Wine Challenge 2008: First Quarter Summary

It has been a full quarter since undertaking my official 2008 Wine Challenge. Three months of drinking. Nine more to go. AND, YES IT HAS BEEN HARD. Now that April is upon us, it’s time to share some of the plethora of wine knowledge I’ve acquired since the first of the year.

In the past three months, I have sampled a grand total of 34 wines. WOW.

21 rated A or B. A or B = Gooood.

13 rated C or lower. C or lower means pour it straight down the crapper and then hit yourself w/the bottle for wasting $10 on plonk.

For review, my selection criterion was PRICE. I began with the intention of buying wines $15 or under, but (at least this first quarter), I have chosen wines averaging $10 or less. After 34 bottles, you can perhaps understand why. Being a wino is expensive. BUT B/c of all my hard work, YOU need not shell out a fortune for a chichi vintage to impress your friends. I have found some fabulous wines at rock bottom prices. So w/out further ado, my first quarter TOP TEN LIST:

[In no particular order]

Domaine La Hitaire
2006 Les Tours

10.5 % alc/vol, 750 ml

Pale yellow color with a subtle aroma.
Well balanced, with low acidity and very little aftertaste.
Smooth and understated, with hints of citrus, peach and apple.
Makes a great choice for people who don’t normally care for whites like Chardonnay because of their intensity.
Light, crisp and super easy-drinking.
A – /B +

* * * * * * * * * *

Chateau La Grange de Grenet
2005 Bordeaux

12.5 % alc/vol, 750 ml

Dark cherry color, bouquet hints of cherry, raspberry and plum.
Well balanced. Good acidity, light clean finish with a subtle aftertaste of oak and ripe berries. All-in-all, a very lovely, highly drinkable wine. AND CHEAP.
Highly recommended!
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Garnacha 2005
Carinena, SPAIN

12.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

Deep plum color with faint fruity aroma.
Subtle taste; berry, fruit and wood notes.
Well-balanced, with very low acidity & very little aftertaste.
Tastes full in mouth, goes down verrry smooth.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Garnacha 2006

13% alc/vol, 750 ml

Deep garnet red color. Lovely ripe cherry/berry flavor. VERY CHERRY.
Very well balanced, low acidity, smooth finish.
A light, easy-drinking wine.
Overall, excellent.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

2006 Lieu-dit Les Epinats

12.5% alc.vol, 750 ml

Medium golden color with a NOSE Forward bouquet.
Lovely fruit flavors, hints of peach and melon.
A well-balanced wine with very little acidity and NO aftertaste. YUM!!!
Clean, crisp and DELICIOUS.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

2005 Reserve des Vignerons

13.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

Deep plum color with a dry, lovely flavor. Hints of ripe berries, plum.
DELICIOUS! Well balanced. Smooth, round, w/ perfect finish. Little to no acidity. No aftertaste.
Wonderful wine – perfect with food or without.
A .

* * * * * * * * * *

Valley of the Moon
2005 Zinfandel

15% alc/vol, 750 ml

Dark garnet color with bouquet of ripe fruit.
Deep cherry flavor. Good body, well balanced.
Sweet & delicious, but not cloying. MMM MMM GOOD!
BUT STRONG, so watch out.
As a side note: This wine gave me strange, vivid dreams.
A – /B +

* * * * * * * * * *

2006 Tempranillo

13% alc/vol, 750 ml

Beautifully clear red with pronounced cherry aroma.
VERY pleasant taste of ripe red berries and cherries.
Smooth, silky finish. Easy drinking w/ low acidity. Appealingly light.
Absolutely delicious.
A – /B +

* * * * * * * * * *

Staete Landt
2005 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

14% alc/vol, 750 ml

Pale golden color and Strong aroma of fruit.
TASTES absolutely delicious! INTENSE FRUIT FLAVORS, Hints of citrus (grapefruit) and peach.
Well rounded. Low acidity.
Highly recommended.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Chianti Colli Senesi 2006
San Gimignano, ITALY

13% alc/vol, 750 ml

One of the best wines yet.
Deep plum color, bouquet of ripe red fruit.
Smooth and appealingly dry, with a soft easy finish. No pronounced fruit flavor or sweetness. Clean, very easy-drinking wine with little aftertaste or acidity.
A lovely wine from an exceptionally lovely village in Tuscany. And at $10 or LESS WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Now that you have been educated in the art of cheap fine wine purchase, please spread the word to all those vineyards out there – worldwide – so that they may begin sending me some of their products to sample. I see people do this all the time on Book Review Blogs – asking for new titles, etc. And I am here to tell you, if you Send It, I Will Drink It. I will not be thwarted! After all, I could stop drinking, BUT I’M NO QUITTER. So if you have a particular vintage or cellar you would like me to critique, send some my way. My palate and my liver will do their very BEST. I promise.

7 thoughts on “Wine Challenge 2008: First Quarter Summary

  1. Good for you! Keep going girl! :o)
    I don’t drink but I like the look of the bottle of Valley of the Moon. :o) I WOULD buy something if the packaging was attractive…. even if it was of no use to me. My mum used to da that all the time. If it had a pretty box it was in her shopping basket. She was a marketers dream!
    My hubby is a wino… :o) I think he drinks my share!


  2. I don’t really like wine except this ice wine I had at Disney’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

    And champagne/sparking white wine.

    Other than that, hit me with an Amaretto Sour please!


  3. I have some friends pursuing the wine tasting thing every weekend and then some. I’ll have to pass this list on to them. Do I have to give you credit or can I just let them think I am clever?


  4. Thanks Curly me love – I am of course doing it ALL FOR YOU! The buzz, well that’s just icing.

    Daff: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many marketers, particularly wine marketers, bank on the fact that people will fall for a cute bottle. Fortunately Valley of the Moon also makes a terrific wine to put INSIDE their cool bottles. But I have tried way too many crap wines in cute bottles at this point to be lured in. I am looking for the ugliest bottles hoping the wine inside is actually GOOOOOOD.

    Hayden, you and I will get together one day to toast your lovely new abode. I will bring the champagne! I LOVE IT TOO. Always makes me happy. Have you tried Yellow Tail’s sparkling white? It is surprisingly good and very CHEAP. Highly recommended!

    Laura, you poor thing! We have had some great beer together though. I dated a guy in college who had the very same reaction, but to any alcohol. He told me he was allergic to it all. TOO SAD.

    Connie, OF COURSE! You may take ALL THE CREDIT. I won’t tell. 😉



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