Selby, Merlot, 2006

This Selby is a Sonoma county 2006 merlot that is dry and high in tannins. It's best with a meal or with some decanting first, to let it mellow a bit. Not one of my favorites, but definitely not bad either.


Don Melchor, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006

Don Melchor, from chilean Concha Y Toro is very smooth and round on the palate. Certainly a great wine with complex oak and fruit tastes. Its $50 price tag is well beyond its quality and hence I'd have to recommend another very similar chilean wine in its place, Casa Lapostolle.


Jacob Franklin, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1999

Only seven barrels of this 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hoffman Lane in Napa Valley were produced. The Jacob Franklin is a complex and round wine. It's rich in tannins, despite its older age and it's a very decent companion for a nice filet mignon with foie gras in a truffle reduction. It is priced as if these were the last seven barrels of wine on Earth though, which makes it too expensive for its value. I wouldn't pay more than $20 for this wine the second time around, even though the first time it was significantly higher (so much so that I'm ashamed to publish the number -- it was at a restaurant though, which adds insult to injury).


Yellow Tail, Shiraz Cabernet, 2008

This 2008 60% shiraz 40% cabernet sauvignon has an unbelievable intense smell and flavor of caramel flan. At first, it smells like vanilla and tastes like chocolate. A day later it's a clear caramel flan. For a non-dessert wine, this is a very surprising flavor/aroma combo. Simply too unexpected and pleasantly sweet to go unnoticed. Its $7 price tag makes this an all-time favorite party wine for many occasions. I'd expect even those who don't enjoy wine to make an exception for this extremely easy-to-drink wine.

Update: I realize this is was a super endorsement of this wine, but it really isn't. It was the first time I had tried such surprising and unexpected taste of caramel flan in a wine. But this is really a characteristic of low-quality wines. It now bothers me to find such flavors I don't usually find in wines I love. So, I'm scratching this one off my list of good wines.


Vina Tobia, Tempranillo, 2009

This 2009 Tempranillo is light on alcohol with an intense smell and flavor or cherries. It's a good call with pasta or pizza or even some light meat such as veal. For $9.99, it's a good addition to any cellar.


Bons Ventos, Estremadura, 2008

This 2008 portuguese wine from the Estremadura region is made of four portugues varietals: Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Touriga Nacional. At first it reminded me of Luis Pato, except that it's much better. It's light, only 12.5% alcohol, but it doesn't feel watered down like the Luis Pato. It has a nice aroma and some hints of spices. I liked it. And for $9.99, it's a bargain. I'll get a case of this one next time I find it.


Luis Pato, Baga, 2007

This 2007 portuguese wine from the Baga grape is not strong in terms of alcohol (12.5%), but it has its personality. At a first sip it's not the most pleasant wine because of a slight bitterness. But its flavor can be appreciated with food, especially with the spaghetti bolognese I had with it. By itself though, I'm still not a big fan, because it can be at the same time bland (watered down) and a little bitter, which is somewhat of taste conundrum to me. For $12.99, it's definitely not a bargain, but not a rip-off either.