Ask The Wine Guy

24 thoughts on “Ask The Wine Guy

  1. Hi Larry,


    I met you the other day. I got a bottle of wine and I would like to know your opinion on this. Raymond Carbenet Sauvignon 2009, Reserve Selection.



    1. Hi Pablo,
      Thanks for writing. As you know I don’t like commenting about wines I personally have not reviewed. Unless someone gifts me a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, I don’t drink any wines from California only Washington State as I feel they offer a better quality to price ratio and value to the Wine Consumer. I will however tell you that the last vintage of Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Selection that was reviewed by James Laube from Wine Spectator Magazine was the 2007. The year 2007 should on paper be the best year California Wines have had in many years of bad vintages. Here is what Mr Laube’s review said about the 2007 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Selection :” Offers a mix of dry herb, sage, dried currant and cedary oak flavors, but the drying tannins are the most troubling. Drink now. 16,000 cases made. –JL” The Suggested Retail Price on the wine was $32 a bottle. The 2009 has not been reviewed by anyone of the major publications. Drink it and let me know what YOU think. By the way the reviews of dried herbs, cedary oak flavors, drying tannins, troubling flavors are typical of the tasting notes for most of the Big Name Brands of Cabernet Sauvignon in the $30- $60 Price Range from California. I think for Under $20 you can find a 90 Pointer with silky tannins and riper fruit without all the cedary burnt oak from Washington State or other Countries outside the US.

      Grape-fully yours,
      Larry “The Wine Guy”

  2. Alright Mr. Wine-guy. Let’s get to the nitty gritty. As you know, at one time, $60 dollar bottle’s of wine were common place for Executive Chef Lou. However, for the last 4 years, it has been bottles under $10 dollars and I must say, Kelly and I have found some pretty good wines. We have enjoyed our chase of matching our wines to our budget, or lack thereof 🙂

    I would like to make a suggestion for anyone reading your blog who may find themselves in a similar “budget restraint” as it pertains to wine purchase. Kelly and I have found that “Gato Negro” Cabernet, a Chilean wine, to have a wonderful aroma of black currant fruit with a deep and delicious flavor of red berry fruit.

    In my humble and none-sommelier opinion, this medium bodied wine is excellent with a juicy rib-eye steak marinated and prepared by Executive Chef Lou at Chateau de Rodriguez. As always, there is a chair waiting for you and your money is no good at our establishment. However, being a BYOB establishment and I, advocating for keeping as much money in your pocket as you can, do not allow anyone dining with us to spend more than $15 dollars on any bottle of wine.

    In this case, Gato Negro will both gain you entry, as well as a hearty thank should you frequent our establishment soon. To your readers, I urge you to ask Larry to provide you with this wonderful yet inexpensive wine. Your wallet will thank you but so will you palate!

    Bon Appetit

    1. Lou, I agree that under $10.00 is the Magic Number in today’s Messed Up Economy. As I say on my blog and to my loyal retail guests everyday, unlike spirits where you can become loyal to a brand name like Absolut or Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels, with wine the year the wine was produced and the weather during that vintage is the most important factor. On any year, as I much as I love you and Kelly, I can’t advocate any of my loyal guests or blog readers to run to their local gas station or supermarket and choose a bottle of Gato Negro wine (If they even knew what was the good vintage) I think once you stray away from the grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio a whole world of Amazing Flavors will open up for you in the world of Wine. How many Primitivo’s have you had from Manduria? How much Negramaro from Southern Italy? Tempranillo from La Mancha is a steal at 2 for $12.00 prices or Old Vines Garnacha at $7.00 a bottle. I try to make recommendations for guests and readers to find wines that are not Supermarket Items and consult with a local Wine Expert who understands their palate. I have put together Case Orders of Wines for Budget Weddings of $4.99 wines that will be better quality fruit than anything Gato Negro can produce even in the best of years. I will take you up on that BYOB Offer and I will WOW you with some of those selections from Areas of the World you are missing out on. So great to have Executive Chef Lou posting on my Wine Blog!!

