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….
When I decided to fire up the grill and roast a leg of lamb I needed a Syrah/Shiraz to go with it. What better than a nicely aged bottle from Australia? I have become a huge fan of the Clarendon winery, they produce amazing wines in a style that I adore. This one was exceptionally good and the pairing was amazing.
It started out with Plum jam, blackcurrants, nutmeg and a touch of heat on the nose. Initially there was a dark core of black currants and plum compote with a hint of licorice. The mid palate gave way to red raspberries after some time which was fascinating. I noted ‘Extremely smooth with beautiful fine-grained tannins and an edge of acidity’. This wine rocked. It’s 14.5% alcohol was evident when the bottle was first opened but seemed to blow off with time and became a non-event. Complexity and finesse are what this winery is good at. They tend to be more Rhone-like versus typical Aussie Shiraz. I prefer the subtlety and refined approach on occasions and this wine allowed the meat to showcase it’s herbs and spices without overpowering it. The pro’s went from 89-95 on this one, but I agree with WS- it’s a solid 93-94 point wine in my opinion but at $75 is rather pricy. 4 stars however and a cellaring potential up to 2027 if you ask me. Salut….
The fourth vintage of this wine for me and served on Valentine’s Day, how appropriate! I really enjoyed the previous three and was slightly hesitant about opening such a young wine but in the interest of keeping the momentum going on my vertical tasting I delved right in.
I ran the first glass through my Vinturi to give it some much needed air and then I performed the ‘shake’ on the bottle to open it up some. The telltale inky purple color was ever present and the nose was quite alive after I shook the bottle. I got a brambly nose of blackberry and cassis with some plums. On the palate it became much more interesting with dark chocolate, oak, blackberry and more cassis. I did not get the same blueberry core as the 2011 vintage, this one being more brooding with the black fruits in prominence. I did get a good dose of the really tidy tannins which were ever present yet unobtrusive. A fine grained dryness on my gums and teeth rather than a full blown case of tannins was quite tasty. My son told me he could smell the wine when I poured another glass, he was sitting more than 2 feet away from me. I asked him to describe what he could smell- “Dark red grape”. Pretty much sums it up from an 11 year old’s point of view. This wine is delicious, with complex fruit structures and fine tannins. I did get a whiff of the 16% alcohol initially, but it soon subsided. The last glass contained a bit of sludge which surprised me a bit, so you may want to decant or at least keep an eye out when nearing the bottom. I don’t know what the pro’s gave it but I am going with 94 points and for $75 this is a 4 star wine in my books.
Recapping my last four nights of Love…. The 2009 was amazing, getting 94 points and 4 stars from me for it’s concentration, balance and complexity. The 2010 could best be described with a picture of a bowl full of black and blue berries. The wine was open, opulent and refreshing with its lively acidity. I gave it 92 points and 3 stars. The 2011 was the most aromatic and complex so far and had an incredible concentration of blueberry that had me reeling. It got 93 points and 4 stars from me. The 2012 is the baby of the group but I reckon it may be the best one yet, giving the ’09 a run for the money. I believe it will evolve and gain complexity like the others have, and the tannic structure will hold it in good stead. It too got 94 points and 4 stars.
The one main factor that I have noticed with all of the Mollydooker wines that I have tasted thus far is their level of concentration and their relative ease of drinking at such young bottle age. The wines all share some of the telltale signs of the house style and I really like it. Very rich, focused and balanced. The more reasonably priced wines are delicious for everyday drinking while the upper echelon have proven to me that they can hold their own on any festive occasion against a variety of foods. Most of them are relatively high in alcohol but this has been very cleverly disguised by the excellent wine making. You cannot get such concentration and complexity without pushing the boundaries but they have done so in a great fashion. I will continue to drink my way through the current vintages of Mollydooker and look forward to what the 2013 vintage brings. Salut….