This Sonoma gem pours very dark, brooding and inky in the glass. The palate is somewhat of a surprise- it’s chock full of plum, black berry and chocolate powder. I also get a whiff of the 14.5% alcohol. On the palate it is delicious, tannic, and interesting. Black iodine, plum jam and blackberry compote all hit me. The wine has a nice dose of tannins that carry through all the way to the finish, not overly dry but present nonetheless. The mid palate mellows out some from the big burst of fruity goodness. The tannins are more evident on the gums at this stage and my mouth is starting to pucker. The finish has dusty mocha, more of that Iodine and obviously those dark fruits. It could use a touch more acidity but I really am enjoying it for it’s youthful exuberance and unabashed tannic structure. Good use of oak adds to the flavor of this wine and the alcohol that I was concerned about did not materialize. It will cellar nicely for a few years and pair well with grilled steaks, Osso Bucco or a hearty Venison stew. Drink till 2026. 91 points my friends and 5 stars for this $20 Cali Cab. Salut….
It’s a nice shade of see-through purple, as can be expected of this varietal. On the nose it’s a bit gamy but I eventually get ripe strawberry, cherry and twizzlers candy. The palate is pleasing with some nice soft red fruit notes. Red currants, more cherry and an interesting cedar plank note. On the mid palate I sense some juiciness, the acidity making an entrance and keeping me on my toes. The flavors get intertwined with some very fine grained tannins that are barely perceptible, yet leave an astringent coating. The finish is pretty much red fruit and a hint of rhubarb for that sour thrust coupled with a touch of oak. There is a greenness right at the end that perturbs me, but this is a nice wine that I am enjoying before cooking dinner. It will go well with roast duck, salmon on the grill or charred Filet Mignon. I’m guessing it will age for a few years, drink till 2024. 89 points from me and at $10 it’s a steal for Pinot Noir. 5 Stars- would buy again. Salut….
I have had a few wines from Lodi recently and am becoming a big fan. Zinfandel is one of their signature grapes so this wine is exciting to me.
As I look at it in the glass it’s a nice shade of opaque purple. I can also smell the waft of fruit from a foot away, always a good sign. The nose is very fruit forward with tons of black berry, dark plums and a cinnamon twist. The palate is misleading- when you smell that much fruit you automatically expect a wine with a touch of sweetness, which I do not look forward to in reds. This wine is not at all sweet- it is rich, concentrated with black fruit and very tasty. There is a core of minerality on the mid palate that mixes it up with some oaky char and anise. I usually expect pepper with this varietal but I’m not getting any. The wine has a nice, balanced mouthfeel with very lithe tannins and supporting acidity. The finish is a fruit salad of black cherry, blackcurrants and blackberry jam. It is mouth filling and satisfying if you like a ton of flavor. I’m enjoying it with some Spaghetti Arrabiata with garlic bread. Kudos to the winemaker for this 90 point effort that I paid $13 for. It gets 5 stars and will drink nicely till 2027. Salut….
This Cab Franc is reddish purple and nearly see through in the glass with some nice legs draping the edges. On the nose I get a dark, brooding blackberry and smoky oak. The palate is delicious, tannic and intriguing. Black currants, black berry and violets interlaced with gum searing tannins and a modicum of acidity. If I had a Ribeye in front of me, heaven. The mid palate is bone dry yet there is a core of fruit pushing through to the back end alongside some cigar box and black tea flavors. The finish is very dry with those tannins holding on to the end. Black fruit, spice box and a plummy ending make this a memorable wine, if not a touch young. I am excited for wines from Lodi, they have made great strides in quality and this is a good example. If you like ’em dry, pour this baby now, or else let it sit until 2023. Drink till 2028. 89 points and 5 stars, I paid $10- stunning wine for the price. Salut….
I recently ordered six different bottles from Naked Wines. This Mendoza wine is the first of the series. At $11, I’m not sure what to expect, here goes.
