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Posts Tagged ‘2005’

Franc-ly My Dear…

Autumn is in full swing in my neck of the woods:  the colorful leaves are falling and cooler temperatures are quickly setting in.  With the change of the season, I thought I’d share a wine with you – a Cabernet Franc – whose hues of red, with scents of earthiness and cedar, match perfectly with fall weather and a variety of simmering home cooked meals.

Cabernet Franc was originally planted in France. Over the years, Cabernet Franc has been successfully grown in places like Australia, California, Canada, Chile, Italy, South Africa, and Washington State, to name a few. Compared to the brawny characteristic style of many Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs tend to be lighter in color and a bit ‘fruitier’ and ‘softer’ on the palate.  The other big difference between the two varietals is that most Cabernet Francs are not made for ageing – they’re meant to be drunk young.

I recently had a wonderful fall sipper that came all the way from Friuli, Italy which is in the far northeast corner of Italy, wedged between the wine-growing region of Veneto and the Italian border.   In Italy, especially in Friuli, Cabernet Franc is known as “Bordo” or “Cabernet Frank.”  It’s very common to see Italian Cabernet Francs labeled simply as “Cabernet” when in fact, they’re really Cabernet Francs – perhaps to market the wine better?  Whatever the reason, it’s a crying shame that not many of this Italian red can be found in the American market – or at least in my general vicinity!

Fortunately, the 2005 Beltrame Cabernet Franc was one Italian Franc that did make the long journey to the US.

2005 Beltrame Cabernet Franc - WineLife365

Founded in 1991, Beltrame Vineyards covers an area of 40 hectares, 25 of which are solely devoted to grape growing.  Beltrame Vineyards produces both red and white wines.

The 2005 Beltrame Cabernet Franc (Sample, $20 MSRP) displays a tremendous herbaceous component that intertwines nicely with dark cherry, plum, and earthy cedar notes.  I’ll warn you ahead of time though:  this Italian Cabernet Franc is 100% Old World style – so it’s got some of that funk (i.e., earthy dirtiness) to it.  But give it a little time to breathe and you’ll be rewarded with a delightful, floral red that will grip your taste buds and pair nicely with beef stew or any comfort foods that warm you up.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2005 Beltrame Cabernet Franc.  If you love Italian red wines like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, consider giving this Cabernet a swirl!


Let’s Rock!

That’s the expression that runs through my head each time I come face-to-face with an unfamiliar bottle of wine.  Although I love trying new wines, there’s always that tucked away thought or prayer just before venturing into the great unknown: “Please Lord, let this wine be great and have it scatter my taste buds into a million tiny pieces!”

A new white and a new red:  “Please don’t let me down tonight” were my final words before diving into these two unknowns.

First on deck was the 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina ($9.99)This wine comes from a very large and widely known producer – François Lurton.  I selected this Torrontes for three main reasons:

1.)     I love Argentine Torrontes so much; I’d pretty much swim in them if I could.

2.)     François Lurton is a widely known and usually reliable wine producer with operations all over the globe.

3.)     Back to reason #1, but add that it’s “Game on!” for any Argentine Torrontes under $20 US.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t rock my world.  The 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes lacked the big muscular and floral notes that let the drinker know that this is Argentine Torrontes.  Instead, the signature floral notes were abandoned and substituted with an overpowering oaky component.  The big, fresh acidity customary for this wine was discarded in favor of an earthy-metallic and muted tropical profile.  The finish?  Well, there’s little to talk about.  I gave the 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes three days in my fridge in hopes that it would come out of its shell and deliver my taste buds a strong message.  Between the burning wood and subtle pina-colada flavors stirring around in my glass, there was a big disconnect.        

2 Stars out of 4. 

“All hands on Deck,”  I yelled.  I need a red wine to come to my rescue immediately!  In walks the 2005 Old Patch Red ($12) from Sonoma’s Trentadue Winery. This red wine sounded quite yummy and interesting based on its back label.

