Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - Santiago Station - Non-Vintage - Sauvignon Blanc


   $4.99, What a way to begin a review huh? Well that is what I chose to use as the lead for this article and when you get done reading this review you will see why. $4.99 is also how much (or little) this wine costs at a big box Liquor retailer. While I did go there specifically looking for a Sauvignon Blanc, I had no intentions of, let alone coming across this low priced wine and actually buying it. Well anyway,  So here is how it happened. I actually succeeded on my original mission and did end up buying a Sauvignon Blanc that ran around $20 but as I was walking to the register I came across wines lined up in the main walkway and ya see, there was this wine. This particular wine was a Sauvignon Blanc as well only it cost $4.99 and well.....how could I resist? So here we are reviewing that particular $4.99 which is the non-vintage Santiago Station Sauvignon Blanc from the "Devils Back" (Central Valley) in Chile, the wine comes in at %12.5 Alcohol. What can you and I expect from a wine that is less than $5 and from a place named Devils Back as well? Read on and you will find out.
   Lets start with the closure of this very inexpensive wine. Most of us will not be surprised to find that we are talking about a screw cap and you all know my feelings on that. In the case of a wine at this price point I can find it in my Heart to excuse that. Upon opening the wine and bringing it to my nose I wasn't surprised to find that the Bouquet was just as packed as some of the same varietal that cost a lot more. On the opening of the wine there was some rather nice Pear that brought to mind the soon to come Summer season and the words pool, pool, pool was screaming in my mind. Next up was Green Apple which came just as quickly to my nose and continued thoughts of the pool combined with thoughts of the Summer Sun were still again in my mind. I actually started to think about going to purchase a Bathing Suite now. A very tropical Bouquet was being presented here indeed and I was liking it. Topping off these two different fruits was a little Lemon Grass on the nose that also peaked its way through. There is the thought of both Peach and Nectarine when breathing in the wines Bouquet and there is a debate in my mind as to whether both are actually present on the nose or not. Whether the two are actually present or not is neither here nor there because I believe that you also will have your debate I have no doubt. Either way the Bouquet was nice but none of the notes were strong enough to actually dominate one over the other but were present enough to enjoy them all. In closing out this paragraph I will for a second expound upon the fact that I have spent a lot more money on wines of this varietal as well as others (reds as well) that exhibited less of a Bouquet or one on par with this wine. So, after telling you about this rather nice Bouquet, here we go onto the Palette and how this wine presented itself there.
   To me, this is where the wine excels and earns a ton more respect than it's cost might imply. The first thing that I will say is that if you are looking for tons of Acidity in your Sauvignon Blanc, look somewhere else. That is not to say that there is no Acidity at all as there actually is some on the finish but that particular note is not this wines strong point. Having said that I will let you know that the little bit of Acidity that does exist is truly noticeable. Fortunately as well, the little Acidity that does exist is on the finish and helps to add a little bit of complexity to this $4.99 wine. On first tasting this wine there is an incredible Peach note that semi jumps out at you and fills the Palette superbly with bright fruit. This (as I previously said) brings the Summer season and the pool to mind, oh yeah! There is a hint of Pear on the Palette as well that shines it's way through and meshes superbly with the Pear, I couldn't ask for better. So far this $5 wine is impressing me, I hope it will continue. Moving on there is also a grassy note that is completely unexpected in this inexpensive wine. Folks don't get me wrong, this is certainly not a "sharp" Sauvignon Blanc as some of us might be use to but is a "soft" and distinctly fruity one. There also is no "green fruit" to speak of. There is no grapefruit and lime to speak of in this wine so I guess it is not what the Doctor ordered for you hard core Sauvignon Blanc lovers who expect minerality, freshly cut grass, green peppers, or herbs out of the varietal so beware and look perhaps for another wine perhaps from France as this varietal from Chile is more along the softer, less Acidic, less stringent expression of the varietal. This is in all actuality a more simple expression. Now, I said simple right?
Did I also mention that a mild note of Pineapple was displayed on the palette? I didn't? Well, it's here. No, it's not overpowering and it is on the back end as well along with the slight Acidity but it is also blended really well and yes.....I love it. You know guys, I could go on and on but why? Let's face it, in reality this wine won't truly match up to the varietal standards that some of you demand of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. As I said earlier however, it is more along the lines of the varietal that the country of Chile will present. There, I said it. Is it close enough? The answer is both yes and no. Yes it has some of the characteristics of a Sauvignon Blanc and no, it does not have enough of the characteristics of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal. Will this dilemma cause a deduction in the total points from my overall rating? Yes, it will. But, will I in turn add some points due to it's price and enjoy-ability, yes, I will. Is the wine the ever so slightest hair on the sweet side? Let me answer it like this. If a 4 would be perfect in the sweetness category and a 7 would put it over the top in the sweetness category than this wine would be a 5.5. Lets get to the conclusion of my review and see what my final thoughts are. 
   So here we are, my final thoughts on this wine. Did I enjoy this wine? Heck yes, I really did! This is certainly a tropical fruit led wine as really to an extent all Sauvignon Blancs from Chile are but this wine does deviate a substantial amount from the varietal standards and as such that must also reflect in the total score. Putting all the pluses and minuses together however and evaluating all the pros and cons, I give this wine a fairly nice 88 (Very Good Often good value; well recommended) points. I enjoyed the wine. It held enough to the Sauvignon Blanc standards for me to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate it but didn't hold enough to this standards to score it any higher.  There was enough to keep it in that ball park indeed, but not enough to bring it to the 90 point mark, not enough adherence to the varietal to justify the reaching or breaking of the 90 point mark. My final recommendation on this wine is to stock up on it and get ready for the pool and the Summer. In fact, buy more than enough to make it through this Summer and put some away for next Summer, it is $4.99 and it will last. Nice job on creating the wine folks.
   One last thing. What words would I use to describe this wine? Rich, Tropical fruit forward, smooth, citrus fruit, ever so slight Lemon Grass, nice yet light on the finish, acidity, Green Apple,

