Silverdale, WA 13.9% alc. (Purchased on 2/25/14)
This wine has been around at my GO for quite a while, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. It’s all a matter of timing. Brilliant medium golden color. Slightly closed nose shows more fruit than oak (which I like); spiced apple and banana aromas. In the mouth it’s soft and silky, yet shows excellent citrusy acidity; flavors are somewhat a conundrum in that I’m getting the typically varietal tropical fruit flavors of more banana, mango and pineapple, but also the unexpected stone fruit flavors of apricot and peach. Quite tasty.
BW reviewed the 2010 version of this wine (with different label) here. I find some descriptor similarities, particularly in BW’s second day perceptions and that vintage’s back label notes indicating “mango, papaya, and ripe peach” (which doesn’t appear on the back label of this vintage). Maybe the labels were inadvertently switched? : ~) Anyway, this is a version of Chardonnay that I could find enjoyable on a somewhat regular basis. Apparently Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast enjoyed it too. And while he cites the price at $14, other web sites show it at an average of $10. Five bucks at my WA state GO is a darn good price. Tried this one, flitcraft? Seems like it might be right up your alley.
$5 at Bellevue, WA (purchased 3/1/14)
I’ve had some Ironstone wines in the long past and remember them to be good value wines. I would put this wine in that same category.
Clean garnet in color. Red fruity smell with a good dollop of vanilla. Cranberry, cherry, and vanilla. Simple structure but balanced between the medium tannins and acid. The fruit got a bit deeper into blueberry with air. Overall an easy quaff and a decent buy for five bucks. Not something I need to go buy more of so I give it a drinkable. Retail seems to be ten bucks.
40% Tempranillo, 26% Syrah, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Barbera; 13.9% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 26 Feb. Still there and at Berkeley.
When first poured, this wine is a bit reserved and gritty-textured. IMO, it needed about 70 minutes of air to start coming around, and another half hour to be fully aired. It shows nicely complex, ripe flavors of dark red cherry, even darker cherry pit, blueberry, plum, cinnamon, and tart red cherry, with a slight liqueur-like character. This nicely balanced, wacky blend works for me. However, even though the finish is a little tannic, I’d suggest not waiting long to drink it, especially if the temperature where you keep wines is not that even.
My saved single-glass screw cap bottle was redder and a little more simple, but otherwise much the same, and still tasty.
Portland/Hollywood 14.3% alc. (Purchased on 3/1/14)
I visited this southeast Portland GO last weekend and walked in to an unexpected wine and cheese tasting. I was there for almost two hours and the place was packed the entire time. Manny, the wine steward poured about a dozen different wines. I also met blog reader and regular commenter JWC there. When Manny discovered we were there, he opened a few more bottles…most notably the Echelon RRV Pinot Noir (much discussed on the blog) and this Chardonnay.
It just so happened that I met a woman and her daughter at the GO who were there to buy the 3 Blind Moose Chardonnay I reviewed…for daughter’s wedding. But then Manny showed them and recommended the JAQK Chardonnay. He wanted us all to taste it. For a dollar more it’s far more complex and definitely more oaky…perhaps the better wedding wine. Who really knows what a general audience might prefer? Might even want to move the wedding up north because this same wine is currently selling for $3.99 here in Silverdale (which I discovered when I got home. If you happen to read this, wedding ladies…please let me know what happened!
Oh, yeah! The wine. In a heavy, clear punt Bordeaux bottle (generally odd for Chardonnay). Brilliant, fairly deep golden color. First whiff says toasty oak with subdued fruit and citrus. In the mouth, it’s soft and lush, yet with decent tangy acidity; there are some enjoyable mango and banana flavors that are nicely integrated with the bitter almond oak notes. Fairly lengthy finish shows Meyer lemon and more balanced oak, but also some aged roasted grain flavors. Very tasty, but the slightly deeper golden color and roasted grain qualities suggest not to cellar it for long.
By the way…kudos to Manny for adeptly handling the crowd at the tasting and for opening a few extra bottles for us to taste. My only suggestion…supply a dump bucket, so folks don’t feel the necessity to finish all their pours (particularly if they don’t like a certain wine or if they’ve already had enough). And kudos as well to JWC for driving the extra miles to meet with me…and for bringing me a bottle of Neyers Chardonnay from GO that appeared last year (I believe)…that he so wanted me (the ABC guy) to try. I’ll certainly share my thoughts with you when I open it. Thanks again, JWC! It was a real pleasure meeting you.
