St. Clement, Merlot, 2007

This 2007 Merlot from Napa Valley is good and bold. It was the third wine of the night, so I will refrain from making too many comments right now and will try it again some other time. I know the winery and they have mixed products, some really good, others not so much. For about $25 a bottle, the St. Clement needs to reach a higher expectation to be worth the price. Looking forward to trying another bottle.

Franciscan Magnificat, Bordeaux Blend, 2005

The 2005 Franciscan Magnificat is a Bordeaux blend from Napa. It went down very smoothly. I don't recall any specific characteristics that came to mind, but it's a decent wine overall. A bit pricey for about $40, so I'll probably have to try another one more carefully to have a more decent verdict on it.

Frei Brothers, Syrah, 2007

A simple wine. Not good, not bad, just a very inexpressive Syrah. This Frei Brothers 2007 had quite a bit of residue at the bottom too, which can be unattractive (I forgive it when it happens in really good wines, but in not-so-great ones, it's just an extra turn off). This was a gift, but I believe it's about $20 a bottle. Too pricey for the quality.


Achaval Ferrer, Malbec, 2009

I can't decide if I like this 2009 Malbec from Argentina or not. The Achaval Ferrer is not bad. It has a deep ruby red color and smells good. At first, a faint hint of vanilla comes to mind. The taste is that of a young malbec but it has a weird after taste. It leaves a bit a sticky and bitter flavor in the mouth. It  feels almost as if the skin of the grapes were still in there somehow. Overall, it's a nice experience but I think it should age some more before we call it a winner. At $15, it's a bit pricey.


Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, 2007

Continuing with the Italian grape week, this 2007 Montepulciano from Cantina Zaccagnini is a little weird. At first, I was disappointed that it had no bouquet whatsoever. I thought I had a cold or a stuffy nose, but it wasn't me, it's the wine that doesn't offer much but a faint smell of alcohol. It's weak on the palate and feels watered down a bit, but offers some tannins alright, which guarantees its "dry wine" label. To compensate for its blandness, it does leave a nice after taste of mixed fruits behind. It did get a little better with time after opening. Overall, it's okay, but probably not a great buy for its $12 price tag. There are better options out there.


Villa Toscano, Barbera, 2007

Villa Toscano is a 2007 Barbera from the Shenandoah Valley in California. It's the first Barbera I'm reviewing here. It wasn't exactly what I had expected given that the usual Barbera tannins weren't so prominent. But Toscano is very decent and pleases the palate. It has a velvety finish where nuances of chocolate can be picked up (if somewhat mixed with some faint vanilla). I would repeat, depending on the situation.