Sunday, September 10, 2017

Reviews: *** **+ ** $ Yellow Tail wines, South Eastern Australia, 2016 = Chardonnay is best value

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

Original tasting and reviews : This is a look at the line of Yellow Tail wines from South Eastern Australia.   You can think of this as part of our "take one for the team" series, since Yellow Tail, while widely consumed, is an infrequent wine to be subject to tastings and reviews.  The pinot noir, merlot and big bold red are each finished at 13.5% alcohol, while the chardonnay tips in at 13%.  Vintages are all 2016, except the Big Bold Red shows no vintage date

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Inspired by Yellow Tail Chardonnay:  Enjoying crispy fireworks on a cool summer evening. 

In the glass: Gleaming light gold.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a crisp and sparkling sweetness.  

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact bright sweet fruit with some surrounding acids.  Quick clean finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Best value at bargain price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

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Inspired by Yellow Tail Pinot Noir:  For some reason, we're all dressed in purple, eating crisp tangy apples.  

In the glass: Light magenta.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a bright and tangy fruitiness.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact showing bright acids and some backing dry fruit.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Consistent quality to its price point.  It's tough to find a really compelling value-priced pinot noir, although we have unearthed just a few in recent years. This one doesn't quite hit the mark

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

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Inspired by Yellow Tail Merlot:  Curled in flannel blankets, stoking the fireplace to bring down the chill. 

In the glass:   Deep mahogany, almost opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, furry, fluffy fruit, with soft, velvety surrounds.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact brighter fruit than anticipated.  Full acids surround your palate and bring the sip to a close.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its compelling aroma.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

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Inspired by Yellow Tail Big Bold Red:  Sitting, chatting and whittling sticks with a few friends. 

In the glass: Deep maroon and mahogany, opaque from a half-inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, muddled fruit.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact fuller and more layered with fruit than suggested by the nose, bringing some acids, rounder tannins and hints of darkened oak along for the ride.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars with a big plus for its layers on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Yellow Tail wines.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Review & Rating: ***+ $ Gnarly Head Authentic Black, Lodi, California, 2014 = BEST VALUE

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gnarly Head Authentic Black.

Original tasting and review : This is Gnarly Head Authentic Black, Lodi, California, 2014, finished at 14.5% alcohol and first sampled two years from vintage date, in September, 2017.  This is one of a number of "ambiguously vinted" value-priced red wine blends with higher alcohol levels.   Only the fact of aging for more than 12 months is disclosed on the label.  No grape varietals.  No hint of what it was aged in.  Nope.  You're on your own.  (From the appellation  designation of "Lodi, California," you do know the general region from which the mystery grapes originate.) On the winery's web site, you will find the additional hint that the wine was fermented in stainless and then aged in French and American oak of indeterminate age.  Still no hint of varietals.

Inspired by this wine: Walking along the river bank, we sit to skip some stones across the quiet, muddy waters. 

In the glass: Black magenta, opaque from about a quarter inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep, hushed, almost-muddy fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be dry and tight.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much rounder, bolder and voluptuous than anticipated.  Beefy deep blackberry and ripe red raspberries bring depth and brightness.  Finishes with some sweetness and solid, surrounding, furry tannins.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale with a big plus for its palate of flavors and textures.   With more aromatics, would have been an easy four-star catch.  This is a best-value at its attractive price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gnarly Head Authentic Black.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: *** $ Mendoza Vineyards 1907 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2014 = BEST VALUE

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Mendoza Vineyards 1907 Malbec.

Original tasting and review : This is Mendoza Vineyards 1907 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2014, finished at 14% alcohol and first sampled three years from vintage date, in May, 2017.  This malbec was created with fermentation in some new French oak, and is made from grapes harvested from a vinted planted over 100 years ago.


Inspired by this wine: Hiking out to the campfire at dusk, hearing a fife and drum parade in the distance.

In the glass: Dark magenta, opaque from a half inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright, bold, fiery-streaked violet notes.    From the aroma, seems like this may be bold and almost bombastic.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact more sleek, mineral and restrained than anticipated.  Bold dark fruit touches the center of your mouth, but it spreads with taut tannins across your palate, yielding some charred oak in passing.  The finish brings some dried mushrooms into your cheeks.  Quite svelte.  Not big. Not bombastic.

In summary: Overall, rates an easy three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, being a best value at an attractively acquired price.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Mendoza Vineyards 1907 Malbec.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Whisky versus (vs) Whiskey - how to spell? (Secret tip!)

"Whisky" and "Whiskey" are pretty much the same substance, but why the difference in spelling?  Well, I can't provide full etymology here, but I'll clue you in to my little secret in remembering which is which...  If the country from which the distillation comes  has an "e" in its name (eg, America, Ireland), use the "e", as in "whiskey".   If the country name doesn't have an "e", skip the "e"' and use "whisky" (eg, Scotland, Canada, Japan).  I'm quite confident this is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it helps me keep things generally straight!


