I have owned and stored this Magnum for nearly 20 years. I chose it for our dinner with friends Keef and Arty at our favorite restaurant, Chez Francois where we dined on Wagyu Beef Cheeks, Rack of Lamb and Chateaurbriand. An amazing evening that lasted 3+ hours and culminated with their signature Soufflé. This bottle was decanted and the sommelier and I agreed that it was youthful in color, showing no bricking- just a clear, deep ruby color. With a touch of air in the large decanter the nose was stupendous. No notes were taken but I can say that it was all there. Cassis, leather, tobacco, cedar, blackberry, black cherry. The tannins were so well integrated and the acidity was en Pointe. The mouthfeel on this wine was exceptional- balanced to a tee with fruit, structure, secondary and tertiary flavors and aromas- the whole lot. It is drinking at its prime now and will last another 5-8 years methinks. If you have it in 750 ml, start consuming it sooner rather than later. A stunning, smooth and delicious Right Bank Merlot that was worth the wait. 95 points from me. If you can find a regular bottle it will run you $250, a Magnum would be roughly $600. Drink this beauty with friends for a very special occasion. 5 stars. Salut….
It’s been nine years since I last tasted the 2001 Valduero, which I opened by accident. Today’s bottle is intentional- Mothers Day Sunday roast. It is deep garnet colored with definite signs of aging. The nose smells divine- leather, earth, blackberry jam, cassis, mint, coffee bean, vanilla, baked blueberry and a medicinal note. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and melded tannins which caress my gums. This 100% Tempranillo is full bodied and I get flavors of stewed/cooked black and blue fruits, earth, leather, oak influence (coffee, vanilla and the medicinal note) and a tart black cherry note on the long finish. The tannins start to grip on the back end and cover my teeth and gums with a ‘hairy’ feeling. This 21 year old wine is still showing youth in structure and some fruit, amazing. It will go beautifully with our dinner and could potentially cellar some more with a drinking window out to 2027. I paid $60 back in the day for this 95 point wine which I would award 5 stars to. Salut….
Our second wine of the 16th virtual wine tasting gave me pause in deciding it’s drinking order. I originally wanted to showcase this icon as the finale of our session, but after careful consideration felt it was best to go before the younger, bolder wines- it was a good call.
Chateau Musar at pretty much any age will have an orange tinge, or bricking. It’s also usually about 50% opaque. This blend of Carignan, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon never looks brooding in the glass. I asked the group for their comments when we started smelling the wine. “Heaven” was the first I heard- very appropriate. We also noted strawberry, leather, black pepper (?), cured meat, garrigue, black cherry, funk, barnyard, new-purse leather, dirt, smoke and earth. These are awesome descriptors from the group, yet I still feel we have missed out on some more. The nose was amazing.
On the palate this beauty is deceiving- delicate, yet powerful. Flavors of cracked pepper, cherry, leather, spice, raspberry jelly and baked cherry compote. The smoothness of this wine is above reproach. The tannins so well integrated and the gobs of acidity so well disguised. I think the gaminess and dried prune notes were my highlight. I was so happy to have been able to present this tremendous wine to my friends, who for the most part loved it. I awarded a perfect 20 points on the tasting scale. Technically speaking, it gets 95 real points and at $75, five stars. I would imagine this one has a long tasting window but make sure you have a two-pronged wine opener, the corks gave issue to several bottles. Salut….
Tonight is the first Sunday of the New Year, which means we are celebrating 2021 with a standing Rib Roast plus all the trimmings. A juicy, fatty cut like this needs a tannic wine, so I searched for something young that would help temper the Beef.
This Grenache is semi opaque in the glass and a pretty shade of purple. The nose is very inviting- black raspberry, bacon, blueberry jam and a hint of blackberry. Very intricate and complex. The palate is beautiful, with a perfect set of tannins for my meal. The flavor profile is more black fruit with some very well integrated oak nuances. Violets and lavender also come to mind. The mid palate has lush dollops of more black fruit and a tea component. The tannins are really fine grained but ever present for a really delicious mouthfeel. The finish has a definitive blueberry note that I got from the nose. Very complex and swirling, this wine is a treat. I paid $35 for this stunner that scored upwards of 97 points with the pros. I have to say, it is really delicious but a touch young… worthy of at least 95 points which makes it a 5 star effort that I will be stocking up on. I plan to drink until 2028 at the very least. Salut….
It would not be Christmas without an aged Claret. This 19 year old took the honors and I am sure glad I picked it. Wow, what a stunner. I did not take notes but recall the wine looked a dark shade in the glass with no signs of bricking. The nose was astounding- tobacco, leather, earth, steeped plums and cassis. On the palate this wine is at plateau. I cannot even describe the beauty of liquid elixir. It was layered with the tertiary flavors I had smelled plus a surprising dose of dark currants, cassis and cedar. The tannins are fully resolved at this stage of the maturity, sublime being a good descriptor of the mouthfeel. The finish was super long and gratifying. This wine was a home run and has rewarded my patience. I think it still has a few years of life, but like I said- it’s at peak now. I have 6 more bottles in the cellar, lucky me! You could pair this wine with an array of foods, but simply enjoying it on its own would be amazing. I have written about the ’01 Cos before, once in 2012 and then in 2013. I am upping my score to 95 for this $150 beauty and sticking with 5 stars. Salut….
