Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Primarius Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013

Wine Enthusiast Magazine just selected the Willamette Valley, Oregon as the 2016 Wine Region of the Year.  They note the outstanding quality of its wines, especially Pinot Noir, and the growth of the region, which today is home to 530 wineries.  Coincidentally, my local Costco began selling Primarius  Pinot Noir Willamette Valley and temporarily has reduced the price from $15.99 to $10.99 thru Christmas Eve.

Precept Wines is the producer of Primarius Wines.  They produce a more common  Primarius Pinot Noir Oregon as well as this less common Pinot Noir Willamette Valley.  Precept Wines does not even mention Pinot Noir Willamette Valley on their website, but it is assumed that it is a higher quality wine than the Pinot Noir Oregon.

This Pinot Noir is a lighter colored red wine.  I found it to be very bland, with flavors of strawberry and cherry but not much else.  I think you can find much better Pinot Noir.

SC Wine Joe rating = 86 points

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ferrari-Carano Merlot Sonoma County 2013

My local Costco just started a wine sale that runs until December 24.  There are 14 wines reduced in this sale, but the most compelling bargain is the Ferrari-Carano Merlot Sonoma County 2013 which is reduced from $18.99 to $12.99.  Total Wines sells this for a regular price of $20.99 and many stores in this area sell it for even more, so you can easily see that this is an extraordinary buy.

I really like wines that cover a wide range of my palate.  This wine begins with a cherry flavor and then follows with blueberry, cola and vanilla as the wine circulates in my mouth.  This is a medium bodied wine that will appeal to many wine drinkers.  Although it may not stand up to a steak, you can pair it with roast, burgers or pasta.  I will continue to buy this while I can at this price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Friday, December 9, 2016

St Francis Old Vines Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013

St Francis Old Vine Zinfandel has been my favorite Zinfandel for several years.  You can not find a better Zinfandel for less than $20.  This wine is made from 86% Zinfandel, 7% Petit Sirah and 7% other grapes.  The Zinfandel is from vines that are 55 to 100 years old in the Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley.  The old vines have low yields and intense flavors.  The wine is aged 16 months in French oak and the wine has 15.2% alcohol.

I find this wine to be full bodied with flavors of black cherry and blackberry and a hint of licorice.  Everything is in balance with this wine and the finish is long lasting.  Both Robert Parker and Wine Enthusiast rate this wine at 90 points and I agree with their assessment. 

Costco sells this for $14.99 and Total Wines sells it  for $15.99.  If you apply a 15% off coupon at Total Wines you can actually purchase it for $13.60.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Swanson Napa Valley Merlot 2011

I have had a bottle of the Swanson Napa Valley Merlot in my wine fridge for months waiting for a special occasion to break it open.  This is a wine that costs $30 from the winery and $29 at Total Wines and More.  Even with a Total Wines coupon, this is in a price range that I do not often venture.  I happened onto this at Costco during a sale and I cannot report the price since I have lost my receipt, but I am sure it was less than $20.

Sunday, I declared it was a special occasion.  Perhaps I was exuberant about my Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Giants - I do not know- but I opened the bottle.  The good news is that I still have several other bottles of wine that I am keeping for a special occasion.

Swanson Merlot is made from Merlot grapes from Oakville in Napa Valley, blended with some Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford and Yountville, along with some Petit Verdot from the Oak Knoll Distrct.  This is everything I like in a Merlot.  The dark colored wine has flavors of black fruit, plum, and earthiness.  I found it to be full bodied with moderate tannins and a smooth finish.  I think this is a Merlot that will appeal to most Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers and would definitely pair this with prime rib.  The wine has 14.6% alcohol.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Merlot Dry Creek Valley 2013

Trader Joe's previously saved their silver/gray colored labels for Grand Reserve wines that exceeded the quality of the black labeled Grand Reserve wines.  They priced these wines at $14.99 ($2 more than the black label Grand Reserve wines) and the label identified the wines as "Platinum Grand Reserve".  Although I was a big fan of the wines, they apparently were not a big hit with their customers.  I liked most of those wines and have even saved one for more than a year waiting for a special occasion to break it open. 

After about a year, Trader Joe's has now again started selling wines with that siver/gray label.  One of these is the Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Merlot Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County 2013.  What is different from a year ago, is that the label no longer says "Platinum" Grand Reserve and the price is $12.99 which is the same as the black label Grand Reserve wines.

Now, I know you could care less about the color of the label, the word "Platinum" or maybe not even the $2 price differential.  You read this blog to find out if the wine is any good.  Well, I hope this does not disappoint you, but the wine is not all that good.  It is not worth the $12.99 price and I hope that you read this before putting a bottle in your cart.  There is little fruit flavor and the limited flavor is mildly bitter.  There are some tannins but the finish is not long lasting or pleasant.

Although $12.99 is not a high price to pay for Sonoma County Merlot, it is at the higher end for Trader Joe's and that definitely enters into my numerical rating.

SC Wine Joe rating = 86 points

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2014

Trader Joe's has again released their Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County just in time for Thanksgiving.  Since they only produced 5000 cases of the wine, it will be available for only a limited time.

This is a quality Pinot Noir with flavors of cherry and dark cherry.  As I described last year, this is a wine best suited to accompany food and Thanksgiving Turkey or Ham quickly come to mind.  The wine has a very long, enjoyable finish.

This Pinot has 14.2% alcohol and sells for $14.99 at Trader Joe's.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kirkland Signature Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Each year, Costco sells the Kirkland Signature Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon and I never know what to expect.  I did not like the 2011 version, I liked the 2012 version very much, I was unimpressed with the 2013 and now the 2014 version is here.

