Chateau Musar 2000, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

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When I select wines for our Virtual Wine Tasting Company I save one for the last bottle in the series.  We have drunk various vintages of Chateau Musar but this closer was the most controversial of them all and also my wine of the night/series/case etc.  I loved it.  Others hated it.

Pale to medium garnet it is textbook Musar in appearance with that gorgeous orange tint in the glass.  Also textbook- sweaty horse aromas with stewed cherry, strawberry compote, tobacco, leather and Brett.  Right up my alley.  The palate is dry with medium (-) acidity, medium (-) tannins and pronounced flavors of baked cherry, pomegranate syrup, tobacco, leather, earth and a touch of that funk.  Extremely well balanced, this medium bodied wine showed off a long finish- very impressive for a bottle with 22 years of age.  A spectacular wine that I awarded 94 points to and will look for again.  An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan runs $72 a bottle it gets 5 stars from me.  Pairing-wise it is difficult to imaging drinking this wine with any food.  It has such unique, amazing flavors that need to be savored in isolation.  Salut….

 

Chateau Cos d’Estournel ‘Les Pagodes de Cos’ 2010, Saint-Estephe, France

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Our 29th Virtual Wine tasting concentrated on Cabernet Sauvignon and blends thereof so it made sense to include a Bordeaux wine.  I selected this well aged bottle which is the ‘second wine’ of the famed Second Growth- Chateau Cos d’Estournel.  It runs $80 and gets high scores from the pros (92-94).

Deep garnet colored, this wine is showing off its 12 years of age.  Aromas of soy sauce, leather, cedar, cassis, stewed blackberry, forest floor and umami were noted.  On the palate it was dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins that are well integrated.  Medium bodied, this wine had flavors of black pepper, strong black tea, loam, funk and leather with some dried blackberry notes.  Someone mentioned a Bourbon-like taste and there was some concern over the bitterness.  It is a touch disjointed which lowers the rating imo.  The medium to long finish shows off the pedigree of this chateau.  I enjoyed drinking this 90 point wine but for $80 I can find far more enjoyable wines to drink.  3 stars for the QPR.  I would pair this with a simple Filet steak and gratin potatoes with a side of green beans.  Drink till 2026.  Salut….

Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Napa Valley, California

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The second wine at Virtual Tasting #29 was this Napa Cabernet.  It has a deep ruby color and smells ‘yummy’ according to the group!  Menthol was the first thing I noticed on the nose followed by dark chocolate, tobacco, green pepper, black cherry, blackcurrant and Kirsch.  Medicinal notes along with a dusty component were commented on.  Dry with medium acidity and medium intensity tannins that were very well melded made for a really nice mouthfeel.  Medium to full bodied this Cabernet had flavors of black pepper, green pepper, tart cherry, tobacco, cranberry, pencil shavings and graphite.  The group really felt it was red-fruit dominant and had started developing tertiary flavors.  The finish was short-medium in length.  This $28 wine gets 91 points from me making it a 5 star effort to drink till 2028.  I would pair it with braised beef cheeks or a plate full of Osso Bucco.  Salut….

Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc 2019, Pessac-Leognan, France

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Last night we drank four wines at the 29th Virtual Wine tasting.  Opening up with both a chilled and room temp serving of this Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon the group found the wine to be a pale lemon color with the textbook aromas of cut grass, citrus and dare I say- cat pee.  Other aromas and flavors included peaches, algae (?), pineapple, grapefruit and lemon curd.  The wine was dry with high acidity and a medium (-) body leading to a short finish.  I think this $45 bottle is worthy of 91 points, slightly shy of the pros who went as high as 94.  It’s delicious now and will keep for a few more years but why wait on this 4 star effort.  Seafood or poached chicken would pair nicely.  Salut….

Cooper’s Hawk Winery Petite Sirah NV, California

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Deep purple colored with some slight rim variation showing a bluish hue.  Fast moving legs show off the 13.5% ABV.  The nose has medium intensity aromas of blackberry, chocolate powder and charred oak.  Perfume and some floral notes add to the layers of flavor.  The palate is dry with medium (-) acidity and medium tannins.  It’s very smooth without too much structure to detract from the flavors of blueberry, blackberry, chocolate and charcoal.  Medium bodied it has a short finish that I am enjoying.  It’s rather simple but very easily quaffable- this $21 bottle gets 87 points from me and 3 stars.  Drink soon with rich stews and winter dishes.  Salut….

