Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bubbly Recommendations?

Michelle posted this to "Make a Suggestion," but I thought it deserved its own thread:

"Anyone doing a sparkling wine or champagne review for the BIG night? I had Christmas Eve a Jacobs Creek Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Brut Cuvee. Nice, easy drinking bubbly. Not in the least bit dry. I do enjoy a nice prosecco or occasional champagne too..but who doesn't! anyone have a recommendation for, say, under $50?"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finca Antigua Petit Verdot 2006

Peanutman posted this in the Make a Suggestion thread, but I think it deserves a separate post, even though it’s no longer in stock.  As it happens, Kelly and I just had an excellent Australian Petit Verdot last night, though not the one that is currently available at ANBL.  This seems to be a grape worth looking out for.  Anyone else had a Petit Verdot recently?  Anyone have more comments on the de Bortoli Vat 4 that ANBL carries?

— Peanutman’s Review —

Just wondering if anyone bought the Finca Antigua Petit Verdot 2006 at the Wine Festival. I had my first bottle tonight. Too bad NBLC doesn't have any in stock. Wow. what a good wine. Very blackberry ish and smooth to boot. A little tannic but not much. Probably perfect time to drink it. I don't remember what I paid, probably around $20. Smell is simply beautifully fruity, like something you would want to have on your toast in the morning. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 and I would say that it was better than the Australian Petit Verdot available at NBLC. Simply enjoyable.

Value 4.5/5
UPC: No longer available.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Warwick Trilogy 2004

Even though this wine isn't available any more, it's always interesting to find out what a few years of age will do to a wine, especially for the next time you're thinking of buying this style.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Opened this with a South African neighbor. Popped and drank. Beautiful cork.

Nose- Cassis, stewed cherries, vanilla, oak, coconut and anise. Some aromas of green coffee beans. It really smelled great- that 'fine wine smell'- long deep nose.

Taste- Loads of Oaky vanilla, white chocolate and Coconut lathered over a cherry stew. Nice mineral or green apple acidity and abundant chewy tannins. And pithy green peppers. Some astringent coffee notes latte on the palate. The finish went on forever.

Overall- A really special wine that was drank far, far too early- reminded me of an earlier version of Don Melchor, before it became an over extracted Parker wine. If anyone still has these, please hide them for at least another 3-5 yrs.

Price: Sale wine 2-3 yrs ago- about $40Value: 4/5
Score: 93
Region: South Africa- Stellenbosch
Grape: 55% Cabernet, 34% Cab Franc, 10% Merlot
Alcoho: 14.5%
UPC: No longer available

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Gewürztraminer 2006

A friend brought this over recently for Norman's 48 3/4 birthday. It's a great find. The nose is particularly lovely and full, with citrus - particularly grapefruit - as well as apricot, spices,

and minerals. The wine is viscous on the palate, and very slightly sweet, and crisp and very long. The only negative is that there's a noticeable bitterness throughout. The blurb on the label advertises "full grapefruit flavours," and in fact it does taste quite a lot like grapefruit, right down to that characteristic bitter edge.

Decent Gewürztraminer isn't so easy to find at any price, and this one is great value at $16.99. Also, I patriotically like its Canadian origin; it's from the Okanagan.

Price: $16.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 89
Alcohol: 13%
Region: Canada
UPC: 778876128936

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Torrelongares Tinto Garnacha 2008

This is the other half of Iron Chef’s twofer Grenache review. This is more like what I’d expect for the price.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Nose- Dried herbs, like a greenish tobacco. Some woody popsicle notes. Hot cherries with some plasticine aromas.
Taste- Chalky sour cherries- like drywall plaster. Some green pepper veggies tastes late on the finish.
Overall- not my favourite style of wine, but it was good to try opposite the Borsao.

Price: $12.99
Score: 81
Value: 1/5
Region: Spain, Carinena
Alcohol: 13%
UPC #8424659010067

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stag's Hollow Renaissance Meritage 2005

This review bends the rule that this blog is about NB wines – but it doesn’t quite break it. This wine is available to New Brunswickers, but not from ANBL. You have to order it directly from the winery, with a one case (mixed) minimum order. I got this bottle from friends who did that - it was their last bottle, but they were moving and couldn’t take it with them.

In any event, it was very curious for a Meritage, but delicious. It is medium to light bodied, with a striking floral / potpourri nose. Well balanced with excellent complexity and good length. I can’t help but compare it with the Osoyoos Larose because they are both Bordeaux blends from the Okanagan. I actually like the Stag’s Hollow better than the more famous the Osoyoos Larose – but it’s not really a good comparison because the wines are so different. Given that they’re roughly the same blend, I would love to know more about the wine making techniques involved - I would never guess that they are the same grape if I tasted them blind.

On a related note, we hardly ever review Bordeaux wines on this blog. For me, it’s because the few that I’ve tried seem very overpriced. I’d appreciate it if anyone could give me a tip on a good Bordeaux at a reasonable price that is available at ANBL.

Price: $30
Value: 5/5
Score: 93
Grape: 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc
Region: BC

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Borsao Joven 2008

A 91 score for $13!? I'm going to have to try one and see for myself. Luckily, there are about a billion bottles of this left in the province.

BTW, Chef sent this to me as part of a twofer, but I'm going to post the other review separately.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Nose- Dried Herbs, Cloves, sage, spearmint and tobacco. An interesting smell of grape seeds. Lots of candy apples from the Frex.
Taste- Hot Chocolate and cherries. Some grenadine but good balance of acidity /tannins and sweetness. Very clean finish, a little short.
Overall- Certainly the better of the two Garnachas. I really enjoyed the Borsao. I will be adding a number of these to the cellar for the holidays.

Price: $13.29
Score: 91
Value: 5/5
Region: Spain, Campo de Borja
Alcohol: 13.5%
Grape: 70% Garnacha, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Tempranillo
UPC: 8412423120036

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Undurraga Sibaris Carmenere Reserva Especial 2007

The back label says this wine is dedicated to the citizens of Sibaris “an ancient city recognized for the refinement of its residents.” Well, they’ll be turning over in their 2500 year old graves if they can hear their names used to endorse this wine, which is overwhelming characterized by what Kelly simply calls “that cheap wine smell.” This stuff is truly terrible. The Partager from Barton & Guestier ($11/litre) that I’ve been using for cooking after it has been sitting opened on my kitchen counter for a week is better than the Sibaris. I’m not kidding. I gave them both to Kelly to taste blind and she agreed. I wouldn’t use the Sibaris for cooking. In fact, I didn’t. The sauce I was making needed red wine, but I wasn’t going to poison it with this stuff. Maybe it will improve with age – I’ll never know, because I won’t let any of it pass my lips again. This is a Wine Expo wine, and luckily for everyone, there’s hardly any left. Blech.

Price: $20.29
Value: 0/5
Score: 75
Grape: Carménère
Region: Chile, Colchagua Valley
UPC: 7804315001997

Friday, December 4, 2009

Te Ata Po Malbec Reserve 2008

According to this article, Sonia Carpenter and David Craw are local winemakers (Motts Landing Vineyard) who made this particular wine while wintering in New Zealand. Here’s what Iron Chef’s had to say about it.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

A local -ish wine that I just had to try.

Nose- Gamey like duck or partridge. Blueberry compote, cedar and butterscotch and vanilla aromas. Complex.

Taste- Great acidy for a red- a food wine. Mineral quality that I have come to expect from NZ wines. Medium tannins. Very drying finish. Some medicinal and herbal notes. Good dark blueberry fruit.

Overall Sonia Carpenter and David Craw of local winery, Motts Landing have produced an exciting wine that is very complex and multi-layered. I will be a regular buyer of this wine. Just Super.

Price: $19.99
Value 5/5
Score: 92
Price: New Zealand- Gisborne
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 400008150194

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sandalford Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Australian wines generally are known for being "big." That can be a good thing, depending on your tastes, but sometimes it just gets overdone, and they end up with "big" but lose everything else.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Smell- Very deep and complex. Herbs of ground cloves, dried sage and mint. Nice coconut aromas mixed in with the oak and densely extracted cherry stew.
Taste- Compared to nose, it was a little disappointing and almost boring. Cassis and cherry brandy. Loads of dark fruit. Palate numbing heaviness.
Overall- it started great, but the palate was too thick without much more than cherry brandy.

Price: $32.48
Score: 83
Value: 1/5
Region: Australia, Margaret River
Alcohol: 14.5%
UPC: 9312175008011

Monday, November 30, 2009

Michelino Veglio Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba 2007

It's not so often now that we have a varietal that hasn't yet made an appearance on this blog, but this Dolcetto is one. Dolcetto is the third grape of Piedmont, after Nebbiolo and Barbera. It is meant to make wines for early drinking, soft, with flavours of cherry. Unfortunately this example had a nose of Ozonol (phenol) and a sour finish. I suppose you might imagine the finish was sour cherries, but cherries or not, it wasn’t particularly appealing. An interesting contrast with the Nebbiolo d’Alba from the same producer.

