Friday, May 18, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - 2013 Angels Landing Napa, Sauvignon Blanc

   Today I am back for a review of a Sauvignon Blanc that initially appears at least to be from the Napa Valley. Doing some research on this wine cast some doubt on that however and caused me to re-discovered the fact that appearances are at times different than reality and that I believe is indeed the case with this wine. Before we get into the actual wine please allow me to first address the issue that I am bringing up, the issues of what I call "false labeling"and which could actually (and will) be the subject of another article. First off, there is no such place as Angels Landing Vineyards or Angels Landing Cellars located in the Napa Valley. Angels Landing is in reality probably a wine broker and is a label represented by the Mendocino Wine Company which is owned and operated by the Thornhill family of Ukiah, Utah which also represents many different labels of wine. The wine in this bottle says that it is "Vinted and bottled" by Great Domains & Estates which is a Beverage Alcoholic Consultant and is located in Windsor California. Here is a definition that I found while researching the word "vinted" on line. "If the bottle indicates Vinted and Bottled it means the winery on the label may have had little to do with the making of this wine." So,in reality "vinted" means nothing. Now, whether this is false advertising, a play on words or just simply the customers assumptions, you will have to be the judge of that for yourself. What I can tell you however is what I call it and I call it deceptive marketing for sure. From the research that I have done on this wine I cannot tell you where exactly the grapes for this wine are from. The bottle itself however does says the following on it's back label in big letters "2013 Napa County Sauvignon Blanc". Once again, what that means I have no idea since Napa County includes area such as Stockton, Berkeley and Ukiah, the customers assumption is Napa County means the Napa Valley and this is not true in this case. O.K there Desert Wine Guy, that's all great but how is the wine? Well, in order to find out you'll have to read the next few chapters so let's get to it.

   Let's proceed with this review by telling you that I bought this wine at a national big box Wine, Beer & Liquor store for around $15.  Starting off  let's talk about the Bouquet of our wine. Upon first experiencing the Bouquet I picked up the moderately floral notes of Lemon Grass, Green Melon and Pear. The notes that presented themselves to my nose were while not what I would consider to be anywhere near overpowering yet were definitely well received and pronounced. In my opinion the moderate but certainly none the less noticeable Bouquet actually goes super nicely with the rest of the wonderful yet not overdone characteristics of this wine and so once again, let's get to it.
   If you look at the characteristics of the varietal known as Sauvignon Blanc you will notice such descriptive words as "a nice crisp pucker.", "refreshing" or " bright". In reality the flavor of the varietal is largely dependent upon the area or climate of the world in which the vines / grapes are grown. If the climate is on the warmer side you may experience notes of peach, passion fruit and kiwi-like flavors. If on the other hand the vines are grown in cooler climates you may expect notes such as grassy herbal notes and a wine with a zesty or semi acidic finish. The reason that I tell you all this is because although this wine says "produce of U.S.A" it shows itself as a cooler climate style usually appreciated outside this country. This interpretation of Sauvignon Blanc has a zest or slight but noticeable finish of acidity as well, nothing to strong at all but yes, it is there and I loved it. On the other hand the wine also does indeed have some nice tropical fruits on the Palette such as Melon and Pear yet it also does indeed have a rather nice Lemon Grass note on the Palette as well. Our wine also exhibits herbal notes that are really noticeable and that I think went well with the Lemon Grass and the bit of acidity that the wine presented to the Palette.  In actuality there was a rather dryish note to the wine as well yet there was also elements or notes of the wine that showed a climate where there was indeed some heat involved with the area that the grapes were grown. Melon was not overdone on the sweet or sugary side and it was able to shine through and make it's presence known yet it was kind of like a guest appearance, you know it was there and it definitely made it's mark on the flavor and will always remembered yet it didn't play enough of a part (sweetness) where it was the main character. But wait, there's more (what a line huh?) The wine also exhibited a Green Pepper note that wasn't shy and again and was again not overdone yet kind of came unexpectedly as well.  If  you think it's time to move to the conclusion of this review you would be wrong. I didn't mention the notes of stone and minerality that are boldly pushed to the front of the Palette. Along with the Grassiness note that I mention previously there is also that unmistakable note of stone. While it is unknown exactly where in America the grapes of this particular wine are grown, I would certainly say that if they are indeed grown in the Napa Valley they either had a fairly cooler year or they indeed managed to create a wine that is not typical of their climate, a rather nice accomplishment I would say. To me however, this wine leans heavily to the side of a wine made from grapes grown in a much cooler climate that the Napa Valley, again I could be wrong but either way it is not a heat influenced wine typical of a Napa Sauvignon Blanc in my book. To me this wine could pass for a Sauvignon Blanc grown in areas such as Chile or the Loire Valley rather then wine from the Napa Valley or South Africa.
   The wine is not in any way what I would consider a fruit forward wine, in fact it's the complete opposite of that, it is anything but sweet and fruity. Again, this is not to say that there isn't a side of fruit or at least a hint of sugar which is presented with the Pear and Melon it's simply that these notes do not in any way dominate and fruit forward or sugary will not be your first descriptions of this wine. I would certainly describe this wine as crisp, dry, and yes, refreshing all with a nice touch of soft tropical fruit in the background.

