Matchbook Wines and Petit Verdot

This wine got a 95 in Wine Spectator, it got 3 puffs in another, a major wine writer gave it two thumbs up. Every winery markets their wine showing the biggest ratings they get, and with the best known reviewers.  This is all part of marketing, and marketing sells.

However, in my opinion, people are putting too much faith into wine ratings.  When I look at a wine, beer, or whatever I am tasting, I ask myself one question: For the price I paid, how good is my return on my investment?

You can’t compare a $100.00 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, with a $20.00: or Can you ?  Absolutely! You have to look at the wine value. Yes the $100.00 bottle may be very good, but the $20.00 for the price may be out of this world. Was that bottle really worth $100? Or $20, only you can tell for sure.

One thing I watch for when looking at wine reviews is their marketing to see if their current marketing is current or stuck in the past. For example, if a winery is promoting its 2015 wine with reviews from the same wine from the past few years, Fantastic! On Target!  However if a winery is promoting the wine with ratings from 10 years ago, or they keep promoting they won some competition from the 1980’s or worse the 1970’s, then they are telling me that they have not been able to produce anything equal or better in so many years.

We have all heard bad reviews on a movie, television show, album, and later when we experienced whatever the review was on, we wonder did the reviewers experience the same thing as I just did. Again only you can tell if you’re getting a good return on your investment.

Matchbook Wines 2012 “Tinto Rey” Red Blend Wine

Tinto ReyThere are very few wines, that when I taste them, I want to run out and get another bottle. Matchbook Wines  2012 “Tinto Rey” is one of those wines. I was totally blown away at the complex flavors this wine has. At an average price of $17.00 this is one of the best buys out there right now.  I tasted the 2012 blend which I found to be a beautiful, complex wine, with smoky overtones and a classic finish. This wine will go great with some heaver or spicy foods. The 26 months this was in barrels brought out the best in the wine. Now as I mentioned the “Tinto Rey” is a blend of red grapes with Temparillo at 50% and Syrah at 27%, the remainder is Petit Verdot, Graciano, and Tannat.  It comes primarily from the Dunnigan Hills appellation. For those not familiar with Dunnigan Hills, it is in Yolo County California, just west of Sacramento.

BLEND:  50% Temparanillo, 27% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Graciano,, 3% Tannat
APPELLATION: 85% Dunnigan Hills ( Temparanillo, Syrah, Graciano) 15% California (Petit Verdot, Tannat)
WINE ALCOHOL: 13.9% by volume
WINE ACID: 6.9 g/L
WINE PH: 3.91

BARRELLS: 100% Barrel Aged. 22% New Barrels, 78% from 2-5 year old barrels. French Oak, American Oak, American/Hungarian Hybrid
PRODUCTION: 7,351 cases

Matchbook Wines 2012 “The Astonist Red” Red Blend Wine

Arsonist BottleLike the Tinto Red this is another full body wine. Tons of black cherry overtones, with a slight peppery finish throughout this beautiful wine.  This is an amazing wine for the price of $22.00.  It’s a steal to get this wine for under $30.00 probably more. Grab this wine as quick as you can.

BLEND:  24 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Petit Verdot,  24% Merlot
APPELLATION:  Dunnigan Hills

WINE ALCOHOL: 13.8% by volume
BARRELLS: 100% Barrel Aged. 45% New Barrels, 55% from 2-5 year old barrels. French Oak, American Oak, American/Hungarian Hybrid
PRODUCTION: 2800 cases


Podcast Grape – Petit Verdot:

Since both wines we looked at today, have one grape in common, Petit Verdot that is what we will talk about. The name Petit Verdot means “small green” which fits, as this is a late season grape. This is a classic red Bordeaux grape. It’s used often in small amounts with wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon to make them more full body and add tannins. In the hands of a skilled winemaker this can be a beautiful single varietal wine.  Petit Verdot is produced throughout the world with the number of countries and American states being added to the list all the time.

