Another new one for me- white Port. This one is medium gold colored with really slow moving legs (19.5% ABV). Floral aromas galore followed by some saline, orange marmalade and nuts. The palate is sweet and full bodied with medium acidity. Marzipan, flowers, orange marmalade and nuts come to mind on the flavor profile. The salinity is not apparent. There is a touch of bitterness on the finish which is medium length. It reminds me of biting into an unripe almond or the seed of an apricot. For my first go at white port I must say I like it, it’s different yet familiar. For $25 this is a tasty dessert wine that could be served as an aperitif if chilled. Salut….
Rich ruby colored and about 75% opaque. The nose has enticing aromas of black plum, cassis, blackberry, menthol, vanilla, coffee, mocha. The palate is dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins. They are well integrated but still grippy. Flavors of cassis and plum dominate but I get blackberry with oak influence and some green pepper alongside the menthol. Full bodied it carries on to a long finish. This is textbook Right Bank Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Franc- delicious and reasonably priced at $25. I like it and think it is worthy of 92 points and 5 stars. I’m searing some Hangar steaks with Gratin Potatoes to pair. Drink till 2028. Salut….
The Gamay grape is traditionally made into wine using the carbonic maceration method in the Beaujolais region of France. This wine is a deep purple color with medium intensity aromas of blueberry, blackberry, dried flowers, orange peel, cherry bubble gum and perhaps a touch of banana. The palate is dry with crisp tannins and medium (-) acidity. I was not expecting the tannic grip to be so forthright. I get flavors of blackberry, blueberry and açaí berry with a faint hint of charred oak and some orange peel. Oak influence? A full-bodied and full-throttle expression of this usually benign grape has really thrown me as I am pairing it with a slow-cooked Eye of Round Roast, which is a low fat cut of meat. I would prefer to pair this wine in its youth with a fattier cut of meat like Ribeye, Leg of Lamb or grilled Goat. The finish is quite decent in length, adding to the complexity and depth of this wine. For $25 you are getting a cru-level bottle that has decent cellaring capacity and gets 91 points from me. 5 stars- drink till 2027. Salut….
Medium garnet colored, this 6 year old Sangiovese is showing a bit of age already. The nose has aromas of warm cherry, leather, rose, cinnamon, pomegranate, cranberry and fresh cut pine. The palate is dry with high acidity and mouth coating tannins. It is a young wine in texture, but the fruit is already mingling with tertiary flavors. Red fruit (tart) with leather, rose, cigar box and that fresh wood note. The acidity and tannins are very powerful and opposing in this medium (+) bodied wine. The finish is a short, sour affair with the tannins really coating my gums. I like this rather youthful wine and think it will develop and soften with time. If you want something zippy for a pasta dinner or grilled steaks, this is open for business. Drink till 2030. 92 points for this $25 wine makes it a solid 5 star effort. Salut….
This was a wine we tasted at my WSET class. I brought the dregs home for another look-see as the wine had some very powerful aromas and flavors that I wanted to get my head around. Starting off it had some sediment in the bottle which is normal for an 8 year old bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. In the glass it shows that age by way of a deep garnet hue. The nose has pronounced aromas of eucalyptus, blackberry, coffee, black plum, blueberry compote, vanilla, mint, leather and tobacco. It certainly is complex and showing some age as well as lingering youth. The palate is dry with juicy acidity and a great tannic structure. The rich fruit flavors are present coupled with oak nuance and tertiary notes but the coffee, mint and eucalyptus are the stars here. Medium (+) bodied, this wine is very balanced and the mouthfeel is fabulous- a touch dry here and there with some juiciness to keep your palate alive. The finish is quite a lengthy affair with black and blueberry fruit notes swirling with the tannin and acid- a nice way to end for this delightful wine. I am impressed by this $25 effort that gets 92 points. It needs to be drunk fairly soon- say by 2026 and gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
This is a new one for me- Vin Santo (not to be confused with Vinsanto) is a technique of drying the grapes in the rafters of a shed and pressing the dried grapes later in the season. The must is then sealed in small barrels and left for several years to ferment, slowly, integrating with the barrel and it’s oxygen. Mainly Trebbianno, they also add Sangiovese and Malvasia to the blend. These small barrels are called Carati and are sealed once 70% filled, creating ample air space. This one is now 13 years old and is medium amber colored. The liquid slides down the glass in a watery sheen, versus the traditional legs, which imply a viscous texture is to be expected.
