Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2007

This is not quite up to the level of the reds that this Provencal vineyard produces, but, nevertheless, it's a pleasant enough wine, with accents of pear, tempered with oak. At the sale price of $9.99 it's worth getting a bottle or two.

Eagle's Rock Pinot Noir 2007

The fact that this Argentine Red is grown in the highest wine growing region in the world, at over 6,000 feet, no doubt makes it into something of a curiosity but also probably accounts for the fact that it is on the thin side and rather too acidic. There is an element of cherry that is dicernible, but just. This is not a typical Pinot Noir, nor can it compete with most Malbecs from the region. $9.99.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hat in the Ring Shiraz 2007

With the proviso that one allows it to breathe for a good hour (else it comes across as excessively acidic, even harsh) this Argentine red is a decent enough wine, with a mix of dark fruit and licorice. At the sale price of $7.99 (with attached coupon) it's worth a try.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fat Bastard Shiraz 2007

Like the Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a most pleasing wine, with plum and caramel overtones. It will go well with red meats or chicken. At the sale price of $8.99 it is well worth laying down.

Goulart Torrontes 2008

This Argentine white comes as a pleasant surprise. It delivers an agreable mix of citrus and white fruit flavors with just a hint of fresh grass, has a pleasing nose and sells, at $9.99, for less than two thirds of a comparably good New Zeeland wine.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fat Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

As a general rule, wines which are trendy and heavily marketed disappoint. This, however, is not the case with this deeply colored, well balanced red from the Minervois, in Languedoc. It has a nice blend of blacberry and vanilla, with fairly prominent tannins, and will almost surely improve with cellaring. Definitely worth buying at the sale price of $8.99.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

This young Argentine red has a nice blend of dark berry and subdued caramel and is rather heavy in tannins. It goes well with red meats or with a hard cheese. My guess is that it will improve in the bottle for a year or two. $7.99 (N.J. $6.99).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ruffino Il Leo Chianti Superiore 2006

This Chianti from one of the most important producers of the region is certainly a step up from the bottom of the barrel harsh Chiantis that one so often finds over here. It comes across as a fairly pleasant blend of cherry, plum and vanilla. But then it is also a long way from a Chianti Classico, having practically no legs and lacking real power. I would not recommend it for drinking by itself, but you might want to try a bottle at $8.99 to go with an everyday meal.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Black Tower Riesling 2005

I am not normally a fan of Rieslings as many of them are just plain too sweet. This German product has just enough of a pronounced citrus flavor to avoid this pitfall, but is otherwise not terribly interesting and has a slightly acrid aftertaste. $8.99 (NJ $7.99).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Marraso Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This Argentine red has a deep, rich color and tastes of dark berries with a hint of cherry. It can fairly be described as spicy, with more than a hint of red pepper. It's a young wine and might well improve further with cellaring. $8.99, which is a fair price.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finca Carrascal Garnacha 2006

This Aragonese red is a nice blend of plum and soft tannins and a hint of pepper. It will go nicely with ribs or hamburger, but I would not match it with steak, it's a little too assertive. $9.99.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

De Pennautier Syrah 2006

Having given a favorable review to this vineyard's Viognier, I felt I had to try this red. It's not up to the level of the former, with a rather faint taste of red berries, modulating into a licorice/caramel aftertaste, but it's drinkable, and at $6.99, affordable.

Kris Heart Merlot 2006

South Tyrolean reds are typically light bodied, slightly acidic, moderately fruity and what in the region is called "suffig", i.e. one can drink several glasses without a feeling of surfeit. This wine is no exception, with a nice hint of cherry and dark berries moderated by sufficient tannin. At $8.99 it is fairly priced.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cuvee de Pena 2005

This French red is a blend, grown in the eastern Pyrennees, and is designated a "vin de pays", which is the grade above ordinary table wine (what we would call plonk). It is a nice, uncomplicated blend of blackberry and blueberry with a caramel finish. Will go with almost any meat, priced a tad high at $7.99.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Goulart Classico Malbec 2007

This Argentine red, from a vineyard belonging to the descendants of a Brazilian national hero, might not be heroic, but is a nicely balanced compound of dak berry, mostly raspberry, and soft, almost chocolate tannins. It is a good representative of the variety and, at $9.99, fairly priced. It certainly went well with our steak.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rosemount Pinot Grigio 2007

This wine, from one of the larger Australian producers, has a nice, warm blend of fresh fruit flavors without being in the least sweet. There is none of the acerbity that one tends to find in the lower to mid range pinot grigios. This will go beautifully with any fish or chicken dish and, at $8.99, represents good value for money.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Marques de Caceres Crianza 2004

We bought this Rioja from one of Spain's leading wineries on sale in N.J., the PA price of $15.99 is truly ludicrous. Having said that, this is a very nice wine with dark berry and almost velvety chocolate tones and a very even aftertaste. If you can find it somewhere for under $12 you might want to pick some up.

Hoya de Cadenas Tempranillo Reserva 2004

With this Spanish red all you get at first taste is tannins, and harsh ones at that, so much so that we abandoned it until the next day. At that point it had become drinkable, with pleasant enough although not very pronounced dark fruit notes. I would suggest that you pass it up. $8.99.

Wines in France

We are just back from ten days in France. Although we took our evening meals in hotel restaurants and thus had their wines with dinner, we did pick up the following three bottles as aperitif wines. They were bought in supermarkets and all cost roughly $10.00. On the off chance that you might run across them here I propose to review them.

Chateau Le Carbonet Saint Emlion 2007. A young wine with strong tannin notes that should be allowed to dissipate. Once they do one is rewarded with a nicely rounded cherry and chocolate combination with just a hint of licorice.

La Fleur de Laussac Cotes de Castillon 2004. This wine comes from a region contiguous to Bordeaux, which however is not allowed to make use of that designation. It is certainly superior to many a run of the mill Bordeaux, with a good nose, a pleasing blend of dark berry flavors and an even aftertaste.

Baron de Gravelines Lalande de Pomerol 2007. This wine also was too young to be fully enjoyed, not having developed the authority usually conveyed by a Pomerol. Still, although on the light side, it exhibited a nice combination of dark berry and oak.