What’s New?

Please use comments here to alert everyone to interesting wines you’ve seen at which stores, but which have not yet been reviewed.  Please post any tasting notes in Guest Contributions, or as a comment on a main-page review, as comments here older than six weeks or so will be deleted.

You can check out what reviewers have at home to review at this sub-blog:

GrossOutWine Review Queue

6,744 thoughts on “What’s New?

  1. Sebastian

    2014 Clos d’Argentine Malbec. I got this one for $5.99 at Oakland GO a couple of weeks ago and opened it tonight. I assume when I buy a wine this old at GO that there is a decent likelihood of getting a bottle of vinegar, but the bottle I got was a tasty, balanced delight. It’s got good dark cherry and plum fruit notes coming through with a slightly peppery finish. I’d say that the body is a little lighter than a typical malbec, but I also don’t see a lot of malbecs that are this old. Overall, I’d call this one a really good buy. I was just at the Oakland store and saw that they have a red blend from the same maker, which I can’t vouch for, and just a little of this malbec left.

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  2. GOwinelover

    Do yourself a favor and if you see the Michel-Schlumberger 2019 Faux Pas thinking you’re getting a deal for $6.99, you assuredly aren’t. Imagine the 4-Star Red and all its worst components (sweetness, too much vanilla, too much barrel spice) and mix worse red wines in from the CA Central Valley and you get the 2019 Michel-Schlumberger Faux Pas, $6.99 and 50% Cab Sauv and 50% Syrah, a California-designated wine and only Bottled By Michel-Schlumbger – 2 red flags I ignored in search of hoping it would be the best of 3 wines (including a Santa Clara Valley vineyard-designated I-cannot-remember-which-varietal(s) who my local wine guy steered me away from.

    This wine is poor unless you like floral-tasting wines that have heavy barrel spice and vanilla. This is clearly made for a price for GO only, as there is no info out there about it. There is a 2017 or 2018 version that is AVA and single vineyard designated (I think) that is $55. I’m sure that wine is decent. This one isn’t. Not tainted, but not good. Could have been Delicato.

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  3. TonyS

    I haven’t seen anyone mention the Rock Wall reds I’ve bought recently. I first found 2017 Pearl Heart Contra Costa Zinfandel at West San Jose location that I bought, tried and went back for more. I have since seen it in Petaluma. Petaluma is also where I saw and bought 2016 Solano County Papa’s Reserve that I also saw in Santa Clara store. We tried that tonight. Both are big ripe flavorful reds, over 15.6% and listed at $55 at winery for $10. Amazing bargain.

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    1. TonyS

      Left out that Papa’s Reserve is a Syrah. The back of bottle says it’s “an homage to the way my awesome Papa loves to make wine…gigantic in flavor.” Also in Petaluma for $5.99 I bought 2015 Three Rivers Columbia Valley Merlot based on recommendation of store’s wine manager who said it compares to $35-40 Merlots and will stand up to many Cabs. I tried it and so did my wife the next day when we both got home, from different directions, the next day and both liked it.

      Reply
    2. lim13

      You’ll find a thread about Rockwall reds from 8/22 that begins here, Tony:

      What’s New?


      Just keep reading down below that post by Seedboy. Some of us are no longer big fans of super ripe, high alcohol reds.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        Well apparently my link didn’t work, Tony. But if you find Aug. 22 under “What’s New”, you should find a few comments about the Rockwall reds. Or maybe BargainWhine can link you up.

        Reply
        1. TonyS

          I did look and try to search, but seems like search does not work very well and then some people post as RockWall and some as Rock Wall. Even knowing there was a post that mentioned Rock Wall, it took me a couple of tries to find it. The post was started by BargainWhine on Aug 17 talking about Cabana, then Rock Wall was mentioned in 2nd reply from Seedboy and 3rd reply from you.

          My wife was a member of Rosenblum for a few years. We first visited when they were on the island and went to tasting room at Jack London square a few times including one great dinner event, but there is almost always traffic between San Jose and there so we dropped out.
          I looked for what we still have and found these:
          2013 Monte Russo Zin – we had two and my notes say we drank one 10/19, still a little rough
          2014 Contra Costa County Planchon Vinyard Zin – part of last shipment
          2014 Sonoma Rockpile Road Petite Sirah – probably should drink soon
          We recently drank 2014 Rosenblum Amador County Aparicio Zin with pasta and tomato sauce my wife made from home grown tomatoes. No tasting notes.

          We were in Amador County last weekend and attended four music events (Fri eve Woodstock-era cover band and Sat eve Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, both at Helwig. On Saturday we went to Fiddlers’ Jam in Fiddletown, then had band at La Mesa Vineyards. We went to three wineries in Amador. Besides the two mentioned, we tasted at and stayed in our RV behind 24 Brix, who makes some excellent big and well-aged reds. We heard and found Helwig is improving. We liked their Barbera and Sparkling Rose, but not so much their inexpensive Red blend. It was our first time at La Mesa who has very nice tasting room and patio, and makes some interesting wines including Barbera Blanc and Primitvo Rose (both still and sparkling).

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          1. lim13

            Glad you finally found the notes regarding Rock Wall/Rockwall, Tony. Appreciate your info on Rosenblum. Search is not particularly user friendly on this site…and that’s an understatement. Amador County and The Sierra foothills are pretty much the only regions I’ve never visited in CA. And I haven’t been down to CA for many years now from WA state where I live. Must be time to go…post Covid (assuming that day ever comes)!

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    3. Valleywiner

      I have purchased all the Rockwall syrah I can find locally at $9.00,the Zinfandel is not quite As good but worthy of a try to see if you like.

      Reply
  4. doctorlager

    I tried a $6 Bordeaux tonight – Chateau Aux Fourniers – that I picked up in Pullman. I wouldn’t say that it’s the most complex wine I’ve ever tried, but very drinkable for right now, and going well with pasta and salmon!

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  5. Danielle

    Seven falls cellars 2017 Cabernet merlot is easy to drink. I had it over a few days and it tasted as good on the first day as the last. Glad I have 3 more bottles to enjoy. Purchased at Burien, WA GO.

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  6. Danielle

    Tried the Sphinx red blend tonight. Purchased recently at the Burien, WA GC. I didn’t love it. It’s very fruity. Probably not bad, but not to my taste. I prefer dryer red blends.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Danielle and welcome! I have seen that bottle, with its understated but strangely catchy label, and have been curious. Sounds like it would be too fruity for me, too, but I hope some folks reading find it to their liking.

      Reply
  7. Doon

    Anyone see the ‘17 No Oak Tolosa Chardonnay in 375 ml bottles for $4. Nicely made wine, aromas of apple, good mouth feel, fruity but with clean crisp finish. Worth a try, and I am usually lukewarm on CA Chard.

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  8. BargainWhine Post author

    The latest GO drink-now bargain is the Ninquén 2012 60% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% from Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.5% ABV, $6. The guys at work say their bottle needed about an hour of air to become dark, ripe, chocolaty, “a steal.” GLPease also liked his bottle. My bottle, however, seemed to be a little off from that. It wasn’t bad, but it never really came together and filled out like they described. I bought another bottle for further investigation.

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    1. Expat

      thanks for this post. I got a bottle and started sipping right away. I’m happy with it. It is dark and ripe and to me, blackberry-ish. A little of that South American violet thing going on. Full fruit but not sweet. Depth and meatiness from the syrah I suppose. If it continues to open up I assume it will only get better. I agree that this is great buy if you like concentrated but balanced wines.

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      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Expat. Thanks for your report. I opened my 2nd bottle of this last night, and it was much better than the first. Good right away, as you say, but developed nicely over about 2.5 hours. Did not become as full as I had thought it might, but it was tasty and pleasant. It seemed like it’s not as super-urgent to drink it as I had thought from the first bottle, so I saved a 187.5ml screw-cap bottle for another day to see how it holds up.

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        1. Seedboy

          As many of you know I generally avoid Chilean red wines but bought this one because, frankly, fancy packaging. Glad I did. This is a very nice wine and I agree it is not screaming drink me now.

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            1. Seedboy

              Another wine I can recommend is The Hugo Cellars red blend 2014, $9.99 at Petaluma. Cabernet/Syrah blend from Napa. I love the fruit flavor and mouth feel of this wine, which is also really nicely balanced. The Ninquén, open two days, remains really lovely. I would buy more of each of these

            2. BargainWhine Post author

              Ninquen is all gone at Richmond, which apparently got a relatively large amount of it.

              Haven’t seen the Hugo Cellars red.

            3. Seedboy

              I have not been in any of the East Bay GOs since last week but we are about out of milk so I will go today

  9. Seedboy

    Hugo Family Cellars Innovare 2016 North Coast Grenache Blanc, Richmond store $4.99 this morning. I love a good GB and this is one. Nice fruit flavors, not too much, no oak flavor, nicely balanced, a touch of bitterness on the finish that I rather liked. This is a 150 case production from a real winery that is still trying to sell it for $30 a bottle and is exactly the sort of wine I lok for at the GO.

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    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Thanks for trying this one, Seedboy. The guys at work said it’s good, too. I perhaps wrongly think of Grenache Blanc as making soft wine, sometimes even flabby, when bottled on its own, so I was worried this one would be too old. I’ll try one!

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      1. Seedboy

        I know what you mean about soft/flabby. This one might qualify for that but for that bit of bitterness on the finish. It shows no signs of age.

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    2. Expat

      I grabbed a bottle of the Hugo Family Cellars “Vision Quest” Napa Red Blend from the SLO store. Looks pretty legit, bolstered by your comment on Hugo Cellars. Can’t remember the price. $10? will report back.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Interesting! I haven’t seen this. Please let us know what you think.

        I had meant to comment that I did try a bottle of the Grenache blanc and, while it did have some of the melony fleshiness I associate with the grape, it tasted to me like the grapes were harvested distinctly less than fully ripe, as the wine was surprisingly austere, dominated by acid, bitterness, and minerality. Will not be a crowd pleaser, but is very much a Seedboy white. 🙂

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        1. Expat

          Opened the Hugo Family Cellars Vision Quest last night and was disappointed. Just a little more “fruit juicy” than I like. It improved a little after an hour and it went ok with my sous vide heritage pork chop and roasted okra but just not enough tannins and backbone for me. I’ll try it again tonight. Seedboy, maybe your bottle was different/better than mine. I was surprised that you liked it as much as you did.

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  10. DARRELL

    Fogscape 2018 PN for $8 was tried and was light on the PN character. The nose was barely varietal and the PN flavor was a hair better than the nose. These grapes are grown in the Arroyo Seco AVA which gets very windy most summer afternoons and is fairly warm prior to noon. The much older 2009 Cima Collina PN, also a Salinas Valley wine, was much more enjoyable and not aging too fast, for those who have some.

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  11. BargainWhine Post author

    I opened three bottles tonight for various reasons…

    1) Villa Rita 2020 Pinot Grigio, Friuli DOC, Italy, 12.5% ABV, $6. I think this is the first $6 Italian PG I’ve seen at GO, and wanted to see what it was about. Seemed like it’s a pretty good PG, but this bottle has a not super strong but still unpleasant musty woodiness that probably means it’s corked. Composite cork. Will maybe try another bottle.

    2) St. Boniface 2020 Piesporter Michelsberg, Mosel, Germany, 9.5% ABV, $6. Pretty label. This is lightly sweet, but nicely balanced, with delicate and nuanced flavors for Riesling, of gently honeyed white / yellow / slight green pear, melon, apple, perhaps slight white pepper or aspirin on the finish. Lovely.

