Laphroaig 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch

Everyone knows Laphroaig is famous for bold taste and high quality. This 18 year old Islay single malt scotch is no different. Unlike the quarter cask it’s much smoother, but still has that distinct Laphroaig taste. If you are looking for boldness and smoothness at the same time, look no further than this 96 proof bottle of deliciousness. The taste is sweet, spicy, oaky and very mature. This scotch is almost creamy yet somehow crisp. I really don’t know how they do it.

Excellent bottle for it's bold yet smooth taste.

Excellent bottle for it's bold yet smooth taste.

1805 Columbia Valley Merlot Vinted 2009

This is a reasonably decent merlot, 2009 vintage from the 1805  brand of Washington State. It’s grapes are grown in Columbia Valley and the brand name 1805 refers to the year Lewis and Clark discovered Washington’s Columbia River Valley. The wine itself is pretty decent. I’m not the biggest merlot fan, but I enjoyed sipping away with some food. There were deep flavors, it’s a very concentrated wine. I could taste blueberries and sweet cherry with other fruit flavors and aromas. Coming from the Oasis Vineyard the grapes come from vines that are over 20 years old. The wine was pretty cheap at about $13.

This is a cheap yet fun merlot. If you like merlot and want a cheap one that is enjoyable, try this out.

This is a cheap yet fun merlot. If you like merlot and want a cheap one that is enjoyable, try this out.

Foppiano Estate Petite Sirah 2008

I just finished taste testing this Russian River valley wine. Honestly it was just OK. For $19.49 this wine is a bit overpriced, not because $19.49 is a lot of money, but because I felt like I got about $12 worth of quality. I would steer clear of this wine unless you really want a petite sirah and your choices are limited. It wasn’t bad by any means. You will find hints of spices, flowers, blueberry, sour cherry, cinnamon and vanilla. It’s a smooth wine, but it just didn’t deliver a $19.49 performance in my opinion.

A Russian River valley wine that disappointed me.

A Russian River valley wine that disappointed me.

Sebastiani Sonoma Chardonnay 2009

What a great refreshing Chardonnay. If it’s a warm summer night and you just want to chill out and enjoy yourself, this is a great choice. This 2009 elixir has a smooth elegance and abundant orchard fruit flavors. Hailing from Sonoma County it displays unconventional citrus, mineral and slight acidity that you don’t normally see. It has a very subdued oak taste and a perfect texture to create a well balanced and delicious Chardonnay that won’t break the bank. This wine came in at just $12.99 at the time of purchase.

Balanced yet complex smooth refreshing drink.

Balanced yet complex smooth refreshing drink.

Roederer Estate Brut

This non-vintage sparkling wine comes in at about $20 when purchased locally. I really prefer a Brut to any other kind of sparkling wine or champagne. This particular sparkling wine really exemplifies the crisp dryness of a quality brut. While it’s not nearly as good as Veuve Clicquot, which is my all time favorite non-vintage bubbly, it’s a good choice for ballin on a budget as it’s simple, enjoyable and refreshing.

Like other other quality sparkling wines it’s blended with oak-aged reserve wines for one to three years. The grapes are grown in Anderson Valley. Look out for a rich bold flavor, very crisp, dry, spice, cinnamon and apple aromas.

A good non-vintage sparkling wine.

A good non-vintage sparkling wine.

The Glenrothes 1994 Vintage

I purchased this speyside single malt scotch for $71 US dollars at my local liquor store in 2012. The unconventional bottle caught my attention and I wanted to be adventurous so I gave this 18 year old drink a shot. Surprisingly I found this scotch whiskey to be very average in it’s class, nothing particularly special about it. Don’t get me wrong, it was great in terms of being a smooth finish and crisp dry. The aftertaste is pleasant and it’s a very gentle drink.

Beyond being a little bit cheaper than most 18 year old scotches, it was really unremarkable when compared with the other common scotches around this price point. If you want a good scotch and this is available, grab it. It will be a great scotch. However if you want to be adventurous, there is no adventure to be found here. The bottle is different, but the scotch isn’t.

A solid speyside single malt scotch, but nothing special within it's class.

A solid speyside single malt scotch, but nothing special within it's class.

Joel Gott 2009 Zinfandel

This inexpensive zinfandel will run you about $15. It’s not a bad choice for a dinner involving red meat, or if you just want some table wine. It’s not really remarkable, but I found it enjoyable. There is lots of taste of sweet cherries, plums and berries. I think there may be a hint of vanilla and it’s pretty warm. This wine is very soft on the palate and has a berry finish. It’s pretty dry for your average zin and it’s very drinkable. I don’t think I would buy it again, but it wasn’t bad.

An unremarkable zinfandel from California.

An unremarkable zinfandel from California.

Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2006

According to the winery this particular Spanish Red is aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels. This wine is made in La Rioja, Spain from Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano grapes from the 2006 harvest. Nice cherry color and lots of aroma and a smooth finish. It’s a very cheap wine at just $12.79 at the time of purchase in 2012, but I would rate it up there with some of the $18 and $20 bottles of the region. I think it’s a good buy and you should drink it upon purchase. I was unable to see a benefit from decanting.

A tasty wine at a $12.79 US dollar price point.

A tasty wine at a $12.79 US dollar price point.

Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Islay Scotch Wiskey

I purchased this scotch locally for about $83 and I think it’s a great deal. This is a solid single malt islay scotch whiskey. It’s very smooth, yet rich, smokey, has a very pleasant color and aroma. It leaves no significant aftertaste and is easy to sip. I liked mine with a cube of ice. Will it replace my standard Glenlivet 18 year as an every day drink? Maybe! So far it’s a very good drink at a very good, similar price point, so who knows. I’ll be doing a blind taste test later for the site, check back later to see the results.

A tasty drink that may soon be an every day favorite.

A tasty drink that may soon be an every day favorite.

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine comes from Sonoma County and has a nice deep ruby tone. Alexander Valley has half a century of grape vines behind its individual style. The wine has lots of sour cherry, chocolate and earthy flavors. It’s rich yet smooth. Not burning and harsh like a South American Cabernet can be. At about $17 it’s a bargain. While many wouldn’t consider this a daily drinking wine and want something around the $12 range, I would recommend people consider this wine into their rotation if they eat lots of meat. I can see this wine going particularly well with barbeque and would be a treat at a Brazilian steak house!

This is a great wine with red meat.

This is a great wine with red meat.