Private Selection. Alentejo, Portugal. 14.5% alcohol. White blend of indigenous Roupeeiro, Arinto and Antao Vaz grapes. TASTING NOTES: Beautiful, vibrant gold color with french oak on the nose, lurking acidity, minerality. Tropical fruits, orange peel, citrus and creamy oak. Bold, delicious wine with an attitude. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 90 PTS Looking for some esoteric varietals to spring on your friends, then look no further. This wine is a dead ringer for a big Chardonnay, but brings its own swagger. There is ripeness, terroir and originality. I love this wine. The oak is dominant but if you are classic California Chardonnay lover, you'll find this to be an affordable, under the radar rockstar! Retails for around $18.
100% Garnacha. 16% alcohol, from Campo De Borja. TASTING NOTES: Dark purple, rich wine with chocolate covered raisins, prunes, figs, licorice, blackberries, plum, spices, vanilla, espresso-balasmic vinegar, and berries. Elegance and power combine into an explosive effort and a finish that echoes. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 94 PTS For $35 a bottle, this has all the class and complexity of much more expensive bottles. Alluring, seductive and delicious.
Made from 100% Mencia grapes, a varietal that if you haven't heard of, is one you should get acquainted with rather quickly.
Dark red color with explosive grapey-berries on the nose. Rich, focused cherry and black fruit with smoke, raspberries and minerality. Lengthy finish with a backbone.
SCORE & RECOMMENDATION:
90+ PTS A juicy fruit explosion with mouth-watering deliciousness. This wine has strength and finesse. Spain still remains one of the best values in the marketplace. Pick this one up on sale for as little as $12 a bottle.
Grenache based red from Southern France's Languedoc Roussillon region is made by Dave Phinney (Orin Swift's The Prisoner) and famous California winemaker Joel Gott. 15.9% alcohol.
Inky purple-red with blueberry pie on the nose. Dark fruit with notes of blueberry, blackberry, plum, charred oak, and mocha. Brambly, some sweetness, lush grapey richness.
SCORE & RECOMMENDATION:
95 PTS This is a blockbuster wine. Simply awesome. Powerful with elegance. There's complexity here and the whopping alcohol content is integrated fairly nicely. Saturated and full of pure deliciousness. If you love cult-Syrah like Denner, or young fruit forward Chateauneuf-du-Papes, you'll love this CDP-esque wine on PEDs. Retails for $29 and one of the best new wines I've tasted all year.
CHATEAU CROIX DE LABRIE ST. EMILION GRAND CRU - 2007
One of the smallest St. Emilion producers. A garage wine of sorts made from close to 100% Merlot and aged in 100% French new oak. TASTING NOTES: Black fruit, charcoal, oak-char, black cherry, mocha, leather, baking spices. Rich, smooth, elegant with plum notes on the finish. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 93 PTS This is a sensational wine with tremendous character and style. Terrific hidden gem of the vintage.
13.5% alcohol. Willamette Valley. TASTING NOTES: Light red color with raspberry and black cherry notes. Clean, crisp with good acidity. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 88 PTS Easy to drink, but lacks complexity. Simple, light and enjoyable but short on the finish and depth. Retails for around $20.
Known more for its Sauternes, Chateau Guiraud's Le G is a dry white wine, barrel fermented in one year old Sauternes barrels and aged for six months on the lees. 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon. 13.5% alcohol. TASTING NOTES: Golden yellow with aromas of meadow grass, peaches, nectarines, and citrus. On the palate there's persimmons, creamy melon, grapefruit and pear. Smooth, dry finish with lots of minerality and composure. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 92 PTS For $16 this is serious, sophisticated wine. You don't come across this kind of layered complexity, ever-evolving in the glass kind of wine at this price point. A wonderful wine. Triumph.
100% Viura grapes, barrel fermented and aged 4 months in French Oak barrels. 13% alcohol. TASTING NOTES: Straw-gold color with floral lemon aromas. Peaches, honey, minerals, and lots of citrus. Candied apple-pear on the finish with oak undertones. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 91 PTS A really unique and satisfying white from Spain. There is a deliciousness here. A long finish. Great balance and acidity. You can't ask for much more from a wine that costs $15 a bottle.
13.5% alcohol. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 6% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec. From Columbia Valley, Washington State. TASTING NOTES: Dark fruit on display as blackberries, black currants, blackberry, licorice, plum and lots of oak are packed into a left hook. There's creamy cherry-vanilla notes and chocolate, big tannins and explosiveness with restraint and finesse. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 91+PTS This wine is raw, bold, naked and amusing so in a way it could be Lena Dunham wine. But all kidding aside, it is a terrific wine with "trutina" which means balance in Latin. For around $22 a bottle, this is superior stuff from one of my favorite wine regions on Earth. Washington State delivers great quality at a more affordable rate than a lot of California wineries.
14% alcohol. Made from 90% Sangiovese. TASTING NOTES: Dark red color with aromas of black fruit and charred oak. Black currant, plum, blackberries and hints of cherry/mocha on the mid-palate. Relatively smooth with dusty tannins, leather and spices accenting a round finish. SCORE & RECOMMENDATION: 90 PTS Nothing that will thrill you, but this is a well made wine with a good price tag. It lists for around $20 but you can find it on sale for around $17. Not sure this will really improve with aging. Quality fruit, approachable now, but leaves you wanting more excitement because all the right ingredients are there but it just doesn't completely come together.
WINE REVIEWS FOR THE EVERYDAY WINE DRINKER: No snobbery, no spit bucket, just honest thoughts on the wines I drink to help you become a smart wine buyer, drinker and enthusiast.
About Me & My Wine
I Am: Winecentric
Wine that started my love affair with wine: 1997 Catena Alta Luca Chardonnay
Wine that most recently impressed me: Quinta Do Vale Meao Meandro Douro 2006 (amazing stuff!)
Wine I wish I had in my cellar but don't: Movia reds from Slovenia, 1995 Chateau Musar
Number of bottles in my cellar at all times: About 100
Most exciting wine moment: Meeting Nicolas & Laura Catena at the NY Wine Experience
To send wine samples for review, comments or questions, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org