Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Desert Wine Guy - 2019 Textbook, Cabernet Sauvignon

   Do you guys look for specific areas or AVA's when you buy wine? As much as I love to explore all wine areas, I do have to admit that I have my favorite areas or AVA's that I like to stick to. I wonder though, is there any science behind this preference or is it just that we have fallen into a marketing ploy? I don't know about you but when I see a Tempranillo from anywhere other then Spain, I kind of move on. I am not quite as bad when it comes to a Cabernet Sauvignon but I would prefer to have one from the Napa Valley, preferably the Rutherford AVA as I am in love with that "Rutherford Dust" note which some argue really doesn't exist but those in the know, know :) When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc I usually head over to Marlborough, New Zealand (not literally) for that varietal but there are times in which California is visited as well when I want to change things up a bit. I think these places know that people come to them for a specific reason and they in turn price their wine accordingly. My final question to you before I move on is, what percentage of the time is it worth spending that extra money?
   So guys, today I will be taking a look at the 2019 Textbook, Cabernet Sauvignon (https://textbookvineyards.com/) from the Napa Valley. I paid $25 for this wine and the bottle is cork (real) sealed. The alcohol percentage of this wine comes in at 13.3% and the winemaker of this wine is Abi Horstman. The wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 2.5% Petite Verdot & 2.5% Cabernet Franc. For those out there who love the tech stuff (me), the wine sat in 90% French Oak with 35% being new as well as 10% American Oak for 18 months. All of the grapes for this wine come from the Napa Valley in the form of four sub-AVAs which are Oak Knoll, Yountville, Rutherford, and Calistoga. One last note here of interest is that the wine is part of the Kirin Holdings Company (https://www.kirinholdings.com/en/)
   Let's talk label now. Ya know, there are times when plain, or simple, is a good thing provided it's done right that is. Folks, this label is in a way, plain & simple and is a perfect representation of what I am talking about as well. This label doesn't have any fancy colors or bright, eye catching graphics yet it just works and I think it is well done. I love the border around the label, both the front as well as the back actually. The fonts used are not what I would consider to be fancy or over the top but they definitely presents a very classic type wine imagery. Clean and certainly sophisticated, this label is one which you wouldn't be surprised to see in a photo of some dignitaries at a dinner party or even on the table of some degenerate housewives on T.V.
Let me go ahead and check out the nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon now and see what it has to say for itself. Spiced, sweet smelling French Oak is being thrown out here and let me tell you, it smells absolutely amazing. Nice blueberry is here as well but doesn't give off the impression the note will be crazy or over the top on the palate. Dark cherry follows up here and it appears to add a sense of a lovely plushness to the nose of the wine.
 Okay, so far so good but how does the wine taste? Let's find out. Okay so, first up here is that same spiced/sweet French Oak that I picked up on the nose and Ladies & Gentlemen, let me tell you, it is just as nice here as was portrayed to be on that nose. Not overpowering in the least bit, this Spiced/sweet French Oak really knows how to come forward and show itself off just beautifully. While not acting as if it needs to be the Oak Monster (thank you Gary Vee) and certainly not pushing itself on you, the oak also doesn't come across as if it was added into the wine as an afterthought either. This spiced/sweet French Oak understands that its role is strictly to impress which it certainly does in a big way. Next up here is a very adequate and delicious note of Rutherford Dust folks, yes, Rutherford Dust. If I didn't already know that some of the wines grapes came from the Rutherford AVA, I definitely would have no problem letting you know they did. This dust is certainly picked up and makes a beautiful impact on the wine overall as well. This dust adds like an earthy sense to the overall palate and boy is it good. As far as the acidity goes in the wine, The wine has an acidity presentation which is very nice as well and without causing you to sit back in you chair. As far as the acidity being just as effective as that oak and dust, yeah, it is right up there. In my humble opinion, all three notes together are elevating this wine into a category that it should not be in at this price point. If you were to me you paid $100 for this wine, I would believe you without question. The wine is also throwing out a smoke note and while it is not overpowering, it is flavorful and intermixes with everything else the wine is pushing out. Here with this note which I was not expecting but am glad is here the overall texture of the wine is elevated and balance in the wine is continued. Next up is a note which I have to be carefully telling some of you about and that note is of Plum and it is fresh and juicy. This plum adds just a hair bit of jamminess but I still hate to say that word because 99% of the time when I say it, it is followed by the following words, "......it flat out killed the wine", thankfully that is not the case here. Folks, in this particular case that plum is perfect and I don't use that word lightly guys, I do mean perfect. So if you thought I was done with this review, you would be wrong because tobacco is present here as well and it is fresh like if you just opened a bag of fresh leaves and smelled them.
To me, one sign of a serious Cabernet Sauvignon is a note of tobacco. This tobacco is not only fresh and pretty robust but I have to say, adds complexity to the wine. As far as tannin's go, they are present and
on the softer yet crumbly side but they do add to the other notes which help in elevating the wine into (again) another price point. After taking a sip of the wine my mouth is left with a deliciously light coating of those tannin's which keeps telling me that the wine is both young as well as still there helping it to have a fairly long finish. Guys, I am sorry, the wine is half done but it is time to end this written review as I am saving the other half of the bottle for my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@TheDesertWineGuy/featured) as the wine truly deserves more coverage. I will see you in the next paragraph to wrap this all up.
   What else can I say except for the fact that this wine is structured, phenomenal and I enjoyed it very much. Between that spiced sweet, French Oak, the beautiful tobacco, the plum and everything else, this wine is rocking it for sure. There is nothing about the wine that I would change other then perhaps it being perhaps a little more full bodied. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine a strong 94 (cellar worthy) points. Right about now I am going to go ask Mrs. Desert Wine Girl if she can hook me up with some wonderful lamb as I seem to have that stuck in my mind...thank you Notebook :) My recommendation to you is that you go out and buy a couple of bottles of the wine because if you love old school Napa Cabs, I know you will enjoy it.
 
