Wednesday, November 11, 2009


If you look closely at the label on the left, it looks suspiciously like the one I blogged about last you may be wondering, what the heck am I drinking that crap for again? Well, my friendly consultant at the booze shop caught my arm on the way out of his store and said - "You gotta try this stuff. It's the staff favourite". I laughed hard, explaining I had already spat it out in disgust the week before. But on closer inspection, this particular wine is 100% malbec, whereas the previous was a mix of malbec and tempranillo. OK, I'll give the folks who make Fuzion Alta Reserva 2008 another see if this line of wines is universally bad or if the blend is a one-off effort designed to offload some badly made wine. Faint hints of candy on the nose blows off after a while leaving not much to sniff. The palate is light, dried fruit preserves. It seems to thicken up a bit by the next day but is pretty uninteresting. However, this is actually drinkable, miles better than the Malbec-Tempranillo blend, an "OK" everyday plonk. $10. You get what you pay for here.
We tasted the Fuzion head-to-head blind with the Argento, Reserva Malbec, also from Mendoza and also from the 2008 vintage. Another weak nose, this one has hints of plums. Light, spicy, redcurrants is the taste profile. Not much body, plus it fades fast as it leaves the mouth. Again, nothing wrong with it, it's just not very interesting. Another"OK" wine, it beats out the Fuzion by a hair. $13. You can buy better for the price.
How is California Merlot doing? It's been a while, so we uncorked a couple to try. The Clos du Bois, Sonoma Reserve, Merlot, 2006 is from the Alexander Valley. Medium coloured with a nose of chocolate covered strawberries. Medium bodied, supple, candied maraschino cherries, with some spiciness adding a little complexity. This is "OK", more enjoyable than the two malbecs described above, but worth about half of it's $20 price tag.
The Toasted Head, North Coast, Merlot, 2006 is light-medium ruby coloured with a straightforward nose of red fruit and just hints of oak (if you wait long enough). Medium bodied, bright, sharp, sour cherries and subtle hits of vanilla. A simple, "OK" wine. You hardly notice the effects of "toasting" the heads (ends) of the barrels this wine is named for. Disppointing for $20. Ho-hum. Nice label though:


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