My friend Tracy got this at Trader Joes, for $8. I am absolutely blown away. Seriously delicious, with cellaring capacity and yummy flavors. Opaque, purple, inky. The nose is exactly what I expect from a 7 year old Bordeaux- some cassis, cedar, earth, game and black plum. Tertiary flavors are coming out whilst primal fruit is still very fresh. The palate is silky with nicely integrated tannins, a touch of acidity and layered fruit. A medium length finish makes for a delicious, tidy package of rich fruit and good structure. Yummy stuff to drink till 2025. 91 points! Yup, for $8 at TJ’s, this is probably my bottle of the year when it comes to QPR (quality price ratio). 5 stars, only cause I can’t go 6. WAY TO GO! Salut….
I had to buy this funky bottle, it is gold. As in they sprayed the bottle, there is no looking through the glass. With a bit of age on it, there may be some hope of tertiary development in this Reserva. It’s pretty dark in the glass, a lovely shade of ruby. On the nose I get red cherry, cooked red cherry, earth, mushroom, pomegranate and oak. The palate is very delicious, smooth and not biting. I am really enjoying lush flavors of dark cherry, earth, game and cooked red cherry. The tannins are really well integrated and meet up on the back end with some vibrant acidity. The body is decent, heavier than I was expecting and certainly welcome, the mouthfeel is balanced and smooth. I am thoroughly enjoying this Sangiovese, and feeling that most people would not buy it due to the strange packaging- I’m off to get the remnants, it’s that yummy for the barebones price of $15. A veritable steal that gets 91 points and 5 stars. Drink till 2025 with pasta, duh! Salut….
Here is my class note on a wine I have tasted before that is divine and should feature in any cellar worth its salt. For $55, it’s not a cheap intro to these two unique grapes that make the blend, but this winery has done something very special here and it needs to be tried. I am going with 91 points and 4 stars. Salut….
Chateau Musar White 2010, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 12.5% ABV
- Appearance- deep gold.
- Nose- pronounced aromas of lemon, grapefruit, quince, wet stones, passion fruit, blossom, acacia and nuts. Developing.
- Palate- dry, medium acidity, medium alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity flavors of lemon, grapefruit, quince, wet stones, passion fruit, blossom, acacia and nuts with a long finish.
- Conclusion- very good quality wine that can be drunk now, but has potential for aging.
An amazing blend of Merwah and Obaideh from my native Lebanon. These two grapes are thought to be closely related to Semillon and Chardonnay. This is a young wine at 10 years of age from this iconic winery who make whites that will outlast their reds. A cellar tour in 2008 showed thousands of bottles that were vinted in the 1930’s and ‘40s. Their wines are long lived even though the acidity is not high, a strange phenomenon. The body is quite weighty even though the alcohol is relatively low. Delicious now, this will no doubt start to gain more tertiary flavors and aromas and continue to evolve for many years to come. Unique stuff.
The third wine at tasting #19 was this 100% Sangiovese. Medium purple, it was more opaque than I was expecting from this varietal. The tasters got aromas of raspberry, flowers, iodine, chocolate, black cherry and a medicinal note (Oak influence?). On the palate it was very smooth with grippy tannins and medium plus acidity. Flavors of black cherry, coffee, iodine, licorice and black tea were accompanied by that medicinal note which someone stated was akin to cherry cough syrup. It is a tasty, bold wine with lots of aging capacity. It will drink well now if you like them tannic, or mellow out in a cellar and be more approachable in 2025 till 2030. 91 points from me for this $33 effort makes it a 4 star wine. Salut….
This week’s tasting assignment for school is a wine from Italy or Spain. I’ll end up doing both but here is the Tuscan one that I paid $20 for. It gets 91 points from me and is a brooding baby. This one needs a good aeration or several years in the cellar. 5 stars. Salut….
- Appearance- Medium garnet with thin legs.
- Nose- Medium (+) intensity with aromas of red cherry, red plum, cranberry, coffee, earth. Developing.
- Palate- dry, medium (+) acidity, high tannins, medium alcohol, medium body, medium (+) flavor intensity of red cherry, cranberry, tobacco, earth and coffee with medium (+) finish.
- Conclusion- very good quality wine that can be drunk now, but has potential for aging.
Delicious but young Sangiovese, paired with dry-aged T-bone steak and baked potatoes.
