Penfolds Club Tawny Port, Australia

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The last time I had an Australian Port was in 1999, in Sydney.  It never really dawned on me to search them out.  I recently got back into Port drinking and just ordered 10 different bottles to try out.  This is the first of them and I am looking forward to this adventure.

The newly arrived Ports

In the glass it resembles it’s style-tawny…  It has a brownish, purply tinge to the see-through base.  The nose is nutty, with plum reduction and a hint of oak.  There is a certain youth to go along with the mellowed out nuances in the nose of this aged wine.    On the palate- orange marmalade, raisins and hazelnut mingle with a plum base.  The wine is slightly syrupy and shows nice legs in the glass.  The 18% alcohol is well masked and there is a trace of very fine grained tannins running through the mid palate and on to the long finish.  Speaking of which, the finish has more of the orange notes I got on the opening as well as some oak, almond and raisin.  It lasts a while, with not much sign of the alcohol at all.  Overall this is a very tasty dessert wine that has aged nicely and is ready for business.  I’m going with 90 points and for $19 this is a 4 star effort.  Salut….

enfolds club tawny port

Cosentino Sangiovese 2014, Carneros, California

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It’s pasta night and I need a Sangiovese.  This one happens to be ready to go on my daily drinking shelf and I am excited.

In the glass, the color is a pale, see through reddish purple- reminiscent of Pinot Noir.  On the nose, strawberry and cherry, just like Pinot.  The palate introduces me to delicious strawberry and capsicum flavors, but I get a dose of heat right away.  A quick glance reveals a 14.5% lurker here.

The wine transitions on the mid palate to more strawberries and a red raspberry jam.  The alcohol still permeates though and I am not sensing much in the way of tannins, until the very end.  The finish is where they appear, very well integrated but lacking a good dose of acidity, just more heat.  The wine is delicious, yet unbalanced and I fear it will not hold out well in the cellar, which is a shame as I would love to revisit this one in 10 years.  88 points, the structure and excessive alcohol being detractors.  I really do enjoy the flavors though.  For $28 it is a 2 star wine for me.  Salut….

consentino sangiovese

Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 2010, Sauternes, France

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Dark golden yellow.  Honey, apricot jam and grilled pineapple on the nose. The initial tastes are very waxy, oily and full of apricot. This wine is super smooth with balanced acidity, botritized fruit and a delicious flavor profile.  Heaps of apricot jam fill the profile with tertiary flavors of honeysuckle and bee pollen filling in on the mid palate.  The finish shows great tannic structure with a very gentle acidity.   I’m shocked about the tannins on this dessert wine, but they lurk- ever so gently.  This is a solid wine that will last decades.  Drink now till 2030.  It can be found for $25 per half bottle and gets 95 points from me.  5 stars for sure and probably one of the finest dessert treats I have had in a long time.  Salut….
Chateau Sigalas Rabaud, Sauternes, France

Cosentino Winery The Poet Meritage 2013, Napa Valley, USA

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Just a gorgeous dark purple in the glass, it shows promise!  On the nose I get lavender, plums, and a remarkable blackberry hint.  On the palate I am getting delicious plums, black cherry kirsch and a hint of upfront tannins. As the wine progresses to the mid palate the tannins firm up a touch and the fruit mellows somewhat, indicating youth in this wine.  The finish shows off a blueberry component which has me confused.  Plums, Blackberry, Black Cherry and now blueberry.  It cannot be possible, yet here it is, bathed in very well integrated tannins and just a touch of acidity.  This wine is delicious, it really is.  My choice was to pair it with Strip Steak, steamed Artichokes and a Cauliflower puree.  A perfect match.  This wine gets 91 points from and for $45 it is a 4 star effort.  51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot are the make up of this Bordeaux style wine, which as you know really excites me.  Drink till 2022 at the least.  Salut….

Cosentino Winery The Poet Meritage, Napa Valley, USA

Rivallana Crianza 2013, Rioja DOCa, Spain

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Nearly see-through medium shade of purple.  A somewhat subdued nose of black currants and earth.  The initial taste is of more black fruits, including black cherries and some currants.  The wine is not as full bodied as I thought it would be but it has a certain elegance that I am enjoying.  The mid palate has plum tart and a toasty oak hint.  The wine shows a decent amount of acidity and the tannins are very fine grained and well integrated.  The finish shows a touch oak and some raisins.  I would pair this wine with grilled pork chops, eggplant parmesan or some cheese, ham, and olives.  89 points from me but the label says it got 95 Decanter points, I’m not seeing that. I paid $14, which make it a 3 star wine.   Salut….

