Pattie’s Wine Club

Much to her chagrin, we have only let Pattie review wine under 1000 yen (approx. 10 dollars) on this page. All prices include tax. The bottles bought thus far come from a local specialist wine store (best option), Shizutetsu (good), Family Mart (OK, but often sweet), MaxValu (OK) and Kaldi (more hit than miss). Wines are listed alphabetically.

Number of bottles reviewed – 103
Number of countries covered – 10
Best buy – Chocolate Moose Cab Sauv (5/5)
Worst buy – Alpaca Syrah Carmenere Viognier (0/5)

Alpaca Cab Sauv Merlot (Chile) – 590 yen
Barely drinkable swill. Avoid.
Drank with – Vegetable pasta
Buy again? – No chance
Rating – 1.5/5

Alpaca Carmenere (Chile) – 630 yen
The best of the herd, but that’s not saying much.
Drank with – Fried rice and vegetables
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

Alpaca Chardonnay Semillon (Chile) – 630 yen
A little quirky. The better of the Alpaca whites.
Drank with – Pineapple curry
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 3/5

Alpaca Pinot Noir (Chile) – 580 yen
Flat, slightly off Ribena. Unpleasant.
Drank with – Baguette dipped in creamy mushroom sauce
Buy again? – No
Rating – 1.5/5

Alpaca Rose (Chile) – 680 yen
Fairly average rose. Drinkable.
Drank with – Potatoes and radish
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 2.5/5

Alpaca Sauv Blanc (Chile) – 580 yen
More palatable than the Pinot. Lower to middling.
Drank with – Vegetable assortment
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 2.5/5

Alpaca Syrah Carmenere Viognier (Chile) – 750 yen
Thick and gloopy with a a strange odour. An unmitigated disaster.
Drank with – Natto sushi
Buy again? – Absolutely not
Rating – 0/5

Alterra Special Reserve Cab Sauv (Chile) – 930 yen
Had high hopes at this price, but it’s nothing special.
Drank with – Bean curry
Buy again? – No
Rating – 3/5

Ampelo Cab Sauv (Spain) – 850 yen
Clean and fresh organic wine. Worth a go.
Drank with – Arrabiata
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Aves Del Sur Cab Sauv (Chile) – 930 yen
Clean, smooth taste. Worth a look.
Drank with – Soy milk tofu and mushroom soup
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Barricas Tinto (Portugal) – 950 yen
Nothing special. Overpriced.
Drank with – Vegetable fettucine
Buy again? – No
Rating – 3/5

Bio Mania Organic Riesling (Germany) – 950 yen
Funky design and a fresh flavour.
Drank with – Assorted vegetables and rice.
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Bio Mania Organic Tempranillo (Spain) – 950 yen
Started off very well but tailed off a little at the end.
Drank with – Aubergine and rice
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Bravino Tempranillo (Chile) – 530 yen
Fruity and fun. Unpretentious.
Drank with – Doenjjang jjigae
Buy again? – Sure
Rating – 4/5

Careo Blanco (Spain) – 440 yen
Like the red, good value for money.
Drank with – Vegetable risotto
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3/5

Careo Tinto (Spain) – 440 yen
No world-beater, but decent for the price.
Drank with – Mushroom and spinach fettucine
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3/5

C’est Chic Red (France) – 530 yen
It may be chic, but it’s barely drinkable.
Drank with – Mixed vegetables and rice
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2/5

Chocolate Moose Cab Sauv (France) – 900 yen
Glorious dessert wine. Heavy and satisfying.
Drank with – Fried lotus root
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 5/5

Concha Y Toro Frontera Cab Sauv (Chile) – 550 yen
A go-to in this price bracket. Excellent value.
Drank with – Vegetable ramen
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Concha Y Toro Frontera Chardonnay (Chile) 550 yen
Unpretentious but decent vin de table.
Drank with – Cheese, vegetables and dips
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Concha Y Toro Frontera Night Harvest Red (Chile) – 800 yen
A little on the sweet side. Nothing remarkable.
Drank with – Doenjang jjigae
Buy again? – No
Rating – 3/5

Concha Y Toro Sunrise Cab Sauv (Chile) – 850 yen
Price and quality inversely proportional for Concha Y Toro
Drank with – Kimchi jjigae
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2.5/5

