Thursday, August 26, 2010

Break from Zinvinology to Some Big Picks

I thought I would take a break from reports on Zinfandel wines to just sharing with you some of my favorite wines, wines that are for special occasions or for wallowing in self-indulgence. These wines are affordable, but not cheap, and they are wines with special qualities that should cross palate divides and please everyone.

Two hands Bella's Garden Barossa Valley 2006 Shiraz, $46.74, 94 points, is the first wine whose beautiful bouquet wafted into my nose while pouring. Bella's Garden is dense and luscious (Acidity 7.2), its silky richness is elegant, bursting with berry excitement, it is pleasant alone, with ribs ,or chocolate, but by itself it is excellent and has a fine finish. This is a BIG WINE, and maybe just too much of a wine for those only accustom to Yellowtail Merlot;-)

Penfold's Bin 407 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon,
$25.49 (2016 $64.99), 93 points, (This post is not intended to be Australia exclusive), is next up for accolades; with a bouquet to be a pattern for greatness, rich, dark, and opulent, having a silky freshness that says: this is not a bare-bones Cabernet, but hidden in a multifaceted balance of lush grape, acidity 6.40 g/L, and 14.5% alcohol, results in a wine you will be proud to serve anywhere, and at $25.49, this wine was a steal.
Drink from 2010 until 2028.
Paired wonderfully with spicy lamb or T-Bone, but I found that it paired lusciously with chocolate covered blueberries.

HALL NAPA Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32.99, 93 points, (California here we come), which to the novice wine taster that I am, struck me as pure, rich and luscious, having a sweet, light bouquet. Having gentle espresso notes, but its complexity will leave you imagining many different flavors, all nicely balanced and concluding with a long spice finish to relish for some time.
The first time I bought this wine it was $32.99, but it is now at least $5 more, and at either price this is a good wine for what you are getting. The reports on the 2006 vintage are for an even better wine.

Duckhorn Howell Mountain NAPA Valley 2005 Red wine, $34.99, 92 points, surprised me with its overall balance in a complex structure of espresso hints and berry richness. Having been disappointed with the Decoy Red, I found this wine to be completely different, having gentle floral flavors that did not detract or overwhelm the grape-nature of this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet. Franc, and Petit Verdot.
At $34.99 this wine is a good choice for special occasions, and pairs well with a Porterhouse steak, or try with desserts like raspberry cookies or coffee ice cream.


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  1. Thanks for the breakdown on these four wines. A very enjoyable read. I'm surprised to see the Shiraz at the very top of your list. Is this the one that you were speaking of, with the extremely potent aroma? And what would you pair the Cabernet Sauvignon with?

    I have to say, I'm disappointed to not see my favourite Riesling in the top wines :) But alas, our palates are our own, Dennis. Looking forward to your next review. I'll be sharing this one with some friends of mine.

  2. Yes, that's the one. I'm getting ready to try this one with a tenderloin:

    I would guess that Cab-Sav. would pair well too.
    Try this website for pairing:


    Again thanks for sharing,