A wine from Napa County is not a wine from Napa Valley.  Some of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes may come from the northernmost portions of the county, outside of the Napa Valley AVA and will not be grown under the same climate and soil conditions as in Napa Valley.

The 2014 version has all of the good things missing last year.  The wine is rich and smooth with flavors of blackberry and plum, with hints of vanilla.  Oak is present but in balance.  The finish is pleasant and long lasting.  The wine has 14.6% alcohol and is priced at $12.99.  This excellent wine is much superior to the 2013.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cherry Blossom Pinot Noir Calfornia 2014

Trader Joe's now has the 2014 vintage of the Cherry Blossom Pinot Noir.  In April, I wrote that the 2013 Cherry Blossom Pinot Noir priced at $4.99 was one of the best wine values I had ever found, so I wanted to see if the new version is as good.

There is not much to be learned about this wine from the bottle.  The grapes come from somewhere in California, at least 75% of the grapes are Pinot Noir and the alcohol content is 13.5%.   The wine in the glass is a darker purple than usual for a Pinot Noir.

We found this to be an exceptionally enjoyable, easy drinking wine.  Because of the flavor and the color, I do not think this is 100% Pinot Noir.  You can drink this with or without food and the wine drinks far beyond what you would expect at this price.  You can serve this with your Holiday meals and your guests will not suspect that you paid so little.

This wine costs $4.99 at Trader Joe's locations in South Carolina but is only $3.99 in some other states.  I continue to believe this and the Emma Pearl Pinot Noir are the best values found at Trader Joe's.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chateau de Berne Impatience 2015

One of the wines included in the pre-thanksgiving sale at my local Costco is the Chateau de Berne Impatience 2015 Rose'.  Rose' has been making a huge comeback in recent years as wine drinkers recognize the difference between Rose' and white Zinfandel.  Rose' can be an excellent food wine to accompany seafood and poultry, especially roast turkey.

This wine is from the Cotes de Provence in southeastern France.   85% of the grape output from this Mediterranean coastal region west of Monaco goes into Rose' wines and they are considered as some of the best in the world.

This wine is a salmon pink color with bright floral aromas.  The wine has dry, crisp flavors of raspberry and strawberry.  The wine is 70% Grenache and 30% Cinsault.  The wine has 13% alcohol.  I like the wine and recently purchased more at the sale price.

The average online price for this wine is around $19 and the sale price at Costco was $12.79.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The current wine sale at my local Costco (Greenville SC) includes the Montes Classic Series 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (on sale for $6.99).  A few years ago, I bought Montes Classic Cabernet Sauvignon on a regular basis and found it to be a great wine for a moderate price.  However, the more recent vintages have not lived up to my expectations and I found better value elsewhere.  When I found this wine at this low price, I had to give it another try.

Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Colchagua Valley of Chile.  This region is the southwestern half of the Rapel Valley, east of the coastal mountains and west of the Andes Mountains.  It is a region with a Mediterranean climate that has a cooling influence from the Pacific Ocean.  World class Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah are grown in this valley.

This wine is composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot.  45% of the wine is aged in French oak barrels for 8 months.  The wine has an alcohol content of 13.5%.

I initially bought 2 bottles of this wine.  The first was terrific, especially after it was opened for an hour.  It reminded me why I used to buy this wine regularly.  The second bottle was very different and reminded me why I stopped buying this wine.  I could not write something about the wine on this blog since the two bottles were so different.  The only thing I could do was go buy some more!  After careful research, I have concluded that the first bottle is the best representative of this wine and I can recommend it to you.  The description below is based on that research.  My research assistant, aka Cindy, agrees with my conclusions.

When I first opened the bottle, I could detect the aroma from a foot away.  I knew I would enjoy the wine.  The flavors were black cherry, blackberry and a hint of vanilla.  The finish was reasonably smooth and long lasting.  I like it and will continue to buy this wine on sale for $6.99 and will likely buy it after the sale for an additional $2. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2010

My local Costco is now having their pre-Thanksgiving wine sale.  There are three wines in this sale that interest me, including the Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2010, which is reduced two dollars to $8.99.

The Rioja region in northern Spain classifies wines as Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva in ascending order.  Many wine drinkers find Reserva to be more complex than Crianza but far more affordable than Gran Reserva.  A Reserva Rioja must be aged 3 years, with at least one year in oak casks.

Montecillo Rioja Reserva is 100% Tempranillo, with all grapes coming from La Rioja Alta.  The wine is actually aged in oak casks for 24 months and at least 16 months in the bottle prior to its release.

I found flavors of black fruit, plum, licorice and minerals in the wine.  The 13.4% alcohol is in good balance with the fruit and the finish is long lasting.  This wine will nicely accompany barbeque or roasts.  This is a nice wine, especially for $8.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Meritage Napa Valley 2013 Lot #63

I was excited to see  that Trader Joe's is now selling the 2013 version of their Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage for $12.99.   When I last reviewed the 2012 version of the wine, I was very enthusiastic about it, calling it a great wine.

The bottle gives no clue about the blend of Bordeaux grapes in the wine.  As with most Meritage wines from Napa, flavors of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon dominate.  The alcohol content is 14.5%.

This is an excellent fruit forward Meritage with flavors of dark chery, blackberry, blue berry and only minor spice.  The tannins are smooth and in balance with the fruit.  I really enjoyed this wine.

I wanted to compare this Napa Valley Meritage with Costco's Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage, so I tried both at the same meal.  The Kirkland has always been a solid choice but The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve is far superior.  I would spend the additional $2 per bottle for the Trader Joe's wine every time.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Nalys 2014

Every year Costco sells their Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  It always sells for $19.99 and quickly sells out.  The last time I was able to buy it at my local Costco was in May 2015 and I have been checking religiously since May of this year to be sure that I did not miss it.  I had read online that other areas had this wine a few months ago and I fretted that that I missed out but there it was in the bins last week.

