Other Reds  

2000 Bodega Achaval Ferrer Bordeaux Blend $$$ (77.00 rest) A firm example of the quality wine coming from Argentina.  A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot this wine starts very tight and needs breathing time.  Decanting settled the tannins and pushed out the fruit offering plum, black fruit, chocolate and currant.  A classy wine  

2001 Campo de Camarena Garnacha Vieja  $ (8.99)   The nose on this one will delight Grenache fans as a spicy cedar and dark cherry wafts out of the glass.  Spain is good to this cepage and for the price, this one is worth a try.  

1999 Muga Reserve Rioja $$ (22.00)    Medium body with a nice fruit/acid balance, the light oak adds a mild sweetness to the spice, chocolate and dark cherry flavors.  

2003 Pascual Toso Malbec Riserva $ (14.99)   Breathe in and out, in and out, this wine needs a good bit of oxidation before it shows any fruit.  When you finally get to the reason you wanted to drink it, you find a tasty raspberry and dark fruit flavor with a finish of chocolate and a touch of spice.  A nice wine for a casual dinner.  

2004 Beringer Nouveau $ ($8),   Created from Pinot Noir and Valdiguie, this is the most widely promoted Thanksgiving Day wine in the Essex county area.  Not from Gamay and not from Burgundy, this light style red from Beringer holds little excitement or flavor for me.  I wonder how long this will be promoted.

2002 Cline Red Truck Red $ (6.95)     I actually bumped this wine a quarter point for the fact it is so inexpensive.  This blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Merlot, and Petite Sirah is not for casual red drinkers as the Mourvedre dominates the early drinking.  Wow, crunch, crunch, crunch, but give it some time and it settles into a nice dark cherry, and blueberry flavor with a short finish of chocolate.   

2002 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Carmenere Reserva Maipo ? (gift from BB)   Here is a good example of an everyday drinker that is a change from the usual suspects.  A good complement of blackberry, coffee, and soy sauce.  Brace for the tannins but they do ride off into the sunset half way through the bottle.  

Heitz Wine Cellars Ink Grade Vineyard Port ?     I do not have a handle on Oporto, but I do know what I like and this one is a glass of black velvet.  Made from six Portuguese grapes and blended from the 1998, 1999, 2000 and a touch of 2001 vintages, this 18% alcohol wine is a great after dinner accompaniment.  Thanks to John, I now have a new offering for guests.

1997 Glen Carlou Grand Classique $ (15.00)     This Bordeaux blend of the traditional five grapes hails from the Paarl region of South Africa.  It's a well crafted wine with depth and structure that is surprisingly elegant for a little known area for many red wine drinkers.  I recommend you find this one and give it a try, you will be delighted.  

2002 Matilda Plains $ (37.00 rest)    This one is drinkable from the start, and bolsters my commitment to blends, they just add depth and soften the edges of the individual components.  At $11.00 retail, buy this for a Friday night with friends.  

2001 Kanonkop Pinotage $$ (35.00 rest.)    For those looking for muscle enough to dance with buffalo steak, but soft enough to satisfy those not wanting the big tannins, this one brings it.  The dark fruit and tobacco finish drives this to the bolder cinsault side and less of its pinot noir motherhood.   

2000 Ruppert & Rothschild Classique $ (15.00)   This South African JV with Baron Rothschild and the Ruppert family from the Fredericks Vineyard is a classic Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc bringing a black cherry, coffee and earthy presentation to your palate.  Good quality for the price.

1997 Domaines de Virginie  Carignan, Vin de Pays de L'Herault $ (9.99)   An unexciting version of this grape that has the ability to show well in the right situation.  Iíd pass on this one.  

2001 Peju Province Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled Napa $$ (35.00)    The first whiff of this one delivers cedar, spicy cedar and black cherry.  A nicely structured wine with a long full finish and hints of wood and vanilla.  Goes great with the Cavatelli Fillipo (cavatelli with sausage, chicken, diced tomato in a light red sauce)

2002 Marques de Caceres Rioja $ (8.99)   This wine is made of 100% viura grapes from the Rioja region of Spain.  Unfortunately, their was a whimpiness to its flavor and a dull finish that left me unexcited.  

1996 Hidden Cellars Mendocino Heritage Eagle Point Ranch Petite Sirah $ (21.00)   I found this little gem hiding on the shelves at JRís and wow, what a treat.  Deep rich color, robust, full-bodied chewy dark fruits and enough tannins to tell you we are still on the climb.  If you find this one, treat it with respect as it will bowl you over.

