2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve

This wine is the equivalent of a long time friend. We can not talk for ages but once we do we can pick up right where we left off. Made by the Perrin brothers, the owners of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone (and involved more locally with Tablas Creek) this has long been on of my go to wines. That said this was my first experience with the 2009, what did I find?

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone ReservePer wine.com “A sensational bargain, the 2009 Perrin et Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve red is composed of 60% Grenache (from the estate vineyards at Prebois), 20% Syrah (from the estate vineyards in Vinsobres), and 20% Mourvedre. It offers lots of black cherry fruit, underbrush, licorice, pepper, and spice notes in a medium-bodied, richly fruity style with no hard edges. Their 2008 was a surprisingly good effort, but the 2009 is slightly riper and bigger.” 89pts, The Wine Advocate

What I Think:

(13.5%) 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre – A classic Rhone blend this is a tried and true value wine. Like the CdP efforts this one is predominately Grenache and starts ripe and juicy with pomegranate, cherry, raspberry and spiced red licorice on the palate. From there the acidity dries turning this one meaty, earthy and rustic before a short peppery finish. That said overall this one is bright, fruity, spicy and delicious. Should only get better with age to boot…

Wine Geek Notes: 87pts Wine Spectator, 89 pts Wine Advocate, 75,000 cases made

Rating: Buy It (I’m leaning towards grabbing 6+ bottles for some short term cellaring)

2009 Heron Hill Unoaked Chardonnay Ingle Vineyard

2009 Heron Hill Vineyards Chardonnay Unoaked Ingle VineyardPrice: $19.99 @ Heron Hill Winery*

What They Said:

Per Heron Hill Winery “Sustainably farmed, grapes were selected from the Ingle Vineyard plots named “Carl & Vern’s Blocks”. These plots are cooler and have a mineral laden, rocky soil. Pure and firmly structured with aromas of crushed granite, lemongrass, citrus and green apple. It has balance and finesse finishing with lingering essences of fresh fruit.”

What I Think:

(12%) Wow did this one surprise. I’m not much of a Chard fan so the “unoaked” certainly left me a glimmer of hope but this wine really stood out. Bright lemon with green apple and a fresh stony mineral driven crispness. Nice pureness and clarity throughout. Certainly simpler but somewhat reminiscent of Chablis. Given its lightness this one is would serve well as an aperitif. $20 via the winery but appears to be available for $16 or so retail which makes it a more compelling choice.

Wine Geek Notes: 87 pts Wine Enthusiast

Rating: Good but… (just a tad too pricey given my wine budget)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2010 Roccalta Sangiovese

2010 Roccalta SangiovesePrice: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “This is a bring-the-family-together bottle. Since the 1800s, the Castellani family has been producing high quality, Italian wines that have become well regarded around the world. With deep roots in antique viticulture and an open, exploratory spirit, the family continues to craft new, exciting wines. Our family has forged strong ties with the Castellanis, and that allows us to bring your families their tremendous wines for prices that feel like, well, family discounts. Take our $3.99 Roccalta Sangiovese. Crafted from Sangiovese grapes from Puglia, the juice is fermented in stainless steel. It’s a straightforward, easy-drinking wine full of spices and flavors of plum and dark cherry that will appeal broadly. To family!”

What I Think:

(13%) Starts soft and smooth with clean cherry flavors showing nice depth. Dried herbs and spice along with a nice acidity on the mid-palate lead to a slight metallic tinge on the finish which is the only perceptible fault here (but blows off some the longer the bottle is open). Too bad they couldn’t have found a big wood cask (or cement) for this puppy as we could have had a true gem. That said still an easy candidate to be the base for all of my sauces moving forward (while sneaking more than a few sips on the side). I had mine out when making chicken cacciatore and would be happy to do so again. Simple and pleasing and for $4 that is more than you can really expect…

Rating: Buy It (to drink while you cook…)

2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

I’ve had a few vintages of this one and it has always been a good choice for the money. Long a fan of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (and given the broad distribution reach this one has) I was hoping it would once again highlight why Chile is an area to be exploring further. Did it? Read on my friends…

Price: $10.99 via Pasternak Wines (pdf)*

What They Said:

