Tuesday, August 12, 2008

J. Lohr 2006 Riverstone Chardonnay

My friends David and Wayne are visiting from San Fran and they were up to tasting some wines with me this weekend. So David and I were at the local Albertson’s (www.Albertons.com) and found this nice J. Lohr Chardonnay (www.jlohr.com) for only $12.99 per bottle.

Nice aromas of apples and nectarines on the nose. Taste was nice and buttery with complex fruit flavors. It was a nice medium body Chardonnay with a good finish. We decided that this is a keeper and one to recommend for a nice daily table wine.

20andUnder Score: B

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bodega Winebar - Santa Monica

Bodega Winebar (www.bodegawinebar.com) happens to be just a block and a half away from where I work. How nice is that? I had passed the bar a few times while walking in the neighborhood and they have come up on some of my wine related Google searches. So my boss and I decided to try it out on a Tuesday night right after work.

The bar opens at 5pm Tuesday through Sunday. We walked in around 6:15pm. The place had a nice noisy crowd enjoying the happy hour. There was a bar with two bartenders, several small round hightop tables with stools and some larger hightop rectangular tables with stools. There was loungey, comfy sofa-like seating against the wall behind us and then the same type of seating in the windows. There was a nice red glow to the room which softened up the concrete floors.

Our waitress was friendly and quick. I had already learned that Tuesday night was Andrew Jackson night - any bottle of wine for $20 (the regular price is $32 per bottle). The wine list consists of 12 reds and 12 whites. We chose a red (I'll tell you about this in my next blog) and ordered the brushetta and olive tapenade. They also have certain appetizer specials during happy hour.

The crowd was very diverse and upbeat. Just like you would imagine in Santa Monica! They also have a location (the original) in Pasadena. They have their $20 bottles of wine on Wednesday nights...hmmm.

Will I return to Bodega Winebar in Santa Monica? You betcha!! But probably on Tuesday night...who can beat $20 bottles of wine at a winebar? And it fits into the 20andUnder philosophy.

20andUnder Score: A+

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monkey Bay 2004 Chardonnay

This is a wine from New Zealand that I picked up from Pavilions for $8.99 (www.pavilions.com). Monkey Bay (www.monkeybaywine.com) has a much more recent 2006 vintage out that you should probably try instead of the 2004 vintage...here's why:

The nose on this was a very dusty/musty fruit aroma. I was a little hesitant but decided to go ahead and taste it (what the heck, I've already paid for it!) and the flavors were peaches and melons. It lacked any body and no substance to it at all. I think the 2004 is way past it's time to drink! I will definitely try to remember to look for the 2006 because I think that it would only be fair to try it as well. The 2004 is drinkable...but just barely. My recommendation would be to cook with this wine.

20andUnder Score: D

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Edna Valley Vineyard 2005 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

I think I am really liking wines from Paso Robles! This central coast of California Wine Country has been getting a lot of press lately about their delicious wines.

The bottle of wine chosen for today's tasting was Edna Valley Vineyard's 2005 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon (
www.ednavalleyvineyard.com) with over 80% of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes coming from Paso Robles. The temperatures in this region have the greatest spread of degrees of heat during the day to coolness at night. This allows for great wines to be made.

This wine had a very bright nose to it. Ripe cherries and blackberries. The color was very plum-like. The flavor was nice and ripe with blackerries and currants with just enough tannins to tell you that it was a nice California Cab. It was also between a medium and full-bodied wine.

Would be great with grilled steak or a pork loin. Your pick!

Picked this up at Pavilions (
www.pavilions.com regular price $14.99 - SALE PRICE $9.98) and yes, I do like Pavilions! They actually have a nice selection of wines there.

20andUnder Score: A-

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rabbit Ridge Estate Grown Paso Robles 2006 Chardonnay

This is a great valued bottle of wine which I recently brought to a birthday dinner. Rabbit Ridge 2006 Paso Robles Chardonnay proved to be a very approachable wine (both at cost and on the palate). I picked up this bottle at Pavilions (www.pavilions.com) for $14.49 (their regular price was $17.99 and I have seen it higher at other locations). The nose was fresh and light with pears and apples. The taste was creamy and buttery also with notes of pears and apples. We had this wine with some different appetizers such as shrimp cocktail, brie cheese with an olive tapenade spread and Jarlsberg cheese.

This wine left a very favorable impression on me. This would be a great hostess gift or would accompany a nice seafood or chicken entree. Check out their website

20andUnder Score: A-

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2005 Gallo Family Sonoma Chardonnay

For a winery that is predominantly thought of as the King of jug wines, Gallo’s Family Sonoma Chardonnay (www.gallo.com) comes across as a great effort in giving us a fresh California Chardonnay. The flavors of pears, apples and a bit of vanilla was better to taste than what had come across on the aroma. The aroma was a bit weak and did not allow me to detect what I would be tasting. Also this was an oaky wine that doesn’t have a long finish.

Overall, not a bad wine and actually much better than I had anticipated. I don’t think I would serve this at a dinner party but would have at home with salad or pasta. I found it at Pavilions (www.pavilions.com) for $8.99 a bottle.

20andUnder Score: C

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mavro Palama Salento Rosso 2004

This Italian wine was made in Puglia, Italy (at the heel of the Italian boot). This region has only produced so-so wines until recently. It is made of 2 varietals that give it the body and the aromatics.

I opened the bottle immediately and did not decant. It probably would be prudent to decant this wine for at least an hour before drinking. That being said, there were heavy aromas of dark berries such as blackberries with cassis adding to the nose. The flavor was full bodied with a nice balance of dark fruits and licorice. The tannins were definitely present which I think they would tone down a bit once decanted. Overall very nice and would be great with a lean steak or even a grilled chicken with garlic mashed potatoes.

I picked this bottle up a while back at Wine Expo in West LA for $16.99/bottle. I have researched online and see it listed over $24. So not sure regionally how this will fare with our $20 and Under guidelines. Regardless, you will enjoy this wine!!

20andUnder Score: B