Guest Contributions

Please use this page to post your tasting notes of Grocery Outlet wines that have not (yet?) been reviewed on the main page, and comments thereon.  If it’s easy to do so, please include in some order the wine’s year, name, producer, varietal(s), wine region, price and the GO store where you bought it.

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1,756 thoughts on “Guest Contributions

  1. Doug Green

    2013 Silver Trail Napa Valley Pinot Noir $5.99

    I opened this Napa Valley Pinot Noir this evening, and I like it quite a bit. If you like your Pinot in a very delicate, Chambolle Musigny style, then you will enjoy this $6 bottle. Not a big wine at all, but lots of finesse and a nice, complex finish, with some cinnamon and cloves on the nose and cherries on the palate. No tannins at all, so I don’t think it’s a keeper, but it’s lovely for near term drinking. I definitely preferred this to the Ano Verde that I opened a week and a half ago. While that one was distinctly Santa Barbara in character, this one was showing less distinctive terroir but more fruit and a smoother palate feel. It’s from Napa, but no further ID of it’s source, it does not seem to be a Carneros style wine. In all, a very good $6 Pinot. No earthiness, just nice fruit and aromas in the glass.

    Reply
    1. BeerBudget

      Picked up the Ano Verde and the Judson Hale AV pinot. I’ve had the Silver Trail previously, and while I found it pleasant, I prefer the Ano. Agree with the distinctive Santa Barbera character and nice oak – enjoying it more than the Hudson at almost 1/2 the price. One for the sale list.

      Reply
  2. flitcraft

    Two Aussie reds:

    First up: Evans and Tate ‘Breathing Space’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Margaret River. 4.99 per screw-topped bottle. I am auditioning screw-topped reds to take on a long haul train trip this spring. (God bless Amtrak for allowing, nay, even encouraging, passengers in the sleeping compartments to bring their own libations. But I digress…) My Australian colleague tells me that the Margaret River is known for its Cabernets, so I had high hopes for this one. It’s medium-bodied, with pleasant bing cherry and plum flavors on entry competing with cherry-cola and spice on the aftertaste. Some noticeable oak, but not what I’d call excessively oaky. Mild tannins. This would drink well without food, and might be a tad understated with red meat. Not a ‘must buy,’ by any means, but affordable and entirely serviceable as a ‘sip while the scenery goes by’ contestant.

    Second contestant: McWilliams Cool Climate Shiraz, 2013, 4.99. I almost didn’t pick this one up, because most lower-end Aussie shirazes are too brash and in-your-face for me. I prefer syrah/shiraz with more acid/fruit balance, not highly extracted, and a little funk going on, for bonus points. This one surprised me–medium to even medium-light in body, dark color, and high-toned brambly nose. Plenty of welcome acidity, honest not-too-sweet fruit, and even (maybe) that little touch of meaty funk. (I may have been tasting with my heart, though–my husband got no funk at all.) Again, this one won’t fool you into thinking you’ve made a real steal; I would say a fair price is the high teens in a wine shop. It’s pretty good, though, and if it is still there when I return, I might put a bottle or two aside for the train.

    Both wines are fine but not spectacular, and I think I am leaning to the McWilliams as the more interesting of the two.

    Reply
    1. ishak

      Having the Gearbox Chardonnay 2016 purchased for $6 at Richmond store. Enjoy at colder temperature. Crisp, clean and well-balanced. Very little can be found out about this wine besides the fact it retails for $15, sells for $12 and is bottled in Ukiah. Nose is muted but can detect some rose petals and other floral characteristics. Very pleasant sweetness again balanced with a velvety mouthfeel. Finishes with a hint of acid mixed with apple or pear, but leaves an impressive long-lasting aftertaste. One of the best deals we’ve stumbled upon at Gross Out. Anyone else agree?

      Reply
  3. Doug Green

    2014 Ano Verde Santa Barbara Pinot Noir $4.99 list $18.99

    This was available in San Diego and it’s a nicely packaged pinot noir from a decent recent vintage and an excellent area for Pinot Noir, so it was a must try. Bottom line is, it’s an accurate representation of the grape, and of the region, but I wish it was riper and more full-flavored. That being said, my palate had recently been spoiled by a bunch of fine $30-60 Pinots from this region that I had tried in the past month, and, not surprisingly, most of them were noticeably better than this (at several times the price). This is certainly one of the nicer sub-$7 pinots I’ve had at GO – for example, I liked it better than the Uhu from Oregon, and I found it more complex and better with food than the D’Acquino Pinot from Veneto that I also had enjoyed. I’ll probably pick up another couple of bottles of this, but it’s not at the Bailiwick level, but still a pretty interesting and serious wine for $5.

    Reply
  4. Seedboy

    Gufstafson Heritage Tree Estate Zin 2012 Richmond Store 8.99 or thereabouts. High in alcohol but it does not show it. This is more of a claret style than a fruit bomb, good structure showing the 1500 foot elevation of the vineyard (Lake Sonoma). I wish this were a couple of bucks less.
    Empire Petite Sirah Napa Valley Calistoga 2011 Richmond store, 6.99 or so. Oaky mess. Worse on day two.
    Judson Hale Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 2013, Oakland, 8.99. I have not opened this yet. This is not the vineyard designated wine seen earlier.
    I’m told that a young zin with some pedigree is coming soon. For those who had been told about a small quantity of Napa cabs and etc from Van Der Hayden Winery being purchased by Oakland, that deal is off.

    Reply
  5. seedboy

    Rutz Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2014 $9.99 Oakland Store 9/7. Keith Rutz continues to bottle wines for the GO. There is a Russian River bottling but I thought I’d take a flier at this one instead. Buttery, barely enough acid, and a sulfur aroma/flavor that did not blow off after over an hour. If you really like that buttery style and are willing to be patient with the sulfur this might be your wine. It is not mine.
    Oakland store recently had a Tuscan Vermentino, 2014, for $3.99. Nicely made, varietally correct, in really good shape. This is one to buy if you see it (Oakland sold out in a hurry).

    Reply
      1. seedboy

        This Vermentino is still available, and I’m seeing the Volpe Pasini Ribolla and Pinot Gris again in Richmond and Oakland. These are all fine wines at good prices.

        Reply
  6. JoelA

    Feuille de Vigne Reserve 2011 (Languedoc) (14.5% alc.) bought at Richmond this week for $6.99.

    This wine’s pretty good. Clearly a mixture of grapes but I really can’t tell which, or how much of any. Good acid, still good fruit with some complexity; reasonable finish and the alcohol level isn’t that evident. What appears to be the same wine is also bottled under a different label, Belle something-or-other.

    Reply
  7. Zoel

    Zinfandel time in SRosa! Seedboy beat me to the punch on the Summit…I also bought these:

    2013 Wine Guerrilla Sonoma Cty Zin – $7 – very solid Zin from a producer in Forestville…WTSO has carried these in the past, always decent and great QPR…now even better at GO. More of a fruit-forward Zin, typical of RRiver…not overblown, decent balance…bought a case. 88-89pts.

    2012 Torcular Sonoma Cty Zin – $6 – couldn’t find out anything on this producer, but reasonably pleased with the bottle. Perhaps a tad hotter than the Wine Guerrilla, a touch plumier. Didn’t change too much on day two…worth rebuying. 87 pts

    2013 Wild Oats Edna Valley Pinot Noir – $6 – produced by Bob Oatley…nice looking package, gave it a go as I saw a good review on CT. Very impressed – solid PN here, nice cherry base and spice and complex. On par with the Blakeslee (at a few $$ more)…will need to try a second bottle to check consistency, but appears to be a big winner. Can never have too much reasonably-priced PN on hand. 90-91pts, represents Edna Valley terrior well. Friends at the concert enjoyed as well, agreed on assessment.

    Also bought a case of the Qupe Modern Red, covered elsewhere…just try to find a better tasting $3 bottle…

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      Thanks for those reviews Zoel. I have tried the pinot. Mine had a matchstick thing going on that never fully blew off, and, had a greenish stemmy flavor. But it does taste like pinot and has good acid/fruit balance.

      Reply
    2. BeerBudget

      Opened the Torcular tonight and agree – worth a rebuy. Stood up well side by side with the Diablita, another Sonoma County Zin which was well liked here. Going to seek out the Wild Oats and Guerilla…

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I tried out the Guerilla over the weekend. I like it way more than the Summit Lake. The G is nicely made in a more claret-like fashion, as distinguished from a big fruit-forward style.

        On Sunday the Oakland store had a Tuscan Vermentino for $3.99 a bottle. It is varietally correct and well made, maybe shows its age just a tiny bit that I did not mind but those who like their white wines tasting very fresh might be put off.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          If you are interested in the Vermentino go get it because they have maybe 2 cases left. Still lots of the Qupe wines. Bouchaine 2012 Chard and 2009 Pinot, both estate, for $9.99. Pinot is acceptable but probably too warm to enjoy it as a pop and pour. Not much of these wines there. Guerilla Zin still there.

          Reply
          1. BeerBudget

            Found the Wild Oats and Guerrilla Zin along with the Bouchain Pinot in the Winchester GO. Oats was passable – bit of barnyard funk, tossup on a rebuy. The Guerilla on the other hand is a home run – balanced fruit, oak and acid. Going to grab a half case or so of this.

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              That’s a shame about the Bouchaine. Almost bought one to try from SF GO. Didn’t see any Qupe red or the Clos du Bois PN there.

        1. Happybaker

          Oh sure. Rub it in. LOVE the Oakland store, it’s where my first GO visit happened, thanks to my cousin Steve.

          Bought this yesterday at the Burbank GO –
          https://www.wine.com/product/cherry-pie-cherry-tart-chardonnay-2013/135224

          2.99 and when I first opened it – not impressed at all. But just re-opened it this am (oh what I will do for you folks ; ) took a sip and – MUCH better today. Will have to have a full taste around dinner time (and food!) to give a full report.

          Long Barn chard all gone there but got 6 bottle of the La Merika chardonnay as darn it, it’s nice. They had La Merika Sauvignon Blanc for $3.99 but did not buy any. Has anyone tried that?

          Reply
  8. Seedboy

    Summit Lake Howell Mtn Zin 2010, Oakland store, $9.99. I have consumed a lot of Howell Mountain zin in my day, including many prior vintages of this wine (some of them purchased at the GO, I believe). I would love to be able to tell you that is is a lovely, balanced, wine, along the lines of the Ridge Howell Mtn from the late 1980s.
    I cannot.
    Given that I would love to tell you that this is a really good example of a fruit-forward jammy zin, like the ones Turley made in the mid-1990s from the Black Sears Vineyard.
    I cannot tell you that either.
    What I can tell you is that this wine is dominated by clumsy American oak. It becomes more integrated the second day but at this price I’d recommend it only to those who love their zins really oaky, or, who are willing to take a chance on this just being in a dumb phase and it will be a glorious wine in a year or two. I have one more bottle just in case that happens.

    Reply
    1. JoelA

      in my experience, very few zinfandels are capable of aging past six or seven years. Swan zins and Ridge Geyserville are the only ones I know of that are dependable past that time (I just drank a Swan 2005 and it’s still going strong).

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I know what you mean and it is nice to see some good words for Rod’s Swan zins. However, 3 years ago or so I had a dinner that featured a horizontal of 1994 zins from the Monte Rosso vineyard. They were all really good. The best of them was the Ridge — the only vintage they got grapes from that great vineyard. However, there was a ringer: the 1964 Louis Martini, made from the same vineyard, blew us away with its still-fresh raspberry fruit. I still have one bottle of the 1999 Fife zin that the GO had a few years back, that wine has consistently been fantastic.

