This week's theme was "forgotten reds". Not forgotten on my table or in the hearts of my countrymen, but simply not covered in this summer's single-grape tastings. Again, all were tasted blind, and I accurately guessed the grape on about half of them.
Wine 1: 2002 Magpie Estate "The Fakir" Grenache. Barossa Valley, Australia. Good round fruit, a touch of raspberry with a dry finish. Seems like this variety can be a little sweet coming from Down Under, but this one wasn't. $23.
Wine 2: 2002 Abundance Old Vine Zinfandel. Lodi, California. Luscious, strong wine with firm tannins and a bold finish. Needs a hearty meal. $15.
Wine 3: 2000 Rust en Vrede Shiraz. Stellenbosch, South Africa. Well rounded and soft, with great black cherry and plum flavors. The lack of pepper threw me off and made me think that it was an older Zinfandel. $24.
Wine 4: 2004 The Wishing Tree Shiraz. Western Australia. Looks like it comes from near Perth, which my grandfather once described as "way on the other side of nowhere". Strange nose, almost medicinal. Herbal notes on the palate. Strange little wine. $15.
Wine 5: 2000 Mazzocco Zinfandel. Dry Creek Valley, California. Light with an excellent red cherry flavor and a short, tannic finish. Has definitely mellowed well with age. $16.
Wine 6: 2002 Morande Terrarum Carménère. Maipo Valley, Chile. Used to be one of the blending grapes of Bordeaux until phylloxera killed it off. However, it had survived in Chile from plantings back in the mid-19th century. Dark earth and leather aromas, with full dark plum flavors. An amazing wine for the price, and it would be great to bring to a blind tasting to throw everyone off. $12.
Wine 7: 2002 Peju Zinfandel. Napa Valley, California. A confusing wine on the palate, but not bad. I got heavy tannins with a long finish, and wasn't able to discern any major fruit tastes or aromas. $26.
Wine 8: 2001 Lolonis Winegrower Selection Syrah. Redwood Valley, California. A Syrah that stands up and proudly announces its identity. Peppery black cherry, excellent fruit forward flavors. Delicious wine. $30.
Wine 9: 2003 Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache. Barossa Valley, Australia. A little bite on the beginning, with dark fruit flavors and a hint of spice. Would taste better in a blend. $17.
Wine 10: 2003 Concannon Petite Sirah. Central Coast, California. Another wine that was unmistakeable on first taste. Blackberry and blueberry on the tongue, surprisingly soft tannins for the grape and age. Excellent balance and great price. $12.
Wine 11: 2003 Antis Malbec. Mendoza, Argentina. Mild and mellow, slightly bitter. I picked it out as a Malbec, but wasn't overly enthusiastic. $15.
Wine 12: 2002 Jade Mountain Mourvèdre. Contra Costa, California. The first pure Mourvèdre I've ever had. Firm tannins, dark fruit, and very dry. Interesting. I was neutral on the wine itself, but it would be fun to get a bottle of this plus a pure Grenache and a pure Syrah to make your own Rhône-style blends.