This wine is deep ruby colored with thin, piercing legs that move slowly indicating a high alcohol level (14.5% ABV). The nose gives me vanilla and dust right off the bat. Pomegranate, black plum, açaí, clove and sarsaparilla come next. The palate is dry with medium (+) tannins and medium (+) acidity. This full-bodied wine has flavors of bramble, black plum, pomegranate and oak by way of vanilla, clove and a charcoal note. Typical for the region I get dusty, earthy hints and the wine goes on to a medium length finish. The fruit doesn’t taste fully ripe to me, it’s somewhat green unfortunately and this will cost it a point or two. The structure is there but the finish is quite astringent. Perhaps a decant is in order? I’m roasting a Rump Steak with all the trimmings, it should pair nicely. For $17 this 88 point wine gets 4 stars. Drink till 2027. Salut….
As the name implies- this is a very coffee-driven wine. Pinotage takes to heavily toasted oak barrels like a fish to water- this is where the winemaker can add the definitive coffee notes if they so choose. This particular bottle is a pale-to-medium ruby with a blue tinge (lower acid). On the nose I got pronounced aromas of coffee, some dark chocolate, tar, blackberry compote, forest floor and mulberry. My notes include a ‘fish?’ notation, might have been a passing moment. On the palate the wine has medium (-) acidity (remember the blue tinge?), medium (+) body and medium tannins. I noted it was quite earthy but the structural components made for a great mouthfeel and it ended with a decent length finish. For $13, this 89 point wine earns a respectable 4 stars from me and could pair nicely with Venison, BBQ, Pulled Pork or any other highly flavored dish. See my notes on the 2016 Barista. Drink till 2026. Salut….
After the disastrous Pinot I just tasted at the wine bar I needed redemption- this 89 pointer helped. Pale ruby colored it had a slight funk to the nose alongside spice box, cherry, earthy cinnamon and stewed raspberry which made me wonder if this was yesterdays unprotected bottle?? The palate had medium (+) acidity, medium body and medium (-) tannins- all to be expected for this varietal. For $14 this is not a bad drop of Oregonian Pinot that you could pop-n-pour any night of the week and pair with roast Chicken or even use in Boeuf Bourguignon. Drink this 4 star effort till 2025. Salut….
Medium ruby colored this IGT level wine comes in at 14.5% ABV which is contrary to the fast moving legs on the glass walls. I get aromas (muted btw) of dark cherry, lavender, iron, crushed rock, blackberry and violets. The palate is dry with high acidity and medium tannins. Ripe black cherry, blackberry coulis, purple florals and some stoney minerality mix with a blackened cedar slate component. The body is full and the wine finishes medium (+) in length with a touch of heat which is unusual for me to sense. I like this rather silky brute, it presents itself with structure and fruit alongside some oak influence and unabashedly does so for $13. It gets 89 points from me and 4 stars. Drink till 2028 with hearty dishes. A blend of Malvasia and Negroamara that has been air-dried on mats and then pressed after the grapes have raisined. Salut….
Deep ruby colored this Tempranillo has medium (-) intensity aromas of baked plums, earth, blackberry pie, leather, baking spice and bramble. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and medium tannins. The body is full and I get the expected dry earth, bramble, blackberry and spice flavors- it’s nearly textbook Rioja minus a bit of intensity and a touch more acidity. They back end has a charred cedar note and it finishes a bit astringent on the gums. It’s a serviceable wine that runs $15 and gets 88 points from moi- 4 stars to drink by 2026. Salut….
Deep garnet colored with fast moving legs- 13.9% ABV. The nose started off with a medicinal note followed by horse saddle leather, dust, barnyard, blackcurrant, black cherry, bandaid and briar. It is earthy with loads of tertiary aromas. The palate is dry with medium acidity, well integrated tannins, medium (+) body and rich flavors of black fruits, dusty earth, bramble, briar and açaí berry that lead to a long finish of black tea and leather. 93 points is what I imagined this wine garnering yet the pros went lower back in the day. It’s amazing how some wines will age so gracefully and deliver those lovely tertiary flavors after 16 years yet still show some primary fruit and structure to age a few more years. I would drink this $140 offering till 2026 or so with lighter beef dishes. 4 stars from me. Salut….
Pale straw colored with medium intensity aromas of tangerine, pear, yellow apple and persimmon. The palate is dry with high acidity and medium (+) body. The flavors I get are very interesting- mandarin oranges, soft pear, yellow apple and passion fruit. There is a medium length finish that turns a bit bitter, like almond seed. I like the fact that is is labelled as an unwooded wine, allowing the purity and character of the varietal to shine. For $15 this 89 point wine gets 4 stars from me. I’m at the beach so a seafood pairing is obvious. Salut….
Medium ruby colored with medium viscosity legs in the glass. The nose has aromas of red plum, leather, earth, dill, coconut and blackberry bramble. The palate is dry with medium tannins and medium (+) acidity. I get crisp flavors of plum and blackberry with oak via the dill and coconut. The dusty, earthy component is trademark Rioja and I love it. This wine is medium to full bodied and finishes with a decent length coating of blueberry and blackberry with some smoky oak. 89 points from me for this $15 Tempranillo (80%)/Garnacha (20%) blend that makes it a 4 star wine to enjoy over the shorter term with grilled meat, in my case- a Tomahawk of Pork rib. Salut….
Medium to deep lemon colored this Chardonnay has medium intensity aromas of citrus, pineapple, yellow apple, geranium and cherry leaf. The palate is dry with medium acidity and a medium (+) body. Flavors of lemon, grapefruit, pomelo and pineapple prevail and luckily for me- no Diacetyl from MLF. I was not in the mood for a big, buttery, over-oaked Chard. This is going to go beautifully with our grilled Chermoula spiced Shrimp and Spanish rice. 87 points from me for this $13 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Drink now. Salut….
Medium lemon colored this wine has energetic aromas of citrus, bruised papaya, peach and a green, herbaceous note. The palate is dry but you can sense an aromatic quality to this fragrant wine. The fruit tastes riper than the nose and that’s probably where I got the bruised papaya note from. Citrus driven, there is also some herbal notes. Medium acidity provides a bit of cut on the initial attack. Body-wise this is a medium (-) affair that finishes medium length and a touch tart. I like it for an aperitif and perhaps to pair with lighter fare. It’s a good hot weather bottle that gets 87 points from me and for $12- 4 stars. Drink now. Salut….