Reviews in Category: USA (Clear Filter)

Ironstone Merlot 2013

Date May 16, 2017 | Chuck | Merlot & Red Wine & USA

Extra dry, slight alcohol notes on the finish, slightly off balance
 
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, light cedar, smoke
Smell blackberry, dark cherry, alcohol
Food american
Sweetness extra dry
Price $17.25
LCBO#  
Score        

Oak Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

Date August 7, 2015 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Canada & Red Wine & USA

Smooth and easy drinking.  Has some structure, slightly more than it price range peers.  Found at the wine rack store. 
Juice from California and Canada.  Alcohol/Vol 13%
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, spice, cherry
Smell blueberry, blackberry, spice
Food american
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.00
LCBO# n/a
Score

 

Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Date December 3, 2014 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

If you're looking for a cab which is less fruit forward and more leathery/tobacco-like, this is a good choice.  Not overpowering but present with good blackberry character to round things out.
One site (lcbo) reports that there is some merlot blended into this vintage.
Alcohol/Vol: 13.0%
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, leather, tobacco
Smell blackberry, vanilla, leather
Food red meat, bbq
Sweetness dry
Price $18.95
LCBO# 537597
Score

Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

Date July 20, 2014 | Chuck | Red Wine & USA & Zinfandel

Whenever I see Ironstone in the vintages section I always pick-up a bottle and yet again I was not disappointed. This zin is a full bodied, lush fruit forward drinker with a great mouth-feel.
Released: May 10, 2014
Alcohol/Vol: 14.5%
At a Glance
Taste boysenberry, blackberry, oak
Smell blackberry, cassis, vanilla
Food red meat
Sweetness dry
Price $17.00
LCBO# 951889
Score

 

Barefoot Merlot

Date April 11, 2013 | Chuck | Merlot & Red Wine & USA

I've had better bottles from Barefoot.  This one is a pretty simple medium bodied off dry weekday merlot.  Give their Shiraz a go.
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste cherry, vanilla, chocolate
Smell dark berry, cherry, raspberry
Food bbq lunch
Sweetness off dry
Price $9.95
LCBO# 53991
Score

Red Rock Malbec Reserve 2010

Date December 16, 2012 | Chuck | Malbec & Red Wine & USA

While typically not a fan of malbecs, this one is quite good. I liked the fruit forward characteristics of it - which aren't seen in malbecs from places like South America, making this bottle...very...Californian.
I disagree with the LCBO's sweetness descriptor of Extra Dry. Dry it is, Extra it is not.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste mulberry, oak, cherry
Smell mulberry, currant, oak
Food beef, asiago
Sweetness dry
Price $16.95
LCBO# 284315
Score

Barefoot Shiraz

Date December 8, 2012 | Chuck | Red Wine & Shiraz & USA

Barefoot could very well be leading the way on value wines nowadays (Yellow Tail fans...take note)
Having a value shiraz on hand that's also a crowd pleaser is always handy. Pickup a few bottles since they are currently under $10 in Ontario.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dark berry jam, spice, vanilla oak
Smell blackberry, jammy, spice
Food french onion soup
Sweetness off dry
Price $9.95
LCBO# 54015
Score

Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2010

Date October 6, 2012 | Chuck | Red Wine & USA & Zinfandel

This wine has a great profile however while drinking it I found it lacks mouthfeel and depth. Both key aspects this California Zinfandel lover craves.
I will say Dancing Bull is a good value if you are just getting into zins. (Expect to pay an extra 5 to 6 dollars to get the depth).
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste spice, raspberry, oak
Smell blueberry, cherry, oak
Food anything grilled, asiago
Sweetness dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 669499
Score

 

