Mark West Pinot Noir 2014, Willamette Valley, USA

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The Brown truck arrived today with a box full of these.  They were on sale so I decided to pull the trigger on 6.  I probably should have let this one rest a few days, but there are more in case it shows poorly.

Slightly more opaque than what I was expecting from Pinot Noir.  The nose is airy and uplifting, with strawberry, that certain Pinot scent that I get and some elderberry.  The palate is exactly what I was expecting, New World all the way but not in a powerful, jammy way.  Smooth strawberry with a lithe vanilla stripe and more of that wild berry fruit.  The acidity is on pointe, just a nudge every now and then.  The mouthfeel is great with some ever so slight tannins swirling around.  Cherry/Strawberry cooler happens on the finish with that sourness that is really okay in Pinot.  My mouth feels a tad dry from the acidity/tannins when it’s all said and done.  I like this wine and am serving it with some smoked pulled pork that I just finished.  The acidity is perfect to counter the fattiness and smoke from the meat.  I’m going with 90 points here and for the $11 I paid, it’s a 5 star wine.  Drink now till 2024.  Salut….

Cantina Zaccagnini il vino ‘dal tralcetto’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015, Italy

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Another in the latest series of inexpensive Costco finds- a Montepulciano Reserve.  I think I paid a whopping $10.  It shows a decent purple, pretty opaque.  On the nose I get tar, black berry, licorice.  On the palate it is somewhat brighter than I had imagined.  Uplifting blackberry extract, star anise, mint.  Sour cherry kicks in on the mid palate and makes me pucker ever so slightly.  Medium tannins balance the finish off which is short to medium in length.  This is the perfect wine for tonight’s burgers and tater tots.  Refreshing, somewhat lighter in style yet offering a juicy cut to the fatty patties.  Generally speaking this is an everyday drinker that deserves 87 points but get 5 stars from me for its value and easygoing style, perfect for summer.  Salut….

CVNE Vina Real Reserva 2012, Rioja, Spain

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Very dark purple.  Nose is loaded with plum, violets, vanillin and some earthiness.  On the palate- black fruits, a sour cherry component and leather. Classic Rioja with the earthiness.  The wine has some really juicy acidity but the well integrated tannins are a little green for me.  The label claims a 92 RP rating, I’m going with 90 points as I feel the acidity overpowers the tannins and the balance is a little off.  I like the fruit profile though and encourage you to drink now.  I paired it with grilled blackened Pork chops and sautéed Spinach.  $20 and 3 stars.  Salut….

Vinhos Paxis Vinho Regional Lisboa Tinto 2013, Portugal

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Of medium opacity, this blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) only clocks in at 12.5% alcohol.  I paid a mere $ 6 for it and am excited to try what is proudly claimed as a 90 point WE #5 best buy 2016.

The nose is rather muted, offering up slight hints of blueberry and root beer.  On the palate I am slightly surprised by what seems to be effervescence.  More blue fruits and some slightly sweet notes of cola show up mid palate.  The finish is rather short and the wine lacks much tannic backbone.  I have to say, it is an easy wine to drink that will appeal to the relative wine noob as it does not inflict dryness to the gums and will serve its purpose at a Saturday afternoon cookout.  A 90 point wine it is not.  Not even close.  I am going with 85 points and 3 stars for its relative price to quality ratio.  Burgers, pizza and even the odd Spaghetti Bolognese would work here.  Drink now, not for the cellar.  Salut….

 

Bulgariana Imperial Red Blend 2009, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria

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Lighter shade of purple.  On the nose I get a strong cassis note which intrigues me.  Black fruits abound along with a cherry wood hint.  The palate is delicious, slightly tannic but very interesting.   Dark fruits galore with some bramble, a mintiness and coffee bean.  I cannot believe the complexity of this $8 wine which made me review my previous notes from October 2016.  I gave it 90 points back then and stated that it was young.  It still is young, but it has developed substantially.  You will not go wrong with this wine if you like grippy, tannic wines, like Tannat, Nero D’Avola or even Pinotage.  Thick and juicy, heavy accented and most definitely made for the longer term.  I am sticking with 90 points and 5 stars.  I think I will be back to buy more.  I served it with chipotle marinated skirt steak, salad and some Alfredo pasta.  Salut….

