Author Archives: lim13

About lim13

31 years in mid-management in the retail liquor and wine industry; retired since 2005. Long-time wine collector, wine educator, and in the past, a wine writer, who also enjoys playing guitar and singing, clogging, and cooking. Volunteer with the local Humane Society and Cancer Society.

2012 Alfredo Roca Mendoza Malbec-Merlot, Argentina $4.99

Silverdale, WA    12.9% alc.    (Purchased on 1/24/15)
60% Malbec 40% Merlot

IMG_1995Color & Clarity: Clear medium ruby color.

Aromas: Nose of dried cherries and some unidentifiable spice aromas.

Flavors: Some “sweet” cherry and berry fruit on entry, then, as the wine airs in the glass, it shows fairly tart acidity with flavors of pie cherry and understated leather.  To my taste, the wine declines rapidly once poured.

Texture: Soft at the front of the palate; rather light in texture with little tannin.

Likely a fairly decent food wine that tastes more Italian than Argentinian to me.  Old world style.  Appears to sell for around $10 at regular retail.  Lacks real character.  Not a repeat buy for me.

2012 Rampage California, Old Vine Zinfandel $5.99

Silverdale, WA    14% alc.    (Purchased on 1/24/15)

IMG_1992Color & Clarity: Clear medium ruby color.

Aromas: Nose is somewhat closed then shows very subtle blackberry, spice and light oak.

Flavors: In the mouth, the flavors are more blackberry, cherry, cinnamon-like spice, black pepper, some vanilla and a certain light mintiness; really quite varietally true.

Texture: Fair amount of tannin for what this wine is (CA designation and low to moderate regular retail); moderate acidity.

Finish: Finish is fairly short, but flavorful; tannins dissipate quickly.

Hardly mind-blowing, but pretty darn balanced and tasty…and not a fruit bomb.  Reader JoelA’s very accurate review of this wine can be found here.  The only thing I’m unsure of is Joel references info about the wine that seems to fit the Lodi designation of the Rampage Zin, but my bottle says only that it’s a California designation.  Could be two different wines?

2010 Rio Seco Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina $5.99

Silverdale, WA    13.5% alc.    (Purchased on 1/24/15)

IMG_1994Color & Clarity: Mostly clear deep garnet.

Aromas: Nose of cassis, earth, medicinal aromas and funky forest floor.

Flavors: In the mouth, there are obvious “sweet” oak and rich dark fruit (black plum) flavors on the front of the palate, followed by more of that distinct medicinal character (funk) that I tend to identify as Bordeaux-like; also shows tar and espresso.

Texture: Medium tannins coat the mouth and add texture; the right level of acidity pulls everything together nicely.

Finish: Fairly long, flavorful finish.  I consider this Cab to be more Bordeaux-like than any Bordeaux I’ve ever had from GO.  Very unique and quite tasty.

One downside: Plastic cork, but a very tight seal (which could be good or bad depending on your take on air exchange through natural cork in red wines).

2013 Condesa De Sarabella Tempranillo, Carinena, Spain $4.99

Silverdale, WA    13% alc.    (Purchased on 1/23/15)

IMG_1982Color & Clarity: Pours a clear dark candy apple red with ruby tones and a pink rim.

Aromas: Has a very candyish raspberry nose with hints of black pepper.

Flavors:  In the mouth the black pepper comes through the strongest, which I like.  But the flavors are rather simple with more candyish raspberry qualities.

Texture: Has some tannins and decent acidity, but overall it’s pretty thin and one-dimensional.

Finish: Again, simple and short.  Had I tasted this blind, I’d have guessed it to be a very young Garnacha, not the very young Tempranillo that it is.

2006 Eagle Eye Napa Valley Voluptuous Red Table Wine, CA $8.99

Silverdale, WA    14.6% alc.    (Purchased on 1/23/15)
34.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24.9% Merlot, 13.9% Cabernet Franc, 13.9% Syrah, 8.3% Petit Verdot and 4.2% Zinfandel

After weeks of passing this by because of the label, I decided to plunge in and try a bottle after rgardner2 and 5-Star Bar mentioned it.  I’m delighted that I did.  I heartily concur with 5-Star Bar’s analysis about this New World style red blend.  You can check out the Eagle Eye website here.  Just before posting this, I saw Joel’s comment about thinking this wine was “over the hill”.  I didn’t find that, but perhaps we have another example of bottle variation.

