Chateau St. Thomas 2008

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Once a year I get to meet up with my uncle from Lebanon, in Hong Kong of all places. He brings me traditional Lebanese sweets, nuts and a bottle of his cousin’s delicious St. Thomas.  I sat on this bottle for 5 months, waiting for the right moment.

It began with gorgeous plums and blackberries on the nose.  A very dark and brooding wine in the glass, I figured it was going to be powerful.  Indeed.  The first cut was of tart blueberries and some black cassis.  Bracing acidity and fine grained tannins coat the mouth alongside the bramble and dark cherry on the mid palate. Blackberry finished the deal and carries on with a long tannic finish. This wine is a monster waiting to jump out of the bottle.  Still very young at 6 years of age, it should cellar well for another ten.  2015-2025. 91 points from me.  No idea the price but if it is under $25 then it ranks a 5 star rating from me.  Read about the 2005 and 2006 vintages I have had.  This version is less Bordeaux-like, more primal and powerful.  Still delicious though!  Salut….

chateau st. thomas

Dominique Portet Heathcote Shiraz 2008

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I bought this wine on spec for $40, pretty pricey I know- but one of the pro’s gave it 95 points.  Upon opening the bottle I noticed the cork was nearly black with stain.  Pouring the wine into the glass I could already smell it.  5 minutes of letting it just sit there and I can sense plums, lavender and blackberry jam.  I have not even sniffed it yet, this is going to be a powerhouse.

I was right.  This wine has a huge nose- black fruits, cinnamon, oak, fennel.  The wine is very dark with dark legs sliding down the glass showing off it’s 14.5% alcohol.  The first sip is pretty big.  Loads of black berry, with striking tannins and a touch of heat.  I am going to let this wine sit for a few minutes.

It is a brooding beast, I may run it through an aerator as the wine seems to be stuck, not showing off it’s fruit properly and displaying too much tannic bite with a slight overdose of the wood.

I was right, it needed some air.  The tannins have smoothed, the balance is good and the fruit has shone through, all is right with the world.  Blackberry coulis dominates with spice box and cedar.  The finish is rather long, me likes.  The wine is not an everyday drinker, probably better suited to a big roast leg of lamb with all the fixings.  It rated 95 with one pro and 88 with another.  I must say it is a baffling decision, but 90 points is where I see it and that makes it a 3 star wine in my books.  It already has 6 years of bottle age but will last until 2022 in my opinion.  Salut….dominiqu portet heathcote shiraz

Mollydooker Enchanted Path 2012

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Wowsa, this is a huge, delicious, complex, layered, smooth killer of a wine.  I wrote that it was purply purple in the glass, can you picture it?  Like really beautiful purple hues dancing in the Riedel.  Initial nose of heat but then layered plums, blackberries and a hint of eucalyptus.  Long, drawn out introduction of plums, blue fruits and raspberry coulis that are wrapped in gorgeous tannins and a hint of acidity. The mid palate is a seamless extension of the upfront fruit and it glides into a long finish. This is one complete wine that absolutely rocks. The combo of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon has never been my favorite but it works so well in this wine. The skillful way in which they have coaxed all this fruit and finesse while hiding the 16% alcohol is amazing.  I served this bottle up with some charred/blackened Ribeyes, which was a perfect pairing.  I would love to get more and sit on them for another 10 years or so.  Pricy at $65, it is a treat to open one of these for a special occasion.  95 points from me and 5 stars, this one is on my radar.  Yet another stellar Mollydooker wine from Mclaren Vale, Australia.  Salut….

mollydooker enchanted path

The Original Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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I figured I should try this $8 offering, I was not disappointed. Black/purple in glass it exhibited chocolate, blackberry and oak on the nose.  Dark cherries and blackberry with crisp acidity and lengthy tannins followed through.  Slightly over-oaked with Maraschino cherry on the mid palate.  I can’t see myself buying it again, but it is a serviceable sub-$10 wine that one could quaff with ease.  85 points and technically it deserves 3 stars.  Salut….

darkhorse cabernet sauvignon

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz Barossa 2012

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My friend brought this one to the table.  I believe he paid $12 for it at the local mart.  It was popped and poured first as I wanted a fresh palate to get a sense of what this Barossa Shiraz was all about.  Blackberry jam and some spice box on the nose mingled with star anise as well.  It made for an interesting intro.  A slightly hollow entrance but good mid palate of black fruits, grapefruit (weird) and bramble. Mild tannins with hidden acidity make it easy to drink right now.  The lack of much fruit on the front was detrimental to this wine’s score, but the grapefruit note was really bizarre and added a bitterness than I did not care for.  The wine blew over slightly and gained some character after being open but I don’t think I would purchase it again, just not my style.   Technically speaking I would give it 87 points and 3 stars.  It may perform better with some food, perhaps a mixed grill, even veal parmesan.  Salut….

