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

    Castello di Gabiano “Il Ruvo” 2017 Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Piemonte, Italy, 14.5% ABV, $10. Light color and body for a red. Muted nose. Decanted 3+ hours, flavors of tart light and darker red raspberry / cherry, dried raspberry leaf leading to stemmy / seedy (presumably) tannin, slight tangy purple cherry. Wiki page says flavors can include vegetable stock, and I can see what’s meant by this. Not a complicated wine, but a nice food wine of light fruit with acid and elegant tannic structure. Appreciated with roasted chicken, potatoes, and vegetables.

    Saved bottle needed only a little air in the glass to show flavors more forward and (comparatively) full, maybe with a little more component of dried fruits, but otherwise very much the same, and still uncomplicatedly yummy. Despite the Wiki page saying Grignolino is meant to be consumed young, I have no complaints about the age of this wine.

    To be clear, the “Il” in “Il Ruvo” is an “iL.”

    Reply
  2. BargainWhine Post author

    Ok, so this strikes me as a Grocery Outlet find, although maybe I have just never heard of the amazing Petit Verdot grown in Sicily…

    Mandrarossa 2018 “Timperosse” Petit Verdot, Terre Siciliane IGT, Italy, 13% ABV, $8. Since I know it’s PV, I can see the resemblance to others I’ve tasted, but I’m sure I would never have guessed tasting it blind. Pretty tasty wine, though. It didn’t seem to have that much to it at first, but after airing for 3.5 hours, it tastes of tangy, soft purple cherry, plum or tart blackberry / prune / dried orange peel / wood. Has the Italian acid and earthiness that I don’t recall from other PVs. IMO, neither overpriced nor a screaming deal, worth trying one if it sounds interesting.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      The saved 187.5ml screw-cap bottle, opened tonight, is still very nice. I wouldn’t keep this any longer, though.

      Reply
  3. lim13

    I gave in to nostalgia yesterday (broke my own vow to not buy wine in our quest to downsize and hopefully move soon) and bought two bottles of white at the Silverdale GO. Back in 1981, my girlfriend (now wife) and I celebrated the purchase of my new gold 1980 Honda Prelude by taking a trip to Sonoma and Napa to tour wineries. I yearn for those days when you generally had numerous opportunities to talk with the winemaker in the tasting room and tastings were all FREE!!! One of our first stops was at Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma County. As we were leaving the winery, the sprinklers came on and we got rather wet waiting for my “moon roof” to close. Anyway, I quickly became a fan of their Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay (yes, I used to drink a lot of Chardonnay) and Le Petite Etoille Fume’ Blanc.

    So, even though I knew ownership was different and my favorite wines are no longer produced, I had to try one bottle each of the 2019 Ch. St. Jean Crisp (unoaked) Chardonnay and 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, both at GO for $6.99 each. There’s an oaked Chardonnay too, but I couldn’t bring myself to try that. The Chardonnay brilliant pale straw with faint wisps of varietal fruit in the nose and bone dry flavors of grapefruit pith, lemon and an earthy quality with a slightly bitter finish. Nothing stands out for me, so no more of that. I’m certain you Chardonnay fans can do far better for $7.00 at GO. I found nothing in the Sauv Blanc that would identify it as such…no grass, no herb, no fruit whatsoever. My recommendation: save your money for something worthy of your good taste and avoid these two seriously overpriced losers.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Wow. Well, thanks for venturing where certainly I had feared to tread. These wines are around here, too, and include a “North Coast” Chardonnay, I think for a dollar less. Chateau St. Jean was one of the earlier stops my father and I made when we started visiting wineries in the early 1990s, after I moved to Berkeley. I don’t think we ever went back, though. Have you tried any wines from Robert Young Vineyards?

      Reply
      1. lim13

        The best thing I got out of this whole experience, BW, was a good laugh reading the first line of your comment. And no…I’ve had none of the RYV wines.

        Reply
  4. BargainWhine Post author

    Portia 2013 Crianza, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 14% ABV, $7. Arrived two days ago, I was excited to see it because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a RdD, which I prefer to Rioja. Tonight it was decently tasty pretty quickly, but needed 4.5 hours decanted to for the acid to recede and the fruit to fully soften. Dark red cherry, some purple plum, light caramelly woody / earthiness, slight cinnamon. Pretty good, and has that RdD flavor and soft fruit I’ve missed, but this example seems slightly over the hill. I wouldn’t mind it for near-term drinking, though.

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  5. BargainWhine Post author

    Jean-Luc Colombo 2019 “La Dame du Rouet” rose, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France, 12.5% ABV, $6. Delicate flavors of tart mandarin orange and pink grapefruit, hint of ripe red berries, citrus pith bitterness, viscous minerality that gives it heavier body for a rose. Its bitterness was a little strong for me, although I seem to be more sensitive to it than many. While it becomes less bitter as it warms from fridge temp, I preferred it with food, when I found it quite tasty.

    Domaine de la Belouse 2017 Pinot Noir, Appellation Bourgogne Protegée, France, 13% ABV, $12. Slightly opening after being decanted 6.5 hours, typical Pinot flavors of tart red cherry, more viscous riper red cherry, hint of plum, orange, tough, thick layer of chewy stemmy tannin. Will need at least a couple years to resolve, likely more. I saved a 187.5ml bottle when I first opened this, and another 250ml bottle when it hadn’t budged after 4.5 hours. I’ll reply to this comment when I open them.

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  6. Seedboy

    Casalone Bricco Santa Maria Barbera del Monferrato 2017, purchased at Oakland, only place I have seen it, maybe $5.99. This is exactly what I want from a Barbera: balanced, tasty, uncomplicated, good with food. Enjoy it during summer grilling season and maybe keep a couple for winter braises.

    Reply
  7. BargainWhine Post author

    Château Haut Gléon 2014 Corbières AOC, France, 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% old vine Carignan, 13.5% ABV, $9. At least this recently arrived, this wine needed 3 – 4 hours decanted to develop ripe fruits of dark red / purple cherry, blueberry / blackberry, a little plum and black cherry, garrigue / funk, dark brown earthy oak, soft tannins. I suspect this would have been better if I had let it settle a couple weeks and decanted it off sediment. This is fully mature, but will probably benefit from a couple hours of air whenever you open it. 91 points Wine Advocate, and FWIW I agree with this rating. Unfortunately, however, this appears to be around in very limited quantities. If you see it, get all you’ll want, because it probably won’t be there when you return. [Update: apparently more will be arriving at least to the Richmond store, so I hope there will be more generally available than I had first thought.]

    Reply
  8. BargainWhine Post author

    Noble Tree 2015 Grenache, Russian River Valley, CA, 14.5% ABV, $6. I liked the 2017 Vintage of this wine a lot, but this one is better. Right after it arrived, on the first day, it seemed perhaps a little lighter than the 2017, but with a very similar structure and balance of flavors. However, a few days later, the saved 187.5ml screw-cap bottle was spectacular, with deliciously complex fruits, spices, herbs. Highly recommended!

    Reply
    1. WineObsessedRN

      Hi BW, Noble Tree was the secret second label of Thomas George Wine Estates in Healdsburg CA until 2019 when they sold this label to Taub Family. Label started in 2008, probably to make use of excess grapes that didn’t make first cut. The Thomas George 2016 Grenache sells for $65. Earlier, someone mentioned this label, then a discussion re multilabel wine factories ensued. I love finding secret second labels of legit wineries! Wish we had this in Pullman!

      Reply
  9. Seedboy

    Rock Wall Nebbiolo Heringer Vineyard 2019, $12, 13% Alcohol. Oakland. Apparently Richmond has also gotten this. I have been making something of a study of California Nebbiolo and took the plunge on this one. It has the typical light color of Nebbiolo, and also tastes like Nebbiolo, which California Nebbioli sometimes don’t. It is more like Barbaresco than Barolo. I don’t think it changed much from day 1 to day 2, maybe the fruit intensity picked up some, but, strangely, was inconsistent from sip to sip. I will probably buy a couple more and lay them down.

    Reply
      1. Doon

        Redwood City has the Nebbiolo. I agree it is a nice expression of this grape; for me more like a Nebbiolo d’ Alba, fresh with less tannic grip than a Barbaresco or Barolo. Went well with Basil/Mac nut pesto. I went back for a few more.

        Reply
      2. Happybaker

        I’ve seen the Rock Wall Nebbiolo in SoCal, in the Highland Park store – but that doesn’t help you : |

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      3. bretrooks

        San Luis Obispo has it; I picked up one bottle but haven’t tried it yet. That, a Hendry Zin, and the Blanc de Blancs are still awaiting tasting at home…we’ll probably open one or two of those this weekend.

        Of the Rock Walls we’ve opened thus far, the Malvasia Bianca is actually our favorite, with the Mariah Zin coming in second (although I’d say the mid-palate of our bottle was a little flat and the acidity a bit spiky, if I was to nitpick…perhaps some time might help it balance out).

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        1. bretrooks

          To follow up, we opened the Nebbiolo last night and enjoyed it – good balance and varietal correctness, particularly for a CA rendition. Nebbiolo d’ Alba strikes me as a good analogue. I picked up a couple more, plus half a case of the Malvasia Bianca…also, a Saracina Skid Rosé and Noble Tree 2015 Grenache to try out.

          New Rock Wall wines are continuing to make there way to shelves in SLO. They’ve added at least a still Pinot rosé, a sparkling rosé, and a “Mama’s Reserve” white (Chenin/Viognier) in the last week or two.

          Reply
  10. BargainWhine Post author

    – Saracina Vineyards 2020 “Skid Rosé,” Mendocino County, CA, 13.0% ABV, $6. “Named for the historic Skid Row vineyard, our rosé is crisp and delicate.” I support that description, and liked it a lot. Delicate nose and flavors of cantaloupe / slight tangerine, tart red berries, slight yellow apple, slight softness of fruit well balanced with acid and bitterness.

    – Ternion 2018 “The Power of Three” Pinot Noir (although the only power of three here is 31), 60% Santa Barbara County, 20% Sonoma County, 20% Monterey County, 13.8% ABV, $7. Smooth and slightly syrupy texture with flavors of ripe darker red / slightly purple cherry, ripe pomegranate, earthiness, orange peel, hints of cola and dried stem, supporting oak on the finish. The texture makes it not my favorite style of Pinot, but I think it’s pretty tasty.

    – Perry Creek 2018 “The Baron,” 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, El Dorado County, CA, 14.2% ABV, $10. First half was very tight, did not seem integrated even after being decanted 6 hours. Had light somewhat superficial fruit with a tight tannic core which promised to contain more fruit. Saved second half, decanted 4 hours, opened a bit to blackberry, Bing cherry, blackcurrant, red currant, cedar, pencil lead, dark herbs / stem, still has rough preserved plum acid and tight tannic finish that makes me think this still has a bit of aging to do. After 4.5 hours, opens to soft fruits of the same, but at this point, it’s not that interesting, and I suspect it needs at least another year of age.

    Reply
  11. Seedboy

    Richmond had a Mt Aukum Sangiovese yesterday for $6 or so and since it is mountain-grown I decided to give it a try. On day 1 I did not like it, it has that pickle barrel thing that I associate with under-cured American oak.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Pickle barrel thing? Hmm.. I tried a bottle and liked it a lot. My notes:
      Mount Aukum Winery 2016 Sangiovese, El Dorado AVA, CA, 14.3% ABV, $5. Arrived yesterday, needed 60 – 90 minutes decanted to air to balanced tart red and ripe purple cherries with tinge of balsamic, dried orange peel, earthy sassafras, stemmy / woody finish. Fruit comes out fully at 2 hours. Perhaps slightly past its prime so drink soon. A few days later (last night), the saved 187.5ml screw-cap bottle needed only a little air to become more soft, supple, fruit-forward, with the raisiny balsamic a little more pronounced, but still quite tasty to me.

      Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Seedboy. So, I had been wondering, “Pickle barrel? Does he mean ‘dill’?” Well, I opened another bottle of the Mount Aukum 2016 Sangiovese tonight and tasted it right after decanting, and that clued me in right away! I would call it more of a rough tangy / sappy green wood, but there was no mistaking what you were describing. The bottle’s been open about 2.5 hours now, and while that aspect has greatly diminished and the fruit is now dominant, I can’t say it’s gone away entirely, especially in the finish. The wine still has more opening to do, though.

      Reply
  12. BargainWhine Post author

    Rock Wall 2021 Malvasia Bianca, Del Arroyo Vineyard, Livermore Valley, CA, 13.52% ABV, $10. I have in the past liked RW’s whites better than their reds, especially unusual varietals like this one, and this very much fits that pattern. However, although I like it a lot, it’s a varietal with which I’m not very familiar, but here goes. Stone fruits (ripe white nectarine, lighter apricot), something tropical-ish like golden kiwi that is also sort of close to very ripe yellow melon with some rind character, yellow honeysuckle nectar including that slight sappy bitterness, nutmeg / clove. Well, okay, that was my effort. Will now read back of the bottle (that I had noticed but avoided reading), which says, “…aromatics and flavors are fruity, floral, and spicy with a distinct mouth feel. Aromas of flowers, pineapple, guava, apricot and key lime give way to unique flavors of pear, mango, allspice, jasmine and a lemon confit finish.” I’m not sure about key lime and mango, but otherwise, I think we’re in remarkably good agreement.

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    1. JJ

      I enjoyed a lot of Malvasia in Portugal last Fall….wish there were more of them that would make it across the ocean. I would like to try this one….sounds luscious! I’ll contact Stan the Man, but have my doubts we’ll get it up north.

      Reply
    2. lim13

      Loved Central Coast Malvasia every year for many years when I was a member of the Wild Horse wine club in the 80’s and 90’s. They made a delicious one and I believe were one of the first and only wineries in CA to produce it. Always struck me as a combo of Torrontes and Orange Muscat…bone dry, but fruity and floral.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Lim13. Especially now, second day, I can easily see how Torrontés + Orange Muscat – sugar = Malvasia Bianca. Seems fuller-bodied and more orange / apricot today. I think there’s barely any of this in CA GOs.

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        1. lim13

          Western WA update: Still no German wines you reviewed here, BW and zero Rock Wall wines in the Silverdale GO as of yesterday afternoon.

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Sorry. Would send you some if I could. I’m pretty surprised there haven’t been any Rock Wall up there, though. We’re awash in them down here, although not really awash in any particular bottling.

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            1. lim13

              Thanks, BW. But I was only looking so I could inform any locals of the availability of any of those wines here. I’m still not buying any wine except for the two winery clubs I’ve belonged to for years…though I might be coaxed into a bottle or two of the Rock Wall Malvasia should it ever show here. I’ve become quite content drinking through my cellar wines, which could very well last me until I head off to that great wine cellar in the sky!

            2. JustAnotherWineSnob

              The reason the Rockwall wines never made it to WA or OR is because the winery didn’t have the necessary compliance to sell to distributors out of state. It happens quite frequently with small wineries; we have to absorb the wines in CA because the winery doesn’t have, or won’t apply for, the specific licenses to sell in states other than CA.

            3. BargainWhine Post author

              Also, on an individual level, it’s apparently a felony for individuals to ship wine to other states. A while ago, I wanted to send Lim13 a couple bottles of the Rioja Vega Tempranillo Blanco we got here, but everyone told me that only registered wine shops could do so, and everything shipped had to be listed in their inventory. The “best” advice I got was to tell the Post Office that it was gourmet CA olive oil.

            4. DARRELL

              Thanks, JAWS, but I wasn’t thinking about GO distribution and instead of a personal shipment from BW. At least that is how I interpreted ” Would send you some if I could.”

      2. DARRELL

        Lim, the Malvasia Bianca isn’t or wasn’t all that rare a varietal way back in the early years ,the early ’70’s, because I know you remember the San Martin bottling back then with its screw topped bottles. In my formative drinking years I would purchase the well distributed wine in San Diego and also would visit the winery in San Martin tasting room to taste that and their fruit wines. The Malvasia would alway stand out for me even though it was off dry. Their fruit wines were very good also. I remember the strawberry and other fruit wines being true to the fruit. Today I probably wouldn’t drink the wine with my tuna sandwiches, but I do have fond memories of the wine and wish it was still around.

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        1. lim13

          Actually, Darrell, I don’t recall the Malvasia…but you did manage to conjure up an image for me of the San Martin Apricot wine we used to sell in the mid 70’s through mid-80’s. That was the only San Martin wine we carried and it was a slow mover. I love wine nostalgia!

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          1. DARRELL

            I remember mentioning this wine years ago and you mentioned that you recalled the wine. It could be you were acknowledging the winery.

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    3. bretrooks

      We opened our bottle of the Malvasia Bianca last night and enjoyed it. I’m on board with your description of tropical & stone fruit followed up by that strongly floral, slightly pithy bitterness (the major hallmark of the variety to me). I may get more of this.

      Ken Volk made the first one I ever tried, 10-12 years ago, and I haven’t had too many over the years, but Tercero (Los Olivos) just recently released one which is lovely…a bit less ripe/tropical than the Rock Wall, but also delicious.

      Reply
  13. DARRELL

    Bought a Lindeman’s Bin 25 Brut Cuvee for $4 at the Geary St. GO. Couldn’t find much info on the wine, but I believe it is a bulk process sparkler. The grapes said to be in the cuvee was all over the place and there wasn’t info at Lindeman’s either. I bought it since it was less than GO’s Proseccos. Hope it’s not Mimosa material.

    Reply
  14. BargainWhine Post author

    A few wines of late:
    – Rock Wall 2019 Zinfandel, Alegria Vineyard, Russian River Valley, CA, 14.91% ABV, $13. This seemed quite promising at first, with pretty nice even structure with hints of nice complexity, but with air, it became fairly simple fruity wine, without much Zinfandel character and less RRV Zin character. The saved bottle followed a similar evolution — seeming like it would develop into something complex with varietal and terroir character, but it was not to be. A customer was extolling the virtues of this wine to me in superlative terms, so maybe my bottle, or something about how I treated it, was off, but such was my experience. If anyone here has opinions, please let me know.
    – Copaboca 2016 Joven, Toro, Spain, 14% ABV, $5. Very tasty Tempranillo for the price, with riper fruit of red and purple cherries, slight earthy cinnamon, and a raisiny / stemmy finish that is a little outside the range of the usual American palate. That finish is my only caveat about this wine, which is otherwise a nice deal for pleasant drinking.
    – Le Fervent 2014 Syrah, Costières de Nîmes, southern France, 14% ABV, $8. Decanted off slight sediment, probably would have been better if I had let it settle for a week or so. Ripe and slightly syrupy, typical Syrah flavors of dark tangy and funky red cherry, blueberry, black plum / blackberry / charcoal. Not in a traditional French style, although not Californian, either. A few days later, the wine in the saved 250ml screw-cap bottle had relaxed significantly, so the initial impression is likely just from tasting it soon after it arrived at GO. No longer syrupy, becomes full-bodied, with flavors of the same tangy and funky reddish purple cherry / plum, blueberry, hints of garrigue, with plenty of balancing acid including hibiscus tea, orange / dried orange peel / sherry, thickly textured tannic finish of lots of wood, over-roasted espresso / chocolate / charcoal. Let it settle a little at home, then drink soon, decanting off sediment.

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    1. Seedboy

      I never liked the wine her father made from the Alegria vineyard so this does not surprise me. The Syrah sounds interesting.

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    2. bretrooks

      I picked up a bottle of the Alegria which was corked. Maybe when I return it I’ll ask if I can pick up a Hendry instead.

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      1. Seedboy

        They might not notice the difference in vineyards. I am curious, though, as to what you mean by corked; I’ve heard the term used a couple of different ways.

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        1. bretrooks

          I’m using “corked” in the technical sense to mean cork taint. Our bottle had the distinct influence of trichloroanisole (TCA) – in this case, muted fruit and a lingering papery mustiness on the palate. It definitely wasn’t the most corked wine I’ve encountered…questionable on the nose but bad enough that we both confirmed it with the first sip, and we returned what we had poured out back into the bottle. Maybe it’s worth mentioning that my wife and I are both somewhat more than usually sensitive to TCA…

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          1. Seedboy

            Thank you for clarifying. That is what I would mean by “corked”. I have seen more than a few people use the word as a synonym for physical cork failure. I am not very sensitive to TCA and don’t detect it very often, but do suspect that TCA that I don’t detect does mute the flavor of some of the wine I consume.

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          2. WineObsessedRN

            BR, that paper mustiness you describe so well I refer to as “Grandpa’s Basement”. I’m having serious GO WineEnvy here, no Rockwalls at all. I doubt the owner will order any as they are $10 and up. She aims for under $10 I’ve noticed.

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    3. WineObsessedRN

      BW, the Pullman GO had the 2015 vintage of Le Fervent Syrah.
      I did like this as did my friends!
      No sediment noted for us nor was it syrupy.
      Le Fervent Syrah
      🕰2015
      💯87/100 🌟3.7
      👁Garnet, translucent
      👃👅Dry, earthy, blackberry brambles, garrigue, leather, smooth tannins, gentle acidity, med finish, seems somewhat thin bodied for a Syrah but maybe I’m just accustomed to WA/ID versions.🤷
      🍇Syrah,Viogner coferment
      🌄Costiéres de Nîmes, Rhone Valley, 🇫🇷
      🏰🇫🇷MichelGassier/Philippe Cambie/🇺🇸CSM collaboration
      ⛽14%ABV
      🎖88 pts WE v2015
      🎖90 pts WE v2014
      Drink now, at end of DW.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Interesting! Thanks! We got more of this and I should check to see if it’s ’14 or ’15. Maybe I can compare the two directly.

        Reply
  15. BargainWhine Post author

    Rock Wall 2017 Chardonnay, Vigna Monte Nero Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA, 13.62% ABV, $10. Very ripe yellow apple, gentle lemon, hint of dried pineapple or other tropical yellow fruit, lots of buttery oak, with some sharp butterscotch in the finish, in a fairly thick and smooth body. A very CA Chardonnay that is certainly mature, maybe a little long in the tooth for some.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      If anyone sees any Rock Wall Monte Rosso zin please let us know. I love that vineyard and hope she finally made one I’d like.

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      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Also, someone called in to the Richmond Store looking for a Rock Wall Marchesi Vineyard Cabernet. If anyone sees this anywhere, please post it.

        Reply
        1. Zoel

          Saw (and bought) the Rock Wall Cab at the Cloverdale store, along with some of the Pinot Blanc and Mama’s Reserve (viognier/chenin blend). Popped the cab last night – fairly typical Alexander Valley fruit…not bad, not great. My wife opted “not a rebuy”, while I’m holding back judgment until I taste again after a day on the counter. At $13, decent value for sure.

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Hi Zoel. Yes, this Cab arrived at the Richmond store today, although I misspelled it: Rock Wall 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Marcheschi Vineyard Alexander Valley, CA, 14.1% ABV, $13.

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            1. Zoel

              Day Two of the Rock Wall Marcheschi Cab…same as day one. Decent Alexander Valley cab, but nothing is “calling me” besides a decent quaffer. At $13, a pass vs. the Rock Wall Zins…I also just picked up the ’17 Papa’s Syrah and the ’17 Petite Syrah, will hopefully open this weekend and report back as well.

