Monday, December 30, 2013

Ruffino Orvieto Classico 2012

Ruffino is a huge combine, producing vast quantities of both reds and whites. The entry level whites tend to be cheap but rather aggressively dry. This white however, grown in Umbria (and marketed simply as "white Chianti" on its home ground) is a step or two above that. Not precisely sweet, it nevertheless predominantly reminds me of pear, with just enough citrus to make it into a table rather than a dessert wine. A nice, rounded mouthful and certainly worth the price of $8.99.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Caparzo San Giovese 2011

From the celebrated Montalcino region, this is a very ordinary red, made from the Sangiovese grape, with the expected cherry and chocolate elements, with rather too much acidity in the finish. $8.49.

Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico 2009

In spite of the fancy designations, this is an ordinary Chianti Classico, with the usual cherry element. considerably overpriced at $12.99.

Friday, December 27, 2013

M.Chapoutirr Belleruche Rouge 2011

A Grenache/Syrah blend Cotes du Rhone, this is a somewhat unripe product, rather smoky in taste, with elements of cherry and licorice. Somewhat overpriced at $10.99.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Your typical New Zealand Marlborough Valley Sauvignon Blanc tends to be fresh, flinty, with a mown grass element predominating. This one, however, has a good deal more body, with strong gooseberry and citrus flavors. $12.99.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peter Weber Brut

One man's brut is another's demi sec, and that is what that Alsatian bubbly struck me as. It's relatively heavy-bodied and particularly unsubtle. Way over priced at $12.99.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cantina Orazio Rosso Gastone 2010

If I were employed in an Italian vineyard to help with the harvesting, this is what I might expect to be given along with my free lunch at noon. It's from Liguria, and it's red. That's the best that can be said for it; othewise it's raw, more than fleetingly bitter, and in no conceivable manner worth the "sale" price of, hang on to your hats, $11.99. (Which reminds me that it's now been at least a year since the initiative to do away with the PLCB was introduced. In that period ( not that anyone cares) I've tried to be fair, praising the Board for whatever real bargains it was offering, and there were certainly some, but from here on in, I'll just save my breath and, whenever expedient and justified by price, order my wine from out of state. The PLCB succeeded admirably in running rings around the voters, but not around the courts.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rosnay Vouvray 2011

Made of 100% Chenin Blanc, this white from the region of Tours is a so-called demi-sec. In fact, it leans more in the direction of sweet, with elements of pineapple and peach, only partially tempered by citrus. Given its minerality and and slight carbonization, I'd consider it as a dessert wine. $12.99, can be bought for two dollars less in N.Y.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco 2012

All that the term Super Tuscan guarantees these days is that the wine is indeed made in Tuscany. This white blend is on the mild side of "dry", with predominantly apple notes and some quince. $11.99, but it sells for two dollars less in a lot of places.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Les Rabassieres Cotes du Rhone 2011

Those must be some wierd truffles(ramassieres means truffles in the Provencal dialect, from having to stoop to dig them up, after they've been located by one's pet pig or dog) this red grows in the midst of. Even after a good two hours of airing, it tasted thin and unpleasantly bitter. Certainly not worth even the sale price of $9.99.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Anna de Codorniu Brut

The Holiday Season having snuck up on us, it's time to look at Cavas. This Catalonian white from Penedes is Spain's best selling bubbly. It's certainly not bad, but the rather unusual mix (not to say contradiction in terms) of pineapple and citrus is not precisely to my taste. When it comes to Cavas, I prefer the Freixenet. $8.99.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carpinetto Dogajolo 2011

A blend of four different grapes, this young Tuscan red, made in the style of the Super Tuscans, is sometimes referred to as a "Baby Tuscan". It's fresh, with black cherry, blackberry, peach, and, yes, citrus elements. Not much body, but a good summer drink. $9.99.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Couleurs du Sud Cabernet/Sauvignon 2012

A very young Vin de Pays from Sete in Languedoc, this red is fruit forward with a goodly amount of spice and Cassis, with citrus elements in the finish. Nothing Special, but quite drinkable. $8.99.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Domaine les Pins Bourgueil Cuvee Les Rochettes 2011

A Cabernet Franc, this Loire red ( from a region that specializes in whites )tastes of black cranberry and black cherry, the former lending it a rather acerbic note. In spite of being aged in concrete vats for ten months, it's on the thin side, with a noticeable amount of acidity in the finish. I prefer more body in my reds, but if you're looking for a wine that won't overwhelm light dishes, you might give it a try. The price, at $11.99, is under the market.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Graffigna Centenario Malbec Reserve 2011

Grown at altitude in very dry conditions, this Argentine red from San Juan is a quality product, with the proviso that you let it breathe for at least an hour. Then it will deliver an extremely smooth mix of dark cherry, black berry, and ground black pepper, with just a mollifying touch of chocolate. It sells at a huge gamut of prices, anywhere from seven to seventeen dollars, with the PA price of $12.99 a tad on the high side.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pravis Pinot Grigio 2012

Grown in the hills above Italy's Lake Garda, in the Northeast, this is a relatively cheerful white, it's flintyness balanced by white melon elements, the citrus finish muted sufficiently so as not to overcome the basically soft character of the wine. My preference would be to drink it al fresco in the summer. Fairly priced at $11.99.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Honey Shale Hill 2013

Whether because it has aged insufficiently, or because the addition of sugar to this wine has beem overly enthusiastic, this South African white, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Viognier, displaying tropical fruit flavors, tempered by citrus, strlkes me as an unhappy menage a trois. On balance, it manages the difficult feat of being both too sweet and too light, with, as it that were not enough, the slight element of carbonization is entirely supererogatory. Way overpriced at $12.99.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve 2011

A Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, this red from Argentina's Mendoza Valley is aged for eight months in oak. The result is a full bodied wine with lots of black fruit, chiefly cherry, plum, and blackberry; also soft tannins and just a hint of chocolate. An extremely pleasant bottle at the really rock bottom price of $9.99. If you have the room, I would put down a case.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Montecillo Reserva 2007

This red Rioja is by no means superannuated, but indeed just coming into its own. It has a deep red berry element, with some chocolate, and enough acidity in the finish to capture your attention. Not overpriced at $11.99.

Loukatos Retsina

The ancient Greeks imported their wine from Syria in amphorae (huge clay vases) which were beautifully decorated -- you can see them in museums all over the world -- but not particularly air-tight. This resulted in the spoilage of a large proportion of the cargo and, in order to counteract this, the shippers took to sealing the amphorae with pine tar. Admittedly, this left behind a tarry taste, but better a somehat peculiar tasting wine than none at all. When, in the fourth century A.D., the Romans took to shipping wine in wooden barrels, enough people had become accustomed to the pine tar flavor so that in a few places, notably in Greece, it was added to the barrels directly. If you've not tasted Retsina before I can almost guarantee that you won't like it. If anything can be so desribed it's an acquired taste, best enjoyed of a late summer evening in a seaside caffee, watching the fishing fleet go out to sea from one of the Dodecanese islands. This wine falls somewhere in the middle price range ($9.99) although, in my humble opinion, only a Greek can tell a good Retsina from a mediocre one.

Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010

If you notice me reviewing wines I've reviewed before, please forgive me, the search engine on my blog isn't working and my memory, to say the least, is imperfect. Anyway, this Rhone red is, for the money, a remarkably good wine. It's well blended and very smooth, with red plum and dark berry flavors $9.99.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Caparzo San Giovese 2001

This Tuscan red comes from Montalcino, one of Italy's absolutely prime wine growing regions and is a 100% San Giovese, one of Italy's deservedly best known grapes, so I was expecting a lot of it. Sadly, it doesn't come up th the mark. The taste is overwhelmingly cherry, more like cherry soda, with, as if that weren't enough, an element of caramel thrown in. I don't mean to suggest that it's actually cloyingly sweet. It reminds me of a red dessert wine. If you like those, by all means get it, at $8,49 it's actually a bargain.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2010

To be precise, the designation "Chianti Classico" has nothing to do with ageing, whether in the bottle or the barrel, nor grape variety, nor method of vinification: it's simply a designation of origin, encompassing the region of central Tuscany from just north of Florence to Siena in the south. This red fairly restrained in taste, has no excess of fruitiness. At $12.99 however, it's definitely overpriced.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2011

The word that comes to mind is "outrageous". I reviewed this bottle this summer and described it as o.k. but nothing special at $ 8.99. For whatever reason the bottle presently under review tasted quite differently, having a distinctly fruit forward, even unpleasantly sweet element. But the kicker is that the price has gone up by two dollars. Has the PLCB gotten the word that it will escape the axe and can thus safely return to its bad old ways?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012

A pungent, heavily fruited New Zealand white from the Marlborough Valley, this is an almost idiosyncratically aromatic and powerfully flavored wine. You're not likely to forget it soon. $10.99, which seems hardly excessive.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Marques de Irun Verdejo 2009

This Spanish white from Rueda is a full flavored, fruit forward wine, with a dominant citrus element, consisting of orange, tangerine, and lemon. It will stand up to complex, heavily sauced white meat dishes, such as veal and chicken. Somewhat overpriced at $12.99.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tilia Merlot 2012

Although this Argentine red has a good measure of bitter Merlot aftertaste, it does offer a reasonably nice mix of cherry and red berry flavors and, at $7.99, is an acceptably priced bottle.

