2007 Antano Crianza Rioja – Spain

I ended up buying this bottle because it won a gold medal at the Golden Glass Wine Competition in San Francisco.   And I’m always in the mood for a nice red from Rioja  :-)   For those of you who are curious, “crianza” means the wine was aged for at least two years, and at least one year was in oak.   Mmm…  I smell ripe cherries, blueberries, nutmeg and some toasty tree bark.   The mouthfeel is juicy/spicy and there’s good acidity on the finish with some smoke lingering.   If you’re patient enough, open the bottle and let it breathe for an hour…   this wine definitely got better the longer it was open!   Since it definitely has acidity on the back end, I’d recommend pairing this with food – I think it would be excellent with chicken and yellow rice.



2007 Hook & Ladder The Tillerman – Sonoma

51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, and 10% Sangiovese.   Interesting… I haven’t tried this blend!   Mmm, smells very bold.   Some definite pepper, some sweet dark berries and mulch.   For the record, I LIKE the smell of mulch  :-)   Big cherries on the finish, a little bit of pepper and this definitely finishes dry – must be that Sangiovese sneaking in!   I got that woody mulch smell on the nose but didn’t get any toast on the finish – just gobs of tart cherries.   This would be a great BBQ wine, bring on the ribs!



2008 Annabella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

A Napa Cabernet at $12.00?   Yeah, I know, you’re skeptical.   I let this one breathe a bit in the glass, and then started swirling…   nice nose on this!   Spicy dark fruit… the fruit in this smells ripe.   Yummy – so aromatic!   On the mouthfeel I get lots of that spice and vanilla.   And toasty oak on the finish.    This wine was great paired with Truffle Gateau (www.truffleg.com) Dark Chocolate Almond, and it would also be awesome with cheese.    It would also be fine to drink on its own, which is surprising because most of the time the tannins in Cabernet make it a bit harsh to drink on its own.   I think the fruit and sweet vanilla toastyness in this wine make it more approachable than the typical Cab.