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Gilbo

Wine of the week.

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If you enjoy wine, if you don't think a good meal is complete without a glass of the red stuff (or the white stuff if you're into that) then this thread is for you. Approximately once a week, I'm going to try to talk about a new wine that I have recently enjoyed that I would buy again, and I would love to hear similar accounts from anyone else who shares a passion for this wonderful drink.

So, if you drank a bottle of wine this week that you liked, that you'd buy again, don't be lazy. Tell us a little about it!

Edited by Gilbo

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First, I'm going to talk a little about my personal tastes. I think it would be useful for everyone to have at least a superficial idea of each others' biases and some insight into the type of wine we each go for. Everyone's different, and every bottle is different, so, if you don't know anything about what someone else looks for in a wine, it's going to be hard to know if the bottle he or she is talking about is something you should be interested in.

RED VS WHITE

Firstly, let's get this out of the way, I don't drink white wine. I don't have anything against it. I absolutely respect a good white. I just can't think of any situation --at any price range-- where I couldn't come up with a bottle of red that I would prefer to any bottle of white that you could throw at me. I just get more satisfaction out of red wine than I do out of white, so you aren't likely to get any decent recommendations on white wine out of me --I just don't drink it often enough. I do use it in cooking, but that's a whole different thread.

WHAT I LIKE; WHAT I DON"T LIKE --GENERALLY

In general, the first thing I'd say I go for is complexity. All wine grows on you as you drink it, as you begin to appreciate a bottle's subtleties and competing flavours. I like wines that are multidimensional, that you hold in your mouth for what feels like a small eternity before you swallow them --wines that make you think, that challenge your taste. This isn't to say I can't appreciate a simple wine. There are some great, simple wines out there, wines that are unashamedly one-dimensional, and absolutely terrific for it --in fact the first wine of the week is going to be just such a wine.

Secondly, I lean towards stronger, thicker, denser stuff. I love Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon (the thicker the better), Pinotage. These are the wines I really go for. I eat a lot of red meat (too much probably ;)), and I prefer pastas with spice and cream so that plays into this a great deal. So, if you see me recommending a Pinot Noir or Valpolicella, bear this in mind, it might be an unusually strong bottle of its type if it appeals to me.

Thirdly, I like tannins, I don't like sweet stuff. Now, I don't mean I really like the bitterness of tannins, it's not something the human mouth can really enjoy, but I have a higher tolerance for tannins in wines than most other wine drinkers I know (this is intimately related to my second bias I suppose). So, I'll often love a wine that might be downright offensive to other people with milder affections. The corollary to this, is that, as I alluded to above, I don't like sweet stuff. I don't like Merlot. I don't think it's red wine. I think it's grape juice (best to get that out of the way right from the start). A lot of people who's taste I respect a great deal love Merlot --that's fine--, but I don't even like Merlot in blends most of the time. I'm sure there are complex Merlots with depth and character, but I haven't found one and if I did I'm convinced it would pale in comparison to an average Cab Sauv or Shiraz.

Well, that's all I can think of off-hand for now. The best way to get to know someone's taste is through their drinks of choice I suppose so hopefully we'll get to that soon ;).

SOME SPECIFICS, IDIOSYNCRACIES, QUIRKS AND OTHER USEFUL OR IRRELEVANT INFORMATION

I already mentioned I don't really do white. And I don't do Merlot. You can see that I've picked up quite a few biases and prejudices over the years. Here's some more specific information about that sort of stuff.

The state of Shiraz.

Shiraz is a grape that I love. I'm going to damn myself in the eyes of many red wine lovers and declare that I prefer it to Cabernet Sauvignon (I'm probably damned in Udaman's eyes already for not making this whole post an ode to Zin though, so I might as well go all the way.). Australia is legendary for its Shiraz, but in the range of reasonably priced bottles --stuff must of us would be willing to drink every week-- I think Australia has fallen down the last five years or so. They're leaning towards an ideal of a sweeter, simplistic, tanninless (as Shiraz goes anyway) Shiraz that they think has mass-market appeal and is easy-drinking.

I still find good Australian Shiraz's but not nearly as many as I used to, and it's a shame, because some of the best Shiraz's I've ever had were Australian. For me, the country that is advancing the art of Shiraz the most, right now, is South Africa. South African Shiraz's don't pull punches on the tannins, the smoke, and gravel of Shiraz; --they aren't trying to turn it into Merlot-- they're embracing the characteristics that some people don't like and using them to create complex, vibrant, albeit sometimes rough, works of art.

South Africa also offers a great deal of value in its wine these days. Australian wine changed the face of the international wine market for this reason more than any other, but it's no longer so true of Australian wines (at least in Canada).

Italian wine.

I love a lot of Italian wine. Ripasso Valpolicellas are a gift from God. Barolo and Barbara too. Sangiovese is the most underrated grape of all time. Sangiovese is the most underrated grape of all time. I have to say it twice because it needs to be said. All I can say is that you should take the time to learn the DOC system, and the Italian grapes (most aren't grown anywhere else). It'll take some time, but just do it. The consistency makes it easy to always get what you want at a restaurant as well.

Blends.

In general I don't like blends. Most of the grapes we drink now-a-days stand alone with their own particularities, merits and flaws, beautifully by themselves. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon aren't broken. Don't fix them! It's hard to blend grapes and preserve any sort of complexity or distinctiveness of character. Most of them are efforts to hide the perceived flaws of the great, strong red grapes like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon (which is why you see Merlot mixed with these two everywhere). However, in most cases these so-called flaws are integral to allowing these grapes to develop such complexity, and distinction of flavour. Blends are often muddy, indistinct, poorly realized bottles of wine.

Sometimes though, people get it just right. A blend that preserves the distinction and character of its contributors and creates something new on top of it can be a very interesting, refreshing thing. So I still regularly try blends in the hopes of finding the needles in the haystack, but I always avoid the Merlot-Cab-Sauv's and Cab-Sauv-Shiraz's. Don't like 'em don't need 'em. They're a waste of perfectly good grapes.

Pinotage.

I don't if the cat's already out of the bad. Someone told me a big wine magazine ran an article on this South African secret a little while ago. I've been drinking this stuff for about five years now. Check it out if you haven't. Bear in mind my biases though. It's too thick and tanniny for a lot of people.

South America.

It's pretty simple. There are some good, surprisingly complex Cabernet Sauvignon's coming from down there these days. Look around.

Spain.

Great wine. Most underrated wine country. 'nuf said.

Wine magazines.

I don't read reviews of wine, and I don't pay attention to that stuff. Most of those people are being bought. And, odds are that the honest ones simply have different taste than you. Wine is an individual thing and universally great wines aren't that common --and they shouldn't be. I go out and drink different wines, I wade through them, and I find the ones I love. In my opinion, this is the only way to find the bottles that you'll really love. Hell, that's not an opinion. That's fact. If you need to impress people, which, by the way, is a perfectly legitimate reason to be interested in wine, magazines can be useful. That stuff is handy in business, and I'm not some silly idealistic wine snob who looks down on people who recognize the practical, business uses of wine knowledge.

Another advantage to ignoring the magazines is that you also don't buy nearly as much overpriced, overhyped Californian Cabernet Sauvignon this way (not that Californian Cab Sauv is generally this way --I love Californian Cab Sauv, but they're among the worst offenders in the overpriced, overhyped department.)

Alright. That's enough of that. Let's talk about wine instead of listening to me ramble on.

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WINE OF THE WEEK. Nov. 4th.

Obikwa (2005) -- Shiraz. South Africa.

14.5%.

~CAN$10.

What a surprise. :) It's a South African Shiraz. I bet you didn't see that one coming.

This is one of those pretty straight-forward bottles I was talking about above. The ones I said don't usually appeal to me. It's a highly concentrated Shiraz (I'm not using that term lightly. It's concentrated relative to other Shiraz's. It's not happy fellowing around.) that embraces the characteristics of the grape fully, including its flaws.

Obikwa has vivacious, rich fruit --there's Shiraz's characteristic plum, but an equal helping of blackberry. The massive fruity mouthful that hits your tongue is balanced by strong, sharp tannins, healthy acidity, and a great deal of pepper with characteristic Shiraz smokiness. The finish is strongly aromatic and responds excellently to a little spice or pepper in food, but don't over do it or things might be a little out-of-control and difficult to handle for most mouths.

The wine is clearly young. And if you missed the age on the label, the sharpness of the tannins will tell you right at the first sip just how young, but this wine wants to be young. It's part of what makes it worth drinking week after week. The fruity, full palate also rises to the challenge of handling the wine's youth nearly effortlessly.

As I alluded to earlier, everything is up front. The finish has a few layers of pepper and chewy smokiness but I wouldn't call it complex. In the case of this bottle this naivete is refreshing and honest and complements the flavours and character of the bottle well. I wouldn't change a thing.

Food.

You'll want red meat like a blackened steak, or a pasta with a peppery cream sauce and Italian sausage to go with this guy. Burgers are amazing. Avoid anything with more than a little spice unless you know what you're doing because the finish of the Obikwa will get more than a little intense. A fattier meal will moderate the tannins. Obikwa is particularly good with such a meal, because it's strong enough to stay a little fierce --if that's what you want.

Aging.

Obviously it's young. Aging will certainly moderate the sharpness of the tannins, and this wine will certainly survive a couple years in the cellar, but whether moderating the tannins in this case is a good thing is a matter of personal opinion. As I said above, the wine's youth is part of what gives it it's character, and it's one of the most idiotic fallacies of the enjoyment of wine that aging improves a wine (98% of the time it's not true).

Personally, I'm keeping a couple and planning to open them in about three years, but it's more curiousity than an honest belief that aging will improve it. Right now it's a distinctive wine with excellent and unique character. It may become nothing more than average wine after a couple years.

Conclusion.

This wine is everything that is ballsy about South African wine making. It has character and is distinctive. It's too strong for some, but if you mix it with a fatty meal (burgers for example) to moderate the tannins, even normally timid wine drinkers will love it.

It's also downright inexpensive. About as cheap as you can get, so it's an outstanding value.

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I've searched for a wine that I would like. Perhaps I am approaching it from the wrong angle, or perhaps I am lacking in class in that area, but nearly every wine I've tried, regardless of price, has a flavor I do not much like. I think they have a bitter, tongue-wrinkling taste, but I figure I must be missing something since it seems to popular.

Sweet wines seem a little better, but those I've tried have a bit of a "candy" effect, which I don't appreciate.

I recently bought a bottle of Japanese plumb wine, and while it wasn't bad, it wasn't wine either. Not really. While there are probably no hard and fast rules, I tend to think "grapes" when I think "wine."

I know a number of oenophiles that simply cannot understand how I do not appreciate these drinks.

While I have heard that wine is an acquired taste, I have heard the same for beer and never did like the stuff.

So, help me out, how is it that I can go about this differently?

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Ah. Someone who loves wine... I'm no expert except that I know a good wine when I drink one. Basically any wine that tastes good is a good wine for me. Don't really care what someone else says.

I never, ever drink rose. Can't stand the stuff.

I used to drink white exclusively, mostly German white from the Mosel area. Rather sweet stuff like Kabinett and Auslese. Nowadays I rarely drink sweet wine anymore. I still like it as aperitif but I tend more to half-dry and dry white wines. A half dry Kabinett goes down very well. My favorite white, by far, is a good Pinot Gris. I first drank it on holiday in Alsace in north-western France, an area that more resembles Germany than France. Many people still speak French there it seems and the villages, towns and cities have German names (like Strasbourg -> Strassburg). Whatever, I like Pinot Gris. A lot. It has a nice smokey aftertaste and isn't too sweet. Pinot Blanc is nice as well but IMO lacks the character of a Pinot Gris. It's good stuff to drink on a warm summer's day. That's when I enjoy white wine best. When it's very warm, I don't drink red often if at all.

