Familia Sanchez Tempranillo Blend

Familia Sanchez Tempranillo BlendI stopped by Wild Oats after dinner last nighttime to pick up some dessert to go.  I found some awesome looking chocolate chunk brownies and on the way home was thought “I need to open a nice bottle of red to delight in with these.”  So I got home and reviewed the selections on hand and pulled Familia Sanchez 2005 Tempranillo and Syrah from the rack.
After all this anticipation, I was utterly disappointed.  The brownies where excellent, but the wine… not so much.  I would call this another Trader Joe’s dud.  (I’ll save my “rant on Trader Joe’s” for another time.)
The nose on this wine is much more fascinating and enjoyable than the palate.  It has a complex floral, fruity, alcohol-y nose.  In fact, the aromas were just teasing and building me excited about tasting this wine.
And then, thud… the taste is small on fruit and off-balance with heavy tannins. The end is very long, but that length featured bitter tannins and weak, uninteresting fruit.
Just for the confirmation, I did taste this wine previous to diving into the tasty brownies.  So my palate was not skewed by the delectable chocolate-y sweetness.  The brownies were moist, and full of huge chunks of chocolate.  They get a huge thumbs up and I have to give a shout out to Dancing Deer Baking Companionship for making them.  Yummy!
Wine: Famila Sanchez
Varietal: Tempranillo & Syrah Blend
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 76

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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

Alice White Chardonnay

Alice White ChardonnayWell it’s back to the Chardonnay Challenge.  I subdue have a number of chardonnays to taste–and I haven’t even gotten to the naked chardonnay.  Sorry to the chardonnay haters out there, but I’ll get on to some additional varietals previous to too long.  I promise.
But for now, let’s check out Alice Colorless Chardonnay 2006.  Alice Colorless wines are from South Eastern Australia.  In general I’m amazed that there are low cost wines from Australia available in the US.  I would expect the shipping costs alone should drive up the fee such that they couldn’t be sold for below $10, but there are plenty of Australian value wine options out there.
The Alice Colorless Chardonnay is a nice set alight and pleasant chardonnay.  It’s not the best one I’ve had, but is is very enjoyable.  It has a predictable, yet pleasant nose.  Pineapple and vanilla flavors with a nice oaky fruitfulness.  I wouldn’t say it’s over-oaked, but those who don’t like oak won’t like this one.  I personnally don’t mind a bit of oak in my chardonnay and I reckon this wine has the appropriate amount.  It also has a honestly long end with a refreshing, crisp acidity.  The number came out to at $7.99, I’d call that a excellent deal.
This is a nice everyday chardonnay and would be excellent with fish.

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Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir

Alfredo Roca Pinot NoirThe Alfredo Roca winery resides in San Rafael, in the Mendoza province of Argentina. Their vineyards span 114 hectares and their winery was originally built in 1905.  And my exceptional math skills tell me that they’ve been producing wine for over 100 years.
This is another Pinot Noir for which I was given a glowing recommendation—the catch was that the recommendation came from a name tiresome to sell it to me.  It sounded fantastic, “an outstanding Pinot Noir for below $10!”  But, after tiresome it, I was disappointed and won’t be buying it again—nor will I be taking recommendations from the same person.The nose is simple but fragrant.  Leather, cherry and cedar is how I would describe it.  The aromas are rather pleasant.  The palate is where it lost me and I found it rather thin, acidic and bitter.  The fruit is certainly lacking.  There is a bit of cherry and raspberry, but it is quite underwhelming.  It also has a slightly metallic aftertaste.  It’s drinkable, but rather disappointing.
Wine: Alfredo Roca
Variety: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 82
Fee: $8.99

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