Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Selaks Sauvignon Blanc 2008

This New Zealand white is a very nice wine indeed. It comes at you with a pungent whiff of new mown grass in the best Marlborough valley tradition and exhibits a well defined and long lasting mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavors. The acidity is just sufficient to make it a really interesting bottle. The price too is right at $9.99.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Alamos Chardonnay 2008

Alamos used to be a mass producer of plonk in Argentina. Some time back the label was acquired by the Catenas, a reputable family of vintners, as their entry level wine, and completely transformed. Like the other varietals from the same vineyard previously reviewed here, this is an eminently successful product. In general, I avoid the cheaper Chardonnays, they tend to be extremely dull, but this one shows nice balance, with a nose suggesting freshly mown hay (for you history buffs, there is no poison gas involved here) and flavors evoking apple and melon. And at the sale price of $7.99, it's a steal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

As is the case with the Malbec and the Torrontes from this Argentinian winery previously reviewed on this site, this is a very successful product. The wine is not complex, but offers a nice nose and an even blend of red fruit, mostly cassis, and caramel tones. At the sale price of $7.99 it is a remarkably good buy and if you're looking for an everyday staple, you might consider stocking up on it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Solnia Rioja 2007

This straightforward Spanish red, made from the Tempranillo grape and aged for six months in steel barrels, presents a pleasant enough blend of cherry and dark berries, with a caramel finish. At $10.99 it is somewhat overpriced.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tohu Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This white from a (the only?) Maori owned winery aspires to a place among the superior wines of New Zealand. It exhibits a nice blend of citrus and herbaceous flavors, with an element of acidity, but, on balance, doesn't quite make it. The finish, in particular, disappoints. $13.99.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Casillero del Diablo Shiraz 2005

Like its two stablemates previously reviewed here, this Chilean red is robust, with plum and quite a lot of spice, but perhaps a shade less interesting. Still, at the sale price of $7.99, it represents an excellent buy. It complemented our porterhouse very nicely.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008

The really good New Zealand Marlboroughs, like the Giesen, go well beyond the merely citrus tastes that characterize the cheaper ones. The good ones have a truly delightful element of newly mown grass about them, but are expensive. This bottle, while it does not quite reach that level of distinction, nevertheless has a nice combination of lime and pineapple tastes and at least a hint of grassiness. At the sale price of $8.99 it's a genuine bargain. Get it while it lasts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vina Acered Crianza 2005

This is the aged in oak for six months version of the Spanish Tempranillo/Garnacha blend previously reviewed here and it's well worth the extra money. Here we get a very smooth blend of dark berries and chocolate that neither lurches into sweetness nor gives off as much as a hint of bitterness. A nice everyday table wine. $8.49.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sierra Cantabria Rioja 2007

This Spanish red is made mostly from the Tempranillo grape. It has a reasonably good blend of cherry, plum, vanilla and licorice, but has a tendency to produce a slightly off aftertaste. We drank it as an after dinner wine, it would probably be better as an accompaniment to a red meat. For once, the PA sale price of $8.99 is pretty favorable.

Pighin Pinot Grigio 2007

We ordered this bottle at the Louis Brasserie in Lewisburg, for a restaurant wine the price seemed not excessive at $24. We were, however, disappointed. The vineyard is on the shores of the Adriatic, not in the Friulian hills, and perhaps the difference lies therein. Instead of the sharp and crisp taste associated with a good Pinot Grigio we got a rather light fruitiness which, as soon as the wine warmed up in the glass a little, turned slightly bitter. The PA price of $15.95 is ludicrous, this bottle is available elsewhere for $11.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bodega Septima Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Like the Malbec from the same vineyard recently reviewed here, this Argentine red is a good everyday table wine. It has a nicely rounded taste of black cherry, with perhaps a touch of strawberry and spices tempered by oak. It drinks sufficiently smoothly to be enjoyed by itself. The sale price of $9.99 is about at the national average.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Excursion to IL

We are just back from a few days in the heartland, and here is my report on the wines we drank.

Marques de Caceres White 2007. The white Riojas have the reputation of being thin and metallic, but not this one. Made from the Viura grape, it has a nice citrusy bouquet and finishes evenly, a good choice to go with fish. We paid $9.99 but it;s available in NJ for two dollars less. The PA price of $14.09 verges on the grotesque.

Kris Pinot Grigio 2007. This is a nice mid level Pinot Grigio from the Veneto with a distinctive light fragrance, accents of melon and the required flintyness. It isn't in a claas with the Santa Margaretha, but then it costs half as much. The IL price was $10.99, about average, $12.99 in PA is clearly too much.

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2007. This is a nice Argentine red with accents of cherry and blackberry and a distinct vanilla character. A good nose and a smooth finish. IL price $10.99 (offered on sale at $8.99 in NJ), Pa 12.99 obviously too much.

Willow Crest Syrah 2007. This Washington State red demonstrates that the winemakers in the Northwest have come a long way. For a relatively moderately priced wine it exhibits a nice mixture of blackberry and pepper, although I found the finish somewhat over the line. $9.99, not currently available in PA.

Domaine des Cassagnoles Reserve 2008. I really liked this French white from Gascony. It has a lovely freshness about it, with grapefruit and melon accents and a nice bite to it. It will stand up to even heavily spiced foods. $8.99, not on offer in PA.