      2. Seedboy

        I have taken a tour of GOs over the last few days. Here is what I have found re Rock Wall. If you want the Rock Wall 2019 Pinot Noir it seems you have to go to Napa. The St Peter’s Church vineyard zin is widely available; when opened it was disjointed between the ample fruit and what seemed like added acid, after open a couple of days the acid was integrated with pruney overripe fruit you would expect from Rock Wall. Richmond has the Hendry zin, which is a marvelous wine made from fruit grown on the lower part of Mt Veeder. Elegant and promises a good future. A Syrah and a Petite Sirah are more widely available, as is the 2018 Pinot that is not nearly the wine the 2019 is. I have seen a Chardonnay and a couple of sparkling wines including a 100% Chardonnay from the same vineyard as the Pinot, which I saw only at the Solano Ave Napa store, a Lodi wine is more available. I saw a tannat in Napa for anyone who is interested, you’d have to pay me to drink anything made from that grape. I think it was Richmond that had a single vineyard Contra Costa County zin that was above 16% alcohol and I did not buy. The SF Bay cab is more widely available, unless the woman behind me at Richmond bought all of it, she seemed to be trying; the Alexander Valley cab I have seen only at Richmond. Again all reds are $13, all whites and sparkling $10.
        Richmond has a Ricitos de Oro Granache Blanc from Spain, $5, that is a nice mouthful of wine, clean, balanced; I will buy more.

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          1. Seedboy

            I did not buy either. I am losing interest in PS and have more than I’ll ever drink. It is hard to get me to pay $13 for a GO Syrah.

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            1. Zoel

              We popped open a Rock Wall PS last night…overall pretty solid juice. At entry (no decant) it was a tad edgy, needed some O2. After 30 min, opened up to a nice floral bouquet, clearly varietal-appropriate…nice velvet mouthfeel of higher PS. My hunch is that remainder of bottle will be even better tonight. Give it 89-91 pts, possible rebuy.

        1. bretrooks

          There were a whole bunch of Rock Wall options at the SLO store on Saturday:
          2019 Alegria Zin
          2018 St. Peter’s Church Zin
          2017 Mariah Zin
          2018 Hendry Block 29 Zin
          201? Papa’s Syrah
          201? Jack’s Petite Sirah
          2017 Rigg (SF Bay) Cab Sauv
          2019 Heringer Nebbiolo
          201? Heringer Cab Franc
          2017 “The Palindrome” Tannat
          2016 Ski King
          2018 Estate Pinot Noir
          2018 Estate Chardonnay
          2019 Blanc de Blancs
          2021 Del Arroyo Malvasia Bianca

          I picked up a few to try. The Alegria Zin seemed promising but was corked, so I’ll have to take it back. The St. Peter’s Church Zin was pretty ripe and kind of confected (not my style)…I know people who would love it, but I wouldn’t buy it again myself. Haven’t tried the Nebbiolo, BdB, or Malvasia Bianca yet.

          Reply
            1. Seedboy

              This winery tended to push ripeness and therefore alcohol levels tend to be high. That is my major beef with Rock Wall, and with the last few vintages Kent made for Rosenblum. The 2019 Pinot I like is uncharacteristically low at 13.5. The St Peter’s Church is a bit above 15.

              If anyone sees the Nebbiolo in the Bay Area let me know.

            2. bretrooks

              There’s a wide range – the Papa’s Syrah is something crazy like 16.6%, but there were also some reds in the high 13’s/low 14’s. The St. Peter’s Church Zin (at just over 15%) was the highest I was willing to try, mostly because it’s Alexander Valley fruit, which generally piques my interest because my mother-in-law used to work at a tasting room out there. The Nebbiolo is relatively low – 14.2%, if I remember correctly.

            3. lim13

              Yeah…I believe you and I exchanged comments about the “historically” high alcohol levels of Rosenblum/Rock Wall wines not long ago, SB. Don’t suspect we’ll see any of those wines up here in WA anyway. Plus I’m still in a no–buy wine life phase anyway. Still house hunting and I suspect I’ll no longer have a sub-ground wine cellar and don’t want to buy more wine to move anyway. I’m making great headway on my cellar and feel really good about that!

            4. lim13

              Indeed, Darrell. And believe me, when one hasn’t moved in 32 years, and is going from a large 2 story house to a small rambler, the stress apparently causes one to consume greater quantities of alcohol! :~) We’re doing our part.

            1. Seedboy

              Today’s related news item is that Shauna Rosenblum has been appointed the head winemaker at Ridge’s Lytton Springs winery.

            2. lim13

              Rosenblum George Hendry Zins were always a favorite of mine since I bought them at the winery in 1990.

          1. dluber

            I got the Rock Wall Hendry and Mariah zins at the Richmond, CA store the other day, opened the Mariah last nite. Similar comment to what Seedboy said about the Hendry, which I’ve not tried yet: a nice claret-style wine. It’s on the high side at 14.8%, but wears it well, with a nice acid-tannin balance, coming from a cool climate, although I would age any zin much longer. Good but not a repeat buy.

            I got it on the strength of the vineyard name as much as Rosenblum. Mariah vineyard is in the Mendocino Ridge AVA, the only discontiguous CA appellation. “Islands in the Sky” – they sit at 1,200 ft or higher, above the coastal fog, cool but in the sun, a unique microclimate.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendocino_Ridge_AVA

            Back in the 1980s and early 90s, Kendall-Jackson used to make some very nice claret-style single-vineyard zins, a Mariah among them; compared favorably to similar zins by Storybook, Swan, or Seghesio, at about half the price. I also had a very good Mariah pinot by Woodenhead from GO maybe 2 years (?) ago. Looks like they did some recent Mariah zins too, but Mariah (also?) has its own wines now.

            Reply
        2. DARRELL

          SB, thanks for the scouting and tasting of these wines and other forays you’ve made. This takes time and gas money, something I do less now. From Bretrooks listing I was wondering why there was a bottle named “Palindrome” and then I noticed the variety. Duh.

          Reply
        3. BargainWhine Post author

          When I read you’d have to be paid to drink Tannat, I thought you must have gotten in on the batch of Madirans we had at GO some years ago, but after looking, I see that you did not make a single comment on those posts. 🙂

          Reply
        4. Rocky

          Seedboy, I second your opinion on the Hendry zin. Tried the Alegria (sp?), less spectacular. Wasn’t much of a fan of the Pinot either. There is a red blend 1.5l arriving also I believe, $30.

          Reply
  16. WineObsessedRN

    Hi BW, just thought I’d comment on this wine, as I’ve had previous vintages.
    The 2017 vintage of North by Northwest Syrah, Walla Walla Valley earned an “Editor’s Choice” 90 pts by Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast (12/31/21), just an aside.
    “This wine’s aromas are forward in notes of herbs, Dimetapp cough medicine, smoke and purple gummy candy. Ripe, full bodied fruit flavors follow with barrel notes interlaced.”
    I had the 2015 and 2016 vintages of NxNW Syrah 10 times in the last couple years (before retiring suddenly!) and enjoyed them, rating at 87-89.
    At $16, pricier than most Grocery Outlet wines on the shelves. 🤷
    Did I like the NxNW SY twice as much as the Metala Shiraz/CS ($7) from an earlier post? 🤔
    Nope! 😂

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi WORN! Are the tasting notes in quotes yours or Sullivan’s? Hard to believe someone would award 90pts based on those notes. Part of the GO price seems to based on years of drinkability remaining, on which the NxNW Syrah definitely bests the Metala Shiraz/CS.

      Reply
  17. BargainWhine Post author

    North by Northwest 2017 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, WA, 14.5% ABV, $16. The first portion of this bottle was rather tight and acid, although with a nice floral component until it had been decanted about 4 hours. Then, it became soft textured and fruity, but not very complex and not retaining much structure. The saved 250ml screw-cap bottle still needed about 2 hours in a glass before it became smooth and supple, still not super complex, but showing nicely subtle flavors of purple / red plum and cherry, blueberry, slight roasted meat, still plenty of hibiscus tea acid, dark earthy tannin / oak. Probably will evolve well for the next couple years.

    Reply
  18. BargainWhine Post author

    Château Haut-Domingue 2021 Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France, 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Gris, imported by Evaki Inc., 12.5% ABV, $9. I was a little worried since many previous white Bordeaux I’ve had needed a good bit of age to become something enjoyable, but this is quite accessible, tasty and complex. Nicely aromatic with Semillon’s white near the watermelon rind / less ripe pear. On the palate, this plus Sauvignon Blanc’s almost floral lemon / lime, yellow melon (including some darker yellow rind), with some softness of fruit, and some savory character that’s like lighter fresh herbs and something like browned stem (but sweet-ish, not bitter). Anyway, I think that if you like the dry French style of balanced fruit / acid / (not that much) bitterness, and you engage with a decently complex wine, this is a good wine for the money. Seedboy says this is the current release of a $20 wine, which strikes me as about right.

    Reply
  19. BargainWhine Post author

    After enjoying the Crystal Cruises “Sommelier Selections” “C Reserve” Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, I thought I’d I try their 2019 Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, CA, 14.5% ABV, $6. The GO label suggests it’s also made by McIntyre Vineyards. It tastes of medium-ripe lemony yellow apple, slightly funky tropical yellow fruits (jackfruit and golden kiwi?), sort of musty minerality, sweet lime, moderately buttery oak. To me, it’s much better a little warmed from fridge temp. I’m personally not wild about it, but it’s pretty good for $6.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      So, much like the Pinot, my opinion of the Chardonnay is much improved on the wine’s second day. While the flavors are pretty much the same, the fruit is more forward and integrated, and the mustiness much reduced. Now, it’s quite tasty, if maybe still a little on the sweeter side for me.

      Reply
  20. WineObsessedRN

    Also new to Pullman:
    Castillo de Enériz
    Coleccion Crianza 2018
    Navarra, Spain
    🕰2018
    💯88/100 🌟3.8
    👁Ruby garnet
    👃👅Dry,black red fruits, leather,spice,eucalyptus,cocoa,lively acidity, good tannic structure
    🍇50%Garnacha,30%Cabernet Sauvignon,10%Merlot,10%Tempranillo
    🕰18 mo French & American oak barrels,6 mo bottle aged
    ⛽14.0%ABV
    💵$20MSRP $7 GOBM
    Misleading sticker as:
    🎖2016 vintage scored 92 WE🎖
    I did enjoy this very much! 😃
    My scoring scale, how much I like the wine & repurchasing probability.
    (Rebuys are always price dependant of course):
    90-99 Loved, definite rebuy
    87-89 Liked a lot, probable rebuy
    84-86 Okay wine, depends on use, ie large party ok
    80-83 Not a rebuy

    Reply
  21. WineObsessedRN

    New to Pullman:
    Haras de Pirque
    Hussonet
    Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva
    🕰2016
    💯87/100 🌟3.7
    👁Deep ruby
    👃👅Dry, dark berries, vanilla, minerality, allspice, bayleaf, brisk acidity, med tannins and finish.
    🍇85%CS,15%CF
    🕰Stainless/French oak fermentation, aged 12 mo in 60 gallon oak barrels
    ⛽13.5%ABV
    💵$15 retail $6 GOBM
    🌄Maipo Valley, Chilé
    Viña Haras de Pirque
    Grown, vinted and bottled by Antinori Chilé
    Chateau Ste Michelle Estates distributor
    (I couldn’t locate any previous posts of this wine to attach this comment.)

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      I hadn’t mentioned this wine in particular, but it is related to the Haras de Pirque 2016 Reserva de Propriedad and the 2019 Chardonnay. I don’t get much sense from your review so, did you like it? (Myself, I agree with your tasting notes, and thought it was tasty and very smooth, completely lacking the “sulfurous bell pepper” (how it strikes me) in many Chilean wines, but would have been better with a little fuller body.)

