Cherry Cove Pinot Noir

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Randy Coleman from Coleman Vineyards. One of the wines he showed me was his 2011 Cherry Cove Pinot Noir. The first thing that caught my eye was the label. A lakeside beach akin to something Bob Ross might have created. I decided to pick up my own bottle for review. While I was not able to find a 2011 where I normally shop, there were some bottles of the 2013 vintage. While not as delicate as the two-year older wine, everything else about it was the same.

Cherry Cove is a solid Pinot Noir with barely any legs and a good finish. Quick enough that I did not have a lingering spice on my pallet but not so quick that I was unable to enjoy the taste before needing more. The grapes they use are smooth. Just enough tannin to make it grip the back of your mouth without drying you out with the need for something to eat between sips. You get a hint of pepper andcherry cove spice a second after the main grape hits your pallet but balances itself out with a nice, calm, almost melodic wash that cleanses the pallet on its own.

After drinking my first glass, I was ready for more. Not because I needed more but because I was truly enjoying it. I typically enjoy bigger, bolder wines such as Far Niente Cabernet or Chateau Moulin de Mallet. This Pinot Noir, however, satisfied my taste for good wine while enabling me to keep just enough outside of my comfort zone that I was not able to fall into a habit of ‘big wine, big flavor’ that I like to stay in.

I have found a recent love for red wines out of the American North West. Cherry Cove, and Coleman Vineyards for that matter, are no exception. In the $20 price range, this wine is worth picking up and mixes well with most foods. If you are able to find a 2011 vintage do yourself a favor and pick it up. Younger vintages will not be as delicate, but will be a great addition to any collection nonetheless.

This wine has found a spot in my permanent collection. A solid 9 out of 10 between both vintages I have been able to try.

Bunratty Meade

Before getting this bottle for review, I had not had the pleasure of trying mead before. To me, it seemed like it was an old-fashioned drink that was for Vikings and feasts from the Middle Ages. That was an injustice that I won’t make again.

When I opened the bottle of Bunratty, the first thing I noticed was the cap. There is no closing this bottle with the same cap that comes from the winery. The cap is a screw top but it doesn’t crew back on. That wasn’t a problem for me but I can see an issue with some spilling during transit because of it. Luckily, mead isn’t supposed to spoil like wine does and when kept in the fridge, can last for a month or longer after opening because of the honey.

I decidbunrattyed to put mine in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill it for my first glass and then let it sit out to come to room temperature for my second.

It had a very strong honey smell to it with undertones of grape and some earthy, floral herb, and behind it all, subtle hints of vanilla.

The first taste was all honey up front and an almost off-putting sweetness but finished smooth with a floral finish. It took me by surprise with how good this mead was. After a couple of sips, the sweetness grew on me and I wanted more. Being only 14.7%, I was surprised by how hard one glass hit me. I suppose it was a mixture of natural sugar from the honey and the alcohol itself mixing together.

When I finished my first glass, I wanted more. The bottle had warmed to around cellar temperature at this point and the flavors just jumped out and punched me. Honey, flowers, vanilla, and grape aroma and flavor filled the room. I spent the rest of the bottle enjoying this mead and understanding why mead is called “Nectar from the Gods”.

With a sweetness from the honey to a nice floral and herbal finish, Bunratty Meade is worth the $15 it will cost you. I will buy this again soon and I enjoyed every drop. 9/10.

Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Whiskey

I am a huge whiskey fan. It’s what I usually choose to drink if I am just relaxing and want something to sip on. When I saw a bottle of this apple whiskey, I couldn’t help myself. I knew I had to try it. For around $20 a bottle and an urge for something sweet, this was a good bottle to choose.

Lets startapple whiskey with the smell. There are few artificial smells I like better than green apple. I don’t eat candy anymore, but the smell brought some nostalgic memories of my childhood and those caramel apple suckers.

It tasted surprisingly smooth for something that smelled so sweet. While it had some candied tones to it, it wasn’t overbearingly sugary. Again, green apple was the main focus. It finished quickly with a little cinnamon on the tail end. Beyond that, there wasn’t a lot of depth to this whiskey.

If you are looking for a straight forward whiskey with some candy apple tones, this is the bottle you want to buy. It was great for the price and goes well with many mixers or just straight in a lowball glass with a little ice. While a little too sugary for my tastes, it sated my want for something sweet and was a good introduction to other, more complicated drinks. 5/10.


Alibrianza Colle al Vento ‘Pacato’ Primitivo di Manduria

I was drawn to the bottle of ‘Pacato’ because of its sleek design and agreeable price. A $12 to $15 bottle of wine is acceptable even if it turns out being something I don’t necessarily enjoy. Not the case for this particular wine though. For the asking price, this was a bargain from the first glass.

When I pacatoopened the bottle, it smelled surprisingly fresh. Like a cherry or pear fresh from the tree. The first sip was pleasant. I got a good bit of dark cherries right away followed by some cocoa or dark chocolate. It was a little dry but not overly so and finished quickly with a bit of oak, leaving me ready for another sip. As expected, its legs fell immediately after swirling my glass.

After my first glass, I began to notice the tannins stuck around for a little longer than I would like, leaving me wanting something to cleanse my palate. Without any red meat or bread/crackers readily available, I opted for some mild cheddar cheese and it did the trick.

Palate cleanser at hand, I very much enjoyed the second glass. Half way through I noticed a slight change as the wine began to warm to room temperature. While still a little tannic, the latter half of each drink was a little velvety and ended with a little more oomph. A very muddled fruit taste lingered for several seconds before dissipating. Muddled may sound like a bad word. However, in this case it worked in the wine’s favor.

This bottle of ‘Pacato’ was an excellent wine for the price. I don’t see myself buying it again soon, but I will eventually. With a good flavor profile and a good balance between tannins and a swift finish, Pacato is worth trying at least once. I give it 6.5/10.

Chateau Les Tuileries Bordeaux

When opening  the bottle of Chateau Les Tuileries, I was not sure what to expect. Wines in the $12 price range can be hit or miss.

The firstchat les tuileries_1 thing I noticed was that it had legs to stretch. It was a solid three seconds before it came back to rest when I swirled my glass. The aroma was pleasing. Not sugary but still sweet like you would expect from a white wine you could drink on its own. The taste was light and smooth with nothing full about it; which was surprising with how long it took the legs to fall. It went down soft and finished with a hint of citrus or maybe apple. It was kind of hard to tell because of just how light it was.

After my first glass, I was left wanting more of the Bordeaux and more out of the Bordeaux. I decided to chill the bottle for my second glass and just like the first, it was simple and smooth. I sat for several minutes drinking and trying to come up with the right word for what I was tasting. Somewhere between watery and refreshing.

The Chateau Les Tuileries Bordeaux is a good wine. I could drink it while sitting around the house reading or with a pork roast that came out of the slow cooker. While refreshing and smooth, it has few notes and little to offer in way of flavor. It has earned a place in my collection but not something I will default to. A solid 6/10.