The bouquet is meaty, dense and full of berry jam, but it is also rather generic and lacks any particular individual notes. That said, the wine is quite good, bordering on excellent. In the mouth, you get a full blast of black cherry and licorice, and the finish is typically full and chewy. Not that complex but very good in a straight-ahead way. —M.S.
Anise-wintergreen shadings on the cherry fruit open to a flavorful, sweet and sour palate. It’s yet another example of the eminently drinkable, inexpensive wines that have spearheaded the Aussie invasion. The dry finish shows a hint of chalk and a nutty note.
Toasty and oaky, but in a warm and lovable way, all underpinned by lean citrusy fruit that helps maintain a sense of balance and proportion. There’s even a bit of crème brûlée thrown into the mix. Finishes smoothly, with nary a rough edge. Best Buy.
Telltale oak is manifested in the scents of smoke and bacon fat aromas, though that oakiness overshadows the black fruit. In the mouth, you get some black cherry and blackberry, but also plenty of vanilla and licorice. With decent depth and moderate complexity, this is a good, likable wine. —M.S.
What a wonderful wine at this price! It’s got an amazing amount of sweet, ripe berry fruit and spice in a package that’s balanced, rich, and harmonious. It might lack the extra dimension of a great wine, but it pushes the envelope of what you can get at an everyday price. Best Buy.
This dark, rich, earthy wine is notable for its ultrasoft but pleasing tannins. The fruit veers toward plum and blackberry, but it’s not superfruity—rather, it’s more restrained, with notes of sun-dried tomatoes and herbs. It turns a little thin on the finish, although there’s plenty of spice. Best Buy.
Here’s a very interesting Chard packed with citrus, tropical fruit, and spice, and just the right touch of toasty oak. One caveat: The acidity is very high, and some may find it tart, even sour. Others will appreciate the structure.
An interesting mix is at work here: You get the Chardonnay body and pear flavors and some nuttiness from the 60% Sémillon. Quite a straight-ahead wine, with more neutrality than nuance; the flavor profile ultimately veers toward citrus and almond. Overall it’s forward and clean-tasting, with enough creaminess to satisfy.