Price: $15.49
Value: 2/5
Score: 83
Region: Italy, Piedmont
Grape: Dolcetto
UPC: 877559000702

Friday, November 27, 2009

Don David Malbec 2007

While the rest of us are finally back to red wine, we haven't forgotten Iron Chef. I've noticed this wine on the shelves, but haven't tried it yet. Iron Chef liked it, but I must say that from the description it doesn't sound like my style.

BTW, anyone try any more of the Wine Expo wines? There are still some around, though they seem to be disappearing fast. Let's hear your views on these wines before they're gone!

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose- Deep aromas of extracted cherries and cassis. The oak smelled wonderful also. Great Opening to this wine.
Taste- Dark fruit, cherries mixed in with a warm wood palate. Reminded me of a good Aussie Shiraz- some Cherry Cola mixed in with a Cherry Blossom chocolate bar. Long rich finish.
Overall- Very thick and complex fruit forward bomb. A bottle from Kelly at the Blue Door.

Price: $16.99
Score: 90
Value: 4.5/5
Region: Argentina, Cafayate Valley
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 7790189001129

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cantele Alticelli 2008

Oz Clarke calls Fiano an "extremely interesting" southern Italian grape that at its best is weighty and honeyed with flowers and spice. I'm afraid I didn't get much of that. I had this at the same party as the Cister da Ribera, which was a hands down favourite over Alticelli. Again, the notes are sketchy, but this came across as a fairly nondescript white wine with a bit of a sour finish. Drinkable, but not more.

Price: $21.29
Value 2/5
Score: 85
Region: Italy, Salento
Grape: Fiano
UPC: 8009015040508

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quinta do Ventozelo Cister da Ribeira 2008

Had this wine at a party, so these notes are sketchy, but everyone who tried it agreed that it was a real winner. It was well balanced - good acidity without being sharp or sour - and bursting with a bundle of fruit. You could taste the grapey Muscat, but there was plenty of other stuff going on. A steal at the price. A Wine Expo product and not much left.

Price: $ 13.49
Value 5/5
Score: 89
Region: Portugal, Douro
Grape: 30% Muscat, 20% Viosinho, 20% Arinto, 20% Fernao Pires, 10% Gouveio (Verdelho)
UPC: 5601109213107

Monday, November 23, 2009

Loredona Pinot Grigio 2007

It's not really white wine season any more, but this sounds like a good one. If I can just convince Kelly to make sushi for me this weekend, this sounds like a perfect match.

--- Michelle's Review ---

Loredona Pinot Grigio - Monteray, CA $21.79

I had to review a white. This time of year our thoughts turn to the warm spicy, cockle warming reds. So before we turn ourselves over to the reds, I am going to review my pick for WHITE OF THE YEAR. I do not give accolades that easily. I need to be swayed and wooed. This wine swayed and wooed me to the top of the list. Who would have thought California could produce anything white that wasn't a Chardonnay! Ok maybe I am being to hard on Cali but like most of us, I got tired of that scene long ago. So here it is a Pinot Grigio. I find sometimes a pinot grigio is non descript. Chilled too much and it loses any kind of structure or flavor. Hmm..tastes like water. So this one being premo-chilled had amazing nose and palette. I felt transported to a warm spring night with everything in bloom. Clean and floral. The taste of crisp apples and orange blossoms with a finish of ginger and vanilla. Nothing was overpowering but subtle and clean. What a wonderful Pinot Grigio! This was fantastic. Have this with mussels in a light cream sauce perhaps good sushi or a lobster roll!

Dear Santa: I have been a good girl this year. My only wish is that you help Don build me a wine cellar in the basement or at least a wine fridge. I will take the fridge actually. Preferably with separate climate controlled sections for white and red. Thank you, Santa. I will leave your typical glass of Chianti Classico Reserve and chocolate truffle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mazzei Poggio Alla Badiola 2006

For me, this is another value pick. The nose is full of ripe, dark berries, violets, cloves, juniper, and licorice on. All of that follows on the palate, which is clear and long and characterized by puckering tannins from mid to finish. Its character is distinctly Italian. Even at only 30%, the Merlot really seems to round out the Sanviovese, which I find can be a bit thin and acidic.

Price: $ 19.79
Value 4/5
Score: 90
Region: Italy, Tuscany
Grape: Sangiovese, Merlot
UPC: 8016118241053

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Concha y Toro - Winemakers Lot 148 & Lot 54

A two-for-one review from Michelle.

--- Michelle's Review ---

Concha y Toro - Winemakers Lot 148 Carmenere - Chile $19.79

A two for one review! Since they were both from Concha y Toro, I thought I would do them together. First, the Carmenere. For some reason I get a certain thrill out of a beautiful violet, inky colored wine being poured into my glass. It gives a possible introduction to the nose and the palette will be. This one did not disappoint. My boyfriend, who will tell you right off the bat that he has no palate for this type of thing, said it was a "nice wine". Nice indeed! Beautiful on the nose with violets and chocolate. It had a deep dark fruit, coffee and balanced out with almost a fruit cake finish. Not last year's fruit cake but one that's warm and just out of the oven and topped in a butterscotch sauce. I really enjoyed this one. I am going to Dieppe to get some more before its gone. The price is definitely doesn't justify such a great wine. For $19.79 I suggest you pick up a few more. For dinner, I braised the roast beef in this wine with some chicken stock, garlic, onions and thyme. After the roast was done, I then added some sautéed mushrooms and lots of black pepper to make a reduction. WOW! Maybe it was the beef, maybe it was the wine, but the combination was dead on.

Concha y Toro Winemakers Lot 54 Syrah - Chile $19.79

Now the Syrah. I wouldn't say this was a typical syrah. It seems the Chilean's have a different idea on what that should be. Again, I was impressed. Of course the nose had the pepper and anise of a syrah. But on the palette it has a wonderful structure. Beautifully balanced chocolate, coffee, ending in a strawberry/plum finish. Again, an excellent price for a really great wine. Now to pick up more….

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thirty Bench Red 2007

I grew up in southern Ontario with no idea that there was anything in Beamsville but a few cows. So imagine my surprise to discover that the area can also produce a pretty decent Bordeaux type blend. The nose is mostly blackberries, cedar, and wood smoke. These follow through on the palate, which is full and smooth and finishes with tannins that are firm but not obtrusive. We had it with squash gnocchi with tomato sauce and spicy Mexican beef stew, and it definitely paired much better with the gnocchi. Great value.

Price: $22.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 88
Alcohol: 13.4 %
Region: Canada
Grape: 55% Cabernet Franc; 40% Cabernet Sauvignon; 5% Merlot
UPC: 048162011724

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Michelino Veglio Nebbiolo d‘Alba 2005

The most interesting wines on Iron Chef’s list don’t seem to be available in F’ton, but a selection from the Wine Expo has made its way here. This Nebbiolo d’Alba looked interesting, so I picked it up for a dinner party last night. I can only give general impressions, since I was drinking it at a party, but I was very pleased with what it delivered. The nose was delightful - distinctly floral (it would be traditional to say roses, knowing it is a Nebbiolo, but I will just leave it at ‘floral’) with bright fruit - cherries. Recognizably Nebbiolo. The structure was very clean and drinkable - the tannins were subdued and enough acidity to make it crisp without being too sharp. It didn’t have the leather / tar and richer floral notes that are associated with a good Barolo. Maybe those will come with age - or not. In any event, it’s not a Barolo, and it's not priced like one, so you can’t ask too much. This is distinctive, well made and reasonably priced. I think I’ll get a few more bottles for everyday drinking.

Price: $18.79
Value 4/5
Score: 88
Region: Italy, Piedmont
Grape: Nebbiolo
UPC: 877559000405

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wine Expo

I wasn't able to attend the Wine Expo last week, as I was away. Anyone spot any winners? (or losers?)

Count on Iron Chef to have something to say - here are his brief notes on the Wine Expo:

--- Iron Chef's Notes ---

Pierre Sparr Extrem - Table 3
I think this was the Riesling- highlighter on the label, fresh crisp minerals and tropical fruits- very nice

Pierre Sparr Sublima- Table 3
Very nice Gewurztraminer- mango and passion fruit, balanced acidity surprisingly.

Sandhill Syrah- Table 4
Had all the bombastic fruit flavors, but there was some old world leather tastes that where nice.

Peller Estates Ice Cuvee- Table 4
Fun sweeter bubbles.

Erasmo 2005 Chile- Table 9
I had heard a lot about this, and it was ok, but for $29, I thought it needed more depth of taste.

Nearco Sant Antimo IGT 2004- Table 9
Wow, this had what you would expect for $47, dark fruit, mushrooms, leather, and tannins. This was really great.

Diemersfontein Pinotage 2008, $29
Aromas of burnt rubber and tasted like elastics.

Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc- Table 13
I like Chenins, but this one was flabby even for them.

Ardhuy La Cabotte Garance 2005 $26.79- Table 14
Great favours, ripe fruit, some tannins and great oak.

