Bordering on medium garnet- Nebbiolo typically shows this color even when but a few years old. The nose gives off charming aromas of red cherry, dried herbs, cranberry, coffee, a touch of tar and some violet. The palate is dry with high acidity and medium (+) tannins. A full body and luscious flavors of red fruit, some sour cherry and the nuances of oak, tar and floral violets. The finish is purely sour cherry, tannins and juicy acidity with some smooth yet powerful tannins. It is medium in length and balanced. For a young Barolo it is drinking nicely already and will mature over time to give tertiary notes hopefully. 90 points from me and for $36 it gets 4 stars. Drink till 2029. Salut….
Every so often I shop the bin-ends at my local wine shop, some are hits whilst others are a waste of time and money. This blend of Cab Sav and Shiraz ran me $20. It is showing a bit of age- medium garnet in color. The nose is still fresh however with primal aromas of blackberry, mint, black pepper, ripe blueberry jam, cloves, cedar and vanilla. The palate is dry with resolved and silky tannins, high acidity, medium to full body and flavors of black and blue fruit, menthol, spicy black pepper and oak by way of vanilla and cedar. The finish is medium in length and leans on the mint/menthol as well as the blackberry fruit. It’s a tasty drop that is at peak now and will need to be drunk by 2024 if you have some. Pairing tonight with grilled steaks and salad. 90 points from me make this a 5 star wine. Salut….
This Mencia varietal is medium garnet in the glass with interesting aromas starting with vanilla and dill. I get fruit-driven cherry, pomegranate and cranberry with secondary notes of cinnamon and smoke. The palate is lightweight for sure- it’s very easy to drink with medium (+) acidity, gentle tannins and medium intensity flavors of red fruit. The vanilla and green note taper off quickly but I do get the smoke and spice. The finish is short lived but very yummy with tannins that just fade away. This wine is begging to be drunk- it is so smooth and the lower than usual alcohol (12.7 ABV) makes it possible. We are pairing it with meatballs in Boom Boom sauce on a bed of shredded veggies. Drink this 90 point wine till 2024. It retails for $20 and gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
Tasted blind for practice at my WSET class, this Riesling was pale gold in the glass. Medium (+) intensity nose with aromas of ginger, honey, tangerine, lemon, lanolin and wet stone. I made a note that it was developing ‘nicely’. The palate was off-dry with high acidity, low alcohol and a full body. Medium (+) intensity flavors echoed the nose and the wine finished with a decent medium (+) finish. I thought this was an ‘Outstanding’ wine based on the WSET criteria and feel it could be drunk now or aged some more. I really liked it and for $17 this 90 pointer gets 5 stars. Spicy Asian dishes come to mind. Salut….
I’ve been on a big Grenache kick lately and bought several different offerings from this producer whom I’ve tried before. This one is medium ruby colored and has some nice red fruit and meaty aromas. Raspberry, black cherry, bacon, lavender, red plum, red licorice and sweet cedar. The palate is dry and tannic upfront. Great acidity balances the well integrated tannic component and the flavors are delicious. Red fruit, Ceylon tea, game, florals and oak nuance all mingle together. The mid palate has a slight astringency akin to tea meets charred oak and mineral slate. The finish is quite long for this full bodied wine that needs a bit of time to flesh out methinks. I think it will be a great wine in a few years but right now it turned a bit angular on me. I’m going with 90 points for now on this $32 blend that has some Mourvedre in it. 4 stars with a drink between 2024-2030 window. Salut….
The first of two blind-tasted wines for my WSET course was this Pinot Grigio- I guessed Chardonnay but was corrected with a comment that indicated it had some lees aging which could have contributed to the conclusion I made.
It was pale lemon colored and had a medium (+) intensity nose of lemon, lime, green apple, pear, blossom and brioche (which was questioned by the instructor and a note was made to indicate possible lees aging). The palate was dry with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium body and medium intensity flavors of the above- with a medium (-) length finish I thought this wine was of good quality but should be drunk now. Overall- 90 points and for $7 it’s a steal for the summer time. 5 stars so stock up. Salut….
This medium purple colored wine has got a fruity, medium intensity nose. I get aromas of black plum, blackberry, vanilla, blueberry jam and charcoal. The palate has a sweetness from the Bourbon barrel- that delicious caramel, smoke, vanilla combo that melds nicely with the jammy black and blue fruit. Medium tannins and medium acidity create a nice mouthfeel in this medium (+) bodied wine. The finish has got loads of rich fruit and oak nuance and is short to medium in length. This is not an overly complex wine, yet it adds a new dimension with the oak usage that makes it easy to enjoy and pair with many meat dishes, pasta, pizza and even burgers on the grill. For $30 it is an elegant offering that gets 90 point from me and 4 stars. Drink till 2026. Salut….
Deep ruby color. The nose has a unique greeness to it on first whiff. With a bit of air I am able to coax dried blueberry, cola, mint(?) and sultanas. It’s not what I was expecting tbh. The palate is semi-sweet, warm (from the 20%ABV) and inviting. The wine is tannic and has gobs of acidity. Full bodied for sure it has more classical Port flavors than what I got on the nose. Dried black and blue berries, nuts, cola, prunes, sultanas and a richness of stewed black fruit. It leaves a tannic impression on my gums well after the medium length finish fades. What started out as a questionable Port wine turned into a delicious effort that gets 90 points from me. These are meant to be drunk on release, so don’t waste any time! Widely available for $16 it’s worth stashing a bottle or two for a late night treat with some warm chocolate gateaux. 5 stars. Salut….
Deep garnet colored, this Zinfandel is showing a touch of age. Besides a whiff of alcohol right off the bat- the nose has aromas of stewed blueberry, vanilla, black plum, clove and purple licorice. The palate is dry and tannic with juicy acidity and a full body. The flavors are quite complex- there’s a touch of stewed/cooked fruit showing the wine’s age, plus some oak influence as well as primal fruit still hanging in there. The finish is grippy and the acid really hits the tongue and jaw on the medium length finish. This is not the usual overly extracted and jammy Zin, it has some good fruit and structure and needs a spicy meat dish like middle eastern spiced lamb kofta. 90 points for this $35 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Drink till 2026. Salut….
Deep garnet in the glass with thick legs (14.5% ABV), this Garnacha/Carinena blend from Priorat has medium intensity aromas of baked plums, blackberry, raisins, black raspberry, coconut and some spice. The baked/cooked aromas disappeared almost immediately. The palate is dry with high acidity, medium (+) tannins, medium (+) body and medium (-) finish. The fruit flavors are quite intense and I get the black raspberry, blackberry, some plum and spice but no oak-derived coconut. Black and smoky Lapsang Souchong teas present on the mid palate and add to the tannic grip that has enveloped my gums. I find this wine a bit of a conundrum- it is very primal in fruit, yet shows advances in age beyond its 6 years, I wonder if it was mishandled along the way. Let me have a look.
I did some research, this wine should have lots of tertiary and secondary notes, instead, I get the baked and stewed fruit which is either very aged wine or heat damaged wine. The flavors I get do not match the descriptions of where I bought this $23 bottle from. I would love to revisit it I could get a good bottle. For now, I would imagine it to hold up to the 90 point score the pros awarded. It could potentially be a 5 star effort. Salut….