Smoked beef brisket is a tough pairing- the flavors are so rich and smoky that the wine needs to have spice, body and high levels of alcohol. A Zinfandel seems as close as possible to the perfect match. This one is semi opaque with thick legs showing off its 14.8% ABV. The nose is very aromatic- rich red fruits, spice, black and white pepper alongside toasty oak. The palate is very full bodied with great balance between the rich fruit, medium tannins and medium acidity. Ripe raspberry, redcurrant jam, white pepper and blackberry flavors are all present. It’s not a blockbuster in style but its rich fruit is very enticing. I dig this wine and for $30 it’s a good drop that gets 91 points from me and 5 stars. Drink till 2027. Salut….
I could not pass this wine up, aged 3 months in Bourbon Whiskey Barrels… That had my name all over it, but I’m not excited about the 16% ABV, seems over the top. Let’s try some.
It is bright purple and opaque AF. I can smell it a mile away, the waft is pretty serious. Once I get stuck in- the nose is very rich with blackberry, blackcurrants, black plum, alcohol, eucalyptus, caramel, vanilla, minty greeness and some black espresso. Did I mention alcohol? I have to blow that stuff out of the glass or else I will get drunk sniffing.
The palate has a sweetness to it right off the bat, but when I did my soon-to-be trademarked dryness test, I confirmed it is a dry wine. That must be from Bourbon, which is known to have caramel sweetness rather than residual sugar. I get gobs of rich black fruits that I picked out on the nose, plus really integrated, lithe tannins and medium acidity. This fruit bomb is very smooth and enticing, buyer beware of the formidable punch which is deftly hidden. If you like them big, bold and jammy then this one is right up your alley. I really am enjoying this 91 point blend of 38% Merlot, 37% Syrah, 11% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Other Red Blenders. It’s not a daily drinker for sure, especially at $30 but it gets 5 stars from me and worth a try if you see it. Drink till 2026 with some Filets. Salut….
For the finale at our Virtual Wine tasting #20 I selected an oldie but goodie. It’s been a few years since I drank any Mollydooker wines. They are a treat but buyer beware- they pack a punch. It all starts with the obligatory Mollydooker Shake, which is an important part of tasting this wine correctly. I had all the participants open the screw cap and pour off a half cup of wine into another wine glass. After re-sealing the bottle we shook vigorously to help release the Nitrogen that these wines are bottled under. Once done I had them pour regular glasses and we compared the smell of the original wine versus the shaken version- a stunning difference in aroma.
The wine is bright purple, opaque and menacing in the glass once you read the label and realize it has 16% ABV. On the nose it is jammy with blackberry, raisin, plum, pepper, coffee, black tea and vanilla. Our group got flavors of coffee, blackberry jam, cinnamon, and someone mentioned ‘grape’. Lithe tannins and medium (-) acidity make for an easy mouthfeel once you clear the alcohol hurdle. A decent finish was enjoyed as I reflected on the length and depth of fruit flavor coming out of this bottle. The body is most def full, the grapes being extracted to the max. This is not a lightweight. I am a little stumped as to what I would pair it with- the richness will overpower most foods- oh well…drink it all by itself. 91 points from me make this $30 wine a 5 star effort that needs to be on your short list. Drink till 2028. 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.
This week I am focusing on New World wines for my course. I have selected this bottle to kick off the festivities and here is my official tasting note for class:
Clarendon Hills Grenache ‘Romas’ 2011, Australia 14.5% ABV
- Appearance- Deep ruby with thick legs.
- Nose- Pronounced aromas of red plum, raspberry, blackcurrants, chocolate, coffee and smoke. Developing.
- Palate- Dry, medium acidity, medium+ tannins, high alcohol, medium+ body, medium+ intensity flavors of raspberry, red plum, chocolate, coffee, licorice. Medium finish.
- Conclusion- good quality, drink now but has potential for aging.
I have drunk many different vintages and varietals from this winery. Their Syrah mimics Rhone wines rather than jammy Shiraz. This particular bottle of Grenache was somewhat one-dimensional and lacked much development, even with 10+ years of aging. It was very tasty but had a bit of astringency that bothered me.
It ran me $30 per bottle and I am going with 89 points- kind of disappointing, I know. 2 stars, hopefully the other bottles show better as the original pro review gave it upwards of 95 points. Drink till 2030, served mine with grilled Hangar steak and Chimichurri. Salut….