jacobs creek reserve shiraz barossa

Clarendon Hills Blewitt Springs Grenache 2007

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As you may know I am a huge fan of the Clarendon Hills winery.  They make smooth, polished, refined wines that ooze class and refinement.  This one was no exception to the formula.  Starting with pencil lead, blueberry and oregano on the nose followed by a fresh and bright intro with young tannins that coat the mouth. Blueberry, plum and a dash of pepper make for interesting notes on the palate while star anise on the finish really pops out.  This is a very young wine that has not filled out yet. 2017-2025 would be a better window unless you like a tannic monster for a juicy steak. 92 points now but the potential to go up in my opinion.  This wine is extracted and precise.   Priced originaly at $75, it’s most likely a Sunday roast wine rather than an everyday drinker.  4 stars. Salut….

Ps. I noticed that it had a double back label.  Someone has very precisely laid the label on top of the original.  I wonder if that was a labeling issue or if they needed to change it for import reasons.  I tried to slice it off but the sticker merely tore in my hands, intriguing.

clarendon hills blowout springs grenache

Santa Rita Triple C Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

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I took Moxie and one of my sons to a Brazilian steak house recently.  This was the featured wine, priced at $65 instead of the usual $120.  In reality it retails for $30 or so dollars.  I ordered it and did not regret my choice.

Iodine, black berries and orange peel nose really got me going.  I was so engulfed in the nose of this wine that I kept sniffing, trying to coax more….  Blackberry creme pie meets chocolate dust and vanilla bean on the initial palate, exciting.  Hefty yet refined tannins are on pointe and the finish is long and dry. The wine was perfectly paired with all the freshly grilled, highly salted, tender morsels of beef, lamb and pork.  92 points from me would equal what the pro’s averaged on this wine.  A drinking window of 2015-2022 make it totally worth cellaring for a great accompaniment to steaks and stews.  5 stars from me for this Chilean stunner. Salut….

santa rita triple c cabernet sauvignon

Kirkland Signature Series Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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We were supposed to drink this at a tasting yet ran out of time. I brought it home and opened it last week to put pen to paper. Plums and graphite on the nose made for an interesting start.  Black fruits with steely tannins were overshadowed by heat from the 14.6% alcohol. I am hoping this subsides as this wine will be good after 2 more years of cellaring.  Blackberry and plums with some cherry cola start you off.  Pencil lead and more dark fruits emerge on the mid palate and the gentle tannins finish it off. 88 points with the potential for 89 if the alcohol can meld better with some aging.  For $20 you would be hard pressed to get Stags Leap Cab of any quality, making this potentially a 4 star wine.  3 for now though.  Salut….

kirkland signature series cabernet sauvignon stags leap

Stags Leap Napa Valley Petite Sirah 2010

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Out to dinner with friends last week and this little beauty showed up on the wine list.  I love Petite Sirah, it is a highly flexible grape that always shows off great tannins, plums and ages well.  It is tannicly well endowed and never lacks for power.  This one was really tasty but my notes were rather short, we had been at it for a while.  Dark fruits and plum nose with vanilla.  Full on plum and vanilla creme pie with some ginger on the finish.  Balance in acidity and tucked in tannins.  This wine is drinking nicely now with 4 years of age but will certainly go the distance.  2014-2024  91 points and 3 stars for this $40 offering.  A yummy wine that will go well with grilled meats, pasta and of course some charcuterie.  Salut….

stags leap napa valley petite sirah

Rosenblum Cellars Richard Sauret Reserve Zinfandel 2010

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From Paso Robles comes this high powered Zin.  It got panned by the pros but was the hit of the night at our gathering.  It can be found for $30 and was immensely enjoyed with some Veal Saltimbocca and carpaccio salad.  I find many Zins to be too jammy, this one was not.

Dried herbs, black currants and spice on the nose were a preview of what to expect.  Spicy components mixed with dark plums and black cherry were the welcoming taste.  The 15.2% alcohol was masked in the myriad of dark fruits, cinnamon notes and espresso.  Delicious tannin structure coupled with some acidity gave it a nice mouthfeel.  It went really well with our meal and I would cellar this for drinking 2015-2020.  90 points versus the pro’s at 86.  3 stars for me.  Salut….

rosenblum richard suaret reserve zinfandel

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