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