Monday, August 04, 2008


It's rare that you can sample 5 consecutive bottles of wine in the $10-20 range and be impressed. Well, impressed I was with this lot. All were quite good and each was distinctive - no hum-drum repetitiveness here. I'll take two examples. First, the Viu Manent, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Chile gave cassis, cloves and cardamom on the nose. It was medium bodied, silky in texture with black cherries balanced by an underlying dirty, earthy backbone. It was like I was tasting the fruit mixed with the dirt it grew in (terroir!!). Quite complex for the price, it made me step back and say "wow, how can they do this for $14"??? One note of caution - this was the third bottle of this particular wine that I've tried, and the first two were average ("OK"), either there's bottle variation or a couple of months of rest works wonders with it.
I bought the Zenato, Merlot delle Venezie, 2003 a couple of years ago and promptly lost it in the "cellar". So, why not pop it was my reaction when I stumbled on it last week. I would never have guessed this as merlot in a blind tasting - Italian, yes, but probably Sangiovese I thought. Dirty nose - earth, rotten leaves, wood. Complex. Medium bodied palate, with chocolate and cedar overpowering the red fruit. Nice tannic feel to it. Good. Worth seeking out. $20.
I think these wines were saying "welcome home" to me!


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