Tag Archives: Graffigna

Mini-reviews 98: Cigar Box, Casillero, Graffigna, Spanish rose

cigar box
Why do they use the term reserve on a $10 wine?

Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the fourth Friday of each month

Cigar Box Malbec Reserve 2015 ($10, sample, 13.5%): I expected little from this Argentine red; why put the term reserve on a cheap wine? But it was a simple, fruit-driven wine (lots and lots of blueberry), drinkable and not too offensive or cloying. That’s a big surprise given this approach, where the marketing may have cost more than the winemaking.

Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay Reserva 2016 ($10, sample, 13.5%): Poorly made, poorly conceived grocery store knockoff of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay from a Chilean producer that should know better. This white wine has so much residual sugar and fake oak that it tastes like Jell-O vanilla pudding. Again, beware the use of reserve for a $10 wine.

Graffigna Malbec 2015 ($15, sample, 14%): Stunningly disappointing Argentine red from a usually reliable producer. There was very little going on – just a harsh acidity that overwhelmed all, and didn’t even have the syrupy fruit usually found in poorly made malbec.

Franco-Españolas Rosado Bordon 2016 ($10, sample, 13%): Classic Spanish rose made with garnacha and viura from Rioja, but with little availability in the U.S. Otherwise, it’s a $10 Hall of Fame quality wine. Look for a a burst of crisp raspberry fruit that gives way to minerality, making it the kind of wine you can drink all day. Thanks, three-tier.

Drawing from the New York Public Library Digital Collections, using a Creative Commons license

Mini-reviews 84: Beso de Vino, Graffigna, Our Daily Red, Albero

Beso de VinoReviews 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.

Beso de Vino Syrah/Grenache 2014 ($10, purchased, 13%): The sort of wine that I am always wary of, given the cute front and back labels. So it’s not surprising that this Spanish red blend doesn’t taste much of Spain, syrah, or grenache – just another International style wine with way too much fruit.

Graffigna Reserve Centenario Malbec 2014 ($15, sample, 14%): Competent Argentine grocery store malbec with sweet black fruit, not too much in the way of tannins, and just enough acidity so it isn’t flabby. Not what I like and especially at this price, but this is a very popular style.

Our Daily Red Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($10, sample, 12.5%): This California red is juicy, simple, and zesty, with more red fruit than I expected. There isn’t much going on, but there doesn’t need to be given what it’s trying to do. Enjoyable in a “I want a glass of wine and this is sitting on the counter” sort of way.

Albero Cava Brut NV ($8, purchased, 11.5%): One day, I’ll find a wine at Trader Joe’s that will justify its reputation for cheap, value wines. This Spanish sparkler isn’t it — barely worthwhile, with almost no fruit and not even close to Segura Viudas or Cristalino.