                      The Desert Wine Guy

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - 2015 Robert Mondavi, "Private Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon.


  Today we are going to be taking a trip to the Napa Valley and discuss a wine from the prestigious Robert Mondavi vineyards which is now owned by Constellation Brands. Today I will be reviewing the 2015 Robert Mondavi, "Private Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon. Let's start off this review by learning that the grapes for this Mondavi Red are grown in the Nothern California Coastal areas and as such are therefore are not subject to the hot days of the Napa Valley. Whether or not that will make a difference in this wine remains to be seen. The grapes also come from different vineyards throughout Northern California. This wine up for review is also a wine which is blended with small amounts of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Tannat, and Petit Verdot. That's a heck of lot of different wine varietals if you ask me, why this wine would be blended with so many different varietals is beyond me, perhaps the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of this vintage or these vineyards were not all that great, I don't know. At an Alcohol level of 13.5% and at a cost of around $8 this of course is also the low end of the Mondavi wine line up. Still with all this being said, none of that means that you or I should not or will will not enjoy the wine so let's dig a little deeper into this wine and find out whats is going with it.


  Let's begin this review at the Bouquet. On the nose this wine is rather impressive with a strong note of Cedar or Cigar Box as it is sometimes described. To me the aroma of Cedar or Cigar Box is an awesome opening for what is supposed to be a serious Red varietal such as that of Cabernet Sauvignon. Following up this note of Cedar or Cigar Box is a deep and rather rich Blackberry that when combined together with the other note continues to give me the impression that this should be a fairly serious wine and one that is well put together. Another note that I believe always goes great with the ones already on display and that is also present here is that of Black liquorice, and boy is that note ever present as that note is not shy here and I am loving it. Let's talk also about the note of Leather, you know that smell of a nice Leather jacket that you break out as the weather begins to cool off in the Fall and you put away when the weather begins to warm up in the Spring. That rustic Leather note is also presented rather well in this Bouquet. Blended in super nicely is also the note of Cocoa that presents itself on the nose rather nicely as well and will indeed make you sit up and take notice. On the end of the nose is an aroma of a sort of candy sweetness. This is the run of what my nose is picking up here in this wine and it is a lot. So far, so good folks. I specifically want to draw your attention to the Bouquet of this wine because the wine is certainly demanding that we pay attention to what it is appearing to promise us. The Bouquet is presenting this wine as a powerhouse of a wine but whether the rest of the wine supports that or not remains to be seen. I am sure you have been fooled once or twice into thinking that because the Bouquet of a wine is great that the rest of the wine is great, we probably all know better now. Let's try the wine on the Palette now and see if it is as presentable as the Bouquet is. Folks before we move on I leave you with a question. Since we are talking about an $8 wine here, should it even have this kind of a Bouquet in the first place?