“For over 30 years our Old Patch Red blend has been consistently one [of] the finest California bargains, highly praised by wine media and consumers.  In 2005 the blend is 70% Zin, 20% Petite Sirah, 5.5% Carignane and 4.5% Syrah… This is a delicious “bistro” style blend with abundant jammy berry flavors, black cherry and plums.  Peppery and spicy.  Moderate use of oak completes its juicy and pure mouth feel.”

Now, doesn’t that sound terrific?

Things started out just fine:  the 2005 Old Patch Red smelled quite nice, and I thought that maybe it would truly be a delicious “bistro” style blend, as the back label suggested!  Sadly, I can’t say that it was.  I tried this wine in my own “home bistro” with a plate of heaping pasta, sautéed mushrooms, and Italian hot sausage and alas, no pleasant imagery of dining al fresco or good cheers could be mustered up.

The 2005 Old Patch Red starts and finishes the same way:  somewhat sweet with an odd effervescent mouth-feel.  I was wondering whether it was a soft drink or a wine.  Like the 2008 Tierra de Luna Torrontes, I was stumped by this wine’s strange qualities.

2 Stars out of 4.  I like Coca-Cola, Cherry Coke, and Dr. Pepper – just not all mixed together.

Wine Review – 2005 Heavyweight Red

From:  California

Price:  $9.99


Bare-knuckle boxing is recognized as the first form of boxing, and it involved two competitors fighting one another without the use of boxing gloves or any other padding on their hands.  During this era in boxing, John Lawrence Sullivan, who was nicknamed the “Boston Strong Boy”, was considered by most historians and boxing experts as the first ever US Heavyweight Champion of “gloved” boxing and also as the last heavyweight champion of “bare-knuckle” boxing.



Seeing this John Sullivan inspired label enticed me to go ahead and purchase it to taste what this “Heavyweight Red” was made of.  After only a few seconds into the first round with this supposed heavyweight, that is comprised of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah and 10%, I quickly found out that this heavyweight had nothing more than a “glass chin”, in boxing speak.


Light, fruity, weak and hollow on its follow through makes this red blend a more formidable match in the Lightweight Division.  Unfortunately, in the 750ml and under $10 category this “Heavyweight Red” just doesn’t compete!


I award the “Heavyweight Red” 1 Star out of 4.  There’s a lot more blood, sweat and tears that need to go inside this bottle in order for it to live up to the legendary heavyweight status of its label .  


WineLife365 Rating: 1-Star 

Wine Review – 2005 Babich Riesling

babich-marlborough-riesling-2005From: New Zealand
Price: $10.79


So far in 2009, it hasn’t been too difficult to find a great tasting inexpensive Riesling from just about any place in the world.  With this in mind, I realized that I haven’t had the opportunity to taste a Riesling from New Zealand.  In a land where Sauvignon Blanc reigns supreme, there’s not a whole lot of room for the great Riesling grape to shine.  I recently came across the 2005 Babich Riesling and decided to give it a go for several reasons. The first reason being, the peeps at Babich usually deliver the goods when it comes to New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc.  And the second reason being, if they’re Sauvignon Blanc is consistently good, then they’re Riesling has got to be pretty darn good too…right? 


So would my assumptions be correct about the 2005 Babich Riesling?

Unfortunately, it was one big disappointment.  This Riesling did have a “born on date” of 2005, so maybe it was supposed to be laid to rest a year or so ago – because it sure was funkified on my taste scale!  It felt as if I was drinking a partly dissolved Alka-Seltzer tablet.  It had a rather peculiar tart grapefruit and lemon flavor that finished chalky-dry.   It actually left me thirsty for water so that I could wash it all down.  To sum it all up, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz” – it just had one strange effervescent taste to it.


I award the 2005 Babich Riesling 1 Star out of 4.  I’m really hoping that I was just late to the party on this one and should have tried it sooner.  But, if this is what the Babich winemakers intended, then they should get out while they still can and stick to making outstanding Sauvignon Blanc.


WineLife365 Rating: 1-Star

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