Hogue cabernet sauvignon review: INTRIGUE FATIGUE FOR YOUR TONGUE

19 08 2011

Hi!  In response to overwhelming demand from you, the faithful readers of Wineguider, tonight we kick off a special series of reviews examining affordable cabernets that have one-word names beginning with the letter H.

First in line:  Hogue, from Washington State’s Columbia Valley.  This 2008 cab is just $8 at Total Wine, but often goes for $10.  While it’s a bit on the light side for a cabernet, a light cab could be wonderful.  Let’s find out.

Hogue smells nice.  You get cloves, a nice “fertile soil” smell, and some cranberry-ish red fruit.  But in your mouth, the familiar red fruit and tannins leave you with a slightly tinny aftertaste.  Unusual, but quickly tiring.  Worse, this wine is actually hard to taste.  It’s a bit generic.  Hogue is vague. 

I love the price, but this Washington value cabernet is:

Not recommended.





Petite Petit red wine review: it goes to 11

17 05 2011

Today we review a very popular 2008 red blend that’s 85% petite sirah and 15% petit verdot.  It’s from California’s Lodi appellation and costs around $18.

This wine is powerful.  Which is what you expect if you’re familiar with these grapes with the dainty-sounding names.  Petite Petit is very juicy and jammy, yet also has medium-to-large amounts of tannins.  Dark purple in your glass, it tastes almost thick.  Somebody took “fruit bomb,” and turned it up to 11.  If you want a deep, extremely dark blackberry-ish red wine, Petite Petit is your answer.

It also has a fantastic label, something that Michael David winery seems to be very good at.

The problem is that the actual flavor of this wine is almost lost.  You’re too busy being overwhelmed by the big juiciness.  (And the feeling that your teeth are now purple.)  When you find them, the flavors in here aren’t really that delicious, so I would not spend another $18 on it.  I prefer this winery’s Incognito, which I reviewed here.

Not recommended.





Gordon Brothers merlot review: oh MAMA

11 05 2011

Today we look at a 2007 merlot from Washington state’s Columbia Valley that costs between $17 and $22.

Whoa.  This stuff is serious.  Super dark red, almost black.  Dense.  Warm.  I mean, really warm.  Fruit-forward.  Woody.  Hints of chocolate.  Excels at both flavor and mouthfeel.  Moderate tannins.  A gentle bite.  Smells like a spice box.

Delicious.

EDIT, Jan. 2013: The current 2008 vintage is similarly wonderful, although it is more fruit-forward than I remember the 2007 being, to the point where the 2008 verges on blatant sweetness.  I still love it.

I paid $22 at Total Wine for this mouth-watering wonder, and will gladly do so again.

Gordon Brothers merlot reviewHighly recommended.





Georges Duboeuf Morgon Jean Descombes beaujolais review

9 05 2011

Before we begin I want you to know that I have very high regard for French wines.  In fact I believe that with barely any effort at all, they have the ability to kick our California wines all over the room.  When they feel like it, that is.

Now, today, we examine a $15 red from 2009 that I bought at Total Wine.   The bottle says “red burgundy.”  In fact, it is a beaujolais.  Ahh, yes, the French.  Their labels are so user-friendly.  Their marketing is just so spot-on, warmly welcoming Americans with their every move.  (You see, it can be a beaujolais and still have ‘burgundy’ written on the label, because beaujolais is one type of burgundy.)  (Ahhh, thank you . . . . wait — that still doesn’t make any sense . . . plus, what is beaujolais, exactly?  And burgundy?)  (Shut up.)  (Yes, thank you.)

Other fun things on this bottle for Americans include “MORGON” in massive letters, “Georges Duboeuf,” “Jean Descombes,” the very helpful “A. F.71570 Romaneche-Thorins,” and “W.J. Deutsch.”  Great.   Thanks.  Anyway, that’s pretty much it.  It never mentions beaujolais, and never tells you what gosh-darned grape this wine is made from.