Ardhuy La Cabotte Gabriel 2006, $34
A bit more in your face than the Garance, more Grenadine sweetness.

Ardhuy Savigny Aux Clous 2006 $46
Wonderful Pinot Noir, deep tastes and aromas, more milk chocolate than I would have guessed.

Ardhuy Corton Renardes 2006, $116
Compared to a rich wine like the Savigny, this was an absolute monster, the finish lasted for 15 miinutes.

Beringer Knights Valley Alluvium Rouge 2005 $54 - Table 17
I was interested to try this, quite sweet with surprisingly like structure.

Mezzacorona Riserva Teroldego Rotaliano $19- Table 19
First time I had a Teroldego - smelled very pungent almost acrid, good fruit. I liked it.

Torres Mas La Plana 2005, $46
Highly structured, dusty tannins- enjoyed it.

Ventisquero Pangea 2006, $52- Table 21
Highly extracted, syrupy, great aromas, maybe too heavy.

Oreno IGT 2006 $81- Table 24
Very nice wine, deep aromas and long finish.

Saia IGT 2006, $36
Never had good success with Nero d'Avola, I always found them too acidity, chewing on an old style foil potato chip bag. This one was no different

Parducci Zinfandel- Table 26
Really nice Zin, tobacco and dry herbs favors.

Pio Cesare Altro Chardonnay Table 29
Great Chardonnay- lemony buttery fruit

Pio Cesare Langhe Nebbiolo 2006 $46
Very approachable Nebbiolo, good tannins but not astringent. Dried Roses and black tea.

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG 2003, $85
Again very approachable as a young wine, maybe to much. Has the price on this stuff just takeoff ?

Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2007, $20.49- Table 34
One of the best wines of the show for me. Beautiful red fruit, nice tannins and great aromas of fresh herbs and coffee. 60% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged for one year in oak barrels

Poggio al Tufo Alicante 2007, $27.79
Made from Alicante Bouschet grapes- beautiful colour, some bubble gum flavors and mocha coffee. Just loved this stuff.

Donnafugata Mille una Notte 2006, $75- Table 35
Again, had a tough time with the acidity of this wine. Just didn't enjoy it.

Winemakers Lot 115 Cabernet- Table 39
Solid wine. Good Cab like mint and chocolate.

Winemakers Lot 148 Carmenere
Peppery and fun, good rich oak also.

Winemakers Lot 54 Syrah
Very flavorful and some gamey aromas.

d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie 2007, $29- Table 52
Full on Coke Cola taste with an interesting aromas - very impressed with this

Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc- Table 54
Looking forward to a Cab Franc, but this was so dominated by Green Peppers.

Valdivieso Caballo Loco $66
Didn't really think much of it, flat, somewhat boring.

Rivetto Ce Vanin Barbaresco 2006, $54- table 57
Great aromas of Dried flowers and dark oak. Still really tight. Lots of Tannins.

Rivetto Leon Barolo 2005, $81
Really tight, loads of drying tannins- Young Barolo, but my favorite Barolo of the show.

Finca Antigua Petit Verdot- Table 58
Beautiful Purple colour - great taste of red liquorish.

Travaglini Coste Sesia 2007, $24- Table 61
Very approachable nebbiolo, dry herbs and back tea. Tannins were there in force but manageable.

Travaglini Gattinara 2004 $37
Classy wine, deep cassis and the tell-tale favors of that region. Just Super

Travaglini TreVigne Gattinara 2004, $57
This was tight, and tannic. But also rich like cocao powder- this would be really interesting in 10+ years.

Clos Triguedina Petit Clos 2006 $23- Table 65
One of the surprises of the show was how good the little Probus was. Medicinal favors mixed in with Black bart chewing gum.

Clos Triguedina Probus 2005 $57
Dark Fruit, Black liquorish, strong tannins. Super Cahors.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

St. Urbans-Hof Riesling 2008

Nose of wet wool and citrus
Viscous and crisply acidic on the palate

Price: $19.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 90
Alcohol: 9.5%
Region: Germany
UPC: 4013231000684

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mission Hill Five Vineyards Chardonnay 2007

I’ve mentioned before that our wine drinking follows strong seasonal patterns: white in the summer, red in the winter. We do occasionally drink white in the winter – especially with Kelly’s fantastic homemade sushi.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Nose- Peaches, Pear and Pineapple with some sugar dusted flowers- lilacs maybe.
Taste- Peaches in syrup. Vanilla and oak. Good Crisp acidity. Some nutmeg also.
Overall a very dependable white that is always the same. A tad bit expensive compared to the Chileans.

Price: $17.99
Value: 2.5/5
Score: 88
Alcohol: 13.5%
Region: Canada, British Columbia
UPC: 776545995148

Friday, October 16, 2009

E.Guigal Crozes Hermitage 2002

This vintage is no longer available at ANBL, but there is plenty of a subsequent vintage. (The ANBL website says it’s the 2004, but we all know the vintage info on the website is not very reliable.) Since ‘02 was the worst vintage in years, whatever vintage is available stands a good chance of being even better. (Depending on how it has been stored - from what I’ve seen, storage at ANBL isn’t always ideal.) Anyway, has anyone tried the currently available vintage?

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Received this as a Christmas gift and I was a little leery of the vintage (RP gave Northern Rhone 78 for the 2002 vintage). Decanted for 1 hour.
Sight- heavy bricking to brownish tints.
Nose- Cigarette ash, white pepper, Wild Blueberries and raspberries. Other aromas of tar and other petrol scents. Intense nose.
Taste- Dark berries, rasp and blue. Lots of fruit. Good Acidity and tannins. Wet Stone. Mocha espresso and warm oak. Long finish.
Overall- really surprised by the depth of taste in this wine. It had a lot going one. This did not taste old or worn out. Great Wine, but I suspect that this is as good as this is going to get, the sight of the wine suggests that it may start to decline soon. Great Cork.
Drink' em if you got 'em.

Price: $32.29
Value 4/5
Score: 93
Region: France, Northern Rhone
Grape: Syrah
Alcohol: 12.5%
UPC: 3536650801003

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2006

I thought this was a new grape to me - but according to Oz Clarke, it is just the Sardinian name for Grenache.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Decanted for 45 minutes.
Never had a wine from Sardinia before. The grape is the original Grenache that was later imported to Rhone and other places. This winery has been producing this wine since 1899.

Nose: Leather, earth, barnyard and root vegetables. Some oak and orange liquor notes. Rose petals and Port-like oxidized aromas.
Taste: Rustic. Sour cherries, menthol and dusty tannins. Cloves and black tea. Tastes like an austere Chianti. Chalky acidity. The palate is hollow in spots. Delicate tastes.
Overall the nose was much better than the taste. There just wasn't enough fruit to support the dusty tannins, felt unbalanced and hollow. Interesting to try.

PS Robert Noel's wine of the week.

Price: $24.29
Value: 2/5
Score: 83
Grape: Cannonau / Grenache
Region: Italy, Sardinia
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 8006725100256

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pierre Sparr Reserve Gewurztraminer 2008

We seems to be having a mini-Pierre Sparr tasting, with our review of the Schoenenbourg a couple of weeks ago. Nothing wrong with that - Alsatian whites are some of my favourites.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Paired this with some Asian Noodles and Scallops with cilantro sauce.
Sight- Golden Yellow.
Nose- Mango and pineapple bomb. Great fruit forward nose. Some honey and flowers also.
Taste- Mango gelato. An interesting cooling sensation on the palate. Lots of mouth watering acidity. Apple pie spices. Good minerals too. Kind of Boozy.
Overall a really great wine. Where did all this acidity come from, wasn't expecting that. Perfect with Asian spicy food.

Price: $26.99
Value: 3.5/5
Score: 92
Region: France, Alsace
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 3263530020819

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wine Expo

I thought I'd start a thread to discuss the upcoming Wine Expo (even though, unfortunately, I will be out of town). Anon has pointed out that there seems to be a focus on Italy, which is welcome - if I could only drink wine from one country, it would certainly be Italy, yet the current ANBL offerings are a bit slim.

Personally, I am generally not much of a fan of straight Sangiovese wines, including Brunello as well as Chianti. (Although I did once have a Chianti Classico that got a 94 from WS, and it truly was fantastic and excellent value at $42). We vacationed once in Tuscany and even there I thought the Brunellos were over-priced - that makes me think I'm just not a fan of the style.

I tend to like what the Italians do with international grapes, and I'm also a fan of their indigenous grapes. If nothing else, the variety is interesting. I notice that there is at least one straight Sagrantino, a grape that I have never had before. Oz Clarke's guide makes it sound very interesting. He says it was traditionally "austerely tannic, but better vinification has helped round out the fruit, and it is clear that this is a grape with a good deal of personality."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pierre Sparr Schoenenbourg Grand Cru Riesling 2001 Redux

Posting another review of a wine we’re already reviewed is cheating a bit - but that’s what we were drinking, and Kelly didn’t know what it was or that we’d already reviewed it.

