This wine is a bright shade of purple and semi opaque. The nose offers up violets, Juniper bush and plum- very interesting mix. On the palate it has a really nice earthiness reminiscent of Rioja, with dust, bramble and black berries. Even the tannins are rustic. The mid palate turns a little more blue but the charm of the varietal sticks with the basics where I now get a hint of oak. The tannic structure is really nice and does well with the mild acidity. The finish is quite dry but the fruit hangs on for a while. It really is a yummy wine that will pair nicely with our shaved steak-stuffed yellow peppers with onion and Provolone. I don’t think I have had Tempranillo from Oregon before- it won’t be my last one. At 90 points this $17 wine gets 5 stars from me. Drink till 2025. Salut….
A very pale shade of gold in the glass with a nose of citrus, tropical fruit and telltale cat pee. The palate is delicious, somewhat unique and not overly tart. Grapefruit and gooseberry notes make way for candied ginger and baked yellow apple. It is really an interesting mix, layered with a medium weight body. There is a sprite nature to the mid palate and the finish is short to medium length in duration. I really am enjoying this wine and will pair it with clams with edamame spaghetti in a garlic and olive sauce. Drink this 90 point wine till 2024. For $30 it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
Next up at the virtual tasting #15 was this Pinot Noir from Oregon. Claret in color and 50% opaque, it was a little denser than most Pinots. The nose was lush with cherry, boysenberry, cedar, Cherry Coke, cotton candy, spice and fruitcake. On the palate it was a bit of a letdown. Chocolate, mulling spices, cherry and tons of cedar (overoaked?) were noted by the panel. There was a hint of greeness for me that cost a point or two. It seemed like the winemaker was trying too hard, extracting too much and missing the point of the svelte nature of this varietal. It’s about finesse for me, this was more of a young bull in the china shop that had austere edges to him. Good tannic structure was noted that led to a long finish with some astringency hanging on for quite a while. I will re-visit this one again, hoping it softens a touch and sheds its muscular grip. For now this $30 bottle gets 90 points and 3 stars from me. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Medium shade of gold in the glass. On the nose it is floral and aromatic. Pineapple, papaya and pink grapefruit. On the palate – more papaya and some yellow guava. Lithe acidity makes for a rounded mouth-feel. The mid palate – more floral with honeysuckle, paperwhites and peach. It’s quite a complex set of flavors, but that’s what’s so nice about this varietal. It’s not your run-of-the-mill. The finish is smooth, fruity, and lacks the big bite from the acid, just enough juiciness. I’m looking forward to pairing this with my baked salmon and shallot sauce. 90 points and 5 stars for this $17 charmer. Drink until 2023. Salut….
This Tempranillo blend is 10 years old but still showing youth in the glass- inky purple and opaque. The nose is classic Rioja with leather, bramble, blackberry and singed alder. I love that combo. The palate is showing just a touch of age with tertiary nuances popping up. Black currants, juicy acidity and medium strength tannins all greet me. The leather, alder and dried bramble notes are also present. The mid palate has a vanilla component as well as coffee bean. Black licorice hits me on the back end where the finish is a touch dry and long. Black cherry, blackberry and tertiary flavors are persistent, as is the juicy acidity and tannic grip. This wine was a steal at $12. It is still young and should drink nicely till 2027. I am pairing it with grilled Hanger steak, air fried potatoes and steamed asparagus. 90 points and 5 stars. Salut….
I love Cab Franc as a standalone varietal. It offers up so much sophistication, is svelte and has great structure. Found mainly in blends, it does really well on its own in my book. This one is bright purple and semi opaque in the glass. The nose is exploding as it just sits there, I can smell it a mile away. Black pepper, violets, spice box and black raspberry all greet me. The palate is very muscular and fruity. Rich purple fruit notes alongside the spiciness make for an interesting taste. Very nice tannins are present from the get go, but not over powering. Oak nuances are present as is a fair dose of acidity. The mid palate is a touch less dry, with the flavors turning a little darker. Black currants take over alongside some tea notes. The finish is quite dry and decent in length. I am enjoying this rather full bodied wine, it’s not as perfumed and lithe as I was expecting but it will rock my Goat stew for dinner. Other pairings would include grilled Hanger steak with Frites or even Lamb Chops with mint sauce. 90 points for this $12 stunner make it a 5 star effort. Drink till 2025. Salut….
