Even cooler Cali pinot
Terrific deluxe meritage from Two Sisters
A cool California chardonnay
Pinot grigio beats chardonnay!
Frame-up: The Beer Store, beer tax and beer prices


Party Sorter Outer

Graffigna is a big producer in the San Juan region of Argentina and is one of the oldest wineries in the country. They're not breaking any new ground in terms of variety or style here, but with a 4-pack at $40, that's OK. All are branded Graffigna Centenario Reserve, which is a little cheeky considering they're entry level wines, but they more than deliver for the dollar. Here are the varietal types:

Pinot Grigio 2010 - Lightly fruity nose with some fresh pear notes. Smooth on the palate, which has a slight sweet note. Not too fruity but there's a decent balance and the fruit that is there is ripe. Medium bodied, moderate acidity.

Malbec 2008 - Fairly bold nose of ripe red fruit with a woody note and a bit of herbal/mint hint. Good cherry fruit, full bodied with robust tannins. Cedar and vanilla notes as well as darker tobacco and wood notes make it feel more serious.This one has just been released on the LCBO general list and retails separately for $12.95 (LCBO 230474)

Shiraz 2008 - Dark nose of ripe plums. Medium to full bodied on the palate, which is smooth, with good fruit, vanilla, cedar and a bit of tobacco. A straightforward effort, nicely done, though somewhat lighter than a typical Australian shiraz... which is actually a good thing for some people.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 - Fruity nose with lots of red berries and some blackberry too. Dry yet smooth on the palate, which is not super fruity, but has a core of juicy ripe red berry. There's also fresh acidity and moderate tannins, a powdery wood note, a bit of herbal and a nice amount of red fruit on the finish.

Graffigna is marketing in action - the balance of 75-25 red-white  mirrors Ontario's wine split at the retail level, the four-pack is convenient and looks good, the price is right, and there's even a big 90 point thumbs up from Robert Parker on the malbec...


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