Cellar Notes | WYPR

Cellar Notes

Wednesday at 4:44 pm and Friday at 5:44 pm

Al Spoler and Hugh Sisson discuss their favorite wines, beers and spirits on Cellar Notes.  Cellar Notes is sponsored by Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.

Archive Prior to 2014

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Jeff Cohn Cellars - A new premium operation from California, featuring superbly sourced fruit.

Jeff Cohn "Smoke & Mirrors", California '13  *1/2 $
(Inspired by Cotes du Rhone, blend of big reds)

Jeff Cohn "The First Date", Napa Valley '12  **  $$
(Inspired by white Rhone blend of marsanne and rousanne)

Jeff Cohn "The Impostor", California '12  **1/2  $$
(Big red blend with a touch of viognier that ties it all together)

Jeff Cohn Grenache "El Diablo"h  Russian River Valley *** $$$
(Limited production, superb California take on grenache)

Jeff Cohn Zinfandel, Cassata Vineyard, Sonoma Valley '12 *** $$
(First class zinfandel, deep concentration, big and expressive)

Jeff Cohn Syrah "So Serene" Rockpile Vineyard '12 *** $$
(A superb interpretation of syrah, complex, refined, powerful)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Bogle Pinot Noir, California '12  *1/2  $
(Pinot noir as an everyday red, good price, decent flavors)

Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon, California **  $
(Very informal, work-a-day Cab Sauv, mild tannin, big flavor)

Bogle "Old Vines" Zinfandel, California '12 ** $
(How can you get zin this good for this price?  Polished, very tasty)

Bogle "Essential Red" blend, California '13  ** $
(Rhone blend inspired, California flavors, big, complex and so tasty)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Kendall-Jackson Pinot Gris, "Vintner's Reserve", California '13  *1/2  $
(Well blended PG with good melon, peach, mango flavors)

La Crema Pinot Noir,  Willamette Valley '12 **1/2 $$
(Greatly improved from 6 months ago, very complex and delicious)

Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley '12 ** $$    
(Dynamic, finesse, rich and creamy, perfect for lobster)

Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley *** $$
(Deeply flavored, opulent and rich, nice oak and cedar notes)

Stonestreet Cabernet Suavignon "Rockfall", Alexander Valley '10 *** $$$$
(Very expensive, but worth it; powerful concentrated)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Monte Antico, Toscano I.G.T '10  * 1/2
(Chianti wannabe, well balanced with lovely fresh fruit)

Boordy Vineyards Petit Cabernet, Maryland '13 **  $
(Great flowing flavors, surprising depth, perfect for spring picnics)

Lan Rioja Riserva, Rioja '08    ** $
(Good alone, better with food, very pretty aromas and flavors)

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   ****= elite

Chateau Coustaut, white Graves '13  **  $
(Mouthwatering flavors, with 40% semillon)

Chateau Haut Dambert, white Rentr-deux-mers '14  *1/2  $
(Inexpensive French sauvignon blanc, crisp, floral, touch of mint)

Chateau Lauduc, red Bordeaux Supérieur '12 **  $
(Great value for a fairly serious Bordeaux, round, lush merlot)

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   ****= elite

Broadbent Vinho Verde Portugal NV  *1/2  $
(Totally charming, very light, sparkling, perfect for spring)

Husch Chenin Blanc, Mendocino '13  **  $
(A little off-dry, perfect for spicy Thai or Moroccan food)

Les Fosses d'Hareng Vouvray '12 **  $
(Perfect daffodil wine, slightly sweet, very fruity, with mineral notes)

Ruffino Orvietto Classico '13  **  $
(Light, round, supple and loaded with flavor, fresh as a daisy)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent   ** = very good   *** = superb   **** = elite

Knob Hall Vidal 2013 **
(Full flavored crisp white, think Chablis.)

Boordy Vidal, "Off-Dry" 2013 **
(Smells like viognier, drinks like a Vouvray.)

Crow Vineyards Vidal Blanc 2013 **1/2
(Intense, classy, drinks a lot like a Spanish Rueda.)