It’s Thanksgiving today and I am opening some stunners tonight, this was the first red. Nearly black in the glass and opaque AF. This wine is blowing me away on the nose- cassis, tobacco, leather and the umami of dried mushrooms. On the palate this Bordeaux beauty is at peak. The primal fruit has given way to the most amazing tertiary notes that we can only hope to taste in mature wine. Earth, funk, leather, Maduro tobacco, rich cassis and a hint of tannins on the very back end. It is stunning, graceful, developed and powerful in a staid manner. I’m floored that this mediocre, hot vintage has held itself together for 17 years and rewarded my cellaring in such an amazing manner. 95 points for tonights bottle which is a massive step up from the last time I drank a Magnum of the stuff. You can read my original notes here. Not cheap, nor is it easy to find- at $150 for a regular size or close to $350 for the big boy. 5 stars with a drink now window. Yummm. Salut….
It’s not often I get to drink an iconic wine, but when friends have a bottle for a special occasion and I get to taste- it’s magic.
Rich gold in the glass. The nose is stunning- honey, waxy tangerine, nutmeg and apricot. On the palate it’s super rich with unctuous layers of peach, honey, almonds, apricots and honeysuckle. The mouthfeel is full bodied with palate filling sweetness, a hint of acidity and tons of nuances that keep me coming back for more. What an amazing wine that gets 95 points. Spectacular but young, drink till 2040. If you can find it in 750ml, it will run close to $300. Ours was a smaller 375 ml that gets it 5 stars. Salut….
Last up at the 11th Virtual Tasting was this stunner. It did not appeal to many yet was my wine of the night even though I did not really enjoy drinking it. Let me explain….. This monster is a baby. It has so much complexity, depth and power that is hidden behind a huge tannic wall that it’s hard to coax anything out of it unless you have an aerator, a few days of patience or are willing to take my word for it and cellar some for another 4-5 years. The tasters noted the following:
Inky and nearly black. Clove, grape hubba bubba, graphite, pencil shavings, creosote. Very young with loads of tannins. Cloves, blackberry, iced coffee. Bitter finish. Black currant, jam, tawny port like. Tomato. Short to medium finish.
For me it had layers of anise, tar, black fruit, oak and teeth staining tannins. Great structure will hold this wine together till 2035, but I would cellar until at least 2025, giving a decent 10 year window of enjoyment. Pairing this muscular red with anything but the heartiest of Ribeyes would be foolish, it needs juicy, fatty meat to help cut the tannic grip. On night 2 it was starting to open up and on day 3 I doubled down on the black licorice/anise flavors. The tannins are finally starting to give way. This wine is going to be amazing and for $35 well worth buying a few for the cellar. 95 massive points from me and 5 stars only because I cannot give 6! It’s 100% Tinta de Toro, aka Tempranillo. Salut….
The fourth wine of the #10 Virtual tasting was a home run for me. This $60 Grenache was silky smooth, layered with flavors, complex and had an amazing mouthfeel.
It was semi opaque and had a lighter purple shade in the glass. The nose was very fruity with notes of Cedar, prunes, black cherry, smoky meat, pepper and cinnamon. One taster also threw in ‘bug spray’. On the palate it was very smooth and tasted ‘cold’- in a sense that this wine was very focused and had a concentration of flavors. It was Moxie’s favorite wine of the night and she’s not a huge fan of the reds. The tannins are what I think she liked- very fine grained and well integrated leading to a not-so-dry mouthfeel that was complex, balanced and chock full of red fruits and spice. Prunes showed up on the medium length finish. This wine was astounding to me, my first truly remarkable CDP in forever. I think the 5 years of cellaring was the key to softening this wine and allowing the tertiary notes to begin their emergence. I rated this wine 19 points on my tasting scale, a monster effort that translates into 95 points in the real world. The pro’s went 94, not far off. I know sixty bones is a big step in the wallet but well worth it for an exceptional wine that I award 5 stars to. Drink till 2030. No pairing needed, delicious all by itself. Salut….
At 14 years of age this beauty is showing well in the glass. Dark purple, opaque and leggy. The cork was very soft so I had to pressurize it out, the corkscrew was going to crumble it otherwise. On the nose I get blackberries, cigar box, plum and black licorice. The initial palate is stunning- blue and blackberry ganache, cassis, leather, cedar and oregano. Sublime tannins are ever present but very integrated. The mid palate picks up some lapsang souchong tea, espresso and mocha. The finish is finely balanced between the great tannins and a beautiful acidity that makes my jaw water on the long finish. This is a sublime wine that has mellowed and matured to a great pinnacle. Drink this wine by itself or pair it with char-grilled steaks and garlic mash. 95 points and 4 stars for this $140 blend of Cab Sav, Carmenere, Cab Franc and Merlot. Drink till 2025. Salut….