Thursday, September 20, 2007

Twins - Almost!

The stars of this show were a couple of Argentinian efforts from the same bodega - the Navarro Correas, Gran Reserva, 2003, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an impressive new bodega that so far is delivering good value wine. These babies are aged in new french oak for 18 months - this adds 4-5 bucks/bottle to the cost of making the wine and may not seem much when you look at the retail price ($20), but this probably at least doubles the wholesale cost of the wine and seriously cuts into the profits of the winery (most of the profit goes to the middleman, the final seller and taxes). Translation: new oak is $$$ and rarely seen at this price point. And French oak is more expensive than American.....
These wines are dense, flavourful and true to the varietals. Well made and worth the retail price, which is more than I can say for Mr. Movie Maker, Francis Coppola's Diamond Collection, Black Label Claret, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. A light berry nose leads into a medium bodied, blackberry wine with moderately tannic mouthfeel. It's OK, but forget it at the price point of $25-30. By the way, I'm sure you Americans are paying a lot less for it than we are up in Canada which is ironic as our dollar hit parity with yours today!!

We sampled another 14 bottles on Saturday, but don't expect any more reviews - my head still hurts!!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Field Testing

Yeah, yeah I know. NO entries for a month. Well, it's been a busy month - some great stuff and some that really sucks. I'll focus on the good stuff.
Well, we all know about box wine - it's all over the place now. We tested some last year in the NWT but I found some new stuff this year to try on the banks of the Notakwanon river Northern Labrador of all places. The selection is getting better. This stuff is made for traveling, but the tetrapak only lasts about a week in a canoe barrel, then it starts to leak from small punctures.
The best of the bunch is in the picture above. The Concha y Toro, Likan, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is so good that I would buy it to drink at home. It is full bodied, plush, hedonistic - well made, and perfect to toast sunset over a rarely seen waterfall. A GOOD wine and a steal at $13 a litre.
Next best (but actually preferred by others) was the Banrock Station, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - well made, typical oz fare, definitely worth drinking. Another good wine, worth the $14/litre. Other "good" wines included the Likan Merlot 2005 (actually the favourite of one of the tasters), the Hardy's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, and the
Kelly's Revenge, Shiraz 2004. All worth drinking. Less impressive were the Banrock Station Merlot 2005, the Kumala Shiraz 2005 from South Africa which were just "OK". AT the back of the bus was a Spanish effort, I can't even remember it's name it was so insipid.

So remember - based on this and last years experience - if you want box wine, stick with the new world. And some of it is damn good!!