  Moving to the Palette now I will tell you that this is really and truly a fruit forward wine. but unlike a lot inexpensive and fruit forward wines this particular wine does indeed have something to offer in the way of a little bit of depth or complexity. Now, don't get me wrong because on one hand this is NOT a $50 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon but on the other hand it wasn't designed or priced to be either. First let me state right up front that aside from being a fruit forward wine this wine is also heavy on the sugary or sweet side as well. When first tasting this wine, aside from the Sugar or fruit forwardness, the note of Black berry is the note that will hit you first. The Blackberry is mixed with Molasses which in a large way also adds to the sweet / sugary note. Aside from the Blackberry all is not truly lost because there are some other notes that push the wine forward.......to an extent. Let's talk about Tannins for a moment. Could there be Tannins in an $8 wine? Isn't this particular wine just meant to be drank and for you to then move on? Well....yes and no. Yes, there are Tannins present and they are soft but they are also perfect here in this particular wine. If you love Tannins but do not like the strong Tannins of an Oakey Red that is capable pf being Cellared for years and that still needs time to develop then you surely will love these Tannins. They are just enough to let you know that they are there and to give you some time to enjoy them. There also enough Tannins to tell you that the wine can be around for a least another few years to enjoy as well. Long term aging, defenitely not, but three to five years is a can do here. There is also an astringent note to this wine that is on the Mid-Palette which is perfect because that is where these Tannins are also at their most notable. Moving on now let's discuss the note of Cocoa that is present. This is not a note that I expected to be present folks. I figured that this inexpensive wine was pushing it as it is. The Cocoa reminded me of a baking Cocoa and added another sense of depth to the wine. There was some Black Pepper but just slightly more than a touch and I believe that this was really presented nicely in combination with the Molasses and Tannins. Improving this inexpensive wine is the note of Oak. While I cannot tell you what type of Oak or for how long the wine sat in this Oak. What I can tell you is that the Oak will be noted and enjoyed throughout the entire Palette. Rounding out the palette is a note of leather as well. As you can see now, this wine does indeed have some depth to it and would have been a great wine if not for the over powering and Sugary fruit forwardness that it overloads the Palette with. Let's discuss what that did to this wine and how it ruined it in my opinion.
  So I am sitting here in my Loft and I am in a way but to a very small extent able to appreciate this wine due to some of the notes present, except I find it extremely difficult if not impossible to get over that sweet and over powering fruit forwardness of the wine. Yes, on one hand the wine does have a lot to offer but on the other hand this offering is killed by that fruit forwardness especially when it is combined with the Molasses note. Now, don't get me wrong as I said, there were things to enjoy in the wine and there were enough notes that tried their best to overpower the sweeter notes but in the long run the sweeter, fruit forward notes did overwhelmingly win out. 
  So, it is now about time to wrap it up folks and give you my final feelings on this wine. Would I recommend this wine to anyone? The answer is, that depends. This wine is perfect for the person who loves over the top sweeter reds or someone who loves a fruit forward wine. Now don't get me wrong, you can srill love a Red that is on the fruit forward side (I do) there is nothing wrong with that but this wine is waaaayyy over the top in my book. If however you have a Palette that is developed or sophisticated enough to pick up on the various notes that I mentioned then it is also probably developed enough to categorize this wine into it's rightful place which is in the "not acceptable" book. If this is the case with you then I suggest you (and I)  look elsewhere for an inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon as there are many great ones on the market. 
  On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 82 points

                                                                                                               The Desert Wine Guy


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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - A Review of The Vegas Valley Winery


   I told ya so. Yeah that's right, I told ya so. Ooops, what happened to your humbleness there Desert Wine Guy? Ahhh sorry foks, let's try this again. For those of you who follow me on my WINE ONLY Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DesertWineGuy/) you might remember that in 2015 Las Vegas, Assembly Bill 4 passed through the Nevada Legislature and as of May 25, 2015 counties in Nevada which have a population of 100,00 or greater were now permitted to have wineries. Well fast forward a few years and now Clark County does indeed have it's very first winery. The Vegas Valley Winery (https://vegasvalleywinery.com/) is now open for business. Yesterday (Dec 22) I took a trip to Henderson Nevada to see what the winery was all about and to check out the wines themselves. What I left the winery with was without wine and with mixed feelings so let's move ahead and see what I discovered.
Inside The tasting Room

   To start off here I want to tell you that I am really baffled by what I found at the winery and I think you will be as well. The first problem that I ran into is attempting to find the winery. The winery is located in an area that is dominated by warehouse style buildings.While there are businesses in some of these buildings the entire area is very industrial looking and not some place I would ever think would house a type of business such a Winery. When I attempted to call and get directions to the winery as well as to find out if my children were allowed to be present (they are not, must be 21 or over) my call went to a voice mail which actually went to a different business (Greap Expectations) and wasn't returned until about an hour later. I eventually plugged the address into my car and made my way across town. Pulling into the propertys address which is 7360 Eastgate Rd, Ste 123, Henderson, Nevada 89011, Ste 123 I (finally) found that the winery is locared all the way in the back (getting off the Freeway I thought my GPS messed up) of the above mentioned warehouse buildings and next to another business which is owned by the same people (Grape Expectations). This particular business will actually allow you or a group of people to create your own wine under the supervision of Mike Schoenbaechler (their Winemaker) and allow you to age that wine in barrels in their Warehouse. Both businesses share the same large storage warehouse. Some other issues that I found fairly annoying were that when you go to shop on the website you find that there are no products to purchase. When you click to subscribe to Vegas Valley Winery E-Mail list you are also giving Grape Expectations and not the Vegas Valley Winery permission to E-mail you. To make matters even weirder, the winery also has no wine to sell other than by the glass. The tour that you will be takes about five minutes as there really is nothing to see as they do not grow any grapes at the winery and the actual space dedicated to the winery itself is very tiny, to me it was a waste of five minutes and more an advertisement for their other business.
Wine Barrels Aging

