19 Crimes.

The 19 Crimes 2013 red wine is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir and has an ABV of 13%. It has a real deep garnet color with aromas of red cherry, strawberry and bing cherry with hints of wood and smoke. The flavor is of cherry jam, strawberry, sweet mixed berries and a hint of oak.  On the back palate, a Swiss Miss cocoa powder gives this wine a smooth, velvety, chocolate finish.

I did have this with grilled pork, homemade potato salad & fresh green salad and it went quite well with the meal. I’m sure this wine will pair well with a variety of dishes but I’d like to try it with grilled, skinless chicken breasts smothered in Texas Hot & Spicy BBQ sauce, roasted potatoes and your choice of vegetables. Oh, and corn on the cob wouldn’t hurt either.  I would suggest having several glasses of this wine as it is really tasty.

I’ve seen this wine in the price range of $10.99 to $15.99 depending on which wine merchant I visit, but found this one up in the NH State Liquor store on sale for $9.99. I only bought 2 bottles – foolish me! You also know that I’m not real fond of Australian wines but this one suited my palate very nicely. I’ll have to remember when I go back up to NH or to Table & Vine in West Springfield to look for this wine and get at least a half case of it. For the price you can’t go wrong.

Domaine Mas Du Bouquet 2009 Vacqueyras

This Grand Vin de la Vallée du Rhone red blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre sells for $16 and has an ABV of 14.5%.

The Domaine Mas Du Bouquet 2009 Vacqueyras was a nice surprise as I had no preconceived notions when I purchased this wine – I’m getting better at this as I get older & wiser.

Aromas of dark cherry, dark plum, dark raspberry – dark berry in general wafted its way to the ‘ol schnozzola. Not sure if I was having a really good day or a really bad day with the aromas but dark berry was the call of the day.

Flavors of elderberry, boysenberry, fig, and yes, dark berries found a smooth dark chocolate cherry cordial finish. This had some nice acidity and I noticed this tasted much better the second day, so maybe I’ll open this up for a while in the future before pouring into my glass. Or at the very least through the aerator (which I neglected to do) to open up the aromas and flavors a bit more. But a very nice, decent wine for the price.

Here’s to good wine, good food & good friends…


Adelaida 2009 Claudia

*Disclaimer: I received this wine from Griffin Estate Wines

The day started off with a brisk 50 minute walk around the neighborhood, then a few cups of coffee and a mindset that this was going to be a relaxing day. Well, my better half had other plans as she decided that cleaning the vinyl siding of our house was her project for the day. After 41 years of marriage, she pretty much has me pegged and knowing that eventually I’d come out of my relaxing day to help out. Yeah, I’m one of those that likes to procrastinate about household projects – and it works for me!

I decided that I’d give the power washer we bought a few of years ago a try. It took a couple of yanks but it eventually came to life and we added some detergent to the machine and started cleaning the house. It took about two hours with running to the local hardware store for a set of “o” rings that fell apart while washing the siding but it was finally finished. We couldn’t believe the results as it almost looked as if we just got the house re-painted.

Word to the wise though, if you decide to power wash your home do it when it’s the middle of summer with ambient temperatures reaching the mid-90s, not in October with temps at 68 degrees. Both my wife and I were soaked to the bone and chilled, although I did put on a raincoat about halfway through. So, after a long hot shower I decided it was time to make the noon day meal and open a bottle of wine to start the whole process.

After opening the bottle of wine to let it breath a bit, I seasoned two beef tenderloins that were about 2 1/2 inches thick with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Although we are the tale of two cooks concerning the “doneness” of the steaks as my wife prefers a medium to well done cooked center (hence I’ve gotten used to butterflying one steak) and mine are usually ‘mooing’ to me when it hits my plate. But I’ve gotten pretty good with setting the outdoor grill to about 400 degrees and grilling the tenderloins at about 6-8 minutes on one side, then 4-6 minutes on the other side. Whiling I was grilling the steaks the other cook was preparing garlic mashed potatoes and wax beans to finish off the meal. And of course I have to have freshly cut Italian bread too.

