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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:20 pm

Here are two more good buys I previewed for tomorrow night's wine and cheese tasting.

2013 Carmen Carménère Gran Reserva Colchagua Valley
Initially a brett bomb, but that blew off in about two hours and showed a reasonably friendly wine absent a lot of the mean green stuff so often found in Chilean wines. Next day, much better, showing Carmenere's trademark chocolate notes, in this case dark chocolate covered cherries with a little Ethiopian coffee. Nice buy for $15 if you're patient.

2014 Foxglove Chardonnay Central Coast
Recommended to me as a wine that avoids any extremes while being a balanced, creamy yet unwooded chardonnay of fairly amazing value for $15, and they weren't wrong. Galloni gave it 90. I opened it last night to compare to a $7 chardonnay picked up at Trader Joe's. If the difference was kind of negligible, maybe I'd save some $$ and put the TJ wine in the tasting instead of the Foxglove. I dared it to be twice the quality for twice the price, IOW. Well shit howdy, it was, inarguably so, and while all that's easy detectable on the palate it was the complex aromas that blew us away first. Just found my new house white. :)
(Btw, Foxglove is a second label of Varner, further up the coast.)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Jenise » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:52 pm

And here are three more for you:

2013 Tikveš Vranecl, Macedonia
Served blind along with several other not-usual-suspects to guests the other night. They were double blind, I was single (knew the wines but not which was which). Though the group represented a variety of palates, this was everybody's clear first place wine. Old world but not rustic showing some benefit from the long rest in bottle. Med body, red fruit, tobacco and minerals. $9.99??? GREAT QPR and it's definitely going in the tasting.

2015 Evolúció Furmint Tokaji, Hungary
Lighter, more perfumed/floral on the nose and leaner than any furmint I've ever had. Others have had more body, similar to a chardonnay's. Feminine and tasty, but has limited appeal.

2014 Bodegas Volver Monastrell Tarima Hill Old Vines, Spain
Big bodied and fruit-forward, obviously made for the American palate. Required 24 hours to show any of the blood and animal-driven notes, to the small extent they're here, of a more conventional mourvedre. The 2015 apparently made the Wine Spec's top 100, so it will sell like hotcakes. Brought to you by the same producer who has scored so well with the Clio line. Not my cuppa but I'll probably put the '15 in next month's 'Obscure Grapes' themed neighborhood tasting. (Yes, among non-geeks, mourvedre is obscure.) SIGH.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:54 am

$22 is as low as I can go up here for an entry level Cab Franc but this one from Grave Fruili is a big winner. Mentioned before I think in one of my previous posts.

2015 Cantina Le Monde Fruili Grave Cabernet Franc.

Good natural cork, purchased for this Focus, got a 10% discount, 13% alc. No new oak, very little neutral oak used.
Medium ruby in color, attractive nose with green pepper, herbs, some spice. Cherry as it opened and boysenberry. Think pretty typical for a CF eh. "Tad floral from across the table".
Initial entry thoughts are soft tannins, chalky, earthy, very good acidty showed up better on day 2. Dark cherry, good medium length finish. Wonder how long to cellar but nice now and will get some more.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:04 am

IMO Montlouis-sur-Loire produces some of the best QPR white wines around, sweet, demi-sec and dry. They are made from the Chenin blanc grape and can show fragrance, complexity and class arguably equal to the best from Chardonnay and Riesling at prices a small fraction of the most famous from the former grape and at less than, say, a German Riesling GG or Austrian Smaragd. Top examples of dry Montlouis, e.g. Remus Plus from Blot and and Bournais from Chidaine, can be found between €20 & 25 but I picked up this one for €7 in a clear-out at a caviste pending refurbishment; a real bargain even compared to a similar tasting Jasnières which cost c.€11.

