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

7,660 thoughts on “What’s New?

  1. BargainWhine Post author

    Metala 2017 Shiraz – Cabernet, “Single Vineyard,” South Australia, 60% Shiraz, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, “produced and bottled by Saltram Wine Estate,” 14.5% ABV, $6. Decanted this off a little sediment. Good right away, but is getting better with air. Supple and very smooth, with tangy flavors of dark red cherry, plum, Bing cherry, blueberry / cassis, hints of espresso and eucalyptus. I often find Cabernet – Syrah blends weird, with these two great grapes fighting each other more than cooperating, but this one works very well. Drink this wine right away.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      So, interestingly to me at least, I’ve now had a couple more bottles of this wine, and they have been different than the bottle described above. They have been tougher and more full-bodied, and really needed to be decanted at least (to my taste) 3.5 hours and became really good at 4.5 hours. So, probably, for most of these, you don’t need to “drink this wine right away” and they may even benefit from more age.

      Reply
    2. WineObsessedRN

      BW, I was excited to see one case of Metala at the Pullman store!
      I bought a few more bottles after trying this out first, I liked it a lot!
      My Vivino review.
      🕰2017
      💯88/100 🌟3.8
      Screwtop closure
      👁Dark ruby
      👃👅-Dry,blackberry jam, leather,tobacco,black cherry,eucalyptus,dusty tannins,med acidity,well balanced,yummy Auz blend!
      🍇60%SY,40%CS
      ⛽14.5%ABV
      Saltram Wine Estate
      Label co-owned by Antinori/Chateau Ste Michelle Estates
      Great QPR
      A definite rebuy! 😃
      Others have noted much sediment
      Just a smidge at end of bottle for us
      Bottle variability noted
      Drink now
      💵$15MSRP $7GO😍

      Reply
      1. Zoel

        Popped a bottle of Metala Shiraz/Cab – agree, a well-made blend, nicely fruit forward Oz Shiraz with balance. Just had another glass after 2 nights on the counter – still very good (ok, even better than first night). Solid rebuy!

        Reply
  2. WineObsessedRN

    Our store just got in Ribbon Cliff Vineyards Sangiovese ($7)
    My Vivino review and research into winery.
    🕰2014
    💯84/100 🌟3.4
    👁Garnet w watery edge
    👃👅Dry, dust, tart red cherry, dirt, tomato leaf, thyme, earthy, oregano, cranberry, grainy assertive tannins, med high acidity.
    ⛽13.8%ABV
    🍇 Sangiovese %unspecified
    💵$30 release price according to WE
    🎖85pts WE S.S. 8/1/2017🎖
    Manson WA
    Not a rebuy for me, a bit too rustic. Another pizza wine. 🍕🍷
    No tech sheet available.
    Public COLA Registry lists address in Orondo WA on Columbia River north of Wenatchee, 11 acres.
    Website has very little information, no wines for sale, no owner listed, no winemaker named, outdated medals.
    Person owning the property in Orondo also owns several fruit orchards and storage. Perhaps thought why not make wine for additional income. Many small wineries in the area, from Wenatchee to Lake Chelan. Specialized in Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Malbec. Last vintage possibly 2017? 🤷 Winery listed for sale on one realtor website specific to wineries.🤔

    Reply
  3. Michael

    Two wines new to our Oregon GO stores seem worth a try wherever they show up:
    The first, reported recently in Pullman by WineObsessedRN, is 2019 Pleiades White Blend from Thackrey, California, 13.0 %, $6. A mix of Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho and Chardonnay, it is pleasant at first sip, even better after slight chilling. It could be a good seafood wine, or a warm weather chilled refresher.
    The second, 2020 Guarda Rios Red Blend, 13.5% and also $6 at GO, from the Alentejano region of Portugal, is a mix that appears to vary in different vintages, but may currently include Aragonez, Syrah, Trincadeira, and Alicante Bouchet. It went well with local bratwurst sausages last night’s dinner.
    I also bought a bottle of the Pleiades Rose, but haven’t tried it yet.

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      2019 Pleiades White showed up in SLO, and I bought a bottle. I didn’t see any of the inexpensive reds we’ve been enjoying recently, so I picked up a couple of new things to try – a $5 2016 Willow Glen Zin (we don’t drink much Zin, but the 13% ABV was intriguing) and a $6 2014 Telescope Red Blend (from Thracian Valley, Bulgaria – Syrah, Merlot & a splash of Petit Verdot).

      Reply
        1. JJ

          Also….why is it showing up at GO, anyone know? Seems to be showing all up and down the West coast, so there’s a LOT of it….

          Reply
          1. WineObsessedRN

            JJ, Sean Thackrey’s assistant for 17 yrs, Andreas Krieger has been expanding the wine portfolio since 2019, working towards being a more commercial venture, expanding distribution. 2019 is the first vintage of the white blend and rose. Mr Thackrey at 82, has not been making the wines for several years now says a Vivino friend who’s in charge of their DTC wine sales. Maybe ST sold the winery completely, not sure. Both rose and white blend are made offsite at Ektima winery (Public COLA Registry info) and not at the original in Sebastopol. Tech sheet on the inaugural 2019 Rose vintage said 900 cases made. We got two cases of both the rose and white blend in our store this week (I had bought 3 bottles each in Lewiston ID in April). Priced $6 for white, $5 for rose. Posted a review on the rose in an earlier post.

            Reply
          2. lim13

            Eight cases of the Pleiades White in Silverdale today and at least a couple cases of the rose’, so I bought one of each to check it out. BW may have already said this, but winery says it’s “a blend of Marsanne, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho to name but a few”. To my palate, it’s very Old World in nose and flavors…bone dry, fairly high acidity, earthy, austere; the typical flavors of the Rhone varieties are easily detected, but I don’t get the Sauv Blanc; think I detected some sulfur too. For me, a food wine only…not a summer sipper. Having it with bacon and Brie stuffed chicken breasts.

            Reply
          3. WineObsessedRN

            JJ, I read the recent (2018?) business presentation of PWC (Pleiades Wine Company). The move to produce white and rosé is to appeal to a younger and more feminine demographic. Someone decided their current customers are mostly male Boomers (from their allocation list of their higher priced reds such as Orion). The projected plan was to make 14K cases of white, rosé and entry level red in vintage years 2019 & 2020. Not sure what was actual number of cases produced of each in those vintage years. Release price is low $20ish for rosé or white, $28 for red. The taste profile seems to be a bit too dry and too pricey for the wallets of the targeted customer (female Millennials) resulting in excess unsold rosé and white.

            Reply
            1. flitcraft

              I suspect that the demographic of their expensive reds–male Boomers–is largely explained by their price point. Younger wine drinkers are less likely to splash out disposable income on expensive wine. Low 20’s for rose and white is still going to be a hard sell for younger folks. But, their miscalculation, as often the case, is our GO gain.

            2. JJ

              I love your snooping skills WORN! Very interesting….
              I have such a hard time imagining someone paying $20-28 a pop for a non-special drinking wine. Not sure where they’re getting their demographic info….
              But I look forward to trying it. Going to pick some up today, and a bottle of that curious Aridas 48

            3. JJ

              Yes, flitcraft….our gain. One of the few ways, in my opinion, that our form of uber-capitalism actually ‘trickles down’. So be it.

            4. DARRELL

              Flit, I think your analysis is spot on. As an aside and a different market, there are a lot of dollars going into the well cellared wine auction markets in part, I think, due to recent inflation. The bidders are a range of age demographics, from Boomer through Millennials. Thank goodness for GO wines whenever I encounter those “uber-capitalism” prices from other wine stores.

            5. BargainWhine Post author

              Well, although I am male Gen X (barely), I will quite happy to seen any Pleiades wines show up at GO.

            6. WineObsessedRN

              FC, my daughter is one of those targeted Millenials who enjoys fine wine w me when she’s at home in WA state visiting. However, she’s decided none of her friends really appreciates fine wine and knows the difference. Therefore she’s chosen to buy mostly Kirkland signature wines for her parties. She can definitely afford pricier wine but sees it as a waste of money at this time. She’s the one treating me to bottles of Mark Ryan and Gramercy now.😃

      1. bretrooks

        Reporting in on the Willow Glen Zin – A bit dilute on the mid-palate, relatively simple with notes of raisin, brambly berry, and chocolate (especially on the finish, which we didn’t find entirely pleasant). Reasonable acidity, not much tannin, seems a bit tired even though it’s really not that old. No heat (labeled at 13%). After a few sips, we decided to move on to something more enjoyable.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          Agreed. I poured most of the bottle on top of what was left of the Willow Glen cab, which was better, and added some vinegar mother.

          Reply
  4. WineObsessedRN

    Just arrived in Pullman, Rosenblum Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013 ($6)
    My Vivino review:
    🕰2013
    💯83/100 🌟3.3
    👁Garnet w watery edge
    👃👅Dry,tarragon,dried herbs,chervil,dried cranberries, Granny’s purse funky faded purple floral dusty pancake powder makeup,slt garrigue, cherry preserves at end,med acidity,smooth tannins. Interesting herbaceous Zinfandel, just not my preference, prefer more fruit to balance.
    🍇 Zinfandel,
    15% whole cluster
    🕰14 mo French/American oak
    🌄Sonoma County
    Abbreviated backstory on Rosenblum label:
    Dr Kent Rosenblum DVM started making wine in 1972 in San Francisco. Won many accolades from various wine publications. His label grew to encompass 40 kinds of Zin, earning him title “King of Zin”. In 2008, he sold Rosenblum to Diageo for $105M. Rosenblum changed hands, in 2015 to Treasury Wine Estate, in 2016 to Bronco. Dr Rosenblum took over winemaking duties again at Rosenblum for Bronco in 2016, but died unexpectedly in 2018 post knee surgery at age 74.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      I think I liked this wine much more than you did. I found plenty of fruit, balanced by just enough acid, which is sort of counter to Dr Rosenblum’s style in his later years, which was to push ripeness to an extreme, a style continued by his daughter’s Rock Wall project, which she recently decided to close. I expect to see some Rock Wall at the GO soon, and will not likely buy much of it.

      Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi WORN! I did not find a lack of fruit in this Rosenblum Zin. My bottle still needed some air, but then had soft, ripe, fairly simple, typical Zin purple cherry / dark briary fruit with nice wood / maybe caramel aged complexity. There may well be a bit of bottle variation in a Zin this old.

      Reply
    3. JJ

      Oh WORN…..how I adore this characterization: “Granny’s purse funky faded purple floral dusty pancake powder makeup,” Except for ‘funky’ you’ve hit it squarely on the head for me!!
      I’ve always called it Old Lady dusty powder puff…..violet sachet, and it’s one of my favorite Zin characteristics, when it has that sort of aphrodisiac kind of quality.
      Thanks for that!

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        JJ, so happy someone else gets the reference! That smell transports me back to childhood, going into my Mom’s purse, opening up her compact and sniffing the powder puff! 👵👛 The funk blew off the Zin the next day

        Reply
        1. JJ

          I just finished a Rosenblum, then decided to compare it to one of my favorite recent GO Zins, the Windstorm Old Vine (2018 now, was 2017).
          I must say, the Windstorm beats it up quite well, in my opinion.
          Windstorm leaves one with the dusty grandma’s powder so delicately at the very end in the mouth, but there are beautiful and balanced notes of it in the nose…..not at all funky, more like flowers. Flower Powder.
          Windstorm has strong and vibrant body, depth, fruit is deep and dark, some bitter skin elements, seems higher in alcohol (didn’t do a comparison label look)….strawberries and cucumber/melon in the nose, a tiny bit more shellac than I’d like, but a lot going on that glass. There’s been some unevenness in the bottles, sometimes greatly pleasing and others less vibrant. Or, maybe that’s more my mood and palate variation than the wine’s—who knows?

          But f you haven’t tried it I recommend it! I’d love to know what you think.
          It’s been reliably available for a very long time now. Usually $6.99 in our market, I believe.

          Reply
          1. WineObsessedRN

            JJ, Windstorm is owned by Mendocino Wine Group that has 8 of their own labels and bottles private label wine for stores. My fave GO Zin is Villa Stellaria 2020, it’s the secret second label of Optima winery in Healdsburg CA using Alexander Valley grapes. The winemaker is Mike Duffy who’s worked at Trefethen and FieldStone bf starting his own winery. Hopefully I can talk my husband into making a trip to Lewiston ID to snag a few more bf they run out! Our store never ordered the VS Zin.😢

            Reply
            1. JJ

              WORN, where are you at–which store do you shop?
              So, are you saying the VS has some good ole lady lilac powder puff?!

          2. BargainWhine Post author

            Hi JJ. At least around here, the Windstorm is $7, while the Rosenblum is $5, and, although they’re both Zinfandels, they are pretty different wines. The Windstorm is fresh and vibrant, while the Rosenblum has nice aged complexity. Personally, I find the Windstorm (or at least the first vintage of it in GO), for all its greater complexity, to be too sweet, and would prefer the softness of age in the dry Rosenblum. Probably, I’d prefer the Villa Stellaria to both, but that, IIRC, is the same price as both ($12). 🙂

            Reply
            1. JJ

              Yes, I wouldn’t want to fall in love with the VS at $12/bottle, so probably won’t even try it!
              I agree about the two different Zins, I enjoyed the Rosenblum enough, but I wanted more from it. The Windstorm provides that, though I would like it to simmer down a bit into the dry calm that the Rosenblum has. I wonder if it will with age….do you have any of the 2015 around still?
              The 2018 doesn’t seem sweet to me, as much has strong. It does seem to have plenty of spirit to perhaps withstand some time.
              I may get some more of it just to lay it down for awhile, now that we’ve had this little chat!
              Wish I’d thought of that during the sale….

            2. BargainWhine Post author

              Hi JJ. I think I did save a bottle of 2015 Windstorm for a few years to see how it did, but that turned out to be too long, as I recall. It was not bad, but it was relatively thinner, simpler, and more acid. Maybe save one for one year and see how it does?

