Posts Tagged ‘Wine Review’

What I Drank Last Month (Nov 2013) Part 1

by Nikki Lincoln

I had a very crazy November and although I didn’t have time to write, I definitely made sure to taste lots of amazing wines. I hadn’t realized just how many of the wines I had last month were truly spectacular until I had to back up all of my pictures on the eve of getting a new cell phone. I had to make sure all of my tasting notes were saved somewhere in case they didn’t transfer to the new phone and in the process I realized that I better get writing so I can share all of these things with you!

Once I got everything down, I realized it would be better for me to split this post into two so you can look forward to the second half next week!


Kivelstadt 2011 Father’s Watch Red Blend

I tried my first Kivelstadt wine a few months ago at Hotel Biron. It was an amazing Rose of Mouvedre and I was excited to see that the winery made several other Rhone varietals. I was able to get some samples and was very excited to start trying them. The first of the bunch was the Father’s Watch Red Blend, a blend of Syrah, Carignan, Mouvedre, and Grenache. The wine had lovely pomegranate, earth, and leather flavors. It had a great balance of all of the varietals (which are some of my favorites on their own as well). The wine was quite light for a predominantly Syrah blend and was very enjoyable both on its own and with food. The Kivelstadt wines continue to impress me and I’m excited to crack into more of the samples.

Price: $26


Alamos 2012 Torrontes

The Alamos Torrontes is another wine I received as a sample. I had been very impressed with the Malbec when I had tried it a few months ago and was looking forward to trying more of their Argentinian style wines. When I decided to have a creamy soup for dinner one night, I knew I wanted to grab a bright, acidic wine to help cut the heaviness of the dish. The pear and green apple of this wine really had the crisp flavor that I was looking for and it paired wonderfully with what would have otherwise been a very heavy dinner.

Price: $13



Fenestra 2012 Alvarelhão

I came across Fenestra at the TAPAS Tempranillo tasting and was happy to see that their wines included many Portuguese varietals in addition to Tempranillo. I had never heard of Alvarelhão and fell in love with it as soon as I tasted it. I bought a few bottles and after looking up their wines for this post, am really happy that I did. It seems as though they do not always sell the wine. If you happen across it, I would strongly suggest buying some.

The wine has a beautiful ruby color with tastes of blueberry, raspberry, plum, and cherry. The flavor intensifies with each taste, and truly is an amazing wine. I would really like to get out to Livermore and track down a few more bottles of this interesting varietal.

Price: $19.50

William Hill 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

20131105_210948I’m a sucker for traditions, no matter how small they might be. The rule is, if you’ve done it twice, it’s a tradition. One of my most persistent traditions is watching V for Vendetta every November 5th. Sometimes the date sneaks up on me and I have to push the movie back a day or two but luckily there are usually plenty of Facebook reminders to make sure I don’t miss it all together.

I decided to pair this bold movie with an equally robust wine and went with a sample of the William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine had a bright red fruit flavor with dark cherry and blackberry as well. I also picked up a lot of the oak flavor from the barrel which added a nice spice touch. The wine felt very appropriate for fall and was perfect for my movie watching.

Price: $40

What I Drank The Last Few Weeks (Sept 23-Oct 27)

by Nikki Lincoln

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Here’s another post with my recent wine reviews for your enjoyment! I’ve been trying to get some notes together on a few tasting nights I had recently had but for now, here’s my usual post of the interesting wines I’ve gotten to try recently.



Townley 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, The Shizzle, Napa Valley

I had a lot to celebrate a few weeks ago when I learned that I passed my WSET Level 2 Exam with Merit. The test was harder than expected so I was very happy to hear that I had one of the highest scores and I knew I needed to open something special. Last post, I wrote about the Townley Pinot. Since I loved that one so much, I thought I would open the Townley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which is appropriately named “The Shizzzle.” The wine is very tannic with deep blackberry flavors. It’s definitely a BIG wine and felt appropriate for a big accomplishment. I paired it with a little bit of a lamb stew and it just felt like an appropriate fall meal. The wine was still very good the next day and maintained much of its big, bold flavor. If you love bold reds, this is a great wine for you.

Price: $75



Red Rock® 2012 Menoza Malbec

One of the routines I’ve been really wanting to set up is a good workout pattern. After a couple of weeks at the new job, I made semi-weekly rock climbing dates with a couple of friends. Now that I’ve gotten my work and commute routine set more and my personal life is steady, I’ve also been adding in extra workout routines and it’s been great. Every Wednesday I go climbing with a friend and as such, I tried to leave work on time so I could meet my friend in time. Somehow I managed to get on the wrong train not once, not twice, but three times. Eventually I made it to the gym to meet my friend for our climb and we stayed after and did a leg workout. Needless to say, when I got home I was ready for a big glass of wine and healthy dinner. I was happy that I had some leftover steak w/mushrooms, kale w/ bacon, and mashed sweet potatoes. I thought a nice, hearty red would go well with my dinner and decided to open a sample wine that I had recieved: the Red Rock 2012 Malbec.

The wine had a bold, tart cherry flavor with some prune as well as earthy notes. I also picked up some boysenberry. It paired beautifully with my food and the berry flavors complemented the red meat wonderfully. I like to consume as many different colors as possible in a meal and the bold red really helped round out my dinner. It was a wonderful way to relax after a long commute and a strenuous workout

Price: $13.99


Bonny Doon 2012 Vin Gris de Cigare

William introduced me to some Bonny Doon wines as part of my Jedi Wine training and as such, I get really excited when I see them on wine lists or in wine shops. On my last trip to  LA, this was no exception. I went out to James Beach in Venice Beach with some coworkers for some famous fish tacos and was happy to learn that a number of the wines were half off for a bottle. This brought them down to their retail level and was a steal. Since my co-workers know about my wine adventures, I was tasked with picking a bottle and once I saw the Bonny Doon 2012 Vin Gris, I knew what I was getting.

The Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault blend had freshfreshing grapefruit, blood orange, strawberry, and cranberry notes. It was a lovely wine for a warm Venice night and the pale salmon color looked great against the beach sunset.

Price: $16



Copolla Sofia Blanc de Blanc Mini


Last Friday was Champagne day and, of course, I didn’t realize it until day of. I sadly didn’t have any champagne at home and there was none at the Halloween party I stopped by at. On any other day, I probably could have justified running to the store for a bottle but I was running a race the next day and I didn’t want to tempt myself with drinking the whole bottle. I’ve messed up many a race by having more than “just one drink” the night before so I decided to open up one of my Sofia mini’s – single servings of the Coppola sparkling wine. Although it wasn’t true champagne, I still had fun drinking my little can of sparkling wine in solidarity and I didn’t drink so much that I had a hard time with my race the next day. I actually really love these little cans of wine. They’re easy to throw into a purse and people always get a kick out of them. As someone who doesn’t really drink beer, they make a nice alternative if you feel that your alcoholic beverage needs to come out of a can.

Price: $5 each or $20 for a box of 4



Campovida 2007 Fairbairn Ranch Syrah

Last Saturday, I participated in the NorCal Warrior Dash. I have a bit of an athletic side that I don’t show here too much. That athletic side, however, does not encompass running. I try to sign up for races sometimes that have other obstacles and things (which as a climber, I really enjoy) to encourage me to run more. So after a long morning of uphill running, obstacles, and wading through mud, I was excited to go to a Halloween party and bring a really nice bottle of wine.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a beautiful wedding at the beautiful Campovida Vineyard a couple of months ago. I had several glasses of the Syrah and was excited to go back the next day and pick up a bottle of that and the rosé that was so popular at the rosé tasting this summer. While browsing through my collection, I really wanted to open a nice bottle of wine and as soon as my eyes landed on the Syrah, I knew what I was grabbing. The wine had a lovely dark berry flavor with hints of oak and smoke. It was the perfect way to celebrate post race and was very popular at the party as well.

Price: Not listed but I believe it was in the $35 range



Las Rocas 2012 Rosé

I knew my Sunday would be spent relaxing my legs after all of that running. I spent most of the day at a bottomless mimosa brunch and in the evening, I decided to continue my relaxation with a bottle of Las Rocas Rosé that I’d had chilling.

The super light cranberry, lemon, and raspberry notes were a great end to my weekend. For an inexpensive Rosé, this wine was dry and had a great, light flavor. It is definitely something I would buy again.

Price: $10

And with that… Happy Halloween everyone! Is there a particularly frightening wine you plan on enjoying tonight?

