Ben’s Top Wines of 2009
2006 Michael~David Lust Zinfandel
Lodi, 100% Zinfandel
The name says it all; after the first taste, all I wanted was more. Every time I passed by this caramel-infused, spit-smoked, blackberry beauty in my local wine shop I couldn’t help but reach for it. This wine should be chewed and not swallowed if possible.
2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, Unk% Cabernet Sauvignon
This is possibly the most velvety-soft 2 year old wine I’ve ever drank. The tannins dissolve in your mouth like melted chocolate running off of a dried cherry. Perfectly smoked and masterfully crafted, this wine will be good from now until I can’t taste anymore.
2007 Papapietro Perry Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, 100% Pinot Noir
If you thought you knew what Pinot tasted like check again. This bad boy from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino packs more flavor than most Zins I’ve tried. Peppered Pork and ripe strawberry with hints of melon make this wine absolutely mouthwatering. The rest of the crew can attest; it took me longer to finish this glass of wine than any other I’ve had in recorded history.
Reneé’s Top Wines of 2009
2008 Wilson Creek White Cabernet Sauvignon
Temecula Valley, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
This eye-catching blue jewel of a bottle contains surprisingly flavorful juice. Imagine the love child of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat and you have white Cab Sav. I thought it could never be discovered, but leave it to Luke to prove me wrong. The sweet tropical flavors of melon and kiwi blended with a soft oak finish make this an incredibly tasty and fascinating wine. As the bottle reads “a romantic island paradise,” I envision drinking this wine everyday of my honeymoon.
2006 Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel
Lodi, Unk% Zinfandel
Here’s a repeat offender for this year. Ben has purchased this bottle about a half a dozen times from my hometown liquor store, and it grows on me more and more each time. Its dark berry and plum-like mouth feel along with its peppery finish make it a wonderfully smooth wine. Most Zin haters would say, “it’s just jammy fruit with some spice.” However, after sipping a few glasses of this old vine Zin, I bet they could easily be converted because it’s way more complex than that.
2007 Arizona Stronghold Nachise
Sulfur Springs Valley, 67% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 13% Petite Sirah
This incredibly smooth desert (not dessert) wine is shockingly good from the get-go. I LOVE that it’s from Arizona. They make wine in Arizona? Right! It’s the kind of wine that makes you say, “whoa that’s effing good!” Unlike my fellow hipsters, I’m not that familiar with the lead singer of “Tool” or his music, but after drinking a bottle of his wine, I have to say I am most impressed. Unfortunately, I hardly have any tasting notes on it, but you really don’t need any. Just buy a bottle because it’s damn good. Wherever it’s sold, I definitely wouldn’t leave without a bottle in hand.
Luke’s Top Wines of 2009
1991 J Vintage Brut
Russian River Valley, Unk% Pinot Noir, Unk% Chardonnay
You read that correctly, the 19-freaking-91 bubbly. American sparkling wine doesn’t get much better than this. Not only was the year a palindrome, but when you let a wine sit on its side for 18 years it does some amazing things to the bubbles. To start, you have a nose of stilton with lemon rind, pineapple and citric acid. But it gets better: caramelized pineapple, lemon rind, a touch of expensive oak, malt and freshly shaved chocolate were all aspects of a layered taste. We have our friend Ami to thank for this!
2005 Bogle Petite Sirah Port
Clarksburg, Unk% Petite Sirah
This is a special wine for me because back in college the Bogle Petite Sirah was the first bottle I purchased that made me want to know more about the wine. This port is no different and is packing some wicked quality for the price. Not only did I enjoy the richest oily, incense nose and a dark chocolate, raspberry taste, I was also drinking it from the bottle in the company of “Zero” the first of many Rat Rods made by our Indiana friends, Steam Trunk Industries.
2005 Santa Barbara Winery Joughin Vineyard Lagrein
Santa Ynez Valley, Unk% Lagrein
This unique bottle can be credited for the start of Hipster Enology, so thanks SB Winery! We got a nose full of peppercorn fruits, dried strawberries and cranberry-tree-bark cobbler after opening. The palate is graced with notes of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato and apple butter.
Jesse’s Top Wines of 2009
Non-Vintage Frank Family Rouge
Napa, Unk% Pinot Noir, Unk% Chardonnay
For a moment, as we poured this sparkling wine into our champagne flutes from its dark green glass bottle, we gasped as if we’d been victim to a color-changing Willy Wonka treat. Up until just a few moments ago, this wine was the most deeply-colored sparkling wine we’d had. In its own surprising way, it wasn’t unlike our major tasting note: a blood orange.
2007 Akemi Pinot Noir
We can’t tell you. Neener, neener.
The first rule of Akemi is, you do not talk about Akemi. (Gary Vaynerchuk, eat your heart out.)
2007 San Liege Côtes-du-Coast White Rhone Blend
Paso Robles, 46% Viognier, 28% Roussanne, 26% Marsanne
I may not have kept notes on this bottle, but I kept the bottle. I’ve already put one email and a call to the winemaker to join his 150 person limit wine club, but by the spring, I’m sure he’ll have handed me a half case and restraining order.
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