Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wines to splurge on for the holidays: GROTH 2010 CABERNET SAUVIGNON & Circle of Life White 2011

This wine is a huge splurge (by my standards) at $45, but your finessed palate will thank you for the sacrifice. I had my first sip of this wine completely ignorant of the fact that it was a $45 cab and it blew me away - the hallmark difference between a truly amazing wine and an expensive wine.

Nose:  spicy and warm, with full notes of hickory and wet earth. powerful.

Tongue: complex, deep, full-bodied and lush. Fills your mouth with flavors bursting of dark-chocolate, seaweed, and spiciness. Bold & lasting tannins. Yes it's very sexy

Price: $44.99 

Rating: 4.5/5

The Circle of Life white is a biodynamic wine produced by a stunning vineyard in South Africa. At $15, it is not really a splurge, and it is so delicious that you can stock up and have it with all your holiday festivities. Or year-round, for that matter. The next best thing would be to visit the breathtaking biodynamic farm in South Africa.

Nose: layered with notes of pear, white peppercorns, honey, apples, lemons, juxtaposed on a background of wet hay, corn, asparagus. Finished with flavors of vanilla cake..yum

Tongue: sweet & fruit-forward, notes of cantalope, honeydew, honey, pears, and tangerine

Price: $14.99

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Beating the snowy weather with vino

Wine Label
Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2010 Veronese
This wine was supposedly made in the special "Repasso" method. Whatever that is, it's surely doing a great job. I haven't had a red this delicious in too too long 

NOSE: deliciously layered and aromatic; notes of roasted chestnuts, dried porcini mushrooms, and aged oak; briny, reminiscent of the ocean floor. 

TONGUE: flavors of sea salt, cured meats, & peppercorns. light and mellow on the palate; fine leathery tannins with an elegant dry finish; would pair perfectly with hard cheeses. LOVE LOVE LOVE"

Price: $12 (taste more like a $20 wine!)

Rating: 4.5/5 
Wine Label
Reinhard Schafer ZUM Mosel Riesling 2012
Riesling is very hit of miss for me, especially with the recent on-slew of commercial soda-like bottles made for suburban party girls. Fortunately, the ZUM Riesling is a hit. It even rhymes with 'yum'!

NOSE: pineapple,  honey, muscat gummies, apple. 

TONGUE: spritzy, bright, with lively acidity,  just the right amount of sweetness,  peachy. Lighthearted and fun to drink

Price: $10.99

Rating: 4/5 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Once again: the Good, the Okay, the Ugly

ZD Chadonnay 2012
Hallelujah! Finally a Cali chardonnay that I like :D

Nose: sweetness - pineapple, honeysuckle, daisies, mead
Tongue: sweet, notes of honey, papaya, pineapple (think tropical fruits!); toasted coconut and grapefruit rind lingers like bittersweet memories on the tongue

Price: ~$25

Rating: 4.25/5
Johansing Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Perhaps I should change the title to "the Best, the Great, and the Ugly", 'cause this bottle is a mighty fine thing too

Nose: spicy, heady, musky like dark, damp wood; feel yourself romping through muddy, wet rainforest; as you let the wine aerate, the aroma turns into smores and campfire

Tongue: smooth, velvety, with balanced acidity. Begins with warm flavors of hazelnut, caramel, burnt sugar, molasses, and cinnamon, giving into orange and citrus flavors

Price: ~$28

Rating: 4/5 
Frey Organic Red Wine
Granted, this wine was $9.99, but I've definitely had a lot better luck with this price range. I should probably stop buying random wines just because it's organic.

Nose: at first promising notes of smoke, embers, and tiramisu soon gives into lingering aromas of sawdust and musky alcohol

Tongue: first impression was "ugh did I just drink my cough medicine?" Then comes flavors of pickles, rotten tomatoes, licorice, and shoe varnish

Price: $9.99

Rating: 2/5 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The best Pinor Noir I've ever had. and a mediocre disappointment from Trader Joes

This is a $20 wine I accidentally got at a wine store tasting with my friends. I usually don't spend to the upper teens for wines, especially now that I'm a broke medical student. But retrospectively, it was well worth the splurge. I am usually not too big on Pinor Noirs - they are too fruity and light bodied for me, and not enough of the ummph. The Sean Minor Pinot might make me convert. It is light, but filled with so much juice and tingling flavors at the same time. It tickled all my pleasure-sensing tastebuds with delight. Unfortunately, it did not last. Ah well, till the next time I splurge....

Nose: fruity, strawberries, oranges, raspberry, a bit of oak. Marshmellows in the background
Tongue: juicy, silky smooth. Notes of cherry and strawberry, a bit of chocolate, a bit floral . Perfectly balanced.