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        BW, I wanted to try what Chilean CS was like as I’m mostly familiar w WA CS. I did like it! Quite different from WA. My favorite CS so far (mostly CS, anyway, 95%) is Quilceda Creek CVR but at $50+, a rare indulgence.

        Reply
  22. BargainWhine Post author

    The Big Pink 2020 rosé, Lodi, California, 13.3% ABV, $4. I usually stick with French or Italian rosés, but thought I should try an American one for a change, and picked this since I liked the label and color and it sells well. It is indeed very good! The weight of the fruit is somewhere between a usual southern French style and the recent Italian Lusenti, and is nicely balanced with acid and an oily-ish minerality. Nicely dry.

    Reply
    1. Happybaker

      Bought this on your rec – loved it! Even my husband who’s says he doesn’t like rosés, likes it. (I think he simply doesn’t like American style rosés but, whatever!) It’s been missing from the stores after my first buy, but now that it’s in this weeks circular (SoCa) I’m hoping to pick up more. The perfect summer wine to sip with friends.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi HB! I’m glad to hear you (plural) like it. My store was recently able to get a bunch more, so probably yours will, too.

        Reply
  23. BargainWhine Post author

    A couple recent wines:

    Half and Half 2011 Shiraz – Monastrell (Syrah – Mourvèdre), Barossa, Australia, 14.0% ABV, $6. Recently arrived, needed 4 hours decanted to show soft, ripe, syrupy fruit of funky dark red cherry, blueberry, tangy purple plum / dark cranberry, burnt wood, bitter herbs / stem. Pretty good but not great, IMO.

    C Vineyards & Winery 2019 Pinot Noir “Sommelier Selection” “C Reserve,” Santa Lucia Highlands, CA, 15.1% ABV, $7. This is apparently one of a series of wines made for Crystal Cruises, the others of which are a Cabernet, a Merlot, and a Chardonnay. The owner at the Richmond store tried and liked the Cabernet and the Merlot, and, seeing the SLH designation, I thought I’d try the Pinot. (Also, the GO price tag calls this “McIntyre Pinot,” which one imagines refers to this McIntyre.) The body is lighter for a Pinot, with nicely delineated, balanced and smooth flavors of darker red cherry and strawberry, with notes of dried orange peel, root beer, green stem. Not a wild bargain, but definitely a nice Pinot for the money. My only caution is that, at least this recently arrived, it needed 4 – 5 hours open to fully air. Before that, the taste started well enough, but hit a bitter, stemmy wall in the finish, which finally integrated after a while and became nice additional complexity. My guess now is that this wine does not need more age, just a couple of weeks at home to relax from transit shock, or patience until 2nd day.

    Will reply to this post if either saved screw-cap bottle of these wines change conclusions.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      I concur with your notes on the Pinot and agree it is that McIntyre, that is what the buyer told me.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Seedboy. The back label says “vinted and bottled by C Vineyards & Winery, Soledad, CA.” Does this mean McIntyre sold some fruit and someone else made the wine, or McIntyre grew the fruit and made the wine but didn’t want their name on it?

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          These Sommelier wines were made for the Crystal Cruise lines, for shipboard service. McIntyre made them as a custom label. The buyer is really high on the Cab, as is the Petaluma wine guy Steve.

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Tonight, I opened the “C Reserve” 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, CA, made for Crystal Cruises, 15.2% ABV, $7. It was pretty good right away, but benefited from being open 2 – 2.5 hours, when it tasted of full, soft, ripe Bing cherry with some blackberry and cassis, with hints of vanilla oak, allspice / licorice, and some herbal / stemmy balance. You know, in this case, I almost completely (minor nitpicks aside) endorse the back label, which reads, “Smooth and rich, the wine exhibits classic Cabernet Sauvignon aromas and flavors of black cherries and berries, with hints of cedar and chocolate. The wine is further enhanced by soft tannin [sic] structure, with toasted oak and spice nuances.” It’s a little soft and ripe for me, but it’s really yummy, especially at this price.

            Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      The saved portion of the Half and Half did not change my opinion of it.

      The second half of the C Vineyards 2019 SLH Pinot, on the other hand, very much improved my opinion of it. The fruit filled in a bit more, so it was of average weight for a Pinot, and the structure nicely integrated with the fruit and secondary flavors, although it still had that delicate elegance. The fruit also darkened into a deep red cherry. It’s not perfect, still a little out of joint here and there, but for this price, it’s great. Should be fine for the next year or so.

      Reply
  24. Seedboy

    I ran into the corporate wine buyer today. Nice guy. He says that GO has bought all of the remaining stock of Rock Wall, which might be good news to some of you, but not necessarily to me.

    Reply
    1. Happybaker

      Oh – sorry Seedboy! Hope it’s not too horrific for you.

      It’s actually good news to me, we just drank our last bottle of the 2017 Zinfandel (the one with the boots on the bottle), to send a friend off on her trip to Paris and Spain and only have two bottles of the Papa’s Syrah left. I’d love to nab more!

      Reply
  25. WineObsessedRN

    Warm weather finally here, decided to try out Inches Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $4.
    🕰2020
    💯87/100 🌟3.7
    Compressed foam/plastic sheath closure, difficult to remove, used AhSo when waiter’s corkscrew couldn’t budge it loose!
    👁Coral pink
    👃👅Very slightest offdry, white cherry, strawberry, ruby grapefruit zest, peach, green melon, herb, hint saline, nice acidity, yummy Rosé perfect for summer guzzling!
    Drank 8 oz before I knew it, kept refilling my glass “just a bit more”.
    🍇 CS%unknown
    🌄Horse Heaven Hills AVA
    💵$12 MSRP $4 GOBM
    🎖92pts Critics Challenge 2021
    ⛽12%ABV
    No tech sheet found
    Public COLA Registry reveals this is made in Richland WA by Pacific Rim (US West Coast branch of Banfi), label now owned by Vancouver BC Aquilini Beverage which makes Aquilini/Dixie & Bass/Be Human/Chasing Rain/10,000 Hours/Roaming Dog labels.
    Confusing! 🤔
    Definite rebuy for summer despite closure issue. Really dislike those compressed plastic foam things.

    Reply
  26. BargainWhine Post author

    A few wine I have opened lately:
    Michel-Schlumberger 2020 Teroldego, Lodi, CA, 13.9% ABV, $13. I’ve previously enjoyed Teroldego from far northern Italy, and was curious to try this one from CA, although I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Lodi version. This wine is quite young and needed 5 – 6 hours decanted to feel to me like it was fully open, when it showed tangy / tart medium purple plum and cherry, black plum / earth / pepper, almost floral of dark red roses / hibiscus tea, slight meatiness, silty tannic finish. It had flavors fairly similar to a Zinfandel, but had better structure and more acid, and lacked the plush fruit of Zin. An interesting wine that should improve with a couple more years of age.

    Mission Sud 2020 Cabernet – Syrah, 50% each, Pays d’Oc, France, 13.5% ABV, $7. I tasted this wine only after it had been decanted 3 hours, when I found that, although it does taste like Cabernet and Syrah in a reasonable blend, the flavors are more simple than I’d hope for, and I disliked whatever wood product was used. However, the saved bottle held up quite well over a few hours, so it’s pretty solid and may improve with a little short-term age.

    Perry Creek 2019 Barbera “Altitude 2401′”, El Dorado County, CA, “produced and bottled by Perry Creek Winery,” 14.5% ABV, $10. This is a great wine for those who love full, rich, ripe CA versions of Italian grapes. This recently arrived, this wine needed 4 hours decanted to show full-bodied ripe purple plum with a lot of thick, tannic, acid plum skin character, secondary blueberry / boysenberry / blackberry / tar. Has the extra acid of Barbera, but is much more full and ripe than any Italian Barbera I’ve had. Still feels like it did not fully open up. I’ll reply to this when I open the saved screw-cap bottle. There’s also a Perry Creek 2015? Petite Sirah, same price.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Pretty sure they would still be there, the Teroldego on the shelves against the wall in the “Other Reds” area, and the Barbera in the “domestic red” area of one of the free-standing “tables.”

        Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Last night, I poured the saved ~250ml screw-cap bottle of the Teroldego into a glass. Even consumed over the course of about 2.5 hours, it still tasted as though it had not fully opened, so if you get any of this, I’d give it a couple years to come around.

      Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      A couple nights ago, I opened the saved bottle of the Perry Creek Barbera. It still needed about an hour in the glass to fully soften up, becoming more rich and complex. At first, I wasn’t sure it would become something really pleasant, but it did turn out fine. Drink over the next year, I would guess.

      Reply
  27. Seedboy

    The RR rose vermouth is quite interesting. It is rather dry; I have used it to replace half of the sweet vermouth when I make a manhattan and it makes for a more interesting drink. The legendary Ledger’s Liquors in Berkeley is selling it for $30 a bottle; I’d not buy it for that price but for $10 a .375 it is a good buy.

    Reply
  28. BargainWhine Post author

    The Richmond, CA, store recently received four 2021 German Rieslings. I opened two of them tonight.

    Günther Schlink Deutscher Landwein Rhein, bottled and shipped by Günther Schlink, imported by Wein-bauer, 9% ABV, $6. White pear and perfumed white flowers, flavors and ripe acid of green apple and lemon, slight minerality. Lightly sweet but with a nice mouth-puckering finish from the acid.

    Kreuznacher Weinhaus in der Heinrichstraße Piesporter Michelsberg, Mosel, bottled and shipped by Günther Schlink, imported by Wein-bauer, 9% ABV, $7. White pear, green and yellow apple / lemon, apricot, slight white pepper. Starts off softer and riper than the Günther Schlink, but still finishes with nice acid. Slightly easier drinking than the GS; requires a little more attention to appreciate its greater complexity.

    Opened these for a meal of Howe’s Oktoberfest bratwurst (from GO), product of Germany, browned in a pan and mixed with onion I had caramelized, green summer squash, and jasmine rice. I think both these wines are excellent, and really let you know why you get German Rieslings. The other two 2021 Rieslings are a “Weinhaus Schlink” Deutscher Landwein Rhein and the St. Boniface Piesporter Michelsberg, for which my comments on the 2020 are here. Lim, I hope these make it to the outer provinces.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Would LOVE to see these up here in WA…particularly the Piesporters. Can’t even recall the last time I saw a decent German Riesling at our local GO’s, but I’m certain it’s been years. Fingers crossed, but I’m not holding my breath.

      Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi JJ. Bottle doesn’t say, and I cannot find these wines online, not even in the importer’s catalog. Company seems to be based in Bad Kreuznach, in the Nahe.

          Reply
        2. Flitcraft

          Me three!! I’m nearly out of German Riesling, so would love to replenish with some, for sure.

          In an unrelated note, I returned last night from a trip to central Pennsylvania, where our daughter and son-in-law are just buying a house, which is conveniently located about two miles from a Grocery Outlet. (Odd that this wasn’t mentioned on the preview sheet from the realtor.)

          No wine, of course, since Pennsylvania still has stupidly restrictive wine sales laws, but a lot of other GO bargains, including some triple creme brie, a California organic olive oil infused with sundried tomatoes and chilis, and King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. Those items and a few in addition made them over to the new house. I doubt there are many readers of this site in Pennsylvania, because reasons, but I was most impressed by the whole beef briskets there! If I lived in the area, I would have definitely sunk a hundred bucks into one of those enormous chunks of beef, but given that my son-in-law is a vegetarian, sadly I had to pass it by.

