Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review: Oak Leaf Vineyards **+ $ Chardonnay, *** $ Sauvignon Blanc, *** $ Merlot, *** $ Cabernet Sauvignon and *** $ Shiraz, all United States, non-vintage and "Practically Free" ... all the reds are "Best Value"

By way of background: These are in the "take one for the team" category, wines under the "Oak Leaf Vineyards" brand that retail for under $3 US in some retail grocers, the more generic versions of "Two Buck Chuck" from Trader Joe's.


Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Oak Leaf Vineyards Chardonnay.

Original tasting and review : This is Oak Leaf Vineyards Chardonnay, United States, non-vintage, finished at 12.5% alcohol and first sampled in June, 2015.  Note that I've probably never known less about a wine in terms of region or vintage than the label shows for Oak Leaf.  All I know is "America, some year from the recent past...".

In the glass:  Very light yellow with hints of honey.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows clean, grassy peach fruit, no oak  From the aroma, seems like this will be sweet and light.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as anticipated.  A sweet peach, pear and light citrus fruit moves to the center first, with a few perky acids to follow.  The acids help clench your cheeks a little.  The finish hangs with a sweet gluey note.  

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, but does gain a plus for being a perfectly friendly sip.
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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Oak Leaf Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc.

Original tasting and review : This is Oak Leaf Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, United States, non-vintage, finished at 12.5% alcohol and first sampled in September, 2015.

In the glass:  Clear with yellow green tints.

On the nose: Poured at cellar temperature and swirled vigorously, shows aromas like its cinnamon cotton candy. From the aroma seems like this will be fresh and fun.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact bringing a clean center core of sleek, lightly perfumed and cinnamon-touched fruit, with plenty of lemon drops added to perk things up.  Light sweetness and cheek-cleansing acids face off for a modest and clean finish.

In summary: Overall, easily touches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and is a no-brainer best value.


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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Oak Leaf Vineyards Merlot.

Original tasting and review : This is Oak Leaf Vineyards Merlot, United States, non-vintage, finished at a remarkably atypically low 12.5% alcohol and first sampled in June, 2015.

In the glass: Medium-deep burgundy, transparent through the center of the glass. 

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows slightly funky and helium balloon-tinged deep fruit, quite a bit less generic than I anticipated.  From the aroma, seems like this will be showing a bit more edge than just simple juice.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a balanced, mid-palate showing of ripe blackberries and hints of charcoal that, together, bring an intriguing creamy darkness.  The finish moves rapidly and cleanly to a close, with tiny notes of pleasant furriness that imply some underlying tannins.  Don't cellar this, but don't be embarrased to enjoy it today.  Even with company.  Just don't let them view the price tag.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Remarkable at its price point and making this an easy nod as Spirit of Wine best value.
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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Oak Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.

Original tasting and review : This is Oak Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, United States, non-vintage, finished at 12.5% alcohol and first sampled in June, 2015.

In the glass:  Light brick in color.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows bright, angular fruit. From the aroma seems like this will be fairly simple and generic.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact showing more character than I anticipated.  Fresh, purple patches of fruit - almost like a not-sweet grape lollipop.  Clean, sweet finish, showing no gumminess.  

In summary: Overall, just touches three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and is thus a best value.

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Oak Leaf Vineyards Shiraz.

Original tasting and review : This is Oak Leaf Vineyards Merlot, United States, non-vintage, finished at a remarkably atypically low 12.5% alcohol and first sampled in June, 2015.

In the glass: Medium-deep burgundy, transparent through the center of the glass.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows slightly funky and helium balloon-tinged deep fruit, quite a bit like the merlot.  Bold statement.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact very deep and purple, with bright fruits and a darker underbelly.  Holds a whisper of smokiness through the finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and another Spirit of Wine best value!

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