GC Archives

GrossOutWine wrote in May, 2011:

I’m going to try a new feature out on the blog. This new “Guest Contributions” page is available for all of you that want to share some information about what you’re finding in your local Gross Outs. There are already several of you that post valuable tasting notes, and maybe this will encourage more that haven’t spoken up yet. I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

This page has gotten a bit full, and has been placed in Archive status.  Although you can still comment on wines already discussed here, you’re encouraged to use the current Guest Contributions page, or the GC blog, for new tasting notes.

763 thoughts on “GC Archives

  1. Winewolf

    Anyone on here go to the Spokane,WA GrossOuts?

    I have been following this blog and trying to pickup good wines there but it seems like Spokane does not get many of these wines unfortunately.

    Anyone care to share some good ones they have recently acquired from Spokane?

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Really sorry to hear that the selection in Spokane isn’t what it could be, Winewolf…but we’re really happy to hear that you’ve been following our blog. And we’re even more glad to hear from you. Maybe you should discuss the wine selection there with the owners or wine steward/clerk. One last suggestion: You may want to post your comments under the “Guest Contributions” or “What’s New” tabs rather than GC Archives. The Archives tab is for relatively old reviews and comments that our readers are less likely to see.

      Any other Spokane readers out there that would like to share some info with Winewolf??

      Reply
      1. patrick

        Spokane has 3 GO’S and there is one in Coeur D’Alene, I have been to the Coeur store and found it ok but not loaded with the better wines, I go to different stores when I have a chance or when traveling because when a store gets something really good it can be gone the next day.

        Reply
    2. Kenn

      Realizing it is a year on, but its a niche post, right? I am also in Spokane, and shop the Maple street / Browne’s Addition GO in Spokane. The selection doesn’t turn over much, because the clientele (from what I can tell) grabs the good stuff the second it arrives and leaves the zinsanity and whatever that horrid polka dot one is, untouched. I am guilty myself, being a sucker for Stonefly 2011 Syrah when it comes in (bought 2 cases the last time), Gaucho Carmenere, and a decent GO wine with a crap label – Castle Rock. Echelon isn’t bad either.

      That said, consider going a little upmarket and look at some of our locals. Patit Creek “The Creek” blend is $135 a case, member price, and that is cheaper than many of the Costco (14 hands) or World Market wines and its local. Latah has decent whites and Maywine, but its reds are GO quality for twice the price.

      Reply
  2. LeftBanker

    Been a slow few weeks at grossoutwine dot…, so I thought I’d post for your consideration a reference to some thoughts by my favorite wine writer, Eric Asimov from the NY Times, as a “guest contribution.” Nothing to do with GO wines, but relevant to wine enjoyment generally.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/dining/in-describing-wines-5-words-not-to-fear.html?ref=dining

    Asimov has a superb palette and an almost iconoclastic viewpoint on what makes a wine drink-worthy. How many wine writers would dare to write on the pleasures of bitter and green nuances? Will tell you that depth of color is really not a particularly valid criterion for evaluating a red wine? That a white doesn’t have to be — indeed, shouldn’t be — right-out-of-the-fridge-and-kept-on-ice cold? That overt oak is one of the most abused and overrated elements of a wine?

    It’s nice to see this point of view being discussed in the popular press as the focus of a piece rather than buried, almost apologetically, in tasting notes.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine

      Hi LeftBanker. The comments at the article you link echo those made often here, by reviewers and commenters alike. I’m afraid I no longer read what other people write about wine that is not directly related to this site. Is it really that rare for them to acknowledge that a balanced wine includes some bitterness and acid, that palate-numbing temperature may not lead to the best experience, or that having to decant a wine off its sawdust may not always be desirable? 🙂

      Thanks for trying to liven up things here a bit. I recall last January was a bit slow, as people recovered from the holidays I thought, even when the main reviewers did not have health issues. I hope to be back tasting and posting soon.

      Reply
    2. weinish

      i read most of his recent book “How to Love Wine”, and will have him on my show at some point. Btw, I’m a talk radio host, fwiw. I’m a fan of Asimov. His book is an enjoyable read if you care to know anything about him. Yet even if you don’t, there’s some learning in there as well.

