Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rio Diamante Malbec 2008

This Argentine red is somewhat drier than your average Malbec and combines dark berry and vanilla flavors with pronounced tannins at the finish. Alright, but not my favorite in this price range. $7.99.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Woodridge Pinot Grigio 2008

This California wine, from the Robert Mondavi monster combine is an inoffensive but drinkable product with an element of citrus and not much of a bite. But, in these parlous days, one shouldn't be too critical, and if you can find it with an attached instant rebate coupon, it's only $6.24, if you buy two bottles.

Finca La Daniela Tempranillo 2007

The Argentinian Tempranillos tend to be somewhat heavier and duskier than their Spanish counterparts and this one is no exception to that rule. This is a nice wine, with dark cherry and tannins and a touch of smoke. Worth the price of $10.99

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Colorado Caper

Just back from a long weekend in CO where I drank the following:

Di Majo San Giovese 2008. This Italian red manages to be both full bodied and dry, not an easy accomplishment. It tastes of plum, with a didtinctly nutty flavor element. I liked it. $8.99, not on offer in PA.

Gato Negro Cabernet/Merlot 2008. This very simple Chilean red has dark berry flavors tempered by mild tannins. Rather inoffensive but certainly drinkable, and it's cheap. For the feminists among you, it's made under the supervision of a woman wine maker. $5.99, PA offers the straight Merlot at $6.09.

Zamba Malbec 2008. This Argentine red has small admixtures of Syrah and Cabernet Franc. I'm not sure that this is a success. While it's very dry, with elements of cherry, the characteristic chocolaty Malbec element is almost entirely absent. $8.99, not available in PA.

Casa de Campo Malbec 2009. Now here is an eminently likable wine. This Argentine red has a nice, even blend of dark berry flavors with just the right amount of chocolate. It's good now, but being so young, should improve further in the bottle. $8.99, the PA price of $9.99 is not excessive.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rio Diamante Chardonnay 2008

This Argentine white has elements of apple, is heavily oaked, and has a finish that seems, definitely, to be cinnamon. To my taste, it's a bit more fruity than I like, but I admit that may be an idiosyncracy of mine. $7.99.

Jaboulet-Vercherre Chassy 2008

This red Cotes du Rhone is alright, although on the whole forgettable. It displays some dark berry flavors and soft tannins, but lacks the full bodied character that one associates with the region. On special at $7.99, but is offered for two dollars less elsewhere.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Donna Fugata Sedara 2007

Sicilian reds tend to err on the side of Disneyland, but this one is relatively restrained. The nose has a definite note of tobacco, it tastes of cherry and blackberry, moderated by soft tannins. If you find it with an instant rebate coupon for $2, reducing the price to $9.99, it's worth a try.

Dao Cabriz 2006

Providing it is allowed to breathe for at least an hour, this Portuguese red, a blend of three local grapes, is a pleasant mix of dark cherry, blackberry and oak and doesn't undergo any unpleasant deterioration at the finish. It's uncomplicated but a nice quaff and most affordable at $6.19.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cavas Hill A Brut

We had something to celebrate, so we settled on this Spanish cava. (I really am curious what French 18th century public relations genius in Champagne first promoted the notion that spakling wines are especially festive). This is a non vintage wine, with elements of apple and citrus, is rather acidic and the carbonation is somewhat subdued. It's good, but in the price range I prefer the Freixenet. $9.49.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Campo Viejo Crianza 2006

This is the entry level of the Rioja which I previously reviewed in its Reserva incarnation. There is a good mix of dark cherry and tanins, along with an acerbic but by no means bitter finish. Not a bad buy at $8.99, but drink it now, I don't think it will keep much longer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Le Rime Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio 2008

This white, another Banfi product, comes from Montalcino in Tuscany, one of Italy's prime wine growing regions. It tastes of apple and citrus and is by no means bad, but is not a truly happy marriage, as it lacks both the buttery roundness of Chardonnay and the bite of Pinot Grigio. $7.99, and if you can find it with the instant $2.50 rebate tag, you might want to try it, it's well worth that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Col di Sasso 2007

We tried two reds from the huge Banfi combine. The Sangiovese/Merlot was thin, acidic, with a bitter finish. I do not recommend it. The Cabernet Sauvignon/San Giovese was somewhat better. If you let it breathe it will develop some dark berry flavors with a lot of tannin. Both were $7.99, with $2.50 instant rebate tags attached. If you find a bottle with tag, you might give it a try.

Ohio Weekend

We tried a couple of wines in Columbus: 1)Santa Rita Carmenere Riserva 2007. This Chilean red is a quite pleasant wine with dark berry flavors and quite a bit of tannin and a nice finish. $7.99, the PA price of $11.99 is an insult to the intelligence. 2) Espada del Gaucho Malbec 2008. This Argentine red has somewhat less body than most Malbecs, a very distinct plum flavor with the usual notes of chocolate and vanilla and a very even finish. $8.99, not presently on offer in PA.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Luna Freakout 2007

This California white is one of the notorious "internet specials". I found one bottle at my local outlet so I took a flyer on it. What we have here is an imitation Friuli, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and a Slovenian grape named Ribella Gialla. Like many hybrids, it can't make up its mind about what it is.
It's somewhat fruity, somewhat sweet, somewhat bland. It's certainly not bad, but nor is it in any way interesting. If you can find a bottle in your local store at the closeout price of $4.99 you might want to try it, otherwise don't waste your money on transportation charges.

Boutari Moschofilero 2008

This white from the Peloponnese comes from one of Greece's largest wineries, but for all that rises well above the level of plonk. It has a pleasant floral bouquet and tastes of pear with a strong element of citrus and a slightly bitter finish which my CDC found interesting and which reminded me, but only just, of the famous Greek Retsina, which only native born Greeks savor. Although I would probably not drink it by itself, it makes a nice accompaniment to spicy seafood dishes and curries. At the closeout price of $8.09 it's an attractive buy if you can find it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ondalan Rioja Joven

This Spanish red comes with the designation "Joven"/Young instead of the year of harvesting and it is that. It has a rather unsettled mix of dark berry flavors with a lot of tannin and a peppery element. At $9.99 it is undoubtedly overpriced.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Caveat Emptor

CAVEAT EMPTOR: LET THE BUYER BEWARE! The PA Liquor Board has come up with a new swindle. They send you an email advertising a number of wines at very attractive prices. But when you get to the state store it turns out that the wines have all been pulled from the shelves and are available only by ordering them over the internet. If you do so, they will then be shipped to your local wine store, but you will be charged an additional $5.00 for an order of three bottles. If this isn't misleading advertising, what is it? QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODIES? WHO REGULATES THESE REGULATORS?

Ochoa Garnacha/Tempranillo 2007

This Spanish red comes from Olite, the capital of the medieval kingdom of Navarre. While there is nothing regal about it, given that a young brashness is its main characteristic, it nevertheless provides a nice blend of black berry flavors with quite a lot of spice and some licorice. The price in this country for whatever reason fluctuates wildly, the PA $9.99 falling in the middle range.