BOEKENHOUTSKLOOF, PORCUPINE RIDGE, COASTAL REGION SYRAH 2003, South Africa, 14.0%, #595280 $12.95
Robert Parker Jr. writes "I was extremely impressed with the wines of Boekenhoutskloof Winery. Marc Kent, the young, talented winemaker, combines the power and ripeness of the New World with the elegance and precision of the Old." My notes: Yes, but how does it taste..... a rich red colour with an unusual nose which may improve with decanting (didn't try). Not a lot of fruit although full-bodied and smoothe - high tannin. It doesn't have the bandaid nose and ascerb flavour characteristic of South African reds but is somewhat musty for a Syrah. Not a sipper but worth the $12.95 with a meat stew or prime rib. Vintages release January 22, 2005.
SERGIO TRAVERSO MERLOT RESERVA 2000, Lontue, Chile, 13%, Opimian, $21.00
Opimian describes this as "full-bodied with velvety soft tannins.... Assertive yet remaining subtle." My notes: Subtle this merlot is not! Ruby red, a soft and warm bouquet builds an expectation of velvety smoothness which is met with an astringency that cuts the palate. Decanting allows the full-bodied fruit to companion any grilled red meat meal: bbq'd steak or honeyed ribs are needed to tame this wine. Even decanted this is a bold wine. Traverso is available from Opimian.
DE BORTOLI dB RIVERINA SHIRAZ 2002, New South Wales, Australia, 13.5%, #595314 $12.95
Beppi writes "A good value, full-bodied and velvety, with sweet dark fruit, chocolate and mint, lifted by peppery spice." My notes: Brighter than the South African above with a light port-like nose and more berry fruit with balanced acid, light- to medium-bodied and smoothness of suede rather than velour. Chocolate and mint I didn't get but some spice with a light tannin length. A drink-now wine - with turkey, lamb, shepherds pie or ham steak. Vintages release January 22, 2005.