Our final wine at the 22nd Virtual Wine Tasting event was the capstone of our Italian themed night. We had tried three new-to-the-group varietals so I wanted to circle back to familiar roots with a Sangiovese from Brunello. The tasters got the usual cherry and tar that we expected plus black and white pepper, iron, brine and (unfortunately) stewed prune and stewed apricot which told me the wine was already fading fast. On the palate this fear was confirmed by the light-bodied nature of the wine that had low to medium tannins, medium acidity and a short finish. The flavors we got were cherry, briny salt and iron. I was hoping for some leather, tobacco, dried herbs- alas it was not to be. A massive disappointment for me personally as I always hope for 1 home run wine per tasting. At $70 this 90 pointer only gets 2 stars from me. Drink now if you have any. Salut….
The finale for the 21st Virtual Wine Tasting was this Super Tuscan blend of Cab Sav, Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. With 6 years of age it is starting to show a touch of garnet in the glass that is 75% opaque. The group were torn on this wine, some liked the tertiary notes, others did not. The combined flavors and aromas of the group include red twizzlers, blackcurrant, blackberry, vanilla, cigar, manure, barnyard, old wood, musty old oak beams, charcoal and some dried herbs. Leather featured on the back end and I found this wine to be more complex on the nose versus the palate. Super smooth tannins get grippy on the finish and we felt the wine had low to medium acidity, medium body with a long finish. It was very layered and balanced, even if the tannins started to kick off on the very tail end. This wine will develop more tertiary notes and has the backbone to cellar for another 10 years easily. It calls for a rustic pasta dish with truffles. It was the big baller of the evening at $70, which makes it a 4 star wine for me at 92 points. Salut….
I was visiting friends this past weekend and he popped this Napa gem for us to enjoy. Opaque purple- extracted to be sure. Rich nose of plums, blackberry, iodine, coffee and blueberry. Super smooth with fully integrated tannins, rich fruit, full body and medium acidity. Bright Cali sunshine is evident- the depth of flavor is deep. Structurally this is not built for long term, it’s delicious now. 91 points for this velvety elixir that runs $70 and gets 4 stars. Salut….
The finale to our Virtual Wine Tasting was this stunner. I saved the best for last. It’s a 72/28 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon that is inky in the glass. On the nose we got black cherry, Damson plum, leather, fruitcake, hay, raisins, smoke and molasses. On the palate it was immediately evident that this wine is powerful, yet subtle. Very smooth with super fine grained tannins that are barely perceptible make for a gorgeous mouthfeel. Plums, fruit cake, black berry cassis and violet. The finish was a medium length affair that was simply delicious, not dry or acidic. A stunning wine that I gave 19 points out of 20. Technically speaking it is worthy of a massive 96 points from me which jibes with the pros. I would not bother pairing this beauty with anything- just drink it with a loved one and appreciate the depth of flavor, the complexity and the balance of this $70 treat. I have to go with 5 stars. Drink till 2025. Salut….
I love this wine btw, having had older vintages in the past. This one shows see-through dark purple in the glass. The nose is ethereal- raspberries, rooibos tea, cinnamon and some oak. The palate is very much New World. Tart, crispy and loaded with red fruits. The cinnamon and raspberry components are very much accentuated. There is a bit of heat from the alcohol, which I kinda like. It’s only showing 13.5%, but I can sense its presence. The mid palate is more earthy with some wild game and mushroom notes along with some red berries. The finish is warm, with a raspberry reduction and charcoal note. It’s quite long and a touch tart, making me lick my chops. Overall this is a well made wine that is in a mid-life crisis. It’s lost some fruit yet doesn’t quite have tertiary flavors developed fully. I would give it another 3 years and drink from 2023-2030. 92 points and 4 stars for this $70 Pinot. I’m pairing with Chicken Kabobs. Salut….
A stunning, deep purple in the glass that belies this wine’s age. On the nose it’s somewhat muted but I do manage to coax some graphite, plum reduction and anise. On the palate it’s still young, acerbic yet relatively fruit forward. Blueberry, sour cherry and that minerality all show up. The mix of acid and tannins battle each other as the midpalate shows more blueberries and some rhubarb. I have to say- it’s quite tart and lacking much wood influence. The finish is pretty much the same with a decent 30 second tail. I’m serving this with Sunday roast, and somewhat regret opening such a young wine. Give it 3-5 more years. For now, 89 points and 2 stars for this $70 offering. Salut….
