I don’t recall ever having a pure Graciano, it’s normally used as a blending grape. In the glass it is a pale shade of purple and is fully opaque. On the nose I get charred plums, black berries and a stewed fruit note. The palate is interesting with brooding dark fruits, oak and a vanilla bean note. The tannic structure is very well ingrained in this 9 year old bottle. They are present but not foreboding. The black fruits show up on the mid palate with a touch of bitterness, there is a green note too. On the finish is where I get some nice acidity to go with the oaky fruit compote. There is a nice dryness on the back end from the tannins. The wine is a pleasure to drink but that midpalate greeness has me concerned. This will drink well till 2025 and pair nicely with pasta, roasted chicken and certainly grilled steak. I’m going 89 points and 3 stars for the $12 price point. Salut….
The last wine of our Virtual tasting #8 was this highly regarded Zin which rolls in at $35. I selected it because I really like this winery and was thinking it would be interesting to have two wines from the same winemaker, albeit different varietals to showcase the winemaker’s style and skill. There were 8 different groups tasting this wine and I recorded their collective notes.
The wine starts off with a nice purple shade of medium opacity. Fine legs on the sidewalls gave away the 15.5% alcohol, which was not evident on the palate- well disguised! The immediate reaction to the nose was ‘Grandmothers attic! A good swirl and more traditional aromas of baked cherries, rhubarb, cherry, currant, plum and dusty mocha were mentioned alongside descriptors of svelte, brooding, jammy and finally mothballs. Back to the closet I guess!
On the palate members of the group noted sassafras, huckleberry, cinnamon and Jalapeño. I found the wine to be complex but the finish brought up some interesting comments. Stinky Brie, green and bitter notes were mentioned but I thought the wine was balanced between lithe tannins and gentle acidity. Pepper was the predominant feature for me. I was not overly impressed by this wine on night one and will re-taste tonight. For now I’m going with 89 points, a stark contrast fro the 92 it got from some of the pros. 3 stars initially. Drink till 2025. Salut….
UPDATE- I re-tasted the wine after a 24 hour period and have revised my score to 91. It improved dramatically. The complexity was evident- 4 stars.
I wanted to introduce a pure Cinsault to our wine tasting group. It’s a very difficult grape to source as a standalone because it’s traditionally a blending grape. I have had some delicious wines that rely heavily on Cinsault, which reminds me of Pinot Noir in its structure and finesse. In fact- Pinotage is a cross of the two grape varietals.
The wine is very pale red and see-through. The nose gave us cigar box, perfume, cherry, raspberry, cedar, black cherry, maple syrup, mulling spices, strawberry and cardamom. The palate was peppery with black cherry, jello, earth, pomegranate, violets and was considered ‘spicy’.
I thoroughly enjoyed this lighter style of wine that had gentle tannins, decent acidity and a really nice mouthfeel. 92 points from me for this $25 charmer that gets 5 stars. Drink with lighter fare till 2028. Salut….
The second wine of Tasting #8 was another Chenin Blanc, this time from Vouvray. Served at room temperature first we noted a pale gold color. The nose was flowery, with honeycrisp apple, honey, green apples, honeysuckle and pear. The palate is somewhat sweet with several participants noting canned pear with it’s syrupy goodness. I got passion fruit but the wine had a bitter aftertaste.
The chilled version was very interesting. Oatmeal, burnt honey, Graham cracker, butter and white pepper were noted. The wine had more citrus on the finish and I tasted sweet tangerine and pear as well. I scored the chilled version the second highest wine of the night and really enjoyed this $25 wine, giving it 91 points and 5 stars. Pairing suggestions would include grilled Swordfish, roasted Quail or even Moussaka. Drink till 2026. Salut….
As with the past seven Virtual Wine tastings, it’s difficult for me to objectively write a review and run the tasting, so I take basic notes of what others are tasting and smelling.
This Chenin Blanc kicked off the evening with us tasting it at room temperature followed by a chilled glass of the same wine. It’s really amazing how the wine morphs when served at different temps. The one thing that is constant is the color- in this case a light golden shade, really pretty in the glass. The warm version gave us melon, fruity lemon, pear, citrus, stone fruit and green apple on the nose. The palate notes are ‘very fruity’, citrusy, tangerine, oakiness, lime and yellow apple.
