ROSENBLUM CELLARS ZINFANDEL 2004, Alameda, USA, Alameda, USA, 15.7% D, #284653 $19.80 (Retasted July 31, 2006)
My notes: Last tasted November 2005 (see Archives) with the comment "Not as unctious as some vintages.... " It's unctious enough to be a pleasing sipper: a rich raspberry, blackberry and a little black cherry. There is a mineral or spicy sidenote for an interesting brightness that lasts into the long, warm berry finish. There's still some light tannins left - should be able to cellar this for several years to produce a smooth, full-bodied red for almost any special red meat occasion. Great stuff! Vintages may have re-released this vintage April 15, 2006 describing it as "Rosenblum is THE Zinfandel specialist serving up aromas of blackberry, raspberry, and mocha. Ripe berry fruit flavours, balanced by cedar tones. Very nice berry spice finish. We prescribe it with roasted duck, venison, or spareribs." Some bottles have a slightly different label: the vintage date is relocated... didn't check the alc level on the bottle but Vintages now lists it as 14.1%.
CHAMPY ‘SIGNATURE' BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR 2004, Bourgogne, France, 13.0% D, #001149 $19.95 (Tasted July 28, 2006)
A Vintages release on July 22, 2006 and described as "Maison Champy is one of a group of small, quality conscious négociants who are currently releasing a wonderful collection of wines, including this raspberry, cherry drop and beetroot-scented example. Enjoy this supple, charming, flattering, almost New World-style wine with barbecued salmon." Winecurrent gives this four and one/half stars (of 5) saying "And who said you can't get decent Burgundy under $20? Well, I've said it quite often, but here's the rebuttal in a bottle. This is very attractive in aromas and flavours, and you can fruitfully look for cherry, raspberry and strawberry notes with a hint of earthy beet. It's quite elegant in style and will partner well with planked salmon. (RP)". My notes: Letting breathe for twenty minutes the 'beetroot' scents are there but the other aromas need more time to develop - perhaps aerating while decanting would help but that's getting desparate. The flavours as well reflect the nose.. some brightness in balance with soft tannins. The finish is light fading quickly with a slight red currant lingering. Beetroots don't make pleasant sippers.... have with turkey, BLTs, or salmon (not tuna) wrap. I can't see cellaring would gain much - if I had it to do over I'd skip it.
SILENI ‘CELLAR SELECTION' PINOT NOIR 2005, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 13.0% D, #694901 $17.95 (Tasted July 26, 2006)
A Vintages release on July 22, 2006 and described as "Pinot Noir from Hawkes Bay is relatively rare in our market, so an opportunity like this, especially from such a quality producer, is a rare treat indeed. Sileni Estates' ‘Cellar Selection' is designed for early enjoyment. Expect to find bright cherry, raspberry and plum aromas and flavours. On the palate you will find all the fruit is nicely balanced by a streak of acidity. Enjoy with grilled rack of lamb." Winecurrent gives this four and one/half stars (of 5) saying "The lifted nose of spice and crushed, dried black currants forms a lovely segue to the ripe, sweet (13.5% alcohol) flavours of black cherry and garrigue in this medium-bodied gem from a premium NZ producer. There is a warm and well balanced finish that echoes these flavours and showcases balancing raciness. A natural match to roast or grilled pork tenderloin stuffed with dried fruits. At an outstanding price point. (VH)" Natalie gives it 90/100 saying "Round and smooth with deep, seductive aromas of ripe cherries. Great price. I've recommended this wine for several vintages; consistently good producer." My notes: A blend of red cherry and ripe strawberry aromas go well with the mid ruby hue. Medium- bodied, a light licorice, a soft raspberry and silky plum flavours slide over the palate - the delicate textures finish with a mix of berries, a touch of tar, light tannin and acids. An attractive pinot sipper, great with soft cheeses and shaved meats, super with rack of rosemary seasoned lamb, a garlic budded roast ham or sauteed veal dishes. A drink-now.
BIDGEEBONG ‘TRIANGLE' SHIRAZ 2003, New South Wales, Australia, 14.0% XD, #684134 $17.95 (Tasted July 26, 2006)
A Vintages release on July 22, 2006 and described as "Gently spicy wood and velvety prune and mulberry fruit give a bouquet full of character; the palate's bone dry and the winemakers have not filtered or fined all its chunky tannins away, so it has a structure more like a funky nebbiolo. It's hearty, wholesome and stacked with flavour. [Lamb] Shanks with olives. Score - 88. (Philip White, The Advertiser (Adelaide), July 6, 2005)." Winecurrent gives this four and one/half stars (of 5) saying "This is a terrific Shiraz, full of ripe, dark fruit flavour but this side of jammy, and well structured. It's full bodied with a slightly rustic (in the best sense) texture, has ripe tannins, and a long, complex fruit finish. Pair it with well-seasoned roast or grilled lamb. (RP)". My notes: Medium- to full-bodied with a light, spicy blackberry nose and a dark ruby colour. The acid strikes the senses washing the palate with flavours of dark juices and rough tannins. The finish is long, drying, full of tars and smooth dark berry juices - a blend of blackberry, prune and cherry. Too serious to be a sipper. Have with grilled sausage pieces, beef kebobs, or with savoury grilled meats. Cellaring up to four years could settle acids and improve the texture - should end up being much finer. Try after two... ie. not now.