette......go ahead, I'll wait. Now, what are you tasting? This note of plum is outstanding and the fruit is ripe and ready. If you have ever heard of the expression when it comes to a particular wine that it considered to be "generous" wine then you have without a doubt found one. If would have ever heard that a wine was "approachable" then you would probably not be looking at this wine as it is very forward in it's Napa Cabernet Sauvignon presentation and is not for the weak of Heart.
   Folks, here is where a major problem comes into play with this wine. In order to understand what is going on here you have to know that when I review a wine I am also helping the kids with school, reading wine magazines, and just relaxing in general. This might at times entail a half an hour or more break between sips when tasting the wine. This time can at times work to the benefit of a wine and unfortunately as in the case of this wine, work to the detriment of a wine as well. Keep in mind as well that I generally do not decant my wines, perhaps that will now change though.
   Okay, so after drinking this wine for about an hour and a half and basically letting it to open up, the wine has changed dramatically and as I already said, here is where the problem(s) started. Let's get to this unfortunate aspect and discuss them a bit. Guys I have to admit something, at first this wine was going to come in at 95 points as it was astonishing but the more it opened up, the more I have to tell you that it has proceeded to the point of being way over the top concerning fruit forwardness, what an ultimate disappointment. I'm not sitting here saying that this is a bad wine but what I am sitting here saying is that as I continue to drink this wine my palette is being without a doubt, simply and utterly overwhelmed (attacked) by sugar or fruit forwardness.This is to the point that I can no longer recommend the wine to the point that I was going to recommend it. After all is said and done I am forced to rate this wine at 87 points. A very serious drop in rating I know but a bigger disappointment in general, I am devastated! This wine went form exceptional to one which simply couldn't break the 90 point mark. Folks, I don't know what else to say. For $31.99 I expected so much better. For BV,  my expectations are always very high to begin with so I expected incredible things from this wine. For a wine that gets it's grapes from Rutherford California and is carrying the BV name all I can say is what a let down. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 87 points.

                                                                                                                The Desert Wine Guy

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2016 Bertinelli Estates - Cabernet Sauvignon


