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Posts Tagged ‘2006’

You Have to Start Somewhere

As the saying goes, “everyone has to start somewhere.”  This past Friday, after a long week of absolutely gorgeous weather here on the Eastern Seaboard, I was thinking that this would be a great way to officially start the weekend: 

Living lovely on the deck.

I do have to say, I love…LOVES me some caviar!!  Now, now… I know what you’re thinking, but to be completely honest with you, this is just some tasty and cheap roe that gets the job done for my tuna fish wallet.

This simple slice of Icelandic heaven consists:

  • Table Water Crackers
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cheap Caviar
  • Add in some fresh mozzarella balls on the side, and you’ve got yourself a Friday night party on the deck!

To celebrate this beautiful Eastern Spring evening and appetizer, I thought I’d lock lips with a few east coast sparklers:  two exquisite bottles of bubbly from New York’s Dr. Frank Wine Cellars.

Pioneered by Dr. Konstantin Frank, this Finger Lakes winery has earned a reputation for producing outstanding Rieslings and sparkling wines that adhere to the classic French “methode champenoise.” 

The first was the Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs (2006) (Sample, MSRP:  $29.99 US).

This sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, and was aged for more than three years before its release.  When my wife and I released it into our glasses this past Friday night, it was like a fruit pie being swept up into a twister of teeny-tiny bubbles:  rich and toasty with notes of pear and ginger.  Absolutely delicious from start to finish!  Highly recommended with a little (or a lot) of my little caviar snack!  4 Stars out of 4 for the Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs.

Our second sparkler was the Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé (NV) (Sample, MSRP:  $20.99 US).

Unlike the rich, big mouthful style of the Blanc de Blancs, this bubbly is more of an easy-going deck wine to enjoy with family and friends.  Made with 100% estate grown Pinot Meunier grapes, it offers an orchard of raspberries and strawberries for those that prefer a sweeter style sparkler.  By the second glass, we were longing for a giant piece of pan-seared salmon to go with it!  3 out of 4 for Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé (NV).

If only every weekend could start out this way!

Everyday, Affordable, Good…and Bordeaux?

Ok, what word in this title doesn’t quite fit?  If you said, “Bordeaux” – give yourself a big attaboy (or girl) and slap yourself on the butt!  Most wine drinkers (at least the ones I know) wouldn’t include ALL of these words in a sentence meant to describe wines from one of the most storied wine regions.  In an effort to change this perception and to elevate awareness about reasonably priced (i.e., under $20) Bordeaux wines available in the US, the folks at Planet Bordeaux initiated a campaign to educate, share and showcase examples of what Bordeaux, and in particular Bordeaux Supérieur AOC wines, has to offer consumers in the under $20 category.

Yesterday, we decided to try the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge and the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge with grilled salmon and a thick piece of grilled steak .  

The first wine we tasted was the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge (Sample, MSRP: $13 US).

Right off the bat – before ever seeing the vintage date on the label – I thought to myself, “this wine has seen a few moons.”   Reason being that the color of the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge was a tad cloudy and had a dull ruby color to it.  That being said, though, we don’t judge any wine by how pretty it looks in the glass – it’s all about how it tastes.  As my wife and I tasted the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge, I commented several times that it tasted a bit tired; it was not at all vibrant and tasted one-dimensional to me.  Made of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, it lacked any interesting herbal and spice flavors.  I kept it open for a few hours, in hopes of tasting some violet and black currants; unfortunately, over the course of the evening, I just couldn’t find them.  2 Stars out of 4 for the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge.

Our second rouge of the evening was the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge (Sample, MSRP: $15 US).

Like the Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge, the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge is comprised of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Unlike the first red, though, the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge exhibited a beautiful vibrant ruby color.  How did it taste?  This claret coats your entire palate – front, middle and end – with raspberry, strawberry, cloves, violets and black current.  AND…I absolutely loved the chewy tannins gripping my teeth and gums with every sip!  Now this is what I was hoping to discover in an everyday-sipper, red Bordeaux!  3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge.

For more information on these and other Bordeaux wines check out

I’m Going to Tell You Something Flaca, and I Want You to Listen Tight…

One of my favorite varietals in the whole world is Riesling.  Originating from the Rhine region of Germany, Rieslings cover a wide spectrum of styles from dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling; and it also blends quite well with other grapes.  It’s an aromatic grape varietal capable of showcasing a wonderful floral bouquet, while delivering just the right amount of an acidic charge – which is what makes this varietal so extra special in my mind.  It can be enjoyed equally as a sipping wine or as an accompaniment to a multi-course meal.  Finally, if you’re not one for oak in your white wine, in most cases, Rieslings are kept pure and oak-free.

If you’re already a fan of this versatile white wine, then you’re probably familiar with offerings from destinations like France, Germany, and from different parts of the US.  However, one place that you may not be aware of that is producing some truly spectacular, bright, lip-puckering and affordable Riesling is the Land of Oz.  As best-selling wine author Mark Oldman of Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine puts it:

 …their splendid Rieslings have been relegated to the shadows when they really deserve a throne of their own.

I’ll second that!!  If you haven’t had the opportunity to try one yet, two of the best Aussie regions to look for when shopping are the Clare and Eden Valleys in South Australia.  So now that I’ve beaten you down with my sermon and finished touting my penchant towards Riesling, I need to share an encounter that I had with an Australian Riesling.

Disclaimer: For some, you may not like this next part, but as Colonel Davy Crockett said, “…that don’t change the truth none.  There’s right and there’s wrong…”

Last night, I endured (not for long thankfully) one of the most devastating losses in quite some time; and sadly, I need to recommend a strong “Beware” on the 2006 Lindemans Bin 75 Riesling.

Lindemans is usually a very reliable Aussie producer, so how can that be?!

Let me start off by saying that Lindemans is one of the largest and premier names in Australian wine; and quite frankly, I’ve never had an awful experience with any of their selections over the years.  However, when I opened up the 2006 Lindemans Bin 75 Riesling, it felt as though I had been turned into a two-stroke engine getting filled with one part gasoline to one part oil.  Sadly, this Aussie Riesling had such an overwhelming and persistent petrol component to it that it was nearly impossible to consume.  To be fair, the rubber meets the road, or petrol factor, is something that can happen to Rieslings as they start to age and mature.  Interestingly enough, this unique profile is actually something that many Riesling collectors pay big bucks to experience.  I’ll pass…

1 star out of 4 for the 2006 Lindemans Bin 75 Riesling (Price:  $8 US).  Caveat emptor!



Big Bing Bling

The word lien means “silver metal” in the Mapuche language.  The 2006 Viña Maquis Lien Red Blend from Chile dazzles with a glitzy display of big black cherry and raspberry flavors (a rush of raspberry, actually); touched with a slight hint of sweet tobacco and red licorice on the mid-palate that continues all the way through to its chunky medium-weight finish.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2006 Viña Maquis Lien (MSRP: $19, sample)At less than 20 bucks a pop, you won’t have to hock your unwanted silver jewelry at the American Jewelry and Loan to enjoy this flashy blend of 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 7% Malbec. 

Editorial Note: Exercise a little self-control with this wine:  don’t be too eager to just pop and pour!  Give it some time to cool off before measuring its true value.

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