Ron Blachman's Reviews

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29 reviews were found
  • Rating:
    (9/15/2014)
    Charles Smith Lawrence Vineyard Viognier 2011
    $41.99
    Pair with: Roast fowl, Charcuterie, Sweetbreads
    Quality cork. Medium straw-gold, medium bodied, leggy. Nice nose, pretty good size even when a bit chilled: spiced apple, cinnamon, cedar, a hint of smoke, with a bit of riesling; exotic and very nice. Good flavors and balance, pretty big and mouth-filling; good acid with fruit to carry it off; a bit of a lingering finish. Nice to drink now, could hold up to five years (good cork helps!). I don't expect a lot of improvement with time but no decline, either. This is a lovely, luscious wine. You can find wines as good for less money but if you love variety and can afford it I strongly advise you give this a try. It's still less expensive than it's French counterparts. I had it with sweetbreads and chantrelles and it was perfect!
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  • Rating:
    (9/13/2014)
    Condes de Albarei Albarino 2012
    $13.99
    Pair with: Veal Piccata or Marsala, Roast pig or boar, Paella, Tapas
    This is my second experience with Albarino from the Rias Baixas. This is firmer, less tropical than the Paco & Lola. The color is pale gold, medium bodied; legs form slowly; I think this has a high "total extract". The nose is medium sized, not a explosive as the P&L; notes of pear and spice, a bit riesling like but distinct. Big flavors, a dry balance with plenty of acidity but enough fruit to carry it. It is a big, firm wine, mouth filling with a long finish. this does not want to be overly chilled. This is, somehow a "serious" wine; I picture it being served by a tall, severe, slender woman of indeterminate years and impeccable posture dressed in black crinoline with a tall shell comb in her tightly coiled hair; she allows herself is only a glimmer of a smile when you try this with a nice, salty Jamon and olives. The style is not available on the pull-down menu, I'd call it big, stuffed but crisp. It might transform a bit with a few years in the bottle but it will be intersting at every point along the way.
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  • Rating:
    (9/12/2014)
    Bernardus Rosella's Vineyard Chardonnay 2011
    $39.99
    Nice cork. Pretty straw-gold color, medium body, legs form slowly and are fine (suggesting a high extract-to-polyols ratio). The wine has almost no nose; if I cover the top of the glass and agitate I can find a bit of apple, some spice but even as it warms and aerates there's not much scent short of extraordinary techniques. The flavors and balance are wonderful; sappy, mouth filling, good tartness with fruit to carry it a bit of a nice finish, really nice and I think it could age a while. If it had a scent this could be a 4 or possibly 5 star wine but it just plain isn't - inexcusable in a $40 wine. "Professional" reviewers please note your delectation of the specific notes in scent is of no use if the amplitude is vanishingly small. The Wine Advocate, for example must have been drinking some other wine to go off about "gorgeous aromas". Bad guidance - don't waste my time and money!
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  • Rating:
    (9/10/2014)
    La Merika Pinot Noir 2011
    Sold Out
    $15.99
    Not as good as the 2010. This hasn't the big, berrylike nose I liked in the previous vintage. Also the flavors are less balanced, there's good acid but not the fruit to carry it. Rather short. The price is quite reasonable but I can and have done better. Now I have one remarkably good experience with this producer's Pinot Noir and one somewhat disappointing one. I'll try another vintage in future but skip this one.
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  • Rating:
    (9/9/2014)
    Veramonte Chardonnay 2012
    $12.00 $9.99
    Save $2.01
    • white wine
    • screw cap wine
    • JS91
    (2)
    Style: Fruity & Smooth
    Pair with: Grilled seafood or chicken, Paella, Curries
    This is a solid three star wine and a four star value. Straw-gold color, medium body, leggy. When still chilled the nose is medium-small, as the wine warms it is medium sized: Apple, a hint of cinnamon, oak. Big flavors, mouth-filling; good acidity with ample fruit to balance it. Something of a nice finish; is there a hint of CO2 developing? The wine is secured with a screw-cap-closure and I regard these as unreliable and definitely not suitable for holding the wine for more than a year, still, at $10 it is a very good value for current consumption, better than three more expensive ones in this current tasting flight ($15, $15 and $25 wines).
