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.