Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.
• Argyle Brut 2005 ($29, purchased): This Oregon bubbly is usually one of my favorites, but this time something was missing. There was way too much caramel in the back, and it wasn't as fresh and bright as usual. Do I detect a style change aimed at consumers who don't want to pay $45 for Champagne?
• Mouton Cadet 2007 ($9, sample): This red blend has been around for decades, and always produces competent "technical wine" (the French term for grocery store wine). This vintage had more fruit than I remember and was a little thin in the middle, but was otherwise fine.
• Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2006 ($25, sample): Always offers value, though this vintage has a little more chocolate in the back than I like. Regardless, it's among the best Napa cabernets available at this price.
• Torbreck (Cuvée) Juveniles ($15, sample): This Aussie red blend (grenache, shiraz and mouvedre) can actually be described as eccentric. It's almost as fruity as grape juice, and with a sweetness that the winemaker swears is fruity and not sweet. Having said that, I kind of liked it -- much to my surprise.