        Reply
    2. Zoel

      Bought the Summit Lake with similar high hopes…I liked a tad more than you, but my wife and you are in total agreement! Was expecting a more restrained version, aka the Chase Zin a few years ago. This is decently made, but just clumsy and flat. Sizable disappointment, only because of high hopes.

      Reply
    3. Eugene

      Oregon GO stores have had the Wild Oats Edna Valley PN ($7) and J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley PN ($11). I (reluctantly) think the Wilkes is worth the extra money. Has anyone else had a chance to compare the two?

      Reply
  9. Happybaker

    Burbank Grocery Outlet/SoCal – approx. 8/17
    Betty’s Blend – a white table wine. $2.99. I googled it in the store and the reviews, while limited, were good. And the bottle said “Aromas of peaches, citrus and passion fruit lead into a lovely blend of tropical fruit flavors. A soft round mouthfeel is complemented by a crisp refreshing finish.”
    So, as one of my friends often says “Sure why not?”
    Chilled it, opened it and – ick! So sweet. So so so so sweet! (Maybe that’s why not ; ) Where is that refreshing finish they spoke of? So I threw it back in the fridge and walked way. Poured a bit two days later. Better. Still sweeter then I like but actually had a decent finish. I’m now using it as a desert wine to finish off the bottle.
    So if you like sweet wines – go for it. If you don’t like sweet wines, spend one dollar more and get Long Barn Chardonnay or, spend two dollars more and get La Merika Chardonnay (another wine.com orphan it seems!) https://www.wine.com/product/la-merika-chardonnay-2014/156430

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      Happy, when there is a not so drinkable sweet white wine, it can be used to poach the summer’s wonderful stone fruit or pears for a dessert. One doesn’t have to add as much sugar to poach and plus there is the acid from the wine so there is no need to add citrus juice. I’ve been making Peach Melbas with some of my cheap muscatos from GO.

      Reply
      1. Happybaker

        Darrell –

        Thank you. Using the leftover wine to poach stone fruit was not something I’d ever think of – yet once you posted it, I realized – it made complete sense!

        I’m about to do a big nectarine purchase (to prep my holiday gift jams) so I will use some of the wine to poach a few of those for me. Very happy to play with my leftover wine in this way! Thank you!

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          You are welcome. I can tell from your moniker you enjoy cooking. Now what dessert wine to have with your nectarines.

          Reply
    1. Seedboy

      Quoting his comment to me “It’s one of the better CCr’s I’ve had in some time. And I think it will be better tomorrow. Nice low AL… lots of stuff going on… I’m just not a huge Chianti fan

      Reply
      1. Expat

        I tried this and thought it was awful, and I like Chianti. Rough, disjointed and the funk wasn’t pleasant. I ended up dumping the bottle out. Really bummed me out. As an aside, I’m surprised SOIF isn’t a Chianti fan, based on his palate.

        Reply
        1. Doug Green

          I had seen the Chianti Classico in San Diego and had been wondering about it. Now I am still wondering about it.

          Reply
  10. JoelA

    2013 Notte di Gioia Monferatto; Piedmont, Italy, bought last week at Richmond for % 6.99 (12.5% alc.)

    Another 8 Vini import. The site’s tasting notes read “Buoyant and aromatic with jumpy notes of flowers and ripe berries, it finishes dry with just a touch of that bitterness we look for in Italian reds, rendering it exceptionally friendly at table.”

    None of us at Richmond – neither the staff nor the customers – were particularly interested in trying this wine. It wasn’t from one of the better known Piedmont appellations and wasn’t made from the usual Piedmont grapes (40% merlot, 30% cabernet, 30% syrah). i finally said “what the heck” and bought a bottle.

    To make a long story short, the wine’s OK, especially if you like that “touch of that bitterness we look for in Italian reds” (personally, I don’t think it’s any asset). Merlot fruit is OK but can’t sense the syrah; otherwise the wine’s not anything special, and at the medium-high GO price there’s no reason to buy any more.

    Reply
  11. Zoel

    A bevy of reviews here:

    2015 Windy Gap Cab (Columbia Valley, WA) $6 at SRosa store – classic “meh” WA cab…lacks any depth of fruit, has bland acidity, little of redeeming value. Returning remainder…

    2015 The Pugilist Cab (South Australia) $5 at SRosa – remarkably similar to the above Windy Gap in all the worst ways. “Meh” with an Ozzie accent. Didn’t know they made this bland a vino down under…even worse, imagine the carbon footprint used to transport here…does the GO Buyer even taste this stuff?

    2014 Empress Ridge Cab (Amador) $6 at SRosa – getting better, this is quaffable. Surprising restraint for Amador, with some nice cherry notes and balance.

    2012 Robert Stevens PN Vintner’s Reserve (Sonoma Coast) $7 at Petaluma – upon first opening, wasn’t very impressed (esp. after their awful Merlot, which was flawed). Some nice accents here with a touch of spice, but lacking body/structure, weak finish. Left on counter overnight, now a sweet (fruit, not sugar) edge to the palate in a good way. Decent quaff, but lacks finish and polish. Not a re-buy.

    2014(?) Constelacion Merlot (Spain) $5 SRosa – funky nose, somewhat thin but nothing offensive. Pass

    Reply
  12. seedboy

    Broadbent Duoro Red Table Wine 2007, Portugal. Seen recently in Oakland and Richmond. I’ve not tasted this wine but wanted to pass on a review from the writer of Soif, but posted on FB:

    I have no idea what’s going on here. I spotted this wine at Grocery Outlet for like 14 Bucks and obviously it caught my eye because there’s no Portuguese wines in America and this is a Douro, which I love. Of course Broadbent jumps out at you I mean is it a Broadbent selection? or what? Turn the bottle around and it says bottled by Niepoort and imported by Broadbent Selections yes! It’s going on 10 years old and says there’s 250 cases made and nothing more, only it’s “indigenous grapes” which is going to be what ? come on quiz time! what are the four indigenous grapes to Portugal… are there five Reds? Anyway it’s fairly amazing not a speck of bricking, bright ruby no amber edge whatsoever, non-staining but brilliant big massive fruity nose it honestly smells a little bit hotter than the stated 13.5 but being Europe I’ll give it to him. A little egg carton vegetal nuance in the nose beautiful on the tongue. In the mouth nice fruit nice acidity a nice little tarry bite and sharp acrid bite but not a high note I’d call it a low note acrid a little bit more heat in the finish and awkward little diddling of overripe orange in the late finish but this is a stupidly good wine just a stupidly good wine for pennies. It had 2 capsules on it a clear capsule then a seal like Port which I’ve never seen on a Portuguese still wine before and then your standard black zinc capsule spun over the top of that such a weird wine… still big ripe fruit little banana in the nose. What a bargain–I mean this is one of the things… I always say there’s two kinds of wine at Grocery Outlet: wines that should be there and wines that shouldn’t be there and your job is to find the ones that shouldn’t be there! This one should not be there. This is this is a stupidly good wine for that price.

    Reply
    1. Expat

      I grabbed a bottle of this base on a recommendation by the wine buyer and I like Portugese wines. It looked and felt like they put a little effort into the packaging. Haven’t opened it yet but had high hopes that are even higher after SOIF’s review. I remember it being more like $15, not $7 though. I’ll get into it this weekend and report back.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I have not bought one because it costs $15 here.
        This is not the first time I have seen Central Coast, where he is, charge way less for the same wines as we are charged in the bay area. .

        Reply
        1. Expat

          I’m 99% sure it’s $15 at the Central Coast stores. I think SOIF was working off memory when he said it was something like $7. I’m opening it tonight and if it’s good I’ll rebuy and report back on pricing.

          Reply
      2. Zoel

        Grabbed a bottle to try, $15 in RPark…needs at least 60 airtime – after I double-decanted. At first it was interesting and complex, with a bit of a tannic edge. Dark fruits, lots o layers. At the hour mark, began to smooth out (not unlike a great Bordeaux or Napa)…out comes thus lovely silk finish, addtl layers, definitely to the next level. 92-93 pts in my book. Rebuy a few at $15…cases below $10.

        Reply
    2. Happybaker

      “I always say there’s two kinds of wine at Grocery Outlet: wines that should be there and wines that shouldn’t be there and your job is to find the ones that shouldn’t be there!”

      Love this quote!

      Reply
      1. Doug Green

        And regarding this specific criteria, I’d particularly point out the following wines: The Sunce Cattich Vineyards 2013 and 2014 Zinfandels and Syrahs. I just think that the winery got a bit aggressive asking $38 a bottle for these. IMHO, had they been sold at $20-25/bottle, they’d have been fairly valued and moved through normal channels. As it is, they were steals at GO for $6.99. In a similar vein, the Beringer Clear Lake 2013 zin for $4.99, probably only at GO because Beringer was changing labels and these were orphaned as a result. A perfectly decent zinfandel were it priced in the mid-teens, well worth grabbing at $4.99

        Reply
  13. Darrell

    Would like to share a recent technique of preserving bottles of Late Bottled Vintage Port bottled with a bar top cork, the kind finishing whiskeys and brandy. Port doesn’t keep after being opened due to oxidation and I can’t finish a whole bottle of Port and must drink small portions of the bottle at a time. The only prerequisite is that one must have the Coravin wine dispenser which I acquired recently for $30 at an estate sale, lucky me. Take a whole cork from a table wine extracted by a pronged Ach-so type of cork puller and save it, that is, no wine screw holes in the cork. Upon opening a bottle of LBV Port, drive it into the bottle of port after removing the bar top cork from the bottle. After that you are good to go to use the Coravin to dispense the LBV port at your leisure and any small amounts one drinks. Now we should be so lucky to find some LBV’s at GO.

    Reply
  14. BdB

    I want to thank the folks behind this blog (BargainWhine mainly if I’m right), it’s such a good idea. I’ve gotten so many good wines from reading the posts. Tonight it’s the Villa Stellaria 2014 petit verdot from the Alexander valley. Well worth the 8$ (or 7?) I paid for it (at the S Cruz store) a month ago. Nice dark color, pleasing peculiar nose and many fruity flavors, just enough oak, not sweet, even a bit tart. A nice, different experience, well balanced in its own way and ready to go from the first pour. I also like the humble tasty label. Glad I got 2 bottles, one to look forward to, I’ll check if some is still available.

    Reply
  15. Doug Green

    Gaetan d’Aquino 2014 Pinot Noir Veneto $4.99 List price $12.99

    This wine is piqued my curiosity, as I had never had a Pinot Noir from this region in Italy. It’s packaged in a Bordeaux-style bottle. I have to say, this wine is more than a little interesting. It’s a light-medium bodied red with very nice aromatics. It tastes like a cross between a good Oregon Pinot and a Sangiovese, but without the astringency that all but the ripest Sangiovese’s take on. In many ways it resembles a Chianti, but it’s better than just about any inexpensive Chianti I’ve ever had. The initial palate is a delicate combination of red fruits, currants, and a hint of mushroom, with a savory and lingering finish. This is by no means a blockbuster, but it exhibits tons of finesse, and no unpleasant characterstics at all to my taste. An extremely nice $5 wine, and a definite thumbs up and something I’ll be buying more of, although I don’t think it has the composition to develop with further age. Personally, I can’t think of any other Pinot Noir or Italian wine I’ve ever gotten at GO for under $7 that I have enjoyed as much, and short of the Bailiwicks, it might be the best Pinot Noir that I’ve had from GO. But don’t expect it to conform exactly to any existing Pinot Noir paradigm that you are familiar with, as it is it’s own thing. And a very nice worthwhile thing it is.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Doug. Thanks very much for this review! I had been curious about this wine, but was not sure I wanted to try it after (1) trying the 2011 vintage and (2) a customer’s word that this was just a very pleasant and easy-drinking wine (not usually my thing).

