Starret Merlot 2014

Starret MerlotLot 18/The Tasting Room, $16/bottle

Aaron:  This was a good middle-of-the-road bottle for me but nothing to go bonkers for.  The smoked burgundy and blackberry smell also featured a hint of jasmine.  I enjoyed the medium-full body with a little bitter strawberry, rose petals, and cherry rounding out the palate.  89 points.

Teri: This merlot has flavors of mellow juniper berry with a leafy finish. Mild bitter oak melts away to smooth tannins on the finish and a velvety mouth feel. Easy to drink and not too complex. Overall, very approachable. 88 points 

Rancho Alexander Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Alexander Valley

Rancho Alexander Sauvignon BlancLot 18/The Tasting Room, $10.99

Aaron:  In general this was not what I expected.  My review might be biased because I grabbed this wanting a light, crisp, refreshing bottle (figured a Sav Blanc was a good bet) and what I got was a much fuller bodied, chard-like wine.  The nose was dull and rocky, not very appealing and the flavor was medium-light but not crisp at all.  Limited fruit flavors with only some unripened nectarine.  Mostly cream and butter; it was good but not what I expected.  88 points

Teri: Another one of our first shipments from Lot 18, with mixed reviews on the first few bottles we tried. This Sauvignon Blanc from the Alexander Valley of Somona carried a smell full of citric acid along with classic dry white wine characteristics. I tasted flavors of light lemon, asparagus, and almond. A beautiful light finish makes this bottle very easy to drink but not overly complex. I give it 87 points for a good easy to drink bottle without overpowering flavor.

Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Frei Brothers Reserve Cab Sav 2011Total Wine & More, $18.99 BevMo, $19.99 Purchased from Safeway – Retail, $25.99 (sale $14.99)

Aaron: Cherry and oak on the nose danced with some burnt amber and led to a nice smooth flavor.  A small bite on the back left of the tongue was distinct and noticeable, leaving an almost tomato remnant.  The blackberry and tree bark made this nice and well rounded. 90 points

Teri: In this glass this is a deep ruby color with a vanilla and dark cherry  nose. I tasted supple spice throughout and undertones of oak. Dark strawberries and juniper add to the medium body flavor with noticeable but semi-smooth tannins on the finish. Very well rounded and a good blend of fruit and oak. 90 points 

Oeno Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Received from Plonk Wine Club: about $20 Oeno Cab Sauv 2012

Aaron:  Subtle cinnamon and dark fruits hid behind tall oaks on the nose.  This cab has a great mouth-feel with is full but not thick.  It’s tart enough to not seem like juice but is not unpleasant.  A bit more aging would do it justice to take away some of the sharpness and round out the flavors.  Definitely a smoking tobacco pipe flavor with some woods dominating any fruit notes.  While not my favorite I felt this wasn’t bad but more important, feel many trained wine nerds would like it.  87 points

Teri: Oeno makes a full flavored cab with medium tannins that are noticeable but sit nicely on the palate. The full, dark raspberry smell mirrors the fruit forward flavor on the wine that transitions into a finish of strawberries and oak. This bottle would pair well with ribs and skirt steak and stand up to a variety of flavorful dishes. Made in small quantities, this bottle is sure to go fast. 90 points