You may wonder why this wine, which is more expensive than the usual SC Wine Joe wine, is in such high demand.  First, you need to know that a Chateauneuf du Pape wine usually sells for at least $35 or $40 and often costs much more than that.  Secondly, this is a great, drinkable wine.

If you are new to this blog and have not read my post from May 2015, here is a short review about the wine.  Chateauneuf du Pape is a region in the Rhone area of south France.  For a short period, many years ago, it was home to the Pope.  As in other Rhone wines, Grenache is the predominate grape.  This wine also blends in Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise and Mourvedre.  The resulting wine has an alcohol content of 14.5% and is a smooth, medium bodied wine with tons of berry flavors.  

If this wine is available at your local Costco, I strongly recommend it to you.  I am sure you have a special occasion that warrants spending $20 on a bottle of wine and I know you will like it.

SC Wine Joe rating = 92 points

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trader Joe's Reserve Meritage Mendocino County 2013

The last wine I intend to review from the October 2016 Fearless Flyer is the TJ's Reserve Meritage Mendocino County 2013.  I have been trying to think of something interesting to say about this wine but finally decided to just tell it like it is!  This wine is not very good!

I like California versions of Bordeaux style blends, aka Meritage,  I have had good wines and also,  not so good wines from Mendocino.  This Bordeaux blend is 33.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 24% Petit Sirah, 11% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and .5% Petit Verdot.  The wine is said to spend 24 months in French and American oak.  The alcohol content is 13.8%.  All of these statistics tell you this should be a pretty good wine.

The wine starts decently but somewhat nondescript.  However, as the wine lingers, the flavors deteriorate and the finish is sour and unpleasant.  There is just no reason to recommend the wine.  We actually poured out about half of the bottle.  Life is too short to drink bad wine! At $9.99, this is not very much to spend for a California Meritage but I think your money will be better spent on something else.  If you are a Costco member, the Kirkland Napa Meritage is far better for only $2 more. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 84 points

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kirkland Signature Malbec 2014

Costco has had the Kirkland Signature Malbec 2014 from Mendozza Argentina in the stores for several months.  I blogged about the 2012 version of this wine back in February 2014 and I liked it a lot.  I was less impressed last year with the 2013 Malbec.  Since the price of this wine ($6.99) makes it appealing to many people, I thought I should give the 2014 Malbec a try.

This is a soft, medium bodied Malbec.  While I did not find anything specific that I disliked, I really did not find anything that I really liked either.  The wine did not have any depth or complexity of flavors.  I actually never finished the bottle and went on to another wine.

So, I have to wonder if this wine is inferior to the 2012 version that I liked or are my taste buds different today than two and a half years ago.  One clue is to compare 2012 and 2014 on a vintage chart for Mendozza.  I reached for the vintage chart in the February 2016 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine and found that indeed the 2014 vintage for red wines in Mendozza was rated at only 85 points out of 100, making it the lowest rated vintage since 2001.  The 2012 vintage was rated 88 points which is definitely better but not excellent.  I do not know how much this affects an entry level wine, but I will just say that it is the vintage and not me.  Please feel free to comment on your opinions of this wine.

SC Wine Joe rating = 86 points

Friday, September 30, 2016

Dearly Beloved I Thee Red

The second Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer wine that I tried this month comes in an unusual bottle and is called "Dearly Beloved I Thee Red".  The "Dearly Beloved" line of wines comes from a Healdsburg California winery Truett-Hurst and is made exclusively for Trader Joe's.  Truett-Hurst was founded by a group that includes Paul Dolan, former  president of Fetzer Wines. 

This wine is a blend of  Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and Petit Syrah from grapes grown in the Central Coast of California.  That region stretches from Santa Barbera to San Francisco Bay and includes areas such as Paso Robles and Monterrey.  The wine has an alcohol content of 14.5%.

This is a medium bodied wine with flavors of dark cherry, blackberry and a little mocha.  The wine starts smoothly but has some oak on the finish.  The high alcohol content is not detectable and the finish lasts a while.  The wine is $7.99 at TJ's and I think it tastes like a $12 plus bottle so it is a good value.  This is a wine to enjoy with casual food such as burgers or tacos.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Eris Chardonnay Carneros Estate 2014

The October 2016 Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer arrived in my e-mail yesterday and my snail mail today.  One of the featured wines is the Eris Carneros Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay.  The grapes are said to be from a single estate on the Napa Side of Carneros.  I have previously written about the breezes and fog from  San Francisco Bay creating a climate of warm days and cool nights in Carneros that is well suited to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

The Flyer describes the wine as buttery and rich with a creamy mouthful and that is not my favorite style of Chardonnay.  I prefer a crisper wine, aged is stainless steel or neutral oak.  After tasting this wine, I do agree that the wine is creamy and soft but I cannot say it is rich and buttery.  From my perspective, I am glad that it did not taste buttery to me.  This is really a high quality wine, even if it is not my favorite style.  An unusual taste, that was immediately noted by both my wife and me was ginger.  It reminded me of a non-carbonated ginger ale. 

At $13.99, this is at the upper price range for a Trader Joe's wine but you would typically pay more than that for an estate grown Carneros Chardonnay.  If you are open to Chardonnay in a less crisp style, I would definitely recommend this to you.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kirkland Cotes du Rhone Villages 2015

Costco's Kirkland wines are some of the best wines for your money that can be found anywhere.  The Kirkland Cotes du Rhone Villages is at the top of the list for quality at a low price.  I have been enjoying this wine since the 2011 vintage and previously blogged about the 2012 vintage (June 16, 2014) and the 2013 vintage (July 11, 2015).  I do not think there was a Kirkland Cotes du Rhone Villages 2014 and it has only been about 14 months since the release of the 2013 vintage.

