It’s not often I see a Sicilian Nero D’avola so I picked this up on spec. It pours a semi opaque ruby in the glass with very watery legs. The nose has pretty florals and red currant, red plum, sage and believe it or not- red chili. There is a sweet candy note that strikes fear into me as I hate that smell/taste in a wine- let’s see if it shows up on the palate. Yum, this is very smooth and gently tannic. Juicy acidity and a medium body weight give it a balanced mouthfeel. The finish is a touch short but the acidity goes on for a while making me want to drink another sip. The flavors are all there plus black cherry. Listed at $23 it gets 89 points from me and 3 stars. Drink soon with pasta, sausages with peppers or spaghetti bolognese. Salut….
In the final throes of studying for my WSET Level 3 exam comes the single page of text devoted to Fortified Muscats- well I had to try one. This particular bottle came in 375ml and costs $25. The wine is medium gold and has watery legs even though it sports a 15% ABV since it’s has been fortified. It has a pronounced nose, ie I get a whiff when approaching the glass. The aromas are perfume, rose water, lychee and flowers. Delicious notes, but rather simple. The palate is medium (-) sweet and viscous. Medium (-) acidity and low alcohol gives me a medium weight body. The palate reveals medium (+) intensity flavors of rose, lychee, orange peel and apricots. The finish is medium in length and very satisfying. I really like this style- it’s a touch fresher than a Botrytised wine and the aromatics of the Muscat grape are heavenly. Overall this wine would be classed as good in the Lexicon and I am awarding it 89 points and 3 stars. I will probably buy more as Moxie and I really enjoyed it. Drink with desserts till 2025 as it will age a bit and hopefully pick up some tertiary notes. Salut….
Trying to pair a spicy Pork dish requires thought. I’m gonna take a punt on this Godello which a grape from Spain. It’s pale golden and shows no legs (12.5% ABV). On the nose I get pronounced aromas of ripe tangerine, lemon, peach, acacia and perhaps a touch of buggle gum? Exquisite smells. On the palate it is dry, crisp with medium (+) acidity, low alcohol as mentioned, medium body and medium (+) flavors as on the nose, except the bubble gum! It is very floral and aromatic, but it doesn’t pack a big punch- it’s more of a crisp wine. The finish is medium length and tapers off with a nice minerality. I like this wine and think it will work well with the pairing. 89 points and for $15 it gets 4 stars. Drink now with seafood, or Jerk Pork! Salut….
Dinner is Jamaican Jerk Pork. A spicy dish that needs careful consideration for a pairing. The first varietal that comes to mind is Riesling. Number 2 choice- Gewurtztraminer. I have both in the fridge but opted for this young and fresh Bordeaux blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc that weighs in at a decent 12% ABV. It is very pale in the glass with a lemon color. The aromas pop out of the glass with lots of intensity. Lemon zest, tangerine, passion fruit, mango and geranium. The palate is dry and packed with juicy acidity. Citrus and floral notes abound alongside exotic fruit flavors that I got on the nose. Although it is a crisp wine, it has a certain body and mouthfeel to it that I am really enjoying. It is fresh and lively and will certainly give the spices in the dish a good complement. This wine is probably best drunk young and paired with fish, pork or a vegetable tart. It is juicy right up till the medium length finish gives out. Yummy stuff that gets 89 points from me and at $20 it is worthy of 4 stars. Salut….
We went to Montreal recently and dined at a Middle Eastern restaurant that featured lots of Lamb dishes. I selected this Malbec for its fruitiness but I was really hoping for a tannic wine to help cut the usually fatty cut of a Lamb shoulder cooked in the Tagine. In Cahors, Malbec is known as the “Black Wine”. It did not disappoint- Dark hued, opaque and brooding in the glass. Black currant jam, oak, charcoal, funk and garrigue all hit me on the nose and palate where I got medium acidity and medium plus tannins. Fresh and dry with a medium length finish of dried herbs, black licorice and jammy fruit- this 89 point wine get 4 stars from me. You can find it for $17. Drink till 2026. Salut….
I must admit- I shop the bin ends and any closeouts. I have found some great bargains but more importantly, aged wine that someone else has fronted for and held on to so I can swoop in and get it at its prime. So I had to chuckle when I finally red the label on this 2016 vintage blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. It says “to be kept between one and two years of age’. Whoops!
In the glass it’s a medium intensity ruby in color with watery legs. On the nose- it still smells fresh! Red currants, raspberry, blueberry, red plum and licorice. The palate is delightful- medium acidity, lithe tannins and good expression of red fruit, a hint of oak and some black licorice. I get a tea component on the mid palate and the finish is medium in length with charred oak, red fruit and stewed red plum. The structure is holding on and will allow this wine to be enjoyed for another few years, perhaps with Cassoulet, braised meats or a roast duck dish- it needs a rustic pairing. 89 points from me and at $14 it’s worth buying if you bump into it- 4 stars. Salut….
I just fired up the Big Green Egg to char some Picahna steaks- they will need a bold, tannic wine so I picked this young Cab Sav. It’s pretty opaque in the glass and shows watery legs, which makes sense for a 13.5% ABV wine. The nose has nice aromas of red plum, black plum, black currants, spice box, cedar and chocolate nibs. The palate is very smooth, with lithe tannins and juicy acidity- I was hoping for a more dry and tannic wine but the acidity will have to suffice in cutting the fat from the steaks. The fruit is very evident with red and black notes mingling with the cedar and spices. It has a touch of sweetness from the ripeness of the berries but I doubt it has any residual sugar- akin to a light preserve/jam. The tannins are very svelte on the medium length finish which is still chock full of fruit, I really like it! Overall this is a good wine that will drink nicely till 2024 with Filet, roast Cornish Hens or even a pasta dish. 89 points from me make this $13 effort a 5 star wine. Salut….
About 75% opaque, it sports a nice ruby color with thin legs in the glass. The nose offers up plum, blackcurrants, licorice and smoky oak. The palate is smooth with gentle tannins, rich flavors and medium acidity. There’s a smokiness that I’m really enjoying alongside the black fruit components. The finish is mid length and the wine has a great mouthfeel. I picked this to pair with pork chops, I think the softness of the wine with the lower tannic grip will do the trick. 89 points and 5 stars for this $10 wine. Drink till 2025. Salut….
This Sauvignon Blanc is pale lemon in the glass. Medium (+) intensity aromas of lemon zest, geranium, grapefruit, grass and passion fruit. It is still youthful with a dry palate and medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium (-) body and medium intensity flavors of citrus and some floral notes. I like the medium (-) length finish, it’s very refreshing and crisp. Something to drink now as it won’t age much longer. 89 points and for $10 it’s a good deal that gets 4 stars. 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….