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Category Archives: California

Drink F#@king Merlot

2007 Peter Franus Merlot, Napa Valley, California, USA LCBO# 235952 $34.95

Maybe it’s the movie Sideways’ fault. Maybe it’s my own childhood issues, but I don’t drink enough Merlot…and that’s a mistake. Merlot has (for some reason) been an often maligned and misunderstood grape. The truth is Merlot forms the base of some of the greatest wines in the world! (Have you ever heard of a little wine called Château Petrus?) Merlot not only imparts a variety of black fruits to a wine, it also brings a softness and elegance to its body. In homage to my main man Justin Timberlake, Merlot brings the “sexy” to the world of wine.

The 2007 Peter Franus Merlot is a beautiful example of an elegant Merlot from the Napa Valley. This wine has well defined flavours of dark chocolate, blackcurrants, black cherries, baked plum, white pepper, leather and molasses. There is a lot going on in this wine, but it keeps its balance. Its silky tannins are a pleasure and helps hold everything together. I would recommend pairing this wine with lamb chops, roasted chicken or even turkey. As for cheese, you can try it with everything from a mild Swiss cheese to a savoury cheddar.

At $34.95, the 2007 Peter Franus Merlot is a bit on the high side of the value meter, but an excellent wine none the less. If you are looking for a great Merlot to enjoy now or over the next few years you should definitely check this wine out…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in California, Merlot, Red Wine

 

The giant killer from Napa Valley

2007 First Press Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, USA LCBO# 188110 $19.95

I always love it when an inexpensive wine shows up its more expensive brothers and sisters. It justifies everything that I believe in when in come to wine. What I don’t like is when I am the sucker who brought one of the more expensive wines only to be reminded of what humility tastes like. The forum was a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. My entry was a 2005 Frog’s Leap Napa Valley. It was a $60 wine when I bought it on release. With a little bit of age and its pedigree, I was sure that it would be the best wine in the tasting. When the dust settled, my Frog got crushed by a wine a third the price!

The giant killer was the 2007 First Press Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This incredible value has well integrated flavours of black fruit, leather, mocha and cedar. It is very well balanced and has smooth tannins that coat your mouth. This is a great steak wine. Alternatively, I would recommend pairing it with BBQ pork ribs, osso buco or rabbit stew. As for cheese, I would recommend trying it with a hardy cheese like a manchego or a parmigiano.

At $19.95, the 2007 First Press Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the best deal coming out of Napa Valley I have seen in a long time. Go get this wine as fast as you can…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at @adamsWOTW. Also, never miss an Adam’s Wine of the Week by clicking the “subscribe” button to receive an email notifying you when I post a new wine review.

 
 

Bonanza!

2007 Perry Creek Winery Syrah, El Dorado, California, USA $19.95 LCBO# 201194

When I was growing up one of my favourite TV shows was Bonanza! There was something about the open range that inspired me. As a little kid I remember stealing the atlas from my grade 3 classroom and pouring over maps of the American west wondering what it would have been like during the days of the Wild West. I would daydream about far away places like Crested Bute, Eureka and El Dorado. When I saw this wine sitting on the shelf at my LCBO I just had to try it.

The 2007 Perry Creek Winery El Dorado Syrah did not disappoint. While this 100% Syrah hails from one of California’s lesser known winemaking regions, it is jammed packed with developing flavours of black cherry, black currants, blueberry pie, licorice root (the stick not the black twizzler), leather, cigar box and smoke. It has lots of chunky tannins, which will help this wine age nicely over the next 3 to 5 years. My only complaint is that with almost 15% alcohol, this wine seems a bit hot on the palate.

I would recommend pairing the 2007 Perry Creek Winery Syrah with BBQ ribs or a quality strip loin. As for cheese, I would recommend trying it with a hard cheese like a Parmigiano or a Romano.

It amazes me that this wine is only $19.95. From a price-quality ratio (PQR) this is a great find. I recommend you pick up a few bottles of this great summer wine for your next BBQ…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think by commenting below. If you’re not following me yet on Twitter, you can find me at http://twitter.com/AdamsWOTW.

