2011 Phantom

Name: Phantom
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2011
Price: $19.99

It’s just after Halloween and this bottle is marketed just for the occasion…it’s known as the Phantom. It’s produced by Bogle Vineyards and has the tagline “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” I bought the bottle for $19.99 before Halloween (~$18 after case discount) and I should have seen this coming, but I just saw it at Wegman’s after Halloween for $14.99. Nothing haunts me like over-paying for a bottle of wine by $5…so they got me there. Boo!

On the plus side, it has one of those super heavy bottles. My drip ring barely fit on the top. Whenever I get a bottle like this I simultaneously feel like I got more for my money and guilty for consuming the extra glass even though I recycle.

The wine itself is dark…like the wraith shackled to your soul. Nah, it is a deep ruby color though and it has an earthy, pungent aroma of black pepper. It has distinct tannins, dark berry flavors and a robust feel in the mouth. Spicy too, very spicy. It’s a very good wine though I like it a LOT better at $14.99 than $19.99. Stock up now.

 

Picture of bottle of 2011 Phantom red wine from Bogle Vineyards

Villa Antinori Review

Name: Villa Antinori
Type: Red
Origin: Italy
Year: 2011
Price: $19.99

Bumping right up against my $20 price limit is this bottle of Villa Antinori. It’s a red blend from Tuscany that came to me as a recommendation. The ruby red colored vino has a potent aroma of jammy fruit and earthy, leathery notes. It’s tasty and well-balanced with soft tannins and a lengthy finish. One of the dominant flavors is chocolate, but not milk chocolate, but rather a nice dark chocolate. I’m going to say 85% with a bit of grit in the texture. If your BS meter is going off then you’re just astute….but this is a very good wine for the price…

Villa Antinori Review

2007 Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red

Name: Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red
Type: Red
Grape: Red Blend
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Purple Cowboy
Price: $11.99

Interesting name, interesting label and an interesting little story on the back about the wine. True to the name, the wine is deep purple, almost opaque. The nose is all stewed fruit and tobacco. The wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, and true to form it’s a boldly flavored wine. Plum, other dark fruits and earthy flavors dominate. The finish is rather lengthy and it there I detected the tannins. This isn’t a wine for everyone and I’d suggest drinking it with food but I do like it.

2007 Pico Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Pico
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Zunio
Price: $10.99

This is another of the wines I ordered online with the Groupon. It’s a deep red color, almost purple. It has a nice aroma of blackberry and spice. The flavor isn’t up to par though. Some off flavors and tannins hit you almost immediately, simultaneously with the fruit really. There’s a little fruit at first but it’s an unbalanced wine, with harsh, tannic flavors dominating all the way through the finish. Not recommended.

2008 Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2008
Producer: Cupcake Vineyards
Price: $9.99

This is the third red wine I’ve tasted from this label and I’ve liked them all. This is the first one I’ve found time to review though. It has a nice deep color and a potent aroma of wood, spice and fruit. The flavor is dry, fruity and tannic. A bit more tannic than I generally like but the overall experience is pleasant. I’ve tried the Merlot and the Syrah as well, I recommend all the Cupcake reds.

 

2007 Redmond Ranch Syrah

Name: Redmond Ranch
Type: Red
Grape: Syrah
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Amala Springs
Price: $10.00

This is another bottle I got from the Groupon deal. It’s a dense, deep color almost like motor oil. The aroma is earthy with leather and plum scents. For a wine that promises to be so big, it’s very smooth and round. It’s also not very complex which isn’t what I expected. It’s sort of a crowd-pleasing, easy to like Syrah. I get why they would choose that for a wine club but it’s not what I look for in a Syrah.

Villa Fassini Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Villa Fassini
Type: Red
Grape: Blend
Origin: Italy
Year: 2008
Producer: C. Campagna Gello
Price: $7.00

I like Italian wines, they are generally decent quality and easy to appreciate. This one has a classy looking bottle, especially at such a low price. It has a subdued aroma with blueberry and blackberry scents. The flavor leaves a bit to be desired though. It’s just a little too boring. There are some berry flavors with some tartness on the short finish. It’s smooth but rather thin, with a lightweight mouth feel for Sangiovese and Cabernet.

2008 Irony Pinot Noir

Name: Irony Pinot Noir
Type: Red
Grape: Pinot Noir
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2008
Producer: Irony Wine Cellars
Price: $11.99

This bottle has one of those fat bottles that is hard to fit in my wine cooler, minor complaint. It often happens with Shiraz for some reason but not too much with Pinot Noir. It’s a nice looking bottle though. It has a sweet aroma, perhaps of black cherry, very nice. The mouth feel is a bit thin, something I often find with low priced Pinot Noir. Otherwise it’s berries and tannins. More tannins than I expected. It’s not a well-balanced wine and not a great example of Pinot Noir but I find it generally enjoyable anyway. Maybe I’m drinking too many low end wines these days…

Big House Red (3L Box)

Name: Big House Red (3L Box)
Type: Red
Grape: Blend
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2009
Producer: Big House Wine Co.
Price: $16.99

There is much to like about this everyday red. Let’s start with the environment. This box wine comes in an octagonal cardboard container (which they call the Octavin Home Wine Bar, I love marketers) which they claim reduces packaging waste by 92 percent and carbon emissions by 55 percent vs. traditional bottles. So we’re off to a good start already. As box wine goes, it’s a nice looking package too. The octagonal shape is also less awkward and has a smaller footprint on the counter than most. My only complaint is the spout, it’s more difficult to use than others I’ve seen.

The wine itself is a combination of 14 different grapes, everything but the kitchen sink basically. It has a nice purplish hue and a strong aroma of fruit and subtle spice. The flavor is smooth, round and inoffensive in any way. It even matures on the palate and shows some tannins before the medium finish. All in all it’s the best box wine I’ve ever had by a decent margin. Recommended.

2005 Z-52 Agnes Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel

Name: Z-52 Agnes Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel
Type: Red
Grape: Zinfandel
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Z-52
Price: $11.00

I got this bottle of wine along with half a dozen others from a site called Wine Insiders. I got a special deal on Groupon for this site so the prices were better than usual but I’m listing the normal price. Every time I’ve tried a wine club (about 3 times now) I’ve been fairly unimpressed with the quality of the wines. I happened to order 2 bottles of this wine because I like Zin and the first bottle was an atrocity. I opened the second bottle to be sure and it’s normal so the first one was either corked or heat damaged. I was plotting my worst review ever and then learned this, which I’ll admit was kind of a let down.

This Zinfandel has a potent aroma of tart, dark fruit. It’s smooth, with a medium-weight mouth feel and flavors of berries, cherry and a bit of black pepper. There are subdued tannins on the short-ish finish. Overall it’s inoffensive and uni-dimensional. More or less what I expect from a wine club. It’s not bad it’s just not particularly interesting. That’s also what I expect from a Zinfandel in this price range but you can get plenty of wine like this without paying for shipping.