   Before I go I would like the chance to point out something. It should be obvious now that different areas of the world produce or interpret this varietal in different ways. To say that a wine from a hotter area of the U.S such as the Napa Valley of Washington State is in better generally than an example of the varietal from a place where the temperature is cooler such as Chile or the Loire Valley would be wrong. Whenever I see reviews of this varietal I never see the allowance for geographic characteristics, I simply see a number for a rating and I believe that is wrong. You can like one style over the other but remember that both are a true representation of the same varietal and should be judged on that fact. O.K so here we go. If you like the varietal on the cleaner and crisper side that I highly recommend this wine. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 92 (Excellent Highly recommended, holds to varietal standard) points, a well presented and crafted wine in my book.

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - 2013 Oak Grove Family Reserve Vognier



   Today is a lazy Sunday in late September and I absolutely simply refuse to leave the house. The only problem with this is that I want a White wine and the only ones that I have in the house are ones that I have already done reviews on. Well.....I guess that's not entirely accurate, I do have one White that I haven't reviewed yet, it's an Oak Grove "Family Reserve" Viognier (pronounced Vee-Own-Yay) that has been sitting in my wine jail downstairs in the Living Room. I have had a couple of wines from this Vineyard in the past but have truthfully not been impressed. Well as I said, I'm simply not leaving the house today so I guess Oak Grove it is. Here is an admission folks, I don't believe I have ever had the varietal of Viognier before so this is a first for me, perhaps for you as well. If you are like me in that aspect don't worry because we are all about to receive a little education on the varietal. Let's go ahead then and talk a little about the varietal known as Viognier shall we? Together we will discover if this interpretation of the reviewed wine does indeed live up to it's varietal standards.
   For starters, the Vognier is a White grape that is from Southern France. The varietal is very versatile and has the ability to go from a wine that exhibits notes of tangerine, mango and honeysuckle to one that exhibits creamier aromas of vanilla with spices of nutmeg and clove. The wine can be developed in Oak or Stainless Steel, of course this would also impart different notes onto the wine. The varietal also has the ability to impart a sense of creaminess to it. Viognier is usually on the drier side and typically imparts a note of an oily mid palette. Medium acidity is also a characteristic of this varietal. A note of minerality or stone is usually also present in the varietal as well. So, now that we both know a little bit about the grape, let's dig a little bit into this specific wine and see how well it holds to its varietal standard.
   Let's begin with the Bouquet of our review wine. A light note of Peach is detected upon initially putting my nose to the glass. This isn't an overpowering Peach that might scare you into thinking this this might be a sweet or fruit forward wine, it is at a level where it simply says "I'm here, enjoy me" and nothing more. Moving on I picked up the note of Honey which was also once again at an appropriate and not overdone level.Both notes are consistent with the above characteristics we learned about this varietal. Continuing with the Bouquet I sensed a nice melon which once again was at a level of softness that still did not scare me into thinking I was about to drink a fruit bomb of a wine. Here we have an inexpensive ($8.99) wine that exhibits what this wine is supposed to exhibit and not at the expense of one note having dominance over the other. I should note here as well that none of the aromatic notes here are at what I would consider to be levels that I would think would be something that would overly attract me to one note over the other, a well balanced Bouquet. As for my initial judgement or evaluation of the wine, I am happy so far a happy camper.
   Let's now continue on and discuss how the wine presented itself in my glass. This also the time where we visually check out and even possibly make another judgement of the wine you are about to drink. Before I get into that let me say that there have been many White wines and reds that I have evaluated that are not all that impressive when it comes to their presentation in the glass or for that matter on the nose that I thought ended up being really done well. So, with that being said here we go. In my glass the wine displayed itself as light golden in color with edges of slightly darker golden edges. The edges looked nice in the Sun when I brought the glass onto my Patio. My overall presentation of the presentation in my glass was not something that I would consider anything spectacular (although it was nice) but also nothing that would turn me off or give me a negative impression about the wine either.
   Let's move along now to how the wine tasted or came across my Palette. From the beginning I will say that it appears that I am reviewing a wine that is fairly, astringent on the mid Palette and most certainly on the finish. The minerality or astringency are both on the mid to back-end but together they are both super nice and I did not find them when combined to be of offensive in any way, in fact I rather enjoyed them. There was a fairly decent note of Nectarine that was attempting to take front and center stage here and was more dominate than the other notes. A note of melon and an almost Lemon Rind presented themselves and again neither were overpowering and actually presented themselves rather well against the Nectarine, minerality and the melon. The wine was more than happy to put these wonderful notes on display for you, the drinker without having you choose a favorite note.. How about Peach you might rightfully ask. Yeah, it's here as well guys. This is something that you really have to sit back and search for however as it on the finish and soft. It almost comes across your Palette as "there is something else here" type of note and when you taste the wine you taste all the notes that I mentioned but you almost sense that there is something that you are missing. At first you aren't sure what it is but if you take a sip of the wine and sit back with it in your mouth it seems to become clear and it finally hits you that you are sensing this Peach on the finish but at a level where it almost goes by unnoticed, but not quite. Finishing up here I did sense the influence of an Oakey note to my Palette while enjoying this wine.
   Was there that Nectarine type note present that this varietal should present, yes, there was and combined with the minerality / acidity it presented itself in the category of near excellence! There was an Oakey finish to this wine that I thought was awesome and well placed. Now, please don't get me wrong, I don't want you to think that there was no fruit forwardness at all on the Palette here guys, there was some rather nice fruit, have no worries about that. I guess the question should be, is this wine a sugary / fruit forward wine? absolutely not, by no means. This is a wine that certainly does edge more toward the Minerality / acidic side especially on the finish but also exhibits a semi brightness to it.

