Archive for the ‘NOT Recommended’ Category

I’m not one for spreading rumors or giving in to peer pressure when it comes to wines, but this one was one of the most talked-about vino at a Pinot Grigio tasting event I’d attended recently. Talked about for its complete undrinkability!

We all agree that though there are pleasing aspects one would associate with a Pinot Grigio, this particular offering was more akin to a Sauvignon Blanc. (…and you all know how much i just adore sauv. blanc…)

Our host had assembled about 6 wines and an impressive FIVE dishes with which to experience the pairings’ interactions:  Chilled oysters on the halfshell, steamed swordfish with miso glaze, lavender-scented grilled chicken bites, veal roulade pinwheels, and hand-made asiago ravioli in a lightly sweet tomato sauce. Every single morsel of food was delicious beyond belief!

The nose is lightly floral with a touch of honey; the only redeeming quality of this vino.  Mouth-feel is watery and overly tangy with an unbalanced grapefruit acidity.  Blessedly short, the finish is a strange aftertaste of sour jasmine.

Can’t recommend, especially at this ~$14 price point.



**image credit:  Cellar No. 8. claims no ownership of image and reproduces under fair use provisions for product review and critique.

I’ve not sipped any bubbles since my Yuletide binge began with a ghastly Prosecco on Dec 12, 2010 and toasted the new year with Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2011.

This special occasion is in celebration of the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m pursuing some international education opportunities and moving to the mid-western USA to be with my beloved partner of almost 9 years.

Why Mumm Napa?  We’re planning a winery tour for March 2012 so I thought it a good idea to explore offerings from wineries in and around the northern edge of the Napa Valley.

Once the mousse subsided, the nose is slightly yeasty, slightly spicy, and slightly floral. The dance of bubbles on the tongue assisted in delivering mid-weight mouth-feel, faint flavors of melon and lemongrass, decent acidity and a flat finish.  I was totally unimpressed with the lack of yeastiness that failed to carry through to the finish – ESPECIALLY from a vino produced in the méthode Classique.

Drinkable to be sure, but a vinoboy recommendation, not really. Pricing in Ontario, like certain Australian vinos, is injurious. I’ve seen this vino in the USA at ~$20/btl.  Here in Toronto at the LCBO, this bottle of non-vintage California Sparkling wine cost me ~$39!!



images credit – The Winery. makes no claims to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

I have no idea what possessed me to buy another South American wine; and one from the most mass-production oriented sections of the most abused appellation in all Argentina.  Unless any of you can convince me to taste another South American vino, I’m off them for good.

I’m having a difficult time writing this review as I can’t think of anything really nice to say about this vino.  Its alcohol-forward on the nose, powerful scents of cherry and shale, a gravelly mouth-feel, flavors of mealy dampness and a lingering tarry finish of smoke and creosote.

So I guess this vinoblog entry is as much a washout as this gloppy stuff is.

At ~$13/bottle, its not even a value purchase.

No more South American wine for me unless YOU can convince me otherwise.



image credit – reposted with source credit going to WineAlign.  thevinoboy .com makes no claim to ownership and reposts under fair use provisions for review and critique.

So with the impression of the direct translation of the winery’s name (Grand Gaillard = Fine/Strapping Young Lad) an indicator of the tipple thereof, I chose this bottle to renew my faith in the grape known as Sauvignon Blanc.

“Why don’t you like Sauv Blanc?!”  I’m frequently asked.

“More often than not,” I reply. “It smells too much like cat’s pee!!!  Most of the Sauv Blancs I’ve tasted of late have all been overly uric on the nose, twangy mineral on the palate and the pervasive uric essence carrying thru to an off-putting finish.  THATs why I dislike Sauv blanc

“Can’t you try to taste beyond the scent of urea and get a better understanding of the essences within?  As “the vinoboy”, we’re counting on you to guide our palates and such…”

“Ok,” I acquiesce. “I’ll try just this once more. Sauv Bl. is a quintessential and classic white wine after all…”

I am so glad I did – I have nothing but thanks to my adoring fans for this re-review:

