Chateau Les Ormes Saint-Julien 2009


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I love Bordeaux wines, especially from awesome vintages like 2009.  This particular bottling is 68% Cab Sav, 30% Merlot and a touch of Petit Verdot.  It comes in at 13% alcohol and can be had for $80.  Do not confuse this winery with Ormes de Pez.

Dark, hazy purple in the glass it offers up a nose of black fruits, tar and some oak.  On the palate, still young and tannic but with flavors of black berries, cassis and violets.  The mid palate is somewhat muted by the tannic structure and the juicy acidity, not leaving much room for the fruit to shine, this is only a temporary problem that will be solved wth cellaring or a run through the Vinturi.  The finish is long and searing with gum numbing tannins.  The tail end shows off some berry and spice box.  The deft use of oak and lack of super extraction tell me this is a quality wine that has respected the terroir and will live long.  Not cheap, it is worthy of 91 points from me and 3 stars.  I am cooking NY Strip steaks with some Artichokes, a perfect pairing if I might say so.  I have more in the cellar and will re-visit in two years or so.  Salut….

chateau les ormes


Baby Back Ribs on the Big Green Egg



I know, this is a wine blog.  But I also love cooking on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill. I have done chicken, turkey, steaks, legs of lamb, brisket but never ribs.  Today is the trial.  I am using a slow cook of 5 hours with a portion of that time spent in a tin foil bath of apple juice.

I started off with two racks of baby back ribs, to which I slathered a thin coating of mustard.  I do this with all my slow cooks as it gives the meat a moist base for the rub to stick to without overpowering the flavors.  For the actual rub, I bought some Pork Barrel BBQ rub from Costco to try out.  I normally mix my own, but rubs are generally pretty standard and this brand happens to have some good sauces:

  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili
  • Paprika
  • Cilantro
  • Pepper
  • Anything else in the cupboard


Once the meat was rubbed and the coals set to about 230F I put the diffuser in the Egg, placed a water bath on top of it and laid the meat on to the grate so there was no direct heating.


Mustard and Dry Rub

Mustard and Dry Rub

Indirect 230F heat/smoke

Indirect 230F heat/smoke

The meat was cooked for 2 hours of indirect heat followed by two hours wrapped up in foil with some apple juice. The juice adds moisture and allows the meat to fall off the bone. The final hour of the 5 hour cook will be spent without the foil, ensuring the crust gets a little crispy.  I really enjoyed these ribs and will tinker some more with rubs, cooking times and sauces.  All you need is some cold beer or perhaps a glass of Shiraz!  Salut….

The ribs, in all their glory.

The ribs, in all their glory.

Louis Jadot “Le Vaucrain” Cote de Nuits Villages 2006


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Louis Jadot has to be one of the more prominent wineries in our local wine shops.  You can’t glance over the Burgundy section without seeing the telltale label.  They own their own vineyards and also buy in grapes.  I tried to count how many different wines they produce but lost track.  They have numerous labels at all levels of quality and price.  This particular bottle was bought a few years ago for about $25.

An intriguing pale, see-through purple that reminds me of other delicate Pinots I have tried. Quite a deep nose of strawberry and pomegranate. On the palate- still a young and fresh wine with flavors of cherry kirsch, cranberry and a nice acidic touch. It warms up on the mid palate and offers up some strawberry along with sour cherry. The finish is dry with tannins and acidity bracing each other. I have a hard time detecting tannins in Pinot Noir, but this one serves them up, albeit all on the finish.  I’m glad I sat on this wine for as long as I did, it is just hitting its stride now. It offers a mature, refined approach to old world Pinot that I enjoy. It only lacks the earthy components I look forward to in Burgundy. Overall, I like this wine quite a lot. 90 points and 4 stars as this wine is only a Village level yet acts all grown up and has lasted well past it’s recommended drinking window yet shows another 2-3 years at the very least. Newer vintages will run you $35 or so for this delicious offering.  I would pair it with roast Cornish hens or perhaps flank steak with chimichurri sauce.  Salut….

louis jadot le vaucrain

Kanonkop Pinotage 2013


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Nearly black in complexion showed me that this is a very extracted wine.  The nose is somewhat muted but a few swirls in the glass begin to reveal some black cherries and the telltale tar/creosote that makes Pinotage so unique.  It is a cross breed of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut only found in South Africa.

The first taste is all I expected.  Smoke, bramble and cherry hints are all present.  Licorice presents itself halfway through.  The wine offers a short burst of tannin followed by that tarry mid palate taste that I really enjoy from this varietal.  It has a nice mouthfeel, crossing from the tannic thrust over to a slightly tart acidic finish that carries some earthy components.  I like this wine a lot.  The 14.5% alcohol is well masked, making this a great pairing with some grilled beef.  I would drink this over the next 5 years at the least.  91 points and 4 stars for this $38 offering.  Salut….

kanonkop pinitage


Clos Du Marquis 2005, revisited


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In Bordeaux there are certain vintages to look for and each has it’s own drinking window based on that vintage and the quality of the wine.  Clos Du Marquis is not the second label of Second Growth Chateau Leoville Las Cases, but is made at the same winery.   I mistakenly made that assumption when I first bought it.  It’s pedigree shows however.  I bought a case of this wine back in 2012 and have been patiently waiting for it to emerge.  Wowza, has it ever come to life!