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  • Rating:
    (9/7/2014)
    Mount Eden Vineyards Domaine Eden Chardonnay 2011
    $27.99 $24.99
    Save $3.00
    Style: Light & Crisp
    Pair with: Outdoor fare, Delicate fish dishes
    Pretty light straw-gold, medium body, fine legs form slowly. Small nose a hint of Armagnac and butter, not much else. Flavors are nice, good balance on the slightly tart side; a slight hint of desirable bitterness, not particularly big or long, though. I can't say that the varietal character shows up very strongly. It is a nice wine but way overpriced and falls below my (admittedly high) expectations.
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  • Rating:
    (9/7/2014)
    Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay 2012
    $11.00 $9.99
    Save $1.01
    Style: Light & Fruity
    Pair with: Outdoors events
    Pale lemon/straw color, medium body, leggy. Not much nose at all, even as it warms up - perhaps the slightest hint of citrus or oak but really very faint. Nice balance, good fruit and ample acid to balance, a hint of desirable bitterness adds complexity and a fair-to-middling finish; perhaps just a hint of CO2? It drinks nicely in a medium-sized, quaffable way but the absence of any nose leaves me cold. The closure is a good quality elastomeric imitation-cork; I think is much superior to the recent trend to screw-caps and is entirely suitable for this wine. Generally, it is a pleasant wine but I think there are better Chardonnays at this price point.
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  • Rating:
    (9/6/2014)
    Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2011
    $20.00 $14.99
    Save $5.01
    Style: Light & Crisp
    Pair with: Barbeque chicken, Paella, Spicy Tapas
    Pale straw color, medium body, leggy. Big, complex nose: lemon, apple-cider, yeast, oak? Big flavors; there's decent fruit but the overall balance is on the tart side, some apple flavors, just a hint of desirable bitterness - a bit short though, more crisp than rich. There may be hint of carbon dioxide suggesting secondary fermentation may be underway; I think this is a risk in wild-ferment wines and a reason I ascribe them no special merit. This is a screw-cap-closure wine so it should not be held past a year or so and this wine wouldn't improve with age anyway. Nice enough: crisp, tart, flavorful and aromatic but not distinguished and overpriced at $15.
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  • Rating:
    (8/29/2014)
    Paco & Lola Albarino 2011
    $20.00 $12.99
    Save $7.01
    Style: Fruity & Smooth
    Pair with: Charcuterie, Roast Fowl, Shellfish
    Eye-opening surprise! Light gold color, medium body, leggy. The nose amazes; medium to large, Apricots and lime zest, perhaps a note of mango. The flavors are pretty big and mouth-filling with a nice finish (the slightest hint of desirable bitterness); there is ample fruit but also plenty of bright acidity to balance it. I gather that Albarino is a cousin of Riesling and the inheritance is clear but this is much bigger than a Kabinett and better balanced. It is a dry white but fruity and lively. I'm so pleased by this I'll be trying a few more of these Rias Baixas whites. A fine value.
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  • Rating:
    (8/29/2014)
    Agent for Change Santa Ynez Valley Tempranillo 2010
    $19.99
    Style: Earth & Spicy
    Pair with: Hassenfeffer, Picante dishes
    Leave it to California vintners to show what Tempranillo is like when it has not been brutalized and oxidized as they do in Spain. The color is light-to-medium garnet without signs of oxidation; medium bodied. At first the nose is a bit herbaceous but this fades, with an hour of air I found it like ripe-tomato and cassis with a touch of oak and a bit of alcohol. It is a tart, acidic wine and not heavy on fruit, there's a firm backbone of tannins. At first it is frankly, a bit too tart and firm, with air it becomes a bit more harmonious. I can't endorse this wine it is too tart and the variety doesn't impress me but it is a heck of a lot better than the "famous" wines of the Rioja, which seem to be more highly rated as they are more severely abused, woody and funky.
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