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….
Opaque and dark purple. The nose offers sweet blackberry, ripe black currants and mocha. It’s smells of Cali sunshine. The palate is very nice, but not as full as the nose. Black fruits galore with leather and chocolate powder. The mid palate is tasty with cassis and a bit of dusty bramble. Fine grained tannins ease into the mix and there is a touch of acidity that keeps this wine very balanced. It’s a delicious drop built for immediate pleasure. I would drink till 2024. My pairing tonight is pasta with olives and peppers plus a side of Italian sausage. 89 points and 3 stars for this $23 Grenache/Malbec blend. Salut….
This wine is nearly black in the glass but it’s murky which makes me a little concerned…. The nose gives candied plums, roast game, some charcoal and blueberry pie. The palate is quite fresh with a tart blueberry opening. I am also getting chocolate powder and more plums. On the mid palate the core of blue and black fruits is enveloped in a nice tannic frame, they are very fine grained and integrated. I am really enjoying the flavor profile of this wine. The finish is a mellow affair with silky blueberry creme, black berries, a touch of acidity and those beautiful tannins. There is a very round and enveloped mouthfeel to this wine, it’s really interesting and certainly delicious. Right at the very end the tannins get a touch astringent and green, but I’m willing to overlook that. Tasty and worthy of 91 points from me. This Syrah will drink well till 2027 with some steaks, grilled game meat or even a pasta dish. My initial concern over the murky appearance did not pan out. Great wine and for $23- it’s a 5 star effort. Salut….
This Oregonian Pinot is quite dark and nearly opaque, very extracted and brooding. On the nose I get cinnamon, cherry and black currants. It’s an interesting mix for this varietal. The initial palate is telling- very fruity with tannic grip right off the bat. This is not your typical Old World Pinot folks, it’s full throttle with all the bits and pieces. Cherry cola, sassafras and a hint of oak are all present. The mid palate is a continuation of the theme but there is now a hint of acidity showing up. It’s quite nice if you like this style of Pinot. The finish is a dry affair, tannins and black tea alongside the red fruits and spice. It’s not my cup of tea but it will certainly appeal to many. Technically speaking I would give this $23 wine 90 points and 4 stars. Drink till 2027 with lighter fare. Salut….