1. 2017 Barbanera, Nero di Troia, Puglia, Italy. $9.99. Also called the Uva di Troia, an indigenous red grape of Puglia. This bottle is a simple but fun and delicious red for pizza, pasta, ribs etc. Jammy black cherries and blackberries, spicy, dry, medium bodied, ready to drink. First time with this grape for me and I liked it. Grade: solid B/B+.

2. 90+ Cellars, Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy. $9.99. Well priced for a Trentino white, the wine is fruity with peach and pear, light bodied, juicy acidity, simple but fun PG. Grade: B.

3. 90+ Cellars, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley. $16.99. Very drinkable Pinot with spicy red cherry/red raspberry fruit, medium bodied, has some elegance, well priced for Willamette but lacks the pizzazz of a fine version from there. Grade: B.

4. 2016 Dub Style, Shiraz and Cabernet blend. $18.99 (?), a sample given to me so I am not sure of the price. Somewhat dull but drinkable Australian blend. Grade: barely a B. Their straight Shiraz which we had on close-out at $11.99 was a nice B rated wine.

5. 2015 Kilikanoon, Shiraz (Australia, on close-out for $9.99, normally about $19 or so). Bought it three times, as my cost was cheap. Has an over ripe, raisiny feel to it that reminds me of Amarone, dark, deep blackberry fruit, plummy, lower acid than my usual reds but still quite drinkable. I think it suffered a bit from sitting in the distributor's warehouse for a summer or two. Still quite enjoyable. Grade: solid B, probably a perfect bottle would be higher.

6. 2016 Walking Dead, Sauvignon Blanc (CA). $9.99. I liked this one a lot despite my initial doubts about it being a mere gimmick wine. Very fresh (90% of the battle nowadays), loaded with crisp, juicy grapefruit and citrus, at my cost I could not resist buying 6 bottles. Grade: solid B.

7. 2015 Monterey Vineyards, Chardonnay. $5.99 on close-out. I am always skeptical about close-outs, the biggest concern for me being that the wine did not move and therefore sat in the distributor's warehouse w/o any a/c for a summer or three. So, despite my cost being dirt cheap, I figured this was going to disappoint, but somehow the wine was in fine condition, quite fresh and intense, with apple, pear and banana notes. My biggest problem - too much oak for my taste, but for the average Chard drinker it is just fine. Despite the oak, I bought a few more bottles for summer sipping and cooking. :~) Grade: solid B.

8. 2017 Riviera, Pinot Grigio, Sicily. $5.99. Drinkable little PG from sun drenched Sicily, it has a touch TOO much acidity and not enough fruit to balance it for me to consider getting more. Grade: B.

9. 2015 Truchard, Syrah. $15.99. Carneros. Got a special price from the distributor. EXCELLENT Syrah from one of my favorite Cali wineries, it is very dark, full bodied, loaded (or should I say "oozing") with ripe black fruit like blackberry and black plum, some spice, intense on the palate and long on the finish, perfect condition. Had it with some osso buco. Have another bottle and thinking of getting more. Grade: A-, maybe an A with another year or three in bottle (?).

10. 2015 Nozzole, Chianti Classico Riserva. $21.99. Ok a little over $20, but worth the extra duckets. A really nice old school CCR, just the way I like them, with that amazing cherry red color of a traditional style wine (no Cab, no Merlot, no Syrah), a fragrant, lovely nose of violets, red cherries, spice and earth, medium bodied, elegant texture, typical Chianti acidity, long finish. Worth putting two or three in the cave to see what happens. Grade: A-.

Edited by Dave Cuneo (06-18-2019 12:54:07)
"When laws become the enemy of men, then men become the enemies of laws".