This Cab Franc is reddish purple and nearly see through in the glass with some nice legs draping the edges. On the nose I get a dark, brooding blackberry and smoky oak. The palate is delicious, tannic and intriguing. Black currants, black berry and violets interlaced with gum searing tannins and a modicum of acidity. If I had a Ribeye in front of me, heaven. The mid palate is bone dry yet there is a core of fruit pushing through to the back end alongside some cigar box and black tea flavors. The finish is very dry with those tannins holding on to the end. Black fruit, spice box and a plummy ending make this a memorable wine, if not a touch young. I am excited for wines from Lodi, they have made great strides in quality and this is a good example. If you like ’em dry, pour this baby now, or else let it sit until 2023. Drink till 2028. 89 points and 5 stars, I paid $10- stunning wine for the price. Salut….
This Russian River Valley Chard has a beautiful gold sheen to it. The nose is floral and full of citrus. Lemons, lime and vanilla bean all hit me. On the palate it is very rich and warm. The citrus theme continues but I note popcorn and honeysuckle join the fray. The mid palate is full bodied with a nice mouthfeel. I am enjoying the citrus without too much acidic cut. I was looking forward to a somewhat fuller wine and this one hits all the notes. The finish is crisp and clean with a core of marzipan to go alongside the refreshing fruit flavors of lemon, lime and green apple. Judicious oak use is noted and appreciated. I am pan searing some King Salmon to go with Battata Harra, a spicy Middle Eastern potato dish- I think the weight of this Chardy will go well with the fish and stand up to the fiery spices of the side dish. 91 points from me and 5 stars for this $16 wine. Drink till 2028. Salut….
I don’t drink Zins very often, but when I find one I like- I remember it and revisit. I was not a huge fan initially of the last Zin I drank, the Turley Zin turned out much better after a day or so.
This one shows semi opaque in the glass and has a lovely reddish hue to the purple color. On the nose I get raspberries, red currants and cinnamon stick. The palate is very rich with a nice thrust of raspberry coulis and mulling spices. There’s a really nice set of tannins that caress the gums without stripping the enamel off my teeth alongside a juicy acidity that hits the mid palate. The red fruit theme continues with some steeped rhubarb and spices. This is not a jammy Zin, but is full bodied with rich flavors and a really nice, long finish. The warmth I get on the backend is also very interesting. Really tasty with a decent level of complexity and aging capacity make this a 91 point wine IMHO. I paid a paltry $9.99 for it but it normally retails for $40. 4 stars with a drinking window till 2027. I’m flash cooking some thin Ribeyes that will pair nicely. Salut….
This Napa Cab pours a rich deep purple in the glass and is totally opaque. On the nose it’s all Cali sunshine- rich blackberry, plum jam, figs and vanilla. On the plate it lives up to its billing. Rich fruits, cassis, ripe tannins and a touch of acidity. The mouthfeel on this one is stupendous. I am enjoying swirling the wine but it gets really good on the mid palate where espresso adds another angle as does plum jam. The finish is somewhat drier yet still reserves the spotlight for the primal fruits. It has good structure, if not somewhat muted by the fruit forward style of this gem. It will age well and hopefully develop some tertiary flavors. This could be a monster folks. 94 points from me. It’s pricy at a list of $135, but I found it elsewhere for less. I’m pairing this 5 star wine with Char-grilled Ribeyes. Drink till 2030. Salut….
It’s a very dark shade of purple in the glass, very inviting. On the nose I get sweet blackberries, plum extract and cherry cola. The palate is interesting- ripe black fruit, capsicum greeness, some cherry and dried fruit. The mid palate is very fruit forward and I get tons more of that dark cherry cola note alongside some slightly green tannins that are a touch bitter. The back end is very dry from the structure and there is a modicum of acidity. If you like ’em dry, this one’s for you. The finish is decent in length and continues the theme. I like this wine but think it may have some ripeness issues. 88 points from me and drink till 2024. For $18 this Charbono, also known as Bonarda, is a 3 star wine. If you have never had this varietal, give it a try! Salut….