Here are her notes:

Wet wool, citrus, and something spicy on the nose - white pepper and cloves, maybe? Very smooth and viscous on the palate. Nicely balanced and crisply acidic. Finishes on a slightly sharp note, but it's not an unpleasant sharpness. Initially I didn't detect the petrol note common in Riesling, but I think a subtle one developed over the evening.

Kelly gave it a score of 92 (without any prompting by me), which is the same as WS gave it. Interesting, since I was underwhelmed the first time and gave it an 88. I liked it well enough, but I still didn’t love it. Very well made and some good flavours, but just not the ‘wow’ factor that I want for a 92. Maybe it was just a bit too subtle for me. I let Kelly finish my glass.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Monte Antico 2006

Good reviews, bad reviews, mediocre reviews - they're all helpful. Here is one of the latter.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

I recently got an email about this wine rating it 90 pts from WS and I thought it would be fun to try.

Nose- Earthy, mushrooms and caramel. Some bright cherry fruit mixed in with oak.

Taste- Nice earthy favours with good oak. Restrained cherries with chocolate and coffee tastes. Some hollowness in the mid-palate. The finish was longer than expected.

Overall- The earthy aromas promised a better wine than the palate delivered. I still liked the wine, didn't love it. If I was going to spend $20 on this, I should have spent and extra $6 on Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella or the Nipozzano Riserva.

Price: $18.79
Score 86
Value 2.5/5
Region: Tuscany
Grape: Sangiovese, Cab, Merlot (12.5%)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wine Expo Tickets

Michelle has reminded us that tickets for the Wine Expo November 2-7, go on sale Saturday. Apparently tickets are available at, but the event doesn't seem to be listed yet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Montalto Nero D'Avola/Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

A nice thing about focusing on ANBL wines is that we can revisit the same wines from one year to the next. Michelle much didn’t like the 2004 vintage of this wine, but Peter says the 2008 is a solid pasta wine and good value at the price. Difference of vintage, or just a difference in taste? If you try it, let us know what you think.

— Peter’s Review —

Nose: Rather subtle nose. Offering up just a tease of floral notes and some
indistinct red fruit.

Taste: Very light body, some vibrant red fruit up front. Noteworthy pronounced acidity, that is kept completely in check and balanced. Background tannins that you get with some prolonged swishing on the palate. Not a whole lot of complexity. Disappears quickly. It paired nicely with a traditional meat lasagna and the usual sides (salad and bread). Overall nice flavor. Not a thinking (wo)man's wine, but enjoyable none-the-less. No heat detectable as in other vintages reviewed.

Commentary: There have been reviews of prior vintages of this wine and some interesting discussion in the comments on this site. One person noted that it got 4th place in the 'killer value' section of this years 'Wine Access' awards amongst hundreds of entries. A rather rare find, in that it is a lighter bodied red that doesn't taste watered down or just nasty. And rare in that it is <$15 and still is balanced and food friendly. I'd keep one around for weeknight pasta meals.

Price: $11.79
Rating: 87
Value: 5/5
Region: Sicily
UPC: 8030423000754

Friday, September 18, 2009

Firesteed Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot strikes me as a good shoulder season wine - too bad Tancred says this one is just a little over-priced to be really good value.

--- Tancred's Review---

This is an unmistakable new world pinot noir. Strawberry flavours on the nose and a fruit forward palate that marks this as new world, reminiscent of a cool climate Australian pinot. Quite dry, maybe even a bit tart on the finish. This is not a great wine, not particularly complex, but it is a well-made pinot if you're in the mood for something in this style. At $25 though, not a bargain.

Price: $24.99
Rating: 85
Value: 3/5
Region: Oregon
UPC: 753526100005

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada 2007

It seems to be the shoulder season for me - too cool for white, too warm for red. Soon, Kelly and I will be back to our regular glass of red in the evening. For now, it's good to know someone out there is still drinking wine - who else but Iron Chef?

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I was intrigued to read the label describing a blend of great Chilean vineyards, Pirque for the Cab and Peumo for the Syrah.
Nose- Warm vanilla oak with lots of Mocha and dark chocolate. A really dense nose of extracted cherries and ripe fruit.
Taste- Heavy and strong. High alcohol scented. Rich dark chocolate and Toasty vanilla oak. Highly extracted dark fruit- raisins and prunes. High Octane.
Overall: Some people that we tasted this with did not care for it, "too over the top" was a common statement. But I like it for what it was, a High Octane fruit bomb, and no nuances here.

Price: $20.99
Value: 3/5
Score: 88
Region: Chile, Maipo Valley
Alcohol: 14.5%
Grape: Cabernet & Syrah Blend
UPC: 7804320272252

Monday, September 7, 2009

Henry of Pelham Reserve Riesling 2006

Peter lives on the Island now, but he does get back to ANBL once in a while. And with this great end of summer weather we’re enjoying, a value priced white.

— Peter’s Review —

I have been on a bit of a riesling kick. So, when I saw this one on sale and recalled reading somewhere it was a solid pick. I thought why not? Coincidentally, I got a winecurrent newsletter last week commenting on the '07 version of this wine. They liked it's balance, fruit and acidity. 4/5 stars.

Nose: Green apple, lemon, and a hint of minerality.

Taste: Most notable is the very dry nature of this wine. It is medium bodied with just of hint of heat. There is a bit of tart green apple fruit coming through. I think it would be likable to someone keen on really dry wine. I like a little more fruit in my wine, so it fell a little short of my expectations. It was ok with a variety of cheeses and crackers.

Price: $12.99 (on sale)
Value: 4/5
Score: 85
Region: Ontario, Canada
UPC: 779376202317

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trio Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Cabernet Franc 2007

Here's a companion to last week's review of the Trio Merlot

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

After the success of the Merlot Trio, I was excited to try this again. Also Norman's blog of astringent Cabs was ringing in my ears.

Nose- Heady with Alcohol. Black currants, Menthol Tobacco. Burnt sugar. Some stemmy aromas.
Taste- Hot and boozy. Bell/Green Peppers, Sun dried tomatoes. Jammy Currants. Sharpe after taste- lots of tannins mixed with resiny oak. Some nice caramel notes.
Decanted for 2 hours.

Overall: I remember a number of years ago doing a Lindeman's Tasting blind- the Merlot, the Cab and even the Pinot Noir were remarkably similar, a certain house style refined the varietals characteristics into one indefinable taste. The Concha Toro wines don't seem to suffer that fate, the Merlot Trio and the Cab Trio are quite different, even though I may like one style much more than the other, I respect their differences.
The astringent qualities of the Cab blend was very evident, the palate was sharp, this was thankfully lessened with food, but present all along. A good example of this maybe Chocolate, it is often assumed that the higher cocoa percentage yields a better chocolate, but I have found that 75% or more cocoa just imparts a bitter flavour. Cabernet, like cocoa, needs other things to tone down the bitter parts, like oak or longer maceration or even Merlot.
I liked this wine, but in comparison to the Merlot Trio, it was lacking.

Retail Price: $15.79
Value: 3.5/5
Score: 86
Region: Chile- Maipo
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 7804320143958

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Las Moras Black Label Malbec 2006

When I received this review, the Las Moras Black Label sounded familiar, so I searched the blog and discovered that Kelly and I had it at the wine show and liked it. Good to have a full review.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Freshly cracked black pepper, powdered Cocoa- like Quick. Raisiny fruit. Powerful and heady- quite a whiff of alcohol.
Taste: Highly extracted jammy black fruit. Cola flavours. Some sweet Grenadine notes. Good strength in the Tannins, somewhat grippy. Tobacco and some medicinal flavours in the end of the palate.
Overall- I enjoyed this, some of the sweeter notes were balanced off by the strong tannins. Thought this had a depth of taste to support the price. I would buy it again. Good choice for bold tasting foods, paired with a Blue Cheese Crusted steak.

Price: $17.99
Value 4/5
Score 89
Region: Argentina, San Juan Valley
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 7791540091889

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trio Merlot Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

This picks up on our recent end-of-summer theme of value-priced reds.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I haven't had this wine forever, and I can't remember why I stopped drinking this.

Nose: Warm Oak, dark/ extracted cherries, Coconut, nutmeg and cloves. Nice white pepper aromas. Very full nose.
Taste: Plumes and other stone/pitted fruits. Nice spicy pepper tastes and sun tan lotion. Really enjoyable and long finish especially for this price range..
Overall a very solid wine that delivers a long finish with interesting aromas. For some reason lately Merlots have been tasting very good to me.
I won't make the mistake of forgetting this wine in the future. I will have to have the Cab blend next.

Price: $15.79
Value: 5/5
Score: 91
Region: Chile - Rapel
Alcohol: 14.5%
UPC: 7804320143941

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Masi Tupungato Passo Blanco 2008

This has not been a good week for me wine-wise. I've had four different wines- why so many? Because I keep pouring them out. A bottle of the Anheuser Riesling was badly corked. Then there was the Masi Rosato. Then a bottle of 89RP rated wine picked up in New Hampshire that was undrinkably wretched. Then this. This wine is made by Masi in Argentina. It is a blend of Pinot Grigio and Torrontes, and that is what it tastes like. But not in a good way. It starts off crisp but neutral, like a typical Pinot Grigio in this price range, but then finishes with a sharp sour sherry (not cherry) taste that I attribute to the Torrontes. Not good. Kelly's reaction to her first sip was "Did you buy this wine to cook with?" Answer: No. For less money I can get a cooking wine that I can actually drink.

