This is the last of my 2009 Schug Pinot. I first drank it 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. With cellaring this wine has turned to a pale garnet color. I get pronounced aromas of stewed cherry and strawberry, bakers spice, cardamom, orange peel, cherry cola, vanilla, butterscotch/caramel and red plum compote. Very complex and intriguing. The palate is dry and delicious. Low tannins coupled with medium acidity and medium (-) body lead me to quite pronounced flavors of cooked red fruit, spices, oak nuance and tertiary notes along with the cola and caramel. The finish is medium in length and very smooth. I have been amazed at how this wine has evolved- stunning, with years left. Drink till 2026 with white meat or even strong fish dishes- think grilled Mackerel or Salmon on the plank. 92 points and for $35 it gets 5 stars. Salut….
Talk about a New World version of Pinot. This wine was full of stuffing- evident right away. In the glass it was brooding, dark and semi opaque. The nose was full throttle- big, ripe cherry, cinnamon, plum and sassafras. A heady palate ensued with fruit flavors clamoring for attention, pushing aside the lithe tannins and making the acidity stand in line to be noticed. If you like big, fruit forward versions of Pinot, this one is right up your alley. Technically speaking, it gets 90 points from me but is not really my cup of tea. I prefer a more restrained style of Pinot, a là Burgundy, or even cooler climate a là Oregon. This wine comes from a great appellation and is well made. At $16 a pop, it’s well worth stashing a few and drinking over the next 6 years. 5 stars. Salut….
This Merlot has a really deep purple hue in the glass with very nice thin legs. The nose is plummy with anise and blueberry notes. On the initial palate I get inky dark berries, some iodine, black tea and really nice gentle tannins. The mid palate is a bit more gripping with the fine grained tannins, they start to cling to the gums. Black cherry and more plum are hitting me up with some slight oak notes. The finish is a touch dusty with some spice box and leather. Plums are my main theme with this wine and the tannic structure is really good. Juicy, dry and built for the medium haul. I like this wine- it’s easy going yet has some depth and structure to it. Drink till 2027. 91 points from me and at $18 a pop- 5 stars. Cellar some for later. Salut….
A very gorgeous dark yellow in the glass gives way to waxy lemon, peach stone and pineapple core on the nose. On the palate it is quintessential Napa Chardonnay. Citrus, yellow apple, pear and lanolin hit me on the initial palate. The wine has a medium weight mouthfeel, with decent but not piercing acidity. The mid palate is mostly lemon and grapefruit. The finish is quite long, with more of that citrus component as well as that waxy note. This wine is nice and will pair well with Salmon, Moussaka even Osso Bucco (Hard to believe I know). I am thinking this wine is worthy of 90 points and 3 stars for the $50 price tag. Drink till 2025. Salut….
I travel a ton through the San Francisco airport where there is an American Express Centurion lounge. This particular lounge has a wine tasting machine that includes some very delectable offerings such as this lovely Carneros Pinot Noir. Sorry about the poor image quality but I had to shoot through the glass of the vending machine.
Very opaque, on the lighter side of purple. The nose is very much New World- strawberries, nutmeg and a touch of anise. The initial taste is very easygoing, delicate and fruity with framboise, strawberry and barely a trace of acidity or tannins at this stage. The mid palate has a slightly green edge to it and this is where I detect some tannic components as well as a balancing acidity- both of which are very mild. This wine has elegance and seduction, is very understated yet somewhat complex and nicely crafted. The finish has a decent length to it and comprises of more strawberry and now a touch of bing cherry. Tannins are present till the very end. 90 points, $20 make this a 4 star wine to drink from now till 2022 with grilled salmon, veal scallopini or just some good cheese and meat cuts. Salut….
It’s pasta night and I need a Sangiovese. This one happens to be ready to go on my daily drinking shelf and I am excited.
In the glass, the color is a pale, see through reddish purple- reminiscent of Pinot Noir. On the nose, strawberry and cherry, just like Pinot. The palate introduces me to delicious strawberry and capsicum flavors, but I get a dose of heat right away. A quick glance reveals a 14.5% lurker here.
The wine transitions on the mid palate to more strawberries and a red raspberry jam. The alcohol still permeates though and I am not sensing much in the way of tannins, until the very end. The finish is where they appear, very well integrated but lacking a good dose of acidity, just more heat. The wine is delicious, yet unbalanced and I fear it will not hold out well in the cellar, which is a shame as I would love to revisit this one in 10 years. 88 points, the structure and excessive alcohol being detractors. I really do enjoy the flavors though. For $28 it is a 2 star wine for me. Salut….
From a friend’s cellar- Nose of raspberry and Bing cherry. Initial taste consists of a certain effervescence to go with raspberry coulis and some cherry juice. Mild tannins and slight acidity make it easy drinking. The mid palate shows off more cherries and some green vegetal hints. The finish is tart with hints of pomegranate and more effervescence. 89 points from me make this $42 offering a 3 star wine. Pairing wise, it probably could use some Venison or other game. Salut….
My friend pulled this bottle out for us this past Sunday at a gathering. It was delightful. Beautiful clear, delicate red color in the glass with a nose of new world cherry, strawberry and (grass?). On the first taste, very smooth intro to kirsch, cherry torte and cola. Crispy acidity and tight tannins make for a nice mouthfeel. The acidity rolls deep and the length is long. This wine drinks beautifully right now but has the stuffing to go deep into the cellar for 10 plus years. 92 points all day long. Carneros produces some of my favorite Pinots, and this one sits high on the perch. I believe this is a $40 bottle making it a splurge but 4 stars from me. Salut….
Boom, after last night’s epic Pinot fail I was determined to find something worthy of my time, and the Cornish Game Hens I roasted tonight. This was it. I really enjoyed myself and had to remember how I got this wine. You see, several months ago I opened a Merryvale Merlot that was corked. The folks at the winery got in touch with me after reading about the botched bottle and offered to replace it. Talk about customer service and a class act. So, in finalizing the replacement I was so taken by the representative’s willingness to make sure I was happy I ordered some of their other wines. So far so good I must say. Here we go..
Classic new world nose of bing and white cherries interspersed with some violets. In the glass, a very crimson purple that is see-through- typical of Pinot. On the initial attack there is strawberry, cranberry, cherry and a subtle mouthfeel that is balanced to within an inch of it’s life. Razor sharp focus with a hint of acidity offset by some lurking tannins make this a well made Pinot. I timed a 30 second finish that kept morphing, amazing. I served it up with Cornish Game Hens and steamed veggies that made this wine excel. 92 points from me for this $35 effort make it a solid 4 star wine, but I’m going to give it 5 because I’m in a generous mood. Perfect with poultry and perhaps a cream sauce based dish. Lovely and smooth. Salut….