This Pinot Noir is classic in the glass- dark red shade and totally see-through. On the nose I get cranberry and a hint of capsicum with some strawberry notes. The palate is very pleasing, if not a touch sweet. Lithe tannins greet me alongside red fruits and tangy acidity. The cranberry motif is very evident and continues through to the mid palate and beyond. It brings with it a nice zesty dollop of acid that is making my jaw water. The finish is of decent length and keeps the theme of cranberry, strawberry and red currants. The green note I got on the nose is a non-starter. Yummy stuff if you like them fresh, primal and perky. This one will drink nicely till 2025 and gets 88 points from me. Pairings to consider- roast chicken, Duck l’Orange or even grilled Swordfish. At $18 it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
I’m doing some Ribeyes in the Sous Vide along with a vegetarian lasagna made with hearts of palm sheets. I needed something bold and hopefully a touch tannic. This blend was the chosen one. It is semi opaque and a dark shade of purple. On the nose I get candied cherry, violets and plum reduction. The palate has a sweetness to it and some tannic grip right off the bat. Dark red fruit compote, Goji berry and Rooibos tea all feature. The tannins take off on the mid palate and frame the gums till the very end. It is quite dry and there is an astringency that kicks in towards the back end. I taste some darker fruits on the finish but the sweet component is throwing me off. I have to admit, it’s not my favorite flavor profile but is a decent drop that gets 88 points from me and at $13- a 3 star effort. Drink till 2024. Salut.
I am looking forward to this Sangiovese, which will pair with grilled Lamb chops, Prosciutto wrapped asparagus and boiled carrots. It shows a deep red yet see-through hue in the glass which can be expected of the varietal. On the nose I get loads of cherry, strawberry and red licorice. The palate is stupendous- rich red fruit compote, leather, great acidity and very fine grained tannins. The cherry component is very red, the strawberry giving way to pomegranate and cranberry. Oak use is very deft and the juiciness of the acidity is on pointe. The mid palate adds a spicy component and some tar. The tannins are starting to grip as well. On the long finish I still get red cherry and that tartness from currants and cranberries. This is quite a rich, layered wine with much complexity. I am really enjoying it and the thought of charred Lamb with the cut of this wine- it’s going to be amazing. Whilst a touch young, if you like them a little dry and fresh then drink now. Cellaring for a few years will reward and I will imagine this wine can last till 2030 at the least. 92 points from me and 5 stars for this $40 stunner. Salut….
I tasted this wine many moons ago but failed to write notes. When I saw it in the shop it reminded me of friends in California who introduced me to this winery. The wine itself is a pretty shade of purple but is nearly see-through. On the nose I get red berries, a touch of oak and pomegranate. The palate is spicy with a pepper note right off the bat. Dark red raspberries, black berries and sweet currants add to the mix. It is really interesting. The mid palate has a touch of dryness from lithe tannins, the acidity yet to kick in. On the finish this wine shouts out the varietal with lots of white and black pepper, raspberry and blackberry flavors with smoky oak intertwined. It’s not overly complex but really packs those singular fruit flavors. It will drink well till 2025 and handle char-grilled chicken, Filet or even pizza. It gets 88 points from me and for $18- 3 stars. Salut….
When I cook spicy Asian foods I am looking for crisp, fruity wines to offset the heat and allow the flavors to shine through. Typically Riesling is a good choice but I am leaning on Sauvignon Blanc now as I find it more versatile with the myriad of spices that are used in Korean, Indian and Thai cuisine. This particular Kiwi version is a very pale gold in the glass. The nose is very interesting- cut grass, lemon peel, apricot and kumquat. The palate is delicious with tropical fruits galore and a medium jolt of acidity. I’m still getting kumquats, but now I also taste star fruit and pineapple. The mid palate had a nice cut to it and the finish is decent in length with the tropical fruit theme continuing. This is a delicious wine folks and at 12.5% alcohol, it’s easy to drink. The structure makes for an easy drop without being too acidic yet it has a decent bite, important for spicy dishes. I think I picked right for this pairing but I would also put it up against a hearty charcuterie board, grilled Garlic Prawns, Salmon on the grill- you get the idea. At $13 this is a buy-by-the case wine that gets 89 points and 5 stars from me. Drink till 2024. Salut….
