I have had two other wines from Vergelegen. Both were excellent so when I saw this Reserve offering I had to buy it! Medium intensity in the glass. Black currants, olive tapenade, charcoal and pencil on the nose. The palate has a ton of dark, ripe plums coupled with anise and violets. Rich and tannic, this wine has weight. The midpalate is all black currant. The grippy tannins don’t let go- all the way through the medium length finish. Dark fruits aplenty here. 91 points, drink till 2025. 5 stars again for this $22 bottle. Salut….
This is the second wine I have had from this South African winery. The first was similar blend but with Cabernet Franc thrown in as well. Vergelegen Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc.
Back to this wine…. Dark purple in the glass spelt out what to expect. A nose of black plums, earth and iodine. The initial taste is amazing. A hint of violets come over after the waves of black berry, plum jam and spicebox. A fine set of tannins swirls around at the finish to leave a nice mouthfeel. The mid palate is balanced and smooth with some acidity that balances the whole thing out. I am really enjoying this wine!
The judicious use of oak is apparent. A finish of coffee and a touch of vanilla make this an easy drinking red that will go great all by itself or hang in there with a juicy New York strip, even some pasta with a spicy sauce. I would guess a drinking window up to 2020 at least, with it open for business right now.
It was on sale for just over $11 and gets an easy 91 point score from me. I will be buying this in bulk, a stunner and worthy of 5 stars easily. Salut…..
From South Africa comes this amazing Bordeaux blend for a mere $15. Inky purple in the glass it showed off dark fruits on the nose with a hint of mintiness. The flavor was sublime and the finish was nice and dry from the firm tannins. The purple flavors of plums and blackcurrant were mingled with some slight oak and cassis. Very balanced and showing complexity, I loved this wine. I have read about it in several magazines over the years and this is the first time I have seen it in the shops, I will be back to buy more. Still young but drinkable, I reckon it will start to peak in 2015 and go for another 5 years. I would pair this with Venison or Lamb chops all day long. 5 stars for this 91 point effort. Salut….
I am sitting in a hotel room in Hong Kong, far from home where it is nearly New Year. I wrote my last tasting note of the year and realized I have not had a look back on posts for a while so I clicked on the 5 Stars tag link and started writing down the best wines I had drunk in 2016. There are exactly 20 that made the top grade. I won’t count them down, you can try them and decide for yourself but I will mention a few. There are several really well priced gems in the group, which is one of the criteria I use to determine how many stars a wine gets. Perhaps the steal of the year comes from Bulgaria, but there are numerous wines that I look back on and remember the pleasure they gave. The Tahbilk was awesome, the older Bordeaux wines- amazing and then there was the Vergelegen. It probably ranks the highest of the value wines in my 2016 wine year. The St. Thomas is perhaps the top wine for me in 2016 followed by the Blue Eyed Boy…
Each wine had a moment for me, and then there were the wines I just opened and did not review.
These are but two I recently enjoyed. Many more were drunk throughout the year. If you go through my list of 5 star wines I am sure you will find many in local shops, try them out and decide for yourself- just savor the moment and make it a memory. Take a picture, write on the cork, peel and save the label. Happy New Year, may you have a prosperous and safe year wherever you may be.
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.