This was the star of the 4th Virtual Wine Tasting. I would normally taste a Pinot Noir right after the whites/Rosès and well before a hearty Merlot- but this wine was the ringer. I knew it would be the overall favorite so I wanted it to come last and stand on it’s own merits. It was stunning. It showed very nicely in the glass, see through with medium shades of purple. On the nose I immediately got the telltale cherry. Others noted cinnamon, chocolate and strawberry. It was not heavily tilted on any one component, rather a very nice melangè of all the smells. On the palate it showed off black cherry, spice box, cedar in the form of cigar box. Fine grained tannins and a very balanced acidity made this wine very balanced and gave it a nice crisp mouthfeel. Many in the group did not like some of the tannic wines- this one was right up their alley. Pinot, being such a delicate and light grape is difficult to grow and make into a balanced and delicious offering- once again this winery has done it very nicely. This cuvee is their lower priced offering that hits on all cylinders. I am going with 91 points and 5 stars for this $45 beaut. Drink till 2028 with lighter fare. Salut….
Bright purple in color and fully opaque. On the nose I get lush blackberry, iodine, tar and currants. The initial palate is very round and mouthfilling. Black currants, fresh tannins and violets. The mid palate is quite dry with more black fruits, oolong tea, tar and mocha. The finish is quite tannic and long. Ribena, black berries and tea take center stage. There’s a smokiness from the oak that hits rights at the end as well as some Sasafrass. A really delicious, medium weight Napa Cab. 91 points and 4 stars for this $118 dazzler. Drink till 2028 with some grilled meat. Salut….
Golden brown in the glass, appropriate for a 13 year old. On the nose it has hazelnut, honey, orange peel, quince and Marmalade. The palate is quite tart with orange reduction, more honey, nuts, nutmeg and Cointreau. It’s nicely balanced with acidity, fruit, unctuous mouthfeel and loads of orange Marmalade. The thickness of the wine is really delicious, it gives warmth and body to the elixir. The mid palate concentrates on the oranges, with the sweetness of honey and apricots. The finish is medium in length but full on with more oranges, sweet syrup and some tart acidity that balances out the sugars. 91 points. Drink now till 2030. Delicious, a real treat after all these years in the cellar. Newer vintages can be had for $35 per half bottle. 5 stars. Salut….
This Merlot has a really deep purple hue in the glass with very nice thin legs. The nose is plummy with anise and blueberry notes. On the initial palate I get inky dark berries, some iodine, black tea and really nice gentle tannins. The mid palate is a bit more gripping with the fine grained tannins, they start to cling to the gums. Black cherry and more plum are hitting me up with some slight oak notes. The finish is a touch dusty with some spice box and leather. Plums are my main theme with this wine and the tannic structure is really good. Juicy, dry and built for the medium haul. I like this wine- it’s easy going yet has some depth and structure to it. Drink till 2027. 91 points from me and at $18 a pop- 5 stars. Cellar some for later. Salut….
It’s got a beautiful shade of purple in the glass and I can almost see through. The nose is lush and rich with blackberry jam, fig paste, blueberries. On the palate it is very dark fruit heavy. Black berries, currants and chocolate. There’s a gripping set of tannins that get to work on my gums immediately. This is to be expected with this varietal, also known as Durif. On the mid palate there is more plum than blackberry, but it’s still black fruit dominant. There’s a juiciness to this wine that begs for hearty steaks. The finish reverts back to blackberry jam and some charcoal. It is shockingly dry and delicious. I am really enjoying this wine and it will pair beautifully with the grilled Skirt and Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus I am cooking. If you like a dry wine, or want to cellar something long term, this is it. 92 points, and 5 stars for this $13 steal Drink till 2030. Salut….
The nose on the third wine of our virtual tasting was wild. Gamy AF, with loads of mushroom, forest floor, bacon fat and some semblance of black fruits. On the palate it was much more manageable and in line with expectations. Bramble, blackberry reduction, leather and some really nice tannins all came together on the palate. The wine smoothed out some on the mid palate and it showed some nice balance between the fruit, the tertiary flavors, tannins and acidity. The funk wore off but there were trace elements of morel mushrooms, leather and blackberry. The finish was where this wine finally came on pointe. Good fruit presentation, some nice touches of those secondary flavors and a decent amount of astringency from the lithe tannins. Overall I really enjoyed this wine, but the nose was offputting for many on the tasting. 91 points for me. Drink till 2026, but let it breathe for at least an hour to help dispel the funk. For $20, it gets 5 stars. Salut….
The second wine of our tasting lineup showed bright purple in the glass with nice legs giving caution to the 14.5% alcohol. I listened to all the inputs from our group and concurred that this wine had loads of pepper, game, plum and garrigue. The longer the wine sat out, the smoother it got and the terroir really shone. Mass produced yet very good at 91 points from me. Drink this blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre till 2027 with stews, leg of lamb or a hearty pasta. 5 stars for this sub $15 ringer. Salut….
This was the first wine of my Second Lockdown Virtual Tasting. It was the only white in the lineup, so it had to be a Chardonnay from California. I instructed everyone to chill half the bottle and reserve the other half at room temperature. We were going to do an experiment.
The wine is a nice golden color in the glass. The nose of the chilled wine had pear, apple and citrus notes. On the palate it followed the theme with some nice acidity. The finish was decent in length and showed off that Apple/pear combo nicely. I had researched whether this wine had undergone Malolactic fermentation but could not find proof from any literature, except to assume it had as the winery mentioned one other Chard in their portfolio that specifically did not go through Malo. The wine was quite sharp and lacked the telltale butter notes of the secondary fermentation, I’m baffled.
Anyways- we then tried the same wine at room temp. Huge differences with flavors and mouthfeel. The experiment worked, the point being that most pros taste whites at room temperature and we needed to see the differences. Besides the fuller body it included less citrus, more pear and apple, alongside a touch of baking spices. The wine drank beautifully for me and I gave it 91 points. I would pair it with summer salad, prawn cocktail or blackened Salmon and drink till 2026. $20 gets it 5 stars. Salut….
Light gold in the glass. The nose is lemony with honeyed apricot and some orange marmalade. The palate is very orange dominated. Marmalade and green almond are the primary flavors. Honey and some nuttiness also feature. There is that bitterness that’s evident in orange marmalade- it appears on the midpalate. The finish is very seductive, light and sweet. It’s a candied melon meets honey and citrus reduction. Did I mention it’s long and makes my mouth pucker? Albeit young, this wine is delicious and will evolve. Drink till 2034. 91 points and 5 stars, $35. Salut….
Wow, the color of this Bonarda is spectacular- deep, rich purple, almost opaque, but clear enough to see around the edges. The nose is blackberry, black currants, oak influence and a rich fruit cake. The palate is very thick with gobs of fruit and a steely tannic grip. The main profile is more black fruits, some currant preserves, toasty coconut and those tannins that are a feature of this varietal. My gums are blackened with them and my mouth is puckering, just what I was hoping for when I ordered this wine. I really wanted to delve into some unique grapes from South America, this one does not disappoint. The mid-palate continues the massive fruit and tannin wave to a really long, dry finish. Blackberry jam, charcoal and black tea are all present. There’s a definitive spiciness to this wine that I am really enjoying. The tannins are on pointe and the juicy acidity marries up nicely making a very tidy, long lived package. If you like ’em young and dry, pop one. I would pair this with braised Lamb Shanks, grilled goat or a big Ribeye. This is a whopper of a wine and I am going 91 points. Drink till 2030. For $18 it’s a great intro to this grape and worth 5 stars. Salut….