Kitchen Sink NV Red Table Wine

I couldn’t resist picking up this bottle for the name alone. So, I had not a clue as to what this would bring to the kitchen table – no pun intended, nah I intended that! Anyway, I’m always in the market for new wines and sometimes I strike it rich, and sometimes not.

This was a fairly decent wine with 12.5% ABV and around $18 for a 750 ml bottle. I had every intention of having this with food. It was supposed to be served with grilled chicken and a fresh garden salad but it just didn’t work out that way, hey – it happens!

It started off with really great aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, elderberry, damp forest floor with hints of moss and earth. So, seeing as this is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah I can understand all the great aromas.

On the palate I got blackberry, black raspberry, dark plum, fig, and black currant flavors. The downside to this wine was the flavors, albeit plentiful, lacked any sustainability. That is, the flavors didn’t last long plus with the $18 price tag I was expecting a bit more. So, pick up a bottle and check it out. You may get a much different impression than I did. Maybe we can compare notes.


Beringer 2007 Chenin Blanc

Seeing as summer is still here I like sipping on white wines (although you know reds are tops with me) and on this occasion on a warm sunny afternoon on the deck a white wine fit the bill. The Beringer 2007 Chenin Blanc has an alcohol by volume of 12.5% and cost me $6.99 back about five years ago. I’ll presume it’s a bit more today than five years ago. And yes, I’ve has this for 5 years and was wondering if I kept this too long.

I’m not opposed to decanting white wine but don’t think I’ve ever done this. I have on occasion poured it through a wine aerator and this wine took a while to open up. I probably sniffed this for a dozen times or more and initially got apricots on the nose but again sniffing it a dozen times and then running it through an aerator I picked up some nectarine, lemon peel and cantaloupe. The cantaloupe is what really did it for me and the aromas were quite pleasing to the ‘ol snozzola.

On the palate were flavors of orange zest, pear, apricot and hints of citrus. The finish was clean and crisp which is something I look for in a summer sipping wine. We happened to have the wine with Cajun sea scallops (yes, my own recipe). So, if you’re looking for a pretty decent white wine for a summer afternoon out in the backyard this will definitely not break the bank.

7 Deadly Zins 2007 Lodi Zinfandel

I’ve tried a lot of Zinfandel over the years and every once in a while you come across one that just brightens up your “spirits”. Upon uncorking this wine the color was a deep, dark ruby hue. With a 14.5% ABV a full-bodied old vine zinfandel was just the right wine to pick on a chilly winter weekend while the forecast of getting a few more inches of snow to cover what we already received from Storm Charlotte loomed overhead.

On the nose the 7 Deadly Zins produced aromas of blackberry, black currant, black cherry, earthy notes, cola (yeah, strange but true), and spice. The bouquet was quite pleasing and was a prelude to the flavors I was about to experience. On the palate, raisins, blackberry, spice, walnut, and red currant were the prevalent flavors and the finish was of red raspberries and black pepper. A touch of blueberry finished off this tasting and it lasted for an eternity.

Now the question was what to pair this “zinful” zinfandel with. My initial thoughts were grilled lamb, Filet Mignon, or a Porterhouse steak. Nah, too complicated for a Saturday evening. So, I decided on sauteed onions and Black Angus pastrami on a grinder roll topped with Baby Swiss cheese. It may not sound like much but this was the perfect pairing. The succulent combination of a Spanish onion and the pastrami with the peppery-ness of the zinfandel worked exceptionally well.

The next time you’re in the mood for a pastrami sandwich or an incredible zinfandel, why not combine the two and have an exceptionally paired food and wine experience. When you do, let me know how it was. At $17.99 for a 750 ml bottle this is reasonably priced and won’t break the bank.

Castle Rock 2010 Pinot Noir

Grapes from the Willamette Valley revealed a semi-opaque ruby color with strawberry, spice, cherry and floral notes on the nose. This was a tremendous bouquet and really opened the wine senses. This medium-bodied Pinot found blackberrry, cherry (dominant), cinnamon and vanilla flavors on the palate. A very silky blueberry finished this delectable inexpensive red wine.

