Penfold’s Koonunga Hill 2012 Shiraz-Cabernet

January 29, 2015 § 4 Comments

Price: $16.29-$17.99IMG_0723

The Shiraz-Cab blend is the best of the Koonunga Hill red wine line up. The Shiraz has big opulent fruit, but lacks some structure and finesse. The Cab shows great structure, but lacks big bold fruit. The good news is that the Shiraz-Cab is masterfully blended to showcase each grapes strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Having said that this is a Good Drop and decent value for the money, however at $14.99 or $15.99 I would have said this Over Delivers. If it every goes on sale for $15.99, buy it!

Tasting Notes Sipping: First impressions mean a lot. Either your impression is confirmed or shattered and that makes a difference how you approach people or a wine. In this case the colour is a deep ruby red giving you the impression that the wine will be big, ripe, expressive and round. It is.
Aromas of dark fruits, red berries, chocolate, pepper, spices and even a little vanilla. The palate is ripe, juicy and round. Pretty hedonistic and very easy to enjoy. The finish is of medium length, juicy, sweet tannins and just a hint of spice.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with left over Roast of Beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and raw veggies. I think the gravy over powered the wine, but it was a great match for the beef and potatoes. I would imagine that this would have been brilliant with some grilled lamb, or burgers.

Value: This wine shows decent value for the price, as I have said before, and it is well worth the trade up from items like Yellow Tail. I would even trade up in price from Apothic for this wine. As for competitors in the Australian category at a similar price, it would all depend on the occasion or the food. A big thick steak would mean a quality Cab Sauv like Wolf Blass. A burger or if I’m in a happy go lucky mood, definitely this wine.

I would also suggest that this wine offers better value than Skulls Shiraz at $19.99.

Added Value: Having a BBQ, this wine shines with BBQ. Whether it is southwest style or burgers and such. It is also a great Crowd Pleaser wine that may also appeal the the wedding goer… as long as you have the budget.

More To The Story: Penfold’s has been around for 165 years. That is a long time to be around. In that space of time they have become of Australia’s most recognized exports which means it is really difficult to remain relevant to the consumer. I know that there has been some significant re-direction of funds to product from marketing and I think that is brilliant. After all if you want to remain relevant, the best course of action is to consistently produce a great product.

Score: 7.4  – Good Drop

Service: Twist the cap and let it pour. Room temp is ideal, unless room temp is 30°C, then chill it down to around 18-20°C

Grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: South Australia

 

Alcohol: 13.5%

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Con Sur Organic Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere

January 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 8.5  – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0699.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Dark purple/ruby in the glass. The nose shows ripe plum, currant, red berries and just a hint of black pepper. The palate is ripe and well-balanced. Juicy soft tannins make this a good sipper or a great match for red meats and hearty dishes. It is also certified Organic.

Value: This is a no brainer trade up in price from Santa Rita 120 Cab or Merlot, Beringer California Cab, and Bear Flag Smooth Red. I would also suggest that, if you’re having Steak or Lamb, you might as well save yourself a couple of bucks and choose this wine over the likes of Apothic Red, or 14 Hands Hot to Trot.

Added Value: This wine really shines if you are BBQ’ng. It is also very applicable to Movie Night or Girls Night Out.

More To The Story: The people in the Chimbarongo region of Chile have always had a down to earth tradition. Simple foods, sustainable agriculture, and perhaps most importantly, respect for others. Did you notice the bicycle on the label? This is the main mode of transportation in the Chimbarongo and has become the symbol that represents their way of life.

Service: Let this wine breathe for about 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi. This wine is like a rose that needs to blossom; give it time and it will be a wonderful experience.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere

Store Section: Chile

Appellation: Colchagua

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Beverly Corners Liquor Store

Buy Online: Metro Liquor, Everything Wine

Alcohol: 14%

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Barefoot Shiraz

January 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.1 – Dead Average2015/01/img_0696.jpg

Price: $9.99 On-sale January 2015 $8.49 ($19.99 1.5L)

About the Wine: Price must be the only reason why this wine has the popularity that is has; that and good merchandising. The wine tastes more manufactured than grown and is one-dimensional at best.