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent   ** = very good   *** = superb   ****= elite

Anew Riesling, Columbia Valley 2012  *1/2  $
(Terrific value in crisp, flavorful riesling.)

Acrobat Pinot Gris, Oregon, 2013 *1/2  $
(Good value in good honest Pinot Gris.)

Acrobat Pinot Noir, Oregon, 2013 *1/2  $
(Good value for light, fresh, soft Pinot Noir.)

Taken Wine Co. "Complicated" Chardonnay, Sonoma **  $
(A decidedly good value in full flavored classic Cal-Chard.)

Round Pond Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa 2012  ***  $$$
(Pricey, but really worth it:  great classic Napa Cab.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent   ** = very good   *** = superb   ****= elite

Breca "Old Vines" Garnachia,  Calatayud 2011  **1/2 $
(Great value for a wild and wonderful Spanish red.)

Scala Dei "Negre" Priorat 2012  **1/2  $$
(A very good entry level wine from an important wine region.)

Gregory Perez "Brezo", Mencia, El Bierzo 2012 **1/2  $
(A very dynamic, lively medium bodied red with personality.)

Buil & Giné "17.XI" Montsant 2011  **1/2   $$
(Great region for value, sweet dark and lush red with lots of garnachia.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.  

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Villa M Rosso (Brachetto) 2013 *1/2 $
(A light, spirited wine with a fun-loving personality.)

Pioiero Arneis "Cascina Pioiero"  2013  ** $$
(A light, delicate white with floral notes and crisp acidity.)

Palladino Barbera d'Alba Superiore DOC 2012  **  $
(A dry, lean wine that opens up amazingly with food.)

Palladino Nebbiolo d'Alba 2011  **1/2  $$
(Like junior varsity Barolo:  fragrance of rose petals, earthy flavors.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Castiglion del Bosco Chardonnay '12   *1/2  $$
(Crisp, nutty white with considerable interest...an Italian chardonnay!)

Castiglion del Bosco "Dainero" 2010 **  $
(Merlot, Sangiovese, a good value in a well-structured Italian red.)

Castiglion Rosso di Montalcino 2009 *1/2 $$
(Decent wine, but pales in comparison to the Brunellos.)

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Menhir Albanegra, Rosso Salento IGP 2012  ** $$
(Cotes du Rhone meets Zinfandel in Italy.)

Jean Royer "Le Petit Roy", Southern France, NV **1/2  $$    
(Deliberately a mystery wine, rustic, old-fashioned, yummy.)

"The Cleaver" Red Blend, California 2012 **  $
(Big classic Cal blend, perfect for Sunday roast.)

Quinta do Alqueve, Tradicion, Tejo Portougal 2009 **  $
(Vibrant, medium-bodied very food friendly.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Byron Vineyards Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley '12 **1/2  $$
(Stylish, elegant light and supple)

Wind Racer Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley '11  **1/2  $$
(medium bodied, understated and elegant)

La Crema Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley '12 **1/2 $$
(A new Oregon offering from a very good pinot producer)

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Michael David "Pette Petite" Petite Sirah, Lodi 2011 **1/2 $$
(Big, jammy Shiraz look-alike)

Marietta Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley 2009 ** $$
(Informal, personality-laden big red)

J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah, Paso Robles 2011 **1/2 $$
(A very refined, complex, elegant big red)

Earthquake Petite Sirah, Lodi 2012 **1/2 $$
(Blockbuster style, tons of fruit)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Chateau Mont Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape '10 *** $$$
(Ultra smooth and refined, pricey but worth it)

Chateau Mont Redon Cotes du Rhone '11  ** $
(Grenache dominated, refined CDR)

Domaine Galevan Chateauneuf-du-Pape '11 *** $$$
(Dense, well structured, magnificent)

Domaine Galevan Cotes du Rhone "Paroles des Femmes" '11 **1/2 $
(Dynamic, rustic up-front fruit, very classy, great value)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Ports - 2/4/15

