Viña Godeval 1996 Valdeorras ($12.99)
Pale straw color. Lovely apple scent with floral overtones. Crisp and full, bright and citric white fruit is consistent in the flavor and the lingering finish. Very good wine! U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., Cincinnati (Nov. 10, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: No flavor conflict with fish chowder, although a richer and more full-bodied white might have been better still with the creamy dish.
Pradorey 1996 Ribera del Duero ($7.99)
Inky dark-garnet, with powerful American oak aromas of vanilla and coconut; jammy black fruit and sweet oak flavors. Wood dominates the fruit, perhaps more so than when I last tasted this low-end Ribera in March, but it's still a decent quaff for a low-end price. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., Cincinnati (Nov. 10, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: Served almost as a joke with the same fish chowder as above to entertain visiting friends with a demonstration of the "red wine with red meat" hypothesis; in fact, though, the wine's soft fruitiness made it a better match than I expected.
Ònix 1997 Priorat ($8.99)
As with the Pradorey, this is an example of a wine priced substantially below competitors in its region of origin; and in both cases, the quality, quite frankly, is appropriate for the price. This one shows little of the structure or apparent ageworthiness of serious Priorat. As a matter of fact, its in-your-face, berrylike fruit reminded us startlingly of a California Zinfandel; and judged by that standard, it's not a bad quaff for well under 10 bucks. It's a very dark garnet in color, with a jammy black-fruit aroma showing distinct notes of caramel or burnt sugar. Its soft, jammy raspberry fruit flavor is borderline sweet; high alcohol (13.5%) provides some structure, but low acidity leaves a flabby impression not improved by a short finish. As stated, it's an easy quaff, and goes well to wash down steaks; but it's far from the mark for Priorat. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections Inc., Cincinnati (Nov. 13, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: OK with T-bones pan-grilled with garlic.
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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.||