It’s a nice shade of purple and semi opaque in the glass. I sense dark plums, black currants and spice box on the nose. The palate is really juicy with a fruit forward approach. Dark fruits dominate with black cherry as the leader. There is a really nice tannic component that is not too astringent but gives just the right amount of dryness. The mid palate is really juicy with a nice rounded acidity and good mouthfeel. The fruit is very warm and satisfying. The fruit components are joined by some black tea notes and more spice box. Cedar shake also comes to mind as I ponder the finish. It’s decent in length and has the right amount of tannic grip to keep me interested without making my gums wince. The acidity is very gentle and balanced.. I really like this wine for an everyday drinker and give it 90 points. At that price it’s worthy of 5 stars and a stock up, drink till 2026. A blend of Malbec and Cab Sav that I’m pairing with grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip roast and baked potatoes. Well done. Salut….
This Russian River Valley Chard has a beautiful gold sheen to it. The nose is floral and full of citrus. Lemons, lime and vanilla bean all hit me. On the palate it is very rich and warm. The citrus theme continues but I note popcorn and honeysuckle join the fray. The mid palate is full bodied with a nice mouthfeel. I am enjoying the citrus without too much acidic cut. I was looking forward to a somewhat fuller wine and this one hits all the notes. The finish is crisp and clean with a core of marzipan to go alongside the refreshing fruit flavors of lemon, lime and green apple. Judicious oak use is noted and appreciated. I am pan searing some King Salmon to go with Battata Harra, a spicy Middle Eastern potato dish- I think the weight of this Chardy will go well with the fish and stand up to the fiery spices of the side dish. 91 points from me and 5 stars for this $16 wine. Drink till 2028. Salut….
This Napa Cab pours a rich deep purple in the glass and is totally opaque. On the nose it’s all Cali sunshine- rich blackberry, plum jam, figs and vanilla. On the plate it lives up to its billing. Rich fruits, cassis, ripe tannins and a touch of acidity. The mouthfeel on this one is stupendous. I am enjoying swirling the wine but it gets really good on the mid palate where espresso adds another angle as does plum jam. The finish is somewhat drier yet still reserves the spotlight for the primal fruits. It has good structure, if not somewhat muted by the fruit forward style of this gem. It will age well and hopefully develop some tertiary flavors. This could be a monster folks. 94 points from me. It’s pricy at a list of $135, but I found it elsewhere for less. I’m pairing this 5 star wine with Char-grilled Ribeyes. Drink till 2030. Salut….
In the glass this Sangiovese is very dark, opaque and brooding. On the nose it is perfumed with some bold cherry notes, black currants and spicy oak. The palate is delicious folks- ripe black cherry, crispy tannins, juicy acidity and cedar. The mid palate is stunning too with more of that juicy fruit and a shift to some red currants, rhubarb, game and cherry compote. The finish displays a nice balance between the medium grip tannins and the acidity. Judicious use of oak is evident as there is a touch of it on the back end but it is not obtrusive. This is a well made wine that I am thoroughly enjoying whilst making spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread and Caeser Salad. 93 points for this $50 stunner that will drink well till 2030. I’m going with 5 stars. Salut….
I wanted to introduce a pure Cinsault to our wine tasting group. It’s a very difficult grape to source as a standalone because it’s traditionally a blending grape. I have had some delicious wines that rely heavily on Cinsault, which reminds me of Pinot Noir in its structure and finesse. In fact- Pinotage is a cross of the two grape varietals.
The wine is very pale red and see-through. The nose gave us cigar box, perfume, cherry, raspberry, cedar, black cherry, maple syrup, mulling spices, strawberry and cardamom. The palate was peppery with black cherry, jello, earth, pomegranate, violets and was considered ‘spicy’.
I thoroughly enjoyed this lighter style of wine that had gentle tannins, decent acidity and a really nice mouthfeel. 92 points from me for this $25 charmer that gets 5 stars. Drink with lighter fare till 2028. Salut….
The second wine of Tasting #8 was another Chenin Blanc, this time from Vouvray. Served at room temperature first we noted a pale gold color. The nose was flowery, with honeycrisp apple, honey, green apples, honeysuckle and pear. The palate is somewhat sweet with several participants noting canned pear with it’s syrupy goodness. I got passion fruit but the wine had a bitter aftertaste.
The chilled version was very interesting. Oatmeal, burnt honey, Graham cracker, butter and white pepper were noted. The wine had more citrus on the finish and I tasted sweet tangerine and pear as well. I scored the chilled version the second highest wine of the night and really enjoyed this $25 wine, giving it 91 points and 5 stars. Pairing suggestions would include grilled Swordfish, roasted Quail or even Moussaka. Drink till 2026. Salut….