Tasting Notes for Basil Ganglia

(139 notes on 92 wines)

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I took out the three bottles I had stored 6 years ago. This aged very nicely, as hoped. Still powerful. Better with decanting - 24 hours seemed to work well. By this time the tannins had rounded and integrated.
Much better with food than standing alone.

Pop-and-pour. In glass typical tempranillo nose. Not intense. On initial taste good fruit notes, but also with some harshness and tannins. String bite, indicating good acidity.

Had it with a black bean and chicken fajita-ish dinner. Excellent match - with almost every few bites I craved a sip of wine. It didn't overpower; it just paired. A wistful feeling when we were halfway through dinner and the wine was gone.

Great value at $15/bottle from WTSO.
12/18/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
DW and I drank with chicken pad thai. This was the last of six bottles, and I opened this specifically because I thought it would work well with the Pad Thai.

This met my expectations totally. This Rueda is extremely crisp and totally dry, with very strong citrus notes, primarily grapefruit and lime, set against a mineral base. Also some detectable floral notes in the background.

This is probably too sharp to be a stand-alone quaffer, but it paired beautifully with the spicy pad thai. It also sailed through my "flabbiness" test. Wines that flunk the flabbiness test are whites that start out crisp and sharp, but as they warm up after opening lose the crispness, turn flabby, and in the worst cases turn phenolic. The green dog passed the flabbiness test with flying colors. After opening it not only stayed sharp, but began too show some added complexity, which is another of my markers for white wines.

As mentioned previously this was the last of a six-bottle shipment. My overall commentary is that while this is not a complex or deeply structured wine, it is solidly made, without defects, and shows some complexity. Definitely a food wine, and properly paired it is delightful and wonderful QPR. Rated very good.

At my price of $12.50/bottle this is an insanely good QPR, and if I see it offered again at that price I will easily be in for at least a case more.
Vinturied into a decanter. 15 minutes before dinner. Dinner was a spinach veggie pizza.

Very enjoyable. After aeration flavor notes of strawberries and cherries dominate, with some undertones of leather, cedar and cinnamon. Fruit is forward, staring in front of the mouth and spreading to rear, with very good persistence. There are still some noes present as I type this, an hour after finishing the last pour after dinner.

Very food friendly. Some distinct acidity, playing nicely off the pizza. This was the last of four bottles, and I will be on the lookout for more.

Rated very good.
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2010 Château de Macard Bordeaux Supérieur Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
11/29/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
11/14/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
P and V, followed by 15 minutes rest in decanter. Dark purple. Nearly opaque, with good clarity. Nose is earthy, with red fruit and currant notes and a hints of spice.

In the mouth fruitiness is forward. Flavor notes are bright; strawberry, cherry, red plum, but with some of the same spiciness noted in the nose. Though the fruit notes are forward, this is not a fruit bomb. Decent acidity, with a bit of heat. After a couple of minutes a bit of tannin emerges, not powerful but enough to give a bit of body. Dry, with the fruitiness giving a hint of some apparent sweetness.

Well-balanced wine with no defects. Decent on its own, but this is really a food-friendly wine. Beautiful with some parmesan cheese I was nibbling. I don't think this wine has much aging potential.

Rated good (86-88). Excellent QPR from WTSO.
11/7/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Fruit forward and jammy, with a very silky mouth feel. After about 30 minutes it was cloyingly sweet - not enjoyable on it's own and so intensely sweet it would probably be best used for in sangria.

Vacuvined half the bottle for a day to see if it was any better the next day, but no change.

Rate below average (73-77)
9/22/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Outstanding buy. One of my favorite Woot purchases. Bought two cases, wish I had purchased three and had someone gift me a few more.

PnP, and it's zinny from the get go, with a beautiful balance of fruit, offset with tartness and acidity, and some tannin arriving a few minutes later. Profile develops in the front and moves to the back of the palate, lingering for a long time. Drinks decently on its own, but is stupid good with all of the foods usually associated with zinfandel. Loves garlic. Much of the time when I open a bottle I try to hide it from DW, or else I won't get enough. Or we share a bottle, I let her take as much as she wants, then I open another bottle later to sate my desire, and hide the remainder of the second bottle to enjoy the next day.

Alas, it appears that the 2011 is sold out at the Pedroncelli website. or I would have purchased more.
2010 Basalt Cellars Pazzo Rosso Columbia Valley Nebbiolo Blend, Nebbiolo (view label images)
3/30/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
A bit harsh at first, but settled down after being open for 30 minutes.

Deep purple color. Opaque. After opening up. Nose is berries and red fruit with a bit of earth. Not muted but not overpowering.