  5. WineObsessedRN

    Opened up Aridus Grenache 2016
    from Arizona.
    Someone on Vivino commented the winery makes wine this way on purpose? Not sure I can believe that statement. My Vivino review:
    🕰2016
    💯zero pts🌟1.0 lowest
    👁Clear bright magenta
    👃👅Undrinkable,horrible,sour,awful,deeply flawed
    ❎TCA-no wet newspaper,wet dog
    ❎Oxidized-color bright,no caramelized or apple sauce flavor
    ❎Sulfur-no rotten egg,matchstick,garlic,skunk or fart smell
    ❎Cooked-no jammy,nutty or brown sugar
    ❎Lightstrike-no wet wool
    ❎High pyrazines
    ❎Brett-no cowpoop,farmy,horsey smell
    ❎Bacteria/Microbials-not mousey,gerbil cage,hay bale odor
    ❗Volatile acidity-Very sharp, sour,unpleasant taste.
    🌄Arizona 🤔
    💵$40@ winery GOBM $6

    Anyone else try this out? 🤔

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      You got a bad bottle. The one I opened was none of those things. I found it out of balance, too fruity given the amount of acid and (almost non-existent) tannin. For the sake of science I did buy two bottles to try some time down the road, and hope they are not like the one you opened. I loved the Sauvignon Blanc so much that I bought a case of it. I hear good things about various white blends from this winery but have not seen any of them.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        No Aridus Grenache or Sauvignon Blanc in my local stores in WA. But I did report on two of their other wines back in late March and early April during the sale. Liked one and disliked the other. In case you missed my notes, here they are:

        Tonight I opened the 2019 Aridus Wine Co. (an Arizona winery) Tank 28 New Mexico red blend of 23% Syrah 18% Mourvedre 17% Montepulciano 17% Carignan 15% Aglianico 10% Petit Verdot. ($4.99; 14.8%) My wife and I visited Albuquerque for the annual hot air balloon festival many years ago and visited a number of local wineries (including Gruet sparkling wine company) some of whom were producing some very well-made wines. So when I saw this wine at GO, even though the producer’s in AZ, I thought it worth a try just to see how New Mexican wine was progressing. Some have got to be doing better than this. Clear medium garnet with a bit of orange around the rim; has an almost foxey eastern vitis labrusca cherryish nose blended with vinifera aromas…not at all what I expected; and then it’s fairly sweet on the palate with rather weird flavors of cherry and various red berry fruit; considering the kitchen sink assortment of varieties involved, this is, as I said, not what I was expecting and is one seriously peculiar wine; not one that I enjoyed at all. Part of me hopes someone else out there tries one just for another opinion. But most of me says “steer clear”!

        Earlier I reported on the Aridus Wine Company Tank 28…an Arizona winery using New Mexican fruit for that particular blend. Well, when visiting the Silverdale GO yesterday, the owner told me that an old winemaker/college wine program instructor friend of mine had just been in the store. Sorry I missed him, as I haven’t seen him in years. He apparently raved to her about how good the Aridus Tank 48 is and how it compares favorably with the Chateau Lavabre Pic Saint-Loup, except one is $3.99 after discount and the other is $14.39. I haven’t opened my Chateau Lavabre yet, so can’t make the comparison. But here’s what I found with the Tank 48: 43% Graciano 31% Tempranillo 17% Grenache 5% Syrah 4% Petit Verdot Clear deep ruby; very aromatic and fruit-filled nose of dark chocolate cherry with herbal accents; tastes sweet and fruity on the front of the palate; decent tannins and very pleasant acidity; tons of black and red berry fruit flavors and a bit of a fruit bomb, I suppose; but the flavors are delicious and any oak is really in the background (amen!); fairly long flavorful finish and not as hot as the alcohol level would suggest; what I’m most impressed with is the amount of flavor and body this wine has in comparison to its sibling, Tank 28, that I really didn’t like at all. Perhaps that’s due to this being from all Arizona grapes as opposed to the Tank 28 that’s all New Mexican fruit…and of course different varieties in the blends. Didn’t realize until I got it home that it’s 16.1% alc.!!!! Which may explain the sweetness. For four bucks, I’d suggest trying a bottle if it’s out there at your local GO, just to provide an opportunity to taste an AZ wine. And I’d love to hear what y’all think of it…especially if you’ve had the Chateau Lavabre. Hard for me to believe there’s any comparison.

        Reply
      2. WineObsessedRN

        SB, I’ve heard good things about Aridus SB, but none available here. I bought the last 3 remaining bottles of the Grenache due to good reviews on Vivino but am returning all 3, once we get back to Lewiston again. Once bitten, twice shy! 🙆

        Reply
    2. DARRELL

      Again, I totally concur with SB. During the last Fall sale I bought quite a few of these bottles and so far, knock on wood, bottles were sound. Hope there are none of the bottles you tasted from my purchase. The bottle does resemble PN slightly. I might have a bottle of the SB, yet tasted. I am amazed the Southwest can produce fine wines since I thought the wines would be like Central Valley based wines.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        I think some of the growing areas are at altitude, at least those in the Verde Canyon region of Arizona. We haven’t visited vineyards, but according to the in-town tasting rooms, the desert air at altitude allows for cooling at night that mitigates the daytime temperatures. What we’ve tasted has definitely been a mixed bag, but there are some truly interesting wines being produced. The question will be whether these wineries are economically viable, in the face of a glut of wine from the West Coast.

        Reply
  6. BargainWhine Post author

    Gérard Bertrand 2018 “cote des roses” Chardonnay, Pays D’Oc, southern France, 13% ABV, $6. I opened a bottle on the day it arrived, and was rather nonplussed / disappointed, as it seemed to have very weak body and flavor. However, the second day, it was much better, showing ripe flavors of yellow apple with lemony acid, green apple, minerally textured grape skin, slight butterscotch that shows the wine’s age, and little oak. A pleasantly refreshing wine that does have that French Chardonnay character.

    Reply
  7. WineObsessedRN

    Seen in Lewiston ID – Pleiades Rosé ($5) and Pleiades White Blend ($6) by Sean Thackrey & Co. Aridus Grenache 2016 ($6) from Arizona. Bought a couple bottles of each. Was excited to see Sean Thackrey wines at GO but a Vivino pal who’s a distributor of Thackrey says Sean is no longer making them (now in his 80s) Public COLA Registry search shows now made by Ektima Winery.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Wow. Do the Thackrey wines have vintages? Even if he’s no longer making them, I hope we see these wines you found in Idaho here in the backwater SF Bay Area.

      Reply
  8. WineObsessedRN

    Harvest Moon Late Harvest Estate Zinfandel 2015, 375ml bottle $10 at Lewiston Idaho.
    My Vivino review
    🕰2015
    💯88/100 🌟3.8
    👁Garnet translucent
    👃👅Semi sweet,honeyed plums,raspberry,peach preserves,slightly tart when opened and PnP, chilled brought out honeyed fruit flavors to the foreground.
    🌄Russian River Valley
    ⛽14.1%ABV
    💵$40/750ml GO $10/375 ml
    Very nice dessert wine!
    Everytime I swear I’m giving up on Grocery Outlet, a bottle (or two!) surprises me and I’m reeled back in on the hunt for more diamonds in the rough! 🕵💎🍷

    Reply
  9. BargainWhine Post author

    Tercos 2018 Torrontés, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.0% ABV, $5. I was excited to see a Torrontés show up at GO after what felt like a long hiatus, and this is a nice example of the grape. It has a very aromatic nose of jasmine and gardenia (back label suggests roses; maybe yellow roses?) and ripe yellow fruits. On the palate, it tastes of ripe yellow melon / apple, tropical yellow fruit (golden kiwi?), jasmine / gardenia, and slight ripe lemon, with the full and slightly fleshy fruit balanced by plenty of acid, minerality, and some grape skin bitterness. The ripeness of fruit makes it seem like it might be a little sweet, but there is enough acid that it comes across overall as dry. There is a slight tinge of butterscotch / maybe golden raisin that lets you this doesn’t have that much life left, but it is quite tasty now.

    Reply
  10. BargainWhine Post author

    Salud y Saludo 2018 Zinfandel, Lodi, CA, produced and bottled by Chivalry Wines, 14.7% ABV, $7. This arrived only a few days ago, and at least this soon, it needed 3.5 – 4 hours open / decanted to open into soft, silky richness with flavors of tangy dark cherry, maybe plum, boysenberry / blackberry / almost licorice, slight orange, coffee / raisin, finishing with zingy raspberry acid. My only criticism is that cheap oak product was used, but it wasn’t that noticeable by the time it was fully aired, and this is still a very tasty wine. On its second day, it was more full and rich, with flavors better integrated but otherwise much the same.

    Reply
  11. BargainWhine Post author

    Haven Point non-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine of Origin Western Cape, South Africa, 13.5% ABV, $6. In contrast to the Haven Point Shiraz and Pinotage, This wine did not start out super-fruity and had a bit more acid. It was decently tasty the first day, showing dark tangy cherry and spiced earth, but not fully airing. The second day, it was fairly simple and uninteresting. However, very much like the Shiraz and Pinotage, it came into its own on the third day, tasting of ripe purple cherry, tangy red plum, ripe red raspberry / cranberry, slight green bell pepper, black spicy earth. It’s nothing amazing, but a fun and pleasantly tasty wine.

    We also got one or two cases each of Haven Point Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc (two separate wines). Since we got so little, I have not tasted them, but I expect I would like the SB, and wish we could have gotten more of it.

    Reply
    1. SLOSommelier

      Just tried the Haven Point Chardonnay (no vintage specified) the other night and can copy and paste the review here if people are interested. I have like a million reviews/notes I have made about GO wines/other wines in my notes also if people are interested. Glad to have found this site!

      Reply
      1. SLOSommelier

        Haven Point Chardonnay Western Cape, South Africa (no specific vintage)
        Aroma: yummy oranges with subtle vanilla and tropical, like an orange creamsicle
        Notes: Citrus orange with vanilla and tropical, very light, sweet enough but I wouldn’t really call it sweet, we absolutely loved this sit on the porch outside type wine. It seemed to me that this was a more casual wine, but it was great quality. Tangerine and fruity and a light zing and a lovely sweet zing finish with lime and citrus!!
        12% ABV
        GO $4(after 20% off) 3.9 stars out of 5

        Reply
  12. WineObsessedRN

    Picked up 2 bottles of Louis Téte Morgon 2016 from the Lewiston ID store ($6.99).
    Unfortunately, first bottle cork tainted, not horribly so but noticable. Tried removing the TCA w a yard of Saran wrap bunched into a gallon glass pitcher, pouring the tainted wine in and swishing for 10 min. (Someone on Vivino said this really works well). Kept a sample of non treated wine in a glass to compare results. Treated wine still tainted w TCA plus berry flavors were altered in an unpleasant way. Interesting experiment though!
    I’m wondering what are the chances of the 2nd bottle also being corked?🤔

    Reply
    1. lim13

      I’m obviously not as “in touch” with the wine world as I used to be…even after nearly 50 years of tasting and drinking. This is the first I’ve heard of Saran wrap treatment for corked wines. But then I’ve never been one for wine gimmicks. As for the second bottle of Morgon also being corked, WORN, it’s not impossible, but I rarely find multiple bottles of a particular wine being corked. Only way I find out is to pop it. And any and all that are corked, I return to the store where I bought them, where I expect to get a refund or an exchange for another wine. Good luck! Let us know what you find if you open it.

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        Lim, some people reportedly have good results w this method, others do not. Apparently, the plastic film also strips some fruit and floral esters, ethyl octanoate, ethyl decanoate and ethyl dodecanoate, up to 80%, along w the TCA. Some people can still smell/taste the remaining TCA, some report altered/decreased fruit flavors, some a “plastic” taste. (Unfortunately, I experienced all 3 and consider the wine undrinkable.)

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          The idea behind this is that the TCA molecules get attracted to the plastic, sort of like fats can bind with plastic bowls and interfere later with whipping egg whites in them. I was told that traditional Saran Wrap premium is made with a different plastic than other wraps like Glad Wrap, and that this Saran Wrap formula was gong to be discontinued. So, about five years ago, I bought a box of Saran Wrap Premium–which does feel completely different from my ordinary wrap, and it is only used on corked wine. We’ve done a couple of back to back samples when we opened a corked bottle: one of the corked untreated wine, one of the Saran Wrap treated wine, and one on a non-corked bottle of the corked wine, if we had one. We found that the Saran Wrap did indeed dramatically reduce TCA taint, but that there was a small but noticeable amount of fruit stripping. Not a scientific test–we knew which sample was which, so confirmation bias is a possibility. Still, since most of the time our corked wines come from the cellar–much too late to try to return them–we think that the Saran Wrap Premium does turn a ‘down the sink’ wine into a drinkable one. Next time we have a corked wine, I think I’ll do a blind test and also use a fourth sample–a corked sample treated with ordinary Glad Wrap. Anything for science!

          Reply
          1. flitcraft

            Oops! Showed this to my husband, who laughed and reminded me that we bought our Saran Wrap more than ten years ago–after opening a bottle of corked port at his sixty fifth birthday party. So unless you have ancient Saran Wrap, this might be of historical interest only…sorry!

            Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        SB, the Lewiston store took back the 2 bottles of the Tete Morgon quite cheerfully. Let’s hope it’s the same response when I bring in the 3 bottles of Aridus Grenache! I’m a bit OCD regarding receipts, so yes, most definitely have them. (I had Costco receipts organized and saved dating back.to 1999. Finally ditched several years worth that had gotten too faded to be legible.)

        Reply
        1. lim13

          I’m an OCD type in general, WORN, so I can relate. You may want to check with your local Costco; ours will take returns without a receipt. All they do is scan the product code and look up your card number on the computer to verify that you purchased the product…then issue the refund. Which is not to say that I don’t save my receipts anyway…but likely not as long as you. 😁

          Reply
          1. JJ

            True that…..Costco never needs a receipt for a return…they just look it up from your card.
            When I bring something back to GO, it’s kinda cute how they get a clipboard out, and write things down, and want my name and phone number, and then call a manager over.

            Having said that….I must be really OCD, I keep all my receipts too.

            Reply
    2. delmartian1

      I bought a case of the 2016 Louis Tete Morgon 2016 at the wine sale a year ago. I wonder if this is leftover from that time and has been sitting upright on the GO shelf for a year? That might explain the cork taint?

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Sitting upright has nothing to do with cork taint. Cork taint occurs when the cork is contaminated before it is put in the bottle, and, also, sometimes it happens to the wine before it is bottled. BTW there is nothing wrong with storing wine upright, the vapor keeps the corks hydrated.

