Category Archives: Wine Reviews

2008 Stags’ Leap Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Review


We have had this previously but only in restaurants and usually at over $80 a bottle. I came across this bottle at just under $40 at our local wine store, certainly did not want to pass up the opportunity.

Stags’ Leap has been around since 1893 and always made great wines. This particular vintage came from their 240 acre wine estate in the Napa Valley.

On the nose, layers of black fruit notes with aromas of cola, clove, coffee and black pepper are immediately evident. Taste it, and the flavors of blackberry, black cherry, anise, black tea and dark chocolate are revealed.

If you see it at $40 or less you should definitely pick it up.

TheXPRT wine review rating 90 out of 100.

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2009 MontGras Reserva Carmenere


If you have not heard of the Carmenere grape varietal, you probably aren’t alone. The Carmenere is Chile’s own signature grape.

When I picked this up at the wine store it seemed like a good purchase, “had not heard of the vineyard and had not heard of the varietal” two things I love about wine.

This wine is fantastic. The varietal was introduced into Chili from France in the 1800’s and has now developed into the only significant source of this uncommon varietal grape.

This is a rich concentrated red wine with deep purple and spicy aromas. With a hint of mint and wild herbs in the initial glass. It finishes with subtle vanilla and toasty flavors.

This definitely ranks as one of the best wines under $20 we have had in a very long time!

Check out their website at MontGras Winery

TheXPRT wine review rating 92 out of 100.

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2009 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County Wine Review


Probably won’t be buying another of the 2009 Newton Cabernet, very plain. Had a mild beginning and a very mild end. Certainly was hoping for more.

Definitely has the blackberry and hint of currant at the end but not worth waiting for it.

Will pass on this one the next time around and you should too.

TheXPRT wine review rating – 75 out of 100.

The winery’s website http://www.newtonvineyard.com.

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2007 B & G (Barton & Guestier) Reserve Merlot


I had not heard of this vineyard before but wanted to give it a try during the holidays.

Sourced from the Languedoc region in France, this wine had a somewhat jammy nose with a oaky very delicate finish.

Unless you find it for a great price I would probably pass on this one.

TheXPRT Wine Review Rating – 79 out of 100.

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2009 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Review


Bevmo was doing one of their tastings when we were in the store the other day and this ’09 Joel Gott Cabernet was one of the samples. The great lady behind the counter recommended it. Well worth the around $18 we paid for it.

Decant for 60 mins if you can, it will make a big difference. With blackberry and a hint of vanilla this is well worth a try.

Check out the winery website at http://www.gottwines.com

TheXPRT Wine Rating – 90 out of 100

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2008 Starmont Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Review


This was our first time trying a wine from the Starmont Winery in Napa. The winery indicates it is solar powered and produces wine from sustainably farmed vineyards and is Napa Green Farm Certified.

Let this one breath for 30 minutes or so and you won’t be disappointed. It has a lighter start and a medium finish. There were hints of berries and light spices which were great with the fish we paired it with.

We purchased this at our local wine store for under $15 and will definitely be looking for others from Starmont in the future.

http://www.merryvale.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=starmont.main

TheXPRT Wine Rating – 89

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2009 Kirkland Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


We purchased this wine at our local Costco for $19 assuming since it said Signature Series it would be good and we were right.

As noted on the bottle this wine has a great structure. You definitely can taste the black cherry and dark chocolate that lead to a great finish.

We will definitely will be purchasing another bottle of the Cabernet and look for others in the Signature Series line. Be sure and pick a bottle up if you see it in the store.

TheXPRT Wine Rating – 91 out of 100

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2009 Line 39 North Coast Merlot Wine Review


I had heard of this vineyard previously. The great thing about St. Helena and as noted on the bottle with this vineyard, it is on the 39th parallel. Many of the great wine growing regions of the world are found along this line.

Upon first opening the bottle we definitely got a hint of the black cherry they mention. While I am looking for the black plum they call out on the label I got more of light peppery flavor, just a hint though. Paired this merlot with a honey butter pork tenderloin dish and it went very well as I would expect it would with most meat dishes. It had a somewhat intense start but a very good finish. Give it a try if you have a chance and tell us what you think. It was just under $15 at our local wine store.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 81 out of 100

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Check out their website at http://www.line39wines.com

2007 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Review


One word for this wine, smooth.

First time trying this wine and first time purchasing a wine from the Dry Creek Vineyard in Healdsburg, CA. Initially this wine had a bit of a chocolatey flavor, after it breathed a while longer there was just a hint of chocolate.

With very soft tannins and a very smooth start and finish this wine would pair with just about anything. It is well balanced and well worth the money, just under $15 at our local wine store.

This is definitely one of the best cabs we have had in a while.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 91 out of 100

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2003 Chateau Reynella Shiraz Wine Review


We have been big fans of the McLaren Valley in South Australia for a long time. This was our first time trying a Shiraz from this vineyard. The vineyard produced its first bottles back in 1842 and continues to produce great wines today.

This wine has a very full body with what I would consider very strong blueberry flavors. Certainly a pretty complex wine, I am glad we purchased it.