Palate consistent with nose. Even after opening up the flavor notes and acidity hang around, along with a decent dollop of tannin. Decidedly better with food. I feel an urge to cook up something with tomato, garlic, and onion. But it does hold it's own as a slow sipper.

Good QPR at my price of < $12/bottle. If I'm in Walla Walla Basalt Cellars would be added to my second tier list (desirable not must do) of wineries to visit.

Rated good to very good (84-86). That's a relatively high score for me. Would order again at this price point.
1/29/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP and consumed over four hours. Didn't make a lot of notes.

My singular impression is the need for a bit of time to let this open us. Upon my first pour after opening the bottle, I thought the bottle was corked and I was at the point of pouring it down the drain.

Fortunately I didn't. Within an hour it opened up, showing strong typical Rioja notes, combined with marked acidity and a dollop of mid-palate tannin. After two hours open (in bottle, no decanting), it packed a considerable red fruit type punch, without losing the acidity. Overall rated very good (85-88)
1/26/2014 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Have consumed both chilled and at room temperature. Very bright taste, citrus (mostly tangerine and orange), with some melon and stone fruit, and a bit of floral and grass notes. Very nice complexity; it's not just that the notes are present, but there is depth underlying them as well. Tart, but no phenolic bitterness. Very good match with Chinese take-out.

Equally enjoyable, if not more so, unchilled. At room temperature the subtlety of the flavors is fully apparent.It stays crisp and sharp; even after three hours opened no signs of flabbiness or phenolics.

I found this to be an extremely well done SB; rated excellent (87-89). That ties for the highest rating I have ever given to a wine. At less than $13/bottle (including shipping and handling that this was offered at wine.woot) this is a crazy good QPR and an autobuy if it reappears
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11/25/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP. Purple; Semi-opague, Decent legs. Right out of the bottle a moderately srong nose is earthy with strong notes of cedar and spice.

Very open right from the first pour - much more than most Ondarre Riojas I've tasted. Sour cherries and blackberries dominate, but there's a also a dark base note supporting those that isn't nearly as developed in many Riojas. Also a decent amount of acidity and heat. There's a lot going on with this, not quite fully integrated but I think all of the parts are there for this to be very good. Might need a bit more air, or some more time in the bottle.

This is very good now and seems to me to have the potential for more. Right now I would rate it "Very good" - 86-89. That's one of the higher scores I've ever given to a wine, and I can see where this could get even better.

Day 2:not greatly different from Day 1. It is a bit more open, but the flavor profile is still sour cherry dominant, and the heat and acidity are still there. I'm probably going to tuck some of these away for a few years to see what happens.
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2010 Bennett Lane Turn 4 California Chardonnay Blend, Chardonnay (view label images)
11/4/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Consistent with notes of others. Nice California chardonnay blend. Decent acidity and a touch apparent sweetness from the floral notes. Distinctly chardonnay, Some oakiness, but not butter (i.e., little to no malolactic fermentation.

Expressive when opened cold, and flavor profile held up extremely well over several hours as the bottle warmed. Drinks very nicely up to room temperature. Unlike many wines of this type, no phenolic bitterness came out as it warmed. It also did not go flabby.

Excellent value for $10/bottle.
11/2/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Consumed the sixth bottle from the shipment. Consistent with prior notes.

To summarize, as noted by Black Ice, this is a strange cab; to me it drinks more like a sangio. If you are looking for a traditional cab, this is not it.

This also does not have the layers complexity of
good cabs. But then, what $10 cab does? In my opinion this is a good value at the $10/bottle woot price point, easily outshining most of the $10 cabs that you find in the marketplace. Just don't expect it to taste like a cab.
10/30/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Finished off the last of the 4 bottles to clear out space. Generally consistent with prior notes, except that I thought this was the best of the four, due to more depth in the flavor profile. This bottle was OK, but not notable.
2010 Château de Macard Bordeaux Supérieur Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
10/31/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Didn't take a lot of notes. What I noted/remebered follows.

PnVnD. First taste after about 30 minutes in the decanter. Nose was muted, with darker fruit notes. Still closed. Oak is very noticeable. Some bite and no heat.

After another hour in the decanter it opened up quite a bit. No change on the basic flavor elements; just stronger and more developed. Oakiness still very evident, along with a a modest amount of tannin. Had it with a mildly spicy fajita-style dinner and it managed that OK, but I don't think it would have been challenged by nicely grilled steak.

Not as good as I remember the 2009 being; the 2009 had more had a deeper and more complex flavor profile and didn't seem as oaky (maybe the oak is the same but the deeper profile of the 2009 masked it more).

