Dark purple, barely see through. The nose is somewhat candied, purple licorice, plum cake and Christmas pudding. On the palate it shows off much more pleasant notes of black currants, iodine and fruit cake. The mid palate is quite abrupt as are the mild tannins that permeate. The finish is not as smooth as the front half and lacks any acidity. Overall this is a pleasant wine that gets 87 points. The pro’s went much higher, 91 points in one case. I just did not get the same level of satisfaction unfortunately. $18 make it a 3 point wine for me. Salut….
The Mencia grape, grown in Spain primarily, yields fresh early drinking wines. They say it is a fragrant varietal that mimics Cabernet Franc, which I love. This particular wine is indeed aromatic, but not in a very fruity way, it kinda stinks to be honest. I cannot pinpoint the aroma, but it smells like wet socks. I fear for the worst- TCA, which is a cork taint. It is harmless, theoretically. The wine itself is decent, showing off red fruits including raspberry, red currants and some slate. The wine is steely, as in no oak. It has a nice minerality and shows the red fruit streak throughout. It is easy drinking and not built for the long haul. What it lacks in tannic structure, it makes up for freshness. The acidity is but a hint. This wine will pair nicely with pizza, grilled lamb chops with mint sauce, or even Chorizo. I am going 88 points on this corked wine and hope you all get a better example. For $13, it is a potential steal but for now, 3 stars. Salut….
Medium dark purple in the glass. Plum, cassis, blackcurrant on the nose. On the palate- great integration of dark purple fruits, oak, tannins and some cocoa dust. The midpalate is very concentrated on the plum core, relinquishing nothing to the structure and concentrating mainly on the fruit. The wine is definitely Napa in flavor, full of sunshine, fresh tannins and plum flavors. It reeks of new world boldness, extraction and does not shy away from its 14.5% alcohol (which is well hidden) The acidity is somewhat muted but present nonetheless. This wine is ready to drink now and has some cellaring potential- albeit not long term. 89 points and 3 stars for its $52 price point. Salut….
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….
It’s a pasta/Italian kinda night here at the chateau so I decided to open a Chianti Rufina to keep with the theme. In the glass, it shows off a reddish hue but not opaque. The nose is somewhat muted but gives off whiffs of plum, some oregano and a dried bark component. The initial taste is an acidic attack with some dark cherry, dried herbs and a touch of oak. The fruit is somewhat cloaked I’m afraid. The mid palate is mostly a tannic affair with some faint fruit notes from the initial attack. The finish is long, with some nice acidity balancing the tannins as well as a dose of Kirsch. I paid $18 for this 89 pointer and give it 3 stars, it’s kinda boring in my opinion- perhaps it’s in a dumb phase. Sangiovese is the main player here folks. Ps. I’m serving grilled Squid, Tortellini and some Zucchini pasta with pine nuts. Salut….
Dark purple, neatly black- which is appropriate for the region. Cherry, tar, blackberry and bramble notes on the nose. The palate is a touch thin but has black fruits, creosote and hints of lavender. It has a nice acidity with some very gentle tannins. Mid palate has some good juiciness made up of plums and blackberry. The tail end is short and sweet, as in enjoyable. Plums, earth and violets round it out. 88 points and for $12 this is a good value that gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
This is an interesting concept. Restaurant/winery that sources grapes worldwide and bottles them under its own label for sale in its own restaurants. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? The food’s not bad either! This particular bottle was given to me by an old College friend. There is no vintage on the bottle, just some basic info, ie. 13.5% alcohol, and that it is a blend of Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Dark reddish purple in the glass. I’m not sure what to expect from this blend- I get some red berries and cherry on the nose, but only faint. The palate reveals currants, red fruits and some chewy tannins. The wine is obviously young, but has an acidic streak to match the tannins. The mid palate offers sour cherry and chocolate dust. The wine finishes nicely with more cherry and some spice. Not a bad drop- 89 points. $25 make this a 3 star wine that you could pair with Game, Roast Cornish Hens or maybe some Osso Bucco. This wine has no vintage so it is hard to say when to drink, but this particular bottle would have lasted till 2020. Salut….
I don’t exactly recall buying this wine, but I think it was a last minute grab at the wine store. It looked interesting with its blend of 49% Viognier, 26% Sauvignon Blanc, 19% Grenache Blanc and 6% Princess (Never heard of her).
A golden yellow color in the glass. The nose is what I was expecting, very similar to Conundrum White, another blend of similar grapes. Melon, grapefruit, and a touch of lemon are the key components. On the palate I am tasting raw almond, citrus and kiwi fruit. The acidity is very mild and the wine has a nice mouthfeel. There is a certain butteriness that hits on the mid palate. The finish is rather short, but leaves a trail of acidity that carries on for a while. I am really enjoying this wine, it was made for sipping, summer and cold cuts with an olive tray. I will go 88 points on this $15 wine which makes it a 3 star wine in my books. Drink now till 2019. Salut….
Very pale purple and completely see-through. Why is this important? Pinot Noir has several unique traits- it is a seductive grape that does not need extraction. It treats tannins completely different to other varietals in my opinion. It’s charm and elegance come from it’s fragility on the vine, a very difficult grape to cultivate well. It takes on one of two personalities: Old World with funk, earthiness and mainly cherry, whereas New World styles give more strawberry, a fruit forward style that appeals to many yet doesn’t quite allow for tertiary development. I like both styles but prefer Old World.
This one is a New World child with fresh strawberries, some bing cherry and cinnamon? Not sure, but it is intriguing. The initial taste confirms my New World suspicions. Strawberry shortcake, vanilla bean and red currants. A touch of acidity tidy the package up nicely and let the tannins introduce themselves on the mid palate. If you have followed me for a while you will know that I had a hard time discerning tannic structure in Pinots. I’m learning and getting better. Thanks for asking.
This wine has a gorgeous mouthfeel, the dryness of the tannins is very gentle and the acidity is very mild, not cutting but definitely present. The finish is mid-length and continues the strawberry theme with some acai berry notes. The 14.5% alcohol is very well disguised but will bode well for this wine in the cellar. I believe it has some potential and will drink well until 2025. I would pair it with roast cornish hens, perhaps a grilled pork chop with apple stuffing. 90 points and 3 stars for this $27 bottle. Salut….
A lighter purple color which kinda surprised me. I get fig, black cherry and dates on the nose, a strange combination but I write ’em as I see ’em. The initial taste consists of a lighter set fruits, mostly blueberry, with some currants. Gentle tannins and mild acidity give this a nice easy mouthfeel while the mid palate shows off black berries and spice. The wine stays true to form on the finish with more blackberry and some very slight tannins. Not a blockbuster, but certainly an easy going wine to pull out at parties, barbecues or just a lazy evening. It will pair with many summer dishes and I would even use it for Coq au Vin. I think it merits 87 points and for $11 will be a repeat purchase worthy of 3 stars. Salut….