Friday, March 31, 2017

Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas 2013

Yecla  is a rising wine region in southeastern Spain.  I have found great values in the past from this region including Campo Arriba, Terrenal Seleccionado and Tranco.  All of the wines have had Monastrell blended with varying amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Granacha and syrah.

Solanera is another great buy from Yecla.  The Greenville Costco is selling it  for $7.99 thru April 15. It is a blend of 70% Monastrell, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Granacha Tintorera with 14.5% alcohol.

This is a medium to full bodied wine with powerful flavors of blueberry and blackberry which should be enjoyed now, rather than cellared for very long.  The wine is very enjoyable and I have already gone back for more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 2014, & 2015

For the past 2 years, Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 has been my favorite "every day" Cabernet Sauvignon.  Recently, I was at Costco and when I reached for my Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon and I was surprised to notice that the stack included the 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages.  I had never seen 3 vintages of a wine being sold together before.  Since my last blog on this wine was for the 2012 vintage ( ), I decided to taste all 3 vintages and make a comparison.

From the bottles, we see the following:

2013 Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon
72% Mendocino County
28% Lake County
14.4% Alc.

2014 Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon
64% Mendocino County
24% Lake County
14.3% Alc.

2015 Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon
13.8% Alc.

All three wines are made with organic grapes and all have the same deep color.  The 2015 was a lighter weight with slightly more oak than the 2014 and 2013.  The 2014 and 2013 are full bodied with concentrated flavors of dark fruit.  My judgement was that the 2013 had the most pleasant complex flavors.  Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon is widely available but at Costco, I paid $9.99 and  I will continue to buy this wine as long as the 2013 and 2014 vintages are available. 

SC Wine Joe ratings:  2013  91 pts.
                                    2014 90 pts.
                                    2015 89 pts.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pleyades Campo de Borja Garnacha 2015

I had given up hope of finding another interesting low priced wine at Trader Joe's.  Believe me, I tried many bottles but finally just resolved myself to sticking with the TJ Grand Reserve wines.  However, last week I was drawn to a display of Pleyades Granacha from Spain selling for $4.95 and tossed one bottle in the cart.

The label is interesting with white doves ascending toward the sky.  I have always liked Garnacha or Grenache based wines from either southern France or Spain and this wine from the Campo de Borja region is said to have 14% alcohol, so I did not expect an overly sweet wine.  And, did I mention, it is $4.95 per bottle?

As you would expect, this is a medium bodied wine with ample flavors of dark fruit with a slight minerality.  I have to say, this is a very enjoyable wine that is really easy to drink.  I like it and it is a great bargain.  Back to Trader Joe's!

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2014

Every year, around this time, I look for one of my favorite Kirkland Signature wines, the Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel.  The 2014 vintage of this wine is in the stores and I will be adding this to my cart for the next several months. 

I cannot tell any difference between the 2013 and 2014 vintages.  The wine is 15.3% alcohol and still costs $9.99.  The same flavors of blackberry, blueberry, black licorice and hint of mocha are still present.  The finish is still long lasting and pleasant.  If anyone is interested, here is the link to last years review:

I know this wine is quite popular -so enjoy!

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Friday, March 10, 2017

Quinta do Portal 2013 Mural Reserva Red (Douro)

Mural Reserva Red 2013 from Duoro Portugal was rated 92 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and included as #12 in their list of Best Buys of 2016.  That is a lot to live up to, especially for a wine selling at the Greenville Costco for $8.99.

Duoro, in northern Portugal, is the birthplace of Port wine and is said to be one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world where the vineyards terrace up from the beautiful Douro River.  Quinto do Portal is described as a beautiful family owned vineyard.

Mural Reserva Red is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional grapes.  The wine is dark in color, medium bodied, dark fruit flavored with a significant amount of tannins.  In fact, the Wine Enthusiast review recommends not drinking the wine until 2018 to allow the tannins to mellow.
I am sure that is a good thing to do, but I can only review wines based on how they drink today and do not rate wines by predicting what they will be next year.  In any event, this is a very good wine to enjoy with a steak or red pasta and a terrific buy at $8.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon California 2014

Our local Costco has a stack of Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon selling for $8.99, which is $3 less than the price featured in this weeks ad from a local grocery chain.  Since I am always on the lookout for decent Cabernet Sauvignon costing less than $10, I brought some home.  Online research shows that Carnivor is a Gallo brand of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. 

The label only stipulates that the grapes are from California, but the Carnivor website says that most of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are from Lodi.  A small amount of Petite Sirah is in the blend and the alcohol content is listed at 13.9%.

The wine has rich flavors of dark fruit with hints of dusty cocoa.  The tannins are not harsh and the finish is pleasant.  A wine magazine has rated previous vintages of this wine at 90 points and I think that is generous, but anytime you can find this for $9 you should buy it.  I plan to buy more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points