2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon BlancPer International Wine Cellar “Bright straw. Spice and herb-accented aromas of citrus zest and green apple, enriched by a deeper honeysuckle nuance. Dry, taut and linear, offering dusty lemon and grapefruit flavors, along with a suggestion of melon. Shows good clarity and closes with fine cut and lingering spiciness. I like this wine’s uncompromising character. ” 88pts – International Wine Cellar

What I Think:

(13%) Pale greenish yellow in the glass. Big grassy, lemon nose. Big and tropical on the palate with bright flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and peach. This one is lively and fresh with an herbed, spiced mineral acidity that keeps it bright and refreshing throughout. This all leads to a zesty citrus finish that is clean, focused and persistent. Available for as little as $8 retail. Given its broad availability this one is worth grabbing if you don’t mind your wines aggressive or should you ever find yourself in a pinch…

Wine Geek Notes: 20,000 cases made

Rating: Buy It

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2009 Sainte Leocadie Minervois Rosé

2009 Domaine Sainte Leocadie Minervois RoséPrice: $4.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “What do you get when you combine saigneed grapes (40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault) with one of Southern France’s most ideal terroirs? This deeply colored pink wine is a poolside sipper if there ever was one. Plenty of spice, garrigue and red fruits. Great with grilled Provencal pizza!”

What I Think:

(13%) 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault – A saignée style rose of the Minervois this one is beautiful salmon pink in color. On the palate this is full and dry with briary strawberry notes showing over a mineral acidity that slowly fades on a soft, spiced finish. A bit richer than your typical rose (attributable to the saignee syle) makes this one a bit better suited to go with a summer lunch than as a patio sipper. Either way for $6 (which is what I paid; $5 now) this is a steal…

Rating: Buy It

2010 Found Object Gewurztraminer

This one comes courtesy Castoro Cellars who have long been providing quality wines to the Trader Joes’s shelves but always been short on sharing information from whence they came. That said if I thought the Hungry Hollow Gewurztraminer was a deal at $10 this one is certainly worthy of your consideration at half the price. Expect to see this near the top of my next Trader Joe’s Wines Top 10 Wine List (which I intend to publish this Thursday)…

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2010 Found Object GewurztraminerPer the bottle “Context, it can change everything. Consider, for a moment, a wine among a crowd – yet not if the crowd. What could be taken for granted (grape juice) becomes special when repurposed into something thought provoking.

Consider this Gewürztraminer worthy of your consideration”

What I Think:

(13.3%) Almost clear straw in color, big forward, fruity nose. Peaches, lychee, a bit sweet on the backbone making it off dry with a floral, white pepper spiced finish. Simple, clean and straightforward. No flaws to report and varietally correct to boot. This is certainly a wine I want to have around my house. If you are a fan of Gewurzt this one is worth stocking up on. If not certainly consider giving it a try.

Wine Geek Notes: Surprisingly $2 less than the Viognier (yet to try) from the same label.

Rating: Buy It

2009 Hermann Wiemer Dry Riesling

2009 Hermann Wiemer Dry RieslingPrice: $14.99 @ Hermann Wiemer

What They Said:

Per Hermann Wiemer (pdf) “The dry style Riesling is the signature of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard. Exceptional grapes from each of our three vineyard locations come together to create this mouth-watering wine. This wine is fermented in small lots to ensure quality and then blended to perfection to create an elegant and balanced wine. With each vintage, we seek to match the appropriate level of fruit flavor with refreshing crispness that lets the true qualities of the Riesling grape shine through. Hints of lime and orange blossom on the nose set the stage for a succulent palate of apricot and grapefruit. Our trademark minerality creates a beautiful texture that carries into a long, lingering finish.

What I Think:

(11.5%) Apple, floral blossoms with lemon and lime on the nose. The palate starts with bright tangerine, lemon flavors followed by crisp green apple notes on a backbone of crushed rock. A firm mineral, citrusy acidity lasts through to the finish which is long and lingering. A beauty, so refreshing and just the slightest hint sweet (0.9% RS) to add a pleasant richness to the palate. Mouthwatering to the last drop which you are sad to see go. This one is worthy of a case buy if I can find it. Thanks to @wineingwoman for sending this one my way!

