Tag Archive for 'Inexpensive Red Wine Review'

David Stone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

David Stone Vineyards Cabernet SauvignonDavid Stone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Modesto, California, $5.50 for 750ml, 12% Alc.
Red Wine

I would have never have guessed that this is a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Ever.  After trying it and then re-trying it, I checked the label just to make sure that I was not seeing things.  Nope.  It most definitely identified itself as a Cab.  How curious….

David Stone’s Cabernet Sauvignon is not what one might expect out of a Cabernet Sauvignon.  For starters, it is slightly sweet — not like a dessert wine, but rather like some Spanish or German reds I’ve tasted before.  Secondly, it is very low in tannins, which is really one of the more defining characteristics of most Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve ever had in the past.  Thirdly, to me at least, it simply does not taste like a Cabernet Sauvignon — it is just too mild, too sweet and, for lack of a better descriptor, too round.

In fact, the alcohol content and modest level of acidity (very modest, mind you) are the only things holding it together, convincing me that I have not just ingested some strange concoction of plain ol’ grape juice.  Not that I found it unpleasant; rather, just unexpected and slightly baffling.

Bottom line: If you are in the mood for a Cabernet Sauvignon, then you will probably be disappointed by David Stone Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you simply like to try new wine and are looking for something affordable, mild and red, then you might have stumbled onto a bargain!

wine’s website:  couldn’t find

Big Ass Shiraz

Big Ass ShirazBig Ass Shiraz
2006, SE Australia, $8.50 for 750 ml, 13.5% Alc
Red Wine

I like Shiraz.  I really do.  But when my husband brought me this bottle to review, I wasn’t sure how to take it.  I mean, it isn’t a very subtle hint at one’s physical endowments, is it?  Well, upon seeing my arched eyebrow after viewing the label, he assured me there were no untoward messages involved with picking this particular bottle.  I told him he was a sucker for marketing.

Enough of domestic issues.  You want to know if this is just another whimsical label masquerading a less than stellar bottle of grape juice, or if there is really something to that Big … kangaroo.  The answer?  There is.

Big Ass Shiraz pours with a deep, rich-red color and the flavor is very raisin-plummy with medium tannin (that pleasant, drying undertone that seems to grip one’s tongue).  However, what makes this Shiraz interesting to me is that it has a much higher acid level than other Shiraz I’ve had.  The acid really zings the tip of one’s tongue and makes the unsuspecting sipper take notice. Most Australian Shiraz bottlings are very “juicy” (for lack of a better word) and don’t have the backbone of strong acidity that makes other reds like Pinot Noir or even Cabernet Sauvignon so interesting.  This vino had all the pleasant full flavor of most Shiraz, but it also had a firm slap of acidity that gave it some oomph and added a layer of texture missing in other bottlings of this varietal. 

Bottom Line?  The Big Ass Shiraz is quite good and is a unique version of the Aussie varietal.  Definitely worth a try.

 Wine’s Website:  (Couldn’t find.  The bottle indicates it as www.bigasswines.com, but it does not appear to be the correct address.)

the Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignon

Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignonthe Little Penguin Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 SE Australia, $5.50 for 750 ml

(Red Wine)

The Little Penguin Shiraz was such a pleasant surprise that I thought I would give their Cabernet Sauvignon a run for the money. Plus, I like thinking of cute little penguins wobbling around in hand-knit sweaters somewhere in New Zealand (see Little Penguin Shiraz post). It makes me happy.

True to Cabernet form, I detected that pleasantly sour, blackcurrant flavor and a nice acidic bite. The tannins were a bit lower that I would have expected from a Cabernet and I discovered this with some level of disappointment. I’ve grown to enjoy a nice dose of puckering tannins in my Cabernet Sauvignon.

While the flavor was pleasant, I preferred the denser-almost chewy-Little Penguin Shiraz to their Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet was less complex and the flavor was of a sharper, less rolling-deep sensation.

Bottom line? I’m still KO’d by the Little Penguin. While the Shiraz is my favorite so far, the Cabernet also offers good value for the price.

wine’s website: www.thelittlepenguin.com

La Terre Merlot

La Terre MerlotLa Terre Merlot

(no vintage) California $4.24 for 750 ml

(Red Wine)

What’s in a name?  Well, if the name is “earthy,” there are certain expectations that accompany it.  Earthy should mean rich and layered. Maybe a little thick and with round, dusty flavors.  And when you name a red wine “earthy”, but in French, well, then, you’ve really upped the ante.  It just seems that much more poetic, right?  At least, that’s probably what the goal was.

Despite my hopes for this inexpensive Merlot hailing from Woodbridge, California, I was quickly let down by the first whiff of La Terre Merlot’s ascetic acid and nail polish remover fumes. Sharp, sickly sweet-sour and without any depth of flavor, this wine has no redeeming qualities that I can think of.

I’d say that maybe it was just a bad year, but since it doesn’t have a vintage, I can’t really blame it on that, either.

Now, to be fair, I tasted La Terre Merlot with a fellow wine drinker who admittedly does not share my acute dislike for any hint of ascetic acid flavor. To him, the wine tasted “okay” but that was about as positive as the tasting notes got. For me, I downright disliked it and truly, I can’t even offer a description of fruit or woody or any other common flavors as I was simply overwhelmed by the sharp, ascetic acid domination.

wine’s website:  couldn’t find

June 2012 Update:  While traveling a few weeks ago in the South Pacific, I happened upon a newer version of this wine!  I couldn’t resist taking a picture.  Who would have expected to find it — probably one out of a total of 20 brands altogether — at a store in Samoa!



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