N/ Purple and red fruits. Smoked game. Brick dust. Paprika. Cedar / cigar box. Forest floor. Bell peppers.

T/ Medium full mouth feel. Loaded with red, blue, and black fruit flavors.

These are well-balanced with wood and Earth notes.

Only detraction is a light bell pepper note that will likely resolve with more bottle rest time. Once/if it does this wine will easily ascend into “A” range.

Price $22 – $27

http://www.conchaytoro.com/?lang=en_us

N = B+
T = B
I = B
Overall = B

This wine was a media sample kindly provided by the winery.

From the winery…

“Denomination of Origin (D.O.): Puente Alto, Maipo Valley.

Puente Alto Vineyard and Pirque Vineyard, Maipo Valley. Both vineyards are located close to the foothills of the Andes Mountains—Puente Alto is 650 m a.s.l. and Pirque is 570 m a.s.l.—and have alluvial soils that are poor in nutrients, rocky, and highly permeable due to the abundance of gravel in the subsoil.”

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N/ Hay, salt, and the smell of the ocean.

Cracked granite, citrus, chamomile, and light herbs.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Lime juice squeezed into chamomile tea. Truly.

Refreshing.

Pairing: shellfish, fish, or veggie dishes.

http://www.riasbaixaswines.com/

Price = $13 – $16

N = A-
T = B+
I = B+
Overall = B+

This wine was a media sample kindly provided by the winery.

About Rías Baixas…

“Denomination of Origin (DO) Rías Baixas is renowned for the Albariño grape, an indigenous variety that produces some of the world’s foremost white wines. Located in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain, the DO was formally established in 1988. Albariño has always been the flagship of this coastal region. In Rías Baixas’ unique climate, Albariño shares the same mineral-rich soils and cool climate as the world’s leading white wine regions, including Loire Valley, New Zealand and the Rhine.”

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N/ Green apples, steamed hay, sun bleached river rocks, beach sand, fresh rain, wet cement.

T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Tart honeysuckle and crisp apple flavors dominate but light citrus, pear, and gooseberry flavors do play.

Quite an unexpected complexity in the fruit profile compared with typical pinot gris.

Soft mineral notes and another bite of honeysuckle close her.

When chilled slightly further than you normally would, this is a very refreshing wine – and complex for the price point.

From a first taste of the evening to a nice pairing with shellfish or fish, this wine over delivers.

http://www.villamaria.co.nz/

Winemakers = Helen Morrison and Nick Picone

Price = ~$15

N = A-
T = A
I = A
Overall = A

This wine was a media sample generously provided by the winery.

From the winery…

“The fruit for this wine was grown in the Marlborough, Gisborne and Waipara winegrowing regions. Vineyards across these regions offer a diversity of soil types ranging from free draining gravelly soils to silty clay, contributing to the complexity of aromatics and flavour in the finished wine. To ensure excellent intensity of flavour and ripeness levels, low yields are maintained with sufficient fruit exposure.”

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N/ Pure cherry, black cherry, black tea, bacon, game, sage, taffy, crushed flint, and forest floor notes. Lovely.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Cherry, black cherry, and game notes are framed by medium acidity. Clean mineral and organic Earth flavors.

Delivers a well-made Russian River Valley pinot noir at a lower price point than most. Only detraction is a light metallic note that seemed to dissipate with time.

http://thomasgeorgeestates.com/

Price = $43

N = A-
T = B+
I = B
Overall = B+

This wine was a media sample generously provided by the winery.

From the winery…

“Founded in 2008, Thomas George Estates Winery is an artisan Russian River Valley producer of small lot, vineyard designated wines with a focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Thomas George Estates is run by the father-and-son team of Thomas and Jeremy Baker—who have dedicated themselves to establishing a world-class winery focused on site-specific Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays grown in the cool heart of the Russian River Valley. The essence of our winemaking philosophy is to respect and reflect in our wines their vineyard, varietal and vintage. To realize this vision, the Baker family has assembled an estate vineyard program that includes four distinct and coveted vineyards—Baker Ridge, Starr Ridge, Cresta Ridge and Sons & Daughters Ranch. Offering a diversity of microclimates, soil types, exposures, vine age and clonal material, these exceptional vineyard sites provide Thomas George Estates with a complex palette of fruit from which to craft its limited-production wines. These artisan wines are handmade in small lots in a style that emphasizes balance, brightness and terroir-inspired sophistication.”

