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.