Carnivor cabernet and Fabula Riserva sangiovese review

4 10 2015

Hi there people! Hope life is going well.  I’ve been taking a break from writing wine reviews, but I had to come back and … well it sounds bad, but I had to warn you against buying this particular cabernet.  I tried Carnivor cabernet at Costco because it was $9 or $10 and they said other stores sell it for $15.  As it turns out, Read the rest of this entry »

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Villa Antinori “Toscana” red wine review

17 03 2011

Today we review a 2006 Italian red that is often called a “Super Tuscan”, even though it doesn’t say that anywhere on the label.  (More on that in the Boring Note at the end of this review.) It costs $22 at Total Wine, which is a little too high since many merchants are selling this wine for around $15 or $16, as you can see here

OK I really liked Villa Antinori Toscana.  It tastes very deep and dark, like distilled blackberries and cranberries buried under oak, lots of tannins, and a little chocolate.  Smooth.  Dense.  A little smoky.  A very dry, luxurious texture, and an inviting aroma with a fair amount of alcohol in there.  Balancing that dry texture is a warm juiciness in the flavor.  Basically, it tastes like a very good, extra dense and juicy chianti classico.  It is 60% sangiovese, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, and 5% syrah.

At $15 or $16, I would buy Villa Antinori Toscana all the time.  Even at $22, this dry yet juicy Italian is:

Villa Antinori "Toscana" red wine reviewRecommended.

Boring Note:

There is no law that specifies what a Super Tuscan is.  It is generally a wine from Tuscany (Toscana, in Italian) that has a blend of grapes similar to chianti.  The term used to be reserved for truly kickass wines, so of course today all wines like this are called Super Tuscan.  Many Super Tuscans replace some of the sangiovese that is required to dominate chianti with cabernet sauvignon (true for the wine reviewed today).  Many Super Tuscans say Indicazione Geografica Tipica on the label.  IGT generally means that you are getting grapes from the location shown on the label, in this case, Tuscany…. 

Whew.  I’m already bored, and we didn’t even scratch the surface of Italian wine rules and vocabulary.  Is this stuff worth learning?  I’m not sure — even if you master it, you find that it does not allow you to choose great wines.  You still have to go by word of mouth (or trial and error).  I would just sit back and read Wineguider.





Ruffino chianti superiore review: Isn’t it ironic

16 03 2011

Today we review a 2008 chianti superiore from Italy (of course) that costs around $11 or $12, but is just $9 at Costco.

You would think that Ruffino‘s chianti “superiore” would be, ahem, superior to other chiantis, such as chianti classico, or classico reserva.

But this one isn’t superior to much of anything.  It’s on the light side and it’s dry, not juicy.  Kind of bitter.  Not warm, not complex, not delicious.  Maybe it would be great with food?  Sorry, I just didn’t care for this, despite its promising name.  I can’t suggest that you spend even the $9 that it requires at Costco.  This one is:

Not recommended.





Da Vinci chianti review – WHAT IS THIS!?

12 11 2010

Da Vinci chianti reviewToday we review a 2008 chianti from Italy (of course), which costs $10 at my local wine store.  However, I’ve seen it for as high as $14.

Holy cow, is this the perfect value-oriented wine?

It may not be terribly cool to love Da Vinci chianti, but I love it.  But only on day 2, after leaving the bottle corked overnight.  To be honest, when first opened, it struck me as generic, slightly too sweet, and lacking any kind of personality.

On day 2 my views changed, so I suggest letting it breathe — even better, pour it into a decanter.  Da Vinci has noticeable, mouth-drying tannins, but less than many other chiantis. It’s juicy, and very friendly for a chianti.  It’s medium-bodied, verging on full-bodied.  Wine geek words like “mouthfilling” come to mind.  It smells like a sweet Marks-A-Lot magic marker.  And it tastes like oak and vanilla, mixed with strawberry, cranberry, blackberry, and a little smoke.  Perfect?  No.  It doesn’t have the sensual complexity or fresh, organic explosion of colors that you get with a truly great wine.   But at this price, it’s damn near perfection.

WOW.  At $10, absolutely unstoppable.  This crowd pleaser is easily a “Best Value” winner.  Recommended!





Marchese Antinori chianti classico riserva 2004 review

28 09 2010

Today we review a 2004 chianti that costs $30 a bottle. 

QUESTION!   What to buy if you’re making a romantic Italian dinner for a seriously hot date?  Answer – something Italian!  Although many U.S. reds will pair wonderfully with your meal, nothing gets the romance going like an Italian.  

There are many kinds of Italian wines, but if you’re starting out, a chianti is a safe bet — they hardly ever taste bad, they are affordable, and most people have a good association with the name.   But what IS chianti?  It’s not a grape.  It’s a blend of three or four grapes, but always most prominently sangiovese.  It’s made in the Chianti area of Italy, in Tuscany.  There are several “grades” of chianti, and it usually goes like this:

          Good:  chianti

          Better: chianti classico

          Best: chianti classico riserva

Then there’s “chianti superiore”, which is supposed to be even better, but is rare.  My local Total Wine has only one. 

So today we have a $30 chianti classico riserva which is very warm, extremely dark red, almost black, tastes very full and extracted, and is VERY very sumptuous in the mouth, with perfect texture.  But there’s a problem: too much oak.  Drinking it is like sucking on a 2×4.  It’s hard to taste the grapes, much less describe them for you.  Although it is very romantic, has great texture and has a sexy, upperclass label, this Italian is unfortunately:

Not recommended.   

Next!

P.S.  Hey WINEGUIDER!!  What about my dang date?!?!   Well, for a moderately pricey chianti that will taste good and show that you really cared about the meal, I suggest you buy the little brother to the above wine, another Antinori offering called Peppoli chianti classico, which costs $24.   I will do a full review soon.