It’s inky, brooding, opaque and shows fine legs in the glass. On the nose I get graphite, plums, oaky vanilla and cedar. On the palate there are black currants, green plums, black tea and dry tannins. The mid palate is very astringent with more tea, strange tannins, some black fruit and not much acidity. I’m not enjoying this wine very much, too off-balance and way too dry without fruit to back it up. The finish is very dark and austere- over-steeped tea, some plums and a woodsy note. The grip of the tannins hold on for a while but the fruit fades quickly. Overall a disappointing wine from a great Bordeaux vintage. 86 points from me, the pros went much higher but I don’t see it. It may mellow out in the near future. Drink till 2025. For $75 it gets 1 star and a pass from yours truly. Salut….
Very dark purple in the glass with feint legs, interesting as it boasts 14.5% alcohol. The nose is rich with cassis, plum extract, oak and tea. The initial palate starts off jammy, full bodied and tannic. The dark fruit is very unctuous and the flavors just keep coating my mouth. The mid palate shows off a nice acidic bite alongside more cassis and leather. The finish turns a touch blue, berries and oak come to mind. This is a really delicious yet still young Napa Cab that shows off the Cali sun in a nice, full bodied package. 92 points and 4 stars for this $75 beauty. Drink till 2030. Salut….
If you look at my previous reviews of this amazing Bella’s Garden, you will see some differences, and some similarities over the years. This wine has evolved beautifully and the fact that I picked up extras is awesome, for me!
Nearly black in the glass and somewhat surprising with it’s lack of legs considering the monster 15.5% alcohol. On the nose it’s very rich with dark plums, black berries, cinnamon stick. The palate is lush, rich, layered and delightful. Dark fruits meld with extremely well integrated tannins, deft oak and syrupy cassis. The mid palate is gorgeous, bright dashes of those black fruits with a great mouthfeel which balances the tannins with a touch of acidity. This wine is young at 9 years. Primal fruit is still in full force with a great structure which will assure a long cellaring potential and the possibility of tertiary flavors evolving. The finish is long, filled with blackberry reduction and black tea. There’s a nice hint of vanilla on the back end. Great wine. 95 points. 5 stars for this $75 jewel. Drink till 2035. Salut….
For my birthday celebration, I pulled out two magnums, one of which was the ’96 Musar, I hand carried it from the winery many years ago. I have two bottles of the ’98 waiting but in the meantime….Super pale red- see through, reminiscent of Pinot which it’s not with a touch of orange bricking. On the nose it’s stupendous, like aged Bordeaux. Leather, tobacco, plum and cassis- all my favorites. On the palate it is so smooth, with hints of cassis, cedar box, more tobacco and forest floor. There’s so much going on it’s amazing. Towards the mid palate I get cherry, faint tannins and a perfectly balanced acidity. The finish is awesome. So sleek with cherry juice reduction and a slightly biting rhubarb component. 93 points and 4 stars for this $75 wine. It’s not for everyone, the style is different but for this boy- it hits the right notes. Drink till 2030. Salut….
You know you’re in for a bombastic treat when the label says Shiraz and the wine comes out inky in color and very dense. The nose is delightful- full of plum, espresso, cedar plank, elderberry syrup and a vanilla hint. On the palate it is more restrained than I was expecting, more silky, smoother, with much more depth. This is indeed a powerful wine, but in a more stately fashion. It shows the dark fruits I mentioned plus a really tight knit tannic structure that couples with the acidity to give an amazing mouthfeel. The elderberry syrup component really kicks in on the mid palate, it is so silky smooth. The finish is long, and full of fruit. The tannins are perfectly in sync and do not overpower the flavors. This is a delicious wine that has aged nicely and will continue to do so for many years. Drink with pretty much any grilled meat or all by itself. Beware the well hidden 15.5% alcohol, it may sneak up! The pros went big on this wine, which was WS #3 wine of the year in 2012, I can see why. 95 points and 5 stars for this treat that comes in at $75, if you can find it. Drink till 2024 at the least. Ps. I originally bought 2 bottles, and then another six afterwards. See my other two posts on Bella’s Garden. Salut….
A few posts ago I wrote about buying up wines from a shop that was closing. I picked up two bottles of this delicious, heady Shiraz and sat on them for a few years. Turns out my timing was just about right.
Nearly black in the glass and super brooding. A nose of plum jam and hoisin with a baconny hint as well. The first sip reveals gorgeous plum reduction, violets and rich, thick blueberry pie. This wine is full on, with layers of extraction and polish. To say it is meaty is an understatement. The alcohol (15.5%) becomes evident in the mid palate, as well as the acidity. It refreshes where the tannins left off. A telltale Shiraz hint of pepper and some tar come out eventually. The finish is somewhat abrupt after a decent length of time but leaves some tannic residue on the gums. This wine begs for a Sunday roast, Lamb or beef- with horseradish. It is a fall or winter wine that will reward more cellaring but is hitting all the notes right now. Drink from now until 2026. 93 points from me but the pro’s went higher at 95. My only concern is the undeniable hit of heat on the mid palate. If you can still find it they cost $75 at retail making this a serious 4 star contender. Glad I have one left! Salut….
As you may know I am a huge fan of the Clarendon Hills winery. They make smooth, polished, refined wines that ooze class and refinement. This one was no exception to the formula. Starting with pencil lead, blueberry and oregano on the nose followed by a fresh and bright intro with young tannins that coat the mouth. Blueberry, plum and a dash of pepper make for interesting notes on the palate while star anise on the finish really pops out. This is a very young wine that has not filled out yet. 2017-2025 would be a better window unless you like a tannic monster for a juicy steak. 92 points now but the potential to go up in my opinion. This wine is extracted and precise. Priced originaly at $75, it’s most likely a Sunday roast wine rather than an everyday drinker. 4 stars. Salut….
Ps. I noticed that it had a double back label. Someone has very precisely laid the label on top of the original. I wonder if that was a labeling issue or if they needed to change it for import reasons. I tried to slice it off but the sticker merely tore in my hands, intriguing.
I bought this and several other bottles of Burgundy several years ago at a local wine shop. I have been waiting patiently for this 93 point (WS) wine and figured that now I am on Christmas break- it’s time. I opened it last night to go with some spectacular Boeuf Bourguignon I whipped up. Incidentally I used a bottle of Apothic Red to cook with that wound up in my cellar as a gracious gift…. I digress.
I figured it was time to pop this premier cru wine and was hoping for a monster worthy of it’s $75 price tag. Here is what I got.
Darker purple shades in the glass than I was expecting. Somewhat muted nose, I couldn’t quite make out any normal Burgundy or even Pinot hints. On the initial attack there were crunchy sour cherries with cranberries intermingling. I had to take note of the very juicy mouthfeel made up of acidity and a touch of heat. This wine is slightly off balance, perhaps in slumber? No earthiness or funk, kinda boring where my overall impressions although it did mellow somewhat after some air time. I have to disagree with the pro’s, this is at best an 88 point wine, and 2 stars for its price point. Lacking complexity, unbalanced and showing no sign of secondary evolution make this a major pass in my book. Salut….
If you have read any of my Clarendon posts you will know that I love this winery and can’t get enough of their subtle yet complex Syrahs, Cabernets and Grenaches. This particular Mclaren Vale offering was opened to go along with my new favorite grilled meat- Chorizo. I loaded up two giant Ribeye steaks (the butcher had labelled them Delmonico’s, all hoity toity) some onions and a half dozen of the Mexican sausages on the charcoal grill and opened this beauty to sip while I got the rest of dinner ready.
Thick purple color is always a good start for Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh blue fruits with some mint greeted my flaring nostrils- perhaps a touch of alcohol was coming off the glass. Unique plum compote and blueberry coulis flavors were my initial impression but I began to think the wine is still primal with full fruit and a whiff of heat attacking the mid palate. Moderate tannins and cutting acidity belie a still young wine waiting to mature. Eucalyptus and mulberry came into being on the back end with cassis and red fruits adding to the long finish. The 14.5% alcohol was hidden after a while, blown off from it’s early attack. The wine is structured, balanced and a joy to drink. I would imagine it could cellar for another 15 years easily. $75 and 94 points from me make this a treat of a wine that gets 5 stars for a special occasion. Salut….
I am tasting my way through the Clarendon Hills portfolio, and I’m loving it. This particular Syrah was nearly black in the glass. It opened with plums and blue berries on nose with some pencil lead hints. My first impression was powerful and juicy with delightful tannins. I noticed that the wine sports a 14.5% alcohol which is well hidden. Chocolate and figs on the mid palate added to the complexity of the blue fruits. The wine has a layered elegance and smoothness that is fabulous. I like the way this winery makes Syrah style wines, very nice and atypical. It later hit me that this wine is very plummy, probably explains the denseness and extraction. I noted ‘Tight tannins that are well integrated.’ I would give this wine a span of 2014-2025 with evolution hopefully coming through with some secondary flavors evolving. I got a good deal on this bottle but even at it’s SRP of $75 it is an excellent value for money if you have a big dinner planned, running at 93 points for me and 4 stars. Ps. I served it with well seasoned Flank steaks but this Aussie wine was made for a leg of lamb, just my opinion. Salut….