1997 BV Beauzeaux $ (8.99)   This fun blend has great blackberry, dark cherry and pepper flavors that deliver a solid wine offering for a casual night with a pizza or a simple supper out with friends.  Easy drinking and easy on the wallet.  

1999 Muga Reserva Rioja $ (18.00)    This one did not grab me as it offered a minimum of fruit and flavor and nose.  I might drink this one on taco night, but that is about it.  

2002 David Bruce Petite Sirah $ (14.00)    A Rhone Ranger from the left coast who consistently delivers.  This one offers a fine fare of fruits and a hint of mint, with a pleasing finish.  

2000 Justin Cal-Ital Blend $ (21.00)    This 74% Nebbiolo/26% Sangiovese seems thin and watery for being made of the robust grape of the Piedmont area which normally produces big bold reds.  The best I can offer is drink this one with a calzone but donít over do the seasoning; it will knock this one for a loop.  

2001 Wilhelm Winery Chancellor (gift)      A dry red wine with a hint of dark fruit and spice but the body and finish are thin and short.  It would work well for non-red wine drinkers as a training run for those who want to make the jump.

2000 Torres Sangre de Toro $ (7.99)    This blend of Granacha and Carinena is a medium bodied wine with notes of blackberries, herbs, spices, currant.  The tannins are mild, keeping this one fresh and snappy and the small black bull that hangs from the bottle might just be a collectorís item one day. 

1999 Etim Tarragona-Falset Old Vines Unfiltered Grenache $ (9.99)   Frail and weak with hints of plum and herbs but it does not deliver the power and passion this Spanish grape usually provides.

2000 RBJ Vox Populi  $ (9.99)   The voice of the people is a Grenache blend from our friends in the Barossa Valley down under.  An offering from the Sinner, Saint (and Bruce) make a blueberry and cherry spicy wine that is a good fun wine for easy drinking.  

2000 Nederberg Pinotage $ (12.99)   A nice alternative for those looking for something different.  This wine boasts cherry and raspberry flavors with a smoky tobacco overture.  When grilling red meat this summer, give this one a try.  My suggestion is to chill for 20 minutes before serving on a hot day.  

1998 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva $ (18.99)   A lip-smacking brace of tannins greet you but the fruit, ruby cast, and spice make this a delightful wine for lovers of woodsy, earthy pleasure.

1999 Nance Cabernet Franc $ (18.99)   This wine is like Mr. Tanner from the Harry Chapin song, it tries to make a stand on itís own, but this critic thinks itís best in itís small shop in Ohio singing in his tailor shop.  Not enough character for my liking.

2000 Costers del Siurana Miserere $$ (34.99)     There fails to be much fruit or finish to this wine, though blended from 5 local grapes.  There is a small amount of dark cherry and spice but for the price, this wine gives very little enjoyment.

2000 Bogle Petite Sirah $ (11.00)    Please make sure you enjoy big red wines before uncorking this one.  This is a full-bodied, berry rich and mildly tannin wine that will benefit from spending time with you outside the bottle before consumption.  This will unveil plum and boysenberry fruit with chocolate, and tobacco nuances.  Enjoy.

1999 Abadia Retuerta Selection Especial $$ (23.99) A nice example from Spain containing 65% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot showing an inky dark ruby, full-bodied wine that has a great amount of lush red berries and an olive hint at the finish.  

Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva 1994 $$ (21.00)   Tempranillo, Mazuelo, & Graciano. Aged for at least 30 months in oak casks and 4 years in the bottle, it is magnificent on the palate. Warm ruby tones reflect the wine's mellowness. This rich and elegant wine has great length and finish. A frosted bottle and gold netting give a distinctively individual presentation.

2000 Mas Igneus Barranc dels Closos $ (19.99)   There is little for me to discuss on this wine.  It is a blend of Granatxa, Carinyena and Cabernet Sauvignon but I was hard pressed to find any resemblance of fruit.

2000 Tikal Corazon $$ (24.99)   This blend of Bonarda and Malbec is a good tasting, medium-bodied wine that has a strong backbone, with a spicy dark fruit flavor.  Good at the cost, but if this ever was priced below twenty dollars, it would be a fantastic wine; hints of smoke and raisins develop late in this one.  

