Alexander Valley Vineyards “Redemption Zinfandel” (2010)

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20131210_023105Alexander Valley Vineyards “Redemption Zinfandel”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2010

REGION: US: California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $18 

What they say about it:

“In the glass there are aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, black pepper and vanilla. There is mouth filling texture with spicy flavors of blueberry, black pepper and dark fruits. Kevin Hall says: “this is a big wine with a long finish.”

What I say about it:

Is the bottle half empty? Is the bottle half full? I am referring to the picture of Alexander Valley Vineyards “Redemption Zinfandel” above. In this case, it’s half full. This is my second tasting of the Redemption and I really enjoy this wine. I love Zins and this one is a new favorite.

Out of the bottle and into the glass, the wine is striking. Deep ruby red, long legs, with a lot of spice and berries that are easily recognized while just pouring. Sweet and spicy with just a touch of vanilla. Tasting notes are again full of berries and spice. Particularly blueberry, figs and plums, full and round flavors with touches of pepper, cocoa, smoke and a hint of clover. The Redemption has a very long mellow finish that lingers. 

I had the Redemption solo but previously sampled it with a meal. It went excellent with a grilled ribeye and would be an ideal wine to have with any grilled meats as well as similar full flavored foods. For cheese I would pair with any good blue, Gorgonzola, Gouda, even some drier harder cheeses like Pecorino and Manchego.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Redemption. How Poetic. Pour me a glass or four. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

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Mark Ryan “The Vincent” (2011)

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Mark Ryan The VincentMark Ryan “The Vincent”

Red Blend: 

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: Washington: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20 

What they say about it:

“The 2011 Vincent Red offers clean, pure aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, cedar-lined spice and vanilla. The palate is bold, with mouth-filling blueberry and blackberry with more warm spice and subtle licorice flavor. The finish is remarkably balanced, focusing firm but round tannins and refined acidity.”

What I say about it:

One of the things that I really love about wine is finding a new winery and tasting their wines. Friends have mentioned Mark Ryan before and I’ve read about the wine maker and his wines from time to time. I finally picked up a few of his 2011 wines and The Vincent was the first I cracked open. I was not disappointed in the least and wish I hadn’t waited this long.

The Nose of “The Vincent” is big and fruity with some herbaceous tones. Black berries, spice, subtle leather notes, clover and a hint of coffee. I did not let the wine breath that long and it was pleasant from bottle to glass. The Vincent has a full long finish with long legs. Full bodied with lush mellow tannins. A deep purple color mixed with complex fruits; plums, prunes, cherry, currants, with background flavors of licorice and orange rind and a slight earthiness.

I enjoyed The Vincent on its own but could easily imagine it paired with blue cheese, olives, fig spread, onion jam, rustic breads, on the lighter side, and it would compliment grilled meats, particularly a nice Rib Eye, BBQ’d, perfectly. I highly recommend this wine and at $20 its a value. Expect more from Mark Ryan in my future reviews.

A little bit more on Mark Ryan: 

Mark Ryan McNeilly founded Mark Ryan Winery in 1999 with the goal of making the best wines in Washington State. Largely self-taught, Mark honed the craft of winemaking through rigorous study and the welcomed advice of some of the area’s most experienced producers.

In the early years the winery was transient. The first vintages of Long Haul and Dead Horse were produced crushed and pressed in garages of friends and family, barrels aged in warehouses in the Seattle Area, and finally settling in Woodinville, WA  in 2003.

Over a decade later, Mark Ryan Winery has grown in size, earned acclaim from wine-lovers and critics alike, and garnered respect from the state’s elite producers. The goal, however, remains the same. Make delicious wines that represent the vineyard from which they come, making every vintage better than the last…

More info: http://www.markryanwinery.com/

Would Bukowski drink it?  

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS

Joseph Drouhin “Beaujolais Nouveau” (2013)

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joseph drouhin 2013 beaujolais nouveauJoseph Drouhin “Beaujolais Nouveau”

Gamay

YEAR: 2013

REGION: France:Burgundy

AVERAGE RETAIL: $8-14 

What they say about it:

“Notes on the 2013 Harvest: The region has benefited from summery conditions during the month of July and the first two weeks of August. Hot, sunny and luminous conditions have enabled the vines to develop normally yet without catching up with the delay in growth of the beginning of the year. There were some rain storms, but which did not affect the vines. The grape count indicates a very good harvest in areas where the grapes ripen fast, and a moderate harvest in more slow ripening areas. We estimate the harvest to start around September 23rd to 25th.”- Frédéric J. Drouhin”

What I say about it:

OK well that doesn’t tell me anything about the wine actually…. This was the 2nd 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau I had picked up recently and my first from Joseph Droughin. This like most Beaujolais Nouveau wines was light, fruity, easy to drink and quite enjoyable. The nose had elements of violets, cherries, lavender, berries, and slight touch of vanilla. The texture was smooth, lush with very subtle tannins and a slight tartness with low acidity. Tasting notes included cherries, of the tarter pie cherry variety, berries, strawberry and raspberry, cassis and currants with a slightly earthy undertone. The wine has a striking light garnet color. 