The nose shows over ripe black fruits with some vanilla. The palate is a simple juice bomb that has been infused with oak chips to give it a vanilla component. The finish is short and sweet.

Value: The best value is in selecting other wines that offer better value for your money… even at $8.49. Go with Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah, La Vuelta Malbec or Lindeman’s Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet all at $9.99.

More To The Story: Prior to the Barefoot brand being sold to E & J Gallo, Barefoot was a bit of a pioneer. It was the first virtual winery that showed success. A virtual winery doesn’t own a winery or vineyards. They purchase grapes from growers and contract wineries with excess capacity to make the wine. All in all its a pretty good business model as it fills a need in the market while supplying affordable wines.

Service: Twist off the cap and let if flow.

Grapes: Shiraz

Store Section: California

Appellation: California

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Liquor Express, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Liquor Depot (on-sale $7.99), Beverly Corners.

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 12.5%

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Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Blanc

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.0  – Good Drop2015/01/img_0678.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: Close your eyes for a moment and think of sitting on the patio. It’s a warm spring day with the scent of fresh flowers and rebirth in the air. The sun warms your face and your cares just slip away, if only for a moment. If you can put yourself there then you can get a good sense of this wine.

The nose features fresh pears, melon and delicious apple, while the palate is crisp, clean and refreshing. Flavours of Bartlett pear, honeydew melon and red, crisp apples grace the palate. The finish is short to medium and crisp.

Value: I would trade up from any Pinot Gris at $12-$13 for this wine. In addition I would save myself a buck or two over California Sauvignon Blanc priced at $16-$17.

Added Value: This wine strikes a chord for Foodies, as BC Pinot Blanc is in short supply but is almost perfect with spot prawns and crab. This is also a great wine for Weddings as it is fresh and very food versatile. I find it is more food versatile than many BC Pinot Gris’.

More To The Story: A number of years ago a study was done to determine which are the best grapes to grow in BC’s various appellations. Pinot Blanc was determined to be B.C.’s white grape as a quantity of high quality grapes can be grown. Sadly Pinot Blanc vines are being pulled out of vineyards and replaced with Pinot Gris. This is a response to the incredible and growing demand for Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio, but it also means that the growers and wine makers that continue to work with Pinot Blanc are true artisans and are producing jewels that, I think, represent BC better than Pinot Gris.

Service: Chill down to about 8ºC. In case you don’t have a thermometer handy, if there is condensation when you take it out of the fridge, let it sit and warm up a few minutes before serving.

Grapes: Pinot Blanc

Store Section: BC/VQA

Appellation: Okanagan

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Depot, Hillside Liquor Store, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, VQA Stores

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 10.4 %

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Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.0 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0682.jpg

Price: $17.99 (also available in 375ml and 1.5L bottles)

About the Wine: The wine that started it all for Australian wines in Canada 30+ years ago is classic Aussie Cab. The nose shows rich, ripe berry, cassis, eucalyptus and spice, while the palate is full, layered and complex. Flavours of cassis, berry, spice and mint dominate the palate. The finish is medium to long in length and is awesomely juicy.

Value: This is a much better wine that wines like Apothic Red and Cupcake Cabernet. In both cases I would recommend the trade up in price. I would also recommend that you save a couple bucks by trading down in price to the Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cab from Louis Martini Sonoma Cab and The Show Cabernet Sauvignon.

Added Value: This is a great BBQ wine, and really shines as a Crowd Pleaser or on Move and Date Nights.

More To The Story: A little inside information. The grapes from this wine, although it is not on the label come from the phenomenal Cabernet region of Langhorne Creek. I understand that it will be on the label with the next vintage.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed a renaissance in quality. A few years back the decision was made to get more money out of the brand by reducing the cost of the grapes. Predictably the wine started to get thin, unappealing and would have been given a Waste of Wine rating. However a few years back a new team took over the brand and the winemaking. They decided to invest millions in new winemaking facilities, vineyards and people. I had written the wine and the brand off, until a good friend told me I was an idiot and that I should give it another whirl, I’m glad I did.

