January, 2013 browsing by month


2008 Merlot by Franciscan Estate Napa Valley

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Vintage: 2008
Type: Merlot
Country: USA — California — Napa Valley

2008 Merlot by Franciscan Estate in Napa Valley

This is a bottle  of wine I picked up at a local grocery store in San Diego. I paired it with leftover pizza but I think this wine deserves much more! It deserves to accompany a proper slow-cooked Sunday meal. It would certainly develop nicely in your glass over an evening of good conversation. This is a very good wine from Napa Valley that reminds me of some wines I have tasted on the Right Bank of Bordeaux.

Technical Review

Clear, deep garnet.

Clean, pronounced aromas of cherry, ripe strawberry and plum. A subtle herbal note.

Dry, high acidity, light tannins, medium body. Medium alcohol.
Flavour characteristics similar to the nose but with a smooth vanilla feel. Long finish.

Very good with potential for ageing. High priced (approximately USD$20) per bottle.

2010 Pinot Noir by Ranch 32 Monterey County

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Vintage: 2010
Type: Pinot Noir
Country: USA — California — Monterey

2010 Pinot Noir by Ranch 32

I was recently in sunny, warm San Diego, where I was working in a conference hotel during the day and discovering the city at night. January evenings were surprisingly balmy, which allowed me to walk all around the Gaslamp Quarter looking for interesting restaurants and wine bars.

At the intersection of Market Street and 12th Avenue, you will find a new sushi and wine lounge called Infuzon. Open since mid-2012, this restaurant fuses the art of Japanese sushi rolls with the sophisticated (but relaxing!) atmosphere of a wine bar.

The owner of Infuzon recommended Ranch 32’s 2010 Pinot Noir to accompany his abundant selection of sushi rolls. Ranch 32 is considered a “local vineyard.”

NB: my Japanese boss from Austria always insisted that sushi is best accompanied by fruitier red wines … and he is always right.

This wine on its own might be viewed as weak and lacking in character; however, when specifically paired with Japanese sushi and sashimi, I think it really enhances the dining experience. It won’t be overbearing and drown out the subtle flavours of ginger, radish, avocado, etc. that is found in and beside sushi rolls.

Technical Review


Clear, medium ruby.

Clean, medium aromas of sour cherries and non-specified, unripe dark-skinned berries.

Dry, medium acidity, low tannins, with light body.

Flavour characteristics of sour cherries and some floral hints.

Medium alcohol and medium length.

Good. Drink now; not meant for ageing. High-priced, especially if sourcing from outside the USA.