Archive for February, 2009

7 Deadly Zins Michael & David Phillips Zinfandel

Type: Zinfandelseven-deadly-zins

Origin: California

Year: 2007 ?

Cost: $15.00

Rating: 9/10

Value: 9/10

Alcohol: 14.5%

Our opinion:

The bottle doesn’t tell me much, other than the seven deadly “zins”.  I don’t know what year it is or where it’s from (without the help of the internet).  It doesn’t tell me much about itself, either.  I tend to think that wine bottles with gimicky names must be hiding something–namely, a bad wine.  However this wine was named thus because of the 7 different wines that went into the blend.  Not entirely gimicky, yet catchy.  Easier to remember than some random guy’s name, which is wise.

A friend brought this bottle for after dinner drinks.  YUMMY.  It might have been my favorite of all the wines we tried tonight (4?).  I don’t frequently purchase zinfandels, for no particular reason, so maybe I will have to start.  This wine has just the right amount of complexity, fruitiness, roundness, a slight spice to it, a beautiful smell, and all around it just plain pleases me. I’m glad there was a glass left over when my friends went home, because I’m certainly enjoying it now!

Wait.. is that GREED?  or is it GLUTTON?  Who cares.  It’s good wine.

It was bought to go along with several dark and bittersweet chocolates. However I’m not convinced that the chocolate really did much for the wine, compared to others that I’ve specifically tasted along with a bite of chocolate and noticed the difference. It still doesn’t matter… leave the chocolate and take the wine.

Winemaker’s Notes:
A vibrant, sweet bouquet of raspberry jam, molasses and cinnamon toast evoke the senses of carefree youthful nights.  Excellent oak integration provides silken tannins and spice to pair with Lodi’s unrestricted wild berry fruit.

Others Say:


“…But it’s no joke that this is a good zin.  It has a spicy nose with a bit of raspberry, tomato, pepper and cola.  It’s very clearly a Lodi Zinfandel right from the first whiff.  Raisins, jammy blackberry, walnut and black pepper make for a big, bold palate with plenty of complexity.  It has good concentration too, and a fairly long finish with a hot spiciness.

Poppy Pinot Noir 2007

Wine: Poppy


Type: Pinot Noir

Origin: California – Monterey County

Year: 2007

Cost: $15.00

Rating: 8.5/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: 13.5%

Our opinion:

A decent Pinot Noir is hard to find when you’re shopping with a budget of $20 and under.  This wine was recommended again by the folks at The Wine Bin in Ellicott City, when I asked for a wine to drink along side a coq au vin.  Everyone really enjoyed this wine.  It was very easy to drink, smooth, tasty, and balanced.  There was no awful “I’m going to have a hangover” taste to it like the Mirrasou Pinot Noir has despite it’s cheap adequateness.

I’d say this wine complemented, yet did not interfere in any way with, the food we enjoyed with it.  I think this wine would also taste delicious on it’s own.  Even those less familiar with red wines would enjoy this wine.  It’s very popular and several stores report selling out of this pinot frequently, as it is hugely popular with their customers.

Bottle Says:

Great Pinot Noir, like the Califonia Golden Poppy, thrives in cool coastal climates.  Our poppy Wines are a blend o fseveral carefully selected vineyards, all located in cool regions and meticulously farmed for intense ripe flavors.  We employ minimalist winemaking and use only a touch of oak because we feel the best flavors are those derived naturally from the soil, sun and grape.  We recommend serving this wine between two and seven years of its vintage date.

Others Say:


“Fresh, light, a tad sweet. This Pinot Noir has a very light color and is very refreshing… drinks like a darker Rose. Great with chicken, fish, sushi.

“This was the first wine I tried that I really liked, and I ended up buying 3 bottles. It’s very accessible, but still has a distinctive Pinot character. I’m not good with descriptions, but I’ve never offered it to anyone who wasn’t very surprised at how good it was. If you’re a beginner in wine, track this one down and give it a try.”

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: Chile – Colchagua Valley

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.00

Rating: 5/10 ? (at least unpaired with food)

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 13.5%

Our opinion:

No, thanks. At least not to drink with. Thanks to the lovely folks at The Wine Bin in Ellicott City, I puchased this wine to add to my coq au vin. I asked for a cheapish wine (pinot noir to be specific, since I figured I needed a burgundy), and they upgraded me to a more full-bodied cabernet. The wine itself wasn’t awful by any means, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it to drink. We had a bottle of white during appetizers, and while waiting for the food to finish cooking, I offered up a taste of this wine to those with an empty glass. A couple of those ‘tastes’ got ditched when it was time to open the pinot for dinner. Clearly not a crowd pleaser… in my opinion it was too tangy and difficult to drink. The coq au vin, however, turned out quite flavorful and tasty. Buy to cook, not to drink.

I must disclaim, however, that others seem to disagree with us.  This wine got great reviews online.  Perhaps it needs to be drunk with a strong meat such as lamb to really enjoy.  But not by itself.

Bottle says:
Under the direct technical supervision of the Domaines, Los Vascos is committed to producing the finests consistent and balanced wines whose elegance and harmony are to be shared with discriminating connaisseurs around the world. This wine is fresh, gentle, consistent and very fruity, with a slightly spicy finish.

Others Say:


“On the nose, there is serious concentration emanating from the glass with ripe crushed black fruit dominated by black cherries, loganberries and soft sweet currants, followed by jammy licorice-laced plums, phenolic compounds, oak references, spices, tobacco leaf and earth-driven minerals.

In the mouth, this wine is a big mouthful of spiced black currant juice — true to the cabernet structure — then layered soft blackberries, wild cherries and elderberry fruit, leading into a seamless midpalate that is just ripe with black fruit and hints of mint and black tea.

This well-made wine is big and heady with a full-bodied character, yet so supple and fine in the tannin structure that it has a smooth, long finish that lingers with black currant pastilles and tobacco. It’s probably one of the more accomplished cabernets tasted out of Chile at this price in a long time.

Drink it now at its peak through 2009, and try it with herb-crusted rack of lamb grilled perfectly medium-rare.”

Fontana Candida Frascati Superiore Secco 2007

Wine: Fontana Candida


Type: Frascati

Origin: Italy

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.99

Rating: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

White wines are hard to agree with, at least for me.  I believe I’ve had this one before, but maybe missed out on the review.  A friend brought a bottle for pre-dinner drinks tonight and I remembered how enjoyable it was.   This white is very easily to drink, without all the harsh acidic bite that so many cheap whites have.  I think you can find it for under $10 in some stores, and certainly online.  This white is somewhat fruity, lightly sweet but not overly so, and well balanced.  It’s not exciting, but it’s good, and it’s a solid choice if you aren’t sure if your guests are huge wine drinkers.  Everyone enjoyed this bottle.   I recommend it, definitely for the price!

Bottle says:

In the hills near Rome are areas of volcanic  soil over 2000 years old.  Here the grapes for frascatia are grown.   Frascati has a delicate bouquet of wildflowers and fruit.  Its characteristic taste is fresh and distinctive, with just a hint of almond.  To enjoy Fontana Candida Frascati to its fullest, serve slightly chilled (55 degrees) to heighten the fruit and the iwne’s crispness, fontana candida frascati is a delightful complement to seafood, poultry and other light entrees.

Others Say: