Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Eclectic wine weekend. Lots of stuff going on, but I'll review 4 wines (the ones I was compus mentus enough to take some tasting notes!!). First up is the a monster wine Bodegas Catena Zapata, Alta, Malbec 2004 - #23 on the Wine Spectator top 100 list for 2007, it garnered 93 points. Ooops. I think we got a bad bottle here - not bad meaning corked or "off", but bad in the "bottle variation" sense. This is something that no-one talks about but I believe is a problem that arises more often than not. How do you assure every tank/vat/barrel is uniform? especially in big run wines. Anyways, I digress. Don't get me wrong, this is still a good wine. Subtle cranberry nose. Deep, elegant and silky with redcurrant fruit and a slightly tart finish. But not a blockbuster. And this bottle wasn't worth the $50 it cost.
Right, this one I had really high hopes for. An early 90's vintage I had was incredible. The Rosenblum, Richard Sauret Vineyard, Zinfandel, 2005 clocks in at 15.6% alchohol. Woaaah. On the nose: intense, strawberries. On the palate, it is rich, thick and unctuous. Red fruit and tobacco. This is smooth and the high alcohol is well hidden. It's only flaw - a short finish. This squeaks in as a "wow" for me, but others didn't like the style. Cost me $30 in New York.
Right, now for the horror story (not you, Sean!). This stuff was absolute crap. The Hunyady, Kekfrankos, Kethely 2004 was almost pink, very light and tasted like weak cherry juice. Couldn't even stand up to Cheerios. Sink plumbing cleaner. Get your money back at $18.50 a bottle. Funny, because I know the Hungarians can make good wine...(remember that tasting day near Lake Balaton, guys?).

Can't end like that, right? So, to salvage some pride for Eastern Europe, here comes the oddly named Cluster, Mavrud and Rubin (no, I've never heard of these grapes either), 2003 from Domaine Boyar in Bulgaria. Nose: Nice with cherry and cedar. Medium bodied, it is initially tart but then watermelon and some fig comes through. A little rustic, way overpriced at $27 a pop, but at least I can say it is a "good" wine.



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