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….
Another of my mate Johnny’s wines, this was a stunner. Simply breathtaking. A Bordeaux Blend with depth, richness and staying power. Deep purple in the glass with a rich and layered nose of gorgeous cassis, mint, stewed blackcurrants, cooked blueberry, coffee, smoke and cloves. Stunning. On the palate it is full bodied with well melded tannins, good acidity and complexity with flavors of blackberry, mint, tar, oak by way of smoke, clove and a medicinal note. There’s a touch of bitterness on the back end to remind me that the tannins are still young. This wine is well developed but has years ahead with potential for tertiary development. I’m excited to have tried it and wish I could get more to watch for development. 93 points and at $45 it’s a 5 star effort. Drink till 2028. Well done! Salut….
This bottle is called a Meritage, which conjures up notions of a Bordeaux blend relying heavily on either Cab Sav or Merlot, with supporting roles from Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In this case- it’s actually the opposite with the majority being Malbec at 62%, Merlot at 30%, Cab Franc with 6% and a touch of Petit Verdot. No sign of any Cab Sav. Anyways- it’s inky, brooding and opaque. The nose is intense with rich blackberry and oak nuances. I’m looking forward to it!
The palate is as expected. Layered black fruits and charred oak with medium grip tannins and juicy acidity. Blackberry, black currants and tea notes fit the mid palate. The finish is long and decidedly tart. The acidity is bracing yet I feel the wine has a nice roundness and is full bodied. The 14.5% alcohol is sensed on the back end with a hint of heat. Overall I am really enjoying this wine and will be pairing it with homemade spaghetti sauce and Hearts of Palm pasta. Drink till 2028. 91 points for this $25 make it a 5 star wine. Salut….
Dark purple and opaque. The nose has a dusty waft to it that took a bit of swirling to dissipate. Cedar shake, plum reduction and toasted pine nuts finally come through. On the palate it is very smooth with a concentrated core of blueberry, cassis, cedar, tobacco and leather- classic Pauillac. The wine picks up some dusty tannins on the mid palate and the fruit gets concentrated and focused. The tertiary flavors take a back seat temporarily while the blueberry and cassis really shine. The finish is a touch tart with some rooibos tea along with the fruit theme that has persisted along with some oaky vanilla. It’s still young with staying power . Drink till 2027. 92 points and 4 stars for this $135 Fifth Growth. Salut….
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….