Archive for May, 2009

Mirassou Pinot Grigio 2008

Type: Pinot Grigio

Mirassou Pinot Grigio

Origin: California

Year: 2008

Cost: $9.99

Rating: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: 13.5%

Our opinion:

Tonight we decided to purchase a couple of whole striped bass from the market and grill them up on the BBQ for dinner.  We needed a decent white wine to go with the fish but didn’t have time to shop around, so ended up at a generic discount liquor store on Route 40 in Catonsville.

I couldn’t think of a good cheap white off hand but we were both in the mood for a Pinot Grigio.. probably because we haven’t had one in such a long time and it was a beautiful late spring day.   We hesitated near a Bolla 1.5 Liter for 13.99.. but decided on the Mirassou 1 L for 9.99 instead.  I don’t think I’ve ever tried anything other than the Pinot Noir from Mirassou, but we were impressed with that wine at the price point compared to others, so we thought it might be a safer bet.

I think we made a great choice.  Mirassou is a common wine and easily found in liquor stores in the area.  The Pinot Grigio was not overly acidic, it was not overly sweet or fruity and not tart at all.  It had none of the negative qualities we so frequently found in our random pinot grigio picks.  In fact, not only was it absolutely lovely on its own, but it went fantastically with our fish.    We detected a slight fruitiness, a crisp, citrusy flavor, but a well-balanced mouth feel.  We both agreed that in the absense of any other known white, we would reach for the Mirassou Pinot Grigio again in a pinch.

Others Say:

We were at a loss when looking for reviews of the 2008 Pinot Grigio, but this is what we could find:

Winemaker’s Notes:
Our 2008 Mirassou California Pinot Grigio reveals intense aromas and flavors of peach, pear and citrus with crisp, lively acidity create an exceptionally refreshing wine. This versatile wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes as well as grilled poultry or seafood. Our Pinot Grigio is ready to enjoy immediately upon release and should be able to age in the bottle for one to two years.

The Bottle Says:

Offering flavors of lemon-lime and peach with subtle floral notes, Mirassou Pinot Grigio is a bright expression of California’s most celebrated growing regions.  This versatile wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes as well as grilled poultry or seafood and embodies the optimistic spirit passed down through six enerations of America’s oldest winemaking family.  Enjoy!

Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon


Origin: Argentina

Year: 2007

Cost: $5.99

Rating: 4/10

Value: 5/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

This was another one of our leftover “backup wines” for a party we had, along with the Marcus James Merlot.   We found it acidic and generally cheap tasting.   In fact, it was fairly offensive.  I suppose it was decent enough to finish 3/4 of the bottle, but leftover wine is a rare occurrence around here.  We saved it for cooking wine…

Marcus James seemed to have fairly decent reviews, but most of them for other years of the same or other varietals.  We didn’t think much of the 2007 wines.  In this price range we would stick with the Waltzing Vine shiraz.  For a lower price you could even crack open a Macaroni Grill Merlot 1.5 Liter and have plenty left over for cooking…

Others Say:

Once again we appear to be outnumbered.. general consensus seems to think this is a decent wine.  Perhaps we needed to aerate this one 5 times like we did with the Merlot, or maybe we needed to drink it with a meal. Or maybe it’s just not a good wine:

From “I truly remember this wine being pretty tasty on another occasion. And this time, I still thought it had a nice flavor with a good balance of tannins and acidity. But I also found it had a disagreeable sweet/sour twang to it that I suspect is acetic acid. This flavor really distracted me from the other more pleasing layers to a point where I did not enjoy it on its own….I tried it again the next day, thinking maybe the flavors would be different now that the bottle had been opened and recorked. While a sip confirmed that the acetic acid flavor was still there, to my surprise, I found that the unpleasant flavor more or less disappeared when I sipped it along with my dinner. In its place was a full, blackcurrant flavor with a pleasant bite of acidity-but not of the acetic acid variety.

From “Marcus James has been one of Argentina’s top exports for years. When we tasted the recent releases we were jolted out of complacency by the quality and value they offer. With grapes sourced in the perpetually sunny Mendoza valley and vinified under the eye of a team of the world’s best international winemaking experts, Marcus James wines are consistently good year after year.”

2007 Marcus James Merlot

Type: Merlot

Origin: Argentina

Year: 2007

Cost: $5.99

Rating: 5/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

We were having a lot of guests over for a party and decided we needed to fill our wine rack for the first time in a while, and not necessarily with anything expensive, should we need to crack into it.  We stocked up on several Marcus James wines as well as a few Crane Lakes.  The Marcus James Merlot was still in the rack at the end of the party, and we tentatively broke into it on a random weeknight with low expectations and a backup plan of hard liquor.

Bleah.  There was really nothing nice to say about this wine.  Drink out of necessity.  Though we did agree it was a shade tastier than the Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon, it wasn’t by much.  After the first sip, I passed the glass of wine back and forth through the Vinturi wine aerator about 5 times.  This seemed to slightly improve the taste and removed a bit of the bite to it.  Once it was smoothed out, we were able to finish our first glass, and about half of a second glass.

Unfortunately at the end of the night, wine still remained in the bottle.  Just like the Marcus James Cabernet.  Oh well… cooking wine?

As a side note, Marcus James has frequently been compared to the “two buck chuck” you can find in various places around the country.

Others Say:

Apparently there are other more positive reviews of this wine on the web, so maybe it’s up to you to decidel :

From “There are mixed spice, black plum and tarry aromas that segue smooth and plush flavours of black currant and ripe juicy black cherry. It’s medium in weight and texture with pleasing fruit flavours that carry through the balanced finish. It’s a lovely quaffing wine with the oomph and stuffing to pair with burgers, pizza, gourmet sausages and the like. Bistro-styled and uncomplicated, it warrants a buy given the attractive price-quality ratio.”

Nassau Valley Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard Select

Type: Cabernet SauvignonNassau Valley 2006 Cabernet Suavignon Vineyard Select

Origin: Delaware

Year: 2006

Cost: $23.00

Rating: 8.5/10

Value: 7.5/10

Alcohol: 12.9%

Our opinion:

We visited Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes, Delaware during a weekend in good old Ocean City Maryland.  We were allowed to try 6 different wines from a list of about 12.  Both of us chose to try a few whites and reds, keeping primarily with the dry- and semi-dry-labeled wines.  This vineyard turns out a large number of very sweet vintages, which we don’t generally enjoy.

Unfortunately for us, this bottle was one of the most expensive ones they sold by a margin of about $10 over the standard, but rightfully so.  The bottle that we tasted in the store had a very distinct oak flavor to it, much more so than the 2005 bottle priced at $17.

The Cabernet Sauvignon tasted structured, smoky, and bold with a medium mouth feel and none of those harsh tannins that generally turns me off from the grape.  It was delicious and so we bought a bottle and drank it at home.

In the end it was nice to try a local wine that we thought competed with many of the California wines.  We really enjoyed the bottle we brought home with us.  In the end we do recommend this wine, but then again, for $23 there are probably a few we’d really enjoy in this price range.

Winemaker’s Notes:
Our 2006 Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot.  100% of the grapes used to make this wine come from the estate vineyard here in Lewes, DE.

Others Say:

Not much, at least that we could find.  If you’ve tasted this wine please share your opinion with us!