1998 Marques de Murrieta Rioja Ygay Reserve $ (11.99)    The name says it all.  "Rioja", I mean, not "Ygay", though that is a strange name for a wine in my opinion.  Largely Tempranillo, this is not the best example of the fruitiness of this grape.  Ok for a pizza, but not much to impress your friends.  

1995 Torres Gran Sangre de Toro $ (15.99)  As I continue my Spanish wine kick, this blend of 75% Granacha (my Rhone roots) and 25% Carinena make this a delicious wine that is medium bodied and packed with plum, black cherry and strawberry.  The Granacha brings with it the spicy black pepper and black licorice flavors that have me intrigued with this wine style.  

1998 Stags Leap Petite Syrah $$ (29.00)  This delightful red wine has a big berry flavor with a pleasantly distributed amount of white pepper.  A beautiful compliment to a French dip lunch special.  

1997 Nance Alexander Valley Sangiovese $ (17.99)  Howís this for a grabber on the label - "scents of strawberry, spicy cranberry and the scent of blood for which the varietal was named for..."  This wine shows more brash astringency than fruit at the moment, more fruit less brash.  The owner, Joni Nance, appears to be a WinoStuff demo with her Nance collection, Venus Vineyards Goddess Series and Wild Women.  

1999 Capcane Mas Donis $ (7.99)   This Spanish gem comes from the Tarragona Region and is composed of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  This wine is soft and fruity with a medium body that is all dark cherry, tobacco, chocolate and spice.  A sleeper, enjoy it now, for it will not stay under 10 dollars for long.  

1998 Gran Clos de J.M. Fuentes $$ (40.00)   Big, thick and inky, with plenty of dark fruit and a hint of chocolate, tobacco and spice.  Not for the weak-kneed or faint hearted.  This is a serious red wine and should only be left in the hands of the professional red wine drinkers.  

2000 Les Amoureux Tortoise Creek $ (9.99)    This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Vin de Pays has an unpolished finish that detracts from the fruitiness for the wine.  OK for wine when you donít want to open the good stuff.  

1999 Kempton Clark Petite Sirah $ (12.99)  The promise of lush fruit teases your nasal passages and create a Pavlovian salivation for big red lovers.  Unfortunately, the oak and tannins step on your throat and diminish the pleasure this wine could deliver.  
1999 Vinicola del Priorat Onix, Priorat
$ (10.99)    A purplish hue floats in the glass and the wine comes out hot so give this room to open its wings.  Concentrated with mouthfuls of sweet dark cherry and plum.  The mint aroma surprises you every so often since rosemary and black pepper dominate.  A meat loverís friend.  

2000 Altos de Medrano Malbec $ (14.00)   Donít be shy with this wine.  It will step up and grab you.  Chock full of tannins and fruit, the first sip will wake your mouth with a roar.  Blackberry and oak spiciness.

1999 Millbrook Cabernet Franc $ (8.00)     This is a good example of the wines coming from the Hudson Valley of NY.  Cabernet Franc grows well in the climate and delivers a solid everyday drinking wine with good fruit and flavor.  

1997 Gran Sangre de Toro $ (8.99)   A winner for a bottle under ten dollars, this blend of 75% garnacha and 25% carienena hails from the Penedes region of Spain.  The Torres family has been producing great wines for 4 generations and this is a great complement to the turkey, eggplant casserole I enjoyed.  Soft and fruity with plenty of blackberry and cherries, clove and pepper and well rounded tannins.  I read a comment on the label that I should see "delicate hints of forest undergrowth" - I most have missed this.

1997 Siena $$ (36.00)   A California blend of the Tuscan style wine, this delightful wine delivers red and black cherry, and plum fruitiness with the enhancement of cassis and cedar.  Do not be afraid to order this at your next meal in a fine Italian restaurant.  

1999 Kempton Clark Petite Sirah $$ (32.00 rest)   Fruit, fruit, and more fruit with a touch of tannin to make this drinkable now with the hint of chocolate to tempt you to come back for more.  

1999 Amano Primitivo $ (8.99)   Too rough around the edges for this to be a fun wine.  The fruit takes awhile to develop and most winos would not have the patience to wait for this one, unless you are stuck at someoneís house or too lazy to spill it out.

1994 Conde de Valdemar Reserva ?    This Rioja blend of 18% Mazuelo and 82% Tempranillo delivers a rich, full-body, dark ruby beverage that is chockfull of vanilla, dark berries and clove.  Big and bold with a long velvety finish make this a wine to savor.  

