Creative Juices Wine Blog

Beer vs. Wine Follow Up

Last night was our Beer vs. Wine event at DiVino Wine Bar. We want to extend a personal thank you to everyone who attended the event, and made it so much fun.

Just to recap, we tasted the Sokol Blosser Evolution vs. Stella Artois and paired them both with a Portobello Mushroom Pizza. In the end, there were mixed results for who came out the ‘winner’. People liked the way that Stella melded with the cheese and the crust of the pizza, while the Evolution brought out some amazing flavor in the mushrooms. For what it’s worth, Olena & I thought the Evolution (because of what it did for the mushrooms) was the clear winner. Some of the guests may not feel the same, but that’s okay. The good people at Sokol Blosser’s Tasting Room in Dundee, OR were very supportive, and helpful when we spoke to them on the phone yesterday afternoon. They seemed thrilled that we were including their wine in our little taste off. –Thanks for your help, Jennifer.

The second Match-up was Sebastiani & Son’s The Crusher Petite Sirah vs. Duvel. We paired the two with the “Divino Panino”, which is made with Genoa Salame, Spring Mix, Four cheese blend, Artichoke, Olive Tepanade, S. Dried Tomato & Lemon Caper dressing. Delicious on its own, yes, but when paired with The Crusher Petite Sirah it’s untouchable. Sorry Duvel, you fell short on this one. The aptly named ‘Crusher’ did just that in this contest (if you can call it that).

Overall, we had a great time, and are looking forward to our next event at Coco.Miel this Saturday at 2pm. Email us for more details.


Zak & Olena

Two Cabernet Francs

Posted in Cabernet Franc, California, Chinon, France, Loire, Napa Valley, wine, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on February 16, 2010

Yesterday we ended up grabbing two Cabernet Francs and comparing them side by side… on video. Until we post that, here is a quick rundown on our experience.

Wine: Moulin des Sablons, Chinon

Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 1999

Alcohol: 12%

Our Score: 86 points

Price: $12

The color was brick-orange, with light color going out to the rim. The cork itself showed a lot of tartrates, and you can definitely see that on the picture to the right.

The palate was well integrated, with notes of vanilla, limestone, red cherry and chalk. It had healthy acidity, and showed a lot of fruit character. Overall, we thought the wine was pleasant, but it has probably peaked a couple years back, and we caught it on the way down. We’d recommend enjoying a wine like that quickly, before its gentle aroma gets lost in the surrounding air. We awarded the wine well deserved 86 points, which is a great score considering its price.

Wine: Beaucanon Estate L Cuvee

Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 2003

Alcohol: 14.1%

Our Score: 88 points

Price: $25

This one was deeper in color, had a nose you can detect from feet away, and a palate to die for. It had notes of pepper, currants and cassis on the nose, while the palate also added a generous dash of vanilla and sour cherry. The acidity yet again was tying the wine together. We awarded the wine 88 points and enjoyed it with pizza.

Voilà, we had a blast tasting these wines and we hope to post the video certifying so online shortly.


Zak and Olena

Another Wine Review (This time, Cab)

Hey there-

You guessed it, we tasted more wine today. After one of the longest weekends in recent memory, it was time to fire up a steak and drink. If you know one thing about the taller half of this relationship, it’s that he loves red meat. If you know two things about him, it’s that he loves red meat, and can definitely hook a steak up.

All of that being said, we went and grabbed a giant rib-eye to grill, and a California Cab to pair with. After all was said and done, we have this to report to you: The Cab and the steak went great together (Like Lamb and Tunafish) what? No good? Ok, how about like this couple? Yeah, like that.

So here’s the deal. While at the store, we grabbed said Cab. It seemed like a really good idea, because we like buying wine that doesn’t break the bank. Since we drink wine every single day, we know you understand.

Wine: Main Street Winery

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 2006

Alcohol: 13.5% ABV

Our Score: 80 points

Price: $12

This bottle cost us $12 and as we said, paired wonderfully with the steak, but left a little to be desired when consumed alone. Correction…a lot to be desired. After a pretty promising nose that was full of leather, black pepper, cherry, cedar, tobacco, wet gravel, and a little limestone, it died a painful death as it hit the palate. Its mouthfeel was kind of blah, and threw a dash of pepper, some unripe cherry (thanks) and gun metal. No offense but we wish we were spitting, not drinking this wine.

To review, it tasted like we were eating a gun barrel (as fun as that sounds…) and wanting to sneeze from ingesting too much pepper, while dealing with the devastation of buying (or picking) fruit before it is ready. Can you taste the excitement?!?

In closing, we gave this wine 80 points, and will recommend it to our neighborhood cats, and possibly Sarah Palin. Cheers!

Zak & Olena

Gascon Malbec 2008-Mendoza

Posted in Argentina, Malbec, Mendoza, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on January 28, 2010

Value Wine Alert!

This 2008 Gascon Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina is full of value. At $12 a bottle, this is a great everyday wine that brings a tremendous amount of pleasure to the palate. This bottle is like biting into a handful of dark fruits–Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Plum and Black cherries. It finishes with a great cocoa flavor that lingers for a bit on the back end. It comes across a little bitter, and the tannins ‘bring da ruckus’ to steal a line from the Wu-Tang Clan.

We enjoyed this wine quite a bit, and highly recommend this to all of you. It’s a definite recession buster, and we dropped 91 points on it! Go get a bottle today and fire up the grill. This needs a big, juicy steak to compliment its monstrous presence. Cheers!!!

Luna Rossa Winery- Nini 2004

Posted in Mimbres Valley, New Mexico, Red Blend, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on December 6, 2009

During our radio appearance Saturday morning, we had a caller that asked us about a wine from Luna Rossa Winery called “The Conquistador”, which is a Port style wine. We haven’t tried the Conquistador, but his question sparked the memory of having a bottle of ‘Nini” in our collection at home.

For those of you who don’t know about Luna Rossa, it is a family run vineyard and winery in Deming, NM. They produce all of their own grapes, and supply wineries throughout New Mexico and Texas with the excess fruit. For more information on Luna Rossa Winery, visit

In 2004 Luna Rossa made an Italian Style blend from five different grapes, then aged the juice for 24 months in oak, which resulted in Nini. The grapes used in this interesting blend were Dolcetto, Nebiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Refosco. This wine went on to a Gold medal in an International competition.

Now, for our experience with the 2004 Nini. As we said before, the Conquistador question came as a reminder that we have been meaning to taste, and enjoy our bottle of Nini.

The color of this Italian blend falls somewhere in between cherry and garnet, and holds that color right out to the edge. It gives off red cherry, vanilla, strawberry, and vegetal aromas on the nose which we found get more pronounced as the wine opens.

Nini carries a tart acidity with almost bitter tannins, and sufficient alcohol. The in mouth flavors are pleasant and as with the nose, change as the wine opens. We were getting strawberry, vanilla, cherry, a touch of citrus, mild vegetal notes, and bit of cocoa towards the end. The finish isn’t terribly long, but lengthy enough to slowly enjoy this bottle.

We are impressed with this wine, and through technical evaluation award it with a very sound 89 points.

For El Pasoans, the closest place you can pick a bottle of this up is in Mesilla, but we highly recommend stopping in at the tasting room in Deming which is right off of I-10 east. Cheers!

Hugh Hamilton Loose Cannon Viognier 2007

Posted in Australia, McLauren Vale, South Australia, Viognier, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on December 3, 2009

Hugh Hamilton is a creative winemaker from Australia. His ‘Jim Jim’ line of wines is new to the El Paso area, and are well worth looking into.

The wine we are reviewing today is one that we have had a few times before, but today we’re taking notes on it for the first time.

The 2007 Loose Cannon Viognier has a bold straw-canary yellow color to it. This would lead us to believe that this wine has seen some oak. Hugh told us that it has not. Upon further inspection (the nose) we found hints of vanilla, citrus, floral, peach, and aromas of baking bread. The vanilla seems like a suspect once again for oaking.

Once on the palate, vanilla pops out again. This time accompanied by peach, and honeydew with a bit of dry yeast.

Here’s the thing…we like this wine. It’s got a long, pleasant finish, and is well balanced throughout. We give it 87 points, and recommend you try a bottle if you can find it. It only costs about $17 retail, and pairs very well with Indian and Thai cuisine. Our one question remains, if this juice was never introduced to oak, how did this wine happen? Cheers!

