Archive for the ‘reds’ Category

2007 Cartlidge & Brown Petite Sirah

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I picked this wine up last weekend at BevMo for 8 or 9 bucks. I’m generally a fan of petite sirah, so I was happy to grab this on sale. The winery is in Napa, but the bottle doesn’t indicate the origin of the grapes.

The blurb on the back of the bottle led me to believe this would be a fairly bold, jammy wine, but it’s surprisingly soft and delicate. There are notes of raspberry, orange blossom, and jasmine, accompanied by soft tannins and a short but pleasant finish. This wine strongly reminds me of some of the better petite sirahs I’ve had from wineries like David Bruce. 91 points.


2008 Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Another Trader Joe’s pick for $7, this was actually the second bottle I’ve had as I enjoyed the first one. I don’t have much else to say by way of context, so I’ll just get on with the review.

Despite clocking in at a fairly modest 13.5% ABV, there’s a noticeable bit of alcohol on the nose, but also hints of plum and rose hips. There’s a good balance of sweetness and acidity, plus additional notes of blackberry, raspberry, and jasmine. There are more tannins than I’d expect from a petite sirah, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it lingers on the palette in a good way. Obviously at this price and age it’s not the most complex wine in the world, but it’s a great everyday drinking wine that works well with pasta dishes or grilled meats. 89 points.


Maggio 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I picked this up today at World Market for $8 on sale. I’ve been into the Italian varietals lately, and this seemed like an interesting bottle. Old vine zins since to be all the rage lately, as I’ve seen many other bottles around lately.

As an old vine zin, I was fully expecting this to be a fruity and jammy wine, but the Maggio went well beyond my expectations. There are notes of black cherry, plum, and raspberry, along with pleasantly soft tannins, but the wine is dominated by its jammy thickness. It seems like it might open up and thin out a bit given a few more years in the bottle, but that sugar won’t go away. While there’s a lot to like here, the sweetness and viscosity keep me from giving it more than 87 points.


2008 le Mas des Flauzières

Monday, March 7th, 2011

This was the other half of the case along with the Kumeu River I reviewed a while back. It’s a Côtes du Ventoux, which is part of the Rhône Valley, and is their La Réserve du Péreyras offering which is estate bottled at 12.5% ABV. I was slightly surprised to find that the wine comes with a screw top, but that’s increasingly common for wines that aren’t meant for long-term aging, even from more traditional wine producing regions.

This is a classic Côtes du Rhône style wine. I would have guessed it’s a blend of syrah and grenache, but according to the estate’s web site they grow syrah and cinsault. It’s fairly light bodied and fairly dry on the nose, while the palette is tart, fruity, and medium-dry. There are notes of strawberry, blackberry, and pomegranate, with a long finish that’s slightly herbal and grassy. I’ve had it with a few different meals and the best pairing was unsurprisingly steak, though other red meat dishes also work well. While this isn’t a classic wine to cellar for decades, it’s drinkable and complex at a young age, representing a modern take on a classic French style. 90 points.


2009 Altovinum Evodia

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I’ve seen this wine around in a few stores, and I think I even bought a bottle a year or so ago. I got this one from Whole Foods for $8 or $9 a few weeks ago. It’s 100% grenache from Spain and comes in a bottle with a very modern, design-y label. One other thing to note is that the wine is a somewhat high 15% alcohol by volume.

The Evodia is rather full-bodied and jammy for a grenache, though the nose is light and floral like most other grenaches I’ve had. Perhaps owing to the high alcohol content, it’s fairly dry and astringent. There’s definitely some blackberry, cherry, and plum, with a little pepper and even a hint of vanilla on the finish. It’s not the most complex wine ever, and probably wouldn’t improve that much with age, but it’s a pleasant and approachable wine that’s great on its own or with strongly flavored foods like pizza or tapas. 86 points.


Vintjs Garnacha 2008

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I’m not quite sure how you’re supposed to pronounce Vintjs, but I was curious to try this wine since I haven’t seen much garnacha (grenache) at bargain prices ($6 from Trader Joes in this case). This wine is actually a blend of grenache, cabernet sauvigon, syrah, and merlot, but at 80% grenache I won’t begrudge the labeling.

