Friday, March 31, 2006


Greetings fellow wine enthusiasts! Let me begin by welcoming all of you to our small piece of the Internet, "The Wine Duo." Feel free to read our reviews and leave your comments. If you have any suggestions for wines you appreciate, please feel free to let us know. We are constantly adding new reviews and as always, look forward to hearing your feedback.

Trimbach Pinot Gris - 2002 Reserve

For all of you white wine lovers, we are finally reviewing a white wine!!! Hooray! :) And the best part is, this is an excellent choice. If you are a fan of Pinot Grigio, you are going to love Trimbach's Pinot Gris (same grape, but some winemakers refer to it as "grigio" and others refer to it as "gris".)

This is a delightful dry white wine - a little pricier than soe might like to pay (around $20) but well worth it. If you don't like spending $20 on a bottle of wine, I say you should still get this and just save it for a special occasion! We bought our bottle at Big Reg Liquors in Bloomington, IN.

Here are our notes...

Date tasted: Sometime in January of '06
Winery name & location: Trimbach; Alsace - Ribeauville, France
Grape/blend: Pinot Gris
Vintage: 2002 Reserve
Color: bright, crisp, yellow
Taste: There is a lot going on here...smoky, citrus, and floral
Aroma: Floral and citrus
Thoughts/info from wine label: The Wine Guy and I noted that this was a "very tasty treat." It was unlike any other Pinot Grigio I've ever had. It went wonderfully with the food we paired it with (salmon, garlic potatoes, and asparagus), and it was great on its own as well. It is very refreshing, crisp, and has a hint of richness.

The wine label states that it is, "Fresh yet full-bodied, vibrant and refined...a rich, dry white wine." Additionally, it is 13% alcohol.

Interesting story about this particular winery - it has been family-run by the Trimbach's since 1626. Talk about history!!!

The Wine Gal actually liked this one a little better than the wine guy, but both had strong positive feelings about this are our ratings:

Wine Gal's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OOOO 1/2 (Four and a half grapes! Oh my!)
Wine Guy's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OOOO - (Four grapes!!)

Link to winery's website:

Michele Chiarlo Barbera D'Asti - 2003

Wow, what a surprise!! This is an Italian red wine that I had absolutely NO CLUE about when I bought it. I got it from a little eclectic grocery store in Bloomington, IN, called Sahara Mart. It was on sale, which made me a bit wary of it because I figured they just weren't selling much of it so it probably wasn't any good. BUT, I thought I'd give it a try and I am so glad I did! (The Wine Guy is very excited that I did too!!)

The wine was only about $6.99 and I plan on making another trip to the Sahara Mart for a few more bottles of this hidden gem.

Here are my tasting notes for this light-to-medium bodied dry red...

Date tasted: 3/31/2006
Winery name & location: Michele Chiarlo (pronounced Mik-KELLY Key-ARE-low), Calamandrana, Italy
Grape/blend: Barbera
Vintage: 2003
Color: bright cherry/crimson
Taste: medium-bodied, cherry flavors, strong tannins, medium acidity
Aroma: rich & ripe, fruity - cherry, raspberry scents
Thoughts/info from wine label: The taste is lighter than the smell. It really reminded the Wine Guy and I of a Pinot Noir. The label says that, "The Barbera grape is a native to Piedmont, and Barbera from Asti is generally considered to be Italy's best, yielding wines of superier fruit intensity and fragrance. Michele Chiarlo Barbera d' Asti is a supple, medium-bodied wine of velvety texture and depth a perfect choice for flavorful food."

We drank this wine first on its own, and then with a meal of herb & garlic marinated chicken, corn, smashed red potatoes, and salad. On its own the wine tastes lighter, and with food the flavors are brought the the forefront much more. Wine Guy thought that it was spicier with food.

According to the wine's website, it was aged in oak for 8 months and the alcohol content is 13.36%.

We were both highly impressed with this wine. Drumroll please........

Wine Gal's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OOOO (FOUR GRAPES!!)
Wine Guy's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OOOO - Four grapes...finally we agree on one! :)

Link to winery's website:

Monday, March 06, 2006

MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir - 2004

This was a nice treat, but a little over-priced I'd say. The Wine Guy and I were nestled in one February evening and decided it would be fun to open this wine to enjoy wtih our goat cheese/tomato/basil dip and garlic bread. It was a bit smokier than I usually prefer for a Pinot Noir, but still had the light body of my fave Pinots.