Bear Flag Red Blend

Date September 3, 2012 | Chuck | Red Blend & Red Wine & USA

As stated on the label it's a very smooth and fruit forward red blend with soft tannins.  A blend comprised of: Tempranillo, Touriga, Zinfandel, and Alicante.
Liked it more after decanting.  The artwork is interesting but personally I don't like having to hunt for information on the bottle.  Even once found it was hard to read against the background.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dried cherries, blackberry, vanilla
Smell dried cherries, blackberry, vanilla
Food bbq
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 226514
Score

Apothic Red 2010

Date August 18, 2012 | Chuck | Red Blend & Red Wine & USA

The label says "Winemaker's Blend" and they weren't joking! This wine is made using Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Overall I believe the amount of blending in this bottle muted much of the contributor's individuality. In a blind tasting I would guess it's just a Syrah/Merlot blend.
Tip: tasted better the next day, so try decanting after opening
At a Glance
Taste vanilla, dark fruit, mocha
Smell plum, vanilla
Food cheddar cheese
Sweetness off dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 234369
Score

Barefoot Moscato

Date August 8, 2012 | Chuck | Moscato & USA & White Wine

Thankfully this wine is only 8.5% because after my first sip on this hot summer day I accidentally downed the 10oz glass. Of course I poured myself another so I could help our readers with their weekend wine shopping. In a nutshell: buy a few bottles, open them when it's hot out and enjoy a sweet wine for a change!
2010 gold medal at the ultimate wine challenge - usa
Tip: think of this as a baby ice wine, but a fraction of the price and 2x the volume
At a Glance
Taste honeydew, tangerine, citrus
Smell lemon, pineapple, floral
Food flan, dessert, fruit
Sweetness extra sweet
Price $9.95
LCBO# 234351
Score

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2010

Date January 9, 2012 | Chuck | Pinot Noir & Red Wine & USA

A soft, fruit forward, easy drinking (very) California pinot noir
Pickup a few bottles, it makes a great house pinot
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste strawberry, vanilla, raspberry
Smell cherry, plum, vanilla
Food salmon, risotto
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 185249
Score

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Date April 19, 2011 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

This vintages release is a great way to drink some full bodied, fruit forward California Cab at a great price. I will be picking up a few more bottles on my next trip.
Release Date: March 19, 2011
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, blueberry, leather
Smell blackberry, blueberry, cinnamon
Food pasta, pizza
Sweetness dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 684399
Score

Fetzer Pinot Grigio 2009

Date December 22, 2010 | Chuck | Pinot Grigio & USA & White Wine

Unfortunately nothing great to report on this 2009 white, I had some high hopes based on the 2007 vintage but 2009's did not show as well.
Slightly bitter on the finish
Tip: serve chilled
At a Glance
Taste lime, melon, bitter apple
Smell melon, lime, floral
Food tapas
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.45
LCBO# 34041
Score

Fetzer Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Date December 16, 2010 | Chuck | Sauvignon Blanc & USA & White Wine

Being very dry and heavy on the alcohol, this white may not appeal to everyone. A friend told me their Pinot Grigio is very nice, review to come.
90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Viognier
Tip: serve well chilled
At a Glance
Taste grassy, grapefruit, gooseberry
Smell melon, grass, floral
Food herbed tilapia fillet
Sweetness extra dry
Price $11.95
LCBO# 34033
Score

Ironstone Vineyards Merlot 2007

Date July 30, 2010 | Chuck | Merlot & Red Wine & USA

This merlot drinks much like a California cab. It has a full mouthfeel and is very well balanced.
Ironstone continues to be a great value for under $20
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste cherry, plum
Smell cola, black cherry, pomegranate
Food steak, pork, veal
Sweetness extra dry
Price $16.95
LCBO# 704353
Score

Naked Grape White Zinfandel Pinot Noir

Date July 8, 2010 | Chuck | USA & White Wine & White Zinfandel

Friend of the site Vesna has deemed this white zin to be the best of the best. Take her word over mine on this varietal. Although the tasting notes are by yours truly, because c'mon...they don't give websites to just anybody ;)
Overall this is a great summer sipper to be placed in the ice bucket among the beers, but only if there are ladies around so you can explain to passers by that it belongs to them.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste white grape, strawberry, kiwi
Smell strawberry, white grape, syrup
Food apertif, salads
Sweetness medium sweet
Price $9.95
LCBO# 0
Score

