Very dark in the glass. Nose of black jam, eucalyptus and charcoal. On the palate there’s a rich warm black currant note with lithe tannins and a fruitcake hint. The mid palate is very smooth with a tannic bite that kicks in. The finish is gentler, mid length and chock full of black jam, cedar and a touch of vanilla bean. 91 points and 4 stars for this $29 effort. Drink till 2030. Salut….
You know you’re in for a bombastic treat when the label says Shiraz and the wine comes out inky in color and very dense. The nose is delightful- full of plum, espresso, cedar plank, elderberry syrup and a vanilla hint. On the palate it is more restrained than I was expecting, more silky, smoother, with much more depth. This is indeed a powerful wine, but in a more stately fashion. It shows the dark fruits I mentioned plus a really tight knit tannic structure that couples with the acidity to give an amazing mouthfeel. The elderberry syrup component really kicks in on the mid palate, it is so silky smooth. The finish is long, and full of fruit. The tannins are perfectly in sync and do not overpower the flavors. This is a delicious wine that has aged nicely and will continue to do so for many years. Drink with pretty much any grilled meat or all by itself. Beware the well hidden 15.5% alcohol, it may sneak up! The pros went big on this wine, which was WS #3 wine of the year in 2012, I can see why. 95 points and 5 stars for this treat that comes in at $75, if you can find it. Drink till 2024 at the least. Ps. I originally bought 2 bottles, and then another six afterwards. See my other two posts on Bella’s Garden. Salut….
A few posts ago I wrote about buying up wines from a shop that was closing. I picked up two bottles of this delicious, heady Shiraz and sat on them for a few years. Turns out my timing was just about right.
Nearly black in the glass and super brooding. A nose of plum jam and hoisin with a baconny hint as well. The first sip reveals gorgeous plum reduction, violets and rich, thick blueberry pie. This wine is full on, with layers of extraction and polish. To say it is meaty is an understatement. The alcohol (15.5%) becomes evident in the mid palate, as well as the acidity. It refreshes where the tannins left off. A telltale Shiraz hint of pepper and some tar come out eventually. The finish is somewhat abrupt after a decent length of time but leaves some tannic residue on the gums. This wine begs for a Sunday roast, Lamb or beef- with horseradish. It is a fall or winter wine that will reward more cellaring but is hitting all the notes right now. Drink from now until 2026. 93 points from me but the pro’s went higher at 95. My only concern is the undeniable hit of heat on the mid palate. If you can still find it they cost $75 at retail making this a serious 4 star contender. Glad I have one left! Salut….
BOOOOOM, there it goes. What an amazing bottle of purity, essence and flavor. Black/inky purple in the glass, I knew this was going to be good. An incredible nose of dark fruit and vanilla made me want to just sit and sniff, for hours. On the initial attack there is a wave of flavors, complexity at the maximum. Blueberry, blackberry, cloves and cassis all swirled around at different times. Multi-dimensional and layered with mouth coating tannins the likes of which I have not tasted ever before. Extremely smooth and inviting, this wine has perhaps one of the finest mouthfeels of any wine I have tasted. Balanced to within an inch of its life, this Barossa Shiraz has everything, for everyone. It will drink beautifully right now, yet has the aging capacity to cellar for another 15 years, evolving no doubt. It already displays smoothness, drinkability and a huge amount of complexity without heat, rough tannins or overt acidity. Unlike many Aussie ‘fruit bomb’ Shiraz’s, this one doesn’t overwhelm with the fruit, but relies on subtleness to deliver the K/O. For about $55 this is a 5 star wine only because I can’t give 6. Technically speaking, I would go with 96 points or even higher.
As a side note, I drank this with grilled squid salad followed by Lamb Chops and asparagus, all fired on the grill and the combination was magic.
If you are looking for a ‘reasonable’ awesome wine for a special occasion, look no further. This one will seduce the unwitting, impress the snobbish and provide you with an ethereal experience. Salut….
It is difficult for me to pick my top 20 of the year, I have had the opportunity to taste so many wonderful wines and more importantly- to share them with family and friends. This year, I started adding the price onto each blog post so you could better understand how I rate the wines. The value of a wine is a balance of it’s technical merits versus the price paid. For 2013, I looked at all the 5 star wines and decided from that list which ones were the standouts. I included my personal experiences in the decision when choosing the top. In my list are 5 whites (one sparkler), 3 from my state of Virginia, 3 from France, a South African and a smattering of Australian and Kiwi wines as well as the American contingency.