I never drank red until about two years ago. I always got headaches from the stuff and it never tasted good. Guess I must have been drinking bad stuff. Since a couple of years we visit my niece and her husband regularly and they're wine lovers as well. That's where we learned to drink red wine. White goes down a lot easier than red, often because whites are sweeter. But once you learn to enjoy good red wine... Nowadays I drink red and white 50/50 I think although when I'm just having a drink I tend more to white while I enjoy red more with food. Like Gilbo, I like Cabernet-Sauvignon, Shiraz, ... Shiraz goes nicely along with barbecue and spicy things indeed. I usually buy anything but French wine. Not because I don't like French wines but because they're rather expensive without necessarily being better. For EUR 3-6 I can find good Australian, South African and South American wines. The decent French stuff starts at EUR 6-7. About the only French I'd spend somewhat more money on is a good Saint-Emillion but truth be told, I just as easily enjoy a cheaper bottle from an "alternative" wine country. I've heard good things about Eastern European wines but haven't tried them yet.

Some/many connoisseurs don't like non-French wines because...well, they're not French! They know South Africans or Aussies can't make better wine than the French. Best thing is not to server the wine in the bottle but in an unmarked carafe and then surprise them with the bottle after they've invariably told you they like the wine and want to know what kind it is.

Strange. € é è à seem to behave funny...

Sivar,

Try a dry or half-dry white. It should not make your tongue sticky like some of the sweet stuff does :)

Edited by HMTK

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I'm more a red guy, over white wine. I don't mind some of the white dessert wines though.

Typically I prefer the De Bortli Cabernet-Sauvignon or Shiraz, or Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz. Both retail for around the AU$15 - $20 mark. The De Bortli Shiraz goes very nice with a good steak on the bbq.

The good thing here in Australia, if you spend more than $15 on a bottle, it's generally a pretty good drop. Because of that, I rarely buy the same bottle twice.

With a pasta dish, white or red wine?

PS. The De Bortli Port (98-99) is very nice Port as well, if you like fortified wine.

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With a pasta dish, white or red wine?

I would go with a white wine for a pasta dish.

Best Regards

Theis

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With a pasta dish, white or red wine?

I would go with a white wine for a pasta dish.

The way I personally see it, it depends on the condiment or sauce? Say if your having meatballs with a heavy/rich tomato sauce wouldn't a red be more appropriate?

But say a fettuccine carbonara, then IMHO a white would be better...

I just know a lot of wine lovers don't like to take a risk when selecting a wine with pasta. But as a general rule, white with pasta, at least IMHO.

Edited by Chewy509

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Sorry, another what wine with what food question?

I've invited a friend over for dinner Friday night, and she's begged for my home-made sweet potato gnocchi and napolitana sauce (which the tomato sauce recipes posted here have help perfect). :D But anyway, I was thinking an Italian Vino, Chanti or Lambrusco, any suggestions?

PS. The Antipasto will most likely be some Bruschetta topped with chopped tomato, onion/garlic and parmesan, served with slices of salami, prosciutto, cheese and olives.

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If you enjoy wine, if you don't think a good meal is complete without a glass of the red stuff (or the white stuff if you're into that) then this thread is for you. Approximately once a week, I'm going to try to talk about a new wine that I have recently enjoyed that I would buy again, and I would love to hear similar accounts from anyone else who shares a passion for this wonderful drink.

So, if you drank a bottle of wine this week that you liked, that you'd buy again, don't be lazy. Tell us a little about it!

Well, I do enjoy wine. I'm not terribly picky (Carlo Rossi's pretty gross... but I did drink a sangria recently, not as good as that I tried when I was in the Catalonian part of France--Perpignan). I tend to drink as often as I can. Shiraz is on the menu today... mmm, I think it's Banrock Station "Good Earth, Good Wine." Pretty good price for those starving student types.