The Joseph Drouhin “Beaujolais Nouveau” 2013 will go nicely with light savory meats and poultry as well as fish, particularly grilled salmon. It will also go nicely with appetizers, fruits and cheeses. Excellent slightly chilled (54-57° F).

Overall this was a great find and a winery I need to investigate further.

Would Bukowski drink it? Louis-Ferdinand Céline, now he was French. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Atalaya “Laya” (2012)

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Laya 2012Atalaya “Laya”

Red Blend: 

70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell

YEAR: 2012

REGION: SPAIN

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10 

What they say about it:

“Laya is 70% Garnacha Tintorera — Alicante Bouschet — and 30% Monastrell planted around 1000 metres (3280 feet) above sea level and aged for 4 months in French oak. Garnacha Tintorera is known for its deep color and here it coats the glass and imparts aromas of brooding black fruits, licorice, espresso, and pepper. Dense, savory, and rich.”

What I say about it:

This wine is another market find. I haven’t been branching out much beyond my safety zone of wines from the Northwest and CA lately so I decided to pick up the red blend from Spain recently. The 2012 Laya is a very big and bold wine and if you are a fan of bold “old world” wines, I recommend it. 

Out of the bottle and into the glass. This is a big wine and a letting it breath (or aerating) opened it up more. A very deep garnet to purple color with very long legs in the glass. My first impressions were deep and rich tones – earthy (flint), licorice, coffee / espresso, leather and tobacco. Oddly the fruit, mainly cherry, hit me afterwards on the finish rather than up front. Slight touch of oak and smoke also noted. Medium body but a little heavy on the tannins. For it’s price, it does have characteristics of older and more expensive wines. Proving that price isn’t the only indicator for a good wine. Overall I liked it. My only reservation, a little too bold on some notes for me, particularly the licorice and espresso, for my taste, but easily recommended.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I ever tell you about this Spanish broad I met at the track? Gimme that wine. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Zen of Zin “Old Vine Zinfandel” (2011)

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Zen of ZinZen of Zin “Old Vine Zinfandel”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $11 

What they say about it:

“This Zenful Zin has bright, ripe scents of cherry and strawberry jam; spice vanilla and orange peel complete the exotic aura. Very juicy, fresh, ripe and round flavors give the impression of boldness without heaviness. The finish is long, soft and flavorful.”

What I say about it:

I spotted this wine at my local market on sale for $7.99. I am continually on the search for good wines under $10 and Zinfandel wines are among my favorite reds so I had to give it a try. The Zen of Zin brand is actually made by Ravenswood, reknown for their Zins.

Out of the bottle it was very drinkable. It’s a jammy type of Zin with long legs in the glass. It’s on the fruitier side and would agree that my first impression was strawberry followed by plums. It’s a lighter Zin and I quite enjoyed it. Very easy to drink. Flavorful but not overpowering. I think this is best matched with spicy and savory dishes. I had it with some pizza (topped with sausage, onion and sun ripened tomatoes) which it matched really well. Overall a good drinkable and tasty wine. A steal for $7.99, but just not great.

Would Bukowski drink it?  $7 buck is a steal. Put it on my tab. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Hahn Winery Pinot Noir (2012)

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Hahn Pinot Noir 2012Hahn Winery Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir 

YEAR: 2013

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $14-16

What they say about it:

“Dark purple in the glass, this Pinot Noir shows aromas of dried plums, black currants and cola. On the palate, black cherry flavors and a silky mouthfeel build on fresh acidity and well integrated oak flavors of vanilla and spice.”

What I say about it:

I was introduced to Hahn Winery about a year ago. The have a number of brands in their line and you can check them out online: http://www.hahnestates.com. I’ve become a big fan. Their wines are really excellent and a value in the price range. This is my first try for the 2012 Pinot Noir and it didn’t disappoint.

Very deep in color with the usual characteristics of a Pinot. The nose was a little musky out of the bottle but that lessened after it breathed. My first impression was tart yet sweet fruits, plums, raspberries and pie cherries, but also a distinct candied orange rind flavor on the finish. Other notes included a subtle earthiness, a slight vanilla spice with a touch of woodiness. It’s medium bodied, very smooth and easy to drink so the Hahn Pinot Noir goes excellent with food. For this tasting it accompanied a grilled flank steak and greens and went very well with the lime vinargrette dressing as the wine has nice acidity itself.

