March 13Worst wines to date!
We feel the hurt like millions of other Americans. I was laid off the first of the year, and we’re barely able to make ends meet. Of course that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped drinking wine! It just means we have to buy cheaper daily drinkers and drink “the good wines” less often. So with that, I’ve been exploring some inexpensive, no, downright CHEAP wines from Trader Joe’s. We’ve had some decent ones, some good ones, and these two. Yes, I’m going to put two wines in one post. They are two varietals from La Finca wines of the 2010 vintage. And no, I don’t think age will help these wines at all… nothing will. They are from the Finca La Celia vineyards in the foothills of the Argentine Andes. I’m not going to post what’s on the back label, but suffice to say, it ISN’T describing what’s in the bottle. What it describes is a typical wine of the variety from that region. It is what they WISH they were making. False advertising if ever there was such a thing. I think the other labels of Mendoza should shut these guys down – or buy them out just to protect their reputation!
So, not that you need a description of these wines, but…
Both are very light and relatively devoid of fruit. The Malbec is the less-bad of the two. At least it was clear – the Cabernet Sauvignon was a little cloudy. They both taste like they’re high in alcohol, but they’re only 13%. A typical Malbec or Cab from this region could carry 14- 16% without being this hot. For both I had to mix half and half with 7-up to tolerate them. Hey, can’t waste it, trashy or not!
OK, I’m done. These wines suck, don’t buy them.
Rating 70 or less
January 42003 Fattoria Dezi Dezio Marche Rosso
Another bargain from K&L’s clearance! Dark ruby color, dusty, smokey, black and sour red fruit on the nose, and smokey oak, plum, and black cherry, with a bit of tannin and spice on the pallet – and little veggie action and orange peel on the back end. Light acidity, but a great food wine. (more…)
November 232004 San Marzano Negro Amaro
OK, you’ve probably noticed we’re in rut with Italian wines. Well, it isn’t so much that we’re trying to do that, but K&L recently had a clearance of Italian wines to make room for a new shipment… so we bought several. That said, you might make a note that I do tend to enjoy Italian wines quite a bit. I like that they haven’t sold out [as much] to the American driven fruit bomb style. Anyway, on with the review.
We didn’t like this wine too much. It was fruitier than the last 2 we reviewed, but lacked the depth we desire – which the other two had more of. C’est la vie… we paid 5 bucks for it and can’t expect much. It does, however, retail for $13, so should, in our opinion, taste better. That’s just a matter of taste preference, however, and we do realize that many people here in the U.S. will like this wine just fine, maybe even quite a bit. It is easy to drink and has no harshness anywhere.
January 4Familia Sanchez Tempranillo-Syrah 2005
Basically, I’m adding this one because (a) I drank it, and (b) I have to make a post to put it in the “don’t even try it” category. I bought it at TJ’s for $5 so I wasn’t expecting much, but it didn’t even live up to those expectations. Like you might think it should be $2 better than the 3 buck Chilean Chuck, but you’d be wrong. This wine is dysfunctional at best. Awkward every step of the way and I can’t imagine anyone finding a reason to drink it. If it were $1 a bottle I’d say OK, it is the cheapest thing out there for the “kids” to get drunk on, but at $5 you can get a LOT of other wines that are better… even 2 1/2 bottles of 2 buck Chuck.
Price: $5 (TJ’s)
January 1Crucillon Garnacha 2005
This Spanish Garnacha (Grenache) is a screaming deal at $7. Very drinkable and visually appealing. Medium ruby red. Smells of red fruit, raspberry, slightly floral, a little spice box. Flavor is mostly cherry Jolly Ranchers with a bit of raspberry and red plum. Mouth-feel is fairly light, but almost creamy smooth with a little acidity and almost no tannins with a little spice at the end. Finishes with strawberry and a tiny bit of cranberry. We all enjoyed drinking this wine at our new year’s eve party and appreciated its light fruitiness.
December 10Vinas Chilenas Trader Joe’s – Merlot – 2006
3 buck Chilean Chuck here. When I first opened this bottle I thought it smelled almost as bad as the Cab. It tasted a little bit better, but not a lot. I let it sit for a while and tried it again and much to my surprise, the nose improved a little (although I’m not sure I can describe it accurately), and the taste was much improved. I’ve had much worse wines. I think TJ’s wised up to the high cost of good California grapes/wine and took their business to Chile, where cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
Color is fairly purple and medium in darkness. The nose is kind of cherry-cranberry-cassis and oak… maybe a very light hint of tobacco. Mouth-feel is OK… not big, but not terribly thin either. Rather enjoyable. The finish is mostly cassis and cherry then lingering light tannin and oak.