Monday, November 18, 2013

PrataleToscano Rosso 2010

Essentially a somewhat superior country wine, this San Giovese/Merlot blend aspires to more than it is. A not unpleasant mix of red berries and plum, with a somehat acerbic aftertaste, it's drinkable, but not worth $10.99.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Villa Chiara Prosecco

This non vintage sparkling wine from the Veneto has a fairly low alcohol content (10.5%) so that it recommends itself for occasions such as New Year's Eve when a certain excess may prevail. It's rather more on the sweet side than I'd prefer, but, on the whole, quite drinkable. $9.99.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

San Angelo Pinot Grigio 2012

Italian Pinot Grigios generally are grown in the North, mostly in the Veneto and the Trentino. This one constitutes an anomaly, being produced by the Banfi combine in Tuscany. No Tuscan wine above plonk level is actually bad, but if you're expecting a standard Pinot Grigio taste, you'll be disappointed. This one is extremely fruit forward, with peach, banana, and apricot elements, with just enough citrus to keep it from going over the top into the actually sweet. There's no flintiness, no freshly mown grass, just a decently pleasant wine which I would drink as an aperetif. If that sounds like your thing, you might have a go at the sale price of $12.99.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chichery Merlot 2011

Over the years I've made my view of Merlot sufficiently clear: I don't like it. Of course every rule has its exceptions. While this red from Languedoc still has traces of the dreaded,slightly bitter aftertaste, it's not overwhelming and, this apart, it exhibits strongly defined notes of red berries with underlying licorice. At $9.99 I would not consider it a favorite, but if you like Merlot, this would be one to try.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Finca Flichman Paisaje de Barrancas 2010

Finca Flichman was established in Argentina's Mendoza Valley in the 1870's by a Jewish merchant from Lodz in Poland and has been producing superior wines since that time. About ten years ago it was purchased by the giant Portuguese combine Sogrape, which invested large sums in modernizing the means of production. This red, a blend of Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, is one of their premium bottles. It exhibits good body without being heavy, and prominent red berry flavors, along with an undertone of mint, and nice, soft tannins in the drawn out finish. A very nice buy indeed at $11.99.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Egeo Verdejo 2011

This Spanish white from Rueda has a good deal of body to it, with a just barely detectable amount of effervescence. It tastes of white melon and gooseberry, with some lime in the finish. A good pairing with fish, it also makes a good sipping wine, although, at $11.99, not exactly cheap.

Friday, November 8, 2013

La Choza Tempranillo 2012

Another Rioja Joven red, this one is clearly immature, extremely fruit forward, with prominent red berry elements and a touch of chocalte. Definitely not worth the PA price of $9.99, although it doesn't seem to go for less elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Vina Bujanda Tinto 2012

What we have here is a red Rioja Joven, meaning it is not aged after the initial fermentation process. The result is an uncomplicated, fruit forward wine, with raspberry elements and some spice. Nothing to write home about at length but, at $8.99, not a bad buy.

Santi Sortisele Pinot Grigio 2012

A nice, well rounded Pinot Grigio, with melon, peach, and apricot elements, rather more on the mellow side than flinty, certainly superior to the great quantities of plonk that are marketed with that designation, but also, at $12.99, egregiously overpriced, as you can get it in N.J. & N.Y. for four dollars less. There,s no way of predicting what our beloved PLCB will come up with next. Of course, one must consider their vast lobbying costs, which have to be passed on to the consumer.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dauco Tempranillo 2010

From Castilla La Mancha, just north of Madrid, this red is light to medium bodied, with elements of red cherry and some coffee in the finish. Quite similar to a mid level Rioja, at the attractive price of $8.99.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Castillo Monjardin Tempranillo Clasico 2012

I don't know why this is called a "clasico" as, so far as I know, this is the only tempranillo produced by this bodega, but be that as it may, this very young red from the foothills of the Pyrennees in Navarre, albeit on the light side and definitely fruit forward, is a very pleasant wine with cherry and plum  elements,  and, at $7.99, a very nice buy.I should think it would age well in the bottle for at least another two years.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

@ Fineline Zinfandel 2011

Even given the proviso that I don't much like either Zinfandels in particular, nor CA reds in general, there was nothing about this wine that recommended itself to me. The taste was pruney, almost sweet, the aftertaste vaguely unpleasant. $6.67 in the new members' promotion, and not worth even that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Salmon & Trout Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2011

Part of something called The Pairing Collection, A barton & Guestier brainstorm, this white Bordeaux is a fairly inoffensive blend, with white melon and apricot elements, fruit forward, but fortunately not sweet. $9.99, a dollar less in N.J.

Monday, October 28, 2013

@ Ruby Vine Pinot Noir 2011

I can fault this CA red on at least four counts: It has next to no body; it's slightly effervescent, which a decent Pinot Noir is not supposed to be; it tastes far too much like a mix  of raspberry and strawberry pop; and it has a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste. I could probably come up with more, but you get the idea. $6.67.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Don't expect an old dog to come up with new tricks, so here's yet another New Zealand white from Marlborough. This one is, in general, typical of the breed. It exhibits the expected gooseberry and grapefruit elements, along with the archtypical infusion of newly mown grass. The finish, perhaps, is a tad more acidic than is the norm. $11.99, which strikes me as about right.

@ 3 Muses Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

This CA red is one of the better entries we received from the wine club to which, briefly, we belonged. It tastes of red plums, with a strong , slightly peppery admixture of herbs. $6.67.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Domaine Erhart Pinot Grigio 2012

Tastes differ. This Alsatian version of a Pinot Gris has nothing whatever in common with what one expects from the variety. Instead of being flinty, not to say steely, it's on the sweet side, with definite peach and white melon elements. Not what I'd expect, but some of you might like it. $12,99 seems high to me, but, believe it or not, that's seven dollars below the market. Go figure.

Barone Fini Pinot Grigio 2012

A classical Pinot Grigio from the Val d'Adige, this No. Italian white tastes of white apple, with overtones of almonds and a nice, light finish. It's a good wine, and I suppose worth the $10.99, although available in N.Y. for as much as three dollars less.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jacobs Creek Shiraz Cabernet 2010

Like nearly all the standard products from this Australian super giant this red blend is quite acceptable, if hardly memorable. Rather less fruit forward than many of the others, it's a relatively reserved wine, with cherry and plum elements. $14.99 for the 1.5 liter bottle.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tridente Tempranillo 2009

Aged for 15 months in oak barrels, this Spanish red with a D.O. of Castilla y Leon comes from the area of Zamora, which is known for growing a lot of plonk. This, however, is anything but. Full bodied, creamy, it exudes plum, dark berry and chocolate flavors, with very soft tannins in a long finish. It's 15% alcohol, so keep that in mind while drinking it. Very nicely priced at $11.99.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

@ Willow Springs Merlot 2012

Those of you who actually read this blog will be aware that my fondnes for wine does not extend either to the cheaper Canadian wines, or to Merlot, so my hopes for this very young red did not run high. Actually, with the proviso that you let it breathe for a couple of hours, it's not at all bad, with a nice, nutty plum taste and only a hint of the typical Merlot bitterness at the finish. It's the only one of my wine club selections (made by them, not by me) that I'd consider ordering again, but then only at the introductory price of $6.67. The list price of fifteen dollars is absurd.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

@ Camden Place Sauvignon Blanc 2012

In the "Mondavi" rather than the New Zealand mode, this white CA tastes of melon rather than citrus and freshly mown grass. While not exactly sweet, it does tail off in that direction.  It's inoffensive but certainly otherwise unremarkable, except that the introductory club price of $6.67 is a lot less than the official list price of fifteen dollars, although I find myself wondering how many people actually pay that much for it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vina Herminia Tempranillo 2011

When I last reviewed this red Rioja my comment was that it appeared to me to be overpriced. So PLCB decided to raise the price by a dollar, to $10.99. 'Nuff said.

