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BARGAIN REDS

June 11, 2000 • "Clos" LaMar

Ah, Summertime. The sun, the produce, the grill, the wines. Before the sun makes the days too hot, we elected to taste some more reds. The category was unrestricted, except for retail price---under $15. As host, I decided the probable array of wine styles called for mixed grill, so I enlisted Roy's help for Lamb Tri-tips, Roasted Five-Spice Chicken, and Pozolé main courses with Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella and Spinach Salad. The wines were an eclectic mix, too, and all better than anticipated, except for one bottle that had seen better days.

Brand
Vintage & Varietal or Type
Appellation -$ price
Consensus Tasting Notes
#Rank
Buying Advice

Rosemount
1999 "Diamond" Shiraz
S.E. Australia -$10.

Very dark inky-purple; brambly-spicy, boysenberry fruit, touch of lavender, rose petal, cotton candy, eucalyptus, root-beer, vanilla; very deep and extracted blackberry-strawberry-cherry fruit flavors with floral hints; balanced, heavy tannins, slightly tart with an impression of residual sugar; very long, tannic, faintly coarse, drying finish. Very big style in this group of wines.

#1
Very Highly
Recommended

J. Lohr
1998 "Wildflower" Valdiguie
Monterey -$7.

Brilliant neon dark purple; explosive, yet simple, youthful fruit, full of berries, perfume, violets; young, delicious, yummy, grapey-plummy, blueberry, floral flavors; slightly tart with an impression of residual sugar (some thought artificial, "Kool-Aid"); long, yet soft tannins. Very easy to drink. Very good match with the Posolé.

#2
Very Highly
Recommended
BEST BUY

Morgan
(nv) "Crow's Roost"
California -$10.

Medium ruby; attractive berry-cherry aroma with some richness; pleasant, bright, deep fruit flavors, blueberries, plums, slightly piney, caramel, vanilla, extracted, but with plenty of richness; slightly tart; short, smooth finish, soft tannins. [Blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Carignan (% undisclosed)]

#3
Highly
Recommended

Clos du Bois
1998 Pinot Noir
Sonoma County -$12.

Medium bright red to light garnet; complex, soft, alluring aroma with hints of lavender, rose, vanilla, smoke, orange peel, cedar, caramel, cherries; nice entry, very nice flavors follow nose, slightly leathery, beef jerky-like; nice balance with lively acidity; warm, medium-long finish.

#4
Highly
Recommended

Viña Borgia
1998 "Campo de Borgia"
Borja (Spain) -$6.

Deep purple-ruby; initially stinky, leesy-cheesy aroma, overripe fruit, suggests berries, plums, black pepper; leesy, somewhat tarry, smoky, almost Malbec-like, unusual flavors with some cherry undertones; sticky-tart finish with somewhat harsh, dry tannins. [100% Grenache]

#5
Recommended

Lurton
1998 Syrah
Vin du Pays (France)-
$6.

Bright ruby-purple; young, pleasant, bright cherry-strawberry, fruit with peppery, mineral hints and faint initial sulfur; weak cranberry-cherry flavors, hint of tar, slightly stemmy; balanced, soft tannins; short, faintly tart finish.

#6
Recommended

Bonny Doon
1997 "Big House Red"
"Ca' del Solo" California -$9.

Bright medium murky purple; very rich, Rhone-like Syrah, pepper and spice, cassis, violet and menthol aromas, low in fruit, slightly earthy, dusty, grassy; complex, underripe blackberry fruit flavors; lean, tart balance; dusty, slightly gritty tannins in short finish. [Blend of Sangiovese, Carignane, Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Valdiguie, Barbera, others (% und.)]

#7
Recommended

Pagor
1995 Temperanillo
California -$11.

Medium red-purple with garnet edge; somewhat fruity, spicy, faintly herbal-vegetal aroma, with some oak, cola, bubble gum, vanilla, cinnamon, carbonic maceration; touches of anise, cola, cocoa, smoke in flavors; smooth and balanced, lively acid; medium-long finish with slightly bitter tannins.

#8
Recommended

Tobin James
1997 "Chateau le Cacheflo"
Paso Robles -$9.

Medium light garnet; spicy, slightly funky, Grenache-like aroma with some cherry and cranberry, slightly raisiny, alcoholic; pleasant, spicy flavor is a little light on fruit, lean, with faint but noticeable v.a.; soft, rich, balanced; long, faintly tart finish. Ready to drink&emdash;do not age. (Blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel [% undisclosed])

#9
Recommended

Gundlach-Bundschu
1991 "Bearitage"
Sonoma Valley -$9. (at release)

Medium-dark mature turbid garnet-brownish; old, very musty, earthy, faintly corky, sour, aromas with no fruit, slight v.a.; walnut,coffee, cigar, oxidation, v.a. dominate flavors; still somewhat tannic in finish. [Blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, & Zinfandel (% undisclosed)]

#10
Not Recommended
(too old)

This
Panel included Regulars Mark, Deanna, Glenn, Diana, Roy, Marlene,
Jon, Jim, Greg, and James and Guests Mary, Darin, and Rosemary

For more recommendations of affordable reds, Tablewine.com,
one of our Favorite Wine Sites, did a tasting this month of
California Cabs for Under $10.

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