The Hahn Pinot Noir is another wine that I’d recommend for your Thanksgiving dinner as  Pinot Noir works well with turkey as well as the usual sides.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Hot Dog!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (2013)

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Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013Georges Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau”

Gamay

YEAR: 2013

REGION: FRANCE: Beaujolais

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10

What they say about it:

“Beautiful ruby-red color. A pleasant scent of fresh grapes and small juicy red fruits. This wine will scintillate your palate with the pleasure of an excellent ‘primeur.'”

What I say about it:

Yesterday, November 21, was the third Thursday in November this year and when the clock strikes midnight,  the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau, is officially released to the world. You may remember drinking Beaujolais Nouveau at a Thanksgiving or holiday get-together. Given its timely release it’s a popular wine throughout the holiday season. I love cracking into the first bottle every year and this year is no exception. This is the first of two Beaujolais Nouveau wines I will be reviewing. This, the Georges Duboeuf, is the more commonly available and probably the most recognizable name in Beaujolais Nouveau.

The 2013, doesn’t disappoint, if you are a fan of Beaujolais Nouveau. Overall it is very fruity and fresh, characteristics associated with wines like those made from the Gamay grape. Hints of strawberry were my first impression, with a sweet nose. The color is deep, ruby-red and very bright, much like its taste. Secondary taste were more tart and include rhubarb, dried cranberries and plums. Its very easy to drink (which could be great at family holiday dinners!). A really nice Beaujolais Nouveau and better than I recall the 2012 being.

Beaujolais Nouveau wines match well with just about anything. I don’t really follow the white with poultry and fish and red with red meat etc. rules. Drink what you like. I like it as a starter wine, due to it’s delicacy and subtle sweet fruit. It works well with just about everything in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so consider it for your Turkey Day.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Goes well with my F**kin frozen turkey dinner. Now F**K OFF!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Francesco Bonfio Chianti Colli Senesi (2012)

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Francesco Bonfio Chianti Colli SenesiFrancesco Bonfio “Chianti Colli Senesi” 

Chianti (Sangiovese Blend)

YEAR: 2012

REGION: Tuscany, Italy

AVERAGE PRICE: $12

What they say about it:

Francesco Bonfio is not a made up Italian name. He is a wine merchant in Sienna and a friend who has been producing reasonably priced, honest Chianti for many years. This is not your big, extracted Brunello wannabe Chianti but rather a gentle, elegant wine with aromas of red fruit and fresh earth, a silky, softly tannic structure and pretty cherry/plum fruit. As with most Italian wines it shines with food and we would recommend simple pastas, roast chicken, pork or something with the aforementioned chanterelles.

What I say about it: 

I am fond of Chianti when having Italian food and on this particular evening it was pasta and meatballs. Like most Chianti wines in this price range, it’s a very drinkable everyday wine and excellent with a meal. My first impression was that it was on the dry side. I got a lot more of a chalky mouth feel and a lot of earthy tones first off. The finish brought out some subtle fruit (cranberry and pie cherries, more tart than sweet). The Francesco Bonfio “Chianti Colli Senesi ” is subtle and not bold like some Chianti wines can be. Overall I enjoyed it. It’s a value at its price and I would recommend it for drinking with a meal. On it’s own it may be a little too subtle.

Would Bukowski Drink It?  Gimme that bottle.

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Colonia Las Liebres “Bonarda Argentina” (2012)

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20131119_201931Colonia Las Liebres “Bonarda Argentina”

Bonarda

YEAR: 2012

REGION: Argentina, Mendoza

What they say about it:

100% Bonarda Argentina grapes come from high-trellised vineyards located in a unique microclimate in the area of Medrano and Carrizal de Abajo, Mendoza. This area sits slightly higher than the neighboring vineyards to the north, which contributes to cooler nights, resulting in acid development and retention. The low fertility soils paired with parral trellising help control the natural vigor of the Bonarda vine, and deep soils with good drainage facilitate root development.

What I say about it: 

Out of the bottle and into the glass, the first thing that struck me was the color. Such a deep purple with a vibrant red hint. Really striking. My first nose of the wine was a little alcohol heavy. Letting it breath helped and I recommend aerating.  The wine opened up nicely. Lots of warm, deep berry flavors with slightly earthy tones.

Would Bukowski Drink It?  Most definitely.

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Storyteller “Into the Fog” Pinot Noir (2012)

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20131117_185946Storyteller “Into the Fog” 

Pinot Noir

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: CA, Napa Valley; Los Carneros

ALCOHOL BY VOLUME: 13.5%

 What they say about it:

Dark ruby black color. Aromas of clay, cocoa, and craisin with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a long, elegant dried cherry, vanilla, and delicate spice nuanced finish. Very stylish and tasty. 

What I say about it:

My initial reaction was spicy and fruity at the same time. It had nice pop with a medium finish and a really nice mouth feel.

Would Bukowski drink it?    Hell Yes.

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS