Archive for the 'Red Wine' Category

Cat Amongst the Pigeons 2007 “Nine Lives” Shiraz

Winemaker: Cat Amongst the Pigeonscat amongst the pigeons nine lives shiraz 2007

Name: Nine Lives

Type: Shiraz

Origin: Barossa Valley Australia

Year: 2007

Cost: $16.99

Rating: 9/10

Value: 9/10

Alcohol: 14.5%

Our opinion:

For a special occasion we went all out and chose a random but pricier (not by much though..) bottle of red wine to enjoy along side a delicious meal of grilled lamb loin chops and a mezze of various finger foods and salads. This was a random selection from a local liquor store, and we probably chose it because the bottle looked neat and the points rating was high.. but still we went in blind.Cat amongst the pigeons shiraz with lamb loin chops

Naturally we aerated the wine before enjoying it but man was it good. The shiraz was complex, inky, rich, with hints of berry and oak. We raved about it the entire meal and were so sad when it was gone. Although the price tag placed it out of our everyday wine range, we would buy it again in a heartbeat for any small occasion if we could think of one. I’d easily say it was twice as good as many half as expensive wines, if not more.

We highly recommend this wine, and not only for the cute little cat silhouette on the bottle.

Others Say:

Wine Library: “The red wine lineup begins with the 2007 Shiraz. Opaque purple-colored, it has an enticing perfume of spice box, blue fruits, and smoked meat. This leads to a savory, ripe, full-flavored wine with layered fruit, excellent balance, and a lengthy close. Drink it over the next four years.”

Cellar Tracker comments:

Dark purple,knock you over scents and flavors, long finish, with a cheese plate of stinky rind washed cheeses it was the equivalent of the fruit on the side

“dark colored. the nose is lush with blackberries, chocolate and black plums. well-structured, this is not a flabby, hi-c, weak-kneed shiraz, rich fruit is balanced by strong tannins, medium acid and secondary flavors of pepper, bacon and chocolate. not overly alcoholic. a silky, fruity finish. nice qpr for sure.”

The Bottle Says:

Drink in moderation – then have a catnap!

Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon

marcus-james-cabernet2007

Origin: Argentina

Year: 2007

Cost: $5.99

Rating: 4/10

Value: 5/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

This was another one of our leftover “backup wines” for a party we had, along with the Marcus James Merlot.   We found it acidic and generally cheap tasting.   In fact, it was fairly offensive.  I suppose it was decent enough to finish 3/4 of the bottle, but leftover wine is a rare occurrence around here.  We saved it for cooking wine…

Marcus James seemed to have fairly decent reviews, but most of them for other years of the same or other varietals.  We didn’t think much of the 2007 wines.  In this price range we would stick with the Waltzing Vine shiraz.  For a lower price you could even crack open a Macaroni Grill Merlot 1.5 Liter and have plenty left over for cooking…

Others Say:

Once again we appear to be outnumbered.. general consensus seems to think this is a decent wine.  Perhaps we needed to aerate this one 5 times like we did with the Merlot, or maybe we needed to drink it with a meal. Or maybe it’s just not a good wine:

From antiwinesnob.com: “I truly remember this wine being pretty tasty on another occasion. And this time, I still thought it had a nice flavor with a good balance of tannins and acidity. But I also found it had a disagreeable sweet/sour twang to it that I suspect is acetic acid. This flavor really distracted me from the other more pleasing layers to a point where I did not enjoy it on its own….I tried it again the next day, thinking maybe the flavors would be different now that the bottle had been opened and recorked. While a sip confirmed that the acetic acid flavor was still there, to my surprise, I found that the unpleasant flavor more or less disappeared when I sipped it along with my dinner. In its place was a full, blackcurrant flavor with a pleasant bite of acidity-but not of the acetic acid variety.

From WineLegacy.com: “Marcus James has been one of Argentina’s top exports for years. When we tasted the recent releases we were jolted out of complacency by the quality and value they offer. With grapes sourced in the perpetually sunny Mendoza valley and vinified under the eye of a team of the world’s best international winemaking experts, Marcus James wines are consistently good year after year.”

2007 Marcus James Merlot

Type: Merlot

Origin: Argentina

Year: 2007

Cost: $5.99

Rating: 5/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

We were having a lot of guests over for a party and decided we needed to fill our wine rack for the first time in a while, and not necessarily with anything expensive, should we need to crack into it.  We stocked up on several Marcus James wines as well as a few Crane Lakes.  The Marcus James Merlot was still in the rack at the end of the party, and we tentatively broke into it on a random weeknight with low expectations and a backup plan of hard liquor.

Bleah.  There was really nothing nice to say about this wine.  Drink out of necessity.  Though we did agree it was a shade tastier than the Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon, it wasn’t by much.  After the first sip, I passed the glass of wine back and forth through the Vinturi wine aerator about 5 times.  This seemed to slightly improve the taste and removed a bit of the bite to it.  Once it was smoothed out, we were able to finish our first glass, and about half of a second glass.

Unfortunately at the end of the night, wine still remained in the bottle.  Just like the Marcus James Cabernet.  Oh well… cooking wine?

As a side note, Marcus James has frequently been compared to the “two buck chuck” you can find in various places around the country.

Others Say:

Apparently there are other more positive reviews of this wine on the web, so maybe it’s up to you to decidel :

From winecurrent.com: “There are mixed spice, black plum and tarry aromas that segue smooth and plush flavours of black currant and ripe juicy black cherry. It’s medium in weight and texture with pleasing fruit flavours that carry through the balanced finish. It’s a lovely quaffing wine with the oomph and stuffing to pair with burgers, pizza, gourmet sausages and the like. Bistro-styled and uncomplicated, it warrants a buy given the attractive price-quality ratio.”

Nassau Valley Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard Select

Type: Cabernet SauvignonNassau Valley 2006 Cabernet Suavignon Vineyard Select

Origin: Delaware

Year: 2006

Cost: $23.00

Rating: 8.5/10

Value: 7.5/10

Alcohol: 12.9%

Our opinion:

We visited Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes, Delaware during a weekend in good old Ocean City Maryland.  We were allowed to try 6 different wines from a list of about 12.  Both of us chose to try a few whites and reds, keeping primarily with the dry- and semi-dry-labeled wines.  This vineyard turns out a large number of very sweet vintages, which we don’t generally enjoy.

Unfortunately for us, this bottle was one of the most expensive ones they sold by a margin of about $10 over the standard, but rightfully so.  The bottle that we tasted in the store had a very distinct oak flavor to it, much more so than the 2005 bottle priced at $17.

The Cabernet Sauvignon tasted structured, smoky, and bold with a medium mouth feel and none of those harsh tannins that generally turns me off from the grape.  It was delicious and so we bought a bottle and drank it at home.

In the end it was nice to try a local wine that we thought competed with many of the California wines.  We really enjoyed the bottle we brought home with us.  In the end we do recommend this wine, but then again, for $23 there are probably a few we’d really enjoy in this price range.

Winemaker’s Notes:
Our 2006 Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot.  100% of the grapes used to make this wine come from the estate vineyard here in Lewes, DE.

Others Say:

Not much, at least that we could find.  If you’ve tasted this wine please share your opinion with us!

7 Deadly Zins Michael & David Phillips Zinfandel

Type: Zinfandelseven-deadly-zins

Origin: California

Year: 2007 ?

Cost: $15.00

Rating: 9/10

Value: 9/10

Alcohol: 14.5%

Our opinion:

The bottle doesn’t tell me much, other than the seven deadly “zins”.  I don’t know what year it is or where it’s from (without the help of the internet).  It doesn’t tell me much about itself, either.  I tend to think that wine bottles with gimicky names must be hiding something–namely, a bad wine.  However this wine was named thus because of the 7 different wines that went into the blend.  Not entirely gimicky, yet catchy.  Easier to remember than some random guy’s name, which is wise.

A friend brought this bottle for after dinner drinks.  YUMMY.  It might have been my favorite of all the wines we tried tonight (4?).  I don’t frequently purchase zinfandels, for no particular reason, so maybe I will have to start.  This wine has just the right amount of complexity, fruitiness, roundness, a slight spice to it, a beautiful smell, and all around it just plain pleases me. I’m glad there was a glass left over when my friends went home, because I’m certainly enjoying it now!

Wait.. is that GREED?  or is it GLUTTON?  Who cares.  It’s good wine.

It was bought to go along with several dark and bittersweet chocolates. However I’m not convinced that the chocolate really did much for the wine, compared to others that I’ve specifically tasted along with a bite of chocolate and noticed the difference. It still doesn’t matter… leave the chocolate and take the wine.

