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Pra- 2012 North Coast Cabernet $5.99

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I haven’t offered comments on any GO wines lately. The reason being that there  have been few wines that have piqued my interest. When this happens, it is hard to find wine that are worthy of sharing .

I purchased this Pra, at the GO in Ontario, Oregon.  My intent was to grab a few wines to test out, intending to find a wine that would appeal to any group, and that appeared possible for a pop and pour, ready to drink, value wine.

My View:

On opening, it offered aromas of  bell peppers, and stewed fruit.  Sweet dark fruit flavor is up front. My first impressions were that concentrated ripe plum, and blackberry flavors showing through more than anything else.  The wine is very accessible, even with almost 14% alcohol. It doesn’t hit you with harsh tannin, high acidity, or big oak. For this reason, it is generally appealing.  It is not distinctive, or complex, or profound, or in need of cellaring to become something more.

Their View:

The label reads: ‘Many thoughts arise when a winemaker gazes at a Field of Vines (“Pra Vinera”). They remember past struggles and past triumphs. They remember techniques that brought flavors to their peak. Their gaze takes in the vineyard’s potential, and ponders how best to capture the vines’ offering. In many ways, to a winemaker a vineyard is a field of dreams; dreams rich with the taste of the past and hope for the future.’


 The Pra is an easy quaffer.  It tastes good. You can relax if you serve it as a second or third bottle at a BBQ.

For $5.99, it is a pretty easy wine to like. It certainly competes, at its price point, with the Zins, and blends that are populating the shelves of GO!

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Lets not forget to take advantage of this 20% off sale.  Following are some previously considered wines, worthy of buying, especially with this 20% discount.

I’ve noticed these in pretty good stock at Salem, Lancaster GO.

What are your 20% off, must buy choices?

  • Giormani Valpolicello Ripasso
  • Ceretto Blange
  • Hares Chase Barossa Valley Shiraz
  • Mosaic Cabernet
  • Mosaic Zinfandel
  • Grove Street Syrah
  • Ribera Pinot Noir 

2006, Hares Chase Shiraz, Barossa Valley, $10.99

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James Halliday-Good hue and clarity; an intense yet elegant wine, with perfectly balanced and integrated fruit, oak and tannins; has thrust to its finish and aftertaste.

Vintage: 2006    Score: 94 points     Source:

Winemakers Note: Red Plum with vibrant hues. Aromas of smoked meats, walnuts, slight blackberry and a hint of vanilla. Complex and alluring. Filled with flavors of licorice, star anise and dark chocolate. With firm but balanced tannin, full bodied with exceptional length of flavor.

My View..

I really enjoyed this wine.  Deals come and go at Grocery Outlet, but the rule I suggest we follow is buy big when a stunning value proposition presents itself.  I highly recommend that you catch this wine.  I know, I know, its not the usual $3.99 screaming deal.  However, for a complete wine, a very tasty wine, a great Shiraz, this wine is worth the money.

Beautiful deep purple color. The aromas off the glass were superb, if not intoxicating.  Deep, rich, concentrated  flavors jump from the glass.  On the palate if offered some semi sweet chocolate,  licorice, a hint of cinnamon spice, and loads of  ripe blackberry fruit.  There are tannins, and a hint of acidity, but  I find these provide it some structure and balance.

What makes this Barossa Valley beauty shine is its depth of flavors.  A sip immediately travels across your pallet pushing flavor and textural satisfaction along the way.  This wine tastes great, and that should be testimony enough of why you should give it a try.  However, I  found myself also enjoying the complexity of this wine.  Any sip ends with a luxuriously long finish.  I believe it is in its prime drinking and enjoying window!

What I’m saying here is at $10.99 its a GO Best Buy.  At $10.99, minus 20% this week, its a screaming deal.