Carlo Rossi California Red 2007

Date October 31, 2009 | Chuck | Red Blend & Red Wine & USA

Everyone loves choices, with this wine you can choose to buy it in a: bottle, large format bottle, funny jug with a ring handle and even a box. America #$@% YEAH!
This wine conjures up memories of a previous review: Charles Shaw Merlot 2007
Tip: price listed is for the 1.5L bottle, don't buy what you can't drink within 2 days.
At a Glance
Taste cherry, plum, vanilla
Smell vanilla, cherry, plum
Food cold cuts
Sweetness off dry
Price $13.45
LCBO# 00070813
Score

Charles Shaw Merlot 2007

Date October 10, 2009 | Sean | Merlot & Red Wine & USA

Only in America? This merlot came to us for $1.99. Often called two-buck-chuck, this wine is mostly found at Trader Joe's in the United States. One thing is certain, we have never  encountered two-dollar wine in Canada...god bless America.
First thing is the colour, yeah thats right I spelled it with a "u". Get over it. Great dark purple, with light edges. We were  actually surprised as this wine is not offensive, easy drinking and generally "not bad". Does that make it a California Cab? Hell no.  But, if your having a group over or making large quantities of Sangria.
Tip: chill slightly
At a Glance
Taste cherry, strawberry, berry jam
Smell vanilla, strawberry, cherry cola
Food cheese nachos, cheddar, cold cuts
Sweetness off dry
Price $1.99
LCBO# 0
Score

Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Date August 9, 2009 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

A benchmark California cab. Very approachable and hits all the marks one would expect.
Because I've cellared this bottle for a while, I couldn't find it's LCBO number, but be sure to check out their next vintage when it hits shelves.  I've just put their merlot on my shopping list: VINTAGES# 704353
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste cassis, dark cherry, chocolate
Smell cassis, dark cherry, toasted oak
Food grilled red meat
Sweetness dry
Price $18.95
LCBO# 0
Score

Liberty School Zinfandel 2006

Date April 2, 2009 | Chuck | Red Wine & USA & Zinfandel

When I tried their 2005 Cabernet I made a mental note to remember the name Liberty School.   I'm glad I did.
Their label sums it up nicely: "fruit-driven, soft and approachable".  The tannins are present but not overpowering which lets the drinker enjoy it on it's own or paired with food.
Tip: Released on Jan 17, 2009
At a Glance
Taste dark ripe berry, warm spice, vanilla
Smell dark ripe berry, warm spice, cherry
Food beef, steak, sausage
Sweetness dry
Price $17.95
LCBO# 41095
Score

Gray Fox Chardonnay 2007

Date November 16, 2008 | Chuck | Chardonnay & USA & White Wine

This vintage has layers of great flavours and aromas, it's priced well and is readily available.
People who are weary of the heavily oaked, buttery and spiced chardonnays don't have to tread lightly here, this bottle is nothing of the kind. Drink up.
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste apple, citrus, mineral
Smell golden apple, lime, grapefruit
Food roast chicken, pork chops
Sweetness dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 614271
Score

Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2005

Date November 8, 2008 | Chuck | Red Wine & USA & Zinfandel

Take the best notes from Cabernet and Shiraz, add some zip, and you have a great Zinfandel. This old vine release from Ironstone has excellent concentrated fruit flavors and incredible depth. The high alcohol is very well balanced and not at all overpowering. Flavours and aromas are big and chewy.
In Ironstone's case "Old Vine" means the grapes were hand selected from vineyards that are over 45 years old.
Tip: 90% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah
At a Glance
Taste cassis, blackberry, chocolate
Smell cassis, chocolate, oak
Food beef fajitas
Sweetness dry
Price $16.95
LCBO# 951889
Score

