Four Hands Barbera d’Asti (2004)

Four Hands Barbera d’AstiWine from the Barbera grape has long been an everyday wine in the Piedmont region of Italy. Jancis Robinson states in her book, “How To Taste,” that there has recently been a trend to treat Barbera more seriously and give it wood aging.

Well, I can see why! This Four Hands Barbera d’Asti is really quite good. If I hadn’t read about the Barbera grape beforehand, I would have said this was quite tannic; but, really, this wine leans toward being more acidic than tannic. From my unsophisticated perspective, acidic is similar to tannic. Except, there is a vinegar quality to the finish. This (my own analogy) is what distinguishes the acidic quality from the tannic quality. This reminds me of a Chianti and I can see where the Barbera grape would be considered an everyday wine, simlilar to the Chianti.

I like this wine. It’s medium- to light-bodied and a light ruby color. I would rate it as good. A delightful quaff for a spring evening!

Tom: This Four Hands Barbera d’Asti has an appealing musty dryness. It’s a pleasure to learn about the Barbera grape. This wine is not fruit forward, but much more on the acidic, yeasty side. It’s quite pleasant tasting in that way.

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Inheritance Cabernet Sauvignon (2004)

Inheritance Cabernet Sauvignon 2004This Inheritance Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious: full bodied with ripe cherry, spice and vanilla. This was a great accompanient to our spaghetti dinner. Fruity, but not overpowering. I would rate this as very good.

Familia Cara Chianti Riserva (2003)

Familia Cara Chianti Riserva 2003My first impression is that of cherries and pepper. This Familia Cara is basically a Sangiovese with a smidgen of Canailolo. It has a definite astringent quality. It is thin and dry. I imagine this would be perfect with pasta and red sauce with crusty bread and olive oil (unfortunately, that is not what we’re having for dinner). This wine is a pale red with tart dried red cherries in the bouquet and nose. As the wine breathes, it becomes more complex and delicious. I note a strong woodiness.  The finish is definitely not long. Although the wine is thin and acidic, it has that lip-smacking, dry punch that I enjoy.  I would rate this wine as very good.

Little Penguin Shiraz (2005)

We had a small amount of Little Penguin Shiraz left over from a few nights ago and I volunteered to finish the bottle. I’m going to be honest: this is too sweet and too much like cough syrup for my taste. I would rate this wine as below average.

Chateau Leelanau 2004 Pinot Noir

Chateau Leelanau Pinot Noir 2004This Chateau Leelanau Pinot Noir 2004 is different than what I am used to tasting. It is not a big, bold, dry red but rather it is oaky, thin and astringent. The color is transculent; the body is light. This is not at all mellow but instead it is sharp, with a bite. Although it is not the wine I am used to drinking, it is quite wonderful! It is the kind of wine that grows on me with each sip. I did not relish the wine on my first taste, but after a few sips, I am growing fond of its complexity and earthiness. Actually, I can almost smell the northern Michigan woods in this wine. I would rate this as very good.

Tom: This wine is unusual compared to many of our recent wines. This is certainly partly due to the fact that we haven’t had many pinots lately. It has a medium body, medium tannicity, and an austere fruit flavor. I tasted it blind, originally guessed it to be one of the mysterious Italians in our collection, then correctly named it as a Michigan pinot. It certainly matches the New Zealand pinot we tried yesterday. An interesting and different wine for us. I would rate this as good.

The Jibe Pinot Noir 2004

The Jibe Pinot Noir 2004Tom: This The Jibe Pinot Noir 2004 is quite tasty. Milder tasting of course than the big cabernets that we’ve been drinking lately. Paler in color. Still quite tannic. Good fruit flavor, perhaps blueberries. We had it tonight with chicken, pasta, and vegetable stir-fry and it paired very well. We picked this up at Sam’s Club for just under $10. I would rate this as Good.

Renideo Syrah Sicilia (2005)

Renideo SyrahThis Renideo Syrah is holding up well with our appetizer of hummus, tabouleh and pita! I don’t like to sound like a broken record, but this, too, is a fabulous big red. I guess when I walk into a wine shop and say, “We like big reds” we get big reds. The bouquet is intense blackberry, currant and raspberry. It is full bodied with silky-smooth tannins and a wisp of spice on the finish. This would complement a good hearty soup or a steak dinner.

Tom: This Renideo Syrah has a typical peppery taste of a syrah. Its strong berry fruit taste also has an unusual bitter quality. Its alcohol is also noticeable. The combination works; to me it has a different but appealing overall taste. It’s another one of the recent wines we’ve tried that are definitely for red-wine wine lovers, not for the occasional merlot sipper.