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In a perfect world we’d all sip Rose on a seashore with fresh seafood. Or perhaps drink big Malbec or Cabernet with charred and aged steaks. And if that’s too snobbish, how about some Sauv Blanc and shrimp? Or, maybe some pizza or a hamburger with a Beaujolais Cru? In a perfect world should wine in a box be a little better? And shouldn’t consumers have a lot more of those nifty little half bottles in their wine stores? Every now and then, wine writers rant! Rant on:

Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – This is pretty darn great value Cab for under $20. The wine is rich with ripe fruit, that green pepper thing you get in Chilean wines, and a hint of currant and vanilla. Maipo Valley is the home to the winery. It’s big soft and so drinkable the bottle might be gone before you ever realize it. (Not that it happened that way with me, noooooo!) photo (4) One of the great things about this wine is it comes from a producer who is joining a considerable South American movement toward sustainable farming practices.

Online, you’ll find rather dismissive reviews that it isn’t this or that. But the Cousino-Macul Cab is one most novice and intermediate wine drinkers is going to enjoy.

Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Around $16, Trade Sample, Highly Recommended

Chateau La Tour De Bessan Margaux 2009 (Half Bottle) – How many saw the rant coming here? C’mon, raise your hands?

If you travel in Europe, particularly in the great wine countries, you will see lots of half bottles in wine shops but even more in outdoor and traditional markets. The half bottle is a perfect way to try something new or different not to mention great for the single person. Two glasses of wine is enough for many of us on most nights. There are arguments against the half bottle, mainly that wine will not age and last as long as the traditional 750 ml bottle. But there are statistics floating around out that that most wine in the U.S. is consumed within days or weeks of purchase.

Most of central Indiana’s better shops carry half bottles but a very limited selection. This Margaux gave me a chance to taste a Cab-Merlot blend from one of the world’s greatest wine regions without breaking the bank. Sure it’s an entry level wine from the region but that’s as far as many wine drinkers may ever get with Bordeaux’s crazy prices. The wine itself was okay. It had a beautiful balance and richness that suggested great French wine making. Blackberry was the overwhelming characteristic that came to mind as I sipped with my charred ribeye.

Chateau La Tour De Bessan Margaux 2009, $12.95 half bottle, Highly Recommended! More half bottles in wine shops – Very Highly Recommended!

ChatRollanDeByRose Chateau Rollan de By 2011 Bordeaux Rose’ – Not a Claret but a Bordeaux Rose’ and a pretty good one. Most Rose’ fans really fall for the light, pink, and delicate Provence Rose – and I’m one of those folks. But I do like something different from time to time and the Bordeaux was a pleasant surprise.

It certainly was bigger on the palate but not sweet as some might fear from the candy-red color. It’s a bigger wine because it is made from Cabernet and Merlot from the Medoc region. It’s different – I like different. There is strawberry and cherry but it’s all kept in check by a nice roundness and mouth feel. It’s worth checking out.

Chateau Rollan de By 2011 Bordeaux Rose’, $13.50, Recommended.

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