Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Maculan Pino & Toi 2010

This young North Italian white from the foothills of the Alps is 60% Tocai, 25% Pinot Blanco and 15% Pinot Grigio. The Tokay grape in Hungary is used to make a famously sweet dessert wine, but there's not even a trace of sweetness here. The prevailing taste element is citrus so much so that it just barely stops short of the actually sour. $8.99.

Alto Las Tacas Malbec 2009

We found this Argentine red from Mendoza to be quite pleasant. It features a well integrated mix of red cherry and plum; instead of the more usual chocolate/caramel element that distinguishes many Argentinian Malbecs there' a peppery note at the finish. $9.49.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Maso Canali Pinot Grigio 2009

The product of a small vineyard in Italy's Lake District, this white is pale in color and more fruity than the Pinot Grigios from the Veneto tend to be. I detected nectarine and citrus chiefly. My CDC liked it, I found it a little disappointing, even at the sale price of $11.99.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A-Mano Pinot Grigio 2010

This very young, very light Italian has more than a touch of minerality, is just below the line of effervescence, has rather subdued white fruit flavors and considerable acidity. Definitely not a sipping wine, it did well with our curry though. $6,99,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

La Vendimia 2009

This Rioja red is half tempranillo, half grenache, with the latter varietal dominant in its taste, which is a mix of red cherry and plum and an element of mellow spice, in the direction of roasted almonds. It has good legs. A very pleasant wine and attractively priced at $8.99.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chateau la Rose du Pin Entre Deux Mers 2005

We found this white Bordeaux to be rather disappointing, it's clearly past its prime. Instead of the crisp, well defined fruitiness, with a predominance of melon, that is characteristic of a good Entre Deux Mers there's only a predominant element of citrus, not entirely pleasing. Even at $8.49, no great bargain.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Santa Rita Carmenere Reserva 2008

The Carmenere grape, once a staple of Bordeaux reds, was completely wiped out there by the mid nineteenth century philoxera infestation. Fortunately some vines had been transplanted to Chile where they flourished. This Rapel Valley wine has a pleasing mix of red fruit flavors tempered by oak and soft tannins, with a hint of caramel in the finish. While Chile is best known for producing huge quantities of plonk, this definitely does not fall into that category and, at the closeout price of $6.99, is a very good buy indeed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Santa Rita Carmenera Reserva 2008

The Carmenere grape was one of the Bordeaux staples until the philoxera epidemic of the mid nineteenth century wiped it out. Fortunately it had been translated to Chile which, for unknown reasons, escaped the infestation. It has since become a signature red of that country. This wine is robust, with notes of plum and red berries and soft tannins at the finish, with a pleasing element of spice. At the closeout price of $6.99 it's a most attractive bargain.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir 2009

The gigantic Gallo combine is the exclusive U.S. importer of this label. Last year several of its French suppliers in Provence were convicted of adulterating the Pinot Noir with cheaper grapes and slapped with suspended jail terms and substantial fines. Gallo admitted this to be the case with the stipulation that they had been unaware of the practice but did not recall the affected vintages ('06 through '08). None of this did much for the reputation of Provence wines in this country, but I suppose that Gallo is too big to care. I did not try these vintages, having read that they were pretty awful at any price. The '09 is presumably pure Pinot Noir, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did. It's a very pleasant country red, with nicely blended red fruit flavors and soft tannins at the finnish. And, presumably because either Gallo or the PSLB, or both, are trying to exercize dammage control it's being offered at a very attractive $6.99.

