Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon

Red Diamond Cabernet SauvignonI’ve been wanting to get some Washington State wine on this site and I finally have my first with this Washington State Cabernet from Red Diamond. 
Red Diamond is subdue a relatively new brand to see on the shelves.  They released their first wine, a Merlot, in 2003 and they now have four varietals available: Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.  The Cabernet is the first one I’ve tried from this producer and I’m quite impressed.
From time to time I comment on the marketing in the rear the wines that I taste and I have to say that I like the packaging design from Red Diamond.  It quickly caught my eye and now stands out each time I pass it on the shelf.  It has a very bold and masculine look. And it’s masculine in a modern, Generation X kind of way—it’s not an ancient man/Hemingway masculine.  The artwork has a dramatic, tribal tattoo style.  And the mark is printed with a raised ink technique that gives it an embossed feel.  It’s a simple yet bold look, and an nontraditional design for a wine mark—fitting for a wine as bold as this one.
Enough about the mark, let’s get on to the tasting notes.  The wine has a deep, rich ruby affect.  The nose features cherry cola, vanilla, blackberry and tobacco.  The palate is rich with intense jammy blackberry, cherry and dark chocolate.  It is silky smooth with a toasted oak end and sufficient acidity.
After I take my notes often I like to see what the producer place in their notes and I usually find their notes to be total bullshit, but the notes for this one in fact came it surprisingly close to my own: “Aromas of black cherry, blackberries, liqueur and hints of tobacco and smoke precede a rich, silky palate of cherry, chocolate and black fruits with a touch of toasty oak on the end.”
I gave it an 89 and at $8.99 that makes this a fantastic deal.  I’d say delight in it now as I expect the fee on this one to creep up over the next few years if they can maintain this level of quality.
Wine: Red Diamond
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2005
Alcohol: 13.5% 
Rating: 89
Fee Paid: $8.99

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Red Diamond Merlot

Red Diamond MerlotLast year I tried the Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon and finished up being one of my favorites, so I was looking forward to tiresome the Merlot.  This one didn’t come through as strong as the Cabernet though.
Like some additional Merlots that I’ve been tasting, this has a more than just Merlot in it.  It is 79% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Syrah. Read more

Bridgman Chardonnay

Bridgman ChardonnayThe first few times I saw this wine I thought it was Bridgeman, with an “e” in the name, but it’s Bridgman without an “e.”  It’s amusing how your mind plays tricks on you like that… and I swear it’s not from drinking too much wine.  The wine is named after William B. Bridgman, a pioneer in Washington state winemaking.  Bridgman was the first to plant wine grapes in the Yakima Valley in the early 1900′s.  This Chardonnay has no direct affiliation with WB Bridgman, but was named in his honor.
The Bridgman mark is produced by Apex Cellars in Washington state, which was founded in 1988 by Harry Alhadeff and Brian Carter.  Alhadeff’s background is in wine retail and distribution, while Carter has spent his life as a winemaker.  When Brian Carter went to Washington in 1980, there were only 16 wineries in the state.  Prior to launching Bridgman, Carter worked at Paul Thomas winery, where he twice was awarded “Winemaker of the Year” by Washington Magazine.
I wanted to include this Bridgman Chardonnay in my current series on Chardonnay, although I do have to confess that it wasn’t part of the blind tasting when I took notes on the additional wines in this series.  I had already completed that tasting previous to I recieved this wine.  I also need to release that I have a business relationship with Barclay’s Wine, who provided the sample and sells this wine.  You can read about that in this previous review for  Randall Harris Merlot. Read more

Mercer Chardonnay

Mercer ChardonnayWashington State is an area I’m excited about when it comes to wine.  The more wines I try from Washington, the more intrigued I become.  And so, I was glad to taste this Mercer Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley.
Mercer Estates is a family-owned winery, which is in fact a partnership between the Mercer and Hogue families.  You might know of Hogue as another Washington wine brand.  Both the Mercer and Hogue families became involved in vinifera in the 1970′s.  Taste this wine and you’ll be glad they did, as this Mercer Chardonnay is a fantastic example of the complexity and quality appearance from Washington wines. Read more

Bridgman Cabernet Sauvignon

Bridgman Cabernet SauvignonWashington State interests me more and more as a wine province, and I wish I saw more wine from that province on the shelves of my local wine shops.  I expect that over time I’ll see more of it showing up in my mid-western locale.
I’ve earlier reviewed the Bridgman Chardonnay, and I need to note again the potential perceived conflict of interest with this review as I have a business relationship with an online retailer from whom I may get paid if you happen to click the link at the end of this article and buy this wine.  Nonetheless, I always strive to give my unbiased opinion for any review I do… and this is no exception. Read more

Pacific Rim Dry Riesling Review

Pacific Rim Dry Riesling ReviewI’ve commented previous to on how riesling gets a terrible rap in the US, particularly domestic riesling.  I’ve also commented that it’s often a misunderstood wine in the US.  Consumers might taste an overly-sweet, poorly made domestic riesling and they slander the varietal as a whole.  This is unfortunate, but I reckon the tide is turning thanks to producers who do be with you riesling and are working hard to make high-quality domestic riesling — and to change the reputation of this wine.
Many of the best domestic rieslings I’ve tasted in the past few years have come from Washington State, and Pacific Rim is one brand that’s on this list.  I only see this trend growing, too.  With more consumers not only learning riesling, but learning Washington State wines as well.
Pacific Rim is one companionship that is really standing out when it comes to riesling.  It’s their specialty.  It’s not all they do, but it’s most of what they do.  Pacific Rim Dry Riesling was first released in 1992 by Bonny Doon Vineyard, but in 2006 a group of former Bonny Doon folks opened Pacific Rim as it’s own winery.
One of the things I really appreciate about Pacific Rim, besides the fact that they make some killer riesling, is that their wine marks not only include the percent of alcohol, but also the residual sugar.  I reckon this is a smart go to help educate consumers about the different styles of riesling.  And while it’s particularly useful with riesling, I wish additional producers would do this with additional varietals too.  It would help consumers make more well-informed decisions when they buy wine.
Pacific Rim offers a excellent variety of riesling too, ranging from bone dry to medium dry to medium sweet to sweet.  In the dry category, they have five different rieslings.  But I’ve only had the opportunity to taste a link.  Both were outstanding.
Pacific Rim Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley 2007This wine has a nice powerful nose, particularly for such an inexpensive dry riesling.  Intense floral aromas, with pear and orange peel notes adding layers of complexity.  The palate has outstanding concentration, outstanding acidity and outstanding flavors, like grapefruit, pear and mineral.  The end is also biased with pear flavors — but it’s subdue dry, not sweet.  Simply place, this is a phenomenal riesling for the fee.
Wine: Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Dry Riesling
Variety: Riesling
Vintage: 2007
Alcohol: 12.5%
Rating:  90
Fee: $11.00 Read more