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N/ Salted green apple slices Crushed granite. Chalk. Delicate marine wafts. Quite inviting.

T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Crisp green and yellow apples. Clean lines of mineral, flint and granite.

Elegant.

Price = $50

http://www.champagnebrunopaillard.com/en/champagnes/premiere-cuvee/

N = A-
T = A
I = A
Overall = A

This wine was a media sample kindly provided by the winery.

From the winery…

“- Elegance: Hallmarks of a Bruno Paillard Champagne are therefore finesse and elegance, with an underlying minerality thanks to the exclusive use of juice from the first pressing of grapes. This has been the case from the beginning in 1981. The first pressing is also essential to purity, but not the sole reason: selection of terroirs and the way in which they are individually managed are also key.

– Dryer: Dosage (addition of sugar) is minimal to let the freshness shine through. Though labeled “Brut,” all Bruno Paillard Champagnes are technically “Extra Brut,” with six grams or less of sugar per liter.

– Long maturation: Bruno Paillard wines are matured for longer than is customary for most producers, to allow them to mellow and to compensate for the lack of sugar.

– Consistency: Bruno Paillard uses a unique blending system, a variant of the solera system common in sherry-production. Each blend consists of the current vintage base wine plus 20 to 50% of older, fractionally blended wines. With 30 years of reserve blends on hand, Bruno Paillard multi-vintage (MV) Champagnes are of assured quality, even in years with a lot of hail.

– Complexity: Bruno Paillard’s multi-vintage Champagnes incorporate an extraordinarily high percentage (35% average) of reserve wines in the blends. A reliance on reserve wines is part of the signature house style of longer-matured wines. At Bruno Paillard, sur lie aging is two to three times longer than imposed by law.”

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USA, Oregon, Pinot Noir, Left Coast Cellars, Cali’s Cuvee, Willamette Valley, 2014

Uncategorized

N/ Blackberry jam, lime zest, freshly crushed flint, and cigar box. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Blackberries and raspberry notes with a nice bouncing acidity. Wet organic soil notes and an extended earthy finish. Price = $24 http://leftcoastcellars.com/ N = B+ T = B+ I = B+ Overall = B+ This wine was a media sample kindly […]

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Germany, Riesling, Urban Riesling, Nik Weis Selection, Mosel, 2015

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N/ The vaseline/petrol power is just right – lets you know what grape you are quaffing and tickles the nose. Flower power here. Citrus, chamomile, and crushed granite. Very nice smoky notes also telling you that there is a Mosel riesling in your glass. T/ Medium full mouthfeel. Citrus, tart green apples, and a hint […]

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France, Chenin Blanc, Saget La Perrière, Château de la Mulonnière, Loire Valley, 2015

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N/ Sun bleached rocks, spring water, honeysuckle, light citrus, light chlorine, and chamomile tea. T/ Medium full mouthfeel. Lovely dancing acid, limes, really ripe apples, and white peaches. About one degree too sweet for me, but this will be a huge crowd pleaser at parties. Absolutely delicious. Winemakers: Benoit Dufour and Laurent Saget Alcohol = […]

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Italy, Pinot Noir, Pinot Nero, Rollhuett, Rolhut, Peter Zemmer, Alto Adige, Sudtirol, 2015

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N/ Red berries, gorgeous crushed rose petals, granite, cherries, wet cement, and spice. Lovely. T/ Light mouthfeel. Elegant weight for the price point. Berries, red fruits, and clean mineral and earth notes. A bit of a tannic cranberry pucker which mellows with breathing time. Well integrated oak notes. Clean, restrained juiciness, and nice rock notes […]

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New Zealand, Pinot Noir, Villa Maria, Marlborough, 2015