   In today's wine review I am going to be taking some of you (and me) back to the mid seventies to mid eighties, back when a television sitcom was meant as a family show and for the most part hadn't yet turned to the perversions that they are today. I am talking about the Sitcom named "One Day At A time'. One of the stars of that show was Valerie Bertinelli. As a young boy I and a million other youg boys of the time totally remember Valerie Bertinelli and how hot she was, and in my opinion still is. We all totally had a huge crush on her. If you were a young boy at that time you also had a crush on her. Today Valerie and all of us who remember her have all grown up, she is still just as hot however and has recently put her name on a series of varietals of wine. This is where The Desert Wine Guy comes in. For Fathers day, one of the things Mrs. Desert Wine Girl bought for me is a mixed (Reds & Whites) case of Bertinelli Estates wine. The case consists of 3 bottles of  the 2016 Bertinelli Estates Sangiovese 3 bottles of the 2016 Bertinelli Estates Cabernet Sauvignon. For the white wines I will be receiving 3 bottles of he 2017 Bertinelli Estates Rose and 3 bottles of the 2016 Bertinelli Estates Chardonnay. The total for this case with shipping which was $138 and comes out to $10.42 a piece. Mrs. desert Wine Girl purchased the case from QVC (http://www.qvc.com/Vintage-Wine-Estates-Valerie-Bertinelli-12-Bottle-Set.product.M57631.html). If after reading my review of the wine and you are interested in buying it I would suggest going through QVC as the Windsor Vineyards page (https://www.windsorvineyards.com/bertinelli-estates-12-bottle-set-all-reds) which is who makes the wine is selling the same 12 bottle (case) set selling for $279. By the way no, I am not being compensated for this review. Doing some further digging I discovered that she is going through a company named Vintage Wine Estates (https://www.vintagewineestates.com/) which owns Windsor Vineyards. You do have the options of purchasing Reds or Whites as well and you also have the option of choosing a scheduled delivery every 4 months for two years or a one time purchase. Bertinelli Estates was founded in 2017 and while Mrs. Bertinelli attempts to portray by the wines label that there is an actual Bertinelli Estates, in reality there is in fact no such place, it is merely for marketing purposes.
   For general information I will tell you that the Rose is a blend of 50% Barbera and 50% Zinfandel and comes in at 12.5% Alcohol. The Chardonnay is 85% Chardonnay, 14% Pinot Grigio and 1% Muscat and comes in at 12.5 % Alcohol as well. The Cabernet Sauvignon is 96% Cab, 3% Merlot and 1% Mouvedre. The Alcohol percentage on this wine is 13.5%. The Sangiovese is 97% Sangiovese, 2% Merlot and 1% Syrah. The Alcohol percentage on this wine is 12.5%
   Let's go ahead now discuss the Cabernet Sauvignon a little bit as that is the what this review is all about. Starting off I can tell you that the wine is thankfully sealed using a Cork and not a Screw-cap, this is a good thing. The label seems well thought out and I want to add that the Crest on it is actually the family Crest of the Bertinelli family. On the back is a saying that her parents had and that I absolutely love, it goes like this "Family is first, food is love.and wine is for memories". In my glass the wine was fairly light in color and there was no issue with seeing the bottom of my glass. On the nose the wine exposes notes of Oak, Blackberry and even a very nice note of Caramel as well. Overall the nose is nice in my opinion rather impressive for a wine that I honestly didn't expect much from. Moving to how this wine presented itself on my Palette now. I will tell you flat out guy that I am liking this wine and am also pleasantly surprised. It appears that my mind has been changed.
A sweetish cherry is first on the Palette. Now, when I say sweetish I am by no means refer to a simple sugary note. What I am describing is the Cherries that you buy in the store in the produce section. The Cherries that when perfectly ripe present that fresh, dark Cherry note which is not cheap and sugary but flavorful and forward. Tannins, (yes I said Tannins) are present in this wine as well. They are not super soft or ultra smooth and I happen to like mt reds with some Tannins that I can taste. Don't be scared away here as the Tannins present are one one hand as I said, not soft but on the other hand they are not harsh or astringent either. These are the Tannins of a wine that can age for a few (5-6) more years and still present the wine as one of distinction and a wine that can stand to decanting for an hour or so if you like. Valerie says that the wine is "approachable" and that she doesn't like a red with Tannins, she certainly holds true to her word. The wine is certainly on one hand approachable and on the other is good enough for fairly serious wine drinkers who desire a great tasting Cabernet Sauvignon.
   For lovers of oak in their reds, you will be very happy as the wine has a decent amount of an Oak note as well. Once again, nothing overblown or dominating but one that is noticed and pleasing. The oak note which seems to not always be present helps the other notes become rather smooth but also allows them to retain an edge to themselves. That is where this wine seems to be comfortable in itself as well as it's presentation. Cocoa lovers, you will be happy as well as there is that note presented pretty nicely. Once again the Cocoa is not exactly soft but certainly as with the oak does not try to dominate the Palette. This Cocoa is simply presented in a strength to require working along side one another and WITH the other notes and not in competition with them. There is a nice sense of a semi darkness on the Palette and the Blackberry note that is present here helps that feeling along rather nicely. About the only negative.....well....not really, is the fact that there is a hair / touch of a fruit forwardness note that by a hair, edges the wine toward the sweeter side. Covering for this and subduing it to a large extent however are the other notes which are present. Let's talk about the Chocolate that I think meshes wonderfully with that slight bit of fruit forwardness. Together the Chocolate and the other notes are like a Husband & Wife that never fight and each simply compliment one another. The Chocolate note also sometime becomes hidden as it seems to soften around the other notes and enhance them to the point that your Palette will sometimes loose track of it. I wish you could all do the following little exercise.

   Take some of this wine in your mouth, gently swirl it around. Do you notice your mouth getting juicy as the wine hits all the Taste-buds? Did you notice that there is a note of Pepper that is not sharp, Acidic or overpowering and at the same time, absolutely intriguing?  Did you notice that the Chocolate that I discussed is sensed deep within the wine and acts more to enhance the wine rather then try to dominate it? I actually sat back for a minute and participated in my own experiment and found it to be very satisfying. Thanks to Mrs. Desert Wine Girl, I didn't have to imagine I had the advantage over you guys as I actually had the wine in my hand and in my mouth. I will address this in the following closing Paragraph. One last item here. The mouth feel of this wine is way above the average for this level of wine. Well, it's time. I have nothing more to put out and it is time for my closing comments so let's go ahead and get to it.
   Folks as I said, this case of wine was a present from Mrs. Desert Wine Girl for Fathers Day and as such I thought it was a really cool gift. My Wife put thought into this gift as wine is obviously an interest of mine and I appreciate that and love her for knowing me so well. I am not normally one to buy a product simply because a celebrity endorses or a in this case, has a hand in creating it. In this particular case, crush or no crush, Mrs. Bertinelli has her likes and dislikes as do I. Once I knew that Mrs. Desert Wine Girl had ordered Mrs. Bertinellis wine however I did watch her video on it. I found it educational as well as interesting and liked that she says she actually blended the wines herself. If this indeed is the case I have to say that she did a great job on this Cabernet.

   Well having said let me close this review out. Please, do not let the statement on the bit of fruit forwardness scare you away from this wine. That particular note to this wine merely assisted other notes to achieve higher greatness and should not be misinterpreted as to remove anything from the craftsmanship of this wine. There is that sense of depth to this wine that I found very surprising and yet welcoming on the Palate and the soul. It is bold in a way and holds it's own very nicely against tons of wines of the same varietal and that sell at the same price ($10) point and higher . I highly recommend this wine and on The Desert Wine Guy point scale I give it 92 points.

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy
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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2016 M.A.N Family Wines - Chenin Blanc


   Ahhh, new experiences. Sometimes when we take part in a new experience we are glad we did and at other times when we have a new experience we end up promising to never repeat it again. Alright so you guys know that I am always honest when it comes to my reviews and I don't pull any punches. Here is about to be another example of that honesty. Today I am in for a new experience and that experience is I am going to taste as well as review a Chenin Blanc varietal wine. Hold on a minute there Desert Wine Guy, did you just imply that you have never tasted a Chenin Blanc prior to this review? Yes folks, I certainly did imply (say) that. Hopefully in the end this will be a new experience that I am glad I had. Today I and possibly even you will do some learning and along the way perhaps maybe even educate ourselves a little bit about the varietal. 

   I would now like to talk about the Chenin Blanc varietal itself for a minute. Let's begin by learning about some of the characteristics of the Chenin Blanc grape in general. The very first thing that we need to know about the grape is that it is considered to be the most versatile grape in the world. This grape produces a typically tropical & fruity wine with notes of different types of Apple, Honeydew Melon, Jasmine and can present a note of Butter as well as well. Originally from the country of France (the Loire Valley), today over 50% of the Vineyards growing this grape are located in Africa where it is at times blended with varietals of Semillon & Viognier as well as a varietal known as Marsanne. The grape is the most widely planted grape variety in the country where the wine is sometimes known as Pinot Blanco. The wine is usually on the drier side although there are sweet & sparkling (Champagne anyone) expressions of the grape. The Chenin Blanc grape also has a high level of Acidity normally. The grape itself is early budding and enjoys a late to mid-late in the season Harvest. Warmth is needed to achieve full ripeness and the vine is very susceptible to Botrytis and Powdery Mildew. Alright then, now that we have a bit of information on the wine varietal and the grape itself, let's move onto this specific wine.

