The usually reliable Muga Rioja has released it's 2005 Reserva in Canada (Spanish reservas spend a minimum of 1 year in barricas and 2 years in the bottle before release, so it comes to you retail with some years under the belt). And it's a good effort, but not as good as their lip smacking 2002. This is classic old school rioja - tastes like it came out of an oak barrel - wait - yes it did!! If you don't like oak in your wine, stay away.
This is a prime example of a full bodied wine that doesn't have to be "big" and bash your palate in order to have lots of flavour. Cedar, vanilla, earth, smoke, subtle black fruit (in the background) and very chewy but not overpowering tannins are what you get. Try laying some down for a few years to see how it evolves. Good wine, worth the $25.
Right, now for the rest. The Tatachilla Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, 2005 caught me out - when I saw it in the shop, I confused it with the very highly regarded Tatiarra winery, also Australian, so snapped it up as it was on sale. Well, I didn't get what I thought I was getting but it was still pretty darn good. Opaque. Pepper and plum nose. Full bodied, plush style - no lean Cabernet here. Velvety, juicy black fruit and a decent finish. Could handle a steak but better suited as a sipper. A steal at $19.
What the heck is winery called Odjfell doing in Chile? Sounds like it's from Iceland. I hate to say it, but their Armador, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 smells like all those other $15 Chilean reds - pretty generic. But generically pretty good! Nice dark colour. Soft, deep and rich with damson plum fruit, a little meat & tobacco and boiled beetroot. Very smooth sipper, good wine and worth the $15.
OK, I get asked about really cheap wine every now and then, so I bought 6 bottles of less than $10 Italian wine that I'll talk about over the next month or so. The first one I unscrewed was the modern packaged Ogio, Primitivo, 2008. The only other word they put on the label is "Italy", I guess they're after people who want to see that they're buying an imported wine. So what do you get for $8? Well, it's not a wimpy colour. Smells OK too - no cheap bubble gum aromas. It's medium bodied, spicy, plummy and has a nice whack of dusty tannins. It does get a little thin with time and lacks a good finish, though. But hey, you can't go wrong for this price. OK wine.