          Reply
          1. JJ

            Yay for the vegetarianism!
            Boo for Pennsylvania’s unenlightened wine laws!
            And I didn’t know there were any Grocery Outlets outside the west coast-ish region, so that’s really news to me 😉

            Reply
          2. DARRELL

            Flit, on the plus side of PA, one can bring wine for dinner from one’s cellar with no fuss, no muss, no charge. I hauled a case of wine from CA to Philly to celebrate daughter’s graduation from Wharton. The BYOB there was quite civilized. Question, what First Growth does mother-in-law open for son-in-law’s vegetables.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              Having grown up 12 miles from Philly (in South Jersey) and having dealt with the PA Liquor Control Board in my past vocation, I thought it only fair to clarify…SOME restaurants charge no corkage fee, some charge as much as $35 and some do not allow you to bring your own wine at all. Check out this link: https://corkagefee.com/cities/philadelphia-pa-corkage-fees/
              What really bothered me about my home state of NJ is they would not allow you to bring your own wine AND you could not remove unfinished bottles of their wines from the premises. To me, that just encouraged folks to drink up…even if they had already consumed enough. I expressed my opinions and concerns to the governor’s (at the time) office and got no reply.

            2. JJ

              Sigh….I long for the days when these were ‘problems’.
              Maybe the PA Liquor Control Board should join up with HHS, DEA, ATF and ??, and put their resources toward saving lives from Fentanyl overdoses instead of policing wine drinking.

            3. lim13

              Keep in mind that there are still 17 states (like PA) in the US that have a state monopoly on alcohol…all operating a little differently in respect to how it’s sold.

            4. flitcraft

              Well, in this case, wine isn’t usually served. My son-in-law seems to prefer beer and hard seltzer to wine, as do many of his peers.

              PA still jealously defends its alcohol laws. You legally cannot bring alcohol into the law without paying state alcohol taxes–one of my daughter’s co-workers was told by her moving company that they could not move her wine and spirits collection unless the PA taxes were paid upfront. So, interesting and bizarre cocktails resulted prior to the move, apparently. Also, there are still occasional sting operations just inside the state borders where cars sporting PA license plates seen in liquor store parking lots seen in Delaware get stopped and ticketed once across the PA state line. Or, so I have been told–no personal experience!

              And, to keep this GO focused, I can’t imagine that it is easy to make the nut in the PA GOs without having wine sales to fatten the bottom line. I did note that one of the Harrisburg area GOs closed recently, but then again, we’ve had a few closures in WA too, despite friendly alcohol sales laws.

            5. DARRELL

              I’m a lucky dad-in-law since both my daughters and hubbies are close by in the Bay Area and I cook for both with the grandkids, about once a week. I determine the menu and, hence, the wine. So I am teaching them about wine and cooking,too. Not sure what happened to the daughters. One son-in-law does the cooking for my daughter and knows about wine and drinks with me and often includes a little distillate in a Glencairn and puffing afterwards. The other son-in-law loves great food, has a penchant for Wagyu for some reason. but doesn’t drink much wine although he is improving and taking notice of some of the wines lately. Flit, IIRC, a daughter was sort of interested in wine and you tried to expose her to quality wine. I hope you can larn her, if she is the PA daughter, about food and wine. Even as a senior citizen with adult kids, I feel obligated to teach them about food and wine so they can appreciate what I don’t drink up.

    2. Seedboy

      Those brats are a favorite of mine, but Howe introduces some odd flavorings to some of them that put me off. Fortunately they mark that on the package. I think we will have some of them tonight.

      Reply
    3. lim13

      Checked the Silverdale store today and none of these wines were there, but there were seven cases of one German Riesling…a 2020 Wilhelm Kraemer Pfalz Qualitatswein (toward the low end of the German spectrum) with a somewhat suspect label for $5.99. I bought one and will report back. On another note, there were also at least eight cases of the Pleiades white.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        The Kraemer Pfalz Riesling that I mentioned above…for me, it’s meh. Tends toward the sweet side with fair acidity, but nothing distinctly German to my taste…low on appley/citrusy/diesel bouquet and no real pronounced flavors. Definitely not a rebuy, as i have a number of WA state Rieslings I’d buy before more of this…in the $10 and under category. Still hoping to see any of the four that BW found.

        Reply
      2. bretrooks

        Very little new of interest in the SLO store today…only one of the Rieslings, and I don’t remember which it was but it wasn’t one I felt like taking a chance on. I picked up four more of the Pleiades whites for hot-weather sipping and called it a day.

        Reply
    4. BargainWhine Post author

      Here are the other two Rieslings in this group:
      – Weinhaus Schlink 2021 Deutscher Landwein Rhein, bottled and shipped by Günther Schlink, imported by Wein-bauer, 9% ABV, $6. Fairly similar the the Günther Schlink, but flavors include more yellow fruit (apple) and flowers (honeysuckle?), and the flavors and acid are a little less intense. A good and solid Riesling for the price, but I found the GS a little more interesting and satisfying.
      – St. Boniface 2021 Piesporter Michelsberg, Mosel, bottled and shipped by Günther Schlink, imported by Wein-bauer, 9% ABV, $7. This reminds me a lot of the 2020, in that the flavors are delicate and subtle, but the actual flavors remind me a good bit of the Kreuznacher above: floral white pear, yellow and green apple, hint of apricot, maybe something sweet green cooked vegetal? (green beans?, mild green chile?), slight astringency (white pepper?, aspirin?) in the finish. Has the same “loveliness” as the 2020. Fruit seems a little more full than in either the 2021 Kreuznacher or the 2020 St. Boniface.

      Reply
      1. rpr

        FWIW, these Rieslings have shown up in Southern Oregon (Medford, Grants Pass). Also a 2018 Thomas Schmitt Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese, which I’m tasting right now. I’m no riesling expert (much more confident on reds and most other whites), but this seems to have all the right flavors and decent but not great acidity. A hair too sweet for the levels of acidity and minerality for my taste, but I don’t tend to like sweet wines unless I’m going full on dessert (Sauternes, etc.) Still, a good wine for the $8.99 price if you like it sweeter.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi rpr and welcome. Agree, thanks for your contribution! On a small chance, were you perhaps a SF Bay Area resident a few years ago, one who was an occasional customer at the Richmond store?

          Reply
          1. rpr

            Yep, that’s me. I miss bothering you in Richmond, so I figured I should finally contribute to this group. (I have lurked for a long time…)

            Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Nah, your “botherings” were always fun. Thanks for joining long-distance.

  29. WineObsessedRN

    Recently arrived in Pullman, Paris Road California Zinfandel 2018, Paris Road California Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, both $7.
    My Vivino review for the zin.

    🕰2018
    💯87/100 🌟3.7
    👁Ruby red
    👃👅Slt off dry,cherry jam,cranberry,leather, med acidity,mild tannins, easy drinker,Ron’s fave of the two!
    🍇 75%Zinfandel,24%Syrah,1%PS
    (v2017,unable to locate tech sheet v2018)
    🕰22mo oak (v2017)
    🌄Paso Robles Chalk Hill (some of fruit)
    Chuck Stoller stable of wines,Sextant, Windemere & Paris Valley Road.
    An actual winery and tasting room in Paso Robles exists! A definite plus.
    Their entry level zin.
    💵$14 MSRP GOBM $7
    Still like the Villa Stellaria Zin better but that’s priced $12.
    Might have a blind tasting showdown btw 3 GO Zins at our next Happy Hour just for fun!
    I’m thinking Paris Road, Villa Stellaria, Windstorm, as these are all recent vintages.

    Reply
  30. Seedboy

    Lead Hill Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2017, $4.99 at Richmond. If you like a bit of butter balanced out by good acidity and a bit of minerality, try this out. The winery website is dead and there is little info about it other than you can get it delivered by Instacart for $5.49. I might buy a bottle or two for those occasions that are improved by this flavor profile.

    Reply
  31. BargainWhine Post author

    Mairena Extra Brut sparkling wine, produced and bottled by Familia Blanco, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.3% ABV, $7. This wine, with its delicate softness of fruit, doesn’t strike me as as exceptionally dry as previous “extra brut” wines I’ve had, but it is really tasty for the price. The back label says “subtle blend of white grapes and Pinot Noir,” and it is really is nicely complex, with yellow apple and pear, mild ripe lemon, slight pink grapefruit, tart red berries, with a savory flavor that’s sort of between bruised grape and browned butter.

    Reply
  32. bretrooks

    New at the SLO store recently:

    2017 Metala Shiraz – Cabernet from Australia ($6). Darkly fruited with some structure, nicely balanced if not really noteworthy in any way. Drinking fairly well, although be aware that our first bottle threw a prodigious amount of sediment.

    NV The Grenachista Piquette ($1.99 per 12 oz. cans). This is 50/50 Grenache & Grenache Blanc, slightly sparkling. This strikes me as a wine that drinks like the love child of a sour beer and rose (or a light red). If sour beers are your jam, give this a whirl. If not, you might not like it. For me…probably not buying more.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi bretrooks. My comments on the Metala, which I like a lot, are here. I have had 3 bottles of it now, and while one was distinctly less full and structured than the other two, I don’t recall much sediment in any of them.

      Reply
      1. bretrooks

        Sounds like there’s some bottle variation going on… Ours was definitely chunky, but we liked it enough to go back and buy a couple more, although I haven’t opened those yet. I’ll try to give them some more air – our first bottle didn’t get much.

        Reply
  33. BargainWhine Post author

    Santa Cristina 2018 Toscana IGT, Italy, 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 13.5% ABV, $7. For me, this recently after arrival, this needed a 3.5 hour decant, when it showed soft, ripe, dark purple / red cherry / grape, dark blood orange, cinnamon, stemmy / grapeskin tannin. I found this to be a pretty good every day kind of wine, tasty enough but a little soft and simple to be especially exciting.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      This is an accurate review of the Santa Cristina. Would work out just fine for summer grilling season.

      Reply
  34. BargainWhine Post author

    Primrose Trail 2017 “Grand Reserve” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA, from “The Gray Family,” 13.7%, $16. Recently arrived, this needed about 4 hours decanted to show complex fruits of dark cherry, orange, raspberry acid, slight plum, with some syrupy ripeness (that I think will become more softly textured with a little more age), and a still pretty tight stemmy / oaky finish. This strikes me as a well-balanced Pinot with good complexity that should improve for at least a few years, good for its price.

    Reply
      1. DARRELL

        I’ve noticed BW saying “good for its price” on a couple of occasions at mid-range teens. So the wines are very good or he is accommodating inflation. I’m not used to this level of GO pricing and hesitant to buy at these prices.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          I was thinking the same thing, Darrell. In regard to the $16 Primrose Trail Pinot…there are generally a number of “worthy” Pinots at GO for far less than $16. For that matter, I’ve bought some very tasty Pinots at Total Wine for $16 or less (especially when using their coupons, which I frequently get).

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Well, I thought it tasted like a wine that would cost in the low $30’s at regular retail, so $16 seems like a decent price. I’m sure you could find perfectly tasty Pinots for less, but this seemed to me a grade above that, especially with another year or so of age. I guess I agree that it’s not a screaming bargain, but… well, maybe I’ll change my mind whenever I open the saved screw-cap bottle.

            Reply
            1. dluber

              I recently had both the Latitude 38 ($8) and Primose Trail ($16) and I liked them both, but I liked the Primose better. Twice as much? Nope, but the wine value scale is never linear. But I got a lot of comments from friends at yesterday’s BBQ about how good the Latitude was for $8.

              Tried the True Myth 2017 chardonnay based on reviews and good previous experiences with other chards from Edna Valley and Paragon vineyard. BargainWhine said he found it bitter, and I did notice a tinge of bitterness on the finish, but I didn’t mind because it was an otherwise quite rich and balanced wine, good minerality, fruit, and umami, and also because it was very slight to my taste buds. I think this is due to naringin, also responsible for bitterness in citrus pith, and sometimes found in the terpenic white grapes Sauv Blanc, Gerwurz, Muscat, and Riesling, occasionally in Pinot Noir. It usually ages out, it’s broken down by yeast enzyme action into glucose and naringenin, an aromatic terpene found in grapefruit. The enzyme is available commercially and is used to treat both wine and grapefruit juice to remove this bitterness.