Fish Eye Shiraz 2005

Date November 1, 2008 | Chuck | Red Wine & Shiraz & USA

Different name, different label, different light green bottle...different thoughts of what shiraz is supposed to be. That said I'm not surprised at what I got: a shiraz with no pop. A proper shiraz should have blackberry, pepper and leather notes to it. But they're nowhere to be found in this vintage.
Take this for what it is: an easy, medium-light bodied summer sipper. If tasted blind, you'd guess merlot.
Tip: you'll want to chill this shiraz more than a typical one.
At a Glance
Taste medium berry, cherry, raspberry
Smell medium berry, hint of oak
Food grilled vegetables, sandwiches
Sweetness off dry
Price $9.95
LCBO# 35113
Score

Gray Fox Merlot 2007

Date October 25, 2008 | Chuck | Merlot & Red Wine & USA

Seems like we're having a bit of trouble finding a good house merlot. For such a popular varietal, you'd think we'd have more luck...maybe this varietal is suffering from market saturation.
This particular budget merlot has a light-medium body with medium-light fruit content. It didn't seem very refined and felt rushed out the door. I much prefer their Gray Fox Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste cherry, sour berry
Smell cherry, alcohol, geranium
Food club sandwich
Sweetness dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 527507
Score

Cline Zinfandel 2006

Date August 12, 2008 | Chuck | Red Wine & USA & Zinfandel

This best zinfandels come from California, so it's no surprise that this Californian delivers. What is surprising is that Cline has done it's customers such a favour by making this bottle so affordable. This is the second time Cline has released an overachiever at a great price, see their Syrah here.
This zin has a full mouthfeel, smooth tannins, lots of dark fruit and finishes with subtle spice and vanilla. Exactly what you should expect from a zinfandel.
Tip: grab a few bottles as this can be cellared for up to 4 years
At a Glance
Taste black cherry, spice, vanilla
Smell black cherry, raspberry, vanilla
Food pork ribs, pepperoni calzone
Sweetness dry
Price $12.90
LCBO# 489278
Score

Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Date July 24, 2008 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

This Californian cabernet has a medium-full bodied mouthfeel, very smooth tannins and silky finish.
Very well liked at the table by all, even non-affectionados.
Tip: described in a single word: delicious
At a Glance
Taste cassis, strawberry, tea
Smell mulberry, blackberry, menthol
Food grilled portobello mushrooms
Sweetness dry
Price $17.90
LCBO#
Score

Fetzer Valley Oaks Pinot Grigio 2007

Date June 19, 2008 | Chuck | Pinot Grigio & USA & White Wine

If you're a die hard fan of the extra crisp and acidic Italian pinot grigios out there, be prepared when you try out this fruit-forward Californian.
This vintage was definitely fun to drink with much of our time spent noses in glass.
Tip: serve chilled
At a Glance
Taste pear, grapefruit, apple
Smell pear, apple, orange spice
Food ham, butternut squash
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.05
LCBO# 34041
Score

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi White Zinfandel 2005

Date June 17, 2008 | Chuck | USA & White Wine & White Zinfandel

White Zin always gets the cold shoulder from critics even though it's one of the top selling varietals in North America. Why? because it's a rose, it's light and it's sweet. Those three reasons are also my guess as to why it appeals to so many wine buyers out there, they make it easy and fun to drink.
Although the composition is 84% Zinfandel, an interesting spectrum of grapes are used for flavouring and balance: 8% Muscat, 4% Barbera, 3% Syrah and 1% Grenache
Note: given an extra half star because it's not as syrupy as some other white zins
At a Glance
Taste strawberry, light berry
Smell strawberry, floral, cranberry
Food ham
Sweetness medium sweet
Price $9.95
LCBO# 249656
Score

Gray Fox Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Date June 8, 2008 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

