Legado de Farro Godello 2018, Castilla y León, Spain

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Trying to pair a spicy Pork dish requires thought.  I’m gonna take a punt on this Godello which a grape from Spain.  It’s pale golden and shows no legs (12.5% ABV).  On the nose I get pronounced aromas of ripe tangerine, lemon, peach, acacia and perhaps a touch of buggle gum?  Exquisite smells.  On the palate it is dry, crisp with medium (+) acidity, low alcohol as mentioned, medium body and medium (+) flavors as on the nose, except the bubble gum!  It is very floral and aromatic, but it doesn’t pack a big punch- it’s more of a crisp wine.  The finish is medium length and tapers off with a nice minerality.  I like this wine and think it will work well with the pairing.  89 points and for $15 it gets 4 stars.  Drink now with seafood, or Jerk Pork!  Salut….

Chateau Senejac 2015, Haut-Medoc, France

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This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot weighs in at 13.5% ABV, a welcome change from some of the bombs I have had recently.  It is medium ruby in the glass and has a medium intensity nose.  The aromas I get are black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, plum, black tea, red licorice, mint and very subtle oak.  Not at all what I was expecting- red fruits in a Cab?  On the palate it is dry with juicy acidity.  The tannins are grippy and a touch underripe.  The flavors are somewhat muted but I do get the raspberry, some sour cherry and plum.  Black tea shows up on the mid-palate and the deft oak is barely perceptible.  The acidity is quite high on the finish as is the tannic grip.  The fruit fades quickly and I am left feeling like I stuffed a tea pouch between my cheeks.  I must say- this is a bit young and the fruit is hiding.  Give it time.  The pros went 92+ points and for $23 it’s a theoretical steal worthy of 5 stars.  I am reserving judgement and will open the other two bottles in a few years.  Drink from 2023-2030.  Salut….

Matt Parish Tino 2018, Napa Valley, California

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The label says it’s a red wine blend.  Let’s see if I can discern the grapes.  First off- it’s deep ruby which rules out Pinot Noir.  Number two- it runs 14.5% ABV even though the legs are quite watery in the glass. The nose is of medium intensity and I get aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, smoke, licorice, chocolate, black plum, and a grape note.  The palate is dry, with high acidity and high tannins.  The alcohol is evident and the body is medium (+).  The flavors are medium intensity and mirror the nose, although there is a black tea component on the mid palate.  The tannins are searing on the finish which is decent in length.  Overall a tasty wine that I believe will age well for another 5-7 years.  As for the varietals- here goes.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and perhaps Merlot would be my guess.  91 points for this rather big red that can be had for $25.  5 stars.  ps. it needs a big, juicy steak.  Salut….

Ramey Woolsey Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2018, Russian River Valley, California

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I attended a practice blind tasting last night for the WSET Level 3 exam.  One of the wines we drank was this Chardonnay.  It was obvious from the first whiff that this was a Cali doozy.  I wrote that the wine was a medium shade of lemon and had a medium (+) intensity nose of……. toast, butter, bread, acacia, melon and banana, I found it youthful.  Read those descriptors again.  There is no mention of citrus or stone.  The palate was much the same in flavors with medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, medium (+) body and was obviously dry in nature.  This is a developing wine with plenty of potential to age.  I thought it was good to outstanding and would think it gets 92 points.  At $60 a pop, this highly rated (94-95 by the pros) wine gets 5 stars.

My initial reaction to smelling this wine was that it had been worked over pretty hard.  When I say that, I mean it went through Malolactic Conversion/Fermentation and I even thought it had been treated Sur Lie.  I was right.  The winery notes mention both processes and explain why it was sooo buttery, with heavy doses of bread, toast etc.  It’s not my style of wine, but I took the half bottle home to revisit it.  Paired with a rice and chicken dish it did okay, but the overpowering tertiary notes are really not up my alley.  If you like a rich, full-on Napa/Sonoma Chardonnay with gobs of upfront tertiary notes, go for it.  At least try it once.  Drink till 2030.  Salut….

Altruria Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Sonoma County, California

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I’m practicing for my wine-tasting exam and must use the correct lexicon….

Deep ruby with thin legs in the glass.  The nose has medium (+) intensity aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, smoke, stewed black cherry, vanilla and eucalyptus.  This wine is developing nicely after 12 years of aging.  The palate is dry, with medium acidity, medium (+) tannin, high alcohol, medium (+) body and medium (+) intensity flavors of black currant, blackberry, vanilla, eucalyptus, and smoke.  The finish is medium in length and the quality of this wine is very good.  It’s drinking beautifully now and has the capacity to age further, till 2029.  That would make it 20 years old.  92 points from me make this yummy $40 bottle a 5 star wine.  Serve with Sunday roast or grilled Ribeye.  Salut….

