Red Wines    Malbec    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 8/20/2014
Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec 2007
Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec 2007
(search item no. 95213)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 8/20/2014: $16.79

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2010 Wine & Spirits rating: 88 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2006 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The wine has a beautiful reddish/purple color as most good Malbecs do. The aromas are a mix of freshly crushed black cherries and toasty/smoky oak —just enough to frame the exuberant fruit. On the palate, the flavors of cherries and spice are obvious, and the jammy fruit quality just keeps coming on strong, with hints of spice and sandalwood lurking in the background.

"The purple-colored 2007 Malbec offers an enticing bouquet of spice box, cedar, black cherry and black raspberry. Medium-bodied and full-flavored, on the palate it has gobs of spicy, savory fruit, soft tannins, and a lengthy finish. It may well evolve for 1-2 years but there is no reason to defer gratification. All of the Crios wines are phenomenal values worth buying by the case."
-Wine Advocate

My Notes:

Additional wines from Crios de Susana Balbo:

About Crios de Susana Balbo:

After 22 years of winemaking, Susana Balbo has a strong sense of what she wants from her wines. From every harvest, she creates the grandest possible wines under her Susana Balbo label. To achieve this, she makes a rigorous selection of the finest barrels prior to making her final blends, dividing them into the parents (reserve level wines) and offspring or "crios."

Wines under her Crios label display ripe fruit flavors, excellent balance and concentration, and are meant to be enjoyed in their vibrant youth. These wines are produced under Dominio del Plata's code of sustainable agriculture.

Like Susana's own crios (a boy and a girl), they are extremely lovable and fun to be around. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image inspired by a Mayan artifact. The artifact illustrates the interconnectedness of every generation, and the irony that we will be both the parent and the offspring at different times in our lives.



Red Wines    Malbec    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 8/20/2014
Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2007
Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2007
(search item no. 96661)
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 8/20/2014: $13.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 Tasting Panel rating: 90 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Intense red color with violet hues. Complex aromas with ripe plums, blackberry, blueberry, sweet tar, licorice, black pepper, mint, truffle with a hint of mocha flavors, giving an expressive and typical Argentinean character. It has sweet and smooth tannins, nice body with supple and long finish.
My Notes:

About Dona Paula:

Located in Ugarteche, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza Argentina, Dona Paula is an estate winery, producing wines from Dona Paula's own vineyards in the winegrowing regions of Mendoza. Dona Paula's history began in 1990, when a period of exhaustive research on the different Argentinean terroirs and their potential to fully express each varietal began. Dona Paula acquired its first vineyard in 1997 in Ugarteche, Lujan de Cuyo, a region in the foothills of the Andes Mountains that is famous for its Malbec. In 2002, Dona Paula began exporting into the US, UK and the Netherlands, and is now one of the leading Argentinean wineries that exports premium wines; with 97% of the winery's production exported to more than 60 countries.


Red Wines    Malbec    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 8/20/2014
Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve 2006
Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve 2006
(search item no. 97248)
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 8/20/2014: $17.99

Winemaker's Notes:

"Reserva" is made from carefully selected grapes from vineyards more than 30 years old. The wine is aged in French oak barrels and then additionally in bottles before release.

Hand selection of berries.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Bodega Norton:

About Bodega Norton:

Astonished at the features of the place, and pushed by his visionary spirit, in 1895, an English Engineer, Mr. Edmund J. P. Norton planted the first vines importing them from France, thereby giving origin to what was the first winery in the area.

Almost 100 years later, Austrian businessman, Mr. Gernot Langes–Swarovski, travelled to Mendoza and experienced the same fascination for the region beauty, the warmth of its people, and the excellent conditions for vine growing. Supporting his decision in his intuition and in the fact that he was convinced of the high potential the vitiniculture represented in Argentina, in 1989, he acquired the Winery with the following firm aim: to make wines recognized worldwide for their quality. While executing this project, he appointed his son Michael as the person responsible for the management of the company, who, jointly with a team of local professionals started a new phase of investment, revamping and growth.

In that way, the incorporation of top-notch technology together with the knowledge and passion of people, have caused Norton to be the leading brand in exports and one of the country´s most important Wineries.

Our 5 farms have over 1200 ha fit for growing vine, 680 ha out of which are currently cultivated. Over 150 families of vineyard workers live and work there, sharing secrets and experiences from generation to generation. This knowledge and passion for the work, combined with the professionalism of our team of agricultural engineers result in products with excellence.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Yarra Valley    Australia   
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Date Printed: 8/20/2014
Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2008
Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2008
(search item no. 95613)
screw cap wine

Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 8/20/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Australian Wine Companion rating: 93 points
2011 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2010 Australian Wine Companion rating: 89 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2007 Wine & Spirits rating: 88 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2005 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
2005 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The nose explodes with dark cherries, cranberries and fresh raspberries backed by subtle nutmeg and cinnamon spices. Underlying truffles and meaty, wet earth and mushroom notes add complexity. The juicy palate displays fresh berries with a slippery, rich and slightly tart finish. The perfect match for chargrilled quail and rosemary, or Peking duck pancakes.

