Moved to GrapeShare

Hello everyone,

I've moved this blog to GrapeShare. It's an easier way to blog about wines and to connect with other connoisseurs. Please join me there. You can follow me at http://grapeshare.com/u/edpin.

Happy sharing!


Regusci, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007

Regusci is currently among my top 10 wineries in Napa. Their Cabs, Zins and Merlots are fantastic. This one was shared with friends over a fish barbecue. It's a great wine, though I was more impressed with it at the winery than at home. Maybe it was the relatively warm day. Still, it's a great Cab, very well-balanced and flavorful, some fruit, some nuances of spices. Definitely not an everyday wine, given its high price ($50 at the winery) but definitely a wine to be had more than once.


Peju, Merlot, 2007

Peju is a boutique winery along Santa Helena Highway in Napa, CA. This 2007 Merlot has recently been released and it packs some massive tannins, thanks to its relatively high dose of petit verdot (13%, versus 84% merlot and 3% cabernet sauvignon). Nonetheless it's a pleasant, strong wine to be had with flavorful meats and cheeses. Definitely good, albeit on the high end of the price range for its class, $35 at the winery.


Summers, Charbono, 2007

This Summers, 2007 is only the second Charbono I've tried. Both of them were from California. It's a grape I need to learn to appreciate. It's definitely delicate and nuanced. Very pleasant, but somewhat hard to describe why. I guess it doesn't oscillate in the palate and doesn't leave a different impression in the after taste but at the same time is not bland, like one would expect from such description. It's smooth throughout. I'd pair it with lighter foods, maybe pasta with pesto. Reminds me of some pinots, but that's just a rough approximation. Another gift from friends. Must try it again sometime.

Kirkland Ranch, Carbernet Sauvignon, 2002

This 2002 Cab from Napa Valley is very interesting. It definitely does not overpower the palate. It's almost with no strong distinctive flavors and nonetheless it's still quite pleasant. Its slightly old age did it some good and it seems the flavors settled among themselves. Not too sweet and not too tannic, this is a great wine to go with foods with delicate sauces and little spices, since it won't get in the way of the appreciation. Or a nice rib eye, which was the case today. This bottle was a present from good friends, aged at their cellar. I would definitely repeat, if only I could find more. Maybe I need to pay Kirkland Ranch a visit, in Napa.


Tres Picos, Grenache, 2009

Here's the younger brother of a wine I really like, the Tres Picos. This one is quite good, but is not quite the same pleasant wine as the 2008. The 2009 Tres Picos is still well-balanced and definitely not a strong wine. The nuances of spices are stronger in this one, which is quite interesting. It has a more caramel-y finish than the 2008 and it could age a bit longer into something quite exotic. Goes for the same nice price of $13. Definitely a wine to have available in the everyday cellar.


Borsao, Grenache, 2009

This wine from the Bodegas Borsao in Spain is made from the Grenache (Garnacha, in spanish) grape. It's the poor cousin of the Tres Picos wine. Despite its similarities to Tres Picos, it reminds me a lot more of the portuguese wines such as Capote Velho and Berco do Infante. This one too is a bit bitter and spicy but quite pleasant. Definitely not as good as Tres Picos, but not bad either. Should do well with pasta or chicken. For about $10, it's a good value.


Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

This is a 3-star wine -- good, well balanced, big nose. Tends a little to the sweet side of the scale, but not much. Big on vanilla, which makes me like it at first but then get somewhat turned off by it after a while. Definetly worth the $13-15 tag, but not more.


Trefethen, Merlot, 2007

Excellent vineyard, excellent wine. Balanced tones with hints of black currants and an undertone of peppery oak, this Merlot from Trefethen winery from 2007 is a keeper. It should age very well. Despite the $35 price tag, it's actually not that expensive given its quality and the median price of wines from Napa valley. The winery is also a must-see, with friendly staff and a cork tree outside.


Juan Gil, Monastrell, 2009

This spanish wine, Juan Gil 2009, made from Monastrell grapes didn't please at first. It was too sweet and gassy (yes, it felt a bit bubbly). It reminded me of the terrible Yellow Tail. However, the key difference is that a day later, this wine was actually much better. It had lost its weird bubbliness (perhaps it needed an hour or so of air to breathe) and some nice spicy pepper and oaky flavors appeared. Overall, I'm giving this wine another chance. Hopefully, another bottle will confirm my second impression and its supposed quality.


Bogle, Petite Sirah, 2008

Bogle, this 2008 Petite Sirah with grapes from Clarksburg & Lodi, is light and pleasant. It has faint oaky flavors with a lot of fruit -- berries. It's a good pairing for a salad and cheeses. For about $12 a bottle, it's good everyday choice.


Marques de Caceres, Tempranillo, 2004

This Spanish wine from the Rioja region is a very good choice. At first, the Marques de Caceres smells a bit veggie-like -- a bit of turnip or so. Then, the powerful flavor hits the palate with nuances of berries and oak in a silky finish. This 2004 tempranillo wine has a dark ruby-red color. Goes well with meats, but worked just fine with my salad too. For $21 and an intense flavor, it's probably best saved for nice occasions.


