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…


Tarima 2009 Monastrell

Your sixth date is a hurdle in the dating game as you now get to meet the parents. Oh, this is getting interesting. You are told by your date that “Mom” makes a great lasagna – the best in the world and you contemplate on your choices of wine. You also learn that the “Dad” is a bit of a wine connoisseur and has quite a nice wine collection of around 120 bottles. And that the father is a red wine drinker and the mother is a white wine drinker. Now, you’re getting nervous as to what wine to bring. You know that traditionally a full-bodied red is a perfect match for the lasagna and are at wits end for what other wine to bring for the mother. All is not lost, remember the first date and listening to the wine clerk was a good thing to do.

Well, the wine clerk urges you to buy a local wine instead of opting for one of the major wine regions. As you’re from Connecticut (you had to expect this didn’t you??) and the wine clerk has reassured you that Taylor Brooke’s Winter Pomegranate Riesling will surprise the mother. But you’re unsure about the wine pairing with lasagna. You would understand if the main meal was Fettuccine Alfredo and Caesar Salad as you would feel more comfortable. Goodness, you just didn’t know but finally decided to trust the wine clerk.

You decided on the Jorge Ordonez selection for the main course. This Spanish gem is a deep dark garnet color. With blueberry on the nose and hints of earth and licorice it is sure to attract any wine drinker. Savory red and black fruits on the palate with hints of plum and black pepper and a very faint chocolate finish. A great value priced at $7.99 makes this an everyday table wine and certainly to be a smash hit for the lasagna.

Well, much to your surprise “Mom” served several courses in the Italian tradition and started with a cheese plate and after opening the pomegranate wine which went quite exquisitely with the first course and complemented the dandelion salad (an Italian favorite) you were off to a pretty good start as “Mom” raved about the pomegranate wine and what a good choice it was. Now on to “the old man”. Well, didn’t ‘cha know that the Monastrell worked wonders as he is not all that familiar with Spanish wines as his specialty is Italian wines. Looks like you hit the jackpot as all evening, “Mom” was looking at you and kept smiling as she knew finally her only child had met the perfect soul mate. Uh oh, what does this all mean, things are spinning out of control, you’re wondering where this all started and where will it end.

Another story perhaps…



Harthill Farms NV Merlot

A light colored red wine, ruby perhaps. Red berries on the nose, not much else. I didn’t get the flavors I do in other Merlots. It almost reminded me of a Pinot Noir especially in the color. I would put this on the fence between a 3 or 4 out of 10 wine glasses although I’m leaning toward a 3 rating with a decent value as it is priced at $4.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

It’s now your 5th date (where is this going?) and you picked up this wine and per the review above (you agree BTW) and you’re bringing this along and decided to share this with your date explaining: “This did not make my Favorites list as you prefer many other Merlots and don’t mind paying a bit more for them”. However, you want your date to give this a try and get their opinion of the wine. This is a good move on your part as your date knows you are willing to discuss something you’re obviously passionate about. You have opened the door to your inner soul – watch out for what may happen next.

Nieto Senetiner 2007 Reserve Malbec

This Argentinian wine had a deep garnet color with black cherry and earth notes on the nose. The flavor was more pronounced than the aroma with dried fruit, plums, and fig with a hint of spice and vanilla. A really nice wine priced at $9.99 and a rating of 7-8 out of 10 wine glasses and a value of 4 out of 5 corks.

You are bringing this wine due to the fact that your date (this is your 4th encounter with this person if you’ve been following along) has invited you over for a fun filled evening. You inquired as to what the meal will be and are told the following: “It’s a simple yet fun meal consisting of steak and chicken fajitas with red and yellow peppers, a white and Spanish onion. Oh, and yes, with the required “hot” sauce”. Your date has also rented an independent romantic comedy for the two of you to watch after the fajita extravaganza. Oh, this does sound like a fun evening:)

Cupcake NV Prosecco

Okay, seeing as the second date with a home cooked meal went fabulous, let’s impress your date a bit more. Show your new found love that you can host a small gathering of each of your respective friends – 6 to 8 people, that’s enough to start (you can do full blown weddings at a later date). It doesn’t have to be an extravagant 5 course meal but more on a buffet style food collection. You’ll want the proverbial scallops wrapped in bacon, Swedish meatballs, maybe an antipasto, chips & dip, slicing pepperoni, black olives, pickles, some cheeses, and an assortment of crackers. Be sure to add in goat’s milk cheese rolled in basil (you have to show you’re open to new things) and of course a pasta salad consisting of tri-colored Rotini, pepperoni, cheese cubes, broccoli, and cauliflower all mixed with an Italian style salad dressing. Choose the Cupcake Prosecco to start the evening off with. As for the rest of the wines to serve be brave and just wing it. You can end the evening by attending a local theatre specializing in foreign or independent films, again to show your date your personality is adventurous yet mysterious.

