Last up at the 14th Virtual Wine tasting was this stunner from Bordeaux that got a perfect 20 from yours truly. Totally opaque and dark purple. The nose showed off musty cigar box, leather, tobacco, dried cherry, damp forest floor and ‘a bag of craisins’. There was a very earthy component that was woodsy. Simply stunning. The palate had dried sage, dark fruit, cassis, smoke, black tea and cranberry. This 10 year old blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cab Sav and 5% Petit Verdot has hit peak. The primal fruit is being overtaken by the tertiary flavors we long for when cellaring fine wine. This vintage was scored an overall 99 points by Wine Spectator, producing long lived wines with high scores from pretty much any producer. This one gets 92 points from me, which is consistent with the pros. At $40 it gets 5 stars and should be drunk by 2025. Salut….
This blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is a mid shade of gold in the glass. On the nose I get citrus, melon, lychee and ginger. On the palate it offers bright and juicy lemons, pineapple, lychee and some good minerality. The acidity is very well appointed, not too sharp but enough to keep it crisp. The flavors continue to a decent length finish. I am really impressed with the complexity of this wine’s nose. For $15 this is a great summer sipper that will also pair really well with grilled Salmon, Cobb salad or chicken on the charcoal. 89 points from me make it a 5 star effort to stock up on- really yummy stuff. Drink till 2024. Salut….
The cork failed on this 20 year old Classed Bordeaux but it’s a dark purple and almost opaque with a touch of bricking. The nose is classic Claret that is well aged. Tobacco, raisins, steeped plum and a healthy dose of leather. On the palate it is a touch sour initially with cherry that gives way to tertiary flavors of cedar cigar box, Maduro and leather. It’s very mature and certainly delicious. The tannins are fully integrated at this point so the wine is at peak if not just past. The finish has a modicum of acidity, the structure that has let this wine last this long. It is the final bottle of a case I purchased in 2003. It’s sad to see it go but I’m glad I have been able to track its evolution. 92 points from me has been consistent in all my tastings of this wine. The pros went sub 90 back in the early days, I guess they did not think it would hang in there for two decades and evolve so beautifully. If you want to try one, they are available online for about $80. We drank it all by itself , something I would recommend. 5 stars. 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….
The 13th Virtual Wine tasting included this Right Bank Merlot. It was stunning, mature and a hit. The wine is at peak, the color showing a bit of bricking on the rim. The nose is classic Bordeaux- Earthy, smoky, molasses, black fruit jam, leather, tobacco, licorice, cloves…. that’s a lot of descriptors from the panel. On the palate it was delicious, even dreamy as one member piped out. Black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, mushroom and leather were really the key components. The wine is still robust, with very well integrated tannins and a hint of acidity. The mouthfeel is great and lingers on the decent length finish. On my 20 point scale it got 19. Technically speaking, it is a 93 point wine in my book, way higher than the pros rated it back in the day. 2010 was a great year for the Clarets and this example is showing how well the wines have held up and how they have evolved so nicely. Drink till 2025 and for $35 buy a case if you can find it. 5 stars. Salut….
It’s inky, brooding, opaque and shows fine legs in the glass. On the nose I get graphite, plums, oaky vanilla and cedar. On the palate there are black currants, green plums, black tea and dry tannins. The mid palate is very astringent with more tea, strange tannins, some black fruit and not much acidity. I’m not enjoying this wine very much, too off-balance and way too dry without fruit to back it up. The finish is very dark and austere- over-steeped tea, some plums and a woodsy note. The grip of the tannins hold on for a while but the fruit fades quickly. Overall a disappointing wine from a great Bordeaux vintage. 86 points from me, the pros went much higher but I don’t see it. It may mellow out in the near future. Drink till 2025. For $75 it gets 1 star and a pass from yours truly. Salut….
The nose on the third wine of our virtual tasting was wild. Gamy AF, with loads of mushroom, forest floor, bacon fat and some semblance of black fruits. On the palate it was much more manageable and in line with expectations. Bramble, blackberry reduction, leather and some really nice tannins all came together on the palate. The wine smoothed out some on the mid palate and it showed some nice balance between the fruit, the tertiary flavors, tannins and acidity. The funk wore off but there were trace elements of morel mushrooms, leather and blackberry. The finish was where this wine finally came on pointe. Good fruit presentation, some nice touches of those secondary flavors and a decent amount of astringency from the lithe tannins. Overall I really enjoyed this wine, but the nose was offputting for many on the tasting. 91 points for me. Drink till 2026, but let it breathe for at least an hour to help dispel the funk. For $20, it gets 5 stars. Salut….
Golden color. Loads of legs in the glass. The nose is delightful and consists of orange marmalade, honey, candied citrus. On the palate I get silky orange syrup, marmalade, honey and hazelnut. The sweetness is balanced with a brisk acidic component that gives me an unctuous mouthfeel. The finish is long and tart with some astringent orange curd and white tea components. Really interesting and delightful to drink. 93 points and 5 stars. $35 for a 375ml bottle. Drink this sweet dessert wine till 2030. Salut….
A stunning, deep purple in the glass that belies this wine’s age. On the nose it’s somewhat muted but I do manage to coax some graphite, plum reduction and anise. On the palate it’s still young, acerbic yet relatively fruit forward. Blueberry, sour cherry and that minerality all show up. The mix of acid and tannins battle each other as the midpalate shows more blueberries and some rhubarb. I have to say- it’s quite tart and lacking much wood influence. The finish is pretty much the same with a decent 30 second tail. I’m serving this with Sunday roast, and somewhat regret opening such a young wine. Give it 3-5 more years. For now, 89 points and 2 stars for this $70 offering. Salut….
I did not make notes on the first night, palate fatigue…On night two- it’s a rich purple and opaque. On the nose it’s very earthy with notes of tobacco, iodine and blackberry. On the palate it is very interesting- the uniqueness of the secondary flavors piques my interest. Black cherries come out along with very concise tannins. There’s a touch of astringency on the midpalate that I’m willing to overlook- the wine is multilayered enough for me to concentrate on the other facets. It’s interesting, of decent quality and intriguing. The finish leaves me with a desire for another mouthful. 89 points 5 stars for this $14 Merlot/Cab/Franc blend. Drink till 2026. Salut….