Winemaker’s Notes:
A vibrant, sweet bouquet of raspberry jam, molasses and cinnamon toast evoke the senses of carefree youthful nights.  Excellent oak integration provides silken tannins and spice to pair with Lodi’s unrestricted wild berry fruit.

Others Say:

From: Cheapwineratings.com

“…But it’s no joke that this is a good zin.  It has a spicy nose with a bit of raspberry, tomato, pepper and cola.  It’s very clearly a Lodi Zinfandel right from the first whiff.  Raisins, jammy blackberry, walnut and black pepper make for a big, bold palate with plenty of complexity.  It has good concentration too, and a fairly long finish with a hot spiciness.

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
los-vascos

Origin: Chile – Colchagua Valley

Year: 2007

Cost: $9.00

Rating: 5/10 ? (at least unpaired with food)

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 13.5%

Our opinion:

No, thanks. At least not to drink with. Thanks to the lovely folks at The Wine Bin in Ellicott City, I puchased this wine to add to my coq au vin. I asked for a cheapish wine (pinot noir to be specific, since I figured I needed a burgundy), and they upgraded me to a more full-bodied cabernet. The wine itself wasn’t awful by any means, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it to drink. We had a bottle of white during appetizers, and while waiting for the food to finish cooking, I offered up a taste of this wine to those with an empty glass. A couple of those ‘tastes’ got ditched when it was time to open the pinot for dinner. Clearly not a crowd pleaser… in my opinion it was too tangy and difficult to drink. The coq au vin, however, turned out quite flavorful and tasty. Buy to cook, not to drink.

I must disclaim, however, that others seem to disagree with us.  This wine got great reviews online.  Perhaps it needs to be drunk with a strong meat such as lamb to really enjoy.  But not by itself.

Bottle says:
Under the direct technical supervision of the Domaines, Los Vascos is committed to producing the finests consistent and balanced wines whose elegance and harmony are to be shared with discriminating connaisseurs around the world. This wine is fresh, gentle, consistent and very fruity, with a slightly spicy finish.

Others Say:

From: ReviewJournal.com

“On the nose, there is serious concentration emanating from the glass with ripe crushed black fruit dominated by black cherries, loganberries and soft sweet currants, followed by jammy licorice-laced plums, phenolic compounds, oak references, spices, tobacco leaf and earth-driven minerals.

In the mouth, this wine is a big mouthful of spiced black currant juice — true to the cabernet structure — then layered soft blackberries, wild cherries and elderberry fruit, leading into a seamless midpalate that is just ripe with black fruit and hints of mint and black tea.

This well-made wine is big and heady with a full-bodied character, yet so supple and fine in the tannin structure that it has a smooth, long finish that lingers with black currant pastilles and tobacco. It’s probably one of the more accomplished cabernets tasted out of Chile at this price in a long time.

Drink it now at its peak through 2009, and try it with herb-crusted rack of lamb grilled perfectly medium-rare.”

Beauzeau “Bozo” 2005 Red Wine

Wine: Beauzeau / Bozo

Type: Blend / Red Wine

Origin: California

Year: 2005

Cost: $10.99

Rating: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Alcohol: 12.5%

Our opinion:

We had just finished installing our new wall-mount wine rack and decided to load’er up.  Suddenly wine started dripping down the wall… Oh no!! One of the bottles we put in there was a screw cap, and the motion of twisting the bottle securely into place in the rack apparently twisted the lid right off!   What happened next was an…

!!! !!! EMERGENCY CONSUMPTION OF OPEN WINE !!! !!!

At first we were wary that maybe the bottle wasn’t securely closed, and started thinking bad thoughts.  After a quick zip through the aerator, we decided the wine was actually quite good! It wasn’t the #1 smoothest wine ever, it still had a little tang to it, but overall was very tasty.  Bozo would make a great table wine, and the funny juggling guy on the cover is good for a laugh.  The Juggler signifies the way this blend is somehow balancing 8 different grape varietals in one bottle!  A nice blend, at a decent price.

Winemaker’s notes:

Juggling too many balls these days? We know just how you feel. Life shouldn’t always be so serious and neither should your wine, so we set out to make a blend just for the fun of it. Eight different varietals are included in our 2005 Beauzeaux Red Wine ? mostly Zinfandel and Syrah, with small amounts of Petite Sirah, Charbono and others. Show off to your wine geek friends when you tell them it also contains 2% Lagrein, a red grape variety mentioned in the 17th century records of a Benedictine monastery.