2016 Domaine Moyer Montlouis-sur-Loire - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Montlouis-sur-Loire (3/16/2018)
Deliciously refreshing medium bodied pale coloured young Montlouis, very crisp but not quite bone dry showing lots of citrus fruit, underlying roundness, fine flinty minerals, moreish acidity and backbone. This is very like a Jasnières Gauletteries 2016 but perhaps, from memory, a shade fuller. Like that wine it should acquire more Chenin complexity down the line and hopefully the trade off against youthful exuberance will not be negative. Good+.
Posted from CellarTracker
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Rahsaan » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:12 pm

Tim York wrote:IMO Montlouis-sur-Loire produces some of the best QPR white wines around...


Easy to say when you are so close to the source!

Tim York wrote:...arguably equal to the best from Chardonnay and Riesling at prices a small fraction of the most famous from the former grape and at less than, say, a German Riesling GG or Austrian Smaragd. Top examples of dry Montlouis, e.g. Remus Plus from Blot and and Bournais from Chidaine, can be found between €20 & 25


I'll agree with you that top dry Montlouis is often better value than similarly-priced white Burgundy or German or Austrian riesling. Yet I also think that the top white Burgundy or German or Austrian riesling is on another level from the top Montlouis.

But of course at the end of the day, what really matters is what we enjoy drinking. And thankfully we can drink them all.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:39 am

How low can I go, particularly with Bordeaux, a reputedly expensive region? On this evidence to €5,50, if not lower.

2015 Cru de la Maqueline - France, Bordeaux (3/17/2018)
This wine was recommended by a neighbour, whose taste I usually share, came with a Bettane/Desseauve Prix Plaisir sticker and cost only €5,50, so it was a no-brainer to give it a whirl when I saw it on the shelves. The estate's address is in Macau, whose wines normally bear the appellation Haut-Médoc, but this is plain Bordeaux so I'm not sure from where the grapes come. It does not taste like Médoc being quite full, round and obviously Merlot dominated (confirmed by the Castel website). It is nevertheless very enjoyable right now with a generous character, full/medium body, rich dark complexioned fruit, only moderate acidity and a firm finish which may owe as much to alcohol (14.5%) as to tannins. IMO needs to drunk soon before the acidity deficit dulls it down but good wine for current drinking and stunning QPR.

Retasted 3/18/2018, attractive blambly aromas have become more present on nose and palate suggesting that decanting would be beneficial.

Posted from CellarTracker

Looking at my CT tasting notes, I find a handful or so of "I likes" over the last year or so in the €4-6 range and will post these separately.
Last edited by Tim York on Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by win_fried » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:14 pm

TN: Léon Perdigal Ventoux 2016 Nose of cherries and herbs. Round mouthfeel with red berries and some wood. Finish slightly alcoholic and drying. All in all quite pleasant, though, for 5.69 €.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:23 am

Here are a few low cost CT “likes” sorted by cost category. This search shows that c.€4 is as low as I can find an attractive wine here in France. Appellations like Muscadet, Bergerac and entry level S.Rhône are contributors in these low cost/good value categories. (Note: I round the costs in CT to the nearest Euro, e.g. the category c€4 contains wines costing between €3.51 & €4,49.)

c.€4
2014 Château Tour de Bonnet Entre-Deux-Mers - France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers (5/11/2016)
This wine represents cracking QPR at c.€4. Medium bodied with lively and gracious SB type fruit and spiciness enhanced by some "gras", crisp but juicy mouth-watering acidity and saline backbone. Superb pairing for a rather sharp tasting dish of colin fish with anchovies and capers. Will probably never be better than in this phase of its youth. Good+.

2014 Branger Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Grande Réserve Grand Fief - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (10/4/2015)
An exhilarating Muscadet which went well with moules marinières. Brightly focussed, medium/light bodied, fruit tinged sea breeze aromas, citrus fruit, lots of minerals, crisp acidity and saline backbone. Good+ and excellent QPR at <€4.