                                                                The Desert Wine Guy
 

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Desert Wine Guy - 2020 Edulis de Altanza, Sauvignon Blanc

       Guys, I have to begin this wine review by talking just a bit about a portable speaker. As I begin here, I want you guys to know that I am not getting any form of compensation from, nor do I know anyone who either works for or is affiliated with the company making the speaker in any way. With that being said, I have to ask. What is wine or beer for that matter without awesome music? My answer is that while they are both great by themselves, what makes the tasting experience even better is some awesome music. Whether I go out onto the back patio to review a wine or I am inside the house in my office, I have to have music which in my case is 80's music. As a matter of fact what I am listening to right now is some Lil Suzy which is of the 80's "Freestyle" genre. So, with this being said, I wanted to let you know about the desktop portable speaker that I use while I am outside which is the Sony SRS-XB33. Guys let me tell ya, this speaker rocks. I first heard this speaker at a relatives party in New Jersey and was so impressed with the sound that I had to ask about it and then buy it as soon as I got home. I'm talking fairly deep bass here with clear mids and crisp highs. The sound is super clean and without any muffled or shrill sounds. The speaker is available in red, grey, purple & blue (hello) and has Bluetooth (version 5) that picks up the originating signal from a very nice distance away. The speaker is waterproof (yep), has a type-C connector/USB and nice long battery life (24 hrs), this speaker has it all. Now guys, the speaker is expensive as it cost $178 at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Sony-SRS-XB33-Wireless-Waterproof-BLUETOOTH/dp/B086D4JNGM) but, if you need (demand) amazing sound, this is the portable speaker to buy that's for sure. So, now that we have discussed the music end of enjoying wine, the next thing is to talk about the wine itself so let's get into that now.
   While I am sitting out back in the beautiful "Freedom" Florida weather today, I am going to be tasting the 2020 Edulis de Altanza, Sauvignon Blanc (https://bodegasaltanza.com/en/producto/altanza-blanco/). I paid $11.99 for this wine and it's alcohol percentage comes in at a nice 13%. The bottle is cork (real) sealed as well. What I find rather interesting about this wine is that it comes from a country which is not known for Sauvignon Blanc and that country is Spain. The country has actually been growing the grape varietal since 1974 but it never seemed to take off there so tasting this wine should be interesting.  
   Okay, label time now guys. Yeah, there is nothing here at all to talk about as the label is very simply, bland. The label certainly did not attract me or influence me into buying the wine that is for sure.
   As for the wines bouquet, it is nice, fruity and fresh smelling. As a matter of fact, the glass is about two feet from me as I am writing this and I am picking up some rather lively tropical fruit coming from it. Moving the glass much closer to my nose now I get notes of fresh and ripe yellow peach which comes forward rather nicely but is not over the top. I am also picking some juicy smelling nectarine here as well. Weirdly, I am getting a slight bit of vanilla as well I think which is really weird for the varietal but nothing that throws the wine off. Finishing the nose off, there is also what smells like oak as well and it really sets the wines bouquet off rather nicely.
   So, as far as the taste of the wine goes now yes, there is a slight bit of lemongrass but nothing like a New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc (hello Whitehaven). This lemongrass is pretty nice and is presented in a way where it isn't trying to dominate the wine yet it does get its point across. As far as the other notes goes, I am getting nice lively and rather zippy acidity and this acidity really has the wine moving along nicely on the palate and tasting fresh for sure. This is an interesting wine as it seems to move rather quickly in the mouth while still being able to fully express itself. A White Peach is present here as well and it is nice as well, and it certainly does have some nice flavor to it. As with the nose, Nectarine is here as well and it comes across in the same way as that peach does. There is a minerality note here as well and it is right up there with the best white wines. This minerality works so well with this the acidity and it's really nice and makes you want more of the wine. So there you have my take on this Spanish, Sauvignon Blanc. Let's get to the conclusion paragraph now.

