2011 Hey Mambo Sultry Red – California

Gotta love it when a label on a bottle describes a wine… Sultry!   Lets see if this wine lives up to its label.   The blend in this - Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zindandel, Merlot, Tannat (really?), Cab Franc, Alicante (really?!) and Tempranillo.   Wow.   Certainly smells ripe and rich.  Lots of spices and fruit are competing for my nose but getting mostly raspberry and burnt caramel.   On to the first sip…   tastes like berries laced with pepper and baking spices.   Very juicy mouthfeel and finish.   More competing flavors on the finish, but I think this finishes like a zin.   A bit jammy, and slightly spicy.  Definitely sultry and seductive…  a nice blend at a very good price!

heymambo

 

$8.99/bottle at K&L Wine Merchants

Triple

2008 H&G Priorat Red Blend

Priorat is my favorite wine region in Spain, lots of nice Grenache-based blends from the area.   The H&G is a robust, spicy one with oodles of ripe black cherry and strawberry.   I also tasted a bit of vanilla bean and got some black pepper on the finish.   Slightly earthy, not a fruit bomb.   This would be a very nice food wine (perfect with manchengo cheese!) or great on its own as well.   Highly recommended…. if you can find it!

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$14/bottle at Whole Foods

Home Run

2012 Skouras Anassa – Greece

I am not very familiar with Greek wines, this may be the first one I’ve ever written about!  Which is probably why the primary grape in this blend- moschofilero – was also new to me.    Moschofilero is native to Greece and I can’t really compare it to any other white wine grapes.   There’s also Viognier blended in – 30%.   Very aromatic – lots of peach coming through on the nose and some lemon and floral notes as well.      Mouthfeel is yummy with lots of citrus and a bit of spice.   Great acidity on the finish, I was afraid this would be a bit too sweet because of the stong stonefruit on the nose but that was not the case.

The wine was delicious paired with shrimp tacos, it is a great seafood wine and nice with spicy dishes as well.   I’ll be looking out for moschofilero… would really like to try it on its own without the Viognier (though this blend was quite tasty!).

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On sale for $11.99/bottle at Whole Foods (regularly $15/bottle)

Triple

 

2011 Old School Rouge – France

As usual, most the bottles in my current collection are “save for a special occasion” bottles… this is becoming an issue so my friends and I have taken to inventing special occasions on a random Monday just so we can open our nice bottles.   But, I picked this one up to try.   The blend was not specified on the bottle, but it was really gamey, dark, and spicy on the nose.   The mouthfeel was full of white pepper with lots of black fruit and the finish…  bone dry.   Not quite what I expected!   The meaty nose was definitely intriguing, but it finished a bit bitter.   Kind of similar to taking a spoonful of cocoa powder.   Maybe it needs more time in the bottle, or the fruit just isn’t ripe enough for me.

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$14/bottle

Single

 

2012 Sequin Pinot Grigio

This may be one of the cutest bottles I’ve ever seen!   Love polka dots.   Summer may officially be over, but with the warm weather this week why not open a summer wine?  Sniff…   pear, sweet orange, green apple and sugar.   Seriously, this smells sweet!   Unexpected for a Pinot Grigio.   The mouthfeel is very bright and juicy.   Losta residual sugar on the finish.   This finishes like a moscato.

My friend Mandy (Grapedeals’ photographer!) noted that the wine paired well with raspberries so she put raspberries in the glass and loved the combination!  This is a fun, very light wine that would be popular with those who love wine spritzers.   Poolside, for pre-gaming in the limo or for baby showers (there’s a rose – pink polka dots!   and a Moscato with with blue polka dots!   and green for “we don’t know yet”).

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$11.99/bottle

Spectator… you’re just having fun at the game!

2012 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris Willamette Valley

Its approximately 100 degrees outside, time for a glass of chilled white wine!  Preferably with lots of tropical fruit and a clean finish.

I tried Ponzi Pinot Noir years ago, but had never tried their Pinot Gris.   It smells fresh and tropical, with pineapple and lime.   Some kiwi too!   Citrusy mouthfeel with a touch of sweetness (like… sugared Meyer lemon) on the finish.   Tasty.   Totally a day-drinking white wine.   A great substitute if you’re getting weary of Sauvignon Blanc (wait… is that possible?).    I paired it with grilled shrimp but this will also be good with an heirloom tomato salad.   Or guacamole.  Or coconut shrimp.   Anything summery.

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$17.00/bottle

Triple

2011 Butternut Chardonnay California

I love Pinot and Chardonnay – especially from the Russian River region.   My favorite Chardonnays have touched some oak, yet still have lots of fruit coming through.   A few people have asked me for Chardonnays that compare to Rombauer because Rombauer is getting increasingly difficult to find, and is at a higher price point.   Rombauer is big, rich, buttery, oaky and creamy.

Enter the Butternut.   This wine smells like butter and caramel.   From the nose, I can’t tell what fruit notes are in there!   But after a sip, I definitely taste some apple and pear.   Very rich, with a toasty, creamy, green apple finish.   I prefer Lynmar, Landmark, or C. Donatiello Chardonnay but if you love the Rombauer style Chardonnay you will love this!  Give it a try with lobster rolls.

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$16.00/bottle at Whole Foods

Double

 

2012 Abacela Albarino Umpqua Valley

I had a fun afternoon volunteering at the TAPAS grand festival in San Francisco, and had the opportunity to try a few nice bottles after my volunteer shift.   This Albarino was a big hit with the seminar attendees.   Very aromatic, with freshly sliced green apple and sweet lemon on the nose.   The midpalate is crisp yet also a little juicy and I definitely taste that ripe citrus fruit.   Finish is racy…   some nice acidity with lemon and pineapple notes.   Nice and balanced, with enough acidic backbone to make it a nice food wine.   This is a great summer white that would ROCK with grilled seafood!

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I went to Abacela’s table to try a few of their other wines and really enjoyed the whole lineup.   Very tasty wines!   :-)

$18/bottle

http://www.abacela.com/

Triple

 

2012 Mason Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

When someone working for one of the most amazing wineries in Napa recommends a good local sauvignon blanc, you must try it.   Thank you to John from Viader for the suggestion!   I had mentioned that I love sauv blancs from Rutherford, and he recommended Mason.   I had heard of their wines, but had never tried them.   Imagine my excitement when I saw the bottle at my local Whole Foods*!

Ahh, look at that pretty label.   LOVE.   Very light in color, almost clear.   Sniff….    Flowers (think fresh cut tulips), lemon-lime, grapefruit and honeydew melon.   Wow, this sauv blanc has a nice midpalate!   Tropical, ripe, and pineapple-y.   Same theme on the finish, and the finish definitely lingers.   Great acidity yet a little sweetness too.   Not a touch of oak, just how I like my sauv blanc!  It really did remind me of a pineapple, and the floral notes set it apart from the sauv blancs that I’ve had where fresh cut grass dominates.   Very refreshing summer white!   And the acidity makes this an awesome food wine  :-)

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$15.99/bottle

Home Run

* Is there a support group for Whole Foods addicts?   I think I may have a problem.

2010 Lamatum Tinta del Pais Ribera del Duero Spain

I wanted Pinot tonight, but couldn’t pass up a $12 bottle with the notes “try with BBQ!”.   Bought the bottle, made a burger with smoked cheddar cheese.   Medium rare  :-)

Color is reddish purple, looks medium bodied.   Swirl, sniff… mushrooms and spicy tart blackberries.   Lots of acidity on the midpalate but not so much bite that it was overwhelming.   Tart dark berry cranberry juice-like finish, and now the acidity is definitely lingering.   Clean and simple, but maybe a bit too simple.   I wanted it to be a bit more robust.   Maybe it needs more time in the bottle?

$12/bottle

Single