Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Puente Alto, Chile

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At $14 a bottle, this was my house Cab back in the day.  It quickly gained popularity and it’s price climbed like a homesick angel.  I went looking for other great QPR wines.  When I saw it in the shop today, I reminisced a bit and pulled the trigger on what has now become a $25 offering.  Here we go!

It’s very purply in the glass (I am using a straight hotel glass, no stemware in sight).  The nose is lush with blackberries, spice box and a touch of oak.  On the palate it is rich, balanced and gives me blackberry notes, star anise, black tea and a nice touch of tannin.  The mouthfeel is warm and smooth, acidity being very well behaved and allowing the tannins a chance to enter the fold.  They build up to a nice dry finish but don’t interfere with the fruit.  The blackberry component is strong and remains all the way to the finish.  There is a nice minerality to this wine and the dryess of the tannic grip on the finish is just enough to make this a meat – worthy wine.  Think big, juicy steaks on the fire and this one fits right in there.  I am impressed that this wine has held its quality over the past 20 years, even though the price has nearly doubled.  I’m going 91 points and 5 stars.  Welcome back you little beauty!  Drink till 2028.  Salut….

Le Chateau 2013, Columbia Valley, Washington

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Medium strength purple in the glass with a touch of cloudiness.  The nose is unique.  Raspberries, sweet rhubarb jam, rooibos tea.  The palate is yummy, crunchy, a touch acidic.  I get dark fruits instead of red, an interesting transformation.  Delightfully tannins greet me as we transition to the midpalate of crushed black cherry, graphite, black tea and mouth drying tannins.  The finish has a short burst of black berrries, tea and an earthy minerality.  This wine is drinking young at 7 years old, it still needs cellar time.  Drink from 2023-2030 with Ribeyes or a Penne Arrabiata.  90 points and 4 stars for this $25 Cab.  Salut

Cameron Hughes Lot 701 2017, Napa, California

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Quite dark and brooding in the glass, nice legs.  On the nose it shows bright fruit notes of blackberry, plum jam and vanilla.  The palate starts of with a gob full of tannins, which part ways to reveal Ribera, singed plum and some eucalyptus leaf.  The mid palette continues that dark fruit motif but is very channeled by the searing tannins.  Young.  Very young.  The fruit is really masked by the big underlying structure of this wine.  I’m going to run some through the Vinturi before I proceed.

Nope- that monster is still lurking.  I’ll need to let this bottle breathe overnight to see if it softens.  For now- 91 points but don’t touch it till 2023.  Drink till 2030.

Day two- much softer but those tannins are still formidable.  Blackberry jam, espresso and a touch of oak are the main players today.  I’m sticking with 91 points and the drinking window I mentioned.  $29, 4 stars and a pretty good deal on Napa Cab IMHO.  Salut….

Cameron Hughes Lot 674 2017, Mendocino, California

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Rich purple. Opaque.  The nose offers up blackberries, violets, spice box.  On the palate it’s primal- black fruit, cedar shake, very nice, gentle tannins with a touch of acidity.  The midpalate turns into a more fruity wine with a tannic thrust.  The fruits tend toward blackberry, black cherry and a slathering of breakfast tea.  The finish is driven by the Petite Sirah- dark, brooding and enveloped in mouth puckering tannins.  89 points and 4 stars for this $13 steal.  Salut….

Kaesler The Bogan Shiraz 2017, Barossa Valley, Australia

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Bright purple in the glass.  The nose is smoky, laden with iodine and laced with blackcurrant jam.  The palate is austere with a minerality starting us off.  It opens up to the rich black fruits, and very lithe tannins.  The wine is tasty once that austere punch fades, it’s a bit off-putting.  The mid palate has nice cedar and black currant notes alongside some well integrated acidity.  The finish is more black fruit that transitions to an oaky, tasty, mineral driven note.  I kinda like it.  I’m going to reserve a point for the austerity that hits at the beginning with a recommendation to cellar this one for a year or two and perhaps decant it.  89 points, which shocks me for this $45 wine.  2 stars unfortunately.  Salut….

L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Columbia Valley, USA

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Very dark purple in the glass.  The legs are almost nonexistent, belying the 14.5% alcohol.  The nose has sweet cassis, fresh figs and a blueberry reduction.  The palate is delightful, rich and smooth.  Layers of blackberry, dark cherry, charcoal and anise flow from the initial to the finish.  It’s a seamless transition with a nice touch of tannic bite at the end.  I’m pairing with Picanha, mashed potatoes and grilled Brussel sprouts.  Drink till 2028. 90 points and 4 stars for this $25 Cab.  Salut….

Mulderbosch ‘Faithful Hound’ Red, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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It’s been a while since I had a bottle of the Faithful Hound, so when I saw it- had to be done even though the new label is completely boring compared to the older versions!  The wine looks a touch cloudy and semi opaque in the glass.  The nose shows off nice plums, blackberry and licorice notes.  The palate is very juicy with a nice plum core, very fine grained tannins that are not obtrusive at all and a decent graphite note.  The mid palate gives me more dark fruit and a jolt of that acidity, it’s rather pleasing.  The finish is a touch dry but not overbearing.  The licorice and graphite notes are very prominent.  Blackberry jam features as well.  It lasts a good 20 seconds.  A tasty, easy drinking wine that will pair well with a variety of foods.  Drink till 2025.  89 points, and 4 stars for this $17 Bordeaux blend.  Salut….

San Felice Chianti Classico DOCG 2017, Tuscany, Italy

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See through and light purple in color.  On the nose I get funky cherry, burnt firewood and snuffed matchsticks.  Yup- probably the most bizarre set of notes I have smelled in a long time.  The palate is quite refreshing with a burst of acidity, fresh flowers and cherries.  I don’t know where that burnt match or firewood was going, the palate is very tasty.  The midpalate is much the same with nice acidity and a trace of delightful tannins.  The finish is a sunset of cherries, rhubarb and some bright acidity.  Tasty, young and fresh.  Drink now with chicken parm or Osso Bucco.  88 points and 3 stars for this $13 Sangiovese.  Salut….

Correlation Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley, USA

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Bright shade of purple and nearly opaque.  The nose is delightful- some plums, charcoal, espresso and black cherry.  The palate is creamy, sweet with plum reduction and mouthwatering with beautiful acidity and lithe tannins.  There is a silkiness to this wine that’s just amazing.  The acidity scorches my mid palate but gets held in check by the fine grained tannins.  Nice black and blue fruits carry me to the decent length finish that introduces oak and coconut to the mix.  Delicious wine that I’m serving up with Osso Bucco and roasted Brussels Sprouts in garlic butter and capers.  Drink now if you like them with bite or cellar this beauty and enjoy till 2030.  93 points and 5 stars for this $80 treat.  Salut….

Molino di Sant’Antimo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2014, Tuscany, Italy

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Light shades of see through purple.  As expected from this varietal.  The nose is gorgeous- floral, cherry, garigue and mushroom.  It’s kinda funky, exciting and not what I thought a young Brunello could offer at this stage.

The palate is delightful, not as mature as the nose but there’s hope.  I get cherries, that funky mushroom thing, crispy acidity and very lithe tannins.  This is a bombshell of a wine folks.  There’s fresh fruit, trappings of tertiary flavors, well balanced structure and a delightful mouthfeel.  The mid palate is a seamless transition from the initial to the medium length finish.  I am so glad I got a case of this stuff, I’m going to cellar some and track the evolution.  I have high hopes.  Drink till 2030.  92 points and 5 stars for this $40 Sangiovese.  Salut….