It looks very dark and brooding in the glass, the legs barely evident- 13.5% alcohol will do that. On the nose it is spicy with dark cherry, cola and a touch of oak. I also notice a spice box component. On the palate it is a bit abrupt- black cherry, green pepper, iodine and anise all greet me. There’s a frontal wave of tannins that also hit right off the bat, quite dry and relentless. The mid palate is more red cherry meets blackberry, with a nice acidic touch to refresh the palate. The tannins are certainly players here, enveloping my gums and making me pucker. The brooding nature of this wine is evident on the palate now as it finishes with crunchy black berries, that tannic grip and some toasty oak nuances. The finish is quite long. I was not sure what to expect from this wine, it was part of a SplashWine shipment. I did see it for sale at $12 online and it got 83 points from one reviewer. I would guess it’s got some Syrah, Grenache and maybe a touch of Tempranillo. Who knows…. For me it’s decent for everyday, gets 86 points and 3 stars. Drink till 2024 with some Jamon, a steak or pasta. Salut….
This Merlot has a really deep purple hue in the glass with very nice thin legs. The nose is plummy with anise and blueberry notes. On the initial palate I get inky dark berries, some iodine, black tea and really nice gentle tannins. The mid palate is a bit more gripping with the fine grained tannins, they start to cling to the gums. Black cherry and more plum are hitting me up with some slight oak notes. The finish is a touch dusty with some spice box and leather. Plums are my main theme with this wine and the tannic structure is really good. Juicy, dry and built for the medium haul. I like this wine- it’s easy going yet has some depth and structure to it. Drink till 2027. 91 points from mer and at $18 a pop- 5 stars. Cellar some for later. Salut….
Red wine with fish is a tough one but since I am grilling it, I feel there might be something to work with. This Barbera is from California and has a nice shade of purple in the glass. The nose is very cherry like, with some blue fruits lingering as well. I also get a leafy component, like parsley. Intriguing. On the palate it is somewhat sweet with ripe cherry, cola and cedar. It is juicy but not overly acidic, nor is it very tannic. The mid palate has a nice warm feeling to the red fruit compote. There is a definitive cedar note that runs the length of the wine. It is very fruity and certainly tasty. The finish is medium length and concentrates on those sweet cherries alongside some blackberry jam. Lip smacking stuff. Easy to drink and very approachable for the next 5 years. I hope the pairing works for me! 89 points and 5 stars for this $13 steal. Salut….
It’s got a beautiful shade of purple in the glass and I can almost see through. The nose is lush and rich with blackberry jam, fig paste, blueberries. On the palate it is very dark fruit heavy. Black berries, currants and chocolate. There’s a gripping set of tannins that get to work on my gums immediately. This is to be expected with this varietal, also known as Durif. On the mid palate there is more plum than blackberry, but it’s still black fruit dominant. There’s a juiciness to this wine that begs for hearty steaks. The finish reverts back to blackberry jam and some charcoal. It is shockingly dry and delicious. I am really enjoying this wine and it will pair beautifully with the grilled Skirt and Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus I am cooking. If you like a dry wine, or want to cellar something long term, this is it. 92 points, and 5 stars for this $13 steal Drink till 2030. Salut….
This wine was over-hyped by a retailer that I use so I had to jump in on a case. Glad I did…
Bright purple- semi opaque. The nose is sublime…. purple plums, blackberry, a hint of oak. On the palate it’s very fruity and a touch tannic. Full on with blackberry reduction, plums and tobacco. The tannic bite is very gentle and balanced. The mid palate is a touch more dry, but very manageable. Oolong tea and spices mingle with the plums and blackberry, delicious. The finish is fab. This wine screams Napa sunshine, it lacks the telltale eucalyptus but shines in the plums and black berries. The tannic structure is impressive- starting out gentle, ending up in a crescendo of tea and charred oak notes. 92 points and 4 stars- $60. Drink till 2027. Salut….
Our wine of the night at the second Virtual wine tasting. You can’t go wrong with a Cali Cab. The wine just oozes sunshine, rich fruit, nice oak and balance. The nose on this wine was all black cherry. Tons of it. The initial palate included those dark beauties alongside some plum, blueberry and coconut. Licorice featured on the mid palate where the tannins really started to grip. Mouthfeel was very full, rich and nicely balanced with acid, black tea and a touch of plum jam sweetness. The finish was really nice, long and a touch dry. This wine was drinking beautifully and was an easy ringer at the end of the night. 92 points from me, drink till 2028. For $27 it should feature in your cellar, 5 stars. Salut….
The nose on the third wine of our virtual tasting was wild. Gamy AF, with loads of mushroom, forest floor, bacon fat and some semblance of black fruits. On the palate it was much more manageable and in line with expectations. Bramble, blackberry reduction, leather and some really nice tannins all came together on the palate. The wine smoothed out some on the mid palate and it showed some nice balance between the fruit, the tertiary flavors, tannins and acidity. The funk wore off but there were trace elements of morel mushrooms, leather and blackberry. The finish was where this wine finally came on pointe. Good fruit presentation, some nice touches of those secondary flavors and a decent amount of astringency from the lithe tannins. Overall I really enjoyed this wine, but the nose was offputting for many on the tasting. 91 points for me. Drink till 2026, but let it breathe for at least an hour to help dispel the funk. For $20, it gets 5 stars. Salut….
The second wine of our tasting lineup showed bright purple in the glass with nice legs giving caution to the 14.5% alcohol. I listened to all the inputs from our group and concurred that this wine had loads of pepper, game, plum and garrigue. The longer the wine sat out, the smoother it got and the terroir really shone. Mass produced yet very good at 91 points from me. Drink this blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre till 2027 with stews, leg of lamb or a hearty pasta. 5 stars for this sub $15 ringer. Salut….
This was the first wine of my Second Lockdown Virtual Tasting. It was the only white in the lineup, so it had to be a Chardonnay from California. I instructed everyone to chill half the bottle and reserve the other half at room temperature. We were going to do an experiment.
The wine is a nice golden color in the glass. The nose of the chilled wine had pear, apple and citrus notes. On the palate it followed the theme with some nice acidity. The finish was decent in length and showed off that Apple/pear combo nicely. I had researched whether this wine had undergone Malolactic fermentation but could not find proof from any literature, except to assume it had as the winery mentioned one other Chard in their portfolio that specifically did not go through Malo. The wine was quite sharp and lacked the telltale butter notes of the secondary fermentation, I’m baffled.
Anyways- we then tried the same wine at room temp. Huge differences with flavors and mouthfeel. The experiment worked, the point being that most pros taste whites at room temperature and we needed to see the differences. Besides the fuller body it included less citrus, more pear and apple, alongside a touch of baking spices. The wine drank beautifully for me and I gave it 91 points. I would pair it with summer salad, prawn cocktail or blackened Salmon and drink till 2026. $20 gets it 5 stars. Salut….
Very rich purple in the glass and semi opaque. The nose gives off cherry, baking spices, bakers yeast and red currants. On the palate it is very drinkable, smooth and fruity. Raspberries, red currants and those spices hit the palate. As the wine rolls over the mid palate I get a sour rhubarb note that gives the wine some zing. Very fine grained tannins appear on the finish to leave a rather pleasant mouthfeel. This light to medium bodied wine calls for white pasta dishes, roast chicken or Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus. It gets 90 points from me and I would drink till 2024. For $20, it’s a good deal on Super Tuscan juice. 4 stars. Salut….