Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bocelli Toscana Sangiovese 2012

Andrea Bocelli is the most successful classical music artist of all time, selling 70 Million Albums.  However, long before Andrea was famous for his music, the Bocelli family was known for their wine.    Three generations of the family have been making wine on their estate in Tuscany since 1881.  Andrea's brother Alberto and sister-in-law Cinzia now manage the property.

The Bocelli Toscana is 100% Sangiovese  from a vineyard in Morellino, Tuscany.  Only 20% is aged in oak so the wine is essentially an unoaked red wine.  The wine is medium dark in color and medium in body.  The ripe cherry flavors jump from the wine.  Although there is an initial hint of sweetness, the finish is long and dry.  The Alcohol is 13%. 

This is an exceptional lighter red wine that can accompany food or you can drink it before your meal.  We really enjoyed this wine.  My local Costco has it reduced from $12.99 to $9.99.  This sale ends on April 4, so there are only a few days left.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Raymond Reserve Selection Napa Valley Merlot 2012

Raymond Reserve Selection Napa Valley Merlot has a long history of accolades and 90+ ratings from major wine magazines.  My local Costco has had the 2012 vintage reduced $5 from it's regular $21 price, so I had to give it a try. 

Maybe there was a problem with my bottle, but the wine did not live up to its history.  I noticed that the alcohol content was 14.5%, which is higher than the Merlots I usually drink and the aroma from the glass had a distinct alcohol nose.  The taste was hot with the alcohol overpowering the fruit.  I tried the glass again in an hour, then again the next day and finally finished the bottle on the third day.  Each time, the result was the same.

I decided to check the winery website but the Reserve Series Merlot shown is still the 2011 even though they show 2012 on their other red wines.  I did note that the 2011 Reserve Series Merlot had an alcohol content of 13.5%, a full point less than the 2012. 

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried the 2012 Reserve Series Merlot.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2012 Franciscan Estate Merlot Napa Valley

Costco is having their spring wine sale until April 4 and this has given me the opportunity to try a couple of Merlots that I might not otherwise put in the cart.  One of these is the Franciscan Estate Merlot Napa Valley.  This is 93% Merlot with 4% Malbec, 2% Syrah and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Merlot is primarily from the Franciscan Oakville Estate Vineyard but also includes fruit from the southern, cooler part of Napa Valley, especially from the Oak Knoll subdistrict.  Each Vineyard block is made separately and blended before bottling.

The wine in the glass has a dark, deep violet color and a terrific aroma of plum and dark cherry.  The flavor is blackberry with a hint of vanilla and earthiness.  The tannins are well matched to the flavor and the finish is long and enjoyable.  There are big flavors here and this will appeal to drinkers of Cabernet Sauvignon more than drinkers of Pinot Noir.  This is one of the best Merlot's I have had recently.

The regular price of this wine at Costco is $16,99 but it is on sale for $12.79(20% off) until April 4.  Total Wine and More also sells it for $16.99 and you can get it for up to 15% off with the use of their current coupon.

SC Wine Joe Rating = 91 points

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fearless Flyer Blues, Convoy Red Wine 2013

Whenever Trader Joe's publishes a new Fearless Flyer, I try to review some of the wines in the new edition.  Two days ago, I made the trek to TJ's to buy wine, but several of the featured wines were not available.  I did purchase the Albero Tempranillo 2013 ($5.99) and the Convoy Red Blend 2013($10.99).

I reviewed Albero Tempranillo last July and I think I may have been too generous in my review.  This bottle was rather one dimensional and bland.   I would recommend instead the Pallas Tempranillo from Whole Foods at about the same price ($6.99)

I next tried the Convoy Red Wine and it was an even bigger disappointment.  This bottle is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo, 10% Grenache, and 5% Petite Sirah.  That sounds like a dynamite blend and I cannot imagine how the wine has so little flavor.  The only flavor that stood out is a lite strawberry.  The wine is a lighter blend with no hint of the Cabernet or Petite Sirah and the tannins are weak.

SC Wine Joe ratings  Alberro Tempranillo  86 points
                                   Convoy Red Wine      85 points

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Querceto Chianti Classico Reserva 2009

My local Costco has this highly rated 2009 Reserva Chianti Classico for $12.99.  Wine Spectator rates this wine at 91 points and Wine Enthusiast rates it 90 points.  You cannot buy this online for less than $20, so it is a great buy- if you like this wine!

As with all Chianti Classico wine, this is primarily Sangiovese plus lesser known Tuscan varietals.     The aroma is primarily tobacco and some black cherry.  The taste evokes tobacco and bitter cherries.  This is a very dry wine with no hint of sweetness.  The finish is long lasting and less bitter.  If a wine with these flavors would be a good companion to your meal, this wine is for you.  Under most circumstances, many (including myself) would be better served with another choice.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells 2011 Red Blend Columbia Valley

Chateau Ste Michelle opens up the refrigerator and dumps everything into this terrific blend.  It is primarily Merlot and Syrah but also includes Malbec, Grenache, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are aged 14-16 months in American and French oak barrels (46% new) and the result is a wine with 13.9% alcohol.

The wine is a deep violet color and the aroma jumps from the glass.  The taste is a jammy dark berry flavor with a hint of vanilla.  The tannins are not overpowering and the finish is long lasting and pleasant.  We thoroughly enjoyed this wine and plan to buy more.

I bought this bottle at Costco for $14.99 but I have read online that Costco has it as low as $11 in some parts of the country.  I do not understand this difference.  Perhaps our local store will lower the price in the future.  It is an excellent wine at $14,99 but it would be extraordinary at $11.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

UPDATE:  March 12, 2015.  I just visited the local Costco and this wine is on sale thru April 4 for $3 off.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Monte Ducay Reserva 2010

Monte Ducay Reserva 2010 from Trader Joe's is a red wine blend from Carinena in northeastern Spain.  The bottle gives no information about the grapes included in the blend but previous vintages of this wine were said to be Tempranillo, Granacha and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine has an alcohol content of 13%.

I generally do not review wines served to me first by friends or recommended by friends, but I am going to make an exception on this one.  I really like this wine!  The bouquet promises a dark fruit wine and the flavors that follow include dark cherry, plum, and blackberry.  There is an earthy undertone and even a little red licorice.  The tannins are not overpowering and the finish is long lasting.  I think this is a tremendous value at $6.99.  The bottle is easy to spot in the Spanish wine section of Trader Joe's due to it's distinctive brown paper wrap.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva 2009

The Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva is 100% Tempranillo grapes from the Rioja Region of Spain,  The wine has been aged 24 months in American and French oak and an additional 12 months in the bottle prior to release.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol.  You would expect to pay more than the Costco price of $6.99 for a Spanish Reserva wine aged for 36 months.

I have enjoyed and reviewed several Tempranillo wines on this blog and Spanish wines always provide values that exceed their price.  However, this Rioja Reserva was not my favorite.  I did not detect much aroma and I tasted plum but not much more.  The finish was bland.  We tried a second bottle and the results were the same.   The wine is drinkable but there are better choices in this category.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87