2003 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – $14.99


My comments

I remember back when the Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet was one of the most consistent, affordably priced, quality wines from the region.  For a while, due to turmoil and struggles at the winery, the quality fell off.  We’ll have to see if the current owners strive to bring the label back to mean a quality bottle of wine.  For now, I’ll enjoy my few remaining bottles from the glory days of the past.


Winery history

With its legacy of more than 40 years of fine winemaking, the Robert Mondavi Winery is a shining symbol of NapaValley.  Founded in 1966, the winery’s beautiful architecture by Cliff May reflects the missions of early California history.  When you come to visit us at Robert Mondavi Winery, you will experience our commitment to education and the arts, pursuit of innovation, and dedication to producing fine wines that stand in the company of the great wines of the world.  Come learn about the history of winemaking in California and share in our philosophy of integrating wine, food and the arts into gracious living.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color with just a touch of lightening at the edge.  The slightly subdued nose shows cassis, leather, dried herbs, baking spices, tobacco, and hints of cedar and cherry.  This has medium body with mostly integrated tannins and very good acidity.  The palate is very smooth and polished with a nice blend of fruit, spices, and dried herbs.  The finish has medium length and again is very smooth.  This is a Napa cab at a perfect drinking window with no rough edges or stray, unexpected elements.  This is very food friendly and enjoyable.  (90 pts)

2003 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley




2009 Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Riviera – $19.45


My comments

This wine has turned out to be a nice week night Pinot Noir that can be found for around $20.  This isn’t a typical big, lush, California Pinot, but instead a lighter bodied, very tasty, food friendly version.


Winery history

In 2005, entrepreneurs Tim Perr and Scott Knight pooled their resources and their passions to found a winery dedicated to producing small lots of artisan Pinot Noir that they loved to drink.


We established a state-of-the-art winery and tasting room in the town of Lompoc, CA and named the winery “Pali,” after our hometown Pacific Palisades on the coast just west of Los Angeles.  Today, Pali Wine Co. produces a Cuvee series of wines defined by their appellation of origin and named for different neighborhoods in the Pacific Palisades.  We also produce a very limited amount of vineyard-designate wines.


Our goal is to make wines that speak well of their origin and their varietal, and to bring those wines to the consumer at the best price we can without compromising quality.  While Pinot Noir remains our first love and a significant part of our production, we also produce a few other varietals when we have the opportunity to make a wine we think is worthy of sharing.


More information available at:  http://www.paliwineco.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color, much lighter at the edge.  The very appealing nose has cherries, raspberries, baking spices, white pepper, underbrush, smoke, and a bit of licorice.  This is barely medium body with silky tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate there are spicy, tart cherries with just a touch of earthiness and some raspberries coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length but does show a touch of excess oak, but not enough to be too bothersome.  A very nice Sonoma Coast Pinot, especially for around $20.  (89 pts)

2009 Pali Wine Co Pinot Noir Riviera




2005 Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Abeilles – $15.99


My comments

I’m continuing my trend of drinking wines that kept being the runner-up when picking a wine for dinner.  I grabbed a few bottles of from a tasting at a local store.  We enjoyed a couple bottles, but for some reason never got around to opening another one.  From memory, the wine was well made and good, but was left in the cellar for a few years.


Winery history

Jean-Luc Colombo is a man of warmth, energy, passion, and an insatiable appetite for the Good Things in Life.  His dedication to the “plaisirs de la table” (pleasures of the table) took root early, stemming from many long and happy hours spent as a small boy, assisting his mother, a talented restaurateur in Marseille, in the kitchen.  Jean-Luc’s subsequent decision to pursue the study of oenology was inevitable, in order to create wines which would match his mother’s cuisine!  With his wife Anne, Jean-Luc created the “Centre Oenologique des Côtes du Rhône” in Cornas, and for the past 25 years, he has been a consulting winemaker for some of the best domaines in the Rhône Valley, Provence and Bordeaux.


My Tasting Note

The wine is just a shade lighter than a medium ruby red color.  The slightly subdued nose has cherries, dried herbs, baking spices, a touch of earthiness, and just a hint of eucalyptus.  This has medium body with soft, mainly integrated tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate has the spicy, red fruit with a shot of earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch short but the spicy fruit and earthiness are good while they last.  Probably starting to fade a touch but very enjoyable.  (87 pts)

2005 Jean-Luc Colombo Cotes du Rhone Les Abeilles




2005 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – $18.21


My comments

This wine was one of my first purchases for the Treasure Hunter line of wines.  The company buys excess juice from wineries, blends as needed, bottles the wine, and blows through them at bargain prices.  These wines generally sell for 33% to 50% of comparable wines from the regions.  Most of the wines have very low production numbers, only a couple hundred cases at most.


Winery history

Treasure Hunter is a label under the 3 Finger Wine Company family of wines.


Each Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from our panel of nine called The De-Vine Nine. Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs, they are the best of the best and they pour through hundreds of wines before they are deemed worthy.


Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink seminal wines of great importance.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The outstanding nose features cassis, dried herbs, and cigar box, with less prominent notes of cherry, vanilla, and white pepper.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very good acidity.  This is very refined and polished on the palate with no excess weight or ripeness.  The palate shows nice cassis and cherry with spice, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness adding considerable depth, which lingers through the fairly long finish.  This is a very nice Howell Mountain Cabernet that seems to be just entering a nice drinking window.  (92 pts)

2005 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain






I have been notified that I have won the title of “Nicest Person in Social Media”.


Sysomos, a social media analyzing company, was contracted by Kingsford Charcoal to find them the nicest person.  They analyzed over 100 billion tweets from the United States and Canada and determined I was the nicest.


I will be receiving coal for Christmas.


Actually, a years supply of Kingsford Charcoal, a new grill, and assorted grilling tools.


I’m sure there are some Merlot produces out there who don’t think I’m very nice…


I’ll probably have a better link in my next posting on Sunday.





Mailing Lists


Nothing new to report




Wines bought or received this week

I received a delivery from Loring and have a couple more shipments that are due to hit.  I’ll list the wines in my next post on Sunday.




Remember to support your local wine store!




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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.