Category Archives: Merlot

TASTING: Wente Vineyards, Wine and Music

On Thursday, August 1st, Karl Wente hosted an interesting Wine and Music tasting, with his friend Shannon Koehler. Besides being a fifth-generation winemaker, Karl is an avid musician. Karl started on saxophone, gravitated to electric guitar, and plays acoustic guitar … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Music, California, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tastings | 1 Comment

New Branding: Pennywise (and an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon)

I don’t normally pay much attention to labels. (Kind of a contradiction, as I’m an artist and publication designer/editor.) However, the Pennywise redesign caught my attention in a big way. The previous Pennywise label was okay. Reminiscent of a postage … Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Merlot, News, Syrah/Shiraz | 2 Comments

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: 2009 Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve “Summation” red blend (43% Zinfandel, 24% Syrah, 21% Merlot, 5% Grenache, 4% Petite Sirah, 3% Other varietals), California. 13.5% ABV. $17 SRP, usually $13, available for as little as $8.99.

Late last year, I reviewed the 2009 K-J “Summation” white blend and highly recommended it (see http://www.thefrugalwinesnob.com/?p=670). We’ve also enjoyed several bottles of the 2008 “Summation” red blend, which was a “special occasion” everyday house wine for us, if that … Continue reading

Posted in California, Grenache/Garnacha, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Red Blend, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel | 3 Comments

UPDATE: 2010 Plungerhead Zinfandel.

Late last year I enjoyed (understatement) the 2009 Plungerhead Zin (review here). The 2010 is a little different, of course: 94% Zinfandel, 4% Merlot, and 2% Petite Sirah. It started out jammy but settled down very quickly as it opened. … Continue reading

Posted in California, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel | Leave a comment

RECOMMENDED: Two from Murrieta’s Well. The Whip, 2011 white blend; The Spur, 2009 red blend. Around $15.

The Murrieta’s Well winery name is based on Old West history: Joaquin Murrieta, a.k.a. “Zorro,” would steal horses from northern California and run them down into Sonoma or Mexico, watering them from the artesian well on the property en route. … Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Chardonnay, Food, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Orange Muscat, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Red Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Tastings, Viognier, White Blend | 1 Comment

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 2009 Gen5 Cabernet Sauvignon (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec), Lodi, CA. 13.9%, $12.

If you’re looking for a big, opaque, nearly-purple California Cab with big bubbles and the heady aroma of oak, cola, and deep dark fruits, this isn’t it. The Gen5 isn’t a typical Cab at all. That said, every once in … Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot | 4 Comments

PINE RIDGE ONLINE TASTING, PART TWO. ZOWIE!

As a follow-up to the Friday, April 13th post on the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+Viognier (visit www.thefrugalwinesnob. com/?p=1064 for the review as well as some details about the winery), here’s my report on the online tasting as a whole. Not … Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Tastings, Viognier | Leave a comment

RECOMMENDED: Flipflop 2009 Merlot, California. 13.5% ABV, $4.99.

Wow, what a great little wine. By “little” I mean the price tag. APPEARANCE: Ruby garnet with clarity. NOSE: Bright and beautiful, with high notes reminiscent of a good Petite Sirah as well as the depth that a Merlot should … Continue reading

Posted in California, Merlot | Leave a comment

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: Dependable 2009 Red Blend (50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon), Coteaux de Bessilles (Languedoc). 13% ABV. Difficult to find; $17.50 at Civilization, a bistro in Gainesville, FL, where it is their house red.

Single-grape varietal wines can be astonishing, even stunning, when weather, harvest, and winemaker are in perfect synch. But it’s no secret we also admire, and often prefer, the skills of those winemakers who successfully blend superior (and dependable) wines, both … Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, France, Grenache/Garnacha, Merlot, Red Blend, Syrah/Shiraz | 2 Comments

RECOMMENDED: Wente Vineyards Estate Grown, 2009 “Sandstone” Merlot, Livermore Valley/San Francisco Bay. 13.5% ABV. $12.99.

APPEARANCE: Almost purple, translucent, clear edges. NOSE: Dust on nose at first. Blackberry and spice. TASTE/MOUTHFEEL: Round, balanced, mouth-filling, expanding. Smooth. Fruity. A hint of licorice. Pipe tobacco, toasty oak. FINISH: Lingering and lovely. LABEL NOTES: Wente Vineyards, established in … Continue reading

Posted in California, Merlot | 2 Comments