              Anyway, I got a few bottles, a fine buy for $6. Apparently, I’m not the only one who liked it, because the stack at Richmond was gone yesterday, still some loosies on the side shelves.

              Today at the Pinole store, also for $6, Thackery Pleiades white blend (Marsanne, Viognier, Sauv Blanc, Vermentino, maybe others). Quite dry and a bit austere, aromatic and very well made, could be a touch fruitier and fleshier in the body. Or maybe I’d like more residual sugar, less acid, but I got a couple bottles on the strength of the brand.

              Also @ Pinole & $6, WildEye 2020 Central Coast Viognier, a ripe one at 14.8%, but not overly hot nor flabby/over-ripe, really a nicely balanced acid/fruit/umami and fleshy wine, with strongly identifiable varietal character, and goes down easy.

            2. BargainWhine Post author

              Hi DLuber! Thanks for chiming in. At least at the Richmond store today, the Latitude 38 Pinot is still $7.

            3. DARRELL

              The quality of the Latitude 38 differed between the two vintages available at GO. I much preferred the earlier vintage over the next year’s vintage. I believe the vintages were 2017 and 2018.

            4. DARRELL

              A visit to Petaluma GO had a Latitude 38 PN, vintage 2020. This bottle wasn’t quite the quality of the 2017 and 2018, in the nose anyway. There was a volatile sharpness to it, but not acetic. Slightly less PN nose than the other two vintages. The plus was the flavor was strongly PN, strongly sweet PN flavor. My wife kept saying “soda pop.”

            5. DARRELL

              Curiosity got the better of me and I broke down and bought the Primrose Trail Pinot. It’s a more delicate PN than any of the three vintages of Lat. 38 I have tried. Clean PN nose and flavor, just not as hit you over the head as the Latitudes. Just a bit pricey especially since I still have the Bailiwicks.

          2. DARRELL

            Lim, agreed with “there are generally a number of “worthy” Pinots at GO for far less than $16” and have bought mostly this variety over the Bordeaux and Rhone varieties from GO. So far most have aged and kept well except for one instance.

            Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Eight days later, I opened the saved 187.5ml screw-cap bottle of the Primrose Trail 2017 Pinot Noir. It immediately showed darker and richer red cherry fruit than the first part of the bottle. However, I felt it still needed 3.5 – 4 hours in a glass to show pretty much what the first part of the bottle did, but in a much more open and accessible way. However, right before it fully came together, it went through about a half hour where it was dominated by over-ripe grape / raisin and very much seemed like it would not recover to become a balanced wine. So I’m now suspecting it should be consumed over the next couple years. Still a nice CA Pinot for the price, though.

      Reply
    2. WineObsessedRN

      BW and other posters on Primrose Trail 2017 Pinot Noir and Latitude 38 Wines 2020 Pinot Noir. Did Public COLA Registry search on both wines, they are made by the same winery, E2 Family Winery, Herman Ehlers Family Wines in Lodi, CA. The main winery produces modestly priced wines from $11 (white) to $40 (Port style wine). Such a weird ironic coincidence!

      Reply
      1. DARRELL

        WORN, your detective work didn’t surprise me since both were made in Lodi. I did note the 2020 Lat. 38 appellation was Sonoma County and the Primrose, Sonoma Coast. I will have to check the 2017 Lat. 38 appellation.

        Reply
        1. WineObsessedRN

          DARRELL, a bit more digging revealed Owl Block Pinot Noir is also made by E2 Family Winery in Lodi. They have 2 PN labels on their winery website, then the 3 secret secondary labels. I’m wondering now how many more PN labels are owned by this family winery. “Et tu, E2?” 🙃😂

          Reply
          1. lim13

            In some ways strange and in some ways it makes sense that a winery in one of the hottest growing regions in CA is producing so many cool climate Pinot Noirs. While Pinot stands little chance of growing successfully and making a decent wine in Lodi, then why not bring in grapes from better PN regions to make the wines (to expand the portfolio)? Do we know if the wines were actually produced at the winery…or were they purchased already made and then cellared at the Lodi winery? I don’t recall and haven’t gone down to the cellar yet to check.

            Reply
            1. DARRELL

              Lim, the Lodi region isn’t quite that hot though quite warm. It has a unique microclimate that was conducive for growing the Tokay variety if you remember that grape. While warm in the early day, the delta breezes cool it down which is also good for warm Zin. If I recall, the Lat. 38 and the Primrose PN, were vinted and bottled by and so they bought much of their juice. Who knows, they might have brought in Sonoma PN for the winery vinification. One thing I did notice, the Sonoma County AVA of the Lat. 38 has a full palette of other appellations to draw from,
              https://www.beauwinetours.com/sonoma-wineries/county-ava-listings/ , whereas the Primrose had only the Sonoma Coast AVA to draw from. Just finished the half bottle of the Primrose and must say the three vintages of Lat. 38 were preferred to the Primrose, especially considering the price difference.

            2. lim13

              Appreciate the info, Darrell. I only meant to suggest that Pinot is not a variety one expects to see growing in the Lodi region…perhaps not “quite that hot”, but too hot for Pinot. We have the same issue in most of central to north eastern WA. Attempts to grow Pinot there have been less than wonderful. I never saw the Primrose Pinots up here, so no way to compare. But then I haven’t been looking for much wine at GO (or anywhere else) lately.

  35. Seedboy

    Ascheri Dolcetto, forget what vintage [ed: probably 2018], maybe $5.99 at the Oakland store (not Richmond, that I’ve seen). This is a well-made wine from a real winery in Piemonte. Good fruit, nice balance for drinking with food. This is not a cocktail wine, in Italy wine is made to go with food, and this is a good example.

    Reply
  36. lim13

    After a few years of passing it by, I bought a bottle of Wind Storm old vine Lodi Zin (the 2020 vintage) last week and had it with carnitas tacos tonight. I seem to recall JJ mentioning it a couple of times. I’ve been passing it by for a couple of reasons: I don’t generally buy wines that are “cellared and bottled by” rather than “produced by” (though I’ve had a few decent ones lately) and my appreciation of Lodi Zins has waned over the years (I used to love them, but now find many to be too overripe from hot country, giving it more of that cooked prune quality). I’ve gone back to looking for Sonoma County (can’t afford most Napa) and slightly cooler climate Zins and the few WA state ones that are out there. That said, I found the Wind Storm serviceable…slightly sweetish, a bit jammy and full of varietal fruit, but still showing a fair amount of the cooked prune quality. I doubt I’ll buy more, but it worked fine with our tacos. By the way, it’s 15% alc.

    Reply
    1. JJ

      Hmmm….that’s really new. I guess that must be what I purchased recently when I picked up a couple bottles, and with this review will be convinced to let it hang around awhile before opening. I’m still drinking the 2018’s and maybe even ’17’s. Did I completely miss the 2019?

      Reply
  37. BargainWhine Post author

    I stopped by the Castro Valley store today. The wine section was not that big, but they had a number of wines that had long ago sold out at Richmond. Those I recall are the Avivo Vermentino and Sangiovese, Pleiades white blend, Moon Tree Petite Sirah.

    Reply
    1. dluber

      I liked the Avivo Vermentino quite a bit, but didn’t get more because it had a sponge cork, and my experience with whites is they oxidize rapidly with this closure. Next time you’re down there, eat lunch at the Lake Chabot Public Market if you like good Asian fast casual food.

      Reply
  38. WineObsessedRN

    Mercer Family Horse Heaven Hills 2017 Malbec $7 at Pullman.
    My Vivino review.
    🕰2017
    💯89/100 🌟3.9
    👁Deep ruby purple
    👃👅Dry, black plum, black cherry, leather, tobacco, baking spice, cinnamon, black pepper, med acidity, med tannins, full bodied. Very enjoyable!
    🍇Malbec %unspecified
    🌄Horse Heaven Hills AVA
    No tech sheet available
    🎖89pts WE 4/1/2021 S.S.🎖
    💵$25 MSRP Grocery Outlet $7.
    Definitely buy if you like Malbec.
    Going back for more!
    🍷🏃🍷🏃🍷🏃🍷🏃

    Reply
  39. WineObsessedRN

    Someone asked if any more reviews of Pleiades 2019 California White Wine. My Vivino review.
    🕰2019
    💯88/100 🌟3.8
    👁Light gold
    👃👅Dry,stone fruit,nectarine,pear,citrus,lemon curd,high acidity.
    🍇 Viognier,Marsanne,SB,Verdelho,Chardonnay
    Winemaker Andreas Krieger,Sean Thackrey’s assistant for 17 years.
    Inaugural vintage of white wine aimed at younger, feminine demographic. Missed the mark,too serious and dry for the target.
    We Boomers enjoyed this tasty,dry White Rhone blend a lot!
    Bob drank half the bottle!😂
    ⛽ 13.0%ABV
    💵$20 MSRP GO $6😍

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      My wife and I enjoyed the Pleiades white too – I went back for a few more. Dry, good acid, food-friendly…what’s not to like? This is my favorite recent white from GO.

      Reply
        1. WineObsessedRN

          The Pleiades Wine Company wines, a non vintage red w Roman numeral designations, the white blend and rose inaugural vintage was 2019 and winemaker is Andreas Krieger, Thackrey’s assistant winemaker for 17 years. According to a Vivino pal in charge of Thackrey’s DTC wine sales, Sean never liked making whites. I read a marketing presentation by Pleiades Wine Co, the entry level white blend and rose were created to appeal to and capture a younger, feminine clientele ie Millenials and priced at $20 each. Priced too high and not sweet enough for that market IMO. Plus its the rare person that age that knows Pleiades refers to the “Seven Sisters” constellation. Should have had a label w the constellation w gold stars against a variegated Prussian blue background (like a Maxfield Parrish night time sky) and “Seven Sisters” under the Pleiades name. Would have appealed to a lot of sororities and women in general.

          Reply
          1. JJ

            I’m currently enjoying my way through a bottle of the Pleiades Rose’, and also enjoyed the white a couple weeks back. I’d buy either again for summer, but not sure there’s any left at my GO. For the price, I found both to be well-structured….nice fruit, minerality and touch of bitter in the Rose’…much nicer I thought than most bland Rose’s I seem to try (which admittedly is not that many, but stepped that up after hearing about a few good prospects on this blog over last few years).

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              Today I went to the San Pablo store for the first time in a couple of years. It still has the Pleiades white (I have never seen the rose) and some wines I have not seen in a while including the Tendu White that sold out everywhere else maybe 4 years ago, and the 2018 Latitude pinot.

            2. DARRELL

              While I was in my local, not so well stocked Novato GO, a guy rushed in and looked at the white wine section and then asks the assistant if the store had the Pleiades White. The customer could tell there was none, but asked anyway and then left the store. Seemed like a Grossout reader.

    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi WORN! Thanks for this nice review! I opened a second bottle of this wine on this hot evening, and it’s far more accessible than that first bottle I opened soon after it arrived. It’s immediately delicious! Even though I think I am early Gen X (our middle and high school kids still call us Boomers), I may drink half the bottle myself. 🙂

      Reply
  40. BargainWhine Post author

    A couple more reds I’ve tried recently:
    – Marie Howard 2020 Malbec, Lake County, CA, 14.5% ABV, $7. At least on the night I opened this, it needed a long time, 4+ hours I think, to fully open and become full and rich, tasting of typical ripe Malbec earthy boysenberry and blueberry. Along the way, though, I wasn’t sure it was going to make it to becoming a good wine. So for now I would give this a very good but not raving recommendation.
    – El Miracle by Mariscal 2019 old vine Garnacha Tintorera, Valencia DOP, Spain, 13% ABV, $7. This wine took only slightly less long to air, but did not become particularly interesting, at least to me. It was pretty straightforwardly fruity of dark cherry and some blueberry, with a little earth. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, but I think it’d be better priced a little less, although I expect I’ll be saying that about a lot of things in the months ahead. (Garnacha Tintorera is known in the US as Alicante Bouschet. It is not Grenache.)
    Both these evaluations may be updated after I open the saved screw-cap bottles of these wines.