   Okay so today I am reviewing the 2016 M.A.N Family Wines - Chenin Blanc from South Africa the Agter-Paarl region to be more precise. Let's go ahead and talk about this wine now. I bought the wine for $6.99 (regularly $12.99) while doing a little impulse shopping at World Market (I love that place) here in Las Vegas the other day. I spotted a clearance rack of wines and on the rack there were two wines who's varietals I recognized, this wine and a Sauvignon Blanc. The other varietals I have never heard of before and I guess I wasn't feeling to adventures. I got a bottle of this wine as well as the Sauvignon Blanc and here I am today. This wine is Screw Cap sealed and comes in at 12.5% on the Alcohol scale. 
   Let's look at the label of this new experience wine and see how it comes across. As I have said before in some past reviews, a white wine can get away with things that a red wine never could. Observing this wines label I just very simply get a feeling of classiness. Once again Fonts and placement of words is a big deal. In this case both are exhibiting a worthiness and an example of what the varietal should be. Now keep in mind that I did say "exhibiting" as at this particular point I have not tasted this wine. The goal of a wine label is to twofold, get my attention and attempt to convince me that the wine is in need to being chosen. This label accomplishes both very well and I would have chose in outright on a normal selection.
   As I move on let me get onto the wines appearance in my glass. A beautiful and vibrant extended Gold rim is so very apparent. Did I say vibrant? Yeah wine lovers, the wine looks very nice as my glass is tilted over a white paper. I am craving a glass of this wine as I am certainly impressed at least by it's appearance. In the glass now as the wine sits on the table I am seeing a white wine that just reminds me of what you would see on The Housewives of......". If I didn't know better I would think this wine cost real money. As for any legs, the wine showed few legs but the ones it did show were fairly thick and dripped down the glass rather slowly.
   As for he Bouquet now. I am getting a bit of toasted spice on the nose along with a slightly buttery note as well. There is also a note of ripe Peach that is presented with a serious depth rather then a lightness. A Kiwi note is screaming here and I am hoping so hard that these notes carry right on over onto the Palate. Let me go ahead and add a note of Melon here that is just on point with the kiwi and I can't forget to tell you about a note of Honeysuckle which is very prominent. Overall this wine is just screaming tropicalness on the nose, wow!
  
