2006 Pillar Box Red

Posted in Blend on January 2, 2009 by Brad

pillar_box_red_2004This is a wine I saw recommended on the WinelibraryTV podcast and decided to hunt it down.  I finally found it at Nugget Market for $11.99 and since that is typically out of my price range (especially for an unknown wine) it took me a while to try it.  I finally broke down and gave it a whirl a couple of months ago and then just last week saw that Costco carries it now for just over $8.  Joy!

When I originally started to take the plunge into the wine world I avoided blends… figuring it was winemaker’s attempts to hide the bad taste of their original creations.  “This Cab tastes like dirt!  This merlot tastes like grape jelly!  Maybe together we could pass them off…”

But now I am finding these are legitimate creations and actually some of my favorite wines.  The Mutts and Mongrels of the wine world.  No pedigree, but all heart.  This particular pooch is 50% Shiraz, 42% Cab, and 8% merlot.

First a sniff… and not much there.  Pleasant, but faint.  Could be because my nose is slightly stuffy, but Dawn says she can’t smell much either.  Vaguely berry-ish.  Go figure.

Now the taste.  Much bolder than the smell.  Sour cherries and pepper.  Perhaps a bit of blackberry or something sweet as well.  Very striking flavor and a moderate finish.  It doesn’t leave you right away.  It has a little bit of sour/tart more so than big bright berries.  Maybe more than most would prefer.  I like it… but it needs to be drunk (drank? drinked?) with some food.  I’m scarfing down some brie… but A nice pork chop with a sweet sauce would be awesome.

**** (4 stars)  Definitely a good buy, but maybe not an every day wine.

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Rex Goliath Shiraz

Posted in Shiraz on December 28, 2008 by Brad

logo_rex_goliath1The odd thing is Rex Goliath wines don’t seem to display their vintage. No year appears anywhere on the label or bottle. I’m not sure if that’s a bad sign or not, but I’ve had good luck with this label in the past. In fact on a recent cruise we took to Ensenada, our table mates picked their Pinot Noir for dinner one night. they had no idea they could grab this at their local Bel Air for $6 (as opposed to the $30 or so they shelled out). But there it was on sale at Bel Air this week for $5.99 (regular 8-9 I think). To be fair, they didn’t have the Pinot, but they did have the Shiraz and the Cab.

So… what is the difference between a shiraz and a syrah anyhow? Is this like sherbet and sorbet?

Rex is out of Woodbridge California… adjoining my home town of Lodi.  I don’t remember this winery, but a) I didn’t hang out at a lot of wineries  in high school and b) wineries have been springing up around Lodi in the last 5 years like pimples at a Jonas Brothers concert.

First the smell: plummy, dark fruits.  Maybe a touch of cherry.  Very pleasant.

The taste is very smooth. Full of berries, but mellow, not overpowering. I think most Shiraz I’ve had tend to be a pretty peppery and I like that. But this one is light in that department (despite what the label says)… still it is quite good.  No oak and finishes nice and slow.  I would eat this with a good steak or a burger, maybe a nice sharp cheese.  It’s a good winter wine.

For $8-10 it is a good value.  Solid wine that drinks very well, though it probably won’t blow you away.  It could be a staple for having with company.  For $5.99 it is an every day steal.  I bought 4 bottles.

**** (4 stars)

Wine #1 Charles Shaw Shiraz 2007

Posted in Shiraz on August 23, 2008 by Brad
our inaugural wine

our inaugural wine

Kicking of this review site with a modest selection….  $1.99 at Trader Joes.

I started my forray into wines with the Charles Shaw Cabernet, back when it first made such a splash as “2 Buck Chuck” at Trader Joes.  Not because I liked it so much (it was ok) but because I started to realize there were quite a few wines Traders offered that were damn cheap!  So for that I will thank them.  I’ve never tried their Shiraz though… until now.

So I take a swig.
Cherries.  Sour cherries.  And a little bitter and acidic.  Kinda like I ate a bowl of cherries and threw up.
Ok not quite that bad… but it was an “off” kind of sour for me, and very overpowering.  Just a bit of wood flavor cutting through.  And oops… it’s gone.  Like ghost.  Quick finish.
The flavors mellowed after letting it sit for a bit.   I won’t be buying this one again.
Rating: **

Now some reviews of the same wine from a couple of my friends…

Continue reading

A liver in search of a bargain

Posted in Other on August 19, 2008 by Brad

Ever had a good wine for less than 10 bones?  I have.  Good and bad though… and then when I’m back at the store I’m struggling to remember which one I liked and which made me gag.  So I decided to make this site.  Mostly for myself, but feel free to join in, try a wine, post your comments, and recommend one to me.

Here’s the rating scale I’m going with.  5 stars… (think iTunes or Rockband)

* Avoid it

** Drinkable…barely

*** Ok to buy

**** Seek it out

***** Amazing wine/Great value!