Indeed on the nose, the urea is prevalent though with this one, there’s some floral note to it that is kinda nice.  The palate is very citrus-forward, yes, but no definite true flavor to work with.  Finish is moderate reminding the taster there was a floral note at the beginning.  Not unpleasant but certainly not a showstopper.  LCBO ~$12/blt



Image credit – Google image search results.  No ownership is expressed or implied and is reproduced under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Not too long ago, a friend emailed me a list of bottles he had in his cellar and the two questions I hear a lot: “How long can I cellar this?” and “Is this still drinkable?”  One such bottle on that list was the Christian Moueix Merlot 2005, Bordeaux.

Like the recently reviewed Chateau La Fleur Terrien 2008, Bordeaux, the Moueix winery is located in that portion of the Right Bank appellation of the Bordeaux region.  As such, this mass-produced vino may come off as unrefined and/or lacking the depth and complexity we’ve come to expect from these regional blends and single-grape varieties.

With an off-red almost tawny hue, the nose is very wooded and alcohol forward with some scents of red berry coming through.  Mouth-feel is tannic and stemmy and middle of weight.  The finish is rather bitter and lastingly dull.

This 2005 vintage has a drinkability date of 2011, so most of whats in stock wherever you purchase your vino should be consumed if you’re up to it – personally, I’d not even cook with it.  If you have it in your cellar try it for yourself but this vinoboy can no longer recommend it.  More recent releases of Moueix Merlots no longer carry a vintage date.

Though honestly turned off by this unbalanced and uninspired offering, I’m game to try another fresher bottle of what Christian Mouiex has to offer.



**image credit – republished using the image posted at – no ownership of image is expressed or implied by

Hrm…  It would seem that not all regionally blended wines from France are unique and identifiably unique.  This vino’s full handle is “Hugues Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet 2009”. It région controlée is Coteaux De Languedoc, Sud De France.

After writing this tasting review, I tried researching the winery itself.  There are plenty of notes on third-party sites, like on WineAlign and Snooth; but nothing produced by the winemaker him/herself. The glass of the overly-tall bottle feels thick and has a couple shaped accents and punted only very slightly.

The first time ever for me trying this wine though I’ve picked the bottle up and set it back down again at the LCBO  – turned off by all the spelling mistakes on the back label.   I’m actually glad it made it into my cart this time so I know for next time to leave it alone.

The color is very pale yellow with a strange hue of silver around the edge of the glass.  The nose is lightly perfumed with no real discernible prominent note. On the tongue, there aren’t many flavors at all really other than the faintest hint of lemon, not even a detectable acidity .  The finish is somewhat minerally, sort of like sucking on a clean pebble.

This reminds me of lemon drink-mix powder mixed with too much water.

A waste of ~$10 at the LCBO.



**image credit – Google image search.  There doesn’t appear to be a website for the actual winery but I’ve found plenty of reviews once this one was finished.  They all read the exact opposite of what i experienced with this vino.  Did I get a bad bottle? If so, I seem to have the best (or worst) luck at finding the bad bottle in the lot.

1930 – 2010.  Celebrating 80 years, they’ve made a lot of it, sold a lot of it and made lots of money.

Back in its heyday of the 1970’s and 80’s, Baron Philippe de Rothschild was THE wine to drink with your table-side service at the finest restaurants.  It tasted like nothing else on the market at the time and even though you might not have liked it back then you still drank it because you were seen as a certified wine snob drinking ACTUAL France-french wine! WootWoot!!

I’ve been debating now for a few weeks reviewing this vino as its a very well-known winemaker, well-priced to make it accessible and everyone has tried it.  This is one of the drawbacks to a real French wine in the ~$9-$14 price range.

As with its red counterpart, this Bordeaux Blanc is a regionally-named blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon,  and Muscadelle.  In an attempt to refine my wine-tasting skills, with the help of a vino-friend; I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.

The nose is obviously lemon with unripened melon-y notes. A characteristic spritzy sensation dominates the forward palate while herbaceous grassy flavors, twangs of lychee and mineral round out the palate.  The finish is short and easy-going but leans very much towards boring.