Price: $18.79
Score: 78
Value: 1/5
Region: Argentina
UPC: 8002062001768

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Angoves Nine Vines Shiraz Viognier 2007

A brief foray back into red wine. Sad to say, but summer is almost over. But here's a wine to make you feel better about drinking red again.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Ever since the Wolftrap opened my eyes to the Shiraz/Viognier blend, I have been meaning to try this wine.

Nose: Cola- like Dr Pepper. Mint and Asian spice like Sesame seed oil. Vey full and deep nose.
Taste: Plummy with a creamy mouth feel - malolactic fermentation. Good tannins, some gamey notes. Not sweet as I have come to expect with Aussie wines. Warm integrated oak. Long finish that really excels in the mid palate- somewhere that many, many wines go flat or hollow. Very creamy and enjoyable. Food friendly matched well with Korean marinated steaks, balanced.
Overall- didn't love it as much as the Wolftrap, I went bananas over that btw. But I liked it a lot more than most aussie sugar bombs. It was just austere enough for me. I have been picking up nice Australians for a while now, it is beginning to give me some confidence in the area again.

Price: $13.29
Value: 5/5
Score: 90
Region: South Australia
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 9300694347445

Friday, August 21, 2009

Caymus Conundrum

Welcome to Joel, a new contributor! He sent me this review with the comment that “I tune in from time to time and see what people are sipping on so I thought I would take a second and through my hat into the ring with this review.” And a good hat it is, too.

--- Joel's Review ---

As with everyone else these days it seems that whites are the order of the day. Here are my thoughts on the Conundrum.

Produced by Caymus this is one of those "everything but the kitchen sink wines" made up of a number of unnamed grapes.

Day bright moderate gold straw color with watery rim.
Intense nose of stone fruit and perfume and fresh citrus, orange blossom.
Medium plus to full body wine. Fruit forward with moderate plus acidity and moderate plus length on the finish.

Very aromatic white with what I would guess to have a good bit of Viognier and Chardonnay. I'm having a hard time to figure if there is oak or just a lot of texture from malo fermentation.

All in all a good white with lots of guts...a nice alternative to a full Chardonnay. Was great with some simple sea food and citrus flavors.

A bit on the $$ side. Also for me I tend to go towards more lean and crisp styles of white.

Price $35
Value 3/5
Score 87
Region: California
Grape: Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier (other unspecified)
UPC: 017224707134

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Castello Banfi Sant'Antimo Cum Laude 2004

We had this wine blind at a friend’s house last week. This is a change for me as I usually pick the wine from the cellar, so I rarely get to taste blind (while Kelly often does - which is why she is so much better than I am at identifying the wine.)

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah. The style was the nice balance between old world and new that the Italians do so well - I guessed it as either Australian or Italian. I also guessed it was a Cab, while Kelly picked it as having Sangiovese.

After that build up, I have to say that unfortunately, I can’t really give this wine a proper review. It tasted distinctly, though not overwhelmingly, of the astringent taste that sometimes mars a Cab for me. I’m particularly sensitive to this taste. I remember having a Cab one night with about eight other people. Two of us found this taste made the Cab undrinkable, one person could taste it, but it didn’t bother her much, and the other five were completely oblivious to it. Bottom line - I didn’t enjoy this wine much, but I don’t want to blame the wine.

Kelly’s notes are brief as this was a dinner party: “Berries, plums, cedar, wool. A bit hot on the nose. Nice on the palate, finishing with firm tannins.” She rated it 91.

Has anyone else noticed this issue with Cabs? Because of this issue, I’m not going to give it my own score or value rating - I'll just give Kelly's.

Price: $45.99
Score: 91
Value: 3/5
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah
UPC: 8015674440764

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Masi Modello delle Venezie Rosato (Rosé) 2006

This review should be labelled "taking one for the team." I was at ANBL looking for the Dr. Loosen that Iron Chef and Michelle liked. Then I saw this wine and mused about how rosés is underappreciated and a great summer wine etc., so I decided to buy this instead. In a rosé I hope for the fruit of a red and the crispness of a white. Instead I got not much nose and a sour medicinal taste. I was going to blast the wine, but then when I went to write up this note I realized that this was a 2006 - very old for an inexpensive rosé. I think these wines are usually meant to drink immediately on release. I suspect this wine isn't that bad, it's just over the hill. This is two years older than the current vintage at SAQ. ANBL really should have put it on sale at the end of the first year rather than holding over the excess stock. I'll score it without taking that into account - this blog is about wine that we can get here at ANBL, and over the hill is how we're getting it. But keep in mind that the score isn't necessarily a reflection of the inherent quality of the wine.

Price: $14.79
Score: 78
Value: 1/5
Region: Italy
Grape: Refosco and others
UPC: 8002062001706

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dr Loosen Riesling 2008

I think I'll stick with white wines so long as this heat wave keeps up (and as long as I keep getting reviews), so here's another summer wine review from Iron Chef.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Petrol, Tropical fruit - kiwi maybe. Good nose, pleasant aromas.
Taste: Nicely textured, off-dry. Good crispness. More tropical fruit, mango and kiwi. Lots of flavours. Enjoyable wine. Would be nice with Curries, Thai or Indian.

Price: $17.79
Value: 3/5
Score: 87
Region: Germany, Mosel
Alcohol: 8.5%
UPC: 183103000013

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2007

After I got this review from Iron Chef, I ran out to get a bottle of this. But I won't tell you what I thought of it right now - I'll post a comment instead.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

This wine always gets great scores from the Wine press, The Wine Advocate - 91 pts, Wine Spectator 91 pts and such, and I usually try the new vintage as it arrives. Tasted with Lobster Risotto, on NB date eve.
Appearance: Straw yellow with streaks of green.
Nose: Freshly churned butter, Pineapple, Pear and peaches. Some other tropical fruits - papaya maybe? Floral notes also. Some oak and pepper integrated into the various fruit aromas. Deep/ Rich nose with a pile of stuff going on. Just Great.
Taste: Butterscotch and Vanilla, and Tropical Fruits- papaya again and Pear. There was nuttiness also that I didn't smell until I tasted the wine. Honey and pepper mixed in late in the palate to make a great and long finish. Highly textured and beautiful wine.
Overall- This was always a great wine, but in the past the oak notes were first on the palate and now they are last and mixed more with honey. This wine has really advanced over the years, more refined, especially when it comes to integrating the oak into the background of the wine. The one of the best Chardonnays, for that matter, one of the best white wines I have had.

Price: $23.99
Value: 7/5
Score: 94
Region: Chile
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 7804320411149

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pelee Island Winery Gewürztraminer 2008

I’d promised a review of the Bandi Cum Laude for today, but we had a summer white last night and since we’re finally getting some summer, I thought it made more sense to post about that.

I love an off-dry or sweet Gewürz in the Alsatian or German style, with that distinctive lychee nose. I was hoping for a cheaper home-grown version, but this Pelee Island Wine didn’t quite deliver. The bottle claims an aroma of mangoes and peaches, but I didn’t get htat, and I certainly didn’t get the lychee I was hoping for. A bit of petrol - reminded me of a Riesling rather than Gewürz - and a slightly sour finish. About what you’d expect for the price. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced Gewürz, I’d say the Ribeauville Andante is easily worth the extra $5.

Price: $13.49
Value: 3/5
Score: 83
Alcohol: 12.5%
Region: Canada, Ontario
UPC: 777081714842

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Aresti Reserve Pinot Noir 2006

Somehow it's no surprise that Iron Chef is first off the mark with a review to kick off the the new (post-vacation) season. Last night Kelly and I had the Banfi Cum Laude 2004, which we will review on Friday. The hot weather forecast for this week is great white wine weather, so I'll be waiting for more reviews. Remember, post your review in the "Make a Suggestion" thread, or e-mail them to me at nbwines / at / gmail / dot / com.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Herbal, warm oak, some hot flashes and extracted cherries.
Taste: Menthol like Cough syrup and Tooth picks. Way over the top oak with a resiny finish. Red Apple acidity.
Overall- did not enjoy this, tasted a lot like those mint flavoured toothpicks. Seemed to suffer from the same problem that the new Nottage Hill Pinot from Hardys, over oaked to hide inferior fruit. But again what do you expect for under $15 for a Pinot.