Tasting Notes: 2011 Höpler Grüner Veltliner

This was was a

steal at Oliver’s Market

in Santa Rosa for $11. At 11.5% alc, and a fan of Grüner Veltliner, I couldn’t resist and bought blind without even looking


Sadly, domestic, good Gruner is hard to find, so indulge yourself with a foreign investment.

Tasting Notes: 2011 Höpler Grüner Veltliner

To The Eye: Pale straw color, with slight hint of effervescence.

On The Nose: Green apple, lime peel, hint of wet stone.

In the Mouth: Green apple, citrus, nice minerality, bright but well rounded fruit, despite the acidity.
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Recommendation: A great summer sipper. Recommended. Great QPR. 89 points.

Expand beyond NZ Sauv Blanc will you?! :)
Please take out of the fridge 15 minutes before drinking.
Overchilling will obliterate the subtleties of most whites, expect the bad ones of course, then over chilling is encouraged!

Tasting Notes: Bonny Doon Vineyard 2010 Contra Old Vine Field Blend

It’s time to wax poetic (again) about Bonny Doon Vineyard. It’s hard not to, when one comes across a wine viagra canadian online pharmacy this approachable in price and palate. natural viagra


I loved the 2009, which Jon Bonne’ picked as a top 100 wine of 2010, but if memory serves (sorry not digging into the cellar, although some 2009 is still for sale on BDV website) I like the 2010 even more.

This year’s blend is less a cornucopia as the 2009,  made from 68% Carignane, 32% Syrah. Fermented with native yeast, in individual lots.

Carignane can be a difficult grape to vinify, tannic and harsh if over extracted and not worked with properly. Or wonderfully complex, meaty, and layered, as this example shows.

The QR code on label is a great resource – shows you local places to buy and price.


Bonny Doon Vineyard 2010 Contra Old Vine Field Blend

  • To The Eye: A dark, menacing inky purple that if you gaze at too long may mesmerize you.
  • On The Nose: Complex, layered. Meatiness, dark fruit, plums, black cherry, spice.  There is a lot going on to enjoy.
  • In The Mouth: As one might expect, the carnival of an aroma profile carries over to the palate: Blackberry, dark

    fruit, hints of red fruits, its both bright and fresh from lively acidity, and slightly brooding, at the same time.

  • Recommendation: A must buy for under $20. Received

    a media sample, but as a Bonny Doon wine club member I’ll be receiving more.

Wine Geek Info:

  • Varietal Composition: 68% Carignane, 32% Syrah
  • Appellation: 68% Contra Costa, 25% San Luis Obispo, 7% Santa Maria
  • Vineyards: 68% Gonsalves, 25% Alamo Creek, 7% Bien Nacido
  • Alcohol by Volume: 13.7%
  • TA: 5.8 g/L
  • pH: 3.64
  • Production: 1,989 cases

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Tasting Notes: 2011 Paul Mathew Valdiguié Turner Vineyard

Valdiguié is a red wine grape grown primarily in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. In California it had been known as Napa Gamay and until 1980 Napa Gamay was believed to be the Gamay  grape of Beaujolais.

After DNA  anal

ysis the name ‘Napa Gamay’ has been banned from U.S. wine labels since January 1999. (Confusingly both the Pinot Noir clone Gamay Beaujolais and ‘Napa Gamay’ could be labelled ‘Gamay Beaujolais’, a name banned on labels from April 2007.) Guess the TTB is useful after all!

This wonderful bottle of Valdiguié is sourced from a what may be the oldest Valdiguie vineyard planted in the Knight’s Valley AVA. Fortunately it hasn’t been ripped out and re-planted to Cabernet Sauvignon which would be much more profitable. The vineyard is 60+ years old and produces a low yield 2 tons per acre. The vines are head pruned and dry farmed.

Vinification: Harvested October 28th & 29th

2011. 100% carbonic maceration

with 100% whole cluster fermentation and 100% ML secondary fermentation. Aged in neutral oak for four months, sterile filtered and bottled.

12.5%  alcohol

Review: 2011 Paul Mathew Valdiguié Turner Vineyard

  • To The Eye: A pale red, pomegranate color



  • In The Mouth: An easy drinking, not complex, fun wine, if you like softer lighter reds. Likely not appreciated by some red blooded males who aren’t wine geeks or fans of Gamay (Beaujolais.)