Souverain, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007

This Alexander Valley (one of my favorite regions in CA) wine from 2007 is quite a keeper. Souverain is aromatic, a little flowery even, and gentle on the palate but not bland. It has an all-around well-balanced earthy flavor that asks for more. I found it pleasant and quite reasonably-priced at around $18 a bottle -- though there are strong alternatives in this price range.


Fetzer, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

Fetzer Cabernet 2008 is a "green" wine, earth-friendly and organic. So much effort was put into making it green and organic that they forgot to make it good. Sadly, Fetzer reminds me of the vanilla flan flavor of the "purple" Yellow Tail: It can be good at first, but then you realize its semi-sweet flavor is just trying to please people who don't like real wine. I'm staying away from this, even though it seems attractively priced at only $15.


Dynamite, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006

Dynamite, first discovered in the cold hills of Yosemite national park, is actually a very good low-priced Cab. This 20086 is what it is, a an explosion of tastes that culminates with the pure taste of crushed grape skin with all its waxy, resveratroly taste. For $10 a bottle, this is a good every-day dinner helper any time.


Berco do Infante, Estremadura, 2007

Berco do Infante is a portuguese wine from one of my favorite regions, Estremadura. This 2007 vintage is actually surprisingly good. Its dark and intense ruby red is very appealing. It's well-rounded, with the classic nuances of green vegetable so typical of portuguese wines. It's not too strong nor complex, but it's full-bodied. For just $9, I'm adding this to my favorites list.


Capote Velho

I've known this portuguese wine for a while. When I first tried it some time ago, I liked it a lot. Now, I found it again and bought two bottles. It's still good, but this time Capote Velho wasn't as great a wine as I remembered it. Here are the pros: very inexpensive (just under $10 for a one-liter bottle); low on alcohol (11.5%), which makes it suitable for every-day occasions and decent quality. The cons: This new lot is just not as good as the first I tried. With not year marked on the bottle, it's hard to know if it's even the same wine. This one was good, but not great. A bit on the sweeter side. Overall, still a good companion for that quick lunch.


Stags' Leap, Merlot, 2007

From the classic region that named the winery Stags' Leaps, Napa, this 2007 merlot is of very good quality.  At first smell, hints of vanilla and the classic oak scent unfolds. Then, on first swirl, notes of chocolate and not much else come to mind. For a famous region and winery, I was expecting a bit more, but nonetheless I was pleased with this classic wine. With a price tag of around $20, I think there are better values out there.


Cousino Macul, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

This Chilean 2008 cabernet, Cousino-Macul, is not offensive nor great. It's simply mediocre. It doesn't have many complexities and instead is just plain simple wine. For this quality, it's actually pricey, coming in at around $15. I'd pass.


Ferrari-Carano, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007

Here's another great Cab from one of my favorite wineries of all time, Ferrari-Carano, in Alexander Valley. Like its older brother (2006), this one too has that round finish that just works. Oaky to my preference and just right in tannins, I'm a big fan of this wine for nicer receptions or a slightly better dinner. It's in the same price range but a tiny bit more affordable than the 2006.

This one was consumed in Bend, Oregon, on a cold night by the fireplace (I won't mention it accompanied tortilla chips though, it doesn't dignify the wine, but hey, it was still pretty good!).


Tres Picos, Grenache, 2008

This spanish wine from Bodegas Borsao Winery is superb. Made from the somewhat still obscure Grenache (Garnacha, in spanish) varietal, this 2008 Tres Picos is really well-rounded. Its flavor is not exactly sweet, but is characteristically fruity in essence. Light but not bland, it leaves a strong and lasting impression in the palate with nice balanced aromas of flowers and spices. Really really good. So balanced, it can please many different tastes, so it's ideal for mixed groups of people. $34 at a restaurant in Bend, OR. Found online  for $12.


Ironstone, Merlot, 2008

From California, this 2008 Merlot from Ironstone is decent. It's still young and it shows. Some sweetness hits the palate at first and then a creamy hint of vanilla becomes more pronounced at the end. It reminded me of the Yellow Tail, but that one despite being very exotic is really not a good wine. The Ironstone, instead, is good and could improve some more over time. A reasonable party wine for $10.

Camelot, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000

The 2000 Camelot Cabernet from California was a pretty smooth wine throughout. Aged just right it seemed, with that darker brownish color on the edges but still very much red at the heart. I enjoyed it with family and friends.


Mantra, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007

This Alexander Valley Cab is excellent! It's very characteristic of the region, with bouquet and taste of California's big reds. It's not for the faint of heart though, as it is full of tannins and high in alcohol --  a whooping 14.7%! In fact, the strong bite and the big alcohol are two of the things it could improve a little. This wine will be marvelous in a couple of years. But nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed it now. For about $20, I will buy more and let it mellow in my cellar.