If you read my previous post on the Guillaume Pinot Noir, this Rioja is the second bottle we tasted. Like the Pinot, this one has suffered some severe cork damage to the point where I had to drain the wine through a hole in the middle of the cork and filter it into a decanter. Having said that it’s drinking beautifully and is full of tertiary flavors with a little bit of primal fruit left alongside fully melded tannins. Leather, game, steeped plum and cinnamon stick are all present. Typical for Rioja Tempranillo this one has a dusty component to go alongside the flavors of dried fruit and sage. I love Crianza’s from Spain, the oak influence is always well done and delicious. This brand is always consistent with a good reason; decently priced wines that apparently have good cellaring capacity even if stored incorrectly. 90 points for this $12 bottle make it an absolute steal. Salut….
I have just signed up for some formalized wine training. In the package that I received from them is a systematic approach to tasting wine guide that I’m supposed to use when I drink wines. This will be my first attempt at using such a guide, but I will revert back to my old ways every once in a while. I tasted the 2017 version of this Pinot Noir previously and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope I get as much bang for the buck out of this newer offering.
Intensity is pale, the color is ruby and the nose is of medium intensity with primary flavors of cherry, strawberry and cinnamon stick. The pallet is off-dry in terms of sweetness with medium acidity, low tannins, low alcohol, light body. Light flavor intensity with primary notes of more cherry, strawberry, rooibos tea and spice box. The finish is medium in length and I find this wine to have acceptable if not good quality. On my own scale it gets 89 points with a drinking window till 2026. Serve with lighter fare such as chicken on the grill or a linguine dish.The use of oak is very deft here but it’s evident by some cloves and a bit of smoke on the tail end. At $ 12, it’s a steal worthy of 5 stars. Easy to drink, easy on the wallet- by the case for immediate drinking! Salut….
This Tempranillo blend is 10 years old but still showing youth in the glass- inky purple and opaque. The nose is classic Rioja with leather, bramble, blackberry and singed alder. I love that combo. The palate is showing just a touch of age with tertiary nuances popping up. Black currants, juicy acidity and medium strength tannins all greet me. The leather, alder and dried bramble notes are also present. The mid palate has a vanilla component as well as coffee bean. Black licorice hits me on the back end where the finish is a touch dry and long. Black cherry, blackberry and tertiary flavors are persistent, as is the juicy acidity and tannic grip. This wine was a steal at $12. It is still young and should drink nicely till 2027. I am pairing it with grilled Hanger steak, air fried potatoes and steamed asparagus. 90 points and 5 stars. Salut….
I love Cab Franc as a standalone varietal. It offers up so much sophistication, is svelte and has great structure. Found mainly in blends, it does really well on its own in my book. This one is bright purple and semi opaque in the glass. The nose is exploding as it just sits there, I can smell it a mile away. Black pepper, violets, spice box and black raspberry all greet me. The palate is very muscular and fruity. Rich purple fruit notes alongside the spiciness make for an interesting taste. Very nice tannins are present from the get go, but not over powering. Oak nuances are present as is a fair dose of acidity. The mid palate is a touch less dry, with the flavors turning a little darker. Black currants take over alongside some tea notes. The finish is quite dry and decent in length. I am enjoying this rather full bodied wine, it’s not as perfumed and lithe as I was expecting but it will rock my Goat stew for dinner. Other pairings would include grilled Hanger steak with Frites or even Lamb Chops with mint sauce. 90 points for this $12 stunner make it a 5 star effort. Drink till 2025. Salut….
Gorgeous pale orange color. Nose of strawberries, lemon peel and some clementine. On the palate it is bright with those same flavors, a touch of acidity and a long finish. It’s got a great mouthfeel and just the right amount cut to keep it refreshing, light and flavorful. A delicious way to start the evening. Drink this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault now with appetizers. 88 points and 4 stars, $12. Salut….
I don’t recall ever having a pure Graciano, it’s normally used as a blending grape. In the glass it is a pale shade of purple and is fully opaque. On the nose I get charred plums, black berries and a stewed fruit note. The palate is interesting with brooding dark fruits, oak and a vanilla bean note. The tannic structure is very well ingrained in this 9 year old bottle. They are present but not foreboding. The black fruits show up on the mid palate with a touch of bitterness, there is a green note too. On the finish is where I get some nice acidity to go with the oaky fruit compote. There is a nice dryness on the back end from the tannins. The wine is a pleasure to drink but that midpalate greeness has me concerned. This will drink well till 2025 and pair nicely with pasta, roasted chicken and certainly grilled steak. I’m going 89 points and 3 stars for the $12 price point. Salut….
This was our first wine at the #7 virtual tasting event. It turned out to be my wine of the night. Charles Smith makes good wine, and is very reasonable. I’m a fan and was happy this wine rocked.
We tasted the wine at room temp and chilled. I preferred the room temp wine as it had a far wider nose, more generous fruit flavors and was more complex. The chilled version was still very good. Apples, lemon, pineapple and pear notes were recorded with the first tasting while Granny Smith apples, honeysuckle and more acidity were noted with the chilled version. It’s difficult for me to do a proper tasting while conducting the virtual tastings but this wine gets an overall score of 91 from me. At $12 per bottle this needs to bought by the case, 5 stars. Drink till 2023. Salut….
The third SplashWine in the lineup is a Merlot from Spain. It’s a dull shade of purple and nearly see through. On the nose I get cherry, raspberry and oregano. On the initial palate it is somewhat sweet with cherry juice, more red fruit melange and tart acid. The mid palate is not so sweet and the proper flavors come around. Raspberries and sour cherry are more like it. The wine finishes quickly, with some red fruit, crunchy tartness and a trace of tannins. 83 points from me and 1 star for this $12 wine. Salut….
It looks very dark and brooding in the glass, the legs barely evident- 13.5% alcohol will do that. On the nose it is spicy with dark cherry, cola and a touch of oak. I also notice a spice box component. On the palate it is a bit abrupt- black cherry, green pepper, iodine and anise all greet me. There’s a frontal wave of tannins that also hit right off the bat, quite dry and relentless. The mid palate is more red cherry meets blackberry, with a nice acidic touch to refresh the palate. The tannins are certainly players here, enveloping my gums and making me pucker. The brooding nature of this wine is evident on the palate now as it finishes with crunchy black berries, that tannic grip and some toasty oak nuances. The finish is quite long. I was not sure what to expect from this wine, it was part of a SplashWine shipment. I did see it for sale at $12 online and it got 83 points from one reviewer. I would guess it’s got some Syrah, Grenache and maybe a touch of Tempranillo. Who knows…. For me it’s decent for everyday, gets 86 points and 3 stars. Drink till 2024 with some Jamon, a steak or pasta. Salut….
Number two in the virtual line-up was this Nero D’Avola from Sicily. I wanted to add a relatively unknown varietal to try and introduce new wines to my friends. This one was a steal at $12 and scored highly amongst the attendees. I gave it 89 points and will go with 4 stars. It had some very nice black fruits, good tannic structure and a decent finish of licorice and oak adding to plums. Cellar for up to 6 years. A good wine to have in case you need a quick go-to bottle. Salut….