This is the wine to reach for when friends show up for pizza. Ripe red and black berry characters with jammy pie flavors and some black pepper to boot make it rich and hearty enough to stand up to your best baby back ribs. And the capper? Nothing but a screwcap would do.

Others Say:

From Wine.com

“My wife and I enjoyed this unique red blend. It’s a good value for an everyday table wine, but offers a bit more spice than the more common cab and merlot dominant red blends.”

“My fiancee and love this wine. We bought a case a few months ago and just bought two more. It’s our house wine. We’ll serve something nicer with a meal we go to a lot of trouble over, but for the price it can’t be beat.”

Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2004

Wine: Castello Banfi

Type:Chianti Classico Riserva

Origin: Italy

Year: 2004

Cost: $14.99

Rating: 7/10

Value: 4/10

Alcohol: 13%

Our opinion:

BOOOOORRRRINGGGGGG.

So after our glass of Tin Shed Shiraz, which as amazing, we selected a Chianti Classico off a wine list at the Antrim 1844 (www.antrim1844.com) to go with our dinner. We were prepared to lay down $45 for this 2001 Riserva, but they pulled the “ol switcheroo” on us, and brought this 2004 out on us.

I don’t know if this had anything to do with the fact that the previous glass of wine was so perfect, but this wine just did nothing for us. We tried to convince ourselves it was good, due to the fact that we were paying quite a bit for it, but neither of us were really falling for it.

It was easy to drink, light, lacked flavor, lacked a nose, and the taste (what little of one there was) fell off sharply as soon as it hit your palate. Maybe we had a bad bottle, because other reviewers seem to think it’s a nice buy. But in our opinion, don’t bore yourself. Not for $14. And certainly not for the $42 we paid for it!!

Bah.

Winemaker’s notes:

Grape Varieties: Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon

“Chianti may well be the single best-known wine in the world – historically celebrated, universally revered and enjoyed over centuries. Produced from select grapes grown in the “Classico” region of Chianti between Siena and Florence, this aristocratic Tuscan wine has reached new heights in Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva. After aging two years in Slavonian oak casks, this elegant, well-balanced wine has flavors of vanilla, cocoa and spice.

An honored red wine, Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva is a fine gourmet accompaniment to red roasts, pastas and cheese.”

Others Say:

“Another award winning wine from the Banfi Vinyard. Smooth but yet tasteful, not too tanic, well blended. Great choice to compliment your dinner with a light red wine.”

“Round, subtle and elegant, typical of a full-bodied Chianti Classico. Ruby-red in color with an intense vanilla and licorice bouquet.”

Tin Shed Melting Pot Shiraz (2005??)

Wine: Tin Shed “Melting Pot”

Type: Shiraz

Origin: Australia

Year: 2005 (????)

Cost: $35.99 ??

Rating: 10/10

Value: 8/10

Alcohol: ??%

Our opinion:

This wine probably shouldn’t be on a cheapo wino blog, but every now and then you have to treat yourself, to see what you’re missing. We went to the Antrim 1844 for a dinner the other evening and each had a ($15) glass (!!) of this wine before we ate. It was amazing! Honestly I cannot remember a Shiraz this delicious and balanced and perfect tasting. Nothing was too strong, nothing was weak, it wasn’t too heavy or light or spicy or fruity or sweet or dry. Everything just seemed right. Every sip was delicious and exciting. If you want to splurge, you need to know what on. We were told that there were no more of these bottles available for purchase anywhere; the Antrim had bought them all out. However, I see it on both Corridor and Total Wine & More websites. Corridor in Laurel seems to carry it, but if anyone goes there and looks for it, let us know if they have it in stock!

We unfortunately don’t know the year, but all the years have great reviews and > 90 points for their ratings, so my guess is you can’t go wrong.

Merchant Reviews:

Barossa Valley, Australia- The Melting Pot Shiraz offers wonderful aromas of cassis, black pepper and licorice. This rich and full-bodied Shiraz encompasses remarkable flavor intensity and a lengthy finish. {Intense, Licorice, Currant, Full-bodied}”

Others Say:

Bright and aromatic with lovely fruit characters. The palate is smooth with spice and fruits.

“A stunning offering, the 2005 Shiraz Melting Pot reveals flamboyant aromas of cassis, black pepper, licorice, and espresso roast. This medium to full-bodied, pure, rich Shiraz offers another example of the seamlessness of this vintage.”
– Wine Advocate (#167, Oct 2006), 91-94 pts

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.”

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