Very bright purple in the glass. The nose is very lively, with blackberry and plum notes alongside vanilla. On the palate it is delicious- rich, with caramel, oak and black fruits galore. Very lithe tannins and a touch of acidity make for a very easy drinking red with nice mouthfeel. The mid palate turns a touch astringent, with lapsang souchong tea, blackberry and oak. The finish is mid length with more dark fruit and black tea. A nice drop that will do well with many dishes but is delicious all by itself. 90 Points and 5 starts for this $13 effort. Drink till 2021. Salut….
Medium opacity with good color and nice legs. On the nose I get blueberry jam, cedar, juniper. On the palate there are notes of blue fruit, cinnamon stick and that woody, cedar note I got on the nose. The mid palate introduces some acidity along with- dare I say- wintergreen? Tannins are mild and unobtrusive, giving the wine a bit of astringency on the finish. The wine drinks nicely, what it lacks in depth it makes up for in mouthfeel. 88 points and 3 stars for this $20 wine. Drink till 2022 with meat, tapas or stew. Salut….
Medium opacity, great purple color. On the nose creosote, blueberry, charcoal and plum jam. On the palate I get a darker fruit profile- blackberry, ripe plum. The mid palate hits me with cheek quenching tannins, not overly done- just makes me pucker a bit. The acidity also presents at the same moment. Intriguing to have my rear jowls hit by opposing forces. The finish gets me back to that mineral tone of creosote, perhaps some black olives, all tiptoeing around the tannic bite that crescendoed on the finish. An interesting wine that I am enjoying thoroughly. It’s needs meat though, pair it with game, lamb stew or something hearty. 91 points for this blend of 62% Pinotage, 22% Merlot, 12% Cab Sav and 4% Shiraz. Aerate for immediate enjoyment and drink till 2025. 5 stars for this $15 effort. Salut….
Dinner at my cousin’s house. He offered me a crack at his cellar- who am I to refuse a gracious host! Inky purple in the glass- opaque. On the nose I get sweet blackberry, new oak, black olives. The initial taste is intriguing. Tannic at the outset, it gives off black fruit flavors, garrigue, lavender, black tea and a ton of mouth coating tannins. This is a brooding wine- powerful, dry, fruity and built for the long haul. It transitions to the back end with flavors of iodine, that black olive note and definitely more blackberries. Good acidity holds the tannins in check, which are in full force as the wine’s long finish fades away. This wine begs for decanting, aerating or a monster juicy Ribeye. Drink till 2030 at the least. 92 points and 5 stars from me for this $25 wine. If you can find it, buy by the case and cellar. The aging capacity of this cuvee is amazing. See my posts on the 2000 St. Thomas, the 2005, the 2006 and the mighty 2008. Salut….
I have previously had the Eagle’s Trace Cabernet, in Magnum. Dark purple with a touch of brick. On the nose it has a bit of funk- hoping it blows off. Black cherry, cola, eucalyptus hit me after a hard swirl. On the palate it shows red fruits- a rich acidity and fine grained tannins. Raspberry, cherries jubilee and an oak influence all hit. The mid palate gets me back to cola. Sassafras appears on the tail end where the tannins start to grip and the mouthfeel turns astringent. Enjoyable if you like a dry finish. 89 points and not a bad choice for Thanksgiving that included a smoked turkey as well as a deep fried one. It did not hold up as well as I had hoped. For $55 it gets 2 stars from me. Salut….
A gift from my cousin (we’ll call him Sharma). Dark purple, very opaque. The nose is intriguing. Plums, charcoal, crushed rock, a certain minerality. The palate is delicious with a toasty oak note opening it up, followed by grilled plum, black olive, bacon and delightful tannins. The flavors carry through to the end where the astringency of the tannins hit. There is a nice mouthfeel throughout and the acidity is very well balanced. The greenness of the back end gives me a check. I’ll get over it, I’m sure. Overall a delicious New Jersey Cabernet worthy of 91 points which gets 4 stars from me for the $25 price tag. It’s getting a pairing of Strip steaks with Balsamic reduction. Drink till 2021. Salut….
Medium opacity, good color. Nose is full of espresso, black berry and lush plums. The palate is very smooth, slightly acidic and starts off with black currants, charred oak and olives. The mid palate has more black fruit with the tannins starting to grip. I like the deft use of oak here and it smooths the wine nicely. The finish is medium in length, brimming with black cherry with the tannins receding nicely. 88 points and 5 stars for this $11 wine. Great value from Chile. Salut….
Medium depth of purple in the glass. The nose, after a swirl, showed off vanilla, oak and black currants. It borders on that aroma I don’t care for but I’m willing to overlook it today. On the palate it is much less dense and not as powerful as I imagined it. A slightly sour note hits right away that continues through to the mid palate. Black berries, coffee and a dried herb note all come to mind. The tannins start off gently but build up to a medium dryness by the mid palate and continue for a short finish. Black fruits and thyme are noted on the back end. Overall this is a tasty wine that I would pair with pasta, Kebabs or lamb chops. 89 points and 3 stars for this $15 wine. Salut….
Yesterday was a little bit of a let down with the basic Los Vascos Cab. This property is a well respected Rothschild winery in Chile. As such, I opted to go back and try their Grand Reserve offering, in hopes of a better showing that suits my particular taste desires, and has higher technical components than the basic wine.
First thing I noticed was today’s Reserve wine has a real cork, versus synthetic. A good start. The wine is not overly dark, but a pleasant purple in the glass. On the nose- a whole different story. Black berries, rich mocha, fig on the nose. The palate is more plum-like but the black fruits are still evident. There’s a slightly obscure, astringent quality that hits right up front. Once over that I’m settling in to the gentle mouthfeel, moderate tannins and tangy acidity. The mid and finish are a little darker with coffee bean, black cherry and an oak tinge. Overall, much better. 89 points and 4 stars for this $15 effort. Grilled meat, Moussaka or even hearty pasta would pair nicely. Drink now till 2020. Salut….
Medium purple with a bluish hue. Dammit, that sugary, oaky nose that I really dislike just hit me. Red sweets, twizzlers and cotton candy. On the palate- pretty much the same but with some decent acidity to brighten things up. Very lithe tannins are barely perceptible. This wine is the quintessential bbq drop. Easy to quaff, bright fruit, pleasant enough and capable of pairing with smoked or charred meats and sweet/tangy sauces. It’s not my cup of tea but should appeal to many. Drink this 86 point wine in the near term. $8 all day long make this a 2 star wine. Salut….