(It’s gamay.) 

(“Oh,” I said, acting like that was helpful information.) 

In fact, after you study this bottle at the store, you would be forgiven for wondering, “so what the hell is this shit?”  Ahhh, but then you’re supposed to just drink it, and forgive.  Wine Spectator did, and they gave this dark purple juice a whopping 93.  That’s very, very impressive.

However, I do not give this juice a 93.  Or even a 92.  It tastes, fine — not great.  I do not want more and more.  It’s fairly simple, medium bodied, extremely fruit forward (strawberries and slightly stinky blackberries), yet also has a tannic bite that makes it feel dry in your mouth.  Kind of like Welch’s grape juice.  Actually, really a lot like Welch’s grape juice.  Athough it’s by no means terrible, even if it had a label that Americans could read, this red would remain:

Not recommended.





Kudos reserve pinot noir review – by Sybil

5 05 2011

This 2009 pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley costs $20 at Total Wine.

This pinot noir, made by the NW Wine Company, is pretty good.  Smells like real pinot.  Tastes like cherry.  Cola.  A little raspberry.  On the sweet side.  A little bit of that genuine pinot mushroomy spiciness.  It’s on the lightest side of medium-bodied and has a pleasant, dark rose color in your glass.

BUT!  it has a kind of washed-out taste.  Many reviews say, “bursting with flavors of …”  Kudos reserve isn’t bursting with anything.  My golden-palatted friends at a recent tasting liked it at first, but soured as they tasted it more.  And it tastes noticeably worse on Day 2.  In conclusion:

FOR NORMAL PEOPLE:  Although it’s good, I don’t think Kudos reserve is worth $20.  If it were $11, I would give it a hearty recommendation.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  So, I am going to say that this low-pricer (for an Oregon pinot) is:

Not recommended.

FOR PINOT NOIR LOVERS:  Kudos reserve has that certain very real, Oregon pinot-ish something that the affordable California pinots are missing.  It’s a little boring, but the fact is, you cannot get better Oregon pinot for much less than this $20 price point.  For you pinot lovers, Kudos reserve is:

Recommended.

Very truly yours,

Sybil





Fabre Montmayou Barrel Selection malbec review: KICKASS

22 04 2011

Fabre Montmayou Barrel Selection malbec reviewToday we review a 2009 malbec from Argentina that costs $16.

  • HEY!  I think you’re going to want to try this rich, dark, dense, medium-bodied, blackberry-licious malbec.
  • 1.   First, malbec is the new merlot.  I mean, pinot noir.  (Or at least, it was a year ago.) 
  • 2.   Second, if you don’t try it, I’m going to say blackberry-licious again. 
  • 3.   Third, Fabre Montmayou is only $16 at the fascinating Veritas Wine & Spirits, at Wilmington DE’s riverfront. 
  • Bottom line, this is one of the best affordable malbecs I’ve ever tasted.  I hope you’ll give it a try, and leave a comment letting us know what you thought.
  • Recommended.




Ironberry cab/shiraz/merlot review: ??

13 04 2011

Today we look at a 2008 blend of cabernet (36%), shiraz (33%) and merlot (31%) from Australia that cost me $10 at Total Wine.

Wow, this one is tough.  At this low price, I feel as though I should like it.  It definitely tastes more expensive than most $10 wines.  It’s very dark, juicy, and even interesting.  Big.  A little smoky.  It smells mostly like shiraz — a kind of alcohol-intense blueberry compote.  Although it has more cab than anything else, this is not your dad’s California cabernet — that sort of west-coast U.S. cab is nowhere to be found here.  Rather, Ironberry tastes like a deep-fruit shiraz that has more mouth-drying tannins, more nameless red fruit, and less gooey-sweet blueberry.   

At only $10, this wine is definitely worth trying.  You may not love it, but as long as you enjoy “big” and fruit-forward reds, you probably won’t dislike it.

Ironberry cab/shiraz/merlot reviewRecommended.