   Beginning off here, I have to say that even though the wine was rather low in alcohol and I did eat prior to doing this tasting, it, the wine did give me a buzz rather quickly for some reason. This is rather unusual as I review wine pretty often and this is never an issue so just be warned. In the end, I did really enjoy the wine and thought it was a fairly decent representation of the varietal overall. Would I say it was great? No, I would not but, it was definitely okay for sure. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale, I am giving this wine 89 points. So, at $11.99 and the wine tasting as it does and with the ability for one to make certainly out that it is a Sauvignon Blanc, would I say it was good for the pool? Yeah, I would say that your guests would be happy with this wine. Do yourself a favor though, don't attempt to pass this wine off to your wine educated friends as being expensive or sought after as you will certainly make yourself look rather foolish. In the end, it was an interesting experience and I can see potential for the varietal in the country to expand if the industry out there can organize itself. I think the next time I am at the wine store, I will try to find a slightly higher priced bottle of the varietal from Spain and see just how it works out. 

                                                                                                The Desert Wine Guy

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Saturday, October 29, 2022

2019 Details By Sinegal, Cabernet Sauvignon

 

2019 Details By Sinegal, Cabernet Sauvignon
   How many of you guys have very simply, given up on certain wine varietals priced within the $10-15 range? According to a prestigious wine magazine, the average price paid for a wine in America is $9.99 and that means we are already talking about a price range exceeding that so you would rightfully think we should be expecting a better quality of wine. While I would think that as well, unfortunately my own personal experience is simply not working out like that. While I completely agree that price doesn't necessarily equate to quality when it comes to wine, I think what we are really seeing here more then anything else is the younger generation of wine drinkers beginning to flex their buying power and are therefore influencing the wine market in general? In my humble opinion, this new generation is very obviously leaning heavily towards sweet/jammy reds and oaky/buttery type Chardonnays as I think they either believe these are the characteristics these varietals are supposed to be exhibiting or, they simply haven't developed a discerning palate yet due to a lack of experience and therefore, education. I don't know about you but I for one am so tired of paying $15 for a Cabernet Sauvignon only to get it home and after taking that first sip discovering the wine to be a jammy, blueberry mess. This of course is supposed to be acceptable because the bottle has the word "estate" or "reserve" on the front label. These words equate in some peoples minds to a guaranteed good wine. I myself am part of the older generation where Cabernet Sauvignon had to have notes of spice, leather, cassis, tannins, chocolate & perhaps even some good old Rutherford Dust. As I mentioned earlier, I feel the same way about Chardonnays priced in the $10-15 arena.
The Chardonnay varietal is supposed to be fresh with notes of nectarine, minerality, moderate acidity and be lively. Chardonnay is not supposed to taste as if I am licking an oak barrel or drinking some sort of oily chemically mess. What to do about all of this is the big question. Today I am going to start an experiment of sorts which means I am going to move up in price in order to try and hopefully get a decent expression of either of these two wine varietals. Will price matter? Well, I don't know but I feel that I have to do something to narrow down a proper price range in order to try to buy a decent wine otherwise I am simply throwing my money down the drain. Hopefully starting with today's wine, I will have a breakthrough of sorts and my faith in at least one of these wine varietals will be on its way to being restored but we will see about that.
   Today I am going to be taking a look at the 2019 Details By Sinegal, Cabernet Sauvignon (https://www.sinegalestate.com/). I paid $25 for this wine although it sells normally at the store I bought it from for $29.99. At least from what I have seen online, either price is amazing as I have seen it on line for as much as $50. The bottle is cork sealed as you would expect and the alcohol percentage comes in at what I consider to be a reasonable 14.8%. The wine was aged for 16 months in 55% new French Oak however there is 5% each of both American and Hungarian oak incorporated as well. Keeping it real with you guys as always, I didn't pick this wine, it was actually recommended by the shop owner who has recommended some pretty good wines to me in the past. This time I asked him to recommend a Cabernet Sauvignon for me costing no more then $25 and he immediately went into an unopened box which was sitting under a table filled with other wines and pulled this particular one out.
Winemaker - Ryan Knoth
