Monday, December 31, 2012
This red blend from the French slopes of the Pyrennees is a pleasant mix of blackberry and black currant flavors, with a hint of acidity in the finish. It wants to breathe for at least an hour and you might try drinking it slightly chilled $9.99.
I decided to take a flyer on this white Italian aperitif wine,made in the Marches from the Passerina grape, because of the incredibly low price, roughly a third of what it goes for elsewhere in the U.S. Well, there's usually a reason for this kind of slashed price, and there certainly was here. Perhaps I just got a bad bottle, but instead of a full fruity taste with a slightly sugary residue which it's supposed to display, what I tasted was something like cheap, sugary plonk with a generous admixture of Greek Retsina. Not worth the money even at $5.99.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Priorat has become one of the prime wine regions of Spain in the last ten years or so. This Catalan red is being remaidered because of its age, but is still in its prime. A truly distinguished wine, with a nicely restrained blend of plum and blackberry flavors, along with soft tannins and a hint of licorice at the long finish. An oustanding bargain at $9.99.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Throughout most od the 20th century the French slopes of the Pyrennees were producing plonk for the mass markets. It was only some twenty years ago that some serious wine growers, Michael Charpentier foremost among them, decided that this was a region in which really good wines could be grown. This Syrah/Grenache/Carignan blend is an outstanding example of their efforts. What we have here is a lovely wine, with dark cherry and blackberry flavors and a nicely muted spicy finish. Moreover, an outstanding bargain at $8.99. For once, The PSLCB has hit a home run.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The legend is that a twelfth century bishop, traveling to Rome for a pope's coronation, had his servant ride ahead of him to try out the wines at various inns. When he encountered a good one he was told to chalk est! (thats it!) above the door. When he came to this inn in Lazio, N.W, of Rome, the white there impressed him so much that he marked the door with "est!est!est!" Be that as it may, this is a very pleasing bottle, with melon and peach tastes. While we may have come a long way from twelfth century standards, this remains a nice wine. $8.99.
Monday, December 24, 2012
We tried seven different wines during our week in Spain. I am not giving prices for the ones we drank in restaurants, as markups vary greatly. I'm converting the euro price for those we got in supermarkets. None of these wines, once again, are available in PA. I do give the average U.S. price for them for those of you not subject to the authority of our PSLCB. (Are all campaign promises just so much hot air?) We also drank a number of wines on our return voyage by sea, but most of them were ones previously reviewed here, and anyway, getting something for free tends to skew one's critical judgment. 1) Fernandez de Pierola Blanco 2011. This white Rioja is heavily oaked and has a very pronounced taste of citrus and ginger. U.S. ca. $13.50. 2) Vincent Gandie El Miracle 2010. This red from the Valencia region, a Tempranillo/Shiraz blend, is full bodied and tastes rather like a Cabernet Sauvignon. U.S. ca. $8.00. 3) Melquior Crianza 2008. This red from Alava in the Basque country, is a 100% Tempranillo. It's on the light side. U.S. ca. $10.50. 4) Fra Guerau Montsant 2007. Fra Guerau was a 12th century Cistercian monk who allegedly cured Queen Sancha of a fatal disease. This Catalan red blend from Tarragona tastes very much like the wines of the neighboring Priorat region. Elememts of blueberry and spice. U.S. ca $12.00. 5)Fill del Temps Crianza 2009. This Grenache/Carrignan red blend from the Terra Alta region near Tarragona is smooth, medium oaked and slightly spicy. U.S. ca. $9.00. 6) Senorio de Nava Crianza 2006. This red Ribera del Duero has a deep plum taste, shading, by no means unpleasantly, into prune. $10.00; U.S. ca. $15. 7) Mayor de Castilla Reserva 2007. This Ribera del Duero red was, although still perfectly good, being remaindered at our favorite El Corte Ingles. It is a noble wine, dry and austere. $5.00 (!) I was unable to locate it in the U.S.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
If you like a fruit forward, oaked Chardonnay this Chilean might be your thing. It tastes of apple, peach and sweet melon. The reduced price of $7.99 reflects the fact that it's already slightly over the hill, although still drinkable.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
It may be flying in the face of tradition, but we decided to open our Thanksgiving festivities with a Cava from Spain's Penedes region. Although designated a Brut, this non vintage bubbly is by no means brutally dry, having just enough of a floral bouquet along with red apple elements to make it go down very pleasingly. A nice holiday quaff for a reasonable $7.99.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Made by a cooperative in Spain's Rias Baixas, this white tastes of apple and citrus, with perhaps more than just a hint of pineapple. Nancy liked it quite a lot, I thought it was a tad too assertive for our veal cutlets. A reasonable buy at the special sale price of $9.49.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Still another red from Argentina, this Mendoza, produced by a huge combine, is a nice blend of plum, red cherry and vanilla elements and a slightly spicy finish. Fairly high in alcohol content. At the sale price, with the available three dollar mail-in coupon, it's a good buy at $6.99.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
What this red blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre is, essentially, is a Chateauneuf du Pape which, because the vineyard is just across the Rhone, can't call itself that. It has many of the qualities of the better known varietal, although it's perhaps a little lighter in body. A very smooth drinking wine, and a good buy at the on-line price of $11.99.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Heavily oaked, and on the verge of being sweet, this CA star is not precisely to my taste, but will no doubt appeal to the majority of distaff Chardonnay lovers. At least, at the special price of $6.49, they don't have to feel that they're being taken advantage of.
