French Reds 

2003 Red Bicyclette Syrah Vin de Pays D’Oc $ (8.99)    I grabbed this from the display close to the front door at Costas’ as I was heading next door for a quick dinner on Saturday evening.  The nose on this was pleasant, but the wine seemed very watery.  Yes, little fruit and a host of tasteless liquid, this wine is the offering of Gallo as they try to market a casual drinker from France back into the US market.  I was not impressed, though the label will catch a great many buyer’s attention.   

2002 MOUTON CADET ROUGE Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée ?    This merlot based Bordeaux was a tasting gift from BB.  Pleasant blackberry flavor with a minimal finish.  This would be a good crazy aunt wine.  

2001 Bouchard Père & Fils Gevrey Chambertin   OK, bigger and bolder than I expected from a Burgundy with an earthy nose and black fruit.  It hung in there with my red meat and roasted potatoes.  

2001 Carruades de Lafite Pauillac $$ (29.00)   Boldly red and proud of it, the wine stood tall against my cigar-smoke deadened palate.  Strong dark and black fruit with a fine finish.  

2001 La Chasse du Pape Prestige Cotes du Rhone Rouge $ (8.99)      In honor of my Father, not my dad, I went with the wine honoring the chest, which contained the great reliquaries of the Pope who resided in Avignon during the 14th Century.  This blend of grenache, syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre reminded me of raspberry and bright red cherries with a cedar nose and a spicy finish.  I like it as a compliment to my grilled porterhouse and it serves well for an everyday drinker.  

1998 M. Chapoutier Bellaruse Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge $ (9.99)   Chapoutier is the man and this inexpensive Southern Rhone bend is loaded with cherry and spice and everything nice.  A good everyday drinking wine for fans of the Rhone.

1999 Caves des Papes Gigondas Reserve des Fustiers $ (19.99)   This blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre brings the strength and beauty of the Chateauneuf du Pape, at a great price.  Dark cherry, plum, cedar, and spice burst through to please the far reaches of your taste buds.

2000 Chateau de Beaucastle Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge $$$ (54.00)    Hospitals should keep this wine in a sniffer bottle to revive patients.  The more you swirl and sniff this one, the more delightful aromas come to light.  I don’t know if it is the fruits or the cedar and spice, but this one makes me weak in the knees.  Please, treat yourself once to this wine.  

2000 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf du Pape $ (19.00)    Impressive for under twenty dollars, this wine is why I love southern Rhone.  There is a great cherry, cedar spice to the nose and dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and a smooth velvety finish.  If I have fallen, I will gracefully do penance for this one.

2000 E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape $$ (28.00)    What can I say?  Rhone and Guigal are the reasons I love this region.  Plenty of high cherry and raspberry flavors with a spicy tone that captures my attention every time.  

1997 Chateau Pauillac $$ (27.99)   Allow this one to breathe for a time as it's tannins greet you and hang out for the first course.  But rich dark cherry, cassis, and earthen tones give rise with a hint of chocolate on the back palate.

1999 Clos de L’Oratoire des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape $$ (26.99) Ripe fruit leads to rich flavors in this attractive, full-bodied Chateauneuf.  Long and complex, with roasted game, plum, spice, smoked wood and grilled meat character. Long aftertaste needs cellaring.

1997 Eric Rocher Terroir de Champal Saint Joseph $ (8.99)   It gets half a point since the label said it is red wine.  

2003 George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau $ (7.99)    This year is delivering a darker, richer color and a more intense flavors of raspberry and strawberry with a nice balance of acid.  A notch up in body and flavors.  

1998 Domaine Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Sommelongue  $ (8.99)   It was interesting the see restaurants inching back to serving French wine by the glass.  This Grenache/syrah blend didn’t bring a lot to the table.  Thin and light on the fruit.

2001 Meffre La Chasse du Pape Prestige Cotes-du Rhone Rouge $ (8.99)     They had the right idea, blending Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre together and it could have been a beautiful thing.  But the balance was off, no bass line and very little depth  

1994 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence Cuvee Rouge gift    This blend from a smaller Southern Rhone appellation carried a maturity and softness even with liquid sipping out the cork.  Fading in color but full on fruit with dark cherry and plum flavors.

2001 Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence Cuvee Rouge $ (13.99)    The younger brother to the 94, this blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault boasts a raspberry, cherry and tobacco nose with a bit of untamed tannin.  Sit this one down for two years and enjoy the change.

1997 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin $$ (34.95)    Like glancing across the room and spotting a well dressed attractive woman, I hesitated to approach this wine but once you gather the courage and walk over to say hi, you find out she likes football.  There is a grace to the red and dark berry flavors and a finish that makes you turn your head as it walks out to the lounge.  

1997 Chateau Pesquie La Quintessence du Chateau Pesquie Cotes du Ventoux  $ (15.99)    Find this one at a local shop and give it a try. This grenache and syrah blend is a full-bodied wine with beautiful Syrah aromas of dark, ripe blackberries and blueberries, as well as wonderful, complex floral and oak components.  A smooth long finish makes this a winner for value and quality.

1999 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape $$ (gift)   This pre-Iraq war gift from Wino John was a pure delight.  A shinning example of the depth, structure and finish of this region I adore.  Dark cherries, herb and spice undertones with a velvety finish make this a dinnertime special event.  


1997 Chateau Saint-Lo St. Emilion Grand Cru $$ (24.99)    A mild Merlot-based Bordeaux that shows a bounty of cherry and currant with earthiness and wood to keep it interesting.  

