I’m cooking Beef Bourguignon which calls for a Pinot Noir, preferably from Burgundy. As luck would have it I happen to have two bottles of this $10 South of France wine ready to go. The skeptics will question whether you can get decent Pinot for that price- I’m here to report. It looks about right: pale, see-through ruby. Medium density aromas of primal red cherry, pomegranate, stewed strawberry and a spice note. Not overly complex, but interesting nonetheless. The palate is very pleasant with red fruits including cherry, light tannins, medium acidity and a decent length finish. Very little if any oak was used here, freshness and price were probably the prime considerations. I like it for what it is and considering most of it will end up in the stew- I think it works great! 87 points from me makes this a 3 star wine to be drunk asap. Salut….
The second wine of Chateau Smith Haut Lafite, this vintage is highly rated so I had to pick up this bottle. It’s a deep garnet, showing a bit of bottle age. The nose is quintessential Bordeaux- graphite, plum, cassis, blackberry, smoky oak and black tea. The palate is a little awkward at first, the somewhat green tannins are fighting me with a hint of astringency. Once I get past the onslaught of black tea on my gums I get the classic fruit flavors along with medium acidity. The finish is mid length but the grip of those tannins is ferocious, lingering for a good minute. This wine is a bit young and disjointed right now but it holds promise for cellaring. Overall I think it warrants 89 points and for $45, it is a good introduction to the Graves appellation. 3 stars, drink from 2024-2030. Salut….
When I drank this wine at my mates place, I was thinking of my wine course so I used the standard lexicon to describe it. Having said that, I will add a few personal notes. I’ve never had a wine from Yarra Valley. A cooler climate area that allows Pinot to grow, I found this wine to be well developed, almost over the hill at a mere 6 years of age. Perhaps my mate Johny stored it incorrectly? It was tasty to be sure, but was very much ripe and stewed. It may have a few years left but drink now to enjoy it the most. I give it 90 points even though it got upwards of 93 from the pros. At $30 plus, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut…
- Pale tawny
- Nose- medium intensity strawberry, cranberry, red cherry, earth and game. Developing
- Palate-dry, medium – acidity, medium – body, medium – tannins, medium intensity flavors of strawberry, red cherry, earth, cooked strawberry and sour?. Medium finish.
- Conclusion- acceptable quality to be drunk now, but has potential for ageing.
I’m looking forward to this wine, to be paired with grilled Tri-Tip. For a Napa Cab, it shows a little lighter in the glass, with medium ruby color and thin legs. On the nose I have to battle the alcohol first, swirling like mad and blowing the fumes away. Once there I get blackberry, blackcurrant, black plum, cloves, smoke and yet more alcohol. On the palate this wine is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins which are softened by the addition of Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It has a good body and the flavors are really juicy- more of the black fruits, the oak influence and I also get a black tea component. The alcohol is making it fuller on the mouthfeel but I can feel it on the back end, definitely present in this one. The finish is pretty decent in length with the tea outlasting the fruit. I think this is a decent wine, but not something to rave about. It will drink well till 2026 and pair great with steaks. 88 points from me and for $ 22 it gets 3 stars. 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.
We kicked off the 19th Virtual Wine Tasting with this French rosé, served at room temp and chilled for comparison. The wine is a lovely pale orange in the glass. The tasters found aromas and flavors of apricot, almond, tangerine, strawberry, citrus, marzipan and pink grapefruit. The chilled version was more intense with peach, quince, citrus, honeysuckle and green pear on the nose and peach, rhubarb (?), orange and crab apples on the palate. We felt the wine was a touch sour with a bitter aftertaste. The room temp version had medium acidity whilst the chilled one was more acidic. Overall I give the wine 88 points. Drink now with smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail or a salad Nicoise. At $20 per, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
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….
I was in my local wine shop the other day and came across this aged Tempranillo in the clearance section- for $ 23. I couldn’t pass it up, a Reserva FFS. In the glass it is slightly hazy, but a deep shade of ruby that I can barely see through. The nose is classic Spain- brambly with ink, huckleberry, sweet blackberry, smoky oak and a dusty component. The palate is a touch dry right off the bat, the tannins never got the message to settle down after 8 years. It’s a full onslaught, drying the gums and overpowering the fruit initially. I finally work my way through the astringent quagmire and start to enjoy the black and blue fruits. The tertiary notes are starting to appear with some leather, charcoal and black tea developing on the mid palate. The finish is a really dry affair with the tannic grip almost too much. I pity the fool who doesn’t like ’em dry. There is a decent acidic component but it is overcome by the tannic structure, a little out of balance methinks. This medium weight wine will pair (begs for) a fatty cut of meat, think Ribeye or Lamb chops. I would consider cellaring some for a while to allow the wine to mature even more, say till 2028. Right now the balance concerns me a bit and it will detract from the scoring, I would hope it softens over time. 89 points and 3 stars. Salut….
I was reading about Biodynamic farming today in my wine course so naturally I was tempted to try one. This particular wine is an Aussie Shiraz from McLaren Vale that runs 14.5% ABV, typical. They like to wring the heck out of the juice downunda. It shows in the glass- deep purple with big tears. The nose has rich plum, bakers spice, blackcurrant and a whiff of the heat. On the palate it reverberates the dark fruit theme with spiciness alongside chocolate powder hints. It is opulent yet not overly jammy, as can be the case too often in Shiraz. The mouthfeel is very round and warm, the alcohol noticeable on the mid-palate. There are some lithe tannins and a modicum of acidity – very balanced in my opinion, even if on a smaller scale. The finish is short to medium and certainly fruit forward, it’s nice. This wine will drink nicely till 2026 and pair well with roasted meats. 89 points from me and at $18 per bottle, its gets 3 stars. Salut….
Clear, medium garnet in the glass, this Sangiovese has a funky nose. Sour cherry, sauerkraut and compost all come to mind. #Concerned.
The palate allays my worries- cherry, blackcurrants, straw and rhubarb are present alongside lithe tannins. Juicy acidity keeps my jaws watering for an eternity whilst the finish lasts a medium amount of time. The wine is of light to medium body and lithe. It drinks well and will go nicely with my Lamb Kofta, which are very fatty and need some acidity to curb the grease. I’m ambivalent about this wine right now- I think it has potential but the nose is very off-putting. I will give it 88 points initially. On sale for $27, it gets 3 stars from me. Drink till 2028 with meaty tapas, Duck breast or Lamb stew. Salut….