Aquinas Pinot Noir Napa Valley 2007

I really liked this particular Pinot Noir and it was pretty cheap at just $14. I think I got one of their last bottles of the 2007 at Specs, because the rest were 2009s and I do see their advertised price for a 2009 as $14, which is what they charged me. I see the 2007 vintage is sold out most everywhere, but if you get a chance to try it out, I say go for it. I tasted a bold body, red currant, lots of cherry, earthiness and a good acidity that makes this wine very versatile. The tannins are velvety and really make for a great finish. I would recommend drinking this wine with pork, beef, and any kind of meat really.

I really recommend this drink.

I really recommend this drink.

De Loach Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2010

This is a very light Pinot Noir. It hails from Sonoma County, California in the Russian River Valley area. I recommend drinking this win as of 2012, it’s mature enough to enjoy, doesn’t need anything except a meal to drink it with. I would describe this as a grape jelly and dried fruit sort of flavor. It has a light to medium body and just a tiny hint of heat. It’s refreshing for a red wine and newbie friendly.

From the 2010 vintage this wine is now ready to drink.

From the 2010 vintage this wine is now ready to drink.

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.