2003 Rosemount Shiraz Hill of Gold

Price: $9.02 @ BevMo imported by PWG Vinters USA (retails at $17.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per the winery “To the eye, vibrant crimson with ruby hues. To the nose, aromas of liquorice, thyme and herbs lead to a sweet lift of vanilla oak, mocha and plums. On the palate, mocha and plum aromas follow from the nose onto an inky palate redolent of spicy fruit and pepper. A fresh, vibrant and youthful wine with well integrated tannins and an elegant finish.”

What I Think:

This one was nicer than I remembered from my last go round. Perhaps my inclination that it needed a bit more time to settle down was proving correct. This bottle showed mint & licorice on the nose. The palate showed some chocolate flavoring though the finish was fast and tannic. All in all seemed a bit light for a Shiraz, in my opinion you are better off trying something else. I would look for this Yalumba “Y” Series as a potential alternative.

Rating: Skip It

2004 Grant Burge Barossa Vines Shiraz

Price: $7.52 @ BevMo imported by Wilson Daniels (retails at $14.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per Wine Spectator “Ripe in flavor, but not too hearty, achieving a nice balance of focused plum and berry fruit against fine tannins and not too much alcohol. Drink now through 2009. 7,500 cases imported.” – Harvey Steiman, May 01, 2006 (87 point, $14)

What I Think:

This is one of my last bottles from the 5c sale at BevMo. I had the other bottle quite some time ago and have viewed this one with some trepidation ever since. I think I referred to the first bottle as ho-hum.

With pizza on the menu Shiraz wouldn’t be my choice but my wife was picking the wine tonight, in hindsight the pairing wasn’t an issue. On the nose there were plumy aromas with a dollop of mint. The palate was full of fruit before the mint kicked in and led to a tannic finish. The wine did turn a bit green in the mid-palate which was somewhat unpleasant. This was better then remembered but at the end of the day it didn’t cause you to raise an eyebrow so I am afraid the ho-hum label remains. Get it if you think you have an inclination for liking this, whatever your reason. Otherwise pass and give something else a try.

Rating: Skip It

2003 Echelon Central Coast Shiraz

Price: $6.52 @ BevMo (retails at $12.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per the winery “The grapes for our Echelon 2003 Shiraz were carefully harvested at night to preserve the freshness of the fruit. After destemming, the fruit was fermented for 9 days in stainless steel, followed by 12 days of skin contact. The wine was racked three times before being transferred into small oak barrels, where it was aged for 12 months, then filtered and bottled.

Our 2003 Shiraz is medium garnet in color, with luscious aromas of dark cherry, blueberries, jam and oak. The wine is medium- to full-bodied, with big, soft tannins on the palate; and mouthfilling, with a long, luscious finish. It is a ripe, deep wine that is very enjoyable upon release, but will also cellar well for several years. Pair it with pizza, pasta and red meats.”

What I Think:

Talk about luck of the draw in a bad way, I opened this bottle because I was enjoying the Holbrook to much and wanted to savor it a few more days. Since I still had the urge for another glass I pulled the cork on this one….

Given that we should probably take this with a grain of salt but again I was not impressed. Had some fruit on the nose and at the front of the palate but as we got towards the middle the tannins were fighting through leaving a bitter taste leading to an almost tart finish. To top it off it had a little bit of the mass produced for mass consumption manufactured taste making it seem void of any varietal characteristics. I still haven’t really recovered from the fact that I thought I was buying Syrah here so perhaps it is the Shiraz factor. I am guessing there is a good reason we don’t grow/make it here. I wish I could remember what Echelon bottlings I have had in the past because I do remember them being better. I may give them another try but it certainly won’t be this Shiraz.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Zynthesis Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel

Price: $7.52 @ BevMo  (retails at $14.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per BevMo “Close to saturation, the generous ’05 Zynthesis Old Vine Zinfandel delivers fully ripened flavors that approach the nuances of sun-dried raisins; excellent with savory stews.”

What I Think:

This is the second half of a nickel sale pair that we opened on short notice as the Shiraz we opened couldn’t stand up to the acidity in the pasta. It’s twin received the highest rating out of the 7 bottles I bought during this sale. Boy was this one a different animal. This one started with perhaps musty garden smells. At one point it almost reminded of cleaning fish, that scaly metallic kind of smell. I was a bit worried that this one had gone bad, certainly a different bottle than the other half of the duo. Previously I remembered identifying the syrah portion of the blend straight off the nose. No such worries tonight. The odors were actually so strong that my wife could not bring herself to drink though after you let it get some air for a few minutes it was a drinkable wine. Once in the mouth it didn’t seem as bad as the smell had been, certainly different but perhaps interesting. It was very musty, with smoky overtones complimented by dark fruit running along the palate. The more air it got the better it tasted. By the end the inkiness I remembered had begun to show its way through. All that being said I think some kind of taint must have been in play and I certainly wouldn’t recommend a bottle that opened smelling like that unless there was a very compelling reason, which this one did not provide. Thus it slips two rungs down the rating scale, warranting a skip.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Valentin “V” Malbec

Price: $5.02 @ BevMo imported by Quintessential LLC (retails at $9.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per BevMo “Explosive and impressive, the bold, black-fruited ’04 Valentin “V” Malbec is a first-class red wine; packed and long on the palate, this one deserves a big, spicy beef dish.”

