Windstorm 2015 Zinfandel

California; 14.7% ABV (IIRC)
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on about 5 October.  Gone now.

windstorm_2015_zinfandelThis wine as a bit funky (sweet rubber?) for a while after being decanted, but started settling down after about an hour or so.  Wine tastes nicely of dark cherry, black raspberry / blackberry, some allspice / maybe black pepper or licorice, and black earth, but has sweet, syrupy oak that is a little too strong for my taste.  This is likely just my apparent aversion to American Oak.  The fruit is ripe but has nicely balancing acid and finish of mild and smooth tannin.  The last bit of wine in my glass, nearly 4 hours after opening, was very smooth and elegantly complex.  Even if it’s not the style I personally favor, I have to admit this is excellent Zin for the price.  Seedboy earlier posted the link to this review of this wine, and his reaction to this wine is here.

The saved, single-glass, screw-cap bottle is also very good, tasting of rich and syrupy blackberry / mulberry / maybe blueberry / boysenberry / dark red raspberry, coffee, vanilla / American Oak.  Again, despite this not being “my style,” I give it a big Thumbs Up.

Update same day: Oakland store still has this wine.

Colavita 2013 Verdicchio

Verdicchio di Matelica DOC, Marche, Italy; 12.5% ABV
imported by Terlato Wines International
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 3 Oct

colavita_2013_verdicchioI had been curious about this since it showed up, but it was only after Seedboy wrote that he really liked the Colavita Pinot Grigio that I thought I should try the Verdicchio.  That Wiki entry made it sound like a pretty uninteresting grape, but this wine is decently good for the price.

The wine has some yellow apple / maybe pear, but is mostly citrus juicy with yellow grapefruit and lemon, perhaps a touch of green lime, that is ripe and crisp with a bitter tang of citrus pith.  I’m not wowed, but it is interesting and good wine for the price.

The next day, the wine’s rough edges have smoothed over, but it’s still pleasantly tasty and minerally, with a little orange flavor I didn’t notice on the first day.  Quite good.

Leone 2009 Nebbiolo

Columbia Valley, WA; 13.5%
$8 at the Richmond, CA, store on 29 Sept

leone_2009_nebbioloI’ve now consumed two bottles of this wine, and although I liked them both, they were a little different.

I thought the first bottle was considerably like a good CA Pinot Noir.  Although it lacked the strawberry / raspberry aspect of Pinot, it didn’t need much air to show a lot of the same darker red cherry, orange, and probably a little more of the usual earthy / woody aspect.  It went quite well with salmon. A day or two later, the saved, single-glass, screw-cap, bottle still needed a bit of air to come around, but was then much the same.  I quite liked it.

My second bottle was distinctly not Pinot Noir, showing darker tangy cherry, tending more toward plum, more cherry pit bitterness, and less orange.  Overall, I preferred the first bottle, especially since the saved screwcap bottle of this was rather dull and boring.

Did anyone out there try this?  What’d you think?

Anticato 2010 Red

Napa Valley, CA; 14.8% ABV
apparently a brand of Terravant
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 26 Sept

anticato_2010_redThis wine intrigued me as a Napa Valley red blend from an excellent year at a decent price.  It seemed reasonably promising at first pour, but I didn’t really taste it until it had been decanted for a couple hours.  Then, it showed typical darker rich (some thickness on the palate although I’d call the wine medium-bodied) and smooth Napa fruit of bing cherry / redder blackberry, lighter red cherry / hint of cranberry, vanilla oak, and a little seedy bitterness that I found out of place in an otherwise reasonably balanced wine.  Although this is supposedly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel, it tasted mostly like Cab to me, with the Syrah and Zin not distinctly standing out.  It was not that exciting to me, but it’s still a tasty enough wine, and definitely Napa-tasting, at a decent price.

The second half, stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air, was similar, with both the fruit and the “seedy bitterness” more prominent.  The fruit was softer and more forward, but so was the dark green / black vegetal bitterness.  I didn’t find it too bad, even a little interesting, but my wife, who is usually not that picky, definitely objected.  I thought it was still pretty good for the price, and neither really improved nor degraded compared to the first half.

Campo Marin 2015 “Selection” Grenache

Cariñena DO, Spain; 13% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 30 Sept

campomarin_2015_grenacheA few years ago, we had a Campo Marin Crianza that was quite good, and I wanted to see if this wine was also good for the price.  My answer is yes.

In contrast to a couple other good Spanish Grenaches (or Garnachas or Garnatxas) we’ve had lately (Altés, Proyecto), this wine is made in a more international style.  The wine is pretty good soon after opening, and was fully aired after about 50 minutes in a decanter, although it kept developing well after that.  The medium-weight wine shows tangy, smooth, and delicately complex flavors of raspberry, darker red cherry, maybe blueberry, some bitterness of pit / stem, and wood / earth, with nicely balanced acid.  Even though it’s a 2015, it’s quite yummy now.  It’s not like many of the “Drink Now!” wines we get at the GO, but it’s not very substantially made, so don’t keep it that long, either.