   So now we get to deal with the Palate of this wine, and of course as you can expect, I cheated as I have already tasted the wine. Have no fear though because as normal I will (try) not to give it all away just yet as there is a review for me to type and of course, for you to read :). Opening up on the Palate the wine is exposing a nice note of tropical acidity followed by a fairly decent bit of that Honeysuckle I picked up on the nose. I know that we are early into this review but ......I love this wine. I think you have to realize that once the wine is tasted you really know right away how you feel about it as you already have all you need to judge it. A review of a wine takes longer for the writer because a thorough review means explaining to you the reader just how or what the wine is presenting and whether in that reviewers opinion the wine is either good or bad. Okay so the next note up is one of Pear makes it's presence known on the Palate for sure and also brings with it a slight bit of sugar. Now mind you, all the notes bring with them some level of sugar but this is not a sweet white wine by any stretch of the imagination. As I said, there is fruit sugar notes here but along with them comes the actual taste of the fruits themselves so the sugar is not just thrown in here to effect a change in a cheap wine or to make you think with a masking of sorts that the wine is better then it really is. Let me now go ahead and let you know that there is a buttery note but it is most definitely NOT anywhere near or even approaching the point where it could even possibly effect the wine negatively. Yes, there is an acidity to this wine but it is a note that is indeed needed in order to act as a "cut" of sorts to what would have been a wine slightly edging toward a slightly sweeter wine but because of this note overall the wine is not what I would consider to be a sweet one. This Acidity is not overwhelming although although it is not shy in the least bit either. A crispness is evident here as well and it can partially thank that Acidity. I do want to talk about a note of Grapefruit which is apparent towards the Finish of the Palate. This particular note is not incredibly tart but it is present enough to be effective on the Palate for sure. A note of a soft Lychee makes itself known here as well. I want to tell you about the fruit of Apricot which brings a bit of a sort of tang to the wine. This is a semi-ripe Apricot and one which would truly be joyed as a fruit you picked up as a snack in general. Nectaurine, I am talking about a semi-ripe Nectaurine and not one that is loaded with sugar or sweetness.
I am talking about a Nectaurine which certainly helps carry this wine into the zone it loves to live in and that zone is one of quality and a Winemaker who knew his business. How about a note of Green Apple? This Green Apple helps the Grapefruit with that bit of tartness that I am tasting which comes across so fresh. If you are thinking that I am done here you are wrong because along with the Acidity and crispness is a White Pepper note as well. When combined and controlled as they are here these notes present themselves just......wonderfully is all I can say to you. I guess you could say that the note of acidity here is buffered by a comfortable level of semi ripe to ripe fruit which also is used to soften any otherwise harsh impact. There is the Stone Fruit note of semi-ripe Peach that appears at Mid-Palate and sustains itself in a mostly non-sugary way. The next note also was presented on the nose and that is a note of melon. Adding just a touch more of sugar and tropicalness this melon is fresh and vibrant. Alright then, it looks as if this is another review of a wine that I can say more then passed muster. Let's go ahead now and get to my final thoughts on the wine.
   This wine is certainly presenting an awful lot of semi-ripe to ripe fruit notes if you ask me. This wine is not overly loaded with sugar yet it certainly is loaded with vibrant fruity notes. As a reminder this wine cost me $6.99 Chenin Blanc lovers. Does the wine present itself as a $7 wine? Ahhhh no, it definitely does not. This wine makes it a pleasure to have tried the Chenin Blanc varietal and I can promise you that this will not be the last time this varietal is reviewed by me. In closing, if you want a buttery or oily white wine you are looking in the wrong place without a doubt, go find an overly oaked Chardonnay. While there is an ever so slight buttery note here, there is no oily note oily note at all. This is a perfect and I do mean PERFECT wine for the Summer and especially the pool. Even if you paid $10 for the wine which is the average price, I highly recommend this wine for being refreshing, flavorful and an excellent representation of the varietal known as Chenin Blanc. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine 93 points as I thoroughly loved it.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - Passion Cellars - 2014 Dios Mio Man

Passion Cellars - 2014 Dios Mio Man
   What do you think of when it comes to the state of Arizona? Whatever it is that comes to mind, I doubt very much that you think about wine, to be honest and neither did I for a while. Many people do not know that the state of Arizona actually has a growing wine industry and that they make some really great wines. While that may come as a shock to many so called wine experts who will say that the weather is simply too hot to grow quality wine grapes, these so called experts I can promise you, are very wrong. Yes, it does get hot in Arizona, very hot, but that doesn't exclude the growing of quality wine grapes. While it is true in Arizona as it is in a lot of other states, certain varietals will not fare well there because of the excessive heat others varietals such as the Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon just to name a few will positively thrive. Las Vegas today will be 101 Degrees and drop to 78 Degrees. As the Summer begins however, that temperature drop will no longer happen and we will not leave the upper 90's at night. Wine grapes are grown in backyards out here very successfully. Anyway, if you are interested in finding out more about the Arizona wine industry here (http://vvwinetrail.com/) is a great link that you will find of interest. Why am I telling you so much about the Arizona wine industry? The reason I bring up the wine industry in Arizona is because today's wine that I am reviewing is from Passion Cellars (http://passioncellars.com/) which is located in the city of Jerome, Arizona. Jerome itself doesn't have any Vineyards as much of Arizona's wine grapes are grown in the Wilcox AVA (yeah they have an AVA). Jerome does have 4 wineries though including Caduceus Cellars which is owned by Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of Tool. So now I have a confession to make before I get into the main part of this review, I love Arizona red wines. If you love your red wines with a Black Pepper type spice as well as deep earthy notes then you also will love Arizona reds.
Alicante Bouschet
As I finally get to posting this article (a year later) it is June 5th and the temperature in Wilcox Arizona will top out at 100 degrees and bottom out at 64 degrees tonight. A quick update today June 5th shows that the weather here in Vegas is going to be 89 Degrees getting down to 57 Degrees. While this certainly is a decent temperature drop, the temp in
   Today I will be reviewing the 2014 Passion Cellars, Dios Mio Man so let's get started on that review. Let's learn what this wine which is a red blend consists of. In today's review we are looking at a red blend which consists of 76% Alicante Bouschet, 12% Syrah, and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for this wine were grown in the Dragoon Vineyard & Fort Bowie Vineyard (both in the Wilcox AVA). The wine was aged in 40% new French Oak for 16 months then aged for 8 months in the bottle. The wine cost an outrageous $49!
   Let's look now at the color of the wine as we continue. The wine presents a Crimson Red on the pour however in the glass this wine sat a very light in red in color. I had no issues at all seeing the bottom of the glass as it was held over a white paper. The wine was very consistent throughout in it's appearance and did not display any variations in shade. Before I go on I would like to point something out. I have said it many times but I feel the need to once again repeat it While there are some who might believe that the deeper the color of a wine the better, or higher scoring the wine is or should be and that is not the case. Yes, I agree that it is nice to see a red wine that is deep and dark in color as it does make for a great presentation, it is however not the end all be all to a wine. Okay, so let's get further into this.