Price: $20

Rating: 4.5/5 <3 <3 <3

I read a lot of positive notes about this wine while looking up general reviews for Trader Joe's wines. Apparently, Trader Joe's received so much high demand for this wine, they had to bring it back year after year. As for me, I found it very mediocre for such hype. Maybe it's because I was drinking it right after I finished the amazing Sean Minor Pinor Noir above.  At $6.99, it paled in comparison to TJ's $4.50 Found Objects Malbec. Probably not going to buy this again.

Nose: a bit "off" (1st thing I noticed), notes of sawdust and rotting wood, backed by toffee and chocolate.
Tongue: zesty, dry, light bodied, with lingering tannins. Flavors of raspberry, dark chocolate, caramel, and hickory. Bitter aftertaste. On the acidic side, but not too overwhelmingly so.

Price: $6.99

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The wine that pulled me through anatomy exam: Sokol-blosser Meditrina {7}

It all started when I picked this wine for its standout bottle design from the dull racks at Wegmans. And I was blown away. It literally blasted me through the final exam of the Head + Neck block of my anatomy class. I wish I had it not for my Limb block exam :-/

Nose: warm, robust, and filled with depth. Notes of milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and s'mores. A whiff of spice

Tongue: sweet, light bodied, with light tannins and a citrusy finish. Velvety, mellow, smooth, and very balanced. Flavors of cherries, muscat, and brown sugar. Simple and drinkable by itself or pair it with a nutty cheese.

Price: $12

Rating: 4/5

FYI, Meditrina is a masterful blend of 50% Syrah, 22% Zinfandel, and 20% Pinot Noir. The bottle also doubles as an elegant vase ;)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Parducci Petite Sirah 2007 & MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc 2009

This is a small-priced wine with a big taste. I got it on using a Groupon. It retails around only $9-$13. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and sophistication of this wine. As a plus, the grapes are sustainably grown, and the label is pretty :)

Nose: Yummy flavors of chocolate, caramel, coffee, and oak. Earthy
Tongue: big, bold, dark, and very dry - not for the faint of heart. Structured and long lasting tannins, but not overwhelming. Very well balanced. A bit raw for now. It could use a bit more time on the shelf. Notes of wet earth, truffles, dried currants, with a hint of smokiness. Definitely drink this with a substantial meal (mmm...I'm thinking of bloody steaks).

Price: $11

Rating: 4/5


While I'm not a huge fan of whites, I've definitely had better Chenin Blancs than this. It was way too bitter - I think it was sitting in my fridge for more than a month before I finally finished it! I guess you can't always have the luck of running into cheap good wines (like the Parducci).

Nose: fragrant, warm floral, and nutty, with notes of peaches, honey, and vanilla

Tongue: sweet at first, with a tangy aftertaste. Top notes of toasty honey grahams and apricots, but has a overwhelmingly bitter and stemmy aftertaste. 

Price: $8

Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Med School and Revival of Wine reviews

I'm back from a long hiatus getting used to the med school lifestyle. Hiatus from this blog does not mean hiatus from wine drinking. No way. Wine gets me through exams, so as a consequence, I've been able to savor even more than I used to  ;) After all, it's good for my cardiovascular system! (and helps me sleep)
Anyway, here are two of my recent bottles:

2009 Argiolas Perdera
The 2009 Argiolas Perdera is a Sardinian wine made with 90% Monica grapes, a varietal I have never heard of. When you think of Italian wine, Tuscany or Puglia comes to mind, or even Sicily (Nero d'Avola!), but definitely not Sardinia, or Monica grapes for that matter. So this was a bit of a stretch on-the-whim buy for me. 
And yes I am so glad I got this wine. It was amazing, and only $12!
Nose: spicy, with notes of young oak and dark chocolate
Tongue:velvety, smooth, purple and bright. Top notes of apricot, strawberry, toffee, and chocolate.  Nice velvety finish, very yummy. Round tannins. Light to medium bodied. Highly recommended!

Price: $12

Rating: 4.5/5
 2008 Azienda Agricola Cos Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico
 My parents got this as a present. Seeing as they do not drink wine, I kindly saved it from going to waste :) It turns out that this was one of the more expensive wines for me, retailing at around $25 (yeah I'm a cheap shot). Maybe it was a bad idea to google the price, because I got overly excited with high expectations, which it didn't quite live up to...
Nose: strong warm and woody. Notes of wet earth, mulch, old world oak. Vinegar, milk chocolate, nuts, toffee flavors.
Tongue: juicy, slightly spicy, mouthfilling. Medium bodied, very mellow and creamy. Flavors of marshmallows. Yeasty and briny. Unfortunately it smells better than it tastes. A bit too acidic.

Price: ~$25

Rating: 3.5/5