Admittedly, this IS one of Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s more junior brands, but come on! Really? To say this stuff is only barely borderline drinkable is to be overly kind.  With all the competition and product knowledge in today’s marketplace, this wine is a let-down on a Bordeaux-sized scale.



**image credit – Google Image Search.

California and its counties are a patchwork of appellations from its southern border with Mexico to its northern border with Oregon.  Much like here in Ontario, there are cellaring wineries that buy grapes from all over to produce wines under their own label.

This wine’s full name as seen on the label is: Stonehedge Reserve Amador County Zinfandel 2008 Special Vineyard Select.

I like quite a few California wines – Napa Valley is, after all; on the same latitudes as Ontario’s viticultural zones.  Seeing the various narrowing of appellations on this label and liking the rich, full-bodied structure of old vine Zins, this LCBO/Vintages purchase at ~$18 seemed like a great value at the time.

In an attempt to refine my wine-tasting skills, with the help of a vino-friend; I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.

The alcohol-forward (14.9% alc/vol!!!!!)  nose is jammy and smokey with scents of charred wood and cloves. Very full-bodied and slightly off-dry, the funky charred flavor fills the mouth with dried fruits and concentrated vanilla extract.  The result is an overpowering complex finish that creates the urge to wash my mouth out with Borax.

I must reiterate: I love a lot of California wines and honestly appreciate a good Zinfandel, but this one is TERRIBLE!!!



**image credit – me!  I took this image myself as so many ppl must hate this wine as much as I do to NOT wish to immortalize its likeness online.  Label design and other stuff owned by the winery.  Published under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Not too long ago, a friend emailed me a list of bottles he had in his cellar and the two questions I hear a lot: “How long can I cellar this?” and “Is this still drinkable?”  One such bottle on that list was the J. Lohr Seven Oaks Estates Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

This is a standard Cab Sauv that most people have in their cellar as its reasonable inexpensive, cellarable for 7-10 years after bottling and has, over the years; been extensively reviewed and tasted by both novice and expert alike.  At LCBO/Vintages outlets for ~$22/btl, it may be a bit of a higher-ended moderately-priced splurge for some.

Both bright and lustrous, the aromas of this deep red vino leap from the glass to fill the nose with black fruits and berries. Essences of  vanilla and other deep toasty notes linger before the sipping.  The mouth-filling body is silky smooth with the same flavors carrying through to a slightly oily finish of tar and violets.

Yes, the feeling in the mouth is nice to start, but there just seems to be something over-worked and stressed.  The softness of the tannin feels clammy on the tongue.  This leads to a flabby and fatty smooth feeling like a big lick of margarine just coated the palate with oil.

Drawing on my tasting memories of various other California Cabs, I’m left feeling very blah about this wine.  After writing this review, I searched for others’ tastings to see if I’m not the only one to feel disappointed.  The sentiment is about 70/30 pro/con.

Sorry J. Lohr.  I can’t in good vinoconscience recommend this to my readers.  You guys talk a big game full of hype and popularity, but this wine doesn’t follow though.



**image credit: The Winery.  Republished under Fair Use Provisions for Review and Critique.

What I have here is another example of why Chile should not make wine.  The Errazuriz Estate is located in the town of Casablanca roughly 100km due west from the capitol of Santiago. The moderating influence of the southern Pacific Ocean provides a cool macro-climate while the Andes Mountains to the east ensure good rainfall.

The color is a strange green-tinged yellow with a serious scent of pineapple and durian.  On the palate of a Chardonnay, one would expect a very still, decent mouth-feel, often tropical flavors of papaya and passion fruit.  This vino has an obvious and pronounced crackling  sensation on the tongue that is decidedly harsh. Past that, a hint of banana flavor is followed by a sustained herbal finish reminiscent of tomato leaves.

A new release at LCBO/Vintages for ~$11/btl, there are many other tastier more varietally pleasing chardonnays out there in this price range.  A definite shock to the palate away from what a normal unoaked chardonnay is supposed to taste like.



**image credit – the winery.  Republished under Fair Use Provisions for Review and Critique.