This wine was paired with roasted turkey sans the traditional trimmings of cranberry, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc., etc., etc. after the Nor’easter dropped feet, not inches, of snow on our New England abode. After all, we were way too tired from snow blowing the driveway and shoveling out the cars to go all out with Sunday dinner and seeing as we couldn’t grill out on the deck.












Ah yes, the unofficial, official snowfall amount of almost 27 inches, or 2 1/4 feet.












And to really let you know how tired we were, we even had to shovel the screened in deck so we could get to the back door.












Anyway, back to the wine. I bought this wine on sale for $8 (regular price $12.99) with a 13.5% ABV and well worth the price of a turkey dinner. I only wish I had picked up a case of this when I had the chance. I think that’s the problem with having so much wine in the cellar – not being able to get to all the wine I need to. Well, better luck next time. Hmmm, maybe when I retire…



Baker’s Dozen Jammy Pinot Noir NV

The color was a translucent red; the aroma was a mixture of red cherry, raspberry, and Concord grape juice on the nose. A concoction of fruits in a semi-sweet to sweet flavors of red raspberry, red cherry, red currant, and red plum. The brown sugary finish was limited which didn’t last very long and just fizzled out real quick but that sugary after taste lingered way too long.

I attempted to have this with a turkey, bread stuffing, garlic-mashed potatoes, and sweet potato dinner – but in my anticipation to try this before the meal I realized this would not be my wine of choice for a turkey meal.

Although there are a multitude of Pinot Noirs that would pair well with a traditional turkey dinner, the Baker’s Dozen Jammy Pinot Noir failed to produce a delectable memory for me and may have thus tarnished the traditional turkey meal for future occasions. I knew I should have opted for the Chianti and spaghetti marinara.

At $9.99 a bottle it is way below the average cost of a Pinot Noir; it was also way below in character too. This reminded me more of a dessert wine and just may have been better at the end of the meal instead of its complement. Come to think of it, this wine could substitute for the cranberry in a traditional turkey meal:) This wine tastes more like a jam than a wine. But if you like sweet wine then you’d probably like this one.

Geyser Peak 2003 Alexander Valley Malbec

I bought this wine back in 2005 or 2006 (not sure exactly as I didn’t record this in my wine database) and have been cellaring it since then and thought now would be a good time to open this.  After all, shouldn’t we drink our best wine first? Or is anytime a good time to drink any kind of wine? I paid $30 back then and opening it now was well worth the wait and the cost. My only regret was not getting a case of this as only 100 cases were produced and aged in French oak for 15 months.

The Winemaker’s Selection of the Hoffman Estate Vineyard Malbec from the Alexander Valley is one of the best wines I have tasted at Geyser Peak. On the nose were blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, spice, leather, and garden earthy notes. I kind of felt I was in for a treat after getting those aromas. I wasn’t disappointed as on the palate were nuances of raspberry, blueberry, pomegranate, and mocha. After tasting mocha on the palate I thought for sure I would experience a mocha or chocolate finish but I experienced one more like a chocolate raspberry cordial – quite delectable.

We paired this with a 2 1/2 inch thick beef tenderloin grilled to perfection (to my taste buds that is) seasoned with sea salt and Worcestershire black pepper and served with a side of sauteed garlic, onions, scallions, shallots, and a yellow bell pepper.



St. Francis Sonoma County 2008 Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is one of my “go to” wines when I’m looking for a wine that is bold but not too brassy, light but not mellow, and something that is as good stand alone as it is with food.  And one of my favorites is from St. Francis winery.

Ever since my first trip to this winery in 2001 I have been a fast fan of their Cabernet Francs when I sampled the McCoy’s Vineyard Cabernet Franc and this Sonoma County version is very good as well. It is in the same price range of $45 as the McCoy’s Vineyard version but excellent just the same.

Aged in French oak for eighteen months (and then transferred to bottles for my use) had a deep, dark, ruby red color that opened with blackberry, mulberry, and leather notes on the nose. And it didn’t stop there as the flavors were of dark berries, hard cherry candy with hints of chocolate and mocha on the finish.

I paired this with beef tenderloins that were about two inches thick and seared on both sides about a quarter of an inch each. Topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions with steamed broccoli (my doc says I can have all I want) makes for a delectable wine with a scrumptious meal.

Clos Du Bois 1999 Marlstone Vineyard Alexander Valley

The Alexander Valley has been producing great wines for a long time and it has some of the heartiest reds I’ve come across. As a matter of fact I don’t believe I’ve run across a bad one.

