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Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel N.V.

March 18, 2010
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From the Zinfandel experts at Ravenswood, their one wine available in almost every grocery and convenience store is the Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel.

Regardless of my opinion of the Vintners Blend, I’ve always enjoyed Ravenswood’s other Zins. The County Series is pretty good value and their Vineyard Designate Zins are frequently second to none in the Big Red genre.

The Vintners Blend Zin is what the winemaker intends; soft, fruit forward, under $9, easily distributed, California Red.

I find the recent iterations of this wine too soft and sweet, but when cornered into buying wine at a pharmacy in middle America, you could do worse than the Vintners Blend.

Rating: 1$, 2q, 2v.

2007 Alceño Jumilla

March 17, 2010
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From the Jumilla wine region of Spain, Bodega Pedro Louis Martinez S.A., the 2007 Alceño Jumilla is an excellent find.

The wine is made from 60% Monastrell (Mourvedre) and 40% Syrah, aged in oak with flavors of bright fruit and vanilla with balanced tannins.

Retail prices range from $10 to $14 and you will not be disappointed.

Rating: 1$, 3q, 4v

2007 “iL GHiZZANO” Tenuta Di Chizzano (Tuscan)

March 15, 2010
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From Italy, the 2007 Il Ghizzano from Tenuta Di Ghizzano made for a pleasant Monday dinner companion. The 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot worked well. Not too complex or spicy with nice fruit, this was a good Super Tuscan to pair with pastas, meats, and cheese.

Rating: 1$, 3q, 3v

2008 Marchiori & Barraud Cabernet Sauvignon

March 13, 2010
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From Argentina hails a very big Cabernet, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Marchiori & Barraud. Winemakers Andrea Marchiori and Paul Barraud, renowned for wine making behind another label, also produce this excellent offering under their own label.

Color as deep as ripe blackberry, aromas of fruit and a tannic bite, this wine is a bold and excellent Cab to serve to anyone. Even the most educated wine lover will find something to appreciate in this wine.

From the classic black and white label to depth of flavor and structure, this wine is sure to please. Best served with hearty fare like grilled and roasted meats, this wine drinks now, but has enough tannin to store for a few years. Moderate sediment suggests filtering and decanting for maximum enjoyment and minimum headache if more than a few ounces may be consumed.

Rating: 1$, 3q, 4v

Getting the Most from Value Red Wine

March 12, 2010

Every wine retailer sells a red wine under $15 recommended as a great value. Some of these are spectacular and would taste great out of a dixie cup at a tailgate. This is a post about the others (see the 4v reviews on this site for examples of identified top values needing no improvement).

Some wines are second, third, and heaven help us, fourth labels of wineries bottling to rid themselves of juice not worthy for other labels. Some of these wines can have harsh flavors, astringency, off notes, and other unpleasant aromas and flavors to lessen the experience. I prefer to avoid bottles from big corporate wineries, but am frequently duped.

In some instances, the best solution to improve the value of the moment is to rinse out the glass and open a different bottle. However, follows are a couple of tricks every value buyer should consider to get the most from a value red.
Read more…

2007 Family Harvest Red

March 11, 2010
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From Homegrown Farms in Santa Rosa, California, a winery with a single wine, comes the 2007 Family Harvest Red.

The boss and I really enjoyed this wine last night and you can’t beat the price. Read more…

2008 Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay

March 8, 2010
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There is value in Chardonnay. The 2008 Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay is Read more…