Service: Twist off the cap and let it breathe or run it through your Vinturi. Grilled up a big thick steak and take it all in. It is also a great pairing with poutine, yup poutine.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: Langhorne Creek

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Liquor Depot, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Liquor N’ More Stores, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 13.0 %

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Giancondi Sangiovese Merlot 1.5L

January 11, 2015 § 1 Comment

Score: 9.2 – Best Buy2015/01/img_0681.jpg

Price: $12.79  ($6.40 750ml equivalent)

About the Wine: Bright ruby-red in the glass with aromas of sour cherry, plum and dried herbs. The palate is of mid-weight, round and shows juicy plum, cherry and savoury herb flavours. The finish is short to medium in length with ripe tannin and spicy fruits. Granted this is not a juice bomb and it shows remarkable finesse and complexity for a wine at this price. If you are looking for a juice bomb then this is not your wine, if, on the other hand you are looking for the best value for your red wine dollar, this could be it.

Value: This is not the best wine in the world, just one of the best values on the market. This wine really shines with Comfort Foods like BBQ burgers, pizza, pasta with tomato and meat sauce, or a hearty grilled cheese sandwich.

More To The Story: Giacondi was a wine that I snickered at as a buyer and wine whanker. It has been around for as long as I can remember and it has always been at the low-end of the price scale, which of course means that it can’t be good right? Not! Over the last year my income has dropped significantly and I could no longer afford the $15-$30 wines I was used to buying, but dinner without a glass of wine is silly. Food just tastes better with wine.

So my choice was to find a lower end wine that I could get behind. I tried a number and happily landed on Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot. The moral of the story is that there are great wines for every budget, I just had to get past my mental limitations to let real wine shine through.

Service: Twist off the cap and let it breathe for 10 minutes or so so. I know, I know, let a $8 wine breathe?! Yes this wine is remarkably complex and has good structure, letting it breathe will open it up and let the fruit aromas and flavours fully express themselves. Have this will simple everyday Comfort Foods. Casseroles, leftovers, pizza, burgers, pasta, grilled cheese, that sort of thing.

Grapes: Sangiovese, Merlot

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Rubicone

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Legacy Liquor Store, Beverly Corner Liquor Store, Everything Wine

Buy Online: Legacy Liquor Store, Everything Wine

Alcohol: 12.5 %

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Dunavar 2013 Pinot Grigio

January 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.4- Good Drop2015/01/img_0680.jpg

Price: $10.99

About the Wine: This is a really good value Pinot Grigio. True to the grape there is melon and citrus aromas and flavours, while the palate is crisp and elegant. Classic.

Value: Definitely worth the $1 trade up from Copper Moon or Naked Grape Pinot Grigio and much closer to a classic Pinot Grigio than many of the Aussie and Californian offerings at $12 or $13.

Added Value: Where this wine really shines is with simple Comfort Foods. This is a great ‘Tuesday’ night wine but I want a little complexity with more complex meals. Very much a Crowd Pleaser and a great Wedding Wine.

More To The Story: In the mid 19th Century all the way up until the mid 20th century, Hungary’s status as a wine region was similar to that of Portugal or Greece. After the Iron Curtain fell on the country following WWII, quality viticulture and winemaking were in very short supply as was the wine itself (most going to Moscow instead of London or New York).

Since the fall of the Eastern Bloc in the late ’80s more and more investment has been flooding into Hungary. Some of the biggest names in wine like Rothschild and Vega Sicilia are spending big dough on upgrading vineyards, wineries and re-establishing a winemaking tradition.

Hopefully we will soon see more than just low-end Pinot Grigios and Muscats, and we will start to see some premium quality indigenous and classic wines.

Service: Chill down and serve, that’s about it. For what to have with it, Pesto pasta, mild cheeses, pizza, grilled or roasted chicken.

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Store Section: Eastern Europe/Other

Appellation: Hungary

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Cascadia Liquor Stores

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 11%

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