Anyway, this Marlstone Vineyard red wine started with a very dark ruby color, inky almost, and the aromas were abound with licorice, blackberry, tobacco, plum, and spice with a hint of mint leaves, though very subtle almost to the point of not being detectable, but nonetheless after savoring the aromas for several minutes the mint finally surfaced. This was really nice as I don’t remember the mint from when I tried this back in 2002!

The palate delivered luscious ripe plum and blackberry just when these fruits are at their prime. The mocha finish crept up on you slowly but lasted for a lifetime. For not having chocolate with this wine it sure gave you the impression you did have it with chocolate.

At a cost of $39.00, which is what I paid for it back in 2002, this delectable blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 13% Malbec was well worth the price to go down memory lane. I’ll presume the cost is now around the $45-55 range. Even at this cost I don’t think it will disappoint so I’ll also presume you’ll find this wine to your liking!

Pair this with a beef tenderloin with a vegetable medley of pearl onions and sweet peas, whipped sweet potatoes (yeah, go ahead and add some brown sugar on the top), and a fresh garden salad. I think I’m hungry!





St. Francis 1999 McCoy Vineyard Cabernet Franc

The first time I visited St. Francis Winery in 2001 I knew there would be quality wines produced here. Just looking at the bell tower I was almost convinced I was in Italy, not Sonoma Valley. Their grounds and vineyards are simply elegant and it’s easy to spend an afternoon here. Well, that’s just what I did!

The wine staff at St. Francis and I sort of hit it off the moment I stepped into the tasting room. Yeah I know, it’s their job to get to know you and tell you all about the winery. After completing the regular tasting menu, the wine staff asked if I’d like to try their Cabernet Franc that was being released the very next day – you know what my answer was, especially as this wine varietal wasn’t on the tasting menu!

Cut to present day in 2012 and the anticipation of opening this wine to see if it was as good as it was eleven years ago. Well, the wine cost me $45 when I first bought it and upon opening the wine it was still a dark ruby color although it did show signs of a well kept wine with a slight rusty hue on the rim of the wine once it was poured. The Cabernet Franc didn’t disappoint as it opened with dark cherry, eucalyptus, fig, and mulberry on the nose. Ripe wild black raspberry and mocha on the palate with a red cherry finish. This wine was a 10 when I bought it and it’s a 10 today. My only regret is not having any 1999 vintages left to open.

I’m confident though if you purchase any vintage of the McCoy Vineyard Cabernet Franc you won’t be disappointed. Seeing as I live about 3,000 miles from the winery I became a wine club member. I opted for the three bottles every quarter with each shipment carrying two reds and one white. Although this wine club is their higher tiered wine it is well worth the price of admission.



Toasted Head 2003 Merlot

A number of years ago the Merlot grape became quite a craze in the wine world. When I decide to open a bottle of red wine I normally do not think of a Merlot as my favorite red of choice. Usually I would prefer to have a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Borolo, Chianti, etc. However, on this particular evening I was perusing my wine cellar database and stumbled upon this Merlot.

When I only had the 12 bottle wine rack I didn’t need a wine database. Now, coupled with the numerous wine racks and old age, the memory on the flash drive isn’t always accessible at times. 🙂  Yes, we’ve all been there from time to time.

I don’t normally drink a Merlot per se, but on occasion I will indulge. But when I do partake of the Merlot grape I like it to be full bodied and worthy of a challenge to the more robust Cabernet Sauvignon. Well, the Toasted Head does a great job in this category. It opened with dark cherry, coffee, vanilla, and eucalyptus on the nose and I was quite pleased with the amounts of aroma I was getting. On the palate I got black cherry, blackberry, and mocha with a nice finish. And at $14.99 it’s a pretty good buy.

This dark ruby red Merlot was just what the doctor ordered. I had this stand alone but would not hesitate to serve this with a tenderloin steak, a Porterhouse, or any other delicious cut of beef you could find. This Merlot was robust enough to serve with game or lamb or the proverbial burger on the outdoor grill. I just love it when a Merlot thinks it’s a Cab…

P.S., sorry about the fuzzy picture (Note to self: Take picture of wine bottle before you open and sample the wine)