Margaux de Brane 2014, Margaux, France

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A slightly dull purple in the glass, gives me concern.  On the nose however- violets, black currants, a touch of oak.  On the palate it is much darker- blackberry, cherry extract, graphite and singed oak.  There is a leather component too, it just comes along later, towards the mid palate.  The wine transitions very nicely with good tannic structure that is not obtrusive and acidic enough to balance. This is the third wine of Brane Cantenac, a Second Growth Margaux.  They use the young plots for source fruit, giving us an approachable young wine that drinks very nicely with good mouthfeel and medium term cellaring potential.  90 points from me for this $29 effort that gets 3 stars.  Drink now till 2024.  Salut….

Familia Blanco Mairena Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

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Pretty purple in the glass, quite opaque.  On the nose it is all blackberry.  The initial palate is black cherry, an awkward greenness and tar.  The mid palate offers much the same, with more vegetal notes than I care for.  This wine rates well with the pros at 90+ but I don’t get it.  The finish is sour, green, the tannins are astringent.  Not my cup of tea at all.  There might be some of you who enjoy austere wines, this one might be up your alley.  I’m going 86 points.  For $18, it is a pass from me but you may want to give it a try- 2 stars.  Drink now.  Salut….

Chapel Hill Parson’s Nose Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, McLaren Vale, Australia

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A deep purple wine with medium opacity.  On the nose it is lush, full of ripe plums, graced by a deft hand of oak and blackberries.  On the palate I get a more licorice and coffee initial attack.  The dark fruits appear on the mid palate.  There is not as much plum as I had been led to believe, but the juicy acidity makes me forget quickly.  The tannins are lithe, making this a drink-now wine.  The finish is more tart blueberry than blackberry.  Somewhat short in the backend.  A tasty wine that merits 88 points from me.  For $20 it gets 3 stars.  Drink till 2021 with some burgers, pizza or lasagna.  Salut….

Domaine Mazilly Pere & Fils Pommard Les Noizons 2011, Cote de Beaune, France

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Typical Pinot Noir in the glass, light, reddish, totally see through.  I can smell it from four feet away, the waft is amazing.  It’s rather young on the nose- cherries, mushroom, spruce.  On the initial palate it presents with loads of fine grained tannins.  The fruit comes later.  Cherry, strawberry, balsamic essence and cola hit me.  The mid palate is one-dimensional- sour bing cherry.  The tannins really grip on the finish and leave me with a very dry set of gums, almost painful- which is rare for me and Pinot.  The finish also shows off rhubarb, the sour kind.  The acidity presents itself in mysterious ways some times!  There is a uniqueness to this wine, I can’t pinpoint it.  Could it be the freshness of the acidity, the gushing amounts of tannin or the way it leaves my mouth feeling?  Anyways- I am enjoying it and will probably run some through the Vinturi to soften it a bit.  For now, 90 points and 4 stars for this $45 bottle.  Drink from 2022-2033.  Salut….

Campagnola ‘Giuseppe Campagnola’ Valpolicella Classico Ripasso 2016, Veneto, Italy

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Medium opacity purple, with a nice sheen in the glass.  The nose offers up bacon, plum paste, raisins and ……  On the palate I get nice round blackberry cobbler notes, bright acidity and very fine grained tannins.  If you know how Ripasso is made you would expect a bit more weight, extra flavor and a heavier mouthfeel.  This wine is a touch more refined, somewhat lighter and a bit fresher.  The mid palate has a nice cherry meets plum characteristic that feeds into the decent length finish.  The tannins taper off leaving a somewhat astringent mouthfeel right at the end.  It’s certainly interesting.  89 points and 3 stars for this $15 blend of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella.  Drink till 2026.  Salut….

Cascina Adelaide Barolo DOCG 2013, Piedmont, Italy

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It pours out as expected, reddish purple, see through and intriguing.  On the nose I get strawberry, rhubarb and sour cherry juice.  On the palate this wine is very young with copious tannins immediately attacking the gums- finally giving way to lush cherry, cinnamon, cedar box, leather and tobacco flavors.   This wine is chock full of everything- flavors, dryness, acidity…. you name it.  Very interesting mouthfeel to boot.  It really needs a pour through the Vinturi, but I can’t help myself with these tannins, they are so intriguing and mouth puckering that I will have to sit here and suffer a little longer before I soften them up.  The mid palate is all sour cherry, not in a bad way.  The finish is much of the same…  cherry, leather, mushrooms, acidity, mouth puckering tannins but it eases off nicely.  This is going to be an awesome wine one day when it has grown up, shed the flab, softened the tannins and developed secondary flavors.  For now I am going with 92 points and 4 stars.  This Nebbiolo lists at $80 and should be cellared until 2024 then drunk till 2034.  Salut….

Liparita Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley, USA

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Bright purple- almost sparkly in the glass.   The nose is full-on Napa cab.  Rich plums, blackberries and cedar.  The palate mirrors- and it’s super smooth with a gentle ramp up of tannins.  The mid palate continues the dark fruit theme but this is where the black tea, crunchy tannins and Maduro leaf appear.  The finish is very dry, long and filled with blackberry jam, more tea and a touch of oak.  Delicious and worth 91 points in my book.  The only thing holding it back is the slight greenness of the tannins.  I’m serving up Sunday roast with this beauty.  4 stars for this $40 Cabernet that can be cellared or drunk till 2028.  Salut….

Adaptation by Odette Petite Sirah 2014, Napa Valley, USA

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A quick note from a party….  Unbelievable nose- black fruits galore, chai tea, olives and blueberry jam.  On the palate I get gorgeous blue fruit ganache, really tight knit tannins – crunchy acidity.  Sublime wine that is full bodied and long.  It shows off bright Napa sunshine in the fruit which I think will evolve nicely in the next 10-15 years.  Drink till 2030.  93 points if not 94 for this bold $45 effort.  5 Stars.  Salut….

P+S Prats & Symington Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2016, Douro, Portugal

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This is the second wine of Chryseia, it is a beautiful dark purple in the glass.  The nose gives off rose petals, perfume, black currant and cedar slate.  On the palate it is big- loads of Ribena, oregano, red licorice and a hint of wood.  The mid palate is seamless with the introduction of some very lithe tannins.  The mouthfeel is generous and warm in this wine.  It is relatively easy drinking with the mild tannins, barely perceptible acidity and warm fruit. The finish is all black currant, decent in length and not overly dry.  92 points and 5 stars for this $25 effort.  Delicious.  Drink this blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz till 2030.  Salut….

Ornellaia ‘Le Volte dell’Ornellaia’ Toscana IGT 2014, Tuscany, Italy

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I bough this wine on its pedigree for $24.  Medium opacity purple in the glass with visible legs.  The nose has kirsch, raspberry and bing cherry by the boatload.  On the palate it is brimming with red fruits, bright acidity and delightful tannins.  Young and vibrant- it needs a little time to settle down.  It is slightly one-dimensional at this time. I hope it evolves and gains tertiary flavors.  The mid palate is more or less the same.  The finish is of medium length with more cherry extract and a dose of rhubarb as well as lingonberry.  The tartness of which shows up at the end.  Overall- a decent wine that gets 89 points from me and 3 stars.  Cab, Merlot and Sangiovese make up this Tuscan red.  Drink from 2022 till 2027.  Salut….