        Reply
        1. Zoel

          Thanks Seedboy – you beat me to the punch here. I suspected he was talking about the cork drying out…a number of recent prolonged studies show no difference between a bottle laid sideways (or upside down, as we do at the wineries) and those stood upright. So much for the elegant cellar configs out there, but methinks it will a generation or two for this myth to die off.

          Reply
        2. DARRELL

          ” there is nothing wrong with storing wine upright, the vapor keeps the corks hydrated.” up to a point. I lost one bottle out of a case because I accidentally left one bottle upright for much too long. The cork dried out and spoiled the wine.

          Reply
  13. BargainWhine Post author

    Notes on three young, expensive-for-GO, California Cabernets. Even though these have now been open three days — about 45 minutes the first day, about 2.5 hours the second day, and 4+ hours tonight — they are still quite “primary” (as Seedboy says), tasting significantly of fresh juice, not terribly well settled into wine. Recommend aging all of these at least a couple years.

    Josh 2019 Reserve, Paso Robles, CA, 14.0% ABV, $18. Composite cork. Red / purple Bing cherry, slight cassis, medium-ripe blackberry, lighter cocoa, and significantly stemmy tannin, sweet cheap oak product.

    Josh 2019 Reserve, North Coast, CA, 14.0% ABV, $18. Composite cork. Darker red / mostly purple cherry and blackberry, hint of dark chocolate, tannin tight in the finish and darkly vegetal, sweet cheap oak product, Body supple. The oak product I criticize here is something to which I seem to be sensitive. Its prominence may decline as the wines mature, and almost certainly as they air once poured.

    Michel-Schlumberger 2018 “Gold Collection,” Santa Cruz Mountains, CA, 15.4% ABV, $15. Cork is agglomerated bits sandwiched between slices of unbroken cork. Smooth and supple dark purple cherry, plum, slight cassis, dark boysenberry, cedar, tar / licorice, vanilla, slight ripe red currant in the acid, tannins gentle yet slowly mouth-binding. Whatever’s used for oak is neither great nor offensive.

    Reply
  14. BargainWhine Post author

    Etude 2019 rosé of Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, CA, 13.6% ABV, $10. Nose of red berries / almost cherry, red apple, slight tangerine. Has a medium weight of fruit with strong flavors and a good amount of tart acid: ripe red berries, pink grapefruit / tart mandarin orange, finishing with slight savory quality of bruised fruit (that sounds like a bad thing, but I like it; adds some smoothing softness). A bit more robust than your typical French rosé, but not in any way out of balance. IMO, this is quite good, but neither am I so awed that I’m sure this is worth $4 more than any previous rosé I recall at GO. However, it’s still on sale at the Etude web site for $25. Back label says “vinted and bottled by Etude Wines,” and appears labeled for export to a French-speaking area.

    Reply
  15. Sebastian

    2014 Terre di Gioia Marzemino ($5.99 at San Pablo a few weeks ago, but I also saw it show up in Oakland this week). This is an interesting wine from Trentino (the far north of Italy in the Alps). It is lighter bodied, in the vicinity of pinot noir, but much more acidity. I tasted predominantly earthy tobacco notes at opening, but by second day the fruit (dried fig and currant to me) came out more. I took a shot on a varietal I hadn’t tried before, and this was a pleasant surprise. Might be a repeat buy.

    Reply
  16. Alex

    Did my sale shopping this morning in Paso Robles and Atascadero. I have not tried them yet, but they seemed like some interesting finds.

    Charles & Charles 2016 Malbec Northridge Vineyard ($11.99 sale price). I found this one in Paso. Wine.com sells this bottle for $56.
    .JS 94 – James Suckling
    This is really excellent with a plush, yet reserved nature to it. offering red fruit, spices and walnuts. Medium to full body and a flavorful finish. Stones and cloves at the end.
    WE 93 – Wine Enthusiast
    This is a singular expression of the variety from a highly regarded vineyard. Blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, plum, dark fruit, spice and dried herb aromas rise up from the glass. A richly flavorful, exquisitely balanced palate follows, with enough tannic structure to go the distance. It sails on the long, green tea and blue fruit-filled finish.

    Tamarack 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley ($5.59 sale price). This one was also found in the Paso store. Per the wine.com wine maker notes; On the nose of this Tamarack Cellars Merlot, notes of dark fruit, including raspberry, cranberry and blackberry are followed by hints of bacon, leather and tobacco. The palate brings a rich, full mouthfeel with tart notes of rhubarb and a dynamic yet smooth finish.
    Blend: 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot
    JS 91- James Suckling
    Rich aromas of dark berries and moist, loamy earth really speak to the varietal. The palate has a fresh dark-plum core with fleshy and soft tannins that carry even and long. Drink or hold

    Wente 2017 Winemakers Selection Meritage ($14.69 sale price) found at Paso. This is one of their premium wines that sells for $50 on their website.67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Petit Verdot, 9%Malbec, and 3% Cabernet Franc.

    Rosemblum 2013 Zinfandel Sonoma County ($3.99 sale price) found at both stores. Not a bad wine for $4. I was surprised how much life this one still has left, but it should be drank pretty soon.

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Per your notes – I’ve tried both the Wente meritages ($15 & $18) – both were competent but not wildly exciting…let each sit overnight after a double decant, didn’t improve much…bespeaks the quality of the fruit/terrior, imho. Neither were rebuys for me, and I’m a cab hound.

      We popped a bottle of the Tamarack Merlot – found it tasty and well-made … I’d give it a 88 and would rebuy…

      Reply
      1. BeerBudget

        C2 Malbec was a rebuy for me. Tad high in alcohol, but lovely depth and nuance here. Not generally a fan of Charles Smith’s lower end lineup, but I can see where the following came from now.

        Reply
        1. winejosh

          Interesting thing about the Malbec. It comes from Northridge, where they make their reserve Merlot for the Wines of Substance brand. That Merlot is quite good. I was surprised to see the Northridge Malbec in the C2 label, since Malbec at that price doesn’t sell well outside of the tasting room in WA.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            In 2013 and 2014 there was a pretty good supply of Wines of Substance Merlot and Syrah at GO. Both decent wines and likely from the period before Charles Smith bought the brand.

            Reply
            1. JJ

              Speaking of 2013 wines–a ridiculous segue, but since I don’t know how to start new threads, I’ll just piggyback on this one—I am enjoying the Rosenblum Contra Costa old vine Zinfandel. Nose starts out with this wonderful desert-like sagebrush/lemon/pine and moves into a deeper cherry….in the mouth it’s warm and round and dark cherry, no edges, with some echoes of woodiness after. That was just on initial opening….haven’t had but a small glass.

              For me, getting a nearly 10 year old wine still showing well for under $5 (sale price) is pretty cool!!

            2. winejosh

              Yeah, he bought that brand from Waters back in 2013-2014, if I remember correctly. It took awhile for him to really figure out how to position it. I think buying that brand was the impetus to sell off his Charles Smith brands to Constellation in 2016.

              Which, by the way, reminds me of the conversations of the Boom Boom Syrah. It used to be good when his group was making it. I’ve had a few vintages under Constellation and it’s not the same wine. Sadly, I won’t be picking those up at GO unless they find some older vintages.

    2. Alex

      I did try 3 out of the 4 wines.
      C2 2016 Malbec is a great buy at $11.99. I only decanted it for about half an hour and it was very nicely balanced with dark fruit and spice. I always wonder when I find a great wine at GO, why is this here. I think that winejosh noted it right. It’s a Malbec. Not very many people seek out to find a good Malbec at a store and may only buy it while wine tasting. I did go back to GO and got 6 more. I did leave some on the shelf for others to try, but if they are still there on Tuesday I will get them.
      Tamarack 2016 Merlot to me was just alright. It was a bit tart, but maybe it needed a little more time. I did get 2 more to try again.
      Rosenblum 2013 Zinfandel is also an great buy at $3.99. It still has nice berry flavors and a smooth balanced finish. It does feel like it needs to be drank sooner than later, but should be good for year or two.

      Reply
  17. BargainWhine Post author

    Haras de Pirque 2016 Reserva de Propriedad, 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carménère, 10% Cabernet Franc, Maipo Valley, Chile, 14% ABV, $6. Dry, medium-bodied wine with flavors of dark Bing cherry, dark blackberry, black raspberry, creosote / tar, a flavor common in Chilean wines that strikes me as something like green bell pepper and sulfite, slightly rough wood. Ripe fruit but plenty of acid. This wine arrived today, so it took about 4.5 hours open / decanted for the fruit, wood, and acid to become fully integrated into a rich and supple whole. This strikes me as pretty good for the price, especially if you like Chilean wines, and still has some life left in it.

    Reply
    1. DARRELL

      BW. based on your description and enjoyment of Chilean reds, I bought a bottle. I can’t describe the berries, but I do get the creosote/tar, slight bell pepper. I think you mean sulfides and I thought a little skunky, hence mercaptans. I like the level of wood and the alcohol level seems lower than 14%. I wish the intensity of the nose was greater though. It’s a rebuy for me at that price.

      Reply
  18. BargainWhine Post author

    Tailor Made 2018 Chardonnay, “Bin No. 00142,” California, 13.5% ABV, $6. Smooth lemony yellow apple, green apple, pear, slightly musty oak. Pretty full-flavored but not super heavy, fruity with a good amount of balancing acid, not extremely dry. Good basic CA Chardonnay for the price. Don’t wait too long to drink it.

    Reply
  19. BargainWhine Post author

    Montemaggiore 2014 “Syrafina” Estate Grown, 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier, Dry Creek Valley, CA, 14.3% ABV, $8. I opened this bottle a few days ago and though that, even having been decanted 4 hours, it never really came around, being a bit sharply acid, restrained in fruit (predominantly light purple plum), and finishing with sharp tannin. Tonight, the saved 187.5ml screw-cap bottle still needed 2 – 2.5 hours in the glass to smooth out and integrate, having a delicious nose and showing softly textured / silky flavors of the same acid lighter purple plum, ripe blueberry, dark red cherry, coffee, finishing with slightly tarry black earth / stem. Anyway, it’s a pretty tasty wine, especially at the sale price, that still has a bit of life left to it.

    Reply
      1. winejosh

        I opened mine last night and I wasn’t able to enjoy it. The Brett notes were taking over the rest of the wine. I ran analysis on it and confirmed the Brett issue.

        I really want to like the wines because the underlying notes are good, but to me, Brett just makes all wines who have it taste the same.

        Reply
        1. DARRELL

          Josh, how do you test for Brettanomyces in wine? Since I was curious, I dug this up: https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/39825/ETSLaboratories_BrettanomycesMonitoringByAnalysis4Ethylphenol4Ethylguaiacol_WIWP_2001.pdf;sequence=1#:~:text=The%20sensory%20threshold%20will%20vary,somewhere%20around%2050%20ng%2FmL. I assume you ran the test and didn’t send it out. The culturing of the yeast sounds slower according to my wife who is a microbiologist.

          Reply
          1. winejosh

            @Darrel – Typically I’d drop it off at ETS (our main office is right next to them) to see the amount, compare 4EG vs 4EP, etc… through their GCMS analysis. But, those take 14 days. We use these quick PCR based tests for validation because often times I don’t care about the amount, I just want to know if I need to start filtering / quarantining immediately. I can worry about the amount later once I put together a remediation plan. It’s not perfect, but I’ve found them to be more reliable than the ETS Scorpion (DNA) tests, which take 2 days and where they even admit they have a lot of false positive / negatives, especially at lower levels.

            We have been playing around with a new GCMS here at our company, initially for smoke taint but want to extend it a little further to be able to analyze for 4EP/4EG too at some point. Smoke taint is more pressing for us since we have customers from all over the region. We have a “small” barrel program which we run a tight sanitation program on, so I’m generally less concerned about Brett.

            Reply
            1. DARRELL

              Josh, thanks for the explanation. I learned a lot from your response. I didn’t think GC took that long. From what i have read about Brett, there is no mention of remediation of the problem as you mention in microfiltration of the wine. Hope the wine doesn’t get stripped too much. Talking to the wife, some of this equipment used to be expensive, but that was a couple of decades ago. I think I can tell you are responsible for some gallonage with that equipment and the reasons for it. After talking to a vineyard manager about the fires in Monterey County and up and down CA, smoke concentration analysis was important for insurance reasons. Good luck with your new GCMS.

          1. DARRELL

            Let’s face it , Josh has a more sensitive threshold compared to ours. Gonna open the offending bottle for dinner to see if I can detect anything off. Even a broader range of threshold sensitivity is cork taint. I brought a bottle of white to a restaurant and the sommelier said it was corked. I couldn’t detect that it had TCR. Some people detect this in the nano range. I guess ability to taste some of these off odors, it’s an ignorance is bliss thing.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              This wine isn’t currently available up north in my part of western WA, otherwise I’d get in on the tasting comparison. Anxious to hear how your dinner bottle compares, Darrell. For me, Bret is most obvious on the palate; cork taint on the nose. And cork taint is far easier for me to determine.

            2. DARRELL

              Lim, will do on the Montemaggiore 2014 “Syrafina” eval. I do get cork taint on some old Bdx. and some German’s, but this sommelier either had a most sensitive palate or he was trying to sell a bottle.

            3. flitcraft

              Very true that sensitivity to off-flavors and aromas is quite interpersonally variable. I am very sensitive to TCA, not so sensitive to Brett, and very insensitive to reductive notes. Definitely an ‘ignorance is bliss’ for the issues I can’t detect!

            4. DARRELL

              Lim, we opened the Montemaggiore 2014 “Syrafina” over a cream morel pasta, but the wife didn’t know about the bottle and the concern about Brett in this bottle. She knew about the Brett discussion. She says her ability to smell has left her because of years of smelling petri dishes of bacterial cultures. That’s how she could sorta ID bacteria preliminarily. Well, I think her sniffer is fine because the first word about the nose of the wine was “horsey.” Nuff said? I just thought the nose was subdued and not interesting, just lacked fruit. I have a bottle of their CS to try.