2013 Dauvergne Ranvier Luberon Vin Gourmand - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Luberon (8/31/2015)
I think I underrated this wine on the last bottle. There is some really attractive savoury dark fruit (some blackberry), leather hints and fresh acidity. There is a slight roughness on the finish giving a quite pleasing rustic touch.


c.€5

2016 Famille Luneau Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine sur Lie Cuvée Prestige Vieilles Vignes - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (1/4/2018)
Very nice, invigorating, saline Muscadet very good with Utah Bay oysters.

2015 Domaine Pierre Luneau Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Fief des Noëlles - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (11/16/2016)
Bracing and refreshing Mucadet full of citrus fruit, lively acidity, salty minerals and backbone with enough underlying roundness to pair well with nicely fresh merlu fish. Good.

2012 Château Courac Côtes du Rhône Empreinte - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (9/2/2016)
This is a very pretty entry level S.Rhône. Medium body with lots of sweet cherry tinged fruit, spice, decent acidity and grip on the finish. Good+wine and great QPR c.€5-6.

2014 Domaine des Jean-Loron Chénas - France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Chénas (8/4/2016)
Bought at a knock-down price from a supermarket with a down-market reputation, this is the second time I've been surprised by the good quality on offer. Rather more complex and serious than yesterday's Mâcon, it was medium bodied with a sweeter tinge to its savoury fruit, lively acidity and slightly more firmness on its finish. Good wine and I'll be back for more bottles if the price of €5 (or even a bit more) is still available.

2014 Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure Bergerac Le Colombier - France, Southwest France, Dordogne, Bergerac (12/2/2015)
I have tended to ignore wines from Bordeaux satellites like Bergerac in the past but should change that if there are more out there as charming and such good value as this one. Attractive bouquet of smooth red fruit and tangy forest floor (the seller's catalogue says black truffles!?). Medium bodied palate with more attractive slightly creamy red fruit, minerals, more "black truffles", fresh acidity and a quite firm but well covered backbone. Should be drunk in the first flush of youth IMO. Good wine and excellent QPR at <€5.

c.€6

Too many to note here. Appellations include Beaujolais crus, Cahors, S.Rhône, Muscadet, Touraine…….
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:26 pm

4 Euros for a bottle of red. I am living in the wrong country :( .
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:27 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:4 Euros for a bottle of red. I am living in the wrong country :( .


Bob, that's 4€ for a decent red from Dauvergne & Ranvier, a reliable négociant. There are wines on supermarket shelves with appellation labels down to c.2€. I'm not tempted. I don't see how at that level the producer can cover his/her costs without huge yields and lots of corner cutting.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Doug Surplus » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:50 am

Jenise wrote:Picked up a Dry Creek Vineyards chenin blanc at Costco the other day for $8 and change to try. Not sure of vintage, but either 15 or 16. It's so good that I am going to include it in a wine and cheese event next week and even bought two extra bottles for myself. Bright, limey, great acidity, drinks like a cold vintage wine--would never mistake it for Vouvray, but it kills for the price.


This is one of our "house" whites. It's consistently good, vintage to vintage at a very nice price.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Peter May » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:13 pm

Jenise wrote:Peter, thanks for the information about the water situation A bit different then the impression I got from the TIME magazine article of several weeks back written by a SA journalist who lives in Capetown. She indicated zero day is expected sometime in May, and in the meantime residents have been cut from 26 gal per person per day to 13.


Well, it was May, for a short while. On 1 Feb it was 12 April, and on 1 Feb daily allowance fell to 50 litres per person. That voluntary limit worked, there was a large decrease in water consumption and Zero Day was pushed back, then back to June, then to July, then August. Desalination plants were constructed -- I saw the pipes for the first being assembled and taken out into False Bay which would deliver 7m litres of drinking quality water a day to CT

We bought bottled water to drink and didn't run taps when cleaning teeth, took short stop start showers. But were in Cape Town municipal water district, other nearby areas weren't so affected.

As a tourist, even if you stay in CT itself, I don't think you'll be that affected, though maybe the hotel bath plug will have been removed to encourage showering.