The first thing I saw was the goats head with the human eyes and really was this close to rejecting it but I figured that I would give it a try as the owners track for recommendations won out in the end. The grapes for this wine come from various vineyards in the Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley and Knights Valley and the wine is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Petite Sirah, 8% Malbec, and 4% Petit Verdot. The Vintner/General Manager is David Sinegal while the winemaker is Ryan Knoth.   
   As far as the label goes, I don't particularly appreciate it....at all as I find it has a negative religious tone. Part of me would like to know the artists intention behind it however the other part has me thinking that I am not really sure I want to know. To be fair here, I have read on one website that the inspiration behind the label was inspired by the following. "The skull label is inspired by the ever-mysterious goat eyes, which are capable of seeing and sensing two things at once. The art conveys the double meaning behind the devil inside. The hieroglyphs tell their own detailed story within the goat’s skull". The label however is not explained on the companies website but whatever the meaning behind it, I think another less divisive design is certainly in order.
   I don't normally talk about the color of a wine but here with this wine, I will most definitely make an exception. Dark, deep, ominous, burgundy and.......foreboding. The color of the wine is extremely serious looking and is trying its best (and succeeding) in telling me (screaming to me) that the grapes involved in the making of the wine are of a superior pedigree. Just looking at the color of the wine puts a big smile on my face as I anticipate what is to hopefully present itself as an amazing wine where it counts which is the  palate. Yes indeed folks, I have bought into what the color of this wine is attempting to portray.
   Let me go ahead now and check out the nose of this impressive looking Cabernet Sauvignon. First up here I should let you know that after just one sniff of the wine, I find myself again smiling as it continues on the nose where its visual appearance left off, it's serious.
Starting off here, the wine pushes out a lovely nose of both spice and blackberry. Ripe fruit notes of both blueberry and plum follow up and come rushing up out of the glass as well. I don't think there is anyone who would put this wine to their nose and not have visions of not only a very serious Cab but a very expensive, very well made and very red fruit filled wine. I simply cannot wait to try this wine guys as taste is after all what really matters in the end.
   Onto the palate I go now. Okay, so,first up,the wine as I would expect judging by the alcohol percentage, the wines appearance and its nose, is indeed pretty powerful, pretty robust and finally confirmed, it is very serious indeed. Tannins are not as crazy as I envisioned them to be but they are noticeable, wonderful and do provide a slight coating onto the tongue (I love it). All of this reminds me of an expensive Napa Valley Cabernet from the finest most exclusive vineyards and winery. There is the slightest bit of an alcohol burn as the wine goes down but it is definitely nothing to freak out about and nothing that letting the wine breath for a bit (decant) won't take care of. A top notch ripe and darkish, black cherry note like from the best cultivated tree ever grown is presented here and it is coming across as fresh and thirst provoking. The next note really threw me for a loop as I certainly did not expect it and that was a bit of what tasted like Rutherford Dust folks,....amazing! This "dust" note is really elevating the wine into a zone where it should not be sitting for even $50. Guys, Rutherford Dust? For those you who have ever had the opportunity of actually experiencing this note, you are probably rubbing your hands together for this to end up being a recommended wine in the end so you can go buy it. A nice presentation of delicious French Oak is present and like in any good Cabernet Sauvignon, it is more of a delicious accompanying note rather then a staple (killer) of the wine. For those of you really into expensive Cabernet Sauvignons, you know what I mean here and just how oak can permeate throughout a Cabernet to become some type of monster, (an Oak Monster:) This is not that wine, I promise.
The amount of oak here in the end is just enough to be effective in letting you know that on one hand, a good percentage of new oak was used and on the other, letting you know it still knows its place. Spice guys, like serious spice.The amount of spice and the ability of the wine to present it in the way it does is nothing short of outstanding! This spice is present throughout the entire wines presentation yet doesn't cause the palate to suddenly be yanked in this direction or that direction. By the way overall palate consistency is very big here and just another great aspect of this wine. Amazingly this spice note has my palate definitely remaining on peak alert for what else is to come. A note of sage is integrated throughout the entire wine as well and it is presented at a point where while you pick it up and while it is ever so