2009 Marqués de Caro, Crianza, Valencia

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From the Winemaker…

A unique Spanish blend of Bobal, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Valencia region of eastern Spain this wine benefits from the moderating influence of the Mediterranean Sea. Combining fruity and earthy notes, the wine displays mulberry, sun-dried tomato, cherry pit and mushroom. Enjoy with stews or Teriyaki steak.

My view…

This is a unique blend for me.  Bobal, Cabernet, and Tempranillo.  I expected something fairly rich, given the construction behind the blend. I expected some resemblance to a Rioja.

What I experienced was lithe, tight, and restrained. Don’t expect typical Ribera or Rioja characteristics from this Spanish red.

Absolutely beautiful color in the glass. Deep, dark, ruby red. The aromas off the glass hint, but don’t surround you, offering a bit of dominating vanilla.  However, my first whiff and swirling made me anticipate  the delivering of complex, dark fruit flavors.  The aromas were reminiscent of what I find so often from wines from the Lanquedoc.

However, in the tasting, I found the first sip completely flat and its offering one dimensional.  There is red fruit dominating the flavor, but  the fruit is not nuanced and it is dominated by tart flavors like cranberry or pomegranate. Don’t expect the softness of red raspberries or bing cherries from the Tempranillo, and I didn’t find much resembling Cabernet traits.  Since I know nothing about Bobal, maybe this austere and tight flavor profile is what I should expect from a Bobal blend? It is possible that it takes ten years of good aging for this wine to show its elegance.  For now,  I found the  bracing acidity off-putting, and adding to the one-dimensional nature of the wine.

I don’t expect a year or two of aging will add anything to this for regular drinkers. The time might help by adding some softness to its character.  I can’t completely judge the value of  this wine over the long haul.   I did leave this overnight to see if anything else comes from it.  It softened a bit, but the wait didn’t change its nature.  Based on this first taste, this is not recommended over some of the more compelling values currently occupying  the Grocery Outlet market place.



Roero Arneis Ceretto “Blangé”, Langhe, Piedmont, Italy. $5.99

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From the Winery…

Langhe DOC Arneis


Winery: Ceretto Monsordo Bernardina >

Location: Alba, Vezza d’Alba, Castellinaldo and Castagnito
Grape-variety: 100% Arneis
Hectares (estate-owned): 80
Altitude m: 210 – 290
Soil: 51% clay, 18% sand, 31% silt;
pH: 8
Stock: 1103 paulsen, SO4
Plants per hectare: 4.300 ceppi/Ha
Years of planting:
1982, 1987, 1996
First year of production: 1985
Bottles produced: 600

Vinification: A 40% cryo-extraction, with different durations and temperatures depending on the condition of the grapes, is carried out in stainless steel tanks using new cold processing techniques. The temperature is controlled via a centralized computer system, which guarantees a uniform development of the wine in its evolution, intervening directly on the bio-metabolism of the yeasts.

Wine: Arneis is a native varietal producing a very fruity wine with hints of pear and apple. Its fragrance and flavor are also enhanced by the small amount of CO2 maintained from the fermentation, which also helps to make up for the varietal’s typically low acidity.

Winemaker Note: This is the White side of Piedmont wines, where 10% of all the bottles of Arneis produced in Piedmont are Blangè. One falls in love with Blangè, like with a beautiful woman, forever young. The Arneis, among the first ventures undertaken by the Bruno and Marcello Ceretto, has just celebrated its 26th birthday.

It was 1985: a time at which it was difficult to envision a white wine in a land of great reds. For Ceretto, however, it was a challenge. And so, the first vineyard was purchased on the hillsides of Vezza d’Alba, where this rare, autochtonous grape variety indeed proved to be much more than just a new addition to the Ceretto collection.

This famous white, fruity with a bit of effervescence, is appreciated worldwide, its curious French-inspired name evoking an idea of elegance. The name Blangé is derived from the word “boulanger,” or baker, from the French residing in the nearby village of Cherasco long ago. E voilà, pure and simple, beginning from its bold label, created by Milanese designer Silvio Coppola, designed to reveal, as through a seductive slit, the intense soul of Blange.

