Monthly Archive for April, 2008

Black Swan Shiraz

Black Swan ShirazBlack Swan Shiraz

2006, SE Australia, $8.00 for 1.5L

(Red Wine)

Amazing! For the price, I was so very happy with the Black Swan Shiraz.

I had read a review in the past that eschewed inexpensive wines as nothing but plonk and used inexpensive Australian versions-particularly naming Black Swan wines-as an example of cheap cost=cheap quality wine. So, maybe I entered into this tasting with lowered expectations. Or, maybe, my Black Swan was just trying to prove a point….

According to my research, the term “Black Swan” is a saying used back more commonly in the day when folks in Western Europe sipped their afternoon tea with curled pinkies. Apparently, it was (and still is) an expression employed when one meant to state that something was impossible or did not exist. As in, “a unicorn is nothing but a black swan.”

Well, leave it to the Australians to actually discover a species of black swan in the 17th century! In fact, black swans in Australia are a pretty common form of fowl. Kind of turns around the meaning behind the metaphor a bit, doesn’t it?

It makes me wonder about unicorns, too….

With such an independent spirit behind the name, it should come as no surprise that my Black Swan Shiraz defied expectations.

Was it inexpensive? Yes, very.

Was it poor quality? Not at all.

The Black Swan Shiraz isn’t necessarily a layered and complex wine, but it is definitely a berry filled, slurpy drink that is friendly and very easy to enjoy. Less caustic on the tannins and acidity, it still has a nice, easy going balance filled with juicy, almost strawberry-like flavors. It’s a pleasant sipper for an evening book reading, or as an accompaniment to dinner.

Bottom line? Good bargain and recommended if you want an easygoing red wine filled with lots of berry flavor. At least for this inexpensive and delicious Shiraz, harmony of economy and quality is not an impossibility.  It’s just a Black Swan.

wine’s website: www.blackswanwines.com

Barefoot Zinfandel

Barefoot ZinfandelBarefoot Zinfandel

(no vintage) California $5.50 for 750 ml

(Red Wine)

I have been a singer of praises for the Barefoot Cellars line of varietal wines. They’re inexpensive and reliably good. And when I discovered that they also have a Zinfandel, I was even more pleased. It’s pretty hard to find a good, inexpensive (as in, under $10.00) Zinfandel.

I pranced home with my newly acquired Zin and prepared for an inexpensive and tasty wine review. Worried that my Barefoot reviews were beginning to sound redundant, I paused before pouring a sample to consider how else I could review this varietal without readers suspecting I was being paid off or something…

One sniff put my worries to rest. The aroma had a bit of a sickeningly sweet smell that was not pleasing. A sip confirmed this aroma and while the Barefoot Zinfandel also had a pleasant spicy cherry and black tea flavor, the sickeningly sweet taste really ruined the wine’s potential.

I tried this wine again the next day and found that the unpleasant sensation had wafted off a bit. In it’s place, the deeper, spicier flavors that make Zinfandel so yummy were displayed. Still, it’s a bit rude to make a gal wait for so long, don’t you think?

Bottom line? The Zinfandel isn’t one of Barefoot Cellar’s finest varietals, but worth a try. I recommend letting the bottle breathe for a while before sipping.

wine’s website:  www.barefoot.com

Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Liberty Creek Cabernet SauvignonLiberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
(no vintage) California $8.00 for 1.5 L
(Red Wine)

I’ve tried to think of something great to say about Liberty Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon.But, I just can’t.

It’s not horrible; it’s just not that good.For a Cabernet, this wine is missing some umph.

It’s higher in acidity than a lot of Cabernet and rather thin-bodied.It tastes like the wine has been watered down a bit, and the tannins left a lot to be desired as well.In fact, I had trouble locating them.

The overall flavor of this Cabernet was a bit one-dimensional and I was left feeling like someone forgot to put half of the wine’s flavor into the bottle.Does that make sense?

Bottom line, Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is not a repulsive wine and for the price, some might want to at least give it a try. But, if you are desiring a layered and full-flavored experience, don’t take a dip in Liberty Creek.

Website: Update: At the time this review was written, no website could be found.  A reader has since informed me that one now exists.  It is LibertyCreekWine.com

Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon

Delicato
Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Manteca, CA $5.50 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

The Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium-bodied wine imbued with blackcurrant flavor.

For the price, I found this vino to be a pretty good deal.

While it doesn’t have the rolling layers that many other Cabernet Sauvignon offer, I found the Delicato Cab to be pleasant and a little less demanding, too. The flavors were smooth enough to offer the versatility of a wine to be sipped alone or with dinner.

That said, I’ve had other similarly priced Cabernet Sauvignon (think: Little Penguin or Barefoot) that I enjoyed better.

Bottom line: For the price alone, the Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon is worth a try. However, given similarly priced options that I find to be more complex and interesting, I don’t have a compelling reason to buy this again.

wine’s website: www.delicato.com







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