Anthony Dias Blue's "Blue Reviews" are one of the most popular features of THE TASTING PANEL's print edition. Here are some extra reviews of Andy's favorite wines tasted over the past few months. Mid-priced or wallet-friendly, each of these selections deserves its "Best Buy" rating because of its outstanding value-to-price ratio.
Bodegas Tarima 2009 Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain ($12)
Spicy and ripe with black plum and violets; peppery, fresh and balanced with interesting and unique flavors; long and dense.
NORTH BERKELEY WINE
Bodegas Val de Vid 2008 Condesa Eylo, Rueda, Spain ($14)
Crisp and juicy with apple and grapefruit notes; lively and fresh, clean and balanced.
ARAEX/SPANISH FINE WINES
Jargon 2009 Chardonnay, California ($10)
Smooth and creamy with clean flavors of ripe fruit and vanilla oak; soft acidity and decent balance.
Villa Antinori 2009 Toscana Bianco, Italy ($14)
Fresh, clean and tangy with bright, juicy citrus fruit; lively, light and racy with charm and tangy notes.
STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES
Dominio del Plata 2009 Crios Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina ($14)
Fragrant and lush with notes of chocolate and coffee; silky and bright with tangy plum fruit and soft herbs; lively and charming.
Black Swan Vineyards 2009 Merlot, South Eastern Australia ($8)
Ripe and lush with lush plum and soft herbs; rich and generous, balanced and long with opulent style and good finish.
Bogle Vineyards 2008 Merlot, California ($9)
Smooth, lush and herbal with spice and plum fruit; earthy, juicy,balanced and rich with a long, mellow finish.
Columbia Crest 2008 Merlot, H3, Horse Heaven Hills ($15)
Smooth and lush with dense plum and vanilla oak; juicy and long, ripe and balanced with smooth texture and a long finish.
STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES
Don Miguel Gascón 2009 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($14)
Smooth and clean with spice, plum and juicy acidity; fresh, charming and nicely balanced with a long, dense finish.
Brassfield Estate 2009 Pinot Noir, High Serenity Ranch Vineyard, High Valley ($20)
Fleshy and ripe with juicy acidity and nice cherry fruit; fresh, silky and balanced with good length and lots of charm.
Georges Duboeuf 2009 Gamay, Beaujolais-Villages, France ($10)
Deep ruby color; smooth and juicy with bright cherry and raspberry fruit; balanced, fresh and long.
W. J. DEUTSCH & SONS
Ventana Vineyards 2008 Rubystone, Estate, Arroyo Seco ($13)
Smooth and lush with ripe plum, blackberry and toasty oak; juicy, fresh and balanced with lots of charm and good length.
Renato Ratti 2006 Barolo Marcenasco, Italy ($35)
Racy and crisp with earth and plum; lively and long with spice and lovely structure.
DREYFUS, ASHBY INC.
Ancient Peaks 2008 Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($16)
Dense and bright with wild raspberry and black cherry fruit; spicy, fresh and toasty with lovely balance and a long, juicy finish.
Valley of the Moon 2008 Zinfandel, Sonoma Coast ($16)
Dense and juicy with blackberry and blueberry fruit; fresh and balanced with good length.
Dry Creek Vineyard 2007 Zinfandel, Beeson Ranch, Dry Creek Valley ($34)
Silky and bright with raspberry and black cherry seasoned with pepper and spice; juicy, dense and balanced with firm structure, a long finish and rich style.
Fire Station Red 2007 Company 5 Red Blend, Mendocino County ($14)
Dark, dense and showing ripe cherry and plum fruit; rich, clean and balanced; long and lush.
TriVento 2008 Mendoza, Argentina ($15)
Smooth and lush with ripe blackberry and spice; sweet oak and rich texture; long and juicy with depth and balance.
Fetzer 2009 White Zinfandel, California ($9)
Clean, fresh and pleasant with lively acidity and sweet strawberry fruit; simple but bright and charming.
The "twisty" icon marks wines that are sealed with screwcap or other non-cork closure.