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….
Medium lemon/lime color. Pronounced aromas of papaya, pineapple, ripe pear, honeysuckle, stone and guava. Dry palate with medium (+) acidity and medium body. The tropical fruit and crispness/minerality of this wine are delicious. The finish is medium in length and I’m really enjoying the mouthfeel. Really yummy, especially chilled on this hot summer’s day. We are grilling jumbo prawns on a bed of crisp salad. Drink now. 90 points for this $18 effort makes it a 5 star wine. Ps. this varietal is also known as Steen in South Africa. Salut….
Medium garnet colored, this Tempranillo has trademark aromas of leather, earthy dust, ripe blackberry, rich plum, vanilla, black cherry jam and charred wood. The palate is dry with medium acidity and grippy tannins that coat my mouth. The fruit is ripe and the wine is full bodied. Black fruit flavors wrapped in a cloak of oak nuance with some signs of tertiary development make for a delicious wine. I paid $19 for this stunning 92 pointer that gets 5 stars. I would pair it with grilled Hangar steak and sweet potato fries. I think this balanced and structured wine will drink well until 2030 at the least. Salut….
My WSET tasting group was tasked with presenting notes on this Aussie Riesling. It was pale lemon in the glass and we found the nose to have medium (+) intensity aromas of lemon, lime, mandarin, grapefruit, blossom, wet stones and that tell-tale petrol note. The wine is considered youthful at this stage. The palate was off-dry with medium (+) acidity, low alcohol (9.5% ABV), medium (-) body with medium intensity flavors of the above aromas. We thought it fell off a bit on the palate versus the nose. Ending with a medium finish we thought this $18 effort was of very good quality and could be drunk now with suitability to age as well. If you like an off-dry Riesling that has already developed petrol notes (which I do), then this is for you. Members of the class questioned a food pairing and one lady said Thai food- I concur. 91 points and 5 stars. Salut….
I love Port. Tawny is not my top style so I am trying to broaden my palate, even if it means buying Costco’s brand (they have some excellent stuff BTW). This one is medium garnet in color. The nose is quite pronounced, perhaps due to the big 20% ABV evaporating off those wafts? Nuts, caramel, singed orange, prune, raisins and a dried herb note. The palate is off-dry, with medium acidity, medium tannins and high alcohol which is noticeable. Medium (+) body and pronounced flavors of dried fruit, oxidative notes of caramel, dried herbs and that lovely orange component. The finish is quite lengthy, tannic, high in residual alcohol and really yummy. For under $20 it’s a decent drop that gets 88 points from me and 4 stars. Salut….
Almost opaque, this dark ruby colored ‘Red Wine’ is a blend of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah that rings in at 13.9% ABV. The nose has rich black plum, blackberry coulis, licorice and vanilla. The palate is meh… Tart, dry and lacking depth of fruit. I do get some blackberry and plum but I’m missing the oak nuance, the licorice and am distracted by the sourness. The tannins are medium (+) and the wine is mid weight. The finish is short, TG. Not impressed by this $18 wine (I paid $10) that gets 84 points from me. 1 star and a major pass. I’m pairing it with leftover Lasagna. Salut….
I have drunk numerous vintages of this Malbec, in copious quantities to boot- so when I was looking for a red wine to try and pair with Andouille and Shrimp Creole I thought this might just work. Spicy foods need to stay away from very tannic wines which need to be very fruit forward and cannot flaunt too much acidity. This varietal is just that; medium tannins, high in fruit and mild in acidity.
This Reserve offering is inky purple in the glass, like opaque. The nose is very fruity with ripe plum, toast, cinnamon, blackcurrant, black cherry and anise. The palate is beautiful- full bodied yet super smooth with black fruits galore, gentle acidity and lithe tannins. A virtual compote of black and dark red fruit with hints of oak. A long finish that is all fruit, little astringency and mildly tart- perfect for my needs. I would also pair this wine with roast poultry, venison, even a pork tenderloin and obviously steaks. It will drink nicely till 2026 and gets 91 points from me. At $18 it’s a steal that gets 5 stars. If you like round, plush, fruity wines that are not very tart or astringent then look for this gem. Salut….
During the 10th Virtual Wine Tasting in September of 2020 I introduced the Carmenere grape to our group. It was met with skepticism. Read all about the Massal 1945. I did not care for the herbaceous nature of the bottle and was put off varietal for a while, until I saw this one from Concha Y Toro. One of my favorite brands, they have good, consistent wines. This grape needs to properly ripen or else it is green and disgusting.
Our group felt this bottle was very good, some thinking it was the wine of the night. Flavors and aromas of this semi-opaque wine consisted of raspberry, chocolate, plum, capsicum and black pepper. Medium tannins, medium body and gentle acidity made for a nice mouthfeel alongside a relatively short finish. I scored it a 91, which is below the pros. At $18 it’s a great way to discover Chile’s signature grape that gets 5 stars from me. Whew, relief that it was good rather than controversial. Drink till 2024. Salut….
As I practice writing notes for my wine class I am trying to get the format correct and use only the approved words from the lexicon they gave us. I know it’s not my style, nor do I like the restricted descriptors, but hey- it’s only temporary till I pass the tests. So, bare with me as we taste this $18 smooth sipper from out west that gets 89 points from me and 4 stars. Salut….
- Appearance- hazy deep garnet.
- Nose- medium (+) intensity, aromas of plum, blackberry, white pepper, cinnamon, coconut. Developing.
- Palate- dry, medium (-) acidity, medium body, medium (-) tannins, medium (+) flavor intensity of plum, blackberry, white pepper, coconut. Finish medium (-).
- Conclusions- quality level is good, can drink now but has potential for aging.
A very smooth Syrah with some bottle age that is at peak now.
My friend Arty was tidying up her office last week and stumbled upon three bottles of wine that had been left over from various functions. They were all standing upright and at least 8-14 years old. I promised to dispose of them for her, so last night we sampled two of the three. I started out with this Pinot Noir from France. The bottle suffered from severe cork failure. However- this entry level Pinot is actually holding up quite well in the glass. It is showing a touch of bricking, a Garnet color and it’s see-through with a bit of sediment. The nose gives me stewed plums, cherries and strawberry. There is a hay component that I’m finding very interesting but it’s mostly cooked fruit which signifies it’s plateau of maturity. The tannins are fully integrated at this point and there is a modicum of acidity that gives me a little bite at the finish. I’m surprised this one has made it so long but it’s a drink now situation. Overall 91 points and kudos to the winemaker for crafting such a pleasurable mature Vin de Pays. Surprisingly it only runs 12.5% abv, a relative lightweight! Newer vintages will cost $18, making this wine a steal worthy of 5 stars. Salut….