Number three in the lineup at the 16th virtual wine tasting was this stunning Spaniard. Dark purple and 75% opaque, it had a complex nose of cigar box, buttered popcorn, black pepper, roasted nuts, blackberry coulis, dill, vanilla and an earthiness. Juicy tannins hit right off the bat with blackberry, oak, vanilla, blueberry and Maduro. Great acidity made for a gorgeous mouthfeel and the wine showed a touch of earthy dust, which I look forward to in Riojas. This was one of the standouts since we started the Virtual Wine Tasting Company. I gave it 20 points and on a technical scale- 94 points. For $30, its worth stashing a few of this 5 star gem away and drink till 2030 with grilled meats. Salut….
I love Tempranillo, especially Rioja. It has an earthiness to it and it matures beautifully. This particular one is a Reserva, which means it has already spent 3 years aging, with at least one of which must be in Oak. This particular bottle is 5 years old and has a rich purple color and is fully opaque. On the nose it has gorgeous blackberry notes, black plum and a blue curaçao hint. It is very complex and enticing. The palate is delicious folks- those fruit flavors I got on the nose are present but I also get a strong push of blueberry licorice. I am surprised by the lack of the usual cedar, tobacco or big time oak notes. The wood integration is very deft and allows the purity of fruit to shine through. The tannins are sublime- a hint dry but not obtrusive, balanced to perfection by some really lithe acidity. This wine has a really nice mid palate with layers of black and blue fruit intermingling. The finish is a touch on the dry side but it will pair beautifully with my Striploin roast, a non-fatty cut that will let the fruit of this wine take center stage. I am very impressed with this bottle and think it will cellar very well. The drinking window is open now and will remain so till 2030 at the least, hopefully with some tertiary flavor development along the way. 94 points from me jibes with the pros on this gem that can be had for $40. Stock up I say on this 5 star wine. Salut….
This Napa Cab pours a rich deep purple in the glass and is totally opaque. On the nose it’s all Cali sunshine- rich blackberry, plum jam, figs and vanilla. On the plate it lives up to its billing. Rich fruits, cassis, ripe tannins and a touch of acidity. The mouthfeel on this one is stupendous. I am enjoying swirling the wine but it gets really good on the mid palate where espresso adds another angle as does plum jam. The finish is somewhat drier yet still reserves the spotlight for the primal fruits. It has good structure, if not somewhat muted by the fruit forward style of this gem. It will age well and hopefully develop some tertiary flavors. This could be a monster folks. 94 points from me. It’s pricy at a list of $135, but I found it elsewhere for less. I’m pairing this 5 star wine with Char-grilled Ribeyes. Drink till 2030. Salut….
I bought two Magnums of the 1998 vintage from the winery, back in 2009. This particular bottle was opened for a Middle Eastern themed dinner of Meze and Shish Kebabs. Being a huge fan of Chateau Musar, I could hardly contain myself. My cellaring proved worthwhile.
Semi opaque with a touch of orange bricking which I see on every bottle I have drunk, regardless of age. On the nose- classic Musar. Cherry reduction, cinnamon, integrated oak, spice box and dried cranberry. On the palate it is super smooth, with red fruit compote, cherry and tobacco. The mid palate is really juicy with nice acidity. A faint note of super integrated tannins are evident. This 22 year old wine is still young. The finish is long, with cranberries, more cherry and complex flavors melding. I find that Musar has a consistent flavor reminiscent of Brettanomyces (Brett), which gives it a peculiar barnyard note. It is controlled and in such a low dose that it adds flavor, complexity and signature to this iconic brand. I am giving this wine 94 points, drink till 2040. Found online for $80, it’s a 5 star wine that you really should look for. Spectacular, but not to everyone’s taste. The Cinsault dominates the flavors, with Cab Sav and Carignan supporting. Shish Kebabs are an obvious pairing! Salut….
The third tasting of this amazing wine over several years. Bright purple, but with quite a lot of sediment- the nose is classic Pauillac. Cassis, leather, tobacco and hazelnuts. The palate is rich, refined, smooth and very balanced. The primary fruits have given way to tertiary notes of blackberry reduction, that musky leather, dry tobacco and damson torte. There’s a touch of oak, by way of a vanilla note that I’m enjoying. The nuttiness I caught on the nose reappears on the mid palate where I do get some plums alongside the cassis. The tannins gradually build up and really peak on the finish- with black tea, cassis and cinnamon. Delicious and still young. This is a 94 point wine that just keeps getting better. Drink till 2029. Getting pricy at $175 now but tasty as hell and worthy of 5 stars. Salut….
