Sunday, May 31, 2009

JF Lurton Fumees Blanches Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Our theme of value-priced summer whites continues - and why not? But it seems that this wine may not be the best way to spend your $13.49.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

The label stated that it was a smokey version of SB and I thought it might pair nicely with Cedar Planked Brie on the BBQ.

Nose: Lemony and Fragrant. Wet stone and Canned veggies like Peas.
Taste: Nicely restrained, Good acidity and minerals, somewhat metallic on the finish. Didn't find much smoke. But the Canned Peas was too much. Did not enjoy that aspect of the experience.

Overall I liked the subtle nature of the wine, but the veggies… not so much. Compared to the SBs in the Santa Rita line there are plenty of good Sauvignon Blancs out there.

Price: $13.49
Score: 80
Value: 1/5
Region: Vin de Pays du Comte Tolosan
Alcohol: 12%
UPC: 635335961957

Friday, May 29, 2009

Concha y Toro Frontera Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This post from Michelle brings us back to the theme of value priced whites for summer:

-- Michelle's Review ---

When the weather turns a bit nicer, my palette strives for refreshment. Not the kind you can find in a butt kickin' red. So lately I have been desiring a crisp, juicy white. Something to quench my thirst. A friend brought this nicely chilled from her fridge. We were sitting at her cottage on one of our few sunny days and out comes this Sauvignon Blanc. I do like SB's but some leave that tongue smacking dryness (tannins) that I am not a fan of. In the glass, it looks exactly like the "text book" SB. Straw colored with tinge of green. First on the nose was peach, citrus as we all know a SB to have also. What I liked best was the drinkability. Nothing offensive about it at all. Ours was perfectly chilled. Crisp, clean and nothing left behind (aforementioned tannins). Not over the top fruit though..peaches, citrus and even a hint of green grass. If there was a perfect summer wine out there, this has to rank up there quite nicely. Two thumbs up…or at least an 88/100.

Price: $9.49 (but for some reason it was on for $8.49 Friday at Mountain Road)
Value: 5/5
Rating: 88
Region: Chile
UPC: 7804320043265

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Malbec Revival: Navarro Correas Privada Malbec 2007 & Masi Tupungato Passo Doble 2007

Here’s a Malbec twofer from Iron Chef.

--- Iron Chef’s Review ---

We have gotten away from one of our fav grapes so we compared the Navarro Correas Privada recommended by Trevor and Aaron at the Prospect store and the Masi Tupungato Passo Doble to re-introduce ourselves two Malbecs. (Pun)

Navarro Correas Privada Malbec 2007

Nose: Heavily extracted cherries, faint pepper and medicinal qualities. Lavender and other perfumes. Crushed gravel tannins. Smells grrreat. Beautiful purple colour.
Taste: Dr Pepper or Cherry Coke, some twiggy tannins. Cough Syrup. Good tannins but a bit sweet.
Overall, I value the recommendations I get at the Prospect store from Trevor and Aaron. This was a steady wine that many if not most people would like- very mainstream taste. The nose was better than the slightly boring taste- The smell wrote a cheque that the taste could not cash- to use a banking term. Cork was good. Decanted for 35 minutes.

Price: $15.49
Score: 86
Value: 2.5/5
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Alcohol 13.9%
UPC: 811405010101

Masi Tupungato Passo Doble 2007

Nose: Dried Roses, Dried Prunes, Crushed Dark Fruit. Some slatey aromas. Smelled fantastic- thoughts of a young Barbaresco.
Taste: Dried Prunes and cherries. Tobacco and leather. Strong Tannins on the front jaw. Mahogany wood. Some Juvenile astringencies that should round out with time. Woow- tastes like a young Barbaresco too.
Overall: This was not a great comparison; the Masi employed an interesting combination of Malbec and Corvina grapes - made in the Ripasso method. Very different to the Narrarro. But the Masi was absolutely fantastic. A real special wine. One of the better Young Reds I have had in a while. Good Cork, decanted for 35 minutes. SAQ Lists for- $16.65

Price: $18.49
Score: 91
Value: 5/5
Region: Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina
Grapes: 65% Malbec, 30% semi-dried Corvina, 5% Merlot
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 8002062001607

