Tasting Notes

Wine Reviews

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2005 Childress Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve, North Carolina

This was given to me by a good friend when I lived back in Ohio. She and her family visited North Carolina, and she brought some wine back to try. This is the first from the Carolinas I've had the opportunity to try. While three-quarters of the bottle is Cab Franc, it also contains 20% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium garnet red color. A medium intensity nose with red fruit, oak, and earthiness. One the palate it was clean, and relatively light to medium in structure, tannin, flavor, and acidity. Juicy red fruits. While I wouldn't call this a stellar bottle, it wasn't bad by any means. More importantly, it definitely has me intrigued to try other wines from the Eastern sea board!
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2004 Yannick Amirault Bourgueil La Coudraye

What a difference a couple of years can make. When I originally bought a bottle of the 2004 La Coudraye by Yannick Amirault, an acclaimed vigneron from the Loire Valley, this natural-yeast fermented cabernet franc was a pretty tightly wound thing. So much so that it was a little difficult to enjoy, as a fair bit of tannin stuck to your teeth and the aromas struggled to break free. Now, as the 2007 has become the current release, the 2004 has opened up nicely, showing up a nice dose of slowly-cooked, sweet red bell peppers, still structured by tannins that have, however, become much smoother as the wine has calmed down a bit. Not terribly complex, but well balanced and worth the price. Went down nicely with some thick, juicy pork chops served with gnocchi and green beans.
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2006 Twomey Cellars Soda Canyon Ranch Merlot

Merlot sometimes gets a very bad rap, but more examples like this would redeem it. Blended with Cabernet Franc, this one reminded me of a good Right Bank Bordeaux. Deep, bright ruby colored, with aromas of blackberry, vanilla and blueberry that carry over onto the palate along with a hint of rhubarb, this is a merlot with some muscle that also highlights this subtle grape. Read more at Another Wine Blog.
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2008 Twomey Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

he most open and evolved of Twomey's 2008 Pinot Noirs, this Russian River Valley ruby red beauty surprises with sunny orange peel on the nose opening up to ripe cherries. Soft with a zing on the front of the palate, opening up to berries and balanced acidity. Finish with a soft yet zingy finish. A perfect balance of yin and yang. Sister winery of Napa Valley's Silver Oak, Twomey Cellars is located in Calistoga. Read more at Another Wine Blog.
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2007 Trio Vintners Riot Red Table Wine, Columbia Valley

This unusual blend of 52% Sangiovese, 36% Syrah and 12% Mourvèdre is appropriately named as it is a riot in a glass. A nose of fresh cherries and berries jumps out in your face. There is youthfulness in the palate and yet the complexity makes it a very age worthy wine that makes you want to revisit later. Can’t beat the price for the quality.
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2006 Skylite Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley

A smoky and meaty wine with a mouthful of blueberries and just as dark and dense as ink. Believe it or not, I was served this wine with a dessert of cheesecake with a sweet cherry sauce on top. It worked. Oh my how it worked, leaving a finish of sweet dark port and milk chocolate. From dessert to game, this Syrah can handle it all.
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2006 L’Ecole No. 41 Merlot, Columbia Valley

L’Ecole has been producing Merlot since 1983 and after all of these years, they still have the “touch.” With the addition of 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon the nose is spicy showing a palate of dark cherries, plums and brambleberries. And last but not least, a long finish of chocolate and pepper.
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2008 L’Ecole No. 41 Estate Luminesce, Walla Walla

The L'Ecole No. 41 2008 Estate Luminesce is from Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley. Pale straw in color, this blend of 70% Sémillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc offers a nose of grapefruit and lychee with a touch of honeysuckle and slate. Bright minerality on the palate, with more grapefruit and citrus, the Luminesce finishes with a little touch of lemon zest. Perfectly balanced. A great pairing for seafood. Released in September 2009, Luminesce is 14.2% alcohol by volume. The fruit is sourced from sustainable-farmed vineyards, and the wines are certified Salmon Safe. Read more on Another Wine Blog.