Koyle Royale Carmenere 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile

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Recently added to the local shop- I’m excited to try this Carmenere from Koyle.  I love their Syrah and Cabernet.  It’s nearly black in the glass and very opaque.  The nose gives off nice warm blueberry pie, oregano and violet notes.  It has a very extracted quality.  On the palate it is a touch austere with plums, blueberry and acidity that has a nice bite.  The midpalate is more juicy, the blue fruits turning red.  The acidity is countered on the back end with some greenish tannins.  As you might tell this wine is a bit disjointed, slightly green and probably needing some food.  I’m going 87 points and 2 stars for this $25 effort.  Drink now if you have any.  Salut….

Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2014, Tuscany, Italy

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The last of my Kirkland test wines….  Cherry nose with some fresh cut pine thrown in.  The palate continues the light cherry profile but adds mushroom and a crushed violet note.  Rose water comes to mind as we transition to the finish.  Overall, this is not a great wine point wise.  It lacks depth, the flavors are somewhat out there and the extraction is pretty thin.  I’m not sure I would buy again.  85 points and 2 stars for this $9 offering.  Salut….

Bodegas Balbas Reserva 2001, Ribera del Duero, Spain

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As you may know, we are moving.  Our last dinner gathering included two magnums that were still at the house.  I did not want to move them, so the opportunity to enjoy was present.  I did not take notes of the second bottle, the Perbrun- as I was hoping to do so the following day with what was left over.  Unfortunately, it was not as good as I had hoped and the leftovers had a ton of sediment.  It was originally $57 my price for the 2010 vintage.  Glad we started with the Spaniard!

Nearly black in the glass.  Nose is earthy, with tons of plums, black berry and violets.  The initial palate is very upfront with black, tarry fruit, ripe tannins, earth and a floral component.  The mid palate is quite dry, the tannins ruling the roost.  Eventually it transitions to a Ribena like finish with loads of rich black fruit.  Oak is present, but not overpowering.  It adds a vanilla dimension to the finish and smooths it out some. This wine is still in youth, 17 years after vintage.  It will last another 10 at least, mellowing out along the way.  93 points is what the pro’s gave this Tempranillo and I agree.  For the $40 entry fee it is a solid 4 star wine, but I am going to up it to 5 as I think this wine will evolve some more as it mellows.  I roasted two Beef Tri-tips for the pairing with an endive and frissee salad laced with Balsamic infused Shallots.  It was a grand last evening of fun in my beloved home.  Salut….

Delicious and young

Not quite as good

Kirkland Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Alexander Valley, USA

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Some more Kirkland Signature wines are on the horizon in my search for value priced offerings.  This one cost $10.  It shows nicely in the glass with a see-through medium hued purple.  The nose is mostly plum with a hint of nutmeg.  The palate is very inviting, easy to drink and fresh.  Blue fruits dominate with a touch of tannic vibrancy that tickles the gums.  Acidity is present and the wine has a really nice balance.  The mid palate has a core of plum that carries through to the finish.  There’s not much complexity here, but it does serve the purpose.  This wine is great value for a Sonoma County Cabernet that drinks easily, will handle burgers, pizza and make an awesome coq au vin.  I would buy it up, serving all summer long out by the grill.  Drink till 2020.  89 points and 5 stars.  Salut….

Joel Gott Wines 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, California, USA

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Another in the low priced series that I have been working through.  This one rings in at $14.  It has a nice medium intensity of purple in the glass.  The nose is very rich with plums, black berry and leather.  On the palate it is more fruit forward than I had imagined.  Very upfront with plums, cedar shavings and a touch of eucalyptus.  There is a really delicious mid palate core of sweet black cherry that I am thoroughly enjoying.  Tannins are very smooth, balanced and lithe.  The finish exhibits a nice acidity and more plums.  The dry leather component I found earlier appear ever so slightly and rounds out the finish.  This is a very tasty wine, which gets 91 points from me- contrary to the 89-90 ratings the pro’s gave it.  I think it will pair well with tonights flat iron steaks, Buffalo Cauliflower and sautéed asparagus.  Certainly a 5 star wine that I think will get stocked up on.  Summer party season is here and this one is front and center.  Drink now till 2020.  Salut….

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….