This wine is certainly worth the $3 bucks I paid, and maybe even worth the extra $3 I wasted on the Cab. I’m not sure it is quite good enough to be my “daily drinker”, especially since we had that Argentine Malbec for $7 that scored 90 points. To us that is a better value… but this comes pretty close in the QPR department. I would probably recommend you try a bottle to see what you think. What have you got to lose? Come back and write about it in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think of it.
Price: $3 (TJ’s)
Let’s call this 3 buck Chuck from Chile. I can understand why TJ’s would want to create a wine from Chile. The region is hot, and produces some great wine for the money. I’m not sure what the overall process was for this venture, but it says it is produced and bottled by Videma S.A.
You know, this might be a spoiled bottle. It smells bad and tastes bad. Or maybe it just IS bad. I also have the Merlot, and it isn’t near as bad, so I think I’ll take this bottle of Cab back to TJ’s and see if they’ll trade for another bottle. If that one sucks too, I’ll just say, OK, this wine just plain sucks. Check out my review of the Merlot.
OK, I’ve traded the bad bottle for a new one, that seems much better. Phew! Alright, let’s do this proper…
Color is medium to dark garnet w/purple. I don’t have a candle at the moment, but I’d say it would light up nicely.
The nose is pretty tight, as would be expected. It ain’t givin’ up much. Maybe some plumb, red currant, and a slight floral aspect. As slight as it is, I’m surprised at how “nice” it is. Maybe its just because of how bad the first bottle smelled.
The taste was also surprising. Mostly raspberries, with a hint of cherry and strawberry, a developing black pepper. Mouth-feel is soft with low acidity and almost nonexistent tannins. Really smooth, and a bit light. The finish is of strawberries and raspberries, lingering black pepper, although slight. There is a slight unpleasantness in there, not sure what it is, but another sip takes care of that.
All in all I have to agree with the few people I’ve talked to about it… “it really isn’t bad”. I like the Merlot better, but this doesn’t suck, to be sure. If you’re on a TIGHT budget, I can’t imagine you could get a better wine at this price. Probably the best wine under $5 ever. If you’re drinking two buck chuck, switch to this set of 3 buck Chilean Chuck. Beware of the bad bottle though! ;-P
December 6De Peloux – Ugni Viognier – 2005
We got this wine at TJ’s for six bucks so I wasn’t expecting much. It sounded interesting… half Viognier, which I have liked, the few times I’ve tried it, and Ugni Blanc, which I’ve never even heard of… but after some research, appears to be a pretty sweet berry.
It is pretty pale, almost straight yellow. The nose is not bad… mostly floral with a little melon, citrus, and believe it or not, a little soapy smell.
When it was still chilled at around 55 degrees, it immediately made me think I was drinking a light and dry champagne. Pretty nice. It was cool and refreshing, like a glass of fresh lemonade on a hot summer day. The flavor wasn’t too bad really, better than I expected. It was pretty similar to the nose, I tested all those smells… but the soap was replaced by what I imagine lemon pledge to taste like (but very slight). The finish is deep in lemon, with the rhine still on, black pepper, and a tiny bit of oak.
If you keep this one chilled, like in an ice bucket, you’ll probably enjoy it when its hot out, or with a salad… something along those lines. Certainly worth six bucks, maybe even 8!
Price: $6 (TJ’s)
December 6Fetzer – Shiraz – 2005
Now, don’t beat me up already, having read the title of this post. Before I even start, let me just say that I bought this wine to make a syrup for home made ice cream. That said, I thought it would be fun to pour a little in a glass and review it just for fun.
November 15Chateau Mayne Guyon – Red Bordeaux Blend – 2004
For $7 (TJ’s) this wine really serves well. If you can spend $7 for a daily wine, this one should be on your short list to try. It is very typical of Bordeaux wines – well rounded, medium bodied, and very nice to drink. Enjoyable no matter how you look at it. This is probably Rika’s low priced favorite.
Appearance: Dark Ruby, clear, very nice
Aroma: Minimal, but pleasant. Alcohol and cedar. This is the weakest point of this wine.
Taste/Texture: Very smooth and full, but not dramatic. Black currant, cherry, cranberry, and slight tobacco. Excellent tannin.
Aftertaste: The highlight of this wine. Excellent aftertaste. Initial aftertaste is very full, with the tannin slipping away after a 5 or so seconds, leaving you with a very nice rich grapey, fruity flavor, but not too sweet. One of the best aftertastes I’ve ever experienced.
rating: 85 Would be very hard to beat for the price.