      Reply
    2. Darrell

      I must say I have had much better luck with <$7 PN QPR than Cab and similar cultivars at GO. Don't recall any <$7 PN Burgundy, but have had PN from other countries, though none from Italy yet, and some are quite decent for the money. Just had a Borderline Bailiwick for lunch and it spoils one for the next good PN from GO.

      Reply
  16. Doug Green

    Fontaine du Sud 2011 Reserve Languedoc. $4.99

    This is just a really nice quality $5 red wine. Not a blockbuster, but quite elegant and well balanced, with nice fruit, acidity, a nice mid-palate and a lingering finish. I don’t know the makeup of this wine, but it is noticeably characteristic of Syrah and Grenache. The flavors are dark berry and black pepper, a slight dollop of oak, but nothing intrusive. The tannins have fully resolved, and this is enjoyaable on it’s own or with food. Has more character and is more peppery than the otherwise similar Cuvee Darius Fitou, which I also liked, but I prefer this, and it costs slightly less. If you like your Rhone blends toward the peppery side, you’ll love this. A definite thumbs up, and would be worthwhile at $9-12, not to mention the $5 it’s going for.

    Reply
    1. Expat

      I thought this was enjoyable but a little heavier with the fruit than I prefer in a French wine. Certainly a great value and good wine if you like something that straddles the old world-new world border. Bottom line for me was this was good but not memorable enough to use my wine drinking allotment (or cellar space) for more. These days wine needs to move the needle a little higher for me than this one did. At $5 price was a non-issue. (Full disclosure – I didn’t give this adequate breathing time so I may be giving it short shrift.)

      Reply
  17. Doug Green

    Calipaso 2013 Zinfandel, Paso Robles $4.99 / 26.99 orig. list.

    This is basically a protypical big, high alcohol, dark, plummy, blackberry and cough-syrupy Paso Robles Old Vines zinfandel of the sort that originally made this area famous. I should preface this by stating up front that it’s NOT my preferred style of Zinfandel, I much prefer the brighter, more elegant, aromatic zins that come out of Dry Creek, Sonoma, and the Russian River Valleys – of which the recently available Sunce is an excellent representation. But this is a very well made wine, and certainly more than worthy of the $5 asking price for folks that seek out this style of Zin. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was actually notably higher in alcohol than the 14.9% on the label, as it very clearly veers off to being a port-style wine. It throws massive legs on the side of the glass, and it’s tremendously extracted. It could easily overpower all but the most robust cuisine. Again, a textbook example of a certain style of wine that is generally not my go-to zin – but if you want a wine that resembles the stuff that came out of the century-old vines on the Dusi Ranch in the 1970s and 80s, and you want it at a great price, this is your boy. I should also mention that I don’t believe that this style of zin ages well, certainly nowhere near as well as the more elegant Sonoma-style zins do. I can appreciate the winemaking and the value this bottle represents without actually loving it. But I could see someone who is searching for this style of zin giving it a score in the 92-94 range. I personally much prefer the Sunce, but they are diametrically opposing examples of the Zinfandel spectrum. And it’s a matter of personal preference what one is seeking.

    Reply
  18. Michael Turner

    Another long list of notes for everyone. Copied from an email I sent out.

    Cerro Bravo Sauvignon Blanc 2016, $4.99
    Valle Central, Chile. Bright, fresh nose with citrus, grapefruit, gooseberry and minerals. Steely, crisp palate matches the nose with nice acid and a touch of grassiness. Well balanced, dry and crisp. A really nice Sav. Blanc, perfect for the warmer weather.

    Jardin des Charmes Chardonnay 2015, $5.99
    Coteaux de Beziers, France. A steely nose with scents of green apple, pineapple, citrus and some minerals. Palate matches up with the nose, nice and crisp from stainless steel aging. Balance is perfect and finish is long. Very Nice.

    Fat Barrel No Oak Chardonnay 2015, $5.99
    Western Cape, South Africa. Nose is tropical fruit(papaya, guava), apple and some pear. Crisp and Bright palate with good weight and nice acid. Apple and pear flavors on the palate with a bit of minerality. Finish is aromatic and long. Another nice summer sipper.

    I Love Vino Chardonnay 2015, $6.99
    Maule Valley, Chile. Nose is apple, citrus, maybe a little pineapple and some mustyness. Palate is apple juice, pear, herbs and a touch of honey. Acid is ok, finish is nice. Pretty good for the money, and interesting chardonnay for sure.

    Smart Cookie Chardonnay 2014, $5.99
    Central Coast, California. Nose is honeyed apple, pineapple and a bit of pear. Palate is creamy but not sweet, with apple, pear, honey and vanilla. Full bodied with nice acid, balance is nice. Seems like the perfect amount of oak for me, doesn’t pass into the “buttered popcorn” style of chardonnay but has a nice weight to it and a nice finish.

    Maestri Chianti 2011, $4.99
    Nose is stewed fruit, dark cherry, blackberry, smoke and spice. The stewed note isn’t off putting yet, but this wine doesn’t have much left to it. Palate is tired, fruit is there(cherry, blackberry) but it is fading fast. Spice and smoke also present. Acid is still there and ok, just starting to fade. There are customers out there that will enjoy this, but it is not for everyone. A nice Chianti on it’s last legs.

    Gratia Gran Reserva Carmenere 2016, $6.99
    Valle Central, Chile. Red cherries, raspberries, cocoa, chocolate and smoke on the nose. Palate is round and sweet with jammy fruit, vanilla, wood, smoke and spice. While not cloying at all, this wine is pretty sweet. Good weight, nice sweet finish. Definitely one for folks who like their reds sweet. Not a lot of acid or tannins present. Solid and well made if not a little too sweet for my palate.

    Le Grand Massat Cote du Rhone N.V., $6.99
    Re taste. France. You don’t see that many non vintage Cote du Rhones, this one is under the “protege” AOC which allows for younger wines and N.V.’s to be released. I tasted this around the time it arrived 3 months ago or so and I have heard varying reports from customers so I decided to re taste. Nose is restrained, blackberry, plum, smoke. Palate adds spice, earth, mushrooms, maybe wood(cedar). Some tannins present but acid is a bit too much. Medium to full bodied, rich, full finish. I suspect there may be some bottle variation here, but I also think the acid will subside with time in the bottle. I have had a few of these since the wine arrived and they’ve all been similar, I haven’t had any obviously bad bottles.

    Citadel Carignane 2014, $7.99
    Re Taste. Mendocino County, California. Another re taste, this time because the last time I evaluated this wine it was closed down and not showing well at all. It has been around 6 months or so since then and I haven’t heard much bad about this wine, I just wanted to see how it was tasting. Nose is deep with blackberries, flowers(violets), smoke, earth and wood. Still very dry on the palate with earthy and deep flavors. More blackberry, some cherry, graphite, pencil shavings, mushrooms and flowers. Big, rich acid and tannins. Still pretty young. I really like what this has become. Still very dry and rich but starting to show the layered qualities that make great wines.

    Michel Schlumberger Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 , $6.99
    California. Nose is plum, cherry, oak, vanilla and some smoke. Palate is soft with addition of cocoa, cedar, graphite, dark berries and jam. Tannins are soft and round and acid is light. This is a nice cab to have with or without food. Easy drinking with good flavor. Nice long finish.

    thanks!

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      Thanks for those notes. I’ve been wondering about the Carignane, there is still a lot of it at Oakland.

      Reply
  19. Darrell

    I am always looking for an inexpensive sparkling wine for breakfast or brunch and found a New Age Brut in SF for $3.99 a bottle. From research, it seems to be made in the Charmat method like most or all Proseccos. It’s base wine is mostly Chenin Blanc with Torrontes and Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains at 10% each. The muscatiness of Torrontes or Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains doesn’t come through, thank goodness. There was a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. Since this is priced the same as the Ziobaffa Prosecco, I prefer this since it is a bit dryer and has more atm pressure and, hence, the sparkle lasts longer. The best price I could find was a twofer $15 at BevMo. WE, http://www.winemag.com/buying-guide/new-age-nv-brut-sparkling-san-rafael-217410/ , rated the wine at 82 points which I disagree with and would have rated it a bit higher despite the price consideration. Happy, if this is in the PNW, give it a try.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      After having the remainder of the bottle for lunch, the acid level is a bit low for a first course, especially a fish course. Many first courses have a fairly decent level of some kind of acid and a higher acid wine would be better paired, IMHO.

      Reply
  20. JoelA

    2012 Chillhouse zinfandel (Paso Robles), bought today at Richmond for $ 5.99 (14.5% alc.)

    The wine, which is made by the very good PR winery Peachy Canyon is clearly indicated by the label as being a more casual wine. And that’s what it is – a nice, somewhat cherry fruity wine with a bit of tar in the taste. 87 points from Wine Enthusiast, who commented “The stylish label puts this in the “bro” wine category, yet it’s quite a good get for the price. Light aromas of crushed cherry candies, charred wood and fresh chopped mint drop into a palate laden with cherries and menthol. It’s a nice, easy and not overpowering wine.”

    And that’s when the price was $ 20. Now it’s only $ 5.99. Get some for your barbecue or your friend’s pool party farther East.

    Reply
  21. Darrell

    I usually find that GO SB from NZ have a reasonable to very good QPR and have bought many over the years. Just picked up from my local, slim pickins GO a 2014 Hillersden Marlborough SB, $3.99. It isn’t too strong in the nose with any form of SB character except possibly a slight weediness which isn’t off putting to me, anyway. The flavor is lacking in SB without defects. A drinkable white but for me overpriced when compared to past purchases of like wines.

    Reply
  22. Michael Turner

    Here is a long list of tasting notes. I keep forgetting to post here, hope this doesn’t overwhelm everyone. All of these are available at SODO Seattle and I would imagine the surrounding G.O.’s as well. Copied from a couple emails I sent out.

    Chateau Croix des Gentis 2014, $7.99
    Bordeaux Superior, France. Nose is cherry, plum, slight gamey, cedar and graphite. Palate is a touch flabby, with a touch of tannin. Palate flavors match the nose with the addition of chocolate, earth and wood with a slightly stewed characteristic. Needs more time in the bottle maybe, a bit all over the place.

    Chateau Bellevue 2015, $6.99
    Bergerac, Bordeaux, France. Merlot 30%, Cabernet 30%, Cabernet Franc 30%, Malbec 10%. Rich nose, blackberry, cherry, cassis and some wood and smoke. Full palate with nice grip, a little tight and reserved but air and bottle age will help that. One of the better Bordeauxs I have currently. Well made and good flavor and structure. Could use a few more years in the bottle. Nice long finish.

    Bodegas Taron Rioja Reserve 2005, $5.99
    Spain. 90% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuela(Carignan). (A note about this before I get into the review. This is a old wine that is showing its age, but for the price and the condition I still think this is a good, well made wine. It won’t be for everyone, that’s for sure) Stored properly, cork is in great shape. Color is garnet with touches of brick coloring showing the age. Nose is flowers(violet, rose) cherries, chocolate, pomegranate, wood, earth and spice, well layered. Dry with good acid, earth, cherry, wood and spices(vanilla) on the palate. Rich tannins still present, and this is very drinkable to me. After 3 hours, flavors merge a bit, nose becomes seemless. Fruit softens, dry herbs emerge maybe a touch of minerality. The wine really comes together. Day 2, nose and palate has started showing stewed fruit, starting to feel tired. Still good acid and flavor but really shows its age. This is good wine that won’t last very long, not the typical G.O. Style.

