I am using a 5-star rating system, which appears at the end of each review; here’s the key to the stars:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good … 3 = Average
Key: Wine colour indicators - Red are red wines, Yellow are whites, etc.
Foci ... The January 5, 2013 release is all about Dinner Wines (DW) and Smart Buys (SB)
The Skinny ... Not sure what constitutes a “Dinner Wine” – but the “Smart Buys” are mostly under $20 – and you’ll need a little help wading thru them, but there is some great stuff amongst the ruins.
Alta Vista 2010 Premium Estate Malbec ($14.95 - #677443) - mocha, back cherry and nicely spiced. (*** 1/2+)
Dieter Meier 2010 Puro Corte ($16.95 - #305094) - nice blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with cassis, blackberry, vanilla, chocolate. (****+) - SB
Vicentin 2010 Blend de Malbecs ($17.95 - #299735) - has good dark fruit flavour, a hint of something spicy to keep it from getting too juicy. (*** 1/2+)
Silvern 2010 Greenock Shiraz ($16.95 - #289959) - dark fruited, juice with a jammy
quality, very much an Aussie Shiraz. (****)
Small Gully 2008 Mr. Black's Little Book Shiraz ($16.95 - #287979) - shows some elegance; a leaner version of the typical Aussie Shiraz: chocolate cherry with nice spice on the finish. (****) - SB
Thorn-Clarke 2010 Shotfire Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz ($24.95 - #296582) - I'd never say no to a glass of anything Thorn-Clarke makes; nice spicy finish here. (****)
Leth Klassik 2011 Gruner Veltliner ($14.95 - #297192) - hint of pea pod and cabbage leaf with lovely citrus notes. (*** 1/2)
Rabl 2009 St. Laurent ($15.95 - #301960) - be a Rabl rouser and put this St. Laurent on the table; fresh and fruity, light coloured but deliciously flavoured; nice raspberry and strawberry notes. (****+)
Canada - (Ontario) ... click on wine for full review
13th Street 2010 Cabernet Merlot ($21.95 - #56598) - DW
Colchester Ridge 2008 Crew Cabernet Franc ($21.95 - #315945)
Coyote's Run 2010 Black Paw Vineyard Cabernet Franc ($24.95 - #50450)
De Sousa 2007 Seasons Reserve Meritage ($14.95 - 315911) - SB
Tawse 2009 Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc ($31.95 - #130997)
De Martino 2010 Legado Reserva Carmenere ($16.95 - #236059) - now that's a minty Chilean wine. (*** 1/2+)
Luis Felipe Edwards 2010 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.95 - #169847) - Luis Felipe double barreled assault in this release with both a fantastic white and a delicious red. (****)
Luis Felipe Edwards 2010 Gran Reserva Roussanne ($16.95 - #309740) - this gets better and better with each sip; peachy notes on both the nose and palate, good structure and mouthfeel with well-balanced acidity. (**** 1/2) - SB
France - (Beaujolais) ...
Domaine Ruet 2011 Les Grands Cras Morgon ($16.95 - #299883) - juicy black cherry with nice spice; very respectable Gamay. (****) - SB
France - (Midi) ...
M. Gassier 2010 Nostre Pais Costieres de Nimes ($18.95 - #295410) - lovely sweet fruit nose, dark fruit palate with vanilla, plum and black pepper. (****)
Schloss Wachenheim Riesling Trocken Traditionelle Flaschengarung Sekt ($16.95 - #301366) - lovely Riesling bubbly with good flavours of Riesling and nice biscuit and even sesame crackers on the taste. (****+)
Italy - (Piedmont) ...
Fratelli Ponte Moscato D'Asti 2011 ($14.95 - #305847) - hey, it's Moscato, by now if you have not tried some do so. (*** 1/2)
La Pieve 2008 Barolo ($28.95 - #213132) - dried cherry fruit, cedar and delicate spice. (****) - SB
Italy - (Tuscany) ...
Gattavecchi 2009 Vino Nobile di Montelpuciano ($19.95 - # 672642) - smooth, easy drinking, darkly fruited and nicely spiced. (*** 1/2+) - SB
Italy - (Umbria) ...
