Category:Wine reviews

Wine review: Loredona Viognier 2006

image There is nothing wrong with the Loredona ? it ?s $10, and has pleasant honey and apricot flavors (though not much of a finish). Plus, it isn ?t cloying in the way that some cheap, fruity wines are. It ?s fine for porch sipping, as well as pairing with a fall-inspired jambalaya.

But what really made me notice the Loredona was that it ?s just another in a line of quite well-made, inexpensive viogniers that I ?ve tasted this year. They ranged from technical wines (a French term for grocery store wines ) like Smoking Loon to the various Texas viogniers that I have praised (Brennan, McPherson, Becker). Are winemakers discovering viognier is an interesting alternative to chardonnay, especially on the inexpensive side? I hope so, because these were some of the best cheap wines that I ?ve had this year.

Wine of the week: Domain du Tariquet Côtes de Gascogne 2007

image The French region of Gascony is famous for two things, foie gras and D’Artagnan, the Fourth Musketeer. The Wine Curmudgeon submits that a third item should be added ?- great, cheap wine.

The Tariquet (about $10) is just another in a long line of terrific $10 wines from Gascony. These wines are made with grapes that are little known, like ugni blanc, or have bad reputations, like French colombard. But in the hands of a variety of Gascon winemakers, they become clean, crisp and refreshing, with a bit more fruit than other French white wines. The Tariquet has a lemony, floral aroma and a touch of lemon flavor (maybe even lemon zest), without any unpleasant minerality. This is cheap wine the way it should be. Serve it chilled on its own, or with seafood or something like chicken Caesar salad.

Wine of the week: Sunset Winery Moon Glow Merlot 2004

imageBruce and Birgit Anderson run Sunset Winery out of what is more or less a house in suburban Fort Worth, so the idea that their 2004 Moon Glow Merlot can win an award seems kind of fantastic. Burleson is not exactly Napa.

Nevertheless, the wine tells the story. The Moon Glow (about $20, available from the winery) won a bronze medal at the prestigious Dallas Morning News competition earlier this year. It ?s a warm, rich wine that is isn ?t as big or as jammy as most California merlots. Plus, it doesn ?t have any of the excess acid that characterizes so many poorly-made Texas merlots and cabernet sauvignons. Pair it with red meat dishes, and especially lamb.

I ?m not necessarily sold on merlot as a grape that needs to be grown in Texas. But the Andersons and grower Neal Newsom, who supplied the grapes, show what is possible.

Three Texas wines

drinklocal_small The Texas wines I picked for regional wine week and have one thing in common (besides quality). They ?re excellent examples of wines that are well done in Texas, and that aren ?t made with the same grapes that everyone else uses everywhere else in the world.

That ?s a key to regional wine ? if chardonnay doesn ?t grow well where you are, then don ?t grow chardonnay. The wine world ? growers, wine makers, retailers, restaurants and wine writers ? is obsessed with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay. Everything is measured by those three varietals, and almost always found lacking.

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Wine review: Le Coq Rouge 2006

image This is the red wine bookend to Sacha Lachine ?s La Poule Blanche ? a blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and grenache, It, too, is a fine value, though I liked the cleaner, crisper lines of the white a little more than I did the red.

The Le Coq Rouge (about $12) is fruity, more Spanish than French (probably from the grenache). And it ?s much easier to drink than more tannic wines from Australia and California. Drink it with barbecue, meatloaf and and just about any mid-week red wine meal you can think of.

Wine of the week: Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

clip_image002The Wine Curmudgeon is not a big fan of boxed wines, but not for the usual reasons. My problem is convenience. Do you know how difficult it is to pour wine from a 3-liter box at the dinner table?

Having said that, this year ?s version of Black Box ?s cabernet (about $21, or the equivalent of four bottles) provides fine value. You get fruity California cabernet with decent tannins and even a bit of vanilla oakiness. It ?s a big wine, yet still reasonably balanced. In fact, I served it with spaghetti and red sauce, and the wine was almost too much for the dish. That means it ?s a beef and smelly cheese wine.

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Three Australian winemakers, part II

This is the second of two parts about selected Australian wine and winemakers. The first part is here.

In one respect, Rosemount, Robert Oatley Vineyards, and Jacob ?s Creek/Orlando are completely different companies. The first is part of a huge multi-national, the second was formed not to be a huge multi-national, and the third is the high-end label for a huge multi-national.

But what they have in common is a willingness to make something other than shiraz that blasts away at your senses ? and they aren ?t shy about saying that. That ?s a most welcome development.

Here ?s a sample of some of their most interesting wines:

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