1997 Concannon Petite Sirah $$ (28.00)    Deep ruby color, with a peppery nose and a full body that fills your mouth with fruit you need to chew.  Full, long, and luscious with flavors of black pepper and plum.  This has a long, lengthy finish, smooth and silky.  A must for Big Red Wine Lovers  

1994 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva $$ (40.00 rest.)    Medium-body and heavily oaked, this wine has a great cedar and vanilla flavor.  Good acidity-to-fruit balance makes this a fun summertime wine, with loads of cherry flavors. Blended with 80% Tempranilla and 20% Granacha.  

1999 Cellar Cooperatiu de Capanes Mas Donis $ (15.00)      Full-body, deep, dark color with violet shades. This blend of 80% Granacha and 20% Syrah brings weight to the palate and tons of fruit.  Hold on for the ride, this has a long finish and a moderate amount of tannin.  A great dinner wine for Big Red drinkers.  

1999 Kanonkop Pinotage $ (12.00)    South Africaís specialty, the hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, this wine leaned more to the darker, richer Rhone grape than the Burgundian fruit.  Medium acid, good fruit, vibrant and snappy.  This is a wine for easy drinking.

1994 Vina Arana La Rioja Alta Reserva $$ (27.00) I am not rating this wine due to the fact that the aroma was offensive to me, I spilled the wine out.  The taste was not the issue; the pungent, musty odor offended my palate and made this an unpleasant experience.

1996 Bodgegas y Vinedos Alion $$ (43.00)   Medium body, red fruit and mild tannins, this wine came on a bit strong up front but mellowed nicely in the glass.  Not a long wine but a great compliment to light fare.  Cherry and vanilla flavors delight the senses.  

1996 Ferrari- Carano Tresor Reserve $$$ 74.00   Prepare yourself for the abundance of tannin that keeps your mouth dry through most of this wine.  Leave this one in the cellar for at least another year.  Earthy nose and mushrooms flavor this wine that is gripping and intense.

1997 Pepi Two Heart Sangiovese $ (14.00)  This fruity little firecracker wine has soft tannins and a load of black cherry flavor.  This wine comes from the heart of Oakville, California and is silky smooth.  Good value wine.   

1998 Ochoa Bodegas Ochoa $ (12.00)    This blending of Tempranillo and Garnacha make this Spanish wine of Navarra more complex than some Iíve had.  The Garnacha adds a hint of cider and spice to the nose and the taste of this wine.  The Tempranillo gives you forward fruit and the spicy finish.  

1998 Trapiche Malbec $ (11.99) A blending grape from Bordeaux, planted in Argentina, this wine holds little for me.  A closed nose, dilue and feminin.  Can be best described as "flabby."  Shortness keeps this from becoming a friand.  

1998 Cline Ancient Vines Mourvedre $ (15.99)   I found this wine to be a wonderful olfactory sensation.  From the time I uncorked this wine, there was a cornucopia of aromas wafting in the glass.  As I smelled the cork, a strong cinnamon scent struck me.  As I swirled the glass, burnt wood, vanilla and a dried summer grass scent came to mind.   Then I tasted this, and I was lost.  It did not have length and the dark cherry flavor was a bit thin. 

1998 Pedroncelli Petite Sirah $ (15.00)   This was a wine that is very hard to find in NJ, but I had the pleasure to taste.  This has a good nose with solid fruit and a smooth finish.   A good value wine.  

1998 Primus Veramonte $ (20.00)   Wow, this wine pours out blurple (thatís black and purple).  It is thick and full like a blackberry brandy.  I have never seen a wine so dark.  The aroma was very fruity and did remind me of a lightly oaked cabernet.  Full-Bodied Red winos, find this grape.  This wine will coat your mouth and teeth and throat with thick syrupy nectar that dances between a Merlot and Cabernet with rich intense fruit and tannins that greet you but do not stay to ruin the party.  This wine is 85% Carmenere and 15% Cabernet and should be on your list for BIG RED WINES.  Pour it an hour or two before serving and tell your guests to buckle up in your dining room chairs. Red wine, not for the faint of heart.  

1998 Ca Del Solo Big House Red $ (9.99)    Intriguing is the variety of grapes used to concoct this wine.  Listed like an all-you-can-eat $3.99 buffet at a Vegas Casino, this wine has "sangiovese, carignane, zinfandel, Mourvedre, voldiguie, barberre and too many others to mention".  Awaiting a chewy, full-bodied red, this wine didnít do it for me at all. 


