2010 Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Refosco

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2010 Trader Joes Petit Reserve RefoscoPer the bottle “Black cherry, plum, cassis with hints of thyme.” As usual not much on these TJ’s offerings. A quick search on Refosco and Paso Robles turns up some interesting things but nothing concrete. Guess this bottle needs to speak for itself…

What I Think:

Refosco you say? What the hell is that! That was my initial reaction when Andy Rathbone kindly sent this recommendation my way. But those of you who read regularly likely already now I am always game for a new wine adventure so I quickly snagged a bottle to see what this was all about…

(13.3%) 75% Refosco, 25% Merlot – Nice, ripe, smooth and juicy berry fruit balanced by a nice earth and spice leading to rustic finish with light lingering tannins and pleasant acidity. My first Refosco experience and this one is a fun change of pace. At $7 I’m not rushing out to grab a case but given its very food friendly I can certainly see another bottle in my future.

Wine Geek Notes: Made by Familia Nueva which rolls up to Ancient Peaks Winery

Rating: Interesting <- a nice bottle that makes me want to try another Refosco…

2008 Core Mourvedre

Price: $20.00 @ Core Wine

What They Said:

Per Core Wine “Primarily Mourvedre with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah to round it out. 100% of the fruit comes from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard grown at 3000 feet. 35 months in neutral barrels and bottled without fining or filtration.

Huge nose of juicy red, blue and black fruits, mushrooms and grilled meat. On the palate the wine is loaded with lush black, red and blue fruits, brown spices and nice concentration. A crowd pleasing wine at a great value that you won’t find everywhere.”

What I Think:

(14.9%) Per the winery there is some Cabernet and Syrah mixed in here but I can’t find any blend percentages. That said as usual for Core Wines this one appears cloudy to the eye as it is unfiltered. Juicy blueberry and tart strawberry with dense (pleasant), chalky tannins. From there a spiced acidity takes hold that leads to a short but nice finish. More good stuff here and food friendly to boot.

Wine Geek Notes: 240 cases made; 35 months in neutral barrels; unfiltered

Rating: Interesting (at the $12 I paid likely to buy again; at $20 not so sure…)

2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja Blanco

2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja BlancoPrice: $13.00 via Bodegas Muja*

What They Said:

Per Wine Library “The 2010 Blanco is a blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia fermented in new French oak where it remained sur lie for 4 months. White flowers, mineral, melon, and mineral notes inform the nose of this tasty, lively, impeccably balanced wine. This lengthy effort is an outstanding value for drinking over the next 3-4 years.” – 90 Points, Jay Miller The Wine Advocate

What I Think:

(13%) 90% Viura, 10% Malvasia – Ripe, lifted citrus blossoms on the nose. Fuller bodied, juicy and lush on the palate with peach, tangerine and melon flavors. Turns a bit oily with a mineral driven acidity before the oak imparts a pleasant vanilla creaminess which leads to a tart, spiced, finish that lingers nicely. An interesting use of oak (this one is barrel-fermented) as it is clearly present but interplays well with the vibrant, ripe fruit. The end result is a wine that strikes a nice balance between the fruit, richness and acidity. At $13 or so retail this one shows some nice QPR.

Wine Geek Notes: 90pts Wine Advocate, 88pts Wine Spectator

Rating: Interesting (this one had a unique appeal that I look forward to trying again)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2009 C. Donatiello Pinot Noir

Price: $9.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2009 C. Donatiello Winery Pinot NoirPer C. Donatiello Winery “Spicy black pepper, dried cranberries, cola, mocha and cherries on the nose. The palate starts bright and clean with deeply layered flavors of raspberry and rhubarb which give way to flavors of cinnamon and chocolate. The finish is long and clean with balanced tannins, acidity and oak.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) $38 via the winery in an etched bottle, clearly not intended for Trader Joe’s where I picked it up for $10. Bright, big and clean while at the same time balanced. Forward fruit with cherry (cranberry) cola flavors and vibrant acidity. A bit of oak creaminess on the backbone before the fruit turns a tad tart with cinnamon spice (and a bit of heat) on the finish. Not my preferred style but well made, no harsh edges and smooth throughout. If you’re a fan of Russian River (or even more broadly California) Pinot Noir you likely can’t go wrong here…

Rating: Buy It (if you’re a California Pinot fan!)