    3) St. Hölda 2019 Pinot Noir, Qualitätswein Rheinhessen, Germany, 8.5% ABV, $6. Had to satisfy my curiosity here and got pretty much what I expected, a lightly sweet, lighter-bodied red wine that actually is not entirely devoid of Pinot Noir character.

    Dinner was a pork pot roast braised in the Domaine de Cassaigne blanc with coriander leaf (cilantro) and seed, white pepper, and a little allspice.

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    1. lim13

      Would love to see the St. Boniface up here in Silverdale, WA…to give it a try. Would love to see ANY decent German Rieslings at my local GO’s! It’s been years since any have appeared.

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      1. flitcraft

        No St. Boniface at Crown Hill, Kenmore, or Lake City. This does not auger well for its appearance in the PNW. But I would love to be wrong about that! Given the dearth of interesting wines in the past couple of months, GO has been valuable to me only for tomatoes!

        Reply
  12. BargainWhine Post author

    Chapoutier-Terlato 2017 Lieu-Dit Malakoff Shiraz, Malakoff Vineyard, Australia, 14.5% ABV, $15. I liked the 2014 for $10, not so much the 2016 for $12, and am more inclined toward this at $15. It’s sort of like the best of both the 2014 and the 2016 in that it has both nice complexity and full, ripe fruit. Opened the day after it arrived at the store, the wine needed 3 – 3.5 hours decanted to fully open, showing full, soft and supple, ripe fruits of dark red cherry / plum, blueberry / blackberry, black cherry, lighter red cherry acid, something dark citrus-y like blood orange or chinotto, white pepper, drying stemmy tannic finish.

    The black cherry and possibly even black olive make me suspect it has some Grenache in it, but this says I am wrong. Now that I read those notes, yeah, I can go for “undertones of dark chocolate and mint,” but not taking back anything I wrote earlier.

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    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Opened the saved single-glass screw-cap bottle this evening, and this wine is still (maybe more so) superbly elegant and complex. Not a thick and rich powerhouse, but not shy and evasive, either. For me, this is easily worth $15.

      Reply
  13. BargainWhine Post author

    Ballad 2015 “Old Vine Garnacha,” Cariñena DO, Spain, from Bodegas Ignacio Marín, 14% ABV, $8. Clearly made for the American market, my overall impression of this wine is of Spanish Garnacha re-imagined as American Pinot Noir. It doesn’t really taste like Pinot, of course, but it does have the smooth and supple elegance and subtle complexity of Pinot (if not as much complexity of which Pinot is capable). Its flavors are of riper, darker red cherry, black raspberry / plum, orange, with a pine needle / stemmy tannic finish. As loathe as I am from principle to like something “made for the American market,” I have to admit I like this quite a bit. Pair it as you would a darker Californian Pinot Noir.

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      1. Seedboy

        I bought a bottle. I like the mouthfeel of this Garnacha, it does remind me of a Pinot. However I never really found any of the typical Grenache flavors. On the second day it was an oaky mess.

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        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi Seedboy. On the first day, I tasted this wine for only about a half hour before putting the cork back in the top. The next day, I thought it still benefited from a couple hours of air, and certainly never became anything like an oaky mess. Is this similar to the amounts of times and days you had it open?

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          1. Seedboy

            I was not as patient as you. On day 2 I opened and poured it, did not like it, and donated the rest of the bottle to my home-made vinegar program.

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  14. GOWineLover

    2 Italian wines with short notes:
    – 2018 Cavalieri d’Oro Terre Siciliane Rosso – much too sweet for me and fairs pretty poorly even up against ripe CA table wines. Their Toscana was leagues better than this. $4.99
    – 2015 Annona Aglianico – I was drawn to this having hated Sunce’s heavily and knowing that there may be many different expressions of a grape. This is Italian through and through from nose, to color, to flavor, to body. For me, it’s like a floral Chianti and interesting enough to repeat. Smoothed out some of the rough spots an hour in. Nice wine at $5.99 but certainly not elegant nor brutish – somewhere in between. A defensive lineman at his first ballroom dance lesson?

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  15. Sebastian

    2018 Pacific Oasis Merlot from Columbia Valley. I’m not a big merlot fan, and the label design is pretty ugly for my taste. However, I got this one because I have had good luck in the past with WA wines at the GO, and this turned out to be a nice wine. Fruit forward but with some peppery tobacco notes, full body, noticeable but not dominant tannins. I could image this one being very enjoyable with some extra age.

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    1. lim13

      At which GO did you buy this, Sebastian? I believe this label may have been part of the Bronco Wine Co.’s portfolio, but has since been discontinued…which is why it no longer shows up on their website…and why it’s at GO. https://www.broncowine.com/portfolio I Googled Pacific Oasis Winery in WA because I’d never heard of them. All I could find is the connection to Bronco and that “they’re in Madera, CA”. So wine was likely purchased from a WA winery and bottled in CA.

      Reply
        1. Sebastian

          Also, just checked the back label. It says, “Vinted and bottled by Pacific Oasis Winery, Mattawa, WA.” No mention of Bronco Wines or Madera, but, the URL on the bottle (www.585northwest.com) redirects to the Bronco website.

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          1. lim13

            Appreciate the info, Sebastian. It’s pretty much what I expected. Just about everything produced in Mattawa comes from the huge custom crush facility (Wahluke Wine Company) owned by the Milbrandt family of Milbrandt Winery (who produce some wonderful wines). Back in the 80’s, the German producer F. W. Langguth opened a facility there (which I visited) for Riesling production exclusively. They made some outstanding Rieslings, but the local industry was moving into promotion of Chardonnay and Merlot production, so Riesling suffered and the winery closed. I suspect that old facility may be the one Milbrandt is now using, but can’t say for sure. It’s not open to the public, so I haven’t been there. Population of the town is about 4,000 and they’re most likely folks who work at the winery or at the Hanford nuclear site south and west of Mattawa…out in the middle of Washington’s desert. The famed Wahluke Slope, where many great WA red wines come from, is just east of Mattawa. I suspect the Pacific Oasis label was created for the Bronco portfolio, but they’ve since dropped it…perhaps due to low sales. Who knows for sure? Here are a couple of links for those who might be interested:

            https://www.wahlukewinecompany.com/about-us

            https://milbrandtvineyards.com/about/

            The Milbrandts also have a custom crush facility further north in the newer Ancient Lakes AVA for mostly white wine production. Check out this link to get a quick video snapshot of what the region looks like. Most folks have no idea that much of eastern WA is desert.

            https://www.alwinery.com/

            Reply
  16. DARRELL

    Chateau Musar, Jeune 2018 ranges from just above $16 to about $22. The wine seems like a no wood, Rhone treated wine with some CS. Couldn’t discover whether the wine was foudre or concrete aged or both. JJ, “Can’t wait to blind my guyz!” was a funny that made my day.

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    1. lim13

      And for those of us (please tell me I’m not the only one, after consuming and collecting wine for 50 years!) who have never seen or heard the word “foudre”, here is today’s “enlightenment” from Wine Spectator:

      In beermaking, a foeder (pronounced “food-er,” and derived from the Dutch word “voeder”) is a large wooden vat. In winemaking it’s usually referred to by its French name, a “foudre.” It’s basically a very large barrel for aging alcoholic beverages. How large? A typical wine barrel, sometimes called a barrique, holds 225 liters; foudres range in size but usually start at 600 liters and go up to many thousands of liters in capacity. Foudres also vary in shape as compared with a typical wine barrel. They can be more cylindrical or egg-shaped, or they might be tall, upright or conical. Because of their size, they’re not meant to be moved around.

      The size of a barrel determines the ratio of wood surface area to wine: The smaller the barrel, the more of the wine that is in direct contact with the wood. If a winemaker wants to minimize oak-influenced flavors, they might decide to use a larger barrel, or an older or “neutral” barrel.

      Foudres have been popular in winemaking for centuries, but they’re having a big moment in beer right now as sours and lambic styles gain popularity—it turns out that brewers like those low ratios of wood to beer as well. So rather than find someone to make a foudre (or foeder) from scratch, which can cost thousands of dollars, some brewers have been finding old wine foudres and reconditioning them for use in beermaking.

      Reply
      1. DARRELL

        Didn’t mean to stump anybody with “foudre” but this site keeps me on my toes with the regular contributors here. Everybody here seems to be quite knowledgable and I didn’t think foudre would be too confounding. Anyway, I have been learning about Rhones, which were never purchased in my early wine buying days, and the term is fairly common. Lim, thanks for finding the definition which enlightened me, too.

        Reply
  17. Sebastian

    Hi all, just wanted to share my notes about the 2018 Fogscape Pinot Noir from Arroyo Seco (which I got at the Oakland GO for I think $6.99). I had high hopes because this bottle had a high level of specificity on the label about the location of the grapes and varietals that went into it, but the wine didn’t wow me. When I first opened the bottle, the tartness really jumped out. It mellowed it a little, but it still has more acid than I prefer. There are some pleasant plum and cranberry flavors and a little oak in the finish, but not a lot of complexity. Overall, not a bad wine, but nothing memorable.

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Agree on the Fogscape…I too had high hopes, but disappointed. nothing wrong but nothing great, either. Classic “meh” PN

      Reply
  18. BargainWhine Post author

    Domaine de Cassaigne 2020 Côtes de Gascogne IGP, 60% Colombard, 40% Gros Manseng, 11.5% ABV, $6. Dry, plenty of juicy acid, fruity flavors of lime / lemon, guava, yellow melon, slight chalkiness in the finish. Unusual for me and very tasty if you don’t mind wines a bit more acid than usual. Tastiness and low ABV allowed us to drink most of it before the herbed chicken breast dinner I was making to pair with it. 🙂 There is also a Domaine de Cassaigne red called “Labyrinthe” made from Merlot and Syrah, also $6.

    Reply
    1. JJ

      Mmmm….I’m a Côtes de Gascogne fan. I sure hope we get this up North~though that is pretty young. Let me know if you see it in your yard, Lim13.
      Yet, that’s probably how those roll….but I have some 2018’s (different winemaker) that are quite nice now.
      Please let us know what you think of that red, BW.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        Will have a look if I get to the Silverdale GO this week, JJ. I too am a fan of Côtes de Gascogne and have been a fan through many vintages of Sarl St. Amand and Domaine de Pouy…very inexpensive and flavorful higher acid wines made almost entirely of Colombard and frequently blended with Ugni Blanc aka. Trebbiano (in Italy). The higher acidity will usually hold those wines well for years.

        Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Domaine de Cassaigne 2020 Côtes de Gascogne IGP rouge, 60% Merlot, 40% Syrah, $6. I had expected this to be in the style of French winemaking that was lighter, maybe more tart than ripe, with some tightness and funk in the finish. But to my surprise, this wine was actually pretty full and ripe as it aired although still with a decent balance and pleasant complexity of Syrah darker funky cherry / blueberry, Merlot black and red currant. It became heavy enough that I doubted whether the saved screw-cap half-bottle would be any good. But again to my surprise, the saved bottle, opened about a week later, still needed maybe 45 minutes in the glass to smooth out and become quite tasty, with more acid and earthy complexity than it showed on the first night. Finally, this morning, it struck me that the best way to describe its style is that it’s like a fuller and riper Bordeaux, but made with Syrah in place of Cabernet.

