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