Corvidae “The Keeper” Cabernet Franc (2012)

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20141112_204035Corvidae “The Keeper” 

Cabernet Franc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15 

What they say about it:

“The Keeper is an incredible value; it’s plush and full-bodied, and is approachable now but will age beautifully. Perfectly ripened grapes give this wine notes of savory spices, cigar box and black fruits. On the palate, a rich mouthful of blackberry, cassis and black tea commingle with a velvety, luscious mouthfeel and a long, generous finish.”

What I say about it:

Keeping with my Fall related wine picks, I stumbled on “The Keeper” from Corvidae with it’s bold label featuring a red eyed raven and had to give it a try. I don’t drink Cabernet Franc that often. No particular reason why and after trying “The Keeper” I need to try more.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

“The Keeper” is a big lush wine with a garnet to plum color. Short legs in the glass but very bright and clean. The nose is full of fruit, cherries, blackberries with a smoky note and spice, particularly clove with some oak. The taste is equally big and full of plums, Bing Cherries, fresh ripe fruit with slight oak. I also noted a slight peat, moss and earthiness with some cocoa. The finish is very long and there is a lingering velvety quality. Very soft and well balanced fruit. Complex yet clean.

“The Keeper” will match great with Chevre and other goat cheeses as well as Aged Gouda and Parmesan, and a sweet Gorgonzola. For heartier meals, this will go well with red meats, especially any grilled, salmon, and even Mexican.

Would Bukowski drink it? It’s all in a name, and this one’s a Keeper for sure

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Four Vines “Truant” Old Vine Zinfandel (2010)

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20141106_212043[1]Four Vines “Truant” Old Vine

Zinfandel Blend (Truant is 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese*)

YEAR: 2010

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15 

What they say about it:

Escape the everyday and take a little Truant vacay. This is our go-to pour when we feel too well to go to work. If these lush flavors can’t convince you to power down the gadgets and turn up the volume on a life well lived, then what will?

Blended from an array of fine appellations throughout California, Truant is 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese. On the nose you’ll find dark berry notes and enticing spicy notes from oak aging. The wine bursts with juicy blackberry, ripe plums with a surprising touch of blueberry. Generous in fruit flavors, Truant has plenty of structure and a velvety finish.”

What I say about it:

I don’t recall where I picked up this Zinfandel blend recently, but I discovered it in my wine fridge and decided to give it a try last night while snacking on some cheese and fruit. I was not disappointed.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is a deep ruby red to purple. Rich and luscious much like the flavor, but I am getting ahead of myself. The Truant has long legs in the glass, mainly due to it’s high alcohol content (14.4%). The nose of the wine is complex with berries and big fresh fruit in the front with cocoa, cherries, slight smoke, spice, clove cardamom, and a touch of cinnamon and wet earth. The taste of the wine is full of rich plums, blackberries, with light oak, smoke, spice, a rich earthiness and a jammy quality. The finish is long and lingers with velvet soft tannins and a very pronounced chocolate flavor. Very well balanced. Great mouth feel. A really nice find and quite enjoyable.

As I mentioned I was eating some cheese and fruit while sampling the Truant. Like most Zinfandel wines this Zin blend will go great with sharp and robust cheeses like Blues, Gorgonzola, aged goat cheeses and Cheddar. It matched well with olives and balsamic cipollini onions as well as the salami and Spanish Chorizo I was also having.

* The blend for Truant is actually not listed on the bottle and by calling the wine Old Vine, a term often associated with Zinfandel, it is a tad misleading even though it also does not say Zinfandel anywhere on the bottle. Damn marketing people.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Truant. More like just true. Gimme a glass. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Brazin’ “(B)Old Vine” Zinfandel (2012)

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20141014_215152Brazin’ “(B)Old Vine”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California: Dry Creek Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16 

What they say about it:

“The 2012 Brazin Zinfandel is big, bold and offers aromas of rich black fruit and mocha that mingle with hints of spice and soft vanilla. Intense, ripe plum and jammy blackberry rock the palate of this daring Zinfandel. Balanced acidity and lingering tannins add complexity, concentration and depth to the finish.”

What I say about it:

I have been a fan of Brazin’s Zinfandels for years. They are great affordable easy to drink and find reds for anyone that enjoys big, bold and spicy wine. This was my first spotting of the 2012 Dry Creek Valley so I picked up a few bottles.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is garnet to purple. Clean to the rim with short legs in the glass. The nose of the wine is full of rich bold features: smoke, leather, spice, pepper, ripe cherries, plums and a slight musk. The taste of the wine is full of cherries, blackberries and red fruit with slight cocoa, leather, oak, vanilla, violet and a touch of lavender. It has a medium finish with soft tannins and was slightly sweet at first but after breathing less sweet and more off dry.

In general it’s another big, bold and spicy Zin from Brazin that is easily recommended. This wine pairs well with any red meat dishes, especially anything grilled, and anything zesty (curry for example). For cheese pairings I would recommend Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, Aged Gouda, Asiago, or Dry Jack.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I am bold and old so hell yeah. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red” Zinfandel (2011)

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20140203_191937Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: California: Paso Robles

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20 

What they say about it:

“With a rich candied cherry nose this vibrantly-hued red wine bursts with bright strawberry and cherry fruit flavors. Pleasing acidity and structure are balanced by softer fruits and leather nuances on the mid-palate, leaving you with spicy oak, fennel and mocha in a long, lingering finish.”

What I say about it:

Peachy Canyon’s wines are among some of my favorites. They are an excellent maker and their Zinfandel wines are really outstanding. 

Out of the bottle and into the glass….The “Incredible Red” is deep ruby-red, true to the rim, with very long legs. Rich, clean and clear with no impurities.

The nose of the wine is big and bold with tons of berries and spice: black berries, clove, cinnamon, leather, smoke, wet earth, plums and fresh cut green peppers.

Tasting notes includes big jammy fruits notably overripe strawberries, a slight toasted oakiness, and leather. Full bodied with a long lingering finish with mellow but still firm tannins. Good acidity and very well balanced.

Overall an excellent wine and recommended.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Incredible is right. I got a wicked buzz.

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

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

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