Monday, November 16, 2009

2008 Altocedro La Consulta Select Malbec

2008 Altocedro La Consulta Select Malbec - $16 from Argentina. This is a wine to seek out, it might be hard to find but the search will be worth it. This is an excellent malbec. I've had other wines from this winery including the Reserva (which is twice as much as this wine), and this is easily the best wine I've had from this very good winery. A very young wine, this is an extremely smooth and gentle malbec. The nose has a bit of stink on it also known as earth smells. The finish on this wine is silky and gentle. The amount of quality for the price is way up there. This wine is why I keep going back to Argentina malbec's, I've only had a couple other malbec's that I liked this much, and this is definitely my favorite wine from the La Consulta region of Mendoza. I found this wine at Bevmo (a store remarkably similar to Total Wine on the East Coast), I don't know where else to find this wine but I recommend asking your local wine shops where to find Altocedro wines. I couldn't even find information on this exact wine on the winery's own website. Make sure to look for the Select not the Reserva. The websites for information on the winery are: and

p.s. the label on the picture is not the exact wine, just something to look at that is also made by Altocedro. I was drinking the '08 La Consulta Select, not the '04 La Consulta Reserva

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2005 Waterbrook Melange

2005 Waterbrook Melange - $13 Columbia Valley, Washington. In the never ending search for value I have turned to Washington state, an up and coming area that is expanding in vineyard acreage and quality. I hit pay dirt with this quality bottle of red wine that I picked up from World Market for $8 (it was being discontinued). The online dictionary defines melange as "a mixture of very dissimilar elements", and that is an excellent description of this unconventional blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. This is a nice departure from the usual style of wines, a New World blend that is not bound by Old World traditions and also tastes good. Often wines that are crazy blends don't work out but this one comes through. This is a soft medium bodied wine with little tannin, a hint of sweetness, with subtle aromas of brown sugar and spice. A refreshing value that showcases the quality and innovative spirit of Washington wines, a great everyday sipper.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2005 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

2005 Fattoria del Cerro, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano - $12 from Italy. This is a wine is a winner in my book, a dark smooth wine with enough acidity to make you want to eat. I find my self eating a lot of pasta with red sauce these days and the wines I want to drink with these types of meals are dry reds from Italy. This one definitely delivers on the quality to price ratio. The Fattoria del Cerro estate has 385 acres of vineyards in the Montepulciano area of Tuscany. This wine is a blend of 80% Prungnolo Gentile (this is some type of clone of Sangiovese) and 20% Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo. I know and am familiar with Sangiovese, but I have no idea about Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo but apparently there good because this wine is solid. This wine is aged mostly in Slavonian oak casks and a smaller percentage in small French oak barrels. The wine will hold up to meals with lots of flavors, like pastas, casseroles, and definitely red meats. I recommend picking up a bottle of this stuff, I got mine at Costco.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

2006 Montevina Amador County Barbera

2006 Montevina Amador County Barbera - $8 Amador County, California. California is not the area I look to for values, wines for $10 or under from California that are worth drinking are almost a myth. California is not the value producer it could and should be, but every so often the right combination of quality and low price do intersect for wines from Cali. This is the case for the '06 Amador County Barbera from Montevina. This is a value priced wine that is produced and bottled by Montevina and comes from a specific AVA (American Viticultural Area), Amador County, and most importantly tastes good. I think of Barbera in taste as a cross between pinot noir and sangiovese. The italian varietal is light bodied and crisp that has enough acidity to make my mouth water which makes me want to eat some food. This wine did exactly what I wanted it to, it was cheap, and it went well with my dinner. I highly recommend this value wine to accompany your dinner or munchietime. I got this wine from Costco. Check it out this light bodied red wine.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2006 Opus Juan

