Chateau Lamothe Blanc 2021, Bordeaux, France

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Bright lemon colored this is the third vintage of Lamothe that I have tasted.  A blend of 87% Sauvignon Blanc with 13% Semillon it has intense aromas of cut grass, gooseberry, flint, bell pepper, lemon zest, stone fruit and underripe strawberry.  The palate is dry, crisp and tart with medium (+) acidity.  Texturally speaking there is an oily component that gives this wine a medium (+) body.  The citrus takes center stage on the palate with the stone fruit backing it up.  The telltale cut grass and gooseberry are not as pronounced.  The finish is medium in length, perhaps the aromatics of this varietal linger longer.  Delicious and refreshing to say the least.  I’m impressed by this $15 wine that gets 90 points and 5 stars.  Drink with lighter fare including chicken and seafood.  It begs for oysters and clams on the half shell.  Salut….

Lapis Luna Wines Zinfandel 2020, Lodi California,

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Medium ruby colored this Zinfandel was amazing.  Rich, smooth aromas and flavors of ripe plum, blackberry, blueberry pie and baking spice with a hint of vanilla.  Low acidity, medium (-) tannins and a full body lead to a long finish.  Amazing value at $15 for this 91 pointer that gets 5 stars.   I would drink this in the shorter term with stews, game and hearty pasta dishes with rich red sauces.  Salut….

ZINFANDEL 2020 - LAPIS LUNA

The Fableist 373 Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Paso Robles, California

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This Cabernet Sauvignon did not show well today- the bottle had been left open far too long and it was past it’s prime.  However, I chose to taste it and will include it in my next wine class as I have previously drunk this $18 offering and was impressed with its structure and fruit.  This particular example had medium acidity, a full body and high levels of tannins.  The fruit was stewed and basically undrinkable but I recall the previous bottle had lovely black and blue fruit, nicely integrated oak treatment and a decent finish.  If I had to score this wine- 90 points which would make it a 5 star effort with some cellaring capacity- stay till 2028.  Hearty, fatty steak would do well here.  Salut….

Rebellious Red Blend 2019, California

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I was tasting wines for a prospective class and wanted to stick to single varietals, the bartender convinced me to try this red blend of Zinfandel, Cab Sav, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Syrah.  In one word- Delicious!  Medium ruby colored with a slight blue edge it has aromas and flavors of ripe plum, blueberry pie, coconut, charred oak, cracked pepper and allspice.  Medium (-) acidity and medium tannins lead to a full bodied, mouth coating experience.  A long finish adds to this wine’s appeal and solidifies my score of 91 points. Not bad for a sub $20 effort that gets 5 stars.  At 15% ABV, it is obvious the winemaker has used really ripe, sun-drenched grapes to achieve this level of flavor.  Yummy stuff to pair with a thick Tomahawk steak or some braised Beef ribs.  Drink till 2027.  Salut….

Barista Pinotage 2020, Paarl, South Africa

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As the name implies- this is a very coffee-driven wine.  Pinotage takes to heavily toasted oak barrels like a fish to water- this is where the winemaker can add the definitive coffee notes if they so choose.  This particular bottle is a pale-to-medium ruby with a blue tinge (lower acid).  On the nose I got pronounced aromas of coffee, some dark chocolate, tar, blackberry compote, forest floor and mulberry.  My notes include a ‘fish?’ notation, might have been a passing moment.  On the palate the wine has medium (-) acidity (remember the blue tinge?), medium (+) body and medium tannins.  I noted it was quite earthy but the structural components made for a great mouthfeel and it ended with a decent length finish.  For $13, this 89 point wine earns a respectable 4 stars from me and could pair nicely with Venison, BBQ, Pulled Pork or any other highly flavored dish.  See my notes on the 2016 Barista.  Drink till 2026.  Salut….

Siglo Saco Tempranillo 2018, Rioja, Spain

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A Tempranillo wrapped in a sack?  Yup, and for $14 you too can get this 88 point Rioja that is a medium ruby colored with slow moving legs.  The aromas and flavors include the classic blackberry bramble, dust, musky perfume, floral garden and light, toasty oak. Medium (+) acidity coupled with medium a body and medium tannins make for a nice mouthfeel.  Not a stunner, it will be very serviceable for everyday drinking and should pair really well with tapas, Moussaka and pasta dishes.  It runs 14.5% ABV, so be careful out there.  Not cellar-worthy so drink this 3 star wine soon.  Salut….

Sokol Blosser ‘E – Evolution’ Pinot Noir 2020, Willamette Valley, Oregon

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After the disastrous Pinot I just tasted at the wine bar I needed redemption- this 89 pointer helped.  Pale ruby colored it had a slight funk to the nose alongside spice box, cherry, earthy cinnamon and stewed raspberry which made me wonder if this was yesterdays unprotected bottle??  The palate had medium (+) acidity, medium body and medium (-) tannins- all to be expected for this varietal.  For $14 this is not a bad drop of Oregonian Pinot that you could pop-n-pour any night of the week and pair with roast Chicken or even use in Boeuf Bourguignon.  Drink this 4 star effort till 2025.  Salut….

Ramian Estate 3 Clone Selection Pinot Noir 2013, Sonoma Coast, California

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The second wine I tasted at the wine bar was this unfortunate Pinot Noir.  So over-the-hill it was shocking for such a relatively young wine.  Pale garnet colored, the pigments ended a mm from the edge of the rim when studied at an angle.  Aromas of stewed fruit, dried figs, bruised cherry and clove.  The tertiary notes dominated the nose and palate which was tough to swallow, everything has fallen apart here.  The tertiary flavors are what I love about cellaring wine, but there comes a point of diminishing returns and this bottle passed that a while back.  No score given, a major pass.  Salut….

The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc 20121, Marlborough, New Zealand

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I did a tasting at a wine bar recently and this was the opener- a classic Sauvignon Blanc from NZ.  Pale lemon colored with heady aromas of cut grass, gooseberry, cat pee (yes, it’s a thing), tangerine, lemon rind, melon and Passion fruit.  High acidity and a medium body were to be expected and this varietally true wine delivered!  It runs $13 and gets 90 points from me making it a 5 star effort to drink soon.  Salut….

Marchese di Borgosole Appassimento 2020, Puglia IGT, Italy

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Medium ruby colored this IGT level wine comes in at 14.5% ABV which is contrary to the fast moving legs on the glass walls.  I get aromas (muted btw) of dark cherry, lavender, iron, crushed rock, blackberry and violets.  The palate is dry with high acidity and medium tannins.  Ripe black cherry, blackberry coulis, purple florals and some stoney minerality mix with a blackened cedar slate component.  The body is full and the wine finishes medium (+) in length with a touch of heat which is unusual for me to sense.   I like this rather silky brute, it presents itself with structure and fruit alongside some oak influence and unabashedly does so for $13.  It gets 89 points from me and 4 stars.  Drink till 2028 with hearty dishes.  A blend of Malvasia and Negroamara that has been air-dried on mats and then pressed after the grapes have raisined.  Salut….