   Alright then guys, what's up with this wine? Tell us Desert Wine Guy, what do you say? Well folks, I say that you buy this wine, buy a few bottles of this wine while you are at it actually. I enjoyed this wine....a lot. This is a brand name that I have seen carried at tons of stores here in Las Vegas valley and I can tell you that since it has been a while since I have reviewed anything from this label however in the future, I will be EXCLUDING it from my "stay away from Vineyards" list in the future. So......Desert Wine Guy, what rating do you give it? Well guys, that is a good question and thank you for asking it. On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I am giving this wine 90 points. 

                                                                                                                   The Desert Wine Guy
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - Cellar 433 "The Sun"

 

  Today's wine review comes from grapes that are grown in the state of Arizona. The state has been coming on in the last few years in the wine area and produces some really good wines. To start off with, the one thing I have noticed about grapes grown in Arizona is that they tend to have a fairly good amount of a Black Pepper note to them. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing (I love it actually) it can become sort of old after a while. It would be nice sometimes to review an Arizona wine that doesn't have that particular note. With that being said, however, today's wine is a actually a white wine. Today's wine is named "The Sun" and is a white wine from Bitter Creek Winery / Cellar 433 (http://cellar433.com/) to be exact. Cellar 433 is located in Jerome Arizona and owned by John McLaughlin. Cellar 433 grows their grapes in Wilcox Arizona. Cellar 433 is also the largest Vineyard in Arizona with over 150 Acres of yielding vines and a production of 8,000 cases of wine a year. From a resident of Las Vegas's perspective you must ask yourself, is the trip from Las Vegas to Jerome a short trip? The straight answer is no, it is not. The trip from Las Vegas to Jerome Arizona is actually around 5.5 to 6 hours but I personally happen to find it enjoyable. Give me some awesome (80's) tunes and a large supercharge (at least 5 shots) however and I am a happy camper. There is actually a lot of the trip as you get into Arizona where there are actually trees and grass and that is certainly a nice change from the Las Vegas desert and it's Cactus, trees that grow nothing and plants that don't grow flowers and therefore lack any color. With that being said, I would like to now move on to the city of Jerome and this particular wine.
   The city of Jerome is part of what is called the Verde Valley Wine Trail (http://www.vvwinetrail.com/) which is Arizona's version of the Napa Valley and actually runs through the cities of Sedona, Cottonwood as well as Jerome and the the small town of Page Springs which is just 10 minutes outside of Sedona and is a must visit. All of the three are withing a 20-30 minutes from one another and in my humble opinion, definitely worth the trip. The trip can technically be done in a day with a designated driver and that includes stopping for a short time in each town to enjoy the shopping (ladies). If you include in the wonderful hiking then you must stay the night at least. For the purpose of this article however we will focus on Cellar 433 but I am (slowly) working on an article of the whole Arizona wine industry which I will releasing in the near future.
Cellar 433

