Tonight, I’m catching up on some recent wines I’ve shared with friends or tasted.

The price points range from $7 to $30 and I have some whites and reds to share. And since I’m reviewing several wines here, I’m going to offer a “recommended, not recommended” type of rating for each.

S.Morris 2007 Petite Syrah – I got this wine through a Paso Robles wine club I joined. It’s hard to find many details on this small operation but they sure do know how to make interesting Petite Syrah.

Normally you expect big and bold written all over a Petite Syrah. This wine was full flavored but with outstanding balance and a velvety mouth feel and finish.

It featured dark fruit and a little spice on the finish. (S.Morris 2007 Petite Syrah, $25, Recommended)

Villa San-Juliette 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – Simply put, this was the best Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted in a long time! At $15, I don’t think you’ll find a better one.

Now, this is a new winery but made 30,000 cases of this vintage. The Paso Robles area tasting room is scheduled to open this year. All of that means you might not be able to find the wine in some states. But the name is going to be one to remember.

This was an elegant Sauv Blanc without in your face tart fruit and/or acidity. I tasted pear and rich grapefruit instead of the usual grapefruit tartness. This is beautiful white wine from California’s Central Coast. (Villa San-Juliette 2008 Sauvingon Blanc, $15, Highly Recommended)

flipflop 2009 Pinot Noir – Regular Pinot Noir drinkers often lament that lack of an inexpensive Pinot Noir. I often direct those folks to Mirassou, found in many markets. I’m now going to tell them Mirassou or flipflop!

I was skeptical when marketing friend Stephen Mitchell told me about this new line of wines. There is a cause behind the wine that everyone can support. flipflop wines is working with Soles4Souls to provide shoes for children. Underdog Wine Merchants, the company that does boxed wines for Octavin, is working with flipflop and Soles4Souls to provide 11 million pairs of shoes to needy children around the world.

Stephen told me I wasn’t going to believe the quality of the wine for $7 retail. I was convinced Stephen would be right – I wouldn’t believe him. Now, first off – it is a $7 wine. If you’re expecting a big California style Pinot taste you’re not going to get it. But at this price point — the wine TASTED like Pinot Noir. That’s the litmus test for me at the price. It’s light in style and very drinkable.

My local Kroger supermarket has a palate of flipflop wines. The company is offering the Pinot, Pinot Grigio, Riesling,Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Moscato – all selling for just $7 each. I tried the Pinot Grigio as well and thought it easily could have passed for a $15 bottle. (flipflop wines, SRP $7, Trade Sample, Recommended!)

Veramonte’s Cruz Andina 2008 Malbec – This was a juicy Malbec made from grape regions Mendoza, Uco, and Lujan de Cuyo in Argentina. It’s actually a blend of 85 percent Malbec, 8 percent Syrah, and 7 percent Cabernet.

I liked this SRP $19.99 wine a lot. I enjoyed the touch of raspberry and the wine’s rich, long finish. This wine has a pretty strong oak presence that doesn’t bother me at all, but will put off some wine drinkers. The alcohol is at 14.5 percent.

If you like big and full-flavored Malbecs, you’ll like this one. (2008 Andina Malbec, SRP $19.99, Trade Sample, Recommended)

Veramonte 2010 Sauvignon Blanc – This was a disappointment for me. Chilean Sauv Blanc has become one of my favorites. This wine had huge grapefruit and hints of nasty sweat sock. It was quite acidic. The alcohol was a reasonable 13.5 percent and it’s a real value at $12.

The Veramonte was medium bodied, but just too much mineral taste for my palate. This is a reputable winery, this white wine just wasn’t suited to my palate. I have a bottle of their Pinot Noir I’m anxious to try. It’s gotten a lot of accolades. (2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc, $11.99, Trade Sample, Not Recommended)

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

Advertisements