      Reply
  3. RockRat

    Here’s a cheatsheet for many of the brands you’ll see in your GO. Not sure who really owns the winery in question?

    http://classicwinesofcalifornia.com/classicwinesofca.html

    This is Bronco wine Company (if memory serves, they’re the folks behind 2 Buck Chuck @ TJs). Note this also includes some foreign brands you’ll recognize from the GO shelves. Also, I see some formerly well regarded formerly independent wineries on the list (example: Carmenet).

    Reply
    1. Joel A

      Over the years, Bronco has bought some pretty good wineries (e.g., Grand Cru, Hacienda, Domaine Laurier) and the rights to some labels (e.g., Congress Springs). The winery buildings and equipment they kept or sold, but they bought these businesses primarily for their labels, which they have used to market various wines they have made (but which have no connection to their former wineries).

      Reply
    2. Patrick

      Bronco means Brother and Cousins I’m told and is the brain child of Fred Franzia, who is not affiliated with Franzia Wine, however it is the same family but Franzia was sold. I heard an interview on a radio show with a Franzia daughter a few years ago who said Fred believes that no wine should cost more than $10.00 a bottle, he was known for his battles with the big boys in Napa over using the name Napa on wine not from there,I thought he lost that battle but was told recently by a former employee that he in fact won. What I don’t know is which wine is from where. I do know that many of us have enjoyed drinking some of the many wines listed on that website and wouldn’t it be nice to open a $10.00 bottle of Screaming Eagle!

      Reply
    3. Tom

      I thought I had been keeping track of what labels were now owned by Bronco, but I was surprised at some of them that are now on the list. Locally here in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, I notice Rusack, Curtis and Robert Hall on the list, all of which were surprises to me. When you go to the wineries’ own web sites, they are, as far as I can see, silent on the fact that they are owned by Bronco. As for Carmenet, it was a Chalone label; after Chalone was acquired by Diageo, the Carmenet label was bought by another wine conglomerate, and ultimately came into the Bronco fold. I have fond memories of visiting the Carmenet winery in the hills above the Sonoma Valley in the 1990s, but a lot has happened since then.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine

        I also have fond memories of visiting Carmenet in the hills east of Sonoma Valley in the 1990’s, particularly of an excellent Cab Franc. Thanks for the reminder.

        Reply
  4. left.banker@bobmail.info

    Côtes de Provence Sables d’Azur Rosé 2010, Gassier. 12.5% abv. Berkeley. I forgot how much, maybe $7or8?

    I know that somewhere on this site there is a reference to this bottle but if anyone followed up on it, I can’t find it. No surprise, I can never find anything here. Anyway, I picked this up a few weeks ago and have no idea if there is more in the store as I’ve been away.

    Sort of a low-end Provencal bottle made up in a curvy mold, but without the whiz-bang extra relief common to the region. Cool, if you like that sort of thing; authentic–and, perhaps, off-putting–if you don’t. No varietals listed on the label, but I expect it’s Grenache, perhaps with something else in there. A real cork.

    I can’t find the previous, but I recall BW thought it was a bit brown. Not to my eye. I thought it was a classic southern French “orange wine” color. Quite pretty in the glass. While not Bandol by any means, the Provence flavors are here: Earthy plum-pluot fruit and lavender-thyme herbal notes, crisp acidity and a bit of bitter almond finish. We drank a bottle with poached salmon and it left me looking for another glass or two.

    Maybe not an incredible bargain (I’m guessing it goes for not more than $12ish normal retail), but a decent example of its type. I liked the Ogier CdR Rosé from a while back. I liked this one more.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine

      Hi LB. Thanks for the notes and recommendation. It’s still at the Berkeley store, for $8 (as was the Ogier, still at the San Pablo store).

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        Robaire tells me that this wine moves at the Berkeley store. I have a nice bit of rose stored away so the price puts me off. The color in the bottle is beautiful, I will note.

        Reply
        1. dluber

          I tried this one a while ago but didn’t write it up because I thought someone else had reviewed it. Not real memorable, but certainly a nicely made wine and plenty fresh – no signs of oxidation (definitely orange not brown). Like Monsieur Garçon des Graines, I was not thrilled by the QPR, but would certainly not be unhappy to get this bottle at full retail – it delivers what you expect (agree with LB – better than the Ogier; lighter but more complex). I’ve seen good stocks of this bottle at every East Bay GO I’ve visited lately.

