Last night was another 4 Wines & A Plate night, and this week was a value night of wines under $13. For the American readers – in Canada, $13 is cheap. Our $13 CAD price-point is likely your $8 price-point. Despite our currency awesomeness. I know. Don’t rub it in.
Overall, the wines showed a LOT better than I expected. Heck, last tasting we had a 98 point Parker-scored wine in the $70 price-point. I didn’t have high expectations for wines under $13. But what I was hoping is we’d find some decent wine in the high 80’s score range that would be a good value for drinking when you don’t feel like cracking a nice bottle to go with your Wednesday night spaghetti.
A – 2006 Yalumba Shiraz Viognier $13.19
B – 2005 The Wolftrap Syrah Cinsault Mourvedre Viognier $12.19
C – 2004 Vina Chocalan Synergy Reserva $13.99
D – 2005 Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti $12.49
E – Gazela Vinho Verde $9.99
F – 2005 Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone $11.89
G – 2005 Heritage des Cave des Papes Cotes du Rhone $12.39
H – 2004 Torre al Sole Sangiovese Toscana Rosso $9.79
Only taking into account the 7 reds, we ranked them from favorite to least favorite, allocating 0 points for a 7 rank, 1 point for a 6 rank, upward to 6 points for a 1 rank – per taster. The accumlated scores led to the following group preference:
B – 2005 The Wolftrap Syrah Cinsault Mourvedre Viognier 
F – 2005 Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone [tie 20]
C – 2004 Vina Chocalan Synergy Reserva [tie 20]
H – 2004 Torre al Sole Sangiovese Toscana Rosso 
D – 2005 Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti [tie 10]
A – 2006 Yalumba Shiraz Viognier [tie 10]
G – 2005 Heritage des Cave des Papes Cotes du Rhone 
My quick assessment:
B – evolved the most from stinky sulpher to nice round fruits with some interesting appeal
F – old world, light style, pepper, cherry, overall a favorite of mine
C – wood-city, heavy, rubber tire, mouth stripper, complex, and huge
H – light to a fault, no grip, but what it lightly offers [butterscotch, herbaceous, sour apple 2-3 seconds in] is nice
D – subtle, plummy, light, mushroom, a little class
A – interesting tropical, fragrant nose, with an ‘easy’ and unimpressive mouthfeel and finish
G – fake cherry, old world, long finish and decent mouthfeel for an ‘okay’ table wine.
It was a small group this time, but everyone seemed to have had a really good time, and the second flight of 4 wines was a surprise – which was fun. I feel my mission of finding some inexpensive decent wine was accomplished. Overall, a good wine night. Next time: TBA at the tasting.