Monday, March 29, 2010

Rymill Coonawarra MC2 2003

This blog is intended to be about diversity of opinion, so I checked out the review this wine at Nick’s, a major Australian retailer that usually provides well balanced reviews (given that they are trying to seel the stuff).  They didn’t much like this wine.  This makes me think of Gallo Barrelli Creek Cab - WS gave it an 86 in 2003, but we liked much better than when we tried it in 2009.  There’s lots of it left, so if anyone else has tried this wine, please let us know whether you agree with Nick’s or with Iron Chef.

— Iron chef’s Review —

My Coonawarra adventure continues.

Colour - Ruby core, to orangish rim.
Nose - Dried spices - cloves, green peppers, currants and plums. Some hot notes mixed with Vicks. New shoe leather. Floral components. Deeply aromatic and interesting.
Taste - Currants and plums -  more dried cooking spices. Mint and menthol. Some sweat. Very drying palate somewhat austere. Faint coconut and stewed apples late on the palate. Good tannins.
Overall - Loved this wine. Not as peppery as the Yearling, but more complex. I have a feeling that this would improve in my cellar. Screw cap - decanted 45 minutes.

Are there any other Coonawarras except for the Jacob's Creek St Hugo at $40 at ANBL?

Score 91
Value 5/5
Australia – Coonawarra
65% Cab Sauvignon 23% Merlot, 12% Cab Franc
13.5% Alcohol
Price: $19.99
UPC: 9315128981089

Friday, March 26, 2010

Torres San Valentin Parellada 2008

A new grape!  Too bad the wine wasn’t better. 

— Iron Chef’s Review —

The grape, Parellada, is one of three grapes used in the Spanish sparkler Cava.  Never had this before.

Nose- Lemon and honey. Some floral notes and seashells by the seashore.
Taste- Fresh lemon rind, watermelon and more honey. Good mouth-watering acidity. Some vicious notes on the palate.  Also a plasticine taste on the palate that I did not care for.
Overall- certainly smelled better than it tasted- it was fun to try once, probably not a second time.

Price: $12.99
Value 2.5/5
Score 83
Spain, Catalunya
Grape  Parellada
Alcohol 11%
UPC 8410113001177

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rymill Coonawarra Yearling Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

After the early spring we're back to red wine weather, so here's a red wine review.

(BTW - tancred, I know this wine is right up your alley, so leave a comment and let us know if you agree with Iron Chef.  No excuses.)

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Recently I had an aged (1999) Coonawarra Cab and was blown away; I had to try another, not aged though.
Nose- Very pronounced Menthol and Mint. Somewhat Hot. Grenadine mixed with coffee and cocoa. Had an aroma of a very good wine.
Taste- Very peppery, hot alcohol and rich cassis. Again loads of menthol and mint. Smooth tannins and a slight red apple taste. Very happy with the reduced levels of sweetness, drier and peppery.
Overall- highly impressed with this wine- a real step up from the ‘animal wines’ of Yellow tail and Little Piguin. At this price point, comparable to the Merlot Trio from Concha y Toro, Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec, or  The Wolftrap.  Can’t wait to try the Rymill Coonawarra MC2 this weekend.

Price: $14.99
Value: 4.5/5
Score: 90
Alcohol: 14%
UPC #9315128051010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

False Bay Pinotage 2007

It's always nice to try something a bit different, and pinotage is the signature grape of South Africa.  Too bad this one isn't better.  (But if anyone else liked more than Iron Chef, we'd like to hear from you.)

---- Iron Chef's Review ---

I usually try most Pinotages that go through ANBL, mostly because of the Cathedral Cellars Pinotage, that was here for years. Just a super wine.

Colour- Red and purple core fading to pink on the rim.
Nose- Blueberry Ice Cream, some hot notes and fresh Hamburger. Some hot alcool aromas. And some dank wood smells like most South African wines.
Taste- More Blueberry Jam and cooked hamburger. Good length on the acidity. Grape skin tannins. That same danky wood taste.
Overall-  This wine has that distinctive quality/flaw that most South Africa wines have.

