Time has some seriously effective wings, because it flies by swiftly. I looked back to see that last time I posted any wine reviews from the trusty Moleskine and yes, it has been a little over a month. I’m not going to apologize, I’m just going to try and do much better in the future. Here are some of the wines that I have tasted over the past month.

2009 Scarborough Rebel Red (Columbia Valley, WA) … $13.99
Aromas of wet wood, cherries and warm spices. Plush cherry notes up front with a plum component coming through. Silky tannins and a nice flow across the palate. There is some serious spice notes that come through on the medium length finish. I think it lacks in complexity and is a little boring, but it is a “Ten” in the delicious factor. It will be liked! A blend of Grenache, Mouvedre, Sangiovese, Syrah and a splash of Merlot and Cab. (B-)

2006 Vistalba Corte C (Mendoza, Argentina)… $13.99
I normally don’t put a review of an older vintage like this on my site. However, I was so impressed with how this wine developed I just had to share it. The first time I tried this about three years ago I was not enthralled. With the age on it, I am quite impressed with how it developed.
The nose didn’t impress me at all. A little stink and not a lot else except maybe a little dark cherry and currants. Smooth notes of cherries and blackberries on the front of the palate. Nicely integrated fruit and tannins with a hit of tobacco and chocolate on the mid-palate. Finishes with notes of tobacco, currants and dark cherries. Some wood tannins and spice come through on the backside. This wine has come a long way in three years. (B+)

2009 Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA) … $52.99
When you think Napa at this price range, you think polished and opulent. This shows that and a little more. Aromas of Ripe black currants, green bell pepper, asparagus and black licorice (I love these aromas in a cab). Plush blackberry notes on the front of the palate with hits of currants and chocolate. Silky smooth across the palate with a spicy edge on the finish accompanied by notes of veggies and wood tannins. I’m glad the bell pepper, asparagus and other veggies showed up, otherwise this would have been just another Napa cab. (B-)

2010 Brian Carter Cellars Abracadabra Red (Columbia Valley, WA) … $17.99
Aromas of smoked ham, boysenberries, coffee beans and caramel. Notes of coffee bean, caramel and tobacco come through up front with underlying currant notes. The flavors dominate the palate with a little spice hit and tannic grip on the lingering finish. Would like to see a little more fruit then makeup on this wine. (C+)

2011 Efeste “Ferel” Sauvignon Blanc (Evergreen Vineyards Columbia Valley, WA) … $17.99
A little stink on the nose with a little burnt match, grapefruit and grass. Typical of this white, it is a wild ride in the mouth. Grass, honey, lime and some fir needles backed by a boatload of stainless steel. There is a nice steely edge from start to finish in the mouth with notes of lime and fir needle. The wine dances across the palate with a bunch of zingy citrus notes into a long finish. I loved last years vintage, but I like this one a lot better. (A)

2011 Chatter Creek Pinot Gris (Columbia Valley, WA) … $18.99
Aromas of melon, sulfur (burnt match) and hints of stone fruits with even some of the pit coming through. Melon and honey come through on the palate, but it seems a little flat. Some apple skin notes on the short finish. Sorry, this is a boring white and not worth the nineteen bucks. (c-)

Non-Vintage Riva Della Chiesa Prosecco Brut (Italy) … $12.99
I love the nose on this prosecco…Notes of ripe apples, peach and hints of almond. Apples and apple pie spice all over the palate. It’s like drinking liquified apple pie and spice cake blended together. Hints of minerals come through the apple driven finish. Nice balance on the drier side, and a “10” in the delicious category. (B+)

2008 Lan Rioja Crianza (Rioja, Spain) … $10.99
If you want to know what Rioja should smell like, this is headed in the right direction. Notes of black olive, old wood, dark fruits with a dash of dirt and tobacco. Sweet tannins on the palate with dark fruit notes and a kiss of molasses. Polished and seamless with a little black olive and tobacco showing up on the mid-palate. Black currants and mocha notes with some white pepper on the medium to long finish. This baby will satisfy “old school” Rioja drinkers on the noses, but it turns a little “new world” on the palate, which a lot of folks will like. I’m not going to get on a soapbox here, for the price this is an excellent value red. (B-)

2011 Lopez Island Vineyards Malbec (Wahluke Slope, WA)…$21.99
This is from my own backyard, and I really, really want to like it. Brent (wine maker) is just the nicest guy and he does put out some good juice. However, with all the great Malbec out there in this price range, there is some stiff competition.
Aromas of alfalfa and cherry juice with hits of black licorice. Hay and grass notes come through on the palate with just a hint of barnyard. Cherries and red berries sneak in on the mid-palate, but then the hay and grass notes dominate the finish with a dash of white pepper that lingers. If you want a little country wine, roll in the hay barn experience, this is for you. (C)

2005 Bodegas Rio Janas Vina Albina Rioja Reserva (Rioja, Spain)…$21.99
I love the nose on this baby. Stinky horse saddle, meets black fruit, char and an underlying freshness. Loads of black fruit, tar and spice on the front of the palate. Silky tannins back the fruit and spice through to a finish with a little wood tannin “grip” with a hit of menthol. This is a little plush for a Rioja red, and the wood tannins on the finish are just slightly awkward on the palate. (C+)

2008 Thimiopoulos Uranos Vineyards (Naoussa, Greece) … $29.99
I have just about zero experience with Greek reds so I hope I didn’t butcher the name on the label too bad. I think I put all the names in the right place. I do know that this is 100% Xinomavro which is a grape I want to get know better.
A little restrained on the nose with notes of red currants, cedar and whiffs of minerals. Red and black currants on the palate with an undertow of chocolate. Huge hits of spice and white pepper come to the fore in the middle palate with a hit of tannins. The finish shows a lot of wood tannins with underlying cedar notes. This red has sweet tannins and is almost fruit forward with a heavy dose of wood tannins. The tannins most likely will integrate with the fruit in about 3-5 years. I really want to try this then, because it could be a beauty. (B-)

2010 Altesino Rosso Di Altesino (Tuscany, Italy)… $21.99
Interesting aromas of rosemary, thyme, rose pedal, cedar and tobacco. Almost cherry cola like up front leading into chalky chocolate notes. Finishes with chocolate and spice with just a hint of ham hocks coming through. The spice hangs for some time. (B-)

2010 R.J. Vinedos Reunion Tinto (Mendoza, Argentina)… $12.99
Dusty restrained fruit notes on the nose with notes of dark cherries, currants and hits of cola. Smooth tannins on the palate back notes of black licorice, herbs and chocolate cherries. This baby is large in the mouth and almost sticky on the lips. The chocolate cherry notes linger on the finish with just a dash of tobacco leaf. 40% Malbec, 40% Bonarda, 20% Merlot. 14% abv (Alcohol by Volume) A little to fruit forward for my palate, but a think a lot of people will dig this red. (B-)

2011 Bodegas Caro Aruma Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)… $14.99
Aromas of tobacco, cherry, leather and earth with just a hint of stink and a little alcohol. Plush notes of cola and dark cherries come through on the front of the palate with an explosion of chocolate on the mid-palate. The chocolate notes flow into the finish and envelope notes of tobacco, leather and spice. Another red that is not my cup of tea, but I am very aware that there are a lot of palates out there that will appreciate this wine. (B-)

There you have it, raw and directly from my tasting notes (with a little spell checking) to you. Cheers! Stan The Wine Man.

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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