   On the nose this wine was rather forward with the notes of Leather and Black Pepper topped with an absolutely wonderful note of abundant Cocoa. Sounds rather simple huh? Sometimes simple is all  it takes for a wine to excell
   Taking this review to the Palette as we move on I will tell you that the Black pepper detected on the nose translates right over to the Palate. This wine has a Black Pepper spice that is very up front and immediately draws your attention. For me that Black Pepper note helps or assists the other notes in this wine in coming forward. Deep Black Cherry combined with moderate Cassis / Black Currant are present in enjoyable amounts but also without any bitterness that could offend the Palette. A note of Allspice rushes forward as well and the Palette is simply loving it. Some nice Oak is involved as well on the Palette and also at just the perfect level to be appreciated but yet not be overdone either. There is also a bit of Acidity as well which presents itself here on the Tongue and that assists this wine to excell in it's Palate appeal. On the very sides of the Tongue is a hint of fruit sugar that when taken as a whole is mostly where the limited sugar in this wine is from. I find it interesting how the sugar is almost confined to the sides of the Tongue although there is dark, deep and not overly sugary note of ripe Plum which extends its presentation beginning on the opening of the wine and extends all the way to mid Palate and finally completing it's journey on the Finish. As a last note here I want to let you know that there is a deep note of Oak on the Palate and one which is not shy in it's presentation.

   There isn't much more that I can say guys, this is a pretty nice wine and one that I believe is put together nicely. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found no real negatives to tell you about other then the crazy price. This folks is one nice wine. To show you that I am not too crazy, this wine actually won double gold medals in the largest competition of U.S. wines at the  San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. While some might find this wine to be fruit forward as there is a bit of that present, to me however this wine presents much more then fruit forwardness the wine is deep, semi bold and super nicely layered in Oak. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine a solid 91 points.

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2016 NED - Sauvignon Blanc

 
2016 NED Sauvignon Blanc
   Today we are going to be taking another trip to the country of New Zealand, the Marlborough AVA to be exact as today's wine review is of the 2016 NED Sauvignon Blanc from Marisco Vineyards (https://www.marisco.co.nz/). Our review wine comes in at 13% Alcohol and cost me $15. The wine is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes and is surprisingly, cork sealed as well.
   Pouring the wine into my glass it appeared almost clear in color but it did however have a slight golden tinge to it. Bringing the wine to my nose it exhibited notes of Lemongrass as well as  Grapefruit Zest. Adding to these notes is also a fairly light yet effective note of Green Apple. I also wish to tell you that overall this wine is showing off a fairly nice Bouquet here guys and I believe that it brings along with it the promise at least of a bright, slightly acidic but yet fruity Palate. I am hoping that the Palate can indeed deliver on this promise because if it can this should be a rather nice wine.
   So here we go, how does this wine taste on the Palate as well as if or how, does this wine match up to it's nose. To begin with here, there is a strong Lemongrass note that translates from the nose over to the Palate and brings a freshness of sorts to the wine that is really nice and stands out here along with a note of Grapefruit Zest which also translates nicely from the nose. Together the two notes are certainly dominant in the wine but yet are not to the point of being overpowering. Together these notes also bring this wines initial mouth presence into being one of a tanginess and present a wine slightly on the Acidic side. Presented here is a also decent bit of minerality thrown into the mix as well which is really making for a mouth watering and juicy wine and when also put together with that rather nice acidity makes for a bright, lemony and refreshing wine on the Palate overall.
Winemaker - Brent Marris
There is a welcome and needed note of stone fruit freshness of a fairly non sweet and largely unripe Nectarine on the Palate which adds to the other notes freshness. What I am tasting here is definitely not a hot weather, California tropical, fruit forward, Sauvignon Blanc but more along the lines to an extent of almost a typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine with the typical notes that the AVA is known for presenting in this varietal. I will tell you however that this wine is missing some fruit which in my opinion it should have. Now....while I do understand that this is a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and that the region is typically not known for a sweet, fruit sugary wine expression I do feel it still could have presented at least somewhat of a sugar note or perhaps a bit more of a tropical note to it. Now I  don't want you to misunderstand me as just because a wine is from this particular AVA and posses the concentration of the notes that it does, it is not an automatic determination of whether the wine is neither bad, good or great although overall this will effect the outcome of this review.  As you can probably imagine by now, there is a large dryish note to this wine. As I previously said, this wine is missing a sort of "something" to it. There is no Melon or real Apple notes on the Palate. There is no Passion Fruit or any other note for that matter that is even in the slightest way able to add at least a bit sweetness or sugar to the wine. This might definitely sound like a bad thing to those of you who like the sweeter interpretation of this varietal and I certainly totally understand that, even for someone like me who appreciates both the hot weather expression as well as the cooler weather expression of the varietal this wine put me off to a small extent. I especially liked the fact that you can almost actually taste the Terroir in the wine and know exactly what type of soil these vines were grown in and that is nice. Overall here I feel that the wine fell a little short of what I would expect from the region overall. Well guys you now have my thoughts on this wine and while it is a fairly short review (for me) it is time to warp up this up and close this review out.
 
   After completing my review of this wine I want to talk about what a popular wine magazine rated it. This particular magazine rated this wine at 91 points. I do not agree with that rating and believe that this wine should NOT have even broken into the 90 point arena. Judging from other peoples reviews on this particular wine I noticed that there are many areas where my views or opinions match those of the so called experts but there are other areas in which we differ. I guess that is why there are so many wine critics in the world. Bottom line here is that I did enjoy this wine but once again, found it lacking in some areas. It is not the usual expression of the varietal that I would normally expect from this AVA but I do appreciate it for what it is. Now, for the part you have all been waiting for. On the Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 88 points, I just wish there were at least some of the typical notes such as Nectarine or Passion Flower that the varietal is known for.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Desert Wine Guy - 2014 Cascina La Doria Gavi


