Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pascual Toso Malbec, 2008

Established in 1890, Pascual Toso is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. We first tried a bottle of the 2006 vintage and found it to be a stand-out value for a quality “new meets old-world” Malbec. There is much written about what are the best wines to enjoy with the traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner. How about an earthy Pinot Noir, a jammy Zinfandel or perhaps a crisp Sauvignon Blanc? Well, this year we decided to open this 2008 Malbec that we had cellared for the past year. In the glass this wine is a dark ruby color and show pretty aromas of black cherry, licorice, leather and violets. This is a medium bodied wine with rich flavors of plum, cassis, coffee and cedar. There are well integrated silky tannins and ample acidity that makes this wine smooth and food friendly. So this straight forward, delicious Malbec was a nice addition to our Thanksgiving dinner… maybe Merlot next year, who knows!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Belezos Rioja Crianza, 2006

This red wine from Bodegas Zugober is made from 95% Tempranillo blended with 5% Mazuelo & Graciano. Bodegas Zugober in Lapuebla de Labarca, was founded in 1987 by the enologists Eduardo Gomez and Isabel Bernardo. This Crianza is made from vines that are more than 15 years old, fermented in stainless steel tanks, stored for 14 months in American oak barrels then bottled for 6 months prior to release. The color is a dark ruby red. This wine is very aromatic with lovely aromas of black cherry, plum, baking spice, minerals, violets and toasty oak. The is a medium bodied wine that is quite elegant and smooth with rich flavors of dark berries, cherry, chocolate and vanilla crème. There is nice acidity and well integrated smooth tannins that contribute to a long, expressive finish. I wish we had a few more bottles of this delicious, mid-priced Rioja. We purchased this Belezos Rioja Crianza at Seattle Wine Company for about $14.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Waterbrook Mélange Noir, 2008

Waterbrook Winery, in the heart of Walla Walla, Washington has been producing quality wines for over 25 years. Founded in 1984, they were the fourth established winery in Walla Walla. Today, Waterbrook is owned by Precept Brands and the Waterbrook brand has a reputation for delivering excellent value wines from numerous vineyards throughout the Columbia and Walla Walla valleys. The 2008 Mélange Noir is a delicious red blend that highlights the quality fruit from Washington State. The Mélange is a blend of 33% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 11% Malbec, 7% Sangiovese and 2% each: Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Zinfandel and Pinot Noir (wow…talk about blends). In the glass it shows a dark purple/garnet color and is nearly opaque. The nose is packed with black fruit, fresh cherry, baking spice and cedar. This is a medium bodied wine with a fruit-driven style showing juicy plum, raspberry, cassis, black cherry, roasted herbs and lemon zest. There is gentle acidity and smooth tannins that contribute to this wine’s pure and elegant nature. This is not a big or overly complex wine, but it is soft, succulent and totally delicious. The Waterbrook Mélange Noir, 2008 can be found in the Seattle area for about $13.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Charamba Douro, 2007

Quinta da Aveleda has been making wines in Portugal for over 130 years. During the 1990s, Aveleda started a relationship with the famous oenologist, from Bordeaux, Professor Denis Dubourdieu to help produce high quality wines that would appeal to the world market. Charamba is made from the typical grape varieties used to produce Port wine: Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. This Portugese blend from the Douro Valley DOC has a dark garnet color with a fragrant nose of crushed raspberry, flint and green grape. This is a medium bodied wine, quite fruit-forward, with ripe berry, cherry pie, lemon zest, black pepper and slight vanilla oak. There are gentle tannins that balance the zesty fruit in this flavorful everyday wine. Charamba can be found throughout the Seattle area (and in some Trader Joe’s) for about $9 and is worth giving a try.