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Given to me by a good mate from South Africa, I have been holding on to this one for the right time.  It shows very rich purple in the glass.  A 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% each Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it is a classical Bordeaux blend.  The nose is a little muted, probably because I just pulled it out of the 55 degree cellar.  I have managed to coax black cherry, ribena and toasty oak after several swirls.  The palate is very smooth, rich plum ganache and black cherry reduction greet me with some somewhat pointy tannins.  The wine has a definite wood profile, but is not over-oaked by any stretch.  Rather, it is a unique flavor in the mix.  Blackberry rounds out the finish which is quite tannic and dry.  My gums are feeling it well into the second minute – quite long.  There is a mintyness that comes across at the end that is interesting alongside a faint licorice note.  Clocking in at 14% this wine is well built, balanced and totally ready for another 10 years in the cellar if you have the patience.  91 points from me for this $49 effort and 4 stars.  Salut….

Domaine Sebastien Magnien Les Aigrots 2010, Beaune Premier Cru, France

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Very light and see through, just as I would expect from Burgundian Pinot Noir.  The nose shows off bright renditions of strawberry and rhubarb compote.  The palate is somewhat different, cherry being the dominant player with backing from strawberry and ginger snap.  Crisp acidity forms a defined backbone and the wine has ever so slight tannins.The finish offers more rhubarb with a tangy sourness that I am enjoying.  This wine strikes me as young, needing some time to develop tertiary, earthy flavors that I love in aged Burgundy.  Thankfully it only sports 13% alcohol.  For now it gets 90 points from me.  Serving it with grilled chicken, blue cheese laced salad and sautéed onions.  $35 and 4 stars.  Salut….

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou ‘La Croix de Beaucaillou’ 2010, Saint-Julien, France

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This is the second wine of Ducru Beaucaillou, and comes from the good 2010 vintage.  I have been given 2 bottles from my buddy, it’s Friday night and there are Porterhouses that need some company.

It looks somewhat murky in the glass, somewhat opaque in depth.  The nose is classic Bordeaux.  Cassis, leather, tobacco, dark fruits.  I am excited.  The palate offers up delicious Claret flavors, black berries, tobacco, cassis, leather and that classic terroir that you only get from the region.  The wine transcends the whole palate with the same flavor profile.  Tannins are well integrated and the acidity is barley noticeable, but balanced.  The wine has a decent length finish that keeps giving that Saint Julien terroir.  I am really enjoying this wine and it is drinking on pointe.  The steaks are going to pair beautifully, alongside the roasted Sprouts, Radishes and Beetroot.  I am going 92 points on this wine, it is rich, full bodied, flavorful and will age for another 10 years.  $60 is not a cheap price, but when the moment arrives- this is a great wine to pop.  5 stars from me.  Salut….

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, South Australia

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Very dark purple.  Nose is fruit forward with plums, blueberries, chocolate.  The palate gives off boysenberry, mocha, a woodsy note and some gum drying tannins.  The mid palate is very astringent.  Plum torte features with some oak.  The finish is dry, rather short in length and has some blue fruit alongside the tannins.  87 points and 3 stars for this $12 effort.  Salut….

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo Valley, Chile

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Pretty purple color with a nose of raspberry, mint, violets.  The palate is fresh, with bright plum and  red berry flavors, hazelnut, juicy tannins and a crisp acidity.  The ph of this wine is substantial yet balanced with the well integrated tannins.  More mint notes come through on the finish along with some oak and raspberry.  The wine leaves my mouth very dry, I kinda like it!  Pairing it with super thick Strip steaks, Chorizo, roasted Brussel Sprouts and chargrilled baby onions.  89 points and 4 stars for this $13 wine- drink till 2020.  Salut….