All in all enjoyable enough but not the winner that the 2009 was. Rated good (81-84).
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10/27/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP and consumed over five hours. Didn't decant this time because based on my previous bottles I figured it wasn't worth. Just wanted something inoffensive to sip on while I was doing a long project, and I figured it would fit that interest while helping to also get this out of my cellar.

Overall consistent with my prior notes - a bit thin and lacking depth and complexity. Some noticeable oak, and not as much bite as I noted in earlier bottles. It opened up somewhat over time but not remarkably. Nothing offensive, but also nothing remarkable. I might be a bit more generous with this bottle than I was in my 10/15/2013 note. But not by much. On my Trader Joe's scale I would rate th is bottle more like what I would expect for $8 rather than the $5 at which I scored the last bottle. In other words, still nothing to really note.
10/15/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnVnD and consumed over 8 hours. On opening, consistent with prior notes. A little thin, with some hints of red fruit, and not much depth.

Next taste was after decanting for about an hour. Much brighter, but still lacking depth and deeper notes. Tannins are more pronounced. Bright notes continued to evolve over the next couple of hours, and a bt more depth came forward; not a lot but some. But by hour six the brightest notes were starting to fade. What is left is a bit of cherry and plum, set against a slightly bitter background.

Nothing at all remarkable. Easily the least satisfying offering from the normally reliable Bodegas Ondarre/Olarra group that I've had. Rated average (75-79). Previously I rated this a bit higher, with the expectation that it would show better with more time to breathe. Since it didn't improve as expected I'm knocking it down a notch. Overall this is about what I would expect to buy for less than $5 at Trader Joe's.
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10/12/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP. Consumed over 6 hours.

Like almost all offerings I have had from Bodegas Ondarre, this needs time to breathe. Lots of it.

Initial impressions were disappointing - definitely thin. Some red fruit elments, bot not much depth. Not bad, just not much too it.

Over the course of consumption this evolved quite a bit. First some tannic structure started appearing about one hour after opening. Later some deeper components came forward, and the tanning continue to emerge. Also a fair amount of acidic bite, getting stronger as the bottle was open.

Overall while this isn't bad after breathing I've had a other Ondarre offerings that were better for about the same price. Rated good (82-85) - nothing fundamentally wrong, but nothing remarkable either. A modest every day drinker.

The next bottle I consume will get at least 24-hours in the decanter to see what happens.
9/13/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
My tasting note cross-posted from wine.woot.

The label on the bottle says to uncork one hour before serving and consume with roasts.

  1. 8 pm
    Opened and poured half the bottle into a decanter as well as small pour for a pop and taste. The remainder in the bottle was restoppered.

    Color is dark garnet. Dense, but not opaque. No legs. Little sparkle or brilliance on the edges. No nose to speak of; traces of dark fruit and darker spice – currant maybe, with some clove and nutmeg. Synthetic cork closure, for those who care about such things.

    Much more open on the palate. Some added notes of cherry and a bit of acidity. A very small amount of tannin arrives mid-palate. Even in the few minutes in the glass the wine is becoming brighter, though the nose isn’t evolving much. Brighter fruits are now front and center. Moderate roundness in the mouth. Flavors easily sustain over three or four minutes on the roof and palate; with some bite at the back of the mouth persisting for awhile. Initial thought is that this is stands a good chance of emerging.

  2. 9 pm
    From the stoppered bottle: Showing more legs. Nose is stronger and more evolved. The darker notes are more prominent; there’s just a bit of a deep note that I can’t place but is seductive to my nose. On the palate, flavor is still dominated by brighter fruits, but those notes aren’t quite as sharp as previously, replaced by a bit more roundedness and mouthfeel. A nice touch of acidity, with a more tannin making an appearance.

    From the decanter. Similar nose. Profile brighter, with a very prominent strawberry note. Good rounded mouthpresence, but not silky or velvety. . Tannins continuing to emerge. Acidity and heat in balance. Would be nice to have the pH and TA.

  3. 10 pm
    From the bottle. Nose continuing to get evolve. In the mouth very definitely continuing to open up. Maybe of cinnamon note as well. Very sippable on its own. Definitely brighter than typical cabs,

    From the decanter. The decanter is now decidedly darker than the bottle and seems to me to be falling apart. The bright notes have disappeared, and what remains is pretty mediocre; since this juice never had the deep notes of many cabs, after dissipation of the bright notes gone there really isn’t very much left.

    Makes me think that it’s possible to give this too much air. As a test I ran a bit of the decanted wine through a Vinturi to see what would happen with even more air. Still very flat compared to the pour from the bottle. Let the rest of the V’d pour sit for three or four minutes, and it is definitely shot.

