2014 Pinot Grigio shootout: Jermann vs. Albino Armani

31 05 2014

Today we compare two Italian pinot grigios.  They are THE most expensive ‘grigios I could find at Total Wine.  Jermann (2011) is $27; Albino Armani Colle Ara “1607” (2012) is $20.

When I first opened these, I thought this shootout was going to be easy because the Albino Armani was much better than the Jermann, and obviously much less expensive.  However, as I tasted both wines over a period of two days with various food, it became obvious Read the rest of this entry »

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Heavyweight cabernet sauvignon review UPDATE

16 03 2013

We reviewed the 2007 Heavyweight cabernet right here, and concluded that it’s a recommended wine.

Now it’s the 2010 Heavyweight, which is $12 at Total Wine and still features 1800’s-style drawings of various boxers like “Bob the Bruiser” on the labels, which vary from bottle to bottle.  And so, what is the decision on the 2010 vintage?  Read the rest of this entry »





Fake wine blog “Best Pinot Noir”: Worst Thing On The Internet?

6 01 2012

The wine “reviews” site called Best Pinot Noir appears to be a website run by wine.com, which allows any producer of pinot noir to pay $10 in order to have a favorable “wine review” posted.   No comments are permitted. 

Let’s be clear.  It’s just a collection of ads.  But it looks, and reads, like a friendly, good-humored home-made wine blog.  The list of ads on the right is even titled, “Pinot noir reviews.”  Nice. 

My favorite statement on the website is this:  “We went with Big Fire, a Pinot Noir out of Washington state.”  Ahhhh, yeah.  Big Fire is from Oregon.  Worse, the large photo of the label, right next to these words, shows “OREGON PINOT NOIR” in big capital letters.  Who wrote this?  Some idiot at wine.com? 

What a crass, reprehensible pile of crap.  Can “best cabernet” and “best merlot” be far behind?





Explore 2008 cabernet sauvignon review

10 09 2010

Today we examine a red wine from South Africa that costs just $4 a bottle.

Bottom line:  This wine is not recommended, because it is absolutely terrible.

You’re probably thinking, “HEY, you just reviewed that awesome $40 pinot noir, how can you switch to a cabernet that costs only $3.99 and give it a fair shot?”  Well, I opened a bottle of Black Opal shiraz/cabernet in between, which costs only $7, and was pretty good.  (And which has been positively reviewed here.)  So, I was actually prepared for a bargain red.

However, I wasn’t prepared for this stuff.  Explore cabernet sauvignon smells like strong alcohol.  “That’s OK,” I thought, “it still might taste good.”

It doesn’t.  In fact it tastes like there is something seriously wrong with it.  A medium-bodied cab, it has a dry, smokey flavor.  Not a woody, or spicy smoke.  More like the black, acrid cloud you get from burning brightly colored plastic.  Halfway through my first glass, I stopped to consider whether I might have just been poisoned. 

I might use the rest of the bottle to marinate steak.  It’s also possible that I will taste it again and rush to force it down the kitchen sink drain while cursing at the winery, or myself.

It’s only $4, but unfortunately the 2008 Explore cabernet sauvignon cannot be recommended. 

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Mirrabooka pinot noir review

12 08 2010

Today we review a 2006 pinot noir from Australia that costs anywhere from $9 to $15 a bottle, depending on where you get it.  I snagged it for $13.

OK, I obviously love an inexpensive wine as much as the next guy, but when it blatantly sucks, I still get rattled, no matter how cheap the bottle was.   The 2006 Mirrabooka pinot noir from Australia’s Victoria region is fairly cheap, and yes, it blatantly sucks.  

It smells bad, like something you left in your kitchen sink way too long — sharp, and sour.  But its taste is where the suck really shines through.  Ever tried red wine that’s been open too long?   That’s what Mirrabooka tasted like after it had been open for about 4 hours.  And it wasn’t even open the whole time — the screw cap was put tightly back in place.  Specifics?  Sour.  Very minerally.  Sharp, like they threw some vinegar in there.  (Hey!  Why not?)  Very acidic and bright, with hints of some flavors that I don’t care enough about to write out.

CAVEAT:  I’ve had 2 bottles of this pinot, from the same store, and it’s possible that their stock was damaged in some way.  I will seek out this wine in the fall to reassess, and hopefully will have kinder words to say.

As I contemplate how I will obtain a badly needed attitude adjustment after choking down this Aussie from much too far down under, I will remind myself that this one is:

Not recommended.





Gato Negro malbec and merlot review

22 06 2010

Today we review two bargain reds from Chile’s Gato Negro, each of which can be had for just $4 a bottle: the 2008 malbec and the 2008 merlot.

Here’s the deal.  This stuff is cheap.  The malbec smells very strange, and tastes bad.  The merlot smells pretty good, and tastes bad.  This is the kind of wine that makes you grimace when you try it. 

You’ve probably heard more about Gato Negro as this year’s “two buck chuck” than any other wine.  I would say, don’t bother.  It’s not a miracle discovery to slash your wine bill.  It’s just cheap, crappy wine.

One caveat:  I haven’t tried the cabernet sauvignon.  I probably should, since I am panning these two.  I’ll come back and edit this once I’ve had the chance.

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