Wednesday, December 26, 2007



Happy Holidays from the WineSaver!

Our family holiday dinner on the 24th included several nice wines -

Gloria Ferrer Brut Sparking Wine - a wonderful winery that I have visited in Sonoma. Gloria Ferrer wines are an excellent value, beginning around $14.00 and going up into the $35 range.

2004 Arbor Crest Malbec - a nice Washington State wine. I purchased the Arbor Crest during a 2006 visit to Spokane - they have a tasting room in a downtown mall. The Arbor Crest Malbec was a favorite of everyone with the roast beef dinner. It held up well with a rich berry nose and flavors.

2005 Dover Canyon Reserve Zinfandel - a decent Zin - I was less impressed with this one than some of the other Dover Canyon Blends that I have tried. We visited the Dover Canyon Winery in the Paso Robles-Templeton area this past summer.

The Zin did lead to a great story by Steve, my step-brother-in-law (isn't family great?), who shared a story of a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris that he frequently visits. He and some friends wanted to take some wine that the owners (with an 18,000 bottle cellar) might not have much experience with. So they took a case of moderately-priced California Zinfandel (he did not share the winery). In gratitude, the restaurateur brought a number of amazing bottles from the cellar which were shared all around. A great wine story.

Last night with a prime rib dinner, Dorianne and I opened a 2002 Jordan Cambernet Sauvignon ($50), which is out of the WineSaver's price range, but a very nice special-occasion selection.

I truly hope that your Holiday was and is wonderful.

'Till Next Time,
The Wine Saver

Wednesday, December 19, 2007



The initial reports on the 2006 Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet ($13.99), are very promising. It is rated from 90 to 91 in the reviews I have seen so far. You can look of the reviews of its predecessors in the archives of this blog.

This from Wine Enthusiast (via Gary's Wine and Marketplace Website):

Jay Miller, Wine Advocate: 91 points The Cabernet and Shiraz blends begin with the 2006 Shiraz (70%) - Cabernet Sauvignon (22%) 'Koonunga Hill". Purple-colored, the wine offers meaty black currant, blackberry, and blueberry aromas. On the palate the wine exhibits remarkable focus and structure for its humble price. The fruit is grapy and primary as well as intensely flavored. It should evolve for several years and drink well through 2022 if not longer. It is a fantastic value.

So far, the 2006 vintage has not shown up in area stores (Thousand Oaks/Westlake area), but I am sure it will in time.

In the meanwhile - if any of you have tried it, please comment!

'Till Next Time,

The Wine Saver

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



As I have noted before, my first introduction to wine beyond white Zinfandel was a Dolcetto d'Alba. That was over ten years ago, but I have never lost my taste for "the little sweet one," as it translates from the Italian. Made from a "secondary" grape in the Piedmot region of Italy, a region better known for its Nebbiolo wines Barolo and Barbaresco, Dolcetto often get lost in the background.

I was recently stuck in traffic on the way to LAX (not an unusual experience), and I exited the 405 freeway and entered The Wine House on Cotner Drive. The Wine House is a wine lover's dream, and the back-up gave me just the excuse I needed for a visit.

After perusing the aisles and their abundance of wines from every corner of the world, I settled on the section devoted to Italy's Piedmont region and zeroed in on the Dolcettos. I bought two and just consumed the first.

It is a 2005 Giacomo Grimaldi Dolcetto D'Alba ($14.00). It is drinkable now, or it could be laid down for a year or two. The wine gives aromas of cherry, blackberry, earth notes - terroir, and peppery spice. Dolcettos tend to be lighter than a Cabernet, and this one was no exception - it did have a nice balance of tannins - a very pleasant wine.

I am not sure how generally available this wine is - there are quite a few Internet hits, so it may not be too hard to find. I have found that Dolcettos in general are hard to come by in most retailers.

Let me know your experience with Dolcettos -

'Till Next Time,

The Wine Saver