A wine I had about a year ago was the Viognier varietal (I like finding new varietals; I recently finished "Créer sa cave et choisir son vin," by Gilles du Pontavice [Roughly "How to create your wine cellar & choose your wine] & was surprised to find out all the different French grapes I'd never heard of) put out by Smoking Loon... I think it was 2004. A pretty easy white that is similar to Chardonnays. We'll see if I agree w/ this as my experience broadens.

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Wines of the weak.

Why can't we go Christmas shopping ?

I want to go christams shopping.

and

When are we going Christmas shopping?

Seriously

If there was basic sanitation and therefore water suitable to drink wine would not have been made in the first place. :lol:

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Well, first off, really great idea. Thanks for doing this, I know it takes quite a bit of time to write all these.

Since you appear to be so knowledgeable in this area, I'd take the time to ask you about... wine. But of course. Problem is, I kinda have a higher than normal blood preasure, and each and every time I drink red wine, I feel strange, funny somehow, but not enjoyable. With the white one there's no problem. So, can you eventually recommend me a decent red that doesn't cost a fortune(up to 20 is actually ok), but it's somewhat lighter? It's really embarrassing for me to have to open a bottle of white while my guests/host take down a reddy.

Actually I'm to visit some old friends this saturday, I might just try your pick should I find it over here.

Once again, great idea :)

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Well, I picked up a couple of bottles of "Moscato D'Asti" this weekend, and it's a nice drop.

It's a very light Italian white wine, suitable for either a pasta dish or to have with a large anti-pasto. This wine is also very sweet and has a full bodied flavour without being overly powerful, so if you're not a fan of dry white wines, I can definitely recommend this one.

Also alcohol content is roughly 5.5%, so less than a typical heavy beer (The whole 750ml is rated for 3.2 standard drinks (Australian measurement)). As I said, it's a light wine.

"Moscato D'Asti" is a classic Piedmont wine made from Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the Asti region of Italy.

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Thirdly, I like tannins, ...

I know one Aussie that'll be happy to read this...

I'm a coffee man ; I rarely drink wine. When I do, I prefer red wine, especially since it contains more anti-oxydants and stuff good for the heart's health. I avoid (when I'm awared of) wines with a marked bitterness (so unlike you, I hate Pinot). Last wine I drank was fairly good. I don't remember the name though, so that's not very helpful for other readers, sorry. When I'll find it, I'll share the name. It wasn't a very expensive bottle, maybe 12$CAN.

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Finally I have consumed a bottle of wine worthy of the title “Wine of the Week.†You may say “STL a wine for $6USD per bottle worthy of such a title?†I say yes. Surprisingly a CA ‘la la land’ deep purple colored 13% Shiraz that goes by the name Barefoot. It has a distinct blackberry flavor with Smokey overtones but by far the most captivating characteristic of this wine is the prodigious, almost ‘brie,’ cheesy flavor that unexpectedly bursts your taste buds upon the aftertaste. A great deal that is found almost anywhere (sadly I have walked past it so many times writing it off as a ‘cheap’ wine) this wine is well worth your time and money. Numerous Gold Medal wins from the San Francisco ‘Follicle’ Chronicle wine competition proves I am not alone in my ‘love affair’ with this wine. If you are alone on a Saturday night and you want to ‘do it right’ may I also suggest a good book, Colby Jack cheese, sesame crackers or crisps, sweet red apple slices, and celery sticks to accompany this wine down your gullet, p.s. don’t eat the book, go ahead, drink the whole bottle, you will not be able to put it down anyway, not to mention you will sleep good. Until the next ‘STL wine suggestion’ kindest regards and drink responsibly. :)

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xSTLx, the "Barefoot" line of wines was introduced in California under the name "La Feet". The company was sued by La Fite Rothschild, so they changed their name.

I have often purchased their wines because they offer good value as well as quality. I will look for the Shiraz.

Thanks, Joe

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So, if you drank a bottle of wine this week that you liked, that you'd buy again, don't be lazy. Tell us a little about it!

[holds mirror up to Gilbo] :P

Well back in '06 there was no world-wide recession...but there was 2buck-Chucks (ie. Trader Joe's exclusive on Charles Shaw Winery, bulk blended wine @$2 USD). In 2010, I'm only now back to my 2006 weight, on a diet because of borderline hypertension, really should avoid the xtra calories in wines. I did manage to walk 60mi in 7days last week, new personal best after walking 1k+mi since I stared last summer.

This year $2Chuck expanded to include "international" labeled varietals (ie. from Australia only at present). $2Chuck Shiraz from Oz was richer, more flamboyantly jammy compared to the Calif. version. I bought lots of that until they ran out :(. Tried the Cab Sauv (even though I'm not a big fan of Cabs unless it's a decadent Pomerol or other $$$$$ Bordeaux) from Oz, it's better than the Calif version imho. Typical of the style of Oz wines where they are fermented @high temps than Calif contemporaries), you get more extract, more flavor, but sometimes a bitter chocolate like finish as a result of those hotter fermentation temps...can almost be off putting in assertiveness. Not so with the $2buckC. Will buy this until they run out at the local store, mostly gone for now at the other stores, hope they are able to secure more, but different batches may be better or worse.

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Nice revival of a nearly four year old thread! I love it...and love the wine too BTW.

Lately I've been trying to master the $12-$15 range of reds. I drink them frequently. Some recent favorites include Mettler Zin (heavy in alcohol) and Copola's Zin - Director's Cut. Both are excellent zins under $15 at my place in Kentucky (cheaper than Ohio).

Anyone else have a suv $15 red they like?

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Nice revival of a nearly four year old thread! I love it...and love the wine too BTW.

Lately I've been trying to master the $12-$15 range of reds. I drink them frequently. Some recent favorites include Mettler Zin (heavy in alcohol) and Copola's Zin - Director's Cut. Both are excellent zins under $15 at my place in Kentucky (cheaper than Ohio).

Anyone else have a suv $15 red they like?

Generally i kind of like the heavier red wines, but thats mostly because i normally only drink red wine to stuff like Steaks...

The Ripasso and Amarone type of red wines are my personal favorites. Here in denmark they go from anywhere between 10 - 20$ for the 3-4 year stuff.

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I just retried a Hedges CMS blend that runs $13-14...meh, didn't like it but manned up and finished off the bottle.

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Hey :)

Never thought a wine thread would emerge on a storage forum for geeks ;)

I'm into the thicker red stuff - and I drink red wine 4-5 days a week and special beer the other 2-3 days if the week - never more than half a bottle a day though. I try to stay in good fit shape, so have to cut down on the calories of this stuff !

Also have never tasted a White wine, where I would prefer it over a similar priced red whine - so in short I never ever drink White wine anymore.

My Favorite red whines are:

Italy: Almost every Amarone I can find :)

Stronger Nebbiolo types I also enjoy, but avoid all Barolos because of the 100's of Barolo I've tasted, they were all let downs for my taste.

Much prefer a strong Brunello to a Barolo - 10 out of 10 times

France: Prefer the stronger thicket Rhone whines and Cote D'Azur wine.

Among the thinner stuff - my favourites are Bourgogne wines, my all time favorite being Chevrey Chambertin, a fantastic tasting mild red whine but rather expensive too.

Hate or dislike all the commercial Bordeaux stuff......even dislike expensive Pomerols and Margaux wine :)

Among overseas wine- my favourites are Shiraz and Cabernet from Aussie land, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and some stuff from California. Avoid wine from Chile.

----

Vh/Regards

Claus - TapaTalk on my Ip4

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I've been hitting a lot of Aussie reds lately, my favorite shop has Penfolds Bin 2 on sale right now. I'm heading there sometime this week, I'll post my shopping list when I get back.

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Sebastiani has a new Cabernet vintage out - very affordable $12-14 depending on where you go. I bought their 2006 for $15 and thought it was excellent for that price.

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