What really amazed me was the wine we opened to serve with the meal. Adelaida is in the Paso Robles region which consistently produces great wine. And the 2009 Claudia was no exception. It has a deep garnet color with pretty decent tannins. The 2009 Claudia has an ABV of 14.5% and is a red blend of Grenache (38%), Mourvedre (29%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (11%) and Counoise (2%) and if you’ve read this blog long enough you know I’m particularly fond of red blends. It’s reasonably priced as I researched the following sites at WineWise, Ancona’s, and Wine-Searcher for price ranges. They all showed $19.99.

It opened with a very dominate black raspberry jam aroma but after swirling in my wine glass, a black cherry aroma emerged to open my ‘nose’ senses. Then after repeating the swirling process a few more times, a very pleasant concoction of tobacco, forest floor, wild mushroom, moss and boysenberry aromas awoke to finish off the experience. It took a while to open the aromas but when it did open it was wonderful. I got flavors of black currant, boysenberry, black cherry, thyme, cigar box and pepper. A slight hint of anise was found on the back palate. This wine was great as either a stand alone wine (I had another glass of this wine after lunch while reading in the sunny portion of the deck) or served with a meal. This would also be a great wine to bring to a party as you know it would be received well by the most discriminating of wine palates.

My wife thought it was fantastic and we don’t always agree on wine selections. But I do know if she says its “fantastic”, then it’s a really good wine because her wine rating system is “I like it” or “I don’t like it” which varies from my 1-10 wine glasses rating system.  I’m hoping I can get my hands on a case before it is sold out as I’m excited about having this as a staple in the Witless Whiner’s Cellar.

Oh, did I mention we topped off the wine experience with a Reese’s Pieces Hot Fudge Sundae? Well, it was almost a perfect match for the wine but a chocolate cheesecake may have been the ideal dessert for this particular opened bottle. Maybe on the next bottle perhaps…


Le Coq Rouge 2010 Pays d’Oc

A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Grenache, 10% Merlot, and 10% Syrah, this French red was chosen merely because I liked the label, nothing more – nothing less. This wine wasn’t overly complicated but it did whet the palate.

On the nose were black and red cherry, herbs, and pepper aromas. The palate found much the same but heavier on the black berry fruits. This finished with a chocolate nuance. I also thought I detected a touch of vanilla too but was very subtle, almost unnoticeable.

Given the price ($8.99, I’ve seen this as high as $12.99, guess I was lucky) this was more enjoyable as I did not have any preconceived notions about it seeing as I chose this for the label only. You can find their wines at Sacha Lichine wines to get more information on other wines they produce.

We paired this with a penne pesto and chicken – I know what you’re thinking but it went very well with the meal, so don’t be afraid to experiment with other food choices. I’ll try this wine again when I get ready to fire up the old gas grill and slap a couple of burgers (probably Bison burgers) or maybe a good steak would do well too.

Chateau Sainte Eulalie 2007 Minervois La Liviniere

The Chateau Sainte Eulalie wine is a blend of 55% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 25% Carignan with a dark red color producing aromas that were woody, smoky, toasty, Sneezy, Bashful, and Doc (ah, strike the last three) and ripe red fruits on the nose was quite pleasing.

I’m finding French wines are more enjoyable as I get older (no jokes about aging – the older it gets the better it is, etc, etc, etc) and I’m not sure why but I like it. This wine had a medium bodied structure to it with flavors of black cherry, red cherry and plum prevailing with nuances of smoke and pepper. I enjoyed this with spaghetti and marinara sauce. Priced at $14.99.



Delas Saint Esprit 2007 Cotes du Rhone

This French diamond in the rough red wine is comprised of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache and upon first pour into your glass you’ll find a deep burgundy color that is slightly opaque at the very rim. Although a young wine you would think this is a well preserved vintage wine.

On the nose I experienced blackberries, red currant, and black currant aromas. On the forward palate red fruit and pepper caress your taste buds with ripe strawberries and raspberries with hints of mulberry and fig finding their way to the mid palate. On the finish a slight chocolaty flavor much like a single chocolate morsel melting on the back of your tongue. This expressive wine could easily become an everyday favorite on the dinner table.

With 13.5% alcohol by volume this wine does not overpower the palate and the best part of this was the $10.99 price tag. Wow, this wine was an almost perfect match for a stand alone wine just to sip and enjoy. I really looked for the sales receipt on this one again to ensure I wasn’t mistaken by the price, but lo and behold, there it was staring me in the face. I could deny it no longer – this was a great wine on all fronts.