Our friendly PSLCB has come up with a new gimmick: A number of selected wines from which, if you buy six bottles, you get a $15 rebate. A bit of higher math will tell you that this reduces the price by $2.50 per bottle, making at least some of these reasonably attractive in price. I took a flier on three different whites which I will eventually review, marked with an #.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
While this red Costieres de Nimes, in the far south of the Rhone region, is not quite up to the level of that vineyard's "Enfants Terribles", it is nevertheless a very nice, smooth drinking wine with plum and dark berry elements and a nicely acidic finish; and it doesn't cost nearly as much, $6.99, which establishes it as a bargain. A couple of marginal notes: at least at my usual outlet, this rang up at no less than six dollars more, so. as is always the case with PSLB, you have to keep track of your charges. And, (I suppose this was inevitable), when I googled "Mas Carlot" on the internet, I was directed to various used car lots.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
I've been going on about Tavels, the roses grown in the southern Rhone region, for so long that, finding one at a more or less acceptable price, I obviously couldn't resist. Tavel is the queen of roses and this one certainly lives up to the designation. Dry, austere, yet with a certain strawberry amiability, it is the perfect companion to any assertive main course, such as our pork ribs. Nancy was of the opinion that she could drink this every night. $12.99, and well worth it.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Serendipity lives! I thought I was putting a New Zealand white in the icebox to go with our shrimp. Of course it turned out to be a red, and a very good one indeed. The plum and cherry flavors were sufficiently muted by the cold temperature to make them compatibled with the seafood and it was altogether a very nice experience. $8.99, which is a lot cheaper than you can get it most places. I must admit, another PSLB plus.
Friday, October 19, 2012
This red is from the Cotes du Rhone. Lerac is on the West bank, immediately across the river from Chateauneuf du Pape. In order to qualify for the Lerac designation, a wine has to be a blend of at least three local varietals, as this one is. What we have here is an extremely subtle blend of soft tannins, red fruit flavors, and tobacco inspired acidity. A truly delightful wine, now at the heighth of its powers, and a stupendous bargain at $9.99. So, that's for those of you who claim that I can only ever render negative judgements.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
While this is no Tavel, this rose from the region of Montpellier in Languedoc, produced by an Anglo/American couple, is nevertheless an extremely nice, fresh wine with not a hint of sweetness about it. The attack is crisp, the finish long, the price, $5.99, is a real giveaway, you can easily pay three times as much for the same wine. A real winner.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Only premium Cotes du Rhones may bear the name Village. This Grenache/Syrah blend, from the area that is the home of the famous Chateauneuf du Pape, is a hearty, plum flavored wine, with a definite spicy finish, a little rough drinking if insufficiently aired. $9.99.
Monday, October 15, 2012
This is a Cotes du Rhone from the Drome. A beautifully smooth drinking wine, it has black cherry and raspberry elements and great presence for so young a red. I imagine it will age well in the bottle. A very good value at $9.99.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Cheap Chiantis tend to be either raw and practically undrinkable or extremely bland. To be fair, this one falls into neither of these categories. Allowed to breathe for a couple of hours, it's a pleasant enough wine, with up front tannins that may taste strange to the American palate. With the attached instant rebate coupon it's available for $4.99, so if you're looking for a cheap quaff, this is it.
Friday, September 28, 2012
The most glamorous and, by far , most expensive, Spanish wine is the Vega Sicilia. This Ribera del Duero is grown not too far from where that originates, in the Valladolid area. While, obviously, not on the same level, it's neverthelees a very superior wine. Austere, reserved, but still with a delightful combination of plum and black cherry, with cedarwood elements it has a delightful balance. Considering that it sells for roughly 1% of what a Vega Sicilia would set you back, it's a stupendous bargain at $11.99. Stock up!
