I have had a few of the Two Hands wines and enjoyed them so when I came across this slightly aged bottle I had to try. It’s Lamb Chops tonight so an Aussie Shiraz is appropriate. This one is deep ruby, ie nearly fully opaque. The nose is of medium intensity and has aromas of plums, blackberry, rich baking spice, cedar and eucalyptus but no telltale pepper note. The palate is dry with really juicy acidity, medium (+) tannins and medium (+) body. There is some heat from the high alcohol that caught me off-guard. The flavors are medium (+) intense and consist of black plums, blackberry, cedar, eucalyptus and a jammy component. The finish is quite long, the wine is nicely balanced and complex. It has good mouthfeel even though there is a slight, lingering burn on the back end. I like it and think it will drink well for some time- till 2029. Pairing it with meat is obvious. 92 points from me and for $35 it’s a steal worthy of 5 stars. Salut….
Virtual tasting #20 started off on a high gear with the Reserve Pinot Gris, only to have it overshadowed by this stunner. Once people started sniffing all I could hear were Oooh, Aaah… On the nose the group noted aromas of licorice, forest floor, pepper, white chocolate, cardamom, black cherry, raspberry and rosewater. How’s that for complexity?
The palate was absolutely delicious- I was so excited to drink this wine. Super smooth with silky tannins and gentle acidity- we got flavors of raspberry, black cherry, Rooibos tea but it lost the pepper component. The depth of this wine was beguiling. On our tasting sheet I gave it a near perfect 19/20. Technically speaking, this $35 wine gets 93 points and 5 stars from me. You could cellar some, but why wait? Damn that was good. Might end up on the best-of list. Salut….
When a wine bottle says it’s a Red blend, I need to dig deeper. Turns out this one is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc. No details were forthcoming as to ratio though. It is deep purple, the strong legs giving away the 14.9% ABV punch I am about to get. On the nose I get rich blackberry, black cherries and chocolate. The palate is rich and dry with those dark fruits and a healthy yet ripe set of tannins that coat my gums immediately. As the wine flows I start to get some spice box components and charcoal. The tannins are formidable mind you and I am battling the attack on my teeth, hoping the fruit comes through a little more. The mid palate has Lapsang Souchong tea (a smoked black tea from China) and more dark fruit including plums and blackberry. It is a nice mix of flavors but the tannins are by now numbing my upper gums. This wine is a baby, needing an aerator or several years in the cellar. It should drink nicely from 2024 till 2030 with juicy, fatty meats, stews or hearty red sauced pasta. It finishes with a medium length and medium acidity. The balance is not quite there yet, but I think this wine has lots of promise. 91 points would be fair, but it could go up a point or two, let me re-taste in a few years as I bought several bottles. At $35 it is an excellent value for a Cali blend that gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
I loved this winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, I’m hoping for a repeat. In the glass this wine is a deep purple and opaque AF. The nose is stupendous. Pronounced aromas of blackcurrants, blackberry, toasty oak and coffee bean. The palate is technically dry, with black fruit flavors- but not as pronounced as on the nose. Grippy tannins are still working the gums in this 8 year old bottle as is some nice acidity. The wine is full bodied with a nice mouthfeel and copious amounts of fruit. The finish is very long and caresses my gums with black cherry, Lapsang Souchong tea and those really well integrated tannins. This is a delicious wine that is but a hair shy of the Cabernet as far as technicalities go, but I love me some Petite Sirah so this one gets some Lamb chops with fresh mint and garlic mashed taters. 92 points and 5 stars for this $35 gem. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Tonight is the first Sunday of the New Year, which means we are celebrating 2021 with a standing Rib Roast plus all the trimmings. A juicy, fatty cut like this needs a tannic wine, so I searched for something young that would help temper the Beef.
This Grenache is semi opaque in the glass and a pretty shade of purple. The nose is very inviting- black raspberry, bacon, blueberry jam and a hint of blackberry. Very intricate and complex. The palate is beautiful, with a perfect set of tannins for my meal. The flavor profile is more black fruit with some very well integrated oak nuances. Violets and lavender also come to mind. The mid palate has lush dollops of more black fruit and a tea component. The tannins are really fine grained but ever present for a really delicious mouthfeel. The finish has a definitive blueberry note that I got from the nose. Very complex and swirling, this wine is a treat. I paid $35 for this stunner that scored upwards of 97 points with the pros. I have to say, it is really delicious but a touch young… worthy of at least 95 points which makes it a 5 star effort that I will be stocking up on. I plan to drink until 2028 at the very least. Salut….
