Saturday, October 25, 2008

Three for Three

We all look for midweek wines that are delicious yet not more than twenty bucks should do the trick. Yet, how many times are we disappointed? So, here are three producers with wines that are winners at this price point.
The most anticipated was the Santa Rita, Medalla Real, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva Especial, 2005. It got a "91" rating by Wine Spectator and proudly displays it on the neck. This has a mixed berry nose with a little menthol. Zesty, tangy blackcurrants, medium-full bodied, ripe tannins, a little chalky with a moderately long, complex finish. Good wine, not quite "wow" status. $20.
The Killikanoon, The Lackey, Shiraz, 2003 clocks in at 15% alcohol. Nose of plums, leather, cedar. Full bodied, meaty, ballsy but straightforward wine with black fruit. The high alcohol bruises the palate, so it's a little unbalanced. It's also rough on the back end. But, for $16, can't go wrong. Good wine also.
A perennial good value producer is Mas des Bressades. Their 2005 Cabernet-Syrah has a stinky beef and mushroom nose, a little musty (koko factor: "like an old shed"). Medium-full bodied with beetroot, dirt and iodine. The fruit is layered underneath - pomegranates and fresh cranberries. Complex, old world and plain good. $18.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Truck Crash

If you're in a shop and you see the two labels above, which intrigues you the most (and subliminally entices you to buy? This is what influences a lot a people in their wine choices. So, I'll join the crowd...the Red Truck, 2005 California Red Wine is definitely more compelling cosmetically. And when I saw it "on sale", from $20 to $13, I had to try it. Big mistake. This is a light bodied, slightly tart, cranberry cocktail. No finish at all. Crap wine.
The Sana Rita, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva, 2005 has a stodgy, traditional label but is much better. This is a dark wine with a pure cassis nose. This intense cassis is replayed on the palate with a mouthful of warm blackcurrant jam. If you want to see how cabernet sauvignon mimics blackcurrants, pick up a bottle of this. Good wine, a steal at $14. Not complex enough to earn a "wow" rating.
The Peter Lehmann, 2005 Barossa Shiraz received a 91 rating in the Wine Spectator and proudly shows this off with a small gold label on the bottle. This is medium bodied, much more refined than I expected with no jamminess at all. Not a plush style. It is warm and spicy with dark plums as the predominant fruit. Very nice, but not a "wow" as it should be with such a high peer rating. It is $5 too expensive at $25 (BC price).
Last up is the Penascal, Tempranillo, 2005 from Spain. This got 85 points (or "very good") and a "best buy" rating from that dreaded Wine Spectator. Well, it's got a fake cheap nose but a much cleaner palate with light, candied cherries. A very average wine, I rate it as "OK". No need to buy it at $12 a bottle. It would be an interesting party wine if it cost $5.


Monday, October 06, 2008


Stock market crash...looks like the world is coming to an end, huh? So, what to do?...drink more wine, stupid!!! How ironic. Actually, the Life's Strange Twists Wine Co., Irony, Cabernet Sauvignon, NAPA Valley 2004 is affordable for those poor suckers who are now in the poorhouse. It's from NAPA, but reminds me of Bordeaux. Medium bodied with still harsh tannins, this is a muscular not plush style. The fruit is hiding - blackcurrants can be delineated as you swish it around in the mouth. This is a food wine - it would eat up a big fat juicy steak no problem. I like it. Good wine, interesting at $20.
Next up is an offering from the always reliable St. Hallet's winery in Australia. Their Faith, 2004 is bright and focused, kept vibrant by it's acidity. No flab on this one, which actually matched it's consumption site - at the top of Mont 107 in the Foret Ouareau. Good wine, but great hiking wine! About $20.
Last and least, two not very impressive south americans. Twins to boot (fraternal). Little to choose between the two (that's bad condsidering they're completely different grapes) - they are the Trapiche, fut de chene, Malbec 2005 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Aromatically challenged, medium bodied, nice and dry, light blackberries... this is "OK" wine, no reason to drink it at $14 a bottle. The CS is perhaps better than the malbec (less "watered down" tasting).