Hi Everyone. It appears that comments on pages besides this main page are not being listed in the “Recent Comments” list to the right. Until this is fixed, I will try to list all those missed here:
Darrell’s notes on the 2007 MiSa Merlot, Carneros, CA, and my reply with my thoughts on this wine:
Lim13 on the “regular” release Covey Run Syrah:
Lim13 on wines he recently purchased for review:
BargainWhine on a beer he liked:
JoelA on a German wine he purchased from GO years ago:
JoelA updates us with current offerings at the Richmond, CA, store:
weinish reviews the 2010 Cantina di Montalcino Poggio del Sasso Sangiovese Toscana:
I’ll update this post as necessary, but I hope I will be able to delete it soon. Thanks, BW
Pays D’Oc IGP, southern France; 13% ABV
$4 at the Oakland, CA, store on 24 Feb
The first pour of this wine immediately showed an enticing nose of white and yellow flowers and light yellow peach. On the palate, more of the same plus lighter yellow melon, in a structured and oaky style, with bitterness of yellow grape skin / yellow melon rind. At times, it was on the verge of nice complexity; at others, it was rather dull. It seemed to have the solidity to perhaps be better on the second day.
The next day, however, the flavors were more forward, but not particularly more complex or pleasant. With that, I’ll have to go with Drinkable.
Columbia Valley, WA; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Oakland, CA, store on 24 Feb
The Columbia Winery 2007 Red Willow Cabernet and 2008 Syrah were interesting enough that I wanted to try this Malbec as well. This wine is also interesting, but, like the others, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
I first poured out a single-glass screw cap bottle for another night. The rest of the wine in the bottle needed about 70 minutes to air, showing ripe flavors of redder and blacker blackberry and red cherry, balancing acid of these fruits, some sap (bay leaf?), a little clove, and a finish of somewhat coarse wood and drying tannin. It’s pretty tasty, but like the other CW wines of late, it’s restrained and structured, and much more US-West-Coast in flavors and style than the more exuberantly fruity and tangy Argentinian Malbecs I’ve tasted. I would put it at the lower end of Thumbs Up.
The saved single-glass bottle was a little redder and a little smoother than the wine on the first night, but was otherwise much the same.
Silverdale, WA 13% alc. (Purchased on 2/25/14)
A friend of mine has been buying this Chard in case lot quantity for a couple of years now as an everyday quaffer. So, due to the shortage of new wines at my local GO, I gave it a shot…not expecting much.
Brilliant pale golden. Nose shows very light toasty oak, earth, pear and lemon. Light and wispy in the mouth…so much so, that I was expecting it to be flabby. But it’s got decent acidity, so no flabbiness here. The flavors are more tart lemon and pear with a certain flintstone quality and reined-in oak. I’m guessing there’s also some residual sugar here…in the Kendall-Jackson vein. This is a very quaffable, unpretentious, but flavorful Chardonnay in a cheap flat-bottom bottle with a goofy name and label. Bottom line…for four bucks it tastes pretty good for an everyday white, weddings or parties.
By the way…for our Portland friends, I’ll be in Portland for a few days later this week and hope to drop in at the Hollywood GO for a short visit around noon on Saturday, 3/1. Stop by and say hello if you’re in the neighborhood. I’ll likely be wearing some kind of Seahawk paraphernalia…an old guy with a short gray beard.
12% Viognier; 13.8% ABV; screw cap
Yolo County, CA
$5 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 18 Feb
I had modest expectations for this wine, but its pretty color (a slightly coppery pale pink), the back label’s promise that the wine was totally dry, and the very recent vintage, convinced me to try it. The wine far exceeds my expectations.
While the fruit is a little fresher and, well, fruitier, than Grenache rosés from southern France, it is indeed very dry and, although different, it is not an embarrassment to those inspirations. The Viognier in particular adds some honeysuckle and probably the almond bitterness, while the Grenache gives its usual orange roses, less ripe strawberry and quince jelly. I found the blend of flavors a little disjointed at first, but a small amount of air allowed them to meld very nicely. It is nicely flavored but still delicate enough that I suspect weinish would like it. Tonight it went very well with snapper pan-fried with a coating of minced curried preserved lemon and green olives stuffed with garlic. Big Thumbs Up from me.
Echo Valley, Mendocino Cty, CA; 13.5% ABV
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 12 Feb. Also at Berkeley that day.
I noticed when the batch of Rockford Cabernets showed up recently that 2000 was a poorly rated year for CA Cabernet, but after a couple people recommended this to me, I decided to try it. I feel like it’s decent wine that would be better for a little less money.
This starts off seeming nicely agedly complex, but perhaps a little over the hill, with some flavors tending toward vinegar. However, this aspect decreases with a couple hours of air in a decanter, after which the wine shows nice flavors of dried red cherries, some purplish bing cherries, and some tart red cherries, cedar (or redwood?, as someone here suggested recently), prune, and light brown earth. It never showed much darker fruit, so I suppose it’s possible we just didn’t let it air long enough, but I would guess we did. While it was certainly tasty enough to drink up, I wasn’t overly impressed with it, either. If you get a bottle, unless you have it in fairly evenly cool storage, don’t wait even two weeks to drink it.