The 13th Virtual Wine tasting included this Right Bank Merlot. It was stunning, mature and a hit. The wine is at peak, the color showing a bit of bricking on the rim. The nose is classic Bordeaux- Earthy, smoky, molasses, black fruit jam, leather, tobacco, licorice, cloves…. that’s a lot of descriptors from the panel. On the palate it was delicious, even dreamy as one member piped out. Black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, mushroom and leather were really the key components. The wine is still robust, with very well integrated tannins and a hint of acidity. The mouthfeel is great and lingers on the decent length finish. On my 20 point scale it got 19. Technically speaking, it is a 93 point wine in my book, way higher than the pros rated it back in the day. 2010 was a great year for the Clarets and this example is showing how well the wines have held up and how they have evolved so nicely. Drink till 2025 and for $35 buy a case if you can find it. 5 stars. Salut….
Last up at the 11th Virtual Tasting was this stunner. It did not appeal to many yet was my wine of the night even though I did not really enjoy drinking it. Let me explain….. This monster is a baby. It has so much complexity, depth and power that is hidden behind a huge tannic wall that it’s hard to coax anything out of it unless you have an aerator, a few days of patience or are willing to take my word for it and cellar some for another 4-5 years. The tasters noted the following:
Inky and nearly black. Clove, grape hubba bubba, graphite, pencil shavings, creosote. Very young with loads of tannins. Cloves, blackberry, iced coffee. Bitter finish. Black currant, jam, tawny port like. Tomato. Short to medium finish.
For me it had layers of anise, tar, black fruit, oak and teeth staining tannins. Great structure will hold this wine together till 2035, but I would cellar until at least 2025, giving a decent 10 year window of enjoyment. Pairing this muscular red with anything but the heartiest of Ribeyes would be foolish, it needs juicy, fatty meat to help cut the tannic grip. On night 2 it was starting to open up and on day 3 I doubled down on the black licorice/anise flavors. The tannins are finally starting to give way. This wine is going to be amazing and for $35 well worth buying a few for the cellar. 95 massive points from me and 5 stars only because I cannot give 6! It’s 100% Tinta de Toro, aka Tempranillo. Salut….
Pale red, absolutely see through. Strawberries, cherry twizlers and earthy minerality on the nose. The palate is very racy- the theme continues with red fruits, some sour cranberry to boot and nice fine grained tannins. There’s a juicy acidity that gives the wine a nice cutting edge. Right now the mid palate ramps up the concentration of fruit flavors, really red and smooth. The acidity is on pointe giving me a nice mouthfeel. The finish is medium in length with a delightful combo of cranberry, rhubarb, cherry, oak and crunchy tannins. Delicious, if not a touch young. Drink till 2028. 92 points. It’s a 5 star effort at $35, worthy of cellaring a few bottles. Salut….
This wine was all over the shop with the group at the #9 virtual wine tasting. Some loved it, others hated. It’s an 80/20 Malbec/Cab Franc blend from Argentina. It is a very dark shade of purple in the glass. The nose is chock full of cigar box, smoke, Port wine, tar and oak. The fruit finally appears after a big swirl- black cherry and Welch’s Grape juice. There is a concerning acetone whiff, not a good sign. On the palate it is very rich and upfront with pepper, bitter chocolate, black plum and violet. That medicinal/tarry note that I am associating with the acetone is bothering me. The wine finishes with a touch of tannin and some oak influence. This is not my fave- I think it may have flaws and only gets 86 points from me. For $35 it only gets 1 star. Salut….
The last wine of our Virtual tasting #8 was this highly regarded Zin which rolls in at $35. I selected it because I really like this winery and was thinking it would be interesting to have two wines from the same winemaker, albeit different varietals to showcase the winemaker’s style and skill. There were 8 different groups tasting this wine and I recorded their collective notes.
The wine starts off with a nice purple shade of medium opacity. Fine legs on the sidewalls gave away the 15.5% alcohol, which was not evident on the palate- well disguised! The immediate reaction to the nose was ‘Grandmothers attic! A good swirl and more traditional aromas of baked cherries, rhubarb, cherry, currant, plum and dusty mocha were mentioned alongside descriptors of svelte, brooding, jammy and finally mothballs. Back to the closet I guess!
On the palate members of the group noted sassafras, huckleberry, cinnamon and Jalapeño. I found the wine to be complex but the finish brought up some interesting comments. Stinky Brie, green and bitter notes were mentioned but I thought the wine was balanced between lithe tannins and gentle acidity. Pepper was the predominant feature for me. I was not overly impressed by this wine on night one and will re-taste tonight. For now I’m going with 89 points, a stark contrast fro the 92 it got from some of the pros. 3 stars initially. Drink till 2025. Salut….
UPDATE- I re-tasted the wine after a 24 hour period and have revised my score to 91. It improved dramatically. The complexity was evident- 4 stars.