Thursday, February 26, 2009

2006 Navarro Correas SYRAH "Coleccion Privada" (Mendoza, Argentina)

This was a complex, balanced red at a reasonable price.

Fairly deep color. Needed a couple hours of air to unwind, but then displayed a nice nose of hot, smoky gravel and plummy, blackberryish fruit. Broad and mouthfilling, this wine had full body, lots of rich red fruit and mineral flavors, and gobs of soft tannin. It'll keep for a couple of years, but was very nice last weekend with "Matambre" (an Argentine butterflied, stuffed, rolled, braised flank steak -- yummy). 87. Was about $12 at Kroger's on Westpark.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2007 Domaine de l'Estang COTEAUX DU GIENNOIS Sauvignon Blanc (Loire Valley, France)

From a little known backwater appellation in the vicinity of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, this inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc was quite nice.

Nose jumps from the glass with fresh, grassy-herbal gooseberry scents. Ripe and long, but with a crisp, mouthwatering mouthfeel. Not as complex and smoky/minerally as its more exalted sibling appellations can be, but fun to drink and a good value. 87. Was around $13 at Richard's on Weslayan, if I am remembering correctly (I lost the receipt).

Friday, February 20, 2009

2007 Yalumba "Bush Vines" GRENACHE (Barossa Valley, Australia)

This is a ripe, easy-drinking, nicely-balanced, food-friendly red.

Lots of scents of ripe cherry-raspberry fruit with a minerally undertone. Broad and loose-limbed on the mouth, with minerally ripe cherry flavors, and a long, slightly hot finish. Lacks the complexity and concentration of the best Australian Grenaches, but it's hard to quibble at $13.99/bottle (on sale at Whole Foods on Bellaire). 87.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2008 Terra Andina PINOT NOIR "Reserva" (Central Valley, Chile)

I had higher hopes for this, but it turned out to be a very simple, straightforward wine.

Lots of direct, cherry and herbal scents, followed by soft, well-balanced, but simple fruity flavors. Kind of like a basic Beaujolais, but made of Pinot Noir. 80. Was $12.99 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2006 Domaine Charvin "à côté" VDP (Rhone Valley, France)

This is the low-end red from Domaine Charvin -- a GREAT Chateauneuf-du-Pape producer. And it is a really good buy.

Richly fruity nose -- plums, blackberries, a squeeze of lemon, and a sandstone-like earthiness. Round, plummy, and with lots of gravelly-earthiness in the mouth. Clearly lots of Grenache in this puppy. Broad mouthfeel, medium full body, and some soft tannin for texture in the finish. Very nice for drinking over the next year. 89. Was $13.99 at Houston Wine Merchant on South Shepherd.

Monday, February 09, 2009

2005 "Le Font du Vent" COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES "Notre Passion" (Rhone Valley, France)

Loaded with character in a "French" way.

Lots of plummy, lemony, minerally scents on the nose. Full and intensely minerally in the mouth, with the fruit taking a back seat to a lean, intense earthy, iodine-y component. Nice balance. Full, with good acidity and a long, lean finish. Very nice, but not for those who need the jamminess of Australian Shirazes. 87. Drink over the next 6 months. Was about $14 at Richard's.

2007 Cline "Ancient Vines" ZINFANDEL (Cal.)

Cline has another winner with the 2007 version of this widely-available, reliable Zin. I got it at Richard's on Weslayan & Bissonnet for around $15.

It deeply fruity and meltingly soft with the classic Zinfandel "spicy blackberry" fruit, and a subtle, earthy/maple syrupy note in the background. Not a blockbuster but extremely enjoyable for either a weeknight or weekend dinner. All seems in balance here for immediate enjoyment. 88.