2003 Marques de Grinon Syrah and Candoni Chianti

I've been too busy with work and haven't posted in a couple weeks but I haven't stopped drinking. With all the work I've needed it.

First off is probably the best syrah I've drunk all fall and winter, a 2003 Marques de Grinon [with a curly thing over the n] syrah from Spain.  I didn't even know Spain produced Syrahs; this is from the Dominio de Valdepusa estate.  This wine is aged in oak for a year and ran me in the mid-$20 range. 

My tasting notes file disappeared [new laptop; you know how that goes], but I remember this having just a tad more sweetness, which helped ameliorate the tannins, which I've decided are a main reason I haven't been big on syrahs.  It had strong vanilla notes, and I also remember thinking that 'Oh, this is what oak tastes like'.  I finally got that.

All in all, a very fine syrah and a good choice for a higher-end dinner.  It didn't hold up particularly well over several days; I forgot I had it and didn't get back to it for at least 2 days, and by then it had lost a lot of its delicacy of flavor.

Next up is a chianti, no date, just commercial, made by Candoni.  I was talking to a good friend who works at the local Liquee Mart, and I was telling her I haven't been impressed by any of the chiantis I've been drinking, they taste like pizzaria vino.  She agreed that she doesn't care for chiantis either; she said they taste flat, and I would agree with her 100 percent.

That being said, this is probably my favorite of the chiantis thus far.  My friend recommended it; she said Candoni makes other good wines and I should try it.  It ran me about $10.

It's a tad sweeter than the other chiantis I've tried, and like the Spanish syrah, I think that helped make it palatable for me.  It didn't have any particular delicacy of flavor or nose, but it was drinkable.  This is one of the few chiantis where I drank the whole bottle. The bottle says it would be good with cheese, and I can see that.

Last, as a bonus review: my friend also recommended a 2008 Apothic Red from California (specifically Modesto).  This is a blend of syrah, zinfandel, and merlot and ran me $10.

She said this is a big seller, and I can see why:  it's very flavorful.  It's one of the fruitiest reds I've drunk.  The label says vanilla and mocha; I was catching plum maybe.  It's also a sweeter red, a little too sweet for my taste, but I could see why it's popular.  A good everyday red blend for just casual evening sipping.