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Thursday, October 18, 2007

2006 A to Z Oregon Rose

We've had some A to Z wines before...I really enjoyed their Pinot Noir we had a while back so I grabbed a bottle of this when I saw it for about $11.

Cherry and herbal notes on the nose.

Lots of acid on the palate, not a whole lot of sweetness - cherry, spice (cinnamon?), watermelon rind, and raspberry.

The finish lingers with lots of acid complimenting the herbal and raspberry notes.

A very nice rose in general and definitely a good one for the price.

2004 Fetzer Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's another from Fetzer, $6 or so, that you can pick up at any grocery store.

Large amounts of cherry, tobacco, and oak on the nose.

Cherry, blueberry, plum, and oak on the palate. After a couple days in the fridge, this hasn't changed much – plum, cherry, and a bit of oak bringing some mildish tannin.

A fruity finish that brings out more sweetness than I get on the palate. After sitting in the fridge for a few days, I got a bit more tannin and oak on the finish, but still some sweetness.

Not terribly complex and a bit too fruity to be called balanced, but for the price it's fine.

2005 Voga Quattro Italia

This was $8 at Costco. We thought the Voga white was alright and I figured this was worth a shot – I seem to recall reading a good review of this one somewhere.

Chocolate and cherry on the nose.

A weird blend creates a weird wine – this one has Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. Little to no tannin, not much acid, berries – strawberry mainly – chocolate, and earth.

No real finish except for some mild oak notes and a slight bit of rotten strawberry that fade quickly.

$8 is a pretty good price for this bottle which I normally see for about $10 – but I still wouldn't recommend it. A bit more acid and a bit less may have given it some balance but without it, there's just not much here but flab.

N/V Aria Cava Brut

We had this at a restaurant not long ago and I enjoyed it enough to snag a bottle when I found it on sale for a mere $9.

A yeasty nose with some lemony notes.

The palate is light and crisp – nice acid, a bit of citrus fruit and a bit of a yeasty feel. The key flavor I'm getting is lime.

A lingering finish, with acid and lime.

At this price I have no gripes. Far better than any of the mass produced sparklers like Korbel out there, this is definitely worth a trip to a wine shop....a nice tasting wine though a bit simple. While I won't be grabbing this particular bottle again for a while, I wouldn't hesitate grabbing a few others in the Aria line to see what they have to offer.

2005 Sketch Book Mendocino County Pinot Noir

I don't remember much about this one....and a bit of poking around the internet shows I don't know where I bought this or what I paid, other than I hope I didn't pay more than $15.

Funk, cherry, and pepper on the nose.

A bit of cola, cherry, strawberry, earth, funk, a bit of chocolate, and smooth tannin. Nice depth, good acid, and really quite enjoyable all around.

Some oak comes out on the finish as well as a touch of tobacco, and some cherry.

If I knew where I bought this and I found it again for under $15 I'd cheerfully grab a few more bottles.

2006 Robert Mondavi Private Selection California Pinot Noir

The Mondavi wines we've had have been hit or miss, but I figured this was worth a shot for $9.

Earth and funk on the nose

Strawberry, earth, a bit of cherry, sweet oak, lots of acid which mellowed after a few hours, and a bit of chocolate. Not bad really.

Tannins show up on the finish and linger a bit with strawberry and wood.

Not bad for $9 really, let it breath for a while or sit on the rack for a few months (it's still a bit young, though I wouldn't call it ageworthy in any sense), but there's enough Pinot qualities that I wouldn't hesitate giving this one a mild recommendation.

N/V Founders Reserve Sandeman Porto

When Fran and I were looking to decorate our apartment with some posters, I stumbled across an array of (reproductions of) vintage posters of Sandeman Port. I liked the logo, but assumed the brand was long gone. As I was browsing a local shop, I saw a whole line of Sandeman Port and knew I had to grab a bottle. This was the priciest bottle at $16 for 750 ml.

Raisin and alcohol on the nose.

A bit of alcohol burn, rich tobacco, overripe plum (prune really), brown sugar....a solid Ruby style Port. After a few weeks of being open, the tobacco is beginning to take over – not terribly sweet, a nice bit of acid and some interesting earthy qualities – I'd enjoy this more if I had a cigar.

The finish brings some earthy notes and lingering burn from the alcohol.

Not bad. For an under $20 bottle of Port, you can do worse...but I still view Port as a splurge beverage since a bottle lasts so long you may as well drop some coin and stretch it out. If you're starting out with Port, buying for a dinner party, or simply not willing to pay a lot for a bottle but are desperate for “real” Port, then you can do worse....but I'd still save a few dollars and buy the Port-like Australian fortified wine made by Jonesy.