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….
My assignment this week for tasting wines included this Old Vine Zin. The format and lexicon of descriptors is very limiting so I must add that this was not my favorite wine. It had a very astringent mid palate and the overpowering whiff on the nose was annoying. It can be had for $25 and gets 87 points from me. I can’t figure out where I got it from though. 3 stars, trending to 2. Drink now till 2025 with some burgers or ribs. Salut….
Girard Old Vine Zinfandel 2017, Napa Valley, CA 15.0% ABV
- Appearance- Medium ruby with thin legs.
- Nose- medium (+) intensity with aromas of blackcurrant, black plum, blackberry, licorice, white pepper. Youthful.
- Palate- Dry, high acidity, medium (+) tannin, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity with flavors of black plum, blackberry, jamminess, white pepper with a medium (+) finish.
- Conclusion- good quality wine that can drink now, but has potential for aging or further aging.
Why do I keep drinking such alcoholic wines? I had to blow into the glass for a few minutes to get the alcohol to dissipate. Not as jammy and peppery as most Old Vine Zins I have tasted but still yummy.
I was looking for a steely Chardonnay to pair with Pork Tomahawk ribs, this Chablis happened to be on sale so I thought I was on to a winner….. It was tasty, sure, but not exactly what I was hoping for. It runs a pale gold in the glass with big legs. On the nose it is not very pronounced. I get lemon, quince, green apple, pineapple, passion fruit and iodine. The palate is slightly more intense, dry and quite acidic. I was looking forward to that part- the cut. Unfortunately the wine was actually a bit too big-bodied for my needs. It lacked the flinty minerality and only offered a touch of saline. The alcohol was evident BTW. If you want an un-oaked Chardy that is actually very tasty, this one can be had for $25. It gets 88 points from me with a drink now rec. 3 stars. Salut….
This Cotes-Du-Rhone comes from a highly regarded vintner and is a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre at 30% each with the balance being Syrah and Cinsault. I chose it off my tasting bench because I am cooking Duck l’orange tonight. I am hoping the pairing will work.
The wine is very dark purple in the glass and 75% opaque. The nose is heavenly with raspberry, black pepper, black cherry and oak influence, offset right at the end with some alcohol. I checked, it’s 14.1%. On the palate it is very smooth and supple. The reddish/black fruit notes are evident and the tannins are very lithe. Good acidity makes for a nice mouthfeel that is fresh. The red fruit them continues but I get a hint of capsicum, some herbaceous notes and a tad of astringency on the mid palate. The finish is medium in length and the fruit flavors linger nicely, not being overtaken by massive tannins. The acidity is obvious at this stage though and I get a touch of that alcohol right at the end. It’s a delightful wine that gets knocked down a point or two for the green notes, I am not sure if they had ripening issues. 89 points and for $26, it gets 3 stars with a drink by 2028 window. Salut….
This bottle is called a Meritage, which conjures up notions of a Bordeaux blend relying heavily on either Cab Sav or Merlot, with supporting roles from Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In this case- it’s actually the opposite with the majority being Malbec at 62%, Merlot at 30%, Cab Franc with 6% and a touch of Petit Verdot. No sign of any Cab Sav. Anyways- it’s inky, brooding and opaque. The nose is intense with rich blackberry and oak nuances. I’m looking forward to it!
The palate is as expected. Layered black fruits and charred oak with medium grip tannins and juicy acidity. Blackberry, black currants and tea notes fit the mid palate. The finish is long and decidedly tart. The acidity is bracing yet I feel the wine has a nice roundness and is full bodied. The 14.5% alcohol is sensed on the back end with a hint of heat. Overall I am really enjoying this wine and will be pairing it with homemade spaghetti sauce and Hearts of Palm pasta. Drink till 2028. 91 points for this $25 make it a 5 star wine. Salut….