Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Borsao 2009 (Granacha/Tempranillo) $6

Borja, Spain

It used to bother me when aromas from a wine exuded a musty scent which gave me the wrong impression that it might not be good.  I’ve definitely learned to appreciate it now, as just about every one of them has tasted great.

Complementing the musty aromas a black pepper spice and slight hint of wood rounded things out.  With blended flavors of raspberries, strawberries and cassis this quality priced wine easily holds up to those at 4 times the price.  The mouth feel is medium bodied with a mild spice followed by a dry oak finish.

It’s made from a blend of 75% Garnacha (or Granache) and 25% Tempranillo. This would be a wine to keep around for everyday drinking especially at this price.  In fact the 2008 vintage was the #1 Value Wine by The Wine Enthusiast.  For the 2009 vintage they gave it an 89 rating and stated 15,000 cases are earmarked for the U.S.  I’ve seen it online for $8-9. Try this one if you’re looking to get into red wines from whites.  It's a great "in-between" selection before venturing into heavier reds.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toro De Piedra, Carmenere – Cabernet ’09 $11

Maule Valley, Chile

I wasn’t sure what to expect in a recent visit to a local wine store I’d been putting off going to.  Much to my surprise, it turned out to be a great find with knowledgeable and very nice people.  Now I’m not into promoting wines, stores, products, etc. but if you’re looking for some great deals on excellent wines and you’re in the Orlando, FL area, they have a store, but not to worry…their main business is shipping great wines all over.  Therefore, I definitely need to thank my friends (Jodi and Jerry) who turned me on the The Wine Barn.  I’m not compensated by them, paid for all my wines and barley even know these guys but I can safely say I’ll be back ASAP. (

This first of the 5 wines I bought and tried was wonderful so I hope the others follow suit!  I’ve not had a blend with only Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Usually, I’ve seen these 2 varietals blended with others grape varietals.  In this wine, there’s 51% Carmenere and 49% Cab.

On the aromas was a nice, blended balance of black pepper spice, wood and blackberries.  At first taste it proved to be slightly spicy with the black pepper predominant but after 15-20 minutes in the glass…wow did it mellow out.  I’d say flavors on this full bodied wine after opening up some showed hints of black currents, dark cherries and a subtle toasted oak.

I can’t believe the price on this incredible wine!  It reminded me of a mature Cabernet Sauvignon...not super old but something like you’d find in a 2005 vintage.  I can only guess this wine would compliment grilled meats (beef or pork) and I could even see this paring nicely with a slow cooked roast.  Something nice for all the winter weather going on right now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dominican Oaks, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $16

Napa, CA

After strolling the aisles of this large wine store, I was becoming overwhelmed with what to try in a new Cab.  I had my list of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 but I can’t really afford most of those even though I’m sure they’re amazing.  One of the sales guys was re-stocking the racks and I decided to ask what he was drinking these days.  I forgot his name or I’d thank him here for this selection.

Filled with aromas of bright berries, dark cherry and a few subtle notes of black pepper and oak, I thought immediately of a much higher priced Cab. I’d had in the past.  The flavors brought together a smooth mocha and dark cherry combination.  At first taste, a slight tartness was there but after an hour of letting the wine open up, it completely softened and mellowed out.  The finish was pleasant with mild tannins and a minor hint of oak.  I didn’t decant the wine although I can only image that it would have made this even better.

So next time your strolling the aisles of your local wine shop, don’t hesitate to ask!  Many of the people working these stores are into wine and have had an opportunity to taste more than many of us given their jobs.  Hopefully you’re able to find this wine and enjoy as I did.  I’m back to buy a few more bottles to keep on hand for friends.

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