Cotes du Rhone is a major wine region in southeast France near the outlet of the Rhone River into the Mediterranean Sea.  In a previous blog about this wine, I reviewed the levels of quality of Cotes du Rhone Wines.  This wine is again a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre grapes with 14% alcohol.  Previous vintages were said to be made from sustainably grown grapes but that is not stated on the label this time.  The wine maker is Patrick Lesec from Chemin des Vins and he is best known for Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape wines. He has been recognized by top wine magazines for his quality wines.

Patrick Lesec crafts wines with bright, ripe fruit flavors and oak that enhances but does not overpower the fruit.  I think that is a good description of this wine.  This is a very versatile wine that can be enjoyed with casual food or no food.  I had it with fish tacos and it was perfect. The wine is still only $6.99 and will only be available for a limited time.  I really like this wine and plan to stock up.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Virginia Wineries

In the past, I have blogged about wineries we visited in Finger Lakes New York, Yadkin Valley North Carolina and various regions in Virginia.  We recently went to Charlottesville Virginia to visit the historic homes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and , of course, we visited some wineries in the area.  We have been to wineries in the Charlottesville area in the past and believe that some of the finest wineries in the eastern United States are located there.

Many of the wine regions in the eastern US do well with white wines, especially Viognier, Reisling and Chardonnay.  Virginia wineries distinguish themselves from those in other eastern states by producing some terrific reds.  The Virginia wineries have done this by recognizing that they cannot make Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to compete with California and Washington.  Instead, they concentrate on grapes that can grow well in the Virginia climate and these are often from Italy, Spain or regions of France outside of Bordeaux.  We tasted great Barbera, Sangiovese, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc (a Bordeaux grape that does well here).  When they do make Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, they make a lighter style wine that is very different from other regions.

Here are three wineries that have interesting stories:

Barboursville Vineyards

Barboursville was the first Virginia winery to produce quality wine grapes.  It was started by the Zonin family from Italy on the former estate of Governor John Barbour, a contemporay of Jefferson and Madison.  Gabriele Rausse came from Italy and planted the first vineyards.  You do not want to miss a tasting at this winery because you get to taste 21 wines for $7.00 and keep your glass.  On a previous trip, we went to Barbourseville on a weekend and I do not recommend that.

Gabriele Rausse Winery

After initiating the vineyards at Barboursville, Gabriel Rausse worked at several wineries in the area and eventually started his own Gabriele Rausse Winery along with his two sons.  This is a quite unusual winery.  You have to be looking for this winery to ever find it.  The winery sits back from the road behind a group of trees.  The only sign by the road is a homemade sign that says "tastings" and winery is open only on certain days, not including Saturday.  The tasting room is rustic and that is being generous in my description.  However, the wines are some of the best in Virginia and worth the visit.

Blenheim Vineyards 

Down the road from Gabriele Rausse and across the street from another famous winery which I would not visit, is Blenheim Vineyards.  Interestingly, this winery is owned by Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band.  We almost left when the only building visible from the parking lot was an old barn.  However, behind the barn and down a flight of stairs is the tasting room.  Once you are in the tasting room, it is quite nice with a panoramic window view of the surrounding countryside.  We had the most knowledgeable and pleasant server at this winery.  The wines are very good and this was one of the best tastings of our trip.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Chateau de Pitray Cotes de Bordeaux 2011

Chateau de Pitray is a 200 acre estate in Bordeaux with a large castle and 70 acres of vineyards.  You can actually stay at the Chateau and tour vineyards in the area or participate in bicycle races.

The wine that I purchased at Costco is from the Cote de Bordeaux Castillion region at the very eastern edge of Bordeaux.  The wines in this region are predominantly crafted from Merlot,  Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, although the other Bordeaux varietals are permitted.

There is nothing on the bottle to advise you of the grapes in this wine.  Since most Bordeaux wines are predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, I was surprised when I sipped the wine and could only taste Cabernet Franc.  While that is not a bad thing, it was unexpected.  The wine may actually be 100% Cabernet Franc.

The wine is medium bodied with  flavors of raspberry and blackberry.  I found the wine to be slightly bitter.  I bought the wine at Costco for $9.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Amancaya Gran Reserve Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), one of the oldest and best known Bordeaux wineries has partnered with Nicolas Catena, one of the best known wineries from Argentina to produce this blend of Malbec (54%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (46%) from Mendoza, Argentina.  The wine is aged in French oak (20% new) for 12 months and the wine is said to have 14.5% alcohol.

The wine has flavors of black cherry and plum with a little earthiness.  It is a juicy, elegant, medium to full bodied wine that surprises with more tannins than you would expect on the finish.  The wine would be very versatile for accompanying casual or formal dinners.  This is a great option for the red wine drinker.

In my area, Total Wines and More sells this for $22.49 but I found it at Costco for $14.69.  I hope I can get my hands on more bottles at Costco's price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cecilia Beretta Soraie Veneto 2013

Trader Joe's August/September Fearless Flyer features a very intriguing red wine from Venetia Italy, - Cecilia Beretta Soraie.  The wine is made using the appasimento technique of allowing the grapes to dry after picking.  This method is said to allow the grapes natural sugars to concentrate and their flavors to deepen.  The second interesting feature of the wine is that it is made from Italian varietals Corvina (30%) and Croatina (10%) and from Bordeaux varietals Merlot (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%).

