Like most couples who raise children together, travel together and taste wine together, we do not always agree on every topic. And while we are usually in the same camp on the big issues, wine and politics seem to be the two areas where we occasionally have a difference of opinion. Sometimes it's big, sometime it's small, but we always have a good time defending our positions.
So in the spirit of the current political climate and the final presidential debate on Monday, we thought it would be fun to select several wines which we typically have different views on and stage our own deliberation. Cindy won the coin toss, so she will begin each review. Retail prices are approximate.
2011 Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($20)
She said: I usually enjoy sauvignon blanc wines from New Zealand for their palate-cleansing crispness and grassy notes. This wine delivers both. The tropical fruit flavors are supported by those notes and zesty citrus undertones. It strikes a nice balance between refreshing acidity and bright fruit. QPR 9
He said: I think this is a beautiful expression of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but I tend to lean more toward the tropical fruit characteristics in this varietal. I really like the juicy flavors of mango and papaya that fill in the midpalate, but the fresh-cut grass notes that show up in the bouquet and on the crisp finish are a bit too distracting for my taste. QPR 7.5
2010 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Barbara and Monterey counties, Calif. ($22)
She said: This chardonnay is a blend of the best estate-grown grapes from four different elevations along the cool costal climates of California's Central Coast. The lots are vinified separately and then blended to produce flavors of peach, nectarine and citrus on the slightly creamy frame. I like the lush finish and touch of vanilla at the end. QPR 8.5
He said: I really like the complexity and depth that this wine delivers for the money. The sur lie (the wine is left in contact with the yeast and other sediments after fermentation) aging definitely adds a certain richness to the flavors of ripe apple, nectarine and lemon-lime tart found throughout the palate. I too like the vanilla characteristics on the medium-bodied finish. QPR 8.5
2011 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France ($15)
She said: Domaine Joseph Drouhin, one of the oldest and largest producers in Burgundy, uses grapes from more than a dozen appellations in the region to produce a wine that really expresses the varietal. Bright flavors of strawberry, cranberry and red cherry are expressed with extraordinary freshness on the palate. Between the long, clean finish and the low price, I love this wine. QPR 9.5
He said: While this is a charming wine, I tend to want more oomph from my pinot noir. I do like the bright notes of cherry and red berry, but I think that the lack of new oak (the wine is aged in used oak barrels) causes the wine to be a little too one-dimensional for my tastes. I do, however, agree that the finish is pretty and the price is appealing. QPR 7.5
2009 Borgo Scopeto Borgonero Chianti, Tuscany, Italy ($24)
She said: This blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and syrah is referred to as a "Super Tuscan" wine because it uses nonindigenous grapes. It is a big wine with concentrated flavors of black fruit up front and a powerful, slightly tannic finish featuring tobacco and dried herbs. QPR 8
He said: I really like sangiovese, and the additional varietals definitely add to the structure of this wine. The big black and red fruit flavors expand in the mouth and unfold in layers of complexity. Notes of tobacco and smoky wood beautifully integrate with the firm tannins on the long, powerful finish. QPR 9.5
Note: QPR is a rating system that compares the quality a wine delivers relative to the price. A QPR of 10 is considered an excellent value.