Cono Sur Bicicleta Cab Sauv (Chile) – 900 yen
The bicycle is a sure sign of quality. A feisty red.
Drank with – Doenjang Pasta
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Cono Sur Bicicleta Malbec (Chile) – 900 yen
A rare find. Rich and heavy.
Drank with – Croissants, cheese and olives.
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir (Chile) – 900 yen
A soft and subtle pleasure.
Drank with – Asparagus and garlic mushrooms fried in butter.
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Cono Sur Bicicleta Unoaked Chardonnay (Chile) – 900 yen
A very clean taste. Goes down easily.
Drank with – Potatoes and mushrooms in white sauce
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 4.5/5

Cova Santa Sweet Garnacha (Spain) – 880 yen
An accidental pick of a sweet wine. Not for me.
Drank with – Spinach and mushroom curry
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2/5

Dancing Flame Cab Sauv (Chile) – 430 yen
Foul, highly viscous lava.
Drank with – Vegetable assortment
Buy again? – No chance
Rating – 1/5

Dancing Flame Sauv Blanc (Chile) – 430 yen
Much better than the red. Acceptable for the price.
Drank with – Fried aubergine
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3/5

De Bortoli Family Selection Semillon Chardonnay (Australia) – 830 yen
Better than the Shiraz. Worth a try.
Drank with – Vegetable assortment with fried tofu
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

De Bortoli Family Selection Shiraz Cab (Australia) – 830 yen
Pleasantly rugged at first, but lost its flavour rapidly.
Drank with – Sundubu jjigae
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Rose (Australia) – 930 yen
Superior rose. Lucky to catch it on sale.
Drank with – Fried vegetables
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Di Zeno Red (Germany) – 600 yen
Too sweet for my palate, but not awful.
Drank with – Vegetable fettucine
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2.5/5

Don Romero Blanco (Spain) – 480 yen
Not great, not terrible, not expensive.
Drank with – Spicy tomato pasta
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2.5/5

Don Romero Tinto (Spain) – 480 yen
Quite heavy. Not particularly enjoyable.
Drank with – Spicy tomato pasta
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2.5/5

El Paso Del Lazo Tempranillo Shiraz (Spain) – 900 yen
Muddled and heavy taste. Overcomplicated and overpriced.
Drank with – Onion bread with tomato vegetable dip
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2/5

Escapada Vinho Branco (Portugal) – 900 yen
A little sour, but may grow on you. An acquired taste.
Drank with – Papaya and celery salad
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Espacio Merlot (Chile) – 440 yen
Started off average. Went downhill.
Drank with – Doenjang jjigae
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2/5

Et Me Rosso Lazio (Italy) – 830 yen
Decent but not spectacular. A solid option from Italy.
Drank with – Mushroom soup
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 4/5

Falesco Merlot Umbria (Italy) – 850 yen
Unassuming but good quality. Smooth.
Drank with – Bibimbap
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Famigos Carmenere Cab Sauv (Chile) – 600 yen
A Family Mart mainstay. Nothing special and a little too sweet.
Drank with – Fried pumpkin slices
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2.5/5

Fleurs De France Rose (France) – 900 yen
Excellent value. A fine tipple for our Christmas Day.
Drank with – Spinach curry
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Forestville Pinot Noir (US) – 800 yen
Pale colour and very light. Felt almost watered down.
Drank with – Vegetable Arrabbiata
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 2.5/5

Garrigue Red (France) – 900 yen
Pretty nondescript. Acceptable for a picnic.
Drank with – Tofu steak
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

Il Paggio Chianti (Italy) – 850 yen
Pleasantly neutral and dry. A discount steal.
Drank with – Vegetable fettucine
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Inycon Nero D’Avola (Italy) – 800 yen
Dry and a little sour. It grows on you.
Drank with – Vegetable sushi
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

La Colomba Piccola Syrah (Italy) – 880 yen
Nice label, but the contents are fairly average.
Drank with – Vegetable pasta
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 3/5

La Croisade Cab Syrah (France) – 990 yen
Complex flavour that grows on you.
Drank with – Umeboshi and ginger spaghetti
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Ladera Verde Red (Chile) – 400 yen
Dull and heavy, but acceptable for its price tag.
Drank with – Kongnamul bap
Buy again? – If money is an object
Rating – 2.5/5

Ladera Verde White (Chile) – 400 yen
Cheap and functional. A little sweet.
Drank with – Mixed vegetables with rice
Buy again? – If money is an object
Rating – 2.5/5

Les Ormes De Cambras Cab Sauv (France) – 880 yen
Widely available and excellent value.
Drank with – Avocado and mushroom sandwiches
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 5/5