My View…

I really like this wine.  It reminds me of a combination of Vino Verde and Sancerre.  It offered much more complexity than a typical Sauvignon Blanc from the United States, or New Zealand.

Why am I hot for this wine?  I think its because this wine is not typical.  First, the wine gives off a little bit of effervescence.  It is noted by the winemaker that this wine  has low acidity, I didn’t experience this. It does have some acidity, and some noticeable minerality. These characteristics give it backbone against many foods.  It is loaded with complexity. There is complexity in the aromas.  There is complexity in the flavors, that are tropical, and then a moment later, the wine throws some stone fruits at you. It is pretty in the glass, offering you a golden straw color.

I like how many ways the uniqueness shows through in the glass, and on the palate. When I look at this wine for a price-point, I believe it offers an enjoyable flavor profile, and an enjoyable drinking experience.  It is not perfect, however, it is a great buy when compared to the  many one-dimensional, ubiquitous, Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays in this Grocery Outlet price-point.

This wine delivers interesting and unique characteristics, and an enjoyable drinking experience.  It is a Grocery Outlet Best Buy.



2011 Giormani Valpolicella Ripasso


I remember fondly the days when my Grocery Outlet received disjointed pallets of wine.  These were closeouts, single bottles, a case or two of this and that, mined from the nooks and crannies of the warehouses.  This was wine missing labels on one side, sometimes no labels at  all, sometimes a treasure beyond measure in a Burgundy or Bordeaux.  On a treasure hunt of these, I scored 6 bottles of Amarone.  My heart pounded as, like a bear grabbing honey, as I hovered over my Amarone treasures.

At the time, I had never enjoyed the experience of an Amarone.  I was holding 6 precious bottles of opportunity, inexpensive, from a good year, from a notable maker.  It was a Grocery Outlet moment of pure satisfaction.

Later, I opened my first bottle and I could not believe how enjoyable the wine was.  Amarone is absolutely unique and when done well, remarkable.  Its unique for its richness, depth, and succulence.  Unfortunately, I don’t buy many Amarone’s anymore. I just can’t stand the price I am forced to pay to get in the Amarone game.

However, I look for Ripasso’s, and seek a few quality Ripasso wines to keep on hand.  I have found consistent quality from Zenato and Tommasi at a reasonable price.  I’m a sucker for trying any Ripasso, so it was an obvious need to try this one and report back to you.

My take:

This wine does not hit my usual standards for Ripasso.  I’m not saying that this is bad wine, not at all, however, when comparing depth of color, body or  flavor profile, this Ripasso is unique in the genre.  That said, this Ripasso  is a pleasant and enjoyable wine.  Where many Ripasso’s take on some amount of a prune, raisin attribute, this had much less of these traits.  This flavor profile is  usually gleaned from extended time on the Amarone lees, but it also can be affected by the quality of the Amarone that it is parking in. This wine has you experiencing much less of that dried fruit and raisin characteristics, but it is still a uniquely Italian wine.

This is a pretty complete example of Valpolicella wine.  What makes it different is it is very fruit forward, with a slight kick up in richness from the Ripasso.  There are bright cherry flavors and aromas surrounding my experience of drinking this wine.  There is very noticeable acidity in this Valpolicella, which is made up of 50% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella. Overall, the wine is crafted in a way that makes it easy to enjoy.  I suggest you consider this more as a very respectable Italian red, and less as a Ripasso extraordinaire.  You will receive wine attributes that lean into the Ripasso experience, but this wine doesn’t match best examples of the Ripasso experience. When you happen upon a great Ripasso, you will understand this description better.

At $8.95, a reasonably priced wine. Enjoyable on opening, and I found more enjoyable over a couple of days.  I don’t know how much this Giormani Ripasso will benefit from laying down, but I’m going to grab a few and see how they do in two years.  I think you can easily drink it now, and enjoy the experience.



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