Really bright, rich purple in the glass. The nose offers up sweet cherry concentrate, with blackberries and dare I say- banana? On the palate the wine is super smooth, polished and oozing blackberry coulis, sage and creosote. The mid palate shows off some delightful dryness from the juicy tannins. The overall mouthfeel is really nice, starting out very smooth, building on a dryness and finishing with a tannic yet acidic bite. Tasty. The dark fruits carry on throughout. You could pair this wine with many dishes or just drink it alone, but the back end grip really calls for Ribeye. Plain and simple. 94 is what it gets from me and the pros. This is a big wine folks. 5 stars only because I can’t give 6 for this amazing $17 bottle. Drink till 2028. Salut….
The second wine of the Birthday dinner at Chez Francois. This one was stunning. No notes were taken but I remember thinking that this is what being a wine lover is all about. Near perfection in the bottle. Rich, ripe, sumptuous, balanced, maturing yet showing youth and verve. This wine blends some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with the majority Sangiovese. It gets 94 points from me and 5 stars, even with its $125 current price tag. I believe I have one left in storage and will look forward to the next opportunity. Paired beautifully with Lamb Chops. Salut….
Yes, you read the vintage correctly. I will explain- it was my friend’s bottle and we were celebrating his birthday, in Napa Valley. His is name is…. Doctor J. He is just finishing up his PHD in some abstract field of Finance to do with mortgages and some other crap I can’t understand. He has locked himself in for the past 10 months and only had a few drinks since then. He needed a nice afternoon out and a big steak. We headed up to the valley in the early afternoon and arrived at Cosentino winery in time for our 4 pm member’s private tasting. It was just the two of us and several stunning reserve wines, paired with slivers of cheese. We finished up in the main tasting room with some of the more regular offerings. I have written about this winery before. If you get to Napa, they are a must visit. Super nice people, unpretentious settings and good wine priced right. I digress…
We went to dinner after our tasting where we had the Beringer decanted. At 19 years of age I was shocked. Below are my tableside notes after numerous other tastings that afternoon.
Youthful and tannic with fruits that still pop. A nose of plum compote, blackberry torte.
Fresh and lively after 19 years in bottle. Amazing bottle. 93 points easily.
Cassis, plum and leather come out on the initial attack. Mid palate shows a slight hollowness but this is overcome by a longish finish that exhibits crushed stone, black stone fruit and a dryness that begs for a juicy steak. The tannins are still evident as is the fruit and acidity. This wine has plenty of cellaring potential yet but is delicious right now. I think you can still find it online for $100. 4 stars all day long, bordering on 5 stars. Salut….
If you have read any of my Clarendon posts you will know that I love this winery and can’t get enough of their subtle yet complex Syrahs, Cabernets and Grenaches. This particular Mclaren Vale offering was opened to go along with my new favorite grilled meat- Chorizo. I loaded up two giant Ribeye steaks (the butcher had labelled them Delmonico’s, all hoity toity) some onions and a half dozen of the Mexican sausages on the charcoal grill and opened this beauty to sip while I got the rest of dinner ready.
Thick purple color is always a good start for Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh blue fruits with some mint greeted my flaring nostrils- perhaps a touch of alcohol was coming off the glass. Unique plum compote and blueberry coulis flavors were my initial impression but I began to think the wine is still primal with full fruit and a whiff of heat attacking the mid palate. Moderate tannins and cutting acidity belie a still young wine waiting to mature. Eucalyptus and mulberry came into being on the back end with cassis and red fruits adding to the long finish. The 14.5% alcohol was hidden after a while, blown off from it’s early attack. The wine is structured, balanced and a joy to drink. I would imagine it could cellar for another 15 years easily. $75 and 94 points from me make this a treat of a wine that gets 5 stars for a special occasion. Salut….
Wow, this wine was good….Blackberry and herbs on the nose after coaxing, it seemed closed at first but opened nicely. Juicy acidity, melded tannins and a core of black fruits with an earthy touch were my introduction. The wine is big, bold and powerful, packing a 15.5% punch which never showed up. Plums on the mid palate with some teeth searing tannins became evident as the wine evolved. What had started out as a mature wine quickly transformed into a rather young wine (at 10 years of age already). I timed a long finish with some road tar, black berries and orange peel on the tail end, quite complex. This wine is till too young- 2015-2025 would be my guess. It is a blend of Grenache, Carignan and Vidadillo from Aragon in Spain. It got high marks from the pro’s and I agree with their 94 points. I found it online for about $60. 4 stars for this complex wine with great cellaring potential. Salut….