Monday, September 24, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
B & G is a Catalan winemaker who has expanded his production to Toro in the province of Zamora. This is a big, powerful red, with dark berry, plum, chocolate and vanilla elements and just the right amount of acidity at the finish. In its prime, and a fantastic bargain at $10.99. By all means get it if there's any left at this price.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This Argentine red from the celebrated Finca Flichman is one of their midlle level products. It's made from grapes grown at two different elevations, i.e at at 2,200 and 3,600 ft. It has a combination of red berry and plum flavors, with a noticeable spicy element in the finish. $7.99.
For those of you to whom these are important consiferations, this is an organically grown wine, by a woman wine grower. A Cote de Dours by designation, it comes from thr region og Limoges, where the influence of Bordeaux is strongly felt. It's a Suvignon Blanc/Semillon blend with elements of white melon and citrus, with a fairly strong mineral element. This vintage seems to be slightly over the hill, but still drinkable. Certainly cheap at $5.99.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
This Galician white from the Rios Baixas is a complex wine, with citrus, apple and pear flavors, with an underlying note of cinnamon. It's generally regarded as one of the best medium priced wines of its kind in the region. Perhaps just a little past its best, but not much. A bargain at $8.99.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Once again, a previously reviewed wine is being remaindered at a risible price, i.e. $5.99. In fact, this New Zealand white from the Marlborough Valley is much closer to its original incarnation than the bottle that I wrote about before. It's crisp, light, and has a pleasing citrus element at the finish. Evidently at this point it's hit or miss, but at this price level it's certainly worth taking a chance.
This white Loire, previously reviewed here and given a mixed, although more favorable than not, review here is now being remaindered at the ridiculously low price of $5.99. If you like a fruit forward, rich, almost creamy white, this is certainly something you should pick up.
This red blend from Roussillon in the foothills of the French Pyrennees is a pleasant mix of red cherry and plum, with a discernible element of chocolate and a nice, dry finish. It probably won't keep very much longer, so drink it now. $10.95.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Made from the Manseng variety(95% Gros, 5% Petit), this white from SW France has a strong element of ripe pear, with some apple at the finish. Although it styles itself "sec" on the label, it's not precisely that, at least not in this incarnation. Agreeable enough to drink, just don't expect something bone dry. The closeout price of $5.99 makes it very attractive.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
As a general observation, I've found the reds in this on-line-only sale to be a much better bet than the whites, which have turned out to be hit or miss insofar as being over the hill goes. This Galician blend of four local grapes, grown in the province of Ourense, is no exception to this rule. It's a very pleasing blend of wild cherry and plum, with a subtext of caramel and licorice, and very nice, soft tannins in the finish. Still at the top of its powers and a tremendous bargain at $7.99.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The whites of Savoie, in the French Alpine region, are at their best when young. This one is somewhat over the hill. It still has the characteristic lightly bubbly element, but, instead of the tart apple and citrus tastes one would expect, an element of sweetness has replaced these. In this state more suitable as a dessert wine. Reduced to $5.99.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Sunday, September 2, 2012
This Catalan red blend of five different grapes is a big wine, with subtle raspberry and cherry flavors and a smoky/coffee/licorice finish. Aged in oak barrels for a year, and then in the bottle, it needs at least an hour to breathe, preferably two, but then rewards you with a superior, intense experience. A great bargain at $10.99.
I have a genuine fondness for Gascon whites, they tend to be crisp and highly profiled, with a distinct herbal note. While this one is not typical of the breed, being much more fruit forward, it's nevertheless a very enjoyable light summer wine, and at $4.99, one can't complain about the price.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The Bierzo region in N.W. Spain produces some remarkable reds, and this is certainly one of them. What we have here is a pleasing mix of dark berries and plum, with a slightly acidic finish. A wine that will last at least a few more years, so if you're minded to stock up, have no fears. A really good buy at $7.99.
We really differed on this New Zeeland: Nancy pronounced it sweet and refused to drink it. My take was that, while it certainly had a sweet element to it (as one would expect of a Riesling), it was at the same time a full bodied and subtle combination of apple and tangerine flavors that is rather pleasant to drink. If you don't insist upon absolutely dry table wines you might well like this, and the sell out price is an absolutely amazing $3.99.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Unfortunately this white from Roussillon in the French Pyrennees has started to turn, so that instead of the fresh citrus flavors you'd expect what you get is an intense and slightly sweet wine. Adaptibility being the secret of of a successful life, if you're looking for an acceptable, really cheap dessert wine, this would be it, as it's being remaindered at $4.99.
