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….
Another of my mate Johnny’s wines, this was a stunner. Simply breathtaking. A Bordeaux Blend with depth, richness and staying power. Deep purple in the glass with a rich and layered nose of gorgeous cassis, mint, stewed blackcurrants, cooked blueberry, coffee, smoke and cloves. Stunning. On the palate it is full bodied with well melded tannins, good acidity and complexity with flavors of blackberry, mint, tar, oak by way of smoke, clove and a medicinal note. There’s a touch of bitterness on the back end to remind me that the tannins are still young. This wine is well developed but has years ahead with potential for tertiary development. I’m excited to have tried it and wish I could get more to watch for development. 93 points and at $45 it’s a 5 star effort. Drink till 2028. Well done! Salut….
See-through and pale purple, this Pinot has a touch of murkiness to it. On the nose I get baker’s spice, dark cherry and pomegranate. The initial palate is rich and warm- cherry cobbler, fruitcake, clove and rooibos tea. It is extracted, but deftly so. The mid palate is where I start to get some really nice acidity that overlays the rich fruit with a juiciness. My jaw is starting to water as the wine gets to the finish. Lasting dark red fruits, spice, and a hint of lithe tannins take me to the medium length closure. I’m enjoying this wine a lot. It is a nice balance of New World fruit and winemaker restraint, producing a juicy yet medium bodied wine to enjoy till 2027. I am going with 92 points and for $45 it gets 5 stars. Salut….
This Pinot shows a pale shade of purple in the glass and is totally see-through. The nose is bright and lively with red cherry notes, baking spices and orange peel. The palate is delicious with a hint of strawberry coulis alongside cherries jubilee and cranberries. It is a slightly tart affair but there lurks some very lithe tannins. The mid palate is very light weight with more red fruits and spices. The finish is long and very focused on cherry and cranberry- the tart kind. I can sense the astringency of the tannins long after the wine has subsided- a rare thing for me and Pinot Noir. That will bode this wine well in the cellar. I really like it for it’s delicacy, finesse and core of red fruit. It is going to pair nicely with my roast duck l’orange with sautéed leeks. 91 points from me make this $45 bottle a 4 star effort. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Third up at our virtual tasting event was this Grenache blend. I had high hopes for another stunner from CdP but alas, you cannot hit home run after home run. This wine was semi opaque and had notes of toasted marshmallow, candied raspberry, plum, black pepper and stone fruit on the nose. Someone in the group decried “A beautiful, pretty smell”. Someone else said it was flowery. The palate gave us spice, rich black raspberry, cigar smoke, licorice and a streak of minerality. I scored it a paltry 8.5 of 20 but for some it was a huge hit. I’m not a fan of sweetness in red wine, the candy theme is not to my taste, hence the low number. Technically speaking I gave this $45 wine 89 points, the pros went much higher at 92. It gets 2 stars from me. Drink till 2026. Salut….
This Sangiovese was second up at the virtual wine tasting. At 7 years of age it is already showing signs of maturity with bricking on the meniscus it is semi opaque with a lovely shade of purple and long legs in the glass. The nose blew me away. I was astounded that such a young wine could already show nuances of leather, earth, cordial cherry, cinnamon and spice box. The palate was a slight disappointment after smelling this beauty- the flavors were not quite as powerful but we still got Luxardo cherries, Angostura bitters, leather, tobacco and spice. Grippy tannins reminded us that this wine is technically still young but they are offset by some juicy acidity. Yummy stuff overall that scored a monster 19 on my system. Had there been a touch more body and concentration of fruit it would have hit the magical 20. Overall it gets 92 points from me and at $45- 5 stars. I would buy again and drink till 2028. Salut….
This blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet is quite brooding in the glass. Dark purple and completely opaque. On the nose it has a sweet blackberry note alongside earthy herbs and violets. The palate is fruit forward with black cherry, blackberries and steeped plum notes. A dusty earthiness is ever present and some lithe tannins present at the mid palate. I sense the alcohol and just read the content- 14.9%…. careful out there. Black tea and iodine hit me on the back end as the tannic grip envelopes the mouth and melds with the fruit. It’s a tasty one for sure and I like the blend. It’s rich, rewarding and the structure is decent for medium term cellaring. Moxie is cooking up some stuffed Green Peppers, I think it will work nicely. Drink till 2023. 89 points and 3 stars for this $45 wine. Salut….
I really enjoy this appellation so I am looking forward to this $ 45 wine. It is medium purple but totally opaque in the glass. The nose is stunning. Cassis, blackberries, plum reduction and some oak. The palate is very dark-fruit forward with some delicious oak and cassis. The well integrated tannins bring a really nice dryness to the gums right off the bat. The mid palate is opulent with layers of black fruit, vanilla and the beginnings of an acidic bite. The finish is long, fruity and dry with some black tea notes along with the berries and plum. Tannins are ever present and the wine is mildly acidic, making the mouthfeel very interesting and complex. This wine is already 8 years young and will drink well till 2026 at the earliest. 93 points from me. 5 stars for this sun-drenched beauty. I’m grilling Filet and baked potatoes. Salut….
This was the star of the 4th Virtual Wine Tasting. I would normally taste a Pinot Noir right after the whites/Rosès and well before a hearty Merlot- but this wine was the ringer. I knew it would be the overall favorite so I wanted it to come last and stand on it’s own merits. It was stunning. It showed very nicely in the glass, see through with medium shades of purple. On the nose I immediately got the telltale cherry. Others noted cinnamon, chocolate and strawberry. It was not heavily tilted on any one component, rather a very nice melangè of all the smells. On the palate it showed off black cherry, spice box, cedar in the form of cigar box. Fine grained tannins and a very balanced acidity made this wine very balanced and gave it a nice crisp mouthfeel. Many in the group did not like some of the tannic wines- this one was right up their alley. Pinot, being such a delicate and light grape is difficult to grow and make into a balanced and delicious offering- once again this winery has done it very nicely. This cuvee is their lower priced offering that hits on all cylinders. I am going with 91 points and 5 stars for this $45 beaut. Drink till 2028 with lighter fare. Salut….
I have sat on a few of these bottle of San Felice for a while now because they were not quite ready the last time I drank one in 2017. This bottle is showing a semi opaque medium shade of purple in the glass. Really nice legs are exhibited. The nose has an earthy tone, pomegranate and cherry. I also get cardamom. Interesting. The palate is far more evolved since the last time, really nice dark cherry, rhubarb and spice box. The wine exhibits a really nice acidity that is even and of the right amount. The mouthfeel is really smooth, with a nice warmth that leads into a very delicate tannic frame. The midpalate has more of the red fruits and some dusty earthiness. The finish is very much a cherry affair, with the acidity and tannins really peaking into a dry, mouth puckering ending. It’s a really delicious wine, but not quite there yet. I am seeing evolution, with more to come. The framework will hold this wine up for a long while, giving me time to re-evaluate over the next 10-15 years with the other bottles. Overall I am sticking with my 93 point rating and 5 stars for this $45 Sangiovese. Pairing with spaghetti and sausage meatballs. Salut….