Medium ruby colored with thin, speedy legs in the glass (13.5% ABV). The nose of this blend shouts Zinfandel before I get Cabernet Sauvignon. Interesting as the mix favors Cab by 60/40. Ripe black plum with black cherry, bramble, smoke, coffee and crushed stone. The palate is dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins. Full bodied, this wine coats my mouth with dark, very ripe fruit and some interesting smoky, resinous notes. Minerality is slight but there is a definite earthiness to this big wine. The finish is medium in length and I get really nice black berry notes with some cocoa. The tannins slide away nicely leaving ripe fruit. I like it for what it is- an atypical blend of non-vintage wine that runs $25- probably one of my favorite wines from Cooper’s Hawk. It gets 90 points from me and 5 stars. Hard to give a drink-by window for an NV wine, but it’s ready to go now and will cellar for a year or three. I’m pairing with burgers on the grill, but some stews or smoked meats would also do the trick. (My guess is California Zinfandel with a mix of Cab from Washington and Cali) Salut….
Moxie and I just dropped off our daughter at university in NYC. We had a last dinner with her at this amazing Italian restaurant. I dined on herb-infused papardelle with an oxtail ragout that screamed for a juicy, yet not overly tannic red. My choices included this $20 (at retail) bottle of Montepulciano. No notes were taken but from memory I recall it being the perfect choice. Red fruit driven with medium (+) acidity, a modicum of tannic grip and a medium body. The freshness of the fruit was evident as was a touch of spice, some herbs and a hint of oak. The finish was medium in length with red fruit driving the flavors. It was thoroughly enjoyed and I will be looking for more, at that price-point this 90 point wine is getting 5 stars. I would drink it with all manner of pasta until 2025. Salut….
Deep purple colored it stains the walls and has a slight bluish tinge on the edges. On the nose it is very heady with aromas of dark, ripe blueberry, black currants, blue plum, violets, mint and a touch of oak by way of baking spices and chocolate powder. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and high tannins that are fine grained. This full bodied wine has plenty going on flavorwise. Blueberry, cacao, blackcurrant, plum, florals and some spices. The question of balance comes into mind as the alcohol (15% ABV) is noticeable on the nose and the mid palate. I will get over it but buyer beware. The finish is medium in length and blue fruited. The tannins having vanished, leaving a touch of refreshing acidity. The Douro Valley and this varietal, Touriga Nacional are well known to Port lovers worldwide. They make delicious and full throttle fortified wines, so having ripe, sun-drenched grapes to make a still wine is not an issue. The results are in this bottle- a yummy delight to pair with hearty dishes. Mine is Steak and Ale pie tonight but it will do well with grilled leg of Lamb or even Osso Bucco. I would drink this wine till 2030, it has the structure needed to cellar. 90 points (the slight imbalance alcohol cost a point) and for $19- 5 stars. Look for this wine or even this varietal and region when you are searching for something new. Salut….
Medium lemon colored with a medium (+) intensity nose. Right off the bat I get aromas of creamy tropical flowers- bizarre, I know. Then…. Nougat mixed with tangerine, more bizarreness. Followed by saline and some pithy citrus as well as a touch of petrol. I am really perplexed by this wine. The palate is dry and slightly bitter with medium body and high acidity, which I was expecting. Flavors of subdued citrus and florals alongside the bitterness from pith carry through to the medium length finish. I must say this is not what I was expecting, the flavors and aromas are off my normal path for this varietal. I like the precision, minerality and cut of this wine- it’s like a laser, I just need to recalibrate to these new flavors and aromas. I would give this $18 wine 90 points and drink with charcuterie or oysters on the half shell. Be ready for some mouth puckering vibrancy- 5 stars. Salut….
Pale straw colored this aromatic grape has an intense nose. Aromas of grape, orange zest, lemon, lime, florals and wet slate. The palate is dry with cutting medium level acidity and a medium body. Citrus driven with a hint of pith layered in floral notes make for a very delicious flavor profile. The finish is quite long, concentrating on orange pith and lemon zest, the acidity doesn’t stop. I like this wine- 90 points worth and for $14 it’s a 5 star porch-pounder that rings in at 12.5% ABV. Get some in preparation for summer. I would pair this with spice laden dishes, seafood or a crisp salad with grilled chicken. Salut….
