I will pre-empt this post with the fact that I only bought a six pack, silly me. Straight out of the bottle and into my glass for a lovely perfumed nose of violets, plums and cocoa. Fruity and full-on explosion of blue fruits, pomegranate, mint and raspberry that sort of surprised me. Full bodied and almost syrupy, this wine has texture. Fine grained tannins are well integrated and the balance is razor sharp. Wow, this is good Cabernet Franc, and you know how I love this varietal. 93 points from me (One of the pros gave it 92, close enough). 2014-2019 would be a great window to enjoy this powerful, structured wine. So easy to drink all by itself but it would pair beautifully with a lean cut of beef, perhaps coq-au-vin as well. This wine has a near perfect mouthfeel for me. Made by the famous Jonathan Maltus, this time from Napa Valley instead of his usual stomping grounds in Bordeaux. Who wouldn’t pay $25 for this wine? 5 stars for sure. Salut….
From Montagne St. Emilion comes this rather tasty wine. Bright purple with a nose of kirsch, cassis and oak. Crisp opening with a dried blueberry, spice box, graphite. Mouth coating tannins are smooth and offset by some balanced acidity. This is a delicious, young wine that highlights the best of 2010 Bordeaux. Easily enjoyed now, it has the stuffing to cellar until 2020 at least. I’m willing to bet this one develops those beautiful secondary flavors that the region is famous for. Perfumed smoothness is instantly credited to the 55% Cab Franc, the balance is Merlot. Yummy and 90 points for this $20 effort. 4 stars. Salut….
I bought several variations of this winery’s offerings at my local Costco. $17 for a Paso Cabernet, I had to try it! I was a little concerned at first, the cork was very stained almost to the top. My fears were later put to rest. Bright purple color in the glass. Blackberry and iodine nose which was very unique. Interesting mix of raspberry and oregano with black fruits on my first sip. Good acidity gives this wine structure while the tannins are subdued. It finishes with raspberry and cherry cola flavors. Tasty and fun Cabernet that gets 89 points and 3 stars from me. Check them out some time. Salut….
An interesting Tempranillo blend from Spain. The bottle label included a sticker eschewing it’s 92 point Parker rating. It’s gotta be good then, right?
Bluish purple color in the glass that was quite dense. Cranberry meets blackberry on the nose for an interesting mix of red and black. Plum and hoisin on the initial attack with succinct acidity and deft tannins. I got a black tea component on the mid palate which is atypical for me and this varietal, enjoyable though. Mouth puckering juiciness on the tail end with a long finish of black berry pie made me salivate for more.
Secondary hints of tar and traces of oak appeared throughout as the wine mellowed in the glass. Still young with a drinking window of 2014-2022. It would pair well with wild game, perhaps Gnocchi and truffle oil. Would I go 92 points? Nope. It is serviceable, tasty and well made, but it lacks some complexity and I found the acidity just a hair out of balance. 91 points is more like it and for the $40 price tag, a solid 4 star wine. Salut….
Sundays in the fall are for football and Roast Beef. Being half British means I need a weekly dose of Yorkshire pudding, gravy and tender beef served up with delicious wine. This week was a first for me. I have never cooked a Strip Roast. It was magnificent, cooked perfectly and juicy to the last morsel. The rub was key, garlic, olive oil, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. I could go on, but this is more about the vino.
This Napa Cabernet was quite simply stunning. Nearly black in the glass I knew I was headed to an extracted, rich, complex world….
Plums and eucalyptus greeted me on the nose and my first impressions were spot on. Napa all the way, with gobs of plum, blueberry, black berry and mint on the initial attack. A very slight touch of wood adds complexity to the whole package. Extremely fine grained tannins just coat the mouth, perfectly. Balanced acidity make for a great mouthfeel that leads to a long finish of cola and blue fruits laced with espresso. I would easily award this wine 93 points, drinking between 2014-2020. You know what to pair it with, just fork over the $65 and get going. This is the fourth Merryvale I have tasted and I am really becoming a fan of their wine. I think this wine merits 5 stars. I wish I had more so I could watch the evolution, I bet it’s gonna sing in a few years. Salut….
An iconic wine from a crappy year. Yup, I bought a wine that I knew was not very good. The pro’s originally gave it high 80’s scores. It was priced at $120 per but I picked up a case at $70 a bottle, probably because nobody was buying this vintage. La Chapelle is a huge name in the wine world, some vintages are worth thousands, yes $1000’s of US dollars. It is a world class Syrah, from the famed Hermitage appellation in the Rhone Valley. Buying this wine was a once in a lifetime look into something amazing, with a storied and solid history- albeit in a mediocre year. I cellared the case for a decade before I tried the first bottle. I was hugely disappointed, it was crap. I couldn’t believe it, I had wasted nearly $850 on a whim. I tried several bottles and gave one away. The rest just sat there, forlorn in their OWC (Original Wood Case). Until Thanksgiving, when I cellar-dove to pull out some gems for the holiday season. I found the case of Hermitage and decided to empty it out and get ready to either drink or pour the last 5 bottles.