   Okay so now I am in the winery. Keeping it on the 100% folks, I was a little disappointed actually to see just how plain the winery is inside, the place just appeared bare and void. The tasting counter looked bare and there was a small T.V in the right hand corner. If you are expecting to see a winery like Napa or even Arizona I think you will be disappointed as well. I know that you might be having second thoughts about visiting the winery now and I truly don't blame you for thinking this way but there are indeed a few positives to the winery. The first positive is that hopefully this is only the start of wineries themselves coming to Southern Nevada. The second positive is that the wine was really enjoyable. The third positive is that the staff was great. I ended up spending a lot of time talking with Ryan who is one of the pourers as well as a certified Sommelier and an ex Henderson Police officer. Ryan was wonderful and very knowledgeable of the wines he was pouring, it was a pleasure talking with him.
Bonded Area

   Now for the wines themselves. Aside from the employees of the winery I was impressed with the wines themselves. There is a tasting fee of $8 for 5 wines and I enjoyed each one. My favorites were the 2015 Subtle Blond Riesling ($7.50 a glass) made from grapes grown in the Suisun valley. The wine had notes of Peach and other tropical notes. The wine was slight more than what I would call semi-sweet but not overdone in the sugar aspect on the Palette. If you have ever wanted the perfect white for the pool, this is most definitely it. On the Red side was the awesome 2015 Zinfandel ($9.50 a glass) made from grapes grown in the Paso Robles area. What a wine here folks. Fruit forward with notes of Peppercorn, light Black Cherry. I thought the wine was wonderfully jammy but to just the right point before backing off and avoiding being overdone in that department. There is also a 2015 Gamay Rose with grapes from the Suisun Valley
"Professor of Yeastology" & Director of Marketing & Advertising
and selling for $8 a glass that was over the top candy sweet with a note of Jolly Rancher and didn't interest me in the slightest but I could see it going very well at the pool for all you sweet wine lovers. The winery also sells a White named "Whimsical with grapes from the Suisun Valley for $7.50 a glass and is blend of Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc which was really nice as well, I did detect a slight carbonation to it. Finishing up the reds is a 2014 Syrah with grapes from Paso Robles for $9.50 a glass. All the wines with the exception of the Gamay Rose were really enjoyable and if I could I would have bough a few bottles of each but as I previously stated, there are no bottles available for purchase and to make matters worse they don't know when they will have the bottles to sell.There is food available with Pizza ($6.50 - $8.50) and a meat & cheese platter at $15.50.
   Well there you have it guys. There really isn't much more left to say. Overall to me it appears that the Vegas Valley Winery opened prematurely and isn't truly prepared to do business, at least as of yet. It also appears to me that the owners are using the winery and the media attention due to it as a draw for their wine making school in hopes to draw more business for it with perhaps hopes of that business spilling over and therefore becoming able to expound on the upstart winery they currently have. My suggestion is that you stop by for a few glasses of good wine and some conversation with the staff but don't expect much other than that. I don't unfortunately see any reason for customers to be drawn back to the winery. In Las Vegas there are many wine destinations that are much more lively and much more welcoming to the wine lover.
                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Desert WIne Guy - Sanders Winery - Serenity White WIne Table Wine





   Starting off this review I have to tell you about the owner and winemaker at the Sanders Winery (http://sanderswinery.com/) which is located in Pahrump Nevada. The owner / Winemaker is Jack Sanders. I have personally met and talked to Jack on numerous occasions and I have to tell you that Jack is the kind of person who is not only interested in but truly has a loves and passion for his vines and the wines that comes from them. Jack also "keeps it real" so to speak. Jack isn't the kind of guy who is there to pretend that he is interested in interacting with you or pretend that he enjoys pouring wine for you the customer. Jack is the kind of guy who will finish your tasting pour and come out from behind the counter and actually draw pictures for you to describe how to grow and cultivate wine grapes. Jack will explain not only his vines and wines but talk to an extent about the present and future wine industry in Southern Nevada. How you might ask do I know this? I know this because  he has done it many times for me. Jack is a wealth of knowledge and a lot of what I know about the local wine industry as well as my own vines and vineyard I owe to Jack.  Jack doesn't know the word "pretentious" and seems unaware that he is supposed to act "too good" to talk to the average wine fan so don't tell him :) Wow you say, Desert Wine Guy you really are going crazy on this dude. Yes I am, and he is worthy of every praise and more. If you want to learn about wines and vines AND drink some great wine than get to the Sanders Winery in Pahrump Nevada which is about 45 minutes North of Las Vegas. By the way his Son is just as awesome and he also works behind the tasting counter and is every bit as knowledgeable and accommodating to wine lovers who visit.  Beware however that Jack and his son will give others the same undivided attention that he will give you so depending on how busy the Tasting Room is you might have to wait your turn if you require one on one attention.  You know, it's kind of funny (or sad, depending on how you look at it) how the so called "master wine makers" dismiss Southern Nevada area as being unable to grow good / great wine grapes or produce a good / great wine. By the way the state of Arizona is ignored the same way but that is starting to change. As someone who lives in Las Vegas and grows two varietals of wine grapes I can tell you that not only is growing good /great wine grapes possible but a given. There are certain varietals of grapes in general that simply love the Desert heat. As an example I offer you the two varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Sauvignon Blanc that I grow here in the Desert heat. The one draw back however to the Desert heat challenge presented here is the fact that Harvest is really early compared to the Napa Valley due to the quick rise in the Brix (sugar) level of the grapes. Where Napa and other wine growing regions temperatures will drop as the sun goes down this does not happen in Las Vegas where the drop in the Summer temperatures might be 15 degrees at the most. When the Daytime temperature is 113, that 15 degree drop doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference in the development of the grape. O.k so let's move on now and deal with an issue I discovered with what appears to be a lack of attention to detail.
   Let me continue here by bringing up a slight issue that could have turned into a bigger issue perhaps even to the point of ruining this wine. When I removed the foil off off the mouth of the bottle there was a very apparent defect in the cork. The wine appeared to be sealed well but the attention to detail of the cork was lacking. If you look at the picture I took of what I saw when I removed the foil you will see what I mean. Looking closely you will see not only an unevenly cut cork but one with little bits of cork as well as cork dust laying on top of the cork itself. This actually wasn't something that I noticed until I reviewed the pictures just prior to writing this review.
Cork with particles and dust visible

These pieces of cork could have gotten into the wine bottle itself and ruined the presentation / ability to drink the wine. To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. Looking back on the fact that I didn't actually see the bits and pieces of the cork until just now I was very lucky to have avoided contamination of the wine. 
   So with all this being said, how was the wine? Great question so let me go ahead and answer it. The first thing that I want to establish is that this is not a dry wine by any means. This wine is fruit forward and a little more than slightly on the sweeter side, as it was meant to be by the way. Is this a Wine Cooler, absolutely not, not even close to it. The wine is indeed smooth and not harsh in any way. It is certainly sweet but not overly. The wine also does not have tons of Alcohol coming in at only 12.5% which is pretty nice. Fruit forwardness is in actuality a plus in this wine and being a white wine and Summer wine, I like that. This is not a fancy dinner wine nor does it pretend to be either, it is a friends over, out back, Barbecue at the pool wine to enjoy all day wine. It is as simple as that. Nothing harsh or offensive. No bitter taste to put one off simply a first note of moderately sweet Peach, moderately sweet Nectarine, Honey Dew on the Palatte White wine blend. On the nose (only) there is a slightly syrupy note that I thought was refreshing although a little scary until you realize that it does not appear on the Palatte. Here is what I think is an important point that I want to emphasize. This wine is not heavy or syrupy and therefore is not some cheaply or carelessly made wine. In my opinion there was indeed thought and care put into this wine. Upon initial inspection of the wine in my glass I thought that this was perhaps a slightly carbonated wine but that is ever so slightly seen only but yet not tasted on the Palatte in any way. A secondary Fermentation perhaps but whatever caused it you will not care because it takes nothing away from the Palatte nor from the visual presentation of this indeed overall great wine. I would consider that the perhaps slight carbonation presentation is more than made up for in the taste, structure and indeed overall lightness of this White blend.
Jack Sanders
   Let's wrap this up now fans. Sometimes I wonder if my opinions of a wine is influenced by outside means. An example of this for instance is, did I just get done with a visit with Jack? Was there another influence that altered my perception of this particular wine? Today I went to do some research on what the varietal blends of this particular wine was and I came across the fact that I had already reviewed this particular wine but actually forgot about that review. Prior to this revelation I had informed a friend after he asked me what I would rate this wine that I was very early into the review and that I was initially probably looking at a rating on The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale of 92 points. He replied that he thought that was really nice. I than proceeded with researching the varietal makeup of this particular wine since it is not stated on the bottle itself and I came across my original review (http://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-desert-wine-guy-sanders-family.html) of this wine. I discovered that I initially gave this wine 92 points. For those of you who wish to discover if I am indeed consistent, here is a perfect example of my consistency indeed. A one (1) point deviation on a review that was done almost two (2) years to the date is pretty darn consistent I would say. With that being said I am going to put this wine today at 93 points on The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale. If you get to Las Vegas and love wine, spend the 45 minutes and take the trip to Sanders Winery, you won't be sorry you did. One last thing. Tell Jack that The Desert Wine Guy said hello.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2016 Fuerza DeLa Tierra Tempranillo


   Well guys, welcome back to The Desert Wine Guys wine blog. Today I am doing a wine review that is actually the second part of a review I recently did  (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-desert-wine-guy-wine-insiders-wine.html) with the first part being of an online wine club (?) called "Wine Insiders" (https://wineinsiders.com/). By the time you are reading this that previously mentioned first part will have already been posted with this second part to follow. I won't get into anymore about the club or it's specifics because this second part is strictly about the wine. For those of you who are interested and want to know more about "Wine Insiders" check the link above for the review on them. So, let's move along now and get into the wine itself and see what it is all about.
   Today's review is on the 2016 Fuerza DeLa Tierra Tempranillo which for those who follow me know is my favorite varietal. Let's begin with the wines presentation of itself in my glass. Upon initial pouring of this wine into my glass I thought it looked really nice and presented itself as a serious dark, medium Garnet. As the wine sat in my glass while I could still see the bottom of my glass it was not as clearly seen as some of the other wines that I have tasted and enjoyed in the past. So far, so good here.
Tempranillo
   Moving to the Bouquet of this Red now this is where I ran into the wines first problem although not something that there wasn't anything that it presented that impressed me. The Bouquet displayed perhaps a note of Vanilla and an ever so slight (and I do mean ever so slight) note of Caramel and slight Oak that was present on the back-end of the Bouquet otherwise as I said, the Bouquet was less than impressive and I was slightly disappointed. I have to say (as I have previously) before I go on here that this lack of Bouquet I am finding rather common in a lot of wines and I have come across it plenty of times before. in my opinion this issue with a lack of Bouquet,(although a negative thing) does not necessarily by itself ruin a wine for me although I will deduct a point from the overall score of a wine because of it.
   Let's move to how the wine comes across on the Palette now and see what we have here in the way of a flavor profile. Before I start here I will give you a spoiler. There are some good aspects to this wine. Did you catch that? In my mouth the wine had a little candy Blackberry type note that I feel works out well here and ended up on the finish as well. The wine created a very smooth mouth
feel,coated my tongue and was not harsh. The coating I mentioned was actually pretty nice and I enjoyed the smoothness that it provided on my Palette. There was a usual Black Pepper note here as the (Spanish) varietal is known for. I've said it before and I feel forced to repeat it, to me that Black Peppery spice that the Tempranillo varietal exhibits is what the varietal is known for and is part of what sells me on the Spanish version of the Tempranillo varietal, the American version is sadly lacking it and I strongly avoid it. The wine happily continues on with it's good aspects as there is also that note of Clove that all Spanish Tempranillos seem to wonderfully present. This Clove note and the spice seem to mesh fairly well together and so far the wine is tasting good. A nice note of Tobacco definitely makes it's presence known and while it is not exactly what I would call "in your face", it is not exactly shy either. One more positive note that I wish to discuss is that of Leather. A typical Spanish Tempranillo and this one is no exception, always exhibits that note of Leather and it is in here however also at a level that while not jumping out of the wine, is not exactly shy either. Quickly reviewing all the notes listed for a second I want to say that while the notes were certainly not shy and they presented themselves pretty nicely and at a depth that you will indeed notice them, they also were not able to overcome the final note the wine presented to me and this is where the wine went off track in my humble opinion. So with that warning I will disclose the final note which is an over the top jamminess. The wine really looses me as well as points on The Desert Wine Guy rating scale for it's over the top level of sweetness which is definitely not an aspect of the Tempranillo varietal, especially not the Spanish version. If you are looking for some Tannings in your wine you will be disappointed here as well. While there are a very small amounts of Tannings that perhaps will be felt on the Palette it is, for the most part over run by the wines strong jamminess.
   Okay, so lets wrap this up now. As I said in the opening of this review, this wine was gotten from what in reality is a wine marketing company. This is the first wine that they have sent me and that I am reviewing. Whatever the case, the question remains would I buy this wine if I wanted a Tempranillo? Here the answer is a definitive no. Now, having said that I know that there are a lot of red wine drinkers or lovers of the American version of the Tempranillo version who would love this wine. There are also a lot of lovers of jammy red wines with a bit of spice to it but the next big question still remains, does this wine hold strong enough to its varietal standards to please lovers of a Spanish Tempranillo? The answer in my book has to be, no. My overall opinion of the wine is there this must be a fairly high blend of Petit Verdot blended with this wine in order to bring about that jamminess that the wine presented. The wine was way too much on the sweet side for me and it was too medium bodied as well. I am not saying that this is a really bad wine, just one that could have been blended less and had a lot more time spent tweaking it.
   On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 86 (Good Suitable for everyday consumption, often good value, Can be enjoyed for casual relaxing.) points.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - Wine Insiders, A Wine Scam Or A Wine Blessing - An Early Review

