2007 Cosentino Winery Sangiovese Il Chiaretto – $9.49


My comments

This was a winery I really liked several years ago.  We used to love stopping at the winery because they always had a ton of different wines available to taste.  Unfortunately, they probably had too many.  Eventually the winery got into financial trouble and had to be sold off.  Part of the problem may have been related to trying to grow too big, too fast.


This used to be a nice wine that far exceeded its price point in some vintages.  This was generally mostly Sangiovese with other grapes blended in.  In some vintages the tart and acidic Sangiovese had a dollop of Petite Sirah that added just enough heft and body to take it to the next level.  This was a very nice, under $10, “Super Tuscan” styled wine.


Winery history

Led by the spirit of creativity and innovation, Cosentino Winery was founded in 1980 with a commitment to making only the highest quality wines from California’s greatest vineyards.  Because these same ideals ring as true today as they did in the beginning, Cosentino wines have steadily grown in quality and reputation over the years and are considered by many to be among the finest wines made in the world.


Cosentino Winery made its first wines in 1980 with its inaugural vintage released in 1981 under the labels of Cosentino Wine Company and Crystal Valley Cellars.  The first several wines produced and released by Cosentino in the early 1980s were made from small lots of grapes acquired from some of the leading growers of California’s NorthCoast counties including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and SacramentoCounties.


Cosentino rapidly gained recognition for innovative winemaking and uniquely crafted wines.  Its commitment to high quality winemaking practices has resulted in numerous awards from well respected wine critics and publications worldwide.  Cosentino is recognized as a pioneer in introducing new varietals into the California wine market and as a leader in creating new wine blends that would eventually become commonplace in the industry.  In fact, Cosentino Winery is widely recognized for its role in the development of California’s Meritage style wine, a Bordeaux inspired blend that is now a staple throughout the NapaValley.  In 1989 Cosentino’s release of “The Poet” (1986 vintage), was one of America’s first designated and licensed Meritage wines.  Today, there are over 200 other wineries producing Meritage style wines.


In 1990 Cosentino Winery moved into its newly constructed winery in Yountville, California and began its quest to establish long term relationships with Napa’s top vineyards.  These relationships allowed Cosentino to control the farming and harvesting of the grapes used to craft its wines.  Today, many of these same growers work with Cosentino to produce exceptional high quality wines respected worldwide.


Throughout the 1990s and 2000s Cosentino Winery has grown in quality and reputation with a focus on Meritage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.  After over 30 years of winemaking, our commitment to the future is still focused on producing quality ultra-premium wines.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The fairly straight forward nose has cherries, black raspberries, spicy oak, earthy underbrush, vanilla, and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has medium body, fully integrated tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has spicy, earthy cherries and berries with just a hint of eucalyptus.  The finish is fairly short but shows nice, tart cherries and a touch of earthiness.  Probably nearing the end of the line but still enjoyable with a week night Italian dish with a tomato based sauce.  (86 pts)

2007 Cosentino Winery Sangiovese Il Chiaretto




2007 Von Hövel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese – $13.29


My comments

I blindly grabbed six bottles of this at the local store during an “end of vintage” blow out sale.  How could I go wrong with a German Spätlese that is probably just approaching a good drinking window?  It’s time to open one to see if I should have passed or kick myself for not grabbing a whole case.


Winery history

Eberhard von Kunow is proprietor of an estate at Oberemmel that has been in the same family for six generations.  He and his wife Hildegard reside in the old manor house which many visitors liken to an old castle.


The manor house, completed in the 12th century, was initially an added retreat for the famous wine-monastery of St. Maximin in Trier.  Over the years many things have changed above the foundation, but the cellar is today just as it was 800 years ago.


Twice the building burned to the ground and it was last rebuilt in 1732.  Johann E. Grach, an ancestor of the present proprietor, purchased the estate in 1806, after secularization forced the church to give up the property.  He had also acquired the Kanzemer Berg and the Wawerner Herrenberg, which today are in the hands of his other descendants, Mrs. Maximilian von Othegraven and Dr. Fischer, respectively.


The von Kunows, even though respectful of tradition, use the latest methods in their vineyards and in marketing their wines.  As a cellarmaster Eberhard, who is also the auctioneer for the wine auctions at Trier and Bernkastel, uses the old tried and true methods.  All wine is fermented and matured in 100% German oak until bottled.


Though some dry (trocken) wines are produced, fruity style Riesling wines predominate.  The estate owns about 27.5 acres of vineyards and has a production of about 5,000 cases.  The Oberemmeler Hütte is the largest holding with 12,5 acres and is wholly owned by the von Kunow family.  A portion of the Oberemmeler Balduinsberg (6,25 acres) and of the famous Scharzhofberg (7.5 acres) round out the estate.  All vineyards are planted to 100% Riesling.


