Monday, February 27, 2006

Kitfox Foxy Red 2003

Price: $10.99
Recommended by:
The "Wine Jukebox" at the
Wine Gallery
Tasting notes:
Fruit forward and enjoyable. Hints of cranberry and cherry, but by no means complex. A yummy basic California red, especially with pizza.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Panarroz Jumilla 2004

Price: $7.99 (Blanchard's)
Recommended by: Wine Gallery (Brookline, MA), and Wine Advocate gave it a 90.
Tasting notes: We have heard that there are some great Spanish reds for affordable prices, and this wine was certainly one of them. Bursts of fruit flavor -- tastes of blackberries, cherries, and chocolate -- and it was much smoother than we thought it would be, with a nice finish. We tasted it with chocolate brownies, and it was a very nice pair! Because of the price, this is definitely a wine that we will purchase again.
Rating: 7/10

Friday, February 24, 2006

Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Price: $2.99, baby!
Recommended by: The cult following among the Trader Joe's crowd
Drinking notes:
We call it "drinking notes" because this is not really a wine to "taste." But what can you say -- it's Two Buck Chuck! And how can you really have a blog for budget wines without reviewing Chuck? Honestly, we were surprised that this wine was enjoyable. It's not a wine that lasts -- it doesn't get better as you drink it -- but for the money it's a good bargain. We have been drinking a lot of New Zealand fruity sauv blancs, so this certainly doesn't have anywhere near the flavor or boldness of those wines, but it's a decent, moderate alternative.

Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Amarone Tasting

Last night we attended an amarone tasting at Les Zygomates, a French restaurant/wine bar in Boston. We tasted four different amarones, along with delicious duck, steak, and veal appetizers and a very impressive wild mushroom and cheese bruschetta. Amarone is a very full-bodied, high-alcohol, Italian wine, in which the grapes go through a drying process for five months, creating a sweet raisin, before they are pressed.

2001 Santi, Amarone della Valpolicella
This wine was the lightest of the amarones we tried. It wasn't
as smooth, but especially when paired with the food it was still very enjoyable. Bright, fruity tastes of cherry and plum and spices (cinnamon and cloves), with a toasted almond finish.
(Retail: ~$25-40)

1998 Tomassi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
This was our favorite wine of the evening. Bursts of fruit flavor and some chocolate notes, and it was the
smoothest of the four. This amarone was also a few years older, so the tannens weren't as prevalent. As our sommalier explained, 1998 was a great year from amarone, especially in the Classico region.
(Retail: ~$45-55)

2000 Luigi Righetti, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
This amarone was not as fruity as the Tomassi and not as enjoyable. It was a b
it more chocolatey and smelled like chicory, and it went well with the food pairing, but overall it did not blow us away like the Tomassi.
(Retail: ~$25)

2000 Tenute Galtarossa, Amarone della Valpolicella
This was our second favorite. It had a nice complexity with a pronounced tobacco flavor. It was very lovely, but in a different way than our first choice, the Tomassi. It might be hard to find. (Retail: ~$35-40)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel 2002

Price: $12.97 (Blanchard's, Jamaica Plain)
Recommended by: Tasted at Boston Wine Expo
Tasting notes: Big, bold, jam flavors. Smelled of grape jelly and a taste to match. There was also some nice complexity there. However, the grape jelly taste grew overpowering and I couldn't finish the bottle. I would buy this again if I was in the mood for its flavors.
Rating: 6

Monday, February 13, 2006

Santi Solane Classico Superiore Valpolicella Ripasso 2003

Price: $13.00 @ The Wine Gallery (Brookline, MA)
Recommended by: the wine jukebox at the wine shop
Tasting notes: This is a
very nice red. You can taste the hints of cherry, vanilla, and almonds. It finishes dry but smooth. It's light but does not lack in flavor at all. What a treat! We did not drink it with food, but it is supposed to go well with veal, roasts, pork, pizza, game, duck, and chicken.
Rating: 7.5/10

Hogue Gewurztraminer 2004

Price: $8.00
Tasting notes: Not as sweet as, and maybe a bit more acidic than, the Chateau Ste. Michelle, but certainly as joyable. The spice was slightly more pronounced (and we drank it with the exact same meal as the CSM). We will certainly be enjoying more bottles of this in the future.
Rating: 6.5/10

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurztraminer 2004

Price: $8.99
Tasting notes: This is a very happy Gewurz. And considering the price you cannot go wrong with it. We drank it with a seafood stew, and it was a great pairing. The stew really brought out the spiciness of the wine. It has the classic grapefruit flavor of Gewurz in abundance, and we look forward to drinking it again soon. (Can you tell we're fans of Gewurz?)
Rating: 7.75/10

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Amity Vineyards Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2002

