[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

As the disclaimer below points out, I make it a point to purchase the wines I rate here at my own expense at standard retail shops. From time to time, though, an unsolicited freebie comes in (generally low-end stuff), and rather than pour it out, I'll generally hang onto it until I have a handful and then subject them to critical tasting, disclosing in my report that I departed from my usual practice of buying my own. Such is the case for the three modestly priced bottles below. They were all palatable, but I can't say that any of them rose above the median.

Rosemount Estate 1996 South Eastern Australia Cabernet Sauvignon ($8.99)
Very dark garnet. Spicy oak dominates simple black fruit in the aroma. It's somewhat better on the palate, lemon-tart fruit and sweet oak in balance, fresh and clean. Simple, not a lot of varietal character, but a good pasta wine. U.S. importer: Rosemount Estates Inc., Sonoma, Calif. (Feb. 16, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Cheese-and-spinach manicotti in a light tomato sauce. The wine's snappy acidity made it a rather good match with the tomatoes.

Michel Picard 1996 Syrah Vin de Pays d'Oc ($8.99)
Dark reddish-purple color. Black pepper and intense grapey scents. Ditto in the flavor, peppery and juicy fruit with a good acidic backbone. Simple wine, easy to quaff; I'd almost guess there's a skosh of sweetness in it. Ubiquitious in Louisville these days, where the local importer is apparently pushing hard to get it onto restaurant wine lists and into liquor shops. Importer: Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide, Louisville. (Jan. 28, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Excellent with rare roast beef.

Brolio 1995 Chianti Classico ($10.99)
Dark garnet. Light black-cherry fruit and spicy oak on the nose. Tart black-cherry fruit with lemony acidity on the palate. Fresh, accessible, a bit one-dimensional; clean but short in the finish. Importer: Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide, Louisville. (Feb. 15, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Arroz con pollo. The wine's natural acidity makes it a pleasant match with the tomato-and-rice chicken dish.

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.

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