1971 Oberemmeler Hütte Spätlese tasted in October 1981, exhibited great fruit, counterbalanced by a very lively acidity and steely backbone, all of which suggested many years of additional life.


A founding member of Der Grosse Ring, the von Hövel Estate is a member of the VDP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a clear, pale yellow with a very slight green tint.  The very fresh and inviting nose has apples, minerals, lime, orange zest, peaches, and a touch of petrol and white pepper.  This has light to medium body with nice residual sweetness and very good balancing acidity.  This is rich and luscious on the palate with juicy fruit, minerals, citrus, and nice sweetness.  The finish is fairly long and very flavorful.  This has the complete package and is very nicely balanced.  This is enjoyable now but will last in the cellar for at least another decade and improve along the way.  (93 pts)

2007 Von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese




2008 C.G. di Arie Petite Sirah Estate Grown – $15.19


My comments

My local store had these on close out sale, so I had to grab a bottle to see how it tastes.  I’ve liked a lot of the value priced C. G. di Arie wines I’ve had, and there’s always room in my cellar for a good $15 Petite Sirah.  It’s time to try one and decide if I want to stock up this weekend if the store has any left.


Winery history

As an inventor and new food product developer, Chaim Gur-Arieh spent 35 years preparing himself for the role of winemaker at C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery.


Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Chaim immigrated to Israel as a teenager.  After completing his military service as an officer in a tank division, Chaim studied at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology and received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering.  Soon after, Chaim moved to the United States to continue his education at the University of Illinois where he earned a Masters and a Ph.D. in Food Science with minors in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering.


Chaim then joined the Quaker Oats company where he helped develop the breakfast Cereal Cap’n Crunch.  He moved to California to become Director of New Products at Del Monte Corporation where he created an array of new products including “Pudding Cups”, “Gel Cups”, “Yogurt Cups”, etc.  In 1974 Chaim married Elisheva and founded Food Development Corporation, where he developed numerous new products including Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing, Power Bars and Wine Coolers.   In 1980, Chaim merged Food Development Corporation with California Brands Flavors, his newly created flavor company.  Over the next 18 years Chaim transformed California Brands Flavors into a major West Coast flavor company.


In 1998, Chaim and Elisheva sold their flavor company to Mane & Fils, an international flavor company and went on to pursue their life-long dream of creating world class wines.   In his new role as Winemaker, Chaim developed his innovative “Dual Compartment Submerged Cap Fermentation Tank” (patent pending) which he uses to craft his delicious red wines.  Chaim’s wines are highly extracted, soft and elegant – a perfect match to fine cuisine.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky purple color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, dark chocolate, road tar, warm baking spices, melted licorice, dried herbs, and some fresh cracked black peppercorns.  This has medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  The palate features tart, spicy, peppery berries with some dried herbs coming in on the backend.  The finish has decent length and is quite flavorful ending with some dark chocolate.  Not an overly ripe, full bodied style of Petite Sirah, this is actually nicely balanced and very food friendly.  This should last for several years with the tannins and tart acidity, but it is tasty today with some red meat.  (89 pts)

2008 C G di Arie Petite Sirah Estate Grown




2007 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $17.50


My comments

This will sadly be my last bottle of this outstanding, under $20 Zinfandel.  Mike Officer makes great wines and sells them at fantastic prices.  No wonder his mailing list is closed and the waiting list just keeps getting longer and longer.  I placed my order recently and noticed I’ve been on the mailing list since early 2005.  This is one of the few mailing lists I will never drop.


Winery history

We are a small SonomaCounty winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.


Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The very promising nose has brambly berries, black pepper, vanilla, underbrush, dried herbs, licorice, violets, wood smoke, and dark chocolate.  This has a medium to full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has nice peppery berries, spicy oak, and vanilla up front with dried herbs and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is fairly long with the peppery berries, spicy oak, and earthiness lingering nicely.  This was a steal at only $17.50.  (92 pts)

2007 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County






***** Shameless Self Promotion *****


Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.








Music Corner – A new addition

Some favorite songs/videos (known to pair with good wine)


Bob Seger – Mainstreet


The Outlaws – Green Grass and High Tides


Meatloaf – I Would Do Anything for Love


The Band – The Weight


Iron City Houserockers – Hideaway





Mailing Lists


Too many to list, they all seem to be hitting.





Wines bought or received this week


Some winery samples for review:

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Folkendt Vineyard

2009 La Rochelle Pinot NoirSantaLuciaHighlands

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Block A

2009 Steven Kent Malbec Ghielmetti

2009 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard


Wine for a Twitter wine tasting in February:

2011 Steven Kent Lola Ghielmetti Vineyard

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Morelli Lane Dutton Ranch

2009 La Rochelle Pinot NoirSantaLuciaHighlands

2009 La Rochelle Pinot Noir Donum Estate Vineyard

2009 Steven Kent Petit Verdot Ghielmetti

2009 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard





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.