Veneto or Venetia is in the northeast most region of Italy.  This is one of the major winemaking regions of Italy with Corvina grapes grown in the western portion.  Merlot is now successfully grown in the region and growers are experimenting with Cabernet Sauvignon.  Prosecco is one of the most popular wines from Venetia.

Cecilia Beretta Soraie is a medium bodied, crisp and only slightly sweet wine.  The flavor is black cherry and spice.  You can drink this wine on its own or as an accompaniment to red pasta, pizza or burgers.  It is a very enjoyable wine that almost everyone can enjoy.  This is a great choice for a red wine priced under $10 ($8.99) at Trader Joe's.  I plan to buy some more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino County 2012

Recently at Costco, I found Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County,  for $15.99.  While I am quite sure that there are great Cabernet Sauvignons from Mendocino County, I cannot say that I have found many of them.  Instead, I have found some that were not as good as what I have been drinking from Napa, Sonoma and Columbia Valley.  However, there were a couple of 91 point ratings shown, so I took a chance and added it to my haul.

The central portion of Mendocino County is very hot and dry during the grape growing season, which is well suited for intensely flavored and tannic red wine.  The County is a leader in growing organic grapes.

Paul Dolan Cabernet Sauvignon was aged 24 months in 15% new French oak and 85% in redwood and stainless steel tanks. ( If anyone can enlighten me about redwood aging, please leave a comment.)
All of the grapes are organic from gravelly hilltops in central Mendocino County and the wine is 13.5% alcohol.

This is a dark colored, full bodied wine with big bold flavors of plum and dark berries.  The tannins do not overpower the flavor and the finish is long lasting.  This would pair very well with prime rib or a dry aged steak.  I like the wine and think the ratings mentioned above got it correct.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Friday, August 19, 2016

Laurent Reverdy Sancerre 2015

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer for August 2016 features Laurent Reverdy Sancerre.  Sancerre is a region in the Loire Valley, in the geographic center of France.  Most of the white wine from this region is Sauvignon Blanc.   The wine is less grassy than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and more mineral flavored than Savignon Blanc from California and Washington.  These wines are aged in stainless steel and are crisper than white wines aged in oak.

Laurent Reverdy Sancerre is a very aromatic wine with scents of a flower garden mixed with tropical fruit.  There are flavors of peach, citrus and lemon tempered with a nice minerality.  This is a very pleasant summer wine and I really enjoyed it.  It is $12.99 at Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Finger Lakes Wine Region

We just returned from a "Road Scholar" (formerly known as Elderhostel) program in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Incuded in the program were visits to 3 Finger Lakes wineries.  In addition, we visited 2 wineries after the Road Scholar program.  Of the 5 wineries, we enjoyed 3 but cannot recommend the other 2.  The 2 wineries that did not meet expectations were staffed by servers who had no knowledge of basic winemaking.

The Finger Lakes region has over 100 wineries, making it one of the largest wine regions in the eastern United States.  The region is centered around Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga Lakes which create microclimates without extreme cold in the winter but with warm breezy summer days.  The area specializes in white wines such as Reisling and Gewurtztraminer as well as sparkling wines made with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.  The most successful red wines are made from Cabernet Franc.

The three wineries that we recommend include one from each lake mentioned above.

Dr. Frank Konstantin and Sons

In the early 60's, Dr Frank pioneered the growing of Vinifera grapes in this cold weather region.  The winery sits above Keuka Lake with a beautiful view of the lake from the tasting room.  The staff did a great job with our group of 36 people.  The presentation was informative and the sample sizes were the most generous of the wineries we visited.

Lakewood Vineyards

This winery sits at the southern end of Seneca Lake, just outside Watkins Glen, NY.    The winery opened in 1989 and the wines were excellent.  Here is a link to a video about the winery

Sheldrake Point Winery 

We visited this winery after the conclusion of our Road Scholar program and it was clearly the best experience of our wine tour.  The winery sits overlooking Cayuga Lake in Ovid, NY.  The tasting room is surrounded by lovely flower gardens and the interior featured beautiful flower arrangements in both tasting areas.  Our server was knowledgeable and the wines were the best that we tasted.  Many of the wines were rated 90 points and above by respected wine magazines.  This is a small production winery so you will not likely find the wines in your local wine shop outside of the Finger Lakes region.  We agreed that all the wines were excellent but we especially liked the Gewurtztraminer.  This was an intensely floral wine with surprisingly low residual sugar.

Dead Soldiers

Sheldrake Gewurtztraminer

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alamos Seleccion Malbec 2014

Alamos Malbec from Mendoza, in the foothills of the Andes mountains, is one of the largest selling Argentinian wines in the US.  You can buy the popular wine for under $10 which is appealing to many Americans.  You may be surprised to know that Alamos has another Malbec, labeled as Malbec Seleccion made with more select grapes that sells for a higher price.  Another surprise might be to find out that the Alamos brand is owned by E & J Gallo.

The Alamos Seleccion Malbec that I purchased was from the 2014 vintage, which was a mediocre year for red grapes in Argentina.  The wine is 100% Malbec and pours a very dark purple color into the glass.  The full bodied flavor is rich in blackberry and licorice.  The tannins are mild and the finish is long.  This is an excellent example of a well made, full flavored Malbec.

I purchased my bottle at Total Wines, where it is priced at $14.99 but can usually be purchased at around $12.74 with a coupon.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Friday, July 15, 2016

Courtney Benham Lucca Red North Coast 2014

The "Winery Direct" wines at Total Wines and More are usually placed on the middle level shelves at eye level.  Total Wines stocks a lot of these wines and the clerks encourage you to buy them since the markups are greater than for most name brand wines.  I do not review these wines regularly since they usually are only available at Total Wines.