Most Spanish reds I’ve had were primarily tempranillo, which probably says more about my exposure to Spanish wine than anything. This reminds me strongly of some Côtes du Rhônes I’ve had, which isn’t that surprising since many of those wines are primarily grenache as well. The Vintjs is light to medium bodied with notes of blackberry and plum, with a bit of pepper on the finish. It’s an approachable, easy-to-drink wine that still has character, and it should pair well with a wide variety of dishes from roast chicken to grilled lamb. 89 points.


Sincerity Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

This was actually the first case deal I got from Blanchard’s at $5.50 per bottle back in March. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the time, but it seemed like a good value for a 7 year old Bordeaux-style blend. It’s 55% merlot and 45% cabernet sauvignon and made from organically grown grapes in the Colchagua Valley in Chile. It’s also a small production wine, with just 3300 cases made (and each bottle is numbered).

The first thing you notice about this wine is that it’s thick, dark, and jammy (and it throws a lot of sediment so you might want to filter and decant it). It’s well integrated and definitely around its peak age, a wine that should be consumed within the next two years or so. There are notes of blackberry, raspberry, chocolate, and a slight hint of honey, with a great balance of tannins, acidity, and fruit. It’s definitely a full-bodied wine best served with rich dishes such as roasts and stews or a strong-flavored steak like ribeye or porterhouse. I’m going to agree with Wine Enthusiast here and give it 90 points.


La Loggia Barbera D’Alba 2009

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I wanted to grab a bottle of ballsy Italian red and noticed this on the shelf at Trader Joe’s for $7 (I think). I was a bit suspicious of the bottle’s claim that it goes well with seafood, but decided to forge ahead nonetheless.

We opened this bottle with a very basic pasta dish, and I was a bit worried at first – the cork was very moist, and the nose was a bit acidic. The first taste, however, revealed that my concerns were unfounded. The wine is young, bold, and jammy with a strong note of raspberry and a pleasingly long finish. It was great with pasta and would go well with red meat as well, and I can even see, with it’s strong flavor but relatively light body, how it could pair well with heartier seafood dishes. This is a nice, versatile wine that recalls some of the better sangioveses I’ve had and will definitely look for again. 88 points.


Rio Seco Malbec 2009

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

This was another inexpensive wine from Whole Foods, coming in at 5 or 6 bucks (I bought this a few weeks ago and don’t remember the exact price). There was also a Chardonnay by the same label that we drank a couple weeks ago, which I was not terribly impressed by. As such, I can’t say I was expecting much from this bottle, and half though I’d pour it down the drain.

Once I actually tasted it, however, I was pleasantly surprised. There’s not a lot of complexity, but it’s a good, well balanced, very drinkable table wine. All the basic qualities of a good wine are present in good proportions, there just isn’t the depth of flavor you’d get in a high-end bottle. It’s dry without being astringent, fruity without being sweet, and has a nice medium body with notes of black cherry and pepper. It would work well with a wide variety of red meat dishes or a richer poultry or pork dish. With the price of malbecs having shot up in the last few years, this one is still a solid value. 83 points.


Harthill Farms Cabernet Sauvignon (NV)

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

The last time I was at Whole Foods they had Harthill Farms Cabernet and Chardonnay for $4 each. While Trader Joe’s always has a number of wines for that price, it’s a bit unusual to find at Whole Foods, so naturally I had to try a bottle of the Cab. Just as I’m writing this I’ve noticed that there isn’t a vintage listed on the bottle, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising for $4 wine.

While the wine isn’t great by any means, it’s not bad either. It’s definitely a step up from Charles Shaw, and something I could see using as a house wine. A relatively fruit-forward, low-tannin cab, it has a light body with notes of strawberry, and a crispness that seems more like a Gamay than a cab. We had it with pizza, which worked well, as would many pasta dishes or burgers. It’s not something I’d pull out for a fine meal, but it works quite well as an everyday wine. Given the price, I’ll be generous and give it 80 points.