Wine Club II

It’s only been three months since I wrote about the first delivery from the USA Today Wine Club (‘Wine Club I’). Here’s the review of the second delivery, which arrived in December 2009.

This lot, like the first, was heavy on California (three out of six), and on reds (four out of six). I might buy one of these. Overall I was not impressed.

  • Hall Merlot, 2005, from Napa Valley. This wine was more robust than most Merlots but still quite soft. The flavors seemed flat, though I did note that it probably would complement a mushroom sauce as suggested by the tasting notes. The alcohol content of 14.5 percent made it among the highest. At $19 to $32 a bottle I would not buy it again.
  • Red Flute Meritage 2007 from some generic place in California, which probably means the grapes come from all over. The tasting notes say that Meritage is a blend of “Bordeaux varietals” here 38 percent Cabernet, 37 percent Malbec, and 25 percent Merlot. This was a complex quaff that I would eat with chocolate if I ate chocolate. It reminded me of Incognito, which seems to be a California variation on Viognier from the Rhone Valley. The Meritage, with 13.5 percent alcohol, retails for $16, somewhat more than Incognito if I recall.
  • Lustre Chardonnay 2008, also from generic California. This light golden wine with a slight fizz blessedly lacked that heavy oak I’ve come to association with California Chards. It had a silky feel after it had warmed a bit but also a hint of Welch’s white grape juice. It would make a good white sangria. $14; with 13.9 percent alcohol, which is high for white.
  • Bouchard – Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir 2007, Vin Pays d’Oc, France. This bottle was a bit syrupy with an interesting tannin after taste. A good winter red with a modest 13 percent alcohol. On aeration, it offered a hint of pepper, a chocolate note. I might buy this again for gifts but with a $15 price tag, I wouldn’t use it for daily imbibing.
  • Las Tizas Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. This variation is softer than most American Cabs but still full-bodied, a slightly sweet start, with a kick of tannin at the finish. I changed my mind three times in three days of tasting about whether I’d buy it again. Final conclusion: days one and three I decided yes; day two I said no. The ayes have it since I’m posting this before day four. This was by far the best of the bunch and worth $15. 14.6 percent alcohol.
  • Richland Semillon-Chardonnay Australia 2008, Southeastern Australia. This white is nicely balanced, crisp with light oak. Good for summer drinking, though a bit thin with a hint of sweetness. Odd that it arrived just before Christmas. $12; !2.5 percent alcohol.

Please note: The blog will be on hiatus until October 12. Explanation to follow.

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