I good mate of mine brought this over for Thanksgiving but we never got around to it. I am glad in a way as it meant I could devote the proper attention to tasting this well crafted beauty. A quick check of the internet reveals a price of $70- yikes. But damn is this wine good…
Beautiful reddish purple in the glass. A nose of cherries jubilee, spicebox, cedar. On the palate a gorgeous medley of cherries, rhubarb and black berries. Nicely integrated tannins meld well with the acidity and give the mid palate a smooth mouthfeel with notes of cinnamon, more cherry and some espresso. The coffee theme runs into the finish that shows just a touch of acidity and some vanilla. There is a citrus peel component on the finish that leaves it a little tart which is my only concern. Overall a very well made wine which has enough earthiness and an abundance of fruit to pull off many matches, both Burgundian and New World. 92 points from me and 4 stars. I paired it with Lasagne because that was what was for dinner- you can do better with a Coq Au Vin dish, perhaps even a roasted Cornish hen with wild rice. Really delicious. Salut….
In Bordeaux there are certain vintages to look for and each has it’s own drinking window based on that vintage and the quality of the wine. Clos Du Marquis is not the second label of Second Growth Chateau Leoville Las Cases, but is made at the same winery. I mistakenly made that assumption when I first bought it. It’s pedigree shows however. I bought a case of this wine back in 2012 and have been patiently waiting for it to emerge. Wowza, has it ever come to life!
See-through purple in the glass with a tiny amount of sediment showing in the bottle. Cassis, black currants and cedar on the nose. Smooth as all heck intro of black berries, blueberry and cassis. On the mid palate, more layers of currant, blackberry and spice mingling with the delightful tannins. Balanced to within an inch of its life this wine is on pointe and drinking beautifully. From the great 2005 vintage it’s easy to see how this wine would get 93 points and a 5 star rating that has really rewarded my patience. It can still be found for $70. Ps. WS gave it 93, RP only a 91 but had high praise for it’s evolution. I would drink this all by itself, the 13% alcohol being very civilized- but if you wanted to pair it with some beef stew, Osso Bucco or even Coq Au Vin, these would work well. I am looking forward to the rest of this case, spread out over the next 5 years. Salut….
Light purple, typical for the varietal and region. Nose of cherry, earth, a hint of oak and some funk. On the initial attack it is somewhat basic with raw flavors of cherry, strawberry and sour cranberry. This wine is way too young as it only exhibits primal features. Edgy tannins will smooth out and meld with the acidity. I reserve judgement but give it 90 points for now. I will aerate and try again.
Much softer after double decant with more cherry and some blueberry hints. Still tannic and edgy and the acid hits right in the cheeks. Sticking with the 90 points initially and for $70, this is a 3 star effort that may need some cellaring to really shine. Burgundy can be a tricky pick. Salut….
Yet another tremendous effort from Clarendon Hills that had me refilling my glass quicker than usual. I planned a rather extravagant night last weekend before I left town. This bottle was the opener, going up against some Hanger Steaks, a piece of Flat Iron Beef and some peppercorn sirloins. The match was perfect.
Purple jam and tar sprung out of the blackish-purple glass that really intrigued me. The Clarendons are usually slightly restrained and refined, not bombastic. More on this later… A plum core with blackberry and spice box introduced me to the wine where I then got some oak and leather notes with bramble on the mid palate. Well masked 14.5% alcohol is a becoming a regular feature of this winery. I made note of the smoothness with a racing acidity and well integrated tannins. This particular cuvee has full extraction but is restrained in style. The winemaker has really worked these grapes to achieve depth and character with tremendous complexity yet still sticking to their Rhone style of making Aussie Shiraz. I gave it 93 points which aligns with the pro’s and would drink this wine between 2014-2018 with no problem. Pricey at $70 or so bucks it will make you look a star on a big dinner date when paired with some grilled meats. 4 stars from me. Salut….