This semi opaque Merlot is a light shade of purple in the glass. The nose gives me red berries, cherry and anise- it’s very enticing. On the palate it has a juicy intro with currants, more of that licorice note and some really integrated oak. There is a modicum of tannic bite, but it is very lithe. The mid palate has cocoa powder to go around the currants and some strawberry. Nicely balanced acidity leads to a smooth mouthfeel that is super easy to drink. The finish has a touch of dryness, a hint of acidity and loads of red fruits. This wine has matured nicely for what it is and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It drinks well by itself but I would also put it up against Filet, roast Game Hen or even Lasagna. 89 points from me makes this $25 wine a 3 star effort. Really yummy. Drink till 2024. Salut….
I wanted to introduce a pure Cinsault to our wine tasting group. It’s a very difficult grape to source as a standalone because it’s traditionally a blending grape. I have had some delicious wines that rely heavily on Cinsault, which reminds me of Pinot Noir in its structure and finesse. In fact- Pinotage is a cross of the two grape varietals.
The wine is very pale red and see-through. The nose gave us cigar box, perfume, cherry, raspberry, cedar, black cherry, maple syrup, mulling spices, strawberry and cardamom. The palate was peppery with black cherry, jello, earth, pomegranate, violets and was considered ‘spicy’.
I thoroughly enjoyed this lighter style of wine that had gentle tannins, decent acidity and a really nice mouthfeel. 92 points from me for this $25 charmer that gets 5 stars. Drink with lighter fare till 2028. Salut….
The second wine of Tasting #8 was another Chenin Blanc, this time from Vouvray. Served at room temperature first we noted a pale gold color. The nose was flowery, with honeycrisp apple, honey, green apples, honeysuckle and pear. The palate is somewhat sweet with several participants noting canned pear with it’s syrupy goodness. I got passion fruit but the wine had a bitter aftertaste.
The chilled version was very interesting. Oatmeal, burnt honey, Graham cracker, butter and white pepper were noted. The wine had more citrus on the finish and I tasted sweet tangerine and pear as well. I scored the chilled version the second highest wine of the night and really enjoyed this $25 wine, giving it 91 points and 5 stars. Pairing suggestions would include grilled Swordfish, roasted Quail or even Moussaka. Drink till 2026. Salut….
It’s showing dark purple in the glass with barely perceptible legs- almost opaque. On the nose I get jammy black currants, mint, cedar shake and bramble. On the palate it is inky, with a nice grip of tannins right off the bat. Black fruits, some earth and sour cherry notes all meet me after the initial wave of those tannins. The mid palate is a little more tart, with a nice touch of acidity. I was hoping for a little more earth out of this Tempranillo. It delivers a more fresh and fruity wine that has its own nuances and attractions. I am enjoying its youth. The finish is a nice tart affair with some sour blackberries and a diminishing tannic presence. The wine is still young but I think it will drink well for 5 more years. I was looking forward to a bit more oak to be honest. Overall- decent, not great. 89 points and 3 stars for this $25 wine that garnered 90+ points from the pros. Maybe I need to let it sit longer before I popped and poured, I don’t understand. Perhaps it’s in a dumb stage. Salut….
Semi opaque in the glass, bright purple. On the nose I get graphite, blackcurrants, oak and twizzlers. On the palate there are some gentle notes of black cherries, a dose of dry tannins and some black tea to go along with black currants. The mid palate has a cherry cola component with black fruits and that slightly unbalanced tannic dryness. The finish is dry but fresh and packed with black fruit flavors, some oak and a touch of minerality. Decent wine for a weekday. 87 points, which contrasts with others opinions btw. Drink till 2024, 2 stars, $25. Salut….
Very rich purple hues in the glass. The nose is a combo of blue fruit and dark berries, with a tobacco and spice box note thrown in . The palate is very enticing with blackberries, crisp tannins, fruitcake and black tea. The midpalate continues the theme and takes us to the really juicy finish of Ribena, tea, creosote and Maduro leaf. Very enjoyable, seamless and drinking well for a relatively young Bordeaux. 91 points and 4 stars at $25. Drink till 2028. Salut….
At $14 a bottle, this was my house Cab back in the day. It quickly gained popularity and it’s price climbed like a homesick angel. I went looking for other great QPR wines. When I saw it in the shop today, I reminisced a bit and pulled the trigger on what has now become a $25 offering. Here we go!
It’s very purply in the glass (I am using a straight hotel glass, no stemware in sight). The nose is lush with blackberries, spice box and a touch of oak. On the palate it is rich, balanced and gives me blackberry notes, star anise, black tea and a nice touch of tannin. The mouthfeel is warm and smooth, acidity being very well behaved and allowing the tannins a chance to enter the fold. They build up to a nice dry finish but don’t interfere with the fruit. The blackberry component is strong and remains all the way to the finish. There is a nice minerality to this wine and the dryess of the tannic grip on the finish is just enough to make this a meat – worthy wine. Think big, juicy steaks on the fire and this one fits right in there. I am impressed that this wine has held its quality over the past 20 years, even though the price has nearly doubled. I’m going 91 points and 5 stars. Welcome back you little beauty! Drink till 2028. Salut….
Medium strength purple in the glass with a touch of cloudiness. The nose is unique. Raspberries, sweet rhubarb jam, rooibos tea. The palate is yummy, crunchy, a touch acidic. I get dark fruits instead of red, an interesting transformation. Delightfully tannins greet me as we transition to the midpalate of crushed black cherry, graphite, black tea and mouth drying tannins. The finish has a short burst of black berrries, tea and an earthy minerality. This wine is drinking young at 7 years old, it still needs cellar time. Drink from 2023-2030 with Ribeyes or a Penne Arrabiata. 90 points and 4 stars for this $25 Cab. Salut
Very dark purple in the glass. The legs are almost nonexistent, belying the 14.5% alcohol. The nose has sweet cassis, fresh figs and a blueberry reduction. The palate is delightful, rich and smooth. Layers of blackberry, dark cherry, charcoal and anise flow from the initial to the finish. It’s a seamless transition with a nice touch of tannic bite at the end. I’m pairing with Picanha, mashed potatoes and grilled Brussel sprouts. Drink till 2028. 90 points and 4 stars for this $25 Cab. Salut….
Quite pale yellow in the glass with fine grained legs belying it’s 13% alcohol. On the nose I get lemon zest, minerality and slate. I’m expecting a cutting wine versus a sweet version of this varietal. On the palate I was wrong, it’s not tart, bracing or edgy. It has a warmth that surrounds yellow apples with lemon curd. The acidity is well in check but still obviously present. There’s a raw lemon component that appears on the midpalate and there is a nuttiness too. The mouthfeel transitions to a racier version with some nice honeyed notes on the mid-length finish. Very tasty and flexible, this one is going to pair nicely with my blackened salmon. Drink till 2030. 90 points and 4 stars for this $25 effort. (The pro’s went way higher BTW). Salut….