Archive for July, 2008

Pigmentum Malbec Rose 2007

Wine: Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum

Type: Malbec Rose

Origin: France

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.99

Rating: 9/10

Value: 8.5/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

I’ve been wanting to try a rose for awhile, but I’ve been scared away by their purported dryness. However, I found this wine to be crisp, clean, fruity, smooth and easy to drink. (Maybe a little too easy…) It wasn’t particularly sweet, but neither was it very acidic. It had a nice tart, berry taste. All in all, a very pleasant wine served chilled on a hot summer day.

Winemaker Notes:

France-This lovely, fresh Rose made from 100% Malbec is from the Cahors region, famed as the original home of Malbec. It has aromas and flavors of fresh strawberries & red cherries. It is both dry and easy to drink. Another smashing success from Georges Vigouroux, the ‘King of Cahors’. {Crisp/Soft, Strawberry, Cherry, Light-bodied}”

Others Say:

” I opened this to have with some grilled salmon, but I may have (accidentally) finished most of the wine before the salmon was done. An excellent wine for a hot summer day, not one of those foul “cough-syrup-sweet” pink wines I associate with the name “rose'”. I will definitely get a case next trip to the store.”

” 07 Vintage. Simple dry rose with crisp lemon and strawberry fruit. Nothing ground breaking, but simple and enjoyable.”

Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Pacific Peak

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: California, USA

Year: cannot find a year on this bottle! 1814??

Cost: $2.99

Rating: 5/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

We bought this a while ago and thought it was a great value for the price, so we bought more. The next few bottles were pretty difficult to choke down. I don’t know what happened….

So today when we had an opportunity to try our Vinturi Wine Aerator, we decided to revisit our last bottle of this confusing wine. You want to love it, because it’s so cheap. Well at least we want to love it for that reason. After opening the bottle we poured a little directly into one glass with one of these nifty items which prevents drips and red ring-shaped stains on your table:

The other we poured through our new aerator:

Let me just say that Bernoulli’s law never mentioned anything about a swooshing sound. But it’s kind of cool to hear as you pour your wine through this little bubble into your glass.

Then came a taste-test. On the first sip neither tasted that great. In fact we were both initially disappointed at how bad the pacific peak was tasting. A few more sips and we decided that you could tell that one was a bit better than the other, though I admitted that in a blind taste test I’d be somewhat stumped. It was just very acidic and ..well.. cheap-tasting. Then again I’m not a big Cabernet Sauvignon fan, so that probably didn’t help.

I had an idea.. if the aerator improves the taste by a factor of X, then wouldn’t pouring the wine back through the aerator N times increase the drinkability of the wine by NX? I know what you’re thinking, you can’t do it too many times or you’ll be aerating INXS. We wouldn’t want that. So I just did it 2 times. Better!

Actually by the end of dinner, it was palatable and decent. On the second glass, I admit I did N = 3 aerations on poor pacific peak. Even better. I don’t want to wear it out, I mean we just got it… but, it’s doing its job!

I suppose in summary, if you want to drink this cheap wine, you better get the aerator, because it certainly does it make it taste better! I don’t know how to describe it, but I guess I would say it went from being heavy and tart to a bit lighter (hence the aeration???) and sweeter. Less tang. Or you could cook with this wine, because it’s cheap enough you won’t feel guilty not drinking it.

One last point I want to make. Or maybe a question… Where is the date on this wine?!? Why would they hide it?? What else are they trying to hide….

Winemakers Notes:

California- Deeply colored and full flavored with essence of dark cherries, cassis and blackberry, this wine eliminates thoughts that quality must be sacrificed for value. Strong, firm tannins and explosive fruit flavors make this wine a natural friend of food. {Intense, Dark Cherry, Cassis, Full-bodied}

Others Say:
Surprisingly very good things… with the exception of a few.
From Total Wine:

“This wine is excellent; great bouquet, nice clean taste, and excellent dry cherry finish. That’s about as haute wine as I will get. Those high class reviewers who didn’t know if they would use it for cooking, can go on paying $30-40 or more per bottle, I’ll be happy with Pacific Peak. Come to think of it… I also used it for an excellent sauce of mushrooms and artichoke hearts.”

“Best everyday wine I have found to date. Good taste and extremely low price. This is a medium body wine with a very soft finish. It receives a higher rating because of the price. Of course it’s not as good as a $10+ wine, but at $3.99 it’s an amazing value. If you’re looking for something you can easily afford to enjoy every day, this is a good one.”

“I believe that wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. But this isn’t good. I’d rate it no better than a cooking wine – and I’m not sure what your food would pick up from it.”

Twin Wells Shiraz 2005

Wine: Twin Wells

Type: Shiraz

Origin: South Eastern Australia

Year: 2005

Cost: $7.00

Alcohol: 14%

Purchased: Corridor Wine & Spirits, Laurel, MD

Rating: 4/10

Value: 4/10

Our opinion:

Eeengh. That’s about all we have to say on this one. We drank it… but there was a glass left on the table, which means it couldn’t have been that good. Cheap price, cheap wine. Not worth it either way. Move on!

