Don Ercilla Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Valle Central, Chile

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This Chilean Cab is bright purple and nearly opaque in the glass. The nose is very black raspberry driven, almost over the top. Red licorice and candy notes come into play as well. On the palate it is a dark fruit melange with oak influence and a hint of sweetness. It sounds funny but whilst a touch sweet it also has a good dose of tangy acidity. Greenish tannins go straight for the gums with astringency galore. The mid palate tastes of sour black cherry and blackberry, an interesting take. The juicy finish lets up some on the dry factor, letting the fruit shine through. I am cooking up some Lamb Merguez sausages to pair, I think that will work nicely. Drink this 87 point wine till 2024. At $20 it’s a three pointer. Salut….

First Drop Mother’s Milk Shiraz 2018, Barossa, Australia

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It’s been four years since I had a drop of Mothers Milk, I was super excited to see it in my local wine shop. I’m cooking Venison Tenderloins in a mushroom sauce and think this might be the perfect match. It’s about 80% opaque and a medium shade of murky purple. On the nose it is spicy, peppery and has notes of licorice, blackberry and charred oak. On the palate it is really smooth and flavorful. Blackberry, anise and cola flavors shine through alongside some juicy acid. The mid palate is very fruity and has gobs of acidity to go along with lithe tannins. The fruit is working hard at this point to remain center stage. The finish is quite tart from the structural components but I do get more flavors right at the end. Black fruit melange, that licorice note and the acidity go on for ages. This is a very fresh wine that is drinking nicely and will do so till 2025. I’m going with 89 points and for $20 it gets 4 stars. (Ps. one of the pros went as high as 96!). Glad I re-discovered it! Salut….

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Soda Canyon Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley, California

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I love my neighbors Arty and Keef…. you see, they have a nice collection of Napa Cabs in their cellar and I get the chance to taste alongside quite often. When this text arrived, I made sure to head over tout suite.

Wow- black beauty.  Opaque AF and showing long legs in the glass.  The nose is magnificent.  A dusty take on blackberry jam, cassis, toasty oak and a hint of eucalyptus.  On the palate this wine is super focused with very defined blueberries, blackberries alongside some Lapsang Souchong tea notes.  Very integrated tannins and really lithe acidity help bring out the California sunshine in this wine- it’s definitely fruit forward and open for business.  Delicious- 93 points and 5 stars for this $100 stunner. Drink till 2025 with Filet or other less fatty meals. Salut….

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane 2018, Rhone, France

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Tonight is the first Sunday of the New Year, which means we are celebrating 2021 with a standing Rib Roast plus all the trimmings. A juicy, fatty cut like this needs a tannic wine, so I searched for something young that would help temper the Beef.

This Grenache is semi opaque in the glass and a pretty shade of purple. The nose is very inviting- black raspberry, bacon, blueberry jam and a hint of blackberry. Very intricate and complex. The palate is beautiful, with a perfect set of tannins for my meal. The flavor profile is more black fruit with some very well integrated oak nuances. Violets and lavender also come to mind. The mid palate has lush dollops of more black fruit and a tea component. The tannins are really fine grained but ever present for a really delicious mouthfeel. The finish has a definitive blueberry note that I got from the nose. Very complex and swirling, this wine is a treat. I paid $35 for this stunner that scored upwards of 97 points with the pros. I have to say, it is really delicious but a touch young… worthy of at least 95 points which makes it a 5 star effort that I will be stocking up on. I plan to drink until 2028 at the very least. Salut….

Domaine Pascal et Mireille Renaud Vers Cras 2018, Pouilly-Fuissé, France

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This Chardonnay pours a rich gold in color and shows off some nice legs in the glass. The nose is very crisp with lemon rind, green almond, passion fruit and pineapple. The palate is very mineral driven with citrus backing it up whilst melon, more passion fruit and a touch of yeast co-mingle with some lithe acidity. The mid palate is warmer, fuller and less acidic. The flavors are rounder with more of the tropical fruit notes. The finish reverts back to being juicy from the citrus and acidity. It’s quite decent in length to boot. The minerality gives this wine some verve while the fruit shines. It is delicious and will pair beautifully with our shrimp scampi. Drink this 91 point Burgundy till 2029. At $55 it’s pricy and gets 4 stars. Salut….

Domaine du Grand Montmirail Le Côteau de Mon Rêve Gigondas 2017, Rhone, France

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Very dark red/purple in the glass. On the nose this Grenache blend gives me some raspberry, game, violets and pomegranate. The palate is exceedingly smooth with layers of dark red fruits. Raspberries, rhubarb, pomegranate, blueberry and Ceylon tea notes are abundant. There is a very lithe tannic component with really mellow, balancing acidity to give this wine a nice mouthfeel. The mid palate goes a touch drier but the fruit components remain the same. The finish has more black tea and is quite dry, the tannins kicking it up a notch. Very smooth still and tasty to boot. Moxie is fixing up some Filets and this was the perfect pairing for the lean meat. I really am enjoying the melange of red and blue fruits as well as the structure of this wine. I’m going with 92 points. The pros went way higher (96 and 95). Lovely stuff that can be had for $30 and gets 5 stars from me. Blended with Syrah and Mourvedre as is typical for Rhone wines. Drink till 2029. Salut….

Andas Mountain Cuvée Red 2019, Mendoza, Argentina

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Quite dark and brooding in the glass.  The nose is somewhat muted but I managed to swirl some black cherry and cassis.  The palate is basic with black and blue fruit notes, gentle acidity and mild tannins.  The mid palate is a little hollow but I do get some plum and blueberry notes.  The finish is rather short but the tannins hold on for a while, not overly dry but present.  A weekday wine to pair with pasta or pizza it gets 85 points from me.  Drink till 2022. This unique Argentinian red nlend of Bonarda, Malbec, and Syrah cost me $21 and gets 2 stars. Salut….

Jen Pfeiffer The Rebel Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Australia

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It’s Boxing Day, aka the day after Christmas. We have started a new tradition of eating Fondue on the 25th, it’s easy requires very little effort. As usual, we had tons of leftovers, so I am grilling the remaining Filet. I put the chicken in the crock pot and let it slow cook in Buffalo sauce which I’ll be shredding in a few minutes as a precursor to the main dish. I needed something light, lively and hopefully a touch acidic to pair with the spicy heat I am anticipating with the chicken. Out came this Aussie Sav Blanc.

It’s a very pale shade of yellow with a hint of green in the glass. On the nose it bursts with citrus notes, pineapple and green apple. The palate is delicious with great floral hints, juicy lemon/lime/tangerine notes and some lithe acidity. I was hoping for more for this particular pairing but it’s fine as is. The mid palate has a touch of lanolin and yet more lemon. The acidity kicks in on the mid length finish- it’s not overly juicy but I like the cut. It is refreshing and keeps the wine lean. Enjoyable, quaffable and versatile. I really enjoy this varietal and feel it has so much to offer as far as pairing ability. 88 points from me for this yummy bottle that runs $10. 5 stars, stock up for the summer. Salut….

Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2001, Bordeaux, France

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It would not be Christmas without an aged Claret. This 19 year old took the honors and I am sure glad I picked it. Wow, what a stunner. I did not take notes but recall the wine looked a dark shade in the glass with no signs of bricking. The nose was astounding- tobacco, leather, earth, steeped plums and cassis. On the palate this wine is at plateau. I cannot even describe the beauty of liquid elixir. It was layered with the tertiary flavors I had smelled plus a surprising dose of dark currants, cassis and cedar. The tannins are fully resolved at this stage of the maturity, sublime being a good descriptor of the mouthfeel. The finish was super long and gratifying. This wine was a home run and has rewarded my patience. I think it still has a few years of life, but like I said- it’s at peak now. I have 6 more bottles in the cellar, lucky me! You could pair this wine with an array of foods, but simply enjoying it on its own would be amazing. I have written about the ’01 Cos before, once in 2012 and then in 2013. I am upping my score to 95 for this $150 beauty and sticking with 5 stars. Salut….

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2018,California

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I needed a white to go with tonight’s Christmas Eve dinner, this one was up next on the bench and seems appropriate considering the fare. It’s a dark yellow color in the glass. On the nose this wine offers butterscotch, yellow apple, lemon zest and popcorn. The palate is smooth, buttery and full bodied. The classic Cali Chard notes are evident. Oak influenced lemon, apples and melon make for a very tasty wine that will appeal to many. My mate Dusty would love this one, his sister-in-law Arty would hate it. I know many people truly dislike the flavor of Chardonnay that has undergone Malolactic fermentation with an abundance of butter flavor as a result. Others love it to the point of seeking it out. I digress. The mid palate is warm and a bit more cutting with a whiff of acidity starting to appear. The finish is long and silky with popcorn, butter, lemon and green melon flavors carrying through til the end. Not much acidity sticking around for the finale but I’m okay with that. This is for short term drinking and will pair well with Salmon, shrimp cocktail or even baked chicken. I like it for what it is and give it 89 points. For $11 I can see why it’s one of the most widely produced Chards out there. 5 stars for this daily drinker that needs to be bought by the case if you like the style. Drink till 2022. Salut….