The Cupcake Prosecco is a light golden yellow color with nuances of peaches, nectarines, grapefruit and orange zest – really great aromas. Flavors of lemon and lime (they actually complement each other) with a creamy citrus finish close out this delectable and easy drinking Prosecco. This goes well as an aperitif or as the main ingredient in a Sangria. You can also add flavored liquors to add a little zip to the Prosecco, $10.99, 7-8 out of 10 wine glasses and a value of 4 1/2 out of 5 corks.

Jacuzzi 2009 Paicines Arneis

So, how did that first date go? I’m guessing pretty good. Well, here’s another wine to serve and I hope it’s a dinner at home – cozy and intimate. Try cooking Cajun scallops (bake at 425 degrees for 12-16 minutes depending on the size. As sides, go all out and have mashed red potatoes or twice-baked potatoes and garlic aspargus drizzled with a balsamic glaze. The person you’ll be preparing this for will think you’re a Sous Chef.

Serve the wine well chilled as once you open this you get a nice blend of citrus notes on the nose. Flavors of fresh cut orange and lime caress the palate. $22.00 with a rating of 6-7 out of 10 wine glasses and a value of 2 1/2 out of 5 corks. I have come across less expensive wines but this is very good too.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2008 Ethos Columbia Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Okay, so you really want to impress your date and you don’t get the “warm fuzzies” from the clerk in the wine store. This is due to the fact that the wine clerk is just telling you the price of a wine when you’ve asked for a great wine that will just make the night the best ever isn’t giving you the information you need. If however, the wine clerk is giving you the low down on the wine’s complexity, aromas and flavors and suggesting food pairing I have to believe they’re knowledgeable about the wine. So, begin to trust these wine clerks and they can give you a lot of insight into the wine you are looking for, regardless the occasion.

So, you’re looking for that great bottle of wine to make that first impression – try this one…

Aromas of dark cherry and fig with a hint of eucalyptus and blueberry. Lots of stuff going on here, this was a very active nose. Black cherry, cassis, and pepper flavors followed. This wine really moved. $40.00, 9-10 out of 10 wine glasses with a value of 3 1/2 corks out of 5.

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.

Estancia 2007 Monterey County Pinnacles Ranches Chardonnay

The color is golden and the aromas were of pear and apple. It ended with a hint of honeydew melon. The taste buds found a creation of tropical fruits and a delectable citrus flavor. A creamy toasted oak finish completed this wine. I had this as a stand alone wine but I would venture to say that it will pair well with an array of food dishes from fish to chicken or even a turkey pot pie. $14.99 and a rating of 7-8 out of 10 wine glasses.

I have a few bottles in my wine cellar with several bottles of this vintage, so I decided to re-taste and re-review it again. It was pretty much the same as the last bottle I opened several months ago. A pretty decent wine – I give this a value of 4 out of 5 corks.

Rating Wine: Part 2

This is sort of like Mesrine: Part 2: Public Enemy #1 but not quite (ooh, I forgot, I haven’t published this yet – oh well, you’ll just have to wait till next month for the movie review).  Anyway, in my travels to the different wineries on the Connecticut Wine Trail, I have not been so obsessed with a 100-point wine rating scale but have been into the whole wine experience of traveling to the winery on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Getting to the winery and walking over to the vineyards to grasp a glimpse of “bud break”, or to see how many bumble bees are buzzing around the flowers, or whether or not I drove down a rock road or just up a short driveway, or when I see a sign in front of the vineyards stating simply “Grape vines in training”, or conversing with the sommelier I came to realize what’s in a wine rating anyway.

I mean, my wife’s rating is “I like this” or “I don’t like this”. After all, isn’t that what’s its all about. I like it or I don’t. How much simpler can we make this. Although I am a “rating” oenophile I will make the ratings much simpler. I will still give you a “cork” value for the price of the wine as I believe this is becoming more important given our current economy.

Each category has two numbers representing wine glasses (pretty clever, huh?), such as 9 and 10, so the wine could be a 9 or it could be a 10 or somewhere in between – I’ll let you make that choice, so let’s see what happens with this one…

9-10 wine glasses: Exceptional wines, buy all you can afford.

7-8 wine glasses: Very good wines, again buy all you can afford.

5-6 wine glasses: Good wines, keep ’em on hand for an every day table wine.

3-4 wine glasses: Give ’em a second chance, if after the second try it’s the same, dump it.

1-2 wine glasses: Nope; Nada; uh-uh; no way; no-no-no; This cost how much? Goodness, I hope I never try any of these…

And of course the cork value rating…

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.

Sorry, no wine review tonight but starting next week I hope to send you a “Saturday Sarsaparilla” each week in either an under $10 wine, $15 plus or minus, more than $20 wines, and over the $30 range I think are “deals” (according to my palate that is). I’ll attempt to get these “Saturday Sarsaparilla’s” out every Saturday but there’s no guarantee. Of course you never know what you’re getting when you open a new bottle of wine. There’s way too many factors in play here.

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