Zagat Wine Club Delivers

Great Wines Just in Time for the Holidays



With Thanksgiving in our rear-view mirror (has another year really gone by so quickly?), I know we're all turning our attention to celebrating the end of year in style. On the lookout for great deals and special offers? I have a suggestion: the Zagat Wine Club! Now this is not just another wine club. Not only will your wine be specially selected by Tony Laithwaite, a well-respected professional with 40 years' experience discovering great wines, but you’ll also have the comfort of knowing that each wine comes with the approval of the Zagat brand. The Zagat brand is a great way to suss out values and quality, and the Zagat Wine Club is no exception.

For only $89.99 you’ll get to experience 12 wines selected exclusively for the holidays. If you order through Snooth, shipping is FREE and you’ll also receive a special gift from Zagat Wine. That’s right, order the 12-bottle sample featured in this article, and you’ll also receive three bonus bottles of Vina la Barta Rioja. It's not only a great deal, but it comes just in time for the holidays. Wines like the totally engaging, complex and zesty 2008 Zamperino and the rich, pure, powerful and exceptionally fun to drink 2009 The Boxer Bill Calabria Oak Aged Duriff Bin 11 make this assortment one of the best deals of the year!

While 15 bottles of wine for just $89.99 is great, there's more to the story here. Your case will also arrive with a special binder containing useful tasting notes and serving suggestions, so you'll be able to learn more about each wine as you enjoy your selections. This really is the complete package -- great wines made easy, with a 100% moneyback guarantee and no obligations to take future cases (which will be offered to you every three months, just when you're ready for a re-fill). So, don’t hesitate and order yours today,  -- you (and your holiday guests) will be very glad you did.
Red Wines

2008 Zamperino Lazio IGT Italy 14%

Very chocolatey on the nose and distinctly beefy, with iron touches to the mineral-inflected dark raspberry fruit. The oak begins rather subtly but gains intensity with air. This is bright with fine, assertive tannins adding to the zesty profile of this wine. The fruit is high-toned in the mouth with a plummy edge but quite wild raspberry-driven. The mid-palate is tense with structure and cut with a nice mineral note that adds complexity to this, as does the oak-influenced mocha and spice tones. This broadens out on the finish but then sees a return of vibrant acidity. Long and lively, this is a very engaging wine. 91pts

2008 Sagebrush Vineyards Columbia Valley Washington 13.7%
(Cabernet Sauvignon 55% / Merlot 40% / Syrah5%)

This has a distinct vegetal edge on the nose that adds fine complexity and depth to the soil-tinged aromas of black currant and black plum with top notes of burnt sugar and eucalyptus. This is moderately tight in the mouth with lots of finely grained tannins and succulent acidity. The fruit profile is decidedly red in nature with a soft wild cherry quality to the fruit that has a touch of medicinal complexity on the mid-palate. The fruit on the backend picks up the light vegetal tone of the nose and that adds nice drive to the finish. Layered classic Cabernet blend. 90pts

2009 Chateau Moulin la Bridane Haut-Medoc France 13%

Restrained on the nose with a distinct grassy edge, fine suggestions of gravel and crisp black currant fruit with a light edge of green walnut nuttiness.  Bright on entry with a light feel and an immediate rush of black currant fruit. This quickly adds weight in the mouth and the fairly rich, sweet fruit buffers the moderately firm tannins quite well. This is nicely aromatic in the mouth with a touch of cedary oak, and some blondie/brownie toasty sweet tones on the mid-palate and the finish. The finish is really surprisingly fruity with sweet raspberry and red currant tones that overpower the cedary oak note on the long finish. Definitely Bordeaux on the nose, this has the added weight of the great 2009 vintage giving it a slightly new world aspect on the palate. 89pts

2008 HJ. Fabre Mendoza Malbec Argentina 14.5%

This is rather subtle on the nose with a touch of orange rind, dark chocolatey tones, a light balsamic note, a suggestion of juniper, and small black and blue fruits. This is opulent in the mouth, broad and soft with a seamless feel. The fruit is ripe and dark with blueberry and blackberry tones, joined by a nice layer of herbal spice and some nice oak shadings. It’s not long before the tannins help to firm up the mid-palate, adding a more spicy aspect to the fruit. The backend adds a nice light mineral note with rather rich black fruits that extend through the finish framed by the lightly milk choclatey oak and fresh berry spice. 88pts

