By Ralph Del Rio, Wine Correspondent
As the year comes to a lethargic end; a year actually of
real highs and lows…I would say that French, Australian and California reds subjugated
my budget this year. I try to taste as often as I can. I am real fortunate to
live in Florida where for not being a main wine producing place. Sure has a lot
of say in that’s going on in the wine world. The Gulf Coast of Florida wine
aficionados have a lot going on from major charities to major wine events and
arguably the best steakhouses, seafood and fusion restaurants in the USA.
As I said, some areas come to mind, right now… really a
couple, Let’s talk a little France and Australia.
In 2008 we have seen a lot of the delicious 2005 Bordeaux
come to market. After so much hoopla there is a lot of quality. The region reaped
the benefits of a great growing season; in which many grand estates reached a
quality highpoint in 2005 vintage. They compare the vintage to the famous 1961,
and controversial 1982; that were heralded!
I really like the 1996 myself and the 2003 was outstanding!
I have had plenty of opportunity over the last couple of
years to taste quite abundantly the 1996, 1997 and the 2004 vintages of
Bordeaux. I have been very lucky. I found several value Bordeaux’s too… seek
them out. They should drink well for 5-10 years that is if the year is truly
great…. How can so many great critic be wrong??? Right?!? I am in agreement.
The following wines are structured, big and full of the
black fruits, cedar notes and earthy tones and lengthy finish you would expect.
2005 Cote Montpezat Compostelle, 2005 Larrivaux(Haut Medoc),
2005 Epicuria, 2005 Chateau Charmail and the 2005 Reignac…all and under $20!
It’s been a strange year 2008.
After a few years in doldrums; I am perking up my interest
in Australian wines again. In the the first part of the decade I really got a
kick out of the big, ripe Shiraz, the fruit forward style that was coming out
of the Barossa, and McLaren Vale. But
then the region began to bore me a little. But in 2008 I drank a few from the
Mollydooker line and enjoyed them very much; the 2006 and 2007 ‘Carnival of
Love’ were outstanding! There’s a great one called Blue Eyed Boy and so was
‘Two Left Feet’ (for $20 it’s a steal). I enjoyed ones like the well balanced
2005 Glaetzer Wallace from the Barossa Valley and the Chewy (I swear it was
like eating it!)Henry’s Drive Dead Letter Office.
Other great Aussies I enjoyed are the 2006 “The Winner’s
Tank Shiraz and 2005 Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz all under $20 as well.
Old World and New World. While drinking these wines this year one cannot help but notice how good
wine quality is getting across the board for every kind of wine
enthusiast. I’ll remember 2008 for that