Thursday, April 30, 2009

Campo Vieja Tempranillo Reserva 2004

This is a big Spanish Rioja from a reputable grower. Unfortunately this bottle, at least, proved to be well over the hill. The blend of cherry and dark berry was just barely discernible under the tannin and oak, with a discernibly bitter aftertaste. You may want to put up the sale price of $10.99 on the chance of snagging a good bottle, but it's a definite risk.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc 2008

This New Zealand white is still very young but nevertheless manages to convey a nice blend of citrus citrus flavors. It will do nicely as an accopaniment to fish or white meat dishes. The price, $7.99, is right .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sanleonino Chianti Classico 2004

This is a nice, civilized, but not outstanding Chianti Classico. The tannins, while present, are not overwhelming and there is an agreable cherry element blended in with them. It would be a better choice if the price, $10.99, as with so many other wines in PA, were not on the high side. But then I've said this before.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Navarro Correas Chardonnay 2006

This Argentine white is the fourth wine from this vineyard reviewed here. Once again, the verdict is wholly positive. But be forwarned, this is not a wine to serve as a gentle backdrop to food. It is highly individualistically assertive, with a very strong oaking competing with pear and citrus flavors. It deserves close attention, and could well be drunk just by itself, as an aperitif. For inscrutable reasons it is presently on sale for $7.99, and each bottle has an instant $2.00 discount coupon attached to it. At that price it's a veritable steal.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Domaine Chanteloups Grenache 2005

This French red, grown at the foot of he Pyrennees, has the relatively new designation "Vin de pays" which is meant to guarantee uniform means of production and harvest dates, as well as a certain level of quality, and does not disappoint. It displays a very satisfying blend of dark fruit flavors with just the right amount of acidity, and should be good for at least two or three more years. At the closeout price of $.9.99 it constitutes something of a bargain.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Danzante Chianti 2006

Like any run of the mill Chianti, this Italian red is rough on the tongue if drunk immediately upon uncorking, but if allowed to breathe, it displays a nice enough blend of dark fruit and tannin. It's anything but subtle and the various flavors tend to separate in the aftertaste, but it will do alright with pasta. $7.99.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mastroberardino Sannio Falanghina 2004

This Italian white, from the leading house in Campania, the region of Naples, is at its very best when drunk young, and the present vintage is nearing the end of its life. Still, and surprisingly, it is by no means over the hill. It retains its lovely light straw colors and its lustrous bouquet of citrus and apple. It is long lasting on the tongue, and I have absolutely nothing to reproach it with. If you can find some in the closeout section at the present throwaway price of $6.99 by all means buy it and drink it while it retains its fine quality.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trivento Syrah 2006

As is true of that Argentinian vineyard's Malbec, this red too must be allowed to breathe a goodly amount of time. If it does, it will reward you with a nice blend of plum and caramel, although it must be noted that, curiously, a slight bitterness in the aftertaste returned in the last glass. $8.99.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chateau de Pennautier Syrah 2006

Still another frugal wine buyer's special. This red from the region of the old walled city of Carcassone will, if allowed to breathe properly, respond with a nice blend of dark berries, caramel and tannin. It's an uncomplicated country wine but will go with most any meat and is far superior to the mass produced Australians selling at a similar price. At $6.99 it's good value for money.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rene Barbier Red

This Catalan blend of Tempranillo and Merlot is so basic that we are not even vouchsafed a year. At first, one notices an almost harsh quality, which goes away with a little airing. Still, it is drinkable, with some notes of fruit and tannin. Extremely light bodied, it will go with almost anything. The price, $5.99, is mot bad, although it's available elsewhere fo as little as $3.99.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

This is an entry level red from Australia's largest wine grower and, unlike much of the competition, is actually drinkable. Although this is almost a simplistic wine,there are discernible berry flavors and some tannin. The present sale price of $5.99 is suitable to the hard times we live in. We found it to be an acceptable quaff with our Easter ham.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mollydooker Maitre D' Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This Australian red falls well outside the parameters this reviewer has set for himself, but we received it as a gift and I think it is well worth a review. Some critics have rejected it as "an overly alcoholic Australian fruit bomb" but, evidently, they've made the mistake of drinking it right after opening. This wine desperately needs to breathe, an hour at least, two is better. What you get then is a beautifully blended mixture of plum and dark berries, with just the right amount of oak, and a lasting, powerful aftertaste. The PA price of $24.99 is high, but if you can find it anywhere on sale pick up a bottle for a special occasion.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2006

I am not a fan of the run of the mill California whites and this Chardonnay reminds me why. It comes across as overly sweet, with apple and citrus in an unhappy marriage, along with a strong element of oak and an almost buttery aftertaste. Moreover, at $9.99 it is vastly overpriced (NJ $7.49).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Michael & David Phillips Petite Sirah 2006

I would not normally review this California red, as it generally sells at well above the limit I've set myself, but it was bought in N.Y. for $11.99, so why not? Anyway, I found it to be disappointing. What you get is a pretty much unregulated, and unanalyzable explosion of fruit flavors, untempered by oak, tannin or acidity. We tried it as an after dinner drink, which was probably a mistake -- it might pass muster with some highly spiced foods.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio 2006

This Italian white is grown on the well nourished volcanic slopes of Mount Vesuvius. According to the local legend, Christ cried upon seeing that the devil had ensconced himself in a corner of paradise and his tears provided the necessary moisture to grow this wine. It displays a nice, restrained mix of pome and melon and for once, at $9.99, represents a genuine bargain. It should be good for another year or so, so do pick up a few bottles. Appropriate for Easter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Little Penguin Shiraz 2007

Alright, things are tough these days, so here's a budget wine for your consideration. This Australian red, a mass market product, is very fruity, with blacberry the dominant element, and exhibits strong caramel overtones, which have a tendency to disintegrate in the aftertaste. It's drinkable though, and at the present sale price of $5.99 will not break the bank.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tapena Verdejo 2007

This Spanish white from the Tierra de Castilla in the South is touted as the Spanish equivalent of Sauvignon Blanc, with strongly projected ripe peach and melon flavors. Our bottle proved to be an unmitigated disaster. It was clearly over the hill, with unmistakable vinegary qualities. About as close to undrinkable as I would like to experience. $7.99 on sale, but you'd be throwing your money down the sink along with the wine.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Trivento Select Malbec 2006

This Argentine red must be allowed to breathe for a good half hour, else it will be unpleasantly tannin dominated, to the point of being harsh. Once it does, however, it displays a nice mixture of dark berry and oak, with a velvety finish. $.8.99.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chateau Le Pennautier Viognier 2007

This French white varietal, from the northern part of Languedoc, comes from a vineyard that has been in existence since the reign of Louis XIII, in mid seventeenth century. It is a nice, light, refreshing quaff, with accents of peach and citrus and a finish that evokes licorice. A good buy at $6.99.