Recently Tasted

Domaine Sorin 2013 Cotes De Provence

I love this fresh, floral Rose wine and every spring, just as the sun becomes a more regular occurence in the day, I pick up a case of it to enjoy over the coming weeks.  It's a bargain at well under $15 a bottle (I picked up a case for $12 a bottle) and is the perfect wine to drink on its own or with fish and seafood.  It has a crispy sweet floral flavour that won't disappoint.  Delicious!


Chateau Pindefleurs 2009 Saint Emilion Grand Gru

This is a real stunner and a bargain at under $22 a bottle currently at  I just ordered a case, having tried a bottle from my local wine merchant here in Seattle, which was priced at $25 (still good value for money).

This wine is 90% Merlot, the rest Cab Sauv and Cab Franc.  It's is drinking very well now but will keep and improve another few years.  You many remember that 2009 was a great year for St Emilion (check out the vintage report here) and when I saw this Pindefleurs, I knew it was going to be good.

Deep and rich on the pour, a real mouthful with just enough acidity and tannins to pair extremely well with a steak, but still fruity enough to have a glass on its own.  I finished off the bottle on the second night, having stored in the fridge, and it was just as good second time round.

Chateau Pindefleurs

Vina Cubillo Rioja 2005

Those of you that know me, know that I love 2005 Spanish wines.  For the mostpart, it was a stellar year across Spain for the winemakers and Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines from 2005 and generally superb.

So imagine my disappointment when i uncorked this Vina Cubillo only to find a wine that is average at best.  It looked slightly past it's best and it tasted flat, one dimensional, insipid, watery.  I could go on but you probably get the message.  Thank goodness I only paid $23.99 for it, but I won't be buying it again.

Vina Cubilo

Campo Viejo 2004 Gran Reserva

Campo Viejo is one of the better known Riojo wines and is readily available.  You usually see the Crianza knocking around the place, and that is fine for a regular, house wine.  But Crianza's only need to be aged for two years (one of those in oak barrels).  A Gran Reserva, on the other hand, is like the daddy of Riojas, and sits around for at least two years in oak and three in the bottle.  The result is a deeper, smoother, richer wine and usually well worth spending the extra dollars on.

This Campo Viejo 2004 Gran Reserva is no exception.  It is made up of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 10% Mazuelo.  It is drinking perfectly now, but will likely keep until 2016 or 2017.  I [think] I paid under $30 for it and I can see that has it currently for $26.99, which is good value for money.

Campo 2004

Oyster Bay 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

This is a great value for money New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region, renowned for excellent sauv blanc wines.

You can find Oyster Bay almost anywhere and it's often in the big supermarkets for less than $15. has it online currently for $13.99, which isn't a bad price.

As always, the rule of thumb with Sauvignon Blanc is DYA (drink youngest available) and so this 2013 is drinking very nicely now.  It's is super crisp and clean on the palate and quite zesty.  It goes very well with fish or salad and especially well with oysters.

Oyster Bay

Trust Cellars Syrah 2009

I came across Trust Cellars on a trip to Woodinville, just outside Seattle in Washington State.  They had a small outlet there, although the wine is made in the famous Walla Walla region in Eastern Washington.

I think many of the wines in Washington State, whilst good, are overpriced compared to European counterparts.  Partly I think this is due to the smaller quantities of wine made and partly because local consumers are willing to pay high prices for the 'local story'.

I picked up a case of the 2009 Syrah a couple of years ago and it's been sitting in the cellar ever since.  I've tried the odd bottle and would say it is 'a point' right about now.

The wine is deep and rich in color and very smooth to drink, either on it's own or with a light meat.  It's not big enough for steak.  And for a Syrah, it's not that spicy. In fact, on a blind taste, you might venture into right bank bordeaux land.  It's plummy and rounded, not tannic, but punchy at over 14% alcohol.

The 2011 version is selling now for around $30 a bottle, which is good value for the quality.  Trust Cellars is a relatively new winery but already making great strides.


Sineann Abondance 2009

This thick red from Columbia Valley in Washington State really packs a punch at 14.8% alcohol. It's a mix of Cab, Zin, Cab Franc and Merlot and somehow it works.

Give it 30 mins to open up and you'll be pleasantly surprised. One of the interesting features of the bottle is that it has a glass stopper instead of a cork.

I put it in the fridge for a couple of days once opened and then finished it off on night three and it was totally fine.

Sineann Abondance 2009

Kirkland Chateauneuf du Pape 2010

Kirkland c neuf d pape
Ah, the famous Chateauneuf du Pape, a name than invokes class, mastery, elegance and above all, good living.  So what the devil has Costco done sticking a Kirkland own brand label on it?  I had to pick up a bottle (less than $20) and give it a try.

Opened it last night, gave it some fresh air for about ten minutes and slurped straight in.  I was shocked, and in a good way.  Fresh flowers, raspberry bushes and cherry pie - and I'm not talking about eating my dinner outside either.  This chateauneuf du pape smelled good and tasted divine.  It went rather well with the spaghetti bolognaise and even the wife had half a glass, which is a sure sign of a decent wine!  I would be happy to serve this at a dinner party, having decanted it first.

The 2010 is a good vintage and was successful across Southern Rhone, where chateauneuf du pape heralds from.  This blend appears to be a classic mix of the Southern Rhone grape varietals, namely Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and possibly some Cinsault.

Robert Parker said of the 2010 vintage, "The 2010s will have significant aging potential, which is obvious in the level of tannins, but the tannins are sweet with exceptional elegance and finesse."

This Kirkland wine will definitely sit well in the cellar for a couple of years but I would advise drinking it now.  Costco buys wine that usually needs drinking up, so take advantage and buy half a case while the going is good.

You can read more about the Rhone region and Rhone vintages here.

2011 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Aix Rose, Provence

Aix rose wine
This Rose wine simply called 'AIX' is from Provence in France but widely available across Europe and the US.  The producers have done a fantastic job of producing a light, yet flavour packed summer wine, designed to be drunk cold on its own or with fish or seafood.

It's so light and fresh that you can be duped into thinking that a few glasses of this won't affect you but it packs a hefty 13% alcohol.

Aix is a blend of classic Provence region grape varietals,  Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsaut.  This region in southern France is well known for producing a lot of rose, much of it very average and some of it very good.

The producer describes this 2011 vintage as follows, 'An elegant rose with layers of complexity and a fresh personality.  Beautifully balanced with bright fruit flavors, delicate floral notes and a long finish reminiscent of a clear warm day in Provence.  This delicious rose is as captivating as a gentle refreshing summer breeze. It seduces you like a bright sunny day.  Sublime happiness in every sip.'

Well, I'm not too sure of the seduction bit, but the happiness in every sip I agree with!

According to Wine Searcher, this 2011 vintage has ranged in price from $11 to $16 across the US, but I am finding it in good supermarkets for about $13, which is an absolute steal.  

It gets three grapes, which means stock up while the summer is here.