      Reply
      1. bretrooks

        Both the Domaine de Cassaigne wines showed up in SLO, so I picked up one of the white and two of the red to try. I also grabbed a new Spanish wine that I hadn’t seen before: 2019 Reserva de la Tierra Elegido Selección Especial (Tempranillo from Catalunya).

        The Terre da Vino Barolo was in the store as well…I considered it but eventually passed on that one. Also saw some high-octane (~15.6%) Rock Wall reds I hadn’t seen before – a Zin and a Syrah.

        Reply
        1. doctorlager

          I picked up the Elegido in Pullman, WA and tried tonight. IMO it’s overpriced, but nonetheless is a vaguely decent table wine. It was OK with a plate of gnocchi and Stilton, but oddly both a bit bland as well as fruity. At $4-5 it would have been worth it, but I think it was $6 or $7.

          Reply
  19. BargainWhine Post author

    I picked up a bottle of Periquita 2019 Moscatel, from José Maria da Fonseca, Vinho Regional Península de Setúbal, Portugal, 10.5% ABV, $4, hoping that with its nice green-tinged color, it would be dry. But, no, it’s rather sweet, at least for me, and it now appears that the glass is slightly blue-ish. I should have noticed the low ABV, meaning that not all the juice’s sugar was fermented into alcohol. However, and maybe it’s just been a long time since I’ve tasted a Muscat, but it is surprisingly yummy! Of course, I wouldn’t mind a little more acid, and I can’t handle much of this sweet wine at once, but would be yummy with fruit or the right sort of dessert. I’ll probably try some in tonight’s teriyaki sauce in lieu of the usual mirin (sweetened sake for cooking).

    Reply
  20. BargainWhine Post author

    Terredavino (Terre da Vino?) 2017 Barolo DOCG, Italy, imported by Evaki, Inc., 14% ABV, $17. Most Baroli at GO are very young and need at least two days to open (which, to me, means that you open the bottle, have a couple glasses over a few hours, put the cork back in the top, and do the same thing the next day). This one, however, is relatively very accessible, having a softer fruitiness (if not one I particularly liked) immediately, but opening well over the first 2.5 – 3.5 hours, although still possessing a fairly thick and smooth layer of stemmy tannin in the finish. Has typical Nebbiolo flavors of tart red to softer purple cherries / almost plum, light raspberries and leather. Has a surprising sweetness of fruit for Barolo, nicely elegant and tasty. First time I’ve seen a synthetic cork on a Barolo.

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      I remember trying a Terre da Vino Essenze Barolo from K&L, probably about 10-12 years ago. About $25 at the time, I think? I bought it on behalf of our tasting group and have an impression of it being simple and straightforward, relatively ready to drink but “correct.” $17 really doesn’t seem bad for a decent rendition of nebbiolo, if you’re a fan of the grape (as I am). The synthetic cork is concerning, though.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Your recollection of the TdV Essenze Barolo after 10 – 12 years is remarkable to me, and your description is also pretty apt for this TdV Barolo.

        Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      The last 1/2 glass or so left in the bottle today is still good, a bit more simple, but also a little more acid, which I prefer. Overall, probably a little better first day.

      Reply
  21. BargainWhine Post author

    Last night, I opened a bottle of Cabana Winery 2016 “Old Vine” Zinfandel, Lodi, CA, 14.5%, $8. I liked it! It opens with redder bramble fruits, ripe, smooth and entertainingly complex, with a zing of acid and mature-wine caramel complexity in the finish. I saved a 187.5ml screw-cap bottle for another day, and my wife and I sucked down the rest probably a little too quickly. By the end, it was only just coming around to being fully aired to smooth, very dark, ripe but still tangy, body not light but not the heaviest either for Zin, a little sweet but not too sweet for me, and no bad oak. There is also a Cabana Lodi Cabernet.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        We can hope so, but this bottle does look like a smaller-volume one-off item that’s less likely to be widespread even in CA.

        Also, I had meant to add that the bottle had a synthetic cork with tartrate crystals on its bottom. I don’t recall having seen that before.

        Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Sorry. I meant low volume of inventory, i.e., not many cases, not low volume of the bottles themselves. These are normal 750ml bottles.

            Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      The Cabana 2016 Lodi Cabernet, also $8, had ABV of 15.2%, which I noticed after a few sips while making dinner. It was pretty good right away, but developed over about 3 hours to taste of typical Cabernet red and purple cherry, plum, sometimes cassis / blackberry, with some stem and black earth in the finish. The style of this was very similar to the Zinfandel’s — ripe, smooth, fruit-forward but not soft or jammy — and it went great with burgers tonight, but for me it didn’t work as well as it did for the Zin.

      Reply
    2. Happybaker

      Drat! Wish I’d seen your post before I hit my Burbank SoCa GO today. Looking for a few nice reds to take to a friends for our first post covid meet up. With help from their great wine guy, I got a Michel-Schlumberger Bon Mot, (?) 2019, $6.99 and then this –
      https://rockwallsandbox-shop.vintegrate.com/papas-syrah-16-
      For $9.99.

      I went there looking for the Wild Oats Shiraz a neighbors had purchased and shared (very tasty and just $6 she said) but someone had come in and cleared them all out of that wine. Fingers crossed my report will be good for the two I am bringing, I’ve had Rockwall wines before and have enjoyed them.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Looks like Rock Wall is selling older stock to GO again. There was a Contra Costa zin yesterday at Richmond that I picked up, saw the alcohol was 15.6%, and put right back down. Looks like Burbank had a Syrah, I clicked the link and that wine tops 16%. Looks like she is still picking very ripe. Not for me.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          I concur about the alcohol levels on their wines being over the top, SB. I started buying Kent Rosenblum’s wines back in the 80’s before he sold that name and started Rock Wall. Back then, high ABV Zins were all the rage, but those days are gone…at least for me…and I believe most serious wine drinkers. Just a step down from ports. I doubt we’ll see any of those wines up here in WA.

          Reply
          1. Seedboy

            Toward the end of Kent’s ownership of Rosenblum he stepped up the ripeness. Those wines we were buying in the 1980s and 1990s were not that ripe. I wish Gallo would stop selling Monte Rosso zin to Rock Wall, it is my favorite zin vineyard and she ruins it every year.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              That’s all the encouragement I needed to go back and check my wine cellar program, SB. You (and perhaps others) may get a kick out of what I found. All Rosenblum wines.

              1990 Lone Oak RRV Merlot 13.5%
              1990 George Hendry Vnyd Napa Zin 13.7%
              1994 Harris Kratka Vnyd Alex. Valley Zin 14.1% (My favorite!)
              1995 Sonoma Co, Old Vines Zin 13.8%
              1995 Continente Contra Costa Zin 14.4%
              1997 Carla’s Vnyd Zin 13.6%
              2004 CA Vintner’s Cuvee’ Syrah 15.3%
              2006 Limited Release Red Table Wine Blend 15%
              2007 Harris Kratka Vnyd Alex. Valley Zin 15.2

              I likely have earlier vintage info, but those notes were in notebooks (pre-computers…ugh! feeling like a dinosaur…again!)

        2. Happybaker

          Thank you Seedboy and Lim13 for your feedback! I did not look at the alcohol levels in the store and now that you have pointed that out – wow! High indeed! The gal we are sharing this with tends to like big fruit bombs so, fingers crossed she will like it. Very fun to know the history of this winemaker, that she tends to do high alcohol ones. You guys, you keep teaching me – thank you!

          Reply
            1. Seedboy

              I really don’t remember when he went for the riper style. A lot of folks did that in 1997 but I am pretty sure he did it later, so most all of those wines probably don’t suffer. I loved the Harris Kratka back in the day, and Continente. I have just one bottle of Rosenblum wine, the 1996 Brandlin, which I was surprised to find. I shared a case of it with a friend on a futures release back before my 22 year old son was born.

              I do have an old GO wine to report on: Viberti Giovanni Chardonnay, Piemonte, 2012. When I first opened this wine it smelled faintly of oxidation and little else. Within half an hour it bloomed into a lovely intense Chardonnay with plenty of minerality and orchard fruit. I did not pay much for this and wish I’d bought a lot more. I now I have a Riesling from the same maker, and hope I have one more bottle of this. I do have a couple of Gaja Chardonnnays that Benny sold me that I am not nearly ready to open yet.

            2. JJ

              Great cautionary tale on the Chardonnay Seedboy, as we’ve experienced that recently a few times as well. Wines seeming relatively baked (oxidized) on first opening…..but with some air and time it blows off, more or less.
              Would have been a shame to condemn the wine on first sniffs and tastes, when it turns out quite nice!!
              Glad that one worked out~

            3. Happybaker

              Lim13 –

              My fruit bomber pal loved the Rockwall wine. BUT – we all agreed, it needed to breathe for an hour to be at it’s best. It was decent when we first opened it but after an hour? It had lost the alcohol edge, had really softened and deepened, if that makes any sense. (Me using non-wine terms to talk about wine. Thanks for bearing with me.)

            4. lim13

              Glad to hear the Rock Wall was a success, HB. And no worries about wine terminology. I think we all know what you’re talking about. I’ve never been one to intentionally air my wines (just ask BargainWhine), but I know it works for most. The most air my wines generally get are from first glass to last or if I have some left for another night. 🙂 And air will indeed soften high alcohol fruit bombs…or at least appear to.

        3. DARRELL

          I remember Rosenblum Cellars when it was in Emeryville on Shellmound St. It was more successful than the previous winery occupant though. I never took to buying Zins and still don’t because they don’t age well. Bought the first Amador Zin from the Deaver Vd. when Corti bottled it and probably hung onto it too long. Even made some Amador Zin early on. It didn’t age well. The wine is fine at first,, but as it aged, the alcoholic burn came around. Even the early Swan zins were on the high side for me. Bob Travers at Mayacamas did intentionally produce a high alc., late harvest zin after the 1968 anomaly, but later stopped production. They are like light, sugarless ports and the first one was a tannic monster. I can see why one might buy an alcoholic wine for sipping with cheese, bread and charcuterie, but with meals, not my cup of tea since I tend to quaff.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Fun history to read for us “old guys”, Darrell. Some new info for me. My wife and I visited Rosenblum in that old warehouse on a wharf overlooking the bay as I recall. Maybe that’s where Rock Wall is now? That would have been in 1989. We were on our honeymoon and had planned to go to Napa after San Francisco and then the Santa Cruz Mountains area afterward. But for whatever reason, we reversed our Napa/Santa Cruz plans. Good thing, because we would have been in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the epicenter when the big earthquake happened. Ended up we were just arriving for dinner at Mustard’s Grill in Napa when the shaker occurred…watching on the bar TV as everyone at the Giants-A’s World Series was freaking out. Our folks were all worried sick about us because phone lines were all screwed up and they couldn’t reach us, nor could we reach them. And of course, there were no cell phones then. Was an interesting week…but we did get to meet Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon!

            As for Zin aging…for me, some do, some don’t age well. But I keep buying them because the flavor is so unique. Just don’t buy as much as I used to in the early Ridge, Lytton Springs, Rosenblum, Ravenswood etc. days.

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              lim, the location you refer to was just across from the Naval Air Station. I have not been by there in a while so I don’t know what is happening there. Rock Wall is on the NAS property in what must be an old hanger, its west side has massive roll up doors that could accommodate aircraft, and they face the runways. Makes for a really lovely view. Sadly I just don’t like the wine she makes there. BTW Richmond now has the Syrah and a Co Co County Zin, if you like their style.

