Dr. H. Thanisch Berncasteler Ley Riesling Auslese 2017. Mosel, Germany

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As you may have read in my last post- the assignment for the wine course I am taking has a comparison between a dry Aussie Riesling with a sweeter German Auslese. Here is the official review that I submitted:

Dr. H. Thanisch Berncasteler Ley Riesling Auslese 2017.  Mosel, Germany.  8.5% ABV

Appearance : 

  • Intensity : Pale
  • Color : Gold

Nose : 

  • Intensity : Light 
  • Aroma characteristics : Primary notes of Mango, Passion Fruit and Apricot.  Secondary aromas of Gingerbread.

Palate : 

  • Sweetness : Medium
  • Acidity : Medium
  • Alcohol : Low
  • Body : Medium
  • Flavor intensity : Pronounced Primary flavors of  Peach and Apricot.   Tertiary flavors of Honey and Marmalade.
  • Finish : Medium

Conclusions : Very good quality, unctuous but not overly sweet.

Moxie was tasting with me but she thought this wine was too sweet for her. It’s a good quality drop if you are in the market but it runs $32 right now, getting 92 points makes it a 5 star sweetie. This one will last a good while, till 2035. Salut….

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Alkoomi Riesling 2019, Western Australia

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In my wine course there is a definitive method to tasting wines. This week our task has been to compare an Australian Riesling with an Auslese version from Germany. Here are the notes, in the correct format, for the Aussie one.

Alkoomi Riesling 2019, Western Australia.  12.0% ABV

Appearance : 

  • Intensity : Pale
  • Colour : Lemon

Nose : 

  • Intensity : Medium 
  • Aroma characteristics : Primary notes of Grapefruit, Quince and Lemon.  Secondary notes of Papier Machè and bread dough.

Palate : 

  • Sweetness : Off-Dry
  • Acidity : High
  • Alcohol : Medium
  • Body : Medium
  • Flavor intensity : Medium with Primary flavors of  Lemon, Pink Grapefruit and Peach.   
  • Finish : Long

Conclusions : Good Quality

For $17, this 90 point wine is a 5 star effort if you are in the market for a crisp, juicy Riesling to pair with grilled Mackerel or Oysters on the half shell. Drink till 2025. Salut….

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Chateau Vincens Malbec 2018, Cahors, France

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In Cahors, Malbec is known as the Black wine. This particular example has 20% Merlot added, so it is not as inky as I imagined. Still, it’s a rich purple and nearly opaque. The 14.5% ABV shows off its legs in the glass. On the nose I get primal fruit flavors of plum, blackberry and oak. The palate is quite dry and tannic. Dark fruits galore with black coffee and coconut flavors are coated with searing tannins and gobs-full of acidity. The mid palate is very much fruit driven with a smidge of black tea. The finish is mouth puckering from the structural components. This wine is precisely what I wanted for the bone-in Ribeyes I am searing on the charcoal. Juicy, tannic and full of bold fruit flavors- that’s typical for the region and this grape. I now know why they tried to soften it a bit with some Merlot. It would have been a beast all on its own. I like the style, it’s kind of rugged. The mouthfeel a bit raw and primal. Overall a decent drop worthy of 91 points from me with a drinking window of 2023-2028. Open now if you like ’em young and tannic. For $15 it’s a steal that gets 5 stars. Salut….

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The Sisters Pinot Noir 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

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I’m slow-roasting some Pork Belly and it needs an acidic, lighter style wine that can cut through the fat yet not overpower the delicate white meat. Cool climate Pinot Noir came to mind and this bottle happens to be on my tasting bench.

See-through and ruby red. At 12.5% ABV I’m not expecting to see much in the way of legs in the glass. The nose is very interesting to me- ripe strawberry, raspberry, cloves and leather (yes, like fresh cut leather). The palate is definitely New World. Red raspberry driven with bakers spice and a good dose of acidity make for a delightful taste. The wine is off-dry and offers a touch of tannic dryness. The acidity is on pointe and exactly what I was hoping for. Red fruit and juiciness make for a long finish that I am enjoying, albeit my jaw is aching from the acidity at this point- I can’t wait for the meat to cut it down some. I really like this wine and think it’s a good value for $16 ’cause it gets 90 points and 5 stars from me. Drink till 2025. Salut….

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William Gordon Winery Petite Sirah 2013, Alexander Valley, California

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I loved this winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, I’m hoping for a repeat. In the glass this wine is a deep purple and opaque AF. The nose is stupendous. Pronounced aromas of blackcurrants, blackberry, toasty oak and coffee bean. The palate is technically dry, with black fruit flavors- but not as pronounced as on the nose. Grippy tannins are still working the gums in this 8 year old bottle as is some nice acidity. The wine is full bodied with a nice mouthfeel and copious amounts of fruit. The finish is very long and caresses my gums with black cherry, Lapsang Souchong tea and those really well integrated tannins. This is a delicious wine that is but a hair shy of the Cabernet as far as technicalities go, but I love me some Petite Sirah so this one gets some Lamb chops with fresh mint and garlic mashed taters. 92 points and 5 stars for this $35 gem. Drink till 2028. Salut….

