France – Rhone, AC Vignerons de Caractere
Here’s another great value from the Rhône. A blend of traditional grapes, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, it has powerful aromas of ripe, dried cherries, garrigue and spice. It’s medium bodied with a creamy texture, fine-grained tannin and focused fruitiness—bramble pie comes to mind—with notes of spice box, herbs and black pepper which carry through the persistent finish. A candidate for short-term cellaring, you may want a bottle or two to enjoy this fall. Will drink well for the next 5-7 years.
Score: 4 out of 5, Susan Desjardins, www.winecurrent.com, Sep 2010
Italy – DOC Veneto
Mineral and floral on the nose this dishes out a surprisingly generous texture and more flavour and structure than the breeding and price would suggest—this is good value. The mousse is abundant and infused with good texture and flavour—tangy white grapefruit, red currant and lemon chiffon pie. Serve to guests as they arrive and pair with stand-around sea food appetizers.
Score: 4 ½ out 5, Tony Aspler, www.tonyaspler.com, Nov 2009
New Zealand – Marlborough, South Island
Focused and full of tang, you’ll discover grassy herbaceous aromas mingling with lemongrass and nuances of lemony tones. There’s a great spine of citrus acidity running through this light-bodied, delicately textured quaffer with white grapefruit and gooseberry flavour to the fore. The aftertaste lingers crisp and refreshing with oodles of nerve and verve. Pair with freshly shucked oysters
Score: 90 out of 100, Harvey Steiman, www.winespectator.com, Feb 2010
Chile – DO Maipo Alto
Look for delicate aromas of bramble berry, spice notes and wood smoke. Rich, elegant flavours of black currant and mint-laden black cherry coat the palate framed by moderating acidity underpinned by ripe, sweet tannin. Medium bodied with a generous mouth feel, it finishes dry and balanced. Low-yielding, hand-picked fruit and scrupulous site selection coalesce in this flagship red.
Score: 4 ½ out of 5, Vic Harradine, www.winespectator.com, Sep 2010
Italy – IGT Toscana
If you’re looking for great value, here it is. Dry and full bodied, this blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot has a complex array of aromas—floral, dense dark fruit, earth, anise and leather. Firm tannin and lively acidity balance the rich spicy fruit on the palate. It finishes with a flourish. Don’t miss out—enjoy it now with Tuscan steak, and cellar a few bottles for 3-5 years. It earns an extra ½ star for value.
Score: 4 ½ out of 5, Susan Desjardins, www.winespectator.com, Sep 2010
France – Midi
Deep ruby colour. Intriguing aromas of black cherry, plum, blueberry, ripe tomato and fresh flowers, enlivened by wisps of floral and peppery spice. Dry, with gentle spicy dark fruit. Medium body, silky texture, fine structure-lending tannins and a long, pretty, floral-tinged finish. Enjoy with lamb chops.
Gold: Concours des Grands Vins du Languedoc, 2008
Australia – South Australia
Dark and spicy, this red offers fresh sage and tarragon overtones that mingle with the black cherry and spice flavours, persisting against polished tannins. Drink now or hold until 2013.
Notable Mention: ‘Best Value’, Wine Spectator, 2010
Score: 89 out of 100, Harvey Steiman, www.winespectator.com, Jun 2010
Argentina – Mendoza
On the nose there’s an abundance of smoke and red berry fruit aromas adorned with exotic spice and herbs. There’s an uncomplicated balanced stream of juicy cherry/berry flavour on the palate underlain with supple tannin and framed by moderating spicy acidity. Good to go now with meat-laden pizza or beef fajitas.
Score: 4 out of 5, Vic Harradine, www.winespectator.com, Sep 2010
France – Southwest
The wine is made from Gros Manseng, a hardy variety known for producing flavourful wines. Brilliant deep straw in the glass. Lovely lemon rind and peach aromas with zesty citrus flavours on the palate. Dry, with a nice long finish.
Gold: 2009 Concours General Agricole, Paris