Thursday, May 20, 2010

Releaf - Cab/Merlot/Shiraz

Price: $8.99
Region: South Africa
Year: 2007

Even though I had a little time on my hands this past weekend to browse a bit, this was a very quick trip to the wine store. I had pretty much decided the week before that I was going to pick up this bottle of Releaf red. As I mentioned in last week's review, as I was checking out, the cashier recommended I grab a bottle of this as well. Considering I generally try to purchase as much organic food as is reasonable based on price, etc. I thought it was just natural that I try a bottle of red wine made out of organically grown grapes. I didn't even know this was a South African wine until I got it home and read the label. Since the general trend is you pay a bit more for organic food, I was a little bit scared of the $9 price for this wine, and was hoping it wasn't a $6 bottle in terms of quality.

We ordered Chinese take out for dinner, so after I got back from picking it up, I poured myself a glass. I thought the wine has a nice looking ruby color, with good depth. It definitely didn't give the impression of a weak wine, but I would think being 50% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, and 20% Shiraz, you would get a nice dark red wine. I then took a sniff of the wine, and was a bit surprised that it seemed a little faint, but it had a pleasant fruity smell nonetheless. It has close to 2 years now that I have been writing these reviews, and I am definitely trying to concentrate of identifying particular tastes, but I would be the first to admit I still tend to notice more general flavors as opposed to specific ones that people identify on more "professional" reviews. I do tend to pick up hints of blackberry with this wine for sure. My only complaint is that the wine was a bit acidic, but generally a nice flavor. I would have to do some more research on the benefits of drinking organic wine, but my philosophy has always been, if you can get someone without chemicals, for the same price, and quality, why not. This was a very solid wine, at a great price, and organic to boot. I will definitely pick up a few bottles to have around as it could be a very good everyday wine.

Rating: 3.5 (Gets a little higher score for being organic :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bridgman - Merlot

Price: $13.99
Region: Washington
Year: 2007

I think I am drinking more wine than I am able to review these days, which I'm not sure is a good thing, or a bad thing. My guess is a good thing, and we'll leave it at that. I had two wines this past weekend, one on Saturday evening, and the other for Mother's Day. I decided to go with the review of the wine from Saturday since it fits the original intent of this blog, which is wines under $15.00. The wine we had on Mother's Day wasn't that much more expensive, but was in the $30 range. Anyway, I was out running errands on Saturday, and finally had a chance to stop by my favorite wine store and just walk around for a bit. I wasn't in a huge hurry, which is how I like it when I visit this store. Lots to choose from, that's for sure. Since we were having chicken for dinner, I decided going in and search out a Merlot, and I figured at least part of the bottle would be left over for Mother's Day, and since we were having my Mother-in-law over, I decided to look for something that was a bit more than I would spend on a normal weekend (althought not that much).

At the beginning of each aisle, there are some wines that are listed as the "Wine Buyer's Selection". I assume these are wines that various employees at the store list as their favorites. For some reason this bottle of Bridgman Merlot stood out, so I grabbed a bottle and headed for the register. For the first time while checking out, the cashier tried to sell me another bottle that was sitting in the check-out line. In this case it was a bottle of Leaf, which is apparently an Organic blend. I passed this time, but may just grab it the next time through. Anyway, I headed home and was ready for a glass of wine. I was pretty impressed right off of the bat with this wine as it had a very nice light purple color. It definitely looked like a wine with some character. I also thought it had a very pleasant smell, with a bit of a cherry licorice coming to mind. When I took a sip, and then another, I thougth this wine was very well balanced, with nice structure. The taste was a bit like the smell, with a hint of cherry. Overall it had a very nice taste, and wasn't over-priced. There are some comparable wines for a few dollars more, but I would say this is worth a shot.

Rating: 3.25 (Pretty nice wine)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Angeline - Pinot Noir

Price: $11.99
Region: California
Year: 2008

So, last week I did something a bit different by reviewing a wine as I typed. This week I'm going back to the weekend before last. This was the weekend ww had my in-laws over for my father in-law's birthday. Based on what was on the menu, shrimp and rice, I knew my father-in-law would enjoy a bottle of white wine. Since I wanted to get a decent bottle for his birthday, but just don't have much experience with whites, I decided to go the the "highly rated" aisle. This is where there are about 20-30 bottle of different wines that have good ratings from publications such as Wine Spectator, etc. I ended up getting a bottle of Courtney Beckham Sauvignon Blanc, which really wasn't half bad (and I probably should review as well), but I also saw this bottle of Pinot Noir sitting there, and was just tempted to give it a shot. If you've followed my blog much, I just don't find that many that I really enjoy, and it could very well be the price range I usually find myself in, but at $12, I thought, "why not"?

I'm not sure if this is the wine/food pairing made in heaven, but that isn't always my top priority. Some time you have to bend the rules. The first thing I always tend to focus on with a Pinot is the color. Some would most likely say it is my wine novice shining through, but I just love a dark red wine, which these are usually not. This was no exception, although I must say, it really did have good clarity, and was a pretty color red. As I gave the glass a swirl, and took a sniff, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a bit earthy, as doesn't seem to be uncommon for a Pinot, but also had a really nice fruity aroma. Not that big bold blackberry Shiraz smell, but maybe just a bit down the intensity scale. As I took a sip, I was again taken a bit by surprise at the smoothness of the wine. It really had an even taste that made me go back for more. While I've tried a few Pinot Noirs that were highly rated, and I usually ended up not getting what the person found so interesting, but not so on this one. If I ever need a Pinot to lean on at a good price, I'll definitely grab a bottle of Angeline.

Rating: 3.25 (Great value)