Price: $13.99
Value: 1/5
Score: 72
Chile: Curico Valley
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 677855001218

Monday, August 3, 2009


We're back from vacation. Reviews will start again soon - as soon as we drink some wine, or someone out there sends me a review. Don't be shy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fontodi Syrah Case Via 2003

This review is short but sweet.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Tated with Cmacdonald July 25, 2009.
Appearance: clear and clean, mod-strong purple.
Aroma: game-y, spicy, coconut, dark chocolate. Pleasant, intense and complex. Raw steak. Reminded me of aussie shiraz. Wow.
Taste: lots of acidity, chocolate, coconut, dark cherries, rich. Long finish-- Great Wine.

Price: $38.00 (sale price) - no longer available
Value: 5/5
Score: 95
Alcohol: 14%
Region: Tuscany, Italy
Tasted: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Acadie Prestige Chardonnay

If we post reviews of white wine, do you think that will make the sun appear?

--- Michelle's Review ---

Now is the time for white! Typically this summer I have been surrounding myself with Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs. But rejoice! I have expanded my horizons and hopped on another white bandwagon. Can you believe, a chardonnay! It seems people where chardonnayed out from the boom a few years ago. Where if it wasn't a California chardonnay it wasn't worth your time …kinda like the Aussie Shiraz ship. Its sailed! SO..I am so pleased to say that I found a grand Chardonnay. I had this one at a dinner party last week. We had a few snacks but nothing to over power what we were there to do, drink wine. This one was so pleasantly chilled. Of course it helps when your wine fridge literally tells you the optimum temperature for your vino. Love it. So this was a beautiful golden hue. Smelled of oak, some hay, and I got a whiff of mature peaches. Strange. The taste was crisp without a lot of dryness I sometimes associate with chardonnays. This one my friends is dangerously drinkable.

Price; $20.79
Value: 4/5
Rating: 88
Producer: Cave Cooperative du Haut Poitou
UPC: 3359770000565

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007

We liked the Oyster Bay Chardonnay, but it seems the Pinot doesn't quite match it. Anyone had the Sauv Blanc?

--- Iron Chef's Review---

Region: New Zealand, Marlborough
Nose: Strawberries and Raspberries- fresh fruit smell. Some herbal notes mixed with vanilla. Whiff of dry stones. Very fragrant.
Taste: More Raspberries or cranberry than strawberries with some pepper. Nice crisp grape-skin tartness. Tastes of pitted fruits. Some oak on the finish but very light. Elegant and supple.
Overall a very solid wine that is more refined and elegant than bombastic and loud. Enjoyed it but thought the price was pushing the boundaries. Also LCBO at 26% cheaper.

Price: $26.99
Value: 2.5/5
Score: 89
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 9415549809679

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Kelly and I are going on vacation today. I have a few posts scheduled and you can continue to make comments on the existing posts, but new comments won't be reflected in the "Recent Comments" column until we get back on August 11.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Perrin Vacqueyras Les Christins 2005

It turns out that we've reivewed this wine before - in fact, the second wine ever reviewed on this blog. Interesting to compare review - and the comments.

--- Iron Chef's review ---

Always been a personal favourite. One of those go to wines that never fail.
Nose- Cherries, Nutmeg and oak. Some meaty aromas and dries berries like Elderberries. Deep and roundly scented.
Taste- Grenadine, white pepper and a mocha latte with extra whipped cream. Some of the minced meat pie and fig flavours that I remember, but less. A bunch more fruit, highly extracted and … sweet. Thought of that drink, Shirley Temple. It was good, but not what I remember the 2004s as.
Overall- maybe it was the vintage or my mood, but I wasn't feelin it. I will continue to buy this wine, but I hope for better results in the future. BTW $19.95 at LCBO, 26% markup.

Price: $26.99
Score 86 (WS 91)
Value 3/5
Alcohol: 13.5%
Region: France- Southern Rhone
Grape: Grenache and Syrah
UPC: 631470000247

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Domaine de Bila-Haut, Occulatum Lipidem 2005

Welcome to Peter, a new reviewer. After finding the site and contributing some comments, he's decided to take the plunge and contribute a review - you can too!

--- Peter's Review ---

Nose: Very rich and complex nose of earth, barnyard funk, red fruit compote, and baking spices.
Taste: Medium bodied, pleasant acidity, nice back bone of red fruit (I could not pick out which specific fruits), nice long finish. Well balanced wine. This wine pairs well with a variety of food, though it certainly can be lovely on it's own.

Some further notes: I have to admit a strong bias toward the wines of southern France. I crave the baking spices, garrigue, and balance they so often bring to the table. This one fit the bill. It may not for everyone, so be warned, if you want gobs of fruit or the creaminess of well-oaked wine, this one may not be for you. Wine Access magazine scored it 90 points. Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV scored it 88 points. I found it not dissimilar to Chateau Haut Bel Air from the same region, but a notch better. This one is far superior to the regular Domaine de Bila Haut red. I will be buying more. Would love to hear some opinions on this.

Price: $27.99
Score: 89-90points
Value: Fair price 4/5.
Producer: M. Chapoutier
Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault
Region: Languedoc-Roussillion, France
UPC: 3391181390736

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2004 Montalto Nero d'Avola/Cabernet Sauv.

Here's one for Peter, who seems to like the negative reviews.

--- Michelle's Review ---

Have you ever tried a wine that you really hoped would be a good review? I really wanted to like this wine. It had all the right "ingredients" for a good review. But I came away with mixed emotions. I think it’s the style of wine. I truly believe I do not like the "hot afterglow" on my palette or the alcohol. Something tells me that this is typical of warmer climate wines. The wine and the grape are from Sicily. It’s a blend of Nero d'Avoloa (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%). At one time they used the Nero d'Avoloa grape to bump up some for their weaker reds. Some say it compares to a Shiraz. It does have the peppery, black currant flavor but I cannot get past the alcohol. I tried this wine on more than one occasion and now believe that I really don't like it. Its in the value price range and I had hoped I could add this one to the Value List. Perhaps this wine really does need food to mellow it out or bring out some other nuances. Occasionally you do come across one that does. I could picture it with pasta and a bold red sauce or perhaps a nicely grilled steak. Don't take my word for it. Some people like that afterglow. I didn't like the Stump Jump for that reason but others do.

Price: $11.79
Value: 3/5
Rating: 75
Grape: Nero d'Avola/Cabernet Sauv
Region: Italy (Sicily)
UPC: 8030423000754

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Las Moras Pinot Grigio 2008

To celebrate the two days of sun we just had, here is a review of a summer white, in the ever-popular "value" category.

--- CMacdonald's Review ---

Appearance: Medium intensity pale straw yellow with green tint.

Aroma: Pleasant. Med. Intensity dominated by non-citrus fruit. (I said peaches, my wife said pears). Overall a lot more aroma than the typical pinot grigio.

Taste: Lots of flavor for a pinot grigio. Medium bodied with moderate acidity (it held up well with soft goat cheese). Dry, short-med fruity finish. Tasty, crisp without being lean.

Price: $9.99
Value: 5/5
Score: 87
Alcohol: 12.5%
Region San Juan, Argentina
Tasted: May, June & July 2009
ANBL UPC: 7791540091193

Friday, July 17, 2009

A-mano Primitivo 2007

While this wine doesn't sound so good, the burnt rubber taste sounds interesting. Google revealed that there has been a recent major controversy about a burnt rubber taste in South African wines. In the end (spoiler alert) it seems the taste isn't confined to South Africa - it is probably a sulfur compound formed as a result of poor winemaking.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I had this wine many moons ago from the SAQ and really liked it, I was happy to see it at ANBL under a new screw cap.
Nose: Leafy notes- like tobacco. Hot berries in syrup, blueberries I think. Some resiny wood also.
Taste: Blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. Gravely tannins. Some stemmy notes. And something that I didn't care for, it took me an hour to figure it out- Rubber bands or burnt rubber. I dislike that taste in wines. Not sure of the cause, but I will avoid it.
Overall, it was a disappointment; I would not buy this again. Rubber bands are not something I look for in a wine.

Price: $17.99
Score: 70
Value: 1/5
Region: Southern Italy- Puglia
Alochol: 13.5%
UPC: 726452003771

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Château Reynella Cabernet-Merlot Basket Pressed 1997

It's always interesting to get reviews of wines that have been cellared for a while, even if they're not available any more, as it gives us an idea of whether the current vintage will do well.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

The last of the Reynellas I own. Sorry to see them go. The best of the Shiraz, Cab and the Cab/Merlot was the Cab/Merlot.
Nose- Some barnyard notes or brett (Brettanomyces- a fungus, old barrels are frequently touted as the main culprits). Rich cherry and plum favours. Mint and dried spices like cloves. Lots of stuff going on in the nose.
Taste- Stewed Cherries and plums, Chocolate and Coffee. Cedar and sandalwood. Very smooth tannins. Rich, velvety texture. Seemed fresh and vivid. No trace of age or dullness. Finish that lasted for a long time.
Overall- had this with a couple of good friends, but probably had it 3-5 yrs too early. Lots of life left in this one. This had all the elements, smell, taste, complexity, length, everything. It tasted a lot like a Super Super Tuscan. Spoke with a representative of the NFLD Liquor and they still have a couple of this vintage amazingly.

