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May 30, 2007

MontGras 2005 Reserva Carmenere

montgras-carmenere.jpg

There's something that makes us giddy about trying a new wine, especially one of a type we haven't sampled much before. That's one thing we can say about Carmenere - we haven't had much of it and we liked it a lot. This was another relatively cheap bottle we picked up while feeling adventurous, and we liked it enough we feel like we're batting 1000.

Color: Deep violet red

Bouquet: Powerful aromas of spices, wild herbs and vanilla

Taste: Well-rounded, with subtle fruit flavors and soft tannins leading to a velvety finish

Serving Suggestions: Best served with spicy entrées, steak and rich cheeses


MontGras 2005 Reserva Carmenere - Red Wine

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May 29, 2007

Crios de Susana Balbo 2005 (Syrah-Bonarda)

We went into the New Hampshire State Liquor Store this weekend, intent on trying a wine varietal we'd never had before, and randomly chose the South American wines as the object of our affection. We're glad we did, because we found the gem we call Crios de Susana Balbo among the shelves. It's a 50/50 mix of Syrah (which we'd had before) and Bonarda (which we hadn't), and we really liked the big berry jammy-ness in there. Add some plum taste and a spicy finish, and it was well worth what we paid - which was not much over ten bucks. How can you go wrong?

Crios de Susana Balbo 2005 Syrah-Bonarda - Red Wine

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May 23, 2007

Fess Parker Lot 71 Frontier Red

90088D

We are currently drinking this little gem and have had lots 51, 61, and now 71. We like 71 and think it pairs well with just about anything - especially a little red meat. It will also run you less than $10 bucks a bottle if you buy a case.

Dark fruit aromas of blackberries, blueberries, exotic cedar and sandalwood, and spices jump from the glass at first exposure. Added notes of ripe cherry, cassis, cinnamon and chocolate complete this incredible bouquet. Tart cherry, blueberry, and licorice flavors accentuate the sweet mid-palate and help produce a soft, velvety finish.

At Fess Parker Lot 71 Frontier Red - Red Wine

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May 8, 2007

Evil Cabernet Sauvignon Review

Yesterday we let you know about Pure Evil Chardonnay, but we didn't menton one thing...its labelmate Evil Cabernet Sauvignon. How dare we you say? We must be a little bit evil. Yeah, that's it.

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May 7, 2007

Pure Evil Chardonnay Review

With all those cute and fuzzy new wine labels out there - y'know the ones we're talking about, the ones with kangaroos and penguins on them - it's kind of fun to encounter a new wine with a bit of an edge. We don't expect much of a tough guy act from our wines, and those cutey wines can be pretty tasty, but we want a label that will let us hold our heads high as we walk out of the wine shop.

Our favorite newly-discovered wine is Pure Evil. No, it's not some kind of demon-possessed label...that's the name.

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April 4, 2007

Le Miccine Chianti Classico 2003 Review

We've been excited to try out Le Miccine's Chianti Classico, and we've finally had a chance to give it a sip or two. We don't drink a ton of Chiantis but we always like them when we do - there's got to be a reason why it's Italy's most famous wine, right? We were also very interested in the Le Miccine winery itself, a small American outfit nestled Italy.

All in all, we've been holding onto this bottle until just the right time, because we wanted to really be able to dig in on it. We've gotten to do that, so read on to find out what we thought of it.

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December 14, 2006

Southern Right Pinotage (2002) Review

Southern Right
Varietal: Pinotage
Year: 2002
Origination: South Africa
ABV: 14%
We Paid: $15.99

Southern Right Pinotage labelWe did a little piece on the appeal of Pinotage wines from South Africa, and it has left us mildly obsessed. We like the big flavors associated with the Pinotages we've tried, and they're usually a great match for spicy foods with equally big flavors, which we love. While we have read people using terms like "old band aids" or "rusty nails" to describe some Pinotages, we haven't encountered those (thankfully) and we wanted to let you know about the one we've tried most recently, Southern Right.

They Say: A wonderfully ripe, voluptuous wine with concentrated dark berry fruit, beautifully balanced wood spice and fine-grained tannins. By fully ripening our Pinotage at low yields in clay-rich soil, we have avoided simple, estery fruit and rustic tannins, while filling out the middle palate and ensuring length and complexity. (from wine.co.za)

We Say: This is another big, full-flavored Pinotage, full of berries and plums and spices. One taster called it "Chipotle Wine" because she found it to be so smokey. We thought it was a bit leathery too, which didn't detract from our enjoyment. Drink this one if you need a big, burly flavor to go along with spicy foods and red sauces.

