After treating my friends to a vertical tasting of Castel Grand Vin, they reciprocated with two wines I haven't had.
Shriah WInes Bro Deux 2010 - When the wine was poured it seemed like a Grenache, with a purple hue that is somewhat thin. Its medium body gave a hollow impression coming on the heels of the other wines I've had that evening. However, when I had the remainder the following night the wine came into its own with a very intriguing range of flavors, that I would not associate with a Californian nor a French wine. There is a wide range of fruit flavors, but they seem taken from a palette of pastels. Behind the fruit is an earthiness that is not at all French, and I'm not even sure that earthiness is the right descriptor for it. If I recall correctly the alcohol level stands at 15%, but I don't recall sensing any heat nor an over ripeness of the fruit. It is a very nuanced wine that I also found it to be very food friendly. Besides the high quality of the contents, I feel the urge to comment on the clever name, and the beautiful label, though I did not increase the score for these attributes. The blend is 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 18% Malbec, 18% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah. Listed on the winery's site for $40. B+/**
Elvi Wines Hirenza Crianza 2009 - The wine is much brighter in fruit and acid than the BroDeux, and hence showed better initially. My friends like this a lot, but after re-tasting I favor the BroDeux. The wine is made of Tempranillo and showcases bright cherry with abundant spices. B/NA
Grading for quality: A - marvellous, B - good/intriguing, C - mediocre/uninspiring, D - subjectively flawed, F - objectively flawed
Grading for value: *** - it's a steal, ** - it's a reasonable deal, * - you've been robbed