Shout out

Finally I want to do a shout out to a fellow blogger Joey Casco CSW/CSS who writes The Wine Stalker. Now if you’re asking what all those fancy letters mean after his name, well CSW is Certified Specialist of Wine and CSS is Certified Specialist of  Spirits. Both of these certificates come from the Society of Wine Educators. Joey recently did an article on those of us who write wine blogs, but live in not traditional wine areas. Joey for instance lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and I live in the great wine area of Tennessee.  Neither area is well known for its wine production. However we have a few small wineries that do a nice job here in Middle Tennessee. Be sure to check out Joey’s blog at

If you’re enjoying this blog please be sure to subscribe at the ITunes podcast store or at Stitcher  for the podcast. Be sure to let your friends know about it. Be sure to follow on Twitter @tastingradio

 If you have a negative comment or a suggestion, please email directly at and perhaps it is something we can look at.

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St. Patrick’s Day

Could not decide between Jameson or Guiness for St Patrick’s day. You can see who won!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


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SmuttyNose Brewery Visit

Had a wonderful time today at Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton NH. Wonderful people and excellent products. All the beers I tasted were full of flavor and very full body.  Smuttynose is not available in all areas but worth checking out. If your in the New England Area its worth the drive.

Just for quick notes, the Smuttlabs: Baja Noodle was a suprise. I did not think a chilli beer would be that interesting. Mixed with the Baltic Porter for a wonderful blend.

The Baltic Porter was a full body deep dark beer, just the way I like them. Tons of coffee flavors.

The Kindest Find, Chestnut Saison, Really Old Brown Dog, and the Daily Brett are all excellent beers to enjoy.

For now lets just say you wont go wrong with any of them.

You can look up Smuttynose Brewing Company at

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Prichard’s Double Bourbon

This is, in my humble opinion, an amazing bourbon. Produced not far from Jack Daniels distillery in southern central Tennessee town of Kelso. 

Prichard’s is known mainly for some fantastic sipping Rums that need to be drank on their own. 

This fantastic bourbon has a slight peaty finish that reminds me of some excellent drinks out of Scotland.  

This is a must have, not even try, bourbon for any fan of the drink.  

If you enjoyed this please share it with your friends on Social Media such as LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and other locations. You can also join this blog by clicking “Follow Me” on the side. Your comments are always welcome.

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Hazaña Viñas Viejas Rioja

Enjoying this nice full body Rioja with Ribs tonight. Slighty peppery with blackberry overtones. Excellent value wine. 

Just a quick note today. Need to get back into the swing of this.  



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How To Study Wine? The Homework is a blast!

Are you a Wine Expert?

It’s not uncommon for someone to want to learn everything there is to learn about wine. No matter how you look at it, there is a lot to learn. I will assure you studying wine is one thing …its fun.  Where else can you study a subject and drink at the same time.  However, I don’t think people understand just how vast the subject is.

According to the Wine Institute there are 8806 wineries in the United States alone.  There are over 3700 wineries in California alone. Add into that the thousands of wineries through the rest of the world in France, Italy, Portugal, and Australia and so on; and you can see you could easily be talking about tens of thousands of wineries.  Let’s just stick with California wineries, if each winery produced just two types of wines, one red and one white, you would have to taste over 7400 bottles of wine.   I told you the homework would be fun!

So what’s the trick? There is no trick to it.  You need to learn to take things in stages, one part at a time. Anyone who says they are an expert in all things wine is just full of it.  It’s mathematically impossible to be an expert in everything wine.  You will find that many of the experts are experts in a very specific area of the industry, and then know a little bit about a great deal more.  There is nothing wrong with this, however just because your dentist is a doctor, it does not make him a brain surgeon.

So what do I recommend; when you first start tasting wines keep very detailed notes. Figure out what you enjoy, but start small. Perhaps study a winery and only one winery. From there find similar wineries perhaps near by the first winery.  Instead of a winery you can start with a varietal such as Pinot Noir. Try bottles from around the world from different appellations. You will be surprised just how different the same grape tastes in different areas, some not too far away from each other.  Not only can the region make a difference, but the winemaking styles that the winemaker is using. For instance there is a big contrast between a Chardonnay made in a steel tank and one that has been aged in French Oak Barrels for 6 months, going through malolactic fermentation.

Again take it in stages, and for more fun do it with friends.

