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2013 Pythian Rock Cabernet

imageA sleeper at $6.99.

One should expect this to be from Sonoma County. Sebastopol is listed as the town of origin, located in the heart of Sonoma County.

This 14.2% alcohol wine opens up immediately when it hits the glass. It offers adequate, food friendly acidity. Its tannins are not overtly pronounced, or intrusive. Together, this combination makes this Cabernet  an easy drinking wine, with adequate structure to keep around for a few years. However, for me it is a pop the cork today, and easily match this wine to red sauces and charred red meat off the BBQ. For my taste preferences, I was pleased that there is very little intrusion of oak, by aroma, or on the palate. The lack of oak should be expected, given this wines retail price point, hoping for $24, its age as a 2013 wine, and my understanding that it couldn’t have been spending much time on oak, given it has already been in the market for roughly a year..

This wine won’t require that you do a lot of contemplation to enjoy it.  You won’t need to do cartwheels pleasing the wine buffs by describing what you suspect is hiding underneath its layers. Sure, there is some complexity, but it’s hardly worth the bother trying to make this wine into more than a reasonably priced, any evening quaffer. It performs this task quite well for the money. It reminds me of some of the Cabernet wines I’ve tried from the Santa Barbara area, not a Blackjack Harmonie, but similar flavour with lighter, medium body.

I recommend this because it’s clearly and quite deliciously Cabernet. I recommend it because even on day two, it tastes pretty darn good. Its flavor hits you with a bit of red fruited acidity, it shows some depth, weight, and concentration on the mid palate, then I found there is a bit of blueberry that lingers into and through the finish.

2006 Eagle Eye Voluptuous Red, Napa Valley $8.99

From the Winery…

Voluptuous 2006 is our proprietary blend. In order to produce this unique wine we do not limit ourselves. Our 2006 fruit was some of the best, beautifully we, balanced and intensely flavored. Voluptuous has no boundaries, just great taste.  Eagle Eye Voluptuous 2006 has a deep violet color with beautiful aromas of blackberry and dark cherry with earthy spice. The mouth feel is soft and powerful with silky tannins and bright fruit. In the long finish the fruit and spice of the Zinfandel is ever present. The core of this wine is from our AlphaWOLF Vineyards. Voluptuous 2006 is our proprietary blend. In order to produce this unique wine we do not limit ourselves. Our 2006 fruit was some of the best, beautifully we, balanced and intensely flavored. Voluptuous has no boundaries, just great taste.

EE06v_sMy View…

I think this is a good buy. This tastes like real Napa juice and it is made with a cool weather Napa style. Compare it to the warm weather style, currently finding favor by delivering deep, rich, flavor profiles by way of under $20/bottle Yakima Valley and Wahluke Slope Washington vineyards. The Voluptuous style, by comparison, comes off  to me more favorably. It drinks like a low volume, handcrafted, thoughtfully designed wine  Sure, it’s not a perfect blend, but we are not paying the $25.00/bottle regular tariff.

At $8.99, it’s a very solid value. Compare it to many a wine at double what you are paying, and this wine holds its own rather well. When I tasted this, I did not feel like this is one bottle out of 20,000 cases. I noticed that the winemaker was trying to communicate to me a style. through flavor attention, aroma, and body.

This has a nice deep ruby color.  The aroma of this wine takes some time to come forward.  I popped and  poured it and found the aromas came out after some time in the glass and some swirling. At first I thought it was past its prime, not a good sign for a 2006. But the funk changes to a eucalyptus essence, not completely offensive, not quite Mentholatum, but something on that medicinal order is certainly present. That said, there is a sweet red fruit essence underneath, and a bit of the spice fragrance that comes to the aroma surface after some time in the glass. There is some good structure and body to this wine, some up front tannins, and noticeable but not offensive, oak. There is mild acidity which I found to be a positive attribute.  The finish starts out singing, but, the finish drops off at the mid-palate rather dramatically, and doesn’t really work to linger further.

I believe this wine has quite a few more years left, if you forgive the finish. I’ll probably set aside a few for later use. Located at Lancaster GO-Salem (just look the other way when your pour, this will allow your to disregard the stupid looking label)

Winemaker Notes

Varietals: 34.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24.9% Merlot, 13.9% Cabernet Franc, 13.9% Syrah, 8.3% Petit Verdot and 4.2% Zinfandel



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.




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