Borgo M Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2015, Italy

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My son is visiting from Nashville so we decided to order some Chinese food.  Faced with trying to pair reds with Mogolian Beef, Walnut Crisp Shrimp, General Tso…. I gave up and looked in the fridge.  I wanted something on the lower side of the alcohol scale.  This crisp Pinot Grigio rings in at 12.5%, perfect for my Far Eastern foray.  It shows a pretty gold and pink hue in the glass and offers lemon zest, pineapple and green apple on the nose.  On the palate it is not as crisp as I had imagined, slightly more weighty and silky.  It reminds me of unoaked Chardonnay in a way.  Waxy, pear, apple and citrus peel.  The mid palate is really interesting with more green fruits, melon and a hint of beeswax.  The finish has that classic lemon profile.  This Italian Pinot Grigio is more akin to Oregonean or even Alsatian Pinot Gris with it’s heavier profile, darker complexion and flavor charachteristics.  I’m not complaining, it’s a decent wine and I am enjoying it immensely with my exotic dinner.  89 points and 5 stars for this $10 wine that needs to be stocked in multiples!  Drink now till 2018.  Salut….

F E Trimbach Riesling 2013, Alsace, France

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It’s been a while since I had this brand, always dependable in the white arena.  The wine starts off very pale yellow in the glass.  The nose offers up peach, pineapple and some pecan nut.  It is really a different profile, but enjoyable nonetheless.  The palate shows off lemon curd, stone fruit, cardamom and a crisp green apple note.  The wine is juicy, like mouth watering.  The acidity is ever so present and persistent yet not obtrusive.  The mid palate is more of the star fruit meets pineapple variety.  It is unique and tasty.  The finish is rather short and tart with some more of the lemon hints.  I pulled this wine out for the Blackened Salmon with Garlic infused Kale that I am preparing.  I’m onto something with this pairing.  If you haven’t read my Evolution of a wine drinker, now is a good time to go back to 2014 when I wrote it.  The same rings true today.  Drink this wine now and for the next 5 years.  90 points and 5 stars for this $14 perennial go-to Riesling.  Salut….

Herdade Do Esporao Monte Velho 2015, Alentejano, Portugal

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See through in the glass is this blend of 40% Aragonez, 35% Trincadeira, 20% Touriga Nacional and the balance of Syrah.  On the nose it it musty- with some oak, blueberry and green pepper.  Kinda funky and different if you ask me.  The palate is a different story with primal flavors of blueberry, cedar, and graphite.  As the wine gets to the midpalate it adds some acidity and juiciness by way of rhubarb, (which I hated as a kid BTW).  Tannins are very fine grained and perceptible mainly on the finish.  A dryness envelops the gums and I feel balance.  The cedar I mentioned earlier comes out again on the back end and mingles with some more blue fruits.  There is an astringency that hits right at the very end that detracts a bit but overall this is a decent wine for the $6.88 I paid for it.  That’s right, under 7 bucks for a decent weekday quaffer that gets 87 points from me, therefore making it a 4 star wine.  Salut….

Peju Province Winery Merlot 2014, Napa Valley, USA

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A really dark purple in the glass which is getting me excited.  The nose is pure pleasure.  Sweet plums, a hint of oak and a creaminess I can’t even describe.  This wine is going to be the business- I just know it.

On the palate it is super duper smooth.  Blackberry, cocoa and pomegranate come to mind.  The tannins pop on the mid palate and dominate the dry finish.  I also get some red currants right at the end.  This wine is multi layered and I expect it to cellar well into 2022.  I’m really enjoying it all by its lonesome but envision roasted duck with root veg and an elderberry gravy might hit the spot.  92 points for this $35 effort and 5 stars.  Salut….

Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Merlot 2014, Napa Valley, USA

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Bright purple presentation.  The nose is blackberry, sage, eucalyptus and pine needle.  The initial palate is vibrant, full of black fruit, bright acidity and Ribena.  The mid palate takes a turn.  The fruit is dark and brooding, giving way to the clash between the acidity and the tannins.  They are balanced mind you, just in the forefront.  They taper off on the finish and allow notes of blackberry pie, vanilla bean and blueberries to close it out.  This is a bold wine, full of fruit, structure and a solid mouthfeel.  It really could use some grilled meats, au gratin and a big salad to tone it down a touch.  Impressive if you ask me.  91 points.  $25 and 4 stars.  Salut….

