Wine Reviews From Regular Guys in the Remodeling Industry

The Design Build Planners, brothers Jason Parsons and Neil Parsons, actually do have personal lives…sometimes. One of their hobbies is wine tasting (drinking!). They are amateur wine enthusiasts, that prefer red wine. While they have experienced and thoroughly enjoy expensive bottles, “value” is definitely a consideration in their evaluations. Regular guys like discovering a great, inexpensive find. Plus, the discovery “process” is very relaxing and fun!

Sheldrake Point Barrel Reserve Meritage 2001 Sheldrake Meritage from the Finger LakesA red blend from the Finger Lakes. One of the lightest meritages that I have had. Perhaps that is due to the major influence of Sauvignon Franc grapes at 55% of the blend. A soft fruit flavor with a cherry and spice aroma. This meritage finishes gentle with a smoky hint of oak. While I drank this with cheese (Cheez-Its, actually), I would pair it with chicken or salmon. A fun wine to drink with grapes or cheese (real stuff), also. This would be an excellent choice for a strict white wine drinker to test the (fermented) waters of red wines.

This bottle retails at $24.00. At that price I would not seek it out on a regular basis. My sister-in-law Allison brought this back for me from her annual girls wine weekend trip to the Finger Lakes. Finger Lakes Wine Country is located in Upstate New York. The personal touch of the gift made the wine drinking experience even better for me. Much can be the same of any bottle from and/or shared by friends. There is no better wine enhancer! ~ Reviewed by Neil Parsons

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Jordan Cabernet reviewed by the Design Build PlannersJordan Wineries, of Sonoma County in California, produces a very good Cabernet Sauvignon consistently each year. The Design Build Planners, Jason and Neil Parsons, enjoyed a 2009 in Chicago at a private dinner celebrating a national Professional Remodeler Design Award. The wine was bold, strong with blackberry and black cherry flavor and finished nicely hints of vanilla and spice. The aroma is excellent and needs to be appreciated with slow sip. This Jordan pairs exceptionally well with steak. The steak, from Gene and Georgetti’s, received high praise from DBP as well! Expect to spend $55-$60 a bottle at the store. ~ reviewed by Neil Parsons

Mark West Pinot Noir 2010 This is a wine that I have had on several occasions, but wanted to give it a review here. In my opinion, Mark West Pinot is a great “go to” bottle on a restaurant’s wine list when you want something that is reasonably priced and universally liked by anyone drinking it. I was meeting friends for dinner at a great B.Y.O.B. restaurant, and when I saw this available in a magnum for only $21.00, I jumped at the opportunity bring it. As expected, this Pinot Noir’s smooth taste, with a strong berry aroma was well-received by all who had it. It paired well with my filet and scallops over vegetable risotto. This is a great value-for-money wine. ~ reviewed by Jason Parsons

Apothic Red Blend 2010 Eureka! I struck gold. I stopped in the liquor store to pick up a wine for dinner. Unfortunately I was in a rush and I usually like spend some time to browse; the kid in a candy store thing. I headed for the California Pinot Noirs to pair with the grilled salmon I had planned for dinner. As I drifted down the aisle I found myself in front of the California blends. Before I had the chance to step back to the Pinot Noirs, a wine and label new me was eye level and accented by one of those “why to drink me” tags hanging from the shelf edge. Impulse and intrigue won and I grabbed the California blend with the cool label and interesting name – Apothic Red.

Haste, certainly was not a waste. Expecting it to be heavier, I did not have the wine with my salmon dinner as I opted for just water instead. I opened the bottle later in the evening. The aroma was powerfully pleasant. The taste was similar with heavy fruit flavors with hints of vanilla and mocha. The finish was excellent. The blend is primarily Zinfadel with Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot. It seemed strong to me. Listed as 13.1% alcohol content the bottle was enjoyed over two nights.

According to the website, the name Apothic was inspired by “Apotheca,” a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe.

Combining the experience with the price (under $15), Apothic Red is now on my “go to” list and I expect will be on my table again very soon. ~ reviewed by Neil Parsons

St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel 2008 This bottle was recommended to me to try (from someone who had not had it before either). I chose to decant it for about 10 minutes before pouring my first glass. In hindsight, it should have been 20-30 minutes. Not a lot of aroma coming from this one out of the glass, and it definitely improved with the second glass. The vineyard’s description of the aromas is: cigar box, pepper, and spice. I definitely got a bit of the pepper and spice, and a wood aroma with the second. The flavors are good, and I would say best paired with a steak (I chose to pair mine with a movie, and I felt it needed the food to enhance the flavor). My wife described it as “Too Heavy”, but I did enjoy it, as it is a good fall wine, and it was good fall weather in New Jersey last night.

I was able to pick up my 2008 for $23.00, but it appears the 2009 is a little cheaper right now (and probably better in 2013). ~ reviewed by Jason Parsons

Chateau Beau Soleil Pomerol 1998 Pomerol is one of my guilty pleasures. However, it is a bit pricey so my Pomerol consumption is limited to special occasions or very welcomed as a gift. This bottle was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law….”THANK YOU!”

Pomerol is a French wine hailing from the eastern Bordeaux region. The appellation is small. These vineyards produce some of the worlds best grapes and in turn the most expensive and sought after bottles of wine. High quality and rarity always means something special. Interestingly, the vineyards are not adorned with lavish structures and grand chateaus. The entire area is humble and understated.

This bottle did not disappoint. True Pomerol dark color. It had a good aroma and a bold, lasting taste. Very fruity and the right amount of acidity. Pairs well with red meats and is fabulous with sharper cheeses.

After opening, let it breath. Three words I must repeat to myself to keep from rushing to the first glass. You will be glad that you did.

While it was a gift, this bottle should sell for about $50-$60 and can hold its own with bottles double that. VERY expensive bottles from Petrus or Lafleur conjure the thoughts of drinking liquid rose petals. ~ reviewed by Neil Parsons

Red Splash A California red meritage blend from St. Francis winery that has a bold flavor and aroma. I enjoy it with red meats and pasta or on its own. I can usually find it for about $12.00 and drinks like a bottle twice that amount! P.S. do not be surprised or turned off by the rubber cork. ~ reviewed by Neil Parsons



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