Cellar Works Grenache Sangiovese 2019, South Australia


I read the label, which tells me this wine is 44% Sangiovese, the balance- Grenache. Looking at the see thorough red hued glass I would have guessed it was a New World Pinot. It is so light and vibrant I can’t wait to taste.

The nose gives me red fruits and cedar. The initial palate is quite rich- a mouthful of raspberry pie with some Marashcino cherries. There is a juicy acidity right off the bat that makes this wine fresh. The red fruit theme continues with rhubarb in addition to rooibos tea and very fine grained tannins. The finish is quite tart, my teeth are a bit fuzzy. The raspberry flavors have given way to a sour cherry and rhubarb melange and the acidity is not to be trifled with. This is quite an interesting blend that is tasty yet slightly off balance with a ton of pH. It will drink well with rich sauced dishes or even a Mediterranean dinner. I would enjoy till 2025. 88 points and 3 stars for this $18 wine. Salut….

Scott Peterson Rumpus Syrah 2019, California

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This wine is nearly black in the glass but it’s murky which makes me a little concerned…. The nose gives candied plums, roast game, some charcoal and blueberry pie. The palate is quite fresh with a tart blueberry opening. I am also getting chocolate powder and more plums. On the mid palate the core of blue and black fruits is enveloped in a nice tannic frame, they are very fine grained and integrated. I am really enjoying the flavor profile of this wine. The finish is a mellow affair with silky blueberry creme, black berries, a touch of acidity and those beautiful tannins. There is a very round and enveloped mouthfeel to this wine, it’s really interesting and certainly delicious. Right at the very end the tannins get a touch astringent and green, but I’m willing to overlook that. Tasty and worthy of 91 points from me. This Syrah will drink well till 2027 with some steaks, grilled game meat or even a pasta dish. My initial concern over the murky appearance did not pan out. Great wine and for $23- it’s a 5 star effort. Salut….

Fossil Point Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Paso Robles, California

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This Cab Sav is a beautiful dark purple in the glass and is nearly opaque. The nose is lush with black currants, flint and charred oak. On the palate it’s quite tart right off the bat. Black fruits, dark colas, sassafras and enamel searing tannins. The mid palate opens the wine up tremendously- still black fruits and now I get a nice minerality, some black tea, more cola and oak. The finish is surprisingly not as dry as I was fearing, it’s quite balanced with the tannic component really getting checked by the acidity and fruit. Anise, blackberry and vanilla are all present on the medium length finish. Drink till 2027, but if you fear the tannins- decant or aerate the heck out of this one. It’s tasty in the end and I give it 89 points. For $14, it’s a 3 star effort that will go well with my lamb tagine. Salut….

Richard Bruno Pinot Noir 2019, Clarksburg, California

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See through dark shade of red in the glass.  The nose has red currants and pomegranate.  The palate gives me mulling spices, currant reduction and dried red fruit.  There is a healthy dose of slightly green tannins that immediately dry out my gums.  The mid palate is quite astringent with notes of red fruit- mainly currants but a bit of rhubarb adding some acidity to the mix.  The finish is relatively short but I do get some really nice flavors and the tannins tend to mellow pretty quickly.  This one is a touch young and the greeness of the tannins worries me.  It’s not a subtle Pinot nor is it over-extracted, a nice balance of flavor, structure and freshness.  88 points and 3 stars for this $22 wine. Drink till 2027 with roast Chicken, perhaps eggplant parmigiana. Salut….

Cameron Hughes Lot 737 Meritage 2018, Sierra Foothills, California

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Bright purple, semi opaque in the glass.  On the nose- blueberries, plum and sizzlers red licorice.  On the palate it is rich and inviting with dark blue fruits, some charcoal notes and a touch of effervescence.  It’s slightly off-putting but the flavors of the fruit are very vibrant.  Medium tannins and a nice acidity greet me on the mid palate.  The fruit turns a little darker as it moves to the back end.  On the finish it shows off black licorice and that dark blue fruit melange.  The tannins keep a grip for a decent amount of time and the fruit holds on alongside.  It’s a decent bottle of Cab Franc/Petit Verdot, but the effervescence on the opening detracts and the score reflects.  87 points.  ** UPDATE ** This bottle was flawed, the effervescence an indicator of secondary fermentation. A subsequent bottle was much better, bumping the score up to 89. Drink this $17 till 2025- 3 stars.  Salut…