See-through purple in the glass with a tiny amount of sediment showing in the bottle. Cassis, black currants and cedar on the nose. Smooth as all heck intro of black berries, blueberry and cassis. On the mid palate, more layers of currant, blackberry and spice mingling with the delightful tannins.  Balanced to within an inch of its life this wine is  on pointe and drinking beautifully. From the great 2005 vintage it’s easy to see how this wine would get 93 points and a 5 star rating that has really rewarded my patience.  It can still be found for $70.  Ps.  WS gave it 93, RP only a 91 but had high praise for it’s evolution.  I would drink this all by itself, the 13% alcohol being very civilized- but if you wanted to pair it with some beef stew, Osso Bucco or even Coq Au Vin, these would work well.  I am looking forward to the rest of this case, spread out over the next 5 years.  Salut….

clos du marquis 2005

Phebus Reserva Malbec 2014


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My buddy brought this over for dinner recently and we popped it right away with some appetizers of Goat Brie, Olives, Gruyere and charcuterie.  It drank very well and was a nice intro to a big night.  I did not get very detailed in the notes as I was busy entertaining and cooking, needless to say, I would buy this again as an everyday go-to Malbec.

Dark purple. Pepper, plum and capsicum on the nose. Good acidity that frames the dark fruits with some very gentle tannins. Easy going mid-palate that takes you through to the blackberry filled finish.  88 points and at $14 it gets 3 stars from me.  Salut….

phebus malbec reserva

Domaine des Monts Luisants Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Monts-Luisants 2009, revisited

Two years ago I wrote, quite harshly, about the Domaine des Monts Luisants and promised to revisit.  I have been doing a lot of revisiting old tastings lately, mostly on a positive upswing.  Not so much with this one.

A lighter purple with some orange ‘bricking’ on the edges. A nose of sour cherry, cow manure and a whiff of green grass. The initial taste is pure sour cherry juice. A shame really. There is not much fruit structure, nor are there any discernible tannins. Acidity rules the roost here. I am really disappointed in this premiere cru Burgundy. I might just shove some through the Vinturi and let it aerate a bit.

Nope, not much better, except now I get some cranberry as well as the cherry. The funk bothers me on this wine. I like garigue, barnyard flavors and certain funkiness. This wine offers a different profile that I do not care for nor consider correct for the terroir/appellation. 84 points and 0 stars unfortunately. The good news is that the price has gone up to over $100.  Salut….


La Mitre Chateauneuf Du Pape 2010


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I wrote about La Mitre three years ago and recommended giving it a 2-3 year cellaring.  I opened one up the other night and here is what I had to say about this offering that is now selling for $30.

A lighter purple that is somewhat opaque. Interesting nose of game, plum, rhubarb and an earthiness. On the palate it reveals some astringent tannins that are prominent yet dissipate to reveal cherry, garrigue and cola. There’s a certain imbalance between the tannins, fruit and acidity that I can’t my head around. This wine is 6 years old and needs a little more time. 88 points from me and 3 stars.  I plan on re-tasting in a year or two.  Salut….

la mitre chateaupneuf du pape

Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013


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Every July 4th we drive to visit friends in North Carolina.  It’s a huge party with loads of drinking, grilling, golfing and family fun.  I usually take a few bottles, this year it was a Magnum of my Naughty Dragon and a 2004 Rioja from Miros, also in Magnum.  When we arrived, our host was quick to point out two bottles of the 2013 Caymus he had purchased for that evening’s Shish Kebabs.  I was excited as we had drunk the 2012 Caymus last year and really enjoyed my initial foray into some serious Napa Cabs. This vintage was no exception.

Rich hues of purple in the glass, as is expected. Nose of (eucalyptus perhaps?), dark fruits and some blueberry hints. First off, this wine has gorgeous tannins straight up. The fruit follows, with plum, black kirsch, cassis and nutmeg. Typical Napa Cab: bold, layered, tannic and fruity. This one drinks nicely now and will evolve over the next 10 years. I think it merits 91 points and offers a perfect pairing to shish kebabs, a juicy ribeye or perhaps some lamb stew.  The pro’s were much more impressed.  RP gave it 94 while WS gave it a 92, perhaps explaining the price bump all the way up to $72 and the fact that most shops are sold out.  This is a good, solid pedigree from Napa that keeps delivering and is not overly pricy in the grand scheme of special bottles.  I will go with 3 stars.  Salut….

cayman napa cabernet 2013


Artisan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010, retasted


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I wrote about this Artisan Napa Cab in March of 2016, recommending a two year cellaring before it came out of it’s tannic, fruitless shell.  I was right.  I opened this sleeper to find it has truly come out and is ready to drink.  Purple plums, black cherry and a cedar note all came out on the nose and palate.  The tannins are on pointe, sleek and just present.  The first time I tried this wine they overtook all the fruit and drowned out the wine’s flavor, now they complement the mouthfeel and make this a really smooth wine, not overly dry nor flat.  Acidity is just perceptible and balances out the tannins nicely.  A long finish of plum and cola made me long for more.  I initially rated this as a potential 90 point wine, but now that it has emerged, I’m going 91 points.  It’s still a 3 star wine due to the $50 entry fee, but don’t be shy if you see it on a menu or in the shops, it is really delicious.  Salut….

artisan napa cabernet


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