Lavau Côte du Rhône Villages Rouge 2014, France 

My Rating 85 Points.   

Price $8. 

Nice ruby in color with medium intensity and a pinkish rim.

Fruity nose of plums, cherries, raspberries, licorice, oak, blueberries, vanilla, vegetables, bitter herbs, wet leaves, spices, bell pepper, dirt, milk chocolates, smoke and black pepper.

Medium bodied with medium plus acidity and nice legs.

Earthy on the palate with blackberries, black currants, plums, green pepper, oak, licorice, green vegetables, herbs, earth, chocolates, leather, tobacco, spices and peppercorn.

Nice length on the finish with round tannins and tangy cranberries.

This is a nice surprise from Costco. Very affordable and easy drinking. Needs an hour to open up properly and show some fruits and structure.

Not a big red, but rather an easy drinking, earthy French red wine.
Well balanced with mild complexity.

A good food wine. I paired it with hard cheeses, fresh berries and crackers.

A blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah.

13.5% alcohol by volume.

Beacon Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, California 


My Rating 70 Points.   

Price $7.


Purple in color with a purplish rim.
On the nose, blueberries, raspberries, fake wood, food coloring, spices and black pepper.
Medium bodied and jammy, with medium acidity.

Dry on the palate with blackberries, currants, plums, oak, vanilla, licorice, spices and bitter herbs.

Short finish with no tannins and bitter greens.

This California Cabernet is simple unbalanced and unattractive. I could not even finish one glass.
It looks like wine, but feels like fake wine.

13% alcohol by volume.

Fratelli Bertoli Rosso Non-Vintage, Italy 

My Rating 80 Points.   

Price $18. 



Ruby in color with a pink rim and medium intensity.

Fruity nose of plums, strawberries, smoke, raspberries, wood, licorice, earth, forest floor, green vegetables, graphite and black pepper.

Medium minus in body and smooth, with medium plus acidity and nice legs

Dry on the palate with plums, strawberries, cranberries, oak, vanilla, licorice, mint, earth, medicine notes, black tea, tobacco leaf, peppercorn and spices.

Short finish with fine grained tannins and tart cranberries.

This red blend from Italy is soft and gentle. Unbalanced, but has some interesting complexity that I didn’t expect. Fruity on the nose and earthy on the palate.

Not my usual drinker, but it did fit my guests better.

A good food wine, and I paired it with baked chicken and steamed vegetables.

Nicer with some air time (30 minutes).

12% alcohol by volume.

Jean Philippe Sparkling Cuvée Brut Methode Traditionnelle Non-Vintage, France 

My Rating 81 Points.


Pale lemon in color with a yellow tint.

On the nose, lemons, citrus, yeast, minerals, bread and white pepper.

Light to medium in body with medium plus acidity and fine bubbles.

Dry on the palate with limes, citrus, green apples, herbs, bread, white pepper, minerals and sea salt.

Medium plus in finish with limes and pepper.

This sparkling wine, from the south of France, is well balanced. Good quality, yet simple. Good for parties, just by itself or with food.

I paired it with smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese.

12% alcohol by volume.

Harlow Ridge Winery Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California 


My Rating 86 Points.   

Price $12. 



Dark ruby in color with medium intensity and a purplish rim.

Strong oaky nose with vanilla, blueberries, currants, sweet plums, wood, vegetables, cloves, alcohol, cola, licorice, chocolates, tobacco, herbs, spices and black pepper.

Medium plus in body with medium acidity and long legs.

Dry on the palate with blackberries, plums, cranberries, earth, wood, vanilla, licorice, coffee, beef jerky, graphite and peppercorn.

Medium plus in finish with round tannins and spices.

This is a nice Cabernet from Lodi, California. Spicy, with a nice light mouthfeel. Interesting and balanced, with mild complexity. Above average, and a good everyday cabernet.

12.5% alcohol by volume.

Picket Fence Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2014 Sonoma County, California 

My Rating 83 Points.   

Price $15. 

 

Light ruby in color with light intensity and a pink rim.

Sweet nose of cherries, strawberries, earth, spices, black pepper, red candy, light vegetables, vanilla, wood and light barnyard.

Light to medium in body with medium acidity and nice legs.

Dry on the palate with plums, strawberries, bell pepper, vegetables, herbs, light vanilla, oak, peppercorn and spices.

Medium finish with soft tannins and black pepper.

This is an average Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. Simple and balanced, but not complex, with a light mouthfeel. This was probably better a year or two ago.

Enjoyable with food. I paired it with a cheese plate and crackers.

13.5% alcohol by volume.

Quinta and Vineyards Fonseca Porto Late Bottled Vintage 2011, Portugal 


My Rating 91 Points.   

Price $25.

 

Dark inky in color with a very short purple rim.

Sweet nose of cherries, blackberries, smoke, oak, Mediterranean spices, vanilla licorice, cloves, herbs, dark chocolates, coffee, caramel and peppercorn.

Full bodied and bold, with high acidity and great legs.

Sweet on the palate with sweet plums, cooked cherries, oak, vanilla, licorice, cloves, herbs, peppercorn, spices, milk chocolates, tobacco, alcohol, coffee and mocha.

Spicy long finish with soft tannins.

This port is drinking very nicely right out of the bottle. Well balanced with lots of acidity to make up for the sweetness. Nice complexity and a great mouthfeel.

I paired it with a sweet chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

Aged for 5 years in oak vats, unfiltered and bottled in 2016.

20% alcohol by volume.