Gamba Cellars Russian River Zinfandel 2005

Posted in California, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, Wine Reviews, Zinfandel by CreativeJuicesWine on December 2, 2009

Wow. Ok…

This bottle was given to us by our friend, and wine maker, Vic Poulos of Zin Valle Vineyards in Canutillo,TX. He asked us to let him know what we think of wine, and here we go.

Let us begin by saying that this wine has 15.9% alcohol. That’s freakishly high for most wines, even Zinfandel, which is synonymous with staggering alcohol contents. That being said, one would not know it.

Gamba Cellars has created a monster. Taken from old vines in the Russian River Valley of California, these Zinfandel grapes have been developed into amazing juice that we are clearly pretty excited about.

This wine exhibits nice peppery notes, with a bit of currant, smooth vanilla, and a touch of dirt or clay on the nose. It has a very pleasant bouquet that invites one into the first sip like the sly seductress it is.

Gamba Zin is a well-rounded, full-bodied wine that has rich tannins, and generous alcohol. In the mouth, powerful flavors of vanilla, rose pedal, cotton candy, plum, a pleasant dirtiness or earthiness, that rounds off with subtle cocoa and blueberry flavors as it finishes. We were also very impressed that we got as much sediment from this wine as we did given its age.

This is a very good wine, and if you see it anywhere, pick it up. It was a gift to us, so we aren’t going to disclose a price, however, it’s worth it. This is a 92 point wine. Delicious.

Thank you, Vic. This was a truly amazing gift, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Cheers!

Shoofly Shiraz 2008

Posted in Australia, Shiraz, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on November 30, 2009

Today we tasted a bottle of 2008 Shoofly Shiraz. We gave a bottle of this away at our class over the weekend, and hope that the recipient enjoys it as much as we did.

Right away this Shiraz puts off very meaty undertones that are in combination with white pepper and black cherry. The lively acidity keeps all of the components in check and allows the juice to go down with a velvety effervescence.

Shoofly has a big presence, and a full mouthfeel. The intense flavors of vanilla, plum, cherry, and strawberry slowly take a back seat to the overwhelming flavors of cocoa, and even a bit of parsley. This wine is quite pleasant, and finishes very long. We think this is an excellent wine, and retails for about $18. We award 89 well-deserved points, and will probably keep tabs on future vintages of this wine. Cheers!

It’s snowing in El Paso

Posted in Australia, Red Blend, Wine Reviews by CreativeJuicesWine on November 30, 2009

It’s snowing in El Paso today. This is fantastic. Now there is a great excuse to have a glass of Port at 11:30 am.

There is something about this fortified wine that makes cold, snowy days so much more enjoyable. Coming from New York, we spent three months out of the last year standing outside in below zero weather, cleaning over a foot of snow off of our cars every day. As fun as that was, we’re happy to call ourselves El Pasoans. This snow is reminiscent of nights we used to spend walking home from the wine bar we worked at in NY. As much as we miss it sometimes, it’s nice to know that every bit of this snow we get today will be gone by Wednesday.

All of the weather talk aside, grab yourself a bottle of a good sipping port. Buy a 10 year Tawny, or even a Ruby Port. Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy the warming sensation this beautiful creature called Porto provides as it coats your mouth and throat.

Today, we will be enjoying a glass or two of Jonesy Rare Aged Port from Australia. It is imported by the Grateful Palate out of Oxnard, CA. This is a great sipping Port, and comes in at the amazing low price of $11. You cannot beat it. This bottle was recommended to us by a friend at the Greenery, where it is sold locally.

Dashe Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2007

Posted in California, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, Wine Reviews, Zinfandel by CreativeJuicesWine on November 28, 2009

This surprisingly low-alcohol Zinfandel from California was one of the bottles we opened on Thanksgiving, and are just now getting to finish up.

This 2007 vintage of Dashe Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is a straightforward wine that exhibits a respectable amount of character in its youth. Dashe Zin exhibits a clear ruby coloration that leads through a few variations in color before it fades out towards the edge.

There isn’t a lot on the nose of this wine, but there is enough complexity on the palate to make this medium-full bodied wine worth talking about. With notes of black pepper, prune, blackberry, leather and oak, Dashe came through with this Zin. Overall, it’s rather pleasant, and finishes at a medium length.

At $25 retail, Dashe offers a reasonably priced option to take home, and drink with barbeque pork, or maybe even a pizza. We rate this wine 88 points, and recommend it. Cheers!