Monday, October 14, 2013

@ Hill Haven Chardonnay 2012

The club wines which we sampled previously were merely mediocre: this CA is actually vile. Watery, sweetish, without any substance, it has nothing whatever to recommend it. A possible use is to cook a heavily spiced Asian or Mexican dish in it. $6.67.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

@El Tiburon Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

As I've said many times, I'm deeply suspicious of the  less expensive CA wines, and this red does  nothing to dispel those suspicions. It's thin, lacks distinct flavor and, if that weren't enough, has a somewhat bitter aftertaste. On the basis of what we've sampled up to this point, we've agreed to cancel our membership in this buying club. As far as I can tell what they do is to buy up grapes from all over the state, mix them together, and hope for the best. $6.67.

Friday, October 11, 2013

@ Viaggiatorre Nero d'Avola 2012

I have, for the most part, been dissapointed with Sicilian wines, but this young, rustic red from the far south of the island is quite drinkable.  It combines blackberry and cherry elements with a caramel finish. $6.67.

@ La Villa Real Rose 2012

The first of our Vinesse wines, this rose from Spain's La Mancha, made entirely from the Tempranillo grape, is thin, bordering on the sweet, and is all but tailored to confirm my prejudices about roses other than Tavel. I certainly wouldn't order it again. $6.67

Vinesse @

Nancy suggested that we avail ourselves of the ruling that it is now legal to order wines from out of state for shipment to PA. The distributor is called Vinesse, and we ordered a mixed case of 12 for $80. I'll review them as we try them, distinguished by the symbol @, averaging out the price. None of them is currently available in PA, so we can only hope for the best.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Langhe 2010

To begin, this Piedmont red has to be aired for at least two hours, else it has a bitter, distinctly unpleasant, aftertaste. Once that caveat has been heeded, it's a reasonably austere blend of red cherry and plum, with a nice segue into an almond finish. $13.99 on sale, but available for as much as three dollars less elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Massimo Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Still another white from New Zealand's Marlborough Valley, this is fairly typical of the breed. The predominant elements are gooseberry, citrus, and lemon grass, with perhaps a bit more body than the average. If one weren't paying close attention one could mistake it for an Argentine. For once, a genuine bargain at $9.99.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

HobNob Wicked Red 2011

A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, this Languedoc red is produced by the Georges Duboef combine. It ranks as a Country Wine (the middle of three categories in France) and the only description that I'm able to come up with is "French fruit bomb", not something that you encounter every day. It tastes of very ripe blackberry and Concord grapes, with a touch of licorice in the finish. If that's your thing you may like it, otherwise you can surely do better for $8.99.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Alta Luna Pinot Grigio 2012

Part of the Cavitt Combine, this Italian white from the Dolomites has a bit more finesse than their mass production wine, with hints of white peach tempering the usual Pinot Grigio stony elements. However at $10.99 it's way overpriced, being available for two or even three dollars less in neighboring states.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Valle do Bomfim 2009

The upper Douro Valley in Portugal produces mostly Ports, but many of the old established houses, like Dow, for a long time also produced unfortified reds for on site consumtion. Recently they've taken to marketing these, like this blend of five grape varieties. It tastes of black currant, blackberry, and plum, with an underlying element of oak. Just a tiny bit on the bitter side, but, on the whole, not bad. Unfortunately, at $11.99, badly overpriced, being available for two dollars less in a lot of places. My understanding was that it's the Federal Government that is shut down. does that include the PA State Senate?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Terra Andina Carmenere 2011

We differ pretty sharply on this Chilean red. Nancy felt that, though obviously fruit forward, it was an eminently acceptable accompaniment to our beef roast. My opinion was that it tasted more like a combination blackberry/raspberry juice than wine. Only the last glass began to show a tempering of cinammon to reduce that impression. $9.99, two dollars less in N.Y.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Joseph Drouhin La Foret Pinot Noir 2011

In spite of my previous comment that this bottle tended to be inconsistent, I decided that, at $11.49, I'd give it another chance. This time I lucked out. This version is a very nice red Burgundy, neither too fruit forward nor excessively acidic. I detect blackberry and plum, the whole being nicely restrained, although with no great depth. Still, all you can reasonably expect at the price.

Ruffino Orvieto Classico 2011

From a large assortment put out by this giant Italian combine, this white turns out to be a genuine bargain. At $8.99 it delivers a nicely blended mix of white melon and citrus, without excess acidity. A good sipping wine.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2012

According to the winery, they were the first to produce a Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, in 1974. The present version is somewhat atypical, being neither flinty nor infused with a freshly mown grass element. Rather it's  full bodied with citrus and gooseberry prevailing. $9.99, is on offer elsewhere for both two dollars less and the same amount more.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Santa Julia Malbec 2012

Perhaps not quite as velvety as the Reserva, this Argentine red is nevertheless a very nicely smooth wine, with black cherry, vanilla, and chocolate elements, so long as it has adequate time to breathe (at least two hours). Acceptably priced at $9,99.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Siglo Crianza 2009

A blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Mazuelo, this red Rioja is aged in oak and in the bottle for a total of 18 months. It's exceptionally smooth, with red berry and soft oak elements,  and no bitter edge whatsoever. A very nice wine and, on the whole, fairly priced at $12.99.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vina Gormaz Verdejo 2011

A Spanish white from Rueda, this is fairly typical of the variety, being light, aromatic, with a distinct nutty flavor and a slight acidity in the finish. $11.99. For whatever reason, my experience is that Portuguese Verdejos of an equivalent quality tend to be cheaper.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Root ; 1 Sauvignon Blanc

Yer another white from Chile's coastal region, this non vintage wine derrives its name from the fact that it's grown on pre philoxera stock (I've frankly never been able to detect any difference, but perhaps there are those who can). Like the recently reviewed Cono Sur (groan) it;s on the fruity side of the variety, with white peach and citrus elements predominant and a noticeable carbonation. $9.99. available for two dollars less in numerous places. When, if ever, can we expect any action from our distinguished state senate?

Diseno Old Vine Malbec 2011

We rather liked the standard version of this red from Argentina's Mendoza Valley. This one is better defined,  rounder, with a more pronounced chocolate finish. A very nice wine for $8.99.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cono Sur Saquvignon Blanc Reserva Especial 2012

This Chilean white does not exhibit the flintiness generally associated with wines made from that grape. Rather, it's pretty full bodied, with elements of grapefruit and white peach, along with a very slight element of bubbles. A pleasant wine but, like the red, at $11.99 it runs into stiff competition.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cono Sur Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2011

Certainly a strong contender in the silly name derby, this Chilean red from the maritime Casablanca Valley has elements of cherry, plum, blackberry and vanilla, with enough oak induced acidity to give it a desirable edge. A nice enough wine, but at $12.99 it runs into some pretty stiff competition.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Man Vintners Pinotage 2011

Pinotage is a red grape cross which is all but unique to South Africa, having originated there in 1925. The early versions produced overly hearty, smoky country wines without much distinction. Lately some refinements have crept in, and this is not a badly made wine, with dark berry flavors and a hint of cinnamon at the finish. However, at $9.99, this is badly overpriced, being available elsewhere for as much as three dollars less.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cinzano Asti

Let's face it, this Italian bubbly is no brut, nor a sec, not even a demi sec: it's just plain sweet (Nancy wouldn't drink it). Not much in the way of bubbles, a taste of pear and melon, not cloying, but still not what a serious wine drinker would consider. Over priced, even at $7.99.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

G&D Private Stock Marsala

For those of you who like a  sweetish dessert wine, this CA Marsala is not a bad choice. With a fairly prominent burnt sugar taste, it nevertheless doesn't affront the palate with excessive sweetness. A bargain at $4.99.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012

I;'m happy to report that this vintage is as satisfying as ever and that it has a trifle more of the characteristic mown grass element. A nice wine, and the price, at $9,99, is right.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

A multi region, multi vintage wine, this Australian red is considerably better than the standard issue of the same product. It's very fruit forward, without being a fruit bomb. I detect blackberry and plum chiefly, with a touch of licorice in the finish. A little light bodied for a Cab Sauv, but pleasant to drink nevertheless.The price however, $9.99 with instant rebate coupon, is still out of line -- it's available for as much as three dollars less elsewhere.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Chateau Argadens 2009

'09 was an exceptional vintage in Bordeaux and this Entre-Deux-Mers red, classified as a Bordeaux Superieur, in most years just barely above average, comes across as a very nice wine indeed. Cherry and plum is what I tasted, along with a robust, if short, iron based finish. $11.99.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chateau l'Ermitage Reserve 2010

One must not confuse this red Costiere de Nimes with a Chateau l'Hermitage. It;s nice enough, but a long way from attaining those heights. What we have here is a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Mourvedre, quite light, with a fairly fruit forward taste and a pronounced spicy element.  $9.99.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vitalonga Elcione 2008

The ways of the PLCB are indeed mysterious. This Umbrian red is just at the top of its form, yet it's being remaindered. A 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it displays plum, blackberry, and vanilla elements alomg with a peppery finish.  A nice buy at $9.99.