What I Think:

Of all the pairs of wine I bought as part of the 5 cent sale this has been the one I experienced the biggest change with from bottle to bottle. Still don’t find it explosive but you do get deep black fruit on the nose and in the mouth where it holds for sometime before fading to a minty, tannic (or should I say peppery) finish. Most Malbec’s I try at the price point, meaning the half off not the retail $9.99, have little of these characteristics that are common in all the finer bottlings. Wish it was at TJ’s I don’t make it to BevMo often enough to take advantage of it, then again at $9.99 I wouldn’t likely want to. Just checked the site again and post nickel sale they have it marked down to $6.99 starting to see how this all works. That makes it buyable but I’m not running. Hope TJ’s gets a good Malbec soon…

Rating: Buy It

2003 Eos Zinfandel

Price: $7.02 @ BevMo (retails at $13.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per the winery “Aromas of earth, cedar and black cherries backed up by soft, smoky notes of leather lead to rich smoke on the pallet with bright fruit flavors of black cherries and plumbs, and hints of raspberries. The wine finishes with lingering tannin, earthiness and spice.”

What I Think:

Must not have been expecting much as I opened it when I knew my taste buds were pretty much shot. That sentiment pretty much carried over to the next day as well. Thank goodness I didn’t pay retail. This was drinkable but don’t think this label will find its way into my house anytime soon. All that said, this wine hardly had a fair or impartial showing this time around. I could see doing a blind tasting and pulling this out of the bag with a very different opinion. Then again maybe not…

 On a side note I am going to watch Paso Robles a little more, don’t think I have had a Zinfandel from that area that I cared for much.  Wonder if my research over time will prove that out.  Hold a sec…yeah scratch that.  I’ve had some nice Rosenblum efforts out of that area.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Pepperwood Grove Syrah

Price: $4.52 @ BevMo (retails at $8.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per BevMo “A soft-spoken Syrah, the ’05 Pepperwood Grove is fine example of this varietal; grapey and easy on the palate; perky yet smooth in the aftertaste; a fine choice with hamburgers.”

What I Think:

This is the second bottle of this wine from the 5c sale. It showed me more this time around. It could be that it was a good bottle of red wine for under $5. Seems like lately most that I have had under ten have left me waiting for more. After these more expensive efforts failed me I found myself more impressed with this one given the price point. Still your typical red wine flavor profile, quick red fruit that holds a bit before fading to a tannin/pepper filled finish. Saw they mentioned cloves, I’ll have to work on seperating that from pepper. The perfect scenario for this bottle is that you have one nice glass leftover from last night to have with dinner. When dinner is over you find yourself wanting one more glass but don’t want to open anything nice. Grab this.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2003 Echelon Central Coast Shiraz

Price: $6.52 @ BevMo (retails at $12.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per the winery “The grapes for our Echelon 2003 Shiraz were carefully harvested at night to preserve the freshness of the fruit. After destemming, the fruit was fermented for 9 days in stainless steel, followed by 12 days of skin contact. The wine was racked three times before being transferred into small oak barrels, where it was aged for 12 months, then filtered and bottled.

Our 2003 Shiraz is medium garnet in color, with luscious aromas of dark cherry, blueberries, jam and oak. The wine is medium- to full-bodied, with big, soft tannins on the palate; and mouthfilling, with a long, luscious finish. It is a ripe, deep wine that is very enjoyable upon release, but will also cellar well for several years. Pair it with pizza, pasta and red meats.”

What I Think:

Not that I know him or have done any analytics around this but when Wilfred Wong, of BevMo, rated this as low as 86 I should have sensed trouble. I think he likes wine even more than I do.  Couple that with the fact that when I was opening it I thought it was Syrah and the grounds were definitely set for getting off on the wrong foot. This wine lacked anything distinguishing. What I mean by these wines is that there is usually a short fruit blast before it fades to tannins or flavors closely resembling them. As I still have another bottle of this one I (5c sale) I am hoping for a surprise next time around. As this is the first bad experience I have had with Echelon wines and even on to Chalone wines I’ll remain optimistic until then.

Rating: Skip It

2003 Rosemount Shiraz Hill of Gold

Price: $9.02 @ BevMo imported by PWG Vinters USA (retails at $17.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per the winery “To the eye, vibrant crimson with ruby hues. To the nose, aromas of liquorice, thyme and herbs lead to a sweet lift of vanilla oak, mocha and plums. On the palate, mocha and plum aromas follow from the nose onto an inky palate redolent of spicy fruit and pepper. A fresh, vibrant and youthful wine with well integrated tannins and an elegant finish.”

What I Think:

This wine didn’t start well, very closed on the nose. Where’s the fruit? Perhaps herbs as mentioned above but I’m not finding the “sweet lift”. On the tongue…again nothing compelling, does it need more time. Must I lay this one down for a while? All I am getting is sour, tart fruit that I would call cherry with loads of white pepper to finish. After a night on the counter the fruit started to come forward but quickly becomes tart in the mouth. I am thinking about making it a rule to open all wines a minimum of an hour before drinking. I had this with pasta, they recommended otherwise. Still another bottle of this as it was from the 5c sale. Next time I will try to stick to where it is “ideally suited”. Til then drink this wine carefully.

Rating: Skip It

2004 Grant Burge Barossa Vines Shiraz

Price: $7.52 @ BevMo imported by Wilson Daniels (retails at $14.99 a bottle)

What They Said:

Per Wine Spectator “Ripe in flavor, but not too hearty, achieving a nice balance of focused plum and berry fruit against fine tannins and not too much alcohol. Drink now through 2009. 7,500 cases imported.” – Harvey Steiman, May 01, 2006 (87 point, $14)

What I Think:

Another from the 5c sale. After having a few of their wines recently while down under I was hoping for a bit more. Wine Spectator gave the 2002 vintage a 90-94 point score but I don’t see this as anywhere near that. I would certainly disagree with the assessment of explosive. This is a ho-hum effort. Drinkable but not memorable, thank goodness I didn’t pay full price. Will try it again with the 2nd bottle soon.

Rating: Skip It