Kirkland Signature Reserva 2013, Rioja DOCa, Spain

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I have only tasted two other Kirkland branded wines.  They were both just okay.  This is a shot at redemption.  I have purchased this bottle and a Cabernet that I will get to next week.  Here’s hoping for the best!

In the glass it is of medium opacity, with a lighter shade of purple.  The nose offers up plums, star anise and vanilla bean.  On the palate, I am surprised and happy.  Smooth, balanced and very tasty.  The plums give way to blue fruits, juicy acidity and tannins that are present but not impeding.  The anise flavor really hits me on the mid palate.  Earthy Tempranillo hints peek out every so often and the tar component that I like in Rioja finally emerges.  Decent length finish of black cherry and oak.  The wine has backbone and good balance.  It offers immediate pleasure with some cellaring potential.  Drink with hard cheeses, a lamb stew or even some kebabs and rice.  88 points and 5 stars for this relative bargain at $7, yup, $7.  Salut….

Donne Fittipaldi Bolgheri 2015, Tuscany, Italy

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A few of these came across my desk at a reasonable price so to speak.  I had to try.  Quite a dark shade of purple in the glass.  The nose is fresh, plummy and hinting of Ribena.  The initial palate gives me quite a biting dose of plums, tannins and acidity.  All at once.  It kinda made we wince.  The label says this wine is unfiltered, has a 14% alcohol and contains sulfites….

On the mid palate is where it opens up, adding some black currants and nutmeg to the mix.  The tannins are searing however and this wine needs some time in the cellar.  The finish is woody, with that astringency of young tannins.  Strong black tea comes to mind.  As does an old oak barrel.  I like this wine, it has potential.  I would decant/aerate the hell out of it if you want to drink before 2020.  It will last a good while after that and hopefully mellow down some.  I am giving it 90 points and 4 stars for the $20 I had to fork over for this 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Sangiovese blend.  It got 93 points from the pros, so there is that.  Think hearty stews, beef rib or even eggplant Parmigiana for this heavyweight.  Salut….

Spier Signature Pinotage 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

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Picked this one up for $10 in Delaware, cause I was bored and wandered into a wine shop.  I also happen to really like Pinotage.  This one shows pretty light in the glass.  It’s a pretty purple though.  On the nose- textbook.  Creosote, black fruit, earth and charred wood.  On the palate, it is very fruity- plums, black berry and unique Kumquat note that I find very intriguing.  An orange like testiness with some acidity to it.  Very interesting.  The mid palate has tons of that creosote flavor I associate with Pinotage.  The tannins get a grip on the back end, but not overly so.  The finish has an oak tinge to it along with black berry cobbler.  A touch of vanilla rounds it all out.  I must say, I really like this wine.  It’s not very complex but it is really drinkable, is unique and is priced right.  88 points from me and 5 stars.  It will pair well with the marinated Flap Steaks I have on the grill.  Salut….

Carpineto Vigneto Poggio Sant’ Enrico 2001, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Italy

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It’s been a few years since I tasted the 2001 Poggio.  As part of my cellar-moving I decided to open this one up to pair with some seared Strip steaks, a tomato salad with Balsamic infused onion strips.

For a seventeen year old wine it shows off nicely in the glass- full purple, no sign of bricking and quite opaque.  The nose, OMG, what a nose.  This is textbook aged Sangiovese, reminiscent of old Burgundian Pinot Noir.  Leather, cedar box, tobacco, cassis and more, it just keeps coming.  On the palate I am in love with the Old Worldness of this wine.  It gushes with bramble, black berries, the tobacco, leather and cedar along with black tea and olives.  Immense and rather concentrated, this wine is amazing, can you tell I’m liking it?

This is what makes cellaring a wine so worthwhile.  The earthiness is profound, the freshness- still lively.  Fruit, tertiary flavors, integrated tannins and perfect acidity.  What more could you ask for?  It begs for lighter fare to enable the nuances to come out, I almost regret the seasoning I coated the steaks with.  This wine will shine by itself in a spectacular fashion.  The finish is long, with more of the black fruits coming out again. Amazing.  96 points from me for this apparently still young wine.  The major difference I noted between the last time is that the much lighter Cherry notes were now replaced with heavier, more brooding fruits.  I paid $35 for it awhile back, wishing I had bought more than the 2 bottles that I have now drunk.  5 stars for sure.  Drink till 2025.  Salut….

Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley, USA

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The last time I tasted the 2009 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon was in 2014.  This bottle was cellared until now.  I’m doing up a Tri-Tip roast on the grill to accompany it alongside some sautéed asparagus and heirloom tomatoes.

