Wine Club Review: Hola, Vinos

On a recent crisp, spring afternoon I met Jess in her sunny apartment to hunker down and taste the latest wine shipment from Gourmet Monthly Wine Club (read more reviews at

Jess opened the box and set three bottles on the coffee table: A 2008 Carmen Rapel Valley Carmenere2008 Carmen Rapel Valley Carmenere, a 2008 Bodegas Gormaz Vina Gormaz Rueda, from Chile and Spain, respectively; and a 2005 Surfrider Red2005 Surfrider Red (Bordeaux blend/Meritage) from Rosenthal Estate Wines in Malibu. But that's pretty much all there is to say about that one.

2008 Carmen Carmenere

2008 Carmen Carmenere

I've written before about the Carmen Carmenere. It had a nose full of pepper and jam and a taste of lead pipe and salad. I wish I could speak more favorably, but – try as I might – I just couldn't bring myself to like this wine. Jess thought it was ok. She got the green pepper essence I kept complaining about but she didn't hate it as much as I did. So…there's that…ringing…endorsement.

The Rueda was good. It had a lovely, lovely aroma like muscadel (maybe?), peach and ripe grapefruit with undertones of lime. On the palette I picked up flowers and grapefruit, although I felt the wine was a little flabby. But good. It was flabby but grapefruity deliciousness, with a nice balance and mouthfeel.

But here's the thing: The Gourmet Monthly Wine Club tasting notes say that Carmen is “Chile's oldest wine brand,” and “South America's leading winery as well as its oldest.” Which makes me wonder, once again, if I need to find a different job. Apparently Wine & Spirits named Carmen “Top Winery of the Year” at least four times (according to the literature), and, I don't know, I guess I was supposed to really like this juice. I will say this: Even though I didn't love the wine, clearly there was a lot of thought that went into choosing it for the club.

Bodegas Gormaz Vina Gormaz Rueda

Bodegas Gormaz Vina Gormaz Rueda

Rueda is actually a Denominación de Origen (DO) in Spain, for the wines from the Community of Castile and Leon, located northwest of Madrid. The Verdejo grape has been grown in this region since the 11th Century, and is now one of Spain's most successful white grape varieties. In order to be labeled Rueda, a wine must contain 50% Verdejo, with the rest typically consisting of either Sauvignon Blanc or Viura – as in the Bodegas Gormaz Vina, which is 60% Verdejo and 40% Viura. Interesting stuff, and the Vina Gormaz was a good wine for introduction.

I have to admit that this was not my favorite overall shipment, but I don't believe it was for lack of quality in the wine. And, truthfully, sometimes we all pick up bottles of otherwise highly rated and glowingly reviewed wine that just doesn't please our palate. I think that's what happened here. In vino veritas…

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes

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