I have harped many times about the quality and price coming out of Portugal. Always good, rarely pricy- you can count on it in a pinch. This Port is part of my study into the fortified wines of Portugal. I am having fun doing it and have discovered some really tasty, near $20 dessert style wines that have really become part of my after-dinner ritual. This one starts out very dark purple in the glass and has a nose of sweet verbena, dark fruit melange and oaky blueberry reduction. The palate shows off a slightly lighter style of Port, black cherry, dark fruits and stout oak. On the mid palate I get cedar plank, dark berry and a tannic streak. The wine is tasty, but slightly dry and dusty. I’m enjoying it and hope it develops. For now, 88 points which is in stark contrast top the whopping 94 points it got from the big boys. Perhaps it needs some time, or else I need to recalibrate my palate fifty these wines! I recommend some soft cheese, and maybe something stinky like Cambozola to go with this one. I might have to get another bottle to cellar. Priced at $24, it gets 3 stars initially, hoping for 4 at a future tasting. Salut….
A rich opaque purple in the glass with a beautiful nose of Black and Blue berries. On the palate- very smooth, like buttah… A delicious mix of blue berry , cherry, and ginger spice. Fine grained tannins and a touch of acidity give this wine a great mouthfeel, easy to drink. This wine is made in a very elegant, understated style. The fruit is allowed to express itself, the tannins are not pumped up and the acidity is gentle yet balanced. Very delicious wine with medium term aging potential. Tonight I will pair it with Roasted Beef Tenderloin, probably the best cut for such a lithe wine that isn’t overly tannic. 90 points and 3 stars for this $24 effort. Salut….
If you have never had a Ripasso wine before you need to hurry along and get one. It all starts with the Amarone wines, where the grapes are air dried for several months on wire racks and the fruit loses volume and increases its sugars. Once they press the grapes what is left over are the skins and seeds, minus the juices but still yielding some tannins and flavors that basic Valpolicella lacks. Once they ferment the Valpolicella wine they then ‘pass’ it over the remaining Amarone grape skins to impart a deeper color, structure, tannins and a depth of flavor. Some call them the baby Amarones. I have been a fan of this particular wine for a long time and was super excited to get a bottle the other day. Priced at $24, it is a good intro to the style.
Dark purple, with a nose of raisins, funk and plums (all good I assure you). On the palate I am getting rich plums, black cherry and delightful tannins. The mid palate shows off dried cherry, oak and more tannins which really hit the gums at this point. The finish tapers off with plum jam and raisins. The wine is not as ‘thick and unctuous’ as I remembered nor does it present the depth I have had in other vintages but it is still really good and gets 89 points from me. 85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 5% Oseleta. I had an old colleague over for dinner that saw me pair this with Pasta and Meatballs/Mild Italian Sausage. It was a great match and even made the Caeser Salad and Garlic bread more on pointe. The whole evening was a good time but this wine had a special place in our visit. Drink till 2022. 3 stars. Salut….
This one started out a pale purple in the glass with a crimson cherry nose with green notes, very fruit forward for a Burgundy. The thing that makes this region so alluring is the terroir and what it brings out of the finicky Pinot grape. I always think of earth, barnyard, funk and restrained fruit. This one is different with initial tastes of strawberry, tart rhubarb and violet. Streaking acidity with gentle tannins balance each other well. A decent, if short finish of floral notes and some cherry with acidity swirling around the gums along with the tannins. I think this one needs some cellar time. 2017-2022. 88 points for this tasty yet atypical Burgundy. 3 stars for this $24 effort. Salut….
ED Note. I found this article in drafts from May of 2015 and just now published it.
Next in my tasting series from Alexander Valley Vineyard is this gem. 45% Cab Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot makes this a Meritage in anyone’s books. How I love Cab Franc and more importantly how it melds into the Bordeaux style blend ! This was one bottle I was looking forward to.