Not structured like a Brouilly, but at this price point ($20) a fun summer wine. I’d be curious to see what this wine was like unfiltered. (Given 2011 challenges, not surprised it was though.)

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  • Recommendation. 89 Points. Buy a few bottles to drink this summer. Can serve lightly (lightly!) chilled even, Enjoy with grilled veggies, chicken. Or drinks quite nicely on its own, on the patio or watching live music in the Park.

Buy online for $20. Only Two hundred cases produced. Media Sample.

Tasting Notes: 2010 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Azaya Ranch, Marin County

Dutton-Goldfield continues to climb

as a personal local favorite – not just for Pinot Noir, their specialty, but other interesting small lot wines as well. Tonight we taste anoth

er small lot, well made Pinot from Dutton-Goldfield.

Despite its youthful age, its showing wonderfully already, although I think a few more bottles to lay down for a few years are in order.
I always wonder why we don't see more wine grown in Marin County (perhaps save the price of land) and this wine serves to ponder it again.

Tasting Notes: 2010 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Azaya Ranch, Marin County

  • To The Eye:A slightly darker buy viagra 50mg ruby red, although clearly still Pinot by its color.

  • On The Nose: Strawberries leap out of the glass, with undertones of spice and bramble.
  • In The Mouth: Bright cranberry, cherry notes with lively acidity dance on the tongue. If you are looking for a Pinot fruit bomb, move on.

(Or buy a bottle, drink it and evolve your palate.) There is plenty of fruit, but it's vibrant and fresh not big and jammy, with a lingering finish.

I enjoyed it more after being open for 15-30 minutes. Decanting not required, but allows it to show even better.

Recommendation: 91 points. Buy. Drink and enjoy now. Or buy 3-6 bottles and try them over time. The acidity will preserve the fresh vibrant fruit for years.
Unlike those hot jammy fruit bombs in your


$58 at the winery. Media Sample

Wine Geek Info:

  • ph: 3.60
  • TA: .62
  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • Cases Made: 190
  • Barrel Program: 11 Months in French oak, 50% new

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Tasting Notes: 2007 Vice Versa Syrah Ulises Valdez Vineyard, Russian River Valley

My first Syrah

from Vice Versa, and sadly maybe the last for awhile, as they have stopped producing this Russian River Syrah.

The wine is a perfect Napa meets Sonoma crossover – its cool climate RRV Syrah, matched with a Napa Cab maker of finesse, which is Vice Versa’s ‘core’ program. Long corks, heavy elegant Burgundy glass, it’s certainly Napa grade packaging and marketing.

When I popped the cork and poured it into the glass, I suspected I would

like this unfined, unfiltered beast that appeared to be be dark, brooding, and promising.
Buy our Wines


Tasting Notes: 2007 Vice Versa Syrah Ulises Valdez Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Courtesy of Vice Versa Facebook page


  • To The Eye: Impenetrable to light, inky black purple.


  • On The Nose: Layered nose of smoked meat, blackberry, leather, mocha, and a subtle note of earth.


  • In The Mouth: A beefier Syrah, with the body to support the balanced 15% alc, as well as acidity. Modest oak has had time to integrate into the wine, and provide sweeter tannins, that combine with dark black fruits, pepper to make a Syrah with backbone, but isn’t a fruit bomb.


Bigger red wine drinkers, not looking for “Shiraz” will love this. But don’t wait, must call the winery to purchase, and its the last of its kind.  Contact the winery and see cialis prices if you can get some of the <50 cases left.

Best served with grilled lean meats like fillet, lamb, or perhaps game. 91 Points. Media Samplebuy cialis australia

Tasting Notes: Sheldon 2010 Vinolocity Blanc – Sonoma Coast Rhone Blend

It’s a only matter of days and hours until I spend 2 days in the Rhone mecca of Hospice du Rhone, so as I work tonight, I am sipping and paying homage with a white Rhone blend from small local producer, Sheldon. I had originally intended to review their Grenache based Vinolocity cheapest viagra online a few weeks ago, but it was one of those nights where I just enjoyed the wine too much to put thoughts


keyboard. Should make Eric Asimov proud after his comments at the last Bloggers conference.


