Pagos del Rey Castillo de Albai Reserva 2014, Rioja DOCa, Spain

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Medium intensity purple, almost seethrough.  On the nose there’s a definitive charcoal note alongside blackberries and bramble.  Licorice kicks in a little later after a good swirl.  On the palate it’s pretty tasty with black cherry, coffee and more licorice.  Tempranillo sometimes has a dusty, earthy component that I enjoy in Riojas, this wine has a hint of that.  The tannins grip on the midpalate alongside dark fruits .  There is a certain amount of oak at play here, but it’s not overdone.  The long finish is a touch dry from the decent tannic kick.  More blackberry and some vanilla carry me through to the very end.  Drink till 2026 with hearty pastas, steak or roasted chicken- this wine needs food.  90 points from me and 4 stars for its $18 price point.  Salut….

Nederburg The Winemasters Chenin Blanc 2016, Coastal Region, South Africa

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Pale gold in the glass, it is crystal clear.  On the nose there’s lemon, melon, pear and lychee.  The palate echoes those flavors from front to the finish.  There is a unique mouthfeel, effervescence, without the bubbles.  The acidity is in check but not shy.  It adds depth and cut.  The Chenin Blanc varietal is widely found in France and South Africa.  Differing climates produce variations on the flavor profile but this grape is very enticing, versatile and delicious.  I am going with 88 points and 4 stars for this $9 offering that you should drink till 2022 with grilled chicken, sausage and mash or even smoked salmon.  Salut….

Marianot Garblet Barolo DOCG 2014, Piedmont, Italy

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Quite see-through with a darker purple hue in the glass.  The nose has violets, cherry essence, bramble and leather.  On the palate it is fruity, lighter than expected and a touch dry.  Blueberry is the primary flavor alongside some cedar plank and those violets.  The tannins start to really grip on the mid palate to go along with the blue fruit compote and wood.  The wine finishes strong, with the tannins really getting stuck in and the gums really getting pounded.  The fruit remains for a while but is eclipsed by the 60 second plus grip of the astringency.  Very young wine, but thoroughly enjoyable if you like ‘em dry.  I would personally drink this wine now with veal chops on the grill, a heavy duty pasta dish or  perhaps Moroccon lamb in the tagine.  If you have patience, this one will mellow nicely for a few years and be presentable from 2024- 2030.  91 points, $35 and 4 stars for this Nebbiolo.  Salut….

Domaine Jean-Michel Guillon & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee Pere Galland 2012, Cote de Nuits, France

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We just had a delightful dinner at our favorite restaurant, L’Auberge Chez Francois located in the D.C suburbs.  They have a great wine list but this evening was a very special occasion so I took a bottle of the amazing 2000 Lynch Bages to start off with.  It was spectacular and did not last long.  We needed more vino and my friend wanted a Pinot.  I figured we should order something a little more stout, Gevrey being the obvious choice in a French restaurant.

 

 

 

See-through medium intensity purple.  On the nose sage brush, cherry, oregano.  On the palate it’s very smooth with cherries, cedar, asparagus and lithe tannins.  Medium intensity acidity gives the wine a cutting edge without sourness.  The mid palate shows raspberries alongside the cherry- very tasty and full bodied.  The finish is all sour cherry with acidity, medium tannins and a touch of wood. 91 points and 4 stars for this $50 Burgundy.  Drink till 2035.  Salut….

Guy Mousset & Fils Cotes du Rhone Rose Domaine Guy Mousset 2018, Rhone, France

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This rose’ is quite dark, almost orange in the glass.  On the nose I get Lychee, rose water and strawberry.  The palate is crisp, with red berries, strawberry and honey.  There is a vibrant acidity which is in check that gives the wine a freshness.  The honey component carries through the mid palate where I get more red berries.  The finish is decent with a lingering tartness alongside that strawberry component.  Overall a very charming and easy drinking summer rose’ that begs for burgers, some salami and olives or just by itself poolside.  88 points and 3 stars for this $12 Grenache from France.  Drink till 2020.  Salut….