I hosted the 14th Virtual Wine tasting last night but this wine was tasted twice. We originally planned to have the tasting a few weeks ago, so I opened my bottle that morning to decant some to taste at room temp and the rest was chilled. The actual group tasting was delayed but I did sample this wine with one other couple. I will reveal the scores at the end, which are somewhat consistent.
The wine itself is a light shade of gold. The nose on the room temp glass gave us apple, brioche, butter, honeysuckle, melon and pears. The palate tasted better than the smell with tangerine, green apples, nuts and pear on the decent length finish. The chilled version showed more minerality on the nose with butter, lemons, melon and a metallic note reminiscent of tin foil. It was noted as being more pungent. The palate was refreshing but I wrote originally that it had less flavor. Subsequently the group noted a touch of oak, green apples and Maraschino cherries.
My original rating was 16 and 13 but last night I docked the room temp version down to 13, and upped the chilled one to 14 points on my scoring system. Overall, both times the wine got a solid 90 points on the official scale and for $23, it’s a 5 star effort that rated 92+ from the pros. Drink till 2025 with all kinds of seafood. Salut….
Peach colored with small bubbles. The nose gives me fresh baked bread, yellow apples and faint pineapple. On the palate the mousse is fine, smooth and refreshing. Flavors of Brioche, Bartlett pear and more yellow apple are present with a touch of lithe acidity. The mouthfeel is very soft thanks to the finesse of the bubbles and the modicum of zest. Yummy stuff that gets 90 points from me. At $37 it’s a very good sparkler worthy of 4 stars. Drink till 2024 with Oysters, Ceviche or even grilled Trout. This is a Pinot and Chardonnay blend. Salut….
This Washington State Cab Sav is a murky, dark shade of purple and totally opaque. On the nose I get a whiff of alcohol followed by plums, black currants and cedar shake. The palate starts off with a healthy dose of tannins and black fruit salad. When I say healthy, I mean teeth coating astringency- wow. The fruit flavors are having a hella time trying to get center stage here. The mid palate has black currants and tea notes that are vying for space with the grip of tannins. On the finish it is a very dry affair that is short lived from the fruit. I need to get the Vinturi out and re-try. I picked the right wine for tonight’s pairing- Picanha steaks, which have a thick edge of fat in need of some hefty tannins. This wine has tremendous structure and will cellar nicely for a few years but if you need it now, aerate it or you will be lost in a sea of mouth searing tannins. Overall I think this wine will end up really nice and considering the aging capacity I am going with 90 points. It retails for $23 and gets 5 stars from me. Drink from 2023 till 2027. Salut….
This Sauvignon Blanc is light yellow in the glass. The nose has the expected citrus notes but there’s something else lurking there. Melon I think but it’s papaya that really had me fooled. On the palate it is quite sprite with some lively acidity and a pop of lemon burst flavors. Really tasty and refreshing. The flavor profile mellows out as the wine transcends the palate until I am left with ripe papaya and lemon curd on the long finish. Candied Ginger is another note that I picked up on at the very end, interesting. I’m intrigued by this wine. It started out very sharp, transitioned to a warmer, fuller mouthfeel and finished with exotic flavors that rolled on for quite a while. I’m on a Sav Blanc journey right now and this is a great example of the light and zesty varietal. 90 points from me. I would pair it all day long with seafood or even spicy Indian curry. $10 makes this a 5 star effort. Drink till 2021. Salut….