The nose has pronounced aromas of dried apricot, honey, walnuts, hazelnuts, orange marmalade, a touch of bread dough and cream. The palate is medium sweet with medium acidity and full body. Medium alcohol and a mouth coating richness make for a beautiful mouthfeel. The flavors are pronounced- honey, dried apricot and nuts with much less bread/yeast notes. The marmalade is less intense but adds depth. This delicious dessert wine has a decently long finish and gets 92 points from me. I would love some sharp cheese to pair with it and can see it aging nicely till 2030 at the least. I paid $25 for this 5 star sticky and would do it again for the cellar. Yummy stuff. Salut….
From the Southern Rhone comes this blend of Grenache 50%, Syrah 40% and Mourvedre 10%. It will hopefully go well with my braised Lamb shanks. The wine is medium ruby in color with quite a full-on nose of red raspberry, baking spice, pepper, blueberry compote, game, oak-derived vanilla and blackberry- quite an array of complexity from the three varietals. The palate is dry with dusty tannins, medium to full body and high alcohol (15.5% ABV). Red and black fruit interlaced with spice, pepper and oak make for a yummy flavor profile that is quite earthy, gamy and austere. The tannins are nicely integrated yet still showing plenty of grip, especially on the back end but balanced with medium acidity. The finish is medium in length with the astringency lasting a lot longer. I like this rustic wine- 91 points worth and for $25 it gets 5 stars. Drink till 2028 with hearty stews, braises or a hunk of meat on the grill. Salut….
I am cooking a very complex and spice-laden dish for dinner- so no wimpy, thin wines tonight. This Cabernet has been aged in Whiskey barrels and comes from Cali, so I am looking forward to some hearty and bold flavors to complement my Lamb Tagine which is loaded up with Ras-el-Hanout spice mix, honey, preserved lemons, dried apricots, peas and the ever present onions and garlic. Side dish is pearled couscous mixed with peppers, garbanzos and red onion- drizzled with a lime/olive oil and honey dressing.
So- the wine itself is inky purple, as in opaque AF. The nose is gorgeous. Pronounced aromas of blackberry, black plum, caramel, smoke, vanilla- loads of oak influence there. The palate is very smooth with what seems to be a touch of sweetness. I doubt there is residual sugar, must be ripe fruit and perhaps the whiskey barrel influence? Anyways I get delicious flavors of black berries and currants, plum, smoke, vanilla and the caramel. The wine has beautifully integrated tannins that caress my gums from the beginning to the end. Juicy acidity hits on the finish where I now sense the powerful 16.1% ABV. Be careful out there, that’s quite high. This full bodied wine is a treat that is going to pair beautifully with my exotic dinner. I would drink this till 2026, it has some cellaring capacity but don’t let it get too long-it is drinking well now. 91 points for this $ 25 bottle makes it a 5 star effort. Salut…..
Another Finger Lakes wine to try from our recent trip- this one is a Dry Gewürztraminer which I am pairing with Beer-Can Chicken…. but I am a little concerned. The cork was funky, looked very wet and there was some schmutz inside the neck. I ran the first glass through a filter and here goes nothing:
Medium lemon color in the glass. The nose is somewhat muted, surprising for the varietal but not for this particular bottle. I do get some citrus, hazelnuts, bread and a hint of the telltale lychee. The palate is better. Medium intensity flavors of tangerine, lemon, lychee, rose, geranium and no sign of the bread or nuts. Light to medium bodied it has gentle acidity and a medium length finish. I love the varietal, but this bottle might be suffering. Luckily I have another one nearby. I’ll give it a try in the near future. For now this $25 wine gets 86 points and 2 stars. Hopefully it will improve on the next go. Salut….
I wrote to the the winery to let them know I had an issue and they promptly refunded me the cost of the bottle. Tonight- I taste the second bottle.
It has evidence of being frozen, with crystalized deposits in the neck. The appearance is fine otherwise. The nose shows much better than the previous bottle. Medium intensity aromas of geranium, lemon, tangerine, rose and lychee that are crisp. The palate is dry from a residual sugar standpoint but the varietal always has a certain sweetness to it that I love. Medium (+) intensity flavors of the aforementioned citrus and floral notes, with less emphasis on the lychee. Shame, as I look forward to that component in Gewürztraminer. Medium bodied it has great mouthfeel for a wine of low acidity. The finish is decent in length and concentrates on the flowery flavors versus the citrus. It is drinking far better than the flawed bottle and gets a respectable 89 points from me making it a 4 star effort. Bravo for pulling it together! Salut….
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….