It’s Christmas Eve and the family have arrived from all over. My little brother brought this Cabernet all the way from Cleveland, where his friend owns this winery. It is a medium shade of ruby with thin legs showing off the 14.5% ABV. The nose is of medium intensity and gives me black cherry, black currants, ripe pomegranate, black plum, sassafras, coconut and charred oak- very interesting! The palate is a touch bitter at first but the astringency gives way to black and red fruits, a touch of oak influence and medium acidity. It has a medium body and medium (-) finish. The tannins grip again on the back end and coat my gums with a black tea component. I think this Non-Vintage red needs a year or two in cellar to flesh out the raw tannins and let the fruit meld a bit better with the structural components. It has promise and gets 88 points from me. Without a vintage it would be best to mark a few bottles and lay them down. At $25 it gets 3 stars from me- we are pairing it with Holiday Crunch (A traditional Pasta dish). Salut….
This Bordeaux blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cab Sav and 5% Cab Franc is opaque and garnet in color. At 5 years of age, that is to be expected. The nose is starting to develop tertiary notes alongside black plum, blackcurrant, tobacco, earth, barnyard, cassis and bramble. Oak nuance by way of coffee and smoke are present. The palate is yummy and developed. Stewed black plum, blackcurrant, cassis, leather and barnyard. Very earthy and smoky with well integrated yet persistent tannins and a touch of back end acidity. The wine is medium bodied and shows a mid length finish. It dries up on the finish and will go beautifully with my braised Lamb shanks which will have plenty of rich gravy and Yorkshire puddings. 91 points for this $25 effort makes it a 5 star wine to drink till 2026. It is mature now and will last a few years. Salut….
I have been braising Beef Short ribs all day, now it’s time to thicken the sauce and mash the potatoes. A classic Bordeaux, somewhat young and hopefully a touch tannic will do the trick to marry the richness of the dish and its accoutrements. This Merlot based blend from the Right Bank is the little brother to the famed Pavie. It’s meant to be drunk younger and will no doubt have less structure than the iconic namesake. It shows a deep shade of ruby in the glass with thick legs (14.5% ABV). On the nose it is quite pronounced with aromas of black cherry, blackberry, black plum and charcoal. Licorice starts to appear after a swirl as does perfumed violet. The palate is smooth, very smooth. Super fine-grained tannins, juicy acidity and gobs of black fruit greet me immediately. The licorice and charcoal nuances wait till the mid palate, letting me enjoy the primal fruit flavors with the caressing structural pieces. The finish is mid length on this full bodied wine. What I like is that the tannic grip disappears before the fruit, which is rare. This is a really nice bottle that will reward further cellaring unless you like a young, brawny wine. Drink till 2029 with stews or steaks. 91 points for this $25 Frenchie makes it worthy of 5 stars. Salut….
In the final throes of studying for my WSET Level 3 exam comes the single page of text devoted to Fortified Muscats- well I had to try one. This particular bottle came in 375ml and costs $25. The wine is medium gold and has watery legs even though it sports a 15% ABV since it’s has been fortified. It has a pronounced nose, ie I get a whiff when approaching the glass. The aromas are perfume, rose water, lychee and flowers. Delicious notes, but rather simple. The palate is medium (-) sweet and viscous. Medium (-) acidity and low alcohol gives me a medium weight body. The palate reveals medium (+) intensity flavors of rose, lychee, orange peel and apricots. The finish is medium in length and very satisfying. I really like this style- it’s a touch fresher than a Botrytised wine and the aromatics of the Muscat grape are heavenly. Overall this wine would be classed as good in the Lexicon and I am awarding it 89 points and 3 stars. I will probably buy more as Moxie and I really enjoyed it. Drink with desserts till 2025 as it will age a bit and hopefully pick up some tertiary notes. Salut….
The label says it’s a red wine blend. Let’s see if I can discern the grapes. First off- it’s deep ruby which rules out Pinot Noir. Number two- it runs 14.5% ABV even though the legs are quite watery in the glass. The nose is of medium intensity and I get aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, smoke, licorice, chocolate, black plum, and a grape note. The palate is dry, with high acidity and high tannins. The alcohol is evident and the body is medium (+). The flavors are medium intensity and mirror the nose, although there is a black tea component on the mid palate. The tannins are searing on the finish which is decent in length. Overall a tasty wine that I believe will age well for another 5-7 years. As for the varietals- here goes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and perhaps Merlot would be my guess. 91 points for this rather big red that can be had for $25. 5 stars. ps. it needs a big, juicy steak. Salut….