The last wine of our Virtual tasting #8 was this highly regarded Zin which rolls in at $35. I selected it because I really like this winery and was thinking it would be interesting to have two wines from the same winemaker, albeit different varietals to showcase the winemaker’s style and skill. There were 8 different groups tasting this wine and I recorded their collective notes.
The wine starts off with a nice purple shade of medium opacity. Fine legs on the sidewalls gave away the 15.5% alcohol, which was not evident on the palate- well disguised! The immediate reaction to the nose was ‘Grandmothers attic! A good swirl and more traditional aromas of baked cherries, rhubarb, cherry, currant, plum and dusty mocha were mentioned alongside descriptors of svelte, brooding, jammy and finally mothballs. Back to the closet I guess!
On the palate members of the group noted sassafras, huckleberry, cinnamon and Jalapeño. I found the wine to be complex but the finish brought up some interesting comments. Stinky Brie, green and bitter notes were mentioned but I thought the wine was balanced between lithe tannins and gentle acidity. Pepper was the predominant feature for me. I was not overly impressed by this wine on night one and will re-taste tonight. For now I’m going with 89 points, a stark contrast fro the 92 it got from some of the pros. 3 stars initially. Drink till 2025. Salut….
UPDATE- I re-tasted the wine after a 24 hour period and have revised my score to 91. It improved dramatically. The complexity was evident- 4 stars.
I wanted to introduce a pure Cinsault to our wine tasting group. It’s a very difficult grape to source as a standalone because it’s traditionally a blending grape. I have had some delicious wines that rely heavily on Cinsault, which reminds me of Pinot Noir in its structure and finesse. In fact- Pinotage is a cross of the two grape varietals.
The wine is very pale red and see-through. The nose gave us cigar box, perfume, cherry, raspberry, cedar, black cherry, maple syrup, mulling spices, strawberry and cardamom. The palate was peppery with black cherry, jello, earth, pomegranate, violets and was considered ‘spicy’.
I thoroughly enjoyed this lighter style of wine that had gentle tannins, decent acidity and a really nice mouthfeel. 92 points from me for this $25 charmer that gets 5 stars. Drink with lighter fare till 2028. Salut….
Semi opaque, medium shade of purple. The nose is somewhat subdued in the BAG (big assed glass). After a vigorous swirl session I get blueberries, violet and pepper. On the palate it’s a touch spicy with blue fruits, fig and cedar. The mid palate is a bit tart, backward and thin on the fruit. The finish is bitter with more blue fruits and that woodsy note. I enjoy Zins for their fruitiness. This one lacks a bit on several points unfortunately. 86 points is all I can muster. $10 makes this a 2 star wine. Salut….
Dark purple, opaque. The nose is chock full of blackcurrants, spicy oak and some dusty tobacco. The palate is stark- dark and brooding with blackcurrants, oolong tea, nice gentle tannins and a touch of acidity. The midpalate is a bit edgy with some oak influence, charred wood, dark fruit and an increasing dryness from the tannins that are ramping up. The finish is really enjoyable- a nice dry mouthfeel, decent acidity and gobs of fruit. The blackcurrants are really delicious. This is a yummy wine for everyday that will cellar nicely for a few years and be a hit whether you are serving steaks or pizza. Drink till 2025. 90 points and 5 stars for this $20 effort. Ps. The label is one of coolest out there. Salut….
It’s got a really bright yellow/gold color in the glass. The nose has butterscotch, green apple and melon. The palate is full bodied with a nice round mouthfeel. Apples, pear and some lemon interlaced with a touch of acidity open up for me on the palate. The mid palate is very smooth with more of the same flavors coming forth. I get some nutty notes and caramel on the back end along with the pear and apple melange. It’s quite a complex wine, punching way above its $14 price point. I am thoroughly enjoying it. The mouthfeel is great, the fruit is prominent, the acidity is apparent without cutting too much and the whole package rolls off the palate very nicely. 91 points from me and a 5 stars for sure. If you like Chardonnay, stock up on this one. Drink till 2024. Salut….