Chiñigue Andes Collection Carmenere (2006)

Chiñigue Andes Collection Carmenere 2006This Chiñigue Andes Collection Carmenere 2006 is a wine from the Curico Valley region of Chile. We picked this wine tonight because our son, Tony, called today from Guayaquil, Equador. He was leaving shortly for Peru. Hence, the Chilean wine! Hey, it’s close, relatively speaking. We are celebrating hearing from Tony and knowing he is safe and having quite the adventure. The wine is very good — my kind of big red. It is almost black in color with a mellow-spice nose. On the palate is earth, lush fruit and a hint of caramel. This will go well with our roasted chicken dinner tonight.

Tom: This is very, very nice. Dry, tannic. Bitter chocolaty. A bit more fruit forward than some of the very austere cabs we have had lately. Very drinkable, very nice.

Altitude 500 Côtes du Ventoux (2003)

Altitude 500 Côtes du Ventoux 2003We had this Altitude 500 Côtes du Ventoux 2003 on New Year’s Eve and loved it; so, I don’t know if our tastes are changing or if this wine just tastes better on a cold, winter’s night. However, tonight I wouldn’t give it as high a rating as I did in January. What I am not enjoying about the wine tonight is the nose. The nose is musty and unappealing. On the palate, however, the wine is good. It is dark, bitter chocolate and blackberries. While I actually really like the taste, I am realizing how important the nose it to the total experience. I would rate this wine as average.

Tom: I can’t say that I would recommend this Altitude 500 Côtes du Ventoux 2003. It has a very strong alcohol whiff and a vegetal nose. As Melody says, it may be an off night for us or the wine, but tonight this one doesn’t work for me.

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005This Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is very tasty. Dry but still fruit flavored (dark berry fruit). Chocolaty, full bodied; also hints of vanilla. This wine is marketed as a superb cabernet for the money (right at $10), and it earns this hyping. It’s very, very good. It would be great with big-tasting food or with chocolate.

Four Hands Barbera d’Asti 2004

Four Hands Barbera d’AstiThis Four Hands Barbera d’Asti 2004 a dry Italian table wine. If you’re looking for something that is the opposite of sweet, fruit-forward New World reds, this is it. It’s tannic and acidic and the fruit flavors (perhaps blackberry) are somewhat reserved. It has a musty, dusty quality that is quite intriguing in its own way.

Seigneurs de Bergerac 2004

Seigneurs de Bergerac 2004This Seigneurs de Bergerac 2004 from France is made from three varieties of grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The color is a beautiful reddish purple. The nose is very fruity — like raspberries on the vine — and inviting. This is a full-bodied, luscious wine with silky tannins. In the words of one of our readers, “dangerously drinkable!”

Gin & tonic

It’s 7:30 p.m. and 80 degrees; so we’re having a refreshing gin & tonic tonight. It hits the spot. A jigger of gin, a big splash of fizzy tonic and a generous squeeze of fresh lime. Perfect for a hot summer evening!

Bogle Petite Sirah (2005)

Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah 2005Immediately, I was aware of the lovely nose of this Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah 2005: very luscious dark, red berries with a hint of black pepper. On the palate is ripe raspberries and fresh green pepper. The finish is lengthy with shades of oak and lots of fruit. The tannins are firm and structured. This is delectable!

Tom: We’re very much enjoying petite sirah. This Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah 2005 is chocolaty and peppery, dry, and tasting of dark fruit. Quite rich tasting. An excellent find.