            2. lim13

              Appreciate the information, SB, as I haven’t been down your way since 1996 when we toured the Central Coast wineries for the first time and stayed at Pismo Beach. That’s when I signed up with the Gainey wine club, whose wines we continue to thoroughly enjoy.

            3. DARRELL

              Lim, funny you should mention the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. You would have shaken a bit more if you were in Santa Cruz County. I was on the Golden Gate Bridge at the time. The cables shook and whipped around like wet noodles. It was something to see. I had my young children in the car and we had just been to Disneyland and so I said to them, ” It’s like a Disney ride.” Amazingly no cases of wine of fell over.

          2. JJ

            Interesting histories~~especially yours Jeff! I’d like to think that somehow wine saved your life.
            Probably stretching it….
            I SO miss the old Bonny Doon in their beautiful winding hillside hideaway–was one of my favorite wineries to visit.

            About Zins…I don’t buy them much lately, but certainly enjoyed me some Ridge and Ravenswood in the long ago time. But can anyone tell me why I keep buying this Windstorm and liking it?
            (Besides that hefty bottle w/the nice punt)
            Anyone else like it?
            The 2018 is not as good as what came before it, can’t remember, but 2016 or 17.
            It has this dusty sort of violet flower quality, alluring and ‘more-ish’.

            Reply
            1. Zoel

              I find the Windstorm “meh”…much prefer the slightly higher priced Woodenheads still around in the NBay – these are excellent Zins at $11.

            2. lim13

              Couple of items, JJ…I’d passed by that Windstorm Zin a number of times and did so again today after I saw it was the 2018 and saw that it’s one of many “cellared and bottle by” Zins at GO. I’m not saying that’s a problem, but I prefer wines that are “produced by” a particular winery.

              And second…no Cotes de Gascogne at Silverdale, as I suspected. Unfortunately, I see almost no French whites at that store or the Bremerton store. However, I did pick up one bottle of a rather generic looking squat bottle of Les Violettes white Cotes Du Rhone for $4.99. Also grabbed one bottle of 2018 Black’s Station Yolo County Red for $5.99. What intrigued me was the blend, 63% Petite Sirah and 37% Petit Verdot. Could be hugely tannic. And perhaps these wines have already been reviewed here, but I didn’t check that.

            3. JJ

              I liked the earlier vintage much better, had more of that flowery dusty violet in it.
              I’m a cheap date.

              Inside scoop Lim13….you may want to pay a visit to Olympia in the next few days, as Stan informed me he’s acquiring a special 4-5 palettes of higher value wine from a Washington distributor gone AWOL, and he’s the only one getting it.The first two wines I bought but haven’t tried yet (bro sommelier comes to visit Monday so I’m saving them).

              Chateau Musar, Jeune 2018–Cinsault 50%/Syrah 30%/Cabernet Sauvignon 20% ….what I find interesting about it, it’s from the Bekaa Valley, as in Lebanon. Having enjoyed Algerian reds trucking through Sahara, Bulgarian reds at the Black Sea, Cowichan reds north of Victoria, and French reds in steaming Bangkok….I’m a sucker for an exotic place!

              The second is a Maison Roy & Fils 2016 Willamette Valley (Dundee grapes) Chardonnay.
              This is the partnership which started with the old Beaux Freres label….which I believe had plenty of pedigree. It’s probably gone by now, but you never know.
              Musar=$9
              Maison Roy=$10
              But apparently that’s just the tip of the iceberg and over the next few days he’s rolling out a bunch of others.

              If anyone knows these wines, do weigh in!
              I don’t usually spend that much on GO wines, but their worth seems higher, so I bit.

            4. Zoel

              Ch. Musar is high-end stuff – but can be polarizing (love it or hate it); I’m a huge fan and it is eminently collectible and will age for decades. Any $ under $30 is a steal.

            5. Doon

              The Musar is their house blend red, their Cabs are very highly regarded, Bekaa valley is the premier wine growing region of Lebanon (my paternal gps hail from there) and Musar is considered one of the 3 best wineries in the region. I have little experience with this blend, but the Cabs need at least 10 years from the vintage to begin to show their stuff. Wish I was up there, at $9 I would back up the SUV.

            6. JJ

              Interesting! I’d better go back tomorrow and see if it’s still there…..

              I went to their website and in both a video and in notes published about this wine and year, they emphasize how the Musar Jeune is meant to be drunk young. After what Zoel said, and now you, it seems surprising. But they say it’s dark and fruity and lush and even though it may last, its design is to be enjoyed sooner.
              I’m also surprised it’s so well-known.

            7. lim13

              Being overanxious, I opened both the bottles tonight that I mentioned earlier. The 2017 Les Violettes white Cotes Du Rhone (70% Viognier 30% Rousanne) did nothing for me. Though 100% recyclable, the synthetic Nomacorc got me off on the wrong foot and I found the varieties involved were entirely unrecognizable.

              The color of the other wine, the 2018 Black’s Station Yolo County Red was exactly what I’d expect from the varieties: 63% Petite Sirah and 37% Petit Verdot…seriously dark ruby. Nose is very fragrant and floral of rose petals plus throw in some tar and cocoa. Not as tannic as I expected it might be (until the chewy finish where it really shows), but definitely has some mouth feel and the flavors aren’t bad at all…dark plum, more cocoa and a bit of savory herbaceousness. I think I like it. If you’re out there, Happybaker, and you see this wine down your way, this might be another one to try with your fruit bomb buddy…though I don’t find it to be overly fruity.

              On another note, I had a couple of bottles of the Chateau Musar Cab back in the 80’s after Wine Spectator did a very thorough article about that producer and how much they suffered due to constant war going on around them and their vineyards in the 70’s and 80’s. Protecting your vines (and yourselves) from mortar shells is hardly an easy job.
              https://chateaumusar.com/heritage-winemaking/history/ Their wines have generally received great reviews, though I rarely see them in our area…and most folks are totally unaware of them.

              I doubt I’ll get down to Olympia, JJ, home body that I tend to be, but I do appreciate you informing me of Stan’s upcoming cache and I’d appreciate hearing more from you in the coming days as to what you find. Oh, and those who’ve been reading my comments since BW and I took over this blog years ago now know that I’m an ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) guy. So I doubt that even a Beaux Freres connected Chardonnay would get my attention.

            8. Seedboy

              Jealous of the Washington buy from the distributor. That sort of deal is often the source of some great wines at great prices. Especially jealous about the Masur, that is a world class winery. I’m fairly sure that Jeune is French for young. And thanks for the info about the Rhone white, that will save me a few bucks, as I am a sucker for them.

            9. JJ

              I can back up the intel on the unfortunate failure that is the La Violette. I held some hope for it too, since I didn’t think a white Rhone could be that boring. But it is. We’ve had two, so….

              No Gascogne down here either, and Stan doesn’t see it on his order list.

              But I did yield and open the Musar tonight, given that if I wanted more–I’d better taste and tiptoe it down there.
              I will get more!
              It’s so very interesting. Has what I would have guessed, blind, is distinct notes of wood…yet is unoaked. Nose is deeply sweet baked pie (stole that very apt note from website description). Earthy dark fruits….exquisite strong perfume, fresh cucumber meets white pepper meets shoe polish meets black raspberry shrub. Palette cuts definitive cedary note, tannic but not harsh, full but not exactly lush.
              Really engaging, and grateful to have something so fine for the price.
              Can’t wait to blind my guyz!

  22. BargainWhine Post author

    I opened a couple wines yesterday: Mas Meyrac 2018 Syrah Pays D’Oc, France, 13.5%, $5; and Martian Ranch & Vineyard “Absolute Magnitude” 2017 Gamay Noir, Santa Barbara County, CA, $6 (I think). They are both pretty good for the prices.
    The Syrah has accessible Syrah fruit (tangy cherry, plum, blueberry) from first pour, with funky, earthy tannin in the background. It’s good right away and slowly fills out and integrates as it airs. Good 2nd day, too. Not all that complex, and not super “French,” but good for easy, pleasant drinking.
    I really like the Gamay. The fruit and flavors are definitely Californian, but the style is a little more French. The red cherry fruit is medium-ripe by CA standards, with sharper acid and subtle complexities in the finish. 2nd day, the fruit has really ripened and filled in more, so that I probably can’t tout its Frenchness any more, but it does still have that zing of acid on the finish. Also not that complex but nicely structured for Gamay, and yummy!

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      I just picked up one of the Mas Meyrac to try – thanks for commenting on it. Also got a couple of the Torres Mas Casta rosados, since SLO is out of the Cirque and the Ercavio I’d bought recently, and I didn’t see anything else of particular interest. I also grabbed another Tweeddale Evolution, having enjoyed my first dram of the one I picked up a couple weeks back. Not much else of interest.

      Reply
        1. bretrooks

          Whoops – I was writing quickly and had the Mas Meyrac bottle up in front of me…got an extra Mas in the post. Yes, the de Casta is the one I meant.

          Reply
    2. Zoel

      The Martians looked interesting – I picked up the Gamay as well as a Temp…Petaluma had 4 different bottlings on the shelf – Steve wasn’t a huge fan, but his palate can be hit/miss. I’ll report back after opening these…

      Reply
  23. Jayne

    I am wondering if anyone has tried Hitch chardonnay? We really like it but finding it very difficult to find. I believe it is around $8.00. I live in Gig Harbor and shop at the Tacoma GO.

    Reply
  24. BargainWhine Post author

    I recently tried a bottle of Fonte 2019 “Das Setas” Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal, made from Syrah, Castelão, Touriga Nacional, 13% ABV, $5. It’s soft, rich, fruity, tasty. It’s a bit too soft and fruity for my taste, but it should be pretty popular with the non-snobs. 🙂

    Reply
  25. lim13

    Grabbed 3 bottles of the following at the Silverdale, WA store today, having seen them in the weekly ad: 2017 Consentido Monastrell Barrica, $5.99. James Suckling scored it 90 points. I rarely concur with his reviews, but love Monastrell (Mourvedre), so took a chance. I seem to recall BW recently mentioning a Monastrell here, but don’t recall if this was the one.(???)

    Reply
    1. Michael

      I believe it has a donkey and butterflies on the label, which makes it seem silly, but it’s a good wine. Oregon stores have had it off and on for a while, but it keeps showing up, maybe because the silly label puts wine lovers off.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        A donkey or horse with wings pulling a cartful of grapes. And I like the little farm scene. Honestly, I never even looked at the label until 5 minutes ago, after reading the comments alluding to said label. Found the name and variety and headed for the checkout.

        Reply
    2. lim13

      Opened my first bottle of the Consentido Monastrell tonight and my wife and I both enjoyed it…a lot. What really grabbed me was the strong black pepper flavors, something I’ve always appreciated. Tasted quite varietal to me, though the pepper flavors reminded me of some 80’s CA Petite Sirahs i.e. Foppiano. No, it isn’t mind boggling, but I found it to be very drinkable and quite tasty. Got no sign of candied flavors or residual sugar, weinish. Also, on the “That Useful Wine Site”, I found this comment: “Monastrell does not seem to take to oak as much as many comparable red wines, and so is commonly vinified in neutral or large barrels.” That may somewhat address your “better oak” comment, BW.

      Reply
  26. Seedboy

    There is an Everett Ridge Carneros Pinot Noir in some stores for $9.99. Opened one yesterday. I don’t like it. It has a strong vanillan flavor. I don’t know if it comes from oak barrels or some additives but either way I’d not recommend it.

