Clos du Bois Rouge 2009

Safeway, regularly $12.84
Total Wine & More, $9.99
Clos du Bois Website

Aaron:  This is probably the best blend I’ve had.  The super dark color was worrisome (I was afraid of what my tongue would look like after) and the prune smell with hints of mocha was not impressive.  Following these fears however was a full, rich flavor with dried plum and raisin – almost like a port.  Ribbons of sugar created a velvety texture completely absent of earth notes.  The smooth swallow is what won me over, featuring a clean finish with no burn and moderate tannins.  Most of the points are for being a good blend.  92 points

Teri: Within this bottle I tasted upfront nodes of strawberry/cherry with raspberries on the finish with a slight bite. The bottle carries strong tannins that fall well on the palate and finish with flavors of coffee/spice. Great characteristics for a blend and a mid-level brand. 90 points

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Bogle Vineyard Essential Red 2010

Total Wine & More, $9.49
BevMo, $10.99
Cost Plus World Market, price varies by store

Aaron:  This blend featured tons of raspberry on the nose and made it hard to sense much else.  The flavor was much milder than expected however and presented mocha – more specifically chocolate covered espresso beans – to the palate.  I enjoyed the hint of boysenberry followed by a gentle finish with barely noticeable tannins.  91 points

Teri: Bogle puts together older vines of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah giving this wine unique characteristics. Slow legs, a rich dark color, and a dark raspberry and oak smell pair with the full and noticeable flavors and tannins of the wine. I tasted heavy flavors of cherry, oak, and raspberry that melt into a spicy plum finish. This bottle would stand up to full heavy foods and those wine lovers who crave rich full reds. 89 points 

Apothic Red 2010

Apothic Red is a red blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot

Total Wine & More, $6.97
BevMo, $9.59
This bottle can also be found at Trader Joes, local grocery stores, and most liquor realtors.

Apothic Website

Aaron: The sweet, robust smell on this blend was intriguing and boasted a hint of raisin.  I found the flavor to be somewhat port-like with prunes, plums and some spice.  Overall I’d describe this as “thick”; interpret that as you’d like.  88 points

Teri: This wine carries a warm semi-sweet flavor that would please a variety of wine drinkers, especially those who are new to wine or prefer white wines. I tasted strong flavors of vanilla with raspberry/cherry fruit. Slowly and steadily gaining popularity, this bottle would be great to bring to a dinner or give as a gift. 88 points

Pillar Box Red 2009

Purchased from Costco, prices vary by store
Total Wine & More: $9.99, 750ml
BevMo: $10.99, 750ml

Red Blend: 70% Shiraz, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot

Aaron:  Skip it.  Why? The berry and oak smell (with a hint of mocha at the end) does not compensate for the sharp flavor that was way too harsh.  I suppose this would be ok if you were at a keg party and weren’t into Bud light, but other than that find something else.  85 points

Teri: This red blend carries consistent fruity flavors with organic spice, cherry, and earthy tones. A slight bite at the end, possibly from the medium/strong tannins, but overall a standard drinking red wine blend. 86 points