Sunday, March 27, 2016

Meiomi Pino Noir 2014

Total Wines and More mailed me a coupon for $10 off from a $40 purchase.  The store rarely offers up to a 25% discount, but perhaps their tracking system somehow knew I had not been in the store as much in the past year as previously.  My strategy was to buy name brand wines (those with prices not ending in 7) totaling just above $40, thus maximizing my discount.  My wife does not think me frugal without reason!  I came home with 3 wines, including the Meiomi Pinot Noir.

Meiomi Pinot Noir is one of the best selling Pinot Noirs in America.  Sales have gone from 90,000 cases in 2010 to 700,000 cases in 2015.  Last year Meiomi was acquired by Constellation brands.

Meiomi Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from coastal California regions in Monterrey County (4ti8%), Sonoma County (27%) and Santa Barbara County (25%).   Each region brings different characteristics to the blend.  The different lots were aged separately in French oak and then blended.

The first thing you notice on this wine is that the color is darker than the average Pinot Noir.  I found flavors of cherry, black cherry, blackberry  and spice.  The wine is medium bodied and smooth.  There is definitely oak flavor but the tannins are soft.  Although the  residual sugar is a little higher than some wines,  I still thought the wine was more dry than sweet.  This was a well balanced wine that was extremely enjoyable when paired with our grilled pork chops.

The average price for this wine is around $20.  Total Wines regularly prices it at $17.99 and with my coupon I paid around $14. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Francis Coppola Director's Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013

I was impressed with the 2012 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California but the 2013 vintage may be even better.  Francis Coppola Director's Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 is a great example of that superior quality.

This wine is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec.  The grapes are grown in the Alexander Valley, Sonoma Valley and Dry Creek areas of Sonoma County and aged in 55% French oak and 45% American oak.    The winemaker has done a magical blending of these grapes to achieve a very drinkable wine with 13.5 % alcohol.

This wine has flavors of blackberries, cherries and a little vanilla.  I found this to be full flavored with medium oak tones.  You can buy this wine online for about $20 but I bought it at Total Wines, where it is normally priced at $14.49.  My coupon reduced it even more to less than $12.00.  In my opinion this is a $20 wine and I will buy it any day for $12, so I now have a new reason to go back to Total Wines.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Trader Joe's Reserve Chardonnay Napa Valley 2014 Lot 135

Trader Joe's March Fearless Flyer features their Reserve Chardonnay 2014 from Napa Valley.  This wine is very different from the True Myth Edna Valley Chardonnay that I recently blogged about.  Where the True Myth is crisp and a little acidic, the Trader Joe's Reserve is full bodied, creamy and a little oaky.  I agree with the Fearless Flyer description pf pineapple, melon and apple flavors with caramel notes.  With such variation in styles, it is hard to judge which wine is better and that is why I do not assign numerical ratings to white wine.  Trader Joe's Reserve Chardonnay is $9.99 and it has 13.5% alcohol.  If you like your chardonnay to be full bodied and creamy, you will definitely like this wine.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

True Myth Edna Valley Chardonnay 2013

 Forty years ago, the Niven Family, owners of Edna Valley winery,  began planting grape vines in the Edna Valley AVA south of the Central Coast California City of San Luis Obispo.  Their Paragon Vineyard was one of the earliest vineyards in Edna Valley and it is the source of the True Myth Chardonnay.  It is always a treat to enjoy a wine when the same people control the vineyard and the winery.  In this price range, it is becoming more rare as large corporations are buying many of the smaller brands.

True Myth Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay and it was aged in 65% oak and 35% stainless steel.  The wine hits my favorite style of Chardonnay where the wine has a balance of crisp acidity and creamy oak.  There are flavors of peach, pineapple and other citrus along with mineral undertones.  I really enjoyed this wine and have returned to buy more.  The local Costco has this wine on sale for $7.99, which is about half the online cost.  I do not assign numerical ratings to white wines, but I definitely recommend True Myth Chardonnay.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pacific Rim Dry Reisling Yakima Valley 2013

The wine sale at our local Costco includes Pacific Rim Dry Reisling Yakima Valley Selenium Vineyard 2013 priced at $7.99.  Pacific Rim is a brand owned by Banfi, which is a privately held company that also owns brands from Italy and South America such as Concha y Toro and Trivento.  Pacific Rim produces several lines of Reisling in the State of Washington , both sweet and dry.

Americans are most familiar with sweet reislings, but if you are like me and find those too sweet, you should try a dry reisling.  Dry Reisling wines are very popular in Germany and Australia and are gaining in popularity in the United States.

The Pacific Rim Dry Reisling from the Selenium Vineyard, Yakima Valley is aged in stainless steel tanks for five months.  The wine has an alcohol content of 12.9%.  The wine has a pleasing aroma of citrus and pear and the fruit flavors follow through with peach and minerals.

I recommend this very enjoyable example of a dry reisling at a very reasonable price.  You could pair this with Thai cuisine or most seafood. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Besllum 2011 Red Blend Montsant

My local Costco is having one of their seasonal wine sales.  This sale lasts until March 26 and there are 21 wines selling for reduced prices.  One of the wines in the sale is the 2011 Besllum Red Blend from Montsant Spain. 

In December 2013, I blogged about the Besllum 2008 which I had purchased at Costco for $12.99.  I noted that the wine had magazine ratings as high as 93 points but that the praise was far from unanimous.  I myself, liked the wine and rated it as 90 points.  Since 2013, Costco has periodically stocked later vintages of Besllum and I was less enthusiastic about it.

Costco now has the 2011 vintage Besllum for $8.59.  The wine is 50% Garnacha, 40% Carinena and 10% Syrah aged for 13-15 months in oak barriques, 40% of them new.  The wine has flavors of very dark fruit, described by some as plums, prunes and dates.  There are definite good points to this wine but overall it is far from the very enjoyable 2008 version.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points