Rod Easthope Level 185 Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

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This Kiwi treat is pale gold in the glass and has notes of lemons, watermelon, cut grass and blood orange on the nose. The palate is deelish. Yellow apple, lemon curd, melon and a nice thrust of acidity. The mid palate is very smooth and lean with nice citrus notes that pass on to the long finish. I like the acidity in this wine, it’s present but not too cutting. The mouthfeel is very refreshing and clean. Lemons and blood orange finish it up after 30 + seconds. Really enjoyable wine that I am pairing with Jerk Chicken and Jamaican veg curry. 91 points and 5 stars for this $15 wine. Salut….

KWV ‘The Mentors’ Orchestra Red Blend 2017, Paarl, South Africa

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Inky and opaque is this Bordeaux blend.  On the nose I am treated to a melange of cassis, plums, blackberry and delicious oak.  The palate is exactly what I was hoping for- rich, warm and layered with all those black fruits, very integrated tannins and a mound of acidity.  This wine is very powerful and thick with fruit flavors, balancing doses of tannin and acidity and just the right amount of wood to make it very pleasing.  The mid palate gets quite a bit more focused on the structure of the wine- the acidity really playing hell with my jaw and the tannins really starting to grip.  If you’re looking for an unabashed wine that will pair well with game, grilled Ribeyes or a heavy pasta dish- this is it.  The finish reminds me of young Claret, the fruit being masked by the power of the structural components.  It will cellar nicely till 2030.  92 points from me for this $22 stunner that gets 5 stars. Salut….

Alazules Garanacha 2019, Spain

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Pale purple and semi opaque.  The nose offers up raspberries, cedar and capsicum.  On the palate it starts a touch tart with pomegranate, raspberry and sour cherry.  The mid palate is juicy with a dollop of acidity and a touch of tannic grip.  The red fruit theme continues and the somewhat short finish is dominated by the sour cherry and its corresponding cut.  It’s an interesting yet basic wine that I am pairing with pork tenderloin and fried potatoes with curried cauliflower. Drink this 87 point wine by 2023.  2 stars as it’s touted as a $25 wine. Salut….

Gerard Bertrand ‘Cote des Roses’ Rose 2019, Languedoc, France

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Gorgeous pale orange color.  Nose of strawberries, lemon peel and some clementine.  On the palate it is bright with those same flavors, a touch of acidity and a long finish.  It’s got a great mouthfeel and just the right amount cut to keep it refreshing, light and flavorful.  A delicious way to start the evening.  Drink this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault now with appetizers.  88 points and 4 stars, $12. Salut….

Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse 2015, Rhone, France

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The fourth wine of the #10 Virtual tasting was a home run for me. This $60 Grenache was silky smooth, layered with flavors, complex and had an amazing mouthfeel.

It was semi opaque and had a lighter purple shade in the glass. The nose was very fruity with notes of Cedar, prunes, black cherry, smoky meat, pepper and cinnamon. One taster also threw in ‘bug spray’. On the palate it was very smooth and tasted ‘cold’- in a sense that this wine was very focused and had a concentration of flavors. It was Moxie’s favorite wine of the night and she’s not a huge fan of the reds. The tannins are what I think she liked- very fine grained and well integrated leading to a not-so-dry mouthfeel that was complex, balanced and chock full of red fruits and spice. Prunes showed up on the medium length finish. This wine was astounding to me, my first truly remarkable CDP in forever. I think the 5 years of cellaring was the key to softening this wine and allowing the tertiary notes to begin their emergence. I rated this wine 19 points on my tasting scale, a monster effort that translates into 95 points in the real world. The pro’s went 94, not far off. I know sixty bones is a big step in the wallet but well worth it for an exceptional wine that I award 5 stars to. Drink till 2030. No pairing needed, delicious all by itself. Salut….