JM Fonseca Twin Vines 2010

Named in honor of twin daughters born to the owners. this Portuguese  white, a Vinho Verde, is light, refreshing, and more than slightly effervescent. It makes a pleasing end-of-summer drink, but the price, 7.99, s once again way out of line, You can get it for as much as three dollars less in any number of states.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Laurenz Singing Gruner Veltliner 2011

 Austrian wines are not much in favor in the U.S. If one asks why, the answer one gets is usually that they don't travel well. Allow me to say unequivocally that this is nonsense. A good wine, like this one, is good anywhere you drink it. This white from Krems on the Danube (think of the vast monastery high over a bend in the river) is typical of the variety: a crisp, just slightly effervescent wine, with notes of apple and citrus. The only reason I can come up with for remaindering it at the truly ridiculous price of $6.99 is the public's lack of interest in Austrian wines in general. Anyway, snap it up at that price!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finca Flichman Paisaje de Barracos 2010

The Finca Flichman is one of Argentina's leading producers, if not in size, then certainly in quality. This red, a blend of Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, is one of their premium products. It's a big wine, feels big in the mouth, with elements of plum, fig and, at the finish, chocolate and tobbacco. Really a treat and, at $11.99, a great bargain. I'm not sure how it will age in the bottle, my impression is that it's a bit fragile, so drink it now.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2008

 This Marlborough red from New Zealand is truly a remarkable wine. It combines nicely modulated plum and blackberry elements, with just the right amount of acidity and some coffee at the finish. At the closeout price of $11.99 it's a fantastic buy. If you can find it at that price, be sure to get some.

Gri/gio Pinot Grigio 2012

Inventive spelling of wine names isn't exactly the way to my heart, but this white from the Venezie is a full bodied, aromatic, and decent enough Pinot Grigio. It falls a little short on flintiness and goes more in the direction of a Chenin Blanc, but it's alright. $7.99.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Calcu Carmenere 2009

The Carmenere grape thrives in warmer climates and has found a nearly ideal home in Chile. This red is one of a grouping that is nowadays being referred to as "Super Chileans". I don't know if the motivation is similar to that of the "Super Tuscans", which are from just outside of the legally defined Chianti area, but equally good.At any rate, this is a nicely rounded wine, with cherry and black cranberry elements, and soft tannins. $9.99.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Debut Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc 2010

Some blends are just a mishmash, others manage to bring out the good qualities of their constituent elements. This 70/30 Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc mix from Argentina falls into the second category: it's a nicely rounded white melon and mango mix, with enough of a flinty edge to keep it from  the fruit juice quality that characterizes so many of the cheaper Chardonnays.  An extremely nice buy at $5.99.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Domaine de Bel Air Pouilly Fume 2008

Because of its age, this Loire Sauvignon Blanc is now being remaindered. Our bottle turned out to be just fine. It exhibits a very strong lemony element, with just enough of the gunpowder flintiness typical of the variety to pull it back from an over-the-top citrus character. A truly outstanding wine and a great bargain at 10.99. If you find some at that price, get it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Luzon Verde 2008

When I first reviewed this Spanish red from Jumilla I said it was an uncomplicated and pleasant enough wine, but badly overpriced. It's now been reduced to 6.99, and at that price it's surely worth getting. These days that's what you pay for a bottle of plonk.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Farnese Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2011

A young, light bodied red from Italy's South, this has somewhat muted blackberry and plum elements, with quite a lot of acidity and, unless thoroughly aired, a slightly medicinal taste. It remains a puzzle to me why the Tuscan Montepulcianos are uniformly so much better, but then they cost a lot more. This one at least is cheap at $6.99.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fingerprints Chardonnay 2010

What we have here is an Argentine white from the Mendoza Valley. (This is somewhat confusing because the same winery grows a very similar product in Chile). It's on the full-bodied side, with elements of white melon, peach, and even banana. This too I would characterize as semi-sweet. Curiously, it went down well with our rather spicy chile con carne. If this is your thing, this is certainly a bargain at $6.99.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mastroberardino Mastro 2010

I've not been able to determine whether this Campanian white is identical with that winery's Falanghina -- the label gives nothing away, nor is there anything very helpful on line. If anyone knows, I'd be most grateful for the information. At any rate, the taste and color are similar, but there is rather more of an apricot element here. That, of course, may just be a difference in vintages. I'd say, on the verge of semi sweet. $8.99.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chateau Haut-Roquefort Cadillac 2004

We recently drank this at the home of friends in MD. It's a white Entre-Deux-Mers, a sweet dessert wine marketed as an alternative to the considerably more expensive Sauternes. It's quite pleasant but lacks the tang and (yes) the underlying acidity of a good Sauternes. It sells in the range of $10-12 for the half  liter bottle, but seems not to be available in PA at this time. If you like dessert wines and your wine budget is limited, you might want to give this a try.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Vina San Esteban Malbec Reserve 2011

Here is a source of endless confusion. The winery is Chilean, they do produce a wine of that name  there, but most bottles with that designation come from neighboring Argentina. This one, however, is labeled a product of France. Curiously, the blurb on the back is identical with that on the Argentine bottles, with "foothills of the Pyrenan mountains" substituted for "foothills of the Andes". Clearly something creative is going on here, but I'm at a loss to say what. The wine itself is a nice, very fruit forward Malbec, with none of the chocolate one associates with the Argentine Malbecs; nor does it have the inky assertiveness of the Cahors, made from that grape. Tastes of red currant and cherry abound. $9.99, available for three dollars less in N.Y.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zita Pinot Grigio 2011

Pinot Grigio is much maligned in vinicultural circles as being bland, uninteresting, too light, and whatever pejorative the reviewer can come up with. It certainly, along with Chardonnay and Merlot, figures in in any list of wines that a wine snob will condemn out of hand in order to establish his credentials.While this may be true of the majority of Pinot Grigios out there (they just tend not to come up to a French Pinot Gris in body and character) there are some good ones, one of our favorites being the Santa Margherita. This one, from the Venezie, is sort of on the fringe. While it doesn't have the Chenin Blanc- like flintiness that the best ones exhibit, it does have some body and nice enough pear taste to give it some interest. I realize that this is damning it with faint praise, but that's the best I can do. $8.99.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Zita Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010

The Abruzzo is an up and down region (That means if it's not mountains, it's hills) in central eastern Italy. It produces large quantities of wine, the soil isn't much good for anything else. Its Montepulcino designation should not be confused with the Tuscan version, which is miles above it, not in altitude but in quality. Still, this is a decent enough red, with perceptible cherry and red berry flavors, perhaps a little too forward, and some acidity. $8.99.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Massi di Mandorlaia I Massi 2009

A red from that part of Tuscany referred to as the Mareme, this 100% San Giovese is somewhat lighter and more reserved than the Chianti Superiores. It exhibits a slightly dusky combination of cherry and dark berries with nice background acidity and a long finish. I have no idea what got into Big Brother, but at $10.99 it's a good five dollars cheaper than you can get it anywhere else. In my opinion it'll go for at least another couple of years, so I wouldn't hesitate to put down a few bottles.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Naked Grape Pinot Grigio

T'is the season for cookouts and picnics. This non vintage CA white, while certainly undistinguished, is nevertheless light, a reasonably pleasant mix of apple and citrus, and, above all, affordable.With the instant refund coupon it sells for $4.99, which should make for many a jolly outdoor (or, if you prefer, indoor) festivity.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zona Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2011

The Trebbiano grape is one of the oldest in the world, tracing its ancestry to pre Roman times. In Italy, because it's so amazingly prolific, wines made from it are called "soldier's wines". This one, from the Abbruzzi, is no mass production swill, however. Deep yellow in color, with a slight hint of bubbles, it tastes of green plums and, distantly, of tobacco. A nice buy at $8.99.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Torres Malena 2011

Vintages do make a difference, even for cheaper wines where one expects to encounter a certain amount of adjustment (not to call it adulteration). This Catalan red is not quite as fruit forward as the '10, with a nicer balance. Not at all a bad buy for $7.99.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Albert Bichot Macon-Villages 2011