It shows a very dark, brooding purple in the glass, which is what I expect from a powerhouse Napa Cabernet.  The nose is lush, plummy, full of fruit and a touch of oak.  After another swirl I also get blackberry in waves.  On the palate this wine is absolutely amazing.  Layers of black and blue fruit, finely grained tannins and a balance so precise between the acidity and dryness.  Ripe plums, sweet blackberries and vanilla bean are very concentrated.  Great extraction of fruit without overdoing it. I just read the label, 85% Cab Sav, 9% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc and a dash of Petit Verdot- which makes this a classical old-school Bordeaux blend.  Malbec being the  kicker, they don’t use it much these days over there.

The mid palate of this wine exhibits plum pie, black olive and some coffee bean.  The tannins start to reveal a slight astringency, but I am still digging it.  The finish is medium in length with more of that coffee thing I caught earlier.  Meat is what this wine begs for.  Roast it, grill it, braise it….  92 points from me for this $60 beauty.  4 stars.  Drink now till 2025.  Salut….

Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico DOCG 2014, Tuscany, Italy

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Another one in the value range I am working through from Costco.  It retailed for $14.  In the glass it is very see-through, pale and fresh looking.  Strawberry, hay and some pomegranate hit me on the nose, typical for young Sangiovese.  The wine is rather light on the initial palate, strawberry and some cherry juice are the predominant flavors.  The mid palate is very juicy, the acidity being prominent but curtailed by some nice tannins that appear toward the finish.  Basic flavors, easy to drink and priced right.  I would pair it with pizza, pasta and maybe roast chicken on the charcoal.  88 points from me and 4 stars.  Drink now till 2020.  Salut….

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Washington, USA

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A perennial favorite and surefire go-to wine that delivers consistency, value and widespread availability.  It shows off a deep purple in the glass.  The nose is full of blue fruit, coffee bean, a touch of oak.  On the palate I sense some very lithe tannins that are very ingrained with blueberry, elderberry, cedar.  The wine transitions very nicely to the mid palate and the finish gives me a definitive red currant note.  The mouthfeel is very smooth, balanced and easygoing, making this a very flexible wine to pair with a variety of dishes.  Cheese comes to mind as do the Sirloins I am grilling, with some Steamed Artichokes.  The tannins are the longest running portion of this wine, leaving a definitive dry streak on the gums for quite a while.  Not a hugely complex wine, it serves its purpose as an everyday drinker, capable of pairing with meats, pasta, cheese or all by its lonesome.  Drink now.  89 points and 4 stars for this $14 wine. Salut….

Marques de Caceres Reserva 2012, Rioja DOCa, Spain

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Very deep purple color.  The nose is voluptuous with tons of plums, bramble, some tar and an earthiness.  On the palate I get upfront dryness with lots of tannins leading up to the plum core, with blueberry and creosote adding to the mix.  The tannins really dry up my gums and are going to go swimmingly well with the Lamb shanks that are braising.  The mid palate is mostly blue fruits and more gum dryness.  The finish has that earthiness that I love about Riojas.  It’s a dusty, tarry, brambly thing that I really enjoy.  Even though I am sure this wine has had lashings of Oak, it is not overly evident.  What wood is present is very integrated.  Reservas are only made in certain years, this one is pretty decent IMHO.  90 points and 5 stars for this relatively modest $15 Tempranillo.  I would say buy a case and drink for the foreseeable future!  Salut….

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT 2014, Veneto, Italy

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Dark purple in the glass, opaque AF.  The nose is unique…. pomegranate meets cherry reduction and almonds.  On the palate I’m confronted with wood bark, black fruits, more nuttiness and a dense stack of tannins.  Brooding, rich and foreboding- it is a heavy duty wine with decent balance and good grip. The dryness of the tannins kick in on the finish in a big way.  This wine could use a trip through the aerator.  I like it as is with some grilled lamb or possibly with pasta after aerating.  If you read the label closely you will see that it is made in the Ripasso style, being a blend of Corvina and Rondinella.  90 points and 4 stars for this very reasonable $17 wine.  Salut….

Pomar Junction The Crossing GSM 2013, Paso Robles, USA

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Lighter in the glass than I was expecting but the nose- wow.  Black berries, spice box, vanilla.  On the palate there’s tons of spiciness, cedar box, black fruits, cinnamon. The bite from the acidity is pinpoint, tannins are very lithe. On the finish I get maduro, black cherry and more vanilla from the wood dressing this wine has been graced with.  Very tasty Grenache, Syrah, Mourverdre blend.  92 points and 4 stars for this $54 wine.  Drink now till 2024.  Salut….