Price: about $40
Value 5/5
Score 94
Grape- Cab/ Merlot Blend
Region- Australia- McLaren Vale
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: Not available in NB; purchased from NS Port of Wines

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Condesa de Leganza Crianza 2003

Come on everyone, don't make Iron Chef do all the work. I know you're out there drinking wine - so send in a review. Either e-mail it to me directly at NBwines /at/ gmail /dot/ com or just post it on the "Make a Suggestion" thread and I'll repost it separately. It doesn't have to be long and no fancy wine words are required - the idea is just to get the conversation going.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose- Dried Flowers, Older cedar, some hot alcohol notes. Extracted Cherries.
Taste- Red, Ripe Cherries mixed with raspberries. Chalky tannins and Dill pickle chips. Much longer finish that I would have guessed for the price.
Overall- this was a dead ringer for a Spanish wine. It showed a bunch of nice favours and more depth of taste than expected. The Dill on the palate was interesting. I liked this wine.

Price: $15.79
Value 4/5
Score 88
Region: Spain- La Mancha
Grape: Tempranillo
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 8436013812644

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wolf Blass Premium Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

Did you get turned on to wine with Australian Shiraz? What are your your views now? I'll be interested in the comments on this post.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Confession time, I don't even go down the Australian aisle at ANBL any more. I find the whole area over done and boring. Every now and then I am surprised, the d'Arenberg's often surprise and now I see the Reynella is back, but for the most of that country…boring.
My best friend often says that I should lay down one of the WB Prem Selection Cabs each yr. I have ignored those recommendations …. Unfortunately.

Nose: new American oak, Mocha, mocha, Mocha. Cola favours and hot cherries. Deep aromas.
Taste: Highly extracted, Latte. Lots of cherries mixed with cedar wood. Great favours. Smooth and integrated tannins.
Overall: This still tasted young, no age at all, could easily sit for another 5 yrs or more. I will be buying one of these every year.

Price: $29.99
Value 4/5
Score 92
Alcohol 13.5%
Region: South Australia
UPC: 087000308503

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gallo Family Chardonnay 2007 Box wine

Sounds like this is the perfect white BBQ wine. Now if we just get a few days of summer...

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Recession, Recession - it’s Box wine time.
Colour: Pale straw to golden with green-ish tints
Nose: Buttery oaky notes. Full on Malo treatment. Very fragrant
Taste: Butter, oak, almonds, dried apricots. Some plasticine or rubber bands deep in the palate- but very slight.
Overall: Did not guess this to be a Box wine in a blind tasting, very nice wine. Enjoyed the Malo/buttery notes. Really impressed. You have got to try this.

Price: $34.48 / 3000 ml
Value 5/5
Score 86
Alcool 13.5%
Region: California
UPC: 085000012574

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Winegarden Estate Cuvée Rose

Our first review of a New Brunswick wine!

--- CMacdonald's Review ---

Pale pink, definitely more like a vin gris than your typical bright pink rose. Moderate intensity (very pleasant) aromas of raspberry and stawberry. Noticeable red fruit on the pallet with refreshing acidity. There is a touch of residual sugar according to the Winegarden website but the sweetness is perfectly balanced by the acidity that the wine is seemingly dry. Very refreshing. I have tasted 4 bottles recently with similar impressions. Very good effort. I will have to alternate between Marrenon rose and this one from Winegarden. Available at the winery in Baie Verte and at selected local farmer's markets including the one here in Fredericton.

Price: $10.00
Value: 4.5/5
Score: 84
Grape: Made from 100% NB grapes. Not sure what grapes were used.
Alc- 12%
UPC: 625974120051

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Remember, please send post / send me reviews of bad wines as well as good ones - knowing what to avoid is as useful as knowing what to buy.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

We have always enjoyed the SBs from Chile…

Nose: Asparagus, lime and some flinty and grassy notes.

Taste: Canned asparagus or peas, citrusy and gooseberries or some kind of field berry that I don't want to eat. No acidity- fat and flabby. Left a chalky film in my mouth.

Overall- Dull and boring. Canned Vegetables is not an appealing taste in a wine. And the lack of acidity was disappointing. A poor example of a very interesting region of Chile.

Price: $15.79
Score 64
Value 0/5
Region: Chile- Casablanca
Alcohol 13.5%
UPC #089046777329

Monday, July 6, 2009

2006 Fetzer Valley Oaks Merlot

I like Merlot in the traditional Cab blend, but I'm not usually a fan of the varietal, especially in the California version, which I find tends to be soft and unstructured - easy-drinking, but not really in a good way. So I'll be very interested to try this wine - if it doesn't shatter my stereotypes, at least it may shake them.

--- Vasco da Gama's Review ---

Hmmm...another Merlot posting...with a couple of good Merlots recently, I guess I am having a new appreciation for the grape. Here is another that is quite good, and yet a very different style from the Marques de Casa Concha Merlot.
Unlike the dark full body meatiness of the Marques de Casa Concha, in comparison this Fetzer is a lighter summer expression of the Merlot variety. I would guess that it's more of what I used to expect a Merlot to be. Don't get me wrong, this is no Bonarda, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais, but it is lighter than any Cab or Syrah.
This wine has a pleasing cherry, dark berry and plum flavour and has a surpisingly long finish. The tannins are below the surface, not obvious, but still there carrying the wine forward. All in all a very nice balance for a California wine at a mere $17.

Price: $17.49
Value: 4/5
Rating: 89
Grape: Merlot
UPC: 082896700394

Saturday, July 4, 2009

E. Guigal Saint Joseph 2003

Here is something different - as Iron Chef says, we don't get a lot of North Rhone here (but we did review a Crozes-Hermitage last winter) and because it's a departure from our recent run of value-priced whites.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

There are so few Northern Rhone wines in NB, I was waiting to try this one, and Father’s day was the excuse. WS rates 2003 as a 94 pt Vintage for Northern Rhone.

Taste: Spicy- aromas of raw pepper steak. Warm toasty wood. Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Blueberry and currant fruit jam. Smokey. Smelled a bit like an Aussie Shiraz, Reynella-like. Full Nose- highly complex.
Taste: Blueberry preserves, Sandalwood, Bold/Chalky Tannins, Menthol. Rounding out with Earth & Tar and a neat Dark Chocolate finish that lingered forever.

Overall a Great wine that reminded me of an Aussie Shiraz that was more muted and nuanced with structure and refinement. No candied wine here- tar and earth.

Price: $38.99
Score: 94 (WS 88, RP 90-92)
Value: For Northern Rhone 4.5/5
Region: France, Northern Rhone
Grape: Syrah
Alcohol 12.5%
UPC #3536650901000

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz 2005

Tancred is an Aussie Shiraz afficionado amd the Leasingham Bin 61 was one of my favourite wines in its price range a few years ago, around the 1998 - 2000 vintages. Sounds like it has slipped since then.

--- Tancred's Review ---

This is a trophy and gold medal winner from a winery based in the clare valley of south australia, a region known more for some excellent and very dry Rieslings. Wine spectator gave the bin 61 a 91 and NBliquor has only a limited supply, so I took a chance and bought four on faith (though I have had earlier vintages). Lots of red berries on the nose and palate, and some decent complexity, though I didn't detect much of the bold spiciness that is characteristic of Australian shiraz. As well, there was a some harshness on the finish that I did not enjoy - maybe this will soften with age. WS called the finish 'lively' and I would agree with that. We'll try it again in a couple of years.

Price: $31.79
Score: 87
Value: 3/5
UPC: 9311043064418

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Donatien Bahuaud Les Chatrains Chinon 2006

Here's something different - 100% Cab Franc, which is a first for this blog. And also available in NS rather than NB. Too bad - sounds interesting.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I think this is only my second Chinon ever. I was excited.
Nose: Leafy Tobacco, Dried Cloves with menthol and Anise. Smelled really different- Charming.
Taste: Light weight on the palate with high Acidity with lots of Tannins. Sometimes cheap French wine can feel unbalanced- astringent and thin, but this had far too many favours to feel yucky. This was really interesting. Dark Cherries and cigarettes. Very lightly textured, but with pronounced favours. This would be a nice wine with salmon. I am going hunting for Chinon.

Price: $19.84 (Port of Wines NS)
Score 90
Value 4.5/5
Region: France, Loire Valley, Chinon
Grape: Cabernet Franc

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pasqua Pinot Grigio 2008

With the first bit of sun in ages (we had this on Wednesday), I wanted a crisp light wine to go with my bbq’d salmon. This fit the bill. It was well made and fresh with a critrusy nose. A little flabby, so we preferred it quite cold - I popped in an ice cube and it was nicely refreshing.

Price: $12.79
Score: 85
Value: 3/5
Region: Italy
Alcohol: 12%
UPC: 8007880542509

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pierre André Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Clous 2005

Here's one that not-so-much value priced. It's hard to give a value rating to the more expensive wines. I loved the Pierre Sparr Gewurz I had a week ago, but when I think about it, I'm not sure it was really a 4/5 for value. I gave it a 92, but isn't that what you'd want (maybe not what you'd expect) from a $50 wine? And value is relative to the style. If you're someone who likes Aus Shiraz you'll be paying less than someone who likes Burgundy. Speaking of which . . .

