Beyer Ranch Merlot 2013, Central Coast California

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This was on special at my local wine store, regularly $11, on sale for $10.  I had to try it.  It is vinted and bottled by the Wente Family Estate, which is a rather big and well know operation.

A good shade of purple in the glass, with a nose of black berry and kirsch.  On the palate, black stone fruits and black berries.  Very nice and supple mouthfeel, not overly acidic with very subtle tannins.  A pop’n’pour wine that is sure to please- for the price, it is a really outstanding effort.  88 points and 5 stars for its price to quality ratio.  Drink by itself or pair with pretty much anything!  Salut….

beyer ranch merlot

Bollina Corte Medicea ‘Athos’ Rosso Toscana IGT 2013, Tuscany, Italy

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Have you ever had Ribena?  That is exactly what this blockbuster looks like in the glass.  It is a 100% Merlot from Tuscany that got huge marks from some pros. I bought in on the hype and could afford the $20 entry fee.

The nose is rich with blackberry and stone.  The initial taste is really delicious, with more black berries and plum mixing it up with gorgeous tannins and acidity.  I also get smoky mineral notes.  These flavors transcend the mid plate and meet up with dried blueberry on the finish.  The tannins are lush in this wine and give off a nice mouthfeel all the way through the finish.

I must be missing something about the 97 points given by an Italian critic, for me this is a solid wine that should get 90.  For the price paid it is a really good Merlot that I will be serving with Sunday Roast- 4 stars.  Salut.

ethos corte medic toscano merlot

Monti Bussia 2004, Barolo DOCG, Italy

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A gift from a neighbor, I was not sure what to expect.  A slight bricking on the edges of an otherwise pale purple sheen.  On the nose, a beautiful bouquet of mushroom, cherry and bacon.  On the palate, strawberry, cherry and upfront tannins.  The mid palate reveals more cherries, but darker this time.  The tannins are really starting to grip and the wine finishes very dry indeed.  The gaminess I sensed on the nose has all but disappeared, taken over by brutish tannins.  This is not a delicate wine, nor is it very fruit forward anymore.  But it is good.  In its own way, this wine exudes power and poise at the expense of fruit and finesse.  I am going with 91 points for this $50 wine.  4 stars.  Salut….

Monti Bussia, Barolo DOCG, Italy

Bollina Tavros Primitivo di Manduria 2014, Puglia, Italy

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Right off the bat I know this is going to be a rich, extracted wine.  It is nearly black in the glass and possesses a nose of ripe, dark berries.  Some oak and black anise are also present.  Onto the palate- a very interesting initial attack of blackberry, tar, and spice with cedar shavings.  Really nice tannins greet the palate right off the bat and they continue through the mid palate and onto the drying finish which also features berry jam and cedar.  This wine packs some heat, 14.5% to be precise.  It is well masked but appeared right at the end for me, which made me search the label for the exact number.  Be careful!  This wine will do wonders for a Chicken Alfredo dish, or even roast Duck with root vegetables.  I don’t get the ratings this wine got- they range from 84-98.  I am thinking it is a solid 90 point wine on my scale and for $22, it’s a 3 star effort.  I might buy some more for the cellar.  Salut….

Bollina Tavros Primitivo di Manduria

Kestrel Vintners ‘Falcon Series’ Syrah 2011, Yakima Valley

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Very dark purple in the glass. A nose of plum, blue berries and a funky earthiness. The initial taste is of plum sauce, black olive and acai berry. Really interesting. On the mid palate I am getting dark fruits and some fig. It’s not until the finish do I sense the dryness of tannins, with some very slight acidity. This is a tasty wine with good mouthfeel that is drinking well right now and may reward some short term cellaring. 89 points. $22 make this a 3 star wine in my books. Salut….

kestrel falcon series syrah

Matua Valley Pinot Noir 2014 Marlborough New Zealand

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Lovely nose of strawberry, some green pepper and iodine. On the palate- sour cherry, vanilla cake and red twizzler. The mid palate piles on some strawberry and more creamy vanilla. The finish is a touch acidic, fresh and of decent length. I like this New Zealand wine and think it is worthy of 88 points.  For $13, it’s a pretty good deal and gets 3 stars from me.  Salut….

matua valley pinot noir

Montalbera Ruche Di Castagnole Monferrato Laccento 2014

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I have never tried or even heard of the Ruche grape, so I just had to give it a go.  I’m winging it here with ratings and recommendations as I am flying blind and don’t know what to expect or what is typical.