  4. 11 pm
    No change from the 10 pm notes.

  5. Summary
    Fruit forward, very easy to drink on it’s own and a “drink now” offering. I don’t pick up anything that tempts me to think about socking this away. Would also an easy choice to bring to a party that isn’t a serious wine drinking affair.

    Needs some air to open up, but it appears to be easy to kill it with too much air. I recommend following the bottle recommendations to open an hour before serving, but don’t decant unless you can’t give it the recommended hour of breathing time. If you do decant, don’t try to stretch out the bottle.

    Definitely more bright fruit than most cabs, to the point where I could see this being challenged by a very deep and strongly flavored slab of beef. But roast game, flank steak, even pizza – IMHO this would be a nice choice.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a labeled Italian CS before. But if I were involved with a blind tasting of cabs and someone told me that one of them was Italian, I think there’s an excellent chance that this is the one I would pick.

    No obvious defects, and well done for the style it is. I don’t think it’s anything to sock away, but I don’t think that was intended to be that. I don’t think it’s going to fall apart immediately – there seems to be enough acidity and underlying structure to hold up for the short run, But I can’t see it holding up for any more than a year, if that. As a rough rule of thumb, I expect that wines that would handle storage should show better now with added air; some elements of what would emerge with age are brought out by aeration. But it was the reverse with this wine; too much air pretty much killed it.
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6/24/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP and consume over two hours. This was a fine offering; I think the previous bottle was still in transportation shock, because this was very different.

Same nose as before, but this time the wine delivered on the palate. A brt forward but not overwhelming. Good nose of red fruits and a bit of spice. Flavors linger and evolve within the mouth. Not one-dimensional; there's depth and complexity in the profile. The overall profile stays toward the red fruits; I didn't pick up any dark notes.

There's some heat, distinct acidity, and bit of tannin that emerges mid-palate. Enough of those that I think this could hold for several more years. However, this juice will pair very well right now with foods that need a wine with some acidity and bite. It might even benefit from some added time, since the only real criticism I might have is that the profile isn't quite fully rounded and integrated. At the same time, if added integration comes as the expense of some the sharpness, some of the food friendliness might be lost.

Rated good to very good: 85-87. With some added integration I could easily push this past 90.
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6/10/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Opened a bottle the day the shipment arrived, so the notes below might reflect transportation shock.

PnVnD. In decanter for one hour before pouring.

@ one hour: Garnet color. Good clarity. No legs. Nose is pretty typical Rioja (some earthiness, notes of cloves and leather, and cherries and plums), but a bit deeper and more seductive than many Riojas in the price range. The nose left me eager to taste. After the allure of the nose the taste was disappointing. The flavor profile was much thinner and one-dimensional. Flavor notes were mostly red fruit, forward, and with little carry through to mid-palate, and with no further development. Some detectable acidity, and some later emerging tannin. I hope this shows a bit more with some added air. Right now it's pretty disappointing, and the initial profile doesn't hint that there's anything deeper lurking in there that might emerge with a bit more time.

@ two hours: Opened up a bit, but still not showing much overall. I didn't pick up any significant changes in the profile; perhaps just a bit more depth, but if so not particularly noticeable. Tannins decidedly more in force at this point.

@ three hours. No change from previous.

Overall: I hope there is some transportation shock affecting this. Seven more bottles to go, so we'll find out. Based on this bottle, there are a lot of '06 Rioja Reservas in this price range (e.g, the Bodegas Ondarre or the Bodegas Olarra Cerro Añon offerings at WTSO) that are much better. At my $13 cost for this, I would sooner go to BevMo or Total Wine and grab a similarly priced Rioja in hopes of scoring a treat and accepting the risk of landing a dud. Rated average (79-81).
Did not make a lot of observations.

Consumed slightly chilled: ~60 F; PnP.

I enjoyed it immediately. Floral and fruity - but I knew to expect that. What got me immediately was that it was not cloying. Probably a lot of apparent sugar from the fruit notes, and the true sugar was nicely counterbalanced by some acidity.

After that I noted that it wasn't one-dimensional. There was enough depth in the flavor profile to keep it interesting.

DW liked it immediately and was pleased to know that we had five more bottles. We both agreed this is a great summer wine for the deck. Very nice QPR. Rated good: 84-87.
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5/24/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnVnD, @ 30 minutes. Dark purple with good clarity. Deep nose with earthiness and funk, dark fruits. Strong attack of fruit with a lot of acid bite immediately after and emerging tannin. Not very pleasant by itself, but my mouth is screaming for some grilled steak to go with it. My mouth is going to have to settle for lasagna, however.