A dull shade of purple belying the age of this Tempranillo blend. It’s about 75% opaque. The nose is a bit subdued- I’m really having to swirl the glass. I finally get steeped plum, bramble and a hint of oak. The palate is a little thin but I get some blueberry and plum notes alongside anise and that dusty note I like in Riojas. The mid palate is quite acidic and juicy, but I also sense a touch of heat. The finish is rather plain with black and blue fruits, really tart acidity and a token dash of tannins. I’m not overly impressed by this $20 wine, might be in a dumb phase. For now it gets 86 points. 2 stars. Salut….
As I was ready to check out at my local wine shop I saw this lone bottle with an interesting label. It was on clearance for $13, but the reason I bought it was the name. Moxie and I at one point in our life owned a store with a very similar name. I thought it appropriate to at least give this blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre a try.
It has a somewhat murky edge to it in the glass and shows a touch of bricking. On the nose it is still lively with raspberry, pomegranate and charred cedar notes. The palate is rich and spicy. There is a shot of red fruit alongside some very crispy tannins and a hint of acidity. The mid palate is dry and offers me another taste of red currants, pomegranate and raspberry. The acidity really kicks in on the finish with quick some vigor. The well resolved tannins are surprisingly still evident and I get lots of fruit from this rather basic wine. I would have thought it over the hill by now but it is charming, interesting and still fresh. I am going with 87 points but would drink sooner rather than later. Not much will evolve from here on in. 4 stars are warranted. Pair it with burgers, spaghetti Bolognese or even some grilled meat. Salut….
Several weeks ago I bought a wine that resonates deep with me. Not made every year, the winery only uses the best juice from select years to assemble an iconic, long lived beauty. I convinced my friends Keef and Arty to purchase two bottles as well. Fast forward to the latest issue of a well known wine magazine- it was named the top wine of 2020. Imagine my surprise! That issue made me realize that I have not done a retrospective ranking of the year for quite some time. As you may know, I use a combination of points and price to come up with a Star Rating. If a wine gets 5 stars then it is a worthy contender for wine of the year. I have had the opportunity to try many delicious wines with my friends through the Virtual Wine Tasting Company. I have also been privy to my mate’s cellar, which features heavily in the top 2020 wines. Another thing I did in 2020 was join several wine clubs. Call me a snob, but I never thought someone else should be picking my wines- I was wrong. There are several clubs out there but only one will garner my business going forward. Splash Wines offered up a few interesting wines at rock bottom cost but shipped three bottles of every wine. I was not interested in volume, variety being key to expanding my palate. Next up was First Leaf which offered a decent selection but basically forced you to buy every month or else you continually had to change shipping dates. They had a mixed bag of quality with several outstanding 5 star wines alongside some 2 and 3 star efforts. I have had the most success with Naked Wines who have a higher quality selection and are more consistent. They have a different model that basically subsidizes the winemakers with upfront money ($40 per month in my case) that goes into my piggy bank. I can use it any time to select from their offerings. They have a slightly more limited selection to chose from but I have enjoyed most of their wines. If you want a $100 credit from them, use this Link.
It is difficult to narrow down such great wines but it is a fun retrospective to skim through all the entries of the past year. Here they are, with the top three heading this group of stunning wines:
This blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is a mid shade of gold in the glass. On the nose I get citrus, melon, lychee and ginger. On the palate it offers bright and juicy lemons, pineapple, lychee and some good minerality. The acidity is very well appointed, not too sharp but enough to keep it crisp. The flavors continue to a decent length finish. I am really impressed with the complexity of this wine’s nose. For $15 this is a great summer sipper that will also pair really well with grilled Salmon, Cobb salad or chicken on the charcoal. 89 points from me make it a 5 star effort to stock up on- really yummy stuff. Drink till 2024. Salut….
This Washington State Cab Sav is a murky, dark shade of purple and totally opaque. On the nose I get a whiff of alcohol followed by plums, black currants and cedar shake. The palate starts off with a healthy dose of tannins and black fruit salad. When I say healthy, I mean teeth coating astringency- wow. The fruit flavors are having a hella time trying to get center stage here. The mid palate has black currants and tea notes that are vying for space with the grip of tannins. On the finish it is a very dry affair that is short lived from the fruit. I need to get the Vinturi out and re-try. I picked the right wine for tonight’s pairing- Picanha steaks, which have a thick edge of fat in need of some hefty tannins. This wine has tremendous structure and will cellar nicely for a few years but if you need it now, aerate it or you will be lost in a sea of mouth searing tannins. Overall I think this wine will end up really nice and considering the aging capacity I am going with 90 points. It retails for $23 and gets 5 stars from me. Drink from 2023 till 2027. Salut….