Buehler Zinfandel

Maker: Buehler Vineyards, St. Helena, California, USA

Grape: Zinfandel

Style: Red

Region: Napa Valley AVA, Napa County, California, USA

Vintage: 2009

ABV: 14.5%

Appearance: Dark, deep plum.

Nose: Black currant, oak, blueberry jam, whiff of smoke.

On the palate: Fruity, strawberry. Lightly sweet, a bit fleshy.

Finish: slightly tart, leather, a hint of oak smoke.

Parting Words: At its best, California Zinfindel is something like this. It has the finesse and complexity of a red Burgundy and the drinkability of a Côtes du Rhône. This is a fairly complex, but easy-going wine, a bit surprising for something with its ABV percentage. It goes well with food but its more subtle notes might get lost in the shuffle. Not much else to say, but Buehler Zin comes recommended.

Trader Joe’s Reserve Syrah

Maker: ???

Grape: Shiraz/Syrah

Region: Mendocino Valley AVA, California, USA

Vintage: 2007

ABV: 14.7%

Notes: Certified organic, single vineyard.

Appearance: Deep purple.

Nose: wild blackberries, black currant, hint of leather

On the palate: Medium-bodied. Mixed berry jam, blueberries, chewy, some tannin.

Finish: Jammy then dry, much more tannic than on the palate, lingers for a while then fades rather quickly.

Parting words: Trader Joe’s Reserve wines are never bad, but they can occasionally be dull. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this one dull, but I’ve had more interesting Syrahs. For what it is, it delivers. There is lots of varietal character and it did well with corned beef. It would probably pair well with other rich red meats. For the price, it’s a good wine. Trader Joe’s 2007 Reserve Mendocino Syrah is recommended.

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc

Maker: Joel Gott, Napa, California, USA

Grape: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: California, USA

Vintage: 2010

ABV: 13%

Appearance: Pale gold with slow, thick legs.

Nose: Tangerine, Clementine, apricot, basil.

On the palate: Medium-bodied. Slightly sweet, grapefruit, peach, orange, delicately dry.

Finish: Orange, lemon, dry, fading into pleasant grapefruit bitterness.

Parting words: I bought this wine because it was the cheapest one on a list a of great California Sauvignon Blanc. I was a bit reluctant, since I generally only drink New Zealand Sauv Blanc. This one did not disappoint, and has all the citrus notes I love in New Zealanders. That said, the Joel Gott Sauv Blanc is no transplanted Marlbourgh. The herbal notes are much more subdued here and the grapefruit is more present in the finish than in the mouth. Lots of orange (and relatives) and apricot. An all around delicious wine with or without food. This would also be a good turkey (or tofurky) wine. Highly recommended.