Six Cepages South Coast 1999 Cuvee Rouge

Was unfamiliar with this one as it was a gift from a relative. Did some research and found it is from Orfila Vineyards in Escondido, California. What intrigued me was the blend: Mourvedre, Carignane, Syrah, Cinsout, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese. According to their Web site, the price point is/was around $16; no mention of the ’99, but they do say the 2000 is sold out.

Day 1: Not so sure about this one; not much on the nose and weak palate. However, as the glass started to empty, I have to say it started to open a bit. Got some berry and vanilla and a touch of spice on the finish.

Day 2: Have to say this is getting better; opening up well. The nose is a bit more pronounced with berry, plum, and vanilla on both the nose and palate. The finish still comes thru with some spice. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

2002 Turkey Flat Butcher’s Block

The Barossa Valley comes thru again with another Rhone-style winner. This one is a MSG not a GSM. That’s right, heavier on the Mourvedre and lighter on the Grenache. Does it matter? Absolutely not. If you are into Rhones and Rhone-styles, give this a shot. I know I’m headed back for a repeat.

The first hit is the beautiful raspberry color and a nose that exudes cocoa, leather, cherry, and pepper. Give it a swirl and then give it a taste. More of the same flavors explode on the palate and then finish with a bit of heat and spice. All I can say is WOW !

Jacob’s Creek Cabernet 2000

This one was a gift from my wife; rumor has it the price is around $28.

As Cabs go, this one is on the weaker side. Medium body, clear light garnet in color with a minty nose maybe a touch of tobacco. The palate is fruity, maybe some cherry and a bit of something spicy (clove?) but not a lot. The mint comes back on the finish as well as that touch of tobacco. It went well with the flank steak and portobello mushroom, but beleive it or not it became a bit sour with dark chocolate. Not what you would expect from a Cab. Remember, I did say it was on the weaker side.

Did I enjoy it? Yeah, but at $28 I don’t think it warrants a return purchase. There are just too many bigger and better Cabs out there.

EOS Paso Robles Zinfandel 2001

So this one was a gift from my daughter… If you are into Zins and tired of those big jammy fruit bombs and think you are ready to work your way into the spicier (“hotter”) ones, at $13 this one qualifies as a decent entry level.

Don’t expect anything like a Lamborn, D-Cubed, or Biale Black Chicken. This one has a clear garnet color with a fairly clear rim (a sign of a young wine?) and decent legs. The nose has raspberry and currant with a touch of pepper and spice. The spice comes out a bit more on the palate with some clove and pepper along with the berry. Not a bad finish either; even a bit of heat — not much, but enough to get you started into the hotter Zins.

Try a bottle or two of this one and then head for the ones that really pack the heat.

Castell de Falset ’98

So this is a very nice blend from Spain; 45% Grenache, 35% Cab, and 20% Tempranillo. The label reports that the grapes are from 50 year old hillside vines (or older) — love those hillsides. I cannot remember exactly what we paid for it, but I want to say it was under $10.

A dark ruby color and 13.5% alchohol, this one exudes raspberry, cherry, and rose on the nose with plum, cherry, and a hint of spices and tobacco on the palate. We enjoyed it with roast chicken one evening and London Broil the next. Have gone thru 3-4 bottles and still have one in the cellar. Looking for an inexpensive red blend to go with your next Bar-B-Q meal?? You cannot go wrong with this one.

The Holy Trinity (’98)

This is a GSM (43% Grenache, 39% Shiraz, 18% Mourvedre) from Grant Burge Wines, Barossa Valley Australia. Very much a Rhone-style from “Down Under”. If memory serves, this was around $36.

Have had this in my cellar for a couple years. Think it could have lasted another couple, but was in teh mood for a GSM, so couldn’t wait any longer. Purchased on a recomendation from a friend. To be honest, it is nice but not up to the hype; just not the “great wine” he said it was. I honestly expected a bit more heat and a little less fruit, but all-in-all it is very decent. Rich ruby/garnet color, nice legs, fruity but not a big “bomb”.

I remember tasting the ’99 and the ‘2K which were very similar to this. Have had better GSMs and a lot better Rhones and Rhone-styles for the same price range (or less).

Would I buy this again?……… probably not.
Sorry I bought this? …………. not really.

Meditrina by Sokol Blosser

So, this is an interesting red blend (Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zin) from an Oregon winery known mostly for their Pinots. A friend (and novice oenophile) recommended this one and I was intrigued by the blend. Couldn’t find the percentages, but for $18 you cannot go wrong with this one.

The color is a beautiful garnet and real nice legs for 13.5%. The nose is definitely Pinot with floral and red berry essences. Raspberry comes thru on the palate as well as the spice and tannin from the Syrah and Zin. I got some heat and some anise/licorice on the finish.

As for pairings, we had roasted chicken with cheesy pasta and it was real nice. This would go great with a nice burger off the backyard grill. Bottom line, I would definitely get this again.

1998 Massoni Langhorn Creek Shiraz

This one was a gift, so don’t have a definite price, but think it is the $20 range. Actually a fairly weak Shiraz, but not horrible. Think it will open up though. First thoughts after uncorking was a nice deep purple color, but a weak nose; maybe a bit of black cherry. Not much in the middle but a typical Shiraz finish of some pepper with a bit of heat. After sitting and swirling, it got a bit better — call me crazy but the nose started to lean toward cherry cola. So far, nothing to earn a repeat purchase. Will see what it’s like tomorrow.

Lane Tanner 2000 French Camp Syrah

Very well balanced… a touch of cinnamon on the nose with mild blackberry and currant on the palate. Soft black pepper (with not much heat) and a touch of smoke on the finish. Light tannins make this a great choice at around $18. Alcohol is 14.3%