@ 90 minutes. Nose is more intense. On the palette the bright fruits are more noticeable, and the acid bite isn’t as strong. Enjoyable, and not a bad pairing with the lasagna. Can easily handle something stronger, such as grilled steak

@ 3 hours. Finishing off the bottle, it has continued to evolve and open. Good balance, and enjoyable on its own.

Overall rated good. 83-86.
2003 Rejadorada Toro Sango Tinta de Toro, Tempranillo (view label images)
5/23/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP. purple. leggy. nose is spice, cedar, and a bit of earth.

stong initial presentation of red fruits, with a nice bit of acidity and a trace of heat. Oak and tannins arrive in a bit. along with a distinct note of anise (licorice). nicely rounded and seductive. Very nice for a Toro without aeration of breathing. Now let's see what happens to it the rest of the evening.

@45 minutes. Similar nose profile, but more intense. Maybe a tad deeper. tannins coming out. strong notes of cherries, strawberries and prunes, with considerable tannin. not much heat and just a touch of bite. This is evolving into a solid mid-range Toro.

@2 hours. Still continuing to open up, but didn't evolve as much as I had expected. There's enough here to make me think that. like many Toros, this might just have needed more time and aeration. Right now I would rate this good: 83-86, but it may have the potential to reach very good.
Decanted for 45 minutes before consuming with grilled steaks. Purple color and opaque. The nose was very muted; a bit of earth, with notes of dark fruits. Also a bit of spice – most reminiscent of allspice to my nose. Maybe a bit of cedar. Some modest legs on the glass.

First taste was just before starting the meal, and it was not what I expected. Not much fruit; flavors just as muted as the nose, and what was there faded quickly. Some bite and heat, with just a bit of tannin arriving after a few minutes. The first adjective that came to my mind was “thin”; just didn’t seem like there was much there. I can’t say whether or not it was integrated, because there wasn’t much there to integrate.

The next taste came after the meal started. The wine came across much better with food. Detectable notes of dark currant, prune, black cherry, with a few brighter fruits peeping around the corners. Still not a powerful wine, and barely able to handle the steak, but definitely more character with the food than without..

Not much further change during dinner. DW’s main comment was that she generally liked lighter red wines (true enough, her primary “go to” red wine is a Willamette Valley pinot noir”), and she said this fit for her.

We finished off the bottle after taking care of dishes. By that time the bottle had been open for close to two hours. At that juncture there was more going on with the wine; the flavor notes were stronger and there was more bite. Also a significant tannin presence by now. Although there were more elements present, the package didn’t seem integrated to me. Everything was there but they didn’t seem to come together into a satisfying whole.

But in the finest PS traditions, we did end up with purple teeth!

Based on my notes I would say that this wine needs a significant amount of breathing time, and shows better with food. That being said, I didn’t feel this juice was anything special. There wasn’t anything that was discordant in the wine, but neither was there anything notable. If I saw this on a shelf in a store, there’s nothing that would cause me to put it in my cart.
More time to take notes with this bottle than the previous one.

PnP. Garnet-purple color. Good clarity and legs. New leather and spice on the nose with a touch of fruit. Initial taste is red fruit, with moderate tannin and some bite. From experience I know this is still closed, so transferred the rest of the bottle to a decanter.

Second taste after ten minutes in decanter. Nose is a bit more intense and deeper, especially with darker spice – cinnamon and clove, with maybe a hint of anise? More leggy. Much more expressive in the mouth, with red fruits – cherries, raspberries, cranberries with a spice and leather undernote. Some decided bite and heat, and a decent amount of tannins. Partially integrated, but it seems to me there is some remaining. Based on what I am observing at this point I wouldn’t hesitate to sit this down for a few more years. But we’ll see if that opinion stands later on.

Still nursing the second pour and this is continuing to open up. The flavors are continuing to expand, and the components are integrating. The flavors persist through the palate, and the tannins and bite hang around for a long time. More bite now than previously. Very enjoyable.

Finishing the bottle two hours later. It has continued to open up. Still has some bite, and tannins continue to be present. Very nice now, and probably can be held for at least several more years. At $11.99 from WTSO this a great bargain.
PnVnD. About 30 minutes in decanter before consuming, Paired with shrimp, onion, and garlic enchiladas in green enchilada sauce.

Didn't make a lot of notes because we were too busy enjoying this splendid wine. Dark purple and semi-opaque. Both on the nose and in the palate this was a bit darker than most tempranillos; specs indicate this is 80% tempranillo blended with garnache, mazuelo (carignan), and graciano. Some forward fruit but not jammy; pretty much right to my tastes. Flavors hold on for quite awhile, and evolve. There's a decent amount of body behind the fruit, and some very well-integrated tannins that give very solid structure and depth. Dry, and with a dollop of heat and acidity.