      1. And that, loyal readers of Larry the Wine Guy Blog, is why I’m a new loyal reader of Larry the Wine Guy Blog: we may have lowered our budget for wine, but for the prices and quality that is available today, we will never do without! Now I have my source that can match my budget. Next stop? One of the many suggestion Larry just made! Thank you sir 🙂

  3. Hey, Mr. Larry, I have no experience with wine at all, but I desperately need advice, I want /feel a need to drink my 2 glasses of red wine a day. Here’s the problem, I get the horrible red wine headaches, within minutes of drinking a sip or two of red wine. I have Multiple Sclerosis and I like to drink an occasional alcoholic beverage, especially with friends and would love the benefits of drinking red wine but am totally a dummy when it comes to knowing anything about wine. I have tried to do research on line but have gotten no where and when I ask local so called wine experts they talk about sulfites but I know that’s not true because of my own research. I’ve read tannins are bad, I’ve read histamines are bad. I’ve read that taking an anti-histamine about 45 minutes before drinking red wine will keep you from getting a red wine headache, but wouldn’t that put you to sleep?!?!? I really would love an expert opinion on which kind of red wine to try and not get the dreaded red wine headache. Please help a don’t-know-anything-about-wine person who would love and need the benefits of drinking a glass or two a day to wind down, plus the enjoyment of social drinking wine with my friends. Would really appreciate a recommendation!! Thanks

  4. Hay Larry! Thanks for your help and I confess, I’ve yet to compare the Latancia bottles (Sangiovese 2008 vs 2009) but it’s in the plans.

    1. Your Welcome Ed. You will become a real wine expert once you realize what us in the Industry know is a fact that the Vintage or year of the wine whether it is Chateau Petrus at $1500 a bottle or Chateau Ste Michelle at $12 a bottle, is the most important factor when purchasing a wine. If the weather and conditions were bad for producing quality juice to ferment into Wine, it really doesn’t matter what the Brand is on the label. Let me know how your vintage comparisons turned out. Cheers!!

  5. Hi Larry! Popped in for more Pappas and didn’t see you. I was hoping you could recommend a good “beginner’s” Bordeaux in the $40 range. Thanks!

  6. Larry, You’re the best. Your commentary is so insightful. Why can’t I find talent like yours in my town?

    I respect your opinion and look forward to your next recommendation.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Jonathan. It’s hard to find talent in any town in any field. Employers don’t look for people like myself who have passion and if they do find someone they don’t want to pay them what they are worth. I am always fielding offers so maybe you can spread the word and maybe Larry The Wine Guy will be coming to your town soon lol. Thanks again

  7. Hey Larry,
    Just read your blog blast about Italian Aglianico, which I also really like.
    Quick question: Have you tried a Washington state wiine that is a mix of 80% Merlot, 13% Cabernet, and 7% Syrah from Columbia Crest with H3 on the label, vintage 2010 and if so, did you like it?


    1. Hi Greg,
      I used to be a big fan of Columbia Crest Wines which is owned by Chateau Ste Michelle. Sadly, Ray Eingberger the Chief Winemaker for Columbia Crest for 23 years has retired. I prefer The H3 Cab And H3 Merlot as opposed to the Blend. I felt the Blend was too sweetish tasting on the fruit which is not what Washington is about and would be more appropriate for the State Of California.

  8. Hi Larry,
    I took your advice and shifted gears.. up the coast to Washington state in pursuit of quality reds, namely the H3 Cab. You were absolutely on target with this recommendation. I’ve been enjoying this wonderful smoky elixir for a few weeks now. It has a nice, smooth depth with no rough or earthy edges to it. Thanks again for the advice!

    BTW- have a pair of 2005 vintage Tenuta Del Portale, Aglianico Del Vulture searching for a great food pairing. 🙂

  9. hey larry! thanks for giving us the lesson on wine, we really enjoyed the blina. my husband still wont tell me the type of chicken he made lol but it still went great with the wine just like you said, thank you. we will be coming back to see you and your wines soon and my neice and nephew loved you!

    1. Dee Dee. You are the reason I right this blog and do what I do for a living. I am so glad that Barbera D’Asti worked well with your secret recipe chicken dinner. I look forward to seeing you soon and your niece and nephew were very well mannered young adults which was very refreshing to see in today’s society and parenting.

  10. Hi Larry,
    What do you think of Radius Merlot? I really love this wine but the issue is its only available at total wine and its at such a great price now that I am not in south Florida its hard to just go pick up a bottle. Do you have any comparable wines you could recommend that are available at most wine stores.

    1. Hi Donny
      Radius and labels like perimeter and pendulum are all solid wines represented by a supplier called Precept Brands and they are Washington state wines. In south Florida radius is proprietary to only Total Wine and Perimeter is proprietary and exclusive to ABC FINE WINES AND SPIRITS. I do not know where you area located but find local wine merchant you trust and ask them for a Washington State wine under $10 and you should be just fine. Thanks for writing

      1. Great thank you so much! Do you have a Washington state wine that you would recommend? If not its ok I love to try new wines and will ask for anything they recommend from Washington state. I am in the Atlanta area so there is a total wine here but a bit of a drive away. Thank you again for all the great info!

  11. I need to buy a gift for my boss’ they LOVE wine yet i know nothing about wine. My limit is $25 a bottle, whats the best i can fet for my buck?!

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