Monday, August 27, 2012
From the southeastern outskirts of Madrid (who would have thought that this area, dedicated to strip malls, strip joints, and stripped cars, would produce wine?) this country red is assertive, fruit forward and fairly acid. If allowed to breathe long enough, it's by no means unpleasant, although badly overpriced at $7.99, being available for as much as three dollars less elsewhere.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Still another New Zealand white from Marlborough, this one is light bodied, with peach and tropical fruit elements and a citrusy finish but not a hint of the new mown grass that one looks for in these wines. A nice summer quaff, $7.99.
PLCB is having another no shipping fee sale of close-out items, I shall be reporting on a number of these soon (*).
PLCB is having another no shipping fee sale of close-out items, I shall be reporting on a number of these soon (*).
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Yet another red from Argentina's Mendoza Valley, this blend of Bonarda, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon delivers a powerful punch of red fruit flavors, mostly strawberry and red plum, with a sufficiently spicy background to make it interesring. $9.99, which is about right.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Allowed to breathe for two hours, this Argentine red, a product of a lady vintner working for the global octopus Gallo, is a fairly pleasant, if unremarkable wine, with red berry and plum elements and a tart finish, without, however the typical Malbec chocolate taste. A decent buy at $6.99.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
For reasons that escape me this excellent New Zealand white, which is among our favorites, was suddenly available at the Hummelstown store for $9.99, which is well below the market. Although the '11 does not have as much of the freshly mown grass element that characterizes other years, there is otherwise absolutely nothing wrong with it. If you can find it at that price, by all means stock up.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Cahors, in the valley of the Lot in SW France, is where the Malbec grape was first cultivated. Cahors produces mainly two sorts of wine: a Cabernet Sauvignon that is intense, inky, and almost overwhelming on first acquaintence; and a Malbec, also very dark, but much more sophisticated and reserved. This is a very good one, very different from the Argentinian model, more subtle and complex, with red plum and dark berry flavors intermingling and very soft tannins. A really nice wine, and a great bargain at $8.99.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Although this Argentine winery produces mainly Malbec, they have branched out into whites. This Chardonnay is extremely full bodied, with strong notes of apple and maple. Not quite sweet, but it comes close. American Chardonnay devotees (let's face it, women for the most part) will probably love it. $6.99, which is the best available price at the moment.
Friday, July 27, 2012
For those of you to whom this is important, this CA red is organically produced. The wine is a little on the raw side, although this diminishes somewhat after airing. The taste elements are cherry and red berry. Currently on special at $6.99.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
It may be that this Newzealand white, an unoaked Chardonnay grown in the oldest vineyard in the Marlborough Valley, is past its prime. It doesn't exhibit any of the flinty character one would expect, never mind the grassyness. What you get instead is a semi sweet wine, with peach and nougat flavors predominating. In its present state it makes a great desert wine and, at $8.99, its certainly cheap.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Alright, this is a mass production enterprise, but sometimes you can find something drinkable in such surroundings. The makers call this North Italian white "off dry", while Nancy pronounced it to be outright sweet and refused to drink it. I, by contrast, found it to be a relatively harmless blend of ripe pear and apricot, slightly effervescent, not a bad sipping wine for a hot summer day.
A closeout at $6.99 in the Hummelstown store.
A closeout at $6.99 in the Hummelstown store.
Monday, July 23, 2012
This white Rioja has a sharply defined fruity character, white peach mostly, along with quite a bit of acidity. Although not precisely sweet, it comes close to being what I'd consider a desert wine. In my opinion it's on the verge of turning, but this slight unpleasantness goes away if you allow it to breathe. $9.99.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
This white Loire is meant to be a vin de garde, meaning that it can be cellared for some years, and this five year old wine certainly bears that out. Now, keep in mind that , while this is a Chenin Blanc( although the label does not reveal that fact), it's highly atypical. Instead of the dry flintiness you would expect what you get is a fruit forward blend of pear, apricot, and even a little honey, set off by a nice citrust acidity. The overall effect is not quite sweet, but certainly not dry. It's an eminently drinkable and even interesting wine, you just have to adjust your food pairing accordingly. Very nicely priced at $9.99.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Nancy made a face and said this had gone definitely bad. My thought was, almost but not quite. This straw colored Emiglia Romana wine, if you get hold of a good bottle, is meant to be fruit forward, with elements of pear and honey, a fairly heavy white to go with heavy cream sauces. As it is, this tasted vaguely like a Chateau d'Yquem from a bad year. If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive desert wine this might just do, otherwise pass it up. $9.99.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
For once, we differed seriously. Nancy wrinkled her nose and pronouced this Gascon white, made from an indigenous grape, to be sweet. I didn't thinks so. I am very fond of the Gascon whites, many of which exhibit a lovely, crisp flintiness, which is admittedly entirely absent here. What we have instead is a very fruit forward wine, made interesting by a strong citrusy element. It's evidently near the end of its useful life, which accounts for the sale price of $8.99, well below the market. If you can put up with something outside the usual norms, go for it, the PSLB has just extended free shipping for another week.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Grown in a region of Navarre in the north of Spain that has only recently made a comeback after a long period of neglect, this is an extremely full bodied Chardonnay, not for the faint of heart. It tastes of pear, with a hint of caramel, and a definite smoky element. Many Americans, accustomed to light bodied, easy sipping Chardonnays, will probably not like it, but it has its good points. Probably will not go for much longer, so drink it now. $8.99.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