Arnaldo Caprai 2009 Rosso Montefalco ($19.95 - #303065) - smoked cherry and raspberry. (*** 1/2+)
Italy - (Veneto) ...
Guerrieri Rizzardi 2007 Villa Rizzardi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico ($46.95 - #302836) - smoked blackberry, plum and chocolate. (*** 1/2+) - DW
La Di Motte 2011 Pinot Grigio ($15.95 - #134650) - waxy, citrus and herbal. (*** 1/2)
New Zealand ...
Tiki 2011 Pinot Gris ($17.95 - #295279) - soft spoken, easy on the palate with a real juiciness about it. (*** 1/2)
Quinta do Coa 2008 Vinho Tinto ($17.95 - #182295) - Port in a drier form, nicely spiced cherry, chocolate on top of more spice with good acidic balance. (****)
Quinta de Ventozelo Reserva Tawny Port ($16.95 - #297796) - apples, cinnamon, cloves and spice all make an appearance here. (****)
Sivipa Vinho Gerneroso Moscatel de Setubal 2010 ($14.95 - #246652) - very appealing nose with candied orange peel, lemon rind, honey, raisins; palate full of burnt sugar, spice apricot and smoked vanilla; complex as hell with a wonderfully pleasant linger. (****+)
Taylor Fladgate Fine White Port ($15.95 - #69856) - mix with tonic and ice and you have yourself a delicious drink that's both sweet and spicy. (*** 1/2+)
South Africa ...
Lady Anne Barnard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.95 - #101758) - nicely smoked with hints of that typical South Africa note but it does not interfere with the mocha-cassis flavours. (****)
Bozeto de Exopto 2010 Garnacha/Tempranillo/Graciano ($14.95 - #305920) - juicy with hints of jamminess till it gets near the back palate then it pulls out the balancing leanness which is quite appealing. (****)
El Molet 2009 Tinto ($14.95 - #305904) - juicy with blackberry, cassis, mocha, cinnamon and plum. (****+)
Torres 2011 Vina Esmeralda ($13.95 - #113696) - floral, pear with a touch of sweetness. (*** 1/2+)
United States - (California) ...
Acacia 2011 Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #235960) - juicy strawberry and a touch earthy (*** 1/2)
Predator 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel ($18.95 - #219485) - I wouldn't pick it as a Zinfandel with its smoked meat and bacon. (*** 1/2) - SB
Rabbit Ridge 2010 Estate Grown Zinfandel ($23.95 - #695072) - tasty, full fruited number with powerful 15.7% alcohol, spiced plum and very vanilla. (****+)
Ravenswood 2009 Vintners Blend Petite Sirah ($18.95 - #161554) - of the three Petite Sirah in this release this is the most appealing, probably why it's also the most expensive. (****)
Rutherford Ranch 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($18.95 - #73817) - sufficiently juicy with both red and black cherry. (*** 1/2+) - SB
Scott Family Estate 2011 Dijon Clone Chardonnay ($23.95 - #99051) - nice and pleasant drinking wine with vanilla, apple crisp and a nice toastiness; good spicy finish too. (****) - DW
United States - (Oregon) ...
Carabella 2008 Pinot Noir ($29.95 - #180125) - nice smoky notes that has strawberry and earthy character. (****) - DW
If You Can Afford It - wines worth their lofty price tag ...
Keenan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($60.95 - #685685) - ****
What I'll be Lining Up For - January 5, 2013 ...
Dieter Meier 2010 Puro Corte ($16.95 - #305094) - Argentina
Lady Anne Barnard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.95 - #101758) - South Africa
Luis Felipe Edwards 2010 Gran Reserva Roussanne ($16.95 - #309740) - Chile
Rabl 2009 St. Laurent ($15.95 - #301960) - Austria
Schloss Wachenheim Riesling Trocken Traditionelle Flaschengarung Sekt ($16.95 - #301366) - Germany
Sivipa Vinho Gerneroso Moscatel de Setubal 2010 ($14.95 - #246652) - Portugal
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