Monday, May 25, 2009

Zuccardi Fuzion White 2008

Here is another white value wine - and it's not just value priced, it actually delivers. I went to the ANBL for a bottle of white wine for cooking, and one of the young staff - not a consultant - pointed me to this one and said "This is a $10 wine that drinks like $14-$15 wine." He was wrong - it drink more like an $18-$20 bottle. I tested it to make sure it was fit for cooking - not something you can count on for $10 - and it was, and more. I had been intending to open something else to have while cooking, but I discovered that I was more than satisfied with the Fuzion. Crisp, very well balanced with clean citrusy fruit - a bit like a less acidic Sauv Blanc. I think 87 is about right for the score, though I liked it better than the Symphony which I also rated 87. An unquestionable 5/5 for value. This may be the first wine under $10 that I've actually enjoyed.

Price $9.99
Score: 87
Value: 5/5
Region: Argentina
Grapes: Chenin Blanc, Torrontes
UPC: 7791728017342

Saturday, May 23, 2009

KWV Chenin Blanc 2008

With the hot whether we've been having for the past couple of days, everyone will be looking for value priced whites. Here's a review of one from Iron Chef:

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I was reading The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil section on the Loire Valley and I just needed to try a Chenin Blanc, of course there are no French versions of the grape in the Province so I had to try the next best thing.

Nose: Kiwi, Tropical fruit, wet stone, grass and floral aromas.
Taste: Lots of Kiwi, Lime peels, Fresh cut grass. Had a nice creamy texture. One might be tempted to call it sweet, but I think it was more a function of lower acidity.

Overall, I enjoyed this wine, I usually don't enjoy lower Acid wines, but the fresh kiwi taste was surprising and tasty.

Price: $12.29
Score: 87
Value: 3.5/5
Region: Western Cape, South Africa
Alcool 12.5%
UPC #748294420219

Friday, May 22, 2009

E+J Gallo Frei Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Here's a review I received from tancred. It turns out that Kelly and I reviewed this wine last fall (there are enough posts now that it's getting hard to keep track), but I think it is interesting to have an independent review.

--- tancred's Review ---

Lush and rich with lots of black licorice, dark berries and hints of toasted marshmallow. Spicy, almost peppery. Nice integrated oak, lots of tannins, and a very long finish. No green capsicum taste at all, a flavor note characteristic of (cheaper) cabernets. Overall a very nice wine, and a bargain at the price. I hope more recent vintages are listed.

Price: $22.50 (marked down from $28 or so)
Score: 90
Value: 4/5
UPC: No longer available

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aresti Pinot Noir 2007

Continuing in the vein of value-priced wines, here is a review from Iron Chef.

--- Iron Chef ---

Nose: Restrained, not bombastic - earthy, mushroom s- bright strawberry fruit. Some floral or hay notes.
Taste: Vanilla Ice Cream and Strawberry Rhubarb pie. Some steamy-ness late in the palate. Wonderful food wine. Good acidity.
Overall a very pleasant wine for foodies on a budget - liked it more than the Cono Sur, but less than the Castillo de Molina.

Price: $9.99
Value 5/5
Score: 87.5
Region: Curico Valley, Chile
Alcohol 12.5%
UPC #677855000716

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Graham Beck Shiraz 2004

Come on now, we can't let Iron Chef do all the work. After all, drinking wine isn't that much of a burden. If you have tried a wine and have something to say about it, just send me a review at nbwines / at / gmail / dot / com, or want to stay anonymous (which is fine) post a review on the Make a Suggestion thread.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Gravelly Cassis, Horse Sweat, some sweetish plums. Barn like wood would be how I describe the wood- like most South African wines (Dank).
Taste: Peppery Spice, some musty book tastes and Cherry Twizzler mixed in. Tannins were present that left some grippy sensations. And that 'sweat'.
Overall: I liked it, it may have been academic in a sense that the nose had more going on than taste, but it was good. I am a sucker for a good nose. Its not cheap though, I can think of better values- in SAQ only $19.45.