            5. bretrooks

              It’s always interesting to hear what different people are sensitive to. For my part, I suspect that I’m more-than-usually sensitive to TCA and reduction/sulfur compounds, but average to less-than-average in sensitivity to brett, depending on how it manifests. The only wine I’ve had in recent months which I’ve really picked up excessive brett on was one of the bottles of Roland La Garde I got from GO late last year.

            6. DARRELL

              Opened the 2014 Montemaggiore Nobile, a 56% CS and 44% Syrah blend, and it wasn’t “horsey” anyway. Just a pleasant red without any descriptors though a bit tannic. I broke 3 Bottles of the Haras de Pirque Chilean Bdx blend and will replace them for the money. I appreciate the B and A, bouquet and aroma, profile of that wine even though not that high in intensity. I don’t mind the greenness of the Chilean Bdx varietal wines.

            7. 5-StarBar

              I miss that Montemaggiore Nobile. Don’t recall if mine were 2014 but I bought a few bottles at the SF Geary St. GO about 5-6 years ago, enjoyed them immensely, and alas they are all long gone. Happily not even a whisper of Brett on those babies.

            8. winejosh

              Darrel *may* be right about my sensitivity to these things. I do tell people to take my views as additional information but to go ahead and like/smell what you smell/like. I’m generally sensitive to most faults (including too much oak, as I believe that’s a fault too), but years of classes and practice made me this way. Plus, being in charge of a lot of higher end wines in my career, I want to be sure nothing goes out the door with any problems. I’ve lost countless hours of sleep over certain wines, fearing they were a touch reductive or were missing some component after blending and then having them come out just fine.

              I’ve also joked to most people I know who’ve been tasting with me that they should ignore my first 3-5 minutes with a wine. I spend that time picking it apart to find problems before I actually sit down to enjoy it.

            9. DARRELL

              Josh, your last paragraph about picking apart wines reminds of a winemaker of some renown who was responsible for the wines of a large Napa winery said he was critical on the job, but when he drank, he said “My tastes are liberal.” He smoked most of his life and when he tried to quit he said he couldn’t taste wines critically. Don’t know if he resumed smoking. BTW, what does reductive mean? I understand a reduced wine after finishing fermentation, reduction of accumulated wine lees forming sulfides and mercaptans,etc, but the term is used in tasting bottled and aged bottles.

  20. WineObsessedRN

    Finally opened a bottle of Skyfall CS 2017 the other day. My Vivino review and additional comment re: possible production.
    #1051 3/26/2022
    🕰2017
    💯85/100 🌟3.5
    👁Ruby garnet,watery meniscus
    👃👅Dry,tart cherry,herbaceous,oak,slt slate mineral,low tannins for CS,med acidity,rather thin bodied for CS.
    🏰Precept Wines label.
    Label gives address as Walla Walla,but no Skyfall winery❓
    🍇🌄Fruit from all over Columbia Valley,Yakima,HHH,Wahluke
    ❎🛠No tech sheet anywhere
    🤔My guess is fruit grown CV, brought to a crush facility in Walla Walla 🤷
    🎖WE 85pts S.S. 2/2/19🎖
    🆗Not awful,not fantastic.
    💵$16 retail $8 Grocery Outlet⏬
    ⏩Plot thickens. Using Public COLA Registry, address is same as Waterbrook Winery in Walla Walla, another Precept label. So using crush facilities at Waterbrook most likely 🤷

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi WORN and thanks for trying this one after our discussions of it. Sorry to hear it didn’t live up to what it seemed to promise.

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        Hi BW, l’m saving the rest for an Italian sausage soup I have planned, hope it’s not vinegar by then! Best regards! -M

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          Here’s a Jacques Pepin tip when using wine with ground meat or sausage in a dish: blend the wine with the ground meat before cooking it so that the meat disperses in the dish evenly in small bits rather than in large clumps. I think it works because the wine coats the proteins and keeps them from cross-linking into those hard clumps. Regardless, it does work.

          Reply
  21. BargainWhine Post author

    Haras de Pirque 2019 Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13% ABV, $6. Dry with restrained, less ripe flavors of yellow apple, lemon, maybe yellow mango (although definitely not unripe mango), green apple, maybe Anaheim (sweet, light green) chile?, slight citrus pith bitterness. Crisp with strong minerality. Definitely not in the “buttery oaky” vein, but I find it quite tasty.

    Reply
  22. BargainWhine Post author

    Château Lavabre 2017 Pic Saint-Loup “La Closerie,” Pic Saint-Loup Appellation d’Origine Protégée, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, 65% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 15% ABV, $17. Long cork in excellent condition. Small amount of fine-grained sediment. This had a fantastic nose immediately, but it was tight and too syrupy for me until it had been decanted for about 4 hours, when it tasted of typical Syrah and Grenache flavors of tangy dark purple / red cherry, black cherry / black raspberry, blueberry, violets, black olive / licorice, earth / wood. Ripe and pretty thick, smooth, with very nice finesse. This is a more sophisticated wine than we usually see at GO, for a good price. Its flavors are similar to the still-around Duvernay 2020 Costières de Nîmes, but this is far more elegant and better made. Nice now and should last well for at least a couple more years.

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      That sounds intriguing, perhaps worth a little splurge (relatively speaking) during the Spring sale…assuming we get some in SLO.

      Reply
    2. Seedboy

      This wine trades in the mid $30s, with Wine.com charging $45. There are no cellartracker notes on this vintage, the 2016 was rather controversial.

      Reply
    3. JustAnotherWineSnob

      And for those that care, Parker gave this 92-95 points, and Jeb Dunnuck gave it similar points. It was my favorite wine I’ve tasted so far this year.

      Reply
    4. rajbot

      Thanks for these tips and the responses. I bought a bottle of this the other day and enjoyed it. I don’t know much about wine, but it favorably compared to many other “nice” wines (read: rather expensive and from well known makers) I’ve had folks share with me (if I had to describe it, it would be “smooth and balanced — no acidic or dissonant flavors, weighty mouth feel”). I just bought another 3 bottles today with the 20% off, meaning this is an under $14 wine — I think it’s great for that price point!

      Reply
    5. cabfrancophile

      Picked this up today. This is the sort of GO offering I haven’t seen over the last year or two: a legit $25+ wine for about $15 or less. It’s not a long term wine since I think the alcohol will take over once the fruit recedes, but it has plenty of dark fruit, dark meaty tones, and very ripe tannins folded into the midpalate. Made with clear intent and purpose in a modern style, and successfully so.

      Reply
  23. BargainWhine Post author

    Ancient Gate Cellars 2020 Pinot Noir, California, vinted and bottled by Ancient Gate Cellars, 13.5% ABV, $8. The first half of this bottle (with friends over and other bottles opened) lasted only 2.5 hours, when it was pretty fresh-fruity, but with enough hidden by soft oak that it seemed like the saved half bottle would be better. Indeed, said saved 375ml bottle still needed to be decanted 3 – 3.5 hours to open up to flavors of purple / red plum and cherry, orange, root beer / cola, raspberry acid, sweet vanilla oak, still with some woody roughness in the finish. While I’m not super fond of the wood product used, its effect is not that strong, and the CA Pinot flavors are pretty good. Likely better in a year.

    Reply
  24. BargainWhine Post author

    Noble Tree 2017 Grenache, Russian River Valley,CA, 14.1% ABV, $6. Recently arrived. Tasted only after it had been open / decanted for 2 hours. Then, it seemed like there might not be much to it. However, after 3 hours, it started to show its nice stemmy structure holding dark red / purple fruits of dark red raspberry, hint of dark red plum, black raspberry / cherry, a little bit of something like nutmeg but not so strong, orange, stem and tannin. Smooth, elegant, silky. Not anywhere close to being too old.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      I like this wine quite a bit. This is the first Noble Tree wine I have bought. One thing odd about it is that they added a sticker to the back label with information about the specific wine, including that it is from estate grown fruit. I had figured this operation to be a negociant.

      Reply
    2. WineObsessedRN

      BW+SB, did a bit of research on Noble Tree label via Public COLA Registry. This is the second label started in 2008, of Thomas George Estates winery in Healdsburg. In 2019, Taub Family (Palm Bay International) bought Thomas George Estates, and all their labels. The Thomas George primary label sells in Luxury category at $65 or so. Second label created to enter different price category market (ie $20 I’m guessing) and make use of other lots of wine not used in their primary label. Just thought you both might be interested in the info.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Thank you for that. I know nothing of Thomas George, but then there are thousands of wine brands in California anymore.

        Reply
        1. WineObsessedRN

          SB, exactly my point! Relatively loose wine laws in the US allow large wine conglomerates to manufacture/own hundreds of labels, made in giant industrial wine factories. It’s estimated 90-95% of wine labels on grocery shelves are owned by approximately a dozen companies. Peter La Fond addresses this point in a 2019 FoodiePost article called “The US Wine Market-Illusion of Choice?”. WineForNormalPeople has a downloadable pdf w conglomerates and labels. Problem is, labels also change hands and are traded and sold like high priced baseball cards btw companies. Public COLA Registry allows a person a bit more information on wine labels. I would much rather buy a second label (like Noble Tree or Villa Stellaria) of a legit standalone winery rather than a bottle that is produced by a wine factory churning out millions of cases. Takes a fair amount of digging to achieve this goal. I’m not saying the factory produced wines don’t taste good, just that they are highly chemically engineered food products in my opinion, much like McDonald’s. Ideally, I would rather purchase wine that comes from legit stand alone small (in comparison) wineries. Very difficult task on a limited budget, I readily admit! Everyone’s reviews on wines here have been very helpful to me in this process, and I thank you all!

          Reply
          1. JJ

            Well if that’s all true, that’s pretty depressing~
            I go to great lengths to stay away from ‘highly chemically engineered food products’ in my food choices….I hate to think I’m blowing all that on a daily basis with my wine!
            Hopefully, the wines I’ve been choosing for their character, rise above that….but who knows?

            Reply
            1. WineObsessedRN

              JJ, I was very dismayed when I discovered not every label is a standalone winery (maybe 7 years ago?) Naive, I know. BigBizWines want to sell at every price point ideally, from bottom shelf budget like Crane Lake to luxury brands like Stag’s Leap. There are wine analysis labs to assist w flavor, viscosity, acidity etc. There is a long list of many additives to commercial wines that are perfectly legal to add and do not have to be disclosed on any label. The label has to state ABV which can vary 1.5% in either direction. Varietal and vintage laws exist as well, but have a fair amount of wiggle room. Appellation laws are more strict, but I would say the average wine drinker (no one here fits that description I’m sure) isn’t aware of vineyards, AVAs. 🤷

            2. WineObsessedRN

              JJ, link to Alice Fiering 2010 article re: legal additives to wine. She posts a photo of a MegaPurple label but that is considered a “grape product” as is MegaRed. Both concentrates of teinturier grapes such as Alicante, others used to boost depth of color of wine visual appeal. Cannot attach link, Googile legal additives in wine, Fiering Line article should pop up.

          2. Seedboy

            Just spent a few minutes on the PTO Trademark search function. There is no registration for Villa Stellaria. Noble Tree’s is interesting. The registrant is Baker Family Wines, Dusty Baker’s wine company. It is located in West Sacramento and its wines come mostly from the Sierra Foothills, along with a RRV Pinot Noir. The current mark holder is Palm Wine Holdings, which, interestingly, owns the word mark Stellaris.

            Reply
          3. BargainWhine Post author

            Thanks for this perspective, WORN. Getting off topic here, but for those concerned about corporate consolidation in general, from the left or right, I recommend Matt Stoller. (Not vouching for all his takes on all topics, though.)

            Reply
  25. BargainWhine Post author

    Graff Family Vineyards 2016 “Consensus” 90% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, Chalone AVA, Monterey County, CA, 13% ABV, $10. (This just arrived yesterday, so it probably took longer to air than if you’d had it at home for two weeks.) Decanted 3.5 hours, this has subtly complex flavors of somewhat funky dark red / almost purplish cherry, notes of blueberry, plum, black earth, pit of cherry / plum, finishing with zingy acid of these fruits and pepper, and still some firm tannin. Texture is supple and slightly syrupy. This is certainly mature, but my guess is it should be fine for the next six months or so. IMO, this is outstanding the for the price.

    Reply
    1. DARRELL

      From the winery description “Dense and full-bodied, heavy and powerful but still smooth and drinkable. Slightly smoky, well balanced with rich fruit flavors. This Syrah, Mourvedre blend will age effortlessly for 7-10 years.” Lists at $300/cs. BW’s “funky” could be the smoky description.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Darrell. Yes, I’d say the wine is also a little smoky. $300/case = $25/bottle, which I think would still be a quite reasonable price for this wine.

        Reply
    2. Seedboy

      Looks like they are still selling wine but maybe not making it. Dick Graff bought the Chalone vineyard and founded that winery there, eventually growing his winemaking operations into the Chalone Wine Group, which owned Acacia, Carmenet, Moon Mountain and other wineries and was sold to Diageo. His family owned a small vineyard in that AVA that was not purchased by Diageo.

      Reply
      1. DARRELL

        I visited the winery back in 1973 and met one of the Graff brothers. I think he had a chemistry background and they were from Illinois, IIRC. Never did meet Dick, but saw him at one food and wine event. When BW just wrote about the recent Graff Family Vineyard Consensus wine, I was wondering if that is the small vineyard to which you are referring and is it operated by the brother or brothers Graff. I first got introduced to Chalone at a Carmel wine store and buying a bottle of 1969 PN at an outrageous price of $12. When a famous winemaker first tasted this wine he said something about being on bended knee.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          Same Graff family. The Chalone Wine Group sold those wines for a while.

          The funny thing is that while Chalone PN was once expensive, it is now relatively inexpensive. I think the current vintage costs about $25.

          Reply
          1. DARRELL

            The trouble is, tain’t the same. Stopped purchasing from them when they began using the new vines. Since then Oregon came along and other areas in CA, notably Russian River and the Sonoma coast began to produce great PN’s. I had access to the vineyards to get hasenpfeffer material and it was hotter than heck. Not sure how the AVA produces as good a wines as they do.

            Reply
            1. JJ

              Oh yes, true.
              When we were drinking the great Chalones and Acacias and Edna Valley’s (PN’s and Chards) and Carmenet (Cab), they were a different animal. For $12-15 in the 80’s you were getting absolutely gorgeous juice. Multi-layered and French-style wines which literally gobsmacked your palate. We swooned.
              That all changed.
              Their wines/prices now, though I haven’t followed them and are no longer interested in them, are NOT for the same beauty we once drank.

