It’s not often we get all four of my kids together, but when we do it’s off for a big night out. This adventure took us to a Brazilian Steakhouse where the waiter completely butchered the opening, serving and cork removing of this spectacular wine. Without taking any notes I will say that for $45 you are getting a super smooth Bordeaux Blend from Chile that has very soft, integrated tannins, medium acidity, full body, a long finish and a melange of fruit, oak and tertiary aromas and flavors. A stunning wine that went beautifully with all the different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and sausage we gorged on. The structure of this wine makes it perfect for immediate pleasure, but I would not cellar it too long, say till 2025 for this vintage. A real surprise and a treat. 92 points and 5 stars. Salut….
Deep garnet in color, this 11 year old Cabernet Sauvignon is getting paired with Wagyu Ribeye steaks for my son’s 25th birthday. The nose is gorgeous- a mix of primary, secondary and tertiary notes that are quite pronounced. Cassis, steeped black plum, mint, cedar, leather, tobacco, bramble, bilberry, vanilla and tar. Wowza. The palate is dry with firm tannins that grip, medium acidity, full body and a generous helping of the aforementioned aromas that caress my tongue. The finish is the only letdown here, it is quite short, albeit still bone dry from the tannins that are searing. This wine has structure to cellar for another decade at least and will pair beautifully with our well marbled beef. 93 points for this $45 jewel makes it a 5 star wine to buy and hold/drink! Salut….
I recently tasted the 2009 Clarendon Grenache and loved it. I hope this newer bottling is as good! Deep garnet in the glass with medium intensity aromas of raspberry, dried sage, black cherry, dust, charred wood, coffee, blueberry jam and vanilla. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and bracing tannins. A full body with medium (+) intensity flavors of red fruit, oaky coffee, vanilla and charred wood along with some steeped blue fruit and rustic dust. The finish is a dry, short to medium length affair that hones in on the charcoal and black cherry notes. Overall, not as good as the ’09- it gets 91 points from me with a drinking window till 2028. I give this $45 wine 4 stars. Salut….
The more Grenache I drink, the more I like it. This older bottle from near Adelaide has turned the color corner- medium garnet in the glass. The nose has vivid aromas of ripe raspberry, black cherry, sarsaparilla, cedar, charcoal, red plum, a hint of vanilla and some coffee. The palate is… wowsa. Dry yet sweet from ripe fruit. Rich raspberry, dark cherry, oak nuance, coffee, black cherry, red plum and sweet vanilla. Medium acidity and very integrated tannins make for a lovely mouthfeel. The body is quite full and the finish is nearing 30 seconds. I like this wine, a lot. It is very easy to drink but makes me give pause to consider what else I am experiencing in its complexity and depth. It gets 93 points from me and for $45 it’s a 5 star wine. I love this winery BTW. Drink till 2027. Salut….
Our second Cab Franc at tasting #27 was this much more restrained version from S.A. Our first foray into the varietal was a powerhouse Chinon. This wine was more elegant and softer- beginning with the medium ruby color in the glass. On the nose the group found aromas of lavender, violets, blackberry leaf, blueberry, cherry (cola), black pepper, creamy coffee (froth), caramel and a medicinal note as well as a touch of cough syrup (?). The palate was dry and we debated the acidity- High was the consensus. Lush, nicely integrated tannins led to a medium bodied wine with lovely flavors of blackberry leaf, lavender, vanilla, violets, and that medicinal note. A medium (-) finish took off a point or two from me yet I love this wine. 91 points for a $45 wine makes it a 4 star effort to drink till 2026 with Steak au Poivre. Salut….
Pale ruby with perhaps a touch of garnet. The nose has got just what I looking for- pronounced aromas of earth, forest floor, red cherry, baking spice, black currant leaf, red plum, clove- very complex, almost Burgundian. On the palate it is stunning- dry with very juicy acidity and medium tannins this wine has an upfront push of sour cherry followed by the earthy, forest floor component alongside other red fruits. Baking spice hits on the mid palate and I get oak nuance from the get go. This is quite full bodied and rich with flavor that finishes nicely with a sour note from cherries and cranberry. The overall length of the finish is medium. The balance of this wine is en pointe and the composure makes me want to keep sipping. This $45 Pinot Noir got some pretty monster scores- I have to agree and go with 93 points. I will be drinking the other three bottles over a 5 year period and watching the evolution. Pairings could consist of Duck l’Orange, Filet Mignon with Au Gratin or even Grilled white meats. 5 stars for this beauty. Salut….
Moxie is cooking dinner- a beef dish that is heavily influenced by mushrooms. In case you did not know- umami (found in mushrooms) has a distinct affect on wine. It makes a red taste more dry and bitter, more acidic, less fruity/sweet. A perfect pairing for this would be a full bodied, rich, tannic wine with medium acidity and not overly dry- Petite Sirah is the answer. Here goes.
Deep purple in the glass, this wine is inky. The nose has pronounced aromas of black cherry, blackberry, macerated black plum, dark chocolate, anise, barnyard (kinda strange for the varietal) and smoke. The palate is rich and dry. Medium (+) tannins, full body and medium length finish. The fruit flavors are delicious. Black berries, currants, plums and pepper. The smoke is evident as is the licorice note I got earlier. It doesn’t quite hold up to the 2013 Petite Sirah I drank last year but it does rate well at 90 points. For $45 it gets 3 stars from me. Drink till 2028 with hearty meat dishes, especially those with some well marbled beef. Salut….
Second wine up at the 24th Virtual tasting was a Portuguese blend that had 50% Alicante Bouschet- a new varietal to the group. A deep garnet color, this wine was showing a touch of age. On the nose we got blueberry, tobacco, licorice, loads of black cherry, some funk and oak influence by way of smoke, creosote, vanilla, charcoal, chocolate and cedar- our tasting group is that sensitive!
The palate was super smooth with silky tannins, loads of oak, spice box, rich blueberry, black cherry and tar with a tart finish. Low to medium acidity this mid-weight bodied wine has a long finish and is very balanced- 93 points and my WOTN. At $45 it’s not a daily drinker but value for cash it is a super nice treat wine that gets 5 stars from me. Drink till 2028 with richer meats and stews. Salut….
Ahh you little beauty. Back in the day I used to drink gallons of this stuff and wrote about the 2015 McRae Wood I recently tasted. This one, being a year older is still opaque ruby in the glass. The nose is quite pronounced with gorgeous aromas of sweet blackberry, black plum, vanilla laced blueberry pie, baking spice, red licorice and orange peel. The palate is as hoped for- dry with great acidity, smooth tannins, full body and a long finish. Pronounced flavors of the above mentioned primary fruit, secondary nuance from oak and perhaps a dash of tertiary influence from leather notes. I feel like I am missing out on the traditional jammyness usually found in Aussie Shiraz but I don’t miss it. This wine is chock full of complex flavors and I am enjoying the melding of said flavors with the structural components. 93 points from me for this $45 wine will get it 5 stars. Drink till 2030 with steaks, lamb chops or a hearty stew like short ribs. 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….