The LCBO has promoted this wine as part of their 'Taste California' release (on the value end of the scale).
Take note that this is NOT a 'Big California Cab'. It is a light-medium bodied red that could pull up a chair at the lunch table.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste cherry, light-sweet cassis, smoky
Smell cherry, berry
Food meatball sub
Sweetness dry
Price $7.90
LCBO# 527515
Score

Barefoot Cellars Merlot

Date May 20, 2008 | Chuck | Merlot & Red Wine & USA

Here's an economy California merlot that if you lived in California would probably run you about 5 bucks a bottle. The company reminds be a bit of two-buck-chuck and yellow tail. Striving to make a consistent wine year after year (hmmmm...kind of like beer)
Although I wouldn't make this one of my regulars, I could see this being a chilled summer sipper.
Tip: serve chilled
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, boysenberry, sweet plum
Smell boysenberry, plum, anise
Food bbq chicken
Sweetness off dry
Price $9.95
LCBO# 53991
Score

Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Date May 1, 2008 | Chuck | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

Here we have a nice California cab which the LCBO has dubbed as a 'Vintages Essential'. Best of all, this bottle has an affordable price tag.
Overall this wine is a winner. It strikes a nice balance between fruit, acidity and tannins. The wine is quite dry, but works surprisingly well on it's own.
Tip: saying it comes from 'Paso Robles' is catchy
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, dark cherry, spice
Smell ripe red fruit, cherry, vanilla
Food grilled, braised or roasted meats
Sweetness extra dry
Price $16.85
LCBO# 738823
Score

Rosenblum Zinfandel 2005

Date March 17, 2008 | Chuck | Red Wine & USA & Zinfandel

If your eyes are bugging you, see an ophthalmologist. If your tooth hurts, see a dentist. If you want a good benchmark zinfandel, try Rosenblum.
I think of zinfandel as the middle ground between cabernet sauvignon and shiraz with a zesty punch. Zinfandel is a terrific varietal, if only more people would be open to it, without a doubt it could (and should) be a staple in everyone's home. Don't forget that zin was the merlot of the 80's, times and palates change and like fashion, it all happens in cycles.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste strawberry, raspberry, menthol
Smell strawberry, raspberry, vanilla
Food mediterranean, bbq
Sweetness dry
Price $17.80
LCBO# 284653
Score

Black Anvil Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Date March 12, 2008 | Sean | Cabernet Sauvignon & Red Wine & USA

This cab was sitting on the bottom shelf at the liquor store and I decided to give it a home. This wine certainly tries hard, but misses the mark. Not so much because of the wine its self, but the value. For about 2 bucks more there is some fierce competition this wine has to contend with.
The wine is a average attempt at Cabernet Sauvignon. Nothing was particularly interesting about it and nothing really wrong. When first opened it was tough to get through an alcohol smell to find the unripe cherries and plum scents. Hardly any detection of tannins, which could be good for people who don't like making that funny face like when standing to close to "buy a frigin bar of soap" guy on the subway.
Tip: Major improvements after being open 45 minutes.
At a Glance
Taste raspberry, cherry juice
Smell dark fruit, unripe cherry, plum
Food roasted vegetables
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.45
LCBO# 45575
Score
Black Anvil Cabernet Sauvignon Bottle

Cline Syrah 2007

Date March 10, 2008 | Chuck | Red Wine & Shiraz & USA

Coming from Sonoma, California this Syrah is an excellent value wine. The blueberry/blackberry is very forward but not overpowering of the spicy/peppery finish. The only critique I have with it is the slightly bitter finish which lessens as the wine breathes.
By the way, incase you were wondering: Shiraz, Syrah, potatoe, potato. But if you every find yourself in Australia or South Africa, say Shiraz. Otherwise, Syrah.
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste blueberry, plum, leather
Smell blueberry, pepper
Food grilled meat
Sweetness dry
Price $12.85
LCBO# 733758
Score


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