Price: $14.99
Tasting notes:
Like all late harvests, this Oregon wine was very sweet, but maybe a bit too sweet. It finishes with a nice, classic Gewurz taste, and you can taste the sweet and classic flavors at the same time in the middle. A nice dessert wine.
Rating: 6.5/10

Montinore Estate Pinot Noir 2003

Price: $12.00
Tasting notes:
We picked this wine from a sale bin at the local wine shop, so we decided to give it a try. It was a mediocre Pinot. It was better than Rex Goliath, but we're not in a hurry to purchase this Oregon product again. Writer's Block is still our favorite Pinot Noir (review of this wine to come) -- just a few $$ more.
Rating: 5.5/10

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Price: $9.99 at Trader Joe's
Recommended by: Patron at the Boston Wine Expo and Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine (see "Recommended Reads" in sidebar)
Tasting notes:
Strong flavors of lemon and peaches. It wasn't as smooth as Villa Maria, another Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but has a great citrusy taste.
Rating: 7/10

Covey Run Gewurztraminer 2004

Price: $7.99
Recommended by: Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys of 2005
Tasting notes:
A nice wine, but not as edgy as some Gewurz’s. It lacked some of the spicyness and complexity of comparably priced ones. We prefer Columbia Winery or Chateau Ste. Michelle as far as domestic Gewurz's go.
Rating: 5.5/10

Casa Lapostolle Merlot 2003

Price: $11.99
Recommended by:
Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine (see "Recommended Reads" in sidebar)
Tasting notes:
Sweet fruity taste with a slightly spicy finish. Rob didn’t love the smell but liked the taste. But as far as Merlots go, this was a good one. Although we enjoyed this winery's Cabernet Sauvignon more, we would buy this wine again, particularly if we could find it for less than $10.
Rating: 6.5/10

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Price: $10.79 at Trader Joes
Recommended by: Whole Foods, Columbus, Ohio (if you live in the Columbus area, visit this store -- and visit now!)
Tasting notes:
A very powerful fruit flavor of kiwi and other fruits. It's almost overpowering but very good; however, we prefer Matua, another Marlborough sauv blanc.
Rating: 7.5/10

Red Bicyclette Syrah 2004

Price: $7.99
Tasting notes: Admittedly attracted to the cute label and the ubiquitous ads that made us thirsty, this syrah has a very nice fruit smell and good taste, but it's a bit acidic. We didn’t like it as much as Wolf Blass, which is only $1 more.
Rating: 6/10

Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2004

Price: $15.00
Tasting notes:
This was the first Alsacian Gewurz that we've tried. It is well-balanced – not too sweet with some spice but we don’t know whether it’s worth the extra $$. We would probably grab a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle or Columbia Winery Gewurz before we would buy this again.
Rating: 6/10

Columbia Winery Gewurztraminer 2003

Price: $9.99
Recommended by: Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys
Tasting notes: This was a very enjoyable Gewurz. It's a really good balance between sweet and spicy, with hints of grapefruit. It was great with sushi, and we would definitely purchase this again.
Rating: 6.5/10

Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Price: $9.99
Recommended by: Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys of 2005
Tasting notes: This Chilean wine was a very nice find. It has a great bold taste with coffee and chocolate notes. This is another one that will find a place on our rack quite often.
Rating: 7.5/10

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Shiraz 2003

Price: $8.99 at Trader Joe's
Recommended by: Sunset magazine

Tasting notes: An explosive burst of berry flavor; very nice, but didn’t finish quite as well as it started. This wine, along with Bogle Petit Sirah, can always be found on our wine rack! (We have also tried the Gold Label, but it costs around $35.)
Rating: 7/10

Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2002 Chardonnay

Price: $9.99 at Trader Joe's
Recommended by:
Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys of 2005
Tasting notes:
Buttery, apple, oak, and caramel flavors, which sound great, but we don’t enjoy this wine that much. However, we haven't had a Chardonnay that we've really enjoyed. Perhaps we just don't like Chardonnays and need to stop trying!
4 /10

Bogle Petite Sirah 2003

Price: $11.99 (This is a fairly popular wine, so most wine shops will have it.)
Recommended by:
Sunset magazine

Tasting notes:
We like this wine A LOT. It has a bright, fruity opening with a very smooth, almost chocolaty finish; one of our favorites for the $$. We most recently enjoyed this with a cheese pizza -- a match made in heaven!


We have taken it upon ourselves to survey as many wines as we can afford to drink. This bold journey is hampered by our modest budgets, so you will find that we usually focus on the great wines that can be purchased for under $15. Here you will read our highly subjective and admittedly amateur palates. But let us not forget that the word "amateur" comes from "amor" or: done out of love. And we certainly love our wine.

So please enjoy our wine notes and weigh in with your thoughts and suggestions!