    Langevin Pinot Noir 2016, $5.99
    Pays d’Oc, France. Bright, fresh, young nose. Cherry, strawberry, rose. Palate is similar with some earth, spice and a little mushroom. Dry with some slight tannins. Good acid and a nice finish. Very young and shows it. Day 2, a bit of pinot funk on the nose now, more savory flavors have emerged. Still lots of grip, with cherries, mushrooms and flowers. Really nice. Should age well over the next few years.

    Gnekow Family Winery Old Vine Zinfandel Reserve 2012, $5.99
    Possibly a special bottling for G.O. Lodi, California. Dark plum, blackberries, cassis, bramble and smoke on the nose. Blackberry jam on the sweet palate, with some earth and wood there also. Nice structure, a bit of soft tannnin and a lovely sweet finish. Very nice zin, just like I like them, not too jammy.

    Gnekow Family Winery Syrah Reserve 2012, $5.99
    California. Extracted currant, black pepper, some earthy mushroomy funk, maybe a bit of gamey funk as well. Palate is nice with more rich fruit(blackberry) a good amount of oak influence and earth. Dry with good acid and rich tannins. A nice Cali syrah, well made. Nice flowery finish.

    Gnekow Family Winery Merlot Reserve 2013, $5.99
    Lodi, California. Nose is plum, cherry, currant?, oak with some touches of chocolate and blackberry. Palate is jammy and rich with some light grip and solid acid. A richer, dryer styled merlot. Full bodied with a nice long finish. A very food friendly merlot.

    Quadrant Bordeaux Blend 2010, $5.99
    Paso Robles, California. Merlot 60%, Cabert 20%, Petit Verdot 13%, Petite Sirah 7%. Nose is deep, complex with plum, cherry, chocolate, cedar, leather. Palate is slightly jammy with some sweet fruit. Smooth acid and soft tannnins. A nice Cali Bordeaux Blend that hits a lot of the right marks. A touch too fruit driven. Nice finish. Day 2, nose is more focused and palate flavors more integrated. Savory flavors emerge more and balance the sweet fruit out. Really nice with a day of air. A great buy.

    Dehesa La Torrecilla Red 2013, $7.99
    La Tierra de Extremadura, Spain. 40% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet, 30% Syrah. Color is dark purple with blood red edges. The big, expressive nose is right up my alley, dark berries, jam, cassis extract, liqueur like with some wood and bacon fat. Palate moves into typical Spanish flavors, spot on. Earthy, cherry, chocolate, spices, blackberry jam, game meats, bacon fat and a touch of violets. Dry and rich with good acid and smooth tannins. Long finish. Very Good. Day 2, more smokey, gamey fat on the nose. Still tight with good tannic structure. Some sweet fruit emerges and falls right into place. Better the second day.

    Acronym White Blend 2013, $2.99
    California. Tropical nose with citrus, white flowers, white stone fruit. Palate is similar but too sweet. Not cloying at all just a touch too much for me. Refreshing, light and clean. Well made and tasty I just can’t get over the sweetness. My guess is a blend of Riesling, Gewurtz, maybe Chardonnay. Good for warmer weather but sweet.

    Pacific Rim Eufloria White 2013, $4.99
    Washington State. Here we go, this is more like it. Nose is steely petrol, green apple, quince and minerals. Palate is more of the same with jasmine and citrus. The perfect amount of sweetness for this style. Light and refreshing with great acid and lovely aromatics. This is really good. A perfect warm weather white.

    La Merika Chardonnay 2014, $5.99
    Monterey, California. Nose is honeyed tropical fruit with apple, vanilla and oak. Palate is similar with some floral notes and maybe a touch of minerals. Good weight, nice balance of oak, definitely more on the fruit side. Acid is good, finish is nice. Not a superstar but a nice everyday chardonnay.

    Slow Press Chardonnay 2013, $6.99
    Monterey, California. Nose is buttery with minimal fruit(tropical) with honey, apple and some flowers. Full bodied, oak is there and in the forefront but well balanced with the fruit and acid. Again, not spectacular but good if you like the buttery style. Creamy finish with more sweet oak.

    L’Amante Toscano Rosso 2014, $5.99
    Italy. Nose is smoke, spice, plum, blackberries and a touch of game meats. Palate is similar with wood and flowers. Light to medium bodied with some grippy tannins. A well made pizza wine. Should develop a bit in the bottle.

    Rabbit’s Ear Syrah 2013, $4.99
    North Coast California. Nose is blackberry jam, game meats, smoke and a touch of violets. Sweet round palate that is fruit driven. Some earth in there but fruit is the forefront. Nice sweet finish. Not too bad but lacks structure. Very easy drinker.

    Ziobaffa Pinot Grigio 2014, $2.50
    Terre Siciliane, Italy. Made with Organically Grown Grapes. This is the 3rd wine from Ziobaffa I have had in the store and like the previous wines it is not only a great buy it is a pretty darn good wine. Nose is white stone fruits, apple, melon and some minerals. Palate is much of the same with a touch of crisp acid and a medium full body. There is a touch of roundness there as well indicating a minimal amount of sweetness. Overall a very well made and tasty wine, at $2.50 a bottle it’s an absolute steal. I’m not sure I have enough to go around.

    Anthony Koster Chardonnay 2016, $6.99
    California. Nose is steely and crisp with green apple, some tropical fruit, minerals, quince and a touch of honey. Crisp and clean palate with more apple and tropical flavors with a bit of minerals. There is a touch of oak present but it is well integrated and clean. A very well made wine with a full body and medium long finish. If you like low oak Chardonnay you will enjoy this.

    Dachshund Rosé of Pinot Noir 2014, $5.99
    Nahe, Germany. Nose is bright berries, cherry, some minerals and a touch of citrus. Palate has a touch of sweetness that brings the strawberries and cherries out while maintaining a fairly dry profile. Acid is spot on and finish is light and bright. Pinot Noir Rosé is always a bit more berry focused than others and this shows it well. A very nice summer drinker

    Carrione Pinot Grigio 2016, $4.99
    Delle Venezie, Italy. Light and fresh nose of melons, peaches and pears, jasmine and minerals. A pretty young wine but well made with the palate matching the nose. Light bodied with crisp acid. Not as round as your typical Italian Pinot Grigio. Really nice though.

    Rock Springs Red Blend 2013, $6.99
    Amador County, California. I have 2 Rock Springs Red Blends in currently, the other from the Sierra Foothills AVA. This is a Bordeaux styled blend with Cabernet, Merlot and most likely Cabernet Franc. Nose is plum, blackberry, some chocolate and violets. Plate is rich and jammy, not very Bordeaux like but well put together and full bodied. Long finish.

    Conte di Zanone Barolo 2013, $18.99
    Barolo, Italy. Grape is Nebbiolo. It is an understatement to say that this wine needs air, it really didn’t start showing anything until it was open for 2+ hours. A baby. Nose is tar, plum, cherry, earth, spicebox, wood. Palate is medium light with the flavors from the nose plus mushrooms, herbs, minerals. This is pretty outstanding wine that really needs 5 or more years in the bottle. Tannins are rich and grippy and acid is pretty big but you tend to expect that in a wine this young. Finish is long and expressive.

    thanks for reading!

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Michael -great notes! Thanks for the detail, very insightful. I picked up a bottle of the Koster Chard, and agree it is a good value and well-made. Came off a bit sweet when too cold, but as it warmed it fleshed out nicely. Still some oak on this puppy, don’t be mislead – but decently balanced.

      Reply
    2. flitcraft

      Your notes are very much appreciated, since most of the reviewed wines by our California based friends don’t seem to make it northward.

      Reply
    3. JoelA

      Michael: Of these wines, I’ve had only the Taron rioja. The only point of agreement with your notes is “really shows its age”.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        A customer who has said good things about the Taron Reserva said today that the two bottles he’s had were quite different in the strength of the fruit. He still liked the lighter-bodied bottle and bought more, but his comment points to some bottle variation, as often happens with GO wines.

        Reply
    4. flitcraft

      At Lake City, the only Gnekow wine was the Syrah Reserve, so I picked one up to try. First night, I wasn’t too impressed. Not that it was bad, but not a lot going on–blackberry and some plum, and not enough acid to complement the fruit. My sense was of a pleasant, medium bodied wine, no more and no less. Day two, though, the wine really opened up and put on some weight. This was definitely Syrah–much more varietal character. So, though I am not usually an “air” person, I would recommend letting this one open up considerably to see what it’s about. There’s a little left for day three–will report if there is anything significant to say.

      Reply
    5. Doug Green

      I quite like the Taron 2005 Reserva Rioja for $5 a bottle and with some nice maturity on it. My bottle has actually improved slightly on day 2 and day 3 relative to the day I opened it, and it has smoothed out nicely, and has a nice lingering finish and a pleasant mid-palate. Don’t know about bottle variation, but certainly the one I popped is a more than worthwhile $5 bottle.

      Reply
    6. Zoel

      RE: Gnekow Zin – agree wholeheartedly, this is pretty solid juice…fruit-forward but decently balanced, excellent value vs. many wannabes in GO recently.

      Reply
    7. Happybaker

      Thanks for your review!

      Just opened the La Merika Chardonnay and agree with your thoughts. In Burbank it was $4.99, that that made it a tad tastier ; )

      Yes, it’s not a “OMG – must go out and buy cases! Now!” wine, but it is well made, rich, fruity and tasty. Not sad about the $5 I spent, a very pleasant everyday wine. (I have gotten so spoiled with Grocery Outlet, our “everyday” wine quality has certainly gone up!)

      Reply
  23. JoelA

    2009 Jean-Claude Boisset Chambolle-Musigny “Les Chardannes”, bought a couple of years ago at Oakland for $ 19.99.

    This wine came out better than I had expected from Boisset. It was well worth the price, and more. A medium-bodied wine, with some earthiness (but not enough to characterize it as a “barnyard Burgundy”) and good cherry-like fruit. Holding up well for its age but my guess is that it’s about as good as it’s going to get unless you like musty old Burgundies (I do, some of them). If you have any, open it in the near term.

    Reply
  24. Seedboy

    Sophora Sparkling Cuvee New Zealand, Richmond store, $5.99 (I think). This is half chardonnay and half pinot. Wine.com sells it for $15 and at that price it would be competitive with many of the California bubbles. This was way too frothy for me (indeed, the next day it was still pretty bubbly and I’d have been happier with this level of bubble on day 1). A bit of pink from the pinot, this is a fruity wine with apple and citrus and a bit of red fruit. It would be perfect for a summer wedding if the guests aren’t picky. I’d rather have more of the Atmosphere, which appears to be disappearing.

    Reply
  25. JoelA

    Conte de Zanone 2015 Barbera d’ Asti, bought this week at Richmond for $ 5.99 (13% alc.).
    This is a good basic barbera; cherry-like fruit with enough acid and a good structure. A bit better than some other recent barberas (the Bosio, for example).
    Like many Italian wines at GO, this wine is produced under a brand name by an anonymous or acronymous producer (CN/5801 in this case). Too bad we don’t see some Italian wines from recognized wineries (I guess that estate-bottled Italians is too much to ask for).

