Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mandu - Shiraz

Price: $13
Region: Australia
Year: 2006

When I got home last Friday, a couple of more wines were sitting on the counter for me to choose from. While my wife knows I love a good Shiraz, when it comes to the darker reds, she tends to pick out a Cab more often than a Shiraz. Well, this particular week there was one of each. I will try to get to the Shiraz review in the next couple of days, but I tried this Australian Cabernet first. I had never seen this particular wine before, but I think it has to do with the fact we shop at different wine stores with a slightly different selection, which actually happens to be a good thing. Anyway, I was happy to see an something different, so I couldn't wait to sit down and have a glass.

We actually did not have takeout on this particular Friday, but were having homemade crab cakes instead (it is Lent). So, as I sat down to dinner, I poured myself a glass, and immediately noticed the wine was a bit lighter than I would have expected. Not the end of the world, but definitely noticeable. When I gave the glass a swirl, and took a few sniffs, again it was a bit faint, but it did have a very nice aroma. It wasn't the usually bold Cabernet, but had a pleasant floral smell to it. So far I was not 'wowed', but still had hope for a good wine. I'm not quite sure how to explain what I experienced when I took a sip, but for my liking, it wasn't great. I would have to say, to go with the color, and aroma, it was thin. It really had no texture or tannins to speak of. I have had some very good Australian wines, at very good price points, but in my book, this just wasn't one of them. For $13, I can find a whole list of good Australia wines, but on this one, I'll have to pass.

Rating: 2.25 corks (Would score better at $10)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jade Mountain - Merlot

Price: $13
Region: Napa/San Luis Obispo
Year: 2007

Another one of the three bottles my wife bought for me last weekend was this bottle of Jade Mountain Merlot. She always tries to mix it up regarding the type of wine, and a Merlot tends to show up every once in a while. We sat down on a Saturday evening with a salad and some Salmon cakes for dinner and I opened up this bottle of Jade Mountain. I can't say that I had ever come across a bottle from this winery before, so I was interested in giving it a try.

The first thing I noticed when I poured my first glass that it had a very 'grapey' look to it. it almost looked exactly like grape jelly to me. It had good clarity and was nice and dark, but I definitely noticed the look of grape. When I gave the wine a good swirl, and brought it up to my nose, I thought it had a very distinct aroma. It wasn't overpowering, which makes sense for a Merlot, but it had good intensity, with a hint of flowers. so far nothing was standing out, but no red flags either. I took a sip, and thought it was very consistent from beginning to end, but was just a bit light on the taste. The overall flavor was pleasant, but just a little faint for my taste. My general opinion is that is was an acceptable wine, but there are some better ones out there for a couple of dollars less.

Rating: 2.75 corks (Would score better at $10)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Truscott - Old Vine Zinfandel

Price: $15
Region: Mendocino, CA
Year: 2007

This review is a couple of weeks old, so not as fresh in my mind, but wanted to get to some that I had missed. I especially wanted to get to this wine this wine because I just don't seem to pick up a Zin very often. I think it is a shame too, because when I find a good one, they are a tough wine to beat. Anyway, this particular wine I didn't even pick out myself. My wife has really been picking out some good wines for me lately, so I've left well enough alone. This particular Friday I came home to three new bottles of wine to choose from, and when I saw she had picked out a Zinfandel, I couldn't wait to pop it open.

My usual MO when it comes to Zinfandel is that I go looking specifically for a bottle based on the food we are having. Lots of times I'll pick one up during the summer if we are cooking bar-b-q on the grill. In this case, we were just having hamburgers, but it really sounded good over the Malbec and Merlot she had bought as well. So, I sat down with a glass before dinner to give it a go. This wine was really nice and dark. It had a very good ruby color. It also had a big, bold Zinfandel smell. I find a good Zinfandel is fairly easy to pick out from the distinct aroma. This one definitely had some good earthy smells. So far I was liking my choice. I have definitely gotten this far with a Zinfandel before just have have the taste disappoint. Luckily for me, that was not the case here. This wine was solid upfront, and very consistent throughout. It didn't have a heavy tobacco taste like you get with some Zinfandels, but did have a noticeable cherry-vanilla flavor. This wine was very consistent, with just the right amount of boldness & spiciness. It wasn't an overpowering Zin, but those aren't usually my favorite anyway. This was definitely a solid wine, and is on my repeat purchase list for that first summertime bar-b-q

Rating: 3.25 corks (Solid)