2008 Dr. Loosen Riesling Dr. L

2008 Dr. Loosen Riesling Dr. LPrice: $9.99 @ Dr. Loosen imported by Loosen Bros*

What They Said:

Per Dr. Loosen “Sleek and tangy, showing apricot, lime and mango flavors matched to a lively structure. There’s nice harmony and persistence through the finish.” – No. 62 on Wine Spectator’s 2009 Top 100 List

What I Think:

(8.5%) Surprised to get this one as a sample as it seems the 2010 is the current vintage. A nice purity on the palate this one is slightly sweet and rich with tart green apple and lemon rind flavors. From there pleasant acidity leads to a mouthwatering finish. Clean and refreshing. All in all perhaps a touch sweeter than I prefer but at $10 this is simple and pleasing. Can you find better? Likely but you’ll find worse while you are looking…

Rating: Interesting (As mentioned maybe you can do better but is it worth the risk…)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2009 Black Star Farms Arcturos Riesling

Price: $18.00 from Black Star Farms

What They Said:

2009 Black Star Farms Arcturos RieslingPer Black Star Farms on the 2010 “Riesling from great vineyards and vintages can produce some of the world’s most interesting and age-worthy dry wines. Vibrant and fresh with lush fruit aromas and balanced with bracing acidity, this wine will surprise you with its versatility at the table.”

What I Think:

(11%) My first wine from Michigan courtesy of @WineMonologues. Pale gold in color. White floral, mineral nose. Starts clean, crisp and focused slowly unfurling to show ripe peach and red grapefruit flavors with more citrus on the edges. Nice acidity (soft, not biting) throughout and a touch sweet on a balanced, refreshing green apple finish. Pegged between dry and medium dry on the International Riesling Foundation scale there is a lot to like here…

Rating: Interesting

How about you? Had a wine from Michigan? If so what did you think?

2007 McRitchie Ring of Fire

2007 McRitchie Ring of FirePrice: $18.00 @ McRitchie Winery

What They Said:

Per Appellation America “McRitchie’s Ring of Fire Red, “our tribute to the man in black” (Johnny Cash), is a juicy blend of bright fruit, brimming with flavors of black and red currants, hints of blueberry, licorice and black cherry. This lively red is already drinking well, with its youthful fruit, good balance and structure – which might allow it to age with interest, but it is so tasty now, why wait?”

What I Think:

(12.3%) Hailing from North Carolina McRitchie is as well known for their ciders as their wines. This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is their tribute to Johnny Cash. On pulling the cork this one was showing some resin on the nose and palate but it blew off after an hour or so. Once it did you find tart, dark fruits with mint on the nose. The palate shows bright, dark fruits (cherry, currant) with soft cedar behind and a tinge of mineral. The oak here is evident but well managed. Soft and food friendly with just a bit of heat on a lingering finish with soft tannins. My first wine from North Carolina (courtesy of @wineaccguy) and a promising effort.

Rating: Interesting

How about you? Had a wine from North Carolina? If so what did you think?

2010 Anne Amie Müller-Thurgau Cuvée A

Yes I’m still drinking local but couldn’t help (guessing you’re not surprised) jumping off the beaten path. Have you had Müller-Thurgau (mew-ler ter-gow) before? Do you know what the most planted variety in Germany is? Why Riesling of course! But did you know that Müller-Thurgau was the 2nd? It was created in the late 19th century with the hopes of combining intensity and complexity of the Riesling grape with the ability to ripen earlier in the season that the Silvaner grape possesses. It never quite got there but for a brief period in the late 1970’s it was the most widely planted in Germany before a cold snap in the winter of 1979 destroyed the majority of the plantings. Which gets us to this Anne Amie which happened to be planted in 1979. Müller-Thurgau in Oregon you say? I first heard about it from my friend Beau over at Beau’s Barrel Room who covered the Kramer’s Vineyard sparkling offering. Needless to say I decided to give this one a try so why don’t we answer the question “why what do we have here?”

2010 Anne Amie Müller-Thurgau Cuvée APrice: $11.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

Per Anne Amie “Our estate-grown Müller-Thurgau comes from vines first planted in 1979. Crisp, fresh, and dry, it is a charming example of the variety at its best. From chicken to shellfish, this wine is a versatile match for mildly spicy foods like Thai, Creole, or Mexican.”

What I Think:

(12.4%) 100% Müller-Thurgau – Rich and floral on the nose. More weight than expected on the palate with subdued peach and melon flavors along with a clean acidity that keeps this one (closer to off) dry and crisp. The finish shows apple, white fruit flavors and mineral notes while lingering on richly. Enjoyed this one and it gets extra points for being a grape variety off the beaten path. Strikes me as most closely resembling a dry Gewurztraminer (of which I happen to be quite a big fan of) so pair with spicy food and thank me later!

Wine Geek Notes: 1,500 cases produced, under screwtop (which I prefer)

Rating: Interesting (not sure I’d buy it again but glad I bought it once!)