Monthly Archives: January 2012

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: La Crema 2009 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast. 13.9% ABV. Around $17 but available for as little as $12.99.

For us, when it comes to Chardonnays, if we want one made in the Burgundy style, our go-to is Chalone. If we want an Old Faithful that’s consistent from the first taste to the last drop, every year, with toasted … Continue reading

Posted in California, Chardonnay | Leave a comment

EXQUISITE: 2008 Girard Petite Sirah (89% Petite Sirah, 8% Zinfandel, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Grenache), Napa Valley. $22-30, available for as little as $17.99. 14.5% ABV.

Once again, a “weighted blend” has won my heart. (In the U.S., a wine can be labeled a varietal, i.e. Petite Sirah, if it consists of 75% or more of that particular grape. However, it’s no secret that we find … Continue reading

Posted in California, Grenache/Garnacha, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel | Leave a comment


There is nothing “petite” at all about Petite Sirah (spelled with an “i,” not a “y”), as it is indeed one of the Big Reds. The “petite” refers in part to the compact size of the grapes, and in part … Continue reading

Posted in Petite Sirah, Technical Stuff | 4 Comments

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Leese-Fitch 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, California. 13.5% ABV. $9.99.

Three of us tasted this beauty, and all of us were stunned that a Cab this young (and inexpensive!) could possibly be this complex and delicious. Turns out there’s a reason: while it is indeed mostly Cab, it is in … Continue reading

Posted in Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Carignan, Merlot, Petite Sirah | 8 Comments

RECOMMENDED: Leese-Fitch 2009 Merlot (87% Merlot, 13% Syrah), California. 13.5% ABV. Generally $8.99-10, available for as little as $7.75 (

APPEARANCE: Dark ruby red with clarity, cool pink/lavender edges. NOSE: A light layer of red fruits: strawberry, raspberry. Opened to aromas of soft flowers, a kiss of oak, and molasses. TASTE: Chewy, round, mouth-filling, balanced, smooth, and mellow. I couldn’t … Continue reading

Posted in California, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz | Leave a comment

Miles and Jack are back! New book, “Vertical,” by author of “Sideways”

Uh-oh, look out, kids! “Sideways” is back in the form of a play, to open soon in Santa Monica. (Visit—two readings have been staged so far.) And, Rex Pickett has written a new book called “Vertical,” available on Amazon. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, News | 2 Comments

Consumer Wine Awards: Opportunity to be a wine judge

Consumer Wine Awards If you can be in Lodi March 17-18, and if you’re not a wine professional, you are eligible to apply to be a judge/taster/evaluator in the Consumer Wine Awards. Sounds like fun!

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Funny! How to Fake French when you don’t know how to speak it.

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The Frugal Wine Snob Selects: Wines of the Year 2011

This year I’m making just two selections: My favorite wine of the year, and the best-value wine of the year. Please note that my selections are based only on wines I personally tasted (just a few hundred). The Frugal Wine … Continue reading

Posted in Awards | 3 Comments

RECOMMENDED: Giesta, 2009 Red Blend (Tinta Roriz [Tempranillo] 45%, Touriga Nacional 32%, Jaen 23%), Dão, Portugal. 13% ABV. $12.99 from, $100.08/case of 12 from

Wine clubs aren’t a bad way to try new wines if you’re in an out-of-the-mainstream location (as we are in Ocala, FL) where tastings don’t happen often, especially if you have a friend who will share the cost with you, … Continue reading

Posted in Jaen, Portugal, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional | Leave a comment