I must say- this wine is intriguing. Normally Zinfandel is relatively deep hued and high in alcohol. This one is pale to medium ruby colored with thin legs that took a while to form. It sports a more modest 13.5% ABV. The nose is spicy with pepper, menthol, clove, dark chocolate, black plum and black raspberry. The palate is dry with sweet, ripe fruit. Medium acidity coupled with medium (-) tannins make for a relatively easygoing mouthfeel. Medium bodied- I get flavors of black raspberry, plum, white and black pepper, blackberry jam and a crescendo of acidity on the back end that is starting to make my jaw water. I did not get that level of acid at the onset but it is certainly prominent on the finish, which is medium in length. I like this non-vintage, old vine wine, it has a smoothness and drinkability that make it hard to put down. The spicy nature of the grape is perfect for my pairing- Middle Eastern fare including Kafta ( a spiced ground Lamb kebab) and Harissa potatoes along with olives and other sundry items. 89 points for this $21 non-vintage bottle makes it a 4 star effort to drink now. Salut….
Pale lemon colored this aromatic varietal has a pretty intense nose. Aromas of pineapple, rose petals, white flowers, marshmallows and orange peel. The palate is dry with medium acidity and a boatload of flavors. I get exotic pineapple, orange pith, white flowers, rose water and that marshmallow note, which I have never encountered in wine. There is a touch of bitterness that I think contributed to the orange pith note that sits on the roof of my mouth. The acidity is very balanced with the level of fruit ripeness and this 13% ABV wine is medium to full bodied. It’s certainly delicious and the finish carries for a decent length. I love this varietal, hence the purchase. This one would pair beautifully with some Thai food of medium spice or even Indian fare. It’s rare to think of a wine harmoniously working with spicy foods but this one has the ripeness and acidity to go the distance. I would drink this sooner rather than later and chill it slightly for maximum enjoyment. 89 points for this $14 effort making it a 4 star wine in my books. Salut….
I have just returned from Lebanon and the UK, so Moxie decided to cook a meal for me and Beef Bourguignon it is! She did not venture into the cellar for a bottle of Pinot, opting to remain clear and go directly to the wine shop where she picked up this $11 California offering. It shows medium opacity and a somewhat dull ruby color with medium looking legs (13.8% ABV). The nose is interesting for a New World Pinot- there’s quite a bit of earthiness to alongside the cherry, pomegranate and raspberry aromas. I also get some baking spices and a touch of funky red licorice. The palate is dry with very lithe tannins and low acidity. It’s a fruit forward wine that bursts with cherry and strawberry, pomegranate and black raspberry. The spices are present but very subdued. Medium bodied with a short finish- quite tasty. This is a not an age worthy wine, but it rocks as a pop-n-pour and doesn’t break the bank. It gets 87 points from me and 4 stars. Very smooth and appealing. Drink till 2025. Salut….
Pale lemon colored with medium intensity aromas of lush tropical fruit- pineapple, papaya and kiwi fruit intermingled with pear, rose petals and bruised red apple. The palate is dry with medium (-) acidity and medium body. Flavors of papaya and pear dominate with kiwi and bruised red apple supporting. The papaya and apple both have a unique, overripe accent that makes this quite interesting and adds to the body of this lush wine. It has a medium length finish with a touch of astringency from almond seed that I find intriguing. This is an interesting varietal that I am thoroughly enjoying. Tonight I am pairing it with Chinese inspired dishes including some spicy chili infused plates. I believe the wine will stand up to the heat and complexity of the fare. 89 points for this $18 wine makes it a 4 star effort to try out. Drink now. Salut….
This blend of Shiraz is a medium shade of garnet in the glass with defined legs (15% ABV). The nose has pronounced aromas of black plum, black raspberry, blackberry, cinnamon and dill. The palate is dry with medium (-) acidity and very supple tannins. Medium bodied- this delicious wine has very ripe fruit flavors of plum, dark raspberry and black cherry with some licorice, pepper and cedar. The alcohol shows up on the back end with a touch of heat on the throat, which was to be expected. The finish is medium in length and I get dark red and black fruit with some oak notes. Really delightful wine that gets 89 points from me and at $13 it’s a steal worthy of 5 stars. Drink over the short term with some braised beef ribs or perhaps a roast leg of lamb. Salut….