          Reply
            1. left.banker@bobmail.info

              No apologies necessary, although I do think something punny is lost in translation.

              Cheers.

  5. ffchick

    The Manhattan Project 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $5 (pre-discount) S. Sacramento

    It’s been quite a while, since I’ve posted on here, but I thought with today being the last day of the GO wine sale, I’d give my opinion of one of the wines I picked up this weekend. I bought this wine based on several favorable reviews on Snooth. Upon opening the nose was pleasant, but the palate fell flat. Dry, slightly tannic but with little to no fruit flavor. After an hour or two in the glass it showed little improvement. It did fair slightly better when paired with a marinara based sauce. By day two the fruit flavors were slightly more pronounced, but not much. Definitely not a repeat buy for me.

    Reply
  6. Joel A

    2010 Chateau Grand Corbier (Minervois), $ 4.99 at Oakland

    I usually do not buy wines from this area that are not chateau-bottled, but I bought this one because it is an AWD/MWD import and I have seen some positive comments here about some of their imports.

    My rating, in a word: As we say in New York (where I come from) Fuggetaboutit.

    Nose has some earthiness, maybe indicating a fair amount of carignan but the taste is heavily put off by a flavor that I can best describe as bitter coffee. Did not improve the second day.

    Reply
    1. weinish

      Ummm, we might be from the same place. Where I’m from, no one has power, and the Mantoloking Bridge is half under water 😦 That’s why I’m reviewing a lot of bottles this week.

      Reply
  7. seedboy

    Villabella Montemazzano Rosso 2006, $4.99, Oakland. This wine is 100% Corvina, the grape of Valpolacella. The label says the grapes were grown in the hills surrounding Lake Garda. I really like this wine, it is medium bodied and nicely balanced, with a bit of fine tannin. Pretty cherry fruit, sage, thyme. I opened it a half hour ago so there might be more to it.

    Reply
    1. dluber

      Had it last nite, agree it’s a nice tipple. Reminds me, not surprisingly, of the old Bolla Valpolicella but not as overtly fruity. I got a flinty, somewhat bitter almondy note (similar to mahlab, a spice made from ground sour cherry pits) that made it a little harsh alone but works well with food. Opened up with some air, will taste it again tonite.

      Reply
    2. Rondo

      Sounds interesting to me. How was the wine after the first half hour and second day? Something that can age for awhile?

      Reply
      1. dluber

        Didn’t go back to taste it after an hour, which was probably a mistake. The next day the bitterness had intensified, and while the palate was softer, the nose had faded. This is not a profound wine by any means, and I wouldn’t bet on aging it. But for $5 tonite with pasta, it fits the bill for a non-CA fruit bomb.

        Reply
  8. Joel A

    2000 Leaping Lizard Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon

    No, friends, this is not available at any GO store as far as I know. I found it in the back of my wine “cellar” and because we see so many wines from Adler Fels at GO, thought it might be useful and/or interesting to folks to see whether they age.

    So the wine is relatively red, not quite brick red, in color. The nose carries more red than black fruit but is pleasant. In the mouth. more red fruit (might be a fair amount of merlot in this wine) and a sweetness (from the oak, I suppose). Lighter body (12.9 % alc.) and almost no tannin. Still very pleasant with cab flavors but not complex; surprisingly tasty for a 12-year old cab from presumably good grapes but presumably not meant for such long aging. If you have any older Leaping Liz cabs, don’t be afraid to drink them.

    Reply
  9. JWC

    Pump House NV Pinot Noir France 12.5% Our Wines

    One of the uglier labels you’ll ever see. Appears to be a broker or negotiant, as I couldn;t find anything about Our Wines out of Healdsburg, Ca. This is a wine I would normally walk by, but picked it up when on a dialing for dollars search for more of the Cliff Creek Syrah here in Portland, one of the GO managers highly recommended this.
    The wine is dark and brooding out of the bottle, I ran through the vinturi and drank from a Riedel Oregon pinot stem, hoping to give what I suspect to be bulk juice, every opportunity… Some aromas of faint earth, and dark fruit. Medium bodied, with some berry notes, acid is present, but faint. It is pinot, I think, but nothing about this wine floats my boat, drinkable, but won’t be going back for more.