 
   Today I am (temporally) going to be taking a break from wine reviews to do a review on a wine related company named "Wine Insiders" (https://wineinsiders.com/) whose parent company is "Drinks" (http://drinks.com/). Wine Insiders for all intents and purposes appears to be a company that sells small boutique wines that otherwise might not ever have any exposure other then some very small business. They do this by initially giving amazing deals on wine to potential customers in hopes that these customers will join their wine club(s) or purchasing wines on an individual basis. Now having said that I will add that none of this means that there is anything wrong or underhanded with what they are doing, I actually admire the idea and I think the consumer benefits as well by enjoying wines that they never would have the opportunity to enjoy otherwise. They claim that "our expert tasting panel samples well-known and hard to find wines from virtually every wine producing region in the world" and that "only the best, with scores of 93 or above, are accepted". https://www.vivino.com/wineries/cala-de-poeti/wines/rosso-2014) as an awesome 5 star wine and the 2015 Cachil Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which comes from the Colchagua Valley which by the way was named Wine region of the year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. This wine itself was rated 3.9 by Vivino https://www.vivino.com/wineries/estampa/wines/cabernet-sauvignon-reserva-9999). I will update you as things progress. What I can also at this point tell you so far is that on November 19th at 12:13 PM I ordered the wine and was only charged $32.41 (with tax).
They also claim that they were supposedly founded over 35 years ago although there is nothing that I can find to verify that and I have strong doubts concerning that statement. Now, whether they have been around for 35 years or not is beyond my knowledge but they are here today. What made me look into this company in the first place is their offer of 6 bottles of wine for $4.99 each, A free wood handled Corkscrew, a $50 voucher (which can be used for future orders of $75 or more) and to top it off, free shipping as well. The company promises that there is supposedly no further commitment required and that by accepting their offer you are NOT signing up for any club. At this point I have no reason to doubt that the deal nor that anything they claim isn't legitimate and I think we are a little early into the evaluation process to determine if indeed the deal is on the up and up. What I can tell you is that two of the wines they claim that they will send in their offer is the 2014 Cala de Poeti Rosso which Vino rated

 
   FIRST UPDATE - On the 20th at 8:07 PM I received a notification that my wine was shipped.
  SECOND UPDATE - On the 22nd I had gone to work and Mrs. desert Wine Girl was busy with errands and when she returned home she had missed the delivery.
   THIRD UPDATE - Today is the 23rd my luck was better as I am home and was able to receive the box with my wine in it I also struck up a small conversation with the driver who informed me that he was delivering tons of these boxes.
   FOURTH UPDATE - Today is the 24th and it is 10:30 AM. I have not opened the box yet but have plans to do so later on in the day. I will also create a video out of this whole experience for my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgCUb3w1n2S_UGU2yYRkFYQ). So far so good folks and although it is early, I have no reason to complain about anything.....so far. One other item of note is that I so far have not received tons of E-mails from the company so they are are not hounding me, at least not as of yet. So that is about all I have for you right now, I will update you as I move along with the opening of the box.
   FIFTH UPDATE - Well today is the 25th of November and I finally opened the box (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3mb5xL19Y4) and as promised I made of video of the entire process. I won't say anymore about this end as I want you to watch the video :)
   SIXTH UPDATE - Today is the 29th of November and I received an E-Mail from Terry who is my "Wine Concierge" and he had an offer of a $50 gift voucher to use on my next order of $50 or more with free shipping. Well how could I turn that down so I took them up on their offer. I clicked on the link and went shopping. I ended up ordering three bottles of wine and all I paid was $5.52, that was all. The one item that I want to point out here is that the wines appear to be priced about the same as other websites prices for these particular wines. In other words on one hand they do not appear to be overpriced for their wines however on the other hand they also do not appear to be priced any better either. I will also tell you that the other day I tasted my first bottle from "Wine Insiders" which was the 2016 Fuerza DeLa Tierra Tempranillo. I won't comment here about the review as it will be a separate article onto itself. I will tell you however that it will immediately follow this one.
   SEVENTH UPDATE - Today is the 1st of December and I received notification that my wine has been shipped.

   EIGHTH UPDATE - Today is December 3rd and I have just tasted (and done a review on) the second bottle of wine from Wine Insiders which is the 2016 Princess Joyeuse. The review on this one is not written up just yet but I will give you a little insider info......this wine set a new standard. Now whether the new standard is for the good or for the bad is something you will have to find out when you read the article.That is all I will say, sorry.
   FINAL UPDATE- Today is December 4th and the wine that I ordered on the 1st is out for delivery. While it is still early into the whole experience of Wine Insiders I can tell you that I am pleasantly surprised and happy. I have received no invoices for strange bills. There have been no notifications that I somehow signed up for any wine clubs that I don't know about nor have there been any unauthorized charges for wine nor anything else that I never ordered or agreed to. I have not even received any E-Mails from companies that I know I never subscribed to. As I have already said, I know that it is early in this whole process but so far I am happy.
   Well, that is all for for this article folks. I promise that I will be following up however on Wine Insiders periodically and you will be seeing my reviews of their wines as they come up. I will leave you with an interesting little bit of information and you may take it as you wish.
  Here is some other information that I discovered while researching Wine Insiders. Prior to acting on the initial offer from Wine Insiders I also received an offer from a company named Heartland & Oak Wine Merchants. The two identical offers struck me as weird and I decided to my some checking on the business. What I found from the Better Business Bureau https://www.bbb.org/losangelessiliconvalley/business-reviews/wines-retail/drinks-in-los-angeles-ca-359422/reviews-and-complaints) page was indeed eye opening. It turns out that Wine Insiders also goes by the name Heartland & Oak Wine Merchants as well as Barclays wine, Drink Holdings LLC as well as Drinks Licensing LLC, Clubhouse Wines, Maggiano's & the Martha Stewart Wine Co. In other words, they are all the same company. Now, this does not mean that there is anything wrong here as there are many company that just go by different names. There were 20 complaints listed in 3 years listed for Heartland & Oak Wine Merchants. I cannot find any complaints under the name of wine Insiders as they do not belong to the company. Here is something else that I found interesting about Wine Insiders (http://clearygull.com/download/pr/Press_Release-Wine_Insiders.pdf).