Interesting Note: Southern Right is named after a rare type of whale that visits Walker Bay in South Africa every year, and the Southern Right winery donates a contribution to their conservation for every bottle sold. You know how much of a sucker we are for good wines going to good causes - we're thinking of Big Tattoo Red right now.

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September 21, 2006

Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Excelsior 2004
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origination: South Africa
14.5% ABV
We Paid: $9 (MSRP: $9)
More Info

Excelsior Cabernet SauvignonWe picked up a bottle of Cabernet last night as we headed over to game night with our friends. We weren't looking for anything too high shelf - in fact we set a price cap of ten bucks. We were there to play games, not review wine, so we didn't want to take over the focus. We figured we'd share a bottle, get some notes from our friends, and share them with you. Turned out the bottle got more attention than we'd expected, and people were pleasantly surprised with what they found in this South African red.

Tasting Notes:
They Say: We found some tasting notes that describe Excelsior Cabernet as "dark plum red in color with a nose of black currant, plum, earth and spice. Medium-full in body, it is dry with moderate acidity and soft, ripe tannins. It offers rich, intense flavors of plums, black currant and toasty oak."

We Say: After the requisite calls of "Excelsior" from our nerdy brethren at game night (y'know, from when Bart joins the nerd club) we sat down to sipping. We all were struck by how the high alcohol content came through in the nose, followed by plum and berries. The initial taste was a tart plum, with berries and cherries and a slightly bitter finish. After it sat in the glass for a few minutes it definitely mellowed out and lost the bitterness, replacing it with a smokey flavor that impressed us.

Bottom Line: For nine bucks, this was a great deal. You don't have to worry about decanting it but you'll do well to let it sit in the glass for a few minutes. Everyone was shocked that it cost less than ten dollars, and we all thought it was a great value for what we paid. If you can find it, we recommend you pick up a couple bottles.

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September 17, 2006

Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnay 2004

Franciscan Oakville Estate
Varietal: Chardonnay
13.5% ABV
We Paid: N/A (MSRP: $18)
Website

franciscan-chardonnay.jpgWe haven't paid much attention to Chardonnays lately, but this bottle reminded us why it's the most popular grape going right now. Light and white and not too sweet, we were extremely happy with every sip. Of course, considering this just falls inside our "Under $20" mission statement, we're not too shocked that we liked it so much. We know a bigger price tag doesn't necessarily mean a better wine, but sometimes it does give you a nice little boost.

Tasting Notes: They say the Oakville Estate contains "notes of peach, pear and apple" in the nose, while the taste is "lively and lengthy on the palate with a great body and structure. Mineral notes linger and the finish is crisp, creamy and clean with apple and citrus flavors."

We definitely picked up on pears and apples, and we thought the nose had a good body once this one lost its chill from the fridge. The flavor was crisp and tart, carrying on the orchard fruit theme and kicking us with a nice rich, creamy finish.

Bottom Line: Like we said we haven't been drinking a whole lot of Chardonnay lately but this is one we'll sip again. We thought it'd be equally great drinking on the back porch on a warm summer day or next to a fireplace on a crisp autumn one. We'll definitely be adding a couple more bottles to our cellar (OK...closet) and we'll let you know what's up when we actually try during the late fall.

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August 16, 2006

Erath Pinot Gris 2005 Tasting Notes

Erath 2005 Oregon Pinot Gris
13.5% ABV
We Paid: $14.99 (MSRP $13)
Erath Pinot Gris Page

Erath Pinot GrisFrom the screw-top cap to the "Earth, Hearth, Erath" slogan, there's something a bit different about Erath Pinot Gris. We don't usually spend this much for a white wine, tending to stay under $10, but this one's definitely going on our list as a must-have for the summer months.

Tasting Notes: They say "Melon, pear and minerals in the nose; ripe, juicy fruit flavors on the palate that are clean, lingering, and delicious."

We say they're right on the money. The nose was light and clean and crisp with a hint of pears, while the taste was equally lively, full of pears, citrus and other fruits.

Food Pairings: According to the Erath site, this wine is "Beautiful with all kinds of seafood, especially shell fish, mollusks and trout; turkey; pork; Asian dishes; and light to medium spicy foods." We can only imagine they're right - we only tried it solo.

Bottom Line: We recommend Erath's Pinot Gris highly, and all of our reviewers were equally impressed. Worth every penny we paid for it, and we'll be scooping up some other Erath varietals as soon as we can.

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