Decent Red Wines We’re Too Snobby to Write About

swirl the glass then sniff with gusto

We prefer to write about wines we favor which are generally Old World whites, reds and ros√©s. The tBoW tasting team clearly prefers Pinot Noir along with Italian varietals. However, we also have the occasional NoCal Cabernet Sauvignon or big Aussie Red [ed. there’s another kind of Aussie red?] put in front of us and without other choices we slurp. There is one exception: we would never turn down a Ridge Monte Bello. Here are the notes from an assortment of these exceptionable remarkably de trop red wines rarely covered here purely for selfish reasons. Hey…they weren’t so bad. Oh yes…also a nearly 30 year old Oporto and one very good and unusual white wine.


1995 Cronin Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon (expired): One of the rarest of the rares. Interesting wine not in the least because it no longer exists; Cronin Winery story here. Pulled from the depths of a cellar by a Cab Drinker who generally has unusual items. Still lively and tannic. A treat if you are a Cab Drinker. Keep in mind Ridge Monte Bello is from the same region. Alcohol not listed.

1997 Clos Pegase Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $55 in Germany: Refined. Blended form three estate vineyards sections. Nice. Why am I reviewing these if I do not really drink Cabernet? Because I tasted them and took the notes. Maybe a reader who likes Cabernet has one of these bottles given to her or him by an in law? And it has been stored decently for a decade or longer and you are wondering if it’s any good? The answer is if you like Cabernet you can pull the cork with confidence. If you are not then you need to have half a case to trade it for interesting wine. 14.2%

1998 Page Proprietary Red Napa $55: Here is the problem with Napa red wines in the 90s right up to recently. Too many wineries trying to find a niche end up charging a big price for a wine that does not match up. We can imagine the conversation that went into putting three doves on the label. “It’s like the holy trinity of a Bordeaux blend.” But that’s Napa. Too many folks looking for the Big Parker Score; sweet, big, and all about the image.

1994 William Hill Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $30: Wasn’t this the brand that used to market their wines by agreeing to print your name on the label? This is the best of the lot. Classic Napa Cab flavors. At its peak. Won’t get any better.

2000 Peter Lehman Eight Songs Shiraz $35: Raisin and ripe cherries. Liqueur intensity which means overripe like an Amarone. Light to medium weight. Quite lovely. I have no idea what are the eight songs. That’s the Aussies. Symbols so colloquial we never get it. 14%

1982 Melford Port: Mysterious port. I am pretty sure we drank it. I have the notes dammit! Caramel nose. light color, light weight, ruby color. Delicioso and delicado. What do we know about Melford? Could not find anything on the Internet. Nothing! I mean nothing.

2006 Keenan Merlot 30th Anniversary Reserve Mailbox Vineyard $65: Big ticket wine from Spring Mountain veteran. Vines been around more than 30 years. Rich and intense nose. Makes me sniff it for five minutes. Cinnamon, exotic. Is this the Chinese spice nose? Flavors match up with nose. Great with veal chop in porcini mushroom sauce. Mrs. tBoW loves Spring Mountain wines which means Mrs. Dotoré would as well. 14.3%

2008 Domaine de Montcy Cour-Cheverny Pl√©nitude $19: U20! The lone white in this group. Brought to his first tBoW tasting by new tasting team members the Chrises. Here is a wine full of life and story. It is only grown in one commune. The producer also makes red wine including a Gamay and Pinot Noir blend. This wine is citric, acidic. Nice body with some stuffing. the color is “orange” which usually indicates excessive skin contact. The grape is Romarantin which you never heard of either. I would not seek it out because that would require concentration. But if I saw it I would buy some. And I would love to try the red. Here is a wine blog with lots of good story. 12.5%

Next week…the usual sweet spots.


  1. Wavatar
    Le Large says:

    With this chilly weather returning, Vinemaster… it’s that big red time of year, eh? Something to go with the filet or lamb shanks? But I’m a little tired and too familiar with the old world rosés — am seeing some promising buys on a bunch of new pink stuff from No Cal… not to mention that Italian neb rosé (courtesy of DF) from Wine Expo… And remember some of that Sonoma stuff from Tahoe last summer? Hint of a little bit of a Cal renaissance for some atypical rosés? Thoughts?


    • Wavatar
      Bacchus says:

      Good points. Hard to find a BAD rosé New or Old World when the sun is shining on the Hollywood Bowl and the jazz is blowing. Chilly weather will pass and everyone gonna get well.

  2. Wavatar
    Chrises says:


    You are in luck, as I have two different Domaine de Montcy reds (gamay, cot, & pinot) on order, not to mention their rose (cab franc and pinot; bottled upon ordering) and another white (sauvignon blanc and chardonnay). And all are under $20 (3 are under $15)!

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