2007 Cosentino Winery Cabernet Franc – $9.49

I used to be a big fan of Cosentino Winery but they fell on hard financial times a couple years ago and the winery and name changed hands.  I haven’t had a chance to try their newer releases so I can’t state an opinion of how the new Cosentino is doing.  I hope they are either back on track or at least headed in the right direction.  This was purchased on a blow out sale from my local wine store while the winery/distributor were sorting out their problems.

The wine was decanted for about an hour.  This is a deep ruby color, much lighter at the rim.  On the very nice nose there are blackberries, dried herbs, cedar, licorice, dark chocolate, and some cherry.  The wine has medium body with soft, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Nice fruit and dried herbs on the palate with some spicy oak in the background.  Decent length on the finish where the fruit fades fairly quickly but the dried herbs and spicy oak linger for a bit.  This is a nice Cabernet Franc that was an absolute steal at under $10, making it a perfect week night wine.  Not one to age too long, but no big hurry.  (88 pts)



2006 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $16.00

Has there ever been a better $16.00 Zinfandel produced by a major California winery?  Wines like this, at this price point, are the main reason no one drops off of the Carlisle mailing list.  I’ve had this wine several times over the last few years and it has never disappointed.  I’d recommend getting on the mailing list but it is full.  I’m sure the waiting list is even longer since Mike Officer, the owner/winemaker, isn’t going to be increasing his production enough to supply everyone.  Like I stated earlier, very few people drop off of the mailing list allowing new people to join the fun.

This is a deep, dark, opaque ruby to purple color.  Enticing nose with brambly berries, vanilla, black pepper, scorched earth, dark chocolate, melted licorice, a faint floral note, and some eucalyptus.  Fairly full bodied with nice, integrated, ripe tannins and good acidity.  Big, ripe, and mouth filling flavors coat the palate.  The spicy, peppery berries lead the way with vanilla and a bit of oak; some dark chocolate comes in on the back end providing additional depth.  The wine has very nice length on the finish with the peppery berries, chocolate, and some earthy elements lingering.  This is an incredible value at $16, without a doubt one of the best under $20 zinfandels out there.  (93 pts)



2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch – $22.00

I’m going to open a bottle of Bedrock wine to celebrate the arrival of their latest e-mail offering.  I haven’t had one of these in almost a year.  I really liked my previous bottles, rating it 91 pts.  It’s looking like a good day for dinner on the deck, which would be perfect with this wine.  I’ll have to see how this pairs with some seared scallops, but I have high expectations.

A light golden straw color.  Apples, lemon zest, peach, fresh cut grass, flinty minerality, grapefruit, and some baking spices on the fresh and clean nose.  Light to medium body with tart, mouthwatering acidity.  Big citrus and herbal elements on the palate.  White fruit and a bit of peach give way to a load of citrus with the herbal notes and minerals coming in on the back end.  Long, lingering finish with the citrus and herbal notes.  An outstanding California Sauvignon Blanc.  (92 pts)

This paired very nicely with a dinner of large seared scallops, with raw, fresh carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, and cherry tomatoes with a spicy, Creole dipping sauce.



2008 Frimaio Chianti Classico – $18.99

After several weeks of dry weather with above normal temperatures, today is cold and wet.  Light rain and an afternoon temperature of only 62 makes me think of pasta for dinner.  We made a large batch of baked ziti in the Spring and froze some for quick and easy dinners.  Today feels like a baked ziti and garlic bread type of day.  Off to Cellar Tracker to find a nice Italian wine to pair with the ziti.  I chose this wine since I haven’t had one in several months and we had liked it the last time we had a bottle.

Deep ruby to maroon color.  There are cherries, wet earth, raspberries, licorice, dried herbs, blackberries, and a slight floral note on the very fragrant nose.  The wine has medium body with ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  This is bigger and darker than most Chianti Classicos with nice, big fruit, spice, and earth on the palate.  Decent finish with the fruit and tart acidity balancing very nicely, just wish it was a bit longer.  Overall, not your usual lighter bodied sangiovese, but still with the acidity to pair up with a nice meat sauce.  (89 pts)

I bought his during a close out sale at the local wine store, and feel like it was a good bargain for south of $20.  This won’t be mistaken for a high end Chianti Classico, but is perfectly acceptable for a Thursday night dinner.


Here’s what dinner looked like, it tasted fantastic.  We generally make a very large batch  of the baked ziti and cut it into 4″ x 4″ cubes once it cools down.  We wrap each chunk individually and freeze them for quick weeknight dinners.  The garlic bread sticks are a store bought, frozen brand we like.  I doctor them up by adding a bit of real butter, garlic powder, and fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.



Quick Question

Do you have a preferred publication or website to help find information on a new wine or a wine you see mentioned on a website?  Parker’s Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Tanzer’s IWC, RhoneReport, Pinot Report, etc.  I know we all value our own opinion the most, but I’m talking about a wine you’ve never tasted.  How do you decide to pull the trigger on an offer from a flash sale site, or large store’s e-mail offer?

Personally, my order would be in this sequence Steve Tanzer/Josh Raynolds, Jeb Dunnuck’s Rhone Report, Tim Fish from Wine Spectator, Greg Walter’s Pinot Report, a few Cellar Tracker users whose palates I trust, Robert Parker, then the rest.


Rants from Manfred Krankl of SQN

In his latest offer Manfred Krankl, offered up “5 Rants”, any opinions?  Agree or disagree with Manfred on these?  Some of these were fairly long winded and hard to distill down to a sentence or two.

1 – “Yes we are growing fruit in a very hot area, but we have such huge diurnal temperature swings that it balances out and that way we also preserve acidity.”  Do your think hot days and cool nights help make a good wine?  Manfred doesn’t think it does.

2 – ‘Old vines always make better wine than young vines.”  We all know “old vines” or “vieilles vignes” are meaningless, non-regulated terms but do you think wines made from wine from a “lazy-assed” grower and old vines are inherently going to be better than wines made from young vines grown by a “smart, caring, and industrious” grower?

3 – “Our soil is 600 million years old.”  This rant seems to run in a circle but seems to be pointed at a grower in Australia.  A closing comment related to finding a whale bone in the vineyard seems to point to a specific vineyard in Paso Robles.

4 – “Our vineyard is so great because we have such wonderfully well drained soils.”  Manfred feels that “well drained soil” is absolutely meaningless in California since most of the time they get ZERO rain from mid April through September and quite often through October or November.

5 – “Terroir”  This rant is very long winded and hard to paraphrase.  Manfred feels terroir is a term sometimes used to gloss over wine flaws or to highlight a wine without “a fingerprint of its maker.”

To me, most of these “rants” seem to point to a winemaker who makes wine from warm but not hot areas with young vines, in new, valley floor vineyards with the wine maker’s fingerprints all over the finished product, who doesn’t like other wineries getting scores that equal or surpass the ones they receive, and to justify high prices.


Bedrock Wine Co. Allocation

This is an outstanding winery and a real challenge.  I joined the mailing list go get Morgan’s big red wines but I’m finding myself being sucked in by his whites.  This is not a put down of the Zinfandel, Syrah, and “Heritage” reds but rather me giving them the credit they deserve with the class of their whites.  I’d love to grab my entire allocation, but I’m going to have to leave some on the table for anyone not offered something they want or for new people to join the list.


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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.


Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.


All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.