Glad I resisted the urge to dump, this wine has turned around and offers a modest drinking experience and may even be on an upswing. Vintages of this wine have been known to age gracefully for nearly a century. It is a huge wine.
Inky purple glass which is a good sign. The bottle had large deposits of sediment on the sides but there were none in the glass. Nose of garigue, violets, game and dark fruits. Mellow and smooth opening with bright fruit flavors of ripe plum, blueberry and cassis, not what I was expecting considering my previous experiences with this wine. An earthy component on the mid palate which melded well with some acidity. The tannins are fully integrated and this wine is at peak. 88/89 points were my initial and final impressions. The pro’s have since upgraded their scores to reflect the wine’s true personality. It is drinking at its best now and will go for another 5 years. If you like finesse this is a wine for you, but at this price point I think there are far better wines to search out. 2 Stars unfortunately for this rather expensive yet average drinking wine. Salut…
Boom, after last night’s epic Pinot fail I was determined to find something worthy of my time, and the Cornish Game Hens I roasted tonight. This was it. I really enjoyed myself and had to remember how I got this wine. You see, several months ago I opened a Merryvale Merlot that was corked. The folks at the winery got in touch with me after reading about the botched bottle and offered to replace it. Talk about customer service and a class act. So, in finalizing the replacement I was so taken by the representative’s willingness to make sure I was happy I ordered some of their other wines. So far so good I must say. Here we go..
Classic new world nose of bing and white cherries interspersed with some violets. In the glass, a very crimson purple that is see-through- typical of Pinot. On the initial attack there is strawberry, cranberry, cherry and a subtle mouthfeel that is balanced to within an inch of it’s life. Razor sharp focus with a hint of acidity offset by some lurking tannins make this a well made Pinot. I timed a 30 second finish that kept morphing, amazing. I served it up with Cornish Game Hens and steamed veggies that made this wine excel. 92 points from me for this $35 effort make it a solid 4 star wine, but I’m going to give it 5 because I’m in a generous mood. Perfect with poultry and perhaps a cream sauce based dish. Lovely and smooth. Salut….
I bought this and several other bottles of Burgundy several years ago at a local wine shop. I have been waiting patiently for this 93 point (WS) wine and figured that now I am on Christmas break- it’s time. I opened it last night to go with some spectacular Boeuf Bourguignon I whipped up. Incidentally I used a bottle of Apothic Red to cook with that wound up in my cellar as a gracious gift…. I digress.
I figured it was time to pop this premier cru wine and was hoping for a monster worthy of it’s $75 price tag. Here is what I got.
Darker purple shades in the glass than I was expecting. Somewhat muted nose, I couldn’t quite make out any normal Burgundy or even Pinot hints. On the initial attack there were crunchy sour cherries with cranberries intermingling. I had to take note of the very juicy mouthfeel made up of acidity and a touch of heat. This wine is slightly off balance, perhaps in slumber? No earthiness or funk, kinda boring where my overall impressions although it did mellow somewhat after some air time. I have to disagree with the pro’s, this is at best an 88 point wine, and 2 stars for its price point. Lacking complexity, unbalanced and showing no sign of secondary evolution make this a major pass in my book. Salut….
I bought these two bottles on sale for $15, they would normally be about $10 each. I opened the Red Blend on day one and the Cabernet Sauvignon on day two. I did not take notes but from recollection I really enjoyed the Red Blend. It was balanced, fruity, easy to drink and had a decent structure for the price. I would give it 87 points off the top of my head. The Cabernet was not as good. Lacking in primal fruit and without much tannic structure it was a little flabby and off balance. 84 points on that one. Both are basic South Eastern Australia drinking wines and could be brought out for a party or BBQ. Stick to the blend for the most enjoyment. Salut….
I bought this bottle several years ago when a local wine shop was closing down. I had no clues, ideas or preconceptions. I just knew it was Burgundy, and it was on sale for 50% off. I can’t imagine this village level wine being more than $25. It was a pale purple with very light intensity, I was expecting that from a Pinot Noir based Burgundy wine. It had a nose of funk, cherry and straw which was interesting. Delightful yet light strawberry and cherry notes with a crisp and delicious acidity, mouthwatering.
I could sense a tinge of melded tannins which is atypical for me and Pinot. If you read my other notes on this varietal you will know I have a difficult time detecting tannins in Pinot. This is a very serviceable wine that gets 88 points from me and 3 stars. I don’t think I would search for it but if there are any still in the cellar I know what to pair them with; grilled Salmon and boiled potatoes with a herb butter sauce, yum. Salut….