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

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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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Spain, Albariño, Vionta, Limited Release, Rías Biaxas, 2014

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N/ Steamed hay, marine/beach/salty wafts, yellow fruits, fresh rain, river rocks, and light chlorine/ozone. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Round and very easy to drink. Yellow fruits and lean/clean mineral and rock notes. Medium acid levels. Light bitter bite. River rock close. Price = $16 Winemaker = Roberto Fuentes http://www.riasbaixaswines.com/winery/vionta/wine/2759/ N = B+ T = B+ I […]

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France, Red Blend, Ferraton Père & Fils, Samorëns, Côtes du Rhône, 2014

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Blend of grenache (85%), syrah (10%),and cinsault (5%). N/ Black pepper and earthy spices. Purple and black fruits fruits. Plum skins. Wild herbs and black soil. T/ Spicy, racy, and quite complex for the price point – this wine delivers wonderful fruit flavors of black cherries and plums with a lean acid backbone that makes […]

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France, White Blend, Ferraton Père & Fils, Samorëns, Côtes du Rhône, 2015

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Blend of white grenache (60%) and clairette (40%). N/ White and red flowers, honeysuckle, marine wafts, chamomile tea, light citrus, strawberries, and river rocks. T/ Medium mouth feel. Very nice acid. Fresh and light. Citrus and mineral flavors dominate. Yellow grasses, light spice, and chamomile. http://www.ferraton.fr/wines/cotes-du-rhone-samorens-white-ferraton.html Price = $14 N = B T = B […]

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USA, Chardonnay, Artesa, Carneros, Napa Valley, California, 2013

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N/ While she certainly has the deep notes of butter one expects in most ripe and malolactic California chardonnays, she also has lovely aromas of flowers, toast, fresh rain, and pineapple. Delightful. T/ Medium full mouthfeel. Rich flavors of pineapple, passion fruit, and other tropicals. A clean and limey acid cuts through the fruit and […]

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Spain, Tempranillo, Rose, Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España, CVNE, Rosato, Rioja, 2015

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N/ Her nose leads with crushed rocks, then ample red berries and ripe red apples with skins. T/ Light to medium mouth feel. Very nice acid popping flavors of ripe red apples and raspberries. Interestingly, some savory and wild herb flavors as well, which I was not expecting. Note: I would pair this wine with […]

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Argentina, Malbec, Rutini, Encuentro, Mendoza, 2013

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N/ Purple and black fruits, plum skins, paprika, the smell of barbecue, black soil, white pepper, wild herbs. T/ Medium full to full mouthfeel. She starts with an elegant mouth-coating bombardment of purple fruits balanced by robust wood tones and a nice acid presence. I paired this wine with a pan seared porterhouse and it […]

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Spain, Viura, Monopole, Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana, CVNE, Rioja, 2015

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N/ Fresh rain, spring water, white flowers, citrus, sea spray, and wild grasses. T/ Light mouthfeel. Elevated acidity with great mineral notes leads to subtle flavors of citrus, green apple, and chamomile. http://www.cvne.com/en/ct-vino/monopole/ Price = $13 N = A- T = B I = B Overall = B This wine was a media sample kindly […]

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Turkey, Kalecik Karasi, Reserve, Vinkara, Kalecik, Ankara, 2012

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For best results open bottle 20-30 minutes before enjoying and possibly decant. There are a few reduced aromas that need to waft off. N/ On her nose she has game, crushed slate, forest floor, and brooding black and blue fruits. There is also a cherry scented sweetness. Rich barrel room wafts from the use of […]

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Turkey, Narnice, Vinkara, Kalecik, Ankara, 2013

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N/ Yellow apples, yellow pear, stone fruits like apricot and just ripe peaches. She also has yellow grasses, touches of chalk and minerals, and some buttered notes. The nose seems to be a mix between Old World sauvignon blanc and New World chardonnay. T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Her flavors are much crisper that her […]

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Chile, Rose of Syrah, Concha y Toro, Casillero del Diablo, Reserva, Valle Central, 2015

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Rose of syrah, cinsault, and carmenere. N/ Light wafts of strawberries, raspberries, dried hay, wild herbs, and wet cement. T/ Light mouthfeel. Appropriately refreshing. Strawberry and red berry flavors with some nicely balanced acidity. Fun, just as it should be. 13% alcohol www.casillerodeldiablo.com Price = $11 N = B+ T = B I = B+ […]

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USA, Chardonnay, Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley and Bien Nacido Vineyard, 2013

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First off, if you’ve never been to the Castle near Calistoga, you must give it a visit. Here is my earlier write up on it… http://www.brainwines.com/winery-visit-castello-di-amorosa-calistoga-napa-valley-california/. CdA offers a wide selection of wines, and here I want to compare and contrast two of their 2013 chardonnays… Napa Valley 2013 chard… ($29) N/ Fresh rain, river […]

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Argentina, Malbec, Trivento, Golden Reserve, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, 2013

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C/ One of the darker malbecs I’ve ever seen – almost black. Upon swirling appears like black neon blood with a beet juice floater. Pro tip: whenever a “floater” is offered with a cocktail, just do it. N/ A lurid tarn from Edgar Allan Poe’s prose. Gobsmacked with deep oak aromas, black musty soil, black […]

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USA, Pinot Noir, Artesa, Estate Reserve, Carneros, Napa Valley, 2013

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N/ Bright cherries, raspberries, and cranberries. Light barbecue smoke and bacon. Forest floor and damp soil. Hints of vegetal, bell pepper, and crushed roses. T/ Medium to medium for the field. Moderate plus acid, cherries, black cherries, and raspberries. Inorganic and organic earth notes. Probably not truly here, but seems almost like residual sugar sweetness. […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montes, NapaAngel, Napa Valley, California, 2008

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Suggest decanting and waiting at least two hours before enjoying this wine. N/ Deep barrel room aromas, black fruits like black currants and black cherry. Bell peppers and the smell of a freshly grilled steak. Black soil, forest floor, pine needles, freshly crushed granite, flint, and gunpowder oh my. T/ Moderate plus tannin and moderate […]

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