1997 Deux Amis Petite Sirah - $25.00(?) A full-bodied, deep, dark red with medium tannins and a big berry taste.  Lots of fruit for a big wine and lots of alcohol (14.5%).  Rated 89  JH

1994 Balbas Reserva $ (15.99) Trying to stay away from the hot Rioja region, I selected a reserva from the Ribera del Duero, the up-and-coming wine region of Spain.  Now I know why Rioja is the choice region.  This wine was thin and watery and had nothing of a finish.  Next time I will stick to the wine region that made Spain famous.  Save your cash.

1998 Bogle Petite Sirah $ (9.99)   Not much to say, there was a watery color to this wine and a faint nose.  The fruit was weak and the finish was short.  Why waste words, this was not enjoyable for me.

1997 French Creek Ridge Cabernet Franc  The nose on this one was quite unique in that I was first greeted with the familiar scent of Cabernet Sauvignon.  The difference was that as the wine oxidized, a sweet scent reminiscent of toasted marshmallows stayed through the remainder of the glass.  The wine was fruitful and smooth, but lacks the depth to stand alone for the red wine lover in me.  

1998 Coppola Rosso $ (10.99)    Rosso is made up of Zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese grapes and brings up a nice fresh fruit taste.  This is not a dinning room wine, but a kitchen table Saturday night pizza wine that everyone will enjoy.

1997 Stagís Leap Wine Cellars Petite Sirah  $$ (25.00)   I took the spelling of  Sirah from the label so donít tell me I spelled it wrong.  This is a delightful wine, rich in fruit flavor, after the breathing time necessary to muffle the tannins that dance on your tongue at first sip.  A wine that will be great 5 years from now, but if placed in a crystal decanter one hour before dinner, you will enjoy this wine with a nice juicy porterhouse.

1996 Stellenbosch Mulderbosh Faithful Hound $$ (21.99) This Bordeaux style wine from one of South Africaís premier wine families is comprised of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Malbec and 9% Cabernet Franc.  As you can see by my mice count, this is a winner.  Great Bordeaux nose, drinkable now, under 25 dollars.   A great fruit-tannin balance which gives structure to the wine without taking away from the heartiness of the fruit.  Find it. Buy it. Drink it.  

1998 KWV Pinotage $ (8.99)  I give this 3 mice not because it is a wine on the level with world famous California Cabs or Bordeauxís.  I give this 3 mice because it is a great value wine.  For 9 dollars, you can enjoy a very drinkable young wine with low tannins and good forward fruit.  This is a porch wine, to drink with friends, not a formal dinner table wine. It is a wine that is reasonable by the case and will go with a wide variety of dishes from heavier fish to meats without too many spices.  Buy it, drink it, enjoy it and share it with your friends.  

1997 Cheetah Valley Pinotage $ (10.99)  From the pour, this wine bore characteristics of a male dominant Pinot Noir grape, light in color and a burgundyish nose.  This showed a raspberry overtone and would be good for a mixed party of couples where the women want something light and mild in acidity and tannins.  This is a good value wine at 10.99, but definitely not for the Rhone-lovers among us.  

1996 Shooting Star Cote de Columbia $ (9.99)  It states on the label that this wine is made from Washington State Grenache, the cork carries the Steele Winery logo and the back label reads ďbottled by Shooting Star Wines, Lake County Kelseyville California.  So my question, is this a California or Washington State entry into the category??

This has a real fruity flavor, low tannin, low acidity, but no depth and no length.  The fruit comes and goes much too quickly for a wine to accompany food.  But I will say, for hacking around on a Saturday with casual wine drinkers, this is a good value wine.  Do not serve this to the company that would have high hopes for a Rhone when they saw the Cote de Columbia on the label.

Spadaio Red Tuscan Table Wine $ (23.00).   Yes folks, this is a half of rat friends and cheese.  As you can see from the description, there is little on the bottle, all I know is that itís a blend, non-vintage and grape names that donít make the top ten.  This was harsh with a lasting unpleasantness that made me serve this up to the sink drain without even getting a second glass.  We live and learn; I learned that this will not be served to my guests at the next Italian Pasta dinner we host.  

Vina Alberti Tempranillo Rioja 1993-$

As soon as I opened this bottle, and looked at the color, I knew this was going to be disappointing, the wine showed very thin and the taste followed suite. The wines usually show a great fruit flavor and stand up well to add sliced peaches and orange slices. But this wine had little depth. For a Reserva wine, this will not be on my purchase list anytime soon. BS - 2/6/00



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