Rivallana Crianza, Rioja DOCa, Spain

Burgess Cellars Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Napa Valley

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This wine is 15 years old, yet it pours like an infant- dark purple, no bricking and clear, if not see-through.  The nose is gorgeous, fruity yet nuanced with secondary flavors belying maturity.  Plums, coffee, tobacco and leather come to mind.  On the palate, rich plums, cassis and a touch of eucalyptus.  This wine is not even close to maturity.  Tannins are on pointe and there is a juiciness to the mid palate that I am enjoying thoroughly.  The finish leaves you with a clear dose of acidity, the tannins drying up at this stage.  There is still tons of primal fruit here and the wine already demonstrated its ability to pick up those long sought after nuances of aged Cabernet.  This is a top wine in my opinion, worthy of 92 points even at this stage of its development, which is funny considering it only got 83 points from WE back in 2006.  Drink now till 2021 at the least.  Pair with any beef dish, charcuterie or just by itself.  I found it online for $28.  5 Stars.  Salut….

Burgess Cellars Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

F E Trimbach Riesling 2013, Alsace, France

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Very pale yellow, almost surreal.  On the nose a really fresh expression of lemon, grapefruit, lanolin.  On the palate- very fresh with a tartness of lemons, zesty acidity and a certain minerality I am quite enjoying.  On the mid palate I get some more grapefruit, more like pomelo.  The finish is very tart, which keeps this wine interesting, on a fine edge.  It would pair really well with some spicy dishes methinks.  The acidity would cut right through Thai beef salad.  Oysters Rockefeller come to mind as does Moules with a heavy cream broth.  My mouth is watering.  90 points.  It is a steal at $12 which make it a 5 star effort.  Salut….

F E Trimbach Riesling, Alsace, France

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2010, Franschhoek Valley, South Africa

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I just recently had a birthday, not quite the big one, but just shy.  I had a few mates over for what turned out to be a large night.  We hit many regions and varietals, really hard.  Anyway, this was a gift from one of my South African friends, I did not drink it that night, saving it for a proper tasting night.  I’m glad I did!

A pretty purple color.  Gorgeous nose of blueberries, oak, plums and leather.  The initial taste consists of a very smooth dollop of blueberries, some fig paste and a dash of funky dryness that I can’t pinpoint.  Tannins are well integrated but there is a nagging bitterness that troubles me.  The midpalate has some very nice plums, a generous dose of acidity and some oak.  The wine finishes strong with a dusty component and more blue fruits.  This wine has a nice ‘spice meets leather and earth’ combo.  I’m digging it if not for that irksome bitterness at the front end, which drops the score to a 90.  The pros went high on this one, up to 94, but the consensus amongst the amateur crowd is in line with my rating.  This wine is pricy if bought in the US, $50+, but a very sexy and seductive version of Syrah that should be enjoyed with a nice Filet.  3 stars.  Salut….

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah, Franschhoek Valley, South Africa

Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel Pena Roble Reserva 2004, Ribera del Duero, Spain

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Still a dark purple after 13 years.  Nose of figs, earth and violets.  On the initial taste- not what I was expecting.  Plums, blueberries, fresh and zesty.  This wine is so young.  The tannins are very integrated but not dry.  Mid-palate wise there’s blue fruit and cassis.  The finish is where this wine shines- leather, tobacco and blue fruit jam.  Oak peeks through right at the end.  Smooth and sexy, I like this wine from Magnum.  91 points from me and a reward for cellaring it for so long.  I paid $50 per Magnum back in 2014 for this Tempranillo.  4 stars!  Salut….

Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel Pena Roble Reserva, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Quinta do Crasto ‘Crasto’ 2015, Douro, Portugal

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Really bright opaque purple in the glass.  The nose is inky with a touch of plum.  The palate starts off with plums, a raisin component and some oak.  A deft hand has been at work here with the tannins, they are powerful yet well integrated.  There is a freshness that I am enjoying on the mid palate along with the dryness of the tannins.  A finish of bright blueberry, tannins and a touch of heat carries on for a while.  Surprising really as this wine only weighs in at 13.5 %.  A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and some Tinta Barroca.  It is actually very yummy and will rock the pork tenderloins roasting in the oven with onions and some sautéed Kale.  I’m going 90 points on this one.  Paid $17 which makes it a 4 star wine.  I have always thought of Portuguese wine as being very tasty, affordable and a go to if in a pinch.  Salut….

Quinta do Crasto 'Crasto', Douro, Portugal