    Reply
      1. Darrell

        Bought some of the Pump House despite being NV. Smelled and tasted of PN , but today all I could get was PN flavor. I didn’t think it was too bad at the Nov. 2012 sale price. At that time there was another bottle at the same price, bottled in Healdsburg, a NV French PN and the name on the better looking label was “Autre.” Hmmmmm, autre means “other ” in French and so I had them side by side. Had the same corking. Tasted the same to me.

        Reply
          1. Darrell

            Lim, I tried to look for the Autre review. I guess you came to the same conclusion without a side by side tasting as did others.

            Reply
  10. Joel A

    2001 Marques de Grinon Rioja, $ 2.99 at San Pablo

    Didn’t expect much from an 11-year old non-crianza or riserva rioja but I said “What the heck” and took home a bottle.

    The label and website characterized this as an “innovative” rioja, 100% tempranillo, with consulting at the winery by Penaud and Rolland. Seems to have received only 3 or 4 months in barrels. Even at this point the wine is still rather reddish, with a bit of browning. Red fruit (cherries?) in both the nose and the taste, and the wine still has some life. Relatively light body (12.5 % alc.), with good acid, OK with chicken and a pretty good wine for three dollars. Not likely to develop any further, however.. Drink it up now.

    Reply
    1. jimvan49

      I found a Marques de Grinon Alea crianza Rioja Tempranillo, vintage 2001, for $2.99 at the GO in Eureka today. I’ll be trying it tonight.

      Reply
  11. JWC

    Rutz Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2009 California Cuvee 13.8% By volume $4.99

    Pleasantly surprised to see this at the Beaverton GO. Have enjoyed Ken Rutz’s pinot noir and chardonnays in the past, when one can find them here in Oregon. Sonoma wines w/a definite French style influence, balance and finesse. This is a nice wine, some restrained lemon, and light grass aromas, w/a pale hay color. Light/medium bodied w/a steely quality, all in balance,and a matching flavor profile, very enjoyable. Popped this on Thursday, the last of Portlands 70 degree days for the year I suppose, and this went so well…a perfect Indian summer quaffer. Thumbs up, really good QPR here.
    Also, did see a Rutz Cellars non vintage Syrah at $6.99, too. Not sure what is going on with this winery, pretty interesting website, any news from folks in CA. on Rutz?

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine

        Hi Weinish. While I appreciate that you’re promoting the new Guest Contributions blog, encouraging someone talking about wine to “throw it up” might not produce the image you intended.

        Reply
    1. seedboy

      Here in California we’ve had these two wines plus a merlot and a chard. I’ve tasted the latter, it is too acidic even for me.
      As for what is going on with this winery, hard to say. About a year and a half ago GO liquidated a mess of Rutz library wines including multiple vintages of single vineyard pinots in 750s, mags and larger, and also a good amount of chard. When this was happening the winery website was in “check back soon” mode. Now, this stuff.
      I’m pretty sure that the pinots did not really please the fashion of the times, they are not low acid fruit bombs. However, many of them are fantastic. The 1992 and 1994 Quail Hill (now, Lynmar’s estate vineyard) are amazing wines (and a steal at $7.99 a magnum).
      I hope this winery makes it and that Ken Rutz can once again get access to good pinot fruit. These non vintage blends seem to be a bad marketing idea and the one I’ve tried is in my trunk to take back.

      Reply
    2. Ashlander

      Just picked up a bottle of the NV Syrah and NV Merlot for $7 ea in the Grants Pass OR store. I will give them a try shortly.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        Anyone out there ever get around to trying the Rutz Merlot or Syrah? I just got an e-mail from my local GO in Silverdale saying they’ve knocked the price down on both to $4.99.

        Reply
        1. TukLaw

          The Merlot is very drinkable. Not complex by any means but perfectly fine in my opinion. Tastes like the Buried Cane you reviewed before.

          Reply
  12. Joel A

    2007 Hidden Cellars Mendocino petite syrah, $ 3.99 at San Pablo

    I believe (but am not sure) this is part of the Parducci operations.

    Anyway, a reasonable nose and spice but a bit flat in the mid-palate and flat tannins. Could go well with a flavorful beef dish but not as good with a flavorful chicken one. Still, good for the price.