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

A good friend brought over this Pinot Noir from the Premier Cru vineyard of Aux Clous in the north of Burgundy where as Robert Parker says, "Savigny's finest, richest, most intense and ageworthy wines are produced". My expertise with Burgundy is scarce, but Premier Cru wines are always welcome especially from a near perfect vintage (WS 95pts for Beaune, 98pts for Nuits).
Nose- White Pepper, Deep + robust strawberry, Resiny wood and a hint of Peaches. Just a bunch of stuff going on.
Taste: Tannic and grippy, crisp apple skin acidity. Stewed Strawberries with rhubarb and a remarkable milk chocolate finish that travelled forever. Very deep and complex taste. Sometimes hollow in the middle of your tongue. Lightly textured- not heavy on the palate.
Overall: Wow- this is really different experience- class + structure+ highly refined. This was young, it hasn't developed the earthy mushroom elements that I had expected- but it will. I am always too nervous to buy Burgs as I don't know enough to make educated purchases and everything seems soo expensive. I will be buying more of this and giving it ten yrs in the cellar. Fantastic- I will remember this for a long time.

Price: $49.99
Score- 95
Value- for Burgs ????- Recession, what recession.
Region: France-Burgundy
Alcohol: 13%
UPC: 3193411640037

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Undurraga Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Welcome back Chris! We haven't had a review from you in a while. This wine sounds like a perfect inexpensive summer patio wine - if the sun ever comes out again, I'll try a bottle.

--- CMacdonald's Review ---

Light straw in color. Mild to moderate pleasant aromas of lemon and lime. Nice mild taste that gets better with every sip. The wine is dry with just enough acidity to make your mouth water.

I want to try this wine again with some goat cheese.

Price: $11.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 87
Alcohol: 13%
Region: Chile, D.O Central Valley
Tasted: June 2009
UPC: 7804315010012

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino 2007

This review takes us back to the value priced summer wines.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Gord Stemmell recommended this from his column with the Toronto Star:
Nose: Very fragrant- Hay+ Melon+ Kiwi. Nice nose.
Palate: Tropical fruits and wet stone. Great taste. Feels somewhat Fizzy on the palate. Has more acidity that expected.
Overall: Fun wine for summer. Good with food. One of the better examples of this grape I have had. I really liked it. I like the frizzy acidity also.

Price: $13.79
Score: 89+
Value: 4/5
Region: Italy
Alcohol: 12.5%
UPC: 8004305000088

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Osborne Solaz Shiraz Tempranillo 2005

Summer is white wine weather, but with this rainy weather it seems like fall, so a red wine review seems appropriate.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Smell: Dried Raisins, Cloves, Dried Flowers and warm oak- Great Spanish Nose - wood and dried fruit- exactly what I look for in Spanish wine.
Taste: More Dried Fruit- Prunes and raisins. Good Structure- tannins in the palate. Loads of toasty Wood. Some cherry extract, but not too sweet. There is something to this wine that makes it very enjoyable to drink.
Overall: Nice wine, especially with food that needs structure- Beef on the BBQ, but not Ribeye class- maybe Striploin Ribeye would demand at least a Montecillo. Has the elements that I seek in a wine, Dried Fruit, good wood and a little something extra. Decanted+ good cork.

Price: $13.79
Score: 88
Value: 4/5
Region: Spain
Alcohol 13.5%
UPC #022851804019

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marrenon Rosé de Syrah 2007

I was asking for more on rosé, and Michelle has obliged.

--- Michelle's Review --

Summer lovin' it happened so fast. Summer lovin', I was having a glass..or two. Oh the joys of finding a nice summer sipper. I find that this time of year, my usual hardy reads are shelved until the chill of late summer or even early fall set in. For me its beer or crisp white wine season OR what has trilled me with this review, rose season!

I have to say that I have steered clear, for many years, of the rosé's. It could not be helped. Every time I looked at a bottle of rose, chilling in the cooler, I was immediately reminded of the teenage years. You know, getting the cheapest stuff we could find to take to the high school dances, then plugging our noses as we drank the concoction that was labeled "wine". Oh you all did it, you know you did.

But I digress. Now in my mature adult years, I am more flexible and open to trying wines outside my comfort zone. For crying out loud, I tried a Viognier a couple weeks ago, taste untried!

This particular time I was actually looking for something refreshing. A summer sipper if you will. I scanned the whites and nothing appealed to me. I then spotted the rosé's and with great trepidation I picked up this one. Bang for the buck! $12.49 and a decent drink. It was excellent. Not overly fruity, clean and crisp. I shall be picking up another bottle very soon.

Price: $12.49
Value: 4/5
UPC: 3256811113713

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Casa de Campo Reserve Shiraz 2006

I'm not drinking much red wine these days - I fact, I'm not drinking that much wine at all, and when I do it's usually white. So good thing Iron Chef is still at it.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Smelled like a Syrah- Cola scented and some wild meat favours. Green Peppers and Toasty Oak.
Palate: Herbal notes, some gamey elements. Well rounded toasted oak. Some sweet candied favours.
Overall: a normal new world wine except for the roasted wood favours that I liked. Worth a try. Not decanted.

Price: $14.29
Score 86
Value 3/5
Region: Argentina, Mendoza
Alcohol 14%
UPC #7790762050186

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives 2002

I had dinner alone tonight (Kelly is out of town) so thank God this bottle is only 500ml. It’s so delicious I counld’t possibly have stopped before it was gone. WS talks about “litchi, rose, spice and grapefruit,” and also says it has “bright structure.” I only partially agree - maybe its because they tasted it almost four years ago. Maybe there is some lychee left - I think I would have guessed it as Gewurtz if I were tasting blind - but the lychee doesn’t jump out the way it often does in a younger Gewutz. But what does jump out is the structure. I wouldn’t call it bright - unctuous is better. Almost fatty - decadent even, but perfectly balanced. I agree with the rose and the finish of grapefruit. I suspect the differences between WS and what I taste arise because because they tasted it almost four years ago. Time has toned down the lychee and softened the brightness, but given it a mature body that is immensely appealing. WS gave it a score of 92, and I’ll agree with that. I’m tempted to go higher, but I was hungry when I opened the bottle and I know that always inflates the score. (Now I just have to hope that Kelly doesn’t check the blog when she gets home, or she’ll kill me for not having saved her some.)

Price: Approx $34 (500ml)
Score: 92
Value: 4/5
Region: Alsace, France
UPC: No longer available

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brancott Reserve Pinot Noir 2005

We had this wine with friends about a month ago, and this review has been floating around on a scrap of paper since then. It’s a characteristic Pinot in an earthy and floral Oregon style rather than a strawberry New Zealand style. But New Zealand it is, nonetheless. Peppery on the palate, well balanced and clean on the palate with excellent structure. I was a big fan of the nose and the style, thought a touch more complexity would have bumped up the score. Kelly gave it a 90, but since I’m writing the note, I’ll go with my score which was 89. But I have to add that our friends gave it more like an 88. Very satisfying, and a couple of $ less would have made it a 4/5 for value.

Price: $25.79
Score: 89
Value: 3/5
Region: New Zealand
UPC: 852832104704

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2006 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot

I suppose it is true that we rarely review Merlot - clicking on "Merlot" under "Reds by Grape" only brings up one varietal Merlot. I think the varietal craze is overdone - some wines are best as varietals, but others are usually better in a blend; Merlot is great blended with Cab, but I have to admit that I haven't found too many varietal Merlots that I've enjoyed. In any event, here is a review of an (almost) varietal Merlot from Vasco da Gama. I'll certainly be giving this one a try.

--- Vasco's Review ---

Here is what is apparently a rare Merlot review for this Blog; the 2006 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot. I bought a couple of bottles of this wine in Halifax this past winter, and this is one of them. (These have since shown up on the shelves of NBLC).

"I looked upon the cherry tree and there did I see,
A plum growing on a cherry branch, but how could that be?
The scent of plum and cherry, and a bit of anise too.
It lured me into it's embrace, as I smelled, swished, and chewed".

This wine is another great Chilean value at $ much character, it inspires me to write. This needs a few minutes to open up, but not that long really. My first smell had a typical Chilean layer of soil and very obvious plum. As the wine aerated a bit the cherry came through and a bit of anise, but the tannins seemed to takeover the show a little too quickly. As the glass disappeared, so did the overt tannins, being replace by more licorice and dark chocolate with smoother tannins. A nice finish and a warm feeling makes me wonder why I haven't been drinking more Merlot.

This is a wine that could probably cellar for a while and get even better, but it is also fine just the way it is.

Marques de Casa Concha Syrah, CabSauv, and Merlot have all been winners. Hard to go wrong with these wines.

Price: $23.99
Value: 4/5
Rating: 90
Grape: Merlot (with a touch of Carmenere)
UPC: 7804320253480