However, there are a few Winery Direct wines that are worthy of our attention.  The wines from Martin Ray Winery fall into that category.  Martin Ray Winery is in Santa Rosa California and they produce wines under Angeline (entry level), Courtney Benham (mid level and limited production) and Martin Ray (premium level) labels.  I have enjoyed these wines for several years and  once experienced  a great  visit to their winery.

Courtney Benham Lucca Red is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  The grapes are sourced from vineyards in northern Sonoma County and Mendocino County and aged in American, French and Hungarian oak.  The listed alcohol content is 13.9%.  This is a medium bodied wine that features lighter fruit flavors.  It is very easy to drink without harsh oak flavors and would be well suited to accompany pizza or pork barbecue.  I like this wine and have enjoyed it numerous times over the years.  The wine is regularly priced at $11.99 and with a coupon you can often purchase it for around $10.19.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

COSTCO BARGAIN ALERT!   The Kenwood Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon usually sells in stores between $12 and $15 or more.  In fact, the local Total Wines and More prices it at $11.99.  Recently, at my local Costco, this wine was reduced to $5.79.  You cannot find a better wine bargain anywhere.

We already know that 2012 was a great vintage in California for Cabernet Sauvignon and we know that Kenwood is a very good Sonoma winery.  From the bottle, we see the alcohol content is listed at 13.5%.

From the Kenwood website, we find that the wine is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are primarily from Sonoma, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys in Sonoma County and the wine was aged for 23 months in French, European and American oak barrels.

The wine has ample flavors of black cherry and plum with a long lasting finish and medium tannins.  The flavor hits in the middle of the spectrum for Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is neither bright fruit forward nor heavy, dusty oak.  Most Cabernet drinkers will find this to be an enjoyable wine for pairing with roast or red pasta sauce meals.  I really enjoyed this wine and will buy a lot more if it is still at the same price.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon California 2012

At Total Wines and More, I needed to select one more bottle in order to use my coupon.  I was not looking to spend a lot of money just to save 15% on the wines that I intended to buy.  The wine I selected was the Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, which after the coupon discount cost me $10.62.

From the bottle, I noted the following clues about the wine:

1.  At least 75% of the grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon.  There are no clues about the remaining 25%.  It could be Cabernet Sauvignon or it could be other grapes.

2.  The grapes are from California, probably from several different locations.  We can not determine where in California.

3.  The grapes were harvested in 2012, which was an extraordinary year for Cabernet Sauvignon in California.

4.  The alcohol content is listed as 13.5%.  I generally do not buy red wines that have less than 13.5%  because they are often too sweet for me.

From the winery website, I learned that the wine was aged in a blend of oak and stainless steel for 10 months.

My prediction was this would be an average, easy drinking, not too sweet Cabernet Sauvignon from an extraordinary year.

 I recently drank the wine.  Since a portion of the wine was aged in stainless steel, it was a medium bodied to full bodied wine.  The initial taste is fruit forward with flavors of black cherry and blueberry.  The finish was more oak and a little sour.  I think my prediction was accurate and this is a good choice in this price range.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Costco has had this Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon in stock for several weeks.  Since there are so many choices and so little time, I am just now getting around to trying it.  This wine is 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley.  Because the wine exceeds 75% Merlot, they could have labeled this as Columbia Valley Merlot, but Costco already has another wine called Columbia Valley Merlot and they designated this as Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is 14.9% alcohol.

The bottle identifies Joshua Maloney as the winemaker.  Maloney is the Director of Winemaking for Milbrant Vineyards as well as owner of Maloney Wines.  He began in the winemaking business in the Finger Lakes of New York, then to California and later to Columbia Valley with Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The wine begins softly with juicy dark fruit and a hint of mocha. It finishes with some oak and medium tannins.  The wine is very good but I would prefer just a little lighter fruit as well as the dark fruit in the initial sip.  All in all this is an above average Merlot for a below average price ($8.99) and it will pair well with red meat.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lagranja Garnacha Rose 2015

Rose' is a great summertime treat and Trader Joe's has a lot of great choices from all over the world.  I recently have enjoyed a couple of Trader Joe's Rose's  from France, so I thought I might try a low cost Spanish Rose'.

Lagranja is a rose' of Granacha grapes from Carinena Spain.  Immediately, you notice that the color is a darker pink than many rose's.  The second thing you notice is the wonderful floral aroma coming from the glass.  However, the wine does not live up to the appealing nose.  I found it to be a little syrupy with limited flavor and I drank most of the bottle but never finished it.   You might consider this wine if you are making Sangria since it only costs about $5. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 85 points

Monday, June 20, 2016

Seven Rings Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll District 2014

In early April, I purchased a bottle of Seven Rings Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 2014 at Total Wines and More.  I believe it is one of their "Winery Direct" wines and they usually price it at $27.99.  However, on that day, this wine was reduced to $21.99 as a weekend special and I also had a coupon so my final price was $17.67.

I finally opened my $28 bottle of wine.  2014 was another great vintage in Napa, just like the two previous years and I have previously described how the cooler nights and fog in Oak Knoll result in softer, flavorful Cabernet and Merlot.  With great anticipation, I began my tasting of the wine.  The wine begins with lush dark berries.  The initial taste is great.  However, I found the finish to be a little harsh and medium lasting.  Maybe it would improve with age.

