Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux 2008

This bottle was introduced to us by a good friend who is Dutch and a trained European Chef, Price Unknown.

Aaron:  While my tastes have become accustomed to the fruity, savory flavors of California wines I was excited to try this bordeaux.  It paired nicely with the lamb that we were eating at the time however I probably wouldn’t drink this as a standalone wine.  The nose was very broad with earthy tones, so I was slightly mislead because the flavor was thin and lacked body.  Also notable, I did not get a lot of grape flavors, though I definitely noticed berries.  Interestingly, the flavor did not resemble ripe berries, which gave a slight tartness to the second or third sip.  Overall, this probably could use another year or two of aging to develop some more complexity, however if you want to impress a wine snob, show up with a nice bordeaux, works every time!  80 points

Teri: I always remember Bordeaux as rich and earthy and this one fits the bill. The flavor has nice layers to it giving your taste buds flavors of red fruits first followed by musky and earthy nodes. With no hint of sweetness, this bottle would accompany a variety of savory meals adding to the complexity of the food. I normally lean towards fruitier flavors of California wines but this bottle was a great change. 75 points

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Wilson Creek Almond Champagne

Bottle can be purchased from most wine and spirits retailers, $15-17
 
Teri: This is a classic favorite for most women. The champagne is easy to drink with a crisp dry forward flavor and a sweet almond taste. Pop open a bottle for special occasions, pair with dessert, or just for personal enjoyment. Bring this to a party or give it as a gift. This bottle is extremely versatile. 93 points

Aaron:  This is a chick drink, so it tastes pretty good.  If you want to win points with a nice girl, use this.  The flavor is sweet, yes there is an almond hint, but if you don’t like almonds, don’t be turned away.  The bubbles are nice and the glass goes down smoothly.  I would highly recommend this for people who aren’t ready for a Brut but still want that romantic atmosphere.  89 points

Running with Scissors Pinot Noir 2008

Purchased from Total Wine and More, $8-10, commonly also found in other wine and grocery stores.

Teri: I am a huge fan of Pinot Noir but was not impressed at all with this wine. The smell was very bland with only slight hints of strawberry and red fruits. The taste carried notes of vanilla, strawberry and raspberry but contained too much of a pepper for my taste buds. 70 points

Aaron: Do not buy this wine.  Teri is too nice; this wine was horrible! The nose left me wanting more of anything, I felt like I was smelling water.  Teri claims that there were hints of fruits and other pleasantries in the flavor … that’s just not correct.  This was peppery and spicy and unpleasant.  My rating is generous.

60 points

Autumn Flight Barbera 2010

Bottle purchased from J&J Cellars in Paso Robles, $10 bottle or $60 case

Teri: This bottle is produced by J&J Cellars in Paso Robles and features barbera varietal, a grape commonly used for blending especially in Chianti. This was the first time I had tried a barbera and the taste was quite distinct. This wine carries a distinct cranberry flavor with a nice even rich taste and a hint of spice. The flavor would pair well with red pastas, spicy dishes, and savory meals.  Being an inexpensive varietal, we ended up purchasing a case to have as a nice daily wine and to share with friends. Everyone we have shared this bottle with has liked and enjoyed it. 87 points

Aaron: When we first tasted this, we were pretty impressed at the drinkability for the price.  We recently tried two bottles from a case we had bought and noticed that there were some dissimilarities.  The first bottle had a strong sense of cranberry throughout.  Overall, that was the prominent flavor and made the wine tangy. When we opened the second bottle a few days later, there was no cranberry flavor, but luscious red fruits that permeated a sweet, savory flavor.  There was certainly more complexity in this second bottle and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  The key to this wine is its flexibility; I could easily pair this with most meat and chicken dishes and not make anyone mad – that’s important when serving large parties.  So my verdict: this is perfect for dinner parties, especially if you have a large crowd and need a reasonably priced, satisfying bottle that will keep everyone happy. 88 points

B&E Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2008


Bottle purchased from B&E Tasting room in Paso Robles, CA,  $30

Teri: B&E Vineyard is a wonderful and friendly small family owned winery in the Paso Robles area. Driving out to the location is scenic and takes you through the rows of vine to the top of a hill where their tasting room is a small wooden saloon style building. This bottle wasn’t on the tasting list but due to some circumstantial luck we happened to be there at the same time as a family friend and this bottle was opened. I was hooked from the first sip. The flavor was full and it contained a nice soft finish with smooth tannins. If you are ever in the Paso Robles area stop by this tasting room and get pampered by the friendly hospitality and great tasting wines. 88 points

Aaron: I greatly enjoyed this merlot.  It was fuller than I expected and had thick fruit flavors with a gentle finish.  I admit that I might have been swept off my feet a little by the tasting room coordinator who definitely sold this vintage up, but it was worth it.  86 points

B&E Vineyard Contact Info

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Wine Help for the Everyday Person