Cortijo Tinto 2009 Rioja

This Spanish dark ruby red colored wine is made with 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha grapes and has a 13.5% alcohol volume priced reasonably at $9.99. This is a very decent young wine with red berry and flower (I’m thinking violets) aromas on the nose followed by raspberry, strawberry and black currant fruits with earth and spice notes. A hint of licorice followed on the finish.

I paired this with pork, egg noodles and steamed broccoli and surprisingly went very well together. I hesitated serving this with the pork as I am used to serving this blend with red meats, not white meats. You never know what your palate is going to reveal. Even though this was a young wine I still sent it through the Vinturi aerator for good measure.

Domaine de la Renjarde 2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Massif d’Uchaux

This deep purple French red blend is comprised of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Carignane and produced in the Southern Rhone region of France beckons the senses to partake in a trip to France through a bottle. This French wine had a really active nose with aromas of black cherry, plum, boysenberry, clove, and spice propelled your schnozzola from the “slow lane” to “warp speed” hoping that the flavor was as good as what you just sniffed. Well, it didn’t disappoint as the palate experienced dark cherries, vanilla, mocha, and oak. At $14.99 this is a pretty good buy. I’ll need to go back to my wine merchant for more of this.

We paired this with three thin crust pizzas, one with pepperoni and Parmesan Asiago cheese, another with sausage and onions, and the last one had sliced salami and black olives. The wine went perfectly with all of them. I hope the French won’t mind that I paired this wine with pizza. I would also surmise this wine would go well with grilled meats and lamb. BTW, the wine was gone long before the pizzas were.

Tres Picos 2008 Borsao Garnacha


The story begins with the opening scene:

Awakening the senses to the aroma of a great wine is just the beginning of the whole wine experience where your inner abilities instinctively take over for any misgivings about what you thought you just smelled and tasted.  This scenario rolls over in your mind from time to time when you open a bottle of wine that you have cellared for some time – ten years to be exact when the winery released 496 cases in 1999 and as I was a wine club member I received an entire case of the delectable juice for my drinking pleasure…

Sit back and relax as we intend to entertain you with “stories” from time to time while some of it is fiction and some isn’t. And while you’re relaxing enjoy the following wine. The Tres Picos 2008 Borsao Garnacha opens with plum, blackberry and fig on the nose with blackberry and cassis flavors with a mocha and pepper finish. A bit of a different combination but it seemed to work okay. Try this with a beef stew (1-1 1/2 lb) cooked in the crock pot with carrots (5-6), potatoes (3 medium), celery (5-6 stalks) (add this later, like as soon as you get home as they tend to get mushy if you put them in too soon or don’t add them at all – your choice) and a small can of tomato paste and cover with water, oh and don’t forget to sprinkle in some spices too. When you get home dinner is ready, pour the wine and enjoy the rest of the day relaxing. $13.99 and an average buy as I have had other Garnacha that were as good but cost a few bucks less.


Rating Wine

Is just saying, “I like this wine or I don’t like this wine a true rating system? Absolutely, if that’s how you determine whether or not you would buy another bottle of the same wine again is a bonafide rating system that’s usually infallible.

Let’s face it, wine reviews are not objective be it mine, yours, or theirs. Or anyone else’s either, unless of course you have fancy schmancy initials (remember them?). Wine reviews are the perception of the wine which makes it subjective due in part to the many distinctive palates out there. So, my 100 point rating scale is entirely different than Wine Spectator’s 100 point scale, or Mike’s Cellar Emporium (I don’t really have a basement, but I keep the house like a wine cooler rating scale), or Cousin Carl’s Schnozzola Sanctararium’s 1-5 point rating scale based on smoked bacon, or Jacuzzi Jack’s Persnickety Palate to discern the “green apple”, or Gumshoe Guido’s Garage Grapevine “is this really a grapevine growing on the garage?”, or Sparing Sharon’s “can I get 2 bottles for $12?”, or Susie Q’s Silver Saloon’s “goodness, I love this label!”, or for that matter, my wife’s “I like it” or “I don’t like it” rating scale. But they all fall into the same basic category – the “it works for me” category.