2006 Opus One - Napa Valley, California $180. This is the California answer to the first growths of Bordeaux, Opus One. Originally a 50 - 50 joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, that is comprised of Bordeaux varietals, with the largest percentage of the blend belonging to cabernet sauvignon. This is one of the most hyped and at times overhyped wines ever, also one of the most famous wine of the world. This is a collectors wine and one that will easily age 20 years and more. I have often been a critic of this wine. The few vintages I've had have been good but not impressive and not living up to the hype for sure, with many other wines from the Napa Valley far surpassing it, but I am beginning to think that Opus is headed in a good direction. I had the '88 vintage a few weeks ago, and it was the least impressive wine of the night, being served in company of it's peers, various Napa Cabernets from various older vintages. This being said I just had the privilege of touring the winery during harvest and I was able to see them crushing grapes. While working on a cellar crew elsewhere in Napa at the time, I was able to see and more importantly understand the processes at work. I must say Opus is doing everything they can to make a great bottle of wine, and I am impressed with their efforts and attention to detail. Opus takes every step to ensure that only the best grapes go into the wine. They have about 15 workers on the sorting tables, that is impressive and costly. The grapes come into the cellar in fyb's (fuckin yellow boxes), small plastic bins that hold a small amount of grapes, to keep the grapes from crushing under their own weight. The grape clusters then get sorted with all none grape material (such as leaves) and unripe grapes being removed. After being destemmed the grapes are then picked over for any unripe grapes or material other than grapes that may have made it to this point. The single grapes then drop into the crusher where they are gently crushed and the material falls directly in to the stainless steel fermenting tank. It is a very impressive operation that they have done since the inception of the winery. Opus is also in the beginning of a slow 25 year replanting project. I got to say they do everything they can to ensure to best goes into each bottle of wine. The spare no expense using only 100% new french oak, this is rare to use a barrel for only one vintage, most wineries use the barrels for two, sometimes three vintages. Also for using only new oak, the wine did not show too much oak, just the right amount. After having the '88 Opus a few week ago, then tasting the '06 after the tour, I think I liked the '06 better, it was a dense and concentrated, very nice wine. If you have the opportunity to taste Opus One, I highly recommend it. It is something every wine lover must experience, then decide for yourself your opinion. There is possible no other wine that elicits such wide ranging opinions. As for the '06 I definitely liked it and recommend it, look for good thing to come from this wine in the future.

p.s. the '05 vintage is shown, the '06 looks the same except for the year. The label has never changed they all look the same as shown.

Monday, October 12, 2009

2007 Palo Alto Reserve

2007 Palo Alto Reserve - Maule Valley, Chile $16. The Palo Alto label is another label from the Concha y Toro winery. Apparently Palo Alto only makes red wine, I'm not 100% percent about that but I think that is the case, this is the only wine that I know of that the winery makes, this is also a new winery. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Syrah. The wine has a simple nose, and a nice dark colour to it. The best part is once the wine is in your mouth, the wine is silky smooth with a touch of acidity at the finish with flavor that hangs around for a good while. I like this wine, it definitely delivers. It can stand on it's own as sipper or it would complement dark meats nicely. A refreshing blend from Chile, that shows once again that you don't have to over spend on a good bottle of vino. Since the winery is owned by Concha y Toro this wine shouldn't be too hard to find but you'll probably have to look at a dedicated wine shop or a grocery store with a better selection. I got this wine at Bevmo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2006 Vago Rojo

2006 Vago Rojo - Mendoza, Argentina $8. This is basic Argentinian red wine, a bistro wine. It is a blend of mostly malbec and temranillo, possibly with a few other varieties. It is a wine made by the Altocedro winery, the winery is known for their malbec that are sometimes blended with a bit of tempranillo. The wine is a bit light but it has pleasent flavors, it goes well with a quick pasta dinner and Monday night football. It's better with food than on it's own. I think for the money it is solid. It also has a screwtop, which is a good thing; all the more expensive wines from Altocedro have cork tops. If your looking for simple dinner wine check this out. I have no idea where to find this wine other than were I bought it. I got it at Bevmo, the west coast equivalent to Total Wine (though not the same company, but same idea).