Boasso Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba 2018, Piedmont, Italy

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Medium garnet colored this Nebbiolo has some thick legs in the glass (14.5% ABV).  The nose has pronounced aromas of leather, cherry, dusty earth, licorice and coffee.  Charred oak is evident and there is a perfumed floral note as well.  The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and medium tannins.  Full bodied, this delicious wine has flavors of tart cherry, red currant, pomegranate, leather, dusty earth, tar and coffee.  The oaky note is very faint.  It finishes long and a touch tart with grippy tannins.  Still relatively young at 4 years, it will cellar nicely and drink till 2030 at the least.  I think it gets 92 points and for $32 it’s a 5 star wine.  I am pairing it with slow cooked beef roast and trimmings.  Salut….

Gerd Anselmann Dornfelder 2020, Pfalz, Germany

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Dornfelder is a new grape for me.  It grows mostly in Germany and was developed as a cross back in 1979.  Medium purple colored it has a watery sheen in the glass (12.5% ABV).  Medium intensity aromas of black cherry, spice box, blackcurrant that is a touch green, blackberry leaf and a hint of charcoal.  The palate is seemingly a touch off-dry with juicy acidity and very low tannins.  Medium intensity flavors of grape, blackberry leaf, black cherry and blackcurrant.  Medium bodied- it carries on to a medium length finish that has some really nice acidity.  It conjures up thoughts of Gamay meets Pinot Noir, a very easy-going wine with lithe tannins and a nice mouthfeel.  The acidity offsets the trace residual sugars that make it a touch off-dry. This wine screams out for smoked meats, even a semi-spicy bowl of chili.  I like it and am glad I tried this varietal.  You too can get a bottle for $17.  Not wildly complex or cellar worthy, it gets 87 points from me and 3 stars.  Drink soon.  Salut….

Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Reserva DOCG 2018, Tuscany, Italy

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We went out to dinner last night and ordered this $21 Sangiovese ($65 at the restaurant 😳).  I did not take notes but loved the wine.  At 4 years of age it was showing plenty of earthy, tertiary notes along with some fruit and oak influence.  The leather fingerprint of this varietal was abundant and the tannins had really integrated. Acidity was en pointe and the wine had a lovely mid length finish.  Well worth the price of entry even at a restaurant.  91 points from me and a drink till 2025 window.  5 stars.  Salut….

Pardon et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau 2022, Beaujolais, France

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My second Nouveau of the season, following on from the delicious Georges DuBœf on release night.  This one is medium purple, a touch less opaque that the previous.  The nose has pronounced aromas of grape bubble gum, banana, red cherry candy (red licorice) and a touch of spice.  The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and very low tannins.  Medium (-) bodied, I get flavors of grape bubble gum, grape jelly, cherry candy, and red licorice.  It is a bit one-dimensional compared to the previous bottle.  The finish is short but the tartness rolls on for a while.  Not my favorite.  84 points and for $12, 2 stars.  Drink now.  Salut….

George’s Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2022, Beaujolais, France

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The third Thursday in November is an auspicious day for Beaujolais- the official release of the year’s Nouveau happens around the world at the same time.  It started as a marketing ploy to get people to buy the relatively cheap, easygoing wine. Fresh out of  stainless steel tanks where it was Carbonically Macerated, this alternative method of producing wine from the Gamay grape makes for unique flavors and textures. Georges DuBœf invented the craze so it seemed fitting that I try his $12 effort first.

Deep purple in the glass with watery legs (13% ABV).  The nose is classic Nouveau/Carbonic.  Bright grapey aromas, purple bubble gum, zingy cherries, red currants and red licorice.  The palate is dry with medium acidity and very low tannins, if any.  The red fruit and candy are very present whilst the grapey component is not as prominent.  The wine is mouthwatering on the back end and has a medium (-) body.  The length of the finish is shortish but I am really enjoying the freshness and vibrancy that is has to offer.  Keep in mind this wine is meant for immediate consumption, it should keep for a year or so.  I like it for what it is and would pair it with roasted chicken, grilled swordfish or even a pasta dish with red sauce.  90 points makes it a 5 star effort.  Go and get a bottle if you have never tried this style of wine- unique!  Salut….