Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Time for a roundup of wines recently imbibed, both winners and losers. Got lucky as there were twice as many winners as losers. Actually, coming to think of it, if you're careful, it's much easier to pick a good wine than a bad one, even if you're not spending a lot of money.
Right, lets get to it. The best of the bunch was the Bogle, Petit Sirah, 2006. This wine punches way above it's mediocre heritage (not the grape heritage but the wineries!). A "wow" wine and a cannot miss at $20. Almost as good is the Marquis Phillips, Southeast Australia Shiraz, 2007. Dense, full flavoured, very new world style shiraz. Very good and also well worth the $22 entry point. Don't laugh, I've talked about this next wine before - the Yellow Tail, The Reserve, Shiraz, 2007. Make sure you buy the Reserve - it's head and shoulders above their usual crap. Tasty, full bodied and over oaked and I love it. Very good and a bargain at $18. Don't believe me? blind taste it with your favourite aussie shirazes (how do you pluralise shiraz...?) Good wines are the Santa Rita, Medalla Real, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 and the Cousino Macul, Antiguas Reservas, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006. Both cost around $20 and are well made, tasty, serviceable wines that I would gladly quaff. The shocker of the group is the much cheaper Santa Rita, 120, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007. This has a nice mix of black pepper and blackcurrant. Straightforward wine, a very drinkable mid week wine. $10 or less.
And the losers are....first place is the Castillo de Almansa, Reserve, 2005 from Spain. Usually an OK cheap "pick me up anytime" choice, this version is simply not good enough for it's price. $15 gets you a light, peppery, chuggable "OK" wine. Overpriced.
Second place is the Yalumba, South Australia, Y Series, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006. Crap wine, at least this bottle was. Way overpriced at around $18. 'Nuff said.
And, last place is the "G" by Dehesa Gago, Toro, 2006 It LOOKS good - nice package, nice marketing, from a "hot" region (Toro in Spain), but this is not very good wine. Bubblegum nose. Light palate - I thought it might appeal to people who actually like beaujolais nouveau. It was better the next day, but it still gets a crap rating. What a waste of $20.
ps...prices are BC prices.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good...and Evil

There are some good wines being made in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, but they are generally few and far between and overpriced. So it was a pleasure to imbibe the Osoyoos Larose, Petales d'Osoyoos, 2005. This is the "second" wine from a relatively new winery with French owners who are aiming for a "Bordeaux style" of wine - and, boy, looks like they have succeeded. Cassis and vanilla aromas lead into an elegant, complex wine. Medium chewy, the tannins are still a little harsh but manageable. Raspberry is the predominant fruit. A classy wine, gets a "wow" rating. $25.
OK, now for the evil part - I don't know what demon prompted my sister to buy this crap.... it was undrinkable. Pinot Evil, Pinot Noir, NV, Vin de Pays de L'Ile de Beaute is toilet cleaner. It just goes to show how bad pinot noir can get.
This cleaning product displays a prominent "imported" on the front label, but on the back it admits to being bottled in California. Classic tanker crap. I don't care how much it cost, it is too much.

Getting back to more pleasant things. The Wine Spectator rated the Altos Las Hormigas, Colonia Las Liebres, Bonarda, 2007, Mendoza as a best buy. I agree. Bonarda is not a well known grape, you really only see it these days from Argentina. This one is dark and dirty with plums and black chocolate. Medium bodied and a smooth chugger. Good stuff, well worth the $13.