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N/ All the cherries, earth, and light spice notes that you expect from a New Zealand pinot noir. Delivers. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Nice bing cherry and red berry flavors accompanied by earth and mineral in the right balance. http://www.villamariawine.com/ N = B+ T = B I = B+ Overall = B+ This wine was a […]

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Argentina, Malbec, Red blend, Amalaya, Salta, Calchaqui Valley, 2015

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Red blend of 85% malbec, 10% tannant, and 5% syrah For best results I suggest you decant and wait 30 minutes to an hour before enjoying as she had some reduced aromas that need to float off N/ Black fruits, black soil, plum skins, marine wafts, crushed leaves, forest floor, and taffy. T/ Purple and […]

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Italy, Nero d’Avola, Mandrarossa, Costa Dune, Sicilia, Sicily, 2015

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Rated one hour after opening as she needs some time to open up to allow her nose to blossom. N/ She leads with the smell of a wild countryside dotted with sagebrush. Crushed granite. Paprika. Exotic spices like nutmeg. The fruit elements are restrained but red berry and plum skin notes delight. T/ Medium to […]

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Italy, Frappato, Planeta, Sicilia Vittoria, Sicilia (Sicily), 2015

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N/ She greets you with wild herbs and cherry taffy wafts. I find hints of copper / blood and nice dark soil notes. She also has plum skins, fresh organic earth aromas, and a bit of brick dust. Lovely. T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Cherry and red berry flavors dominate with a touch of gripping […]

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Spain, Bodega Paniza, Garnacha and Tempranillo, Paniza, Cariñena, 2013

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N/ Tomato leaves dominate. Wild and savory herb blast, with organic soil and earth, paprika, and dusty black fruits. T/ Medium mouth feel. Dusty purple and black fruits infused with notes of black soil, earth, and maduro tobacco. Rustic. Very rustic. Pair with a meat pizza, lamb, or game. http://www.bodegaspaniza.com/en/index.php Price = $10 – $15 […]

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Spain, Garnacha, Particular, Bodegas San Valero, Cariñena, 2013

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N/ The first thing that hits you is a blast of wild country herbs, light mint, and Eucalyptus wafts. Ripe red and black berries delight. Split flint, black soil, brick dust, and hardwoods bring the earth notes and round out a wonderful and complex nose. T/ Medium mouthfeel with clean and elegant lines of red, […]

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New Zealand, Pinot Noir, Catalina Sounds, Marlborough, 2013

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N/ Berry medley, countryside wild herbs, and dry earth notes. Light cigar box / cedar wafts. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Nice acid pop but was hoping for just a tad more. Rich mixed berry and bing cherry flavors nicely intertwine with earth and herbal notes. Extended finish. http://catalinasounds.co.nz/our-wines/ Price = $19 N = B+ T = […]

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Winery & Vineyard Visits / Markham / Napa Valley, California

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I had the distinct pleasure of tasting through a wide selection of Markham wines with the absolutely entertaining and knowledgeable winemaker that is Kim Nicholls. Markham wines represent some of the finest quality to price ratio offerings in Napa Valley. One thing that helps them achieve this is the fact that Markham owns over 350 […]

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France, Rose, Rosé d’Anjou, Mulonnière, Loire Valley, 2015

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Red blend of: 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Grolleau, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Gamay N/ Fresh rain, wet cement, raspberry Jolly Ranchers, crushed granite. In short, exactly the way rose should smell. T/ Medium to medium full mouth feel which was a surprise. Usually roses are much lighter in the piehole region. What also was […]

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France, Malbec, Domaine du Théron, Cuvée Prestige, Cahors, 2011

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N/ Wow, lots of Brettomyces here with typical barnyard and bandaid smells. The livestock odors dominate, but one can find some black and blue fruit aromas just past the Brett onslaught, as well as nice dark earth notes. T/ Once past the Brett flavors she has an elegant mouthfeel with ample blue and black fruits […]

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Argentina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Trivento, Mendoza, 2013

Uncategorized

This one best a few, to many, hours after decanting. She really blossoms if you give her enough air. As always, if you don’t have a decanter handy just pour into a clean glass pitcher. Rated four hours after decanting. N/ Ripe red and black fruits like black currant and black raspberries. Game, leather, black […]

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