    Reply
  27. BargainWhine Post author

    Tonight I opened the Maison du Fleuve (not to be confused with Fluevog) non-vintage Vin de l’Aude IGP, France, 12.5% ABV, $6 (I’m pretty sure, but possibly $5). It’s a good blended French table wine, with balanced tart and ripe red / purple / blue fruits, in a structure that opens nicely over a few hours, but is not built to last. I’d guess it should be consumed over the next several months.

    Reply
  28. BargainWhine Post author

    I haven’t tried it yet, but the guys at work today were raving about the Estratos 2016 Monastrell – Syrah, DO Bullas, Spain, 14.5% ABV, $7. It has umbrellas on the label.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Opened a bottle tonight. Aired nicely over 3.5 hours. Fairly but not super-ripe, fruit-centered but has some stemmy / earthy / woody complexity, acid on the stronger side but not unpleasant, fruit flavors of very dark cherry, darker purple plum, red plum / tart raspberry. Kind of reminds me of the dry, ripe, acid Australian style except the body is a little lighter and and the Australian wines usually don’t have the stemminess. I’d be happier if it were $6 instead of $7.

        Reply
  29. BargainWhine Post author

    And after that, a couple wines that I highly recommend:

    Cirque du Soleil 2018 rosé, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence AOP, France, 13.5% ABV, $4. More fruity than the some of the light and elegant southern French rosés, but still delicious with nice length to the fruit and balanced with acid and bitterness.

    Matua 2016 Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand, 13.0% ABV, $6. This is very nice and interesting Pinot for the money. It has a lovely nose, and on the palate, darker ripe fruits of cherry, plum, blueberry, with complex acid of tart red cherry / pomegranate, orange / orange peach(?), and complexity of lighter black tea and slight stem on the finish. The body is lighter medium and supple, although the flavors are quite strong. It’s really it’s own thing, not to be compared to another country’s Pinot; has nice finesse. Sticker on the capsule says it won a Quality Award at the 2016 International Wine & Spirit Competition.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Eureka! Found the Cirque du Soleil 2018 rosé in the Silverdale store today for $4, so bought three, entirely on your notes, BW. We’re getting toasty up here in western WA again (90+ degrees today and tomorrow), so can’t have enough chilled rose’. Hope I like it. Will let you know. Also picked up another French rose’…2019 Floriography ($4.99) because my wife is currently reading a gardening book of the same name and same photo on the cover as on the label. Curious as to any connection. And one last buy…2014 The Stash Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir for $5.99 because as a Gainey club member for many years, I just love that AVA for Pinot. I lied…got another bottle of the Perino CA dry vermouth too ($7.99); it’s unique flavors kind of grew on me for my occasional vodka martinis.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Lim13! I’m glad you were able to find the Cirque du Soleil rosé, and I’m confident you guys will like it. I haven’t seen any of the others you mention.

        Reply
        1. JJ

          Hope we get the Cirque rose in Olympia…I’ve emailed Stan!
          Thanks for mentioning that, more hope now that it hit Washington~
          We also got a few of the vermouth, both sweet and dry…it’s pretty interesting and unique.

          Let us know how the Floriography turns out.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Fingers crossed on the Cirque, JJ. And for any Kitsap readers (Are there any? Speak up, please.), it seems there’s a very ample supply of both vermouths in Silverdale. Vermouth doesn’t usually move at the rate of a fine “table wine”…especially if you’re spraying it around the rim of your Martini glass. I sometimes use more for cooking (the dry).

            Floriography report to follow soon.

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              If you’re buying dry vermouth be on the lookout for two Italian gins in rectangular bottles. Same maker, $9,99. One of them is overproof and therefore brilliant with one part vermouth to two parts gin (a proper Martini).

            2. JJ

              Stan said he’s got a few bottles on the floor and had to pull most of it off the floor because it was selling so fast….? He said more is coming in on Tuesday. This is good news, but just curious, a question for you GO store buyers….why would a wine which is selling well get pulled off the floor, if more is coming in?

            3. lim13

              You’re talking about the gin, right? Could Stan have pulled it off the floor BEFORE he knew that more was coming in, JJ? When I was still working, we never pulled items in limited quantities off the floor, but we did limit the amount customers could buy…so more had a crack at at least one bottle. Many small wine shops still do this. Otherwise I haven’t a clue as to why the product was pulled. What amazes me even more is that the gin is selling for $9.99 in WA (which has the highest liquor tax in the country). But of course, after the state taxes (liquor and sales) are added on, it won’t be $9.99. That’s assuming the $9.99 isn’t the tax included price. I have yet to buy any liquor at GO.

            4. JJ

              No, no….the Cirque Rose’!!
              Unfortunately, the limitations of the wordpress ‘reply’ mean that one can’t place a reply directly under the posting one is answering, so in the meantime another person posts there, and as in this case, mine was under his….about the gin.

            5. DARRELL

              Ahem, Lim. I distinctly remember you having bought liquor at GO because you bought a Cognac that you liked and I thought was like firewater. There was a reason this Cognac was sold at GO.

            6. lim13

              Well, duh! Had I read more closely, JJ, I’d have seen that you said “a WINE which is selling well…”. Understand completely about how comments get shuffled all around. Upside is that it appears you’ll get a chance to try the Cirque.

              And Darrell…sorry, but whoever you’re talking about is not me. I absolutely have never purchased liquor at GO…and would never buy Cognac. I consume only two spirits on a semi-regular basis…vodka and tequila…and very occasionally, gin. Might you be thinking about BargainWhine or one of the other blog regulars? I seem to recall some kind of discussion about Cognac a while ago, but I wasn’t involved.

            7. JJ

              No problem! I didn’t even notice I’d said wine, myself…haha.
              You drink vodka, but I must assume then that you’ve not tried that cheap Vodka at GO, the Hideout or the earlier Organic Kanon vodka from Sweden….both $7.99 I believe (plus much tax, obviously).
              I’m not a vodka drinker, just a complete dud there….but need it for making things like raspberry and herbal liqueurs, etc.
              Wondered how that stuff fares, and it’s probably fine for my alchemy production—but even then I don’t really like to use total junk vodka.

              If anyone has tried these inexpensive GO vodkas I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

            8. bretrooks

              Hi JJ – I’ve also made homemade liqueurs in years past (coffee-based, most commonly, although it’s been a few years now). The last couple of times, I used Costco’s Kirkland brand French vodka as a base and was pretty happy with that. IIRC, it’s <$20 for a 1.75 liter bottle, so that's not too huge a step up in price versus the cheapies at GO. Vodka's not something we go through otherwise, so I haven't tried any of the GO options to be able to comment on them.

            9. JJ

              Good suggestion~thanks!
              I don’t know where you live but here in Washington we have to tack on another 25-30% or so for taxes on the alcohol.
              I was attracted to the Swedish and the organic in the Konan brand, and the Hideout I found out is from Santa Cruz, California….all this is tempting me to start drinking vodka.

            10. DARRELL

              Sorry, Lim, but you are most likely correct about my mind being mistaken and it could have been one of the local regulars that tried this Cognac. I take it from your spirits purchases, you don’t like barrel flavors and nose. I do remember this, that you are an ABC guy in most of it’s forms.

        2. lim13

          Unfortunately I’m off to a less than auspicious start, BW…first bottle of the Cirque rose’ is corked. I’ll be returning it and placing another of my three bottles in the fridge. More to come!

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Oh…and one other thing worth mentioning…the Cirque is imported by our old friends, Precept Brands in Seattle.

            Reply
            1. flitcraft

              I looked for it at Kenmore, Crown Hill, and Lake City in Seattle, and came up empty, but there was some–six bottle–at the MLK store, in their refrigerated wine area. Or, I should say, there were six bottle, but I left five for others and just picked up one for research purposes…

          2. lim13

            Upside to the Cirque…second bottle was NOT corked. But, while I enjoyed the mouth feel or “length” of fruit and balanced acidity that BW described, the bitterness that lingers through the finish is a bit too much for me. Two wine qualities to which I’m most sensitive: oak and bitterness. I REALLY wanted to like this wine, but it’s just not doing it for me. Maybe I’ll feel differently after trying my last bottle.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              So…the 2019 Floriography Rose’ IGP Mediterranee; 50% Grenache 30% Cinsault 20% Syrah; Brilliant extremely pale pink; delicate nose of strawberry, peach and grapefruit; bone dry with fairly high acidity; some bitterness at mid-palate, but for my palate, not as much as the Cirque; nice mouth feel/texture with more delicate flavors similar to the nose; very refreshing when well chilled; other than the level of bitterness, very similar basic profile to the Cirque except the Cirque may show a bit more texture. And here are a couple of links I thought might be of interest to some: https://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-igp+mediterranee and
              https://www.bankschannelusa.com/floriography-wines/?web=1&wdLOR=c541B57EE-4D99-422C-81DC-3636BE02933D
              And for you Cirque “lovers”, thought these articles might be of interest: https://thewinedaily.com/2018/07/02/cirque-du-soleil-rose-wine/ I think you’ll like the part that says the wine originally retailed for $19.99! and…
              https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-rose-inspired-by-cirque-du-soleil-launches-nationwide-300665822.html

            2. JJ

              Nice report on the Floriography, lim13. I didn’t see that here in Olympia, but admittedly forgot to look. I’ll pester Stan again, perhaps. (I do that a lot now that y’all have influenced me with your suggestions).

              A heresy to report:
              Anyone try the Violette white Rhone? It was lean enough to call boring, but did have a nice almond/cherry bit in the mouth. Decided it needed some ‘enhancing’, so I opened a chilled Mud House SB and added a bit. Totally delightful. Grassy guava & refreshing fruit on the nose and front end, marzipan at the end. Toned up the Violette and toned down the Mud House. That doesn’t always work well, but this one did.
              I fear I’m turning into my mother~~she was infamous for mixing the 80’s jug ‘Rhine’ with the jug ‘Rose’, and loving it.
              Sorry guys 😉

            3. DARRELL

              JJ, your Mother’s blending of wine is the oenologist’s skill of making wine. I bet one wine was sweeter and blended them to make an off-dry quaff.

            4. lim13

              No need to be sorry, JJ…your story of heresy brought a smile to my face. Funny too because our five couple wine tasting group of 30 years got together for the first time in three years (sadly to remember the passing of the first of our group) and we had a blind tasting of Sauvignon Blancs…two from CA and three from NZ. The favorite of the group was the Kirkland Ti Point from Costco for about $6, which shocked us because Mud House (a favorite of us all) was also in the mix. But one of the gang decided to mix them all together rather than transferring them to the dump bucket…and she LOVED the blend! And of course the hosts of the gathering get to keep all the leftovers (we did a red tasting too). They emailed us the next day to say they poured all the whites together too and also found the blend to be better than any of its individual components. While I suspect we’ve all done this, it might be time to do more of my own blending. Who knows, Darrell…I might even begin to enjoy Chardonnay…blended in with some of my other varieties!

            5. DARRELL

              One blending I have taken is a well aged, inexpensive Bordeaux and mixed with a young, reduced red wine. The sum was better than the parts. Lim, you seem to like less manipulated Chardonnay, a varietal that is much manipulated when I think about white Burgundy and Champagne.

          3. BargainWhine Post author

            Hmm… sorry to learn that. I got a couple more bottles myself and hope for everyone the spoilage is not too prevalent. 2018 is not a recent vintage, rosé-wise, and I could understand how Cirque du Soleil would have extra inventory to sell off these days, so I’m optimistic that a large percentage of bottles being corked is not the main reason why it’s at GO.