(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: *** ***+ $$ Talo San Marzano wines from Puglia, Italy - Negroamano and Malvasia Nera

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Talo San Marzano wines.

By way of background : These are two wines from the San Marzano line, both created in Puglia (also known as Apulia) in southern Italy.  San Marzano is a cooperative that incorporates some 1,200 separate growers working across over 3,500 acres in the southernmost sub-region of Puglia, Salento.   Both of the wines we will sample today are finished six months in French oak, and are representative of traditional grapes from the region - namely, negroamaro and malvasia nera.  Both sample wines were provided by the winemakers' representatives, Teuwen Communications.


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Original tasting and review: Talo San Marzano Salice Salentino, Puglia, Italy, 2013, finished at 13% alcohol and originally tasted four years from vintage date in April, 2017.  This is a blend of 85% negroamaro and 15% malvasia nera.

Inspired by this wine: A lively game of checkers by the parlor fireplace - family gathering round to watch!

In the glass: Deep mahogany, just opaque in the center of the glass.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows sturdy, oaked character streaming around robust dark red fruit.   From the aroma, seems like this may be bold and perhaps contemplative.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact robust, round, bold fruit with sturdy surround-sound of tannins and touches of oak.  Classic, round dark fruit holds in your mouth and cheeks for a lengthy stay.  The sip fades into just a touch of acids at the finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a big plus on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a good value at its modest price point.

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Original tasting and review: Talo San Marzano Malvasia Nera, Puglia, Italy, 2014, finished at 13.5% alcohol and originally tasted three years from vintage date in April, 2017.

Inspired by this wine: Piecing together a fresh, healthy salad lunch.  

In the glass: Deep mahogany and magenta.  Almost opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, shy but bright red fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this may be deep and hidden.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much more vibrant and expressive than expected.  Red fruit curls tightly into your cheeks, holding a lively sparky character aloft for a long time. Sip final allows the red fruit acidity to settle, leaving a fresh, clean finish tinged with some light, lingering tannins.

In summary: Overall, rates an easy three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Talo San Marzano wines.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: ***+ **** $$ Locations Wine selections: F, I, E Versions "4" France, Italy, Spain - all great values!

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wine selections.


Original tasting and review : These are wines from the Locations Wine line, made from an amalgam of grapes from various regions in a specific country, and named for the country of origin.   They are big wines all, ranging in the 14.5 to 15% alcohol range.  All were the responsibility of Dave Phinney, winemaker.  The 2014 vintages are being sampled three years from vintage date, in April, 2017.  Review wines were provided by the winery through their representatives at Balzac Communications & Marketing and were part of a live online tasting with the winemaker.  

The winemaker explained that the European-based wines are made in the country of origin, then assembled and bottled in Barcelona, Spain.  The version numbers - in these cases the number "4" - relates to the annual series number of the wine.  It's not QUITE a vintage, but version "1" was in 2001, so you can probably work out the math fairly easily.

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Locations "E" wine, version "4", from Spain:
Includes grapes from almost two dozen lots around Spain.  Phinney explained his hopes of making a world class wine from among a wide range of vineyard style and grapes.  

Inspired by this wineSeated in the country courtyard, heating up the outdoor brick hearth.

In the glass: Light mahogany with deeper dusty tone.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright notes with definite charcoal tones amidst the red fruit.   From the aroma, seems like this will be bright, perhaps acidic, with some layers of fruit

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact quite sweet and luscious in feel, with ripe red fruits, layered with solid, substantial tannins.  Finish fades slowly and remains remarkably clean.

In summary: Overall, rates an easy four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Best value at its price point.

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Locations "F" wine, version "4", from France:

Inspired by this wineA chat in the quiet parlor, friendly talk about family, friends and the future.

In the glass: Medium burgundy, not opaque in the center of the glass.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows gentle nose with elements of wool blankets and pomegranates.   From the aroma, seems like this will be bright and cheery.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact gentle, layered, bright red fruit.  Full mid fruit and clean, relatively quick, finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a plus on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Good value at the price point.

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Locations "I" wine, version "4", from Italy:

Inspired by this wineComing in from a dusty hike, kicking off the boots and ready to relax.

In the glass: Deep brick, not opaque in the center of the glass.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a touch of smoke with deep black/red fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be classic and, perhaps, closed.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much more generous than anticipated, with dusty, ripe red fruit coming across the palate.   The sip moves to a few darker tones in the mid-palate and glides to a clean finish of ripe red fruit.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a big plus on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a good value at its price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Locations Wine selections.

(c) Copyright 2017 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.