However, some of us attempt to become a bit more scientific, or a bit more sophisticated, or a bit more technical, or a bit more refined, or you’re just a plain “ol wine snob. In the past I have rated wine with price being a specific criteria to the eventual outcome of the wine’s rating. I have come to realize this is not entirely fair to the quality of a wine. So, I’ve decided to just rate the wine based on it’s merit but I will add the value of the wine based on the cost which I will call “cork value”. Yeah, I know it will take awhile to get used to, including myself. Anyway, here goes…

The revised 100-point rating scale

95-100     Oh yeah, I stumbled on a good one. Darn I knew I should’ve bought more              but by the time I tried this and went back to the wine merchant, they didn’t have any left and they couldn’t reorder. You don’t find these everyday.

90-94      A really great wine, why can’t I open these everyday. This is like going to         wine heaven with your entire inventory and they have a climate controlled room with your name on it.

85-89      A really good wine. You wouldn’t mind opening these every day either. This is the kind of wine that your friends enjoy when they come over and they hope you open one up.

80-84      A good everyday table wine to have with whatever meal you have cooked or for a good wine to sit by the fireside with a good book.

70-79      A so-so wine, drinkable and worthy of second chances if you have any         doubts, but given my druthers…

<70        Not a chance, dump it down the drain, don’t donate it (they’ll know where it         came from), don’t buy another bottle (if you happened to buy two, bring one back and make up any excuse to get your money back), if that doesn’t work don’t cook with it either. If all else fails, refer to my first comment – dump it down the drain.

The new “cork value” rating system

5 Corks    A great buy. Keep plenty in stock and hope it ages really well.

4 Corks    A good value. Yeah, you might want to buy a case of it.

3 Corks    An average buy. You’re getting exactly what you paid for. Buy as the moment hits you.

2 Corks    Below average. It depends on your wine inventory. Just because it’s below         average doesn’t mean it isn’t good wine. If you’re a wine collector this doesn’t really matter (you’re in a different league). But if you’re just an average wine drinker (like me) the higher the cork value the happier I am.

1 Cork      Way below average. Don’t waste your money when there is so much wine to choose from. Again, just because this is a low cork value doesn’t mean this isn’t a good wine, I would just prefer a better value for the wine I purchase.

Well, there you have it, here are some wines to ponder while you’re trying to figure out the revised and new ratings.

Chateau Ste Michelle 2003 Columbia Valley Semillon. Melon aroma (the label also indicated sweet red peppers but I couldn’t get the ‘ol schnozzola to pick up on this – can you?). Tangerine, Mandarin orange, and nectarine flavors with an orchid finish (isn’t this a flower you can actually eat?). $7.99 86 rating, 4 1/2 corks. Definitely a good buy. I had this with Cajun scallops, cross trax fries (they look like a potato chip with criss-cross lattice work) and green beans (yes, fresh ones). The Semillon wine is underutilized and doesn’t get the notoriety of the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs and I for one need to drink more of this varietal.

Evodia 2009 Old Vines Garnacha Calatayud Red Wine. This wine was decanted for about an hour before tasting it and red raspberry, boysenberry, and clove aromas immediately dominated the nose. On the palate, blackberries and clove flavors preceded a smooth blackberry finish. I had this as a stand-alone wine and it was exceptional. $9.99, 86 rating, 4 1/2 corks.

Harthill Farms NV California Merlot. Cherry, cherry, and cherry aromas with a hint of boysenberry. Cherry, cherry, and cherry flavors with a hint of clove on the palate. This is a “drink now” wine as I’m not sure if I want to cellar this other than to drink it within the year I bought it. However, I gave it an 81 rating and it only costs $4.00, and of course it deserves a value of 5 corks. I paired this with a Portobello mushroom burger, American cheese, and salt & vinegar chips. I could not find a picture of their Merlot but did find one with their Cabernet Sauvignon just to give you an idea of what the label looks like.

Quail Creek 2008 California Shiraz. This wine opened with red raspberry, tart strawberry, and leather aromas. On the palate I found cherry hard candy and pepper flavors. This is a very decent wine that did not need decanting and didn’t taste much different the night after I opened it. $5.00, 83 rating with 5 corks as a way to ease the pocket book or wallet. I was quite impressed with this as a stand-alone wine but would not hesitate to have this with anything off the grill.