This easily handled the enchiladas and then some. Probably at its peak right now. Rated very good (86-88). An outrageously good deal at ~$11/bottle.
4/17/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP. Modest legs. Purplish brick color. Opaque. Light nose. No earthiness or funk; a bit of spice. Floral and light fruit – can’t place it exactly. Maybe blueberry, cranberry or raspberry. A bit of bite. Some tannin. A bitter phenolic aftertaste.

Ten minutes after opening some earthiness coming out in nose. Tannins in more force. CS provides a deeper note. Darker notes starting to come out – noticeable elements of blackberries and black plum. Now just a touch of heat. Phenolics not as strong, but still noticeable. Still a bit rough in the mouth; the tannins and fruit seem to me to be competing instead of blending. There seems to be a hollow spot in the profile – the wine is dominated by some lighter notes, and the CS is distinct. But there’s a gap in between those components.

After an hour just a bit more development of the earthiness and dark. But no changes in the overall structure noted above.


Notes on the second day after unstoppered storage:

Color unchanged. Nose: some kind of darker fruit that I can’t place; cedar/spice, and a bit of funk – tending toward sour instead of earthy. On the palate. Much more open. Notes of cranberry, raspberry immediately. Considerable bite, and some heat. A bit of grippy tannin and still a bit of bitterness. A distinct mercaptan note as well. I seem to be sensitive to mercaptans, and this isn't enough to be objectionable to me, but it's not far off. Overall this is still not well integrated for my tastes. The gap I noted before isn’t as noticeable.

Overall I think this is mediocre; I wouldn’t hesitate in the least to use it for cooking or Sangria. I don’t have enough experience to know if this is past it’s prime, in a dumb phase, or just simply was never very good to begin with. I’ve got one more bottle and I have little to lose by larding it away for a few more years to see what happens.

I got this for about $7.50/bottle at a Last Bottle marathon. I've generally had good results buying 5-10 year old Spanish reds at flash sites, so given the price I took a chance. This one was a dud.
4/14/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
I had the opportunity to participate in a tasting of this wine recently. PnP and consumed over several hours.

Caveats to start. Overall I’m not a fan of brassy, bold, and jammy reds (though they I do like them in the proper time and place). I enjoy subtlety and expansiveness – I like wines that evolve and occasionally surprise me in different ways as the bottle opens and develops. My favorite reds are tempranillos and riojas. I’m not the huge PN aficionado that many people are. I’m also not a big fan of CS and PS except when paired with foods that need bold accompaniments.

The following is from my notes.


Moderately leggy. Translucent purple coloring with very good clarity. Nose is much muted, mostly floral with just a whiff of earthiness. The initial taste shows the same floral notes as in the nose. The predominant taste note I detected was roses, supported by some cherry and strawberry notes. Also some heat and acidity combine to give a decided bite. The floral elements fade quickly in the mouth, with the few deeper notes persisting, along with the bite. Almost all of the profile is in the front of the mouth. My second sip out of the initial pour is is a bit less floral-dominated. Overall the best single adjective I can put on this is “delicate”. Not robust in any sense.

The second pour was about 30 minutes after opening. No change in appearance. Still leggy. The nose is now noticeably earthier; the floral elements are less prominent and the red fruits more obvious. In the mouth, the profile is now mostly red-fruit driven (strawberry and cherry), with the floral elements subdued. Less heat and bite, but still some remaining acidity. A bit more tannin and body are apparent. Overall the wine is now more rounded and expressive. The flavor profile is also beginning to move rearward. Still some persistent heat. While this is decidedly less “delicate” it is still not at all “dense”. It can easily be overwhelmed in any pairing with strong and intense food. I ate some crab enchilada made with onions, garlic and mild green enchilada sauce, and that was a bit strong. The acidity worked with the enchilada, but the taste profile was a little weak. I should have gone for a bit of cedar plank salmon instead.

I returned to the wine a couple of more times over the next couple of hours. The deeper notes continued to develop, with the fruit notes still leading the way and the floral notes subsiding. After an hour I thought I was picking up a few added spice notes – maybe a bit like allspice. The earthy notes also develop. The profile continues to move to the rear of the palate. It also still has some distinct zip from the acidity and the heat; these haven’t really changed much from opening> If they seem more now that’s likely only because the wine flavor profile has opened up.

Although the wine has deepened and intensified since opening I think it still clearly falls on the delicate side rather than the robust side.


