Wine Review: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Casillero del Diablo

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Straight from the Devil’s locker.

The direct translation of Casillero is “pigeon hole” or “locker”.

From their website, I would guess that they are making reference to the Devil’s personal collection but let’s not get caught up on semantics.

It’s no secret that Xavier and I eat at  Cacique a lot. I mean a lot.

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I’ve had this Cabernet Sauvignon twice at Cacique and still liked it enough to get a bottle of my very own.

Caserillo del Diablo doesn’t mess around.  This is the best Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve had. It’s got just the right amount of everything: right amount of oak, right amount of fruit, right amount of smooth finish, and generally the right amount of awesome.

I often find Cab to be a little full bodied, too bold, too much upper cut to the upper palate, but Caserillo del Diablo is not like that at all.  It’s silky smooth and seriously dangerous. The bottle disappears very easily.

Other pertinent facts: NO red wine headache.

This is the first wine from Chile that I’ve had and I have to say that maybe Kricket is onto something.  Chile tastes good.  

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Wine Review: 2013 Syrah, Blackstone

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This is both the first wine from Blackstone and the first Syrah I have tried.

Blackstone wine is not particularly pricey but it is very good.  I think this bottle was about $9.00.

First impressions, I don’t know if all Syrah is this way but the one from Blackstone is a very soft red wine.  It opens with a little kick but mellows quickly with a long, smooth finish. Think dark fruit and smooth coffee.

Blackstone Syrah is an easy drinking wine that causes the bottom of the bottle to appear all too quickly.

You may have noticed that I review a lot of red blends of which Syrah is often a key ingredient.  In the blends it can be difficult to isolate the individual varietals but tasting the Syrah by itself I can now recognize it as the predominate flavor in many of the blends that I really like.

Incidentally, Syrah is made from the exact same grape as Shiraz.  I reviewed a Shiraz awhile back and, if my memory serves, Xavier said it was crass (the wine, not my review).  I see now that crass is an accurate description. Shiraz wears sunglasses indoors and swears in front of children. Syrah speaks in complete sentences and reads books that have more words than pictures.

I don’t know why Syrah isn’t more popular. In fact, Blackstone is the only option for Syrah at my neighborhood store, and maybe that says more about the store than the varietal, but I would love to see more options nonetheless.

If you know of any good ones, please leave your recommendations in the comments section below.

Wine Review: Red Blend, 7 Moons

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Seemingly out of nowhere, this wine just appeared in the feature sale bin at my neighborhood liquor store. It also showed up at the one gas station in our local area that is allowed to sell wine.

The label was cool so naturally we bought it.

This seems to be the only wine available from 7 Moons.

www.7moonswine.com

7 moon swine

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With regard to flavor, this is one of my all time favorites.  It’s so good, I want to pour it in a Big Gulp cup and take it with me to work.

It is entirely possible that 7 Moons may have sold their soul to the devil for this wine recipe. Smooth with luscious cherries, chocolate, vanilla and a nice amount of oak. If I had known that red wine could be this good I would’ve started drinking it years ago.

I don’t know how to score wine but if I did, I would give it a D for devilishly good.

This deliciousness comes at price though, and it’s more than $11.99.

The trade off is that, even after only one glass, I woke up with a truly horrific red wine headache… three times.

It tastes so good that I almost don’t care but if red wine gives you headaches, this is not your huckleberry.

Wine Review: 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Hands Winery

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On a Sunday afternoon, Xavier and I went to lunch at a local restaurant called La Paz. It’s right up the street from our all time fave, Cacique, and we thought it would be fun to try a new place.

We thought wrong.

La Paz is why restaurants outside of New Mexico should not serve food they don’t understand.  Additionally, the service was terrible. It took an hour to get our food and the food we finally got was mediocre at best.

Speaking of mediocre, the wine list was also laughable. Featuring such fine selections as Sutter Home White Zinfandel and Bare Foot Pinot Noir, I seriously considered just ordering an iced tea but then I saw one choice that looked promising: 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon.

I had never tried it but I knew that 14 Hands wine usually cost more than $6 at the store so it was the creme de la creme so to speak.

This glass of wine was quite delightful and, were it not for it’s presence, we probably would have left when the waiter came to apologize for the 45 minute wait, explaining that the kitchen had sent our food to the wrong table, and promising that our lunch would be delivered eventually.

Despite the underwhelming nature of the restaurant, I really did enjoy the wine so I decided to get a bottle of my very own.

