This Les Hauts Du Castellas 2007 Gigondas is just what one would hope to get from a southern Rhone wine-complexity and a sense of the area where the wine comes from. The blend is 75% Grenache 15% Strah and 10% Mourvedre , typical blend for the region. One tastes the lavender and spice that is planted all over the hills around the vineyards. There really isn't a new world version of this wine-no matter how hard the US wine makers try, there is no way to replicate the flavors that are present in this and other really great wines of the southern Rhone valley. I'll give it 8 1/2 swiggs. Imported by Fruit of the vines, inc. Long island city, N.Y.
Whenever I hear "Primitivo" come up in wine talk I think of bold flavors and easy to drink reds. This 2008 Primitivo del Salento was easy to drink but honestly, it didn't have the kind of distinction I would have expected . After a glass with dinner, if I were blindfolded I would not have been able to tell you what country or even the grape in this wine-it could have been anything. I would dub this an 'Airplane' wine.....coach, not business or first. This isn't what I would call a real value at $ 12.99 and I doubt I will buy more. It wasn't horrible ,but I would expect a lot more from this wine at this price. 4 1/2 swiggs.
Scott Harvey has been making wine in Amador county for a long time. At one time he was a winemaker at Renwood and had access to some of the oldest vines in the country. Scott knows how to coax bold flavors out of Zin vines so I figured that this 2008 Amador county mountain selection Syrah would be in the style of his Zins. This was the case as the extracted concentrated flavors were impressive. If you like the style , this is a wine for you. $ 15.99 at Shopper's corner-8 1/2 swiggs.
I read a review of some Sonoma Zins in the S.F. Chronicle the other day and saw one of the wines at the local market. At $ 23.99, this 2009 Hobo Rockpile Brennan vineyard Zin is at the upper end of what I pay for a wine but it comes through with some big flavors. The tannins are up there as well, suggesting that hanging onto this one for a few years won't hurt it. -Of course, we drank it immediately with dinner. It's one of the better wines of its type and well worth the price. 9 swiggs.
There aren't many Montepulciano's from California....as a matter of fact , this might be the first one I have had. I find it to be more like an old world wine, not overly sweet or concetrated-drier and more of a food-wine. Unti makes Zin, Syrah , grenache and Petit Sirah in addition to this 2008 Dry Creek valley Montepulciano but this one really stands out as an homage to the dry red wines of Italy. This is not a fruit bomb but a nice wine to have with dinner. It is fine on its own but it really shines when the pasta is on the table. You can find it at the winery and at a few upper-end wine shops like K&L. At around $ 25, I regard this as a weekend wine and give it 8 swiggs.