An iconic Napa Cabernet that we drank with monster Tomahawk steaks. This inky colored wine is beautiful to look at and even better to drink. Aromas and flavors of Iodine, black fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, bramble), dust, menthol, eucalyptus. Seriously complex and intriguing. The palate is smooth- medium acidity, fine grained tannins that are fully integrated, full bodied with great mouthfeel and a long finish. What a stunning wine that is en pointe and will continue to develop for several more years. 93 points for this $130 effort makes it 5 star worthy. Salut….
This 32 year old wine is a medium shade of garnet- to be expected. The nose has medium intensity aromas of prunes, caramel, steeped blackberry, cola, vanilla bean, coffee, eucalyptus, baking chocolate, cassis, mint- I could go on. This is a spectacularly complex and well-aged wine that still shows youth. The palate is super smooth and balanced with extremely fine grained tannins balancing out the medium acidity. Flavors of baked and steeped black fruits galore- tertiary notes are evident and oak influence is deft yet precise. This wine is stunning. Medium bodied it shows power yet finesse that leads to a long finish. This is the epitome of Napa Cabernets. Delicious in youth yet built for the long run and lasting over three decades. I would not call this wine fragile, but it has a delicacy that requires a deft choice in pairings, if any. I am sipping it without fare. In its day this would have been a 94 point wine. No idea on price, suffice to say it would be a 5 star effort. Drink soon. Salut….
From one of the coolest California AVA’s comes this Pinot Noir that is medium ruby in the glass with thick watery legs. The nose is medium intensity with aromas of steeped strawberry, red plum, orange peel, baking spices, black raspberry and rosewater. The palate is dry with high acidity, medium, well ingrained tannins, a medium body and lovely flavors of dark red fruit, oak influence by way of orange peel and baking spices and some freshness from the rose component. The wine is very silky, balanced and slippery with a medium length finish. I like this wine, even though it’s not my style of Pinot. 91 points for this $60 beauty makes it a 5 star effort that I am pairing with beer-can Chicken and sautéed spinach. Drink till 2030. Salut….
Medium ruby colored- this 14.7% ABV Zin has got thick, globby legs in the glass. The nose has pronounced aromas of stewed blackberry, prunes, blueberry compote, walnuts, vanilla, cedar and spice box. I like the tertiary notes of this developing wine. The palate is dry and fully bodied with well integrated tannins and juicy acidity. The flavors are delicious and pronounced as I swirl the nectar around my mouth, sucking air in to boost the flavors. The finish has a touch of heat on it but still shows lovely fruit flavors for a medium length finish. The alcohol is a bit of an unbalanced distraction that will cost a point or two. This $40 wine gets 91 points and 4 stars from me. It is really good all by itself but may pair well with grilled Picanha steaks or roasted duck with a cherry reduction. Drink till 2025. Salut….
This one stumped me in a WSET blind tasting. We were going to be discussing Spain and Portugal so I was convinced that the red wine had to be from the region but when I put this deep ruby colored wine up to my nose I was greeted by a very familiar set of smells. Medium (+) intensity aromas of black plum, red plum, cinnamon, blackberry, cedar and vanilla made me think this complex wine was a Tempranillo. The palate was dry with medium (+) tannins, medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, medium (+) body and medium intensity flavors of the aforementioned, albeit slightly less intense on the palate. This gave way to a medium length finish that had me grade this wine as very good, suitable to be drunk now or aged some more. In reality, I had just predisposed myself to thinking I was drinking one varietal when in fact it was a Sonoma Cab I was sipping! Looking back- this wine gets 91 points and for $55 it is a 4 star effort. Salut….
This medium purple colored wine has got a fruity, medium intensity nose. I get aromas of black plum, blackberry, vanilla, blueberry jam and charcoal. The palate has a sweetness from the Bourbon barrel- that delicious caramel, smoke, vanilla combo that melds nicely with the jammy black and blue fruit. Medium tannins and medium acidity create a nice mouthfeel in this medium (+) bodied wine. The finish has got loads of rich fruit and oak nuance and is short to medium in length. This is not an overly complex wine, yet it adds a new dimension with the oak usage that makes it easy to enjoy and pair with many meat dishes, pasta, pizza and even burgers on the grill. For $30 it is an elegant offering that gets 90 point from me and 4 stars. Drink till 2026. Salut….
This blend from Paso Robles is medium ruby colored. The nose has medium intensity aromas of black fruit, cedar, blueberry and vanilla. The palate is enticing with flavors of blackberry, black plums, rich blueberry, oak nuance from cedar and vanilla with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, medium body and a shortish finish. It’s easy to drink and quite versatile- roast chicken, veal parmesan or shish kebabs would pair nicely. I think it deserves 88 points and for the $24 price point- 3 stars. Drink till 2026. Salut….
I had to look up the meaning of the name- Nihilist. It’s off-putting tbh but I will disregard for this tasting.
Medium ruby in the glass with a pronounced nose of black raspberry, red plum, strawberry compote, currant, a whiff of chocolate dust and dark cherry akin to Luxardos. A second swirl and I get a touch of smoke and florals. The palate is dry and tart. Medium tannins set the tone for a medium (+) body and medium intensity flavors of sour cherry, red plums, currants (black and red) and that floral note. The smoke is gone and the wine really shows off some acidity. In addition to the tartness, this bottle has a high level of structural acid. It’s a bit out of balance for me. The finish is a touch thin but lasts a decent length of time. Drink this wine till 2026 with some charcuterie and olives, something to cut the acid (Brie or Blue cheese). 87 points from me for this $20 effort makes it a 3 star wine. Salut….
Deep garnet colored, this Zinfandel is showing a touch of age. Besides a whiff of alcohol right off the bat- the nose has aromas of stewed blueberry, vanilla, black plum, clove and purple licorice. The palate is dry and tannic with juicy acidity and a full body. The flavors are quite complex- there’s a touch of stewed/cooked fruit showing the wine’s age, plus some oak influence as well as primal fruit still hanging in there. The finish is grippy and the acid really hits the tongue and jaw on the medium length finish. This is not the usual overly extracted and jammy Zin, it has some good fruit and structure and needs a spicy meat dish like middle eastern spiced lamb kofta. 90 points for this $35 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Drink till 2026. Salut….
The first in a series of wines from an online subscription service that sends a little info note for each bottle- kinda cool. This Petite Sirah is deep ruby and shows off its 14.8% ABV with some globby legs in the glass. The nose has aromas of blackberries, black plum, black raspberry, vanilla, blueberry pie and espresso. The palate is dry with medium (+) tannins, medium (-) acidity, medium (+) body and a decent length finish. The flavors are medium (+) intensity and closely echo the nose. I do get slightly more blue fruit, and less baking spice on the mid palate and there is a black tea component on the back end. It’s a nice wine, but I was hoping for a bit more jamminess to be honest- the card promised it. I think this $22 effort gets 89 points and should be drunk with hearty meats by 2026. 4 stars. Salut….