Pasta for dinner means an Italian wine but I’m afraid this one might be a touch young. Made from Montepulciano grapes it is medium opacity with garnet hues. The nose is medium (-) in intensity and gives me aromas of red licorice, cherry, smoke, nutmeg, red plum and cherry cola. The palate is not what I was expecting- much more approachable. Dry, with medium (-) tannins, juicy acidity and medium weight body. The flavors are medium intensity with notes of cherry, cola, strawberry, nutmeg, and a hint of red plum. I don’t get the smoke component any more. The tartness of the cherry is evident on the finish, which is relatively short. I like this wine as a basic, no frills red that will serve the pairing well. It gets 88 points from me and for the entry-level price of $11 it is worthy of 4 stars. Keep a few on hand for a weekday spaghetti night. Drink now. Salut….
This Grenache/Syrah blend is very dark purple in the glass and 75% opaque. On the nose I get telltale raspberry plus red currants and red licorice. The palate is quite dry right off the bat and a touch austere. As I work my way through the black tea notes I discover raspberry and cherry cola. The mid palate is very tannic but I still get red fruit and now- black licorice. The finish is a long and dry affair, the tannins really gripping my gums. There is a touch of bitterness all through the wine that bothers me somewhat, perhaps a bit of decanting or aerating would soften it up? I think this is a basic wine that will do well paired with hearty meat stews, especially Lamb. It gets 85 points from me and at $11- 3 stars. Drink till 2023. Salut….
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….
Very dark purple and nearly opaque in the glass. The nose on this Zin gives me sweet plums, white pepper, licorice and dried cherry. On the palate is has a warm intro bursting with purple fruit ganache, sweet black cherry and a modicum of very fine grained tannins. The mid palate continues the black/purple fruit theme but it’s here where I sense the 15.1 % alcohol. It’s not bothersome, just be careful! The tannins are really well integrated so that I get just a touch of dryness on the backend to go along with some steeped plum and charcoal notes. I really am enjoying this wine, it will pair nicely with the braised Lamb shanks in the oven. It gets 89 points from me and for $11 it’s one to stock up on for casual meals and Friday Happy hours. 5 stars, drink till 2024. Salut….
Our second Sav Blanc of Thanksgiving was another Kiwi wine. Pale yellow in the glass with a somewhat muted nose of tangerine and pomelo. On the palate it is refreshing with that orange citrus flavor along with grated ginger and capsicum. There is a hint of wood accent on the mid palate and a touch of acidity. It’s a fuller mouthfeel but is a bit shallower on the flavor profiles. 89 points and 4 stars for this $11 quaffer to drink till 2022. Salut….
This is one dark, opaque wine in the glass. On the nose I get some red currants, violets, crushed stone minerality and blueberry. The palate is delicious- ripe blueberry, licorice, rooibos tea and cranberry flavors are all intermingled with very fine grained tannins. The mid palate introduces a touch of acidity and the finish is where this wine really shines. It has a lovely mouthfeel, good balance and the fruit flavors go on for 30 seconds. Those lithe tannins slowly ramp up to give me a touch of dryness on the gums and teeth. Just what I needed for a Fall evening with some hearty foods to include Veal Shnitzel and mashed potatoes. I am really enjoying this wine and would suggest a drinking window until 2025. This Syrah/Grenache blend gets 91 points from me. At $11- six stars if I could. Salut….
I recently ordered six different bottles from Naked Wines. This Mendoza wine is the first of the series. At $11, I’m not sure what to expect, here goes.
It’s a nice shade of purple and semi opaque in the glass. I sense dark plums, black currants and spice box on the nose. The palate is really juicy with a fruit forward approach. Dark fruits dominate with black cherry as the leader. There is a really nice tannic component that is not too astringent but gives just the right amount of dryness. The mid palate is really juicy with a nice rounded acidity and good mouthfeel. The fruit is very warm and satisfying. The fruit components are joined by some black tea notes and more spice box. Cedar shake also comes to mind as I ponder the finish. It’s decent in length and has the right amount of tannic grip to keep me interested without making my gums wince. The acidity is very gentle and balanced.. I really like this wine for an everyday drinker and give it 90 points. At that price it’s worthy of 5 stars and a stock up, drink till 2026. A blend of Malbec and Cab Sav that I’m pairing with grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip roast and baked potatoes. Well done. Salut….
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….
Medium opacity with good purple color and very fine-stranded legs. The nose is dark. Blackberry, hoisin, raisins and cinnamon. On the palate it’s slightly lighter- sweet black cherries, violets and creosote. Very lithe tannins sneak up on me and the mid palate becomes a mouth puckering event that allows waves of black cherry to mingle with rooibos tea and tar. The tannic grip is further highlighted on the finish. Evergreen, black tea and blackberries surrounded by that astringency take me to a medium length ending that has my mouth watering. Delicious, youthful and cellarworthy. This wine is versatile in its power and flavor profile. Really yummy and worthy of 92 points from me. One pro went as high as 94! Great stuff for $11, a steal really. Drink till 2026. 5 stars for sure for this 85% Grenache/15% Syrah blend. Salut….
Darker and more opaque than most Pinot Noirs. The nose has a strawberry candy note plus blueberry paste and a fig component. Sounds strange- I know. On the palate it delivers on that fig thing, surprisingly. I also get blueberry and some oak. The tannins are crispy, appearing on the midpalate and carrying us through to the finish which has blueberry and charcoal. Very tasty indeed. The tannins are long lived, drying out my gums for well over a minute. This will will age nicely methinks . 90 points and 5 stars for this $11 wine. Salut….