As for QPR I don’t think I’m a good judge. In other settings I haven’t been excited about some PNs while others around me who are PN drinkers are raving. So I’m not sure that I’m a good source for PN. I hope I provided enough info in the comments so that if you are a PN fan you can make sense of this for yourself.

For myself I would rate this as a "good" wine. Clearly above average, and no noted defects, but also not outstanding. To me that puts it somewhere in the range of 84-86.
3/20/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Tasting note by snoman 01/25/2013 is dead-on. Bright and lively as soon as the bottle was opened, well-rounded and with a moderately long finish. Very enjoyable. Great value for my price at <$15.
a decent inexpensive "grocery store" cab, produced for mass appeal. Rounded tannins and plenty of oak give a soft mouthfeel. Fruit forward, with residual sweetness. Noticeable heat. Moderately long finish. A reasonable offering for what it aims to be; there is a lot of mass produced CS that appears on shelves that is priced the same and is inferior. Rated good (80-82).
2/24/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnVnD. Started consuming after 20 minutes in decanter. Generally consistent with my prior notes. With reasonable time to acclimate after aeration this is an enjoyable and approachable offering. Not dark and brooding, but open and expressive. Earthy nose; taste is more towards stone fruits persisting through mid-palate, with sufficient tannins and heat to suggest this might have some life left. Rated "good" (83-85).
2/12/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
consistent with 3/26/2012 note of goaljnky.

PnP and consumed over four hours. very good legs and deep garnet coloring. very earthy nose, with just a few elements.

Vibrant right after opening. flavors of berries - very bright and forward, with strong acidity and a touch of heat, and some tannins. Seemed as if there was a touch of effervescence - not sure if that was real or just apparent from the acidic bite. Maybe both. I didn't find that off-putting, but I can see where others might react negatively. The bite/effervescence dissipated in about one hour. Flavor notes sustained well in the mouth. After opening, the flavors also muted somewhat over a couple of hours. With brighter profile and lack of deeper fruit elements, this struck me as a wine that would go well with "lighter" red wine fare - marinaras, pizza, tapas.

I found this very enjoyable, and excellent QPR at less than $11/bottle. Rated good (82-85)
2/11/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
consistent with prior notes. Nice solid albariño that doesn't go flabby after opening. Dry and very crisp, with a bit of apparent sweetness from the floral and fruit notes.
When assessing the Copa del Rey CS I think it's helpful to bear in mind what this wine is intended to be and what it is not. By that I mean that it is not offered as a complex, intense, brooding CS. If one judges it against that standard, it will certainly come up lacking.

What this wine is intended to be, though, is a solid "drink now" CS that should appeal to people who have been drinking cheap CS and can appreciate something that is a couple of cuts higher. In that context I think the Copa del Rey CS does quite nicely. It's fruit forward, with a fair amount of oak and enough RS to make it approachable for non-discriminating drinkers. But behind that approachability is a decent amount of structure to sustain on the palette, combined with some noticeable tannin. There's enough heft to make a bit of aeration worthwhile. If I were going to a barbecue where many of the people would be casual wine drinkers, this should go over pretty well with the supermarket wine drinking crowd. I put this in the same niche as Mirassou and Barefoot, and I think that this CS is what Mirassou CS should aspire to be.

If that describes what you are looking for the Copa del Rey CS should do nicely for you. But don't have any illusions that it's any more than that. Keep your expectations in check and I think you will be satisfied. Rated good (80-82).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Sadly - my last bottle. My purchases of this have been the best QPR buys I've made.

Probably peaking though. PnP and unlike previous bottles this was fine with just a bit of aeration - didn't need nearly the time to open as did bottles from a year ago. Otherwise consistent with prior notes. This drinks so far beyond the $9 purchase price it's just silly. It's probably sold out at WTSO, but if it should reappear buy the max if you enjoy dry tempranillos in an Old World style.
1/28/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Enjoyed with Thai stir fry. Did not make a lot of notes during consumption, but did observe consistency with previous notes; this was exactly what I expected when I opened the bottle. Good acidity and dryness to match with the stir fry, and the structure held up well during the meal.

This continues to be a very solid dry rosé. Excellent QPR and an easy auto-buy if it appears again.
1/24/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
A $5 bottle of barbera that drinks like what I would expect a $5 bottle of barbera that I would pick up from Trader Joes. I think it might be a good suggestion for a wine drinking friend who might be starting to get tired of Charles Shaw; pay a couple of dollars more and get something that's not quite plonk.
1/22/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnP and consumed over about two hours with turkey and black bean enchiladas with salsa verde. Did not make a lot of observations as I was more focused on eating and enjoying the dinner with DW.