    Reply
  26. seedboy

    Uhu Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon 2013, $5.99 at Richmond, 5/20. This wine has surprising amounts of dark fruit flavor for a modestly-priced Oregon pinot, with minerally/forest floor and gentle tannin providing the structure. This is better than the Ruby, which is fruity but simpler.

    Reply
  27. Doug Green

    Bonny Doon 2013 Mourvedre, Contra Costa County. $8.99 pre-sale.

    This bottle is pretty easy to spot on the shelf, as it has a big-old smiling T-Rex on the label. I am a big fan of both Mourvedres and Bonny Doon’s Rhones in general, so I was really looking forward to this one, and I bought 3 bottles on spec during the 20% sale prior to even trying it. Upon initial opening, I have to say that the wine was disappointing, as it showed tannins and acidity, but little complexity or fruit revealed itself. Over an hour of airing, it still showed very little. With just one small glass poured on day 1, I put this on a vacuum pump and let it sit. Day 2 was somewhat better, with a bit more fruit showing, but it was still pretty tight, and still not noticeably displaying Mourvedre varietal character, relative to the tannins and acidity on the finish. Day 3 finally began to reveal something worthwhile, and the first time I could honestly say it was identifiable as a Mourvedre, rather than something else. Some depth on the finish, and begging for some fatty beef as an accompaniment. It’s currently day 3, and a half of this bottle remains, so I look forward to seeing how the next couple of days allow it to evolve. But I have to say, I wonder if, absent the Bonny Doon pedigree and track record with Rhones, I wonder if I would have had the patience to wait this wine out. As for my remaining couple of bottles, based upon this, I won’t be touching the next one for at least 4-5 years.

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      On the 4th night, this is finally starting to really show it’s stuff as a fine Mourvedre to accompany food. The nose has at last opened up, and the tannins have softened, revealing a rich and enjoyable wine, some spices on the nose, and some leather on the finish along with the fruit.

      Reply
      1. Doug Green

        There’s some of it in a couple of the less traveled GOs in San Diego, but it’s mostly gone, I would imagine.

        Reply
        1. Doug Green

          On day 6, the wine is as good as it has ever been, and now I’m done with the bottle. I would not open another of these for at least 5 years.

          Reply
          1. Seedboy

            I bought a few of the Old Telegram that were available at the same time and reached the same conclusion. I wonder if any of the stores still have this.

            Reply
            1. davidlikeswine

              I haven’t seen these for a while at Palo Alto. Thanks for the notes, I’ll sit tight on mine for the foreseeable future 🙂

  28. JoelA

    2005 Taron Rioja Riserva, bought this week at Richmond for $ 4.99 (90% tempranillo, 10% mazuelo; 13.5% alc.)

    I sometimes wonder where these older wines have been all this time, before showing up at GO. In the old days, when GO was known as Canned Foods, there was always a question as to whether the wine had been badly stored, or was in a warehouse fire, or whether an importer or distributor had gone out of business or was just cleaning out the back of its warehouse.
    Not so much any more, or else someone would know and post here.
    So where has this wine been all these years?
    Anyway, the back label has the usual accolades of spirited and spicy fruits, etc. To me, however, the wine, while drinkable, seems tired. The color seems a bit muddled, as do the flavors. Some sweetness in the taste confirms the use (per the label) of American oak. Overall, drinkable, goes all right with food, but probably OTH.

    Reply
  29. Darrell

    Tasted the 2013 Alder Springs Vineyard Row Five White Cuvee a Rhone Blend of 57% Rousanne, 29%Marsanne, and 14% Viognier side by side with a 2014 Calipaso Cuvee Blanc a blend of 46% Grenache Blanc, 27% Viognier, 13% Marsanne and 12% Rousanne. The Alder Springs Vd. was finished with a 2″ whole cork and the Calipaso with a screwcap. The Alder Springs was a tad more yellow than the almost straw yellow Calipaso. Both were Produced and Bottled by. Forgot the prices, but the Calipaso was less.
    These were evaluated unchilled to allow better assessment of the nose. The Alder Springs had a more intense, aromatic nose compared to the Calipaso. The Calipaso had less estery, fruitiness by comparison and not so influenced by the Viognier as expected. It had a light citrusy nose. In addition to the Alder Springs being more aromatic, it was more complex with a fruity, waxy, soapy like nose. As a reference for some of you, it was like the 2012 Le Cigare Blanc from Bonny Doon but fruitier.
    The Calipaso was lighter in body with med.- flavor while the Alder Springs had med. flavor, but it didn’t fulfill my expectations as I anticipated from the nose which was a bit of a disappointment. Both were a tad low in acid. Thought I was going to buy some of the Alder Springs, but not after evaluating the flavor.

    Reply
      1. Darrell

        DLW, you might try a bottle of the Alder Springs white because as Doug says it costs $5.99 and also you can see what our taste preferences are. I think I was spoiled by the Bonny Doon, especially the aromatics, even though a bit more expensive. For me, the aromatics seem similar though the cuvee between them are quite dissimilar.

        Reply
    1. Doug Green

      Well, I bought a couple of bottles of the 2013 Alder Springs Row 5 white on spec – I have not yet tried it. But I love white Rhones, and I have a hard time reconciling the description above with a wine not being well worth $5.99 a bottle. I also saw, but didn’t buy and have not tried, the 2012 of the Alder Springs Row 5 white. The main difference blend-wise is that the 2012 is more Grenache Blanc and Viognier, and much less Rousanne. BTW, The 2012 has a 91 point score from Wine Enthusiast.

      BTW, another white Rhone blend that’s around at some GOs is the David Girard 2013 Coda Blanc from the Sierra Foothills, for $5. I picked up a bottle of this as well, but also have not opened it.

      Another white Rhone that WAS around at GOs, but is apparently gone, but can still be found at some 99 cent stores is the 2014 Clayhouse Adobe White. For the ridiculous price of $1.99 a bottle, it’s quite good and I bought several bottles of it after trying it.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I bought a mess of that Adobe White for an event at my kid’s school and there was a lot of wine left over so I still have a few bottles of it. Grenache Blanc. It is good. i think that is California’s most successful white Rhone variety. I should be on the lookout for the 2012 Alder Springs. I like the Roussane heavy 2013 blend, it really does remind me of a Hermitage Blanc. I have more of a problem with Viognier because most California Viognier is so so fruity.

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          I never saw the Clayhouse Adobe White in the Seattle area, but there was a lot of the Adobe Rose, which was a pretty tasty wine.

          Reply
      2. Darrell

        Doug, I didn’t mean to intimate the Alder Springs white wasn’t worth the price of the bottle, but it wasn’t a rebuy for me due space and being more selective with having bought nice GO whites, including Rhone types.

        Reply
      3. philinoakland

        I enjoyed a bottle of the 2013 Alder Springs. Currently enjoying, possibly even more, the Seghesio 2013 Arneis from the Oakland store at $4.99. Crisp and some acidity typical of Italian-style whites, although this is from the Russian River area. Just perfect for this hot weather we’re having.

        Reply
  30. Doug Green

    Gauthier Select Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012 Sonoma Rockin’ H Ranch $9.99 pre-sale

    This was bought during the 20% sale a few weeks ago. At various GOs, I’ve seen the 2013 as well as the 2012 of this wine, but I never saw any of the 2013 during the time the sale was going on, or I would have bought that one first, as 2013 was, IMHO, a superior Pinot Noir vintage compared to 2012. Like many of the 2012 Pinot Noirs I’ve had, this one is rather tannic in structure, and it’s an open question as to whether the fruit will last long enough for the tannins to resolve themselves. In terms of nose and mouthfeel, this wine is more reminiscent of a Zinfandel than a Pinot Noir – in fact, in many ways it recalls the Los Chamizal Zinfandel from this winery Has some cherry and strawberry notes on the palate, and a bit of cola on the nose, but is still a bit green and young. Not too disappointing for the $8 I paid, but I would not have been happy had I dropped $25+ on this. I will pass on buying more of this, although I might still spring for a bottle of the 2013, as most wineries made more accessible, more fruit-forward pinots in 2013 compared to the 2012s. I should also add that I was somewhat surprised that this wine had a composite cork, rather than one made from a single piece – which seems to me to be a bit on the cheap side considering the list prices that this winery aspires to sell their wines at.

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Doug – Don’t hold your breath on the future of this winery..while I do have some insider scoop, leave it to be that Greg is probably not in a position to produce more vino of any quality anytime soon. He had great sources and plenty of experience, yet still made mediocre what should be excellent juice. It proves that we all typically underestimate what it takes to make consistently good vino.

      Reply
  31. Michael Turner

    Hey Folks! Here are some tasting notes for the week. Hope the 20% off Wine Sale went well for everyone involved, we had a pretty good time here in SODO Seattle. Always a good week. I should have a few more notes up by the weekend. These are copied from an email I sent out.

    Le Grand Massat Cote du Rhone N.V., $6.99
    A Non Vintage CdR isn’t unheard of, but it’s not the norm, not sure the story behind this bottle but the wine is pretty good, just not exceptional. Berries, smoke and spice on the jammy fruit forward nose. More jammy fruit on the palate with earth, cedar and some more smoke. Slightly extracted fruit gives this wine some body and the acid is pretty good too. Doesn’t show much Rhone character but is a nice new world red.

    Domaine Arnaud Red Blend 2015, $6.99
    France, Languedoc, 42% Grenache, 42% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre. Gamey, smokey nose with blackberry, plum and black pepper. Good weight on the palate with some earthiness, spice, flowers(violets, rose) and vanilla showing. A pretty solid GSM blend. Good structure and a nice long finish.

    Cecchi Bonizio 2013, $4.99
    Tuscan Red Blend, 80% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese, 86 points Wine Spectator. Sweet red berries, spice, cocoa and vanilla on the nose. Leads into a ripe, jammy palate with more sweet fruit. Easy to drink. A great Pizza wine, nothing too complex but well made and tasty.

    Goss Creek Chenin Blanc 2015, $3.99
    California. Nose is citrus(lime), anisette, minerals and flowers. Palate is perfect, more of the same from the nose with perfect mouthwatering acid and lovely layered flavors. This is pretty darn good Chenin for $4. It’s all there and well made. Long finish.

    Pacific Rim Riesling 2013, $3.99
    Made with Organic Grapes, Columbia Valley, WA. Petrol, steel, green apple, jasmine, quince and citrus on the nose. Medium bodied, on the borderline between medium dry and medium sweet. Acid is there but light. Palate is rich and nice, flavor is pretty spot on. This surprised me, Pac Rim has always made great rieslings but they’ve been a bit sweet for my palate, but this one is pretty great.

    Impuls Rielsing 2015, $3.99
    Yakima Valley, WA. Crisp nose, apples, pears, flowers and a hint of spice. Just a touch of sweetness here, I would call it off dry. Some minerals on the palate, with more apples, baked pear and flowers. Acid is ok, finish is nice. Not as stellar as previous vintages but well worth the $4.

    MWC Pinot Noir 2013, $4.99
    California. Cherry, pomegranate, some pinot funk on the nose. Medium bodied, with good acid. Palate is more cherry, mushroom, chocolate and a bit of soy sauce. Rich and smooth, a pretty good pinot for the price. Nice soft finish.

    Al Dente Primitivo 2014, $4.99
    Puglia, Italy. Nose is blackberry, plum, smoke with a little heat. Palate is rich and dry with some cherry, bramble, spice and smoke. Good structure and acid. A touch of grippy tannins. Well made and tasty.