I recommend Sheldon winery regularly to Sonoma visitors, although I have only reviewed one of their wines, officially, to date. (It was, however, one of my highest ever scoring red wines.) Tobe and Dylan have a true passion for making wines that are unique, expressive, and truly artisanal.


2010 "Vinolocity Blanc"


Review: Sheldon 2010 Vinolocity Blanc – Sonoma Coast Rhone Blend


I fell in love with this wine during Wine Road Barrel tasting weekend in 2011 and bought futures, something I do rarely for whites.

Like all Sheldon wines, this is unfined, unfiltered. Only 13% alc. A blend of 50% Viognier (with skin contact), 25% Grenache Blanc, and 25% Roussanne.


To The Eye: Light yellow straw color, quite clear and bright. (Who says unfiltered means cloudy.)

On The Nose : Tangerine, white peach, white grapefruit, spice.

In the Mouth: Nice mouth feel from combination of acidity and Malolactic. Citrus at front palate, viscous slightly tropical mid palate, and an interesting pleasing finish of acidity and slight nuttiness.

Recommendation: Only 100 cases made, suspect not much left, grab a bottle before extinct. $28 online or at the winery in Santa Rosa. 90 points.


Related Articles:


Countdown To The 20th Anniversary of Hospice du Rhone #HdR2012


Wine of the Week – Sheldon 2009 Graciano Ripkin Vineyard, Lodi



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Tasting Notes: 2010 Maison Richard Côtes du Rhône La Petite Fontaine

It’s now less than a week until the International Hospice du Rhone. To celebrate, I am diving into a few imported French Rhones.

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This wine is imported into the US by Pasternak, a high quality importer whose media shipments are always a pleasure to receive. This wine is no exception.

Wine Review: 2010 Maison Richard Côtes du Rhône La Petite Fontaine

A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and 5% Carignan.
To The Eye: Dark red, to purple color.

On The Nose: Raspberry, graphite, smoked meat

In The Mouth: Mostly red price on viagra fruit, blackberry, with a nice note of


Recommendation: A keeper wine for the price, and a wonderful example of what red wine can be without oak. Grab a few bottles if you see them around.

89 Points. Media Sample

Related Articles

Countdown To The 20th Anniversary of Hospice du Rhône #HdR2012

A Rhone Event Like No Other – Hospice du Rhone April 29-30 Paso Robles (OR – The French are Coming!)

A Call For Rosé – May Panel Review (Drink Pink!)

Last week I waxed poetically (well at least passionately) about Rosé and some of the myths in Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards.

Domestic Rosé continues to grow in production, mostly from small producers, as the US population of more savvy drinkers buy domestic offers that have gotten substantially better, and newer wine drinkers discover this is not their Parent’s sugary Sutter Home White Zin.

Its also noteworthy that Rosé imports are booming. Wines of Provence in recent press release noted a 62% increase in imports.

In the spirit of my popular December sparklers panel australia healthcare online viagra , I will do a panel tasting of Rosé wines and publish a series of articles of what I think are the best finds.

I will break the reviews into categories, Domestic vs Imports, State, region, or even varietal categories. Pinot vs Rhone vs Bordeaux etc. if there are sufficient wines to merit comparison. There will also be an overall top picks across all categories.


If you are interested in sending a sample please email – feel free to ask any questions about the panel, reader stats (8-10k unique readers a month), etc.

Samples from all regions are welcome, including importers. Duplicate samples are always appreciated, in the event of tainted bottles, but in today’s world of high expense & reduced cork TCA, screwtops, not required. If you wish to include some other new/recent release, since already shipping, feel free.

All wines tasted, whether published or not, will be added to my lengthy and well followed Cellartracker notes.

Samples should be received by May 5th. If you are on the cusp of a release, email me – perhaps I can delay a category slightly. Wines that are available tasting room or DTC only are fine, and will be noted with purchase links.


Cheers and until then, drink pink!


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Tasting Notes: 2009 Sainte Leocadie Minervois Rosé

Wine of the Week – Foppiano Vineyards 2010 Estate Rosé

Tasting Notes: Ortman 02 Series Grenache Rosé – Paso Robles

Wine of the Week – Carol Shelton 2010 Rendezvous Rosé (Mendocino Carignane)

Wine of the Week – Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris De Cigare, Rosé

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