Marsanne Grape Varietal

Symphony Grape Varietal

    Today's wine is a blend of three different varietals which are Chenin Blanc, Symphony and Marsanne. Here is a little about the two lesser known grapes, the Symphony and the Marsanne varietals. Let's begin with the varietal known as Symphony which is actually a crossing of Muscat of Alexandria and the Grenache Gris varietals and was created by the late professor of Viticulture Dr. Harold Olmo at UC Davis in 1948. The grape itself however was not commercially released until 1982.  This varietal was designed to thrive in hot growing climates (Can you say Las Vegas) and is typically used for blending.
   The varietal known as Marsanne is named after the town of Marsanne which is located in the Northern Rhone Valley. The wine is usually made into a very dry wine and usually has very little depth of perfume and flavor and therefore is used as a blending grape with it's cousin, Roussanne. This varietal does NOT like a hot climate and if grown there will struggle to develop enough acidity to prevent it's weight from muting it's flavor. When grown properly however the wine can produce a slightly earthy minerality with subtle notes of Honeysuckle and melon.
   Now on to the heart of the review wine. "The Sun" has a slightly high amount of Alcohol at 14.32% but fear not because that Alcohol is not tasted in the wine at all so there are no concerns as far as the Palette goes. The wine is also using a Cork closure which is unusual for a white wine today. This is a non-vintage wine as well. The label on the bottle shows a women worshiping the Sun. By the way that also seems to be a common element to wines of Arizona, they all seem to be prone to the celebration of Pagan type elements such as in this case, Sun worship, why this is I do not know. The bouquet on this wine was really wonderful and super bright, perfect for a Spring or Summer days that are coming. A super great Lemon and kiwi open up this bouquet. A really great Honeydew melon note as well as a light Cantaloupe note follow making this wine display an awesome bouquet and one that I truly enjoyed. In my glass the wine seemed to have an awesome sparkle in the Sunlight it had a nice golden hue to it as well. This sparkling in the glass went perfect with the name of the wine and both seemed to be made for and compliment one another.
   I couldn't wait to taste the wine itself. Tasting the wine was mostly a continuation of the Bouquet, and that means the wine was really nice. The wine was definitely a slightly lemony dominated wine but there was a background note of sweetness to it. Hints of the melon were noticeable as well and seemed to cut the Lemon and prevent from being harsh. A grapefruit note was certainly present as well and indeed stood out. There was a slight dryness here as well probably due to the Lemon / grapefruit but not to the point where it took away the fruitiness of the wine (although close) and certainly nothing to complain about. With the lemon / grapefruit note, the melon and that slight sweetness and fruit forwardness I think this is a perfect wine for the season upcoming. There was a bright finish on the front on the Palette that continued through to the end. While certainly not a complex wine it does serve the purpose rather nicely.
   In this wine we are talking about a wine that was made specifically for the Spring and Summer time. This is a perfect pool or picnic white and one that I wish I had gotten another bottle of when I had the chance. When the heat gets turned up head to the pool and break open a bottle of this wine and you will very happy.
  On The Desert Wine Guy Rating Scale I give this wine an 89 points.

UPDATE - Today, September 12, 2016 I have re-tasted this wine. Here is the latest comments / thoughts on this wine. I believe that my original notes for this wine still stand and the wine is as described. The original review of this wine was August 1st.
 

