Since last week I've drunk two wines, a 2007 Zonnebloem shiraz from South Africa and a 2006 Straccali chianti. I think the shiraz ran me in the low teens, and the chianti was $17. I'll start with the chianti.
The Straccali comes from the Chianti Classico region of Italy. The label is vague on notes, just "red ripe fruits," and says it's good as an accompaniment to "grilled meats, flavorful pastas, and a variety of cheeses." That covers a lot.
This chianti was drinkable, but another chianti that tasted like pizzaria-quality red wine to my taste buds. I didn't get any outstanding notes from it, and for $17, I think a wine should taste at least a little better than average.
Next was the Zonnebloem shiraz. I haven't had good luck since my first South African shiraz, the Sincerely a couple weeks ago, that was pretty interesting with its smoky notes. The first glass of this one had an off-flavor to it, and I'd let it sit for about 15 minutes after I opened it. I didn't finish the first glass.
I tried a second glass last night with some brie; I thought sitting for 24 hours might help. This time it was drinkable, but just barely and not outstanding. My notes say it was "kinda thin, no nose to it, no complexity". The label says this wine has a 5 to 8 years maturation potential, so maybe I drank it too soon.
So I'm still looking for the perfect shiraz.syrah and chianti, with 3 months or so to go on this red wine saga.