I was visiting friends this past weekend and he popped this Napa gem for us to enjoy. Opaque purple- extracted to be sure. Rich nose of plums, blackberry, iodine, coffee and blueberry. Super smooth with fully integrated tannins, rich fruit, full body and medium acidity. Bright Cali sunshine is evident- the depth of flavor is deep. Structurally this is not built for long term, it’s delicious now. 91 points for this velvety elixir that runs $70 and gets 4 stars. Salut….
My friend Arty was tidying up her office last week and stumbled upon three bottles of wine that had been left over from various functions. They were all standing upright and at least 8-14 years old. I promised to dispose of them for her, so last night we sampled two of the three. I started out with this Pinot Noir from France. The bottle suffered from severe cork failure. However- this entry level Pinot is actually holding up quite well in the glass. It is showing a touch of bricking, a Garnet color and it’s see-through with a bit of sediment. The nose gives me stewed plums, cherries and strawberry. There is a hay component that I’m finding very interesting but it’s mostly cooked fruit which signifies it’s plateau of maturity. The tannins are fully integrated at this point and there is a modicum of acidity that gives me a little bite at the finish. I’m surprised this one has made it so long but it’s a drink now situation. Overall 91 points and kudos to the winemaker for crafting such a pleasurable mature Vin de Pays. Surprisingly it only runs 12.5% abv, a relative lightweight! Newer vintages will cost $18, making this wine a steal worthy of 5 stars. Salut….
I’m excited to try this wine- made from Blatina which is a grape varietal that is new to me, plus the label and name are too cool. It has a bit of age to it as can be seen from the pale tawny color. The nose is stupendous. Literally knocking my nostrils off. It’s hard to describe, but I smell Chateau Musar in this wine. Game, steeped red fruits, fig paste, and blueberry ganache. I’m excited to taste. The palate is very unique with mulberry, oak notes, red currant jam and that game note I got earlier. Very integrated tannins are a delight and the wine has a juicy tendency from the medium acidity. It is a lighter weight drop and low in alcohol at 13%ABV. Silky, seductive and layered with primary, secondary and tertiary flavors- this is delicious stuff. The finish is long and I am enjoying the tartness quite a bit. It really does remind me of Musar, a lot. At 10 years of age it is maturing nicely but still has some more in it- I would say 2027. I am roasting up a Tri-Tip on the Weber, with a side of Rösti potatoes and leeks plus baked Prosciutto-wrapped Cauliflower. I think this wine will hold up to the cut of beef plus the sides quite nicely. All things considered I give this wine 91+ points and for the $40 price point it gets 5 stars. I think I may stock up a few bottles. Salut….
When a wine bottle says it’s a Red blend, I need to dig deeper. Turns out this one is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc. No details were forthcoming as to ratio though. It is deep purple, the strong legs giving away the 14.9% ABV punch I am about to get. On the nose I get rich blackberry, black cherries and chocolate. The palate is rich and dry with those dark fruits and a healthy yet ripe set of tannins that coat my gums immediately. As the wine flows I start to get some spice box components and charcoal. The tannins are formidable mind you and I am battling the attack on my teeth, hoping the fruit comes through a little more. The mid palate has Lapsang Souchong tea (a smoked black tea from China) and more dark fruit including plums and blackberry. It is a nice mix of flavors but the tannins are by now numbing my upper gums. This wine is a baby, needing an aerator or several years in the cellar. It should drink nicely from 2024 till 2030 with juicy, fatty meats, stews or hearty red sauced pasta. It finishes with a medium length and medium acidity. The balance is not quite there yet, but I think this wine has lots of promise. 91 points would be fair, but it could go up a point or two, let me re-taste in a few years as I bought several bottles. At $35 it is an excellent value for a Cali blend that gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
This winery makes some world class wines and this Zinfandel, with a blend of 9% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah, is simply delicious. Our virtual tasting group last had a Zin in August 2020- it was time. This wine is dark purple and opaque. The nose caught us all off-guard, it was an explosion of racy, jammy blackberry, white and black pepper, mulling spice (Nutmeg?), rose and a touch of funk. The palate was delicious but not as potent. The blackberry jam, pepper and spice were all present alongside ripe, smooth tannins and juicy acidity. The finish was a decent length. I scored this wine 91 points and initially thought it was my WOTN. For $33 this highly rated (95 points by the pros) is a steal worthy of 5 stars. The quality is very high and it will cellar nicely till 2028. It sports a hefty 14.9% ABV, which is hidden nicely, giving the wine a nice body and good mouthfeel. Pair it with hearty stews, grilled lamb chops or Beef Wellington. Salut….