                                                                                                                The Desert Wine Guy






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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

14 Hands Winery - 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

 
   Today I am back with a review of the 2015 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc from Prosser, Washington which is part of Horse Heaven Hills. The wine comes in at 13% Alcohol and sells retail for $13. Our review wine is 89% Sauvignon Blanc, 7% Semillon and 4% Chenin Blanc. I actually picked this wine because it was the first of the varietal that I came across in a local store that had a sale of Buy one (bottle of wine) get one for a penny. I bought two of these wines and they came out to $6.50 a piece, not a bad deal if you ask me. I could have mixed and matched other wines that were included in this sale (the choice was rather large) but I chose not to. Okay, lets get into this review and see what's up with this wine.
   Bringing the wine to my nose I got a lot of Gooseberry along with Peach, Nectarine, Guava & Honeysuckle. That is a lot and this definitely has a fruity nose for sure here. I am not picking up any Green Pepper nor anything along those lines as is common in the varietal.
   Moving onto the wine on my Palette now I will tell you that this wine is a way over the top on the sweet side. With immediate dominating notes of Honey or Honeysuckle (can anyone say Chenin Blanc) and Nectarine. This wine does indeed come alive in the mouth that is for sure. A note of Pear combines with the Buttery / oily note (Secondary Fermentation anyone) here and contributes to the wine being more than over the top in sweetness in my opinion. There is a note of Gooseberry that brings a decent contrast on the Palette but still that noticeably over the top fruity / sweetness still dominating the Palette unfortunately. There is some amount of Acidity to the wine but the Buttery / oily note here keeps that aspect it in check. I don't detect any Oak that could have given possibly this wine what it might have needed to save it from the fruit forwardness monster that the wine embraced. As I said earlier in this review, while there is an acidic note to the wine, for some reason the wine is lacking any kind of crispness that it normally brings with it. There really isn't even much of a grassy note to speak of although there is perhaps a slight bit way deep in the wine that I possibly detected. So, there you have it, my description of what I picked up in this wine.There isn't really much to talk about here due to the fact that this wine didn't have much to offer in the first place. Having said this, it is time now to move to the final chapter and tie what little there is together. 
   I don't know folks, perhaps the varietals of Semillon and Chenin Blanc actually dominated this wine even though they were percentage wise fairly low. To me this wine was simply just too fruity / sugary with nothing to tone it down. In my opinion the was was way top for my liking as well as for the varietal known as Sauvignon Blanc.This wine is actually a fairly light wine and is too light (and too sweet) to be taken as a serious contribution to the great wines of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA that they are known for putting out. There would make a good "Summer Sipper" for those who are more along the lines of a Wine Cooler type beverage. To me this is a wine that is okay for the pool as well as for people who don't like wine. I mean what is the point of a wine that doesn't hold well to it's varietal standards in the realm of seriousness? Aside from that however, I have tasted or drank a lot of wines that didn't quite hold to varietal standards and yet were really nice and not "sugar bombs" as this wine is. Now remember that this is a $13 wine. To me I expect a lot more for that price in a white wine, excuse me. I have had much better Summer whites that were the same price if not a couple of dollars cheaper.  So, what is my overall rating of this wine? On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 82 (Good Suitable for everyday consumption, often good value, Can be enjoyed for casual relaxing.) points.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - On The Tempranillo Grape


                                                            
Tempranillo Ready For Harvest

   Today I want to talk about a wine grape that has fast become one of my favorite varietals. Today we will talk about the Tempranillo (temp-rah-NEE-yo) grape. Like most Americans I had never heard of this varietal until I went to South Coast Winery (http://wineresort.com/) in Temecula California where I did a tasting and this varietal was one of the wines included in that tasting. I immediately fell in love with the varietal as I noticed that this wine was truly different from the Cabernet Sauvignon that at the time was my favorite and that I was accustomed to drinking. This wine was peppery, had Tannins and was earthy and simply struck me as being a deep oakey red in a way that was unique in comparison to a good Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. There is a great chance that many of you guys might never have heard of this grape but I am here to convince you to at least give this grape a try as I think you will be happy. Bottom line, if you love a big red than this is your wine. For those of you who have access to a place called Total Wine & Spirits (http://www.totalwine.com/) you will find the Tempranillo in the "Other Reds" section. Let's now look a little deeper into the Tempranillo grape and it's history and we will of course start at the beginning since many of us will be learning about this grape for the very first time. By the way I will learn along with you so don't feel to bad.
Tempranillo Vineyard In Washington State
                                                