    Implus 71 Red Blend 2013, $7.99
    Columbia Valley, 71% Syrah, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon. Nose is big and expressive with extracted blackberry, cocoa, chocolate, earth, smoke and black pepper. Palate is full and rich with layered flavor. Blackberry jam, cassis liqueur. Rich grippy tannins and solid acid. Chewy. This is excellent stuff here, very well made. Finish is long and expressive. A favorite of mine.

    Ngumu The Cape Doctor 2015, $5.99
    Western Cape, South Africa, 40% Cabernet, 40% Pinotage, 20% Shiraz. A rich nose of currant, blackberry, creme de cassis, eucalyptus with a touch of burnt. Palate is full and dry with a good amount of grip. More extracted fruit with some cedar, spice and flowers. Very very good S.A. wine.

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      Thanks for those notes, especially on the Impuls 71 red blend, as I have an unopened bottle from the Fall ’16 sale, and I know where I can get some more of it in San Diego. Based upon your description, I’ll also keep an eye out for the Domaine Arnaud, as I like GSM blends that aren’t made in too sterile a style.

      Reply
    2. Doug Green

      I wanted to agree with, and somewhat amplify Michael Turner’s tasting note on the Pacific Rim 2013 Riesling. And BTW, this wine is $2.99 in California, not $3.99. It’s quite good. I wish it were a bit dryer, but it is a very nice wine, quite suitable as an aperitif or an accompaniment to food that doesn’t beg for a bone dry wine. Petroleum esters, citrus and apples on the very attractive nose. Good mouthfeel, smooth on the palate, with just a slight bit of acidity on the finish, a very worthy $3 white wine, ideal for folks that don’t like their wines too dry. Even my mom might enjoy this, and she hates just about every good wine I’ve ever given her to try.

      Reply
    3. philinoakland

      Thanks for the notes.

      Yeah, the Goss Creek Chenin blanc was quite addictive. Mark in the Oakland store tells me they’ll be getting some more.

      Woe is me I thought when they sold out, until I found the Seghesio 2013 Arneis for $4.99.

      Reply
  32. Doug Green

    Pata Negra 2009 Rioja Reserva, $5.99 pre-sale price.

    Quite simply, this is a nasty bad wine. Tastes as though extremely over-ripe grapes, to the point of being raisins, were vinified and then aged in extremely over-charred barrels, and left in those over-charred barrels for about 4 years too long. I can’t believe a) that other people liked this wine, and b) that based upon that, I bought more than one bottle of it. Well, in any case, the 2nd bottle is going back, and the remnants of the first bottle are going down the drain. Gets my extremely rare designation of Do Not Put in Mouth.

    Reply
    1. delmartian1

      Hopefully it was just a bad bottle…I just picked up another half dozen in Escondido before they’re all gone. I’ve opened 2 so far and they are smooth and delicious. Has anyone else had a bad experience?

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Doug and delmartian1. Thanks for bringing this up. I tasted a bottle that had been opened the day before. Someone who had tasted it on the first day complained about how awfully raisiny it was. However, when I tasted it (cork had just been put back in the bottle without much consumed), I did not find it raisiny, and I thought it was pretty good. Over the next few days, it did get more and more raisiny (and otherwise objectionable), but maybe it just needs a while for the raisiny-ness to air out? Some wines are like this. Or, indeed, maybe Doug just got a bad bottle.

        Reply
        1. Doug Green

          My biggest complaint was not the raisiny flavor, although that was an issue. It was the intense char from the barrels – it had an overwhelming smell and taste of burnt oak. I hope what I got was a bad bottle, but mine was completely undrinkable, and it was not corked.

          Reply
          1. JoelA

            very raisiny on the first day. that dissipated with time,leaving a wine that featured some fruit with good acid and plenty of tannin. not much there anymore, if there ever was much to begin with.
            not the worst wine i have ever had from GO but nothing to recommend to anyone, no matter what their taste in wine might be.

            Reply
  33. Doug Green

    Carmen 2011 Merlot Gran Reserva, Maipo Alta $4.99 pre-sale price, bought during the 20% sale.

    This is a very nice Merlot for the price paid. I’m generally not a Merlot fan, but I’ve got no issues with this one, except that it’s not a big blockbuster and it’s not going to be an ager, as it has no tannin\s to speak of. A very smooth, easy, elegant wine, black fruit, blueberry and cedar on the palate, just a very restrained note of oak, and no herbaceous qualities at all. One reason that I’m usually not a big Merlot fan is that, other than certain very high-end Pomerols, they tend to lack mouthfeel and density compared to a Cabernet or Syrah, and this wine is no exception to that, but it’s completely devoid of any harsh or unpleasant or off characteristics to detract from the very balanced, smooth true to type varietal flavors. I’ve had many a $12-25 Merlot that was nowhere near as enjoyable a drink as this one. On an absolute scale, I’d rate this between 3.5 and 4 out of 5. In terms of value, or quality relative to cost, I’d give this a 4.5 out of 5. The handsome looking package and easy accessibility of this wine, as well as the price, also makes this a very respectable bottle to bring along when visiting friends who are less sophisticated about wine, but enjoy drinking something pleasant. I’ll be picking up some more of this.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      Sorry, Doug, but you can ask DLW. There’s pallet, palette and palate. Hey, you drink way better than I do, “other than certain very high-end Pomerols.”

      Reply
      1. Doug Green

        I haven’t had one of those “certain very high-end Pomerols” in the better part of two decades. I am highly allergic to price points in the several hundreds, or even thousands of dollars

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          I, too, am allergic as you are. Didn’t realize the appreciation of a certain 1982 Bordeaux due to the China wine market and accidentally drank a bottle. I opened the bottle and then found the market price afterwards. Oops, disposed the remaining bottles to buy other wines.

          Reply
          1. Doug Green

            In the early 1990s, When Liquor Barn was going out of business, I bought heavily in the 1989 and 1990 vintage Bordeaux – paid between $20-30 a bottle for the better 2nd growths, and $60-70 for first growths that had 98-100 point Parker scores. A couple of decades later, sold the vast majority of these through a broker to Chinese collectors, along with some ’82, ’85, and ’86 vintages, at around 10-15 times what I had paid per bottle. In the intervening years, I had consumed some of the $20-30 bottles, but once I knew that the stuff had made it’s way into triple digit valuations I couldn’t see myself opening them. I hung onto a few to keep some reference points, but the type of Bordeaux I mainly drank was stuff like Pavillion Rouge and Clos du Marquis: The second wines of Ch. Margaux and Leoville Las Cases. Even those were wines I bought for $7-15 a bottle and by the time they were mature they were worth $50-80 a bottle. Best bargain I ever got in Bordeaux was ’82 Clos du Marquis for $6.95 a bottle. It sells for a couple hundred now, and I still have some.

            Reply
    2. inthewinecountry

      Thank You Doug for the review, I bought several bottles of this as GO had it last year of a older vintage on this wine. I suspect from seeing this label, that last year was to clear out the old label. Been a Fan of Carmen for years, I think you might be surprised how it tastes a few years from now.
      Same as you and Darrell, I didn’t wait as long as you did though. I sold most of my 80’s Camus Reserve, Chateau Montelena , Silver oak etc, to go on a month long vacation to Europe in the 90’s after that my wife wouldn’t let me buy any high price wine. Besides budget, I have drank enough wine I can be satisfied with how good a 25.00 bottle tastes and enjoy the hunt for good bargains at GO. My daughter worked at Arauho winery several years back and I had the opportunity to try those two hundred dollar plus reds and really felt I couldn’t say they where any better than a 50.00 wine.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        I had the 1972 Ridge version of the Eisele vineyard quite a ways back and wasn’t impressed so I never saw what the hubbub was about. I must have missed something.

        Reply
  34. Doug Green

    Quintay 2014 Q Grand Reserve Pinot Noir, Valle de Casablanca, Chile

    I bought this wine in National City about a month prior to the April sale, for $4.99. As it had disappeared from the shelf prior to the sale, I didn’t rush to try it prior to the sale. Perhaps others might find this in their locales. There are mixed notes in cyberspace on this wine, so there may be some bottle variation, but this bottle of mine is very Burgundian in character, and is certainly the most interesting, and complex bottle of Chilean pinot noir I’ve ever come across. Medium depth for a pinot, and very aromatic, with noticeable citrus and rose petals on the nose. I opened this yesterday, and had mixed feelings about this, because in addition to the nice nose and true typicity similar to a good Beaune or Volnay, it also had a bit of a metallic characteristic on the finish that put me off of it. But after having a glass and a half of it yesterday, I closed it and opened it again today about 18 hours later, and the metallic note was completely gone, revealing a complex, multidimensional medium weight burgundian wine with a nice acidity, floral rose-petal characteristics, and a bit of cherry on the mid palette, and some flinty limestone character on the finish. Off the first day’s taste, I would have said it was a marginal recommend and a frustrating near-miss, but on the second day, it’s a clear winner, and would hold it’s own at 3 times the asking price. I wish I knew where I could get more of it.

    Reply
  35. Darrell

    I have never heard anybody mention or review an Argentinian wine from Neuqen Argentina in Patagonia from a winery called Bodega del fin del Mundo, special blend reserva, 2006. I think it cost around $14. It’s a blend of 40% CS, 40% Malbec and 20% Merlot. The bottle is extra heavy with a 2+ inch whole cork and barely stained up the cork in this bottle. My reusing the cork to recork a half bottle was quite difficult with my corker, something I can usually do by thumb. The wine is as I remember when first purchased and hasn’t changed much. Having spent 15 months in new oak, I must say the oak isn’t especially strong. I am surprised that being further south than the Mendoza district, it isn’t more herbaceous. Smells of leathery, berryish fruit along with some licorice. A bit hot in the finish. It was bought several years ago, maybe 5, and remember Robaire reminiscing about some Argentinian Malbec red wine in a heavy bottle that he didn’t get to buy in time. While not an exciting wine, it should keep seeing that cork and having retasted it and not noticing much aging.

    Reply
    1. inthewinecountry

      Darrell, I wonder if its the same winery I ran across several years ago at GO. It taught me a lesson on watching what Malbec I buy from GO. At that time GO was bringing in several Malbec’s and they were good on a consistent basis. But I bought a bottle one time and it was very herbaceous, Upon reading the label I found out it wasn’t from Mendoza, or even Argentina I think it was from Paraguay. After that if I find a Malbec at GO I only buy it if it says its from Mendoza.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        ITWC, it’s not the same winery. I haven’t seen any more wines from the Neuqen Argentina district. The description of the area’s climate reminds me of the Sierra foothills except it is drier. The vineyards are cooled by the night’s Andes downdraft. That Paraguayan wine might have been worth a try for me.

        Reply
  36. JoelA

    2013 Whitecliff pinot noir (Marlborough, NZ), bought this week at Richmond for $ 5.99 (13.5 % alc.)
    The back label states that the winery makes “fruit forward, full flavored easy drinking wines”. Fruit forward – check. Full flavored – sort of check. Easy drinking – yes, but with too much acid. Still in search of a good lower-priced A.B. (after Bailiwick) pinot.

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      One lower priced pinot that’s been around the San Diego GOs, and I picked up a bottle but haven’t yet opened it, is 2014 District 3, from Sonoma, that’s $5. The appellation is good for Pinot Noir, so I thought it’s worth a shot. Their 2013 has gotten some good reviews at $19, so I was surprised to see this at GO.

      Reply
        1. Doug Green

          That was one of the reviews I had already seen and was referring to regarding the 2013 District 3 Pinot Noir. But it’s the 2014 that is in GOs, not that one.