              Though, I am interested in this small parcel that Dick G. squirreled away, and what kinds of wine he may be producing there. Thanks for that inside info!

            2. DARRELL

              JJ, Mr. Richard Graff died in an airplane crash in Salinas in 1998. As SB mentioned the Graff Family Vineyards are owned by the other family members.

    3. BargainWhine Post author

      I opened my bottle of Graff Vnyds 2016 Consensus that I bought during the sale, and I have to regretfully update my assessment of its longevity. Drink up, as this bottle was already starting to decline. Still not bad, but not what the first bottle was.

      Reply
  26. Michael

    Handpicked 2014 Pinot Noir Yarra Valley, Australia, 12.9% alcohol, bought at the most recent sale for probably $5.60 (“”$7, elsewhere $56”). I am glad I didn’t pay $56 for it. It seems very thin and somewhat bitter, with none of the Pinot Noir complexities that I would hope for.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Michael. If it never comes around tonight, please put the cork in (or screw cap on?) and try it again tomorrow. Not that I have tried this, but I seem to recall that Yarra Valley is a cooler area, and it might just take time for the wine to show its fruit. “Thin and bitter” sounds like a Pinot that has not fully aired, and I’m very curious if that’s the case here.

      Reply
      1. Michael

        Thanks, BW. The screw cap is on, and we will see how it develops. The $56 “elsewhere” price suggests someone had high hopes for this wine. I suppose that, as a 2014 vintage, it may be past its prime.

        Reply
  27. BargainWhine Post author

    I had previously enjoyed the a href=”https://grossoutwine.wordpress.com/coming-soon/comment-page-26/#comment-46495″>True Myth 2016 Chardonnay last fall, although I seemed to be the only one here who did, so I was interested when a few cases of the 2017 showed up recently. The 2017 seems a little lighter (although still with a pleasant viscosity) and less buttery, tasting of lemony yellow apple and pear, tropical fruit somewhat akin to jackfruit, lime, and fairly pronounced bitterness of skin / stem in the finish. IMO, this vintage is good, too, although I think I preferred the 2016. People who disliked the 2016 will probably dislike the 2017 for similar reasons.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Yes, but there is only about a case left. I posted this note hoping it will become available in larger quantity later.

        Second day, the bitterness is integrated into the length of the taste, which to me provides nice balance to the ripe fruit, and I now quite like it.

        Reply
  28. Seedboy

    Casali del Barone 150+1 Barbera 2020. I have seen this wine off and on and not sure if it is still around but here goes. The job of Barbera is to be companionable with food, uncomplicated and tasty. This one checks all the boxes. Nice balance of fruit and acid, not much tannin, really tasty.

    Reply
  29. lim13

    Picked up five reds at the Silverdale GO today including the Villa Stellaria Petite Sirah, Zin and Primitivo, all $11.99…none of which I ever expected to see up here in WA. I’ll compare notes with BW on these at some point soon. Also bought a New Mexican red blend, Aridus Wine Co. Tank 28 from an AZ winery and a 2018 Decoded Russian River Valley (Sonoma) Pinot Noir from Precision Wine Co., both for $4.99. Opened the Pinot tonight; my notes: Just a tad hazy and like most RRV Pinots…extracted dark ruby; seriously closed, especially in the nose, as it takes a good 3-4 hours to even begin to open; then it’s dark chocolate cherry, black raspberry and a certain sour quality with no sign of the forest floor, mushroomy aromas often found in PN; in the mouth there’s tart acidity and dark cherry flavors; light tannins and a round mouth feel. Well made and fairly tasty if you’re patient, but not my favored style of Pinot; just not enough forward fruit for me.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Tonight I opened the 2019 Aridus Wine Co. (an Arizona winery) Tank 28 New Mexico red blend of 23% Syrah 18% Mourvedre 17% Montepulciano 17% Carignan 15% Aglianico 10% Petit Verdot. ($4.99; 14.8%) My wife and I visited Albuquerque for the annual hot air balloon festival many years ago and visited a number of local wineries (including Gruet sparkling wine company) some of whom were producing some very well-made wines. So when I saw this wine at GO, even though the producer’s in AZ, I thought it worth a try just to see how New Mexican wine was progressing. Some have got to be doing better than this. Clear medium garnet with a bit of orange around the rim; has an almost foxey eastern vitis labrusca cherryish nose blended with vinifera aromas…not at all what I expected; and then it’s fairly sweet on the palate with rather weird flavors of cherry and various red berry fruit; considering the kitchen sink assortment of varieties involved, this is, as I said, not what I was expecting and is one seriously peculiar wine; not one that I enjoyed at all. Part of me hopes someone else out there tries one just for another opinion. But most of me says “steer clear”!

      Reply
    2. Expat

      I’m interested in your opinion of the Villa Stellaria Petite Sirah. I almost bought a bottle in Paso Robles but recall a wine from this outfit in the past being sweet. I like PS a lot and if this is a good expression i’d be interested. It may be gone by now though

      Reply
      1. lim13

        My review is in the posting mess below, Expat…on March 22nd. But I’ll copy and paste here:
        “Opened my 2020 Alexander Valley Villa Stellaria Petite Sirah tonight. WOW! Suspected I might really enjoy it based on BW’s description above (and the fact that I’m just a fan of the variety). Opaque deep purple, seriously fragrant and a powerful mouthful. Nose shows blackberry jam, menthol, tar and dark spice; flavors of espresso, blackberry, blueberry, and dark chocolate (as BW found); mouth-coating tannins give the tongue and inside walls of the mouth some exercise; big and chewy; average acidity. What I like most about these Stellaria reds is whatever oak is used is prudently and pleasantly integrated with the intense fruit. For me…a winner for sure and likely worthy of at least a few years of ageing.”
        And BW’s original post from March 9th said, “Villa Stellaria 2020 Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley, CA, “Cellared & Bottled by Villa Stelleria Winery,” 14.5% ABV, $12. (I don’t know why the name is spelled differently in two places on the same label. Typo? Web site is VillaStellaria.com. Open 4+ hours now, this wine has young-tasting supple ripe fruit of tangy dark purple cherry, blueberry pie, boysenberry acid, notes of chocolate and prune / date, finishing with thick, drying, almost mouth-clamping gritty tannin. Dry but hardly austere. This is recently arrived, so it will probably soften up a little in a couple weeks, but I expect it’s got at least a couple years of good development ahead, becoming more full and rich.”
        For western WA locals, the wine has sold out at the Silverdale GO, but I believe the Bremerton store may still have some. And there appears to be lots of the Primitivo and maybe Zin. If there are any of these wines still around for the sale in 9 days, the price will be $9.59. Also, my local friends who winter in the Palm Desert area just bought a bunch of the Petitie Sirah in a GO down there, but saw none of the Zin or Primitivo.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Thanks for re-posting your notes for the VS PS. I had somehow missed them the first time. Also glad you liked it! The Primitivo had sold out at my store by the time I read your review of it, and it sounded more interesting than the Zin.

          Reply
        2. lim13

          Thanks YOU, BW, for bringing it to my attention. I went by the Bremerton store today and there were about 10 bottles of the PS on the shelf, about a dozen Zins and zero Primitivo. So Silverdale’s the place to go for the Zin and Primitivo. I doubt there will be any of the PS left for the sale at Bremerton.

          Reply
          1. Seedboy

            The Oakland store was well stocked with all three of these wines yesterday, as they are clearly getting ready for the sale.

            Reply
        3. WineObsessedRN

          Lim, I did a deep dive on Villa Stellaria. It’s actually 2 wineries making second label wines. 2020-6/2021, the wines made by Optima Winery. Michael Duffy winemaker, more serious wines, single varietals running $44+, including Petite Sirah. Solid winemaking cred, worked a bit w Andre Tchelistcheff, interned at Trefethen, head WM at Field Stone bf starting own biz. The second winery involved w Villa Stellaria label is Chateau Diana which seems to specialize in sweet,fruity wines, most priced $10-$15,multiple (15) non serious labels, Candy Babee,Zombie Zin, you get the picture. The Villa Stellaria vintages thru 2020 are by Optima, 2021 are by Chateau Diana. Both wineries have tasting rooms on Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. Optima Winery is in an industrial area, on Grant Ave.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Appreciate your sleuthing and time spent on the Stellaria wines, WORN. Nice work! Back in 1998 I opened, and shared at an annual tasting I had for 12 friends, a 1987 Optima Cab that I described then as “aromatic nose; huge, tannic, berryish, jammy, long finish; delicious, superb!”. Of course I’m very familiar with the work of Tchelistcheff at BV and as consultant to a number of wineries, including our own Ste. Michelle. And though I haven’t bought any in years, I had a number of Trefethen and Fieldstone wines and visited those wineries back in the 80’s. All I know is that I’m quite fond of the three VS reds that I’ve mentioned here and consider them an excellent buy.

            Reply
            1. WineObsessedRN

              Lim, the 2020 vintage of VS are all made by Optima,not until 2021 does Ch Diana winery turn out wines under VS label, so it makes sense the 2020s are great QPR bottles.

            2. bretrooks

              Interesting to learn about the Villa Stellaria / Field Stone connection. My mother-in-law worked in their tasting room for a while 10-15 years ago, so I’ve had some reasonable experience of their wines (and still have a few Staten Reserve bottles in the stash), but that’s pretty much all from when Patrick Murray was the winemaker there.

            3. WineObsessedRN

              Lim. Just popped open a Villa Stellaria Zin tonight, liked it very much!
              My Vivino review
              🕰2020
              💯89/100 🌟3.9
              👁Violet
              👃👅Bouquet of red and dark berries,ripe raspberries,black plum,cinnamon,sage,hint of BBQ meats,dried herbs,smooth easy drinking,delicious,just what I was in the mood for! 😍
              🌄Villa Stellaria is the secret second label of Optima in Healdsburg
              Winemaker Mike Duffy
              ⛽14.5%ABV
              💵-$30? GO $12 😳
              Slammin’ QPR!💥🍷🔥
              Running back for more tomorrow!
              🍷🏃🍷🏃🍷🏃🍷🏃

          2. Seedboy

            I have seen Optima wines and also stuff from Ch Diana at GO. The latter, I never buy, the former, I would.

            Reply
            1. WineObsessedRN

              SB, I found it odd that 2 winemakers with such diametically opposed approaches to winemaking would enter into a wine business partnership sharing the same label. Ch Diana also makes a mango infused wine. I love mangoes and I love wine, but not together.😝

            2. lim13

              That’s funny, WORN…because, though I haven’t had it in a few years, I’ve always enjoyed a passion fruit wine made by a local winery in Mt. Vernon, WA…Pasek Cellars. It’s indeed sweet and fruity, but has generally had great acid balance. And it goes perfectly with many of the stir-fried and Asian foods that we regularly have for dinner. It’s also not an infusion, but made from concentrate from Hawaii.

          3. lim13

            Happy to hear you’re likin’ the Villa Stellaria Zin, WORN. I felt all their reds that I bought were delicious and fine examples of their respective varieties.

            Reply
      2. DARRELL

        There seems to be an ample supply of the PS since I found it in a Reno store that doesn’t usually have a better selection compared to the Bay Area. I purchased one since others liked it. As Lim mentioned it is a bit tannic and deeply colored. I also noticed a sweetness that Expat has observed in Villa Stellaria reds which reminded me of a dry Port with tannins. Could use a fair amount of time because of the tannins. Not buying much on this Spring sale except possibly to replace some Villa Maria SB.

        Reply
        1. DARRELL

          After posting the above, I went to Redwood City GO and wanted to pick up bottle sized Villa Maria SB and all I saw was half bottles. Wife asked for bottles and Sam said the store was out. Subsequently I overheard two more customers requesting same. RWC had plenty of Alder Springs Kenesis, CS and PN and Syrah. Saw some Willow Glen CS and Zin and the open display Zin was sitting on some cases and thought I would pick up a couple of them since I had tried them at Steve’s, Petaluma, recommendation. Went to pick up two and all was gone. The cases below were CS and not Zin. The only defect in my bottle of Zin was that it was extremely gassy, So much so it sounded like sparkling wine when held to my ear. The nose was berryish with minimal wood. I wanted more at $5 a bottle.

          Reply
          1. JJ

            Just to piggyback for those far north…..there seems to be plenty of full Villa Maria SB up here….I bought a case at Lacey today, and Stan (0lympia store) would be warning me if it was coming to an end there. Looks like it will outlast the sale….stock up for warmer days!

            Reply
            1. JJ

              I do have to boast though, that I got the last bottles of Latitude PN that I think we may see for awhile…..because of course, Winter has Lasted Too Long. (Anyone else out there a James Kavanaugh fan?)
              Sorry….the sale has made me a little giddy~

            2. positivepauly

              Ha! Only because I saved a few of the Latitude for you to grab! 🙂 Figred that would be the last of it so I grabbed a few bottles – you must’ve just been there as I was checking out.

            3. lim13

              Villa Maria SB, rose’ and Latitude 38 PN all seen at Silverdale today. Bought none. Will likely check the Bremerton store to see what wines they have when I’m over on that side of town for an appointment on Friday…though once again, my cellar runneth over…so hope to leave there empty handed. Need to get a grip on my compulsive wine buying.

            4. DARRELL

              JJ, there seems to be an ample supply of the 2018 Latitude PN and might be available by reorder. I have seen quite a bit of the wine at many stores.

            5. JJ

              Yeah, now I’m hearing that the Latitude PN is still around. Lacey store manager told me there wasn’t any more and it would be their last. Maybe he wasn’t in-the-know….or he pulled a marketing maneuver!

        2. DARRELL

          SB, don’t worry; I remember your recommendation of the Alder Springs Chardonnay the last sale and did check at the RWC GO, but there wasn’t any. The store did have the Pinot and IIRC, was from Mendocino. Do you like the Pinot? I did pick up more Kenesis.

          Reply
  30. rajbot

    Tried the “Ca` Del Cino” Rose Brut Sparkling Wine (no vintage I guess?) that I picked up at the San Rafael GO the other day (can’t recall price, probably 6.99?). 11.5%. Tasted somewhat turned to me (slight vinegar), but my wife drank it without complaint. I wouldn’t buy it again.

    Reply
    1. DARRELL

      Sounds like you are in the North Bay. Swing by Petaluma’s GO for wine, if you haven’t already. There always a good selection there plus Benny’s non-GO-inventory wine purchases.

      Reply
      1. rajbot

        I am, thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check it out, it’s a bit of a drive for me. I’ve been once or twice before (but did not look at the wine at the time) and I recall picking up some ciders/beers that I had not seen at any other GOs (and they were quite good) so definitely worth another visit next time we’re out that way.

        Reply
  31. flitcraft

    Centenze Frappato, Sicily, certified organic, 13% ABV, IGP, $5.99

    An orphan bottle found at the Kenmore GO. I knew nothing about the producer and nothing about the grape varietal. But, given the lack of interesting wines recently, was I in the mood for an educational project? Sure, don’t mind if I do.

    Keeping in mind that I have no idea whether this wine is typical of the Frappato varietal, here’s what I found. On opening the wine is a medium-light bodied red, with plenty of acidity and no tannins noticeable. Notes of pipe tobacco, cranberry, and tomato skin on the palate. This is definitely a ‘food’ wine, and that is where its charms really shone. We had it with fettucine with onions long-braised in butter, and the wine cut through the richness of that sauce nicely.

    Has this wine been seen elsewhere? Well, not in the Seattle area, where I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed it if it were. Is it a raging bargain? Nah, not really. But if you like trying unique local grape varietals before they get plowed under for international more sales-worthy grapes, and if a relatively low alcohol wine is welcome at your table, I’d say it is worth the tariff.

    Reply
  32. positivepauly

    Found three of the Gordon Estate varietals between Puyallup, Lakewood, and Oly. The Oly store in particular has several cases of the Merlot still. I’ve only tried the Syrah and Merlot so far (still need to grab the Malbec).

    Really hoping I can find more of the Syrah – it has some nice qualities, including deep cherry and just enough oak to keep it smooth, but not as deep as other Washington State syrahs I’ve had (I’m especially partial to McKinley Springs Syrah).

    I also love the Merlot, even if my girlfriend didn’t care for it. To me, the Merlot tastes more like a lighter Zinfandel, but I could just be weird… It’s complex and robust, a bit surprising for a Merlot, especially from WA. But, well, one of my favorite Merlots comes from Washington and is vinted by Peter Cushman for Jacob Williams winery. The Gordon is a bit lighter but still has a nice flavor profile that very much pleases my palate— especially on the second day (if it makes it that long LOL!)

    Reply
    1. WineObsessedRN

      Pauly, the Pullman store got in the Merlot,CS this month, the Malbec earlier. Out of the 3, I enjoyed the CS the most.
      I bought 10 bottles, store is out of CS now but does have ML still.
      The following is my Vivino review.
      Gordon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
      🕰2016
      💯88/100 🌟3.8
      👁Ruby
      👃👅Dry,black cherry,vanilla,pralines,caramel,oak,plum,eucalyptus,sage,thyme,dill,slt grippy tannins,nice acidity. Pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this!
      🌄Columbia Valley AVA
      🌇Pasco WA
      🎖WS 88pts Dec 2020🎖
      Best post 2021 (from WS)
      💯2900 cases
      💵$24 GO $6 😍 bulk buy!
      Currently in prime IMO,drink up! 🍷

      Reply
      1. positivepauly

        I did find one bottle of the CS but I haven’t opened it yet. Hoping to find more during the sale so I can have a few bottles saved in case I do. I’ve liked all of them so far, and would rank them thusly: Syrah, Malbec, Merlot.

        Reply
        1. WineObsessedRN

          PosPaul, our GO never got in any Gordon Estate Syrah. A Vivino friend said he spotted the Gordon Estate Syrah at Total Wine in Portland selling for $22. I found them in at Moscow Coop for same so if you snagged any, good deal! I haven’t popped a malbec yet. I did like the CS better than ML.

          Reply
  33. rajbot

    Tried the lux royal, it was OK, but probably not a re-buy for me at this price. Pear nose, tasted heavily of strawberries. Very light carbonation, heavy mouth feel. A little more on the sweet than dry side. I would probably buy more at a couple dollars less but for $10, shrug. Thanks for the tip tho, definitely worth trying just wasn’t my thing

    Reply
    1. lim13

      What’s the wine you’re talking about here? Lux Royal? And where’s the original review? Pear nose with strawberry flavors sounds weird to me. They still makin’ Boone’s Farm? 😄

      Reply
        1. lim13

          No worries, rajbot. I just couldn’t figure out which wine you were referencing. Knowing now that it’s a sparkler, your description sounds entirely appropriate. And I suspect now you know to reply to the closest “Reply” spot you can find to the original post (sometimes below and sometimes above that post…weird, I know!). If you post all the way at the bottom of the “What’s New” page, you’re post will appear as a new separate post at the very top of the page. Clear as mud, eh? And most important…keep the comments coming. No “terrible” palates or flavor descriptions here, just unique ones.

          Reply
          1. JJ

            Since we’re trying to clarify how this strange WordPress system works (which has definitely taken me awhile!), I have a question. I recently wanted to re-find notes on the Admission Zinfandel…remembering that at least someone had mentioned it. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it, if indeed it can be done.
            Isn’t there a way to do a ‘search’ function in the comments for previously mentioned wines?
            What with the skewy system of notes and how they jump around….I’d have to read through everything, just to find a single wine.
            Thanks for any help up front!!

            Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Hi JJ. Lim13 posted notes for the Admission Zinfandel here. There are a couple ways you could go about finding it. First, you could start at the top of What’s New and search in page with Control-f, going back through earlier comment pages until you find it. The other way is to enter into your search engine “site:grossoutwine.wordpress.com admission zinfandel” and it should come up.

          2. rajbot

            thanks for your welcoming response, lim13! eager to stick around and learn a bit, have been loving the posts that include historical/technical descriptions of how the wines are made. Have always found the wine world intimidating, both in terms of the depth of expertise present and the cost of the product. Thanks to all those who have been adding to this resource!

            Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi rajbot and thanks for sharing your experience. Those Lux Royal sparkling wines (Blanc de blancs, rosé) weren’t really the style I prefer, either, but I could see how some folks would enjoy them.

      Reply
  34. BargainWhine Post author

    Silver Totem 2017 red blend, Columbia Valley, WA, 13.5% ABV, $5. Yummy right away, but softens and fills in some with air, weighing in on the fuller end of medium-bodied. Tangy purple / dark red flavors of Bing cherry, boysenberry, red currant, nice oak / stem, mild spiced earth in the finish. I guessed it contains Cabernet and Malbec. While I couldn’t find anything about the 2017 vintage, the 2016 vintage was listed as containing “Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet.” Very good for the price.

    Reply
    1. positivepauly

      I agree! This is really a great crowd pleaser. It’s much better when first opened IMHO, and while I wish I could save some for the second day, I prefer to drink it immediately.

      Reply
  35. WineObsessedRN

    Ribbon Ridge VY Cabernet Franc 2017 ($8), Skyfall Merlot 2017 and CS 2017($7). A few bottles of the Kestrel Falcon Series Merlot 2017 ($12) also remain on the shelves here. I know the CS was mentioned in past comments but cannot locate the tasting notes via search function if there were any! Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi WORN. Doctorlager’s notes on the Skyfall Cabernet (presumably 2017) are here. A number of people commented that they had picked up a bottle to try out, but these are the only tasting notes I found.

      Reply
    2. doctorlager

      I think it’s Ribbon Cliff Cab Franc. I thought it was terrible the first night. Really like a fruit bomb blast with vegetation. I almost threw it away. Second night, much better, opened up a bit, smoothed out a bit. I had bought two bottles and haven’t been able to bring myself to try the second yet, but will report when I do in case that first one was just off.

      Reply
      1. positivepauly

        Definitely a fan of all the Ribbon Cliff wines I’ve tried — the Sangiovese was especially nice. Lots of complexity in that one.

        Killed off a bottle of the Cab Franc tonight, actually. Tasting a bit of subdued red current, as I normally do in most Cab Francs (some level of current anyways). This bottle didn’t have any concerns. It opened up nicely after an hour or two. Felt like it has more life left, too, for aging.

        A solid example of Cab Franc in my book. Hope you just got a bad bottle and the second one works out better.

        It would be good with Thanksgiving dinner.

        Reply
  36. BargainWhine Post author

    Villa Stellaria 2020 Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley, CA, “Cellared & Bottled by Villa Stelleria Winery,” 14.5% ABV, $12. (I don’t know why the name is spelled differently in two places on the same label. Typo? Web site is VillaStellaria.com. Open 4+ hours now, this wine has young-tasting supple ripe fruit of tangy dark purple cherry, blueberry pie, boysenberry acid, notes of chocolate and prune / date, finishing with thick, drying, almost mouth-clamping gritty tannin. Dry but hardly austere. This is recently arrived, so it will probably soften up a little in a couple weeks, but I expect it’s got at least a couple years of good development ahead, becoming more full and rich.

    Reply
      1. Zoel

        I’ve enjoyed most of the Ville Stellina wines…while slightly higher-priced, they are typically well-made and solid juice. The Zin is particularly shoos if you’re a Dry Creek fan (brambles, yet balanced). The Grenache was ok, but at $12 I’m not a rebuy …but the Zin and PS are both winners.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi Zoel. I saw from VS both a Zinfandel and a “Primitivo” (Italian name of the same grape), of the same vintage. Didn’t try either, but wondered what the difference was. Did you taste the Primitivo as well as the Zinfandel?

          Reply
          1. lim13

            I’ve no idea if the Villa Stellina wines are up here in my part of WA because I haven’t looked. But though I’ve read a great deal on the Zin/Primitivo comparisons, I still find it somewhat confusing. Thinking some other readers here might also be wondering about the differences, I again turned to my friend who has spent 50 years as a winemaker/vineyard manager and was instrumental in writing and presenting for approval the application for the Yakima Valley AVA many years ago. Like VS, he too makes both Zin and Primitivo. Here is what he had to say:

            “The two are genetically identical, at least as far as can be determined by DNA testing. However, there are some slight viticultural and enological differences between the two, at least as I have observed growing them side by side for 20 plus years and making wine out of them.
            This is typical for clonal differences of the same variety.

            Viticulturally, Primitivo appears less vigorous than the standard California clone of Zinfandel. It also tends to have smaller and looser clusters than Zinfandel, due to fewer and smaller berries and a relatively high percentage of ‘shot’ berries. This cluster difference was one of the early observed differences between the two when it was first introduced into CA and is consequently less prone to bunch rot. Because of the smaller clusters the Primitivo naturally crops at a lower level so we rarely have to thin it compared to standard Zinfandel. It also ripens earlier, though this was not the case when the vines were young.

            On the winemaking side, Primitivo tends to produce a slightly darker and more tannic wine than Zinfandel, most likely a consequence of the smaller berries. The aroma profile also tends to be slightly different, with Zinfandel tending towards more bright fruit (strawberry and raspberry) while the Primitivo tends to have more dark fruit and cherry. From an acid and pH balance, they are virtually identical.

            Regarding the difference in origin between the two, they both originated from the eastern Mediterranean coast, but were believed to be introduced into Italy and the US by different routes and times rather than sequentially.”

            Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Wow! Amazing info! Sounds like I would be more of a Primitivo kind of guy, although the Zinfandels I like do not have that strawberry / raspberry profile anyway. I found particularly interesting the hypothesis that Zinfandel did not come directly from Italian Primitivo.

            2. DARRELL

              Lim, that is quite interesting info on Zin and Primitivo. Since I never bought a Italian wines way back, I never noticed if Italian Primitivo bottles were around prior to the unraveling of Zin’s origins. I imagine you probably know. I can vouch that our Zinfandel grapes are problematic and winemakers here would investigate the clonal differences of the variety.

            3. positivepauly

              Fascinating! I tend to really prefer primitivo, but I joined a wine club in Lodi precisely because they really do justice to Zin (actually, they had me at their Chardonnay, but they no longer source any grapes from Napa, and haven’t yet released their Lodi Chardonnay). I don’t like jammy/fruity Zins, and prefer them deep and complex which takes some good skill to produce.

            4. lim13

              I opened both the 2020 Villa Stellaria Zin and Primitivo (both from Dry Creek, Sonoma) tonight, wanting to try them side-by-side. Tasted without food first and then enjoyed with my wife’s annual dinner of Reuben Quesadillas (thanks to leftover St. Patrick’s Day corned beef sliced super thin with Swiss cheese, angel hair cabbage slaw and salsa/sour cream dressing on a large flour tortilla and broiled). My notes:
              The Primitivo was clear medium ruby; black raspberry, dried cherry and a touch of smokiness in the nose; has a pretty decent dose of tannin, moderate acidity and more cherry/berry flavors in the mouth; big tannins last right through the fairly long finish that also shows a slight saltiness; very tasty with excellent fruit and restrained oak.
              The Zin was just slightly hazy pale ruby; jammy, plummy, slightly black peppery nose, but without the cooked prune nose found in many Lodi Zins; soft and lush in the mouth with moderately chewy tannins and tons of “sweet” cherry/blackberry and raspberry fruit; moderate acidity and the tannins show mostly in the finish.
              I’m with Zoel on the Zin and I loved the Primitivo too and will likely buy more of both if they’re still around when I get back to the Silverdale GO. I’m a bit surprised that these wines are so tasty and well-balanced after only a little over a year of ageing. I only hope I enjoy the Petite Sirah as much when I open it…and I’ll report back then. Twelve bucks, while pricey for most GO customers, is a fair price for these lovely reds.

            5. JJ

              Those wines sound nice, but your wife’s Irish/Mexican re-mix of St Paddy’s day fare….is Americana Deluxe!!

            6. DARRELL

              Reuben quesadillas, truly American, something I am going to try. Never have made a quesadilla to boot. Lim, was the cabbage cooked from raw or was it cooked to begin with?

            7. lim13

              Cabbage is raw, Darrell. Americana Deluxe indeed, JJ. In the early 70’s I spent four years as a counselor and teacher at St. Patrick’s School in Syracuse, N.Y., so St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal every year in this household. Right up the street from the school, on Tipperary Hill, was Coleman’s Saloon that was packed every March 17th (with us teachers and many others…no students, of course??). And outside at the intersection was the only traffic signal in the world with the green light on top! https://uncoveringnewyork.com/upside-down-traffic-light-syracuse/ Just after midnight every March 17th, our school’s seniors would paint a huge shamrock below the traffic signal.

