We recently tasted three different releases of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Bordeaux blend from Montes Winesand Kaiken Wines, which we discussed during a Twitter chat with founder and winemaker Aurelio Montes Sr. — considered to be a founding father of the modern Chilean wine industry. Prior to the Twitter event, we enjoyed three other Montes wines that were sent to us in time for Thanksgiving. See below for details. Continue reading →
It’s that time of year when the calendar calls it spring but the cold nights make it seem like it is still winter. This means it’s a perfect time for winter reds that also drink well during spring weather.
Thanks to Kobrand, we received samples of wines that fit both seasons. You might not have heard of all of them, but don’t let that stop you. These are good wines!
BARDA By Bodega Charca 2015 ($29.99) BARDA is a beautiful, balanced, smooth and 100% certified organic Pinot Noir from Argentina. This medium-bodied wine features red fruits, vanilla and spice. It’s also very food-friendly, which means you can try it with pasta, roast beef or salmon.
Agricola Punica Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi 2014 ($30.99) This Italian beauty is primarily made from Carignano, a Spanish variety found in Sardinia, and blended with 10% each of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, silky, and intense depth with flavors of black fruit and hints of caramel, consider pairing it with tomato-based pasta dishes, lamb or pork.
St. Francis Winery and Vineyard: Reserve Merlot 2014 ($39.99) The Reserve Sonoma Valley Merlot is rich and velvety with lush texture and flavors of blackberry, dark chocolate, spice and cassis. This wine will pair well with steaks or other meat dishes — on cooler nights, crisp spring evenings, or at summer barbecues — and you can also try it with dark chocolate brownies for dessert.
Masi Agricola Campofiorin 2012 ($18.99) This easy-drinking, good-value wine features tart black cherry, licorice and dark chocolate on the palate, with vanilla, cinnamon and spice notes. Its versatility means it will complement lasagna and other pastas with rich sauces, beef dishes, and mature cheeses.
Tenuta di Salviano Lago di Corbara 2013 ($17.99) A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this full-bodied wine is the described as the Umbrian answer to the Super Tuscans. A great value for all this richness in a hearty wine, which will pair well with pizza, grilled meats, risotto or hard cheeses.
So what are you waiting for? We recommend that you give these wines a try!
You might have heard of Dave Phinney because of his popular red blend, The Prisoner, or through Orin Swift Cellars, which he recently sold as a premium brand to E. & J. Gallo.
In addition to remaining with Orin Swift, his latest focus is on Locations Wine — as the name suggests, he is making the best value wines possible across the locations of all of the major wine-producing regions of the world.
In Dave Phinney’s words: “I seek out high-quality vineyards, and forward-thinking growers, across appellations to create a wine that proudly represents the best viticultural parcels of that country or location. Our quest is for old vines with low yields, to bring out the best of a specific vineyard and area. We then combine these parcels of place to craft a wine that pays homage to the country of origin; a wine that makes all of us proud.”
And better yet – these attractive wines are also affordable and approachable. Accolades for Phinney have been swift.
“Dave Phinney might be my “value winemaker of the year” candidate … If there are better wines for under $20 a bottle in the world today, please share that information with The Wine Advocate. These are all remarkable efforts. Kudos to Dave Phinney!” — Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, July 27, 2016
We were fortunate to be provided with samples of six Locations wines, which have basic labels (the letters of the region) and a release number — in this case, the numbers 4 and 5 represent the most recent vintages. We’ve only tasted two so far, and were impressed.
WA4 – Washington Red Wine, $19.99 A unique blend of Syrah, Merlot and Petite Sirah, we knew immediately this would be a big Washington state red that our palates favor. We were right. A beautiful nose of blueberries, almonds and licorice was followed by flavors of dark fruit, chocolate and spices on the finish. There is a lot going on with this complex wine.
CA4 – California Red Wine, $19.99 This is another unusual blend — Petite Sirah, Barbera, Tempranillo, Syrah and Grenache, from California’s diverse appellations: Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and the Sierra Foothills. Deep ruby in color, this is a robust red, offering flavors of intense berries, black fruits, smoke and savory notes, with a peppery finish that one might expect from Syrah.
These two wines were delightful, and we are looking forward to experiencing the remaining four samples. Until then, here are their tasting notes and price points.
OR4 – Oregon Red Wine, $23.99 “100% Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley; vivid red with a deep purple core, the nose is generous with ripe cherry, black raspberry, acacia flowers and hint of forest floor. Immediately, the palate is treated to a textural mélange of sweet cherry, pomegranate, rose petal and sappy strawberry. A lively mid-palate reveals a mineral twist and exotic spice notes juxtaposed with fine tannins and superb clarity on the finish.”
F4 – French Red Wine, $18.99 “A blend of Grenache, Syrah and assorted Bordeaux varieties; a dominant nose of raspberry, rhubarb and wild strawberry are complemented by savory aromas of humid tobacco, lavender and rose petal. An immediate entry of cranberry and other red fruit leads to a touch of savoriness. the wine is fresh and lively with great acidity and approachable tannins.”
E4 – Spanish Red Wine, $18.99 “A blend of Grenache/Garnacha, Tempranillo, Monastrell and Carignan/Carinena; the wine presents a dark, polished amethyst with aromatic notes of white pepper, tobacco and black currant emerging from the glass. A silky mouthfeel with a palate of dark plums, black raspberry and hints of French vanilla closes with subtle tart black cherry and a lengthy, structural finish.”
AR5 – Argentinian Red Wine, $17.99 “A blend primarily of Malbec with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon; garnet in the glass, the wine exudes aromas of brambly boysenberry complemented by hints of antique rosewood and lavender. Immediately, the wine presents a rich entry of ripe red currant, hints of dark berries and subtle minerality, which transitions into an elegant and lingering finish of thyme and sage.”
The vision of Locations Wines is “Simple. Complex. Fun.”
Simple: “Make the best possible wine from a given country or location”
Complex: “Going out and tracking down the vineyards which are capable of delivering the quality of wine needed”
Fun: “Traveling the world to visit incredible sites and meeting amazing people that challenge each other to make the best wine possible”
Our final note: At this price point, we highly recommend that you try some, if not all, of the wines in this unique portfolio.