For my wine class- a Southern France blend.
Appearance- Medium ruby with thin legs.
Nose- Medium (+) intensity with aromas of blackberry, black plum, raspberry, toast, licorice, game and is developing.
Palate- Dry, medium acidity, medium (+) tannins, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) flavors of blackberry, black plum, raspberry, charred wood and licorice. Medium finish.
Conclusions- very good quality wine that can be drunk now and has potential for aging.
A delicious, rustic blend of 40% Old Vine (70 yrs) Carignan, 30% Syrah and 30% Grenache. Very tannic and I could feel the alcohol, needs a juicy Ribeye. For $30 it gets 5 stars cause I really like it and give it 92 points. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Inky AF and fully opaque, a very rich purple in the glass with thick legs belying the 14.2% kick. Rich, layered notes of red currants, very ripe cherry, cigar box, blueberry ganache and blackberry. The palate is full bodied, showing medium tannins and juicy acidity. The red and blue fruit flavors are complemented by the cedar and I also get some menthol. There is a hint of Brazilian roasted coffee bean to boot. There is another, indescribable note I’m having a tough time pinpointing that I’m enamored with. The tannic structure is very good, integrated yet still fresh it coats my gums but is not too dry. The finish is of good length with a nice mouthfeel. This is a really delicious wine that gets 92 points from me. Serve it with lamb, game meat or juicy ribeyes. It has the flavors and backbone to pair with rich dishes. $30 is a decent price for such a blockbuster that gets 5 stars from me. Drink till 2027. Salut….
The last and best wine of the night at our 17th Virtual Wine tasting was this Spanish gem from a famous winery. It is predominantly Tempranillo but they added some Garnacha to the blend. It is a rich purple color that is nearly opaque in the glass. The tasters noted Oregano, funk, pepper, earth, dried plum, green olives, white pepper and a minerality from slate on the nose. The palate gave us that stone hint, coffee, tobacco, black tea, blackcurrant, black cherry, dried fig and blueberry. I noted the wine was quite acidic and others mentioned it as not being overly tannic. A medium finish was enjoyed by all. I feel this wine has already started to display tertiary notes and will mature nicely over the next few years. It is not a blockbuster but we all thoroughly enjoyed it. It gets 91 points from me which jibes with the pros and at $30, its a decent drop that’s a 5 star effort in my books. Salut….
This Barolo is relatively young at five years but I wanted to try it. In the glass it’s almost got a touch of orange and is completely see-through. The nose is intriguing with cherry, sandalwood and a little bit of Bergamot. The initial palate is definitely fruity with some astringency hitting my gums right off the bat. Very strong cherry flavors alongside cedar notes and black tea. The tannins are really starting to grip on the midpalate but I am enjoying the bright red fruit flavors that accompany. Towards the finish I get more of a cola taste with some lively acidity to balance or attempt to balance the very dense tannins. 91 points for this young Nebbiolo blend that runs $30 making it a 4 star effort. Drink from 2022 till 2027 with pasta, steaks or grilled poultry. Salut….
The final wine at tasting #16 was this 100% Mourvedre. It showed very well after the previous two gems, holding its own with good structure, great primal fruit and a reasonable price point. In the glass it is a bright, youthful purple that is 70% opaque. The nose brims with cherry candy and red twizzlers (same thing). Pepper, smoky meat, lemon and citrus (?) were also noted by the tasting panel. Probably the most descriptive being ” Candied nuts from a New York food cart”. Black cherry and Dr. Pepper rounded us out. The palate illicited two gasps of “Wow- Steve”, I guess they liked it! Black cherry, cracked pepper, raspberry and dark plum were noted as was Amaretto, cloves and very dry tobacco. The wine had a sanguine minerality to it with a streak of iron in the mid palate that was noticed by several. I hated the initial flavor profile btw- as I do with most reds that kick off with that red candy nose- but this wine quickly pulled me in with its richness and depth. I ended up giving it 16 points on the tasting scale and 91 for-real points. The pros went even higher at 94! For $30, it’s a nice treat that gets 5 stars from me. Well balanced with nice tannins and gentle acidity- I would pair with grilled steak all day long, drinking till 2030 at the least. Salut….