Dark purple in the glass. An intriguing nose of Cloves, black pepper and blackberry. On the palate- dark berries, ink, dust. Delicious. The mid palate is a smooth transition to some blue fruits including a plum reduction. The finish has some very fine grained tannins and blueberry compote. A very intricate wine that needs a cellar imho. Drink from 2018 to 2025. 90 points and 4 stars for this $20 effort. Salut….
See through purple, not what I was expecting from a Tempranillo out of Rioja. The nose is however right up that alley. Red currants, earth and a tar component greet me. The telltale creosote is alive and kicking in this wine, as is a touch of vanilla. On the palate, I get a brutish, young and cocky wine full of red fruit, with raspberries, strawberries and currants popping. The acidity is vibrant and the tannins are lithe. The mid palate carries the red fruit theme and amps up the acidity factor. On the tail end the finish is fresh with tannins and strawberry extract. More red currants sneak in right at the close. Very smooth and nicely balanced, but I don’t get a hint of the yearlong oak maturation after the initial whiff. Might be well integrated, who knows. This wine is a great summer addition to a party, serve it with dry rubbed ribs, perhaps a bourbon glazed pork chop on the grill or even just a basic Mezze. I’m going with 90 points on this $11 stunner that makes it a 5 star wine. Drink now till 2022. Salut….
This blend is really dark purple. Made up of 60% Petit Verdot, 20% each of Cab Sav and Shiraz. The nose is bursting with currants, juniper, a touch of oak and black cherry. The palate is very interesting and tasty. The Petit Verdot punches through with violets, dark cherry and leather. Tannins are persistent but not overpowering, they leave the gums slightly dry but give the wine a freshness. The mid palate gives me mocha as well as more dark cherries. The finish reveals a vanilla note as well as some wood. The winemaker has done a superb job of balancing the acidity, tannins and the 14% alcohol- which is not noticeable. The mouthfeel is what I would describe as wholesome yet fresh. It is relatively smooth with great potential to mellow out and possibly develop tertiary flavor. 90 points from me, drink till 2025 and pair it with lamb chops and garlic mash. 5 stars because this wine rocks and it runs a mere $9 (But I found it for $6.09 in NJ, you people should be running to that store). Salut….
Very see-through purple, almost Pinot like. Nose of cherries Jubilee with licorice and mocha. On the palate I get a really nice, smooth intro to some cherry kirsch, a strawberry note and some more exotic spices. The acidity is on pointe here, creating just the right amount of tartness yet leaving room for the lithe tannins to make an appearance. On the mid palate I get more of the same, but with the addition of some mushrooms and a bit of gaminess. It is bizarre. The finish wraps up with the tannins taking control and leaving the mouth pleasantly dry, to the gums. I am really enjoying this rather light, refreshing wine that has some serious complexity. I must go with 90 points and recommend it for a nice summer evening with charcuterie, perhaps some olive tapenade on crusty baguette. For $14 you can’t go wrong. 5 stars and drink till 2024. Salut….
See through dark purple. Nose of vibrant dark cherry, some oak and blueberry pie. On the palate this wine is young, with vibrant blue fruits and spice box. The mid palate shows some very lithe tannins and more blueberry notes. The wine has a minerality to it that I am enjoying. Zest is the word that best describes the mouthfeel, the 13.5% alcohol providing just a slight bite while the acidity gives it cut. The tannins are hitting the gums on the finish with more blueberries on tail end. Refreshing and decent for $20, 90 points and 4 stars. Drink now, but some cellaring will reward. Till 2025. Salut….
I just rolled up to the Aloft hotel bar and ordered this Cabernet from their menu, taking a chance on it’s provenance and style. I was pleasantly surprised. Forget the color, it was nigh on impossible to tell in the current venue. The nose has a warmth to it along with blackberry, slate and eucalyptus. On the palate I get a really smooth intro to the blackberry notes as well as graphite and black cherry. The core flavors continue to the mid palate and beyond along with some very fine tannins that really pop on the finish. The wine has a great mouthfeel with gentle acidity omnipresent but not obtrusive. Atypical for this varietal from Napa, this wine is more on the subtle side, a refreshing change. 90 points, $19 and 4 stars from me. Pair it with some steaks and mushroom sauce, or perhaps a Cornish Hen dressed up in a garlic rub. Salut….
In my continued effort to taste as many Port wines as possible, this is the latest to hit the gums. It looks sinister, dark blackish purple in the glass. The nose is somewhat subdued, but what I get is black currant jam with some wet towel funk I can’t get over. The palate is totally different, which is where it really counts. Notes of black berry, cherry extract and oak all hit the palate at once. It’s a crescendo of syrupy extract. There is a certain amount of very fine tannins that pop up mid-palate and dry the hell out of my gums. The flavors are all dark fruit, with a certain concentration as to be expected. The finish is very dry with loads of black currants, some earth and a touch of biting oak. 90 points from me for this non-vintage $15 wine. I like it, and will get more of this 4 star wine. Salut….
Very pale purple and completely see-through. Why is this important? Pinot Noir has several unique traits- it is a seductive grape that does not need extraction. It treats tannins completely different to other varietals in my opinion. It’s charm and elegance come from it’s fragility on the vine, a very difficult grape to cultivate well. It takes on one of two personalities: Old World with funk, earthiness and mainly cherry, whereas New World styles give more strawberry, a fruit forward style that appeals to many yet doesn’t quite allow for tertiary development. I like both styles but prefer Old World.
This one is a New World child with fresh strawberries, some bing cherry and cinnamon? Not sure, but it is intriguing. The initial taste confirms my New World suspicions. Strawberry shortcake, vanilla bean and red currants. A touch of acidity tidy the package up nicely and let the tannins introduce themselves on the mid palate. If you have followed me for a while you will know that I had a hard time discerning tannic structure in Pinots. I’m learning and getting better. Thanks for asking.
This wine has a gorgeous mouthfeel, the dryness of the tannins is very gentle and the acidity is very mild, not cutting but definitely present. The finish is mid-length and continues the strawberry theme with some acai berry notes. The 14.5% alcohol is very well disguised but will bode well for this wine in the cellar. I believe it has some potential and will drink well until 2025. I would pair it with roast cornish hens, perhaps a grilled pork chop with apple stuffing. 90 points and 3 stars for this $27 bottle. Salut….
I recently wrote about the 2013 Faithful Hound, so when I caught some of the 2014 on sale, I grabbed a few. Retailing for $18, it’s a good parallel to the Bordeaux style blends that I so truly love. This one has a dark purple complexion, just like it’s older sister. The nose is gorgeous- plums, bramble, chocolate, some oak and a blueberry component. On the palate, much darker fruits than expected. More of the blackberry and currants theme with some violets. The mid palate is bone dry with tannins popping out and caressing the gums. The finish is blackberry, tar and those delightful tannins. The mouthfeel on this wine is great, built for steaks or the pasta with meatballs and sausage I am about to serve. This wine will cellar well, it has al the right components. I really hope it can evolve with secondary flavors like it’s French cousins. Drink till 2025. 90 points and 4 stars for this gem from SA. Salut….
Dark purple, brooding and opaque. The nose is black cherry, dare I say blackberry as well? The palate is tasty, with the blackberry theme continuing as well as some really fine tannins that are well integrated. Extraction is obvious with this one, but not overdone. The mid palate is refrained compared with the initial taste. I get dark cherry jam and a vegetal note- very interesting. The finish is smooth with more dark fruits and a hint of acidity. I would drink this with a filet and roasted veggies or perhaps marinated flank steak. It needs a lean cut of beef to shine methinks. 90 points and 4 stars for this $25 wine. Salut….