Sunday Betsy was working, so I puttered around house before going over to sisiter-in-law's for a party (I had dropped off my pickled shrimp appetizer earlier). When I arrived, I spotted an almost empty Riesling on the counter, and had the last of the 2004 Eugen Muller Forster Mariengarten Kabinett (Pfalz). Too warm, but one could still spot an excellent value wine. Lime and tropical fruit, good acidity in spite of temperature, nice clean finish. B+/A-
Sadly, that was the wine of the afternoon, beating out
2004 Santi Pinot GrigioOK for cheap PG, dry and crisp, but a bit dilute. B-
2004 Vina AlarbaBigger and riper than say the equivalenty priced Borsao, ripe raspberry and red plum fruit. Fruit-forward and party-friendly, but a little short on finish. B
2003 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel
Good concentration, but overly sweet vanilla oak notes and jammy blackberry fruit. Maybe a little hot. Popular with those that like their wines to slap them in the face, though. Not badly made, just not really my style. B
2004 Cortijo III RiojaLight strawberry and cherry fruit, not much there. C+
I looked longingly at the Bourgogne Rouge that I brought, and someone else's 2001 Damilano Barolo, but bad manners to open when host has several bottles open.
With afternoon noshing, we had a late dinner last night, with roast chicken with thyme butter, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and salad. Wine was the 1998 Cap de Faugeres. I've seen reports that this had gone to the great recycling bin in the sky, but reports are exaggerated. Certainly mature,but not over the hill. Mouthfilling blackcurrant and black plum fruit,round lush texture. A little cedar and earth, but this is really about the fruit. Tannins are fully resolved, a nice wine that has done well for the under$10 category. B+
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent
wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't
drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no
promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.