Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2012, Pauillac, France

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Nearly black and opaque in the glass.  On the nose I get gorgeous blackberries and fruitcake with a touch of mint.  On the palate it is fresh, young, fruity and chock full of black fruits, cedar, scrumptious tannins and a slight hint of cassis.  Tobacco and leather are evident on the mid palate which totally excites me and hints at long term evolution in line with traditional Bordeaux.  The tannic structure is amazing, very lithe at the beginning with a steady rise to a crescendo of black tea dryness.  92 points and 4 stars for this $50 Fifth Growth.  Drink till 2030.  Salut….

Chateau Giscours 2014, Margaux, France

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Dark purple with nice legs.  On the nose it’s quite bland.  Black currants, blueberry pie and rubber mat finally come out of the glass.  On the palate I’m getting a subdued dose of blueberry pie, cedar, breakfast tea and warm blackberry cobbler.  The tannins are of medium intensity and the finish has some dark fruits and tannins.  I think this wine is closed right now but it has potential.  I’m gonna go with 90 points for now.  The pro’s ranged greatly- from 91 to 95 points.  I’m not seeing it at this point in time, hopefully it will awaken from slumber as a real powerhouse 3rd Growth Margaux.  Drink from 2022/2030.  Available for around $50, making it a 3 star wine.  Salut….

 

Proemio Reserve Petit Verdot 2015, Mendoza, Argentina

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I really like Petit Verdot, blended or standalone.  When I saw this Argentinian bottle of it, I had to try.

As expected it is pretty dark and broody in the glass.  The nose has a sweet perfume of blackberries, licorice and violet.  On the palate this wine has a tartness alongside creosote, black fruit and sour cherry.  The midpalate is quite dry, tannins enveloping the fruit and coating my teeth.  I can feel them getting a purple stain.  They don’t subside either.  The finish is bone dry but I do get more blackberries and some tea.  Wow, it’s a long finish too.  There’s ample reason why a stand-alone PV doesn’t appeal to the masses- it can be too tannic, one dimensional and lacking in fruit whilst heavy in structure.  This is a good example.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoy the mouthfeel and weight every so often.  89 points and 3 stars for this $18 bottle.  Drink till 2027 with Ribeye, leg of lamb or rich stew.  Salut….

Ricossa Antica Casa Barbaresco DOCG 2014, Piedmont, Italy

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See through but with slight bricking.  I noticed the cork had signs of possible seepage which gives me cause for concern.  Here goes….

On the nose – it’s corked.  I even tasted it….done.  Luckily I’m not far from the shop so I returned it .

The second bottle looks much better in the glass.  Light, see through purple.  On the nose it is not very open.  I’m struggling to swirl some life into it and all I get is faint cherries, some capsicum and carrot.  Yes, carrot.  On the palate this Nebbiolo starts off with some lush, medium tannins and a dollop of cherry juice.  It’s not subtle.  The mid palate has more breadth with cherries, currants, a touch of fresh oak and sassparilla.  The finish is quite dry with the tannins still in full force.  There is a woody note alongside red fruits and cinnamon.  Tasty but restrained, I feel this wine might be hibernating.  It should improve with age and drink nicely till 2028.  90 points and 3 stars for this $25 effort.  Salut….

Chateau Lieujean 2014, Haut-Medoc, France

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Very dark purple in the glass with medium opacity.  On the nose I get a definitive old oak meets rustic plums and evergreen.  On the palate there is not much fruit, but lots of tertiary flavors including mushrooms, leather, cedar and black olive.  Tannins are plentiful right off the bat and there’s a hint of acidity.  The mid palate and finish continue with the earthy, dry profile and add a touch of blue fruit.  The tannic finish runs for a while. This wine has matured very quickly, losing fruit yet the tannins are still fresh and young.  87 points and 2 stars for this $15 Cru Bourgeois.  Drink till 2022.  Salut….

Château Vieux Barrail Bordeaux Supérieur 2015, France

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Very thick purple color.  On the nose it’s all blackberries with a hint of nutmeg.  A strange one for sure but I like it.  On the palate it is a touch thin but tasty.  Blackberries and black currant make me think this wine will develop into a cassis laden beaut if cellared for a few years.  There is a delightful tannic grip that builds as I transition to the mid palate.  An oak component that hits me on the mid to back end, adding depth to the black fruits that are still prominent.  However, a touch of black tea alongside some astringency on the finish that makes me wonder.  Overall this is a nice wine with potential.  It’s drinking young right now unless you fancy a pretty dry drop.  Cellar till 2022 then drink for seven more years with steaks, pot roast or even moussakka.  88  points and 3 stars for this $15 wine.  Salut….

Tenimenti Capanne Ricci Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012, Tuscany, Italy

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Pretty dark red and semi opaque with big legs showing in the glass.  On the nose it’s an intriguing blend of strawberry syrup, rooibos tea and raspberry.  On the palate it gives me red fruits including cherry, strawberry and rhubarb alongside some pretty fresh tannins.  The grip of which starts at the onset and builds into a mighty teeth- coating crescendo at the finish.  Wow…. this is a wine packed with flavor, structure and is balanced to boot.  Very young, it needs cellaring or a run through the Venturi.  I’m gonna cellar the three other bottles I have, thinking there will be some nice evolution in addition to a softening of the tannins.  For now, 92 points and 5 stars for the $30 price point.  Pair this Sangiovese up with some rich stews, hearty pasta or a thick Ribeye. Drink from 2022-2032.  Salut….

Chapel Hill Parson Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, Australia

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Very dark purple, nearly black in the glass.  On the nose I get fresh blackberries, cedar, vanilla and coffee bean.  On the palate this wine is delicious- chock full of black fruits, a beautiful oak integration, medium grained tannins that caress at the right time and some very gentle acidity.  Aussie wines can sometimes get too jammy, especially with Shiraz- but this Cab Sav has ripeness and body without going over the edge.  The mid palate just continues the black fruit theme and the finish is long, dry and adds cinnamon and licorice to the back end.  Delightful.  91 points and 5 stars for this $20 bottle.  Drink till 2028 with steaks.  Salut….

Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2016, Tuscany, Italy

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Semi opaque yet intriguingly purple in the glass.  On the nose I’m getting sour cherry kirsch, strawberries and rooibos tea.  On the palate it is light, tart and tasty- just what I was expecting.  The opening notes are much the same…. cherry juice, strawberry coulis and rhubarb.  There are some gripping tannins that hit the mid palate and that sour cherry must be the source of the bracing acidity.  These factors, combined with the young fruit are going to bode well for a patient lover of Sangiovese.  It will evolve nicely I think.  91 points and 5 stars for this $12 wine.  Drink till 2028.  Salut….

Barboursville Vineyards Reserve Viognier 2017, Virginia, USA

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Very pale yellow in the glass, I was expecting a more honeyed glint.  On the nose it’s very refreshing with a peach hint, some beeswax and papaya.  I’m excited!  On the palate it is super delicious- crisp, clean with just a hint of acidity let the flavors of peach stone, nectarine and pink grapefruit really shine.  The mid palate allows the gentle acidity some room to refresh the palate.  The finish is medium in length with a great mouthfeel that balances freshness with a touch of flab that just tastes and feels right.  This is a rather nice bottle- Virginia really does great Viognier and Barboursville perfects it.  91 points and 5 stars for this $22 charmer.  Drink till 2027 with grilled fish, chicken kebabs or raw clams.  Salut….