            Also, I didn’t mind the bitterness first day, but please try it again second day, and any following.

            Reply
            1. flitcraft

              We tried our one and only bottle of the Cirque du Soleil last night, sitting on the backporch with our eight year old granddaughter who opted for chocolate milk in a wine glass for her tipple. I did get the bitterness on the finish, but i didn’t particularly mind it, given the fruitiness of the wine. But, having bought enough of the Mirabeau and La Galope earlier this summer, I’ll leave the other five bottles for thirstier drinkers.

              One thing I wondered, though, was why the wine was being dumped at such a low price, given that they apparently paid for the use of the Cirque du Soleil trademark. That’s got to have cost them something, beyond the ordinary costs of importing and bottling the wine.

            2. JJ

              Oddly enough, I had tried this wine already and didn’t know it….took the remainder of a bottle my hubby apparently opened, to a neighbor’s back porch the other day and drank it while gabbing prolifically. So, not the best test.
              But I wasn’t too impressed.
              Went to GO yesterday and got a couple more to try—I mean at this price….
              Have better hopes for future attempts!
              One chilling right now….

            3. bretrooks

              Just as one more data point, we opened a first bottle of the Cirque on Saturday and finished it yesterday. We didn’t find any bitterness enough to distract in the bottle we opened…I liked it, myself, especially at $3.99. We have just a handful of other roses for the rest of summer (mostly Il Poggione Brancato and a little Pratsch, at this point), so I could see myself going back for more if it’s still around the next time I’m in the store.

              For the record, I wouldn’t say that bitterness is something that I’m particularly sensitive to. I’m much more prone to be turned off by pyrazine/greenness or low acidity/structure or (with some grapes more than others) a high degree of ripeness to the fruit.

            4. lim13

              Well, My wife and I just now finished last night’s bottle of the Cirque and I’m O.K. with it on entry, but I’m just not appreciating the lingering bitterness in the finish. Four bucks is outstanding for those enjoying this wine for sure, but I’m cool with spending $8-$10 on a rose’ I’d appreciate more. I’m opening the Floriography now, JJ.

            5. bretrooks

              As a quick data point, we opened another bottle of the Cirque last weekend, and I do get some citrus-pithy bitterness in the mix when I’m specifically looking for it, but it doesn’t hit a threshold that bothers either me or my wife. It seemed pretty consistent with the first bottle we opened. We have two more, so unless we happen to open a bad one Friday evening or something, I’ll probably pick up a few more on Saturday.

            6. lim13

              I swore I’d have nothing more to say about the Cirque rose’ because I felt enough had already been said. However…I opened the last of my three bottles tonight and unfortunately it too was corked…not as badly as the first, but corked nonetheless. Rarely do I get more than one corked bottle of the same wine, especially in so short a time frame. Bummer. Maybe they sent all the corked Cirque up here to WA.

      2. lim13

        In regard to The Stash 2014 Pinot Noir: Clear medium ruby with a bit of brick/orange tone; very closed nose that takes forever to show much; then shows some savory, earthy, mushroomy aromas; flavors of typical black cherry and more of the savory qualities; moderate tannins and texture and some “sweet” fruit; a tad puckery in the finish; drinkable, but I believe it likely showed best a few years ago. Better Pinots were out there during the Spring sale.

        Reply
      3. lim13

        Darrell: I am indeed the ABC guy (except for a few unoaked ones). And in regard to other spirits…having been in the “booze” business for 31 years, I have a number of bottles around the house that I acquired and on occasion I do enjoy a little scotch or bourbon on the rocks. But those moments are few.

        Reply
    2. bretrooks

      Very little new of interest on the wine front in SLO, but they did have the Cirque du Soleil Rose, so I picked up a few of those…got to be prepared for the hot months.

      On the non-wine front, they had some new Scotch, Irish, and English (!) whiskey/whisky. The most interesting (and the one I bought) was a single bottle of Tweeddale “The Evolution” 28-year blended scotch at $49.99. Looks like K&L had this listed at $150 for a while and eventually marked it down to $112, so definitely worth a shot.

      There was also some Tweeddale Grain of Truth Peated ($35ish, I think, maybe a little more), Barr an Uisce 1803 16-year ($50), Raasay “White We Wait,” “The English” Original, and a couple of others with no age statements.

      I saw the Italian gin on the shelf as well but didn’t look at it very closely. If anyone tries some, please do share your impressions.

      Reply
      1. Expat

        Agree – very little interesting at SLO.

        I’m not a scotch drinker (prefer bourbon and rye) I took a flyer on the Tweeddale 28 year and it was good enough that I bought another for a friend (saw the same K&L stuff you did). I think it’s gone now and that was the last of it. I pitched a friend on the Irish Barr an Uisce because it looked interesting but he balked.

        If the gin is solid i’d try it out for a measly $10

        Reply
      2. Joseph

        I saw The Evolution at our local store in SoCal and thought maybe it was just our local store. I bought a bottle and took it home to share with friends…we all enjoyed it, so I went back and bought the last 3.

        Reply
    3. lim13

      GO must have purchased tons of that Cirque du Soleil Rose. It’s now appearing in the weekly ads for both the Silverdale and Bremerton stores.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I was in the Richmond store and was approached by a new, or at least, new to me, wine guy. I did not identify myself. He tried to sell me the following wines: that controversial French gamay, the Three Rivers Merlot, and the CduS Rose, which is back in stock there. I also noticed more of the two Italian gins I like.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Assuming you’re talking about the Cirque, weinish, if you head way back up in this thread to July 23, you’ll find BargainWhine’s original comments about it…and then mine and a few other folks’ remarks. Some enjoyed it…I did not. But in regard to your “dated” comment, I find it depends on the rose’. I opened my last bottle of the 2017 Three Rivers rose’ last night and thoroughly enjoyed it…fresh and fruity, yet bone dry with decent acidity. I think Silverdale still had it on the shelf, so may pick up a couple more.

          Reply
      2. JJ

        Another bottle of the Cirque Rosé downed, and I’m just not finding it’s magic. I don’t get the bitterness you speak of lim13, but I also don’t get much to hang on to. It’s not unpleasant for $3.99, but I just want a bit more from it. It does have a lightly strawberry nose, but I want more in the mouth to savor.
        I’ll have to see if we have that Three Rivers Rosé.
        Sigh, summer will be over before I find my perfect rosé!
        I probably expect too much from them….

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Everything I read here about the Cirque seems to point to bottle variation. Are any two bottles the same? Re: the 2017 Three Rivers…I purchased it in March of this year, so may be hard to find. I had a 2016 that I bought in 2018 too, but didn’t find it as agreeable.

          Reply
      3. Happybaker

        “GO must have purchased tons of that Cirque du Soleil Rose. It’s now appearing in the weekly ads for both the Silverdale and Bremerton stores.”
        AND it’s all five Los Angeles ads. Wow that’s a ton of wine….

        Reply
    4. BargainWhine Post author

      Last night, I opened a bottle of that Matua Pinot Noir and was quite disappointed. Instead of being dark, supple, slightly spicy like the first bottle, it was light, thinner, acid and acid in a way that suggests it’s too old. So, maybe bottle variation, maybe the wine just collapsed once I had had it at home for a few weeks. Well, I have one more that I won’t save for next year, and for which I’ll have a backup when I open.

      Reply
  30. BargainWhine Post author

    Tasted a couple Spanish wines:

    Dama de Roca 2016 Garnacha (Grenache), Carinena DO, 14.5 % ABV, $5. Robust fruit for a Garnacha, tangy purplish darker red cherry, a little hard or rough stem / tar on the finish. Develops more second day.

    La Sagacidad 2019 Tempranillo, La Mancha DO, 13% ABV, $6. Actually a little lighter-bodied than the Garnacha, smooth medium-to-darker red cherry, hint of plum,nicely balanced, slight tannin on the finish. Fruit develops a little more richness 2nd day, but not that much. This is one of four recent arrivals from Studio Beverage Group; others are IIRC Merlot from Italy and red blends from Australia and from France.

    So, both of these are nothing for which I would go out of my way, but are fine for pleasant, easy drinking. Probably not surprisingly, what I preferred was the Tempranillo with 10 – 15% of the Garnacha.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi weinish. Yes, pretty sure that’s it. From the Veneto, I think. Please let us know how you like it.

        Reply
  31. Michael

    2019 Los Haroldos Estate Chardonnay 2019, Mendoza, 13.5%, $7 in several Oregon stores right now. Having enjoyed the Malbec from the same producer, I gave this Chardonnay a try. Meeting the test of current weather, it seems complex and tasty at cool basement temperature, or, on a hot afternoon, very refreshing straight from the refrigerator. As the Malbec seems to have been widely distributed, I hope this Chardonnay will show up in GOs north and south of Oregon.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      I think I have seen this in the No Cal stores. Just seen yesterday Everett Ridge Pinot Noir Carneros 2016, $9.99. I did not buy one but Mark, one of the Oakland wine guys, likes it, and this is a known quality producer. I’ve also seen Chardonnay and the Summit red blend from this winery recently.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        I had seen a few of their wines at GO in the past year. Their website is gone–replaced by one in Japanese. I think they’re an ex-quality producer, unfortunately.

        Reply
        1. Michael

          A 2016 article in the North Bay Business Journal reported that Eric Flanagan’s Flanagan Wines of Santa Rosa was buying Everett Ridge, winery and vineyards, out of bankruptcy, and was moving Flanagan Wines into the Everett Ridge facility. This apparently affects both Everett Ridge and Esterlina wine brands.

          Reply
      2. DARRELL

        Bought the Everett Ridge Chardonnay during the last sale on Steve’s recommendation. Was quite nice. Enjoyed the nose of it. Would have bought more, but I bought the last two bottles.

        Reply
  32. Weinish

    Just tried the 2018 Bonnet Rouge, Gamay Noir

    Pass.

    Doesn’t taste much like Gamay, heavier than you’d think, and just falls flat – like it has almost no flavor.

    Something must have gone wrong with the bottling.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hmmm… I tried a bottle, and thought it tastes like French Gamay – tart and ripe fruits of cherry, plum, hint of blueberry – a bit tight at first, and maybe with fuller and riper fruit than you’d get from Beaujolais, but still pretty tasty. My main criticism of it is that it’s very fruit-oriented, lacking the non-fruit complexities of Beaujolais wines. That said, I haven’t tried the saved screw cap bottle of it, yet, so maybe I’ll find the structure has collapsed completely.

      Reply
          1. Seedboy

            If a wine has cork taint that sometimes presents as an absence of flavor, or muted flavor, rather than wet cardboard flavor.

            Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Opened that saved bottle of Bonnet Rouge Gamay tonight. It’s still good, and with air has developed some of the earthy / brown stem / old dried orange peel? / old cinnamon? complexity that I like in Beaujolais.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Would love to find a bottle of this Gamay just to get a read on it. Will check at Silverdale when I’m there tomorrow…but I’m not expecting to find it.

          Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              In case it helps to find it, the label has a French cliché image of a woman in a dress leading a charge on a battlefield with bayonets in the background. It has no domain of origin and is simply “Vin de France.”

            2. lim13

              Would likely not be looking for a label like that, BW… but found only one French red wine in Silverdale, a 2015 Bordeaux (Chateau name I don’t recall).