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I wish this story got better but, well, it kinda doesn’t.

There was something amiss about the bottle I bought. While it generally tasted alright, it smelled weird.

Perhaps I should rephrase. I thought it smelled weird.  Xavier said, “That’s what Cabernet Sauvignon smells like.”

He thought it smelled fine.

Oddly enough, I thought it tasted alright just as long as I didn’t sniff the top of the bottle. Overall though, I liked the wine I had in the restaurant better than the bottle I brought home.

The restaurant wine was dark and smooth, very full bodied and pleasantly woody with a good amount of oak.

Maybe I got a dud bottle. I’m sure it happens from time to time.

Wine Review: 2014 California Red Wine, Black Ink

 

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Xavier and I went to dinner at the Macaroni Grill and we each ordered a $12 glass of Black Ink California Red Wine.  The menu described it as tasting like licorice and caramel. I guess you could say that but I doubt I would’ve come up with it on my own.

We really liked it though so the next day we went out and spent $12.99 on a bottle of our very own.

Did I mention that we paid $12 a glass at the restaurant?

This is my argument for drinking at home.

Xavier opened the bottle that night so I didn’t notice until just now that the cork has an octopus on it.

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The octopus is the most intelligent of the invertebrate creatures and pretty much the most awesome thing that lives in the ocean.

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As for the wine, it is nicely balanced; oak and dark fruit.

The label describes it as mysterious and that is the best adjective of all.

This wine is very good and all too easy to keep drinking while trying to conjure descriptive words to describe it’s awesome flavor.

We managed not to kill the whole bottle in one night and by that I mean there might be half a glass left.

I got dibs.

 

Wine Review: 2014 Angel Food, Cupcake

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Xavier says this is not an angel.

“But how do you know,” I ask, “have you met many angels?”

“Does an angel send you selfies?”

He still says it’s not an angel.

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I have to say that there is absolutely nothing about this wine from Cupcake Vineyards that resembles angel food cake.

Not even a little bit.

I would also like to point out that the wine is called Angel Food and not Angel Food Cake. Ergo, you will not see me getting all butt hurt because it doesn’t taste like cake.

You know, just sayin’.

To the contrary, the first sips taste very strongly of granny smith apple. If the label read “Apple Wine”, I wouldn’t have even questioned it.

One of these days I’ll learn to open the wine prior to when I want to drink it.

The reason I say that is because after half an hour or so, somewhere in the 2nd glass, the flavor did mellow out considerably and the sweeter, softer qualities began to come through.

The label describes it as a “creamy mouthful”, which is an unfortunate choice of words, but I concur that after it’s been open for awhile, Angel Food, is indeed creamy and slightly sweet.

Xavier particularly likes white wines that have these types of qualities and when I asked him what he thought it tasted like he said, “It tastes like the past tense.  We need to get another bottle.”

Wine Review: Big Bold Red, [yellow tail]

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Why do I never notice the lack of cork at the store?

I guess it’s one of my special skills.

Anyway, once again I found myself being concerned over the lack of vintage or cork but here’s the thing; expectation management.

Back in the late 1990’s I used to work as a wedding photographer at several “little chapels” on the Las Vegas Strip.

These places are notoriously cheap and fast. Double booked every 15 minutes, we cranked out weddings complete with flowers and photos for less than my car payment; a situation which necessarily lead to a good deal of conflict.

Why?

Because when people would call, the receptionist would explain the details of our services but conveniently fail to mention the 7.5 minutes part.

Then couples would arrive, expecting to be greeted by people who give a shit, and would promptly be rounded up with the rest of the cattle. Brides who had spent their girlhood dreaming of the day they could finally be a princess were butt hurt when fantasy didn’t match reality.

But here’s that thing again, expectation management.

It’s simple math is all. Real estate on the Strip is EXPENSIVE, employees are not volunteers and, as always, Vegas wasn’t built on winners.

Chapel weddings are cheap so they have to make up the difference in volume.

I mean, duh, right?

For a real wedding, where people act like they care and think you’re special, it’s going to cost more than the finance payment on a 1997 Honda Civic.

For a $6.99 bottle of wine, [yellow tail] Big Bold Red isn’t bad. It’s typical of the red blends. If I had paid $20 for the bottle, I may have been miffed, but it was $6.99 so I’ll say it was alright. In my opinion the oak was splintery making the flavor seem a little unbalanced but we still drank it.

If you want something that’s a step up, spend five more dollars.