Vinedos y Bodegas Gormaz 12 Linajes Reserva 2012, Ribera del Duero, Spain

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Opaque, deep purple in the glass with fast disappearing legs.  On the nose I get bramble, iodine and blackberry.  On the palate it is very appealing with a gorgeous mouthfeel of lush black fruits, lithe, yet integrated tannins and a nice acidity.  The iodine note reappears on the midpalate alongside that telltale creosote that I love in Tempranillo.  On the back end it is more subdued with black cherry jam and those delightful tannins finishing me off with a nice dry tinge on my gums.  Well made but not long in the cellar.  Drink now till 2024 with charcuterie.  90 points and 3 stars for this $30 Tempranillo.  Salut….

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2017, Uco Valley, Argentina

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The stickers read- Decanter 93, RP 90.  I’m intrigued.  On the nose I get a nice blackberry, cassis and iodine note.  On the palate it is very lush with mouth coating blackberry jam, delicious yet lithe tannins and a minerality that I was not expecting.  The mid palate is full blown black fruit but it’s the finish that has me lusting for another mouthful. There’s so much body and ripe fruit that it is almost overflowing.  The black berry compote is dark, sweet and ripe.  The tannins are just right, not over done yet they give a nice mouthfeel for a long finish.  This is a drink now till 2027 wine that will reward some patience yet give pleasure right away with everything from Bangers and Mash to hearty roasts, steak and pasta.  I think Decanter went the right direction with this one- 92 points from me and it’s a steal for $10, worthy of 5 stars.  Glad I found it.  Salut….

La Croix-Barton 2015, Bordeaux, France

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Pale purple and seethrough in the glass.  The nose is black kirsch and charcoal.  On the palate it has a definitive woodsy note that opens up the initial palate.  Black berries appear alongside rooibos tea, but it’s a little thin.  On the midpalate I get some juicy acidity alongside some dark fruits.  The finish has some tannic bite, albeit slightly green.  Overall I’m quite disappointed in this vintage.  84 points and 1 star for this $15 wine, a major pass I’m afraid.  Salut….

Murrieta’s Well Port 2017, Livermore Valley, USA

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Opaque and very dark in the glass.  Super concentrated nose of plum, almond and strangely enough- lemon peel (only a touch).  Currants and raisins pop in as well but in a supporting role.  On the palate this is a refreshing style of Port that gives me blackcurrants, espresso and mocha dust.  It’s delicious and fruity with a nice yet lithe set of tannins that very gently apply a dryness right on the finish.  This is a nice treat.  Absolutely pair this with soft, ripe cheese or perhaps a chocolate ganache.  91 points. $40 and 3 stars.  Salut….

Murrieta’s Well Zarzuela 2016, Livermore Valley, USA

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Nearly black and definitely opaque in the glass, this wine promises to be a brooding monster.  On the nose I get charcoal, iodine, black cherry, olive and bacon fat. On the palate this is such an atypical wine- intriguing.  Twizzler meets black currants and Rooibos tea.  Delightful tannins and great mouthfeel. It’s got a long finish that keeps on giving. I’m actually at a loss for descriptors on this unique blend.  It’s not everyone’s cup of vino but it is well made, tasty and worthy of a try.  91 points for this blend of 45% Touriga, 35% Tempranillo, 20% Souzao make it a 3 star effort at $64.  Drink with charcuterie, steak and wild boar until 2028.  Salut….

Murrieta’s Well The Spur Red 2016, Livermore Valley, USA

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Dark purple, opaque.  On the nose I get red fruits, mainly raspberries and dark cherry. On the palate I sense a definitive Cali sunshine component that differentiates this blend from a more traditional Medoc. It’s more fruit forward and fresher.  There’s more concentration and the wine is rich.  I start to get plums, black currants and quinine on the mid palate.  This is multidimensional and very tasty with a nice tannic structure and good acidic balance.  I would suggest a few years in cellar and then let ‘er rip till 2028.  Steaks, rich stew in the fall or osso bucco beg for this 91 point blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 22% Petite Sirah, 9% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec.  $35 and 4 stars.  Salut….

 

Murrieta’s Well Petit Verdot 2017, Livermore Valley, USA

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Dark purple in the glass.  On the nose there’s sweet lingonberry, French oak notes and charcoal.  On the palate this wine is delicious- black fruits galore. Lilac, delicious oak without the flab and gorgeous tannins all caress my palate.  The finish is super duper….long, a touch dry with that dark fruit jam that is delicious.  92 points $56 makes this a 4 star effort that was the wine of the day for me.  Drink till 2028 with all sorts of meats and stews.  Salut….

Murrieta’s Well Merlot 2016, Livermore Valley, USA

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Dark purple, semi opaque in the glass. On the nose there’s a  very concentrated plum core with a touch of oak and espresso.  On the palate it introduces blackberries and tannin right off the bat.  There is a black fruit component that carries through the slightly hollow midpalate into the finish of violet, black olive and plum.  It lasts a while.  I would cellar this baby till 2021 and then drink till 2026 with venison, roast squab or a hearty pasta dish…. steaks are an obvious pairing btw.  90 points  and 3 stars for this $46 bottle.  Salut….

Murrieta’s Well Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Livermore Valley, USA

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Dark purple in the glass with long legs.  93% cab, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot.  On the nose I get rich plum, blackberry, cocoa and cedar.  On the palate I am surprised yet delighted by the rich cherry flavor that hits initially.  The wine offers up the more traditional plums and black fruit later, alongside very lithe tannins that sneak up.   Balance is great in this wine, just a touch of acidity to keep the dryness in check and allow the fruit to shine.  There’s a certain warmth that closes out the midlength finish that I’m enjoying.  This wine is drinking nicely now and will improve with age.  Drink till 2026 with steaks!  92 points and 4 stars for this $62 wine.  Salut….

Murrieta’s Well Tempranillo 2017, Livermore Valley, USA

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Very dark purple.  On the nose it is showing off sweet blackberries with a spicy component.  Plum reduction also comes to mind.  On the palate sour plum combines beautifully with blackberry and coffee bean.  The midpalate introduces the tannins which ramp up nicely to caress the gums on the finish without being too dry and obtrusive.  Drink now till 2024 with game dishes, charcuterie or all by itself.  91 points makes this $50 charmer a 4 star wine.  I was impressed BTW.  Salut….