August 252005 Durigutti Bonarda
My experience with this wine is a lot like this…
You don’t have anything planned for Friday night. You’re at the library checking out your books when you notice the librarian is kinda cute. (If you’re a female reading this, just substitute the librarian for a computer geek) Very cliche, I know, but her fashion sense is off and she’s fairly shy, but she’s got a nice smile, so you decide to ask her out, if nothing else than to have something to do Friday night. She giggles and says sure, you exchange numbers and you’re on your way.
July 62006 Clos de los Siete
If you have tried the “7 Layer Cake” wine we’ve reviewed, and liked it, you will almost without a doubt like (at least) this wine also. Depending on when you take a sniff, it smells very much like the 7LC, and depending one when you taste it, and what you drink it with, it also tastes a lot like it. Two of the major differences were the increased smokey/oakey-ness and acidity. The back of the bottle says a piece on the makers of this wine, but not much, other than a mention that it is rich, about the wine itself. It is, in fact, pretty rich, even decadent.
The color is, well, damn dark, ruby with a hint of purple. On the nose it is smokey/oakey, dark baked fruit, sweet tobacco, vanilla, and a hint of sulfur. It smells like some vanilla cakes I’ve made, but much more complex. Mouth-feel is rich and acidic. We had this wine by itself the first night… just one glass by the pool while star gazing. It was fabulous in this situation. The second (and final) night I made homemade tomato/basil/fresh mozzarella pizza, with left-over BBQ chicken on the side. This is where the wine really showed it’s stuff. This is probably the most diverse wine I’ve ever had. It tasted completely different with each food. It had enough acidity to cut the grease of the chicken, yet the smoke and subtlety to match beautifully with my pizza. In the end the flavor was back to the same as the night before, with a little added aroma and complexity since it had aired a bit more. I can’t imagine a meal too bold for this wine, but also, I think it has enough finesse to match up with more delicate meals. I don’t think I’d serve it with any kind of fish, but anything above that is fair game.
So, this now ranks as our top value red, since it is $2 cheaper than the 7 layer cake – our previous top value red. If you know of a red wine that is a greater value let us know. This wine is a serious wine, not a fruit bomb, but quite fruity. It has great complexity that will have you intellectualizing it until it runs out. What I like most about this wine is the amount of flavor, fruit and all, without tasting or smelling extracted. Seems impossible these days.
Price: $15 (K&L)
The nose have it! Big black fruit aroma, with a little smoke, spice, and veggies. Mouth-feel is solid, lush, with light to medium acidity. This wine is BIG on fruit! Black plum, black and blue berries… you can imagine that the grapes themselves must have been heavenly delicious. Nice long finish. Goes great with Gumbo! A big recommend for the price!
January 1Altos Los Hormigas Malbec 2006
Yet another value driven Argentine Malbec from the Mendoza appellation. Deep purple colored and perfumy, floral, very slight oak, and cassis on the nose. Tasted dark fruit, plum, toasty oak, medium tannin, and black raspberry. Mouth-feel was medium acidity, ripe tannins… nice. Finished with plum peel, black pepper, and cedar. A good value at $9
January 1Pascual Toso Malbec 2006
From the Maipu Valley, Argentina comes this delicious medium ruby red Malbec that is sure to impress for a $9 wine. The aroma was grass, bowl of uncut citrus, and and bright red fruit. There was a nice balance of oak, smokiness, tangerine, and red plum for flavor. Also, the mouth-feel was medium tannins and light acid. The finish was mostly of the tangerine aspect lingering.
Really different for an Argentine Malbec… most of the ones we’ve tried so far tended to be more of the black fruit variety and not really that complex – well structured. They’re always nice to drink mind you, but this one was not only nice to drink, but thought provoking. A great effort in a $9 wine.
December 22Navarro Correas Syrah 2004
Although we aren’t going to drink this particular wine at the Christmas Party, we will be drinking the Navarro Correas Malbec… not sure about the vintage. Sasa wanted us to try this to get an idea of the quality of the Navarro Correas wines. I think that his effort was in vein really, as this wine wasn’t all that great, but when researching the wines I found that several people rated this wine around where we did, perhaps a little higher, but the Malbec was rated considerably higher. This might explain why Sasa was excited about getting the Malbec, and was so disappointed that he hadn’t received them at the time of this tasting. I look forward to tasting the Malbec at the party though.
Color was quite good, medium-dark garnet (slight purple tint). The nose smelled of smoked oak, licorice, and had a fairly strong vegetal aspect.
Tasted of smoked oak, rose petals, bright red fruit, and was pretty spicy. Mouth-feel was nice with a pretty good tannin structure. The finish was a lingering spice, rose pedals, and asparagus.
This wine is from Mendoza, Argentina… which is the region best known for its Malbec wines. This is a pretty good effort for an affordable wine from a region that isn’t known for its Syrah. It is a pretty interesting wine in general, and was really nice paired with steak… made the steak taste “pretty”! From what I can find, looks like the wine is retailing for around $10-12 and at that price it is not a bad QPR. I didn’t love the wine, but it is interesting enough to spend that kind of money to try it, just for the experience. It might score higher with you than me, depending on your preference… especially if you like wines from the Pauillac part of Bordeaux.
December 4Tapiz – Merlot – 2005
We’ve nicknamed this wine "The Fireplace Wine". You’ll see why in our review.
The color is a beautiful ruby color. Lights up well by the fire, not too dark, but still pretty deep color.
The aroma starts with a burnt wood and sulfur and has a little tobacco and tar. You can smell the berry… more like cherries, or raspberries, but it is slight. Not bad, but not really what we look for in a wine typically.
The taste is something that sort of splits Rika and me. I like it more than she does… she thinks it is perhaps a little better than OK and I think it is pretty nice. We both tasted something like spiced honey initially. I taste plum and blueberry.
The finish is a strong point of this wine too, although not the best we’ve had either. The plum starts to fade and gives way to the ripe tannins and bitter dark chocolate and something like partially burnt wood in there.
Our fireplace wasn’t even burning when we tried this wine, but the thought of it filled our heads. This was due to fiery/burning wood smell and taste that was pretty much always present. Even while you were enjoying the aftertaste it was almost as if you could smell the fire burning.
All in all I think the wine deserves a try, mostly because it was so different and interesting. It isn’t really our favorite style of wine, but it certainly wasn’t bad.
Rating: 88 (Rika 87 Shawn 89)
Price: $10 (BevMo)