2002 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau $ (8.99)   Where’s the fruit?  This wine should be screaming with raspberry and strawberry and a brash bit of acid, but I found it to be rather unexciting.  This serves as my once-a-year dose of Gamay, but does not show the wine in the spirit it should be.  I was looking for a packet of Starburst but got gummy bears instead.  

1996 Chateau La Commanderie St. Emilion ?   Though the nose on this wine reminded me of smelly diapers, this was a big, velvety, fruit packed wine with soft gentle tannins and a long finish.  I am not much of a Merlot fan, but this wine is one to try.   

1995 Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon Haut-Medoc $ (14.99)   This wine delivers a great nose of Cabernet Sauvignon, filled with earthen and barnyard aromas, but brace yourself for the slap in the face tannins that greet you at first taste.  The tongue dries instantly and the brash tannins strangle the fruit for quite a while.  But have faith, a fill of black cherry and currant reveal itself for the final glass.  I recommend you save a glass of this to compliment fresh baked walnut brownies.  
2000 Gerard Gelin Domaine Des Nugues Beaujolais Village
$ (12.00)   This wine offered acidity and red fruit to balance with the cherry, and apricot.  Delivering a light bodied red as not to over power the flavors in the stuffing I chilled this one slightly to lower the acid and bring the fruit forward.  

1998 M. Chapotier Belleruse $ (10.99)   This wine is one to keep around for the everyday drinking or the surprise visit for friends dropping in with pizza.  The fruit is full and luscious with and excellent balance of spiciness and tannins to make this flexible for many different situations.

2001 George Dubeof Nouveau Beaujolais $ (7.99)   Though I complained about the pricing, this wine delivered more than I expected.  Well-rounded fruit with strong hints of strawberry and raspberry, complimented well with an acidic component to deliver a quality wine.  I do not drink much cru Beaujolais, but this gives an indication that 2001 is a great year for Gamay.

1997 Chateau Larose-Trintaudon Price $31.00 (CA Supermarket)  I had some very big expectations for this Haut Medoc and was left wondering “if only”.  If only this wine had some fruit, some personality, some reason to finish the bottle!  It certainly looked good going into the glass but that is where the fun stopped, initial flavors of alcohol and dusty barrels were all this Bordeaux offered.  The label claimed this be a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cab. Franc but I’m still wondering if this was actually made of grapes!  Rating = Not worth Rating.  Wino Hondo

1996 Duhart-Milon Rothschild $$ (36.00)    An earthen nose and dark fruit rise from the glass, but the taste of this wine was a bit flabby.  Smoke and tobacco and soft tannins kept this from standing out.  

2000 George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau $ (6.88)   This wine delivered a light, raspberry aroma, but high acidity on the pallet that killed any fruit flavor.  The strong alcohol scent lead me to believe that cellaring this Beaujolais will reap a more enjoyable wine in the future.

1996 Chateau Vaugelas Cuvee Prestige $ (9.99)     This wine is from the Corbieris region of southern France. Thin, weak, and watery describe the disappointment I tasted.  The aroma in the glass did make me think this would be a much better tasting wine than it was.


1995 E. Gigal Cote Rotie $$   I can only guess at the retail price, because I enjoyed this half bottle at a restaurant.  My guess is that this is a 35-40 dollar bottle of wine.  For lovers of the syrah grape, this is one of the two Mecca.  This wine was the perfect compliment to the rack of lamb I ordered.  Full body, jammy, deep fruit and soft tannins gave this a good structure.  This wine is not for the weak at heart.  Prepare for this, work up to it so it does not take your palette by storm.  

1996 Chateau Bel Air Haut-Medoc $$   I do not know the price of this wine, but I’m guessing 25-28 dollars.   No major tannins hiding the fruit here.  This wine smelled rich and full and drank well.  I recommend this for a great dinner compliment or sitting with friends on a summer’s evening.  

1997 M. Chapoutier La Sizeranne $$ (38.00)   This, friends, is a kick-ass wine for those of us that like it big and bold and chewy.  This is not for the weak of heart or for those who get loopy on white zin.  From the strong fruit aroma of the syrah grape to the big, bold, mouth-filling texture of this wine, it is one to experience.  Even though this big wine is a 97, you can enjoy it now or save it for years to come.

1997 Pere Anselme La Fiole du Pape $ (17.99)   As I took in the aroma of this wine, it spoke to me, in French.  Come taste my spicy berry flavor and the long lingering pleasure that a full French Red wine has to offer.  So I tasted and was disappointed that the flavor did not have the power that the nose of this wine had.  I expected more, but as I swirled the wine in my glass, the color was not as deep and dark as other Chateauneuf-Du-Papes that I have enjoyed.  This wine was OK, not gooood, definitely not great.  

1996 Cuvee du Vatican Cote du Rhone $ (8.95)  As Rhones go, this was a good bottle, full of spice and fruit.  The only down side to this wine is that it did not have the length to make this a great buy.  Not too tannic, not too heavy, not too long.  This wine can be a fun bottle for the porch on a summer’s eve, but will not make the dinner table.   

1996 Chateau de Beaucastel  Chateauneuf-Du-Pape  $$ (36.00)

Right from the start, the golden color of this wine was very impressive, comprised of 80% Roussanne grapes with the balance a mix of Grenache Blanc, picarddan, bourboulene and clairette.  This was a red wine hiding in a white grape cloak.  A scent of pear was right up front.  This full body wine coated my mouth and slid south with a silken texture.  The impressive quality I found was the length the wine lingered in my mouth after swallowing each sip.  

1994 Paul Jaboulet Aine  Hermitage- La Chapelle  $$$ (64.00)    As this wine opened up, it revealed a full-bodied gem that was a pleasure from the first sip to the last drops.  Strong fruit with mellowed tannins made this a treat. 



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