A slightly dull purple in the glass, gives me concern. On the nose however- violets, black currants, a touch of oak. On the palate it is much darker- blackberry, cherry extract, graphite and singed oak. There is a leather component too, it just comes along later, towards the mid palate. The wine transitions very nicely with good tannic structure that is not obtrusive and acidic enough to balance. This is the third wine of Brane Cantenac, a Second Growth Margaux. They use the young plots for source fruit, giving us an approachable young wine that drinks very nicely with good mouthfeel and medium term cellaring potential. 90 points from me for this $29 effort that gets 3 stars. Drink now till 2024. Salut….
Rich purple hues in the glass with classic Bordeaux notes on the palate. Cassis, lovely oak and dark cherry are dominant on the nose. On the palate it is slightly thinner than expected but its litheness is appreciated. Plums, blackberry reduction, black olives and charcoal dominate the initial palate. Very lithe tannins peak on the mid palate with very slight acidity countering them. The finish is where the astringency kicks in with black tea, black currants and spice box. This wine is drinking very nicely now and will improve over the next 10 years. 92 points and 4 stars for this $55 Grand Cru. Salut….
This was the fourth wine of the tasting evening, which may have included a bit of palate fatigue but we all agreed it was the nicest. The 2015 Bordeaux vintage shows its excellence here.
Medium to dark black in the glass. Cassis, black berry coulis and some gaminess. On the palate it reeks of Bordeaux- cassis, dark berries, oak and grippy tannins. The mid palate is where the astringency kicks in with a black tea component and some decent blackberry jam notes. The finish is totally dry. Short length on the flavors but the tannins are in full force. 90 points and 4 stars for this $45 wine. Drink till 2027. Salut….
A mellow blend of the traditional Bordeaux varieties- this wine is a pretty purple in the glass with long legs showing. The nose is plump with dark fruits, some cherry cola and a touch of cinnamon. The initial palate is very rounded, soft and smooth. It features black currants, black olives, oregano. It has a great mouthfeel due to the very slight tannic structure which is really balanced well with the gentle acidity. This is a quaffing wine for sure, with a drink now date. The finish is medium in length and dark fruit dominated. It has a hint of charcoal on the end and some plum tart. I really like this wine for what it is, the 89 points are not a slam- it just lacks the backbone to cellar and evolve which detract from a numerical score. This would be great with light appetizers or as a base for a wine sauce. It really has a lovely fullness to it. $19 and 4 stars. If I had to blind taste it, the soft and supple mouthfeel scream Merlot. Salut….
Given to me by a good mate from South Africa, I have been holding on to this one for the right time. It shows very rich purple in the glass. A 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% each Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it is a classical Bordeaux blend. The nose is a little muted, probably because I just pulled it out of the 55 degree cellar. I have managed to coax black cherry, ribena and toasty oak after several swirls. The palate is very smooth, rich plum ganache and black cherry reduction greet me with some somewhat pointy tannins. The wine has a definite wood profile, but is not over-oaked by any stretch. Rather, it is a unique flavor in the mix. Blackberry rounds out the finish which is quite tannic and dry. My gums are feeling it well into the second minute – quite long. There is a mintyness that comes across at the end that is interesting alongside a faint licorice note. Clocking in at 14% this wine is well built, balanced and totally ready for another 10 years in the cellar if you have the patience. 91 points from me for this $49 effort and 4 stars. Salut….
The iconic South African wine, a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot- the penultimate Bordeaux style blend from sunny Stellenbosch. I have had various vintages of Meerlust, but I don’t think I waited as long as this 8 year old.
Somewhat opaque, medium hued purple in the glass. The nose is rich with plums, cassis, spice, oak and a surreal blackberry pie note that I love. On the palate- simply delicious. Black fruits, silky tannins, plums, cedar box, a touch of tar and very lithe acidity to go along with the delightful tannins. This is a powerhouse wine, aged to perfection and ready to rock n roll. The mid palate allows a certain degree of dryness to hit the gums, but not in an overpowering way. The blackberry streak continues all the way to the finish. The grippiness of the tannins builds the further they get along, culminating on the finish with a crescendo. The flavors carry right through on this wine, giving it a richness that I admire. The pairings are unlimited for this treat: steaks, stews, charcuterie, cheeses- nothing will interfere with its presence. I would save a few bottles if you buy more than one as it will mature well for at least another decade, smoothing out no doubt and adding more complexity. I am going with 93 points minimum on this $31 effort and give it 5 stars. Salut….
Medium density purple in the glass. A nice bright nose of blackberries, cinnamon and pencil shavings. On the palate the wine is a tad thinner than I had been expecting. Blueberry, very well integrated tannins, some cassis and a modicum of acidity. The wine opens up pretty quickly and the cassis really shows up on the mid palate, transcending the medium length finish. Overall, this wine drinks nicely and will cellar for the short term. 89 points and 3 stars for this $22 effort. Salut….
I recently wrote about the 2013 Faithful Hound, so when I caught some of the 2014 on sale, I grabbed a few. Retailing for $18, it’s a good parallel to the Bordeaux style blends that I so truly love. This one has a dark purple complexion, just like it’s older sister. The nose is gorgeous- plums, bramble, chocolate, some oak and a blueberry component. On the palate, much darker fruits than expected. More of the blackberry and currants theme with some violets. The mid palate is bone dry with tannins popping out and caressing the gums. The finish is blackberry, tar and those delightful tannins. The mouthfeel on this wine is great, built for steaks or the pasta with meatballs and sausage I am about to serve. This wine will cellar well, it has al the right components. I really hope it can evolve with secondary flavors like it’s French cousins. Drink till 2025. 90 points and 4 stars for this gem from SA. Salut….
Just a gorgeous dark purple in the glass, it shows promise! On the nose I get lavender, plums, and a remarkable blackberry hint. On the palate I am getting delicious plums, black cherry kirsch and a hint of upfront tannins. As the wine progresses to the mid palate the tannins firm up a touch and the fruit mellows somewhat, indicating youth in this wine. The finish shows off a blueberry component which has me confused. Plums, Blackberry, Black Cherry and now blueberry. It cannot be possible, yet here it is, bathed in very well integrated tannins and just a touch of acidity. This wine is delicious, it really is. My choice was to pair it with Strip Steak, steamed Artichokes and a Cauliflower puree. A perfect match. This wine gets 91 points from and for $45 it is a 4 star effort. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot are the make up of this Bordeaux style wine, which as you know really excites me. Drink till 2022 at the least. Salut….
Dark and brooding in the glass it shows off Blackberry and mint on the nose. The palate is very interesting. Black cherry pie meets blackberries and licorice. The tannins are delightful, packed just right. The mid palate gives off some plum jam but is quickly overriden by the tannins. The finish is decent in length and I am getting charcoal, blackberry and dark cherry notes. A well made wine that has some cellaring potential. We are pairing it with Flank steak and roasted asparagus. 90 points and for $19 is it a 4 star effort. It is a true Bordeaux blend, comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Salut….