Wednesday, December 28, 2011

McWilliams Chardonnay 2009

Stateside lovers of Chardonnay, in my experience mostly of the female persuasion, will like this Australian white. It's fruity, mostly melon and apple, not precisely sweet, but certainly mellow and buttery, with a slight tinge of citrus for balance. Affordable at $6.99.

Little Yering Pinot Noir 2008

The entry level wine from this well known Australian winery, this red is extremely light in body. It reminded me of what one typically is served in the South Tyrol. It has a pleasant mix of red berry flavors with a slight citrus finish. A good summer wine to go with a light meal taken al fresco. Attractively priced at $7.99.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Symington Altano Douro 2009

This Portuguese red from the Douro Valley has a nice mix of red berries and chocolate notes, with an agreeable, slightly peppery finish. A nice wine, but well overpriced at $9.99, being available for three dollars less in N.J.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Charte d'Assemblage 2010

First of all, this young Languedoc red, a Grenache/Syrah blend, has to breathe for at least two hours, preferably decanted, else it will have an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste. Once this dissipates, what you have is a robust country wine with plum and cherry notes and quite a lot of spice. $7.99.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quinta de Casal Branco 2008

This Portuguese red blend is made on an estate which is best known for breeding the famous Lusitanian horses, for whatever that's worth. It has a somewhat aggressive onset, reminiscent of licorice and oak but then morphs into a nice, smooth finish. $8.99, but sells for as much as three dollars less, on sale, in N.J. If you can get it for that, it's a real bargain.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stanza Gewurztraminer 2008

"Gewurz" in German means spice and this grape, with elements of lychee nut and nutmeg, was probably developed in the South Tyrol some thousand years ago. It has most prominently been identified with Alsace. This California exemplar has a pleasant, somewhat subdued spicyness and stops well short of being sweet, the curse of many Gewurtztraminers made in this country. At the sale price of $5.99 it's well worth buying.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Patient Cotta Le Grand Caillou Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Here we have a Loire which in every way calls to mind a Sancerre but, as it's merely country varietal, sells at half the price. It opens up with a pear note, almost sweet, but not quite, and soon balanced by citrus. A crisp, clean wine, and a real bargain at $9.99.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pillar Box Red 2008

Some reviewers have described this Shiraz blend as an Australian fruit bomb. I'd say it's, at best, a firecracker. Some blackberry and cherry elements come through but the overall impression is ho-hum. At least it's not expensive: $6.99.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Statum Sauvignon Blanc 2011

This young New Zealand white from the Marlborough district is somewhat atypical. Missing is the freshly mown grass element that so many of these wines exhibit. What you get is gooseberry along with some citrus. A nice, if not memorable, wine and reasonably priced at $8.49.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stratum Sauvignon Blanc

This non-vintage New Zealand white from the Marlborough Valley has some of the charechteristics of the wines of the region but lacks the typical mown grass elements. It's pleasant enough but not particularly distinguished. $8.49.

Nederburg Chenin Blanc 2011

While the previously reviewed white blend from this South African producer is very citrous in flavor, this Chenin Blanc is at the least semi sweet, with apricot and peach elements. Those of you who are into California Chardonnays might like it. $6.99.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ramon Bilbao Crianza 2006

Aged for almost two years, in American oak and in the bottle, this Spanish red from the Rioja is 100% Tempranillo. It exhibits a nice blend of cherry and dark berry flavors, with an element of smokiness and a touch of licorice at the prolonged, even finish. Altogether, a nice wine which seems to sell for a wide gamut of prices, with the PA price of $9.99 toward the low end.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010

This New Zealand white which I reviewed very favorably three years ago has now been reduced to $9.99. At that price it's a real bargain. Buy it, it won't last.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Loios Alentejano 2010

The Alentejo in Eastern Portugal is best known for its reds. This young white has a dominating citrus element with a note of cut grass vaguely reminiscent of a New Zealand, although not as pronounced. Fairly complex for its age and price. $7.99.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Berro Piemonte Barbera 2010

This Italian red is made from a grape originating in the Piedmont. It's very smooth drinking, with red cherry and raspberry overtones and an even finish. $9.99.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wines in Spain & on the North Atlantic

We're just back from a week in Spain and an adjoining Transatlantic Cruise. During this time we drank sixteen wines not previously reviewed here. Only one is available in PA. I don't know whether this speaks to our tastes or to PSLB's purchasing policy. Judging from the price we paid for them in our hotels and aboard ship (given a markup of 2.5 to 3.5 X over what one would have to pay in the stores) all but two of them should be available, if they are indeed imported into the country, at under $10. All of them proved acceptable, quite a few of them were actually quite good. In case some of you find them in other states, I append a list.

Marques de Riscal Verdejo 2010. Spanish white.
David Moreno Non Vintage. Rioja white.
Don Suero Prieto Crianza 2009. Spanish red.
Vinha Herminia Reserva 2005. Rioja red. PA price $21.99.
Sanz Classico Rueda 2010. Spanish red.
Fernandez de Pierola 2010. Rioja white.
Concorrales Tempranillo 2010. Spanish red.
Elsa Bianchi Malbec 2010. Argentinian red.
Ponzi Pinot Noir 2009. Oregon red. An expensive wine. Available in N.Y. for $21.
Marques de Concordia Tempranillo Crianza 2007. Rioja red.
Joseph Drouhin Macon Villages 2009. Burgundian red.
Zeta Priorat 2008. Spanish red.
Jean Luc Colombo Viognier 2010. French white.
Heron's Nest Cabernet Sauvignon/Pinotage 2008. South African red.
Heroes Sauvignon Blanc 2010. Chilean white.