Les Ormes De Cambras Chardonnay (France) – 880 yen
A worthy companion to the red.
Drank with – Potato bread and white sauce
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 5/5

Lobetia Tempranillo (Spain) – 950 yen
Super dry with a surprisingly neutral flavour.
Drank with – Vegetable bowl
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating 3.5/5

Logodaj Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot (Bulgaria) – 900 yen
Deep, dark and fruity. Bold Slavic taste.
Drank with – Tomato and basil pasta
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Logodaj Chardonnay and Vermentino (Bulgaria) – 900 yen
Unusual tasting white, but not in a bad way.
Drank with – Vegan soba
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Luis Felipe Edwards Reserva Cab Sauv (Chile) – 750 yen
Inviting round the edges, but a bitter centre.
Drank with – Vegetable assortment
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 3/5

Luis Felipe Edwards Reserva Sauv Blanc (Chile) – 750 yen
A solid sharp white. Holds its flavour.
Drank with – Cheese and biscuits
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 3.5/5

Marques De Tena Red (Spain) – 550 yen
Very good for the price. An almost buttery taste.
Drank with – Vegetable pasta
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Mesta Tempranillo (Spain) – 850 yen
Light and a little sweet. Good for summer.
Drank with – Baguette with avocado
Buy again? – Sure
Rating – 4/5

Mesta Tempranillo Rose (Spain) – 850 yen
Bright tasting summer fare.
Drank with – Mushroom, seaweed and wine broth
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Mesta Verdejo (Spain) – 850 yen
As enjoyable as its pink cousin.
Drank with – Garlic chive pasta
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Mommessin Merlot Palet D’Or (France) – 990 yen
Made for royalty. Austere and refined.
Drank with – Boursin, baguette and olives
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 4.5/5

Montemar Merlot (Chile) – 500 yen
Fine for the price, but nothing special.
Drank with – Vegetable curry and rice
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3/5

Montemar Rose (Chile) – 500 yen
Decent for the price. Good for a summer party.
Drank with – Tofu soup
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

Montemar Sauv Blanc (Chile) – 500 yen
Weakest of the Montemar. A little below average.
Drank with – Tofu curry soup
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 2.5/5

Morgan’s Bay Semillon Sauv Blanc (Australia) – 830 yen
Clean and smooth as the label. A superior white.
Drank with – Fried vegetables
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Nativa Carmenere (Chile) – 825 yen
Fruity and sharp. A bold taste.
Drank with – Vegetable fettucine
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Nuviana Tempranillo Cab Sauv (Spain) – 800 yen
Respectable red, but slightly unpleasant aftertaste.
Drank with – Vegetable Fettucine
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

Parlemont Cab Sauv (France) – 990 yen
Another enjoyable wine from the Pays D’Oc. Worth the price tag.
Drank with – Tofu, umeboshi and bean sprouts
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Pasqua Bianco Veneto (Italy) – 750 yen
A little ahead of the rosso. Goes down nicely.
Drank with – Vegetable curry and peshwari naan
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Pasqua Rosso Veneto (Italy) – 750 yen
Tasty mid-priced bottle. Give it a go.
Drank with – Vegetable sushi
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Paul Laurent Rouge (France) – 650 yen
Solid option in this price range. A decent drop.
Drank with – Bibimbap
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3/5

Piquitos Tempranillo (Spain) – 750 yen
Sweet, fizzy filth. For people who don’t like wine.
Drank with – Sundubu jjigae
Buy again? – No chance in hell
Rating – 0.5/5

Pol Remy Brut (France) – 850 yen
Clean, smooth sparkling wine. A better budget choice than Cava.
Drank with – Miso and soy vegetarian ramen
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4.5/5

Prince De Bao Red (Spain) – 420 yen
No discernible flavour. For penny pinchers only.
Drank with – Cheese and biscuits
Buy again? – Definitely not
Rating 1.5/5

Prince De Bao White (Spain) – 420 yen
Better than the red but you get what you pay for.
Drank with – Soy milk tofu soup
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating 2.5/5

Principe Di Granatey Nero d’Avola (Italy) – 850 yen
Smooth and stylish. A Sicilian delight.
Drank with – Various snacks
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating 5/5

Quinta Las Cabras Cab Sauv (Chile) – 550 yen
A 7/11 stalwart when you want to budget.
Drank with – Kimchi jjigae
Buy again? – When there’s just a 7/11 nearby
Rating 3/5