This will be yet another series of reviews of wines from the current On- Line- Only sale (*). The Luna Beberide, made from the Menas grape, comes from the Bierzo in N.W. Spain, the region with that country's most obscure, but for all that highly ardent, separatist movement. The wine befits the local temperament, it's highly delineated, even aggressive, with very present blacberry elements and contrasting tannins. Not a wine to be easily put in the background, it could overwhelm a bland meal, but with a dish that can stand up to it, a splendid quaff. Not close to being over the hill in spite of its age, and a huge bargain at $11.99.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A San Giovese with an admixture of Alicante, this Super Tuscan red from the Maremma is a very nice wine, with predominantly subdued cherry elements and nice, soft tannins. For once, the PA price of $9.99 seems to bethe lowest available. By all means stock up.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
You must let this red from Salice Salentino, inApulia in the extreme south of Italy, breathe for at least two hours so that it can shed itself of an otherwise unpleasant aftertaste. Once it's done that, it'll reward you with a pleasing mix of very ripe cherry and plum and a vaguely chocolaty finish. At the closeout price of $8.99, a very attractive buy.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
This CA non vintage wine is strongly flavored, overwhelmingly pear alon with some apple. It is, however lacking in acidity and there is not even a hint of the flintiness typical of a good Pinot Grigio. The good news is that its being remaindered at $5.99.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Grown in Northern Aragon, in the foothills of the Pyrennees, this Spanish red is intended to be drunk young (mesache in the local dialect means muchacho). It's a fruit forward blend, mostly Garnache and Monistrel, in which plum and red cherry are dominant. $7.99.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
The Verdejo grape, planted almost exclusively in the Iberian peninsula, must be treated with great care and harvested at night, in cool temperatures, as it's prone to excessive early oxydation that produces an unwanted sweetness. Even reputable producers sometimes get this wrong in hot years, and that seems to have been the case with this Spanish white from Rueda. To my taste, it seems more like a dessert wine than a table wine. It does display the nuttiness characteristic of the variety. $7.99.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
This white from Argentina's Mendoza Valley can best be described as a combination of flowery and citrus (mostly grapefruit) elements. Some will, as I did, find it almost overpowering but I suspect that the ladies, as my CDC did, might rather like it. Let's face it, there is such a thing as a woman's wine. $9.99.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Another of my dearly held prejudices is A.J. Liebling's dictum that the only rose worth drinking is a Tavel. This Rose d'Anjou, while certainly acceptable, doesn't precisely change my mind. For my taste it's neither crisp, nor dry enough. $7.99.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Another victim of the longevity axe, this CA red blend (mostly Merlot) was apparently made t0 expose two of my prejudices, against Merlot and against affordable CA wines, as utter falacies. This is a very pleasant, very smooth drinking wine with black berry elements and an interesting, peppery finish. A real bargain at $8.99.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Doubtless because it's nearing the end of its useful life this Rioja red is being remaindered. It exhibits a deep red cherry flavor with, of all things, a touch of coconut, and a fairly tart finish. A very nice wine, and you don't find many Rioja Crianzas at $7.99. Do let it breathe for at least an hour.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Not your typical bone dry Sauvignon Blanc, this white from Chile's Central Valley is fruit forward with peach and mango predominant. A pleasant, easy drinking summer wine, it sells for a wide variety of prices, PA at $7.99 being about average.
Monday, May 28, 2012
This red blend from Albacete in Castilla La Mancha is grown in a hot, dry climate. It's aged in oak for four months and the resulting wine is fruit forward, but does stop short of being actually sweet, with cherry and plum elements and a slightly spicy finish. All in all, a robust, full bodied, drinkable country wine. A nice buy at $5.99, which these days will just about get you a bottle of CA or Australian plonk.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Not often will you find a really good Rioja Reserva (aged two years in oak and an additional three in the bottle) at an affordable price. This one is truly excellent, withred cherry, oak and vanilla predominant and just the right amount of spice in the finish, so grab it while you can, at an incredible $9.99.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Morellino is a local name for the Sangiovese grape and this red from the South of Tuscany is indeed very similar to a Chianti Superiore. The vineyard was bought in the 70's by a successful producer of spaghetti westerns who invested a lot of money in it and this shows. This is a nicely rounded wine, with pronounced red cherry and rapberry flavors and just enough acidity at the finish to make it interesting. No doubt because of its age its priced at a truly remarkably low $8.99, at which price it's a huge bargain.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
The entry level wine of one of the leading wineries in the Ribeira de Duero region in NW Spain, this red is a very good wine indeed. It's aged for six months in oak and, on the palate displays a very heady mix of dark plum and soft tannins, with a prolonged finish. Because of its age it's being remaindered, but I can assure you that the bottle we opened had nothing wrong with it. A real steal at $7.99.
