Ghost Pines 2011 Red Blend

I received this as a Christmas gift in 2013 (yeah I know – what took me so long?) and has a delectable blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, Merlot & Sangiovese grape varietals from Sonoma County (56%), Joaquin County (23%) and Napa County (21%) which yielded a deep garnet color with an alcohol by volume of 14.5%.

On the nose were aromas of blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry & mulberry. On the palate were a variety of flavors and each time I sipped the wine I got a different combination which was quite a surprise and a fun experience. In addition to the blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry & mulberry flavors I found spice and caramel mixed in with the blackberry combination with nuances of leather, tobacco & pepper – but not always the same.

We paired this with ziti & marinara sauce with Romano & Parmesan cheeses, a side green salad sans Italian bread (which I really missed) and had it on the deck. I’m not sure if the bottle returned to the pantry (where all my opened wines find their resting place) or it was emptied while enjoying it on the deck.

I don’t have a price for you on this wine as it was a gift, but whatever the price, it was worth it – don’t be afraid to bring this to the party and have it be the first one opened.

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

Rocca delle Macie 1998 Chianti Classico Riserva

Part 1:

I recently opened a bottle of 1998 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva. As this wine was 14 years old and has been in my basement for the majority of those years I was anticipating the quintessential perfectly aged wine to enjoy around the holiday season. I forgot to record the cost when I bought this so many years ago, but today it retails for around $20.

I was expecting some great tasting wine and upon opening the wine and sending it through my wine aerator I noticed a perfect hue of orange-brown on the edge of the wine while the body of the wine was a ruby red. This was a fantastic start to enjoying this wine and the aromas were pronounced but not a dominant bouquet. It opened with black currant, red cherry and earthy notes on the nose with hints of spice and pepper.

Then I tasted it and it was way too fruity (not what I was expecting) and it did have black currant, black raspberries, boysenberry, and black cherry flavors but they didn’t “pop” like I thought it would.

Lo and behold I realized I may have cellared this too long. So far I’ve been pretty lucky and have not had a bad bottle that I cellared for extended periods. After all, isn’t this part of the the whole wine experience? I figured my luck had finally run out. Well, there was nothing left to do but put the wine aside for some other purpose. And I opened a much younger wine to complete my wine drinking pleasure for the day.

Part 2:

The next day I decided to try the Chianti again as I’m not prone to throwing wine out unless it’s really bad. It wasn’t that this wine was bad, it just didn’t meet my expectations of the wine. Well, it was like someone had thrown on a light switch as the wine transformed from a so-so experience to something much more palatable as the wine wasn’t too fruity and the flavors were the same but did they “pop” this time. I guess the wine needed a little time to open up.

Anyway, I guess the moral to the story is not to throw out wine, that at first impression doesn’t meet your expectations, but let it sit for a day or two and try it again. I should know better as many times I open a bottle of wine and don’t finish it in one evening and when I try this again the next night it seems to get better.

Enjoy whatever wine you decide to pour to its fullest potential!

Walker Road Vineyards – 2012

Arriving at Walker Road Vineyards on a beautiful sunny afternoon I had noticed the entrance to the vineyard changed from last year’s visit. They also moved from the basement of their home into a barn-like structure not too far from the vineyards. So things are looking up for them.

You may want to get to this winery soon as they are only open the first full weekend of each month. I hope in the future they decide to change this as I think it would be better for business.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the small bridge from the parking lot, which is also small but navigable providing there aren’t too many vehicles in your way.

Upon entering the tasting room you get a rustic feel and they have done a great job with  it compared to the old wine bar (last year) which was a small bench with maybe 3-4 tasters being able to taste wines. The new wine bar can accommodate quite a few more tasters. Sorry for the blurry picture but I wanted you to get an idea of how the place was set up.

When I first entered the tasting room I met Jim Frey and his wife Bruce-Elizabeth and they inquired if I wanted to do a tasting. Last year they did not charge for the tasting but you didn’t get a signature glass either. The tasting fee was $5 plus you got to keep the winery glass. If I’m not mistaken this is the first year Walker Road Vineyards has offered signature wine glasses. They only produce two wines but they’re pretty good and the tasting notes are as follows. I forgot to record the wine prices but do know both were well under $20.

Gertrude’s Garden: A blend of Traminette, Seyval Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc produced aromas of peach, apricot, and melon on the nose. The flavors consisted of citrus, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. The finish reminded me of lemon meringue pie.

Red Table Wine: This red blend consisted of the St. Croix, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese-Brunello varietals . It reminded me a lot of the wine my grandfather made, probably due to the Sangiovese-Brunello varietal. I found black cherry, pepper, dark plum, and cherry hard candy aromas. On the palate were blackberry, black currant, and plenty of pepper. A long finish ended with hints of European mocha.

Here’s a view of the vineyards from the tasting room.

Porta Sole 2010 Sangiovese

Don’t you wish all wines were pretty decent to drink but did not break the bank? Well, sometimes you come across a wine that might just fit the bill.

The Porta Sole 2010 Sangiovese wine produced red berry aromas with hints of thyme on the nose while a red cherry flavor was revelaed on the palate with nuances of toast and clove. An earthy finish made this wine a decent red table wine.

The best part of this wine was the $3.99 price tag that will sure to please anyone’s pocketbook or wallet.

Scialetti Sammarco 1997 Colli Aprutini

I’ve had this in my cellar for about 9 years as I purchased two bottles back then and opened one just after I bought it and I figured I would cellar this for awhile and decided it was time to open this up. Seeing as you can’t take it with you, well actually, you can take it with you, it just won’t do you any good at that point.

The deep red ruby color of this Italian red table wine opened with dark berry fruits on the nose. Comprised of 50% Montepulciano, 40% Sangiovese, and 10% Malbec grapes exhibited dark cherry, dark plum and dark berry fruits on the palate which were intense with a spice finish.

You’ll find this well-balanced red table wine goes great with pasta, marinara sauce, and meatballs. Don’t forget to put grated cheese of your choice on the top. I would think this would go well with an arrabiata sauce as well. This wine had a 13% ABV with a price tag of $12.99 when I bought this 9 years ago and today’s price of $15.99 is still a good buy. I think I’m going to move to Italy – what do you think?

Jacuzzi 2009 Sonoma Coast Sangiovese

This wine reminded me of the homemade wine my Grandfather used to make in the cellar and he used to give us some in a jelly glass with our Sunday supper. Of course all I could remember back then was it smelled funny and tasted like a cough drop but I enjoyed it all the same ‘cos I got to spend time with Pop (everyone called him that).

On the nose I got dark berries, tar and pepper. The palate found flavors of black cherry, black currant and a subtle raspberry finish. This very well could have been one of Pop’s creations. I actually thought this would not be as good as it was for being such a young wine – I’m hoping this cellars really well. $22, with an average value for the price.



On the second night with a dish of baked rigatoni this wine really popped both in the aroma and flavor. I’m thinking it was the extra day of decanting however I won’t get a chance to go it a third time as the bottle is now empty and if it cellars well for ten years it may even move up to a higher rating.

A new story is coming…


Elisabetta Geppetti Fattoria Le Pupille 2007 Morellino Di Scansano

This sangiovese wine exhibited a deep dark ruby color revealing a very complex nose of dark cherry, smoke, leather and earth. The finish was of black currant with a cherry hard candy finish.

I had two fairly quick glasses of this wine as it was quite tasty and I was pleased with it. Before I knew it the bottle was gone. I’ll need to buy a case the next time I visit my wine merchant. $7.99, 7-8 out of 10 wine glasses with a value of 5 out of 5 corks.