Sample

    • Le Grand Courtâge Sparkling Wines

      Le Grande Courtâge was founded by American Tawnya Falkner as she followed her dream to move to France and make wine. This "courtship" has resulted in a pair of wines that are available in retail but also on Virgin America flights. There is a lot of sparkling wine made in France that is not Chamapgne, often called Crémant de ______.

      Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 6 readers -
    • Wines of Chateau Montalena

      Recently I got to participate in a webcast tasting with Bo Barrett and his daughter Remi, representing Chateau Montelena. This is one of the wineries famous for the big win in the 1976 Judgment of Paris when California wine beat out Old World legends. The story was the focus of the 2008 film Bottle Shock. I asked them what their family thinks about the movie.

    • Thanksgiving with Cadaretta Wines

      I've given a lot of advice about Thanksgiving wines over the years, and most years I break my own rules. It's not hypocrisy, it's more about a divide between crowd pleasers and selfish enjoyment of what I'm in the mood for at that particular moment. This year was a little different, with Julia stuck in town housesitting, much of my family traveling, and a holiday after weeks of ...

      Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Blanc- 1 readers -
  • Rioja for the Holidays

    … of complexity at sixteen years. Perhaps open it for a celebratory viewing of John Hughes' Sixteen Candles? This one opens with a rich nose of black cherry with touches of tobacco and leather. On the palate it is mild and gentle and showing at just the perfect age. Highly recommended. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 2 readers -
  • 2012 M. Chapoutier Banyuls

    … Sometimes a sample has to sit around for the right moment. Banyuls is not well known in the United States. It's a fortified dessert wine similar to Port that's made in the south of France. It pairs beautifully with dark chocolate and is the kind of thing that you'd love to sip on around a fire in the winter. So when this bottle arrived on a hot…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 3 readers -
  • 50 Harvests Followup

    … with instructions written on the bottle in silver ink. This is not a quid pro quo: I'm not promising a good review in seven years per my sample policy. And there is journalistic precedent for this, in terms of privately requesting a second bottle if the sample you received is corked or damaged in shipping. Nothing was wrong with the first bottle…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 3 readers -
  • 2012 50 Harvests Meritage

    …...). Mainly California in source, but there are others produced domestically and internationally. You can find quite good, "drink now" bottles in the $20-30 range. Orthodox Bordeaux is wonderful, but sometimes it can be a little more fun with a bit of Petite Sirah or Zinfandel in it. Last time I thought their release would go well with a well-aged…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec- 4 readers -
  • 2012 Collazzi Libertà & 2009 Cune Rioja Reserva

    … tannins, spice, black pepper, and a long finish. Don't save this one for pizza night--make a marinara sauce from scratch and boil up a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs. This wine deserves a home cooked meal. 2009 Cune Rioja Reserva Rioja, Spain $20, 13.5% abv. 85% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano, 5% Garnacha Tinta Light chocolate and leather…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Syrah Merlot- 1 readers -
  • 2012 Gnarly Head Authentic Black

    … range of styles but distinctive for being noticeably darker than your average Merlot. 2012 Gnarly Head Authentic Black Lodi, California Proprietary blend dominated by Petite Sirah $12, 14.5% abv. The wine has a bold profile of blackberry and chocolate, though it is not particularly tannic thanks to 12 months of oak aging and a little decanting ahead…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Cabernet Franc Pinot Noir Merlot- 1 readers -
  • Leaf Vodka

    … than perfectly clear... I think the worst I ever experienced was in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the water smelled so horrible I wanted to take a shower after my shower. Leaf Vodka Michigan Certified Organic $17/750mL bottle, 40% abv. I tasted these two on my own as well as in a blind environment. In both cases it was easy to distinguish between…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 4 readers -
  • Touring Lodi's Bechthold Vineyard with Microsoft Sway

    … As part of the Microsoft Office Insiders group, I get the opportunity to test out some new technology. Microsoft is getting ready to release a new Office application called Sway. Disclaimer: I'm receiving no compensation for this test and what you're seeing here is a preview of the technology. It's not completely ready, but I'm excited about…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 8 readers -
  • 2012 Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay

    … that always brings me back is the use of fresh vegetables. Bright basil, spicy peppers, crisp lettuce, crunchy bean sprouts... It's almost like having salad and soup at the same time and being able to enjoy the best elements of both. Upon arriving home, I decided that I would really enjoy this meal with a Chardonnay... 2012 Edna Valley Vineyard…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Chardonnay- 1 readers -
  • Pink Bordeaux

    … As summer draws to a close and colder weather approaches, it was a pleasure to sample a pair of Bordelais rosés on a warm Sunday afternoon. Bordeaux gets so much attention for its red wines that it is often easy to overlook the white, pink, and sparkling wines from the region. Here is a quick look at two bottles to try before the sun disappears…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot- 3 readers -
  • Fall Wines of Germany

    … at home reading rather than fighting with the crowds out shopping. 2011 Louis Guntrum Niersteiner Rehbach Riesling Spätlese Rheinhessen, Germany 100% Riesling $25, 10% abv. The Guntrum estate was founded in 1648 and is currently managed by the 11th generation family member Louis Konstantin Guntrum. In 1945, General George S. Patton occupied the winery…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Riesling- 4 readers -
  • 2013 Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc

    …, 13.1% abv. This Sauvignon Blanc opens up with aromas of grapefruit pith and lime peel. Tart and crisp with a quick and tangy finish. Perfect with a smoked chicken salad full of grapes and diced apples. Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review. …

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Sauvignon Blanc- 1 readers -
  • Five Wines from Coppola

    … Monterey County, California 55% Syrah, 35% Pinot Noir, 10% Grenache $19, 12.5% abv. A favorite of mine, and one that I love to give as a gift. Light strawberry flavors with bright acidity and a generally fun wine. Adaptable to a wide range of foods. 2012 Francis Coppola Director's Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, California 100% Pinot Noir $21, 13.5% abv. Very light garnet color, delicate wild strawberry aromas, mild acidity, low tannins, long finish. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review. …

  • Spell Winery Pinot Noir

    … Alder Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir Mendocino County 100% Pinot Noir 149 Cases Produced $50, 14.2% abv. Really bold dark fruit with a firm body, one that benefits from an hour of decanting. Touches of tobacco and coffee are quite enchanting. 2012 Spell Terra de Promissio Vineyard Sonoma Coast 100% Pinot Noir 148 Cases Produced $72, 14.3% abv. Rich and deep with a profile of berries backed up by hints of spice. Incredibly smooth and perfectly balanced. Highly recommended. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review. …

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviewsin Pinot Noir Chardonnay- 6 readers -
  • Cider Brothers "William Tell" Hard Cider of Lodi

    … in the 90s with brands like Woodchuck and a few British imports. Since then, the market has grown alongside the enthusiasm of the craft beer industry and there's more interest in traditional small production ciders made from fresh apples rather than concentrated juice. The Cider Brothers use a combination of five apples. From the press release…

    Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews- 5 readers -