I’m excited to try this wine- made from Blatina which is a grape varietal that is new to me, plus the label and name are too cool. It has a bit of age to it as can be seen from the pale tawny color. The nose is stupendous. Literally knocking my nostrils off. It’s hard to describe, but I smell Chateau Musar in this wine. Game, steeped red fruits, fig paste, and blueberry ganache. I’m excited to taste. The palate is very unique with mulberry, oak notes, red currant jam and that game note I got earlier. Very integrated tannins are a delight and the wine has a juicy tendency from the medium acidity. It is a lighter weight drop and low in alcohol at 13%ABV. Silky, seductive and layered with primary, secondary and tertiary flavors- this is delicious stuff. The finish is long and I am enjoying the tartness quite a bit. It really does remind me of Musar, a lot. At 10 years of age it is maturing nicely but still has some more in it- I would say 2027. I am roasting up a Tri-Tip on the Weber, with a side of Rösti potatoes and leeks plus baked Prosciutto-wrapped Cauliflower. I think this wine will hold up to the cut of beef plus the sides quite nicely. All things considered I give this wine 91+ points and for the $40 price point it gets 5 stars. I think I may stock up a few bottles. Salut….
I am a huge fan of this winery, their Don Melchor being my introduction to good wine. The Marques de Casa Concha line of wines offers great value for everyday drinking, the Cabernet used to be my house wine back in the day. I drank gallons of the stuff. When I saw this Merlot, with a bit of bottle age, I had to rekindle my love affair.
It shows medium garnet in the glass, a hint of the aging process. The nose has a gamy scent alongside figs, ripe plum, leather and bark. The palate is still youthful and juicy. A nice tart welcome with blackberry, plum and leather greet me alongside very integrated tannins. The acidity is definitely present yet very balanced between the fruit and tannic structure. This wine runs 14.5% ABV, which I got a whiff of on the nose. I am now also getting a hint of it on the mid palate. It does give the wine some body and heft, alongside the generous fruit. The finish is short to medium but it carries the structural components for a while, the dryness lasting a good long while on my teeth. I wanted a Merlot to try and pair with some Duck breasts I am rendering and then roasting, this may do the trick as there are ample tannins and acidity to help cut through the fat, plus I am whipping up an orange sauce to drizzle. This wine has a few years of age already but will drink nicely till 2025 methinks. I paid $18 and consider it an 89 point wine worthy of 4 stars. Salut….
Clear, medium garnet in the glass, this Sangiovese has a funky nose. Sour cherry, sauerkraut and compost all come to mind. #Concerned.
The palate allays my worries- cherry, blackcurrants, straw and rhubarb are present alongside lithe tannins. Juicy acidity keeps my jaws watering for an eternity whilst the finish lasts a medium amount of time. The wine is of light to medium body and lithe. It drinks well and will go nicely with my Lamb Kofta, which are very fatty and need some acidity to curb the grease. I’m ambivalent about this wine right now- I think it has potential but the nose is very off-putting. I will give it 88 points initially. On sale for $27, it gets 3 stars from me. Drink till 2028 with meaty tapas, Duck breast or Lamb stew. Salut….
When a wine bottle says it’s a Red blend, I need to dig deeper. Turns out this one is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc. No details were forthcoming as to ratio though. It is deep purple, the strong legs giving away the 14.9% ABV punch I am about to get. On the nose I get rich blackberry, black cherries and chocolate. The palate is rich and dry with those dark fruits and a healthy yet ripe set of tannins that coat my gums immediately. As the wine flows I start to get some spice box components and charcoal. The tannins are formidable mind you and I am battling the attack on my teeth, hoping the fruit comes through a little more. The mid palate has Lapsang Souchong tea (a smoked black tea from China) and more dark fruit including plums and blackberry. It is a nice mix of flavors but the tannins are by now numbing my upper gums. This wine is a baby, needing an aerator or several years in the cellar. It should drink nicely from 2024 till 2030 with juicy, fatty meats, stews or hearty red sauced pasta. It finishes with a medium length and medium acidity. The balance is not quite there yet, but I think this wine has lots of promise. 91 points would be fair, but it could go up a point or two, let me re-taste in a few years as I bought several bottles. At $35 it is an excellent value for a Cali blend that gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
Last up at the virtual wine tasting #18 was this Tempranillo. In the glass it is mostly opaque and a dark claret in color. The nose was a bit of a shocker to us…. figs, dried fruit, mulberry. It was port-like and not very fresh and inviting. On the palate it was gamy with vanilla, dried sage, cedar, bramble, dried fruit and ‘Plummy potpourri’ from one of the group. The wine has slight tannins and low acidity. It was a bit of a disappointment to me and I gave it a scant 13 points on our 20 point scoring sheet. Technically speaking, it got 89 points from me, and at $17 it is worthy of 3 stars. But wait…… I re-tasted it after a while and upped my score to 15+. It grew on me and the funkiness dissipated somewhat, allowing more fruit to come out versus tertiary notes. It is fully mature at this stage and needs to be drunk asap, but I’m not sure of pairings. The flavor profile is very advanced and not what I would want to drink with dinner. An interesting wine for sure compared to the ’04 Beronia I loved. Salut….
This winery makes some world class wines and this Zinfandel, with a blend of 9% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah, is simply delicious. Our virtual tasting group last had a Zin in August 2020- it was time. This wine is dark purple and opaque. The nose caught us all off-guard, it was an explosion of racy, jammy blackberry, white and black pepper, mulling spice (Nutmeg?), rose and a touch of funk. The palate was delicious but not as potent. The blackberry jam, pepper and spice were all present alongside ripe, smooth tannins and juicy acidity. The finish was a decent length. I scored this wine 91 points and initially thought it was my WOTN. For $33 this highly rated (95 points by the pros) is a steal worthy of 5 stars. The quality is very high and it will cellar nicely till 2028. It sports a hefty 14.9% ABV, which is hidden nicely, giving the wine a nice body and good mouthfeel. Pair it with hearty stews, grilled lamb chops or Beef Wellington. Salut….
I wanted to introduce the Dolcetto grape to my group of virtual tasters. This bottle was only $15 and got decent reviews and a 90 point rating. Unfortunately it was not a huge hit with the crowd. I noted it was 75% opaque and had a nice shade of purple in the glass. The nose came with cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, blackberry and pepper. The group got flavors of cherry, almond, strawberry, a touch of smoke and some meatiness on the palate. I wrote down- medium tannins and very juicy acidity. I think the acid component and somewhat lighter body was the detractor for most. We have been tasting some pretty heavy duty bottles in our group and the finesse and lighter style of the Dolcetto may have been overlooked in expectation of another big, brooding wine that is so imposing in the glass- quite the opposite of a young Brunello. I am close to the pros on the rating, giving it an 89 points. For the price- this s a decent Tuesday night drop that won’t break the bank, just pair it with some pasta and you’ll be fine. 3 stars for me. Drink now. Salut….
We started off Virtual tasting #18 with this Chardonnay, served at room temp and then chilled. The wine has a light, pale gold color to it. The tasters chimed in on the nose immediately with ‘bakery item’ (Brioche), crispy citrus, pear, and someone mentioned buttery. The palate gave us pear, beeswax, citrus, yellow apple, a hint of butter and a touch of minerality. It had a long finish by my clock. Medium acidity was noted and the wine had a nice mouthfeel. The chilled version was far more focused and mineral driven. On the nose we got more citrus but less pear, lemongrass and honey. Arty commented that she smelled ‘fruity pebbles’, Moxie agreed. On the palate there was some butterscotch, lemon and lime, but the overall impression was that it was much more steely and more acidic. I enjoyed the room temperature version better, giving it 92 points as a technical rating. The chilled version was very good and exactly what I was hoping for in a Chablis- citrus, stone, clean and not oaked to hell and back. I think this was one of the better whites we have tried at our tasting group, it appealed to a wider audience. For $24, this wine is a steal that gets 5 stars from me. BTW it came in #66 out of the top 100 in an illustrious magazine last year. Worth stocking up on for sure. I’m planning on finishing the bottle with some Shrimp Alfredo. Salut….
This Paso Zin is a lovely shade of purple but only 50% opaque. The legs give a hint of what to expect, 14.8% ABV is pretty hefty kick, beware. On the nose I get wafts of the alcohol but it subsides and the flavors of dark plum, white pepper, cloves and creamy blackberry ganache. On the palate it is rich and powerful. The fruit profile is more toward the blackberry side but I do get the peppery notes I would expect from this varietal. There is a slightly astringent hit from black tea notes as well as some decent acidity. The tannins kick in very gently on the back end. A lovely, full mouthfeel for this wine that carries it to a medium length finish. The dark fruit flavors ever present. I sense a touch of oak overall, but it is not over done. The heat is the only concern as this wine drinks very easily, one can get caught up in the moment if one is not careful!. A decent drop that will go well with a lean cut of beef on the grill. 89 points from me and at $14, it’s a 4 star effort worthy of a try! Salut….
I did not care for the last Carmenère I had, realizing that the varietal as a whole was too gamy and earthy for me with some exceptions. When I saw this bottle at the shop I figured I would give it another go, recognizing the winery name and hoping for a better result. It starts off quite inky in the glass. I can smell the earthiness from a few feet away. On the nose it is quite interesting, if not a touch green and herbal. Capsicum, violets, black currants and blueberry all hit me. The palate is quite sharp right off the bat, piquant acidity and a touch of tannic bite are the first tastes/sensations I get. Once past that part I get some black currants, licorice, coffee and a hint of game to go along with the bell peppers. It’s not my favorite flavor profile, but at least it’s not unpleasant. Th wine has a decent structure but it tends to lean towards the tart side of the scale and the green flavors are really prominent on the mid palate. The finish is sour, yet it lacks acidity per se. The tannins are medium in intensity and slightly underripe. Overall this wine is drinkable and forgettable. At least I am not gagging on it. 82 points from me and at $20, it’s a 1 star effort. This varietal is quickly losing my interest. Salut….