December 19, 2008

Doña Paula Malbec 2007

This one showed up at our Christmas party - didn't see who brought it, but thanks very much. This is a new one for me, I've never even heard of the winery before. So let's pour a glass and write as we go....

Well: nice label, classy. Terrific deep garnet red colour. Smells amazing - rich, peppery and berries, but mostly earthy. First sips are similarly impressive: full and complex but not big and chewy, with a nice long black pepper finish. Somewhere between a good pinot noir and a jammy cabernet, a really nice Malbec (and I've had some pretty mediocre - OK, crappy - ones). I'm not sure what if anything you would eat with this, maybe something mild to contrast the robustness of the wine. Second glass and the mineral notes are coming through too. A nice one for tasting, an impressive one to give as a gift. Again, to the anonymous party guest who brought this - thanks!

89 points. A gift, but I'd guess around $20.

December 11, 2008

Lindemans Cawarra Cabernet Merlot 2007

I'm not a huge fan of the mega-producers of the wine world (Mondavi for example), but I will happily buy a bottle of Lindemans anytime. It's pretty much guaranteed to be an above-average wine for a good price.

Here's the skinny on the name "Cawarra" from Lindemans itself: "The LINDEMANS Cawarra Range is a tribute to the vision of Dr Henry J Lindeman, who in 1843, purchased a property in the Hunter Valley named 'Cawarra' (an Aboriginal word meaning 'beside running water') and planted his first vines." OK, that doesn't really do anything for me, but the wine, as usual, is pretty good.

This is a very mellow red, easy to drink any maybe a little thin. It's got a plum colour and taste, and some backbone with a high alcohol content. It wants to be in the "very good" category, but falls a bit short although just barely. This would be a good complement for lasagna or Greek food, where you really want just a decent red to slurp. It's not blowing my mind, but it's quite good. Slurpable. I wouldn't buy it at $20, but for the nine bucks or whatever it was, it's more than a good value. I'm reading these comments, and I think it's a little better of a wine than I'm making it sound. Unlike many single-digit reds, I'm very much looking forward to another glass. I'd prefer this to the Sonora Ranch below, for example. I doubt we'll need to re-cork the bottle before we go to bed.

82 points. Under $10.