The chilled version was a bit muted but introduced Brioche, minerality, piecrust, toast, green pepper, slightly more acidity and ‘crisp’.
Keep in mind there were 8 different bottles being served in different environments- some inside and some outside all up and down the east coast. My overall impression was that I enjoyed the room temp glass more as it was open for business and the nose and palate were fuller. I am going with 90 points and 5 stars for this $18 effort. Drink till 2024 with seafood, perhaps a grilled Salmon filet. Salut….
It’s a very bright, shimmery purple in the glass with thin legs showing off the potent 14.5% kick. The nose is classic Rioja- dark plums, bramble, well integrated oak and currants of the black kind. The palate is very smooth, with delicious black fruit components, leather, well ingrained tannins and a touch of acidity. The earthiness of the wine is somewhat subdued, making way for the concentration of black currants, blackberries and mouth coating tannins. The mid palate is really full bodied with black fruits galore, dry mouthfeel from the beautiful tannins and just enough acidity to make my jaw water. The finish is longish and really dry. Iodine and plum reduction come to mind. Oak is ever present and the tannins go on forever. This is a well made wine built for the long haul and some serious, juicy steaks. Drink till 2035. 92 points and for $40, 5 stars. Read all about the 2010 vintage here. Salut….
Very deep purple in the glass and totally opaque. The nose is fresh and offers up black currants, mocha and black cherry. On the palate it has a juiciness, black fruits galore and medium grained tannins. The mid palate shows off dark, bold cherry, like a really ripe maraschino. Black tea components kick in and the wine gets quite dry. The combo of the acidity on the front end and the tannins on the back make for a nice mouthfeel if you’re into a bit of a rough ride. I’m liking it and and thinking it would pair very well with some carne asada. The finish is quite tart from the residual acidity but I still get some decent dark fruit, Christmas pudding and spice box on the very end. A decent drop that gets 90 points from me. No pricing info unfortunately. Drink till 2025. Salut….
Semi opaque, medium shade of purple. The nose is somewhat subdued in the BAG (big assed glass). After a vigorous swirl session I get blueberries, violet and pepper. On the palate it’s a touch spicy with blue fruits, fig and cedar. The mid palate is a bit tart, backward and thin on the fruit. The finish is bitter with more blue fruits and that woodsy note. I enjoy Zins for their fruitiness. This one lacks a bit on several points unfortunately. 86 points is all I can muster. $10 makes this a 2 star wine. Salut….
Dark purple, opaque. The nose is chock full of blackcurrants, spicy oak and some dusty tobacco. The palate is stark- dark and brooding with blackcurrants, oolong tea, nice gentle tannins and a touch of acidity. The midpalate is a bit edgy with some oak influence, charred wood, dark fruit and an increasing dryness from the tannins that are ramping up. The finish is really enjoyable- a nice dry mouthfeel, decent acidity and gobs of fruit. The blackcurrants are really delicious. This is a yummy wine for everyday that will cellar nicely for a few years and be a hit whether you are serving steaks or pizza. Drink till 2025. 90 points and 5 stars for this $20 effort. Ps. The label is one of coolest out there. Salut….
This blend shows up as very dark purple in the glass. On the nose I get blackberry reduction, charred oak, black tea and blueberries. The palate is sublime- dark fruits intertwined with lush oak, bramble, black tea and fine grained tannins. The mid palate is very satisfying. Gobs of blackberry, lashings of wood, crunchy tannins and juicy acidity all come together. The wine finishes semi dry with good mouthfeel and a medium length serving of those delicious, ripe fruits. Figs also come into play right at the end with the last vestige of gum searing tannins. This is a young wine that can be enjoyed now if you like them very dry. I would drink till 2030 with all sorts of roasted meat, venison in particular. Yummy stuff. 91 points from me and at $26, it get 5 stars. Buy a few for the cellar, it will reward you. Tempranillo 75%, Cab Sav 12%, Shiraz 9%, Merlot 3% and Petit Verdot at 1%.Salut….