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Souverain Alexander Valley Merlot 2005

Date: Thu, Apr 3, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $17 Maker: Souverain, Napa Valley, California Varietal: Merlot Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork Alcohol: 13.9% Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Souverain Alexander Valley Merlot 2005 is a very pleasant red. It has a spicy berry aroma, with black cherry, plum, and chocolate notes on the palate. The finish has spice and oak with mild tannins. [...]

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Gato Negro Merlot 2007

Date: Wed, Apr 2, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $5 Maker: Viña San Pedro S. A., Molina, Chile Varietal: Merlot Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork Alcohol: 13.5% Our Rating: 8 out of 10 Gato Negro Merlot 2007 was an inexpensive find at a megastore wine shop. Its label reminded me of some of the great Trader Joe bargains I’d tried last year, but the wine itself didn’t [...]

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Toad Hollow Erik’s the Red

Date: Mon, Mar 17, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $12 Maker: Toad Hollow Cellars, Paso Robles, California Varietal: Red Blend Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork Alcohol: 14.5% Our Rating: 9 out of 10 I’ve admired the Toad Hollow label for a while, and was finally induced to pick up a bottle of Toad Hollow Erik’s the Red when it went on sale for under $10 at the local [...]

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Toca Diamonte 2004

Date: Sun, Mar 16, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $4 Maker: Fecovita, Mendoza, Argentina Varietal: Malbec (70%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork Alcohol: 13% Our Rating: 7.5 out of 10 I was really excited by the ridiculously low price of $4 for a Malbec/Cab blend from Argentina, but Toca Diamonte 2004 ended up being a disappointment. (A $4 wine that isn’t spectacular? Shocking, [...]

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Wyalla Cove Shiraz 2004

Date: Sat, Mar 15, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $5 Maker: Wyalla Cove, Adelaide, South Australia Varietal: Shiraz Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork Alcohol: 13.5 % Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Wyalla Cove Shiraz 2004 has moved to near the top of my “bargain buy” list. I found it at a local supermarket, Aldi, that is otherwise known for its lack of shopping bags (you have [...]

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Starling Castle Riesling 2006

Date: Sun, Mar 9, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $10 Maker: Imported by Prestige Wine Group from Germany Varietal: Riesling Packaging: 750 ml bottle, artificial cork Alcohol: 9 % Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10 One’s first impression of Starling Castle Riesling 2006 comes from its gorgeous bottle. The surface of the bottle is frosted, except for one polished area on the front in the shape of a [...]

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Automated Wine Sniffing?

Date: Fri, Feb 29, 2008 Wine Tasting

Wine has largely defied quantitative analysis because of the many compounds that make up its aroma and flavor. Now, it appears that scientists have found a way to accurately predict the response of expert tasters to coffee aromas - can wine be far behind? Scientists at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, are reporting [...]

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Trader Joe’s Coastal Fume Blanc 2006

Date: Tue, Feb 19, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $4 Maker: Trader Joe’s Varietal: Fume Blanc Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork Alcohol: 13.5% Our Rating: 8 out of 10 Trader Joe’s Coastal Fume Blanc 2006 is one of the last of the bargains from my last Trader Joe’s expedition. It has a mild tropical fruit nose. On the palate, it has a smooth and creamy texture, [...]

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Banrock Station Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Date: Mon, Feb 18, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $6 Maker: Banrock Station Wines, Kingston on Murray, South Australia Varietal: Shiraz (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork Alcohol: 13.5% Our Rating: 8 out of 10 We’ve seen Banrock Station Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, an Aussie bargain wine, on the shelf numerous times, and finally brought a bottle home. This wine is mostly Shiraz (80%) [...]

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Your Brain on Box Wine

Date: Thu, Feb 14, 2008 Wine Tasting

A key hurdle that box wine must overcome is that it is cheap plonk - many consumers will assume this until proven otherwise. Boxed wine makers who think, “Wait until they taste it - THAT will convince them!” are, unfortunately, hoping for too much. We’ve written about experiments which have shown that people [...]

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Why do winemakers hide the alcohol content?

Date: Wed, Jan 23, 2008 Wine Tasting

While writing about the proposed wine nutrition labels, I once again wondered about the existing alcohol content labeling. The current “standard” is based on an international agreement that allows wine bottlers more or less complete flexibility in where and how to list the wine’s alcohol content. Considering the creativity that goes into many [...]

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Nutrition Labels for Wine

Date: Tue, Jan 22, 2008 Wine Tasting

Nutrition info may be mandated for wine, beer, and spirit labels in the U.S. : Pushed by consumer groups, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for the first time would mandate disclosure of how many carbohydrates and calories and how much protein and fat alcoholic drinks contain, as food labels do. [...]

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Wine Tastes Better With A Higher Price

Date: Thu, Jan 17, 2008 Wine Tasting

Everyone acknowledges that there is a lot of subjectivity in wine tasting, but it turns out that more expensive wine really DOES taste better, even when it’s the same stuff in the cheaper bottle. Neuromarketing notes in Why Expensive Wine Tastes Better that neuroscientists at Stanford and Caltech found that wine that the drinker [...]

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Estancia Paso Robles Meritage 2004

Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2008 Wine Tasting

Price: $25 Maker: Estancia Winery, Soledad, California Variety: Meritage - blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (61%), Merlot (30%), Petit Verdot (9%) Packaging: 750 ml Bottle, natural cork Alcohol: 14.5% Our Rating: 9 out of 10 Estancia Paso Robles Meritage 2004 is an interesting and tasty wine. First, a bit about the label. “Meritage” isn’t a varietal. Rather, it’ a [...]

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