Dark purple with a nose of black currant, eucalyptus, wood shavings and pencil lead. On the palate is a vibrant, somewhat tannic attack of currants, black berries and more graphite. Very young wine with a good cellaring potential. 89 points with a drinking window of 2016-2022. (Or you could run it through a Vinturi and pair it with a ribeye!) I paid $24 at the winery and give it 3 stars. Salut….
For the past two weekends I have been tinkering on the Big Green Egg, trying to perfect a Turkey so I am ready for Thanksgiving. The first effort was not very good, the recipe was too involved and the timing was not right plus I had to leave the grill alone for most of the afternoon to see my son’s football game. I tried to cook it ‘low and slow’ but it ended up being dry. This past weekend I tried it again, using the standard 325 degree heat, very little wood chunks, and a simple bouquet of herbs shoved up it’s heiny. It worked.
I planned on drinking the Mazilly Pommard with the bird and I opened this Cali Chard up for my folks and Moxie, who prefer white wine. I got in a glass or two myself and was glad I did, this wine is good. Light yellow in color was to be expected, so I delved right into the nose. Lemon zest, melon and yellow apples greeted me right off the bat. Zesty with a hint of steel were on my notes for an initial impression. I then got green apples and melons. A smooth transition to a delightful mid palate left me thinking it was not quite buttery but silky in texture. The wine had a long finish and I gave it 91 points. I paid around $24 at Costco for it and will give it 4 stars. It paired beautifully with the bird. It would also ring with some seafood, perhaps a creamy pasta. Tasty stuff. Salut….
There is so much I want to say…. I’ll start with my mission- to taste the full lineup of Mollydooker’s wines. Seeing as my local shop doesn’t carry all of them, the folks downunda were kind enough (no, really generous enough) to send me a sampling of their full range. With their help I previously managed to procure the 2009 and 2010 Carnival of Love and now also have the 2012. I will endeavor to get the 2011 so I can do a 4 year vertical. I digress.
Verdelho is the varietal used in the Violinist. Predominantly Portuguese, I was surprised to see it on the label of this winery’s sole white wine. This wine was a gorgeous pale yellow in the glass, telltale of what was to come. On the nose- pear, apple and a touch of wood. I was blown away by the initial attack. Pear, Quince and Yellow apple all mixing it up. The mouthfeel is superb, with a fullness reminiscent of a Cali Chardonnay. Gentle and balanced acidity make this a full bodied wine with some nice finishing notes of nut, Asian pear and flowers. I timed a good 20 second finish on this wine.
Now, back to the chicken and the egg…… Did I cook chicken for dinner because I was having this wine, or did I pick this wine to go along with the bird I was going to cook anyways? I shall not reveal the correct answer. Once the chicken was done, I decided to immediately whip up a spicy gravy to go with it. I just happened to have some fresh stock from the other night, so I dressed it up just so- a dash of sage, some onion powder, a hint of salt and a boatload of Chili and Red Pepper. The resultant sauce was red in color and fiery in nature.
The combination of the spicy sauce and the somewhat sweetness of the Verdelho- a perfect combo. This wine sits at a whopping 16% alcohol which is a shocking amount for most wines, let alone a white. I tip my hat to the winemaker who has managed to hide the alcohol without a trace of heat, well done Andrew.
The majority of Mollydooker’s wines are priced at $25. For this amount of cash you are getting an exceptional wine with complexity and depth not to mention great taste and mouthfeel. I am going 89 points and 4 stars for this one and recommend drinking it with some fish or poultry. Salut….
Having just drunk the more delicate Pinot Noir, this was a smack to the face. A huge, tannic, rustic wine that was nearly black in the glass. Full bodied and not afraid to show it, this wine had notes of blackberry, licorice and oak on the nose. On the palate, very earthy, almost too much even for me. The garrigue infused funk overpowered the black fruits. The tannins were great and will hold this wine for at least 5 years but it is drinking great right now. My personal opinion is 88 points for this wine. The balance of fruit and secondary flavors weighed the scoring down for me. For $24 it may be worthy of a try but be prepared for it. I suggest pairing this Syrah/Grenache blend with a beef stew or lasagna- something hearty. I’m going with 3 stars for now. Salut….