Rather darker in color than one would have anticipated, this unoaked Burgundian Chardonnay has pear and floral notes and not very much in the way of acidity. Quite pleasant, unassuming, and not badly priced at $9.99. I certainly prefer it to the run-of-the-mill, heavily oaked CA Chardonnays that one routinely encounters in this country.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Maestroberardino Mastro 2010

A blend of three grapes indigenous to the region and all but unknown elsewhere, this Campanian white is an entry level white of this venerable (founded 1750) vineyard. One could do far worse. White melon and apple elements define it, along with an underlying minerality. A very nice buy at $8.99.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mascara de Fuego 2011

C'mon, you've got to be kidding! This Chilean, a Cabernet Sauvignon, with subtly blended elements of plum and blackberry, and the softest of tannins, a truly superior red, is going for 7.99. I don't know what got into the folks at PSLB, but this is clearly one you should stock up on.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Le Chant du Soleil Tavel 2011

To paraphrase Rafael Kubelik (there is only Mozart), there is only Tavel. Don't even think about buying another rose. This one is a delightful blend of strawberry, raspberry and watermelon, with just a touch of acidity in the finish. The sale price of $9,99 can't be beat, get some!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chateau d'Argadens 2009

Owned by the Sichel combine, this vineyard  in the Entre-Deux-Mers district south of Bordeaux, produces two wines, a white and a red. The red is a Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc blend, designated a Bordeaux Superieur,. In our opinion, it's a highly successful wine, with muted dark fruit flavors, a subdued acidity in the finish, and a goodly amount of complexity. It ought to last for some years to come and one should consider cellaring it. Well worth the sale price of $11.99.

Vitalonga Elcione 2008

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this Italian red from Umbria is fairly fruit forward, with black and red berries predominant, and a touch of Vanilla. It's pleasant enough but not terribly complex. The sale price of $9.99 is probably as low or lower as you can find it anywhere.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rocca dei Saniti Fiano di Avellino 2010

Made from a grape that was immensely popular in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and then fell almost completely out of favor, this Campanian white from the NE of the district, is sui generis. While not crisply dry in the manner of, say, a Pinot Grigio, it also isn't precisely sweet. What you get is a nut-like flavor, with hints of honey and quince, with an underlying minerality. Nancy was of two minds abou it, I liked it a lot. If you accept it for what it is, at the sale price of $9.99, this is an outstanding bargain.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Greg Norman Malbec 2009

Unlike many successful professional athletes Greg Norman, the golf champion, invested his winnings wisely, establishing a commercial empire that encompasses items as diverse as haberdashery and wine. In the latter category he acquired vineyards first in his native Australia, then in CA, later in Argentina. As is the case with all celebrity products, part of the price one pays is for the name, so his wines aren't cheap. This Argentine Malbec is about average for the breed, with predominant red berry flavors, some plum, and a bit of vanilla. On sale at $9.99, the price is below list to be sure, but can still be bought for two dollars less elsewhere.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bodegas Olarra Anares Crianza 2010

Aged in oak for six months, this Rioja red is a nicely restrained wine, with blackberry and spice elements. framed by soft tannins. Like so many young reds, it profits immensely from a good airing. It should get even better with some age on it. At $11.99 it's not cheap, but if you want to give yourself a treat, certainly worth the money.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sola Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Young and fresh, this WA white tastes of pear, with a hint of tangerine. A pleasant quaff, nicely priced at $8.49.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Grotta del Sole Piedirosso 2010

A red from Campania in the vicinity of Naples, this is not a wine that fits easily in the major Italian categories. It has neither the laid back distinction of a good Tuscan, nor the up front fruitiness of a lot of wines from the south of the Peninsula. It's on the light side, rather like a Beaujolais, but with less fruit and more in the way of soft tannins, and the merest hint of fizzyness. While it lacks depth, it's nevertheless a very pleasant drink. On sale at $9.99, certainly a very good price for it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dubakella Six and Eleven 2011/2006

Here we have a real curiosity: a blend of 68% Grenache from OR and 32% Pinot Noir from CA. The result is a fairly light red tha reminded us of a Beaujolais, with black cherry and plum flavors and a reasonably acid finish. A very pleasant wine. The sale price of $9.99  is just about unbeatable.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Vigne Mastre Dardo San Giovese 2009

Sourced from various vineyards in Tuscany, this red blend delivers a very pleasing mix of red cherry and strawberry flavors, with a slight tang of licorice in the finish. In Italy it's available real cheap, but over here the sale price of $11.99 constitutes a bargain.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bonny Doone My Favorite Rousanne 2010

First of all, this wine could well do without all the CA hoopla that goes into its marketing: it can stand on its own two feet. A white from Santa Cruz, it's made from a grape that, in its native Rhone valley, is mainly used to blend in with other better known white varieties. In CA it's commonly used on its own and, like in other warm climates, it produces a wine that tends toward the semi sweet, with elements of ripe pear, quince and melon. Very much a taste all its own, and not uninteresting. On sale at $9.99, which i about as cheap as you'll get it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Santerra White 2009

This CA white blend from Sonoma is on the semi sweet side, with ripe apple and pieapple elements. It's clearly near the end of its useful life, which accounts for its sale price of $6.99. If that's the kind of white you enjoy, this is a bargain.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Impero Bruno Zona 2012

The PLCB is touting this young Italian Salento red as the equivalent of a Beaujolais Nouveau. Actually, while it doesn't have the immediacy of the latter, it has more depth and boldness. There are red berry flavors, along with a distinct acidity in the finish. On sale for $7.99, which makes it an attractive buy.

Les Lys Vouvrai 2011

Vouvray is a designation in the Tours region of the Loire. It specialises in dessert and demi sec wines. This one falls into the latter category. It doesn't cross the line into "too sweet", but rather delivers a nice, soft blend of ripe apple and quince. A good wine with sea food. $10.99.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

The name is overwrought in the best CA fashion, but this young red is a very nice wine. Aged in oak for eighteen months, it's nicely balanced with black cherry and red currant elements, some vanilla, and some coffee. I would think it will age nicely in the bottle. The price of $12.99 is certainly in its favor. More and more I have the feeling that either the PSLB deliberately lures you with out of the way specials only to then soak you on their standard items, or that they just don't know what they're doing. Either way, if you're willing to put in the time, it's great fun to try to stay ahead of the game with them.

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011

When I savaged this vineyard's Chardonnay a few years ago I swore to myself I'd never buy anything from then again. But-- alright, let's not beat around the bush, I forgot -- I picked this bottle up. What these people have done is to create a spectrum shift. Their Chardonnay tastes like a Riesling, so sweet as to be well nigh undrinkable. This Sauvignon Blanc tastes almost like a Chardonnay, fruit forward, mostly passion fruit, with the barest hint of the famous New Zealand mown grass element. It's what in German is called " lieblich", which translates roughly into semi sweet. If that's your thing, by all means go ahead. The price of $9.99, however, is a good two dollars above the market. Does anyone know what's happening, or rather not happening in the PA state senate?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mas Janeil Le Petit Pas 2011

    A part of the Lurton combine,, this vineyard in the Cotes du Roussillon in S.W. France in the foothills of the Pyrennees, comes up with a pleasant red with muted red berry elements and soft tannins, A relative bargain at $9.99.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mirassou Sunset Red 2011

As readers of this blog will know I'm deeply suspicious of CA  reds at the lower end of the price range: they tend to be awful. Not so this product of what may well be the oldest winery in the state (it has been in the same family for six generations)  . An idiosyncratic blend of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Merlot (who'd ever have thunk of it ?) it delivers a nicely balanced blend of red fruit flavors, along with a caramel finish, A real bargain at $6.99. ( Nerts to those of you who think that my only interest in life is to to knock the P.L..C.B.).

Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone 2011

Located alongside Chateau Neuf du Pape, this vineyard produces nice wines. This is their entry level red, a nice blend of red and black berry flavors, with a fairly long finish. It makes one curious about what their upscale wines might be like. $9.99.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Southbank Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Apparently this New Zealand Marlborough Valley has a smidgen of Shiraz added to it to cut down on the acidity. It certainly comes across as milder than what one would normally expect from a typical Marlborough white, with gooseberry and even strawberry notes and, in spite of its claims, none of the typical freshly mown grass element. $11.99.