Les Fosses d'Hareng Vouvray 2008

This is a Chenin Blanc from the region of Tours in the Loire Valley where the grape originated. Loire Chenin Blancs are distributed over a wide spectrum, some exhibiting the austere acidity with which one is familiar over here, others tasting almost like a Chardonnay. This one clearly falls into the second category, having very ripe peach and melon flavors. It's slightly sweet, but with the sweetness of ripe fruit, not sugar. $11.99.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Principato Pinot Grigio Rose 2010

This rose from the Veneto in Italy doesn't exhibit the dryness, nor the flintiness of a good white Pinot Grigio, but it doesn't cross the line into sweetness either. It has some nice white fruit flavors with just a hint of citrus in the aftertaste. It makes a good choice for entertaining large numbers at a summertime picnic at the closeout price of $6.99 for the 1.5 liter bottle, which won't break the bank.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hess Select Sauvignon Blanc 2009

We differed on this Northern California white. My C.D.C. ratherliked it, I felt that the grapefruit plus other citrus notes were so pronounced that they overpowered the wine. If that doesn't put you off, then, at the closeout price of 6.99, this is a bargain.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Castillo de Molina Pinot Noir Reserva 2009

The Pinot Noir Grape is what goes into the great majority of Burgundian reds, so it's no great wonder that this Chilean wine puts one in mind of a village Burgundy. It tastes of red berries and oak, with fairly strong tannins in the finish. A pretty good buy at $6.99.

Guardian Peak Frontier 2007

We both very much liked this South African red, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot blend. It has nicely balanced plum, raspberry and red cherry flavors, with a pleasing caramel and oak finish. Well priced at $7.99.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rosemount Traminer/Riesling 2010

I generally stay away from Rieslings, they're far too sweet for us, but this New South Wales white is 71% Traminer so I decided to give it a shot. The nose is definitely flowery, the mouth is ripe fruit with just enough spice to keep it from being over the line. If you don't insist on a very dry white you'll probably like this at the sale price of $6.99.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Luna di Luna Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio 2009

This Italian white from the Veneto does not constitute a happy marriage. It has neither the rich, fruity character of a Chardonnay, nor the flintiness of a Pinot Grigio. In the end, it tastes of very little at all, with, to add insult to injury, an acerbic finish. Even at the sale price of $6.99, no bargain.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

B&G Chardonnay Reserve 2009

If you're looking for an emminently affordable summer picnic wine and you're into Chardonnays, this may be your thing. Barton & Guestier is a quintessential mass producer, so don't look for subtlety here, what you get is a smooth, peach dominated flavor, perhaps a bit on the sweet side. The close out price of $9.99 for the 1.5 liter bottle certainly is attractive.

Two Oceans Shiraz 2010

Forewarned by an on line review, I chilled this South African red and then let it breathe for an hour. This eliminated the unpleasant aftertaste the review alluded to and gave us a wine that, while entirely unremarkable, is a not unpleasant blend of strawberry and slightly smoky flavors.It will do as a vin ordinaire, and the clearance price of $4.99 is certainly no obstacle.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Santa Florentina Merlot 2008

For someone like me who isn't a fan of Merlots, this red from Argentina is an agreeable surprise. Allowed to breathe for an hour or so, it delivers a reasonably pleasant blend of dark fruit flavors, with some acidity, but none of the unpleasant aftertaste I associate with the variety. Moreover, it's a fantastic bargain at the closeout price of $3.99. These days that will barely get you a bottle of vile plonk. Get it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Luna di Luna Merlot/Cabernet 2009

There's something about me that objects to pouring wine from brightly colored, enameled bottles, so that I would have chosen to decant this, but my CDC said she thought the bottle was cute, so there you are. Anyway, this Italian blend from the Veneto, 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet, took me by surprise. Allowed to breathe for an hour, it produced an eminently civilized mixture of dark fruit flavors, with not even a hint of the archtypical unpleasant Merlot aftertaste. At the closeout price of $5.99 it's a steal.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sogrape Callabriga Alentejo 2008

A red blend from Portugal's largest producer, aged in oak for a year and in the bottle for another six months, this is a very nice wine indeed. It exhibits well rounded dark fruit flavors, soft tannins and caramel underpinning. Very favorably priced at $8.99.