It’s not often that one gets a 20+ year old bottle of wine pulled out of a farmhouse and opened for an evening drink, but that is exactly what happened here. I was privy to the rest of the bottle that my friend Annie carefully decanted, in hopes of making magic happen. Whilst this one may be over the hill it certainly offers much for enjoyment. Very dark and opaque with a touch of bricking- it is showing its age yet still has something to offer. The nose is full of prunes, mushrooms, leather, game and forest floor. There are no primary fruit flavors left and the tannins are fully melded, the wine was being held together by the last vestiges of acidity that allowed it to over-perform its drink-by window. With no provenance indication, it is hard to tell when this bottle entered its mature stage but I was surprised that the tertiary flavors were so palatable. I have had many a wine that was over-the-hill and needed to meet the drain asap, this one was not the case. We drank the whole bottle, enjoying what nuances we could get from it and marveling at the fact that it runs $60 per bottle for current vintages yet performs like a far more pricy Napa Cabernet (No pricing exists for this vintage). It is unfair to score this grand dame, suffice to say- she has outdone herself and shined in the development arena and deserves kudos for lasting this long. Share your hidden gem stories! Salut….
Bright purple, semi opaque. On the nose it is very fruity with bright blackberries, dark cherry and red twizzlers. The palate is very fresh with lighter black fruit notes, some cherry cola and vibrant tannins. The finish is simple yet full of fruit flavors and a modicum of tannins. There is a good dose of acidity that keeps it lively. This is meant for immediate drinking and will go well with marinated sirloin or pasta with red sauce. 87 points and for $14 it gets 4 stars from me. Salut….
Deep purple in the glass with a nose of black plum, dark berries and rich oak. The palate is dry with juicy acidity, dark fruits galore and a bucketful of tannins. The blackberry component is very focused and I also get a delicious dark chocolate note. The grip of the tannins is quite searing but I am enjoying them, well composed and not overly astringent. The fruit flavors kick it up a notch on the mid palate alongside licorice and charcoal. The finish is long and fruity- dry AF. The mouthfeel is great on this full bodied wine. The acidity is watering, balanced by the stoic tannins and gobs of extracted black fruits. The 14.5% alcohol is not evident, be careful! A young wine that is drinkable now yet will cellar well till 2030. 68% Cab Sav, it is rich, opulent and full throttle. 92 points from me for this $40 wine make it a 5 star effort. Salut….
I’m an old fan of this winery, having been a tasting room member at one point. This Cabernet hails from Columbia Valley. It is a touch murky with medium shades of purple in the glass. The nose has steeped plums, charcoal and blackberry pie. The palate is really yummy- if not at peak, it’s close. Ripe plums, cedar, black berry and espresso. The mid palate is very refined with very well integrated tannins and good acidity. The dark, mature fruit theme continues but what impresses me the most is the mouthfeel. It is really full, rounded and balanced. The finish is very juicy, the acidity really gripping at this point. The prune and blackberry flavors fade after a decent amount of time but the tannins hang on to my gums for an eternity. Lovely stuff that gets 89 points from me. It should be drunk sooner rather than later and for $17, it gets 4 stars. Salut….
Our second wine of the 16th virtual wine tasting gave me pause in deciding it’s drinking order. I originally wanted to showcase this icon as the finale of our session, but after careful consideration felt it was best to go before the younger, bolder wines- it was a good call.
Chateau Musar at pretty much any age will have an orange tinge, or bricking. It’s also usually about 50% opaque. This blend of Carignan, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon never looks brooding in the glass. I asked the group for their comments when we started smelling the wine. “Heaven” was the first I heard- very appropriate. We also noted strawberry, leather, black pepper (?), cured meat, garrigue, black cherry, funk, barnyard, new-purse leather, dirt, smoke and earth. These are awesome descriptors from the group, yet I still feel we have missed out on some more. The nose was amazing.
On the palate this beauty is deceiving- delicate, yet powerful. Flavors of cracked pepper, cherry, leather, spice, raspberry jelly and baked cherry compote. The smoothness of this wine is above reproach. The tannins so well integrated and the gobs of acidity so well disguised. I think the gaminess and dried prune notes were my highlight. I was so happy to have been able to present this tremendous wine to my friends, who for the most part loved it. I awarded a perfect 20 points on the tasting scale. Technically speaking, it gets 95 real points and at $75, five stars. I would imagine this one has a long tasting window but make sure you have a two-pronged wine opener, the corks gave issue to several bottles. Salut….
Wow, this Napa wine is super opaque and dark purple-it looks like Welch’s grape juice. I can smell fruit flavors about a foot away from the glass, it’s wafting over and I think I’m going to like it. Yup, I do. Saturated with blackberry notes, I also get blueberry essence. On the palate it is delicious. Layers of blackberry, blueberry and cassis. Very primal, extracted and yummy. Lithe tannins appear on the mid palate but this wine is really juicy, the acidity really has a grip. Deft use of oak keeps this wine interesting without overplaying tertiary flavors. The finish turns quite dry with the tannins really starting to make themselves known. Overall a nicely balanced wine with good structure, great fruit and decent cellaring capacity. I would drink this blend of Syrah, Malbec, Zin, Merlot etc till 2028 with a big ole T-bone. 92 points from me make this $50 wine a 5 star effort. Salut….
In the glass this Cabernet is bright purple and 50% opaque. The nose gives me blackcurrant and coffee bean. On the palate it is quite rich with blackberry coulis, spice box and cedar. The mid palate has nice rich fruit, a touch of acidity and some lithe tannins. The black fruit theme continues as does the coffee. The finish is really tasty, a touch dry with a hint of acidity. Th mouthfeel is really wonderful, not cloying, dry or tart. Rich, warm fruit with some underlying structure make for a decent medium term drinking window. I like it and am going with 89 points. For $15, it’s a good deal and gets 4 stars from me. Drink till 2025 with grilled meats. Salut….
This Washington State Cab Sav is a murky, dark shade of purple and totally opaque. On the nose I get a whiff of alcohol followed by plums, black currants and cedar shake. The palate starts off with a healthy dose of tannins and black fruit salad. When I say healthy, I mean teeth coating astringency- wow. The fruit flavors are having a hella time trying to get center stage here. The mid palate has black currants and tea notes that are vying for space with the grip of tannins. On the finish it is a very dry affair that is short lived from the fruit. I need to get the Vinturi out and re-try. I picked the right wine for tonight’s pairing- Picanha steaks, which have a thick edge of fat in need of some hefty tannins. This wine has tremendous structure and will cellar nicely for a few years but if you need it now, aerate it or you will be lost in a sea of mouth searing tannins. Overall I think this wine will end up really nice and considering the aging capacity I am going with 90 points. It retails for $23 and gets 5 stars from me. Drink from 2023 till 2027. Salut….
Opaque and dark purple. The nose has a big dose of funk right off the bat- standing water comes to mind. Once past that shocker I get Napa sunshine with ripe blackberry, toasty oak and Ribena. The palate is blueberry and blackberry tart with coconut and creme. The oak influence is appreciated. Mid palate has very lithe tannins and mild acidity. Leather and tobacco appear on the finish with cassis. Really delicious as the wine progressed . 91 points and at $50 per bottle it gets 4 stars. Paired with Spinach rolled Flank Steak and Ceaser salad. Drink till 2023. 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….