We are pairing it with a roasted rosemary chicken dish and it was great. It was under $15 at our local wine store and we will certainly will be looking for others from Chateau Reynella in the future.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 80 out of 100

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2008 Valley of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Review


We are big fans of this winery in Sonoma County. This was our first time trying the cabernet and it did not disappoint. It is not over the top or very heavy and has a great finish. With hints of berry and a little pepper you should definitely buy this if you see it. We purchased this bottle at our local wine store for under $20.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 85 out of 100

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2006 Andretti Napa Valley Merlot Wine Review


If you get a chance, you have to stop by the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley. The wine takes its inspiration from the distinguished career of its namesake and founder, Mario Andretti. We purchased this 2006 Merlot on our most recent trip to the vineyard. While a little off the beaten path in Napa it is well worth the stop. Most of these wines will be fruit forward, well balanced and have a great finish. This particular Merlot did not let us down. We paired it with a great grilled ribeye and it was fantastic. With a long and smooth finish we will definitely be purchasing more in the future.

While around $25 a bottle it is well worth the stop.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 83 out of 100

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Shiloh Road 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Wine Review


Purchased this cab at our local wine store for under $15. First time trying a wine from this vineyard which is located in Sonoma County California. As the label states it has good structure and a long finish. I would certainly consider it slightly above average. Try it out if you see it and let us know what you think.

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Taste – 6.0
Value – 6.5
Overall – 6.0

2006 Beringer Central Coast Syrah


Beringer started making great wines in 1876, worth the stop at the winery in Napa Valley if you are there. This wine we purchased at under $20 was spectacular. From Beringer’s Central Coast vineyards this Syrah is crafted in a rich style that delivers ripe berry flavors and a hint of spice.

We would highly recommend this wine with a pairing of a spicy pasta dish or beef.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 86 out of 100

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2007 St. Francis Sonoma County Merlot


This one snuck up on us. Purchased this 2007 merlot on a recommendation. Glad we took the recommendation, this wine has a great start and a very smooth finish. We purchased this at our local wine store for around $15 and it was well worth it. We paired it with a spicy pasta dish and it was spectacular. With a note of generous fruit, hints of chocolate and a mouth filling finish you can’t go wrong. Buy this one if you see it.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 91 out of 100

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Cameron Hughes Lot 190 – Wine Review



We have had this wine quite a few times this past year. You can find it at many wine sellers, including at Costco for $8.99. The great thing about Cameron Hughes is they don’t run a lot of cases of any one particular lot so if you see something you like you better pick it up in bulk. This wine goes well with just about any food or by itself, for the price you should definitely experiment with what you like best. Having just visited the Alexander Valley this past weekend, while there are definitely better cabs out there, you won’t find too many at such a great value.Vintage: 2007
Appellation: Alexander Valley
Grape: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Verdot
Alcohol by volume: 14.2%
Production: 7,000 cases
Release date: September 10, 2010Taste: Inky crimson center with matching rim. Blackberries and black cherry explode on the nose with hints of smoke and sweet vanilla bean. Focused and richly textured, balanced oak rounds out incredible fruit concentration and structure. Silky, fine-grained tannins carry through the long, supple finish.

Details: Lot 190 is from the Southern rolling hillsides of Alexander Valley. The grapes are grown in beautifully diverse soil types and sun exposure. The soil types here impart interesting flavors of earth and spice on the wine, giving us some really dynamic layers. This wine is then aged in a mix of new, one- and two-year-old French oak. All said and done, this Cab is just pure value. You wont find a textured wine from Alexander Valley at this price anywhere

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 84 out of 100

2006 William Hill Bench Blend Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley – Wine Review



One word describes this wine, WOW! One of the best cabs we have ever experienced. This wine offers not only intensity but structure and concentrated aromas. Flavors of rich dark berry fruit, layered with distinct notes of cedar and dark chocolate. We paired the wine with a great ribeye cooked over almond wood and it could not have been better.We had the privilege of touring the William Hill Estate Winery in Napa Valley where we sampled this wine for the first time. If you have an opportunity while in Napa don’t miss out on this extraordinary experience.While this wine is certainly pricier than many of our reviewed wines (around $50 retail), it is well worth the spend.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 93 out of 100

2009 Kirkland Malbec – Wine Review


Ok, while I am always a big fan of red wines especially if you can get them at a reasonable price this one leaves a bit to be desired. For around $10 a bottle at Costco, I have to say I am disappointed. While many Malbec’s from Argentina are generally well kept secrets and Costco does not usually disappoint, we won’t be buying this one again.We had a great pasta dish tonight and ran this bottle through the decanter hoping it would improve when we left it set a while, not so.You generally can’t go wrong with wines from Argentina, but you should pass on this one at any cost.

Some information about the bottle.

At the heart of Argentina’s most important wine producing province lies Mendoza, called the land of “sun and wine” by locals. It’s a place where orchards and vineyards line quiet country roads against the backdrop of the Andes mountains. From this high altitude region comes Kirkland Signature Malbec, made from Argentina’s varietal, sourced from low yield, family owned vineyards. The deep purple wine imparts lively dark fruit aromas and a smooth, rich finish.

While I am all about supporting local, family owned vineyards any where in the world, I would recommend passing on what is a ok wine at best.

Overall TheXPRT Rating – 70 out of 100
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