20. The Clos Du Bois Chardonnay Calcaire from the 2010 vintage was an amazing, crisp white that I gave 91 points to.
19. Trivento’s Amado Sur was a unique blend of Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah. Available locally for about $15 it is sure to please.
18. From Virginia comes the Barboursville Chardonnay, which I re-tasted last year. I also wrote about the winery visit, a great day out if you happen to be in the middle of Virginia.
17. From Bordeaux comes the Virginie Thunevin from the amazing 2009 vintage. Priced right, it offers up everything a claret should be.
16. The only one of it’s varietal, the Van Ruiten Zin was a delicious California gem that I have been on the lookout for.
15. The Parsons Flat Shiraz from Henry’s Drive was an amazing Cabernet made more special because it was brought to the table by my friend ‘The Beave’ whom I shared 6 weeks of training with over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.
14. First Drop ‘Mother’s Milk’ was probably one of the smoothest Shiraz’s I have tasted. A delicious, yet complex wine with an amazing label.
13. A delicious Napa Cab from Burgess Cellars slips into lucky 13 with it’s 2002 vintage. A seasoned, mellow and nuanced offering that hits it just right for me.
12. Mollydooker’s Two Left Feet was an impressive wine that I experimented using the ‘Mollydooker Shake’ to open the wine up. Very approachable and delicious, it screams for a grill and some good times!
11. From California came the Carpe Diem 2009 that Moxie and I drank on our trip to Napa. A great wine and an amazing visit to the west coast enroute to Bali.
10. Vergelegen is the South African wine that made my list. This claret styled wine was spectacular for an amazing price.
9. Another stunner from Mollydooker, ‘The Scooter 2010’ was an approachable and fun wine that I could drink all the time. Easygoing and smooth for a decent price.
8. One of two Pinot Noir’s on my list. The Kate Radburnd was an amazing effort from Wairarapa that we drank on Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak. Deelish…
7. The other Pinot on my list also hails from New Zealand. The Saint Clair Block 15 was an astounding wine that managed to balance old world and new in a delicious package that had me reeling for more.
6. The third white in the lineup comes from Barboursville as well. The Malvaxia is tied for my highest scoring wine with 96 points. A stunner that needs to be beholden. I was speechless after drinking it.
5. When Moxie and I visited Napa, we stopped at the Cosentino winery where I picked up the Poet 2009. Apart form the huge 94 points I gave it, there was something special about the whole winery experience and the bottle itself.
4. Bella’s Garden 2010 would have gotten 6 stars if I my scale went that high. This offering form Two Hands was sublime, a wine drinker’s paradise in a glass.
3. The last of the whites is another from Barboursvile in Virginia that would also have gotten 6 stars if allowed. The 94 point, $16 Non-Vintage Phileo was a show stopping wine that makes me realize how lucky I am to have discovered this winery. This is a bucket list wine folks.
2. There is no doubt that Dom Perignon is one of the Kings of Champagne. Served at my parents 50th anniversary made it all the more special, delicious and memorable. At 95 points, the price did not matter. This wine oozed class and was savored by the whole family.
1. I have written about Lynch Bages on many occasions so it should not be a surprise that my last two bottles of the 1996 vintage made me award them the #1 spot. The first bottle was opened on my birthday, I gave it 95 points. The final bottle was opened in November with our best friends, it got 94 points. Wine is for sharing, for the memories and for our enjoyment. I hope you have the opportunity to try at least one of my top 20. Happy New Year and the best success for 2014.
On my recent trip to Napa I ended up the Cosentino winery where Moxie and I visited two years ago. Funny thing is she had a broken foot on that trip and I had one on this. I digress. I ended up tasting everything I could get my hands onto and ordering a case of wine to be shipped home- I also joined their mailing list, a first for me.
I was thinking of my parents when I ordered a few bottles of the Chard, which is made from Lodi fruit. They like it crisp, not buttery and certainly not sweet. This one filled all the requirements. Medium gold in color with a nose of fresh citrus, green apples and quince. The first impression is of a medium weight wine with pear, apple and lemon. Not overly worked- this wine has a slight hint of malolactic fermentation and a deft use of oak. Very crafty. Generous mouthfeel and a touch of acidity make it easy to drink. My member pricing was $16. I’m going with 88 points and 4 stars. Time to order more methinks, summer is coming and one needs a constant supply of chilled whites to pop at a moments notice! It will go awesomely with some grilled shrimp, perhaps salmon mousse and cucumbers on melba toast- you get the drift. Salut….