Medium dark purple in the glass. Plum, cassis, blackcurrant on the nose. On the palate- great integration of dark purple fruits, oak, tannins and some cocoa dust. The midpalate is very concentrated on the plum core, relinquishing nothing to the structure and concentrating mainly on the fruit. The wine is definitely Napa in flavor, full of sunshine, fresh tannins and plum flavors. It reeks of new world boldness, extraction and does not shy away from its 14.5% alcohol (which is well hidden) The acidity is somewhat muted but present nonetheless. This wine is ready to drink now and has some cellaring potential- albeit not long term. 89 points and 3 stars for its $52 price point. Salut….
From Sonoma, a Cabernet I have heard of but never tried. Purply and dark in the glass it shows promise of power and extraction. On the nose I get cassis, blackberry, ripe oak and a funk I hate to think might be cork taint. The wine itself tastes a little off. I get blackberry essence, ink, crunchy tannins and a hit of toasty oak. The mid palate has a really defined tannic dryness that I am enjoying. More black fruits come around for the finish as well as some espresso, cocoa powder and the omnipresent tannins. They really are persistent. Overall I think this wine has good potential and will cellar well, my only concern is with this particular bottle. I have been lucky not to have many corked bottles over the years, but it happens every once in a while. Technically speaking this one is an 86 point wine but has the potential to rise to 91 if it were not faulty. A shame really for this $43 effort. I’ll go with 4 stars as a compromise. Think steaks, au gratin and creamed spinach for a pairing. Salut….
It’s not often I get to drink a 17 year old wine, but I received two bottles of the 2000 St. Thomas recently. Given to me by a cousin and hand carried by my uncle half way across the globe. I was very gentle in opening the bottle, using my Two Prong Puller to prevent any cork failure. There was none, in fact the cork looked very good. The wine has a burnt hue to it, a slight bricking which is expected at this age. It is pretty dark though which is interesting. On the nose I initially got a dank whiff which has since blown off. I now get a fresh dose of plums, some tobacco and espresso bean. The palate is wonderful- soft, flavorful, balanced and easy to drink. Flavors of black berry, toasty oak, cherry, leather and cassis all hit me in layers. The mid palate offers up the tannins, bone dry and and still a force to be reckoned with. The acidity is juicy, yet not tart- balanced. The finish is long, with loads of tannin, dark fruit compote and more of the coffee/tobacco that I got on the nose. This wine believe it or not, is young. I see room for more development, more mellowing and believe the structure is there to hold it all together. It is a delicious, dry wine that begs for charcoal grilled Filets, which is what I am going to cook. An amazing wine from a distant relative’s winery that is excellent in every facet. 91 points from me for this vintage. I have no idea on price but newer vintages are running $22 and are equally delicious, even in their relative youth. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. I would give this wine 5 stars for sure. See my reviews of other St. Thomas vintages. Salut….
Dark purple. Nice nose of dark currant, mint and oak slivers. On the palate it is a pleasing wine with freshness, good dry tannins and flavors of Ribena, plum, bitter chocolate as well as a meaty note. The tannins really kick in on the mid palate and the finish. The wine is full bodied, full flavored and not shy about its structure. It is somewhat tilted toward the tannic end with hardly discernible acidity at this time. I think this wine needs some cellaring for a year or two to mellow out just a touch. I’m going to be pessimistic and go with 90 points but I think it may improve. If you must drink it now pair with Lamb Shanks and Couscous or maybe a seasoned T-bone on the charcoal. I paid $12.80 each for two bottles on sale. Regularly $21. 4 stars. Salut….
A pleasant purple with medium density. On the nose I get plums, a faint hint of cinnamon, black cherry and creosote thanks to the 9% addition of Pinotage. The balance is Cabernet Sauvignon. The initial taste is very Pinotage heavy, with more plums, some dark fruits and the telltale chemical note, often likened to nail polish remover. I like it. The wine transitions nicely and some very delightful tannins caress throughout. The flavor profile doesn’t change much throughout and the acidity is very fine, barely noticeable. The finish is relatively long, with the dark fruit balancing nicely with a hint of oak. The bitterness of the tannins is apparent right at the end but is not detracting. This is a tasty weekday wine that I would pop with stew, chili, grilled sausages and even burgers. 89 points and 4 stars for this $11 wine. Salut….