Rating: Wow!

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

2009 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon

2009 Domaine de la Noblaie ChinonPrice: $14.99 @ K&L Wines imported by David Headrick Selections

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “My new house red! This is produced all in stainless and solely from Cabernet Franc which is grown on a limestone slope. It has a rich ruby color and excellent structure. A nice fruity style of Chinon, this value-priced wine has a subtle peppery spice, ripe dark berries, soft chalky mineral character that really makes the fruit core come to life and express the fantastic character of Cabernet Franc. There are rich tannins on the finish and a juicy freshness throughout. I swear to you that you can actually taste the fresh glow of the summertime sun right in this bottle. Absolutely stellar while enjoying a burger right off the grill or even with a simple thin crust pizza. Just a pure, unadulterated wine meant to be enjoyed while moving along the game board of life.”

What I Think:

(13%) 100% Cabernet Franc – Bright red berries with juicy dark currant flavors. Nice acidity, nice crushed stone mineral with a smoky, spicy finish that lingers on warmly. Nice green, herbal streak throughout. Delicious! Chinon is definitely an under looked star in the (QPR) value world! Time to pop my 2004 to make sure it delivers. Once confirmed I’ll load a case of this one into the cellar…

Wine Geek Notes: Produced in all stainless. Grown on a limestone slope

Rating: Wow!

2009 Trentatre Rosso

A long-time favorite the 2007 version of this wine has previously graced the #1 spot in my Trader Joe’s Top 10 Wine List . Back then the label mentioned it was discovered “quite by chance” given that (plus the history, or lack thereof, of Trader Joe’s wines delivering from vintage to vintage) I was somewhat reticent to grab the latest offering. Would my gut read be right? Let’s see…

2009 Trentatre RossoPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Santini Fine Wines

What They Said:

Per the bottle “This unique wine comes from the Apulia Region located in the depth of Southern Italy. The blend is an equal amount of three different varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon 33,3%, Merlot 33,3%, and Montepulciano 33,4% collectively aged six months in oak barrels, hence the name “Trentatre” which in Italian means Thirtythree. The color is a deep purple-red with a pleasant fruity nose with hints of plum, cherry, and chocolate. Full bodied, it has a supple finish with soft tannins. Enjoy it with pasta, pizza, grilled meats, seasoned cheese…or even on its own!”

What I Think:

(14%) 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Montepulciano – An old time favorite that I haven’t revisited I was surprised (and happy) to find this one is still as easy drinking as ever. Nice clove spice on the nose. The palate is smooth with nice fruit (perhaps a touch sweet) and a balanced acidity. From there the clove spice emerges and leads to a dry, warm, lingering finish with hints of dusty cocoa powder. Not nuanced or complex in anyway but a well-made wine without the rough edges or cloying sweetness you find in many similar wines at this ($6) price point. Any early favorite to grab a top spot in my 2011 Holidays Edition of the Trader Joe’s Top 10 Wines List…

Rating: Buy It

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare VolantPrice: $35.00 @ Bonny Doon Vineyard*

What They Said:

Per Bonny Doon Vineyard “Bright ruby red with a pale purplish rim. Bright cherry aromas with a bit of spice, menthol, and black pepper. On the palate, fresh cherry, currant, and red bramble fruit. Peppery and lively with good acidity around an earthy, savory core.”

What I Think:

(14.4%) 60% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault – Beautiful, layered nose of earthy, berry fruit, herbs and spice. Dark and lush with ripe blueberry flavors and a lot of them on the palate. That said this one isn’t jammy as it has a nice acidity to keep it honest. Slightly tart (yet barrelly sweet and creamy) with dry herbs and soft, lingering tannins on a warm, comforting finish. Nice character and layers of flavor throughout with meaty, herbal, mineral and spice components making appearances. Easily drinkable now and appears ready to age effortlessly. Pair it with steak or the hearty meal of your choice. Perhaps Randall said it best: “the wine is powerful, yet still retains a fair elegance and grace”. A wine I look forward to drinking more of!

Wine Geek Notes: 2,732 cases produced.

Rating: Wow!

*While I did receive a bottle of this wine as a sample I’ve purchased previous versions of this with my very own money and plan on doing so again…