slightly forward, you will not have concerns with it being there as it won't take anything away due to its presentation level. This sage note only adds to the wines amazing lively complexity but it is yet another sign of the fact that the wine is absolutely in a class of it's own. Allspice is another note here in the wine and boy is it enjoyable as it meshes so very well with everything else yet at the same time, is allowed to express itself nicely as well. Guys, I have to tell you, the wine is seriously well structured, powerful, totally enveloping my palate and, demanding it take notice of everything it has to offer up. Speaking of offering up, the wine seems to have everything moving along rather nicely and allowing me to taste each note completely and without feeling as if one note could have gone on a bit longer or, that one note was presented too long. Moving on now, ripe plum is just incredible here and it also is this way without dropping in any wine killing jamminess either. This plum is fresh, almost as if you were eating it fresh from the tree yet that incredible Rutherford Dust type note seems to provide a cut of sorts to override it and at just the right point thereby keeping it in check so it doesn't go crazy. I actually can't get away from that dust type note as it seems to control the wine overall but not by power rather it rules more by finesse. Now you would think that the wine would be done at this point but you would think wrong. An amazing cedar note is presenting itself and it seriously works itself into the mix of everything else rather nicely. This wine is impressive to say the least and very much throwing out notes that really show it was made with a lot of talent, thought and yes indeed, with the best grapes. There is amazingly also a palate presence here of almost a crushed rock with a slightly flinty edge as well and it maneuvers into being another of the stunning notes the wine has in its arsenal to impress with.
There is some blueberry present and this is where an ever so slight hint of jamminess does come into play in the wine. Now hold on a minute guys, don't lose hope now because this jamminess while indeed present is right at home here as it provides a needed bit of sweetness to the palate. Keep in mind that I hate a jammy wine, to me there are not many things that can ruin a red wine as quickly as jamminess but as I said earlier, this is NOT that wine, I promise. This slight blueberry jamminess acts like more of a plushness in the wine and comes into play just after the mid-palate and ends up sitting more in the background then anything. This plushness is so super smooth and...well.....yummy that I am in amazement to be quite honest. If you ask me, this is the perfect way to provide an amazing finish to each sip of this wine. Guys....I really can't say enough about this wine and I need to go on just a bit longer because things just need to be said here. As for a couple of last notes, how about some licorice and tobacco notes because they are here and they are good. These notes are usually only tasted in the upper crust of Cabernet Sauvignon wines and to taste them here in this wonderfully priced Cab is truly crazy. Oh, I guess I should tell you about the acidity here in the wine huh? The acidity in this wine comes into play on the finish but that is good because that is where it belongs in this particular wine in order for it to work as it does. The acidity doesn't ruin the finish as it is content being a backup to that blueberry plushness I mentioned. So folks, I am finally done reviewing this wine. Was it amazing? Was it awesome? Was it incredible? I guess you will have to read the conclusion paragraph in order to find out the answer to these questions.
   Guys, before you go out and buy this wine you should understand something. This is a very serious Cabernet Sauvignon and not one which is interested in playing games. Before you bring it home, you will need a cellar for the other bottles you are going buy as you simply can't leave the store with just one bottle. This is most definitely a wine that was created to sell at a much higher price but for some reason to the wineries credit, is being sold for between $30-$50. This is a wine that was designed to sit on a restaurant table in areas such as Wall Street or at a dinner for dignitaries. I don't believe that I have ever had a wine that put out so very much and all without any palate conflict that would demonstrate some sort of unbalance or offensiveness in it. Throughout the entire tasting my palate was not tugged this way or that way. My palate was quite literally taken control of and that control was done without me fighting it. Brooding and luscious.....there ya go, those are the two absolutely perfect words to describe this wine. So as I finish off this review I have to tell you, this is a sipping wine and not a wine to bring to the pool for a Summer party and enjoy with hot dogs or hamburgers. This is not a wine to break out of the cellar for just anyone either. If you are breaking this wine out there better be a wedding or some other significant event going on and there should be wine educated folks invited. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine 97 points.

