Next up in my series on Finger Lakes wines is another aromatic varietal- Muscat Ottonel. This one is a deep lemon color in the glass and rings in at 11.5% ABV. The nose has pretty florals, lychee, sea salt and lemon/lime spritz. On the palate it is off-dry with a hint of sweetness and plenty of body. The tropical fruit coats my mouth and the aromatics are powerful. This wine is weighty with medium (-) acidity and a long finish. It is delicious and unique. I decided to pair it with English Bangers and Mash with onion gravy. I do believe it will work well- as would a Cobb salad, perhaps Lobster Thermidor or even roasted Cornish Hens. It reminds me of last night’s Gewürztraminer but with less acidity, less minerality but more body and fruit. 89 points for this $20 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Drink now. Salut….
Number two wine at our 23rd virtual tasting was this mature Merlot-based Bordeaux blend from the great 2010 vintage. Deep garnet with evidence of bricking in the glass. Nose of black cherry, tobacco, graphite, musty and earthy with leather, pencil shavings, cassis and stewed strawberry. The palate is very smooth with integrated tannins that are fully resolved. The tertiary notes are all present alongside smoke, blackberry, blackcurrant and cedar. The wine has a milder taste and is quite dry. Medium bodied it has a medium length finish. I’m going with 91 points and a drinking window up till 2025. At $20- it’s a great intro to an aged Right Bank wine that gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
Opaque ruby-purple, this wine has thick legs in the glass (14.5% ABV). The nose shows off primal blackberry, blueberry, black cherry licorice/candy and blackcurrant candy drops. The candy component is a little strong for me. The palate is quite tasty and the candy component is gone, thank god. The fruit is very ripe- blackberry, blueberry, black cherry and currants with some very slight oak notes. The wine has good acidity and medium tannins that coat the gums but are not astringent. The finish turns juicy from the acidity and is medium in length. This full bodied wine is delicious now and will drink well until 2027 with steaks, grilled sausage or chorizo on the charcoal. 89 points for this $20 effort ($14 at Costco) makes it a 4 star effort to buy a few bottles of. Salut….
This blend of Grenache and Syrah is semi opaque and shows off a bright ruby color in the glass. The legs are-a-watering- with 15% ABV that is to be expected. The nose is quite exuberant- plums, raspberry, red licorice, blueberry pie, bacon fat, violets and charcoal. The palate is dry with caressing tannins and medium acidity that keeps the fruit fresh. Medium bodied- the red and blue fruits are quite pronounced and the meaty component alongside oak nuance is present as well. The finish is medium in length and has a tannic grip for a while. There is a slight imbalance that I cannot point a finger at that will detract a point or two. Drinking nicely now this wine will pair with rich meaty stews, venison roasts or pasta till 2026. 90 points from me for this $20 effort makes it a 5 star wine. Salut….
Deep ruby color which is surprising considering the age of this Merlot (5 years old). I was expecting a bit of garnet. The nose is wafting…. and is a bit dusty right off the bat. A good swirl and aromas of black currant, bramble, cassis, charred oak, stewed black plum, coconut and sweet raspberry pie. The palate is very smooth, spicy and chock full of fruit. Flavors of black currants, plum, cassis, dusty bramble with oak hints of coconut and charred wood mingle with some red fruit. I like it. The tannins are fully integrated and there is a balancing acidity making for a very smooth mouthfeel that has medium body and a medium finish. This wine is at peak and I am pairing it with grilled Tri-tip and mashed potatoes alongside some charred eggplant and onion salad. 90 points, drink this $20 wine that gets 5 stars from me till 2024. Salut….
This Cab is an opaque purple in the glass with no legs showing- strange considering it sports 14.2% ABV. The nose is reminiscent of a purple fruit medley. Blackcurrants, plums, blackberry and blueberry all mixed up. A spicy note like bakers spices hits me as well as some minty earthiness. The palate is delicious- the fruit compote with spice, oak nuances and very nicely integrated tannins make for a delicious flavor profile that has a great mouthfeel. The acidity is present, balanced and not overly tart. The wine has medium to full body and it lasts a decent amount on the finish. I’m liking it, a lot. 90 points for this $20 gem makes it a 5 star wine. I’m giving some Strip steaks a cast iron treatment alongside sweet potato fries and sautéed spinach. Should work a treat, drink till 2027. Salut….
I think the label is cool, very cool. I don’t normally buy based on graphics but this one had to be done. It is a bit murky in the glass but shows youth still with a deep ruby color. On the nose I get black plum, black currants, blackberry, blueberry compote, cedar plank, vanilla and coconut. The palate is very tasty- black and blue fruits, toasty oak nuances and well integrated tannins. Low to medium acidity makes for a nice mouthfeel that is medium bodied. Th finish is shortish but chock full of fruit. Shame it doesn’t last very long. I like this $20 wine that will drink nicely till 2025 and pair well with Osso Bucco, lamb stew or Steak au Poivre. I am going with 90 points which aligns with the pros, making it a 5 star effort. Salut….
This Chardonnay has got a bit of bottle age which shows in the glass- a deep gold color. On the nose I get wafts of MLF, perhaps a bit of lees stirring and some relatively fresh citrus and floral notes. Brioche, butter, lemon curd, grapefruit, chamomile and sprite (the drink). The palate is dry with medium body and juicy acidity. The flavors are more citrus driven but I do get some minerality and a hint of Malolactic Fermentation. Tropical fruit notes hit the mid plate and the finish is long and silky with decent acidity. I like this wine, but it’s not everyone’s style. The silky mouthfeel comes with butter-like flavors that may not be up everyone’s alley. The minimalist oak usage is appreciated btw. For $20, it’s a good weekday wine that gets 90 points from me and 5 stars. Drink till 2026 with some hearty fish dishes or stuffed peppers. Salut….
I take my WSET Level 3 exam tomorrow night so I thought I would get a sparkler in before the deadline. This one is pale lemon in color and has medium bubbles/mousse. The nose is of medium intensity with aromas of green apple, lemon, bread, biscuit and herbs. The palate is dry (A Brut can have 0-12 g/l of residual sugar). Medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, delicate mousse and medium intensity flavors of biscuit, lemon, green apple and those herbs, it’s actually quite simple. The finish is medium in length and certainly tangy from the acid. If you like dry (ie. not a touch of sweetness) sparkling wine made in the Method Trtaditionelle which imparts the bread/yeast/brioche/dough flavors then this charming $20 wine is right up your alley. 88 points from me make it a 3 star effort. I’m thinking oysters. Drink now. Salut….
When I saw this vintage I had to buy it- the 2018 Daou was amazing so I’m hoping for a repeat. This one is opaque purple. On the nose it is rich with pronounced intensity aromas of blackberry, black plum, black cherry, tomato leaf, mint and charred oak. The palate is sweet from ripe fruit- blackberry jam, licorice, charred oak, black tea, good acidity and a hefty dose of back-end tannins. Medium to full bodied it fills the mouth with great fruit notes and ripe tannins. The California sunshine is evident in this fruit bomb. I really like it for what it is- Cali Cab with great structure that will pair beautifully with steaks, pasta and game. 91 points for this $20 steal makes it a 5 star home-run. Buy in bulk and drink till 2026. Salut….