Several months ago I purchased every style of Sherry made by the same producer that I could find- in hopes of expanding my knowledge and palate. I tried the dry ones, the off dry ones and now we get to the sweet one. Made from the the Pedro Ximenez grape in the Solera system, it promises to be a lush dessert wine.
In the glass it is amber and weeping, it looks very viscous. On the nose it is exactly what I was hoping for. Dried sultanas, walnuts, prunes, coffee, dried cherry, chocolate and stewed apricot. The palate is very thick, unctuous and sweet. Delicious flavors of nuts, dried fruit, honey, gentle acidity make for a very velvety and luxuriously rich mouthfeel. The sweetness is something to behold. Low acidity is actually key here as it would be a detractor if there were loads of it. This is lovely stuff that gets 91 points from me and for the $25/500ml price point it gets 5 stars. A great dessert wine if you like ’em sweet. Salut….
Tonight I am preparing stuffed shells on a bed of Kale with meatballs on the side- the classic Italian dish that this varietal was made for. It’s a bit murky in the glass and semi opaque. The nose is brimming with red fruit, rose, violets, walnut and cedar. There might be a hint of tea in there as well. The palate is dry, acidic and carries some medium tannins. The red currants, red cherry, raspberry and pomegranate notes are all there along with the florals and oak notes. It’s quite tart on the back end but that’s what I was hoping for. It’s labelled Reserva, which means nothing officially but it’s a way the producer tries to identify a superior product in this region. I did a bit of research following my tasting- it’s interesting that three different pros described three different fruit profiles. One said red fruit, one said blue and the last stated black. Either way, it got decent scores and I would agree with the 91 pointer. For $25, it’s a good Friday-with-Pasta wine that gets 5 stars from me. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Semi opaque in the glass- this Cabernet has lithe legs, an indicator of the lower 13.5% ABV? On the nose I get quite a few things going on- black cherry, black plum, toasty oak notes, bramble, eucalyptus, and tomato leaf. It’s quite complex and sweet smelling. The palate is dry, smooth and very balanced with lithe tannins and medium acidity. The dark fruit flavors are evident and the mouthfeel is great. The very judicious oak use is appreciated. The freshness of the lush fruit carries on to the medium finish that is very smooth. I really like the very gentle tannins here as I am not pairing with any food and did not want a tannic, astringent wine. Definitely a sipping wine that could work with lighter fare- roast chicken, veal scallopini, even fettuccine Alfredo. I am really enjoying this $25 wine but get black fruit instead of red, per the label. I guess the flavors have mutated in the 6 years since it was made. 91 points from me and 5 stars. Drink till 2027. Salut….
This Bordeaux blend is quite deceiving- not very opaque at all considering it should be a blend of Merlot, Cab Sav and perhaps Cab Franc. Definitely Cab Franc as I get perfume and violets on the nose, plus some cassis, blackcurrants, toasty oak and eucalyptus. The palate is very smooth and well endowed with rich black fruits, well integrated tannins and juicy acidity. The mid palate has some pencil shavings and a metallic tinge, kinda interesting. The rich blackberry and blackcurrant flavors carry through to the long finish where some black tea notes are found alongside vanilla. This wine has good complexity, a nice full body and plenty of fruit and structure to reward patient cellaring but it drinks beautifully right now at 8 years of age. I am really digging the mouthfeel and think this wine gets 93 points. It would normally run around the $25 mark making it a 5 star effort for sure. Serve it up with some grilled sausages and steak. Salut….
My little group of virtual wine tasters insisted on a mid-summer gathering so I picked some real beauties, starting with this Pinot Gris which we tasted at room temp and chilled. Being a Reserve, it offered depth and complexity that many were not expecting- it was a hit. In the glass it showed pale gold to light yellow, depending on who was commenting! Aromas of pear, pineapple, blossom, honey, ginger, elderflower and nectarine were noted. On the palate, flavors of honeysuckle, lime, and orange blossom coupled with a vegetal aftertaste. I noted that it had good acidity, getting 92 points from yours truly.
The chilled version was more precise with some minerality on the nose coupled with cotton candy, marzipan, passion fruit, honey, ginger and peach- a whole different animal! On the palate we got a fuller bodied wine with flavors of pronounced orange, less lime this time but lemon drops, ginger and Welch’s white grape juice. Medium (+) finish btw. I was consistent with the 92 points and for $25 it is a great intro to a higher quality Pinot Gris. 5 stars, pair it with shellfish and perhaps cellar for a few years. Salut….