    Reply
  13. ajk

    SKN (Screw Kappa Napa)
    2009 Merlot
    13.8%
    $5 Buena Park
    Google brings up avg $11-12
    Owner suggested this one. Kinda jammy, ripe but overall a decent wine that makes a costco ribeye sing. Of course ribeye sings by itself!
    Please try and review.

    Reply
  14. Joel A

    2008 Periquita Riserva (Jose da Fonseca), $ 6.99 at Berkeley

    Haven’t had this wine for a number of years. It used to be a dependable reasonably priced red table wine. But this one has problems. Relatively thin body with some cherry fruit but not much in the nose. Not much of a finish, either, and it fell apart two days later. Verrrry sorry.

    R.I.P.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine

      Hi Joel. I opened a bottle of this tonight, also from the Berkeley store, and it seems a good bit different from your bottle. It needed about an hour of air in a decanter, but then it had pretty full-bodied fruit of dark cherries, tangy hibiscus / plum, tobacco, black earth, and oregano, with good acid of red and black raspberries. It’s pretty fruit-forward and accessible, but was nonetheless better with food than by itself. It occurred to me with a “doh!” that the flavors were like Port, but without the sugar and fortification.

      Reply
      1. dluber

        I got a bottle from Oakland and enjoyed it quite a bit too – I was about to write it up with a thumbs up. Big nose of mixed dark fruit, saddle leather, forest duff, oak. Rich but not heavy palate, full of fruit but very “vinous”, port-like but not sweet, grapey, or jammy. Silky but firm tannins, ripe acidity, well balanced. An extracted but elegant and moderately complex wine but smooth and easy to drink. I went back for a couple more bottles – a pretty good compliment from me these days, as I really need to stop accumulating wine. One of my favorite fruitier Iberian wines at GO in the past year or so.

        Got our 2013 crush on last weekend- an Amador Sangiovese. The acidity was naturally high enough that we didn’t feel the need to add any, and at 25.5º Brix, we decided not to add any water either, both firsts for our foothills fruit. In another first-time experiment, we let a small portion of it ferment wild (i.e., with its indigenous yeast); so far, so good. As much as the chemist in me loves to shop for additives (heck, reading how they all improve your wine makes me want to add them all!), lately I’ve been feeling more minimalist, wondering how the wine would come out if we added nothing whatsoever, like these guys (who make darn good stuff):
        https://donkeyandgoat.com/manifesto

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine

          Congratulations on your wine-making work! The Donkey and Goat manifesto was interesting, although I doubt I’ll be buying their wines any time soon.

          Reply
          1. Robert Seeds

            I love Donkey and Goat. Open for tastings Friday through Sunday on 5th just south of Gilman, Berkeley. Go around the corner on Camelia and see if Broc (maker of the Arrowhead Mtn wines) is open.

            Reply
            1. weinish

              They serve D & G at the restaurant where my lady works. Hit or miss on their wines for me. I get them confused with Horse & Plow all the time.

              But back tot he topic at hand, I will try to find this wine at GO Oakland today. Wish I had seen this last night. I went in for a moment.

              Wish more people would use the http://Grossoutwine2.wordpress.com site for more detailed reviews.

      2. Joel A

        Well, in view of your comments I thought I ought to try another bottle but when I got to Berkeley this morning it was all gone. Guess you guys must have bought it all up!

        Reply
        1. LeftBanker

          Found two bottles hidden on the top shelf in Berkeley this a.m. Not there any more, however.

          Hoping they weren’t from the lot Joel had and someone returned them.

          Reply
  15. LeftBanker

    2008 Moselland Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Kabinett Mosel. 8.5% abv. $3 (oakland).

    Off-dry, floral on the nose, citrus lime and maybe meyer lemon, crisp acidity, decent enough aperitif. Perhaps more tart than some Riesling aficionados might prefer, but we enjoyed it last night with pre-dinner munchies.

    Reply
  16. Joel

    2006 Legaris Riber del Duero crianza, $ 9.99 (I think) at Berkeley

    Took me a while to figure out this wine. It’s 100% tempranillo, aged 12 months in French and American oak.

    Lots of cherry/raspberry fruit in the nose; red fruit in the taste, some heat from the alcohol (14%) and some sweetness in the taste, characteristic of the use of American oak Fairly long finish. Still holds up after a coupke of days. But I would have hoped for more complexity in a six-year-old wine.

    Reply

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