A see through lighter purple in the glass.  Nose of candy, strawberry and red licorice, very reminiscent of California Syrah.  The initial tastes are peppery strawberry, red currants and some rather astringent tannins.  The mid palate changes it up and introduces some tar, more red fruits and a very dry mouthfeel.  Interesting to say the least.  The tannins keep going through to the end where they mix it up with more strawberry.  Somewhat one dimensional in my opinion.  I bought it for $25 and it apparently got 98 points from a critic.  I cannot agree nor can I argue, I just don’t know this grape- but for my money it comes in at 89 points and 2 stars.   I would pass unless you like the lighter style of California Syrah, with some perky tannins thrown in.  Salut….

Montalbera Ruche Di Castagnole Monferrato Laccento

National Park Foundation Yosemite White Artisan Blend NV

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This is an interesting wine, made by Adler Fels winery and sold with a cause in mind.  Some of the proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.  It is a blend of Viognier, Moscato, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Very rustic in the glass, it is a very dark gold in color.  An interesting nose of green guava, melon and pear.  On the palate, grapefruit, melon and more pear.  This wine is not overly acidic and the mouthfeel is quite warm, medium bodied.  It drinks nicely and will go well with the pan roasted Cod I am preparing.  It runs $13 and gets 87 points from me making it a 3 star wine.  Salut….

yosemite artisan white wine

Torbreck The Steading 2003

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I have been sitting on this one for a long time.  While setting up to cook some Steak au Poivre I decided I needed a heady Australian to accompany us, this one happened to be next in line in my kitchen chiller.  Unfortunately the cork crumbled so I had to decant it through a wire mesh to filter out the bits.

At first glance, the wine has a certain amount of bricking and is not very clear.  Age will do this to a wine, I hope it is still okay.  The first whiff is incredible, very Bordeaux-like.  Cassis, leather, plum and spicebox.  I am intrigued as to what it beholds. Remember, this bottle is 13 years old…

Amazing, smooth, calculating.  This wine is gorgeous!   Plum, pepper, tobacco, a touch of oak and some violet.  The mid palate is svelte, with extremely tight tannins swirling around the precise acidity, coupled with nuances of blueberry pie and more leather.  The finish is great, mid length and a continuation of the story.  This wine is drinking beautifully.   A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mataro and 20% Shiraz, it combines the finesse of a Rhone wine with the power of Aussie fruit.  Beware the well hidden 14.5% Alcohol, which has probably been a key to why this wine has held together so well and been able to develop tertiary flavors.  A gem.  95 points from me and I wish I had more.  The critics were mixed about this wine on release, ranging from 89 to 93 points.  Just goes to show you what a little time in a dark, cool room will do.  I found it online for $50, well worth it for a big occasion.  5 stars from me, Salut….

torbreck the steading

Riebeek Cellars Pinotage 2011

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We want to my mate Mel’s 60th birthday bash last night and being from South Africa they had this on offer.  I love the varietal and had to try it.

See-through purple in the glass with a nose of burnt cherry and creosote, very enticing.  The initial taste is black cherry, smoke, espresso bean and some lithe tannins.  The 14% alcohol peaks through on the midpalate and promptly goes away.  The finish is of medium length and is laced with tannins and dark fruit.  88 points make this $11 wine a decent value, especially if you like the unique taste of Pinotage.  3 stars from me.  Salut….

riebeek cellars pinotage