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      That Les Collines Chateauneuf-du-Pape described below? Last weekend, I visited the Pleasant Hill, CA, store for the first time, and found there a Nebbiolo D’Alba for $9, but I haven’t tried it, yet. Never saw it at the Richmond or Oakland stores.

      Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Sorry I was away for a few days. It is the Diauleri 2009 Nebbiolo D’Alba DOC, from Cantina Maestra Enrico Serafino, 14% ABV, imported by Palm Bay International, Boca Raton, FL. I just decanted it 15min ago, and so far it seems to have lighter, elegant fruit of ripe / tangy red cherry, leather / wood, slight bitter cherry pit / herbs, with a little silkiness in mouthfeel. and a lightly drying tannic finish. Not all that complex, but would probably hit the right notes for fans of Italian wines. It does for me, anyway.

          Reply
          1. Doon

            Thanks much for the update. Looked for it in Redwood City, no luck. Is this still in the market? Richmond? Village wines, usually from younger vines, are perhaps my favorite Nebbiolo bottling.

            Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              I haven’t seen this anywhere else, and my bottle was one of maybe 5 left on the shelf, so I suspect this was something of low quantity which was available to order a while ago.

            2. Seedboy

              Alas, I have not seen it either. Oakland has the Chateauneuf du Pape that has gotten some recent buzz.

          2. Doon

            BTW, the Les Collines is very nice, quaffable Rhône with just a touch of grip. It drinks like a superb CdR Villages. Fairly priced in my view.

            Reply
    2. delmartian1

      I’ve been enjoying the D Pedro D Soutomaior 2018 Albarino. $4.99 at the Oceanside (San Diego County) GO. Usually paired with seafood of some kind.

      Reply
  33. lim13

    This article just appeared in The Oregonian, so thought you might want to give it a read…about a bunch of Oregon Pinots at GO from a winery that recently sold. It’s last owner was the business manager for the band Kiss. I’d love to try them, but doubt they’ll show up in WA. I’ll be on the lookout. Let me know if they show up in CA. You will likely need to provide an email address and bypass the ad blocker message to access the article, but it is an interesting read.
    https://www.oregonlive.com/wine/2021/06/a-blooming-great-deal-on-oregon-pinot-noir.html

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      I would love to see these in Washington, but it sounds like that is unlikely. But the story is an interesting one as to how they ended up at GO. It reminds me of a book written about an independent baseball team that needed to find decent players that hadn’t been drafted by major league systems, where they understood that there’s always a “why” that explains why a player was available to them. Like that, there’s always a “why’ to explain how a particular wine ends up at GO. And knowing the ‘why’ sometimes helps find the gems among the dross…

      Reply
    2. Michael

      The entire flight of Blooming Hill pinot noirs showed up in the Newport GO on the Oregon coast during the worst of the pandemic. We tried many of them then, and thought them adequate under the circumstances. Recently they appeared in the Springfield store as well, and probably elsewhere. They struck me as interesting but not wonderful, like many mom and pop PNs produced by small wineries in the Willamette Valley. From the tasting notes in the article, and my own imperfect memories, I’m guessing the “Trouble” versions from 2014, 2015 and 2016 might be the best bets. I’d be very interested in what others think of them. My feeling is that GO on rare occasions gets much better bargain PNs from Oregon and California, though not dependably.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        I really appreciate your comments on the BH Pinots, Michael. I was hoping that someone from OR would check in here. Obviously they’ve been out there in some OR locations for a while. Even though I seriously doubt we’ll see them up north in WA, I love hearing what you (and perhaps others) who have experienced them think or thought of the wines. Sounds like we may not be missing much. I saw none in the Silverdale, WA store today.

        Reply
  34. BargainWhine Post author

    A few wines from Volanthe arrived recently: 2005 and 2006 Petite Sirahs, “Thompson Vineyards, Redwood Valley, Mendocino County,” CA, and a 2013 red Cuvée that is an unusual blend of Bordeaux varietals, $5 each IIRC. I opened the 2005 PS tonight, and it is indeed quite good for unblended PS, of which I am generally less fond. I thought it opened after being decanted 2 – 2.5 hours and kept developing for a while after that, showing very typical flavors of purple grape / plum, blackberry, tar, chocolate / prune, finishing with quite zingy boysenberry acid, in a medium-rich body. I saved a 250ml screw cap bottle for another day, but this strikes me as a buy now / drink now kind of GO bargain.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      I opened a bottle of the Cuvée and like it. Elegant mouth feel, some fruit, some savory. At this price I’ll buy a couple more. I also found at Petaluma a Boschendal Syrah Mourvedre 2015 from South Africa, I think it was $6. Nice cool climate Syrah flavors with some meatiness from the Mourvedre. This wine will probably benefit from cellaring a couple of years.

      Reply
      1. delmartian1

        I agree with the Boschendal needing at least a couple more years. I tried it but greatly preferred another RSA offering; L’Avenir 2014 Pinotage (Stellenboch) which I believe was $6.99 (Oceanside). It reminded me our our old favorite “The Road Less Travelled” of which sadly I have but one left.

        Reply
  35. BargainWhine Post author

    Matahiwi 2018 Pinot Noir, Wairarapa, New Zealand, 12.5% ABV, $8. This has been around (at least the Richmond store) for a while. I tried it when it first arrived but it seemed a bit young and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Wondering what I would think now that it’s had a bit of time to settle down, I opened another bottle a few days ago, saving about a third of it in a screw cap bottle. The first portion of the bottle was nice enough, with elegant, darker flavors of cherry and pomegranate, in a quite light body, but with an almost oily minerality that made me think the saved bottle would develop more. The saved bottle tonight needed a little air, but is indeed much more fruit-forward, no longer especially light for a Pinot but quite supple, with flavors of medium-red cherry, slight purple plum, raspberry acid, a little bitterness of stem and cherry pit, and some of that same minerality. The delicateness of the fruit reminds me of the recent Fritz Russian River Pinot. This is actually a nice Pinot for the price. Has anyone else tried it?

    Reply
  36. BargainWhine Post author

    EOS Estate 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley, CA, 14.1% ABV, $5. On the softer and riper side (probably not a Seedboy wine), with yummy flavors of yellow peach / apple / melon, guava, green melon, hints of lemon and lime, slight citrus pith bitterness / minerality on the finish. Fuller flavor and body for a white wine. I wouldn’t mind a little more acid, but it’s not flabby either. I would be pretty surprised if there were not some Viognier in there, but I could not find this wine online at all. Related past EOS reviews: 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Steinbeck Vineyard Viognier, 2009 “French Connection Blanc.”

    Reply
  37. BargainWhine Post author

    Three Rivers Winery 2015 Merlot, Columbia Valley, WA, 14.5% ABV, $6. We’ve enjoyed some of the TRW wines that have shown up at GO, so I was eager to try this one. It arrived only yesterday, so it’s probably tougher than it would be if you have it at home for a week or two but…. This needed to be open nearly 4 hours to show fruits of red and purple plum, blackcurrant, blackberry, tar, slightly green-bell-peppery stemmy tannic finish. Interesting to me how its ripe fruit, stronger acid, and tight structure are similar to the Cavatappi 2015 Sangiovese.

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      This and the Dixie and Bass Rosé both showed up at the SLO GO this week…if I had been paying attention to your recent posts, I might have picked one up to try. The other new thing that caught my eye was a 2016 Les Collines Châteauneuf-du-Pape for $16…tempting at that price just to see what it’s about, but I eventually passed on that too in favor of just a few lower-cost bottles, the only new one of which was a 2019 Más Que Vinos Tempranillo Ercavio Rosado at $3.99.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi bretrooks. Please let us know about the Ercavio Rosado. It looks nice but so far I’m less of a fan of the (slightly heavier) Spanish style.

        Reply
        1. bretrooks

          We liked the Ercavio – peach/strawberry fruit up front with a little citrus pith bitterness, fairly dry with enough acid to be refreshing. It does have a little more weight than something in the Provence style, but we didn’t find it particularly heavy, either.

          Reply
      2. Seedboy

        I bought a bottle of the ChduPape, which seems to retail in the low $30s. It is not a big wine, more on the elegant side, with good red fruit balanced by some grip and acid. It is a real cut above the Cotes du Rhones the GO has stocked the last couple of years and worth the price. The wine guys at the Oakland store liked it too.

        Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            I have now also sampled the Les Collines 2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 14.5% ABV, $16, and agree it’s very good for the price. I liked it on first pour, tasting ripe and tart red cherries, with underlying hints of black cherry, black raspberry, hints of blueberry and black olive, enveloped in earthy, stemmy, maybe leathery, tannin. Now, after being open 5 hours, all those previously masked fruits have come to the fore, plus a little raisin, but still with the smooth, stemmy tannic finish. The last pour of the portion consumed tonight (∃ saved 187.7ml screw-cap bottle) had developed darker, riper fruit with some richness.

            Reply
      3. positivepauly

        Oh man! If I came home with a Chateauneuf from GrossOut I think my girlfriend would marry me on the spot haha!

        I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad one. Amazing wine! Would love to find some up here in WA 🙂

        Reply
  38. BargainWhine Post author

    Dixie & Bass 2019 rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, WA, “Produced and bottled by Dixie and Bass,” 12% ABV, $4. I was expecting rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon to be a bit heavier and fruitier, but this is actually on the lighter side for rosé, nicely delicate lighter red berries, orange, maybe faint cantaloupe, and a balancing, savory stemminess. Maybe a little light for some situations, but perfect for sipping in the current heat wave.

    Reply
  39. DARRELL

    I dropped by the Redwood City GO and found a Robert Sinskey 2014 Pinot Blanc in half bottle for $5 and since it was from the Carneros, thought I would give it a try. This was a disappointment. The bottle was topped by a glass stopper with a plastic ring between bottle and glass stopper and that caught my interest, too. Well, the nose was aldehydic and that was enough for me and will become a cooking white wine. The store also had a crown capped sparkling wine from Seppelt from Australia, $4 I believe. Will report back on this later.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      FYI, Darrell…on 5/22/21, Angela T Carlson wrote “Went to the Alameda store and found a 375 ml bottle of Robert Sinskey Pinot Blanc Los Carneros 2014 for $4.99. Picked up 4 considering the name and original price point. Has anyone else tasted this wine yet? I’ll post my notes once I get to it, but have several open bottles in the fridge I need to finish off first.

      Then again on 5/26 she wrote “Tasting notes: So disappointed: Oxidative, toasted brioche(?), vanilla, oak, maybe a dash of pear on the finish(?). Definitely past it’s prime, just returned all of them which is quite rare for me.”

      Reply
      1. DARRELL

        Thanks, Lim, shows how much attention I pay at times. If I had paid attention, that would have saved me $5.

        Reply
    2. Seedboy

      That Seppelt wine has been around a while and I’ve not tried it. There was, for a while, a sparkler from Seppelt that had a Champagne-style cork, I liked it.

      Reply
      1. bretrooks

        We found the crown-capped Seppelt wine to be perfectly drinkable…no great shakes, but worthy of a few bucks if you want to keep something pleasant and sparkling stashed in the fridge. Pretty sure it’s $5 at our GO.

        Reply
        1. bretrooks

          Coincidentally, I just got an email from another retailer with a special on this wine at $7.99. Must be quite a bit of it in the distribution system.

          Reply
      2. DARRELL

        In dotage, I enjoy sparkling wine more and more. All the sparklers I enjoy from France. Bought an Aussie sparkler, The Lane Vineyard Lois Sparkling Blanc de Blancs, for $4 a bottle and was good especially for the price. It was a low psi and higher-than-I-like dosage, Chardonnay, methode tradtionelle sparkler. I don’t buy GO’s Prosecco due to price and bulk process method. Let’s see how this Seppelt fares. I expect not too much pressure from a bottle capped bottle.