Friday, May 18, 2012
We are of two minds about this white Loire from the area west of Nantes. My C.D.C. rather liked it, praising it for its freshness and lightness. I found it to be a bit too citrusy for my taste and wasn't sure about the slightly salty aftertaste -- no doubt an evocation of the salt laden winds blowing inland from the nearby Atlantic. De gustibus non disputandum est. $7.99.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Alright, I admit I have a thing for Argentinian Mendozas. This red is an unoaked Syrah/Bonarda blend (I'll leave it to the mavens to decide if the Argentinian Bonarda is really that or something else entirely) which exhibits all the characteristics of the type: a rich element of plum and blackberry along with a chocolate finish. Very favorably priced at $7.99.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Yet another Argentine red from the Mendoza Valley, this is a very fruit forward wine, unusually so for a Mendoza. Red berries and red cherry are dominant, with a conspicuous chocolate element. If you insist upon absolutely dry wines you probably won't like it, but if you're willing to go with a fun, extremely pleasant quaff this is a real find. And, probably because it's near the end of its useful life (although by no means over the hill), it's being remaindered at $7.99, a price well below the market. By all means go for it!
Monday, May 14, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
A product of the giant Chilean combine Concha y Toro which sells vast quantities of plonk in this country, this inexpensive red is a very pleasant surprise. It tastes of blackberry, with soft tannins and a somewhat smoky finish. Indisputably a genuine bargain at $5.99. I guess the one thing you can say for sure about the PLCB is that it's not predictable.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
This CA red, made by a subsidiary of the vast Gallo group, is made from grapes grown in diverse regions and has an admixture of Merlot. The dominant elements are black currant and blackberry, with some vanilla, soft tannins and oak.$8.99.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
A top of the line product from this well etablished Argentinian winery, this Mendoza Valley red is an extremely pleasing wine, with the usual Malbec elements of red cherry, plum, vanilla, and chocolate.These are put into focus by nicely rounded, soft tannins. Very reasonably priced at $9.99, stock up on it, it should be good for some years longer.
We are back from eleven days at sea and a week of touring the North of France. In the course of that time we sampled eighteen wines, some cheaper ones which were included in the cruise fare at both lunch and dinner, some more expensive which we ordered from the wine list, as some we ordered in French restaurants, and a few we bought in supermarkets at roughly fifteen dollars each. As it happens, only a single one of these wines is available in PA. As I was in no way making deliberately arcane choices, this seems to defy the odds, but there you are. It would be pointless to review the others as this blog is intended mainly for PA residents and we unfortunates can't buy them due to the PLCB' purchasing policies. (By the way, whatever happened to the Governor's announced intentions in that regard?) Anyway, the one available wine is a Jose Maria de Fonseca 2008, made from the Periquita grape. This Portuguese red is a thoroughly pleasant but unpretentious product, fairly priced at $7.99.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The standard version of this Australian white is drinkable, one expects more of the reserve. To my taste, it's over-oaked and nearing the end of its useful life. The dominant elements are pear and citrus. $9.99, certainly a good price, but hardly a memorable wine. Tomorrow we're off for ten days afloat, followed by a week in northwestern France, at the end of which time I hope to file a detailed report on what we found to drink.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I'm a firm believer in A.J. Liebling's dictum that, among roses, only a Tavel is worthy of consideration and I fear that this Cotes de Provence does nothing to disabuse me of that notion. This is a pleasant enough wine, but it comes unomfortably close to being actually sweet. The PA price of $20.69 is obscene, it's available for less than half of that elsewhere.