IMG_1980Color & Clarity: Pours opaque deep ruby/garnet.

Aromas: nose of black plum, cassis, cocoa and a touch of subtle red fruit (acidity).

Flavors: Fruit forward.  Flavors show more dark plum and cassis with cedar, earth and tar; really fine balance of fruit, tannins, acidity and very well-integrated light oak.

Texture: Thick, rich, lush and viscous in the mouth with firm, but manageable tannins.

Finish: Quite long and very flavorful.  A wine that is definitely the sum of its parts.  The minority addition of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Zin provide more fruit and substance to the Bordeaux varieties.  Quite delicious and substantial.  Voluptuous describes it pretty well.  A big thumbs up from me too!

NV Bosco dei Cirmioli Brut Spumante, Salgareda (Veneto), Italy $7.99

Silverdale, WA    11% alc.    (Purchased on 12/27/14)

IMG_1971Color & Clarity: Brilliant pale golden with an abundance of tiny bubbles.
Aromas: Slightly closed nose is more fruity than yeasty, but not overly fruity; shows some peach and grapefruit aromas.
Flavors: Little yeast and more fruit with flavors of grapefruit, peach and slightly bitter almond in a bone dry package.
Texture:  It shows a mildly foamy mousse; moderate acidity, so it’s not overy tart and lemony.  Not a lot of extract in terms of texture; more light and fanciful…a quaffer.
Finish: Clean, dry finish.  A decent food bubbly.

I could find nothing of any consequence about this wine on the internet.  I found a fair amount of info about their extra dry Prosecco, but not the brut spumante (which means only sparkling wine in Italian; not to be confused with Asti Spumante made from Muscat grapes).  Just guessing, I’d say this wine might well be made from Pinot Grigio, as it does have similar qualities.

NV Gran Baron Brut Cava, Penedes, Spain $7.99

Silverdale, WA    11.5% alc.    (Purchased on 12/27/14)
40% Xarello 30% Macabeo 30% Parallada

IMG_1973Color & Clarity: Brilliant pale straw with excellent color and clarity; steady, but rather slow bubble stream .
Aromas: Very pleasant nose of grapefruit, lemon and pear…more fruit forward than yeasty.
Flavors: Very nice effervescense in the mouth when served ice cold; quite sparkly and alive; flavors of lemon/lime, green apple and more grapefruit and pear, just like the aromas.
Texture: Light and lilting with excellent acidity that perfectly cut right through our truffle and porcini gnocchi with a rich creamy alfreddo sauce with ham, mushrooms, peas, carrots and soy beans.
Finish: Any yeastiness shows up with a touch of toasted almond in the fairly long, lemony  finish. Very flavorful and refreshing.



Bubbly For New Year’s Eve?

I expect that some of our readers may be looking for a reasonably priced bottle or two of bubbly for mid-week celebrations.  So my wife and I (with champagne flutes in hand) dropped in at the Silverdale GO on Saturday for Stan’s sparkling wine tasting.  We tasted eight wines and here’s a brief rundown of what I found.  And BTW, if you’d like to learn a little more about sparkling wine/Champagne production, check out this simple primer and/or this more thorough Wiki explanation.

