Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Goats Do Roam - Red Table Wine

Price: $9.99
Region: South Africa/Rhone style
Year: 2006

Fist, sorry for the delayed review. it has been a busy week at work, and I just found some time today to write the review. This past weekend was a normal wine weekend. Just looking at my local store for a bottle of wine to relax with. I ended up going to the movies with my two sons on Friday night, so I didn't have a glass with dinner, but instead when I got home and the kids went to bed. Just a glass or two to relax with after a long week.

I have a few friends I work with in South Africa, and one of the topics we chat about sometimes is wine. They tell me how good the wine is from their local "wine farms:. I've been wanting to give this one a try for quite some time because apart from the fact it is from South Africa, I think ti is also a pretty funny concept and story. I'm not quite sure what grapes make up this wine, but I believe it is a Rhone style wine that is described as "spicy" on the label.

It has a very nice color and a nice smell as well. I would say a touch of a floral smell. While at first taste, I would not describe it as overly spicy, it did have a nice little bite to it that soon finished smoothly. Upon further tasting, it had an overall nice character. it was relatively smooth, and the finish was not overly long, but it didn't go away right away either. i was quite pleased with the wine and would surely give it another try. maybe with friends next time to have a laugh or two about the name and its origin.

Rating: 3.5 corks (A solid choice)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pacific Peak - Merlot

Price: $2.97
Region: California
Year: unknown

I went away with the family this weekend to the beach. Normally that would mean a glass of wine out at a restaurant, but not this time. The reason is because we happened to stay in a NJ beach town that is considered a dry county. Kind of strange, I must admit, but it was a fun family weekend nonetheless. Anyway, I did get back in time for dinner at my wife's parents house, which included a wine I had not tried yet. It is not from a lack of noticing the wine that I hadn't tried it, but the simple fact that it only costs $2.97, caused me to steer clear. However, since a bottle was opened, I gave it a try.

A Merlot is definitely something I usually have with a light appetizer, which was the case here. Nothing really stood out from the moment I took a look, to the first taste. In my opinion, everything was right on par with a bottle of wine that cost three dollars. The color was a little weak, the smell was dull, and the overall taste was bland. Simply nothing stood out in my mind about this wine. If I drank wine every day of the week, I guess its low price would be a factor to consider, but I enjoy the overall experience of a glass of wine too much to settle for this selection.

Rating: 2 Corks (You get what you pay for with this wine)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Little Penguin - Shiraz

Price: $7.99
Region: Australia
Year: 2006

Nothing too out of the ordinary this weekend. I went out to dinner Saturday night, but to a new Irish pub in town, so I had a half and half (Guiness & Harp). No wine to review from that meal. We did have a nice family dinner on Sunday evening, so in the time I dropped my son off for guitar lessons on Sunday afternoon, I dropped by my favorite wine store which is right around the corner. I only had about 30 minutes before I had to get back to pick up my son, so there wasn't a lot of browsing going on. I knew we were having a chicken and pasta dish, so if I had time to think about it, the smart choice would have been to go over to the Italian wine section, and pick something out to change up the pace a little. Instead, I found a bottle of Australian Shiraz that I have almost bought on more then one occasion, but just always seemed to put it back for some reason. I must admit that in this price range, and when it comes to Australian wines, I always gravitate to Yellowtail, which I find is hard to beat. Which reminds me. Starting soon, I am going to do a few weeks of two reviews. I am going to do my normal weekly review, but am also going to review one of my "default" wines as well. I will create a separate list of my top 5 default wines, which I can guarantee, Yellowtail Shiraz will be one of them.

Now, on to the the wine for this week. The color was very much like a lot of Shiraz, but it seemed to be a shade on the paler side. Nothing too noticeable, but just a little lighter in color then I was expecting. The smell was also reminiscent of an inexpensive Shiraz. It had a little bit of a floral smell to it, but overall generally appealing. Again, not to sound like a broken record, but the first impression after taking a sip, was not overly surprising. Shiraz is usually one of my favorite varietals, and the taste was not bad, but what did surprise me was how short it was in length. That isn't usually a word I would use to describe a wine, and I'm not trying to sound overly complex, but it was almost like the taste was there, and then it wasn't. One of the things I enjoy about a good wine is the smooth finish that tends to linger for a moment. This wine simply did not have that. Overall I would say it was an acceptable wine, but not something I would rush out to buy.

Rating: 2.75 corks (Acceptable, but surely nothing special)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Toasted Head - Merlot

Price: $12.99
Region: California
Year: 2003

In my day to day life, and conversations, there are a few people I talk to where the conversations tend to gravitate towards wine. It is not uncommon that we find ourselves making recommendations to each other on recent wines we have enjoyed. This weekend happened to be one of those times where I followed up on a recommendation from a good friend and former colleague. When we worked together, we would almost provide each other with weekly recommendations, but the communications have been a little less frequent as of late. However, with a recent email exchange came the perfect opportunity pick up like old times. So, this one is for you Roland...

This is just ones of those wines that sticks out from a marketing stand point (at least to me). A big old bear on the label, breathing fire, and called Toasted Head. However, these are also wines that I tend to shy away from, for a reason I'm not quite sure about. Anyway, when my friend recommended I give it a try, I thought writing a review was the perfect opportunity. While you might start to see a pattern here with my Friday nights, this past Friday was a relax with a tasty burger from a local hamburger joint kind of night. Just the type of meal I look to pair with a bottle of merlot. Now, since I was in a different part of town then normal, I went to a wine store that is not my usual lower price mega-store, so I probably paid $2 more then I normally would have, but still reasonable.

So, in taking a first look, the color was a little pale compared to some of the recent shiraz and cabernet varieties that I have had, but still appealing. The smell reminded me of something right away, but it wasn't overly pleasant. After trying to place the smell, all I could come up with was the faint smell of rubbing alcohol, but not nearly that pungent. Overall, color and smell were OK, but nothing to write home about. At this point, my expectations were not sky high, but with the first taste, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a rather smooth merlot, and had a nice finish. I wouldn't say outstanding, but pleasant for sure. What I also found is that in my opinion, the second glass was even a little better then the first. There are still some merlots that are a part of my "default" wines that in a pinch I would grab before I grabbed another bottle of Toasted Head, but overall a solid choice. So far, no clunkers in my first few weeks of writing reviews.

Rating: 3.25 corks (Might work for you)