While, for ineluctable reasons, this particular bottle is unavailable in PA, it sells nationallt for a huge gamut of prices, all the way from $50 down to an incredibly cheap $10. It's a fine bottle, the Tuscan San Giovesee nearly at its best. It is substantial, oaky, and and rich bodied, with, however, just a slight bitterness in the finish, attesting to the fact that this was not a great year.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
A non-vintage wine, this Italian red comes from Puglia. It exhibits none of the bitter element that one so often finds in the cheaper Merlots; it has a nice blend of red cherry and plum elements, with a finish that has a hint of licorice. A fairly nice buy at $8.99.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Again, we differ. My CDC really likes this, I'm not so sure. This CA red is a blend of four different varietals, meant to approximate a Rhone. It has raspberry elements, with a slightly acerbic finish. On sale at $5.99, at which price you might want to try it.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Made by the trendy winemaker Telmo Rodrigez, this Spanish white from the region of Valladolid is mostly Vermentejo. It has sour apple and citrus elements with a touch of grassiness, is certainly tart, but not excessively so. At the sale price of $6.99 it's an excellent value.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
This Italian white from the Campagna represents a conscious attempt to recreate one of the favorite quaffs of the ancient Romans. As is well known, their taste in wines was overwhelmingly for sweet varieties, and this is certainly not dry. If truth be told, my CDC refused to drink it, asserting that it was both too sweet and over the hill. For once I found myself not in agreement with her. I thought it quite pleasant, with a dark straw color, a fairly pungent, fruity nose, and elements of apple and orange, with just enough acidity to keep it this side of sweet. It would do nicely as either an aperitif or a desert wine. On sale at $7.99.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Readers of this blog will be aware that I'm no great fan either of Merlots or of the cheaper CA reds. With this wine I have to admit to being in the wrong on both counts. It's a nice, well balanced, fairly light drink, fruit forward with elements of raspberry, plum and chocolate and just a hint of the Merlot bitterness which I dislike. It's not getting any younger but is still very drinkable. The sale price of $7.99 is attractive.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
What we have here is an Italian white from the Abruzzo. "Peccorino" is a name for sheep in Italian (think of the cheese) and apparently this was a favorite snack of the local herds, so much so that the varietal came to the brink of extinction. It was recently revived and now produces a wine that is pungent and distinguished by a strong element of white melon and citrus. $8.99.
This Spanish white comes from a vineyard in Rueda which, for whatever it's worth, has overwhelmingly female employees. I mention this because it was awarded the designation " best Rueda in Spain" bya jury made up exclusively of women so that one may put this in perspective. Anyway, it's a very nice, well rounded wine, with tropical fruit and citrus elements, and the slightly acid aftertaste typical of the grape. On sale at $6.99, at which price it's a steal.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
As those of you who live in PA undoubtedly know. the PLCB has an ongoing wine sale. Among the items included therein is the Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, previously very favorably reviewed here. It's now being offered at $4.99, a price at which you can't afford not to get it.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
This pleasant country wine from Languedoc, a Vermentino/Colombard blend, is simple and fruit forward. Not by any means a subtle wine, but a nice enough everyday quaff. The vineyard is part of a huge combine which also offers stays in boutique hotels in the region if you have a desire to drink it in situ. $7.99.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
This Tuscan white comes from the Maremma, the coastal region of the province. It's 88% Vermentino and 12% Viognier. The result is an intense blend of white fruit, mostly peach and melon, and quite a lot of citrus. A good accompanyment to white meats. It's not getting any younger, which accounts for its bargain basement price of $8.99. If you don't insist upon an absolutely dry white, you might like this.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Most Loire reds tend to be what might be called fruit backward. This wine, a cooperative effort from a local grower and a New Zealand vinifier, is an attempt to depart from that category. The result is a nicely rounded blend of rapberry anD soft tannins. $9.99.
Monday, February 20, 2012
One more domestic white that's on sale because of its age, this Washington State white is distinguished by a pungent, flowery aroma and a nicely measured combination of ripe peach and melon flavors, with a brisk, tart finish. Drink it now, a good buy at $8.99.
This California white is a real sleeper. It's not about flinty acidity, as many Chenin Blancs are, but rather a well rounded element of ripe melon and tangerine, with just enough acidity to make it interesting. It's near the end of its useful life and that's why it's on sale at $6.99, which is lower than you can find it anywhere else.
Friday, February 17, 2012
This is a medium bodied Chianti, and while it's not in a class with a Classico or a Rufino (very few chiantis stemming from outside those two regions are) it's pleasant enough, fruit forward, mostly plum, and a fair degree of acidity and soft tannins. $9.99.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
This Spanish red, a blend of four different grapes, comes from Toro in the region of Zamora, the town that boasts twenty three Romanesque churches. It's not a subtle wine, but rather hearty and straightforward, with elements of cherry, red berry, and a caramel finish. Very favorably priced at $7.99, by all means get it.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
This is the entry level white from this Chilean winery and it's very nice indeed for such a young wine. It combines peach, citrus and newly mown grass elements in a way reminiscent of the New Zealands and, with the two dollar instant refund coupon, is a good buy at $9.99.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Yesterday we drank a bottle of the '10. This was better balanced than the '09, not as fruit forward. While I'm uncertain how it would go with fish, it made a nice contrast for my somewhat too heroic chile. Also the price has been reduced to $7.99, which makes it an attractive buy.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Gamay is the grape that this upper Loire red is made from. It has a strong, forward sour cherry taste with a slightly acidic finish. Certainly an unusual wine and an excellent buy at 6.99.
