Barossa Valley, Australia; 14.5% ABV; screw cap
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 5 March
This wine had a bit of the funkiness I’ve come to associate with reds in screw capped bottles, but it airs out after an hour or so. After about two hours in a decanter, this wine is incredible, at least if you like over-the-top powerhouse wines.
The intense dark fruit, with somewhat blackened character, shows flavors of blackberry, plum, blueberry, eucalyptus, bacon, and darker cranberry. If you like your wine to beat you up, this is for you. For the price, this wine is terrific.
There is also a 2009 Rocland Estate Grenache. When I held this bottle of Shiraz up to the light in the store, I could not see through it. The Grenache, however, was easily transparent. I will probably try the Grenache just because the Shiraz is so amazing, but I’m not expecting it will be so good.
Portland, OR/Hollywood 13.9% alc. (Purchased on 3/1/14)
Clear medium ruby red…looks like many Pinot Noirs I’ve had. Pleasant fruity nose of black cherry and cinnamon with light earthy, mushroomy qualities. In the mouth, it’s more of the same with bright red fruits, spice and a bit of herbaceousness. Light acidity, great fruit, medium tannins, very restrained oak…an excellent food wine. In the nose and flavors, it’s clearly a textbook example of Malbec with finesse.
Back label had some interesting information. The wine was created by famed Napa Valley winemaker Bernard Portet (Clos Du Val), who I used to regularly read about in Wine Spectator. And his daughter Nathalie created the Nandu (a large flightless bird native to southern Argentina) artwork featured on the front label. This wine is also now available at the Silverdale, WA GO.
DO Valencia, Spain; 13.5% ABV
made from Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 26 Feb
Lim13 wasn’t that fond of the 2011 Marques de Caro Tempranillo, and I’m not that wild about this wine. While it’s an elegant and pleasantly complex wine, with flavors of medium red to tart cherry, red cranberry, pomegranate, perhaps roses and cinnamon, and wood / almond, it’s on the tart, thin, and reserved side at the moment. Perhaps with a few more years age in cool storage, it’ll soften to become the subtle and aromatic wine it seems to promise. Right now, however, it’s a bit too backward for my taste, possibly others here would prefer it for those qualities.
When I first opened the bottle, I poured out a single-glass screw-cap bottle for another night. On that “other night,” the saved bottle was a little more ripe-fruity, but not that different. I left some in the small bottle with a bit of air and re-capped it. A couple days, later the small remainder was still rather tart and undeveloped.
Silverdale, WA 13.9% alc. (Purchased on 2/25/14)
This wine has been around at my GO for quite a while, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. It’s all a matter of timing. Brilliant medium golden color. Slightly closed nose shows more fruit than oak (which I like); spiced apple and banana aromas. In the mouth it’s soft and silky, yet shows excellent citrusy acidity; flavors are somewhat a conundrum in that I’m getting the typically varietal tropical fruit flavors of more banana, mango and pineapple, but also the unexpected stone fruit flavors of apricot and peach. Quite tasty.
BW reviewed the 2010 version of this wine (with different label) here. I find some descriptor similarities, particularly in BW’s second day perceptions and that vintage’s back label notes indicating “mango, papaya, and ripe peach” (which doesn’t appear on the back label of this vintage). Maybe the labels were inadvertently switched? : ~) Anyway, this is a version of Chardonnay that I could find enjoyable on a somewhat regular basis. Apparently Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast enjoyed it too. And while he cites the price at $14, other web sites show it at an average of $10. Five bucks at my WA state GO is a darn good price. Tried this one, flitcraft? Seems like it might be right up your alley.
$5 at Bellevue, WA (purchased 3/1/14)
I’ve had some Ironstone wines in the long past and remember them to be good value wines. I would put this wine in that same category.
Clean garnet in color. Red fruity smell with a good dollop of vanilla. Cranberry, cherry, and vanilla. Simple structure but balanced between the medium tannins and acid. The fruit got a bit deeper into blueberry with air. Overall an easy quaff and a decent buy for five bucks. Not something I need to go buy more of so I give it a drinkable. Retail seems to be ten bucks.
40% Tempranillo, 26% Syrah, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Barbera; 13.9% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 26 Feb. Still there and at Berkeley.
When first poured, this wine is a bit reserved and gritty-textured. IMO, it needed about 70 minutes of air to start coming around, and another half hour to be fully aired. It shows nicely complex, ripe flavors of dark red cherry, even darker cherry pit, blueberry, plum, cinnamon, and tart red cherry, with a slight liqueur-like character. This nicely balanced, wacky blend works for me. However, even though the finish is a little tannic, I’d suggest not waiting long to drink it, especially if the temperature where you keep wines is not that even.