Feb 4, 2015

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Fonseca Ruby Port ** $
(Delicious, sweet, lighter bodied, supple)

Taylor-Fladgate LBV Porto 2008 *** $$
(Fabulous value, with  tons of flavor and complexity)

Taylor-Fladgate First Estate Reserve Porto *** $$
(A "reserve" ruby, with more depth and complexity)

Graham's Six Great Reserve Porto **1/2 $$
(A very reliable and familiar brand)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Rodney Strong  Zinfandel Knotty Vines", Sonoma '12 ***  $
(A very strong effort with tons of flavor)

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley '12 **1/2 $
(Good Alex Valley cab, with good fruit)

Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Chalk Hill '13 **1/2 $
(Terrific value in chard from a prestigious appellation)

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc "Charlotte Home" '13 *1/2 $
(Fruity melon style)

Rodney Strong Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley '12 ** $$    
(Good representative pinot from a strong appellation)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Old Westminster "Greenstone" '13  white blend ** $$
(Drinks like an Albarino)

Sugarloaf Mountain Reserve Chardonnay '13 *** $$
(Uncanny resemblance to Puligny-Montrachet)

Big Cork Viognier '13 *1/2 $
(Bone dry approach to this popular grape)

Linganore Redskins Reserve  Red Blend '12 *1/2 $
(Pizza wine par excellence)

Old Westminster Channery Hill Red Blend '12 **1/2  $$
(Lucious merlot dominated blend)

Basignani Lorenzino Red Blend '08 **1/2  $$
(Classic Boredeaux style)

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Chapoutier "La Ciboise" Luberon Blanc '13 ** $
(Super value in delicious Rhone white; fresh and fruity.)

Chapoutier "La Ciboise" Luberon Rouge "12 **1/2  $
(A running mate with the blanc, superb value in CDR style wine.)

Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Petit Ruche Rouge '12  **1/2  $$
(One of the best C-H's you'll find, made in a stylish and generous manner.)

 The Whites:

Keuntz Bas Alsace Blanc  ** $    
(Dry, light, supple with fresh slightly woodsy notes.)

Martinsancho Rueda Verdejo  ***  $
(A wine of great classiness, ultra-smooth, rich, food friendly.)

West Cape Howe Unwooded Chardonnay  **1/2  $
(No oak?  Really?  It tastes so lush and rich, it's hard to believe.

Ecole No. 41 Semillon  ** 1/2  $        
(Thank goodness someone is still doing semillon:  delicious!)

Delas Cotes du Rhone "St. Esprit" Rouge '12 ** $
(An unusual reverse blend of 90% syrah and 10 % grenache.)

Delas Ventoux Rouge '13 ** $
(Another syrah-grenache blend, with fresh dark berry flavors.)

Delas Croze-Hermitage "Les Launes" Rouge '10 **1/2 $$
(An exceptionally good Croze, much better than most, at a good price.)

Delas St. Joesph "Sainte-Epine" Rouge '11 **1/2 $$
(Very good wine from a small but important appelation.)

Delas Hermitage "Les Bessards" '11 *** $$$$
(Very pricy, but monumental.  A wine to keep for years and years.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Gruet Blanc de Noir *1/2  $  
(Surprise value from New Mexico!)

Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi  ** $  
(A touch of muscat makes for a lucious bubbly.)

St. Hillaire Blanquette de Limoux ** $
(Tremendous value at the price.)

Clara C Fiore Rosé Prosecco ** $
(Lovely rosé, easy drinking, and classy.)

• Unoaked Chardonnay:  Chamisal Chardonnay, Central Coast '12  $17

• Chardonnay:  Jordan Chardonnay, Russian River Valley '11  $31

• Bargain Cab Sauv:  Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa '11   $20

• Splurge Cab Sauv:  Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon '11  $50

• Bargain Pinot Noir:  Meiomi Pinot Noir, Sonoma '12  $19

• Splurge Pinot Noir:  Belle Glos, Monterey '12   $46

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Chateau De Jacques Moulin a Vent '11 **1/2 $$
(Brilliant wine from Beaujolais's most distinguished village.)