Coming from the village in southern Burgundy that lent its name to the Chardonnay grape, this unoaked white has a nice blend of apple and flinty mineral. A really pleasing wine, once it opens up. Attractively priced at $7.99.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
This is a very typical St Pourcain white: flinty, lemony like a Loire, (it comes from the uppermost reaches of the river) but with rather more spice to it. Probably near the end of its usful life but a very nice drink now. Very nicely priced at $7.99.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
There's an old saying, the best is the enemy of the good. While we liked this medium bodied red from St Pourcain in northernmost Auvergne, we did'nt like it as much as the Bridgman we drank the night before. While it has a nice enough red cherry quality, along with a tart finish, it tasted somehow uneven. The area is much better known for its whites and I can understand why. $7.99.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Both of us very much liked this Washington State red . It's medium bodied, fruit forward (mostly blackberry and plum) but with enough oak blended in to make it both interesting and restrained. A nice, even finish. Extremely attractively priced at $7.99.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
This Wasington State white is a very pleasing mix of tropical fruit, reminiscent of a New Zealand, without the pronounced grassy element. A very sophisticated wine which is fun to drink by itself and also went extremely well with our Paprika Reisfleisch ( leftover sirloin steak sauteed with rice and paprika). A real bargain at $ 6.99. Get it!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Most South Tyrolean reds are light in body and color and, to use the local term,"suffig", i.e. you can drink a lot of them. Not so this one, which comes from a growing area atypical for the region, at low altitude and completely flat. It's medium bodied with a strong element of red cherry and a spicy finish. $7.99.
Friday, January 27, 2012
T'is the season for online only specials and they will be so designated by the usual *. I had my doubts about this red because of its age and because the cork broke upon extraction, which, (while I'm no professional sommelier, I'm still reasonably experienced), is generally a very bad sign. However, not to worry, the wine, a half-and-half syrah/grenache blend, was excellent. It's a beautifully smooth mixture of cherry and plum, with a finish of very soft tannins and just the slightest acidity. A real find at $7.99. But drink it now.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A Mendoza red from Argentina, this is not exactly your archtypical product. It exhibits more of a Cabernet Sauvignon red berry fruitiness and, to my taste at least, lacks the Malbec sinature chocolate element. Not at all bad, just not what you'd expect. $9.99.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
A blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Vermentino, this white from the Pays d'Oc in south west France has a more rounded, fruity and aromatic character than a straight Sauvignon Blanc without copletely losing the flinty crispness associated with that grape. A nice country wine, eminently drinkable but, as so often, overpriced at $9.99. Available for two dollars less most places.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
This white Rueda blend from Spain is clearly an exception to the rule that whites don't need to breathe. Upon first opening it I found it to have a somewhat sweetish, rather unpleasant taste. This soon went away, however and what was left was a quite pleasant wine, tasting mostly of ripe peach, with elements of mown grass. $9.99.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
It was bound to happen: a wine from Argentina's Mendoza Valley which both of us just plain didn't like. Anyway, this entirely lacks the crisp, steely character typical of the grape; instead it has a sweetish, on the borderline of off, taste. For whatever reason there are huge fluctuations in the price of this wine, PA is about average at $9.99.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Although this Languedoc red announces itself as a Syrah/Grenache blend, by French law all Fitous must incorporate a certain percentage of the Carignac grape which, while extremely productive, tends to make an inferior wine. Perhaps this is the reason that, even after more than an hour's breathing, this wine still had a rather bitter aftertaste. Perhaps it would have been alright after two hours. $8.99.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
This white is a blend of grapes from various vineyards, some in the Marlborough Valley, some outside of it, The result is fairly typical for a New Zealand wine, with elements of peach, citrus and the trademark newly mown grass. Decently priced at $9.99.
Monday, January 2, 2012
This Sancerre reminded us of a New Zealand. It's fresh, crisp, oaky with peach and melon tones as well as a strong hint of new mown grass. A particularly good choice for summer. $9.99.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
There are two raps on this Portuguese red: One, it's badly overpriced at $8.99, being available for two and even three dollars less in N.Y. & N.J.; and two, unless you let it breathe for at least an hour it comes across with a burnt caramel taste. After that, it;s quite drinkable, with elements of red berry and chocolate.