Retail Price: $22.99

Score: 87
Value: 2/5
Region: Coastal South Africa
Alcohol 14.5%
UPC #699446000127

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beringer California Collection Cab Sauvignon 2006

Of course reviews of high priced wines are useful because you want to know what you're getting before you shell out. But reviews of lower priced wines are just as useful, because there are so many on the shelves (and so many bad ones) that you can spend a lot of money before you find one you like. Here's one of the latter from Peanutman:

--- Peanutman's Review ---

Tonight we opened the above. $12.99.

I saw this wine and for the price I said why not. I wasn't expecting much, but I have to tell you this would be a decent summer red to drink. I had to look at the bottle twice when I first took a drink because I taught I was drinking something from the Cotes du Rhone. It was light, tasty and peppery. I let it decant for about 45 minutes and then it became a light, tasty cabernet sauvignon. For those that do not really like Cab Sauv, this might be one of those to start with as it is light and easy to drink. It has a nice red fruit taste and the bouquet is very much blackberry and vanilla. Pretty much as described on the bottle. I also bought the Merlot therefore I'll have to see if there is much of a difference. I have to give this two different values, one for the long winter nights = 3.0, and one for the summer 4. Score 83.

Price: $12.99
Score: 83
Value: 3/5 (winter); 4/5 (summer)
Region: California
UPC: 0089819068227

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pierre Sparr Schoenenbourg Grand Cru Riesling 2001

A well-made, balanced Riesling with good typicity, but nothing particularly striking or special about it. Maybe the problem is that I’ve developed my palate for Riesling mostly with fuller bodied German Auslese or Spatlese, and this is just a bit lighter in style than I am used to. I’d like a bit more at the price. Wine Spectator rated this 92, but I just don't see it. The WS review was from 2005, and even though they said drink until 2012, perhaps it is fading already. But looking back over my notes, I see that I had this a couple of years ago and rated it 89 back then. I'd be curious to find out what anyone else thinks - is it me or WS that is off? Or is it just a matter of preferences?

Price: $34.10
Score: 88
Value: 2/5
Region: Alsace
UPC: 3263530024442

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2006

This weekend's wine from Iron Chef

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Cantaloupe Mellon, Pineapple, Lemon curd and oaky notes. Very pleasant aromas.
Taste: Crisp woody favours, Butter Rum ice cream. Some wood tannins giving off nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon. Some copper tastes late in the palate.
Overall - a very steady wine that was given the full malo and oak treatment. A style of Chardonnay that I like. Finish was shorter than expected much shorter. I think the original price was something like $24 to $27 compared to $21.55 in SAQ, which is too expensive. I just remember this wine being very, very good in the past- not just steady.

Retail Price: $17.99- Sale wine
Score: 85
Value: 2/5
Region: South Australia
Alcohol 13%
UPC #012354071940

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jacobs Creek Shiraz 2006

It looks like Peanutman's review got the ball rolling again. Here's one from Iron Chef:

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I have had good memories of this wine from years ago, but have almost completely stopped drinking Australian wine all together. I thought this might be a good place to start again.
Nose- smells hot, extracted cherries in heavy sauce. Some dried spice like cloves. Nice white pepper also. Straightforward nose, not real complex.
Taste- Strewed Black Currant Jam, Peppery spray and black coffee. Strange mouth feel- itchy- like when I eat the skins of plums or peaches. I might have sensitivity to pectin.
Overall- straightforward wine- good, but not memorable. I am glad I took notes or I might have forgotten it. The pepper was the best attribute and that is only a good comment when you are talking about Dr Pepper or a Pepper Steak.

Retail Price: $14.29
Score: 84
Value: 3/5
Region: South Eastern Australia
Alcohol 14%
UPC # 9300727488114

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lehmann Clancy's Red 2005

Single vineyard varietal wines are all the rage - and Clancy’s Red from Lehmann shows why this is a mistake. With a blend of grape of different varieties sourced from various Barossa vineyards, Lehmann has put together a great wine at a great price. This is not at all the kind of candied fruit bomb that I worry about getting from Aus at this price - Kelly first guessed every country in Europe, and then said 'well, it's not Australian." (I love it when a wine fools her.) It has good fruit, but with restraint, and a twist of something a bit different at the finish for interest. Just a bit of a rough edge, though that dissipated with air. Excellent balance. I wish I knew how long this is likely to cellar.