This Grenache/Syrah blend is deep ruby colored with thick, slow moving legs (14.5% ABV). The nose has nice aromas of red plum, black raspberry, red licorice, herbs, candied cherry and rose. It’s quite complex once you swirl it around. The palate is dry with medium acidity and medium tannins- the grip I got initially quickly faded. Flavors of plum, black raspberry, charred oak, some red licorice and earthy florals/herbs. It is medium (+) bodied with a medium finish of dark red fruit plus a healthy dose of heat. Made from very ripe fruit, it is flavorful but at a price- the alcohol is quite noticeable on the back end. We are pairing this bold wine with spiced burgers and potato wedges. It would also go well with hearty BBQ, maybe smoked brisket with a rich sauce. 89 points from me for this $15 effort makes it a 4 star wine to drink till 2026. Salut….
Medium ruby colored with fast moving legs (14% ABV). The nose pops out at me with chocolate and coffee. Dark plum, blackberry, açaí berry and a green herb note follow. The palate is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins and a medium body. Pinotage is a bit of a chameleon grape- shifting flavors and aromas dependent on oak treatment. This one has a lot of chocolate and some coffee that are straight out of the barrel. Black fruit plays second fiddle- not that I’m complaining. The green herb note hits on the back end. The finish is a semi dry, tart affair that lasts medium length. This is a unique wine that I am really going to enjoy with roasted duck and orange sauce. It gets 89 points from me and for $14 it’s worthy of 5 stars- get a bottle or two. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Inky ruby colored, this opaque wine looks nearly purple in the glass. The nose has an interesting combination of (French?) oak derived aromas alongside red cherry, pomegranate and raspberry notes. I smell subtle perfume along with spices and a green leaf note. The palate of this blend of Castelão, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional wine is bone dry with medium (+) acidity and high tannins. Flavors of black raspberry, cherry cola, pomegranate along with smoke, spice and tomato leaf. Medium bodied it finishes medium length with some tartness and loads of tannic grip. If you like a dry wine or need something to cut through a fatty cut of Ribeye, this one is right up your alley- or else decant/aerate it for a while. Drink till 2028. 89 points and 5 stars for this $12 effort. Salut….
Medium lemon colored, it takes on a touch of gold in the glass. On the nose- aromas of lemon curd, grapefruit, yellow pear, blossom, brioche and almond. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and a medium (+) body. This Melon de Bourgogne varietal shows a fullness that is a result of the Sur Lie aging that I am enjoying. In addition to the citrus, pear and floral notes I also get flavors of baking spice and yeast. At 12% ABV, it is a nice aperitif to serve with olives and charcuterie. The acidity would also lend itself to soft cheese and seafood for sure. It has a medium length finish emphasizing the baking spice, brioche and cream notes. I like this $15 wine that gets 89 points and 5 stars from me. Drink soon. Salut….
As the name implies- this is a very coffee-driven wine. Pinotage takes to heavily toasted oak barrels like a fish to water- this is where the winemaker can add the definitive coffee notes if they so choose. This particular bottle is a pale-to-medium ruby with a blue tinge (lower acid). On the nose I got pronounced aromas of coffee, some dark chocolate, tar, blackberry compote, forest floor and mulberry. My notes include a ‘fish?’ notation, might have been a passing moment. On the palate the wine has medium (-) acidity (remember the blue tinge?), medium (+) body and medium tannins. I noted it was quite earthy but the structural components made for a great mouthfeel and it ended with a decent length finish. For $13, this 89 point wine earns a respectable 4 stars from me and could pair nicely with Venison, BBQ, Pulled Pork or any other highly flavored dish. See my notes on the 2016 Barista. Drink till 2026. Salut….