Friday, June 21, 2013

McWilliam's Jack's Blend 2011

Normally Australian wines in the lower price range turn out to be, at worst, plonk, at best, fruit bombs. Not so for for this S.E. Australian red. It gives you pleasing, if indistinct red berry flavors, along with a strong note of caramel. By no means an interesting wine, but nice enough, and at $5.99, well worth the money.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chateau Bellevue White 2011

The vineyard which produces this wine in the Entre-Deux-Mers  district of Bordeaux is owned by the Vicomte d'Amecourt, one of whose ancestors invented a steam-driven helicopter in 1863. I don't believe the thing actually flew, but the wine certainly does. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (70%) and Semillon (30%), it combines peach, melon  and guava elements, with just a very light touch of citrus. A very nice quaff, if you don't insist on something that's bone dry. $9.99.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Zuccardi Malbec Serie A 2011

The entry level Malbec for the well-known Argentine winery, this is a nice enough wine, with all the usual Mendoza elements: well blended red fruit tastes with quie a lot of red cherry, and chocolate in the finish. It is, however, massively overpriced at $9,99, being available for two and even three dollars less elsewhere.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Finca Flichman Malbec Reserva 2012

2012 was a great growing season in Argentina, so it's no surprise that this red Mendoza surpasses even the '09 that I liked a lot. Although, obviously, it's young, it exhibits a remarkably smooth blend of its inherent red fruit and chocolate flavors. The price has gone up to $9.99, but it's worth that.  My advice is to put down a few bottles of this vintage, it will only get better.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Broadbent Vinho Verde

This non vintage Portuguese white from the extreme N.W. of the country is more fizzy than the norm, but for all that, a most pleasant wine, well suited to accompany various spicy dishes, such as the Cantonese shrimp with which we paired it. $9.99, which is a bit on the high side.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Frontera Malbec 2011

Grown in Argentina by the gigantic Chilean combine Concho y Toro, this red is a fairly simplistic wine, with raspberry and dark cherry accents and pretty obtrusve tannins. $6.49: you can get it a lot cheaper, but you can also pay more. On balance, I wouldn't bother.

Tinto Lena 2011

"Tinto Leon" was the name this Leonese red used to go by, but the city fathers ojected that a private vineyard should not appropriate the city's name. Anyway, it's the entry level wine of a fairly large combine, a young, brash, uncomplicated country 100% Tempranillo that must at all costs be allowed to breathe for at least two hours before drinking. Once it's done that, it turns out to be a quite pleasant everyday quaff with good red fruit elements and a tannin kick at the finish.  At $ 9.99 for the liter bottle it;s a nice value as well.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages 2011

This is a red country wine, pleasant enough, but in no way exceptional. There are raspberry and red cherry notes. $8.49, which is about right.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lorca Bullas Monastrell 2009

This red from S.E. Spain is grown at an altitude of 3,500 feet. The hot days and cool nights producea wine that is thinner than one would expect from the region. There are nice red fruit elements, and the acidity is just sufficient to keep it interesting. $9.99.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monte Guido del Carmino Pecorino 2010

The Pecorino grape is supposedly the oldest Italian planting. Be that as it may, what we have here is a luscious blend of citrus and white fruit elements (mostly lemon and peach), from the Chieti district. A very individual white, and probably worth the $12.99 tab.

Chateau l'Hermitage Reserve 2010

A blend of Syrah and Mourvedre, this red Costieres de Nimes is exceptionally smooth for an affordable Rhone, many of which tend to have aggressive tannins. Nice red fruit and some, but not too much, spice in the finish. Advantageously priced at $9.99.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Faustino Seleccion de Familia 2004

As red Riojas go, this one probably exhibits more tannin and has a more acidic finish than most. If that doesn't put you off, then this is a more than acceptable table wine, provided you let it breathe sufficiently. Getting a bit long in the tooth, which undoubtedly accounts for its very attractive price of $8.99.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Martin Codax Albarino 2011

The '11 of this Galician white is somewhat more citrusy than either of the previous two years. The sale price is $10.49, a dollar less than the '09, a dollar more than the '10.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Henry Fessy Fleurie 2007

About thirty years ago reds from the Beaujolais went out of fashion in the English-speaking world, they were dismissed as being too insubstantial, and largely replaced in our favor by full bodied fruit bombs from various parts of the New World. Now some of these are making a comeback. This bottle delivers a nice blend of cherry and plum flavors, without being in the least too thin. It's undoubtedly near the end of its useful life, and I can imagine opening the occasional bottle that's gone bad. This, I feel sure, is the reason for its spectacularly low price of $7.99. Let it breathe for a couple of hours and hope for the best.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Brut Dargent Blanc de Blancs

"Blanc de Blancs" means this non vintage French sparkling wine from the Jura is made from the Chardonnay grape only. It's a long way from a Champagne, just slightly watery, by no means unpleasant, but quite unmemorable. $11.99, which is too much.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tons de Duorum white 2012

A blend of four local grapes, this Portuguese from the Douro is very fragrant, with ripe peach and apricot elements, along with some citrus. It approaches the semi-sweet without actually getting there. Pleasant, but certainly not if "dry" is your chief criterion. $9.99.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Simply Naked Sauvignon Blanc 2011

As its name suggests, this unoaked New Zealand white is fairly uncomplicated. It's fruit forward, with elements of tangerine, melon and white peach, and only the merest hint of the freshly mown grass taste characteristic of N. Z. whites. I find it a pleasant drinking wine, so long as you don't expect something extremely dry and flinty.$7.99, available for a dollar less most places.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gestos Malbec 2012

This Argentine red from Finca Flichman is slightly better than the '11 I reported on last year (which itself was quite good) but, at $8,99,also a dollar more.Inflation, or simply price hike?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

El Agosto Menzia 2010

I've had generally good experiences with wines from the Bierzo in N.W, Spain. (Some listings put this area in Castilla y Leon:This would lead to instant ostracism of the bloggers on the spot. The Bierzans are fiercely independent and consider themselves to be a separate province). The wine, aged for eight monhs in French oak, is a little on the assertive side with a bit of a dusty flavor along with its red berry elements. Still, a pleasant drinking experience. $11.99.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir Reserve

This non vintage red is one of the better products coming from this gigantic Australian combine. It displays elements of strawberry and red cherry and a touch of acidity in the finish. $9,99, can be had for a dollar less.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Alta Max Malbec 2011

Still another Malbec from Argentina's Mendoza region; it would seem that I'm determined to try all of them in my price range. This one is characteristic of the breed, with nice, plummy flavors and the trademark touch of chocolate. $8,99 after instant rebate coupon, which makes it a nice buy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crucillon Garnacha 2011

This Aragonese red is a Campo di Borja, the region that gave the world two Borgia popes. The wine is moderately aggressive, with cherry and plum flavors and a touch of the nutty. Unfortunately the PA price of $9.99 is well above the norm.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Telmo Rodriguz Basa Blanco 2011

This white blend from Rueda, northwest of Madrid, has just enough Sauvignon Blanc in it to give it a grassy element, reminiscent of a New Zealand white. A very smooth drinking wine, making it an ideal companion to pork and chicken dishes. $9.99.

Hogue Gewurztraminer 2011

Nancy flatly refused to drink this WA State white, claiming it was sweet. Well, noone ever maintained that a Gewurztraminer was bone dry: ideally, it's a mixture of ripe fruit and highly spicy elements. (Gewurz in German is a spice). Perhaps this particular exemplar emphasizes the former at the expense of the latter quality, but I found the combination of ripe peach with a hint of nuttiness by no means unappealing. And you're certainly not going to find it anywhere else at the ultra low PA price of $6.99. If you like something different once in a while, try this, you might like it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Perrin Nature 2010

In the Rhone as well '10 was an exceptional growing season, with a wet Spring, a hot Summer, and a prolonged Indian Summer, so that otherwise quite ordinary wines turned into really good ones. This is the case with this organically grown red, a blend of (mostly) Grenache and Syrah. It tastes  of dark berries, with elements of chocolate and licorice. I've not been there, but by all accounts the wine is made by a French version of superannuated hippies.  You can do a lot worse for $8.98.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Val Delosfrailes Rose 2011

Every once in a while (fortunately not too often) I put A. J. Liebling's dictum that no rose aside from a Tavel is worth drinking to the test. I have found almost none to contradict it, including this Cigales from Valldolid in Spain.  It's a bland, fruit forward wine, on the verge of being sweet. Lovers of American Chardonnays might like it, but I can't think of anyone else who would. $5.95.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reserve des Vignerons Saumur Champigny 2010

This is a red from the Loire. It exhibits blackberry and cherry elements, along with a certain amount of minerality and a lightly spicy finish. 2010 in the Loire was a particularly long growing season, so the grapes imbibed a lot of sun, which manifests itself in the smooth, cheerful quality of this wine. If you're not familiar with the reds of a region known chiefly for its whites, this is an excellent place to start. $10.99, not a bad price at all for this bottle.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Santa Julia Torrontes/Pinot Grigio 2011

