Good Values March 30, 2006
By Natalie MacLean
2004 MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE PINOT GRIS RESERVE Product number = 537076 $18.95 13.0% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: XD (extra dry) British Columbia: This aromatic and well-rounded pinot gris has a nice balance of oak and ripe aromas of melon, green apple and citrus. Mouth-watering and spritely, it's perfect for seafood, salad, shellfish and soft cheeses. Score: 87/100.
2005 THE LITTLE PENGUIN MERLOT 598912 $12.10 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 Australia: A simple and tasty wine that's perfect for backyard barbecues. Aromas of sweet red fruit, chocolate and a little oak. Supple and full-bodied. Score: 86/100.
2003 ROSEMOUNT DIAMOND MERLOT 542431 $16.10 13.6% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 Australia: I was pleasantly surprised to taste this merlot because for years I had thought that the wines from the label had become boringly homogenized. This wine shows a real turn-around, though, in terms of taste and quality. Rich aromas of red berries and black plums and vanilla notes. Plush and supple. Drink with beef and lamb. Score: 88/100.
2003 LINDEMAN'S RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 621607 $14.95 14.0% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 South Australia: A balanced, sturdy and full-bodied wine. Ideal for large parties as it will appeal to many palates. Aromas of blackberries, currants and plums. Drink with hearty meat dishes. Fantastic price. Score: 88/100. Best Value Red Wine
2003 PENFOLDS KOONUNGA HILL SHIRAZ/CABERNET 285544 $16.10 13.3% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 South Australia: Another brand in the Southcorp portfolio that's showing quality improvements. Aromas of berries and plums. Full-bodied, rich and delicious. I believe it's come down in price too. Drink with roasted meats. Score: 89.5/100.
2001 WYNNS COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 502039 $20.20 14.1% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 South Australia: A consistently good wine made by talented winemaker, Sue Hodder. Notes of coffee, spice, supple plums and berries. Full-bodied and elegant. Drink with lamb, stew, shepherd's pie and pasta. Score: 89.5/100.
2003 GREG NORMAN SHIRAZ 575092 $23.95 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: XD South Australia: Full-bodied aromas of blackberries, plums, tobacco and smoky oak. A satisfying wine whether you're on the golf course or back at the club house. Drink with hearty meat dishes. Score: 89/100.
2003 WOLF BLASS 'PREMIUM SELECTION' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 321927 $24.95 14.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: XD South Australia: Also comes in the handy half bottle size for $12.95. Wonderful aromas of dark chocolate and mint with a lovely lift in the middle. Full-bodied and dependable. Drink with lamb. Score: 89/100.
2003 BIN 138 OLD VINE GSM 468637 $29.95 14.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 South Australia: A spectacular wine of many-layered richness. A blend of grenache, shiraz and mouvedre, this full-bodied blockbuster has exotic aromas of cocoa, spice, dark chocolate and oak. Drink with veal, beef and lamb. Score: 90/100. Favorite Red Wine Tied
2004 DELICATO MERLOT 520148 $11.95 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1
California: Bursting with aromas of berries and spiciness goodness. Drink with game and meat dishes. Full-bodied. Score: 87/100.
2004 KING FISH SHIRAZ 622845 $9.95 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1
California: Simple, sweet plummy fruit. Best beside the barbecue. Score: 84/100.
2004 DELICATO FAMILY VINEYARDS SHIRAZ 585059 $11.95 13.4% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 California: A purply, simple and delicious full-bodied red bursting with berry goodness. Drink with hamburgers or pizza. Score: 86/100.
2004 GNARLY HEAD 'OLD VINE' ZINFANDEL DELICATO 678698 $17.95 14.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 Lodi, California: I love this wine! Made from 80-year-old gnarly vines that are head pruned, it has wonderful aromas of brambleberry, blackberry, cherry, liquorice and smoke. It's supple and a great complement to a wide range of dishes including pork, chicken, steak and tomato-sauce pasta. Medium- to full-bodied. Score: 90/100. Favorite Red Wine Tied
2003 LE VOLTE Ornellaia 964221 $24.95 13.0% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: XD Tuscany, Italy: Very balanced and delicious. Medium-bodied with aromas of cherries, earth and sun-dried tomatoes. Perfect for tomato=sauce pasta, lasagna and sausage. Score: 89/100.
2003 MISSION HILL CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE VQA 553321 $20.95 13.0% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: XD British Columbia: Dark aromas of chocolate, coffee, oak and dark plums. Balanced, full-bodied and a nice mouth-watering richness. Drink with grilled beef, lamb and duck. Decant for 1-2 hours. Score: 89/100.
Nat Decants 100-Point Scale
95-100 Brilliant, Exceptional
90-94 Excellent, Superb
89.5 Hovering on the doorstep of excellence, better than very good
85-89 Very Good
80-84 Good (still worth buying and drinking)
79 and below Average to poor (I don't include these in the newsletter due to space constraints)
Favorite Wines: This isn't necessarily the wine with the highest score, as high scores go to the wines that best typify their region and style. Rather my favorite wines are just that: the ones that appeal to me most personally and to my own taste.
Best Value Wines: Not necessarily the cheapest wine, but the one that maximizes the price-quality ratio. (Although I don't always go by strict mathematical ratios on this either, but rather what seems to me to represent tremendous value.)
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Copyright © 2006 by Natalie MacLean. All rights reserved. Please ask permission of the author before copying or using this material.