The 2008 season, with long, warm summer days and cool nights, produced fruit with ideal ripeness and sugar balance. Vineyard sites were selected for their high diurnal temperature range, resulting in wines with high natural acidity and low pH. All fruit was hand harvested.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Innocent Bystander:

About Innocent Bystander:

The idea behind Innocent Bystander is to produce great value, food friendly wines that are not your run of the mill varietal blends. Taking fruit from various sources in Central Victoria (in particular Sangiovese, Shiraz, Pinot Gris and Viognier) the team at Innocent Bystander is inspired to utilize and showcase the natural qualities of each region in their unique blends.

As a group of winemakers and viticulturalists who eschew the bland direction and market dominance increasingly exerted by the large corporate winemaking groups, the folks behind these wines see themselves as innocent bystanders. They remain accountable to their craft, not shareholders.



Red Wines    Malbec    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 8/20/2014
Maipe Malbec 2008
Maipe Malbec 2008
(search item no. 98426)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 8/20/2014: $10.99

Winemaker's Notes:

From 35 year old vines, this Malbec has a deep purple color with violet tints, complex plum, fig, strawberry, spices and floral aromas; rounded and velvety tannins, excellent length with a distinguished character. Excellent when paired with game, roasted red meats, pasta or pizza.
My Notes:

About Maipe:

Produced in the Luján de Cuyo subregion of Mendoza by the Pelizzatti family, Maipe wines are an expression of the deep rich soils and a commitment to excellence by the young winemaker, Liliana Iannizzotto, and consultant Alberto Antonini.

"Alberto Antonini (think Altos Las Hormigas) is a consultant at Maipe which in and of itself is an indicator that the winery is focused on quality." - Wine Advocate (Dec 08)

The wines are produced from grapes grown in Agrelo and Luján de Cuyo, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, at an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level. Agrelo is a cool climate region in Argentina’s premier grape growing area. Each bottle captures the expression of the grape variety, showing its adaptation to the local soils and climate. The vineyard is planted with 18 hectares of Malbec and 32 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon. The soils are deep and textured, which facilitates plant development and confers great body and structure to the wines. Classified among the best areas within the province of Mendoza, year-long sunny and dry conditions permit almost organic viticulture practices. Its outstanding feature is a great daily thermal amplitude, with mild days and cold nights that allow a particular richness of polyphenols that improve the wines’ flavors and color.

Maipe was the Lord of the Winds for the ancient Andean people. Argentineans still invoke his name to clear the skies after a heavy rain or to temper the summer heat. These wines, children of the Sun and the Winds, are produced from grapes grown at the foothills of the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level. The intense color and aromas capture the expression of the soils that gave them birth.



Red Wines    Nero d'Avola    Sicily    Italy   
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Date Printed: 8/20/2014
Ajello Majus Nero d'Avola 2006
Ajello Majus Nero d'Avola 2006
(search item no. 98925)
Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 8/20/2014: $13.29

Winemaker's Notes:

Sicily's important native Nero D'avola grape is used for this exuberant, fresh, sappy red. Dry and spicy this is perfect for lighter fare and ideal for picnics and grilling. Fans of Zinfandel and Shiraz take notice! Pronounced "I-Yello My-Yoos"

"...This offers a lot of complexity at an exceptionally fair price..."
-Wines & Spirits

My Notes:

About Ajello:

Vines have been cultivated on the Ajello family's 125-hectare estate in the Val di Mazara, located below Trapani in Southwest part of the island, for three generations. The farm was already distinguished by the viti-cultural work that still prevails today, beginning with the planting of the first head-trained spur pruned vineyards and the construction of the winery. Sixty-eight hectares are occupied by vineyards which are divided between indigenous varieties Grillo, Insolia, Catarratto, and Nero d'Avola, and the new, international varieties: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The altitude of 200 meters, the hilly position with south-eastern exposure, the clay-calcareous nature of the soil, the natural ventilation during the ripening phase and the high density of plants per hectare, all contribute to high quality grapes, which are picked exclusively by hand. The estate has recently enlisted the leading Italian oenologist Stefano Chioccioli.

"It was my grandfather, in 1860, who planted the first vines, and my father passed on the same passion that I, today, try to transmit to my own children. Our philosophy is simple: We leave nature to do most of the work, trying to capture in bottles the wealth, the vitality and the structure of the magnificent grapes that our vines produce, knowing that our role is merely that of guardian of these intrinsic qualities."
– Dottore Ajello