Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Hall Helps Ease the Pain of Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl Half-Time Show

Wine: Hall Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Reviewer: Alma Leon – Wine Buyer
Paired with:  Super Bowl party fare – Guacamole, pretzels, dips & pizza etc.
Rating: 3 stars

Review:   The smartest thing I did yesterday was to take this wine to yesterday's Super Bowl party.  This VERY good California Sauvignon Blanc helped me make it through a rough 15 minutes.  Don’t let the 3 stars fool you,   I don’t hand out very many 4 or 5 stars, so 3 stars to me means a fantastic wine that I can enjoy without  having to worry about my wine budget.  It’s my version of “Two thumbs up!”  The best thing about this wine is that it proves that great Sauvignon Blanc can be produced in California.  My biggest complaint about domestic Sauvignon Blanc is that it can be extremely tropical on the nose, thanks to our warm climate.  Meaning it can be difficult to pair with food and a bit like standing next to a person with too much perfume on a crowded elevator.  Hall has managed delicate grapefruit, guava and lemon aromas in a medium-bodied wine.  There is a creaminess to it that ends with fresh acidity.  In short, it is well-balanced and likely to impress a wide variety of palates.  Although I went for the gusto and tried it with party food,  I could see this going great with lump crab meat on a buttered roll or even gnocchi in a creamy white sauce.

Read more of my reviews on my Wine.com community page

Staff Pick: 2009 Domane Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Gruner Veltliner

Wine Name: 2009 Domane Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Gruner Veltliner
Wine Reviewer: Matt Commins
Wine Rating: 4 stars

Wine Review:
I’m a relative novice when it comes to wine evaluation and tasting so no making fun ;0) As a wine newbie I’m always exploring something new, whether it’s a new grape, winery, or region. I’ve found this is the best way to expand my knowledge base and to branch out of my comfort zone. Knowing nothing about Austrian wine, the Gruner Veltliner (or GruVe if you want to be super cool) from Domane Wachau was a delightful surprise.

The first thing I noticed was how clear the wine looked as well as the spicy aromas of black and green pepper. My first impression was the soft rich texture.

The first sip was fantastic. It was full bodied and crisp with hints of green apple and peach. There was a tight medium finish with grapefruit. The wine would have been better served (pun intended) if it was accompanied by a meal than by itself. Overall, the wine was well balanced in term of its sweetness, acidity, and level of alcohol. You’ll be glad you gave this bottle a chance.

2009 Domane Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Gruner Veltliner Wine Review

Read more of my reviews on my Wine.com community page

What We’re Drinking | Kenwood Russian River Pinot Noir 2006

KenwoodWe brought two bottles of Pinot Noir to a dinner last weekend. One was a high-end Central Coast Pinot coming from Gary’s Vineyard. The other was the Kenwood Russian River Pinot 2006. The former was about $50 while the Kenwood rang in at $20. As we do at most dinner parties, you open the heavy-hitter first, then move on to the back up. Sure, everyone loved the delicious Gary’s Vineyard wine, but there seemed to be more comments on #2, the Kenwood Pinot Noir. I’d already ordered a few cases for the parents’ cellar because they had the same reaction- $20, really? This is good Pinot for $20.

This is not the only $20 Pinot Noir out there, but it has seemed to garner more interest than most. I’ll make an attempt to guess why – it’s the perfect blend of rich, ripe fruit, warm spices, alcohol & tannin. The finish is long and it’s full-bodied and smooth. Lots of people love “smooth” wines. It’s not my favorite descriptor, but it does fit some wine, and this is one of those wines. I think it has to do with those ripe fruits and that touch of glycerin the alcohol gives the wine. The resulting texture is “smooth.”

You won’t find layers of complexity or the delicate aromas and flavors of some Pinot Noir, but you will find an easy-drinking versatile food wine that will suit many a palate and for $20, that’s not too shabby.