Having just visited this winery where I tasted the 2022 from the still unbottled vats I had to bring home a bottle to share with Moxie. It shows a beautiful medium straw-lemon color in the glass. The nose has pronounced aromas of lemon, grapefruit, lychee, pineapple, white flower, a hint of vanilla bean and perhaps some bread. The palate is dry and a touch bitter with grapefruit pith, lemon, rose, lychee, pineapple and a floral note making it quite a complex array of delicious flavors. Medium acidity and a medium to full body take me to a finish that lasts a good 20 seconds and delves into the citrus and pith world. It’s very floral and fruity with just the right amount of cut to make it a pleasing aperitif wine that I would pair with chicken and dare I say- spicy foods. So glad this bottle survived my extensive travels from Beirut to the UK and finally home, well worth the effort. A blend of Obeideh, Muscat and Viognier it can be found for $18 and gets 90 points from me making it a 5 star effort. Salut….
Pale ruby with a touch of effervescence on the rim. The nose offers up medium intensity aromas of strawberry, cherry, cranberry, singed alder, cinnamon, pomegranate syrup and a tart red apple. The palate has juicy acidity that is medium along with very lithe tannins. Medium bodied- I get the same red fruit driven flavors with a kiss of oak. The wine finishes medium length with a touch of tartness. I like this $15 wine, it’s moderately complex with primal fruit and for the price it gets 5 stars. 90 points, drink till 2025. Salut…..
Our 29th Virtual Wine tasting concentrated on Cabernet Sauvignon and blends thereof so it made sense to include a Bordeaux wine. I selected this well aged bottle which is the ‘second wine’ of the famed Second Growth- Chateau Cos d’Estournel. It runs $80 and gets high scores from the pros (92-94).
Deep garnet colored, this wine is showing off its 12 years of age. Aromas of soy sauce, leather, cedar, cassis, stewed blackberry, forest floor and umami were noted. On the palate it was dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins that are well integrated. Medium bodied, this wine had flavors of black pepper, strong black tea, loam, funk and leather with some dried blackberry notes. Someone mentioned a Bourbon-like taste and there was some concern over the bitterness. It is a touch disjointed which lowers the rating imo. The medium to long finish shows off the pedigree of this chateau. I enjoyed drinking this 90 point wine but for $80 I can find far more enjoyable wines to drink. 3 stars for the QPR. I would pair this with a simple Filet steak and gratin potatoes with a side of green beans. Drink till 2026. Salut….
The third Thursday in November is an auspicious day for Beaujolais- the official release of the year’s Nouveau happens around the world at the same time. It started as a marketing ploy to get people to buy the relatively cheap, easygoing wine. Fresh out of stainless steel tanks where it was Carbonically Macerated, this alternative method of producing wine from the Gamay grape makes for unique flavors and textures. Georges DuBœf invented the craze so it seemed fitting that I try his $12 effort first.
Deep purple in the glass with watery legs (13% ABV). The nose is classic Nouveau/Carbonic. Bright grapey aromas, purple bubble gum, zingy cherries, red currants and red licorice. The palate is dry with medium acidity and very low tannins, if any. The red fruit and candy are very present whilst the grapey component is not as prominent. The wine is mouthwatering on the back end and has a medium (-) body. The length of the finish is shortish but I am really enjoying the freshness and vibrancy that is has to offer. Keep in mind this wine is meant for immediate consumption, it should keep for a year or so. I like it for what it is and would pair it with roasted chicken, grilled swordfish or even a pasta dish with red sauce. 90 points makes it a 5 star effort. Go and get a bottle if you have never tried this style of wine- unique! Salut….
A deep shade of purple bordering on ruby, this potent Zin (14.9% ABV) has super slow forming legs on the walls of the glass. The nose has medium intensity aromas of blackberry, purple licorice, coffee, star anise, super ripe raspberry (almost candy-like) and baking spice. The palate is dry yet there is evidence off very ripe fruit- blackberry, black raspberry alongside fennel, dill and coffee. Medium acidity and smooth, medium tannins make for a lovely mouthfeel, albeit with some heat evident. The finish is short in length but everything ends at the same point, no lingering acidity/tannins. After a re-taste I get some extra licorice that I was not initially tasting- lovely stuff. I like this $14 bottle that gets 90 points from me and 5 stars. I would pair it with stews and hearty meat dishes, including game. Drink till 2026. Salut….