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