2009 The Boxer Bill Calabria Oak Aged Duriff Bin 11 New South Wales Australia 15%

Nicely bright on the nose with some fine wood tones and a bit of soil and mud under brambly black berry and black plum fruit with fine black pepper spice top notes. A bit sweet on the attack but then the formidable acid kicks in and brightens this up. A big wine, it fills the mouth with sweet plummy fruit framed with gentle suggestions of oak. This has nice purity and fine balance that extends through the long, very plummy finish, which ends with a nice flourish of peppery spice. Not a lot of complexity here, but great purity and excellent balance for such a big wine. This holds its alcohol extremely well -- I didn’t even notice it. This is a fairly simple wine but gutsy and just plain fun to drink. This would be wonderful with dry rub barbecue! 88pts

2009 Aymura Elqui Valley Carmenere Chile 14.5%

Classic Carmenere on the nose with piercing herbal, minty, asparagus, and artichoke aromas over a wonderful, gently smoldering note of sappy twigs and notes of grapefruit accenting the dark fruit. This is lean and focused on entry, with nicely balanced red fruits upfront that yield to a darker profile on the mid-palate. The tannins are present but well judged and the acidity bright and lively. The backend picks up some smoke and spice note with a dark berry tones that has a strawberry aspect to it. The finish is on the short side and, while this shows admirable restraint, it’s a touch too simple.  87pts

White Wines

2009 Alta Tierra Elqui Valley Chardonnay Falernia Estate Titon Vineyard Chile 13.5%

This is gently leafy on the nose with green apple fruit and light lashings of oak, but there’s a distinct Sauvignon Blanc-like green fruit, chili note here as well. On entry this reveals more of the green fruit profile that leads right up to a rich, creamy mid-palate, with apricot and apple tones topped with spice oak notes. There’s a touch of aniseed on the mid-palate and more green fruits on the finish, which has a lovely combination of rich creamy fruit and vibrant acids. 89pts

2005 Brook Ranch San Luis Obispo Chardonnay 14.2%

At first this is rich and heavy on the nose with super-ripe pineapple notes, but air helps this loosen up and it adds some deep leesy notes and shading of dried citrus zest with a distinct candied apple background note. Nicely balanced in the mouth with good acids and broad, clear fruit. The flavors lean towards the brighter end of the spectrum with apple, lemon curd and fresh almond flavors that gain some sweetness on the backend. The finish is long and bright with refreshing acidity. 88pts

2008 Casa del Bosque Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blanc Winemaker’s Reserve Chile 13.5%

Intensely aromatic in the New Zealand style with aromas of grass, roasted jalapeño and gooseberries. On entry this is nicely tense with good acids supporting green herb-tinged fruit flavors. On the mid-palate, the pineapple, apple, and green plum flavors really pop with excellent intensity. Very fresh and clean on the finish. A solid, very refreshing style of Sauvignon Blanc. 88pts

2009 Forrest Marlborough Pinot Gris New Zealand 14%

Lots of ripe orchard and apple fruits on the nose with a touch of pithy lime zest and a hint of dried bay leaf. This is relatively fruity with pure, sweet apple tones on the mid-palate in a rich, slightly creamy style. The flavors are fairly intense and pick up some guava and spice on the backend with a modest, sweetly fruited finish that has some spice on the finale. 87pts

2009 Alma Andina Mendoza Chardonnay Argentina 13.5%

Very citrussy on the nose with barrel-fermented aromas of oak, vanilla and cream. Really nice and fresh on the attack with bright citrus flavors over creamy, toasty oak tones. This is nicely medium-bodied in the mouth with everything well in balance. Some green apple tones emerge on the mid-palate and lead to a crisp, tense, moderate finish with a distinct vanilla note on the finale. 87pts

2009 Perla Del Mar Alicante Muscatel de Alejandria Spain 13%

This is intensely lemony on the nose with a slightly candied lemon drop tone and complicating notes of wild flowers. Dry Muscat, a wonderful wine and totally underappreciated! This is a touch softer than I would prefer but with good acidity and nice intensity of floral, lightly bergamot-toned citrus fruits in the mouth. The wine tenses up on the backend and finishes with perfumed notes of lemons, lines and honeysuckle with a nicely zesty finale. This would be a killer seafood wine. 87pts

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