Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carro - Tinto

Price: $9.99
Region: Spain
Year: 2008

Sometimes it happens that I head into the store with one thing in mind, and for no particular reason, head out with something completely different. After a few of weeks of being completely out of my routine, I settled back into a fairly normal weekend for me. I was stopping to grab dinner on my way home from work on Friday, and stopped by at the most convenient store, which happens to be one of my least favorite. For some reason, I was pretty much set on grabbing a bottle of California Cabernet. To be honest however, I never even made it over to that aisle. On my way over, I took a detour, and ended up looking at some rather well priced Spanish wines. This particular bottle of Carro Tinto just happened to catch my eye. When I looked at the back, I saw it was primarily made from three grapes, two of which I knew fairly well. The third, and predominant grape however, I had never even heard of, and that was Monsatrell. Given that the other two were grapes I'm very fond of, Syrah & Tempranillo, I thought it was a good gamble at $10.

Right when I poured my first glass, I noticed that this wine had a nice moderate color, with good clarity. Definitely not very dark, but not weak looking either. The smell on the other hand, while being very pleasant, and slightly floral, was quite strong. It was actually an aroma I enjoyed very much. When I took my first sip, I was a bit surprised. I was expecting a middle of the road type wine, almost like a California Merlot, but this wine was much more. It was very smooth, with good length, and very nice tannins. I know this following term is one you'll see in some reviews of high end Cabernet, but it was almost a bit chewy, with a nice hint of spice (must be the Syrah). Anyway, from beginning to end, I found this wine very enjoyable. A nice smelling wine, that was fairly smooth given the price, and had a nice flavor. I will definitely give it another try sometime.

Rating: 3.75 (A nice find)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Poggio Morino - Morellino Di Scansano

Price: $15.00
Region: Tuscany
Year: 2006

The weather has definitely been a bit crazy around here lately. Lots and lots of snow. I haven't had the chance to run out and pick out a new bottle of wine, but luckily I still had a couple left over from our recent wine tasting. This bottle was another one our friends bought for us that we tasted that night. Now, given that it was the first Italian wine I've had in a little while, and the fact we get a lot of take-out from a nice Italian Cafe that is close by, you would think that would be what I had with this bottle, but it just didn't work out that way. Instead, we stopped by our favorite burger joint for some good old hamburgers and fries. Sometimes the food-wine pairing just doesn't work out, but that definitely isn't going to stop me from opening a bottle of wine. Regardless of the food, I was hoping for a nice smooth wine for a Friday night.

I took a quick look at the label to see if I recognized the predominate grape that is used for this wine, but I didn't. Sometimes that makes it a bit more interesting and forces more of an open mind. When I poured my first glass, I noticed the wine had good clarity, with a hint of ruby to it. It kind of flashed red a bit as I poured it into my glass. I tried something a bit different when going to smell the wine. I read recently that I was doing it all wrong, which really isn't much of a surprise. Instead of a prolonged sniff, I read that you should take a series of shorter sniffs, kind of like a hunting dog. That seems to make sense to me, so I gave it a try. My impression was that it definitely intensified the smell, but that didn't necessarily help me in identifying smells that some people seem much better at picking up than me. It did have a pleasant smell, and I would say somewhat earthy. It kind of reminded me a little bit of a Shiraz. With no preconceived notions at this point, I gave it a taste. It actually tasted much like it smelled, with a hint of earthiness to it. The taste hit the back of the tongue, but didn't fade away immediately. it was a little different, but I very much enjoyed it as a change of pace from my normal reds. I would say overall it is a good medium-bodied red, that would go well with pasta, even though I enjoyed it with hamburgers.

Rating: 3.5 (A solid Italian wine)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Altos Las Hormigas - Malbec

Price: $10.99
Region: Argentina
Year: 2009
Some time back in October, we attended a wine tasting for a local breast cancer charity. One of the auction items that day was a wine tasting for up to 20 couples at the same store . We decided to split the auction item with some good friends, and it just so happened that this past weekend was the day we decided to hold this wine tasting. We each brought four other couples with us, so the final group was a nice even 20. The tasting was scheduled for late afternoon, so once 3:00 rolled around, it was off to a very nice, sort of upscale, local wine store. They had a nice variety of wines for us to taste, ranging from a California Riesling, to an Australian Shiraz. As isn't too much of a surprise, I was not overly impressed with the whites we tasted, but based on the small samplings, thought a couple of the reds had some promise. I actually decided not to purchase any of the wines that we tried, but given that we have some very generous friends, I found out as we started our walk to dinner, that one couple had bought us three bottles as a sort of thank you.
We now have a couple of bottles of wine to try from our most recent tasting, which always make for something to look forward to. The first one I decided to try this past weekend, was the 2009 Malbec. I think this was mostly because we were having beef stew for dinner, and it seemed like the logical choice, but it was always because of a comment someone had made on my blog the last time I reviewed a Malbec. Back in November, I reviewed the Alamos Malbec on a whim ( Being that I love wines like Shiraz, and Cabernet, I was thinking Malbec would be the next logical choice, given they are mostly very well priced and have good word of mouth. Anyway, the Alamos left a bit to be desired, and someone left a comment to make sure that I didn't give up on this particular variety. So, with that in the back of my mind, I wanted to give it another go.
This is definitely a bold looking wine. Very dark and jammy in color. A nice wine to look at for sure. As far as the smell, it was pleasant enough, but just seemed a bit young. It didn't have that stand up and take notice type of aroma, but again, not bad. With the last Malbec I tried, it was the overall taste that made the rating take a bit of a hit. It was definitely thin, and a little bitter. This wine however, started out with a nice flavor that hung around for a bit, and finished smooth. My initial impression was somewhere between a Shiraz & a Cabernet. This wine didn't "wow" me, but it was definitely a good counterpart to the beef stew, and it is nice to have a change of pace sometimes. I think I may now be on a search for a really good Malbec that comes in at a reasonable price. Wish me luck....
Rating: 3.5 (Getting warmer...)