Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hess Allomi Vineryard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

So many in the wine industry are always after wines with balance, complexity, subtleties, and delicate qualities that result in descriptions so elaborate that I need my dictionary to understand them. Multi-dimensional and complex wines certainly can be awe inspiring, but not every wine needs to have it all. Some wines can bring every day enjoyment by simply doing one or two things really well. Hess Allomi Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is just such a wine. I can imagine that many wine connoisseurs will try this Napa Cab and say, "Where is the structure...the acidity...the balance?" Well I'm here to tell you that I don't miss them all that much when the fruit is this good.

In your glass the wine has a beautiful and rich purple color. The nose brings cassis and blackberry with some nice herbal notes. In your mouth, you get a massive load of black and red fruit right up front, and that is followed by more and more fruit. Although it's a little one dimensional, the fruit is very good, and there is a just a little bit of stony tannins on the finish.

Overall, this is a very approachable, easy drinking Napa Cab, and if you like your wine fruit forward, the Hess Allomi Vineyard Cabernet will give it to you right up front. As far as value goes, this wine delivers a lot of fruit for the price, which seems to vary a lot from store to store. I got this bottle for $19, but many other shops have it as high as $30. For anything under $25, this wine gives you pretty good bang for the buck. You could pair this with a cheeseburger or any backyard BBQ meal, but it is probably best suited for sipping on its own.



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Emilio Moro Finca Resalso Ribera del Duero 2008

I've always been a huge fan of Spanish wines, and after drifting away from them for a little bit, I'm back on a Spanish kick again in a big way. In the last few weeks I've looked at a Rioja and a Toro, so it only seems fair that I look at that other great region for Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero.

The Emilio Moro Finca Resalso 2008 is 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) from the Finca Resalso vineyard that was originally planted in 1932, which also happens to be the year of winery founder Emilio Moro's birth. The wine sees 4 months in French oak and shows a medium red color. The nose has some floral elements as well as notes of caramel and leather that add to the bouquet of red and black fruit. On the palate you get beautiful cherry fruit with a hint of strawberry that is balanced by very nice acidity and very well integrated and mild tannins. Overall this is a very easy drinking wine with a decent amount of depth to it.

Like so many Spanish reds, this wine wants tapas to go with it. It would make for some great sipping with Jamon Serrano, Zamarano cheese, and Marcona almonds. For the price of about $14, its also a very good deal.



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Numanthia Termes Toro 2008

Toro. The name is rather appropriate for the wines in this lesser known region of Spanish reds. Toro is Spanish for bull and much like the animal, the wines of Toro are not light and dainty by any means. The red wines of Toro are often big, muscular, and powerful. Although Toro primarily uses the same Tempranillo (although it is often called Tinto de Toro in the region) grape that its more famous neighbors in Rioja have used for centuries, differences in terroir and style generally result in much bigger and bolder wines. The vineyards of Toro generally see altitudes of 2000 to 2500 feet with full sun in the daytime followed by cool nights which gives the vines the ability to produce thicker skinned, riper fruit. Couple that with the touch off the right winemaker, and Toro can produce some delicious, powerhouse reds.

Numanthia Termes Toro 2008 is no exception to the Toro style. It is a big, powerful red that brings just enough balance and depth. The grapes are harvested from 30 year old vines grown in rocky soils, and they see extended maceration on the skins and 16 months in French oak before bottling. The wine is an intense purple-red color in your glass and brings a bouquet of cherry and black plum with notes of leather and pencil shavings. On the palate the cherry and blackberry fruit bring an initial explosion of flavor that lingers quite nicely on the palate in a sneaky long finish. You also get a hint of minerality on the finish which is a nice added dimension. The acidity is pleasant and not overwhelming and the tannins are just about perfect if the wine is given 30 to 45 minutes in a decanter. My favorite pairing for this wine is a glass and my comfy living room chair, but it also pairs rather nicely with Jamon Iberico or other Serrano ham and Mahon cheese. It would also work with grilled red meats.

Overall, this fantastic Toro is a great value, and I will be buying much more of it for a price tag of around $25. Its drinking beautifully now if decanted, and it should drink nicely for many years. To learn more about Numanthia Termes, see their website at and to see reviews of other Spanish wines see



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Montebuena Rioja 2009

I'll start this post by apologizing for my lack of activity in 2010. Due to some changes in my real job, 2010 left me very little time and energy for wine writing, but I'm pleased to say that 2011 is a new year that will have me writing regularly about wine once again.

Today's subject is a red wine from Spain's famous Rioja region. La Rioja is in North Central Spain and has been a leading wine region in that country for centuries. In fact wine has been made in the region since the time of the Roman Empire, and Rioja is the one region in Spain that has been known for quality more than quantity for centuries. I often find myself looking to other regions for values since Rioja is so well established, but every once in awhile I'm lucky enough to discover a great value in Rioja.

Many grapes are permitted by the D.O.C. in La Rioja, and you will see wines that range from 100% Tempranillo to wines that have varying amounts of Mazuelo (Carinena to much of the rest of Spain and Carignan in France), Graciano, and Garnacha depending on the winemaker and what part of Rioja the winery is in. There is also varying levels of oak that different Rioja's will see, which can really change the character of the wine. The Montebuena Rioja 2009 is 100% Tempranillo that brings a very nice medium red color in your glass. The nose brings a great combination of red and black fruit with some spice and a very mild floral element. On the palate you get delicious ripe fruit with just the right acidity and mild tannins. This wine brings incredible balance and depth for a bottle that can be easily found for under $10!

Overall this wine is a great value that drinks like a wine that costs two to three times as much. The acidity and the balance make this a very food friendly wine that will be quite versatile for pairing with many different foods. In fact that versatility makes it perfect for traditional Spanish tapas or small plates where you may be eating many different types of foods. This Montebuena Rioja will work beautifully with Paella, Jamon Serrano, Manchego cheese, Marcona almonds, and a nice mix of Spanish olives. With its great flavor, versatitlity and its incredible $10 price, this is a wine that you should buy by the case!