Like its red stablemate this Argenine white, a blend of 90% Torrontes and 10% Pinot Grigio. is a relatively simple but eminently drinkable wine, with the melon and peach elements characteristic of a Torrontes, but just enough of the Pinot Grigio acidity and flintiness to make it interesting. Once again, at $6.99 for the liter bottle, a tremendous buy.  I don't quite see how this vineyard manages it, but I certainly wish it all the luck in the world.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ormarins Picpoul de Pinet 2012

In the pre-philoxera days the Picpoul grape dominated production of whites in the south of France. It's poor resistance to disease caused it to all but die out in the epidemic, and now it is grown almost exclusively in Herault, in Languedoc, particularly in the coastal regions as it thrives in sandy soil. This exemplar is extremely fruit forward, with melon and peach elements, and not very much of the acidity that gave the grape its name (Picpoul in local dialect:sting the lip). Lovers of American Chardonnay should like it quite a lot. $8.99.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

La Petite Vigne Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Unlike the '10 which was far too lemony, this Languedoc white has a nice blend of peach and citrus elements and is a pleasant sipping wine, as well as. as we found, good accompaniment to pork chops.$7.99.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Santa Julia Innovacion Tempranillo/Malbec 2011

This  Argentine red is a country wine, no more, but it/s pleasant to drink so long as you let it breathe for at least an hour and, at $6.99 for the one liter bottle, a stupendous bargain. If you're in the market for an affordable everyday drink, stock up.

Navarro Correas Coleccion Privada Malbec 2010

This Argentine red is the top of the line for this Mendoza Valley vineyard, and a very nice wine it is. It exhibits the expected plum and dark berry elements, with a touch of chocolate at the finish, all nicely balanced,  What a Malbec should be, and not badly priced at $10.99.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Secoli Pinot Grigio 2012

This very young Italian white from the Veneto is extremely light, so light as to be almost tasteless. Certainly not worth $9.99.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Corolilla Crianza 2010

Bobal is the signature grape of Valaencia, and this red is true to type: assertive, with pronounced black beryy elements, a goodly amount of acidity, and a hint of coffee. $9.99.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chateau L'Hermitage Costieres de Nimes 2010

This red from the southern Rhone has a generous portion of Mourvedre along with its Syrah which gives it a somewhat flinty character. The taste is mainly dark berry and plum, with quite a lot of acidity. $9.99.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chateau Cambis 2010

A Grenache/Syrah blend, this Cotes du Rhone Villages is a hearty red, with strongly accented red cherry and plum flavors and a touch of licorice at the finish. A little on the thin side to be taken seriously, but eminently drinkable. $9.99.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

De Martino Sauvignon Blanc 2012

This young Chilean white is rich in peach and apple flavors and quite pungent. A pleasant quaff and not badly priced at $8.99.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Callabriga Alentejo 2011

Once it has breathed  for a good hour to allow a slight bitterness to dissipate, this is an assertive, powerful young red from southeastern Portugal. It tastes of ripe plum, with chocolate and moccha elements. A really nice wine and, for a change, a great buy at $8.99. I would think it will go for some years, so I wouldn't be afraid to stock up on it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Alto Pumas Pinot Noir 2011

This Chilean red, redolent of blackberry and plum, with moderately assertive tannins, is a pleasing table wine. $9.99, which is somewhat below the market.

The Secretary Bird Sauvignon Blanc 2012

This young South African white is fresh, crisp and aromatic, with gooseberry and citrus elements. We found it to be just the right thing to go with our fried clam salad. (Don't laugh, this is good!) $8.99.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mingo Tempranillo 2011

This Spanish red from Valencia is thin, simplistic, and, unless it's been allowed to breathe for a couple of hours, bitter. Not worth even $7.99.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

.J. Bouchon Carmenere/Syrah 2011

I found this Chilean red blend to be a bit on the thin side, with perhaps a touch too much acidity. Not bad, but one can do better at the price of $9.99.

Travel Report Spring 2013

The complimentary wines on our Crystal cruise were the same that were offered last Fall, so there is nothing new to report there. except that the Santa Marghereta Pinot Grigio, which goes for a whopping 23.50 in PA, was among he free pours, which tells you a lot. In Spain we came across two reds that I liked: 1) Vade Mecum Syrah 2011. This Estremaduran is the house wine of the Guadalupe Parador. It's a rich, full bodied wine, with ripe raspberry and coffee elements and goes down very smoothly. Ca $8 in the stores. 2) Canferrado Tempranillo 2011. This La Mancha red is the house wine of the Ciudad Rodrigo Parador. Dark plum elements, with a fair amount of acidity, ca $9 in the stores. Neither wine is available in PA.

I might also mention that the April issue of the U.S.Airways magazine has an article entitled "Twenty Great Reds Under $20."  Insofar as these are available in PA (roughly half of them), they, without exception, sell here for more than the price indicated in the article.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Altos Los Pumas Pinot Noir 2011

A young Chilean red, this is redolent of raspberry and plum, but hasn't quite jelled. Maybe in a year or two. 9.99. 

We're off on our Spring trip, and will report anything of particular interest.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Medrano Irazu Reserva 2006

Time respects no wine, and this red Rioja is nearing the end of its useful life, but it's still near its prime. A highly civilized mix of plum and raspberry, with both chocolate and vanilla elements, this is a superior quaff. Get it while you can. 11.99, and that's a bargain!

The Crossings Pinot Noir 2009

I wasn't exactly blown away by this New Zealand red from the Marlborough Valley. There's a slightly metallic element, overshadowing the fruity character, that's no to my taste. Nancy didn't mind it though. $9.99, after instant rebate coupon.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Estello Malbec 2011

This red from Lamguedoc is actually better than the white from the same producer, It has a reasonably dry character, with linguering elements of red berries. $6.99. So the PA House passed the privatization bill. Let;s see what the Senate will do. Raise your voices!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Estello Viognier 2011

I should think that this white country wine from Languedoc is made especially with American tastes in mind: it flirts with being sweet, without quite crossing the line. It wouldn't make it as a pour in a French bar, but maybe there will be some who like it over here. $6.99.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kaiken Malbec Reserva 2010

It's been some four years since I last reviewed this Argentine red from the Mendoza Valley and, if anything, it has improved. A nicely balanced red fruit and chocolate character give it its archtypical flavor, something to be savored slowly, sip by sip. Buy it up at the present sale price of $10.99.

Zinc 2011

Zinc is the French word for a simple bar, after the ubiquitous countertops made of that material. They serve simple wines, usually from the owner's home province, by the glass, and this country white from the Pays d'Oc could well be one of these. It's uncomplicated but goes down pleasantly enough and, at $6.99, won't break the bank.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Wolf Trap 2011

A Syrah/Mourvedre/Viognier blend, this South African red, designated wine of the year by a South African wine guide, is fairly heavily oaked and has a finish that's a bit too acidic for my taste. $8.99 after instant rebate.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2011

For a mass produced wine, this Chilean red is not at all bad. It mixes raspberry and chocolate elements with a nicely guaged acidity in the finish. $8.99 in PA, this  sells for a wide gamut of prices, all the way from seven to thirteen dollars. Caveat emptor!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

La Vieille Ferme White 2011

This Rhone white tastes mostly of peach and stops just short of being actualy sweet. lovers of American Chardonnay may like it; we didn't particularly, but found it went alright in spritzers. $7.99, with instant rebate.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Natura Carmenere 2011

The Chilean winery responsible for this wine displays an award as having been selected "Green Winery of the Year".The wine itself, mercifully, is not green in color, but rather a dark purple. It's young, perhaps not quite ready, but not unpleasant, with red cherry flavors and a somewhat peppery finish. $8.99., a dollar less in N.J.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ruffino Chianti 2011

For a mass produced wine, this is by no means bad. It displays subdued red fruit elements, with a moderately acidic finish. Of course, as we are in the realm of the PLCB, the price of $7.99 is unrealistic; this wine is available for as much as three dollars less in any number of places, a difference that, at that price level, is huge.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chateau Saint Sulpice 2010

When I was a schoolboy, we used to make jokes about "les suplices of Saint Sulpice--the agonies of St Sulpice". Never mind, this red Bordeaux blend (mostly Merlot), originating not a dozen miles from the outskirts of that city, is a civilized wine, with subdued fruity elements, and a long lasting finish. $11.99, which is about average throughout the U.S.

