Nelson Hill Winery
We picked up this bottle from a local market in Mendocino, $17.99
Aaron: A nice fruity smell coats ferns on the nose of this pinot. There’s great flavor which is full of nuts and fruits but my favorite part was a spicy pop which was surprisingly pleasant and provided the perfect contrast. I really liked this. 91 points
Teri: After 8 years in the bottle, this wine had a great medium body with firm but smooth flavors. Berries on the nose yield way to a medium body of blueberry, cherry, and vanilla flavor with just a hint of spice on the finish. The color of this wine was also quite notable: a beautiful cherry color. 89 points
Purchasing details unknown.
Aaron: I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle. Some leaves and oak on the nose weren’t overpowering and generally this had a light smell. The best way I can describe the flavor is subtle. It’s a little light but very smooth with some oak and spice complemented by mild fruits. It was certainly complex but much calmer than I expected for a malbec and would make a good transition bottle for those who are becoming a little more adventurous in their wine drinking. 92 points
Teri: The Malbec delivers a burst of flavor then smooths out to velvety flavors of light oak, raspberry and pepper. A long and soft finish pairs well with its dark cherry smell. As with most Malbec flavors, the spice sits on the finish and this one lingers pleasantly. 90 points
Purchased from the Daniel Gehrs tasting room in Los Olivos, CA.
Aaron: Teri loved it, I didn’t – to be fair she likes port more than I do so if you’re into them also be sure to read her thoughts. I felt this had a light smell for a port featuring more prunes than raisins. The taste was completely flipped with tons of raisins and a hint of cocoa in the background. I felt it was a little sharp but this might be due to a colder-than-perfect serving temperature. 84 points
Teri: This was one of the first ports I fell in love with. It carries strong raisin flavors that pair well with the fortified nature of the port. With a smooth warm finish and a hint of coco, this port is a beautiful dark color and is perfect when warmed in your hand through a port sipper. 90 points
Cost Plus World Market, $21.99 (Sale $15.99)
2007 Vintage earned 98 points, Double Gold in the 2012 California State Fair Wine Competition.
Aaron: Buy this wine! The nose was tangy with raspberry, plum and pine nuts, but was not predicative of the taste at all. The flavor was rich and jammy with tons of chocolate. It sat like silk in the mouth and finished with a velvety swallow and only a slight bite. The rich and creamy chocolate flavors overpowered the berries but this was really a great bottle. 93 points
Teri: This is the best wine I have ever tasted from Lodi (which produces some great bottles). Starting with a great mild smell of dark fruits and chocolate, the flavor follows (rich and jammy) with plum raspberry and coco. The entire experience is silky smooth and full of flavor. We decanted this bottle for about 4 hours which added to the creamy like flavors. This wine is bold enough to stand up to strong grilled meats and strong flavored meals but also great enough to be enjoyed alone. 94 points
Purchased from The Bistro (Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Wine Company) in Prescott, AZ for $9.00
Aaron: Awesome. Just awesome. In case you didn’t hear me, THIS WINE IS AWESOME! I was so happy with the overall package from this wine and recommend it to anyone who’s interested in a little adventure and definitely all those who love big wines. I admit, when we bought this, I was just looking for any petite sirah and was excited to try a reasonably aged vintage. What blew my mind was the mix of Viognier with the big reds that make this a true “hybrid”. I don’t know how they came up with this, but they earned points \in my book. The pepper on the nose was quickly replaced with raspberry and cherry which was very pleasant. However the real kicker was the smooth flavor, which was literally something to write home about. Hints of mocha with cherry and black currant weave across the palate creating a powerful taste but are complemented by a perfectly mellow finish. If you can find this … buy it! 95 points
Teri: This is a great concept made into a fantastic bottle. 75% petite Sirah, 15% Syrah, 10% Viognier makes a well rounded full red with full and super smooth tannins. This bottle carries the great Lodi characteristics of full zins but the 10% of the white Viognier blends nicely to take out any harsh bite associated with the full bodies petite sirah grape. Dark plum on the smell and lots of full flavors of black currant and spice! 93 points