Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: *** $$ Fair Oaks Ranch Zinfandel Reserve, California, 2005 and 2012

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By way of background: This is Fair Oaks Ranch Zinfandel Reserve, California, 2005, finished at 12.5% alcohol.

Original review of 2012 vintage, October, 2014:  Medium deep ruby.  Nose is shy, with some sweet fruit, hiding in the background.  Soft, light red sip, with clean cinnabon elements.  Light red berries start to peak, but give way quickly to a softer, spiced ripe blackberry.  Clean moderate finish, with soft tannins and very light acids.  Nice experience in a gentle and genteel red.

Initial review, December, 2010, of 2005 vintage:  
In the glass: Fair Oaks Ranch Zinfandel shows as medium burgundy in the glass, moving to just a hint of brick at the edge.  With five years of age, the light coloring change at the perimeter is to be expected.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Lodi zin is quite shy on the nose, reflective of its genteel alcohol level.  Primary notes are light red currants with strawberry wisps. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a very subtle, sweet mineral impact on the mid-palate - almost more of a whisper than a taste.  That said, the minerality balances nicely with the subtle berries, though the impact is more of a gentle pinot noir than a roaring California zin.  Lightly sweet finish ends up clean and crisp.

In summary: Overall, pleasant enough experience in the category of light red wines, though atypical of the varietal. Rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its easy-going nature.  I would suggest drinking up bottles soon, and not counting on benefit with additional years in the bottle.

Following long decant, stored cool in partially-filled bottle under vacuum for three days: Nose now adds a tiny bit of primary plum.  On the palate, a touch of tobacco comes in with a few wisps of tannins too, creating a bit of surround sound on the still-definitely-light style.   I'm going to leave it for even a bit more air, though, as I believe this is moving in a healthy direction, possibly towards three stars.

With an extremely long decant, one more day kept cool in partially-filled bottle without vacuum: The nose has pretty much disappeared, and the palate has pretty much fallen apart.  Too much air time for this gentle lady.
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Updated review, almost a year later, October, 2011:  Consistent color and aroma.  The minerality is solid and distinctive in this light-bodied zinfandel.  Just touches three stars now.  Following long decant, three days kept cool in partially filled bottle: Nose and palate held up well to the air.  Lost a bit of its pleasant minerality.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: *** $ Geja's (Gejas) Private Reserve Big Bold Red, California, 2007, 2012 (BEST VALUE)

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By way of background: This is a fairly generic sounding red wine with no descriptions about types of grapes or locations of the vineyards, other than the broad expanse of "California".  Following a sampling of the 2007 vintage in 2011, I sampled the 2012 vintage in 2014.

Initial review of 2012 vintage, October, 2014:  Deep red brick in the glass.  At room temperature, shows a deep and husky plum.  Round, rich and plumy on the palate too, with blue fruit aromatics that bring me back to the review of the 2007 version.  Consistent three star rating.

Initial review, April, 2011: This is Geja's (Gejas) Private Reserve Big Bold Red, California, 2007, finished at 13.5% alcohol.  Don't let the fancy name fool you.  "Private" and "reserve" have no specific meaning in California, and this wine contains no information about its genesis or heritage.  It is made by Baya Cellars in Morgan Hill, California.

In the glass: Medium deep red with hints of brick at the edges. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows shy light purple aromas with a touch of funk.   From the aroma, seems like this will be somewhat dry, perhaps thin.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much sweeter and rounder than I anticipated.  Brings tangy blueberries forward to the middle of your mouth.  These are surrounded by some vanilla oak.  Simple flavors, but pleasant.  The finish is fast, but clean.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making it a best value at its bargain price.

Following long decant:  Full day kept cool in partially-filled bottle... Funk is gone from the nose now, which remains shy but is clean and fresh.  Still simple, light blueberry on the palate.  Held together well.

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Review: $ Black Fox Cabernet Sauvignon, California, 2005 (**), 2012 (***=BEST VALUE)


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Today, we're sampling an updated, 2012 vintage of Black Fox Cabernet Sauvignon, California, finished at a mere 12.9% alcohol. Sampled in October, 2014.

Light brick red in color. Poured at room temperature, shows soft, subtle, lightly sweet, smoky, cinnamon fruit.  Seems like it will be easy going.

On the palate, dramatically different from the 2005 vintage.  Shows soft, lightly cinnamon spiced fruit.  Light acids crawl with the fruit and curl in your cheeks.

Three stars.  Best value at bargain price point.

Original review of 2005 vintage, May, 2008:

The Black Fox Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005, was part of the "Wine Insiders" wine deal.

In the glass, this is medium red with ruby highlights. Aroma is bright and fresh with plums and raspberry.

On the palate, full middle fruit sensation that confirms the plum and raspberry aromas. Tinge of acid, very little hint of tannins. Finish is fast. Overall impression of being pleasant, but not distinctive. Two stars out of five, but I'll add a plus because I believe this will settle into greater pleasantness in a year or two.
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Update review, a year and a half later, December, 2009:

Color has held fast during the past couple of years.  Aroma has muddled down a bit... think stewed mashed blackberries.  Blackberry fruit hits the mid-palate.  Still a bit perky with acids, and no tannins showing.  Rides to the back of your mouth, then flashes away.  Pulling the plus out of the rating, as it seems to have had a bit more presence in its youth; the plus for future potential proved to be unwarranted.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: *** $ Garcia Schwaderer Kimbao Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 2013 = GOOD VALUE

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Original tasting and review : This is Garcia Schwaderer Kimbao Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 2013, finished at 13% alcohol and first sampled one year from vintage date, in October, 2014.


In the glass: Clear light yellow.

On the nose: Poured at cold temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright, sweet green grasses.  From the aroma, seems like this will be bright but also soft, sweet and creamy.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact bright and grassy with hints of sweetness, but less creaminess than anticipated.  Bright clean acids extend the sip, with a clean finish.

In summary: Overall, just touches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  I'd come back to it again if invited to, but wouldn't have to.  Good value.

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(c) Copyright 2014 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: *** $ F. Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2013 = BEST VALUE

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Original tasting and review : This is F. Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2013, finished at 14.5% alcohol and first sampled one year from vintage date, in October, 2014.

In the glass: Medium red.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows shy, deep fruit, underlying spices.  From the aroma, seems like this will be big but still subtle.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as anticipated: subtle at the first sip, with a round mouth of dry fruit entering your palate, but then resolving into spices and dry, big blackberries.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and is a best value at its bargain price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for F. Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Zinfandel.

(c) Copyright 2014 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


Review: ***+ $ F. Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Shiraz, Lodi, California, 2013 = BEST VALUE

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Original tasting and review : This is F. Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Shiraz, Lodi, California, 2013, finished at 13.5% alcohol and first sampled years from vintage date, in October, 2014.

In the glass: Deep red and deep magenta.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright, savory red and black fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be full frontal with fruit and nice acids.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact soft, layered, spicy fruits, showing cinnamon and soft blackberries.  Settles out broadly on your palate, with light acids bringing the sip up into your cheeks, where blackberries settle for a long finish as they drip flavors into your mouth.  Nonetheless, very clean at the finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars with a big plus on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Easy nominee as a best value.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for F. Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Shiraz.

(c) Copyright 2014 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.