Happy Canada Day! I’m glad to be back! See you all next week!

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in California, Red Wine, Syrah

 

A Sonoma beauty

2006 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California, USA $24.95 LCBO #608653

This week’s wine is a beauty! The 2006 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay is a really well put together white wine with flavours of tropical fruit, vanilla and butter. What makes this wine so accessible is the hint of sweetness that lingers on the finish. It would make the perfect gift to yourself or someone you love. (How’s that for a Hallmark moment?). This wine would pair very well with roast chicken, baked sea bass or halibut.

I also wanted to start something new this week. Going forward I wanted to help out all you cheese lovers by recommending a good cheese to serve with the wine that I am recommending. Try serving this wine with a young Gouda.

I would definitely recommend that you pick up a bottle or this wine. Even at $24.95, this wine is a great deal…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in California, Chardonnay, White Wine

 

The best sparkling wine outside of Champagne

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Sparkling Brut, California, USA $28.75 LCBO #294181

I have waited all year to share this gem of a wine with you all. In the world of sparkling wine, it is almost impossible to find a good one under $30 dollars. Well at $28.75 this one hits the mark.

The Roederer Estate Anderson Valley sparkling wine is not only an amazing value, but has the flavour punch of a sparkling wine four or five times the price. The Roederer Estate has flavours of apple and citrus with a hint of yeast on the nose. I know you are all thinking…sparkling wine is always served for a special occasion or as an aperitif. The truth is this wine will go amazingly well with sushi…I promise.

Now for the educational part of this review…how to open a bottle of sparkling wine without putting your dates’ eye out. The trick to opening a bottle of sparkling wine is simple. First wrap your left hand firmly around the cork and with your right hand grasp the bottom of the bottle. With the bottle squarely in your hands, twist the bottle with your right while holding the cork stationery. The bottle will open with a small pop and will keep the cork from flying across the room. Plus, spraying good sparkling wine everywhere isn’t sexy…it just means you have to clean up later…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2008 in California, Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine

 

A supermarket wine confession

2006 Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon, California $17.75 LCBO #055517

Let’s face it…we are all guilty of secretly liking something that we shouldn’t. You know what I am talking about. The nutritionist who extols the virtues of eating fresh local food, but secretly covets a good Twinkie once in a while. The kid who sat next to you in grade school who was told not to eat the erasers off his pencil, but still couldn’t go the day without chewing one off. For me…it’s this wine.

The 2006 Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon is on paper my least favourite kind of wine. It’s mass produced (242,000 cases made), blended from grapes from all over California, and (worst of all) literally put together by winemakers like some sort of Frankenstein monster….but…I love it. It has all the classic blackberry and plum flavours you would expect from a California Cabernet. Plus, it has really nice notes of cedar and tobacco on the finish.

This is a great everyday wine and pairs well with a pot roast or grilled meat. At $17.75, this is a really well priced wine and something I would definitely recommend. Selfishly, I am really glad this wine knocked me down a peg or two. Otherwise I would have missed out on this easy going gem of a wine…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think.

 
 

McDeal of a good wine!

2006 McManis Family Vineyards Syrah, California $17.95 LCBO #658104

This week’s wine selection comes courtesy of an “Adam’s Wine of the Week” member recommendation. I love it when members email me suggestions on wines for me to taste. It’s always good to hear the types of wines you like and often I end up tasting wines that I wouldn’t necessarily of picked out on my own.

The 2006 McManis Family Vineyards is made from a blend of Syrah (and Petit Syrah) grapes sourced throughout California. It has flavours of black cherry and blueberries with a good measure of cedar and oak. It would go great with grilled flank steak or roast beef.

The 2006 McManis Family Vineyards Syrah is a fantastic example of a good value everyday drinking wine. At $17.95, this is the kind of wine that you don’t feel bad about opening up for a glass or two, then putting the rest away for later…but that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2008 in California, Red Wine, Syrah

 
 
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