Carmen Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

Carmen Reserva Cabernet SauvignonAlthough Viña Carmen has been around since 1850, it was reborn in 1987 when it was bought by Claro Group.  Today, their main vineyards are in Maipo Valley, but they also have vineyards in Rapel, Casablanca and Curicó Valley.  And they are one of the top producers in Chile.
This wine continues the trend we’ve found of Chilean wines delivering exceptional quality for the fee.
Although it’s labeled as Cabernet Sauvignon, technically it’s only 85% Cab, with 10% Syrah and 5% Merlot.  This is a well-oaked, but not over-oaked wine, with 80% of it aged in a combination of French and American oak for 10 months. Read more

Bodega Elena de Mendoza Malbec

Bodega Elena de Mendoza MalbecLast nighttime, we reviewed a very excellent, although relatively pricey, malbec from Cruz Andina.  Well, tonight, we’re checking out what a malbec for below $10 can deliver.
I sometimes like to give a small background tale about a wine, but with this one I don’t really have much tale to share.  This brand is part of the E&J Gallo family.  And that’s about all I have for you, additional than my tasting notes — which will reveal that even without a rich tale, I found this wine to be quite nourishing. Read more

Oyster Bay Merlot – A Little Dirty, a Lot of Good

Oyster Bay Merlot – A Little Dirty, a Lot of GoodAlthough New Zealand and Oyster Bay are both best known for Sauvignon Blanc, it’s the Oyster Bay Merlot that has captured my attention.  I first tasted this Merlot at the first ever North American Wine Blogger’s Talks last October.  At that talks there was an open tasting of 100 wines from New Zealand.  Most of the wines were Sauvignon Blanc, but there were a few red wines in the mix.  I tried this Merlot from Oyster Bay and it instantly had a “wow factor” for me.  I had been tasting grassy Sauvignon Blanc prior to this one, so I wasn’t sure if the wine truly was as excellent as I thought or if my senses had become tainted by all the additional wines.  So… I took note of the wine and plotted to pick some up to taste before long.
When I returned from the talks I set out to find a bottle of this Oyster Bay Merlot and sure enough, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Isn’t that always the case when you know of a specific wine and you set out to find it?  I stopped in several of my favorite wine shops and had no luck.  I had given up on finding this wine, when one day I was relaxed strolling through the wine section at a Kroger grocery store and bam! there it was.  Finally, I can check this thing out with a formal review.
The Oyster Bay brand was made by Delegat’s Wine Estate in 1990 and has gotten numerous accolades over the years.  They are best known for their colorless wines from Marlborough, but also have some vineyards in Hawkes Bay, where this Merlot is produced.  Hawkes Bay is the second largest wine growing province in NZ and the top producer of red wines in the country. Read more

St. Hallett Faith Shiraz

St. Hallett Faith ShirazThe St. Hallett winery resides in the Barossa province in Australia and focuses on producing wines from this province.  They are best known for their Shiraz, of which they release a few different lines.  The Faith Shiraz is their most affordable Shiraz—additional than a Shiraz Grenache blend they offer.
The winery was established in 1944 and was named after an early surveyor of Southern Australia.  In 2004, St. Hallett was named “Winery of the Year” by Wine and Spirits magazine. Read more

Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc

Silver Birch Sauvignon BlancTonight we’re checking out another sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, and this one comes from a box.  Not a boxy box, but an octagon-shaped box from Octavin.  These boxes hold 3 liters of wine, which is the equivalent of four 750ML bottles.  For me, there are pros and cons of boxed wines.  The cons include the fact that you don’t get to go through the ritual of pulling a cork.  Enjoying wine can be experiential and pulling a cork is part of the experience.  But the pros for boxed wine include the fact that you don’t have to open bottles as often, after all there are four bottles worth in here.  And bag-in-box wine stays fresh much longer than wine in bottles.  You can work on one box for a month or longer and it will subdue be excellent, while wine in a bottle goes terrible within a link days of opening.
This Silver Birch sauvignon blanc is from Marlborough, which is located at the northern tip of the southern island of New Zealand.  This is the largest wine district in New Zealand and is well known for its sauvignon blanc.  In fact, New Zealand is known more for sauvignon blanc than any additional type of wine, with more hectares of sauvignon blanc grapes planted than all additional varieties combined. Read more

Jean Bousquet Malbec Reserva

Jean Bousquet Malbec ReservaOur series on Malbec continues today with a look at a very excellent Malbec from a French winemaker who relocated to Argentina.  Jean Bousquet started his winemaking career in Carcassonne, France, where he spent over 20 years honing his craft.  In 1990 he first became familiar with the vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina and in 1997 he bought land in Tupungato, Mendoza and relocated his winery to Argentina.
I tasted this wine alongside some $40+ Malbecs—which were exceptional—and it held it’s own next to them. Read more

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc

Dashwood Sauvignon BlancThis is going to be a quick, to-the-point review.
It’s another Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, and this is from the Dashwood brand. I know some folks in the wine world don’t like to use the word, “brand” but that’s what it is. Anyway, Dashwood is produced by Vavasour — which, as I mentioned in another recent review, is owned by Foley Family Wines from Sonoma. Read more

Martín Códax Albariño

Martín Códax AlbariñoYears ago, I turned my wife on to sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.  It’s now her colorless wine of choice.  In fact, when colorless wine ends up on the grocery list there usually isn’t any second-guessing.  So tonight as I was in the administer of building dinner, my wife said she was up for a glass of wine.  So I checked the fridge, and then the cellar, and sure enough, we were fresh out of SB.  So I chose to improvise.  I took the opportunity to review one of the colorless wines we recently received – the 2009 Martín Códax albariño.  I figured I’d at least get a review in, but maybe, just maybe, broaden my wife’s colorless wine horizons.  So I poured us both a glass, and went back to getting dinner ready. Read more