This wine is satisfactory at $17.67 but I would not want to pay $28 for it.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Canoe Ridge Reserve Cherry Street Red Blend 2012

Every once in a while, Costco beats the competition so badly that you wonder if there is something wrong.  The Canoe Ridge Cherry Street Red Blend is one of those times.  I checked the Total Wines and More website for our Greenville SC store and found this wine for $21.99 after I bought it at Costco for $12.99. One must wonder how it can be $9 more at the big box wine store.

This wine is a blend of 58% Syrah, 33% Merlot and 9% Malbec from Horse Heaven Hills in the Columbia Valley of Washington.  It is aged 20 months in French Oak, 33% new and 67% used and has an alcohol content of 14.2%. 

The wine has a great aroma of raspberries and cherries with flavors of black cherry and cola.  I have read other reviews online and nobody mentions cola, but that is what it tastes like to me!  This is a great tasting wine and I strongly recommend it!

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2013

My local Costco wine department is selling this Cotes du Rhone Red for $9.49.  I am a fan of wines from the Cotes du Rhone region of France and usually find them to be good quality wine for a reasonable price,

Like all red wines from Cotes du Rhone, this wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre.  (When California wineries make wine in the Cotes du Rhone style, they often label it as GSM since they cannot use the French region name.)  The wine is aged for 3 months in both stainless and oak.  As you would expect, the wine is medium bodied with soft tannins.  I found the wine to be fruity with licorice and mineral tones.  This is a good everyday wine which will pair with pork, pizza, burgers and pasta.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Merlot Napa Valley Oak Knoll District 2014 Lot #74

In the wine section of Trader Joe's, I always search first for the Grand Reserve and Platinum Reserve wines.  While these are the most expensive Trader Joe's wines, they are clearly the best and the price is usually a huge bargain for the quality.  This week, I found the Grand Reserve Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley.

The Oak Knoll District is in the southernmost end of the Napa Valley floor, just north of the Town of Napa and south of Yountville.  Being at the southern end, it is in closer proximity to San Pablo Bay, thus the cooling fog and breezes create a cooler, more moderate climate than regions to the north.  The warm spring and cool summer result in a longer growing season.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Oak Knoll are typically softer and silkier than from the northern regions.

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Merlot Oak Knoll is a deep purple, rich blend of dark fruit, minerality and licorice flavors.  The pleasure begins in the aroma and follows all the way to the long lasting finish.  The tanins are soft but structured.  I would not hesitate to pay much more for this wine and I am surprised that Trader Joe's does not market this as a Platinum Grand Reserve wine.

SC Wine Joe rating = 92 points

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

J.L. Quinson Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rose 2014

Trader Joe's carries two different Rose's by J.L. Quinson from the Provence coastal region of southeast France,- Cotes de Province Rose and Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rose.  The later was in stock on my last trip to the TJ wine department.

Provence, on the Mediterranean coast has made wine for 2600 years and is best known for Rose.
80% of the wine from Cotes de Province and 30% of the wine from Coteaux d'Aix en Province is Rose. 

Since we are experiencing summer weather now in the south, it is a good time to explore blush and rose wine.  The J.L. Quinson Coteaux d'Aix en Provence rose is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes.  The wine is pink salmon colored with floral and tropical aromas.  The wine is dry with flavors of melon and bright berries.  While you can certainly enjoy this wine without food. it is a great wine to have with summertime salads, fruit and even seafood.  The wine is $7.99 and we definitely enjoyed the entire bottle.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Armador Cabernet Sauvignon Valle del Maipo Chile 2013

This wine from Chile is made with organic grapes by Odfjell Vineyards.  The wine is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah from the Maipo Valley.  The unique feature of this wine is that 80% was aged in stainless steel and 20% in older oak barrels and it was only aged four to six months.  I have lately been seeing a few Cabernet Sauvignon wines aged in stainless steel, resulting in medium bodied wines with emphasis on the fruit and little or no oak flavors.  There are still tanins
from the grape skins but the wine is much lighter, especially suited for summer sipping.

I have really enjoyed Armador.  As expected it is a lighter, fruit forward wine with rich dark fruit flavors and a small amount of licorice.  The finish is long and refreshing.  While you might not want to pair this with a ribeye steak, you would definitely enjoy this with pork chops or pasta.

I am on my fourth bottle of this wine and it is hard to rate it against bigger, bolder Cabs.  This is evidenced by the wide range of ratings that others have put on this wine.  I can only say that if I compare it to the wide category of red wines, this is an excellent, flavorful red wine and I really like it.  The wine was $9.99 at Costco.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Vicentin Blend de Malbecs 2011

I found this Malbec at Costco for $14.99.  Vicentin combines Malbec from 4 distinct regions in Mendozza Argentina to create a superior wine.    The wine is aged 9 months in French oak and has 14.9% alcohol. 

Immediately you notice the dark cherry and violet color.  There is a bouquet of floral and dark fruit notes.  Flavors of blackberry, blueberry and oak lead to a long, smooth finish.  The wine is full bodied but the fruit is in harmony with the oak.  The wine is unfiltered, so you need to either filter it or be careful as you finish the bottle.  This is the best Malbec I have had in the past year and I definitely recommend it.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Manifesto 2013 Zinfandel Lodi

Lodi California is one of the major growing regions for Zinfandel grapes.  In fact, almost one third of the Zinfandel from California is grown in Lodi, which is south of Sacramento and east of the San Francisco Bay region.  The hot, summer Mediterranean climate is well suited to growing Zinfandel.

Manifesto is a newer wine producer, having only been around since 2012, but Manifesto Zinfandel  has caught the attention of wine magazines such as Wine Enthusiast which praised the wine as a best buy.  I found the wine recently at Costco for $10.99 which is about $3 less than the normal price found elsewhere.

