At our neighborhood wine tasting last night:
2012 Echeverria Unwooded Chardonnay, Chile, $8: Balanced with good body and a slightly smoky backnote that would have convinced me it was wood talking were I not drinking an "unwooded" wine. Very good, great value.
2011 Los Ailos Torrontez, Argentina, $8: I'm not a fan of Torrontez and this one didn't change my mind, but if my mind could be changed this is the wine that would do it. Uncharacteristically dry for a Torrontez with firm white grapefruit, ginger and spice.
2012 Le Jade Viognier, Languedoc, $13: I'm a hard sell on viogniers but this was an eye-opener. Perfectly balanced with varietally correct fruit and good acidity, not overly floral and no candy. Best viognier I've ever had for the money, would have expected to spend twice as much for this quality.
2012 Portteus Rattlesnake Red, Yakima, Washington, $10: old-school, rustic, European style red that hits all the good notes. Blind I might have believed I was drinking a very good Bordeaux Superior. Leftovers even better today. This winery's work is very inconsistent for my palate (several friends are fans so they cross my plate a lot), but 2012 must be a banner year for them as I loved this for the money. Killer deal.
The remaining wines were served blind (I did not know the order):
2007 Ash Hollow Malbec, Washington: Huckleberry and raspberry fruit with dried fig, spice and mocha. Age really tamed the bombastic nature of the young malbecs that I was having trouble adapting to. (This is probably the only even slightly aged pure malbec I've ever tasted). First place of the malbecs, with 12 out of 28 first place votes.
The group was pretty evenly divided on the remaining five wines, each of which received 4, 4, 2, 2, and 4 first place votes respectively.
2012 Lexicon, Argentina, $10: Group second place based on 2nd and 3rd place votes. Big, monster, dill, American oak? blueberry, too big and showing too much alcohol for me, but it's younger by two years and was softening a bit toward the end of the night. Time will do wonders for it. Have to admit, impressive body and presence for the money--neither I nor anyone else picked it for the $10 wine.
2010 Piatelli Premium, Argentina, $18: Complex nose of exotic spices, flowers and assorted blackfruits, more feminine and balanced for my tastes and my favorite on the first run through the line-up prior to the tasting. By tasting time, it showed roasted meat and other savory qualities. I didn't recognize it--but it was nonetheless my 2nd favorite in the line-up.
2010 William Church Malbec, Gamache Vineyard, Washington, $34: Dark plum, blackberry, pomegranate, and dark chocolate. Very concentrated and big on the palate. 15% alcohol but it doesn't really show as higher than the others. I thought it last night and I'm thinking it again as I type these notes: how in the H word does Washington expect to sell Malbec for $34 a bottle when you can buy as good/better quality from Argentina for half that? Or less? I read one blogger yesterday declaring that malbec is Washington's next big thing, but given the competition I don't see how that could happen.
2010 Noveltry Hill Malbec, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Washington, $28: Super tannic and stiff on first opening. Only wine of the bunch I had to decant. Turned into something of a monolithic blueberry milkshake with a dash of cement thrown in. This was one of the two that only got two first place votes, not surprised.
2010 Chakana Estate Selection, Argentina, $25: Pretty, spicy and more raspberry/red fruit than black at tasting time, though the reverse earlier on first being opened. Perfumed, silky on the palate with a bright finish, yet serious structure's underneath. Stylish and impressive. Was absolutely convinced I was voting for the Piatelli when I gave this wine my first place vote.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov