Precision Wine Co. Technique Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, Alexander Valley, California

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The color of this Cabernet is a medium purple, but it is hazy, a touch cloudy which concerns me.  The nose smells fresh and young with candied cherry, coconut, red plum, iron, bakers spice, dust and bramble.  The palate is dry with grippy tannins and medium acidity.  The fruit profile is darker on the palate- black plum and blackberry, gone is that candied cherry note (which I dislike immensely).  The coconut, spice, iron and dust are evident in this full bodied wine.  The finish is a tannic affair that is short to medium in length and highlights the iron and dust of the wine.  I like it but would cellar it for a year or two unless I was cooking rack of lamb or another fatty cut of meat.  I’m going with 90 points for this $15 bottle that gets 5 stars.  Drink from 2023-2027.   Salut….

Cliff Lede Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Stags Leap District, California

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After a delightful dinner at a Thai restaurant we went back to my friend’s house where he unleashed this beauty.  I sniffed and tasted the wine blind- there was no mistaking its origin.  I did not take notes but needless to say the initial whiff of aromas gave this Napa Cabernet Sauvignon away.  Rich, ripe black berries, Stags Leap earthy dust, menthol, vanilla and spice.  The palate was dry and full bodied. Bright California sunshine was evident in the fruit- as were the dusty notes I got on the nose.  Tannins were super smooth and well integrated.  The acidity was medium and well balanced.  The finish on this $75 bottle was long and delicious.  A 93 point wine that gets 5 stars from me.  You could pair it with a variety of meat dishes but then again you could just sip it and enjoy its purity.  Drink till 2030.  Salut….


Antonio Díez Martín Verdejo 2020, Spain

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Medium lemon colored this wine has energetic aromas of citrus, bruised papaya, peach and a green, herbaceous note.  The palate is dry but you can sense an aromatic quality to this fragrant wine.  The fruit tastes riper than the nose and that’s probably where I got the bruised papaya note from.  Citrus driven, there is also some herbal notes.  Medium acidity provides a bit of cut on the initial attack.  Body-wise this is a medium (-) affair that finishes medium length and a touch tart.  I like it for an aperitif and perhaps to pair with lighter fare.  It’s a good hot weather bottle that gets 87 points from me and for $12- 4 stars.  Drink now.  Salut….

Arabella Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Robertson, South Africa

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Medium lemon/lime colored- this South African Sauvignon Blanc has characteristic aromas of cut grass, gooseberry, lemon and grapefruit.  The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and distinct flavors of the aforementioned aromas.  The body is medium (-) and the wine finishes long with a tart crispness.  It’s delicious stuff that makes me want to keep sipping.  88 points from me make this $10 wine a surefire 5 star effort to drink in the short term with seafood, perhaps a poached chicken salad or even grilled salmon.  Very refreshing in the summer heat.  Salut….

Hermes Assyrtiko 2021, Peloponnese, Greece

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Pale lemon colored, this wine has medium aromas of lemon/lime, overripe papaya, chocolate (yup, the milky kind), saline, wet slate and juniper.  The palate is dry yet shows off ripe fruit sweetness.  The acidity is quite high and the body is full.  Flavors of citrus and ripe papaya are predominant with some floral/aromatic notes coming through.  I don’t get the chocolate on the palate but there is crisp minerality.  The finish is full of flavor and mid length- a delicious wine.  I would give this bottle 90 points and drink it till 2024.  My pairing tonight is with pan roasted scallops over a veggie pasta.  A stunner for under $12 that gets 5 stars.  Salut….

Lucien Albrecht Riesling Tradition 2020, Alsace, France

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Medium lemon colored, this rather young Riesling has pronounced aromas of citrus, apple, pineapple, ginger and acacia.  The palate is dry (at 13% ABV that was an obvious assumption) with bracing acidity and a medium body.  Lemon, grapefruit, green apple, pineapple and some spice coat my palate to a medium length finish that is jaw watering.  This is a very refreshing thirst quencher that I am enjoying immensely.  Tonight’s pairing is fish and chips so this will work out quite well.  I would think this wine can age for a few years, say till 2030 and hopefully pick up some tertiary notes.  91 points from me makes this $22 bottle a 5 star quaffer to look for.  Salut….

VIK ‘Milla Cala’ 2018, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

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It’s not often we get all four of my kids together, but when we do it’s off for a big night out.  This adventure took us to a Brazilian Steakhouse where the waiter completely butchered the opening, serving and cork removing of this spectacular wine.  Without taking any notes I will say that for $45 you are getting a super smooth Bordeaux Blend from Chile that has very soft, integrated tannins, medium acidity, full body, a long finish and a melange of fruit, oak and tertiary aromas and flavors.  A stunning wine that went beautifully with all the different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and sausage we gorged on.  The structure of this wine makes it perfect for immediate pleasure, but I would not cellar it too long, say till 2025 for this vintage.  A real surprise and a treat. 92 points and 5 stars.  Salut….

Bulgariana Gamza 2016, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria

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Gamza is a new grape to me- indigenous to Bulgaria.  In the glass the wine is deep ruby colored, not bad for a 6 year old bottle.  The nose is very interesting- violets, black plum, blackberry, purple licorice, vanilla, tomato leaf and blueberry pie.  The palate is dry with low tannins and medium acidity.  I get an initial stab of charred wood and blackberry on the palate which subsides to vanilla, plum, floral notes and some herbal touches.  Full bodied, it seems a touch astringent from slightly green tannins. The finish is short and a bit green but generally pleasant.  Not a bad drop for $12 that gets 87 points and 3 stars from me.  Drink till 2026 with wild game dishes or grilled lamb chops.  Salut….

Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine 2020, Loire, France

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Following on from my last Muscadet, this one is not labelled as a Sur Lie.  It’s a medium intensity lemon/lime color in the glass.  The nose has an intense citrus aroma coupled with green apple, yellow apple on the back end and some salinity.  The palate is dry but weighty.  Medium to full bodied, it has medium acidity and medium intensity flavors of lemon, lime, grapefruit, green apple and I can sense the sea air.  A short to medium length finish is crisp, refreshing and not too tart.  This is a nice summer wine that will quench the thirst and pair nicely with shellfish or lighter (non-oily) fish.  88 points from me makes this $14 effort a 3 star wine.  Drink now.  Salut….

Stefano di Blasi Syrah Nero d’Avola 2020, IGT Sicilia, Italy

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Medium ruby colored in the glass- this blend of Syrah and Nero D’Avola has aromas of plum, licorice, game, violets, blackberry leaf, some licorice and a caramel/burnt sugar note.  The palate is dry with medium acidity and silky smooth, medium level tannins that melt away gracefully.  Medium bodied, this wine has nice flavors of plum, florals, blackberry and a touch of licorice alongside that caramel note.  The finish is mid length and I get a charred wood note with more anise.  The tannins make a comeback to remind me that they are still grippy.  A nice bottle that ran me $11!  I would drink this with stews, leaner cuts of meat and pasta for sure over the short term- till 2026.  I give it 89 points and 5 stars.  Salut….