Varietal of Interest:

220px-Cabernet-francAs many of you know Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of grapes.  However I have always felt a little sorry for its cousin Cabernet Franc.  So today let’s take a quick look at Cabernet Franc.  Coming out of the Bordeaux region of France, Cabernet Franc is now produced worldwide with over 47000 acres planted. Many wineries use it as a blending grape, adding it to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or a number of other grapes. On its own Cabernet Franc is being released by a growing number of wineries as its own varietal. The flavor is a little softer than Cabernet Sauvignon.  Depending on the region, it can have a slight peppery flavor, bell pepper and raspberry flavors.  Next time you’re out look for a bottle of Cabernet Franc.

Appellation of Interest:

Photo courtsey of Fiddletown Cellars

Photo courtsey of Fiddletown Cellars

One of my favorite areas to taste wine from is Fiddletown area which is located within Amador County.  This region is just over 2000 feet up the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. Fiddletown produces some of the most full body Zinfandel’s you will ever taste.  These Zin’s are so intense you cannot see light going through them.  Wines from Fiddletown will be very hard to locate, even in California. However keep your eyes open.  Zinfandels from Amador County are amazing wines to experience.  If you can’t locate a wine from Fiddletown, try one from Amador County.


Be sure to check out the podcast on the Itunes Store, TuneIn Radio and on Stitcher.

If you have a negative comment or a suggestion, please email directly at  and perhaps it is something we can look at. You can also follow on Twitter @tastingradio. Additionally you can follow me on the Untappd beer app and Delectable wine app both for Iphone.


You can also follow this blog by clicking “Follow Me” on the side. Your comments are always welcome.

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Podcast #6 – Studying Wine, Cabernet Franc and Fiddletown

Do you know what it takes to be a wine expert? Lets look at the Cabernet Franc grape. Additionally lets look at  Wine Appellation of Fiddletown.

Be sure to let your friends know about Tasting Notes Radio. And if you wish, please leave a positive review on the ITunes store page. ITunes moves Podcasts up in their lists based on positive comments. The higher we are on the list the more listeners we can pick up.

 If you have a negative comment or a suggestion, please email directly at  and perhaps it is something we can look at. You can also follow on Twitter @tastingradio. Additionally you can follow me on the Untappd beer app and Delectable wine app both for Iphone.

 You can also follow this blog by clicking “Follow Me” on the side. Your comments are always welcome.

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Tasting Notes Radio Podcast now on TuneIn

I just confirmed that Tasting Notes Radio is now on TuneIn Radio.

Tasting Notes Radio on TuneIn

Additionally you can still listen on Stitcher and ITunes Podcast.

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Pre-Pruning in the Vineyard: Disease Prevention and Vine Life Extension

Bottle Talks

If you’ve cruised up to wine country in the last couple weeks, you’ll notice vineyards are looking fairly bare.  The shoots on the vine are either unpruned and naked of all their leaves or have been cut down to a 2-bud stub on the cordon, but what about those vines that look like they’ve been half pruned, with canes only about a foot long?

Lately, a new trend has started to develop involving two passes through the vineyard. The first pass typically occurs anywhere between October and December and trims canes down to about 12 inches. It’s being called ‘double’ or ‘pre-‘pruning and has been most commonly practiced, so far, on cordon-pruned vineyards. It can even be mechanized, potentially saving cost and time! Whether done by hand or machine

Vines re-pruned to 12 inches is advantageous in a couple ways:
– Prunes canes down to a manageable length, i.e. No…

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Prosecco On Tap!

Interesting Story here.There is something wrong about Prosecco on tap!

Charles Scicolone on Wine


Saturday 10 January 2015

Italy’s prosecco makers go to war against British pubs selling it on tap

A group of prosecco makers, with the support of the Italian government, threatens legal action against British pubs for serving the fizzy wine from kegs

The consortium believe serving prosecco from a keg is unforgivably gauche
The consortium believe serving prosecco from a keg is unforgivably gauche Photo: Alamy

For a growing number of Britons it is a well-earned and seemingly harmless aperitif at the end of a long day in the office, but Italian wine makers have declared war on pubs and wine bars selling prosecco on tap.

A consortium of prosecco makers, backed by the government in Rome, is threatening British pubs with legal action and fines unless they stop serving the light, dry fizzy wine from kegs.

The group, which guards the image of prosecco as jealously as the French protect Champagne, has…

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