              Here’s the recipe for the Reuben Quesadillas (the perfect use of leftover corned beef):
              1/2 C. Salsa
              1/2 C. Sour Cream
              2 C. (1/2 lb.) Shredded Swiss Cheese
              4 Flour Tortillas (10″ size)
              3 C. Packaged Cole Slaw Mix (we use Angel Hair Slaw Mix)
              1/2 lb. Thinly Sliced Corned Beef

              In a small bowl mix the salsa and sour cream. Sprinkle 1/4 C. of the cheese over half of one tortilla. Then place 3/4 C. coleslaw mix on cheese. Drizzle about 3 T. of the salsa mixture over the coleslaw. Lay 1/4 of the corned beef onto the coleslaw. Top with 1/4 C. more cheese. Fold tortilla over to cover filling. Repeat to make 3 more quesadillas.
              Place quesadillas slightly apart on baking sheets. Broil 4 to 6 inches below heat until crisp and lightly browned (about 1-2 minutes…watch closely!). Using a wide spatula, carefully turn each quesadilla over. Broil until crisp and lightly browned on other side 1 to 2 minutes more. Cut into wedges and serve with remaining salsa mixture. YUM!!

            8. JJ

              Great stories~~I’m a vegetarian so i won’t be using the recipe but I’ll bet others here, will!

              Speaking of traditions….When I lived near the little town of Waupaca in Wisconsin, I looked forward to the St. Paddy’s ‘dirge’ stroll/parade/wake through the streets…..we carried a (real) coffin in which we’d all placed pieces of paper with notes of love and sorrow to those we’d lost the past year, (I know it sounds more like Dia de los Muertos) We would stop at every little bar on the streets, carrying our sad cargo into the joint–setting it down to gather any more notes of tribute from the patrons, drink heartily….then head on down to the next bar. Some of us were musicians playing as we walked. I have no idea whether there was any actual tradition of this with the Irish, or whether this was just the creative genius of some of the old hippy community there—but I loved it.

    1. lim13

      Opened my 2020 Alexander Valley Villa Stellaria Petite Sirah tonight. WOW! Suspected I might really enjoy it based on BW’s description above (and the fact that I’m just a fan of the variety). Opaque deep purple, seriously fragrant and a powerful mouthful. Nose shows blackberry jam, menthol, tar and dark spice; flavors of espresso, blackberry, blueberry, and dark chocolate (as BW found); mouth-coating tannins give the tongue and inside walls of the mouth some exercise; big and chewy; average acidity. What I like most about these Stellaria reds is whatever oak is used is prudently and pleasantly integrated with the intense fruit. For me…a winner for sure and likely worthy of at least a few years of ageing.

      Reply
  37. BargainWhine Post author

    El Pensador (the thinker) 2020 Garnacha, Campo de Borja DO, Spain, 14.5% ABV, $4. This is on the other end of life from the Marques de Arienzo 2014 Rioja but is also a good deal for $4. Open 4 hours now, it tastes of dry, young, fruity, dark red / purple cherry and plum, wood / stem, dried orange peel, anise / licorice, in a medium richness of fruit. Rough-ish grape skin finish tastes like it still has further to evolve, although I would guess only within the next year or so. I had not expected much from this, with its pretentious name and artsy label, but it’s actually very good for the price. [immediate update: re-reading my notes here, I wonder if there is some Tempranillo in this, given the licorice note and moderately tannic finish.]

    Reply
  38. BargainWhine Post author

    Castle Rock Winery 2016 Pinot Noir, Columbia Valley, WA, 13.5% ABV, $6, screw cap. I was curious because Castle Rock has been a pretty reliable brand of Pinot Noir, and because I don’t recall previously seeing a Columbia Valley Pinot. IMO, this is a very good value in every day Pinot. On the first day, it was pretty tasty and promising right away. After being open 3 hours, it tasted of dark red and purple cherry, almost Cabernet-like at moments, note of cola, raspberry acid, nice Pinot funk, finish of dark stem and earth, softly enveloping tannin. On the second day, was again tasty right away but benefited from being open 2+ hours, then tasting of black cherry, red plum, black raspberry, slight orange, mild earthy / stemmy tannin, with a long finish. Does not need more age, but not super close to being too old.

    Wish 2013 Zinfandel, Mendocino, CA, 13.5% ABV, $6. GO has also had Wish Merlot and Cabernet, but I hadn’t paid them any attention because of the kind of corny name and label. However, I noticed that this Zin was vintage 2013 and was “grown, produced, and bottled by Wish Wine Co,” which seemed promising. I think it doesn’t really have that much in the way of typical Zinfandel flavors, but it is a tasty older wine. There were fine tartrate crystals on the bottom of the synthetic cork. It was good pretty soon after opening, but at three hours open, it tasted of medium-weight (for a Zin) dark, ripe fruit of purple grape, tarry blackberry, black raspberry, black raisin, with a coarse grape skin finish. Drink soon. Second day, it was still better after being open a couple hours, but tasted pretty much the same, maybe a little less dark, and with a touch of sherry taste.

    Reply
    1. JJ

      Castle Rock PN….now that catches my eye, cuz I’ve been ignoring that wine at our GO for at least a year or two. I thought I tried it way back, and found it wanting relative to the others available at the time….the Latitude, the Rocklin, the Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage….maybe others. There was such a nice run of Pinots for awhile. But not so much now….so have others tried it? Like it?
      I might need a little convincing…..

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi JJ. CR has had a number of different Pinots. I’m not certain, but I don’t recall previous CR Pinot Noir from outside CA, so this is probably different from what you’ve tried before. Not that you’ll like this if you haven’t liked others but

        Reply
        1. Jimmie

          At sacto they have CR red blend 2014. Again I think from Columbia River grapes. I really enjoyed the Pinot. bought 2 more. Anybody taste that 2014 blend?

          Reply
          1. GOWinelover

            I liked this ’16 Columbia Valley Pinot, too. While Castle Rock typically produces good quality, low priced wines (like Columbia Crest), there are duds, and GO has gotten some. This isn’t complicated stuff but if you like a light bodied pinot with low fruit and a touch of smokiness/oak on it, this’ll fit well as a weeknight wine. For that flavor profile and price, no complaints…

            Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      I opened my last bottle of the Castle Rock 2016 Columbia Valley Pinot Noir this evening. It had a little raisin and balsamic when I opened it, but it pretty quickly aired to fully mature soft and supple ripe red cherry fruit. Good and uncomplicated now; don’t wait any longer.

      Reply
  39. BargainWhine Post author

    Vega Escal 2017 Priorat DOQ, Spain, 27% Merlot, 25% Garnacha Negra, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carinena, 7% Syrah, 14.5% ABV, $15. At first glance, this blend looked like some of the red blends that GO gets sometimes which look like everything left over was thrown together, and they can actually be pretty tasty. However, those are usually not $15 at GO. The first sip confirmed that this is actually a careful blend, with a lot of subtle complexity and supple richness. I thought, “Wow, when this airs in 2 or 3 hours, it’ll be delicious!” But, no. After being open for four hours, it had shut down enough that I did not touch it the next day. The following day, it showed much of the same tangy dark red, purple, blueish fruits, with a fair amount of non-fruit complexities as well. but still seemed rather tight in the finish. Now on the fourth day, it’s not really that much different: pretty tasty, but promising more. Anyway, I recommend this wine for the price if you give it a couple weeks of rest at home and a good decant, or perhaps another year.

    Reply
  40. BargainWhine Post author

    A rare occurrence: (1) I’ve opened three (recently arrived) wines tonight and (2) I highly recommend them all.

    First up, Avivo 2019 Vermentino (Rolle), Lodi AVA, from Ledbetter Family Vineyards, 12.5% ABV, $6. Green melon, lemon / lemon blossom, yellow apple, crisp acid of melon rind with matching sharp minerality. Has more ripeness and fleshiness than the Italian versions of Vermentino, but is still a nicely balanced and delicious wine.

    Next, Minuty 2019 rosé, Côtes de Provence, 13% ABV, $3 for 375ml (half bottle). This is pricey for a GO rosé, but excellent. It has delicate orange / pink / red flavors with gentle weight of fruit but never heavy and with comparable acid, slight stem / herbs, nice minerality. Really, everything perfectly balanced.

    Last, Avivo 2019 Sangiovese, Lodi AVA, from Ledbetter Family Vineyards, 14.2% ABV, $7. I hated my first sip of this, but after the second sip a few minutes later, I had to admit it had promise. It was very good after being open 2 hours, and better after 3. Soft, medium-ripe, darker red cherry with good tanginess, dark red and purple plum, Sangiovese’s undertone of orange, green herbs / stem, spicy fruit / wood / earth, Like the Vermentino, this has the Lodi ripeness plus good complexity and balancing acid. I often look down on the Lodi AVA except for Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, but whatever these folks were doing, they were doing right.

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      Thanks, BW. I’ll be interested in seeing if those show up in SLO – the Vermentino and Rosé, especially, sound like they’re up our alley.

      Reply
    2. Seedboy

      I did not see any of the Vermentino this morning but did buy a bottle of the Sangiovese, partly because we are having Tuscan beefsteak for dinner tonight.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        What?? There were 6+ cases of Vermentino when I left early yesterday evening. The label is much like the Sangiovese’s, but green instead of red.

        Lim13, it looks like we will not get any more of the Avivo wines down here, so it’s likely they won’t make their way up there.

        Reply
      2. Seedboy

        The Sangiovese is really good, it held its own alongside some fine Tuscan red wines. I decanted it four hours before dinner. It can be cellared for years.

        Reply
          1. Seedboy

            The Oakland store did not get these wines. The wine guys there are not allowed to order wine, so this store sometimes misses out on things.

            Reply
    3. lim13

      The Vermentino is of interest to me, but of course, I saw none of these wines locally in the three Kitsap County stores in WA.

      Reply
    4. Doon

      I liked the Vermentino, a nice fruity rendition of this varietal, but did not see the Sangiovese on the SF Peninsula. Would love to try it if it is still in the market. Anyone seen it anywhere around the SF Bay?

      Reply
      1. bretrooks

        It’s not the bay, but we did get some of the Sangiovese here in San Luis Obispo just last week, so there’s some still in the system. We opened and enjoyed it, and we have a couple of the Vermentino in the fridge to try sometime soon, too.

        As an unrelated note, I haven’t bought much worth mentioning from GO in a little while, but I did pick up two bottles each of these rosés which recently hit the shelves:
        2019 Château Minuty Côtes de Provence Rosé (375 ml) – tried this one and liked it
        2018 Reichwage Winery Pinot Noir Rosé – haven’t tried it yet

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi bretrooks! I also liked that Minuty rosé ($3 for 375ml), a lot. I haven’t seen the Reichwage Rosé you mention. Where is it from?

          Reply
          1. bretrooks

            The label says “Sonoma Coast,” and from their website, it appears that they’re located in Sebastopol. https://www.reichwage.com/

            Looks like list price is $25 for the rosé, so $4 is really good. From looking at the label on mine versus the one on their website, it seems like they’re doing some minor labeling updates with the newer vintage, so maybe that’s part of why it’s at GO.

            Reply
          2. bretrooks

            Just as a brief update, I’m sad to report that the first bottle of the Reichwage we opened was the most-corked bottle of rosé that I’ve ever encountered. Several minutes after dumping it out, the one sip I had taken still made my mouth feel like I had been chewing old cardboard. I had picked up a second bottle, and we opened that. It wasn’t terrible, but it lacked the refreshing acidity that my wife and I both look for in rosé. Perhaps others might like it better.

            Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Thanks for your report. Sounds like I probably won’t try a bottle even if I do see it.

      2. BargainWhine Post author

        The Sangiovese sold out more quickly than the Vermentino (still a little left) at the Richmond store because people were more into the Sangiovese, and we were able to get more Vermentino, but not more Sangiovese.

        Reply
  41. Michael

    2018 J. Wilkes Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, 13.5%, $7.99 (“elsewhere $21.99”) found in a coastal GO in Oregon. After the recent J. Wilkes Viognier at GO, I had high hopes for their Chardonnay. However, it seemed to have a limited flavor range, less interesting than the recent Mercer Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay, or the Willamette Valley Chardonnays we have sourced elsewhere this year. But others may like it. If I didn’t have enough Chard in the basement, I would consider the J. Wilkes version an worthwhile find. But their Viognier seems much more interesting, and I note that the winery must have thought so, too, as the “elsewhere” price on the Viognier is higher than for the Chardonnay. But I would like to know what others think of the J. Wilkes Chardonnay.
    To my surprise, Buty Winery’s 2016 Wildebeest red blend, praised by several Gross Out contributors last year, finally made an appearance in another Oregon GO, and at $6 a bottle it is a welcome find. I sorry the winery is apparently no more.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Since you mention it, I was also disappointed by the J. Wilkes Chardonnay currently on offer. I can’t recall exactly what I objected to, but I seem to think it had something to do with not much Chardonnay fruit character and somewhat off-flavored oak. I believe Seedboy also didn’t like it.

      Reply
    2. WineObsessedRN

      Michael, Our GO had the Wildebeest Red 2016 early last fall and I loved it, bought a case and was handing it out willynilly, not realizing Buty was closing. I’m saving the remaining few bottles for myself!

      Reply
    3. Betty Frost, Lifestyle Realtor

      I didn’t like the chardonnay for the same reason you stated. I do like the viognier and bought some today on sale.

      Reply
  42. DARRELL

    JJ, was your brother’s cellaring of DRC’s and others for the restaurant? The bell pepperiness of the Gordon Merlot is not a bad thing for me. I look for that character in some of the South African CS/Merlot from GO as well in Chilean Carmenere. Though some don’t like pyrazine, at least it is one of the characteristics of cooler weather, unripened Bdx varieties and not just oak in GO wines. It is found in descriptions of some of the finer Bordeaux bottles. I have experience with the bell pepper from early vineyard practice in the Salinas Valley where the Bdx. varieties reek of bell pepper. I had access to CS, Merlot and Malbec grapes in 1973 and the wines made and aged in small barrel had substantial pyrazines and was offputting, but I thought at the time, in my wine drinking infancy, well I’ll just age it. Slow forward to today and I thought I would open these bottles for my sons-in-law and I think they liked it and not just being kind. The pyrazine character aged out to a Bordeaux nose and not bad in the mouth. A subsequent 1975 CS from the Salinas Valley also seemed Bdx like in the nose but less drinkable due to thinness from under ripe grapes. I realize most of here don’t want to wait decades to age wines, but there is hope if one is young and patient enough.