    Reply
  41. BargainWhine Post author

    A number of older wines showed up at the Richmond, CA, store where I work. They were some sort of special deal sent by GO, so I doubt these are even in wide local release. I don’t think anyone else is likely missing very much, but I wanted to describe a couple of them, old Italian whites, that I tasted over the last couple days, and hope some will be interested nonetheless.

    Fantinel 2012 “Frontiere” Collio DOC Bianco, Vigneti Sant’Helena, 13% ABV, $7. Slightly oxidized character, with flavors of strongly spiced (allspice, clove, cinnamon) cooked and fresh pear, beeswax (more flavor than texture), cooked lemony acid. Smooth. Can pair with salami and richer aged cheeses.

    Lusenti 2014 “Bianca Regina” Malvasia, Colli Piacentini DOC, Italy, 13% ABV, $7. Flavors of star fruit and white pear, with flavors and astringency of raw quince and yellow melon rind, less ripe lemon, slight allspice and pink peppercorn. The more lively wine of the two, still with some grip in the finish. [update: I previously misspelled “Lusenti” as “Lisenti.”]

    I was very skeptical that these would be any good, and I am not very used to aged white wines, but my wife and I wound up quite enjoying them. I’d wish them to be a little cheaper, but they were interesting and tasty experiences.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      another in this collection:
      Fattoria di Basciano 2019 Rosato di Toscana, Italy, 12.5% ABV, $5. This is more fruity than the light and delicate Provence style of rosé, but it is still dry with ripe red fruits of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, somewhat dried orange peel, dried herbs, and possibly a small amount of wood. Its age gives it a more savory character than a fresher rosé, but I very much like this aspect that balances the fruit and gives depth to the wine as a whole. Although my usual preference is the “light and delicate Provence style,” I like this a lot (wife loved it, too), and it went well with pork tenderloin cut into mini-steaks, dusted with salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and dried tarragon, then pan fried, and green beans.

      Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Rosso di Rosso 2011 Breganze DOC, Veneto, Italy, 13.5% ABV, $25. “Red Breganze is composed of a minimum 85% Merlot with Marzemino, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rossignola, Pinot Noir and/or Freisa permitted to make up to 15% of the remaining blend.” Links for this wine listed Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is pretty recently arrived, so this extended tasting regimen will probably not be necessary if you let it rest at home for 2 – 3 weeks.

      On its first day open, it tasted (after being open an hour) kind of old and oxidized, with old wood / raisin, but with a very tight and dark base of tannin and what seemed like fruit. The next day, I left it open 2.5 hours before tasting it, when it seemed more tasty, but like that promising core of fruit had vanished, and that was as good as it was going to get. However, on the third day, after being open for about a half hour, it reminded me of a nice old Bordeaux, but Italian. It has dark red cherry and dark cassis (somewhat black fruits), notes of cedar and pine / bay leaf, pencil lead / almost tar, earthy / raisiny aged complexity, but with hints of Italian cherry / bitterness of cherry pit, and the ripe (plum?) strong Italian acid, still with a pretty tight, drying tannic finish. Despite its aged character, its acid and tannin would seem to indicate it can age well for a few more years. It has a tiny amount of sediment. To me, this is a good and interesting wine for the price.

      Reply
    3. Seedboy

      I tried the Fantinel 2012 “Frontiere” Collio DOC Bianco, Vigneti Sant’Helena yesterday. Slight oxidation, muted flavor, I did not think much of it and a cup of it went into the Paella my friend was making. We did enjoy a bottle of the 2019 Beronia Rioja Rose with it, glad I have a few more of them.

      Reply
    4. BargainWhine Post author

      Brunn 2017 Blauer Zweigelt (or just Zweigelt), Niederösterreich, (eastern) Austria, 13.0% ABV, crown cap closure (like on a beer bottle), $8 for 1L. This wine seemed a bit iffy to me at this price, but curiosity eventually got the better of me. It has somewhat low color saturation for a red wine, and needed only a little air to have pretty good flavors of tangy red cherry / plum, blueberry, black raspberry, black pepper?, soft ripeness and prune and, despite label reading “trocken” (dry), probably a little residual sugar. Easy drinking, decently tasty, a good picnic or pizza wine, so I guess it’s actually okay for the price per volume, i.e., = $6 for 750ml.

      Reply
  42. BargainWhine Post author

    A couple reds from Rioja Vega, Rioja DOC, Spain. For both of these, “second day” refers to opening the saved 250ml screw-cap bottles about two weeks after the original 750ml bottles.

    2018 Tinto, 13.5% ABV, $5. On the first day open, this did not come together very well at all. I found it rough and having a slight note of something reminiscent of oxidation. However, it didn’t strike me as actual oxidation, and I was optimistic about the saved bottle. Second day, even with a good bit of air in the glass, it still was rather rough and acid, with flavors of purple plum, dark raspberry, and something sort of but not quite like raisin. Not quite sure why, but I nonetheless suspect that it will develop into something good with maybe another year of age. Any opinions?

    2017 Tempranillo, 14% ABV, $7. Similarly to the Tinto, this did not come together at all on the first night, although it was more pleasant than the Tinto. Second day, needed a lot of time in the glass to become supple, elegant, soft dark purple plum / grape, red cherry, cinnamon, stemmy tannin pretty grippy in the finish. It was still not fully resolved and will probably be better in a year or two.

    Reply
  43. WineObsessedRN

    Finally cracked open a bottle of Pleiades Rosé 2019 that I bought in Lewiston ID late April. The following is my Vivino review.
    “Super stoked to finally try a Pleiades wine by Sean Thackrey!
    🕰2019
    💯86/100 🌟3.6
    👁Rose petal pink
    👃👅Dry,unripe raspberry,green leafy note,pomegranate,cranberry,faint animalic funk,tart saline finish.
    Interesting savory Rosé of Sangiovese! 🤔
    Not my favorite rosé,not an easy to love porch pounder like many others, but intriguing flavors that make you want to try more!
    🍇100%Sangiovese
    Whole cluster pressed
    Natural fermentation
    RS 0.6g/L
    ⛽13.2%ABV,seems a touch higher
    💯900 cases
    💵$20-$13 MSRP $6 GO”

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi WORN! Did you try the rosé in following days? I haven’t seen the rosé, but my experience with the Pleiades white blend was that I didn’t like it that well on the first two days I had it open, but it filled out on the third day and was then quite good for $6. To me, it tasted like a fairly typical southern French white, with nice complexity and perfect balance of fruit / acid / bitterness. K&L Wines had it for $19, and this is about what I would expect it to sell for.

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        BW, so good to hear the Pleiades White Blend 2019 improves over the days! Still working on finishing the Pleiades Rosé. My husband doesn’t drink so it takes me several days to get thru a bottle.

        Reply
      2. lim13

        Yo BW…Wife and I had the Pleiades rose’ with dinner tonight and while it was tasty enough, I prefer lighter colored, more subtle, Provence-style rose’. Though it’s likely dry, it tasted just slightly sweet and a bit cloying to me. Website says it “includes Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Zinfandel and Syrah to name a few”…a bit of a kitchen sink rose’. The website also listed the 2020 rose’ as a “new release” at $20. I preferred the white blend.

        Reply
        1. WineObsessedRN

          Lim, reading through more carefully, it says the red wine version of Pleiades XXV1 contains those grapes. It’s a very confusing write up, not sure why the reviewer felt the need to insert information about the red version. My understanding is the 2019 Rosé is all Sangiovese.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Confusing indeed, WORN. I wondered about the K & L description of the rose’ when I also read “Fragrant and voluptuous when first released, it will become far more subtle and complex with age”. That doesn’t sound like something I would expect to read about a rose’. So I’ve emailed the winery about variety/varieties and will let you know, should I actually hear back from someone. I suspect 100% Sangiovese may be correct, as I really didn’t detect most of the other varieties that K & L listed.. Whatever the makeup, for me it was just not a rebuy.

            Reply
            1. WineObsessedRN

              Lim, I completely agree on the no rebuy on Pleiades 2019 Rosé. To me, this developed bitterness over the days. It’s definitely a drink all on first day bottle. Was just too excited to see Thackrey wines at an affordable price! 🤷

            2. lim13

              We unknowingly took your advice before you even provided it, WORN. We drank up the whole bottle of Pleiades Rose’ in one night! 😁

  44. BargainWhine Post author

    A couple new reds about which I’m ambivalent, but I hope some folks will read my descriptions and say, “That’s my kind of wine!”:

    Castaño 2020 Monastrell (Mourvèdre), Yecla DO, Spain, 14.1% ABV, $6. Flavors of very dark red and mild purple cherries, bitterness of dark wood / stem and cherry pit, medium red cherry acid, are tasty on the first day, but also to my taste lacking body and perhaps overbalanced toward the bitterness. A few days later, the saved screw-cap bottle is better, bringing forward more fruit, tasty but still never quite developing the smooth richness or slightly syrupy character I like in Mourvèdre. However, I am perhaps improperly comparing this Spanish Monastrell to French Mourvèdre. I definitely prefer it to the Consentido, a previous Spanish Monastrell that I found over-ripe.

    “Telescope” 2014 red blend, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria, 52% Syrah, 43% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 13.5% ABV, $6. Very recently arrived, I did not like this on the first day, as whatever fruit there was was overwhelmed by flavors of wet wood and brown raisin. The next day, those flavors are still prominent, but it has more brown sugar character, and more darker cherry / cassis fruits. It’s still not really my preferred balance of flavors, but I can see how some folks who like quite well-aged wines would like it.

    Reply
    1. bretrooks

      We opened a bottle the Telescope Sunday evening, and we liked the first glass pretty well, although there was a prominent savory tomato note along with plum/prune or raisin (I can see cassis too), so I can see how this might not be a crowd-pleaser. A second glass later in the evening was more savory and less pleasing, though. We left a glass or so in the bottle for science…I’ll have to get back to it and see if/how it’s held up. I suspect I would have liked this quite a bit a couple of years ago, but it’s definitely a drink-now wine at this point.

      Thanks for the note on the Castaño, too – I didn’t see it in SLO last weekend, but I’ll probably give it a shot if it does show up.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi bretrooks. When I opened the bottle of Telescope, I immediately put away a 250ml screw-cap bottle of it. I opened that bottle tonight, and it’s actually quite good! Plenty of soft, ripe dark fruit comes out, and the previously dominant raisin is very slight. Maybe you just need to have rest at home for a week? Did you try your bottle the next day?

        Reply
        1. bretrooks

          It’s actually still in-bottle… We’ll probably check in on it this evening, and I’ll try to remember to report back.

          Reply
        2. bretrooks

          Just realized I forgot to report back in… We did open the Telescope after a week, and I was surprised at how little it seemed it had changed, and how it seemed perhaps even a touch less savory and “tired.” It was still too savory for my wife’s preferences, though.

          Reply
    2. bretrooks

      The 2019 Hécula Castaño Organic Monstrell showed up in SLO (at a higher price…$9, IIRC), and we tried one. It struck me as fairly simple, dense, and modern, maybe a little over-sulfured too. Not terrible, but not interesting enough to be a rebuy for me.

      Reply
  45. BargainWhine Post author

    Nieto Senetiner 2018 Blend Collection, 55% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.9% ABV, $8. This could probably still be called “recently arrived,” but in any case, it took 4+ hours to fully open last night. I think I finally tasted it only after it had been open 3 hours, and even then, the components of its blend were pretty distinct. It opened with the full softness of tangy dark purple Malbec, backed up by the red cherry and dried leaf tannin of Cabernet Franc, finishing with diffuse darker fruit of Petit Verdot. However, eventually, the last small pour melded well and was quite tasty. The body is medium and the style is more measured and subtle, not a heavy bruiser at all. This took long enough to air that I expect the saved bottle will still need a bit of air to come together, but should be quite good when it does.