A smell and taste that reminds me of carrying an old wooden canoe down to the river -  old wet wood. Unfortunately this is as good as it gets for Pinotages here in NB - still slightly boring and forgettable. Screw cap, decanted for 25 minutes.

Price: $17.99
Value: 0/5
Score: 80
Alcohol: 14.5%
South Africa- Western Cape
UPC: 6009650000174

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2006

I had this wine a few days ago, and my memory isn’t as sharp as I would like, but I loved this wine and I can’t let it go without blogging.  Cannonau is the name for Grenache in Sardinia.  This wine is very much in the old world style.
 It is moderate in alcohol (13.5%), medium bodied and medium coloured.  It bears no resemblance at all to the jammy style of Australian Grenache based wines.  The nose is reserved, but interesting, and I found it beautifully balanced on the palate, with good length and a distinct aftertaste of chocolate.  Kelly found it to be too astringent the first time she tried it, but she had been drinking something sweeter just before.  I mention it by way of saying that this is not a lush wine.  I am not as familiar with Grenache based Châteauneuf-du-Pape as I would like to be, but I found it more elegant and much more interesting than impressive that the Gigondas I have had at a similar price.  I wouldn’t have been disappointed to have paid $40+ for this wine – in fact, it reminds me quite a lot of the Bocca di Lupo.  There is not much left in the province.  If you like an old world style, give it a try and let us know if you like it as much as I do.  But be warned – if you like a lush, ‘big’ new world style, this wine is not for you.

Score: 91+
Value: 5/5
Grape: Grenache
UPC 8006725100256

PS - I gave it a 91+ because I'm having a hard time dealing with score inflation / compression.  Jamie Goode has a very interesting post on the subject.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pierre Sparr Alsace One 2007

Ho hum.  This wine looked so good.  Three of my favourite white grapes - riesling, muscat and gewurtz.  I like Muscat and Gewurz for the fun nose, and
riesling for the lucious oily texture.  But if I’d had this blind, I would never have guessed any of those grapes.  Mostly just neutral with pronounced acidity.  OK, maybe a bit of riesling character on the nose, and if I really try I could say that I got some lychee or something from the gewurz.  Nothing wrong with it, but nothing particularly right with it either.

Price $17.99
Score 85
Value 3/5
Grapes: riesling, pinot blanc, muscat, pinot gris, gewürztraminer
UPC 3263530020017

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2006

Here’s my pick for the value wines sweepstakes.  This has always been a classic
good value Aussie Shiraz, but it seems to me that the price was creeping up towards $30 in the past few years (or maybe that was the Show Reserve?)  Anyway, this one is a winner at the price if you’re looking for a Aussie Shiraz with good fruit but without the overdone jammy-ness that makes the cheaper wines to unappealing.

Price $19.99
Score 88
Value 4/5
UPC 9300727140517

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rosemount Estate Diamond Label Sangiovese 2005

Here we go at last.  Is Iron Chef just pulling our legs, or have we discovered the Holy Grail - a 90 rated wine for less than $15!?  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Colour- Pale red with orangish rim.
Nose- Plums with orange marmalade. Olives and a weird Sun dried tomatoes smell. Quite perfumy, some twigs and gravel and rosemary. Interesting.
Taste- Peppery Plum fruit, abundant liquor, earth, nutmeg and green coffee. Sourish with a tart acidity. Very complex for the price.
Overall- This was a solid example of a robust Sangiovese- give me hope for this grape, Italy can learn from this.

Price: $14.99
Value 4.5/5
Score 90
Alcohol 13.5%
South Eastern Australia
UPC #012894100919

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Brumont Tannat-Merlot 2006

I tried this as the Blue Door and quite enjoyed it with dinner, so I thought it would be spectacular value without the restaurant markup.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  When I tried a bottle at home it struck me as typical in style for a wine in that range – jammy and unbalanced.  It is maybe a notch above average, in that it was only a bit jammy and less unbalanced than most.  I finished most of my glass, but the rest of the bottle was for cooking.

It looks like the search for a good wine cheap wine will keep on keepin’ on.

Price: $15.49
Value: 3.5/5
Region: France
UPC 3372220000236