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2009 Tres Hermanos (GSM) by Hart Family Winery

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Vintage: 2009
Type: GSM 62% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah
Country: USA — California — Temecula Valley

2009 GSM Tres Hermanos by Hart

This is a “local wine” that I picked up at a specialist wine shop off Market Street in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. The sales guy said that this was one of his favourites. Based on this recommendation, it came back to the hotel with me.

Technical Review

Clear, deep garnet. (NB: lighting in the hotel was not ideal but I believe this wine was garnet in colour).

Clean, medium aromas of ripe plums with a herbacious note.

Dry, high acidity, medium body. Flavour characteristics of blackberry, raspberry and, again, that unidentified herbacious note.

Medium to Long finish.

Good. Can drink now but has potential for ageing. High price (USD$20+ per bottle).

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.

Francis Coppola – Niebaum-Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Collection Ivory Label 2008

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Vintage: 2008
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
Country: USA – California

The wine has a deep cerise colour. Intriguingly complex fruit and spice. Unfortunately, this is tedious to drink due to a cheapish and persistent sweet/sour, ripe fruit/vinegar theme.  Not enjoyable at all.

Montevina Zinfandel Terra d’Oro 2005

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Vintage: 2005
Type: Zinfandel
Country: California

We tried this wine the other evening expecting a light and refreshing red, which is typical of American Zinfandel. Boy were we wrong. The wine took a while to open up – the first taste was closed and very tannic. Once we let it air for an hour or two the wine really came into it’s own. Great full cherry flavours and a nice hint of smoke. The colour was a deep red with little fading at the edge.  The finish was medium length and nice and smooth.  A great effort from the Americans!

Walker’s Pass

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Vintage: ?
Type: Old Vine Zinfandel
Country: California – US

As I find with most Zinfandels, they are a little disappointing. This one is certainty not one of the better ones.