          Reply
          1. Doug Green

            Based on the discussion here, I decided to open my bottle of 2014 District 3 Pinot Noir. Short story is, it’s a pleasant enough medium length red wine, with decent fruit, some acidity, a bit of cherry-cola on the nose, but nothing about it other than it’s not-too-dark color screams ‘Pinot Noir”. It could just as easily pass for a field blend of any number of lighter non-Bordeaux varietals like Carignan, Tempranillo, Gamay, zinfandel, etc. In fact, if I were tasting it blind, I’d guess field blend heavy on Carignan and Gamay. Certainly not a bad wine, but not something that’s going to make you put down the Bailiwicks in favor of this. I might buy another one or two of it at $4-5 because it doesn’t have any off-flavors, and at that rate it’s cheap enough – but I’m not confusing this for a Burgundy, or even a top notch Willamette Valley, Russian River, or Santa Rita Hills Pinot. Would not even think of buying more of this at the mid-upper-teens price it was intended to sell for. The Bonarda I had the past couple of nights is better wine – but also costs a buck more.

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              Doug, you cover San Diego County GO’s quite extensively and I was curious as to which store or stores carried the Bailiwick Pinots. i wasn’t sure they made it down that way.

            2. Doug Green

              The one place in San Diego where I saw (and bought my) Bailiwick Pinots was the National City shop. They only had the Borderline 2012 and the Sonoma Coast 2011.

            3. Doug Green

              National City also has the Boheme Pinots, and generally has the best selection of Pinot Noirs of any of the San Diego stores. Mira Mesa, which just opened in January, has a good knowledgeable buyer, but they weren’t around yet when the Bailiwick Pinots showed up.

  37. Doug Green

    Yesterday I popped the Nieto Sentineter 2013 Bonarda from Lujan de Cuyo, normally about a $12-14 wine in the US, but $6 at my GO in Poway. Medium depth, nice long mid palate. Curranty, rich, savory warm flavors, definitely an Italian style of wine – if this is typical of the varietal, it’s no mystery to me why this grape was mistaken for Barbara in the early part of the 20th century. A nice food wine that would pair well with pasta dishes made with tomato sauce, good acidity, very soft tannins. An interesting change of pace from most of the California and French style of wines I’ve been drinking, although I tend to prefer those styles, if you enjoy Barbaras, Chiantis, and other middleweight Italian wines, this would be a good purchase at $6 (or $6 less 20%). For me, I would generally choose a Grenache, Syrah, Zin, or Tempranillo at a similar price point, so I won’t be buying more, but it is what it’s supposed to be.

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      This Bonarda is a somewhat better the 2nd day after being left on a vacuum pump, so that I’m reconsidering the question about whether to pick up another couple of bottles during the 20% sale as it’s got more character and concentration than most $5 wines. Showing a bit more earthiness and fruit, and a bit less of the savory warm character.

      Reply
  38. Zoel

    Thomas Patrick Winemaker’s Blend (Zin/PS/Mer) NV – picked this up the other day in SRosa $4, and thought it might be worthwhile…it was the definition of a “meh” wine, Tasted ok, missing structure or even bright fruit, soft in the middle without backbone. Pass

    Reply
  39. JoelA

    2014 Thomas Henry Sonoma County pinot noir, bought last week at Richmond for $ 5.99 (13.5% alc.)

    This is a weird wine. The back label says “wild strawberry notes with a touch of Asian spice”. For once a back label is accurate. There are strawberry flavors in the entry and mid-palate an a strange-tasting spice (and more than what I would call a touch). I don’t think I have ever seen this flavor in a wine. Can’t tell exactly what the spice tastes like and don’t know what part of Asia they were thinking of.

    If you like an Asian spiced wine you might try this one. For me, one bottle was enough.

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Thanks for TOFTT (Taking one for the team), I was skeptical of the T Henry’s…was the spice more like “allspice”? I’ve seen that on occasion, not sure of the source, but yes, it doesn’t benefit the palate in PN’s case.

      Reply
    2. Darrell

      Whenever the descriptor “Asian spice” is used I cringe because it is meaningless to me. I immediately ask ” which spice?” DRC wines and Asian spice, ugh.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        Yeah, “Asian spice” quickly gives rise to a game of Twenty Questions:

        Is this spice found in North Indian curries?
        Does this spice benefit from toasting?
        Is this a mixture of spices?
        Could you use this spice to flavor an ice cream?
        I am guessing that it is garam masala.
        Wrong!
        OK…is this spice associated with Thai food? etc etc etc

        Reply
  40. Zoel

    Interesting – I tried the Oomoo Chard and found lacking…not a bad wine, but nothing to compel another glass

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      In recent weeks, I’ve popped some other reasonably priced Syrah/Shiraz wines from GO, including the Cline 2013 Sonoma, the Hogue Cellars 2009, and the 213 Cuvee Darius Fitou. The others were all pleasant inexpensive drinking, but the Hardy’s Oomoo was clearly the best of them with room to spare. A few that I haven’t popped yet are the Red Lava 2011 Lake county, the Carrington Estate 2012 Mendocino, and the Yalumba 2010 Guardian Shiraz. I’ll be pretty pleased if any of these others is as good as the Hardy’s Oomoo, although I have high hopes for the Yalumba.

      Reply
      1. Zoel

        I do recall a string prior on the Yalumba, which I had high hopes for as well…if the same vintage, it didn’t show well – one of the many Aussie ok, but…wines.

        Reply
  41. Doug Green

    Just opened a Thomas Hardy 2013 Oomoo Shiraz, South Australia, $4 all over San Diego. This wine is a revelation. Given the price and the fact that it’s from a big volume producer, I expected a medium light weight, pleasant, fruit-driven Shiraz for near term drinking, along the lines of the Rosemount Diamond label. This isn’t that. This is much more serious, structured, ageworthy stuff. Almost a prototypical South Australian cool climate Shiraz for drinking with rich fatty food. Has some fine dusty tannins but a purity of fruit balanced by a racy acidity. A bright initial impression, with plums and blackcurrants on the palatte, with a hint of eucalyptus and a long lingering finish. This wine is a ridiculous bargain at $4 a bottle, and it is begging to be bought by the case if it’s still around come the time of the 20% sale. Honestly, this is presently the best sub $5 wine I’ve ever had from GO (or maybe anywhere else, for that matter). I’ll be picking up several more bottles tomorrow, and another case if it’s still around during the April 20% sale. If I had tasted this blind, I would have said that it was an above average to excellent example of a $14-17 Aussie Shiraz.

    Reply
  42. flitcraft

    Two German Rieslings have arrived, literally days after I moaned about the absence of German Rieslings at GO for the past couple of years. A coincidence, i’m sure…

    No. 1: Moselland Landmark Series, Mosel Qualitatswein Riesling, 2011, 9.5 % ABV, 5.99. It’s in a striking bottle (though not so striking as the Moselland red wine BW reviewed recently, which did not show up to my knowledge in the PNW.) For bottle fans, it’s a frosted clear glass bottle with a non-frosted front panel through which you can admire a full color depiction of the Golden Gate Bridge. OK, enough of that, now on to the contents: The wine has a peachy, nectarine nose, and on tasting it, I would call it fruity, with a slight minerality to it, though none of the slate/petrol minerals that better Rieslings might have. Sweetness wise, I would compare it to a halbtrocken–it is off-dry, and lacks the tangy acid punch that makes simpler German Riesling so mouth-wateringly delicious. Not a repeat buy for me.

    No. 2: Weinhaus Ress, Rheingau Kabinett Riesling, 2014, 10% ABV, $4.99. Now, this is more like it. A perfectly good example of an entry-level German Riesling that would be great with cold summer salads, lightly spiced Indian food, and anything else that a light bodied but flavorful white wine would complement. A very typical kabinett-level wine, sweeter than the Moselland, but with a better acid-sweet balance to my taste. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not a Riesling to lay down and age. It’s charming now, but I doubt it will develop the secondary flavor notes of better, pricier Rieslings. Still, as I mentioned some time ago, there haven’t been any good German Rieslings at GO for ages now. This isn’t in the league of the Veit Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling of a couple of years back, but I liked it well enough to buy a half case.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Flitcraft. We also got two German Rieslings recently, including, I think, the first one you describe. It’s also from the Mosel, but I have never peered closely enough through the glass to discern what the landmark is ($5). The second, from the Rheinhessen, comes in an opaque, lighter medium blue, cat-shaped bottle. The cat is sitting and has its head cutely tilted to one side, with the top of the bottle coming out of where one ear would be. Only $5 for this masterpiece. I pointed out “this lovely German Riesling” to a German regular customer. She cringed and backed away.

      Reply
  43. Michael Turner

    Here are some notes for the week. Again, these are cut from an email I sent out. If anyone has any questions, let me know. All are available in SODO and most likely other stores in the area.

    Maryhill Moscato di Canelli 2013, $3.99
    Columbia Valley, WA. Light nose of apple pie, pear and apricots, possibly some herbs in there also. Palate is sweet but not cloying, with more apple, peach, pear flavors with a touch of honeysuckle. Nice weight, good acid and nice and smooth. A nice dessert or aperitif wine from a local favorite.

    Rivers Edge Pinot Noir 2011, $5.99
    Umpqua Valley, OR. Color is definitely starting to brick, orange color with reddish tints. Nose is pruney flavors. Acid is almost too much but overall the wine is(or was) well put together but it is just a bit past its prime. Drink now.

    Cavatappi Molly’s Cuvee Sangiovese 2010, $6.99
    Yakima Valley, WA. Nose is black currant, blackberry, violets and cherry with a slight touch of prunes showing its age. Loses that aged quality on the palate with ripe fresh fruit showing well. Cherry, blackberry, raspberry. Nice acid and full tannins still gripping. Nice big finish.

    Glen Fiona Basket Press Reserve Syrah 2009, $7.99
    Walla Walla Valley, WA. Good color for a 2009. Fresh nose of blackberry jam, pepper, violets and other flowers, well layered and superb. Palate is more of the nose with oak, extracted currant and spice. Acid is great, tannins are still there and nice and smooth. This is a focused and well structured wine. Full, rich finish. Yum!

    Chateau Sainte Elisabeth 2014, $4.99
    Costieres de Nimes, France. Nose is rich oak, blackberry, cherry, currant and vanilla with a touch of flowers(violets). Medium to full body, smooth with a touch of sweet fruit. Palate is more of the flavors from the nose with some earthiness and mushrooms. Really nice southern Rhone blend. A great buy for the price. Nice long finish.

    Chateau La Rose Saint Germain Red 2012, $6.99
    Bordeaux, France. Cherry, plum, chocolate, wood and vanilla on the nose. Palate is more of the same with berries and a bit of earth. Acid is good, tannins are nice and grippy. Not a huge Bordeaux but well made and tasty for the price.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Michael. Your description of the Cavatappi 2010 Sangiovese doesn’t match up with the bottle I tasted a year ago. Do you think this wine has finally “come around” or did I just get a bad bottle, or…? Thanks.

      Reply
      1. Michael Turner

        I had the same experience with this wine a year ago. I think it has either “come around” or there is just a lot of bottle variation. I’ve already had a couple bad bottles.. If you get a good one, it’s pretty darn good though. not the typical GO wine I must say.

        Reply
    2. RB

      I agree on the Glen Fiona Syrah – really delicious. I think I enjoyed it most right after opening. The finish from the first couple of sips is long and full. It is at both the Olympia and Lacey stores now.

      Reply
        1. Michael turner

          Yeah I think it’s the same vintage but this is the basket press reserve. I tried to find my notes for the previous wine to verify the vintage but I wasn’t really keeping my notes together then so I’m not 100%.

          All I know is the previous was ok, this one is great 🙂

          Reply
  44. Expat

    Rosa D’Oro 2012 Sangiovese 13.5% (Lake County), $6.99, I believe, from GO in Paso Robles. I really wanted to like this. Limited production, legit small producer, unfiltered, “old world” verbiage on the label, modest alcohol, high production value bottle and printed on glass label – but it disappointed. There was predominantly strawberry fruit, which was ok, and while not really sweet it finished with an off-putting sweetness. I don’t know much about Lake County but I’m guessing it gets pretty toasty during the day because this tastes like a warm climate wine. Also, I got some weird chemical notes at times. I didn’t drink much, corked it and returned the next day. Still not good.

    Montespina Verdejo 2015 Rueda, Avelino Vegas 13%, (I think $5.99 but I”m not sure, again GO in Paso Robles). I knew nothing about this wine but thought it was Italian – turns out it’s Spanish. I still don’t know much. Is Verdejo the grape? Anyways, I love crispy, minerally Pinot Grigios and Sauv Blancs and this isn’t that. It is however pleasing to me. It’s crisp but is more floral with tropical fruits. No cloying oak, thank goodness. Not my favorite style of white but a nice change of pace from the bracing, lemony Italian pinot grigios I usually get. It’s got the European restraint, which saves it for me and I think this would be enjoyed by a range of palates.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Expat. Thanks for your notes. I rather liked the Rosa D’Oro Sangiovese, at least on the second day. I agree that on the first day it predominantly showed sweet, ripe, simple strawberry / cherry fruit, but I liked it much better the second day. The sweetness had died down, the fruit had become more purplish, and I thought there was a good bit of spicy tobacco. I wasn’t tremendously fond of it for the price, but thought it was a pretty good CA Sangiovese.

      I had also been wondering about that Verdejo, so thanks for your description.

      Reply
  45. Michael Turner

    Here are some notes for the week. All wines in stock at SODO and I would guess other stores in the area. I copied these from an email I sent out, if anyone wants more info let me know and I’ll add to them.

    Chateau La Rose Saint Germain Blanc 2012, $3.99
    Bordeaux, France. 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon. Classic White Bordeaux if not just a bit lighter in style than normal, still pretty great for the price. Nose of white stone fruits(peaches, pears, maybe apricot) with some melon, citrus and herbs(anise). Palate is similar with some green apple and grapefruit bitterness adding to the flavors. Light to Medium body with nice acid and good structure. Some minerals on the finish which is long and rich. A really great value and a really nice wine.

    Cornerstone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2013, $5.99
    Napa Valley, California. Another really nice Sauvignon Blanc from Napa that I personally think is the best “New World” style SB in the store. Saw 5 months of barrel ageing on lees in old barrels so while there is full body from the aging, there isn’t much oak influence on the wine. Nose is big with slate, minerals, petrol and tropical fruits. Palate is steely and big as well, with gooseberry, grapefruit, peaches, pears and a lot of crisp minerals. Solid acid and a nice long finish. Another great value.

    Domain La Croix D’Aline 2011, $4.99
    Saint Chinian, Languedoc, France. 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache. Nose is smokey and gamey with blackberry jam, plum and rich earth. Palate is jammy fruit, rich earth and mushrooms. Light to medium bodied with smooth tannins and nice acid. A really nice French red that’s a good cross between New and Old World styles. The Favorite of last weekends tasting.

    Cour Bellevue Minervois 2015, $6.99
    Languedoc, France. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. Dark currant, earth, spice and smoke on the nose leads into a fat palate with blackberry jam, more currant and a touch of sweetness. Good acid and solid structure. A bit young but I think it will develop nicely over the next couple years in the bottle. Nice aromatic finish.

    Cour Bellevue Corbières 2015, $6.99
    Languedoc, France. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. My favorite of the 2 Cour Bellevue wines, still a bit young, but showing great promise for the next few years. Nose is blackberries, raspberries, plum and some gamey, smokey qualities. Palate is full with more berries, some good rich earth and forest floor. Good, grippy tannins and rich acid. A pretty big finish scented with violets. Yum!

    Avery Lane Red Blend N.V., $3.99
    Grapes are from California and the Wine is made in Surrey, B.C. A interesting red from Precept wines. Tastes like it’s mostly Cabernet. Nose is plums, chocolate, cherry with some oak and smoke. Rich palate with a touch of grip and solid acid. Medium to full bodied and smooth. Juicy and lush palate with more cherry, smoke, chocolate and plum, maybe even some berries in there. A really great value for $3.99, drinks like a $15 dollar wine.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Michael! Thanks for your notes. I think we also have the Cornerstone SB here in CA, but I sure hope those French wines show up, too.

      Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      The Cour Bellvue wines showed up here in CA. It looks like there is a good quantity to order.

      Reply
      1. glpease

        The Corbiéres is delicious, and well worth laying down a few. Being so young, it’s quite tight upon opening, and a little shy, but, let’s see, about five hours after pulling the diminutive ‘cork’, it’s truly delightful, and to my palate, Michael’s notes are spot on. The florals are slightly more pronounced now, more lily now than violet, though the nose is still a bit restrained. Definitely not a fruit grenade, so take note. The mourvèdre reveals its gamy self on the mid-palate without going too far. I need to pick up a few of these to enjoy over the next few years, and am really looking forward to trying the Minervois as well.

        Reply
      2. Darrell

        BW, thanks for inventory info. Haven’t had a Corbiere since college days and decided to pick up a bottle in Redwood City. Nice wine although not sure about laying away. Kinda like putting away non-Grand Cru Beaujolais. It does have a colmated “diminutive ‘cork.’ Young, grapey nose with nice length, sweet entry in the mouth and barely noticeable wood.

        Reply
        1. Zoel

          I’m with Darrell here…the Corbiere I popped last night was fairly non-descript. Decently made, some structure, but I thought the fruit was too muted…decanted for airing and tried over 3 hours, still just ok wine. Perhaps just my palate, but “meh”…84 pts.

          Reply
  46. Auntbeapug

    Ok, I’m starting with a disclaimer that I am a dry red kind of gal. With that said, I took one sip of my glass (standing for all of 10 seconds) of Smart Cookie 2014 Cal Red blend, and said to my non-wine-drinking husband, “You should taste this. It’s really good. I’ll buy it again. I’d like this on hand when friends come over.”

    Young… Yes. A tad sweet for my taste… Yes. Did I like it. Yes, which is not a usual reaction to a blend I think has some Zin.

    As a visual learner, I need to remind myself to NOT let the label influence my tasting notes. It is blue (nice label) and reads with the word COOKIE in the name. My first impression of aromas was BLUEberry, but not quite.

    Ok, another sip… Easy, clear, fruity, not grassy on the nose at all. Taste… Young, clear, a bit creamy, a bit sweet, some bite, fruity, not spicy, some depth…

    Cherry, chocolate, actually a tad citrus.

    Wait… I know why I like this so much right now!?! I just had some Syrah with a charcuterie plate at a wonderful restaurant! This is my home dessert! Perfect as an after dinner wine or one with a little something sweet…

    I’ll buy again to keep on hand. A great option when I want to shake things up from my USUAL.

    I am recalling $5.99 as the price? Worth every penny if I’m caring to write this much! Interesting without being too much.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Thanks for your review of this wine. It’s something I would never have touched because of that label with, as you say, the word “cookie” in it. There was also a California Chardonnay and a New Zealand (!) Sauvignon Blanc under the “Smart Cookie” label. A sweet NZ SB???

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          I have a late harvest NZ SB (a GO wine) but that is a different animal. I would not have tried this wine either, and it sounds like it is not my cup of tea.

          Reply
  47. Michael Turner

    Hi Folks, A few new wines at SODO Seattle.

    Roubine La Vie En Rosé – Provence, France – $5.99
    Best Rosé I’ve had so far at the store, only rivaled by the Jardin des Charmes that was around last summer. Melon, peach/pear, touch of grapefruit and maybe some citrus on the nose. Clean and crisp with good acid. A touch of grip there as well which I really like, reminds me of bigger rosés that cost a lot more. Mouthwatering, minerals, berries. Very nice finish. Great Stuff.

    Lagana Riesling 2014, Sagemoor Farms, Columbia Valley WA – $4.99
    A really nice off-dry WA state riesling. Back of the bottle states that fruit from 2 blocks were blended for this wine, one block had pretty high sugar and the other fairly low and it shows in the wine. Starts off sweet and finishes dry. Nose of petrol, steel, quince and apple. Honeyed palate entry that goes dry pretty quick. More apple, minerals and stone fruit on the palate with crisp acid and a pretty nice finish. Hits a lot of good spots for me, but I like dry-er Rieslings.

    La Chasse CdR Prestige 2013 – $5.99
    If you like Rhone wines you should buy this wine. Best, truest Rhone I have seen at G.O. Nose is fully Rhone: Barnyard funk, gamey meat, manure, hay, bacon fat and maybe some blackberry jam and violets hidden in there fighting through the brett. More of the same from the nose on the palate with cherry, plum, wood, smoke. Nice and grippy with great acid and a lovely, Rhone-colored finish. Seriously good wine for the price.

    There’s more, but I’ll have to leave it here today.

    Reply
      1. davidlikeswine

        Excited to try this one! Did either of you have the Gerard Bertrand Chateau La Sauvageonne rose that was around last year? Would love to hear how this one compares as I rather liked that one.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          I liked both of those rose wines a lot, and luckily recently found a stash of the Bertrand in my garage. The Bertrand does not have the grip of the other. Hmmmm, maybe I’ll do a side by side soon?

          Reply
    1. zoeldar

      I agree with Michael T & Seedboy – the Roubine Rose is superb…Santa Rosa is all out, but I did find some still remaining at Rohnert Park – probably 1-2 cs remaining. Also have enjoyed the Head High Rose – this is from an awesome winery that many don’t know about – Three Sticks in Sonoma, with the wine miester Bob Cabral as head winemaker. This was a closeout of remaining inventory, and drinks great if you like Rhone-varietal-based roses. No brainer to be first choice for a summer sipper.

      Reply
  48. Auntbeapug

    Saint Glinglin 2010 – tried blind with no expectations and no preconceptions… Thoroughly enjoyed. I definitely knew this wasn’t a Californian wine. This is an affordable Bordeaux while still being very French Bordeaux. Smell: chocolate covered blueberries with some grass. Acidic and initially seeming young, but with some air, I enjoyed getting more complexity. I was craving some more bite or tannins, but then, after a few sips, enjoyed just tasting this instead of looking for bite. Really enjoyed my second glass and returned to get a few more bottles the next day. Highly recommended. As the label suggests, when pigs fly… Yes,it exists!… an inexpensive Bordeaux worth buying and enjoying!

    Reply
      1. Michael Turner

        $6.99 in PNW, I have some at SODO Seattle. I’ll add my notes a bit later, I am writing up some notes to post right now. Definitely a nice Bordeaux, nothing amazing but better than most of the Bordeaux’s G.O. gets.

        Reply
  49. Seedboy

    2011 Viberti Giovanni Langhe Dolba. I forget when I bought this and how much I paid. Blend of Dolcetto and Barbera. This wine is not complicated or profound but is a nice beverage for a good meal. Last night it was spaghetti with Bolognese sauce (basically braised meat bits with aromatic vegetables, some tomato sauce and cream). Second day the last glass was really good by itself. If you have any of this it is doing just fine. I will note that the cork on my bottle had wine almost to the top.

    Reply

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