Here's Kelly's note: "Nose of dried flowers, stewed fruit, warm spices (cinnamon, cloves, pepper). Much more earthy and spicy on the palate; long, with maybe an eensy hard note at the very finish. No way I'd have guessed it Australian - I was pretty sure it was Italian and certain it was old world. At least I got the blend right."

Kelly and I independently gave it the same score. Ok, not 89.5, but we were both wavering between 89 and 90.

Price: $19.99
Score: 89.5
Value: 5/5
Region: Australia, Barossa
Grape: 35% Shiraz, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc.
Alcohol: 14.5%
UPC: 9311910102069

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Wolftrap Boekenhoutskloof 2006 & 2007

Here is a 2 for 1 review from Iron Chef:

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

The Wolftrap Boekenhoutskloof 2006

I am usually a sucker for any Rhone blend, so I had to try this since it was on the cover of the WS this month. At the Prospect St ANBL, I asked Aaron if there was a difference between the 2006 and 2007 vintages- he laughed and said probably not. So I bought both, btw there is a big difference.
Nose- Gravelly like a dusty driveway. Asian spices- Soy, Ginger, Teriyaki. Also Mocha Hot Chocolate. And Dank wood- think of a firewood left outside for a decade. Very interesting nose- a lot going on.
Taste- Plumy and Gamey. Some tannins on the front of the palate that were Dusty. Meat Pies from Northern NB and Beef Gravy. Real rustic component to the taste. And that wood that reminds me so much of South African wines- all I can say is Old and Dank.
Overall- I really enjoyed all the stuff that was going on, it was fun, complex and surprising. Decanted for the Length of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.
Value- 4.2/5
Score- 90
Grape: 50% Syrah, 48% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier
Alcohol 14%

The Wolftrap Boekenhoutskloof 2007

Part 2 of the Boekenhoutskloof vertical was surprising in the differences more than the similarities.
Nose: Aromatic way beyond what I was expecting- Dried Sage, Violets and Lilacs. Also Plantains and peppery toasty wood. Smelled a lot like a Crantini. Very complex.
Taste- Toasty wood, vanilla and bright Fruit- cherry mostly. Some nutmeg from the wood also. Tasted a lot like a Crantini. Very smooth tannins. Some hot-ness on the palate. Nice Long peppery/mocha finish. Really clean Wine.
Overall- I really like the 2007 vintage, gone was the dank wood, rustic wine- replaced with a polished toasty vanilla cocktail. I liked them both but for obliviously different reasons. If you have the chance, try the 2006 and 2007 side by side. Decanted for the length of London Calling by the Clash.
Value- 4.5/5
Score- 91
Grape: 60% Syrah, 39% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier
Alcohol 14.5%

Price: $15.29
Score: 90 (2006) / 91 (2007)
Value: 4.2 / 5 (2006) / 4.5/5 (2007)
Region: Western Cape, South Africa
UPC: 746925000564

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Villa Antinori Rosso 2004

Peanutman to the rescue! We’ve had a bit of a dry spell for reviews recently. We were away on vacation and I was away for a week on business. And the weather is getting warm enough that we’re just between red and white wine season – it’s that weird time we call “beer season.” Thankfully Peanutman is still drinking wine. Here is his review of the Villa Antinori Rosso

— Peanutman’s Review —

This wine has a nice red fruit bouquet and I think one could spend a lot of time simply smelling the wine. The taste was somewhat like ripened cherries with raspberry. I thought there was a little bit of pepper at the end but I could be wrong. In my books this was a very good italian wine for the price. The mix is Sangiovese (60%), Cab Sauv (20%), Merlot (15%) and Syrah (5%). I would say that it was medium bodied, some nice light tannins with a medium finish. Conclusion; a very enjoyable wine.

Price: $31.49
Score: 89
Value: 4.5/5
Region: Italy, Tuscany
Grape: Sangiovese blend
UPC: 8001935001522