Friday, September 25, 2009

15 Buck Stuff Continued....

Might as well continue with the fifteen buck wines...I had high hopes for the Portuguese Crasto, Douro, 2007. Made from Port grape varietals it comes from a winery that placed an "old vines" wine on the top 100 list for the Wine Spectator last year. Looks like they blew all their good grapes on that wine...this one is just not very good. Medium bodied, sharp, crisp, almost tart red fruit. A little soapy. No finish. Very average. An "OK" wine, should cost half of the $15 it cost.
The next wine is highway robbery. Unusual for this winery - Rutini Wines, Trumpeter, Reserve Tempranillo, 2007 is the culprit in question. Perhaps it is because they are trying to make tempranillo in a place they shouldn't - in Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina? Anyway, this is thin, tart, almost sour - cranberries at best, sour hard candy at worst. So much so it makes you salivate (to protect your mouth, not in anticipation of anything good by golly!!). No pleasure in this. Reserve they say? Crap wine I say. Should be reserved for cleaning your sink. Stay away, not even worth 5 bucks never mind fifteen.

Unfortunately the parade of losers continues. This one is usually good, so another oddity here. Symington's Altano, Douro, 2007
has that initial cheap candy smell that I hate, later some cherries join in. On the palate you initially get a huge blast of white pepper. Medium bodied but almost lean. Cherry fruit but again too candyish. An "OK" wine. This is worlds apart from the Setencostas we had last week, it's only saving grace is that it costs 2 bucks less at $13.

Cheers!! Lets hope we taste something better soon...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fifteen Buck shootout

$15 is an interesting price point for a wine. Less than that, and usually (with some notable exceptions) you get crap. More than that, you expect (but may not get) good stuff. So $15 is a "respectable" starting point for shopping.
I picked up three wines at fifteen a pop and we had them one night after another, so I got to compare them.
#3: The Spanish Montgo, Monastrell-Shiraz, 2004, Yecla has a nice deep burgundy colour. Medium bodied, spicy, a little beef stock mixed in with dark red gum drops and Welch's grape juice. Easy drinking but ultimatley too candyish to be a top notch wine. Tries hard's OK.
#2: From Chile Tarapaca makes a wine from a single vineyard, La Cuesta, a blend of Cab Sauvignon and Syrah. The 2007 has a very strong berry nose, primarily elderberries. This is worth the $15 price alone. Medium-full bodied, intense fruit, very new world style. Red berries and cherries on the palate. The tannins are present but easy to handle. Good wine.
#1: From Portugul comes the winner - Quinta das Sentencostas, Alenquer, 2007. No musty old Portuguese plonk here. This is crisp, fruity (blueberry-blackberry), classy with a long finish. Well done. Good stuff.

Fall is here now - damn!! The leaves are nice but winters coming more long lazy days out on the balcony sipping vino. Like this one. The Argentyine Navarro Correas, Gran Reserva, Malbec 2005 is worth the extra 5 bucks compared to the above three efforts. This could be the smoothest malbec I have every had the pleasure of tasting. Fresh beef and raspberry nose. Juicy redcurrants and pomegranate. There are tannins, but they're very silky. This is such a far cry from French malbec from Cahors.
$20 and they can still put this stuff in NEW French oak casks for 18 months...Wow.


Friday, September 11, 2009

King of the Hill

The Vina Cobos, Bramare, Lujan de Cuyo, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 sets the record for me - it states 14.9% alcohol on the front label but there's an added on sticker on the back that states "16.7% alcohol by volume". This has been plastered on by the LCBO, which tests each of the wines it sells for content (to make sure no-one is posioning the good(?) citizens of Ontario with turpentine or Polonium or something else). Wow. That's high for a wine. King of the Hill. So high the winery doesn't want to advertise it, so they go with "14.9"...kinda like the 99 cent theory.
Yea, but what does it taste like? Pretty darn good it turns out. This is my kind of stuff. Full bodied palate wacker. Rich almost port-like (no kidding!!) in intensity but dry. Cedar, tar, bitter chocolate, prunes, caribbean fruit cake. Long finish. WOW. $39 but you know what, try and find French wine this good for this price.

Right, and now for something completely different. Remo Farina's Montecorna, Valpolicella Ripasso, 2004. Sour cherry nose, medium bodied and very spicy, almost tart. Great acidity for cutting through fatty smoky ribs. Cranberry and Dr. Pepper flavour profile. Good wine. Can't remember, but I think it cost about $20. BTW, Ripasso is a technique where the Venetians take the lees from an Amarone fermentation and referment simpler Valpolicella with this crap, this strengthens the flavour and boosts the alcohol content of the final product. Why not? it's like recycling. for a real treat. You gotta love having a cellar (even if it is a garage). I bought this baby for $19.99 back in 1989 in Philadelphia. You can't find it retail anymore. The Burmester, Vintage Port, 1985 has turned maroon translucent. Slight toffee nose. Syrupy, warm mouth coating texture, very supple and hedonistic feeling. The tannins have smoothed right out (this stuff would have been fire water back in '89). Far from cloying, it is luciously sweet with figs and raisin flavours. Just sit back and slowly devour it....Wow. So, all you lurkers out there, go buy some vintage port from a recent vintage and sit on it for 20 years. You won't be disappointed.
Now here's a rarity - wine from Brazil. I thank Eric for finding this and bringing it to try. The Miolo, Quinta do Seival, Castas Portuguesas, 2005 is more than a novelty. Nice dark purple colour. Not much on the nose. Very old world taste - stewed plums with some earthy portobello mushroom undertones. Medium bodied, some meaty tannins. This is close to being good...a little overpriced at $21 can buy similar wine from the former Brazilian colonialist overlords (ie. Portugal) for cheaper.

Cheers from the last grasshoppers of the summer!!