   Welcome back to my wine blog guys. Today I will be reviewing the 2014 Cascina La Doria Gavi which is a white wine made from 100% Cortese grapes. I have never heard of the varietal prior to this review but I did discover that the Cortese varietal is one which is predominantly grown in the town of Gavi which is located in the southeastern region of Piedmont Italy. Breaking it down a little further I want to tell you that the grapes for this wine are grown in the commune of San Cristoforo. This varietal is also Italy's first white wine to gain international notoriety and is considered one of the top-ranking Italian whites today. With this review I am also checking out and reviewing the last in a series of wines that I bought on clearance for $4.99 at a large retail liquor superstore. While I paid $4.99 on clearance for the wine it normally sells for $18.99 at this particular store. This wine comes in at 12.5% Alcohol and sat for 6 months in steel barrels. This wine is produced by Villa Lanata (http://www.villalanata.it/en/) although they do not appear to claim the label on their website as there is no mention of the label there. There is however mention of the label on this (http://www.cascinaladoria.it/en/products-category/la-doria-gavi-docg/) site. A closer look at both sites will show that they are indeed one and the same. One other interesting thing about this wine is that it is a single estate wine which means that the grapes for this wine come from only one single Vineyard. The winery and vineyards don't have to be contiguous, but they have to be located in the same appellation. Let's go ahead and check out the Nose of this wine now.
Cortese vines
   On the nose the wine presents notes of very light Pear as well as a super light Peach. There is a slightly more moderate note of Honey that overall dominates the nose but overall the Bouquet I would have to say is certainly on the lighter side with a very light tropical Bouquet. Please keep in mind that a light Bouquet doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong with a wine or that the wine is not a quality made wine.
   So here we are, talking about basically a $20 wine from a single estate in Italy, sounds good huh? I will remind you that the whole idea that I had in creating the profile of The Desert Wine Guy is to review wines for the average person. Now, is $20 a reasonable price for the average person to spend on a wine. In my opinion while it may be at the top of what is permissible, it is appropriate. The question I ask myself as always and that I try to answer for you as well is is this wine worth the $20 price tag it normally has? Stick around and we will find out together right now.
   So we are now moving to the Palette and how the wine tastes or comes across here. Well to begin with understand that the wine is tropical and semi light in the notes that it does present. A note of Pear is pretty nice as well as the note of Peach. There is a somewhat drier note of Nectarine that follows these other notes and the wine just seems to be ......pleasant.  I need to tell you guys that at first this wine prior to be allowed to develop a bit was exhibiting a super serious note of fruity Acidity that really almost completely turned me off to it. Once given about a half hour to open or develop however, this wine really softened quite a bit and transformed into a white that displayed a wonderful Honeysuckle note yet still thankfully did manage to retain a bit of that fruity Acidity where it actually worked in favor of the overall wines presentation rather then against it.
There is a sort of dull lemony type note that comes out and thankfully it is without any harsh tartness displayed. This lemony note in reality goes very well with the fruity Acidity I spoke of and I believe also keeps what I think could have easily been overdone Acidity rather successfully in check. As this wine opens (and it does) it displays more tropical fruit and becomes brighter on the Palette. The notes of that Honeysuckle as well as white flowers really comes to life and really present themselves pretty nicely. Speaking once again of the rather moderate Acidity I have to tell you that while it is toned down it does not disappear at any point on the Palate and continues to impress up to the finish, I for sure did thoroughly enjoy it. Speaking of the finish I have to say that there is still an ever so slight amount of harshness that exhibits itself on the finish. While it is not terrible and it does not distract from the overall enjoyment of the wine, it is noticeable. It is now time folks, time to close out this review. Let's move now to the closing paragraph and put this all together for you.
   So, here we are at the end of this review. There are some things that I really need to talk to you about concerning this wine. Really quickly I want to say that you already know that I gave this wine a total of about a half hour to open up and develop but prior to that time I handed a glass of this wine to a friend who agreed that the wine was a little more then slightly over the top in Acidity, they also said that the finish was flat and watery although I myself didn't think that. They also understandably said that the wine was not good. At the time I said to myself that I was going to have to really bomb this wine. But wait, there's more. After tasting this wine after it opened up we both feel completely different about it as we both agreed that we were glad we waited the half hour. Overall I will tell you that I really liked this wine. Light Tropical notes and some Acidity to add a hair of complexity to it, nice wine. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 91 points.
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