Adega Cooperativa de Cantanhede Marques de Marialva Reserva 2013, Bairrada, Portugal

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I have said it recently and i will affirm it again- Portugal is a go-to wine source.  In tonight’s case, I needed something full of flavor to go with Braised Lamb Shanks in Rosemary Mint sauce.  Sounds fancy huh?  Costco…

This particular wine rings in at $11 and was worth a punt when I saw it with free shipping.  Here goes-  It comes in at 13% and is a blend of 50% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz and 20% Baga.  It is of medium shade in the glass and has no ‘legs’.  The nose is of dark fruits and wood smoke.  I also get some spice, like cinnamon.  On the palate, this wine is very soft, gentle and supple.  The flavors of black cherry, plum and espresso are very tasty.  The mid palate shows off some very fine tannins and an earthiness along with cherry.  The finish is somewhat tart, with acidity coming through as cherry and rhubarb.  This wine is rocking the full flavored Lamb and has just the right amount of acidity to cut the fat while the flavors complement the herbs of the dish.  I am going 90 points and 5 stars for this bargain.  Drink now till 2022.  Salut….

Warre’s Warrior Finest Reserve Port, Portugal

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I do love me some Port.  It goes well with cheese, dessert or alone after dinner.  It is one one of life’s real pleasures.

This particular one was bought with a slew of others as I am trying out as many as I can.  It looks almost black in the glass.  A brooding, dark monster.  It is after all named a Warrior, and is of the Finest Reserve.  The nose offers up burnt matches and dark plums.  Kind of a weird combo.  The thickness of the wine is evident on the presentation.  On the palate- it is rich, with dark cherry reduction and blackberry syrup.  The wine has an unctuous feel to it, somewhat akin to dessert whites.  It shows off a nice level of acidity to go along with the tannic backbone.  This one will cellar well.  The finish is long, broad and has hints of blueberry pie, some vanilla as well as dark chocolate.  I like this one and am going with 90 points.  I paid $19 and give it 4 stars.  Not a bad drop if you like Port.  Salut….

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2014, California, USA

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I remember the first time drinking this wine.  It was at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in New Jersey, overlooking Manhattan with Moxie.  We were there attending a Gift Show, buying product for her first retail gig.  It was an exciting time for us, we learned a lot and succeeded in keeping the business running through the dark days of 2008-2011.  We were the last retail Gift shop standing in our area after the dust settled.  I remember the wine, the meal and the atmosphere of the night vividly as it would signal the beginning of our newly charted course.

The 2014 Monterey Pinot is very light in the glass, see through and pale red.  On the nose it’s all New World.  Strawberry, Framboise, a touch of oak.  On the palate, it is silky smooth.  More strawberry, earthy mushrooms, a nice dose of acidity and some Rooibos tea.  The mid palate caresses with some ever so slight tannins and a reminder of the acidity.  The red fruit theme is in force and the wine carries swiftly to the medium length finish.  It all ends with some cherry notes and a touch of vanilla bean.  A very nice wine that can be yours for $15 and gets 89 points from me and 4 stars.  I’m splapping together some creamy dill Chicken to go with it.  Drink now till 2020.  Salut....

Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

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This wine was a perennial favorite many years ago.  I gravitated to reds and rarely bought it, until I saw it on sale the other day.  I’m making Sizzling Hoisin Shrimp tonight so I figured a Sauvignon Blanc would do the trick.

This wine is faint gold in color, not quite yellow, nor deep.  The nose is bright, charming and packed with citrus notes.  Grapefruit being the major player here.  The initial taste is very refreshing, quince and citrus battling it out for dominance.  The wine has a nice balance, not overly acidic yet a touch dry and offering a hint of bitterness.  I get Almond seed on the mid palate which is probably how I sense the bitterness, it is unique.  The finish is all lemon and persimmon.  I am glad I bumped into this bottle, it really is tasty while remaining relatively modest in price.  It refreshes and will go well with my dinner but I am thinking it may take on some spicy foods as well if you are in a pinch.  89 points and 4 stars for this $13 wine.  Salut….

The Sizzling Shrimp

Mooiplass Langtafel Red 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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A pleasant purple with medium density.  On the nose I get plums, a faint hint of cinnamon, black cherry and creosote thanks to the 9% addition of Pinotage.  The balance is Cabernet Sauvignon.  The initial taste is very Pinotage heavy, with more plums, some dark fruits and the telltale chemical note, often likened to nail polish remover.  I like it.  The wine transitions nicely and some very delightful tannins caress throughout.  The flavor profile doesn’t change much throughout and the acidity is very fine, barely noticeable.  The finish is relatively long, with the dark fruit balancing nicely with a hint of oak.  The bitterness of the tannins is apparent right at the end but is not detracting.  This is a tasty weekday wine that I would pop with stew, chili, grilled sausages and even burgers.  89 points and 4 stars for this $11 wine.  Salut….