I delivered our clothes to a nearby laundry for washing without problem, and bottled drinking water was available in shops and restaurant, and ice in restarants.
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WTN: Three under $10

by Robin Garr » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:03 pm

Laroque 2016 Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc ($9.99)

Dark purple, almost black at the center, shading to a bright garnet edge. Subtle red berries, cranberries and an earthy touch of tree bark in the aroma. The palate echoes the nose, dry and tart, red berries and earthy notes built on a framework of fresh acidity, 13% alcohol, and soft, astringent tannins. U.S. importer: Aquitaine Wine USA, LLC, Berkeley, Calif. (March 7, 2018)

FOOD MATCH:
The back label suggests enjoying it alone or with Mediterranean cuisine, pasta, lamb, chicken, pizzas and hamburgers, and the importer's website recommends tagines, "oriental" dishes, pastas, poultry, barbecue, red meat and cheese plates. We enjoyed it with a rich meatloaf and simple grilled chicken.

WHEN TO DRINK: This modest wine isn't a candidate for long-term cellaring, but there's no rush to enjoy it. Drink over the next few years, then watch for a more recent vintage.

VALUE:
My local price came in a dollar less than Wine-Searcher.com's $11 average retail, but it remains a very good value in the $10 range.

WEB LINK
Here's a detailed winery fact sheet (PDF format) on the Laroque 2016Cabernet Franc.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Laroque Cit&eacute; de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc on Wine-Searcher.com.


Pasini San Giovanni 2011 "Il Lugana" Lugana ($4.99)

Clear, bright gold, with rather full aromatics of honey and beeswax over white flowers and a whiff of figs and pears. Full-bodied and richly textured, but firm, tart acidity keeps it from seeming unctuous. Simple white fruit joins the aroma elements on the palate with 13% alcohol, softening to a hint of meyer lemon and a whiff of pecans in a very long finish. U.S. importer: A.I. Selections, NYC. (March 9, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: The winery website suggests enjoying the wine on its own or serving with white meats or fish and seafood. We enjoyed it with roasted asparagus topped with Parmigiano and a cheesy, smoky artisanal grits in lieu of polenta.

WHEN TO DRINK: Lugana can age very well for a modest white - I've enjoyed amazingly good ones more than 30 years old kept under perfect storage conditions at Lugana wineries near Lake Lugano. But hints of oxidation combined with the closeout price suggest that this bottle is nearing the end of its useful life.

VALUE:
A bought this older vintage at a local closeout for a fraction of Wine-Searcher.com's $18 average retail. Frankly, newer vintages of this excellent white would still be a bargain at the regular price.

WEB LINK
Here's a fact sheet in English on the winery website.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Locate vendors and check prices for Pasini San Giovanni 2011 "Il Lugana" on Wine-Searcher.com.


Olivier Cuilleras Domaine La Guintrandy 2015 Saínt-Léger Vin de France ($7.99)

Dark reddish purple with a thin, clear garnet edge. Rustic, raspberries and a fresh, clean loamy note on the nose and palate. Mouth-filling and ripe, red berries and plums framed by bright acidity and firm tannins that linger into a long, mouth-watering finish. The label claims 13% alcohol, and I'm pretty sure it's not under-estimating. U.S. importer: Vanguard Wines LLC, Columbus, Ohio. (March 7, 2018)

FOOD MATCH: This rustic red is a natural with beef, burgers, pasta with meat sauces and the like. We enjoyed it with both an intensely flavored meat loaf and white chicken meat in gravy.

WHEN TO DRINK: Now through 2020, perhaps a few more years under good cellar conditions.

VALUE:
Wine-Searcher.com doesn't list prices or vendors for this close-out bottling, but it's a great value for eight bucks if you can find it at a local retailer.

