It’s not often I see a Sicilian Nero D’avola so I picked this up on spec. It pours a semi opaque ruby in the glass with very watery legs. The nose has pretty florals and red currant, red plum, sage and believe it or not- red chili. There is a sweet candy note that strikes fear into me as I hate that smell/taste in a wine- let’s see if it shows up on the palate. Yum, this is very smooth and gently tannic. Juicy acidity and a medium body weight give it a balanced mouthfeel. The finish is a touch short but the acidity goes on for a while making me want to drink another sip. The flavors are all there plus black cherry. Listed at $23 it gets 89 points from me and 3 stars. Drink soon with pasta, sausages with peppers or spaghetti bolognese. Salut….
This Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot weighs in at 13.5% ABV, a welcome change from some of the bombs I have had recently. It is medium ruby in the glass and has a medium intensity nose. The aromas I get are black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, plum, black tea, red licorice, mint and very subtle oak. Not at all what I was expecting- red fruits in a Cab? On the palate it is dry with juicy acidity. The tannins are grippy and a touch underripe. The flavors are somewhat muted but I do get the raspberry, some sour cherry and plum. Black tea shows up on the mid-palate and the deft oak is barely perceptible. The acidity is quite high on the finish as is the tannic grip. The fruit fades quickly and I am left feeling like I stuffed a tea pouch between my cheeks. I must say- this is a bit young and the fruit is hiding. Give it time. The pros went 92+ points and for $23 it’s a theoretical steal worthy of 5 stars. I am reserving judgement and will open the other two bottles in a few years. Drink from 2023-2030. Salut….
I was in my local wine shop the other day and came across this aged Tempranillo in the clearance section- for $ 23. I couldn’t pass it up, a Reserva FFS. In the glass it is slightly hazy, but a deep shade of ruby that I can barely see through. The nose is classic Spain- brambly with ink, huckleberry, sweet blackberry, smoky oak and a dusty component. The palate is a touch dry right off the bat, the tannins never got the message to settle down after 8 years. It’s a full onslaught, drying the gums and overpowering the fruit initially. I finally work my way through the astringent quagmire and start to enjoy the black and blue fruits. The tertiary notes are starting to appear with some leather, charcoal and black tea developing on the mid palate. The finish is a really dry affair with the tannic grip almost too much. I pity the fool who doesn’t like ’em dry. There is a decent acidic component but it is overcome by the tannic structure, a little out of balance methinks. This medium weight wine will pair (begs for) a fatty cut of meat, think Ribeye or Lamb chops. I would consider cellaring some for a while to allow the wine to mature even more, say till 2028. Right now the balance concerns me a bit and it will detract from the scoring, I would hope it softens over time. 89 points and 3 stars. Salut….
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It was cultivated in 1925 in South Africa, where it is the signature grape. This one is bright purple in the glass and is 75% opaque. The nose has black cherry, red licorice and a hint of Hoisin. The palate is textbook- tar, black cherry, blackberry and a medicinal hint. The tannins are very prominent right off the bat, coating my gums with dry grit. The mid palate offers additional flavors of mocha, espresso and more black fruit. The finish is appealing with a shot of acidity that rights the ship, bringing the tannins back in line. The flavor profile changes somewhat to a more red-fruit driven one, think sour cherries but with a minerality. The finish is decent in length and the tannic structure of this wine asks for a fatty cut of meat. My pairing is going to be Braised Lamb Shanks with sautéed Swiss chard and boiled carrots. 88 points for this wine that will drink till 2026. At $23, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
This wine is very see-through and has a pale purple hue but I am concerned with some effervescence in the glass and bottle. I’ll give it a try before passing judgement. The nose has cherry, mocha and red currant hints. On the palate it kicks off with a strange note of tart cherry and mushrooms. The acidity is bracing to say the least. There is a wave of tannins that hits me on the mid palate but I manage to sense red fruit and rooibos tea. The effervescence I noticed may be interfering with this wine’s flavors, hard to tell. The finish is quite dry and juicy, balanced between the tannic grip and the jaw drenching acidity. Think straight up cranberry juice mixed with sour cherry juice along with a mouthful of black tea in a pouch. I’m afraid I cannot pass judgement on this wine due to the potential flaw with secondary fermentation occurring. I paid $23 per bottle. Shame….
I hosted the 14th Virtual Wine tasting last night but this wine was tasted twice. We originally planned to have the tasting a few weeks ago, so I opened my bottle that morning to decant some to taste at room temp and the rest was chilled. The actual group tasting was delayed but I did sample this wine with one other couple. I will reveal the scores at the end, which are somewhat consistent.
The wine itself is a light shade of gold. The nose on the room temp glass gave us apple, brioche, butter, honeysuckle, melon and pears. The palate tasted better than the smell with tangerine, green apples, nuts and pear on the decent length finish. The chilled version showed more minerality on the nose with butter, lemons, melon and a metallic note reminiscent of tin foil. It was noted as being more pungent. The palate was refreshing but I wrote originally that it had less flavor. Subsequently the group noted a touch of oak, green apples and Maraschino cherries.
My original rating was 16 and 13 but last night I docked the room temp version down to 13, and upped the chilled one to 14 points on my scoring system. Overall, both times the wine got a solid 90 points on the official scale and for $23, it’s a 5 star effort that rated 92+ from the pros. Drink till 2025 with all kinds of seafood. Salut….
This Washington State Cab Sav is a murky, dark shade of purple and totally opaque. On the nose I get a whiff of alcohol followed by plums, black currants and cedar shake. The palate starts off with a healthy dose of tannins and black fruit salad. When I say healthy, I mean teeth coating astringency- wow. The fruit flavors are having a hella time trying to get center stage here. The mid palate has black currants and tea notes that are vying for space with the grip of tannins. On the finish it is a very dry affair that is short lived from the fruit. I need to get the Vinturi out and re-try. I picked the right wine for tonight’s pairing- Picanha steaks, which have a thick edge of fat in need of some hefty tannins. This wine has tremendous structure and will cellar nicely for a few years but if you need it now, aerate it or you will be lost in a sea of mouth searing tannins. Overall I think this wine will end up really nice and considering the aging capacity I am going with 90 points. It retails for $23 and gets 5 stars from me. Drink from 2023 till 2027. Salut….
Very dark purple and fully opaque. Loads of pepper, purple plums and blackcurrant preserves on the nose. On the palate I get a whack of iodine, ink and black fruit. There’s a very definitive tannic streak but without the gum coating astringency. Cranberry and tart cherry are noted on the mid palate. The tannins are a touch green on the back end and they really start to grip on the long finish. This wine scored big with the pros, I can see why. In my books the greeness detracts- 90 points and 4 stars for this $23 Zin. Drink till 2024. 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….
The second wine of the 12th virtual wine tasting was this NV blend of Grenache and Syrah. Semi opaque in the glass it had a medium purple shade. The tasters noted chocolate, white pepper, Kirsch, marshmallow s’mores, dark cherry, cedar, charcoal with earth, funk, spice and a nutty component. On the palate the wine had black pepper, lots of it. Cedar, cola, Birch and black cherry. For me, the tannins came out of nowhere to a big crescendo on the finish. The pepper component was a hit with some, for others it was just a tad overpowering. This wine was ranked very highly with the pros and cost us $23. I am giving it 89 points and 3 stars. Drink till 2022 (this wine is a mixed vintage of 2015/16). Salut….