Guess the best of this bunch? Spanish, Argentine or Italian? If you guessed the Chianti, go to the back of the bus. The Campomaggio, Chianti Classico, 2004 is a complete waste of money at $22/bottle. Tastes like it should cost $8. 'Nuff said.
The Albada, Old Vine Garnacha, Calatayud, 2005 is packaged like a new world wine and by gosh tastes like one too. I thought this was a new world malbec! Spicy, medium-full bodied, very generous rich boysenberry fruit but not jammy at all. Drying finish. Old vine grenache? how did they get it to taste like this? It's an OK wine, nothing special, so-so value at $16.
The shocker is the Las Moras, Black Label Shiraz, 2005. This comes from the San Juan province of Argentina, the supposedly poor cousins north of Mendoza. In fact, a couple of years ago I was told by snobby Mendozans to forget about San Juan as a premium source of wine. Well, think again...first sip was...wait for it....wow!! Opaque, full bodied, well integrated oak, silky tannins, rich plum fruit, spice plus dark chocolate. Quite the surprise. They state on the label it was picked in "early February" - this is like harvesting in August in the northern hemishphere, so they must get lots of sunshine. 15 months in new French and American oak. I think I paid about $16 for this wine, so it's a shocker value...I'll be trying anything I see from this winery in the future.