Moxie and I took a trip to Austin and a nearby resort recently. On our drive out of town, headed to Hill Country we stopped at this quaint winery and enjoyed the wares. The drive off the main road was down a near-single lane country road with cattle fencing and massive Texas cows. We ended up drinking most of the offerings which seem to have Tempranillo as the common varietal. My favorite was the Cabernet/Merlot blend and we did not care for the sparkling wines- way too yeasty. The winery offers a tasting of grapes grown on property or wines from sourced fruit. Overall it was a very pleasant afternoon, lazing around with a full glass of red after working through the list. I gave rough scores and tried some note taking but in the end these are 85-87 point wines that retail for between $20-$40+. A fun place to go if you are in the area. Salut….
This week I am focusing on New World wines for my course. I have selected this bottle to kick off the festivities and here is my official tasting note for class:
Clarendon Hills Grenache ‘Romas’ 2011, Australia 14.5% ABV
- Appearance- Deep ruby with thick legs.
- Nose- Pronounced aromas of red plum, raspberry, blackcurrants, chocolate, coffee and smoke. Developing.
- Palate- Dry, medium acidity, medium+ tannins, high alcohol, medium+ body, medium+ intensity flavors of raspberry, red plum, chocolate, coffee, licorice. Medium finish.
- Conclusion- good quality, drink now but has potential for aging.
I have drunk many different vintages and varietals from this winery. Their Syrah mimics Rhone wines rather than jammy Shiraz. This particular bottle of Grenache was somewhat one-dimensional and lacked much development, even with 10+ years of aging. It was very tasty but had a bit of astringency that bothered me.
It ran me $30 per bottle and I am going with 89 points- kind of disappointing, I know. 2 stars, hopefully the other bottles show better as the original pro review gave it upwards of 95 points. Drink till 2030, served mine with grilled Hangar steak and Chimichurri. Salut….
My buddy Keef and I sat out on the patio last night and enjoyed this Cali Pinot. It was medium ruby in the glass with a medium intensity nose of funk, steeped cherry, lavender and blueberry. Definitely not your typical Pinot nose, Old or New world. The palate is more raspberry and cherry. The funk does persist on the mid palate though. The acidity is medium (-), and there are very fine grained tannins lurking. The lack of primal fruit and the overwhelming funk is a bit strange to me. It’s a very young wine to have started it’s transition by shedding primary fruit. 87 points from me and 2 stars for this $56 bottling. Salut….
I asked the group to decant this Nebbiolo for several hours before we met for tasting #15. I did not want to fight with a tannic beast and felt it best to go against my norm and give it a chance to soften. As expected from this varietal it was see-through with nice legs and showing a touch of bricking already. On the nose we got truffle, pepper, chocolate, dried cherry, tobacco, earth and it smelled ‘dry’. On the palate it was kinda blah. Tart cherry, tobacco and not much else going on. It was very disappointing from the hype generated by the reviews. I was hoping for a rich, beefy wine that would show off the grape but was let down. Overall I will go with 89 points and 2 stars for this $34 wine. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Third up at our virtual tasting event was this Grenache blend. I had high hopes for another stunner from CdP but alas, you cannot hit home run after home run. This wine was semi opaque and had notes of toasted marshmallow, candied raspberry, plum, black pepper and stone fruit on the nose. Someone in the group decried “A beautiful, pretty smell”. Someone else said it was flowery. The palate gave us spice, rich black raspberry, cigar smoke, licorice and a streak of minerality. I scored it a paltry 8.5 of 20 but for some it was a huge hit. I’m not a fan of sweetness in red wine, the candy theme is not to my taste, hence the low number. Technically speaking I gave this $45 wine 89 points, the pros went much higher at 92. It gets 2 stars from me. Drink till 2026. Salut….
A dull shade of purple belying the age of this Tempranillo blend. It’s about 75% opaque. The nose is a bit subdued- I’m really having to swirl the glass. I finally get steeped plum, bramble and a hint of oak. The palate is a little thin but I get some blueberry and plum notes alongside anise and that dusty note I like in Riojas. The mid palate is quite acidic and juicy, but I also sense a touch of heat. The finish is rather plain with black and blue fruits, really tart acidity and a token dash of tannins. I’m not overly impressed by this $20 wine, might be in a dumb phase. For now it gets 86 points. 2 stars. Salut….
Quite dark and brooding in the glass. The nose is somewhat muted but I managed to swirl some black cherry and cassis. The palate is basic with black and blue fruit notes, gentle acidity and mild tannins. The mid palate is a little hollow but I do get some plum and blueberry notes. The finish is rather short but the tannins hold on for a while, not overly dry but present. A weekday wine to pair with pasta or pizza it gets 85 points from me. Drink till 2022. This unique Argentinian red nlend of Bonarda, Malbec, and Syrah cost me $21 and gets 2 stars. Salut….
Here’s the scene- it’s Christmas Eve, Moxie is making her grandmother’s famous Holiday Crunch for dinner (a pasta casserole) and I am having to pick between four different bottles to try. Eenie meenie moe and voila- the Vino Rosso beats the Barolo, the Gigondas and the Cab Franc.
No idea what the blend is until I pour the wine, it’s gotta be a Sangiovese. Light purple, totally see through and obviously Italian. The nose gives me muted cherry, raspberry and cedar plank. On the palate it is very soft and easy drinking. Strawberry and cherry give it away. Very little tannin make this super light weight and easy without any astringency or acid. The mid palate is a red fruit melange plus some plum that takes me to the short lived finish. Right at the very end I sense some acidity taking hold, but it’s not jaw dropping. A tasty wine that will go well with our pasta dish which normally gets smothered in hot sauce. 86 points and 2 stars for this $19 charmer. Drink now. Salut….
Light gold with small bubbles. On the nose it is briny with tons of floral undertones and a hint of sweetness. On the palate it is very fizzy with notes of baking spices, muted stone fruit flavors and a touch of summer flowers. I’m not getting too much out of this wine unfortunately. It gets 86 points from me with a drink till 2024 window. 2 stars for this $23 sparkler. Salut….
This is an interesting blend out of Oz, it’s more Spanish in composition but here goes! Semi opaque and light purple in the glass. The nose is red in nature… currants, raspberry and orange peel. On the palate it’s a racy wine, if not a touch thin. Sour cherry, red currants and judicious oak are all present. The mid palate continues the sour theme and some very fine grained tannins start to coat the gums. The acid component is really making my jaw water. The finish is short in length and pleasant with more red fruit and an intro to some rhubarb. It’s an interesting blend that unfortunately was a little too thin for my liking. Technically I would give it an 86 point score and 2 stars for its $30 retail price. Drink now. Salut….