    Reply
    1. RB

      This blend is at the Olympia store for $9. On opening it was tasty enough, but agree that it needs time. On the second night it is really quite lovely. I may go back for more.

      On a related note, the Oly branch is now offering 10% off cases on Mondays.

      Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi RB. Glad you liked the Senetiner blend. My understanding is that, aside from the corporate-run stores in Oakland and Redwood City, each franchised GO sets its own case discount policy.

          Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        RB, no case discounts in Pullman. If there is a case discount in Lewiston ID, its not mentioned anywhere in the store. I’ll ask next time I’m there.

        Reply
        1. JJ

          Just Olympia….Stan (our wine buyer) told me about it last week and said he’s trying it out for now to bring people in on Monday, and will discontinue it if it gets too imbalanced (some kind of metrics he keeps and I know nothing about!)

          WORN, you’re in Olympia area?

          Reply
          1. WineObsessedRN

            JJ, I’m in Pullman but also stop into the Lewiston ID GO whenever we go to Costco. I also went to the Walla Walla GO last summer that had wine from Dunham Cellars, Bontzu and Bergevin Lane, all well regarded Walla2 wineries.

            Reply
          2. lim13

            So I communicated with my old pal Stan, the Olympia GO wine guy…and here’s “the rest of the story”. Some of the NW GO districts got reorganized (something that was continually being done on my old job as a retail district manager), so now Stan has some southern stores in their group and one of them is an Oregon store that does better than him in wine sales. He found out that a group of them are doing 10% off 12 or more on Fridays, which to him doesn’t make sense because people are gonna’ buy alcohol on the weekend regardless. So, Competitive fellow that he is, he decided to do 10% off on 12 or more bottles on his slowest day of the week, Mondays. As JJ stated, Stan says if it doesn’t take away sales from the other days then it’ll stay. So far it’s doing great! His sales jumped enough to “take out that dang Oregon store”! 😉 Stanley may not like wine, but he sure knows how to sell it! I’d love to see other stores adopt this procedure. Let us know if you happen to see this come about in your store. Just curious too…have any of our Oregon readers found a 10% 12 bottle or more discount in your local GO? Like the one Stan is battling for “top dawg”?

            Reply
            1. positivepauly

              I wish it was on Thursday! I bounce between Oly and Puyallup, and am usually up north on Monday.

              Stan does a great job with the Oly store‘

            2. JJ

              Now I’m curious what Oregon store that is….I have a lot of family down there. I guess I’ll have to ask him! (Unless he told you Lim?)

            3. flitcraft

              The Lake CIty GO had “wine Wednesdays” with 10% off a case. But their selection has been so inadequate I never saw a case’s worth that would be worth the discount, sadly.
              I’m not sure if this policy is still in force, anyway. But they do have a 5% senior discount on purchases on the 15th of the month, till the end of this calendar year…

            4. lim13

              Unfortunately, JJ…Stan didn’t divulge that info (whether intentionally on unintentionally, I don’t know). But I’m never sure what GO folks are reading this blog and I don’t want to start an all out “war”, so I didn’t ask. C’mon Oregon GO bloggers, tell us…is it your store???

  46. Michael

    Finally arrived in Oregon stores, Airidus Tank 48 red blend, 2019,16.1%, Arizona wine grapes, and Tank 19 white blend, 2017,13.6%, “American” wine grapes, are both $5 and both good. I believe the Tank 48 was recommended by Seedboy, though I can’t find the original post and apologize to the poster if I am mistaken. Tank 48 red is a blend of Graciano, Tempranillo,Grenache, Syrah and Petit Verdot, and appears to be a wonderful food wine. Tank 19 white is Chardonnay with some Malvasia Bianca which provides some powerful aromatics.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      My apologies for not replying to your comments sooner, Michael. I had some computer issues and my wife and I have been downsize house hunting, so I just haven’t spent much time on the blog. With an impending move, I’ve put a serious block on wine buying (don’t want to move more wine!). I posted the following back on April 9th about Airidus Tank 48:

      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.

      And for whatever reason, I never saw this post about the wine by flitcraft:

      As usual, Lim13 nailed this one. Fruity without being one-dimensional, with that nice herbal element that lets you know this is supposed to complement food. And I found it hard to believe that it is really 16% ABV–it isn’t hot at all (though, since we only sipped a single glass apiece, we didn’t notice the pharmacological effects of 16% alcohol…)

      Checking online, the winery appears to be experimenting with all kinds of varietals–like aglianico and lemberger, as well as all the usual suspects. It looks like the winery is about 2 hours east of Tucson, so if the grapes are grown in that vicinity, no wonder the wine is high alcohol!

      This would be an excellent barbeque wine, or even a ‘what’s on the telly tonight?’ wine. Besides the winery tasting room, they’ve got a tasting room in Scottsdale, so I plan to hit it up if we get to the Arizona Fall League this autumn. Though, I doubt we buy much there–the prices for their reds range from the low forties to the low sixties a bottle!!

      Reply
      1. Michael

        Thanks, lim13, for the Tank 48 recommendation, and apologies for my mistaken attribution. My wife made empanadas tonight rich with tomato sauce and garlic cloves from last year’s garden, plus olives, ground beef, and a few other outsourced ingredients, and a bottle of Aridus Tank 48 to made a wonderful accompaniment. So far, each bottle we open is better than the last as it settles in to cellar storage.

        Reply
  47. RB

    Canoe Ridge 2014 Limited Edition Canyon Vineyard Ranch Cinsault, Columbia Valley. $7 at the Olympia store.
    On its own I don’t think I’ve ever had a Cinsault that wasn’t a rosé, so this looked fun to try and I really enjoyed it. On opening it was a little tart for me. Needed 24 hours to really open up and probably could have used a little more.
    Back label: “opens with lovely aromas of cranberry, red licorice and black cherry, while flavors of strawberry, hints of cedar and spiced rhubarb pie persist through the finish.”
    I’ve never been good at describing wine, but to me the dominant flavor could best be summarized as “Cherry Tootsie Pop”.
    Note that there is a Wine Enthusiast review out there (Sean Sullivan) that is listed as this wine, but is really for a rosé of the same vintage.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      For the last few years Turley has bottled a red Cinsault from an old vineyard near Lodi. It is a lovely wine that has something of a Pinot Noir mouthfeel. Last fall some GO stores had a Chilean cinsault that was lovely.

      Reply
  48. BargainWhine Post author

    Claire Cellars 2020 Pinot Blanc, California, 13.0% ABV, $5. This is a tasty and crisp, medium-weight white with typical less-ripe Pinot Blanc flavors: yellow melon, lemon, lime zest, well-integrated acid, grape skin bitterness and slight minerality. A nice hot-weather wine for the price, good on its own or with food.

    Reply
  49. WineObsessedRN

    Pullman finally got in Château Lavabre La Closerie Pic Saint-Loup 2017 ($18)!
    I saw it in Lewiston a month ago but hesitated to purchase as the return would be inconvenient, a pal on Vivino got a flawed bottle, so I was a bit wary.
    Wow! Probably the best wine I’ve had this year so far except for Graham’s Vintage Port 2016.😍
    I couldn’t find the older posts to piggyback my review to:
    🕰2017
    💯93/100 🌟4.3
    👁Purple ruby,opaque
    👃👅Dry,heady aroma of black fruit,blackberry,cassis,herb de provence,barrel spice,black plum,black cherry,licorice,garrigue,layers of black fruit,high alcohol,plush tannins,looooong finish.
    Holy 💩 this is a fantastic wine!
    This is probably the best wine (except for Graham’s Vintage Port 2016) I’ve had all year so far!🤩
    🍇65%GR,35%SY
    🌄Languedoc Roussillon
    🎖95ptWA,92ptWS,91JD🎖
    DW Now thru 2026-2030
    💵$35-$50 GO $18😍
    Unbelievable QPR!!
    Running back to buy more!
    🍷🏃🍷🏃🍷🏃🍷🏃

    Reply
    1. JustAnotherWineSnob

      That’s awesome to hear. Glad you liked it. It was one of my favorite deals this year.

      Reply
      1. WineObsessedRN

        JAWS, I loved it! I drank 2 glasses after opening, wanted to drive back last night to get the remainder, but didn’t want to risk a DUI. I returned today, 2 more had sold by then (unusual here for wines over $6), I snapped up the remaining 8 left.

        Reply
        1. rajbot

          How long do folks think the bottles of La Closerie will keep? I have enjoyed this wine and would stock up beyond the handful of remaining bottles I have already but I don’t drink red wine all that frequently (maybe once a month or so). Although this wine is good enough that maybe I’ll up my intake. 🙂

          Reply
          1. WineObsessedRN

            RB, the professional reviewers estimate drinking window from now til 2026-2030. That would be stored in absolutely perfect cellaring conditions, 55-59F, 55-75% humidity, dark and still. Expect much more rapid aging if this is not possible. Only you can decide how often you are likely to drink this wine and how many bottles you are likely to go through within let’s say, a couple of years. I tend to buy a lot because I go through many bottles through parties, gifts, dinner invites. I’ve had wines that improved w time, others that were past prime by a couple years, but still drinkable. Someone here mentioned the high alcohol over time would make this wine less enjoyable, too acidic, decreased fruit, thought too much aging would be risky and detrimental.

            Reply
      2. WineObsessedRN

        JAWS, I was in our GO last week, checking to see if they got in any Tank 48 (nope). Met a couple of puzzled looking women shopping separately for red wine for dinner. Wine talk ensued, they both bought the Chateau Lavabre and Villa Stellaria PS on my recc as did another passersby! 🤗The two women asked if I worked at GO selling wine! 😂

        Reply
  50. BargainWhine Post author

    Canoe Ridge 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Horse Heaven Hills, WA, 14.3% ABV, $8. Soft and smooth fruit of Bing cherry, purple / red plum, cocoa, brown stem, very slight green bell pepper. Body is medium for Cabernet; not much tannin in the finish. Quite yummy, but a little on the soft and fruity (even slightly sweet?) side for me. My notes are quite different from those on the back label. I can see what they mean by “anise,” but otherwise… although maybe I’ll update this after I open the saved screw-cap bottle.

    Reply
    1. WineObsessedRN

      BW, Pullman finally got 2 cases of the Canoe Ridge 2015 CS Reserve HHH at $8. Bought a few. I find it curious the owner chose to buy just 2 cases of this but 6 cases of the Mercer Family 2017 Malbec HHH priced at $7/bottle. 🤔 I’ve noticed no Merlot on the shelves for months.

      Reply
    2. WineObsessedRN

      BW, finally tried the Canoe Ridge 2015 Reserve CS. I liked it a lot! 😃
      My Vivino review:
      🕰2015
      💯88/100 🌟3.8
      👁Dark ruby purple tinge
      👃👅Dry,tangy black cherry,plums,pepper,clove, allspice,slt earthiness like freshly tilled soil,med acidity & tannins,well balanced after tart beginning,opened up and blossomed in 30 minutes.
      🍇100%Cabernet Sauvignon
      🌄Horse Heaven Hills AVA,subappellation of Columbia Valley AVA
      🕰100% French Oak
      ⛽ 14.52%ABV
      Label started 2008,now owned by Precept Brands.
      💵$26 release price
      🎖87pts WE S.S. 2020🎖
      I liked this a bit more than WE did. Kept pouring more!
      Currently in prime DW.
      Second day developed in addition, faint graphite, offdry ripe black cherry, very yummy!😍

      Reply

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