Rainbow Lorakeet Cab Sauv (Australia) – 440 yen
Not terrible, but a little too sweet.
Drank with – Tofu and seaweed rice balls
Buy again? – No
Rating 2.5/5

Redwood Cab Sauv (USA) – 700 yen
Heavy on the tongue. Unremarkable.
Drank with – Apple and chive spicy salad
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 2.5/5

Redwood Chardonnay (USA) – 700 yen
Easily trumps Redwood red. Decent.
Drank with – Spicy tofu with mushrooms
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

Roche Mazet Cab Sauv Pays D’Oc (France) – 850 yen
Round and balanced. A pleasant surprise.
Drank with – Japanese vegetable curry
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Roche Mazet Chardonnay Pays D’Oc (France) -850 yen
Crisp and clean white. Excellent.
Drank with – Sundubu jjigae
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 4.5/5

San Mario Puglia Rosso (Italy) – 660 yen
Reasonable price for a regular taste.
Drank with – Fried lotus root and other vegetables
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3.5/5

Santa Carolina Merlot (Chile) – 550 yen
Pretty tasty for the price range. Worth a go.
Drank with – Doenjang jjigae
Buy again? – Probably
Rating – 3/5

Santa Luz Alba Cab Sauv (Chile) – 550 yen
Very average, indistinct taste.
Drank with – Tomato and fried sesame leaves
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 2.5/5

Sensi Sangiovese Toscana (Italy) – 830 yen
A step up in price and a step up in quality from the Virto.
Drank with – Gimbap
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Sensi Trebbiano Toscana (Italy) – 830 yen
Restrained but proud. Leaves you wanting more.
Drank with – Spinach and mushroom dip
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 4.5/5

Sensi Virto Bianco (Italy) – 530 yen
Unenjoyable flavour. A little on the sweet side.
Drank with – Kongnamul Bap
Buy again? – No
Rating – 2/5

Sensi Virto Bianco (Italy) – 530 yen
Surprisingly enjoyable. Much better than the white.
Drank with – Doenjang jjigae
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 3.5/5

Suntory 5 Star Select Reserve Red (Japan) – 650 yen
Tastes nearly as bad as it looks…and that’s saying something.
Drank with – Tofu and wasabi soup
Buy again? – No chance
Rating – 1/5

Suntory 5 Star Select Reserve White (Japan) – 650 yen
Much better than the red, but still looks horrendous.
Drank with – Fried spicy aubergine on rice.
Buy again? – Maybe
Rating – 3/5

Tavernello Bianco (Italy) – 630 yen
Fresh, clear taste. Worthy of adorning an Italian table.
Drank with – Noodles and Korean stew
Buy again? – Sure
Rating – 3.5/5

Tres Medallas Cab Sauv (Chile) – 750 yen
Heavy on the tongue.
Drank with – Korean vegetable barbecue
Buy again? – Probably not
Rating – 2.5/5

Tres Medallas Merlot (Chile) – 750 yen
Really poor for the price. No medals warranted.
Drank with – Tofu steak
Buy again? – No
Rating – 1.5/5

Valcatrina Alentejano Tinto (Portugal) – 970 yen
A little rich but satisfying. Catch it while you can.
Drank with – Doenjang jjigae
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

Veneto I Balzi (Italy) – 970 yen
Just a hint of chocolate and coffee. Excellent dessert wine.
Drank with – Kimchi jjigae
Buy again? – Yes please!
Rating – 5/5

Vieux Papes Rouge (France) – 750 yen
Medium body. A little fruity. Aftertaste not great.
Drank with – Potato and cheese gratin
Buy again? – Maybe not
Rating – 3/5

Villa Molino Rose Veneto (Italy) – 650 yen
Does the job on a warm day. Unassuming.
Drank with – Spinach, mushroom and tomato fettucine
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 3.5/5

White Chocolate Moose (France) – 900 yen
Exceptional with the subtlest hint of white chocolate.
Drank with – Fried lotus root and mushrooms
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 5/5

Wild Puda (Chile) – 630 yen
Not too dear, but decent nonetheless.
Drank with – Bibimbap
Buy again? – Probably
Rating – 3/5

Yvon Mau Cab Sauv (France) – 850 yen
Reserved but delightful. A little tease.
Drank with – Buchujeon
Buy again? – Definitely
Rating – 4.5/5

Yvon Mau Sauv Blanc (France) – 850 yen
Not quite up to the Cab Sauv, but a nice, sharp taste.
Drank with – Basil, spinach and mushroom pasta.
Buy again? – Yes
Rating – 4/5

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