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.

Blackstone Merlot 2004

Blackstone Merlot 2004This Blackstone Merlot 2004 is a pleasant, dry wine. It’s a bit mild-tasting, not “big” like the cabernets and petite sirah we’ve had lately. It’s still quite tannic though. It has quiet fruit flavors (not at all jammy) with a hint of vanilla. It is altogether a nice wine and an interesting diversion from the big bold reds that we’ve been leaning toward.

Campo Viejo Tempranillo Reserva (2001)

Campo Viejo Tempranillo 2001The Campo Viejo winery is located in the heart of La Rioja, a winemaking center of Spain. This Campo Viejo Tempranillo Reserva has a soft feel in the mouth. Unlike many big reds, I find that it is not woody or oaky like many other red wines that I am accustomed to tasting. I taste notes of dried cherry and plum flavours and a soft, generous finish. I purchased this at A&L Wine Castle on the recommendation of the owner who was choosing “big reds” for me! Very lovely!

Parducci Petite Sirah (2003)

Parducci Petite Sirah 2003This is an exciting find. The owner of A&L Wine Castle told me that I could get the “big” red I wanted for less cost than a good cabernet in a Petite Sirah because of the grapes. As usual, he is right. This wine is wonderful. Tom is ooohing and ahhhing next to me so I know he is a fan! When this wine first hits the front of the palate, it is soft and almost tasteless. Then, as it moves through the mouth it expands and becomes big and juicy, bursting with black, ripe fruit. This Parducci Petite Sirah has a smooth, nicely-textured palate with a long, satisfying finish. Oh-la-la, simply delicious!

Tom: I can’t remember when I enjoyed a wine more. This Parducci Petite Sirah is rich, dry, tannic, and chocolaty. It’s a bit fruitier tasting than a cabernet and less sweet and spicy than a shiraz. Very, very good.

Melody: This is day two and we are finishing the bottle of this Parducci Petite Sirah (following a delicious martini!) and it is even better on the second night. Very well structured and grapey, the taste grows inside your mouth to an explosive and very satisfying finish.

Tom: We’re finishing this Parducci Petite Sirah tonight. It’s just as good on day two: very dry, very tannic, intense fruit flavor. Quite a find.

(On another note, we heard from our son Tony, who is backpacking in South America. He and his friend George are currently in Muisne, Ecuador. They’ve decided that they can’t afford to travel into Chile and will swing over to Argentina. As Tony pointed out, this means less Chilean wine but more Argentine malbec. We’re just glad that they’re safe and having a good time.