P.S - So, you would think that this review is already long enough but, there is are a few more things that I need to add. Right now, it is day three that I have been reviewing this wine. Normally if I haven't finished a red wine in two days the rest would typically go down the drain but not here, not with this wine as it was just too good to do that to and I had to try. Here is a short take of the wine on day three. Now mind you, the cork was placed back into the bottle after each pouring for these three days so the wine really didn't have an opportunity to get too much oxygen and therefore oxidize. Thundering! The wine was still rocking the palate and still just as amazingly delicious as it was on day one. What else can I say other then the fact that I will be going to the wine shop and buying another two bottles to put away for a few years as the wine certainly is worthy of aging. One last thing, here (https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0280/4531/2097/files/2019_DETAILS_Tech_Sheet_Jan_2022_f6ecf1dc-16b3-407e-88c8-6aa90edf3d68.pdf?v=1642626328) is the Tech Sheet on the wine for those who may be interested.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

2021 Alma Mora, Malbec

 

       So, I have a couple of questions for you guys. When you finally are able to break out of drinking your preferred wine varietals, do you often find yourself being disappointed much more then you are pleased? I only ask this question because today I did just that, I broke out of my normal red wine pattern and into a red wine varietal that happens to be one of the most popular wine varietals in America only.....not for me. I guess in all fairness this breaking out doesn't always turn out bad as I did discover my favorite red varietal doing just that which is the Tempranillo varietal. Do you guys do a lot of exploring as far as wine varietals go or do you prefer to stick with a few safe ones? I really do want your thoughts on these questions as I need to see if I am just weird when it comes to this aspect of wine drinking or if my feelings are common.
   Alright wine lovers, let's talk about this wine I am reviewing now. Today I am going to be taking a look at the 2021 Alma Mora, Malbec (http://www.fincalasmoras.com/en/almamora/). Here is another wine that I bought at my local supermarket, I paid $10.99 for it and the bottle is cork sealed. The wine comes in at a low (for the varietal) 12.5% alcohol and is 100% Malbec.
   Let's move onto the label now and see what is going on with it. One thing you guys should know is that I hate narrow wine bottles. I hate them so much that when I put the picture of these wine bottles at the beginning of the reviews, I often widen them just a bit :)  Well, along with a narrow wine bottle of course usually comes a narrow label as well and I dislike that almost as much. As for a few positives, I do like the fact that there is very little on the label as I think that cleanness portrays a sense of classiness. What I find really cool is the fact that the black dots on the label are all raised and I think that not only took a bit of extra money but thought as well. Overall, I think the winery did a decent job here.
   Now for the nose of this wine, there really is none and that is not just coming from me but three other people as well.
   Let's get into the palate now. Starting off here, red plum presents itself throughout the wines palate presentation and to me, it is not presented in a common way in as far as it's weird forwardness is concerned. As I was working on this review, I found myself having rather mixed feelings on how I felt concerning what I was actually tasting as far as the plum goes. I had no problem identifying what fruit I was tasting but rather how that fruit was tasting. To me, the red plum had a weird, funky taste and was too dominate overall which caused it to be rather out of place. Whatever the reason, I definitely did not care for how it came across. There is a very light tang of sorts that is present in this wine and I am not a lover of it either, it seems again to be out of place and just.....weird. Another weird thing about the wine is that it fluctuates.....changes things up at what seems to be almost every sip. One minute it is okay and the next it is not. There is a dry spice the wine presents but unfortunately I'm not feeling it either, I simply don't like it and the wine seems very disjointed on top of all of this. The wine also presents an overall dryness that slightly compounds all of those unlikable notes thereby making the entire wine taste and therefore rate really badly in my book. There was a slight black berry note that began pretty nicely but runs smack dab into the other notes that I mentioned and they just make this black berry kind of useless as they kill the entire wine for me. Look guys, I could go on for a little bit buy why should I ? It is time to get to the conclusion paragraph.
   Right up front I will give you the Desert Wine Guy rating which is 85 points. Would I but the wine again. The answer is absolutely not, I would not. The wine was a mess and was just all over the place. At times it would start off good but almost immediately it would turn offensive. At other times it would start off bad and remain consistently disjointed. I'll end this review like this. The wine is a waste of grapes, stay away from it.


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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

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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The Desert Wine Guy - 2019 Textbook, Cabernet Sauvignon

   Do you guys look for specific areas or AVA's when you buy wine? As much as I love to explore all wine areas, I do have to admit that ...