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….
Pretty purple in the glass, quite opaque. On the nose it is all blackberry. The initial palate is black cherry, an awkward greenness and tar. The mid palate offers much the same, with more vegetal notes than I care for. This wine rates well with the pros at 90+ but I don’t get it. The finish is sour, green, the tannins are astringent. Not my cup of tea at all. There might be some of you who enjoy austere wines, this one might be up your alley. I’m going 86 points. For $18, it is a pass from me but you may want to give it a try- 2 stars. Drink now. Salut….
A deep purple wine with medium opacity. On the nose it is lush, full of ripe plums, graced by a deft hand of oak and blackberries. On the palate I get a more licorice and coffee initial attack. The dark fruits appear on the mid palate. There is not as much plum as I had been led to believe, but the juicy acidity makes me forget quickly. The tannins are lithe, making this a drink-now wine. The finish is more tart blueberry than blackberry. Somewhat short in the backend. A tasty wine that merits 88 points from me. For $20 it gets 3 stars. Drink till 2021 with some burgers, pizza or lasagna. Salut….
Bright purple- almost sparkly in the glass. The nose is full-on Napa cab. Rich plums, blackberries and cedar. The palate mirrors- and it’s super smooth with a gentle ramp up of tannins. The mid palate continues the dark fruit theme but this is where the black tea, crunchy tannins and Maduro leaf appear. The finish is very dry, long and filled with blackberry jam, more tea and a touch of oak. Delicious and worth 91 points in my book. The only thing holding it back is the slight greenness of the tannins. I’m serving up Sunday roast with this beauty. 4 stars for this $40 Cabernet that can be cellared or drunk till 2028. Salut….
Cherry nose. Iodine, plum and cigar box on the initial. Nice gentle tannins introduce themselves on the midpalate alongside bramble. The plums are really juicy in this wine. The finish gives me prune, black cherries and tobacco. Really tasty and easy to drink. Till 2024. 89 points and 3 stars for this $14 wine. Salut….
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….