Chateau du Grand Chambellan 2016, Lalande-de-Pomerol, France

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I took my buddy Jimbo out to a French bistro in Montreal.  This was the wine I ordered, and it was good.  Dark purple in the glass.  The glass is somewhat small so I’m having a hard time coaxing the nose.  I finally get bright purple fruit- plums, some star anise and espresso.  On the palate it is fresh, tannic, raw with plum and blackberry notes alongside licorice.  The tannins are gripping, fresh and really crisp.  They hold the wine in check and make for a good cellaring potential.  The purple fruit notes continue and the finish is a nice dry affair with some charred wood appearing at the medium length end.  I’m really enjoying it- 91 points.  I paid CAD$100 for this Merlot blend at the restaurant, no other wine prices are available but if it runs $25-30 USD then it’s a 4 to 5 star effort.  Drink till 2028 with Hanger steak (duh).  Salut….

Inniskillin Pinot Noir Niagara Peninsula 2018, Canada

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I drank an Inniskillin Pinot last summer that blew my socks off.  I wanted to find it again on a recent trip to Montreal.  This was the best the shop had.  See through, medium purple.  Strawberry ganache and cherry on the nose.  The palate- I get sour cherry, charcoal and earthiness.  The mid palate is focused, cherry and rhubarb.  On the finish it’s rather short but tannins emerge to round it out.  89 points and a little underwhelming considering the hype I built over the other bottle.  $14 makes it a 3 star effort to drink till 2026.  Salut….

PS. Stock photo as I forgot to take one

Atrevida Malbec 2018, Medoza, Argentina

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Semi opaque, lighter shade of purple in the glass with no legs evident.  The nose is very fruity and dare I say somewhat candied?  Raspberries and red twizzlers come to mind.  On the palate it’s a touch sour right off the bat.  Rhubarb, raspberries and other red fruits get melded into a somewhat acidic opening.  The mid palate is a touch thin for me, more red fruits and a hint of tannins.  The finish is where the acidity grips my tooth enamel alongside the very lithe tannins.  There’s a tug of war here between the structural pieces and the red primal fruits.  I hope the fruit puts on a better effort because the wine is a little light on flavor and heavy on acid.  It gets better with a bit of air and I hope it pairs well with leftover beef and wild rice.  87 points.  For $11, its a 3 star wine to drink till 2023.  Salut….

Chateau Pontet-Canet 2004, Pauillac, France

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It was Moxie’s birthday so I opened this lovely Bordeaux in Magnum that’s been sitting in my cellar for many moons.  Very bright purple, surprisingly so.  No signs of aging whatsoever.  The nose is somewhat subdued.  After some frantic swirling I finally get  plum, leather and florals, like violet.  On the palate this wine is super smooth, fruity and fresh.  Black cherries, tobacco, crisp tannins and a zesty touch of acidity greet me.  This is not a blockbuster Bordeaux, it’s a refreshing, lighter wine that will appeal to many.  There are tertiary flavors on the midpalate that include spicebox , leather, rhubarb and blueberry.  The tannins really take hold and are gritty, they continue through the finish.  Speaking of which, it’s a decent length and concentrated on those tannins alongside blueberry and a touch of oak.  This is tasty, still young and will drink well till 2029.  I served it up with grilled Tri-Tips, delicious.  91 points and 4 stars, it can be found for around $125 per bottle.  Salut….

Cameron Hughes Lot 683 Zinfandel 2017, Sierra Foothills, California

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Semi opaque and medium intensity purple.  The nose has spicy blueberry jam, candy and licorice.  On the palate it is very fruity, dry and mouthwatering.  Blackberry paste, cedar shake and iodine caress the tongue while really nice tannins completely coat my gums.  It is a luscious mouthfeel if you’re in the mood for some tannic grip.  The midpalate and finish carry on the theme and it ends on a nice dry note of black jam, cinnamon, some wood influence and that licorice note.  90 points.  Well made and for $12 this is a steal worthy of 5 stars.  Drink till 2027 with some sirloins, perhaps venison and definitely roasted veggies.  Salut….

Cameron Hughes Lot 622 Riesling 2016, Columbia Valley, Washington

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Tonight I’m cooking outside the box, chicken livers in peri-peri sauce and some in a Port wine reduction.  I’m grilling a pork loin as a backup.  So, I needed something white that will take the heat of the spicy sauce, Riesling is the obvious choice.

It’s a light shade of yellow in the glass,  the nose is very fresh with citrus, melon, apple peel.  On the palate it’s quite sweet, round and full bodied.  It’s not as focused and acidic as I was hoping for, it’s more of a salmon or pate on toast kinda wine.   It will work I think, but the style is wrong for the pairing.

The palate offers up yellow pear, banana, melon and a touch of candied apple.  Not a lemon or lime in sight.  The midpalate is really rich, expanding into those flavors whilst the finish is short and sweet- literally.  I’m enjoying this wine all by itself, really tasty and easy to drink.  I’m going 89 points and 4 stars for this $12 bottle.  Salut….

Cameron Hughes Lot 676 White Blend 2016, Santa Barbara, California

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Very golden in the glass, beautiful and rich.  On the nose I get peach stone, yellow apple, melon.  On the palate it’s quite different- I still get peach stone, but the focus is more pineapple, honeydew, lanolin.  The mouthfeel is quite full, a nice level of acidity and some glycerin.  The mid palate shows off stone fruit and a touch of sour apple.  The finish is medium length and continues the theme nicely.  This is a good blend of Roussane, Viognier and Marsanne that I would serve with caeser salad, smoked salmon or grilled chicken.  89 points, $14 and 4 stars.  Salut….

Beaulieu Vineyard BV Reserve Tapestry 2007, Napa Valley, USA

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This is the third tasting of the Tapestry over an eight year period.  The cork broke in half which gave cause for concern, the bottom part showing off a deep stain, nearly black.  That normally bodes well for me, except the failed cork part.

The wine still has a lovely purple hue with a touch of orange bricking.  The nose gives off tons of leather, tobacco, some red currants and black cherry.  The palate is focused and concentrated.  Tertiary flavors are forefront- earthiness, that parched tobacco and leather …  black fruits appear after a while but it’s not a seamless transition.  The wine has very integrated tannins and a nice streak of acidity.  It’s holding up well for 13 years old, but I would drink by 2027.  It has evolved well and will continue to soften, shedding the fruit along the way.  It’s a nice Napa Cab that gets 90 points from me and can be found for $55.  4 stars.  Salut….

Cameron Hughes Lot 660 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Red Mountain, Washington

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Semi opaque in the glass, bright purple.  On the nose I get graphite, blackcurrants, oak and twizzlers.  On the palate there are some gentle notes of black cherries, a dose of dry tannins and some black tea to go along with black currants.  The mid palate has a cherry cola component with black fruits and that slightly unbalanced tannic dryness.  The finish is dry but fresh and packed with black fruit flavors, some oak and a touch of minerality.  Decent wine for a weekday.  87 points, which contrasts with others opinions btw.  Drink till 2024, 2 stars, $25.  Salut….