Others Say:

Winemaker Review: “South East, Australia- Fresh fruit and ripe tannins surround this medium-bodied, smooth and spicy Shiraz. Aromas of dark ripe fruit, chocolate and vanilla are supported by a palate of spicy plum, blackberry flavors and a velvety smooth finish. Enjoy with BBQ, hamburgers, or kebobs. {Fresh, Plum, Medium-bodied}”

From Total Wine:

Undrinkable; had to pour it down the sink. :-(“

“Skip it”

One person liked it though:

“If I had read the previous reviews, I probably would have missed this gem. Unbelievable for $7. Very smooth.”

Washington Hills Shiraz 2005

Wine: Washington Hillswashington hills shiraz

Type: Shiraz

Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington, USA

Year: 2005

Cost: $7.99

Alcohol: 13.5%

Purchased: Corridor Wine & Spirits, Laurel, MD

Rating: 5/10

Value: 5/10

Our opinion:

We enjoyed this bottle of wine before, during, and after a meal of carry out curry dishes from Indian Delight in Catonsville. The wine is fine…drinks easy enough.. but it’s not great. It comes at a lower price tag than others we’ve reviewed, but also lacks any intriguing flavors in our opinion. Next to other cheap wines it’s not bad but we wouldn’t purchase this one again. If it came down to this and a bottle of Vendage or Boordy, I’d go with Washington Hills, but if you have full run of the wine shop, keep looking!

According to other reviewers, it seems that the Washington Hills Cabernet Merlot blend is a great choice. Perhaps we should give that one a try before writing them off, because at 7.99 a bottle, cheapos are happy.
Others Say:

Tasting notes: “Notes of black cherry and hints of smoke fill the nose of this deep red wine. Sweet black cherry flavors continue on the palate finishing with smooth silky tannins.”

Smoking Loon Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Wine: Smoking Loon

Type: Sauvignon Blanc

Origin: California, USA

Year: 2005

Cost: $10.99 (In at 7-11 in Ocean City, MD.. so I’m sure you can find it cheaper!)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Purchased: 7-11 Ocean City (we believe it is widely available however)

Rating: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Our opinion:

We opened this bottle when making a delicious seafood pasta with scallops and shrimp in a white wine and garlic cream sauce during a weekend in Ocean City. As mentioned above, it was picked up from a 7-11 down the street, no doubt marked up at least 1-2 dollars higher than you can probably find it elsewhere. We are going to classify this as a 5-10 dollar wine for that reason.

The wine seemed to go very well both in and with the pasta we made. It was a bit citrusy and tangy but almost bordered on sweet for a sauvignon blanc. The Smoking Loon is a California wine made in the New Zealand Suavignon Blanc tradition. It was definitely drinkable but not terribly exciting, though we would have fought for the last glass of it. The taste was pleasant but seemed to drop off quickly. It does seem difficult to find many cheaply-priced and good white wines if you’re not a big fan of the sweeter ones, so we will rate this at at 7. The value is a bit lower as the price we paid wasn’t the best. I’m sure if you can find it for $6 it would be a great buy. We may try to find this one again somewhere and give it a second look.

Wine maker notes: “This bleached blonde beauty is reminiscent of fresh green apples, pineapple and has hints of hibiscus blossoms. The concentration of zesty lemon and gooseberry fills your mouth leaving notes of thyme and melon behind. The bright acid in this wine gives you a zing while the fruit keeps your mouth watering for more.”

Others Say:

Budget Vino: “The first sip of this wine was pretty harsh compared to the Geyser Peak. It just didn’t have the same richness in flavor and was a bit tart and tangy. But, it got a lot better on the second, third, forth and fifth sips. It went down easily with salad, fish and cous cous.

Wine Waves: “Color: Pale straw “bleached blonde”. Aromas: Nectarine, green apple, hints of passionfruit and spearmint. Juicy, tart and light on the tongue, the lemon, gooseberry and mineral flavors are vibrant and harmonious. The finish is refreshing and damn near dry.

Cleaning up your spills… here comes spotbot!

This might not seem like a wine-related product, oh, but it is!

We received the Bissell 1200B SpotBot Hands-Free Compact Deep Cleaner Carpet Cleaner as a gift recently and it works wonders! Between our dog and our wine habit, and the dog’s habit of knocking wine off the table, it’s a relief to have one of these on hand. It’s not the cheapest thing out there, but it made a great gift to us.

You add water and cleaning solution, set it down on the stain, hit the on button, and walk away… About 5 minutes later spot bot has cleaned your carpet to good-as-new condition! It works particularly on stains or spots, and we used it with old set stains and a new one and it worked just as well for both.

Amazon had a new version and a remanufactured one at a discount. Being cheapos we registered for the remanufactured one, which works great and I see no problems with! Here are both:

Two thumbs up on one glass of red down.