Maker’s White Bourbon, Kentucky USA

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My friend visited us a few weeks ago from Kentucky.  Knowing I had plenty of wine, he went to the Maker’s Mark Distillery and purchased this Unicorn.  You can’t buy them anywhere else and each bottle is signed.  I was excited to taste it and last night the stars aligned.  I poured two glasses, one with ice, the other- neat.  I tasted the neat one first and then rotated around between the two.

Banana, grain, bread.  On the palate it is really smooth until the very end, when I get a touch of heat.  It has a definitive corn and grain note that I don’t normally get with Bourbon.  The finish lingers, with a gum tingling component that I can’t quite place.  On the rocks- the banana component still exists, albeit somewhat muted.  The temperature of the liquid, under ice, released less flavor.  On the palate it is much smoother, more balanced and easier to drink.  It does have that aftertaste but it’s not cloying or obtrusive.  Grain, corn, ripe plantains and a very mild dose of alcohol are the key components of the iced version.  I strongly recommend a cube or 4, it makes all the difference.  This is a unique Bourbon that you should seek to try if you are into them, but it’s not what you are used to.  Salut….

Chateau Grand Tayac 2015, Margaux, France

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Really dark purple, very striking.  On the nose I get blackcurrant, nutmeg and tobacco.  The palate has some nice black fruits and an astringency that is a touch heavy.  It’s not tannic, perhaps from green stems left in contact with the juice for too long.  It takes a turn for the better on the mid palate- more Ribena and a touch of oak.  The finish is quite dry with the appearance of some nice tannins alongside a mineral tone that melds nicely with the currants.  Overall a decent wine that is slightly out of kilter at the beginning with the astringency but it comes around.  89 points= 3 stars for this $25 wine.  Drink till 2025 with hearty stews, or a lamb chop and mint.  Salut….

Domaine Pascal & Mireille Renaud Pouilly-Fuisse Cuvee Vieilles Vignes 2017, Maconnais, France

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It’s a medium gold in the glass with a nose of pear, apricot and banana.  The palate is tasty, with nice flavors of that pear, some citrus by way of grapefruit and some lanolin.  The mid palate has some weight, with silky smooth popcorn notes along with the fruit.  Acidity is lithe and balanced.  It makes the wine refreshing without too much cut.  The finale’ has more of that pear fruit meets lemon with a decent length finish that has me wondering how good this is going to be with the roasted Cornish Hens I am grilling.  91 points.  I paid $20, but it lists for up to $50, this is a 4 star effort at the first price. Drink till 2027.  Salut….

Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz/Mataro 2017, South Australia

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Mataro is also known as Mourvedre apparently….  Very dark and enticing purple in the glass.  On the nose there is lush blackberry, currant, oak.  On the palate it is straight up delicious.  Loads of black fruit, entwined with cloves, bramble and very subtle tannins.  The mouthfeel of this wine is phenomenal, very balanced and not overly dry nor acidic.  The mid palate shows off some sage brush alongside iodine with the friendly tannins running as well.  On the finish it starts to dry up a touch as the grip of the tannins kicks it up just a small notch.  Blackberry, Lapsang Souchong tea and that earthy brush are the main components of the medium length finish.  This is a really nice drop to drink now or cellar till 2027. 92 points and 5 stars for this $20 wine.  Salut….

DFJ Vinhos Portada Winemaker’s Selection Tinto 2016, Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal

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Quite dense and opaque purple in the glass.  The nose has blueberry, iodine and espresso.  On the palate it is quite sweet with creme de cassis, vanilla and butter.  There is a hidden astringency from the very fine grained tannins.  The midpalate glides along with the blue fruit theme and finishes with a short burst of tannic thrust that leaves the gums a little quenched.  88 points, drink till 2021 with lighter fare.  For $9 it’s a pretty decent buy and gets 3 stars from me.  Salut….