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February 17, 2006

Another Chilean Chardonnay, but not as nice

My mom, my Partner in Tasting (PIT) and I tried another Chilean Chardonnay, a 2003 Calina, the other night and I have to say that it didn't make me as happy as the Yelcho did. I prefer the cooler, crisper, dryer whites and this wine was more of a traditional big Chardonnay. It had a flowery nose, apple and tropical fruit in the mouth, and an OK finish, but overall I found it too sweet and heavy on the fruit and alcohol. "It's pleasing," my mom said. She is more tolerant of bigger Chardonnay. "Not a distinct taste to grab you between the toes," she added. (Hunh???? I guess we will add that to the beam description. Not a taste that grabbed you on the beam.)
My husband, not big on the words this night, called the wine harmless. I had a half glass. They finished the bottle.
Eh, if I am going to justify a second it's got to curl my toes just a little (even grab them!)

I do, however, want to go back for some more Yelcho, which was cheaper and much more quaffable (HA!)

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February 8, 2006

Cabs Part Deux

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Here are five more Cabernet Sauvignon's under $20 we tasted at the monthly wine tastings.


6) 2003 Pedroncelli, $14 Sonoma
A fruity, drinkable solid wine.
“Pleasant, mellow cherry,” writes John.
Aimee writes that this wine is fragrant, smells earthy and tastes of cherry/raspberry.
“Fruity and sweet,” Stef says. “It’s OK.”

7) 2003 Veramonte, Chile $7
I thought this wine had a sharp nose and was a bit acidic. A nice finish. “Meaty, gamey,” Marlo writes.
“Nice fuit,” says Aimee. Alorie tasted some licorice and pepper. John says this wine had a thin berry nose and a sweetness that disappearsand leaves tanins.

8) 2003 Ring Bolt, Australia, $15
I liked this red. In fact, we all liked this one.
I tasted some mint and big berries. John found this wine sour at first but said it was chocolately smooth when it opened up. Aimee found it well-balanced. Marlo liked it, too.

9) 2002 Castle Rock, Sonoma, $9. OK, we’re slowing down by this one. It’s hard to taste this many wines in a row John found it “tinny,” with some slight chocolate on the tongue. Marlo also tasted some chocolate in this wine and called it “dessert smooth.” The majority of us liked it. But who knows....we might have liked Boone's Farm at this point.
Speaking of Boone's Farm, these reviews crack me up. Even this wine has its fans, as loony as they might be.

10) 2002 Hawk Crest, Napa. $15
I liked this wine a lot more once it opened up. It’s dry and nicely balanced and fruity. Hawk Crest is made by the Stag's Leap folks. When I was younger Stag's Leap was the holy grail of wine to me, for some reason. I had just heard about how swanky it was among the dot com crowd. A friend got really angry when she had to split the bill for dinner and someone at the table had ordered a few bottles of the stuff. As a joke, I got her a bottle of Stag's Leap as an engagement present. I think I had Stag's Leap once, but cannot remember it so it might not have been all that memorable. Anyhow, back to Hawk Crest. I think we were all pretty tapped out by the time we got to this wine. It's hard on the average tongue to taste 10 wines in one night. By this time, our crackers and cheese were gone, the olives mere pits and the tortilla chips just crumbs in a bowl. It was time to call it a night.


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An Odd Little Tip Top Shiraz

Tip Top 2004 Shiraz, a wine recommended by my local shop, Plumpjack, is a strange wine. I think I really should start articulating my needs to the locals because this is the second bum recommendation in a row.
Tiip Top wasn't all bad. I found it juicy in the mouth - a big raspberry, fruity taste -- but the finish just ruined the wine for me. Every swallow came with a bitter, acrid aftertaste. I kept tasting it over and over to see if the aftertaste would disappear because I liked having the wine in my mouth. It didn't.
Tip Top is from the Limestone Coast of Australia. It has a screw top (My husband, more of a wine snob than I, hates the whole screw top thing). I probably won't buy this one again.

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A Few Red Jewels

We've had a few affordable bottles lately that should be recommended. The first is a Jewel Collection 2003 Petit Syrah ($7.99) that I thought was pretty well balanced, jammy in the mouth with a nice soft, light finish.
I found this wine overall quite drinkable. Jim didn't like it as much as I did. "It's OK."
The second was a hit with both of us. A 2001 Mazzocco Cabernet, Sonoma. ($10.99) This wine had a nice balance of blackberry, vanilla and oak. Nice smooth, soft finish. It tastes a lot more $$$ than it is and I'd definitely buy a case of this.
A 2003 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet, S. Australia, however, was not as pleasing. I found this wine jammy and full, but too sweet and candy-ish. It had a metallic finish that I didn't like, either. My PIT (Partner in Tasting) found it unoffensive but too sweet.

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OK, So I Tried the Boxed Wine.....

It's time to taste the Three Thieves' Bandit, a wine that comes in a Tetra box and is blended at Napa Wine Co. in Oakville, CA. My husband laughed when he pulled the foil off the top and smelled it. "It smells like nothing," he said of the wine, which for the sake of this tasting was a Cabernet Sauvignon. Well, the guy at the wine shop hadn't told me much about it when I bought it aside from the fact that it was a Cab. "No oak," he said. Insightful.
I smelled a little fruit and a lot of alcohol in this wine.
Honestly, it wasn't the worst wine I've ever tasted. I liked it just fine with the pizza I was chowing and would have considered bringing it on a picnic for convenience sake. Not the Partner in Tasting (PIT). "It's just not very good," he said. "It would be very good for embalming, though."
We tossed most of the box.
Bandit costs $6.99 for the one liter Tetra brick at my local wineshop.

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