Like all Facelli wines this is a restrained wine that is made to be enjoyed with food. Not jammy or fruity, but a balanced and well-integrated solid red table wine. It's deeply structured enough to handle some pretty strong dishes but had enough elegance to not overpower lighter fare. A reasonably long finish. It's 50% barbera, and Facelli barberas are personal favorites. But the other components, especially the CS, take this wine to some places the 100% barbera doesn't go. Opened up a bit during consumption.

In my opinion this is a fine example of what a dry blended red table wine should be. Very enjoyable. Rated good to very good (85-88).
1/19/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnD. Consumed over five hours.

Did not take a lot of notes. Nose is earthy with some fruit notes. Not very intense. A bit of heat and some acidity. Tannins nicely integrated. Not very complex but overall a decent red table wine. Rated good (81-83).
Foul stuff.

In common with the 2011 Cycles Gladiator zinfandel, this has a strong and pronounced mercaptan presence. It smells like ripened cat piss and has a strong flavor note that is the same as what ripened cat piss smells like.

All four bottles of the zin had this component, as does this cab sauv. This doesn't appear to be flawed bottles; this is bungled wine that any respectable wine maker would have recycled as irrigation water instead of labeling it and selling to to customers.

This and the Cycles Gladiator 2011 zin are the worst wines I have ever consumed.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
1 person found this helpful Comment
PnVnD about 30 minutes prior to drinking and consumed over two hours with spicy turkey quesadillas.

Consistent with prior notes. Aeration is a necessity. Given time this opens nicely. Enough depth and acidity to handle the quesadillas easily. At $9/bottle this is outstanding QPR that can easily stand with solid riojas that sell for 2 to three times as much. Rated good to very good (84-86).
2 people found this helpful Comment
1/14/2013 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
Held my last bottle of this for almost one year after the rest. The extra time seems to have helped.

PnP. This is not a typical PN. As has been noted by others, this is much deeper and darker than a typical PN. The nose is deep and intense, with notes of cherry and cassis and some earthiness. On the palate this is very fruit forward - notes of sour cherry, strawberry, with some heat, acidity and tannin arriving mid-palate. Has a long finish. Definitely a bolder and deeper PN. This doesn't have the layers of complexity and elegance of many classic PNs; I would say this swaggers more than it dances. To me this has some distinct zin-like character.

Quite enjoyable, even though it's not a typical PN and someone expecting that might be disappointed. At my $10/bottle price this is excellent QPR. I doubt it will be seen again, but if so this is an autobuy.

Rated good: 83-85
Consistent with prior notes. Crisp and dry, with just a bit of oak. Little to no MLF. Well balanced and very food friendly. If you like bombastic chardonnays this isn't for you. If you like a solidly made, balanced, and crisp chardonnay that expresses the fruit, this is good offering.

rated very good (87-89)
A very approachable, drinkable zin. Very smooth and rounded. Well integrated; in contrast with previous bottles tannins much less present. Not complex, but a very decent and representative zin. Excellent QPR at my $10/bottle cost.
A consistent pattern now emerging. Funk and a bit of fruit on the nose. Heat, acidity, and some fruit and tannin on the palate. Drinks better on the second day than the first, This is a mediocre barbera that drinks like the $5 barbera that it is. If you go to TJs and grab a random bottle of $5 wine, I think there's a 33% chance that you'll get something better than this, a 33% chance you'll get something worse, and a 33% chance you'll get something about as good. If I were bringing wine to a party, I would sooner bring Menage a Trois red than this.
PnD for a couple of hours before consuming. Started consuming with pre-Christmas dinner appetizers, and continued to consume into a dinner with some very well prepared Swedish meatball.

Rich nose, deep with notes of plum, blackberries, etc., with a hint of spice. Purple and leggy. In the mouth, a nice attack of fruit with good depth and complexity. Flavors are consistent with the nose, and sustaining through mid-palate and all the way to a long finish. Tannins are fully integrated and rounded, adding to the depth. Mid-palate some heat appears along with a good bite of acidity; both combine with the fruit and sustain through to the finish. The heat and acidity work well with the fruit and provide a good backbone for the fruit notes. Taken as a whole it makes a pleasant combination with strength tho hold up to strong dishes, but it also works quite well on its own.

I found this to be a very solid offering - no defects and having nice depth, complexity, and strength. I would guess it's at it's peak right now. Wish I had more. Rated very good (88-90).
12/23/2012 - Basil Ganglia wrote:
PnD.. Nose completely consistent with previous bottles. First day nto too inspiring, but second day much better than first. As with other bottles no subtlety or depth, but on the second day was a perfectly decent $5 table wine.
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