My saved single-glass screw cap bottle was redder and a little more simple, but otherwise much the same, and still tasty.
Portland/Hollywood 14.3% alc. (Purchased on 3/1/14)
I visited this southeast Portland GO last weekend and walked in to an unexpected wine and cheese tasting. I was there for almost two hours and the place was packed the entire time. Manny, the wine steward poured about a dozen different wines. I also met blog reader and regular commenter JWC there. When Manny discovered we were there, he opened a few more bottles…most notably the Echelon RRV Pinot Noir (much discussed on the blog) and this Chardonnay.
It just so happened that I met a woman and her daughter at the GO who were there to buy the 3 Blind Moose Chardonnay I reviewed…for daughter’s wedding. But then Manny showed them and recommended the JAQK Chardonnay. He wanted us all to taste it. For a dollar more it’s far more complex and definitely more oaky…perhaps the better wedding wine. Who really knows what a general audience might prefer? Might even want to move the wedding up north because this same wine is currently selling for $3.99 here in Silverdale (which I discovered when I got home. If you happen to read this, wedding ladies…please let me know what happened!
Oh, yeah! The wine. In a heavy, clear punt Bordeaux bottle (generally odd for Chardonnay). Brilliant, fairly deep golden color. First whiff says toasty oak with subdued fruit and citrus. In the mouth, it’s soft and lush, yet with decent tangy acidity; there are some enjoyable mango and banana flavors that are nicely integrated with the bitter almond oak notes. Fairly lengthy finish shows Meyer lemon and more balanced oak, but also some aged roasted grain flavors. Very tasty, but the slightly deeper golden color and roasted grain qualities suggest not to cellar it for long.
By the way…kudos to Manny for adeptly handling the crowd at the tasting and for opening a few extra bottles for us to taste. My only suggestion…supply a dump bucket, so folks don’t feel the necessity to finish all their pours (particularly if they don’t like a certain wine or if they’ve already had enough). And kudos as well to JWC for driving the extra miles to meet with me…and for bringing me a bottle of Neyers Chardonnay from GO that appeared last year (I believe)…that he so wanted me (the ABC guy) to try. I’ll certainly share my thoughts with you when I open it. Thanks again, JWC! It was a real pleasure meeting you.
Hi Everyone. It appears that comments on pages besides this main page are not being listed in the “Recent Comments” list to the right. Until this is fixed, I will try to list all those missed here:
Darrell’s notes on the 2007 MiSa Merlot, Carneros, CA, and my reply with my thoughts on this wine:
Lim13 on the “regular” release Covey Run Syrah:
Lim13 on wines he recently purchased for review:
BargainWhine on a beer he liked:
JoelA on a German wine he purchased from GO years ago:
JoelA updates us with current offerings at the Richmond, CA, store:
weinish reviews the 2010 Cantina di Montalcino Poggio del Sasso Sangiovese Toscana:
I’ll update this post as necessary, but I hope I will be able to delete it soon. Thanks, BW
Pays D’Oc IGP, southern France; 13% ABV
$4 at the Oakland, CA, store on 24 Feb
The first pour of this wine immediately showed an enticing nose of white and yellow flowers and light yellow peach. On the palate, more of the same plus lighter yellow melon, in a structured and oaky style, with bitterness of yellow grape skin / yellow melon rind. At times, it was on the verge of nice complexity; at others, it was rather dull. It seemed to have the solidity to perhaps be better on the second day.
The next day, however, the flavors were more forward, but not particularly more complex or pleasant. With that, I’ll have to go with Drinkable.
Columbia Valley, WA; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Oakland, CA, store on 24 Feb
The Columbia Winery 2007 Red Willow Cabernet and 2008 Syrah were interesting enough that I wanted to try this Malbec as well. This wine is also interesting, but, like the others, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
I first poured out a single-glass screw cap bottle for another night. The rest of the wine in the bottle needed about 70 minutes to air, showing ripe flavors of redder and blacker blackberry and red cherry, balancing acid of these fruits, some sap (bay leaf?), a little clove, and a finish of somewhat coarse wood and drying tannin. It’s pretty tasty, but like the other CW wines of late, it’s restrained and structured, and much more US-West-Coast in flavors and style than the more exuberantly fruity and tangy Argentinian Malbecs I’ve tasted. I would put it at the lower end of Thumbs Up.
The saved single-glass bottle was a little redder and a little smoother than the wine on the first night, but was otherwise much the same.