Zinfandel is made in many styles, from light and sweet to very dry and alcoholic.  I found this wine to be in the middle of that range.  It is very dark cherry in color with aromas of ripe dark cherry and blackberry.  The wine is medium to full bodied with rich flavors that match the dark fruit aroma.  The tanins and the alcohol are well balanced with the rich flavors.  This is an excellent Zinfandel and I hope to buy more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gerard Bertrand Cap Insula Languedoc 2013

Languedoc is the wine growing area of southern France along the Mediterranean Sea from the border with Spain north to the Rhone.  While this area has historically been one of the largest producers of wine grapes, it has not always been known for quality wine.  Today, that is changing and great values in wine can be found.  Languedoc produces some bordeaux varietal grapes but is best known for Rhone varietals such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  Gerard Bertrand is a winemaker who is leading the way in making great wine in Languedoc.      

Gerard Bertrand Cap Insula has achieved high ratings from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast.  It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre with 13.5% alcohol.  It has lush black fruit flavors, medium tanins and a mineral finish.  This is a very balanced wine that is easy to drink with interesting flavors.  I really enjoyed it and it was a great value at Costco for only $9.99.   I plan to buy much more. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kirkland Signature Series Chablis Premier Cru

Chablis is a wine district within the Burgundy region in northern France.  Chablis wine is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in the vicinity of the town of Chablis where the cool climate and the soils result in grapes with high acidity and low fruitiness.  The wine is made under strict regulation to achieve a quality dry wine, usually aged entirely in stainless steel.

Chablis wine is classed in four levels based on the quality of the vineyards.  Grand Cru Chablis is the highest classification and it represents grapes grown in only seven vineyards.  Premier Cru comes from vineyards second only to the Grand Cru vineyards.

Kirkland Premier Cru is made from grapes grown in Montmains and Bouregard Vineyards.  The wine is 100% Chardonnay aged in stainless steel for 12 months, achieving 13% alcohol.  As you would expect, it is a light, acidic, crisp wine with lemon flavors and some minerality.  We drank the wine shortly after bringing it home and it had not chilled to optimum temperature.  We enjoyed the wine but I certainly recommend that you drink it at approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Costco is selling this wine for $14.99 which is a very good price for a Chablis Premier Cru  and this is worth trying.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Javier San Pedro Randez Rioja Tempranillo 2013

Another wine in the current Fearless Flyer from Trader Joe's is Javier San Pedro Randez Rioja Tempranillo.  Rioja is one of the oldest winemaking areas in Spain.  It is located in northern Spain, south of the Cantabrian Mountains which help moderate the climate.  Tempranillo is the most widely grown grape in Rioja.

I think this is a medium bodied red (Fearless Flyer says full bodied).  I detected flavors of Raspberry and blackberry.  The wine finishes with ample spicy tannins.  I really liked the wine at first but was less enthusiastic on the second day.  It is certainly a nice wine for $7.99 and I recommend that you try it.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sphere Monterrey County Pinot Noir 2014

A Trader Joe's wine featured in the latest Fearless Flyer is the Sphere Monterey County Pinot Noir.  I previously reviewed a Sphere Zinfandel and it was one of the most read reviews on this blog.  Since I was positive about the Zinfandel, I wanted to try this Pinot Noir.

I have to say upfront that I have enjoyed several wonderful Pinot's lately and this wine will be judged by a high standard.  Sphere Pinot Noir is a darker purple pinot in the glass.  The flavor is very fruit forward cherry, black cherry and some light strawberry.  This starts very easy drinking, something that does not require food to enjoy.  It does finish with more oak than you expect, so it certainly can enhance your light dinner.  All in all, this is a very good Pinot Noir for $6.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points

Yadkin Valley North Carolina Wineries

We recently made one of our treks to visit wineries in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina.  There are over 40 wineries in the area north of Statesville, South of Mt Airy and west of Winston Salem.  On this trip, we visited 4 wineries that were new to us.

1.  MenaRick Vineyard and Winery
This winery, in Rhonda NC,  specializes in wines from Spain (Tempranillo) and Portugal (Touriga Nacional) made in a bolder and more full bodied style.  Our favorite, however, was the Syrah.  They also produce enjoyable blends of Chardonnay with peach or blackberry fruit.  We met Rick (from California) and Mena (from Portugal) who were friendly hosts.

2.  Adagio Vineyards
 Adagio is a newer winery in Elkin, NC. owned by a Dentist and a Periodontist from Winston Salem.  The wife periodically plays her violin in the beautiful tasting room and the names of the wines have musical meanings.  The owners and staff are very friendly and accommodating.  Since the vines and winery are newer, the wines have not yet reached their full potential, but I expect good things in the future.

3.  Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery
This property was formerly a dairy farm with a long history.  The tasting room was originally stables and the winery is housed in the old barn.  If you visit, you need to hear the story about the dairy cow from this farm that was taken to the South Pole by Admiral Byrd.  Our favorite wine here was the 2013 Chambourcin.  This is a medium bodied wine with a flavor of black cherry.  The bottle we opened at home even had a very slight fizz.

4.  Elkin Creek Vineyard and Winery
 This winery has been around for awhile but was taken over 4 years ago by two couples who had been associated with Blue Man Group in Las Vegas.  This was our favorite winery from this trip and we even went there both Saturday and Sunday.  We especially enjoyed the Sangiovese 2014 and the Adequate Red Blend 2014.  The tasting room and the wooded setting are beautiful.  On Sunday, you can special order a pizza made in the brick oven, but you need to call ahead to reserve your pizza dough.  The pizza looked and smelled delicious.

We are already looking forward to our next trip to Yadkin Valley and discovery of a few more new wineries.