   The word Tempranillo means "little early one", this is due to the fact that it flowers, buds, and ripens around two weeks earlier that Spain's other popular red grapes. The Tempranillo is a black grape and is one of the most famous and best known of Spain's native grapes, it is also known as the Cabernet Sauvignon of Spain. In Portugal it is even used for fortified wines (Ports). Some of the characteristics this wonderful grape has are it is thick skinned, it's intense ruby red color and violet-blue undertones with weak acidity. The grape makes a medium to full-bodied red wine with full fruit flavor. The grape is also known for it's medium to strong tannin's. The wine is usually aged in Oak for 12-18 months but not always. Tempranillo is also largely used as a blending grape such as Merlot and others. I hate to say it but the Tempranillo grape is also used for "Jug Wine" as a blending grape. The grape also goes by many different names in Spain such as Tinto de Toro, Pinto Madrid, Cencibel, Tinto Fino and Ojo de Liebre. When it comes to aging a red wine look no further than the Tempranillo which has the structure to age very well.  As for growing conditions the grape loves the heat but does enjoy cooler nights and is above average when it comes to withstanding cold Spring temperatures. The growing of Tempranillo has spread from Spain to California (where it first arrived in the 1900's probably in the form of seeds) to Oregon, Texas (1998) and Washington State. This spread has been at a very slow rate but if wine reviewers and writers like me keep writing about it hopefully there is a great chance that people will at least give it a try and fall in love with it as I have. I really believe that if given a try, people will be hooked and the popularity (as well as the price unfortunately) will start to climb. For those of you who are looking for a review on this varietal from me I just so happen to have a 2011 Tempranillo from ST AMANTI (http://www.stamantwine.com/About-Us/Winery) winery located in Lodi, California. When I complete that tasting I will do a review on it and post it. Till then folks get out there and try a bottle of Tempranillo and e mail me and let me know what you think.
   If you still want to know more about this varietal check out this pdf  http://iv.ucdavis.edu/files/24363.pdf. It is everything you always wanted to know about this grape....and more.

Tempranillo On The Vine
                                              
                                                                                                                 The Desert Wine Guy

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Desert Wine Guy - IG WInery - 2016 Rogue Valley, AVA - Riesling


   Well guys, a couple of weeks ago I did a review of the new IG Winery which is located in Cedar City, Utah and I mentioned a little bit about their 2016 Rouge Valley, AVA, Riesling that my friend recommended I purchase a bottle of. Today we will see if my friend was correct in his judgment / suggestion. Before we begin , I have a confession to make. I am a lover of simple and inexpensive Rieslings such as Chateau Ste Michelle (https://www.ste-michelle.com/) and that is a burden that I guess I and many other lovers of inexpensive Rieslings will have to bear....happily. Inexpensive Rieslings such as Chateau Ste Michelle fit into a very popular segment of semi-sweet to sweet White wines in general. To me a Riesling should be bright and fruity and yes, semi sweet yet not a "sugar bomb", after all it is not a Wine Cooler. Carbonation is not something I want in a wine either unless I am drinking a Champagne. A Riesling should also not be expensive in my opinion, it is a Summer / pool / Barbecue type wine that should not be offensive either in sweetness or price, to anyone. The Chateau Ste http://www.winemag.com/buying-guide/chateau-ste-michelle-2015-riesling-columbia-valley-wa) costs $7 at my local Supermarket and earned a score of 88 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine for their 2015 vintage. Getting back to our review wine, does this review wine meet all or most of that criteria? Read on and you will see. One last item before we move on. For the sake of time, I wont get into too much about the IG Winery other than to say that the owner and winemaker is Doug McCombs who just so happens to live in Las Vegas as well. If you read my last review (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-desert-wine-guy-look-at-new-ig.html) which I just wrote on the Winery you will learn a little bit about the winery.
   So, now the wine. Let's start off with the simplest item and that is the closure. The 2016 IG Riesling starts off visually at least, looking good. I thought the label is very clean and professional and the bottle is actually sealed with a Cork and I like that. Summer wine or not it is still real wine and deserves that amount of dignity in my book. Unfortunately for this wine, that is where the good news stops. The wines appearance in the glass was very nearly clear with perhaps the ever so slightest hue of Gold, in other words the visual appearance of the wine is not really impressive at all. The next flaw in the wine was the fact that there was no Bouquet to it. To me as I put my nose to the glass I just simply did not pick up any Bouquet. This was not an isolated instance as I went back to the glass a few times with the same results. O.K. lets talk about the Palette which I guess is the most important thing although all aspects of the wine are responsible for the final impression on your mind as well as Palette and combined helps make the final product in your glass. Upon initial tasting there was a note of Alcohol that I did not really care for. At an Alcohol percentage of 13%, which is not
an unusually high percentage for this varietal, I found this was strange indeed. This Alcohol note also didn't seem to fade right away but if it had it would have been considered a very minor flaw in my book and probably while not overlooked, wouldn't have been of too much note. Moving on with my review of the wine on my Palette, there is Green Apple and Grapefruit that are certainly present and in appropriate amounts, there is however a hint of spice on the finish that I found out of place and rather offensive on the Palette as well as being out of place in the varietal I thought. The spice note caused the wine to display a rather sharp "edge" of sorts in my mouth. Right off I also just find something "flat" or "watery" in general to the wine. I'm not quite sure what it is but there is a little something (once again a flatness) that semi to have dulled the finish.  There is a semi detectable note of Apricot as well that I picked up but it does nothing to support or rescue the wine. As for sweetness or a sugary note on the Palette I have to say that there was some expected sweetness that I picked up rather oddly as almost a tartness on the side of my Tongue. Speaking of the Tongue there is also a feeling that seems as if there was something left on the Tongue after swallowing, almost like that feeling of Tannins left by a Red wine.
   Well guys, that is about all I have to say here about this wine. While the wine is drinkable it is not something that I would recommend to you. At $25 I believe that this Riesling is way over priced for what it is and way over priced for a good Riesling. I think I will Stick with Chateau ste-michelle for a great Riesling and I think you will be happy. As a side note you can buy three (3) bottles of that wine for every one (1) bottle of the IG Riesling and save $3 while you are at it.
   On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 75 points - " Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws".