  • Masquerade Prosecco (Italy): Very tasty fruitier style with excellent bubble.  I reviewed it here 2 years ago.  But because it’s non-vintage, who knows if it’s the same wine.  Comparing notes, it seems like it may be a different bottling (which would be preferable to a bubbly sitting in some warehouse for 2 years!).  $7.99  Thumbs Up
  • Natale Verga Prosecco (Italy): More lemony and austere in style than the Masquerade; with reasonably fine bubbles.  $6.99  Thumbs Up
  • Pol Remy Brut Rose (France): A brownish tint in its salmon color.  Slightly sweet with definite oxidation in the nose and flavors.  IMO, to be avoided!  $6.99  Thumbs Down
  • Dom Pierre Brut (CA): Says brut, but I don’t believe it.  Tastes slightly sweet and fruity and has decent bubble.  Very quaffable without food or with appys.  Would work great for that midnight toast with the gang.  From Lodi-Woodbridge Wines.  $6.99  Thumbs Up  (even though I’m distressed by the name they gave it, so it appears to be French and similar to its more famous $100+ a bottle “counterpart” Dom Perignon).
  • Lanson’s Brut Champagne (France): Though I never did post a review of this wine, I believe I gently raved about it elsewhere on the blog.  This was the only “real thing” that we tasted on this afternoon.  My opinion hasn’t changed.  Bone dry and steely with tons of bubble and an excellent mousse; yeasty nose and flavors.  Easily the best and most refined of this group…by far.  But if you don’t like dry…steer clear!  $19.99 which is half the price you’ll spend for true Champagne elsewhere.  Hey!  It’s New year’s Eve…go for it if you can find it.  Only about two cases left at Silverdale as of Saturday night.  Big Thumbs Up
  • Ca’ Momi Ca’ Secco (CA): Napa vinted and bottled.  Great bubble and mousse.  Just off dry and on the fruity side.  Not bad for what it is….apparently a grab bag of five or more grape varieties.  The GO label is different from the one noted in my link above.  $5.99  Thumbs Up
  • Beringer Pink Moscato (CA): Also comes in red and white Moscatos.  Sweet and cloying; only fair bubble…more like a bad frizzante’.  If tasted blind, I’d have trouble identifying this as Muscat.  No redeeming value…even at $2.99.  Thumbs Down
  • Masquerade Moscato (Italy): Same folks who brought you the first wine (Prosecco) above.  Sweet like Asti Spumante with excellent Muscat flavors and decent bubble; perfect with fruit, nuts, cheeses or as dessert.  $5.99  Thumbs Up

By the way, you may also want to consider the following selections that were previously reviewed by BargainWhine and are still available in some GO’s:

Got a bubbly from GO that you’ve recently tried?  How about sharing your take on it here for the benefit of our readers.  And please let us know in which GO you found it…and the price.


2012 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Dry Creek Valley Pinot Blanc, CA $4.99

IMG_1928Silverdale, WA    12.9%alc.    (Purchased on 12/17/14)    Benchland Wine Estate Back label says this wine is unoaked.

Color & Clarity: Brilliant pale straw
Aromas: Earthy, minerally nose with restrained pear fruit
Flavors: Flavors of underripe pear, lemon and flintstone minerality
Texture/Body: Austere, old world style with tart acidity and medium body
Finish: Fairly long finish with the wine showing more fruit here than at front or mid-palate

A decent rendition of Alsatian style Pinot Blanc with a certain richness, but more mineral qualities than fruit.  And the alcohol is lower than most Alsatians, which I like.  Food wine for sure.  This is the first Michel-Schlumberger wine I’ve seen in my local GO’s.  Not a barnbuster, but a serviceable white from a variety we see little of at GO or elsewhere.  Selling on the winery’s website for $24.00, which I feel is ridiculous.  Obviously, five bucks is way better!  You can check the Cellartracker reviews here.

2013 Imbasa Western Cape Grenache/Shiraz, South Africa $5.99

Silverdale, WA     14.4% alc.    90% Grenache 10% Shiraz     (Purchased on 12/17/14)

Color & Clarity: Brilliant medium ruby.

IMG_1932Aromas: When first opened and poured, sulfur and funky aromas permeated the nose, but most blows off after about 20-30 minutes and then gives way to black raspberry, dark plum and sweet floral aromas like hyacinth along with a bit of persistent funk.

Flavors: The flavors show more black raspberry and dark plum along with lighter, fruitier and more tart red raspberry, earth and perhaps a little menthol and licorice.

Texture:   In the mouth it’s quite tart with fairly high acidity and light tannins; medium body.

Finish: Finish rounds out and is fairly long with a bit of heat and plenty of flavor and fruit.

Reader EHL briefly discussed this wine and said, “Tried it last night with a close friend and we were both very favorably impressed……upon opening, aromatic notes of raspberry and plum greet the nose, followed by a smooth and delicious, medium-bodied wine with nice acidity and balance. It only got better as it breathed.”

I concur.  I wasn’t terribly impressed when I first opened it.  But about 60-90 minutes later it was full-fruited and delicious.  Similar in some respects to the Havoc & Mayhem Australian Grenache I recently reviewed.  But of the two, I much prefer this one.