Chateau de Jacques Morgon '09 **  $$
(Beaujolais's biggest cru wine, a very fruity, mature wine.)

Domaine Franck Besson "Note Blanche" '11 ** $$
(Very rare white Beaujolais, closely related to the standard red version.)

Les Freres Perraud Brouilly, "Vielle Vignes" **1/2 $$
(Tons of bright fruit, cherry and strawberry, great balance and depth.)

Domaine de la Bonne Tonne, Morgon '11  **1/2  $$
(As close to strawberry wine as you can come, informal and delicious.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Merlot - 12/3/14

Dec 3, 2014

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Matanzas Creek Merlot, Bennett Valley 2007  * $$
(Well-made, but underwhelming; fails to impress.)

Cline Estate Merlot, Sonoma Coast 2012 **  $
(Well-made, and captivating, a very good entry level merlot with aspirations.)

Sterling Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley 2011 **1/2  $$
(Allow one hour for breathing;  intriguing, tasty, likeable.)

Cameron Hughes Lot 356 Merlot, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County 2010 ***  $$
(A superb merlot, bursting with exotic aromas and flavors.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Trimbach Riesling (yellow label) 2011 *** $$
(Just a superb Alsatian riesling at a very good price.)

Trimbach Pinot Gris "Vendage Tardive" 2000 *** $$$
(Current release of this great dessert wine, amazingly concentrated.)

Trimbach Pinot Gris "Reserve" 2011 ** $
(Very good price for a reserve quality pinot gris; try with lobster.)

Trimbach Pinot Blanc (yellow label) 2011  ** $
(Light, delicate but complex pinot blanc with real character.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Here's a shopping list for very good Thanksgiving dinner wine choices:

Best sellers:  Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling and Gewurtztraminer  less than $10.

Same idea, only classic:  Trimbach Gewurtztraminer, 2011

Schloss Vollrads Riesling Spatlese, 2012

Two Pinot Noirs:  Meiomi Pinot Noir, North Coast 2013

La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2012

Al's Favorite, Zinfandel:  Kenwood Jack London Zinfandel, Sonoma Mountain 2011

Ravenswood County Designated Zinfandels (Lodi, Napa, Sonoma)

Fritz Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2012

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Franciscan"Equilibrium" White Blend, Napa, 2013 * 1/2 $$
(An interesting blend of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and muscat.)

Franciscan Chardonnay, Napa, 2012 ** $
(Super value in classic Napa Valley chard.)

Franciscan Chardonnay "Cuvée Sauvage" Napa/Carneros 2012 **1/2 $$
(Pricey but worth it, made with wild yeast fermentation.)

Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa 2012 **1/2  $$
(A very consistent winner, everything you could ask for in a good cab.)

Franciscan "Magnificat" Meritage, Napa 2011 *** $$$
(A true reserve quality cab blend with great complexity, texture.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Taltarni Taché Sparkling Wine, Victoria  *1/2  $
(Bone dry rosé sparkler with good flavor.)

Taltarni Three Monks, Victoria 2011 ** $
(Very nice cab/merlot blend for near-term drinking.)

Taltarni Three Monks Fumé Blanc, Victoria 2011 ** $
(Good value in a very meaty, full throated sauvignon blanc.)

Taltarni "T Series" Shiraz, Victoria 2006  **1/2  $
(Super value in a very nice shiraz that is fully mature.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = good decent wine  ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine

Bonterra Viognier, Mendocino 2011 * $
(Simple, lightweight vigonier.)

McManis Viognier, California 2012 ** $
(Very good entry level viognier, true to form and affordable at $12.)

The White Knight Viognier, Clarksburg 2013 **1/2  $
(Very well made viognier at a very reasonable price.)

Desert Wind Viognier, Columbia Valley, Washington 2011 *** $$
(Very classy, very refined, very well made.  An excellent wine.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Wine World.

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