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy
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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Benefits Of Resveratrol - A Follow-up Look At A Powerful Antioxidant


   Today we are going to be taking a little break from wine reviews. Have no worries though as we will still be sticking with the topic of grapes. Today we will be discussing an Antioxidant that is found in the red grape skin although it is also found elsewhere, The Antioxidant that we will be discussing is named Resveratrol. This will actually also be an update of an article that I wrote on the Antioxidant back in December of 2016 (https://desertwineguy.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-desert-wine-guy-whats-all-this.html). With all this increased talk today about the supposed health benefits of Resveratrol and how the wine industry has latched onto this supposed benefit and is trying it's best to make it appear that because red grapes have Resveratrol as part of it's DNA that red wine is now the healthiest drink on the planet, I thought this would be a great time to re-visit the topic. So let's go ahead and get right into this then. One thing I want to mention before I move on however is that I would like to point out that throughout this article I will try to stick to the issue at hand which is does Resveratrol and not wine provide any significant benefits to our health. I will try to stay away from the debate of whether wine is healthy or not however at times it cannot be helped and the two issues will in inter joined. You will also see in my closing paragraph that these are indeed two different topics. So, with that said, let's get on with it. The first question we need to answer is what is Resveratrol?
   Resveratrol is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are believed to help the body fight against diseases such as Cancer and Heart Disease by protecting the body against what is known as "free radicals"which damage cells and allows disease to take root inside our bodies. Using antioxidants helps the body in neutralizing and removing these "free radicals". As well as being an Antioxidant, Resveratrol is also what is called a Phytoalexin which is a class of natural antibiotic compounds produced as a part of a plant's defense system against disease. On top of all that, Resveratrol is also a stilbenoid which is a type of natural phenol, and a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants in response to injury or when the plant is under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Putting it simply Resveratrol is a compound that helps destroy bad cells in our body and helps our body repair itself as well. Okay now that we know what it is, let's find out where Resveratrol can be found.
   While it is accurate that Resveratrol is found in higher concentration in the skin of the red grapes as well as red wine (with Merlot being the highest in concentration) according to Oregon State University you can also find it in Peanuts (very small amounts) as well as red berries, Dark (dark) Chocolate (the higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the concentration of antioxidants it will have), Bilberries Cranberries & Blueberries just to name a few. So now that we know what Resveratrol is and where we can find it, lets learn about the latest research on it.