    Reply
    1. JJ

      No, the cellaring was his own, and that of his fellow bellman/friend (at the Capt. Cook Hotel), as they sunk deeper and deeper into the greatest heights of the Wild West Alaskan wine world of the 80’s and 90’s. Where else could a bellman become a sommelier, a waitress (me) become a film producer? Opportunity was rife, and in the wine world–especially concentrated in a small group of wine lovers who came by big money relatively easily in this atmosphere, as restaurateurs, dentists, wine and liquor distributors, and bellmen!
      Once in awhile, in the boom and bust cycle of Alaska, a restaurant would bite it but would have an extraordinary cellar, which would get picked over by this small cadre before auction. In the most legendary and richly rewarded instance, a giant of the wine world up there passed away, and his huge unparalleled cellar was sold at rock-bottom prices. So, an older Echézeaux or La Tache, a Chateau D’yquem or a Lafite Rothschild would be had for the price of a new one–or much less, depending….and those release prices back then were sooooooo much lower than they are now. He was picking up these wines for $20-30/bottle. They sell for $20K-30K a bottle now.
      We had an amazing few years of drinking these stunning masterpieces, as my brother shared his bounty generously. Some years later he ended up selling off to auction the rest, when he needed the money, getting 10 or more times what he paid. I wish he’d kept them longer—what they’re worth today is unbelievable.

      AS for the ‘green pepper’….I’m not generally a fan of the flavor–perhaps because green peppers are one of the few original-source foods on earth I do not like. It’s why I don’t often drift towards Chinon or Cabernet Francs. But I don’t mind the characteristic subtly layered into a wine, where other elements are present too….and I thought this was true of the Gordon Merlot. Just nicely done.
      Oddly enough, I’m a huge fan of Marlborough Sauv. Blancs, which many would say have that very ‘green’ flavor….but that’s a completely different animal on my palate!

      How great that you’ve been able to enjoy those older wines with your downline, Darrell! That’s one of the great joys of keeping around older wines, like children’s birth years or great vintages. (My husband had the luck to have been born in 1961, probably the vintage of the Century the world over. He had a couple ’61 Lafite he had purchased for a deal, and in 1987 he blinded my brother and I on one….it was so fresh and unvarnished, but so fine–we guessed it was something like a 1985 or possibly ’82 California Carmenet or Heitz/Martha’s V. At that point we hadn’t been well-schooled in Bordeaux’s….)

      I apologize for taking up space with my digressions! This wine blog does get me talking about old times….

      Reply
      1. DARRELL

        JJ, it is so nice to read about your digressions plus your and your brother’s wine experience. Wish I was there on those wine purchases. ” I wish he’d kept them longer—what they’re worth today is unbelievable” is a sentiment I have mentioned earlier saying I can’t afford to drink the bottles cellared by my wife and me. She tells me we can’t open this or that bottle. On the other hand, after a recent opening of an older, severely ullaged special bottle she really liked, she asks if we have anymore of it. It’s amazing the most recent appreciation of wines within the last few weeks and months, just blows my mind.

        I can take the NZ sauvignon blanc pyrazines and cat pee, but the wife doesn’t like it and GO has so much fine NZ whites. Somebody here recently said no need for Kim Crawford SB anymore. I like the Villa Maria NZ SB that has two vintages in my local GO. Never tasted a Chinon that had bell pepper.

        Reply
        1. JJ

          Thanks Darrell 🙂
          I’ve had Chinon with that profile, but admittedly find more of it in domestic Cabernet Franc.

          I totally agree about the Kim Crawford comment!
          Soon after I discovered it and thought one needed to buy that more expensive version to get the goods, the myriad of other great NZ Sauv Blancs came rolling in at $7 or under.
          Though lately, there’s not been so many here, and I had quite a stash, but am ready to seek them out again. I’ll have to try the Villa Maria SB, if we have it up here in Olympia.

          Where is your GO store, btw?

          Reply
          1. DARRELL

            Mine is Novato just north of SF, but I think it is well distributed in the Bay Area. So there could be some in the PNW. I’ll probably try to get more during the spring sale. I have had good experience with earlier purchases years ago and look at the winery with confidence. While I am here, I had to purchase a red wine in Reno for leftovers in the hotel room and the GO there doesn’t have the best selection, but the store had the Latitude 2018 PN which I hadn’t tasted since I bought the 2017. It wasn’t as fine a PN as the 2017. It was slightly bitter and there was more char in the wine and slightly less PN character. Definitely worth the $7 a bottle though.

            Reply
          2. Seedboy

            I remember in 2001 the Oakland GO had pallets of Doctor’s Creek SB 1999 from NZ. It sold for as little as $1 a bottle, and I bought a mess of it, so much that I had one left ten years later and it was delicious. Made by Kim Crawford.

            Reply
            1. JJ

              Darrell, my man Stan says there is some Villa Maria up here…..I’ll try one. Sounds like you haven’t tried the recent vintages yet, then?
              I agree about the Latitude 2018….not quite as good as 2017, not terribly dissimilar though either. Still a good buy.

            2. lim13

              Saw this after my initial response, JJ…so looks like you’re set. Kinda’ figured Stanley would have it.

            3. DARRELL

              JJ, I did buy the 2019 Villa Maria SB based on earlier vintages I had bought. I think the 2020 bottles are out, too. Give a bottle a try and possibly there will be some for the spring sale.

          3. lim13

            FYI, JJ…I bought the Villa Maria SB and rose’ back in the first week of November, not too long after BW reviewed them. Both Silverdale and Bremerton GO’s had it at $6.99. So Oly should have had some. But I haven’t looked here since. There was a lot around, so I’m thinking someone must still have some. I found it typical, flavorful and while not particularly outstanding, a decent buy. I first had Villa Maria SB with the 1998 vintage, purchased from Esquin wine shop in Seattle for $8.99 full retail.
            First NZ SB I ever had was at the World Vinifera Conference in Seattle many years ago, a conference held every two years and devoted to only one variety. It was the first NZ SB to show up in this country…Cloudy Bay, which is now supremely expensive i.e. overpriced. I also had my first South African SB there too…Mulderbosch for far less money. I love southern hemisphere SB’s, but particularly like the fact that SB can be made in so many different styles all around the world. Along with Riesling and Gewurztraminer, SB’s are among my favorite white varieties.

            Reply
            1. JJ

              Thanks Lim, I look forward to trying the Villa Maria SB…I have now procured a bottle.
              I share your love of (German mostly, for me) riesling, and Gewurztraminer….but would have to add certain Alsatian Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris!!

  43. DARRELL

    SB, in regards to your listing of N.CA GO stores, I would like to add the purchasing by the owner of the Palo Alto store. He has a good selection of the more sought after wines we find here on Grossout.

    Reply
  44. BargainWhine Post author

    Dead Canyon Ranch 2020 Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, WA, produced and bottled by Mercer Wine Estates, 13.9% ABV, $6 (pretty sure). Smooth and fruit-forward, with flavors of yellow apple, white / yellow pear, and something kind of tropical (yellow mango or peach?) that is not just a “small hint,” somewhat unusual for a Chardonnay. The fruit does have some delicateness or subtlety, with slightly viscous mouthfeel, and the wine overall is on the sweeter side for a dry wine. The oak is neither high quality nor objectionable to me. This doesn’t strike me as a really good Chardonnay, but I concede it is strikingly yummy, and should be very popular.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Most of you know Chardonnay is of little to no interest to me, but I am somewhat concerned about all the Mercer Estate wines showing up at GO. I’ve visited the winery a number of times and they’ve donated wine (via me) to one of the local non-profit humane societies that I volunteer for (for the shelter’s annual auction). Last September, my wife and I also stayed at a B&B in Prosser operated by one of the Mercer cousins. But we never got the impression that things may not be going well for the business. Seeing so many of their wines at GO makes me wonder though. Too much product and not enough sales? Like the Gordons, the Mercers were among the first vineyard owners, then wine producers in the WA state industry.

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        Lim, Mercer is listed in the portfolio of Delicato wine brands. They have some kind of “partnership” contract that isn’t exactly clear. The Mercer family still owns the winery, Delicato markets/distributes. I don’t believe Mercer is in the same dire financial straits as Gordon but they may eventually be owned outright by Delicato is my guess.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Thanks for the info, WORN. Not really sure what this means for now and in the future for Mercer. For whatever reason, I’ve never felt that the Mercer wines were big sellers. Maybe it’s because I read little about them or see much of their product on retail shelves other than currently in GO. WA wines distributed by CA distributors never seem to get a lot of attention. It would assumedly be easier for Delicato to sell in quantity to GO corporate because they’re both in CA. Anyway, for any interested readers, here’s a link to Delicato’s brands: https://www.delicato.com/portfolio
          which include the very familiar Coppola and Gnarly Head wines. Site says Francis Ford Coppola is Director of the Board and Michael Mondavi is the Chairman.

          Reply
  45. lim13

    Stopped in at the Silverdale store today…looking for crackers. Left empty handed. Took a quick look at the wines; nothing interesting to me, but did notice they still had a fair quantity of Gordon Merlot and Cab Sauv for those who might be interested.

    Reply
  46. BargainWhine Post author

    Two new potentially interesting Sicilian wines from Casale di Mimmo, imported by MHW Ltd., $5: 2012 Mamertino di Milazzo DOC, 70% Nero d’Avola 30% Nocera, 13.5% ABV; and 2013 Nero d’Avola, Terre Siciliane IGP, 14% ABV.

    The Mamertino di Milazzo is the more acid and complex wine, showing, after being open 3 hours, flavors of darker ripe red cherry, smoky wood, orange, light red raspberry, earthy aged complexity, medium drying / biting tannic finish. The body is fairly light for a red wine, suggesting it would go with roasted chicken or pork, but I suspect it may become more textured on the second day. There’s not a lot of either of these wines, and this is the less available of the two.

    The Nero d’Avola is darker, fuller (not that it’s full-bodied), and less acid (not that it’s lacking acid), with darker red cherry fruit tending into dark red plum / olallieberry, hints of blueberry / bitterness of fruit pits. This could pair with grilled meats as well as roasted darker meats, although it would probably be overpowered by a BBQ sauce.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Their second day, both these wines were smoother and more integrated, showing as much complexity as on their first, although not developing richness as I had suspected they would. Both should be consumed soon, though.

      Reply
  47. BargainWhine Post author

    Dead Canyon Ranch 2017 red blend, Horse Heaven Hills, WA, vinted and bottled by Mercer Wine Estates, 14.1% ABV, $7. Takes about 90 minutes to become acceptably tasty to me, but continues to improve for at least another 2 hours. Tastes of tangy, dark cherry, plum, blackberry, with some redder acid and earthy dried leaves, sweetish oak. This wine has a lot in common with the Mercer Family Vineyards 2017 “Heritage Blend: those tangy purple flavors plus the wood product of which I’m not super fond, but this wine is not as rich, full, complex, and well-structured. However, it is quite yummy and accessible, pretty good IMO.

    Reply
  48. WineObsessedRN

    Hi, all! Dropped into our GO at noon while the owner was unboxing 4 pallets of wine! Bought Tre Fratelli Washington State Red Blend 2017 made by Three Brothers VY & Winery in Ridgefield near Portland for $4 (list $12). Appears to be their 2nd line.
    🕰2017
    💯82/100 🌟3.2
    👁Med garnet,watery edge
    👃👅Dry,cranberry,raspberry,faint clove,dried herbs,tart,med acidity,light tannins. Light bodied red.
    🍇50%CS,50%ML
    ⛽13.8%ABV
    💵$12 winery, $4 GOBM
    If blinded, I would NEVER have pegged this as a WA Cab/Merlot blend but a too tart CA Pinot Noir. Popped and poured an ounce, used Aervana on another ounce in a glass. Leaving another glass out w an ounce to air. Perfectly good wine, just completely atypical of CS or ML. Party wine for non wine nerds?

    Reply
    1. WineObsessedRN

      Did not improve w 2 hrs airtime or on second day. Def not a rebuy. Drink up after opening if purchased. Price was $5, not $4.

      Reply
  49. BargainWhine Post author

    A few wines I’ve tasted lately:
    – J.Wilkes 2018 Viognier, Paso Robles Highlands District, CA, 15.2% ABV, $7. Flavors of honeysuckle, light yellow peach, white pear, are somewhat subtle and delicate for CA Viognier, but have nice length and (especially warmed up a bit from fridge temp) viscous mouthfeel, finishing with lemon / lime acid and bitterness of grape skin / melon rind. This strikes me as pretty good for the price, as commented on here by Michael and WineObsessedRN.
    – Three Rivers Winery 2018 rosé, Columbia Valley, WA, 12% ABV, $5. For a rosé a few years old, this still tastes quite fresh, with delicate flavors of cantaloupe / tangerine, pink grapefruit, lighter red berries, with good acid and balancing bitterness and slight minerality. I thought this was also pretty good.
    – Lux Royal Brut Rosé sparkling wine, southern France, 11.5% ABV, $10. Tangy orange, pink grapefruit, assertive medium-red berry flavors, with lively acid and good carbonation. More exuberant than elegant. Since I usually prefer elegant, this was not really my preferred style, but was certainly tasty and engaging.
    – Fox in the Hen House 2014 Cabernet – Shiraz, South Australia, 14.9% ABV, $6. Has to be one of the sillier labels I’ve seen, with a cartoon of a fox smirking outside a hen house. Smooth mature wine with Cabernet medium red cherry, Shiraz darker red funky cherry, rusty earthy aged complexity. The Cabernet – Shiraz (Syrah) blend usually strikes me as a little weird, and this wine is no exception. However, it is pretty tasty even if it was probably better a year ago. For me, this wine was good but not a strong recommend. My wife loved it, though.

    Reply

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