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Frog’s Leap Heritage Blend 2017, Napa Valley, California

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This is a very interesting blend of 48% Charbono, 27% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignan, 7% Gamay, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Mondeuse and 1% Riesling! Wow…. BTW- Charbono is also known as Bonarda. The wine itself is deep purple and nearly opaque. The lack of legs made me search the label- 12.8% ABV- shocking in these modern times where super ripe fruit (high sugar=high alcohol) is the norm.

The nose has candied plum, blueberry and a herbaceous note. On the palate it is refreshingly tart with nice flavors of white plum, blueberries and charred wood. The green notes not showing up. Medium tannins accompany the fruit and I get a dry back-end from the tart acidity and tannin components. It’s a lighter weight wine that will pair nicely with duck or grilled stuffed mushrooms. It’s certainly an interesting combination of grapes and for $42, you too can try this 89 point wine! 3 stars from me, drink till 2026. Salut….

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Chateau de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2018, Rhone, France

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This Cotes-Du-Rhone comes from a highly regarded vintner and is a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre at 30% each with the balance being Syrah and Cinsault. I chose it off my tasting bench because I am cooking Duck l’orange tonight. I am hoping the pairing will work.

The wine is very dark purple in the glass and 75% opaque. The nose is heavenly with raspberry, black pepper, black cherry and oak influence, offset right at the end with some alcohol. I checked, it’s 14.1%. On the palate it is very smooth and supple. The reddish/black fruit notes are evident and the tannins are very lithe. Good acidity makes for a nice mouthfeel that is fresh. The red fruit them continues but I get a hint of capsicum, some herbaceous notes and a tad of astringency on the mid palate. The finish is medium in length and the fruit flavors linger nicely, not being overtaken by massive tannins. The acidity is obvious at this stage though and I get a touch of that alcohol right at the end. It’s a delightful wine that gets knocked down a point or two for the green notes, I am not sure if they had ripening issues. 89 points and for $26, it gets 3 stars with a drink by 2028 window. Salut….

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Tyler Florence Blending Sessions No. 2 Meritage 2013, Sonoma County, California

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This bottle is called a Meritage, which conjures up notions of a Bordeaux blend relying heavily on either Cab Sav or Merlot, with supporting roles from Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In this case- it’s actually the opposite with the majority being Malbec at 62%, Merlot at 30%, Cab Franc with 6% and a touch of Petit Verdot. No sign of any Cab Sav. Anyways- it’s inky, brooding and opaque. The nose is intense with rich blackberry and oak nuances. I’m looking forward to it!

The palate is as expected. Layered black fruits and charred oak with medium grip tannins and juicy acidity. Blackberry, black currants and tea notes fit the mid palate. The finish is long and decidedly tart. The acidity is bracing yet I feel the wine has a nice roundness and is full bodied. The 14.5% alcohol is sensed on the back end with a hint of heat. Overall I am really enjoying this wine and will be pairing it with homemade spaghetti sauce and Hearts of Palm pasta. Drink till 2028. 91 points for this $25 make it a 5 star wine. Salut….

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Azienda Agricola Gabutti Boasso Barolo Serralunga 2016, Barolo DOCG, Italy

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The Nebbiolo grape is very deceiving. In the glass it is see-through and pale garnet in color yet I know what to expect when we first taste this one. The nose gives me gobs of red cherry, cranberry, strawberry, spice and some caramel. On the palate it’s exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. Richly tannic, mouthwateringly acidic and delicious with red fruits galore. Cherries, strawberries, mouth searing tannins, and enough acidity to melt nuts and bolts. The mid palate allows the fruit to shine whilst the tannins and acid step aside momentarily. The finish is a really dry affair but I still get red fruits- the tannins are searing. This young wine needs a bunch of time in the cellar or a good aerating. It will last a long time if cellared correctly and will hopefully gain some tertiary flavors as we have already seen with a touch of Caramel on the nose,( which did not translate onto the palate). 93 points for me make this a big wine. At $40, it’s at the lower end for most good Barolos and gets 5 stars from me. Drink from 2025 to 2035. Salut….

Vignobles Bulliat Moulin-a-Vent 2018, Beaujolais, France

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This Gamay is medium Ruby in the glass with some funk on the nose alongside red currants and cranberry. The palate is very tart and acidic with red fruits comprising red cherry, currants and pomegranate. Beaujolais wines typically have no discernible backbone of tannins as they rarely see much wood treatment or extended maceration with the skins but this one has me perplexed as I do sense some astringency on the gums and some potential tannic grip. At three years of age it’s already at peak and should be drunk sooner rather than later- preferably chilled and sitting on a sidewalk in Paris. I would pair this with salmon on the grill, roasted chicken or eggplant parmigiana. 88 points for this $14 effort make it a four-star wine. Salut….