This wine was purchased at Big Red Liquors in Bloomington, IN, and cost approximatley $17. Like I said before, I think it should probably be a little maybe in the $10-12 range. Don't know I'd spend $17 for it again, but that's just me.

Here are my tasting notes for this light bodied dry red...

Date tasted: 2/18/06
Winery name & location: MacMurray - Sonoma Coast (Russian River Valley)
Grape/blend: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2004
Color: light crimson
Taste: light oak, spicy finish (Wine Guy tasted berries)
Aroma: light spice, bacon, oak
Thoughts/info from wine label: The Wine Guy and I noted that we liked this one a lot. He picked up berry flavors right away, and after the wine had been exposed to the oxygen for a while I began to get these flavors too. This one is 13.5% alcohol, and the bottle read, "This wine has distinctive cherry & strawberry flavors accentuated by sweet vanilla notes & spice."

I definitely tasted the spice, and overall I thought this was a very smooth, easily drinkable wine. It would probably pair well with any type of meat, pasta, or just with cheese and appetizers.

We were a little split when rating this one...

Wine Gal's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OOO 1/2 (three and a half grapes)
Wine Guy's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OOOO (four grapes! Holy Canoli!)

Link to winery's website:

Firestone Vineyard Syrah - 2001

All I can really say about this wine is "ehhh...". I bought it from a liquor store called Bubbles in Castle Rock, Colorado. Okay, okay, I'm just going to admit to you that my primary motivation for buying this was because it comes from the Firestone Vineyard, which is the vineyard owned by Andrew Firestone, the former star of NBC's reality show, "The Bachelor". I figured if Andrew looked so cute, his family's winery must be able to produce some good wine. (Hopefully the Wine Guy doesn't get made about these comments...hehe) Too bad I was 100% wrong about that and basically wasted $11.99.

Here are my notes on this dry red wine...

Date tasted: 1/23/06
Winery name & location: Firestone - Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Grape/blend: Syrah (also sometimes referred to as "Shiraz")
Vintage: 2001
Color: deep magenta or a black cherry color
Taste: peppery with rich tannins
Aroma: smoky, peppery, rich, hints of caramel
Thoughts/info from wine label: This wine, despite aging for five years, tasted extremely tight and acidic when we first opened the bottle. We paired it with cheese tortellini with a spicy marinara sauce, salad, and garlic bread. The legs were very strong, but the flavor just wasn't there. It reminded me of an extremely cheap wine that was mass produced (i.e. Turning Leaf or something of that sort).

Wine Guy tasted a lot of pepper at first and then after the wine was exposed to some air, he began to taste vanilla. I agreed, but it still wasn't anything to write home about. It took all we had to gulp down just one glass of this...after that we sent it on a long journey down the drain.

Wine Gal/Wine Guy's Five Grape Tasting Scale: OO (two grapes!)

Moral of the story girls...don't buy it just because you had a thing for Andy Firestone.

Link to winery's website:

120 Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon - 2004

I bought this wine from Trader Joe's in Chicago last summer. I think it cost about $6.99 or something like that. Now, my experiences with Trader Joe's wines in the past have been so-so. Some are good, some are huge disappointments. Keep in mind, this blog is for the casual wine drinker, not someone who can throw down $50-100 per bottle of wine! Also keep in mind that sometimes the $5 bottle of wine is just as good as the $50 bottle.

*This is a dry red wine from Chile.

With all of that said, here are my notes on the 120 Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon from my personal wine log:

Date tasted: 1/16/06
Winery name & location: Santa Rita - Rapel Valley, Chile
Grape/blend: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2004
Color: burgundy/deep crimson
Taste: vanilla, caramel, cherry, cranberry
Aroma: vanilla, leather, oak, rich berries
Thoughts/info from wine label: It was much better than I expected, especially based on the boring/generic label! It had strong, tall legs. Despite its youth (most Cabs are good when aged 5-10 years and this one was just a year old), the wine still had a delightful flavor. It was lighter-bodied than I expected (which I have found true with other young cabs), and also had a fruitier taste than other Cabs I've tasted in the past. Part of this wine was aged in French & American oak for four months, while the rest was matured in stainless steel. It had definite earthy flavors!

Basically, I would totally suggest this wine to anyone looking for an inexpensive but full flavored Cab. I sucked this wine down so fast that Wine Guy did not get to taste any of it. I drank it all on its own with no food pairings whatsoever. It was truly a tasty treat.

Based on the Wine Gal/Wine Guy five-grape tasting scale, I give this wine FOUR GRAPES!

Winery's website: