Sojourn Cellars Wohler Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018, Russian River Valley, California


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Pale garnet in the glass this wine exhibits big legs showing off its 14.2% ABV.  The nose is classic Pinot- cherry, strawberry, baking spice, cola, a bit of bramble and a touch of earthiness.  The palate is very precise with cherry driving the way.  The baking spice, cola and bramble/earth are all present but the red fruit really shines.  Juicy acidity and very svelte tannins make for a ‘sour cherry’ feel that I am really enjoying.  Medium bodied it has a medium finish that is really fruity.  I have had this brand before, enjoying it every time.  This one happens to be out of a Magnum and we are pairing it with appetizers of roasted Beef Marrow, charcuterie and phyllo cups filled with goodies.  It will work well with roast pork, chicken, filet mignon or duck.  92 points from me for this slippery smooth charmer that runs $54 and gets 5 stars.  I love this region BTW, the Russian River makes top notch Pinot that I look out for.  Drink till 2028.  Salut….

Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Gewurztraminer 2020, Finger Lakes, New York


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Another Finger Lakes wine to try from our recent trip- this one is a Dry Gewürztraminer which I am pairing with Beer-Can Chicken….  but I am a little concerned.  The cork was funky, looked very wet and there was some schmutz inside the neck.  I ran the first glass through a filter and here goes nothing:

Medium lemon color in the glass.  The nose is somewhat muted, surprising for the varietal but not for this particular bottle.  I do get some citrus, hazelnuts, bread and a hint of the telltale lychee.  The palate is better.  Medium intensity flavors of tangerine, lemon, lychee, rose, geranium and no sign of the bread or nuts.  Light to medium bodied it has gentle acidity and a medium length finish.  I love the varietal, but this bottle might be suffering.  Luckily I have another one nearby.  I’ll give it a try in the near future.  For now this $25 wine gets 88 points and 3 stars.  Hopefully it will improve on the next go.  Salut….


Dr. Konstantin Frank Muscat Ottonel 2020, Finger Lakes, New York


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Next up in my series on Finger Lakes wines is another aromatic varietal- Muscat Ottonel.  This one is a deep lemon color in the glass and rings in at 11.5% ABV.  The nose has pretty florals, lychee, sea salt and lemon/lime spritz.  On the palate it is off-dry with a hint of sweetness and plenty of body.  The tropical fruit coats my mouth and the aromatics are powerful.  This wine is weighty with medium (-) acidity and a long finish.  It is delicious and unique.  I decided to pair it with English Bangers and Mash with onion gravy.  I do believe it will work well- as would a Cobb salad, perhaps Lobster Thermidor or even roasted Cornish Hens.  It reminds me of last night’s Gewürztraminer but with less acidity, less minerality but more body and fruit.  89 points for this $20 wine makes it a 4 star effort.  Drink now.  Salut….

Dr. Konstantin Frank Gewurztraminer 2020,Finger Lakes, New York


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On our recent trip to the Finger Lakes I picked up some bottles to bring home for a more in-depth tasting and evaluation.  We kick off that series with this aromatic white made from the Gewürztraminer grape.  It’s a medium shade of gold in the glass.  The nose is full of aromatics- lychee, rose water, lemon verbena and finely sliced ginger.  There is a sharp focus in this wine and some minerality to boot.  Th palate tastes off-dry but I doubt there is any residual sugar- the 13% ABV points to a full fermentation.  Beautiful flavors of lychee, lemon verbena, ginger, honeysuckle and apricot would make me think I am drinking nectar.  Medium acidity makes for a great mouthfeel- this wine coats the palate with it’s full bodied weight and finishes long.  I am a big fan of this grape and look for it when shopping- this 91 point effort is well worth ordering if you like an interesting wine that veers away from the usual.  At $17 it gets 5 stars from me.  I would pair this with spicy dishes, Asian fare, even Jamaican Curry.  Drink chilled sooner rather than later to preserve the freshness.  Salut….

Cade Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Howell Mountain, California


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It’s Sunday Roast and I’m cooking a rather lean cut of meat today- Eye of Round.  It needs a fruit driven, medium tannin wine to complement the texture and lack of fat in the meat.  I would normally depend on an aged Bordeaux for this type of meal but today it’s a younger Napa Cab.

Inky purple in the glass the thin legs don’t hint at the whopping 15.6% ABV.  Wow.  The nose is exactly what I was hoping for- deep rich black fruit, oak nuance, steely minerality.  I get aromas of blackberry coulis, blackcurrant cassis, sweet coconut, baking spices and mint.  The palate is loaded with ripe fruit, medium tannins (perfect for my beef choice), juicy acidity, full body and a long finish.  The black fruit, oak influence and varietal hint (mint) are all present alongside some charred wood and a gritty graphite streak.  The mineral note hits on the mid palate.  This wine is still young and will drink beautifully for many years, maturing along the way and hopefully developing tertiary notes.  I would hold on to some till 2027 at the least and pair with steaks, roasts or a tray full of cold cuts and cheese.  This complex and layered wine gets 94 points from me and for the princely sum of one C-note you too can drink this 5-star elixir.  Salut….

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ‘Fay Hillside’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley, California


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We went over to Keef and Arty’s for a Christmas Tree unravelling party the other night.  It’s a lot more fun taking it down when there are others to help and some alcohol to boot!  This bottle has been cellared nicely for many years and it was drinking en pointe.

Opaque dark ruby.  Cassis, chocolate powder, blackberry compote, earthy dust, charcoal, rich blueberry, vanilla.  Very smooth with fully resolved tannins, medium (+) acidity and a lovely mouthfeel.  Medium bodied with a good length finish that has a mineral streak alongside the rich fruit flavors.  This wine is at peak, and needs to be drunk sooner rather than later.  Lovely stuff that’s hard to put down.  92 points and 4 stars for this treat that runs $150 new.  Salut….

Boutari Nemea 2017, Peloponnese, Greece


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I’m cooking Lamb Chops with olive oil, lemon, garlic and other sundry Mediterranean spices so I figured a Greek wine would pair nicely.  I have never tried Agiorgitiko before and am looking forward to this pale ruby colored wine that carries a relatively light 13% ABV.  The nose has some interesting spices- nutmeg, crushed black pepper and cinnamon.  Red fruit notes from pomegranate, red plum and black cherry try to compete for space but the spices dominate.  Some oak is present but very faint.  On the palate this wine has sweet fruit and the obvious spices.  It’s a dry wine (ie. no residual sugar) that has really smooth, integrated tannins that balance nicely with juicy acidity.  Medium (-) body and a svelte finish that is medium in length makes for a delightful mouthfeel.  If this is what the varietal is like I am thinking of many possible pairings.  Not a blockbuster but well made and enjoyable in the near term.  Drink with grilled meat, rich pasta dishes or some charcuterie.  89 points and for $15- 4 stars.  Salut….

Dr. Konstantin Frank winery tasting


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Our final stop on the Finger Lakes wine adventure was this picturesque hillside winery on the shore s of Keuka Lake.  We planned our arrival for 4 pm which gave us enough time for the drive from PA, which included a pit stop for a COVID test, a three hour drive to make our 1 pm Wiemar winery tasting, some lunch and then the 45 minute hop to the this lake.  We finished just after 5 pm and ended up in the town of Geneva for the night.  Everything worked out as planned!  Salut….

Hilda Chardonnay 2020-

Pale lemon in the glasss.  Crisp citrusy notes. Lemon zest, green apple, clean, waxy, round mouthfeel, medium to full bodied. Medium (+) acidity, linear and focused, not flabby.  Long finish. 91 points and at $35 it gets 4 stars.

Old Vines Pinot Noir 2019-

Pale garnet as expected from this varietal.  Pronounced aromas of stewed strawberry, cherry compote, vanilla bean, straw, baking spice, Orange peel.  Palate is light and breezy with cooked red fruit, spices, super lithe tannins, gentle acidity, light body and medium finish. 89 points and for $25 it is worthy of 3 stars.

Cabernet Franc 2019-

Medium opacity ruby.  Spicy nose of white pepper, violets, black currants, capsicum, perfumed flower blossoms.  A blunt opening that has a tannic grip and medium acidity.  The spice and dark fruit finally show up with some bell pepper greeness. Quite vegetal.  87 points.  Drink soon.  $25, 2 stars.

Saperavi 2019-

Deep purple color.  Smoke, coffee, blueberry pie, blackberry coulis.  Dry palate with smoky coffee goodness.  Medium (-) tannins, medium acidity, mid weight body and a decent length finish.  The tannins are more present on the back end but are still very smooth.  88 points, till 2024.  $30 makes this a 2 star effort.

Amur 2019-

No idea what it’s supposed to taste like.

Deep ruby, port like nose with spice box and clove notes.  A hint of greeness with asparagus and iron.  Unique flavors- very spicy, somewhat green with rhubarb, charred wood and kirsch alongside gentle tannins, juicy acidity, medium body, decent finish.  89 points for this $30 wine makes it 3 stars.

Margrit Dry Riesling 2019-

Pale lemon with aromas and flavors of lemon cordial, honeysuckle, blossom, toast.  Crisp palate with juicy acidity, citrus fruit, florals and 90 points for this $35 wine makes it a 3 star effort.

Tabora Winery lunch stop


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Our adventures in the Finger Lakes included this lunch stop with a glass of their dry Riesling.  Moxie opted for the Roast Beef sandwich whilst I picked a delicious Cottage pie.  The winery was a separate building from the deli and they were kind enough to bring our meal over so we could get started with the tasting.  Salut….

Tabora Dry Riesling 2020-

Medium golden color.  Lemon verbena, floral blossoms, spritz, minerality- pretty bold.  The palate is dry and not as concentrated as I had hoped for.  Medium (-) acidity, medium (+) body, juicy finish that is mid length.  87 points and at $24 it gets 2 stars from me.

Wiemar Winery tasting


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You may have read my previous post about our travels through the Finger Lakes, tasting our way to Canada, eh.  Our first stop after leaving home was to get a COVID test so we could cross the border, they insist on that kind of thing in Ontario.  Halfway down the road we came to the stark realization that one of us could test positive, egads.  As it turns out we were fine and made it to our 1 pm reservation at this rustic winery where we sampled some delicious whites and reds.  Abbreviated noters follow as I really was there to enjoy the moment and not think too hard with all the distractions.  Needless to say we bought some wine to bring home.  Salut….

Grüner Veltliner 2020-

Greenish lemon color.  Lemon, lime, grapefruit, tart, vanilla, good acidity, light and fruity. 87 points and at $27, 3 stars.

Riesling HJW 2019-

Greenish gold with tropical fruit notes of pineapple, papaya, pear, lemon curd, melon, medium (+) acidity, medium body, medium (+) finish, very balanced. 93 points. Delicious stuff and at $39 it gets 5 stars.

Riesling Reserve Dry 2019-

Pale lemon with Brioche, lemon, tangerine, pineapple, medium to full bodied, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) finish.  A subtle yet classy Riesling that gets 92 points and 5 stars for its great QPR at $29.

Gewürtztraminer Dry 2020-

Pale lemon in the glass.  Lychee, melon, rose petals, honeysuckle, sweet mouthfeel with great fruit flavors.  Medium (-) body, low acidity, medium (+) finish.  89 points and a very nice representation of this aromatic varietal.  For $25 it gets 4 stars from me and a few bottles made their way south.

Blauframkish 2020-

Pale ruby, see through in fact.  Black cherry, grape jelly, white pepper, black currants, crisp, tart, medium acidity, low tannins, medium (-) body, medium finish.  Lightweight and easy drinking, refreshing. 87 points and 3 stars for this $32 charmer.

Cabernet Franc Magdalena 2020-

Medium purple color.  Spicy with green pepper, white pepper, red plum, black plum, asparagus, blackberry, very spicy palate.  Quite dry but not astringent with medium (-) acidity.  The finish is medium (-) with good fruit.  89 points, 3 stars and $39.  Drink this till 2025.  Pretty vegetal looking back.  I will re-taste soon.