Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saracina 2004 Mendocino County Syrah

Opaque purple-red.

Vanilla oak smell, dark stone fruits, unsurprisingly, it reminds me of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Warm plum and prune flavors, meaty, oak, rich mouth-feel, long finish ending in alcohol warmth.

Quite good full-bodied bottle for $32.20, something nice on a cold Winter day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Muller-Catoir 1989er Scheurebe Mussbacher Eselshaut Auslese

Cork was dry and hard, center pulled out when I attempted to remove with a ScrewPull, wound up having to cut it out with a sharp thin knife, then filter through a Melita filter to get the cork crumbs out.

Orange-brown color, as commercial iced tea.

Sweet smell, commercial peach iced tea.

Sweet peach flavor, apricot, mango, soon thins to a brief tannic finish with bitter hints. Pleasant but well past its prime, I think.

Inadequate medium-weight bottle for $35.99.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Robalino non-vintage(?) Rias Baixas Albarino

Pale golden color, some petillance.

Robust smells of grapefruit, wildflowers, freshly dried laundry.

Tart tastes of grapefruit, peach, weighty mouth-feel, food-friendly.

Outstanding medium-bodied bottle for $16.99. No mousy wallflower, this!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Arboleda 2007 Valle de Colchagua Carmenere

Opaque in the glass, cherry red at the rim.

Vanilla oak predominates the smell, over-riding various dark stone fruits.

Plum and black cherry fruit, bittersweet chocolate, big taste of oak.

Very good full-bodied bottle for $18.99, over-use of new oak notwithstanding. Worked well as a pizza wine, as it did with cold leftover pizza.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Chook 2008 South Australia VMR

84% Viognier, 8% Marsanne, 8% Roussanne.

Pale straw color.

Aromatic melon smell, apricot, peach, with hints of summer flowers and cheap hard candy.

Dry fruity melon flavor, apple, peach/apricot, substantial oily texture, very good balance of fruit and acid. No noticeable oak.

Good medium-to-full-bodied $16.99 bottle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cantina Vignaioli 1997 Elvio Pertinace Barbaresco

Bought a case. First bottle was definitely corked and was immediately poured down the sink. Subsequent bottles have, so far, been without taint.

Dark orange/cherry-red color with orange-brown at the edges.

Smells of strawberry, cherry, wet autumn leaves, menthol

Cherry/berry flavors, no noticeable oak, pleasant-yet-difficult-to-characterize organics, good acid, fully-integrated soft tannins.

Excellent well-aged full-bodied bottle of red for $59.99, though I had my doubts after opening that first bottle.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Atrea 2005 Mendocino County Old Soul Red

46% Zinfandel, 34% Syrah, 11% Petite Sirah, 9% Malbec. It'd be amusing if these accurately represented the percent of red grapes grown in Mendocino, but I don't think it's so. (*)

Opaque, purple-red at the very edge, only the thinnest part.

Blackberry smell, red cherry, mild oak hidden beneath the fruit and alcohol.

Warm blackberry and cherry flavors, some tar and chocolate, long ending tends to get a bit soft. Zinfandelly alcohol warmth from beginning to end.

Very good big full-bodied bottle for $20.53.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shingleback 2005 McLaren Vale Grenache

I realize that buying this violates the common prejudice against buying Australian wines with animals on the label. I snort derisively at such rules, after the fact.

Opaque, cherry-red at the edges.

Big initial smell of oak, quickly settling down to cherry/strawberry. Smoky.

Cranberry and red cherry tastes, blackberry, vanilla oak at the finish. Wood blends harmoniously with fruit.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $19.99.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Terra 2009 Lujan de Cuyo Sparkling Malbec

The winemaker's site advertises this as produced by the "Chaussepied Method", which seems to be more commonly known as the Charmat process. This wine is sealed with an unfamiliar black synthetic "cork", brand marking is unclear, OPI or TOPI or YOPI.

Short-lived streams of small vigorous bubbles rise in a wine a bit too deeply-colored to call rose; a true red, if a light one. They quickly settle down to tiny bubbles lazily rising.

Mild blackberry smell. I think carbonation can tend to anesthetize the nose, yet many proper Champagnes have wonderful aromas.

Blackberry flavor, black cherry, sweet-seeming fruit that develops some tannic bitterness at the end.

Good medium-bodied bottle for $16.99. As with Australian Sparkling Shiraz, some of the appeal is novelty, but its not without inherent, if simple, virtues.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Qupe 2007 Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne

Deep straw color, some petillance is visible.

Smell of honey and wildflowers, pear smells become more evident as the glass warms.

Taste of pear, white pepper, honey as the glass warms, mildly petillant on opening, some oiliness to the texture, long finish, satisfying acid.

Very good medium-bodied bottle for $19.57.