Well, I wrote that yesterday, but today’s saved, single-glass, screwcap bottle was (1) still very tasty and (2) included more of the earthiness I associate with Spanish wine, but was otherwise quite similar.   So.. drink it now or over the next couple years.

Circadia 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

California; 12.5% ABV
$5 or $6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 23 Sept

cirdadia_2014_sauvblancThis wine looked pretty exciting to me: neat graphics on the label, cool name, pretty color of the wine (pale greenish yellow).  It’s flavors of green and yellow melon and yellow pear were pretty good, classic SB flavors, but they were very light.  What was there was good, but there just wasn’t much of it.  The fruit was a little more forward and acid the next day, but not enough to save it.

Tridente 2013 Tempranillo

from Spain; likely about 15% ABV (have unfortunately already recycled the bottle)
imported by AW Direct
$7 at the Oakland, CA, store probably late August or early September

tridente_2013_tempranilloLike three other Spanish wines imported by AW Direct that showed up recently, this wine was made in a very American style, but was quite good for the money.

On the night, the wine was still a bit rough and closed even after having been decanted for 2 hours.  It was quite tasty, showing ripe, dark purple / black boysenberry / blackberry fruit with black earth and a tannic finish.  It was quite impressive, but my guess was that it should have been aged for at least a few years, although I bet Expat would love it as is. 🙂

A few days later, the saved single-glass, screwcap bottle still needed an hour in the glass to show smooth boysenberry / black raspberry, complexities of strawberry jam and blueberry, with touches of roses and licorice, still with a slightly biting earthy tannic finish.  Overall, I thought this was an outstanding wine for the price that could be put down to age for a while.  By now, it’s almost certainly gone from Oakland, and I never saw it at Richmond.

Chateau Val Joanis 2015 “Tradition” rosé

Luberon AOP, (southern) France; 13% ABV; screw cap
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 23 Sept

valjoanis_2015_roseThis wine’s pale pink color looked lovely, it is from southern France, and it is the current vintage of rosé.  It is indeed very good for the price.

The wine is at first a little closed, but opens quickly to flavors of pink grapefruit / less ripe strawberry or maybe raspberry, lavender, maybe a little yellow fruit, with a slight thickness to the body.

A couple days later, the rest left in the bottle was still fresh and delicious.

Castiglioni 2005 Chianti

Chianti DOCG, Tuscany, Italy; from Frescobaldi; 12.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 16 Sept

castiglioni_2005_chiantiThis wine looked potentially very good, but also potentially awful.  The color through the bottle was a dark, saturated red, but, hmm, an 11-year-old Chianti…

I let the sediment in the bottom settle for a few days before decanting it.  (The sediment seemed to be mostly fine-grained but not silty, i.e., it would quickly settle to the bottom of your glass, so decanting it off the sediment is probably not necessary here.)  From the rounded top of the cork under the capsule, I suspected some heat damage, but when I unwrapped it, the cork appeared to have just not been put in all the way rather than having been subsequently forced up by thermal expansion.

The wine was pretty tasty right away, showing richer, ripe, dark red cherry fruit with some darker bitterness of cherry pit, but I thought it needed about 1:15 – 1:45 of air to really open up.  Then, the wine shows more tangy dark red / black cherry, cherry pit, herbal or sappy wood / earth, and only a trace of Chianti’s usual dried orange.  The wine is not the most complex, but is quite nicely full-flavored and elegant for the price.  And not too old!  But do drink it up pretty soon, as it seems perfectly mature now.

The next day, the saved, single-glass, screwcap bottle was at least as good, maybe better.  The fruit was more rich and forward, integrated with other complexities, and didn’t need that much air.  However, I still think one shouldn’t wait long to drink it.

Jade Mountain 2013 Chardonnay

84% Napa County, 16% Mendocino County; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 15 September

jademountain_2013_chardonnayI had been interested in this wine for a while because I recall the name Jade Mountain from when I started drinking wine in the later 90s.  I seem to recall they made some interesting Rhone-varietal wines.  Although I’m sure they’ve been through a lot of changes in the intervening years, the personal association still made me hopeful this would be a good wine.  ‘Twas not to be.

On first pour, the wine showed typical Chardonnay yellow apple, but with some unpleasant and rough funkiness.  This sometimes means that the wine just needed a little more air, and indeed, smooth and ripe fruit of apple, pineapple, and pear did come forth significantly more, becoming reasonably drinkable but still sort of off-putting for me.

The next day, the fruit and unpleasant flavor had both become more fully pronounced, making it overall worse in my opinion: medium-ripe yellow apple, dried pineapple (slightly sulfurous?), ripe and smooth but with an unpleasant over-ripeness or perhaps slight oxidation.  Although it’s not tremendously offensive, I didn’t like it very much.