Domaine Mazilly Pere & Fils Les Vignes Franches 2010, Beaune Premier Cru, France

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I’ve been sitting on a few bottles of Burgundy for years- tonight’s beef dish calls for a Pinot Noir so here goes.  Pale garnet in color which is to be expected for an 11-year old wine.  The nose is amazing, exactly what I was hoping for.  Pronounced aromas of earth, garrigue, dried red cherry, walnut, prune, stewed strawberry, funky barnyard and white pepper. Tertiary aromas galore from prolonged cellaring.  The palate shows some fresh fruit but the bulk of the pronounced flavors are of stewed or dried red fruit, nuts, earthy components and funk along with gentle acidity and lithe tannins.  The wine is very balanced and light to mid weight.  Low alcohol at 13% ABV makes for a crisp mouthfeel and no heat.  I like the delicacy of this wine and am grateful that it matured in the manner it has.  My patience has been rewarded by this $50 gem that gets 92 points from me.  I believe it will last till 2026 and will go well with roasted poultry, beef Burgundy or even Venison.  5 stars.  Salut….

Louis Max ‘Haut Vallee’ Pinot Noir 2019, Vin de France

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I’m cooking Beef Bourguignon which calls for a Pinot Noir, preferably from Burgundy.  As luck would have it I happen to have two bottles of this $10 South of France wine ready to go.  The skeptics will question whether you can get decent Pinot for that price- I’m here to report.  It looks about right: pale, see-through ruby.  Medium density aromas of primal red cherry, pomegranate, stewed strawberry and a spice note.  Not overly complex, but interesting nonetheless.  The palate is very pleasant with red fruits including cherry, light tannins, medium acidity and a decent length finish.  Very little if any oak was used here, freshness and price were probably the prime considerations.  I like it for what it is and considering most of it will end up in the stew- I think it works great!  87 points from me makes this a 3 star wine to be drunk asap.  Salut….

Domaine Queylus Tradition Pinot Noir 2018, Niagara Peninsula, Canada

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I’m grilling a spatchcocked chicken on the charcoal- it’s either a white wine or a Pinot. This one is pale garnet in color with almost no legs- indicative of the low 12.5% ABV.  Th nose has medium intensity aromas of red cherry, strawberry, straw, perfume, red licorice and wet stone.  It’s quite complex and certainly interesting.  The palate is dry with good acidity and lithe tannins.  The red fruit flavors intermingle with some black cherry and hints of oak.  The wine has a light to medium body and a decently long finish where the very slight tannins make themselves present.  It’s a delicious, lighter style of Pinot that is showing very nice primary fruit flavors in a layered manner with good structure.  If you prefer a more delicate and seductive Pinot, this one is right up our alley.  91 points from me for this $26  charmer (I paid $33 CAD in Quebec) makes it a 5 star effort.  Drink till 2026.  Salut….

Fiuza 3 Castas Reserva 2018, Vinho Regional Tejo, Portugal

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This blend of Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet and Sousāo is pale ruby in the glass. It’s listed as 13.5% ABV which shows in the watery legs.  The nose has nice, if somewhat muted aromas of cranberry, red cherry, dried herbs, blackberry and floral notes.  The palate is very soft, with juicy acidity and mild tannins.  The blackberry and red cherry flavors are present alongside some cedar and the dried herbs I sensed on the nose.  The acidity is really intense on the back end where there is a shortish finish of bright red and black fruit.  I like this medium bodied wine, it is fresh and primary fruit driven.  The pro’s went with 90, I’m thinking 88 with a drink by 2025 window.  At under $10 per bottle it gets 4 stars.  I’m pairing it with grilled lamb kebabs and sautéed Kale.  Salut….

Aromatic wines


Studying for my WSET Level 3 exams made me look closer at aromatic wines.  In doing so I started craving a Gewurtztraminer.  Moxie is cooking homemade Fettucine Alfredo with Shrimp so I figured this pairing might work quite well, especially if I add a little bang-zoom to my plate in the way of chili flakes.

This varietal is predominantly found in Alsace and parts of Germany.  It typically exhibits low acidity but bags full of aromatics with high potential alcohol and full body. That is what I learned today.  In practice- this particular bottle, which I have tried before, shows up at 13.5% ABV, is very aromatic on the nose with lychees, nectarines, tangerines and ginger.  The palate is true to form- low acids, full bodied and packed with tropical fruit flavors with an almost glycerin-like mouthfeel.  This wine will rock spicy Asian dishes and my shrimp with creamy pasta.  Grilled pork dishes would also work.

Back to the topic- Aromatic wines….  Here is a list of the predominant varietals:

Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Muscat of Alexandria, Gewurtztraminer and Torrontes.  The last of which is slated for our next wine tasting.  I can’t wait to introduce the group to that Argentinian stalwart.

When was the last time you drank an aromatic wine and what did you think?  Salut….