WEB LINK
Here's a backgrounder in English on the Domaine La Guintrandy property and wines.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Unfortunately Wine-Searcher.com has no listings for this close-out label, but you can Check this Wine-Searcher link to browse a wide variety of inexpensive, frequently appealing Vin de France reds.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:45 pm

Re Domaine de la Guitrandy St.Léger

Robin, do you have any information about the varietal composition of this wine? Guitandy is a respected producer at Visan in the northerly reaches of S.Rhône. I would expect one of their wines to carry one of the CDR appellations unless it comes from an unauthorised cocktail of grapes.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Robin Garr » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:32 pm

Tim York wrote:Re Domaine de la Guitrandy St.Léger

Robin, do you have any information about the varietal composition of this wine? Guitandy is a respected producer at Visan in the northerly reaches of S.Rhône. I would expect one of their wines to carry one of the CDR appellations unless it comes from an unauthorised cocktail of grapes.

Tim, I wondered that very thing. Clearly it's a batch that was declassified for some reason or specially produced, but there is no information beyond what I posted, and very little information online.

I can tell you that some time back I posted on Domaine la Guintrandy 2008 "Saint-Léger" Vin du Pays du Comté de Grignan with the identical label, and it claimed 50 percent Grenache and 50 percent Syrah. My impresssions of the wine above would be consistent with that or a similar cuvee.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by David M. Bueker » Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:49 pm

The other night I opened a bottle of 2001 Leitz Rudesheimer Klosterlay Riesling QbA. The release price was $8.99 in 2002, and 16 years later it was still fantastic. Current vintages run about $19.99, and are Kabinett. In 2001 this was probably the best value of the vintage.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by JC (NC) » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:11 am

To Robin Garr,
Is that a misprint where you list the average retail price of the 2011 Lugana wine as $81.00?
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by JC (NC) » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:23 am

At a price of about $15.00, I thought the 2014 SOKOL BLOSSER EVOLUTION PINOT NOIR, Willamette Valley, Oregon was a bargain for an Oregon Pinot Noir. My personal rating for this was 87 points--it received 84, 85 and 87 ratings on CellarTracker and one individual gave both the 85 and 87 ratings, liking the second bottle better than the first one, so it may show some bottle variation. 14% abv. The wine is a lighter cherry red hue with transparency and viscosity. The flavor strikes me as having plum notes as well as cherry. It is fruit forward as a label on the bottle indicates and is medium-bodied. With a bright, lively palate, I found it refreshing.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Tim York » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:13 am

Not the cheapest wine on which I have reported this month but a quality wine of some character rather different from the classical French mould bought from a supermarket with a downmarket reputation which is making an effort with wine at democratic prices. I was wondering how to pair it and a paëlla provided the opportunity.

2016 Bastide Miraflors Vin de Pays d'Oc Muscat sec & Viognier - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d'Oc (3/30/2018)
I was expecting the combination of Viognier's apricot infused fragrance and Muscat's ginger together with some garrigue notes but feared blandness and alcohol burn. Happily we got fresh acidity in addition, which provided appealing balance to this Mediterranean styled wine, and friendly alcohol content (12.5%). Good wine and fine QPR at €6,50.

Posted from CellarTracker
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by David M. Bueker » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:26 am

That sounds quite delicious.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Robin Garr » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:32 am

JC (NC) wrote:To Robin Garr,
Is that a misprint where you list the average retail price of the 2011 Lugana wine as $81.00?

Good grief! Obviously. :shock: Hang on ... yes, should be $18. Dyslexics R Us?

... edited to correct, and noting that here so this discussion makes sense.
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Re: Wine Focus for March 2018: How low can you go?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:23 pm

2014 Branger Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Grande Réserve Grand Fief - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (10/4/2015)
An exhilarating Muscadet which went well with moules marinières. Brightly focussed, medium/light bodied, fruit tinged sea breeze aromas, citrus fruit, lots of minerals, crisp acidity and saline backbone. Good+ and excellent QPR at <€4.


Nice note Tim. Just opened my 2012 Choblet Grand Fief and seems to be at end of drinking window. Will post TN asap.
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