On 2003 Dr. David Sinclair discovered the anti-aging properties of Resveratrol. Since then the topic of Resveratrol has been big news with the wine industry as they use it to promote consumers drinking more red wine and the supplement industry which benefits that industry by selling Resveratrol.  Here is some of the latest research that is available on the subject. A March 6, 2018 report by Medical News Today (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321126.php) reports that according to Dr. Shuai Cao of the Division of Biology at Kansas State University states that Resveratrol "has a good chance of inhibiting all poxviruses." According to an April 2, 2018 article in the San Diego Tribune Dr. Philip Goscienski says (http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/ramona-sentinel/news/local-news/sd-cm-ram-wine-and-chocolate-20180207-story.html) that among the health benefits attributed to Resveratrol are reducing inflammation, protecting DNA as an antioxidant, slowing down aging and protecting against cancer. According to an August 14, 2017 article in the Philly Voice (http://www.phillyvoice.com/component-red-wine-has-similar-anti-aging-effects-diet-and-exercise/) a study from The Journals of Gerontology is quoted as saying that the benefits of Resveratrol shares many of the same benefits as a drug prescribed to fight Type 2 diabetes called Metformin.
   An article in Medical Daily (https://www.medicaldaily.com/drinking-red-wine-type-2-diabetes-resveratrol-benefits-heart-health-reducing-417066) which was written on May 8, 2017 The American Heart Association on  May 4, 2017 posted a study (http://newsroom.heart.org/news/can-the-antioxidant-resveratrol-reduce-artery-stiffness-in-diabetics) where researchers found a 300 milligram (mg) per day dose of Resveratrol decreased aortic stiffness by 9 percent in type 2 diabetes patients. All is not well with Resveratrol however as a February 2018 article (https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/grape-expectations-is-red-wine-good-for-your-heart) posted by Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School shows. The article in part states "Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. All of the research showing that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have lower rates of heart disease is observational. Such studies can't prove cause and effect, only associations."
   I will begin this closing paragraph with a study. Here is where I also must blend the two different subjects of wine health and the benefits of Resveratrol together. According to a March 5, 2015 article in Forbes Magazine (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/03/05/can-a-daily-glass-of-wine-help-prevent-cancer/#27f469e2227a) Daryl Davies PhD who is a professor in the department of Clinical Pharmacy and the Director of the MS program in management of drug development at the USC School of Pharmacy is quoted as saying the following "Antioxidants (Resveratrol) in wine are so low that it’s a joke,” In other words compared with the negative health effects of Alcohol, the amount of Resveratrol you would get in wine is not worth the risk.To me, this sums up the article. Yes, red wine has some health benefits such as Resveratrol BUT (and it is a big but) the fact that you are consuming Alcohol which is not good for you in so many ways the negatives of Alcohol far out way the small benefits. In all actuality since there are so many negatives to Alcohol in general you could say that there are not positives since they get eliminated in the end. I my opinion if you want to take Resveratrol (and I definitely do) then don't use wine as an effective means of doing it. Eat your red grapes, Grape Juice, eat your Blueberries, Bilberries, cranberries, eat the Dark Chocolate (in moderate amounts) and REAL peanut Butter without High Fructose Corn Syrup. Here is another very interesting item to take note of. According to a study done by The US Library of Medicine National Institute of Health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13129286) "......after 18 min of heating at 190 degrees C, between 17 and 46% of the resveratrol had degraded in the various Vaccinium species." Without getting into a discussion on the matter, raw foods are healthier than cooked or processed foods. Eating the fruits themselves also provides your body a great source of other antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese.
Before saying goodbye, I want to remind you that there are two different subjects that seem to at times be meshed together as one in the conversation over Resveratrol. The first discussion should be about the benefits (if any) of resveratrol and the second should be the health benefits (if any) of red wine. Perhaps this meshing of the two (2) topics shows the power of the Alcohol or wine industry I am not sure. As I stated already, Resveratrol is available in more places than red wine. One other interesting thing that I found while researching this wine is that it is almost impossible to find the amounts of resveratrol used in studies or the amount of Resveratrol that a glass (or a bottle) of red wine contains. Call me paranoid but I do not believe that is done by accident. There was only one (1) article (https://www.worldhealth.net/news/resveratrol-diabetes-arteries-stiffness-cardiovasc/) that I could find that actually posted amounts of Resveratrol used in a study. That article went on to conclude in part "..... a subgroup of 23 patients with particularly high arterial stiffness saw a 9% decrease with the 300 mg dose and a 4.8% decrease with the 100 mg dose.". In my opinion Resveratrol has shown it's benefits without question and I am a believer. I have started taking 300 MG of Resveratrol a day and perhaps you might want to as well.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Doctor and am not giving anyone any medical advice with this article. I suggest if you wish to know if Resveratrol is safe for you that you go see your Doctor before taking it.

                                                                                                                  The Desert Wine Guy

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