Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Taking One for the Team... Again... and Again... and Again!!! Reviews of Eight Wines Under $5 a Bottle!


By way of background, opening thoughts: The lowest price designation in Spirit of Wine is "$", one dollar sign, representing a 750 ml bottle that retails for approximately $11 U.S. or less.  From time to time, we do what I call "Taking one for the team", which amounts to reviewing a wine that is generally half or less of that price, or typically below $5 U.S. retail.  You won't find too many comprehensive reviews of such wines, which I why I call this "taking one for the team".

Today, because I plan to mix up a batch of fruity Sangria punch for the Fourth of July for a number of visitors, I was open to procuring a number of under $5 per 750 ml wines - a number of these for WELL under the equivalent of $5 per 750ml bottle.  So I am not just taking "one" for the team; but today I will take "MANY" for the team!


OK, let's plunge in!  You've heard of - and likely avoided - many of these names before, but it behooves us all to keep an open mind... and palate...

Please note: I will not designate this with each tasting write-up, but, as you may expect, every one of these wines (except for Black Box) is non-vintage, meaning that no vintage date is shown on the label.  You can expect that they were bottled and sold quite young, however.

In addition to this combined posting, I'll post each wine separately, in case you wish to share one specific tasting.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Gallo Family Vineyards Chardonnay, California, finished at 13% alcohol.


In the glass: Quite clear with a hint of pale yellow and vanilla.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows soft, light, lemon citrus fruit.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a soft, slightly creamy, smooth mid-palate showing butterscotch and almond.  Clean and actually, nicely toned, moving to a quick, but clean and round finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, garnering a plus for its easy likeability, making this a best value at its crazy low price.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gallo Chardonnay.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Foxhorn Vineyards Chardonnnay, South Eastern Australia, finished at 13% alcohol.


In the glass: Clear with a vanilla sheen.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows a warm blend of bright citrus fruits.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are fruity lush with bright acids kicking in on the side of your cheeks.  Perhaps a hazelnut and sweet lemonade blend.  Surprisingly similar to the comparably-priced Gallo Family Chardonnay, given the widely different sourcing of the grapes (California versus Australia). The Gallo shows just a touch more character to its fruit, although the Foxhorn shows a bit more minerality and sleekness.


In summary:  The Foxhorn Chardonnay rates three stars plus on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, making this a no-brainer best value given its hyper-low price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Foxhorn Chardonnay.
-------------------
Interestingly, both Gallo and Foxhorn Chardonnay rate above the Yellow Tail Chardonnay, which - while still a best value - retails at about twice the price.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Carlo Rossi Burgundy, California, finished at a mere 12% alcohol and delivered in the classic four-litre glass jug.

In the glass: Medium ruby red.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep, fragrant black fruit.  Quite inky.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a very soft, easy-going fruit beginning, sweet and full-bodied in its fruitiness, with a hint of soft dark depth coming on following the fruit flush. Fresh plums and very ripe blackberries. The finish is whisper-fast yet clean - easy-going because of the absence of any acidity.

In summary: Overall, just touches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale for its easy going and inoffensive fruity plum nature, another best value in this bargain price range.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Rossi Burgundy.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Foxhorn Vineyards Merlot, South Eastern Australia, finished at 13% alcohol.

In the glass: Medium red brick color.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows clean, slightly funky (in a light medicine sort-of way) fruit; some plum, but not overpowering in its genericism.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are fresh and robust on the palate, showing shy fruit, light oak, and some brightening acids.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, but gains a plus for its easy going and inoffensive fruity plum nature.  Decent value in this price range.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Foxhorn Merlot.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Gallo Family Vineyards Merlot, California, finished at 13% alcohol.

In the glass: Deep red ruby with some magenta tones.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bold but straightforward plum nose.  Classic simple California merlot.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a bit more fragrant and flavorful than anticipated; think of a pureed mixed black berry melange. Bold, depth and some acids on the clean, rounded finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Great balance at its insane price point, making it a best value.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gallo Merlot.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, California, finished at 13% alcohol.

In the glass: Deep, dark, dusty red, but not opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright, fragrant, California plums for miles!

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate include a soft and furry surround on the bold, deep plums, offering a rich and slightly sweet feel.  The finish is brief, but grips with a little bit of tannin fur and acid.  Gentle finish.

In summary: Overall, rates two plus stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Like the Gallo Merlot, shows a good balance with fruit, tannins and acids at this price point.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Foxhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, California, finished at 13% alcohol.

In the glass: Medium, dusty red.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows shy, fruity nose of red berries plus plums.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are reminscent of a red berry puree, with raspberries, strawberries and currants, layered with softer plum juice to knit things together.  Friendly, bright, lusty red, furry finish.

In summary: Overall, rates two plus stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Unlike the case with chardonnay, this is a completely different experience from the Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon - a regular competitor at retail in this price point.  Both excellent for the price, but quite distinctive from each other.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Foxhorn Cabernet Sauvignon.
-------------------

Original tasting and review : This is Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle Central, Chile, 2012, finished at 13% alcohol.  It differs from all our other recently-reviewed "Taking one for the team" wines in a few respects: 1) it is the most expensive per ounce at retail (although still well below $5 US per 750 ml bottle equivalent); 2) it comes in a box; 3) it is given a vintage date.  Does all this matter? Well, let's see what's in the glass...

In the glass: Deep red/magenta, almost opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows dark plums, heavy with oak and ennui.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are quite lush, deep and veined with oak and time on the vine.  Shows definite character, a balanced, though dark, persona of fruits, acids and tannins and a relatively lengthy, though simple, finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Best value and stands just slightly ahead of its competitors in the hyper-value-priced category. I like the fact that the bag will hold the wine for quite a few weeks in the refrigerator without oxidation.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon.

(c) Copyright 2011 Spirit of Wine, all rights reserved.  If you are a winery, distributor or marketing agent and you would like to see your (or your client's) wine featured at Spirit of Wine, here are two options: 1) Wait, pray and hope - we may find you someday; 2) Submit a wine for review.  No charge.  Particulars are here.   If you are reading this full posting on any site other than Spirit of Wine, chances are it is a copyright violation.


No comments:

Post a Comment