   I hope you guys enjoyed this informational review of my experience with Wine Insiders as of December 4, 2017. I enjoyed writing it and found it very interesting as well. In my early opinion I believe that Wine Insiders is simply a wine marketing company for very small Wineries who otherwise would never be known and are probably selling their wines thru small boutiques. Be warned however that there are tons of complaints concerning Wine Insiders & Heartland & Oak HOWEVER I am doing my own research (on Wine Insiders) and so far so good.

                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Desert Wine Guy - 2012 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon


2012 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon
I'm sure we have all read review after review about a certain wine claiming how great it is only to try that wine and completely dislike it. That folks is indeed what happened to me with this particular wine. The wine that is in discussion here is the 2012 Columbia Crest H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) Cabernet Sauvignon. It seems that everywhere you look you see reviews that this particular wine is amazing, fascinating, incredible, value alert and the accolades go on and on. Having now reviewed this wine, all of this has really made me question some of the validity of some of those reviewers. While there are a fair share of non professional reviewers who see nothing special about this wine for the most part this wine is being pushed....hard. I'm sorry but I just don't know how else to explain the fact that I myself have spoken to people and have had them comment online and agree with me in saying that the wine was simply....O.K, nothing special and that's it. Now, I want to add by the way that Columbia Crest DOES make another 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and for the same price, that is the Grand Estates. I actually did a nice review of that particular wine
Map Of Horse Heaven AVA
(http://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-desert-wine-guy-2012-columbia-crest.html) in which I rated the wine at 91 points. By the way the same people who love the H3 and rate it great also rate the Grand Estates great, I think that is rather funny. I am really putting myself out there on this one. Today I am going against the grain big time with this review. When I bought this wine It was originally for a giveaway on my wine Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DesertWineGuy) for a lucky fan. I had read all the reviews and thought this would be something nice that my fans would love to win. While I was in the middle of the review I realized that I wouldn't give this wine away to anyone for anything, I had a problem now. While doing my review of the other Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet is when I finally decided to give that wine away instead.  Well anyway let's go ahead and get started on this review on a very uninspiring wine.
Horse Heaven WInery
     So...lets see here, where do I begin? To begin with the 2012 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon  sells for around $10 almost everywhere. This wine is made up of 94% Cabernet, 4% Merlot and 2% Syrah with an Alcohol level listed at 14%. Columbia Crest was founded in 1983 in the Washington State Columbia Valley which is the largest growing region in that state. The Horse Heaven area is also actually an AVA in Washington State. The winery hit the news big time when a very popular wine magazine named their 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon "Wine of The Year". Now here they are with the release of our review wine.

Inside The Columbia Crest Winery
    So here we go. In the glass the wine sat a medium Strawberry in color. I thought this was interesting but I figured lets continue and see if the other pre-tasteing notes look improved. On the nose this wine was peppery and loaded with Black Cherry and Cocoa. Not too bad a start for the wine I figured so on we go. In my mouth the wine was of heavy Blackberry edging towards an almost bitterness with notes of  Prune. This was followed by a deep Black Cherry and Cranberry. I have to tell you this wine was VERY fruit forward and there were things that didn't quite fit correctly, the wine tasted disjointed and lacking that certain something that would justify good ratings let alone great ratings. From what I was tasting to this point the wine was so so at best. While continuing to taste the wine I couldn't help but notice that there was slightly bitter / tart notes present. Yes there was a sort of smokiness combined with pepper and Cassis but the wine was still what I could only describe as almost having a sort of sweetness to it. This wine completely put me off. All the notes except for the Black Cherry and Plum were just over the top and those two were very close to falling into that category. I kept this wine opened while I sampled it for about 2 hours and it did not open up or change in the slightest bit. Looking at my notes I see that I actually put a couple of notes down twice which I do only when they keep showing themselves in a bad way. These two notes I am referring to are "prunish" and "Tart Cranberry". These two notes stood out clearly and in a very harsh, disruptive way.
   That's it everyone, that is my opinion like it or not of the 2012 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon. I realize that I have gone the complete opposite direction of the overwhelming majority of reviewers. I realize that I am going to stand out here but as the old saying goes, I call um like I see um. You might feel differently about this wine but like I always say, if your tastes usually align with mine than I would stay away from this wine. There are plenty of wines that cost the same if not less that blow this out of the water. Do yourself a favor ans stay away from this wine folks, you won't regret following my recommendation. On The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale I put this wine at 85 points.





                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy



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