        Reply
  40. flitcraft

    Samuel Wynn Co. Risk & Reward Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia, 2017, 13.5%ABV, 3.99

    I haven’t been back to GO for awhile, having collected enough rose to keep us going for a few months, and not needing much else. (Okay, I have been checking for Happy Eggs, but that’s it. Oh, and La Panzanella crackers. And Emilio Balsamic vinegar…help me, I think I may need an intervention.)

    Anyway, we’re leaving for a coast to coast train trip in a few days, and unfortunately they’re beginning ‘normal’ food service a few days after we leave, so it’s the much maligned ‘flex’ food for us on the four day adventure. Luckily, you can consume your own adult beverages in your bedroom, so I went out to Crown Hill to see what they had with a screw top cap for train-consumption. Answer: not much. But they did have two Samuel Wynn Aussie reds, so I gave them a long look. One was a Cabernet Sauvignon, the other a ‘red blend’ that I assumed would be shiraz-forward. On the negative side of the ledger, the ‘marketing’ of these wines seems like an attempt to play off 19 Crimes–spin a colorful tale completely unrelated to your wine marketing. On the positive side, it had a screwcap. And was $3.99. And–“Risk and Reward”?–it seemed the very definition of the cost-benefit ratio of a $3.99 wine. What did I have to lose?

    So…bullet was bitten and the Cabernet Sauvignon it was. Popped and poured, it was very dark, impenetrable red, some black fruit on the nose. Now for the acid test–what’d it taste like? I expected fruity and sweet, but what I got was tangy and fruity, with a surprising hit of tannin. Surprisingly drinkable, if a little rough around the edges. Next day, it was smoother and even more drinkable. I’m not going to lie and suggest it is complex–it’s not. But I was assuming the worst–that it would be a perfect complement for the lousy flex food on the train. Instead, it would be a fine burger night wine, and at the price, who could complain? Not me, though, the bottle is very much too heavy to justify toting on the train along with baggage. So…I’m still hunting for the perfect screwtop train wine.

    Reply
    1. Michael

      I have better luck with screw cap whites that reds in GO. A good recent screwcap red was Jed Steele’s Shooting Star 2017 Lake County Merlot, $6. Not earth shaking, just pleasantly drinkable with dinner. Bought in May at an Oregon GO, which had many cases of it. I think it was mentioned on Gross Out, so it may show up in California or Washington stores. I used to travel with a light, compact waiter’s style corkscrew until it was denied security clearance in an airport, maybe it would be okay on a train. Also in my kit bag was a spare cork, as the cork screw occasionally chewed one up. Good luck with your journey.

      Reply
  41. Angela T Carlson

    My local (Alameda) store wasn’t taking returns during the beginning of the pandemic, but is now. Good thing too, since that Pinot Blanc needed returning. Perhaps that operator has had issues in the past with wine returns? Certainly isn’t company wide policy

    Reply
  42. BargainWhine Post author

    After the comment from JustAnotherWineSnob about how 2020 was the “vintage of the century” in New Zealand, I was excited to see the arrival of the Cathedral Cove 2020 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($7). However, my expectations were probably too high, since, although it is a very good NZ SB for the price, I was still disappointed that it wasn’t spectacular. The flavors are maybe little lighter than some, but they are nice typical flavors – gooseberry, guava, yellow grapefruit, crisp / tart acid – with good complexity. Also, after the recent abundance of NZ SB at GO, this is now the only one I’ve seen.

    Reply
  43. bretrooks

    Just noticed that the Goodnow Tempranillo we’ve enjoyed on and off over the last year is now available in the 2016 vintage instead of the 2015. Picked up a couple to try. Yet again, not much of special interest in reds or roses this week at the SLO store.

    Reply
    1. punchcutter

      Thanks for the update on SLO. The Arroyo Grande store has signs at the end of each register belt stating “All alcohol sales final”. Hmmmm, not sure where that came from but makes me think twice about buying anymore wine there. Anyone’s GO’s have a similar policy?
      I did pick up a bottle of the Castle Rock 2014 pinot and it tasted totally cooked. Down the drain instead of back to store.☹

      Reply
      1. lim13

        My experience has been that it’s mostly dependent on the individual owner/managers…and whether or not you have a positive relationship with them. I know the folks in the Silverdale GO pretty well and with them I’ve never had a problem. But when I returned a bottle to the Bremerton store, three different people felt the need to get involved and I was thoroughly questioned about why I was returning it. I eventually got a refund…for five lousy bucks. On one return years ago with the Silverdale store’s last owners (from Hell), who lasted only about two years or less, I got a GO gift card for the amount of my return. So I’d say it’s a tossup as to whether or not your returns are accepted.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Oh, and no…I haven’t seen any of the signs you mentioned around here, punchcutter. But I’ll be looking next time I’m in one of our GO’s.

          Reply
          1. flitcraft

            The MLK GO has had signs saying that you could only return wine if it is unopened and in saleable condition, which it further claims is required by state law. I asked about corked wine or otherwise spoiled wine, which obviously cannot be detected in an unopened bottle and was again told, “No, state law forbids a refund.” Which of course is completely untrue. I suspect that the problem is that a few customers were abusing the return rules by bringing back largely consumed bottles and demanding their money back. Still, I try not to buy wine there, out of pique.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              As a retired state employee, I can firmly support FC’s comment that the state forbids refunds on wine “is completely untrue”. Reminds me of all the grocery store employees who for years told customers that it was state law that required all alcoholic beverages to be bagged…which was baloney! If you don’t want a bag for your bottle or six pack, so be it. When you’re too much of a wuss to support your own company’s rules…blame it on the state.

            2. lim13

              At the same time, we always had issues with folks shoplifting product and returning it to a different store location for a refund. But those bottles were never opened.

            3. JJ

              We’ve never had a problem with winebuyer Stan—or any of the checkers—returning wines here in Olympia. They have always stated that wine is returnable, and they’ve been good to their word as far as we’ve experienced. We don’t abuse the privilege….only once in awhile is a wine bad enough to not use it even for cooking.

            4. punchcutter

              Thanks for everyone’s responses and I understand there will always be those few jack handles that take advantage and ruin it for everyone. My concern is this, would any GO sell clearly rotten produce, sour milk, or moldy cheese and meat?
              Wine is, by definition, an agricultural product. If it is corked, cooked, oxidized, or has turned, is it really any different? I know, bargain hunters beware. 😄 Thank you to those independent store owners who are “enlightened.”

              New GO currently being built (at an amazing pace) in Nipomo. Looking forward to it already.

    2. bretrooks

      Unfortunately, I have to report that the 2016 Goodnow has an odd volatile note to it (particularly on the nose) which detracts. It was consistent over both bottles I opened, and it’s too bad, since the 2015 had been a regular purchase over the previous year.

      We did open the 2019 Corazon Profundo Tempranillo this last week, and that was a user-friendly, very youthful but satisfying bottle…I could see us picking up a little more of that if the local selection continues to be lackluster.

      Reply
      1. bretrooks

        Responding to myself to note that another batch of 2015 Goodnow showed up locally, so I bought a handful…there haven’t been many interesting-to-me reds showing up lately. Anyway, if you happen to have enjoyed the 2015, check the vintages on the labels, since there’s still some in the system.

        Reply
  44. BargainWhine Post author

    Cal Fresco 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, CA, 13.9% ABV, $5 I think. yellow / green melon and citrus, has typical SB acid but milder acid than many, slight bitter minerality on the finish. Pretty good for the price.

    Riviera Bistro 2018 rosé, Coteaux Varois en Provence, France, 12% ABV, $4. Fruitier, softer / less acid than your typical southern French rose, and has slight savory-ness of age which doesn’t really agree with me. The main thing, though, is that there’s really not enough acid for my taste, but that may be what you like.

    Reply
  45. BargainWhine Post author

    Tonight I opened the Ruca Malen 2016 “Terroir Series” Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.8% ABV, $7. This has been around for a while, and looked intriguing, but has nonetheless been just sitting there, so I thought I’d try one. It’s probably fully mature, but needed 3+ hours of air in a decanter to become interesting, and has developed well for the two hours after that. It has flavors of bing cherry, purple plum, blackberry, hint of green bell pepper, stemmy / tarry finish, dry with acid on the stronger side. I thought this was a pretty good wine for the price, although it requires some patience, which I expect is why it hasn’t been that popular. However, it would probably have other fans among this group. It’s a good wine for those who prefer a more European-ish style, or who like to watch their wine evolve over a longer period of time.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      I opened the saved 187.5ml screw cap bottle of this tonight. After a little air, it was still pretty good, but had simplified a bit from the first night.

      Reply
  46. lim13

    I’ve consumed a fair amount of that Rosado over the years, BW and have always found it enjoyable. Of course, I purchased it in groceries or Cost Plus World Market at around $9. So I’d be happy to pick up a few if it showed up here.

    Reply
  47. BargainWhine Post author

    A few days ago, I opened the “Tinto Rey” or “Super Tinto” 2017 red blend, Dunnigan Hills, CA, 56% Tempranillo, 22% Petit Verdot, 15% Tannat, 7% Graciano, produced and bottled by Matchbook, Zamora, CA, 13.5% ABV, $9. The label drawn in a Renaissance woodcut style, the varietals involved, and the location in Zamora, all made me suspect a connection to the JL Giguiere wines which we’ve discussed here lately. Indeed, on the web site linked above, the owners of Matchbook are listed as Lane, John, and Karl Giguiere, so I imagine the JL Giguiere wines are a side project of the first two.

    Anyway, the wine itself strikes me as a well-made and tasty blend, with red, purple and blue fruits. It’s a bit young, certainly drinkable now if you don’t mind your wines on the tougher side, as it doesn’t have much of that young and rough acid that makes me say it must have more age, but IMO it will be more approachable and integrated in a few years. That first night, it had stopped evolving after a few hours, so I took my glass, ~1/4 full, and covered it with plastic wrap and a rubber band. The next evening, it had hardly changed. I put away a 275ml screw cap bottle and will try it and report back about a week later.

    Update: here is the Matchbook web page on this wine, although it lists different percentages in the blend than are on my bottle’s label.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Last night, I opened the saved 275ml screw cap bottle of this wine. It surprised me by having more up-front, soft, ripe fruit than I had expected from its performance on its first night. At first, it did still have a core of unyielding, dark-fruited tannin and un-evolved acid, but this slowly aired over about 3 hours to become supple dark blackberry / blueberry / mulberry, tangy black raspberry, lighter purple plum, allspice, slight bit of something vaguely funky (sweat?), hint of prune. From this, it seems to me it will not be as long-lived as I had guessed from the first night, but still, it should be better in a year even if I’m not sure how long it will hold on after that.

      Reply
  48. BargainWhine Post author

    Last night I opened Codorníu “Clasico” non-vintage Cava Rosado Brut, 12% ABV, $6. I thought it was very good for the price. Although dry and crisp, its fruit of strawberry / raspberry, orange, a little pink grapefruit, was fuller than a typical French-style sparkling wine, and had a touch of wood. Much like a Spanish rosado still wine, but nicely carbonated. It went well with Grand Mère organic egg pasta* with Argentine red shrimp* in a milk* and cream* sauce with garlic* and capers. *GO products

    Reply

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