Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2015

You may have noticed that I have been mostly writing about white wine lately.  Summer is white wine season for me, but I also have been trying a lot of new white wines in preparation for a talk and tasting on white wines that I will be presenting in October.  My plan is that the tasting will expose the audience members to wines that they are not familiar with.  I hope you red wine fans will hang in there and I will write about some red wines in the coming days.

Bonterra is one of my favorite wine brands in the value price range.  The wines are made with organic grapes grown using sustainable farming methods.  I believe this results in better tasting wine selling for reasonable prices.

I prefer Sauvignon Blanc from California above similar wines from New Zealand and South Africa.  California Sauvignon Blanc is far less grassy flavored and easier to drink.  Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best examples of my preferred style.  There are flavors of apple, pear, citrus and minerality with 13.1% Alcohol.  The finish is long lasting and enjoyable.  I really like this wine and it has a good chance to be included in my October wine tasting.

Bonterra Sauvignon is widely available and I purchased it at Costco for $8.99.

SC Wine Joe does not assign numerical ratings to white wines.  Wine Enthusiast rates the wine at 90 points and lists as a "best buy".

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Blanc 2015

When I think of Cotes du Rhone, I imagine red wine -but the region also is known for it's white wine.  White wine from the Cotes du Rhone region of France is a blend of grapes that must be at least 80% Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Barboulenc and Viognier.

 I found Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Blanc at Trader Joe's for $12.99.  It is not a Trader Joes exclusive, so you may find it for slightly less elsewhere.  This wine is Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier in unspecified amounts.  The resulting wine definitely reflects the Viognier.  It is pale in color with floral aromas, followed by fresh, bright flavors of pear and citrus with minerality on the finish.  The wine has 13% alcohol and would pair with fish and even crabcakes.  This is a terrific summertime wine which I really enjoyed.

SC Wine Joe does not assign numerical ratings to white wines.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fleur Saint-Antoine Bordeaux Superior 2014

Bordeaux Superior wines can be made from grapes grown anywhere in the Bordeaux region of France, but they are considered "superior" due to planting and aging requirements.  One fourth of the vineyards in Bordeaux are superior.  In these vineyards, plantings must be more dense and the vines that survive are healthier vines but the yield is lower.  Bordeaux Superior wines are primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with small quantities of Malbec and Petit Verdot.

Fleur Sainte-Antoine is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc and is aged 18 months in French Oak.  The wine has 13% alcohol.  There is additional information on the winery website but it is in French and I do not know what it says.

I found the wine to be medium bodied with flavors of tart cherry, blackberry, blueberry and spice.  There is no sweetness in the wine but I really liked the wine and found it easy to drink.  The wine is $5.99 at Lidl and that is a steal!

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2015 Lidl

I found this Montepulciano D'Abruzzo at Lidl.  There is no name of a winery on the bottle to distinguish it from another Montepulciano D' Abruzzo.

Recently, when writing about a wine from the Montepulciano region of Italy, I noted that Montepulciano was also a grape grown in the Abruzzo region of Italy, which creates some confusion.  Abruzzo is in central Italy along the Adriatic sea and the most notable red wines are made with the Montepulciano grape.

I found this wine to be medium bodied with flavors of tart cherry, pomegranate and blackberry.  At first, this was not my favorite style of wine, but it really grew on me and by the end I was wanting more.  I did not drink this with food, but I think it would pair with red pasta or pizza if the sauce was not too sweet.  The wine has 13% alcohol and cost only $4.99 at Lidl.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bois de Menge Gigondas 2015

I found the Bois de Menge Gigondas 2015 at Trader Joe's for $13.99.  I love Grenache based Rhone wines from France and this wine was rated 90 points by Robert Parker, so I bought one bottle to try.

Gigondas is a village in the southern Rhone Valley.  80% of the grapes grown are Grenache with lesser amounts of Syrah and Mouvedre.  Gigondas is about 10 miles from Chateauneuf de Pape and Gigondas wines are often seen as a less expensive alternative to Chateauneuf de Pape.

Bois de Menge Gigondas is 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah.  This is a wine that I enjoyed much more after the first glass, so I would recommend some decanting prior to drinking.  I tasted red berries with a little blackberry.  The fruit was a little subdued and the finish a little rough, but this still is a very good wine.  I think it is well worth Trader Joe's price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MBALI Chenin Blanc/Viognier Western Cape 2016

Trader Joe's has a large display of MBALI from the Western Cape, South Africa selling for $4.99.  This wine is 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier with an alcohol content of 13%. 

The Western Cape is a wide growing area that actually includes 27 sub-areas.  Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape in this part of South Africa.

This wine is fresh and fruity with flavors of lemon, melon and peach.  You can drink this poolside or at a party or you might pair it with very casual food.  I believe the fruitiness would detract  from more serious food.

This is a fun summertime drink for a small price.

SC Wine Joe does not assign numerical ratings for white wine

Monday, July 24, 2017

Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012

When I find a wine that I like, I often go to Trader Joe's and try to find a similar wine at a lower price.  I have recently been enjoying a Poggio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano that I bought at Costco, but I hoped to find a substitute for less than the $15 price.  Surprisingly, I did find Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano at Trader Joe's for $8.99.  Same grapes, same region but will it be the same quality?

I began my taste test with one glass from last nights $15 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for my wine assistant and one for myself.  We then proceeded to the Incanto from Trader Joe's.  Our immediate reaction was that there was no way to compare the two wines.  It was like these were two totally different wines.  Although the Incanto did not cover as wide a range of flavors as the $15 wine, the Incanto seemed to do a decent job on a more limited flavor spectrum.  I noted flavors of dark cherry and pomegranite with a mildly pleasing finish.  However, the longer we drank this wine, the less enthusiastic we became.  My final conclusion is that it would be better to spend $15 for the recently reviewed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points