Dark blackish purple in the glass. An interesting nose of sweet dark plums, sasparilla, oak and ginger. On the palate I get very precise flavors of plum ganache, dark chocolate, violets and the beginnings of some very fine grained tannins. The mid palate shows a bitterness I can’t figure out. The tannins however really kick in. The finish is a really strange compilation of blueberry pie, oak, astringent tannins and that odd bitterness. It detracts from the full potential of this wine and makes it an 88 point wine IMHO. I paid $12 and give it 4 stars. I would like to re-taste in a few years, perhaps it will mellow out and gain some balance whilst losing the bitterness. Salut….
Very bright purple in the glass. The nose has blackcurrants, oak and cherry reduction. Intriguing. On the palate I get a very delicious attack of black fruits- berry, plum, cherry. The tannic structure is good, bracing yet not too dry. The mouthfeel is really refreshing with some sharp acidity. The mid palate has yet more of the dark fruits plus a mocha component. The winemaker has skillfully managed to hide the 14.5% alcohol and slides some deft tannins in that really grip on the back end. The finish is very dry, with black cherry and cassis. The oak that I got on the nose has seemed to disappear up till the very end. This is a very easy drinking wine that is ready to go right now and will last for another 3-4years. I would pair it with lamb chops, roasted veg and perhaps Beef Ribs slow cooked in a wine reduction. I’m going 90 points and 5 stars for this $13 wine. Buy it by the case. (One critic went 94 points, but then again he always rates high.) Salut….
If you read my previous post on the 2015 Cono Sur Cab, you will recall that I ended up with two different vintages from the store. The 2016 is much darker purple, more extracted with heavier oak on the nose which disappoints me. I don’t like too much of the stuff.
On the palate, a much different story. Rich, thick plums alongside blackberry jam and oak shavings. The midpalate offers up black fruits and a tapenade note. The finish is short, with some black fruits and gentle tannins. This version is not as balanced and smooth as the 2015. It’s still a good deal though and should be on everyone’s party stocking list. I’m thinking dry rubbed ribs, burgers or even shish kebabs would pair nicely here. 88 points form me and for $9, 4 stars all day long. No picture taken BTW. Salut….
I bought two bottles of the Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon but didn’t realize I had two vintages…. so here goes the 2015.
Very nice purple in the glass. The nose is of ripe plums, bursting violets and a blackberry component. On the palate I get blackberry, currants, cinnamon and some earthy notes. The wine is easy to drink with slight tannins, moderate acidity and a good mouthfeel. The midpalate has some very nice dark cherry notes with a touch of oak. The tail end is shortish but nice; green olives and cherry come to mind. Overall a very serviceable wine that gets 89 points from me and 5 stars for its $9 price tag. Drink now for best results. Salut….
As I was pouring this wine I couldn’t help but notice the rich purple color, mesmerizing. On the nose I get gorgeous plum meets an oak shaving. This wine smells amazing. There is an intensity to the aroma that is really pure and focused. This pureness continues on to the initial taste. This is a great wine folks. It tastes amazing, has very fine grained tannins, is balanced and has got me grabbing for more. Plums continue to the mid palate and are joined with coffee beans, Ribena and a crescendo of tannins. They really hit on the back end with a really nice dryness that hits my gums in the right way. The wine finishes with cassis, espresso and a swath of tannins, delicious. An extremely well crafted wine that gets 92 plus points from me. I am a huge fan of Charles Smith, his winemaking is always on pointe. In fact, I search out his wines-looking for absolute gems like this one. I paid $13, and rate this as one of my all-time best buys. 5 Stars for sure and I am buying a case. Drink it alone or pretty much with everything from now till 2022. A steal, literally. Salut….