Honoro Vera Garnacha 2011

Sorry,  faithul readers --that is, if I still have any-- I've been out of circulation for a few days, and U.S..hospitals have these imbecilic rules about not serving wine. What we have here is another example of Garnacha's renaissance in Spain. This quondam plonk grape is now used to make quality wines and this one, from Calatayud in S.W. Aragon is a good example of the phenomenon. It exhibits a nice combination of ripe fruit elements, mostly plum and blackberry (although as I have been forced to conclude blackberries that one buys in supermarkets these days taste of nothing at all) and is nevertheless dry, with a distinct peppery finish. A very nice wine. $9.99, which is a dollar or two above the market, but still very much worth getting.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fat Bastard Pinot Noir 2011

A Languedoc red from this well-known producer, this wine has a subdued red cherry elment and a somewhat acidic finish. Not at all bad for $7.99.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2011

This white from Provence is somewhat rounder than the '07 which I reviewed a while ago, but still quite pleasant. At the present sale price of $7.99 (with instant rebate) it's a nice buy.

I am greatly heartened to note that our governor has made good on his election promise and that there is now a House Bill in the works that would prvatize the PLCB. Let's see if it gets our legislators' approval. You might write your representative, expressing your support of H.B, 790.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Apart from having a bright red plastic cork, all but impossible to extract, this red Rioja, which doesn't bear a vintage designation, is a reasonably pleasant wine, with red berry elements and a satisfying acidic finish. Not a bad buy at $7.99, providing you own a double action corkscrew: the somelier kind just won't do it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

El Agosto Mencia 2010

Alright, so the worm turns. This red Bierzo, aged in French oak for eight months,  is a very fine wine indeed, with nicely dosed red berry elements and  just the right amount of acidity.I suppose that Bierzo wines simply aren't known in the U.S. so,  at $12.99 it's a good ten dollars below the market. Will wonders never cease?  By all means, stock up.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tarima Monastrell

A Spanish red from Alicante, this 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre in France) comes without a vintage indication, although I strongly suspect that it's quite young. It's a decent enough wine, typical of the dark colored, full bodied qualities associated with the grape, with cherry and raspberry elements, and a touch of licorice in the finish, but, as we in PA have come to expect, at $9.99 it's egregiously overpriced, being available for three dollars less in a lot of places. Has anyone kept tabs on how our governor is doing on his other campaign promises?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chateau Cambis Grenache/Syrah 2010

I reviewed this red Cotes du Rhone Villages in its previous incarnation under the "Vignerons de Caractere" heading. At that time it had, as the law then required of wines of that designation, an admixture of Mourvedre. I must say that I liked the older version better, the Mourvedre gave it a nice, soft character. This version is a little harsh, with overly pronounced tannins and a slight peppery element. It's not bad, but the other one was better. $9.99.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Alianca Dao Reserva 2009

This Portuguese red blend is a quite pleasant country wine, with prominent tanins, and a vanilla element. It is, however, grotesquely overpriced at $11.99, being available in other states for as much as five dollar less.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fat Bastard Shiraz 2011

This country red from Languedoc with the trendy name is a big seller in the U.S. It has a fairly dry, slightly licoricey element about it, and goes down pretty easily. Nothing special, but then it only costs $7.99.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Banfi Chianti Superiore 2011

Given the fact that it's produced by a huge combine, this is a very nice young red. It exhibits a certain duskiness, along with plum and cherry elements and a fair degree of acidity.A pleasing quaff, and favorably priced at $7.99.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Diseno Torrontes 2011

At long last, a Torrontes that's to Nancy's taste. What we have in this Argentine white is a nice floral bouquet and a well rounded apricot element, with just enough acidity to make it credible as a dinner wine, and a slight stony character reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I liked it too. $8.99.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

CO Jaunt

On a brief trip to CO I drank three wines: One, a really vile Bordeaux, which I won't dignify by mentioning it; two, a white Touraine, Chais St Laurent, Lieu-dit Les Jarrieres, 2011, a spicy wine, with pronounced grapefruit and pomegranate elements, not at all bad, $10.99, not available in PA;  and Rioja Vega 2009, a Spanish red blend of Tempranillo and Granacha, with red cherry and subtle cinnamon flavors, a very pleasant wine. $9.99, three dollars more in PA.  In spite of this disparity, my overall impression was that CO prices have caught up to PA. Let's face it, my friends, cheap is dead!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

La Pluma Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2011

This South Italian red is a fairly primitive wine, with cherry and plum notes, and rather asserive tannins. Nothing to write home about. $8.99.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chichery Sauvignon Blanc 2011

This Languedoc white has a reasonably pleasing combination of tropical fruit and citrus elements. Nothing out of the ordinary, but basically alright. $9.99. which is perhaps a bit on the high side.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Santa Julia Magna 2010

A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Argentina's Mendoza Valley, this red really does need to breathe, I'd say for a minimum of two hours, lest it's taste be masked by seriouly bitter tannins. Once these have dissipated, however, one is rewarded with a highly pleasing, civilized blend of red berry elements, reminiscent of a good claret. Quite attractively priced at $10.99.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Domaine de Nizas 2008

Owned by an American wine maker, this vineyard in Languedoc produces a variety of wines, including this red blend. It's nicely made, with subdued accents of plum and blackberry, certainly a cut above the majority of Languedoc reds, many of which do not rise above the level of mass produced plonk. Whether it's worth 11.99 is anybody's guess.

Ramon Bilbao Crianza 2009

This red Rioja, a 100% Tempranillo, aged 14 months in the barrel and another three in the bottle before release, is a nice, well rounded blend of dark berries and cherry, with a bit of spice at the finish. But, at $10.99, it's not particularly cheap, even for a crianza. Be sure to let it breathe for at least an hour.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Luzon Verde Monastrell 2011

From Jumilla, in the north of Andalucia, this Spanish red is a simple country wine, with understated red berry elements. Quite pleasing, but somewhat overpriced at 9.99.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spanish Demon Tempranillo 2010

In spite of its inanely funky name, this is not a bad, young Rioja. It blends red cherry and blackberry flavors with a touch of chocolate, and has just enough gravitas to escape the fruit juice quality of many unaged Riojas. $9.99, available for two dollars less in N.Y.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chateau d'Oupia Les Heretiques 2011

This red from the Herault region is named in honor of the sectarians who, early in the 13th century, were massacred by the Church. In this case the blood of martyrs has given us an agreeable wine, with distinct cherry and red berry elements, and an interesting whiff of olive. Although the vineyard's entry level offering, it's nevertheless a superior country wine. 9.99.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cazes le Canon du Marechal 2010

This white, a rather unusual blend of Muscat and Viognier from the foothills of the French Pyrennees, named after the hero of WWI, Marechal Joffre, who was a landholder in the region, is a perfumed mix of apricot, pear and tropical fruit. Nothing special, but a nice enough country wine. $8.99.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hill of Content Shiraz 2006

Although sourced from several vineyards in both southern and western Australia, this red is remarkably well put together, with an extremely smooth, restrained mix of cherry and dark berry flavors. It's miles away from the notorious Australian fruit bomb, and a very nice wine indeed. The price, $9.99, is something of a conundrum. You can get it for as much as three dollars less in N.J., but you can also pay six dollars more. If we weren't in PA, I'd say the choice is yours.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hill ofContent Shiraz 2006

Not exactly an Austrialian fruit bomb, but close enough, this red exhibits ample red berry flavors. A pleasing wine. $9.99, can be bought for as much as three dollars less in N.J., as well as six dollars more elsewhere, Buyer beware!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Some four years ago I reviewed the Riserva of this Argentine red and praised it. This version is not quite as distinguished, but nevertheless very pleasing : a mix of cherry and red berry flavors, with a nicely acidic finish. $9.99.

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages 2011

Beaujolais is known for producing the most light bodied reds in Burgundy and this one is no exception to the rule. It is, however, by no means insubstantial, being well defined, with restrained red berry elements and a touch of acidity. A nice buy at $8.49.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Altadonna Pinot Grigio 2011

From Italy's Veneto, this white offers an unusual amount of ripe peach elements, tempered by melon and citrus, with a finish that's just flinty enough to qualify it as a full fledged Pinot Grigio. A nice buy at $9.99, less than half of what a Santa Margherita sells for in PA, and in its way, every bit as good.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mottura Bianco del Salento 2011

This white from Apulia, in the heel of the Italian peninsula, is light and refreshing, with green apple and citrus overtones and a hint of flintiness. A good, cheaper alternative to an upscale Pinot Grigio. $7.99.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Qupe Central Coast Syrah 2010

 A number CA of vineyards make up this label. This  red is relatively reserved (2010 was a cold summer) with subdued red berry flavors and a civilized, mildly acidic, finish. Even at the sale price of $12.99 somewhat overpriced.