Primarily Carignan this Chilean red also has 8% Syrah and a splash of Chardonnay- yes, you read that right. Whilst not very common, adding a white grape with red has been practiced for centuries, especially in the Northern Rhone Valley. This one is a medium shade of ruby with pretty thick legs. On the nose I get waves of red cherry, black cherry, sweet oak, floral notes, vanilla, baking spice, blackberry and some bramble. Quite complex I must say. The palate is dry with nicely integrated tannins that are present but not overpowering. Medium acidity, medium body and a decently long finish wrap up the rather pronounced flavors of red and sour cherries, violets, blackberry, vanilla and baking spice. I don’t get as much oak nuance on the palate as I got on the nose. The finish is quite tart and juicy with the tannins starting to grip a bit more. This reminds me of a youngish Sangiovese- lots of sour cherry, good acidity and back-end tartness. I like this wine and would serve it with pasta and steaks. It’s a decent wine for $23, like 91 points worthy which makes it a 5 star effort to drink till 2027. Salut….
I cheated for the fourth wine at our 23rd virtual wine tasting night. I have had this stunning Bordeaux blend before and knew it would get accolades. Why not close out a tasting session on a proven winner? You can read my original notes on the Petite Clos here.
It is a deep claret color with rich blackberry, coconut, sarsaparilla, anise, toast and black cherry on the nose. Rich fruit is what I noted for the palate- we got black plum, black cherry, cherry coke, coconut and anise on the palate which has great tannic structure, medium (+) acidity, medium finish and is full bodied. The mouthfeel on this wine is going to be spectacular with a bit of cellaring. Drink this 93 point beauty till 2030 at the least with hearty grilled meat, heavy duty stews or rich dishes. Great job on this $40 wine that gets 5 stars from me. Slam-dunk if you are looking for a surefire winner for a tasting. Salut….
I’m re-visiting this varietal as it intrigues me. Back in the day I had some great Carmenere’s but recently had the misfortune of trying one that was over-the-top vegetal. I really despised it and could not bring myself to drink any for quite a while. This one is quite opaque in the glass and purple in color. The nose has got some creosote, cooked black plum, iron, graphite, blackberry and cracked pepper. The palate is a touch thin but I get black fruit and earthy minerality along with the tar-like flavors I got on the nose. It is very smooth with low to medium tannins and medium acidity on the back end. The wine would be classified as light weight in body even though it sports 14.5% ABV. The finish is medium in length and I get more of that black pepper component along with some espresso notes. It’s a decent drop that gets 87 points from me. I would drink until 2024 with grilled meats and chimichurri sauce for sure. At under $10 it’s easy to stock up on this 3 star wine. Salut….
During the 10th Virtual Wine Tasting in September of 2020 I introduced the Carmenere grape to our group. It was met with skepticism. Read all about the Massal 1945. I did not care for the herbaceous nature of the bottle and was put off varietal for a while, until I saw this one from Concha Y Toro. One of my favorite brands, they have good, consistent wines. This grape needs to properly ripen or else it is green and disgusting.
Our group felt this bottle was very good, some thinking it was the wine of the night. Flavors and aromas of this semi-opaque wine consisted of raspberry, chocolate, plum, capsicum and black pepper. Medium tannins, medium body and gentle acidity made for a nice mouthfeel alongside a relatively short finish. I scored it a 91, which is below the pros. At $18 it’s a great way to discover Chile’s signature grape that gets 5 stars from me. Whew, relief that it was good rather than controversial. Drink till 2024. Salut….
I took two of my boys out for a delayed Father’s Day feast at the local Brazilian steak house. Seeing as it was a Monday they had South American wines half off. I could not resist ordering this somewhat young vintage of Don Melchor- an elixir that opened my eyes to fine wine many moons ago. I took abbreviated notes but suffice to say, this wine has consistently garnered high scores for its depth of flavor, structure and silky smooth approach. I just finished a twenty year tasting of three cases of the 2020, the last few years were sublime. This 2016, at barely 5 years of age is still primal, yet the pieces are all there for it to evolve gracefully.
Nearly inky in the glass this wine has thick legs and a big nose. I get telltale mint, blackberry, plum, iodine, grippy tannins, medium acidity and a long finish. Soft mouthfeel. Very balanced. 92 points and for a retail price of $100 it’s a big purchase, but worth it for the patient drinker who can lay it down for a few more years and enjoy it in a mature phase. I can guarantee that it will morph with tertiary flavors emerging, they always do with this wine. 5 stars, because I’m biased. The steak house offerings were the perfect pairing btw. Salut….
I’m grilling some Picanha and Argentinian sausages on the Weber tonight so I figured a South American Cab would work well. I have not had any of this winery’s offerings for a while, perhaps 20 years. I’m excited to revisit. In the glass it is deep purple, opaque to be sure. The nose has a slight candied note but I also get gobs of black currants, oak and mint. The palate is fruity and dry with black currant, blackberry, mint, smoky oak and delightful tannins. The body is medium to full with a crisp mouthfeel- the tannins quite young and impressive. They really coat the gums but are not overly astringent. Good acidity balances them out on the back end and the finish is medium in length. The fruit persists as long as the tannins do which is a good thing, earning a point or two here and there. Whilst still young, it will drink nicely if you need a dry wine, but will cellar well till 2026. 90 points from me for this $17 effort make it a 5 star wine in my books. Salut….
I am a huge fan of this winery, their Don Melchor being my introduction to good wine. The Marques de Casa Concha line of wines offers great value for everyday drinking, the Cabernet used to be my house wine back in the day. I drank gallons of the stuff. When I saw this Merlot, with a bit of bottle age, I had to rekindle my love affair.
It shows medium garnet in the glass, a hint of the aging process. The nose has a gamy scent alongside figs, ripe plum, leather and bark. The palate is still youthful and juicy. A nice tart welcome with blackberry, plum and leather greet me alongside very integrated tannins. The acidity is definitely present yet very balanced between the fruit and tannic structure. This wine runs 14.5% ABV, which I got a whiff of on the nose. I am now also getting a hint of it on the mid palate. It does give the wine some body and heft, alongside the generous fruit. The finish is short to medium but it carries the structural components for a while, the dryness lasting a good long while on my teeth. I wanted a Merlot to try and pair with some Duck breasts I am rendering and then roasting, this may do the trick as there are ample tannins and acidity to help cut through the fat, plus I am whipping up an orange sauce to drizzle. This wine has a few years of age already but will drink nicely till 2025 methinks. I paid $18 and consider it an 89 point wine worthy of 4 stars. Salut….
I did not care for the last Carmenère I had, realizing that the varietal as a whole was too gamy and earthy for me with some exceptions. When I saw this bottle at the shop I figured I would give it another go, recognizing the winery name and hoping for a better result. It starts off quite inky in the glass. I can smell the earthiness from a few feet away. On the nose it is quite interesting, if not a touch green and herbal. Capsicum, violets, black currants and blueberry all hit me. The palate is quite sharp right off the bat, piquant acidity and a touch of tannic bite are the first tastes/sensations I get. Once past that part I get some black currants, licorice, coffee and a hint of game to go along with the bell peppers. It’s not my favorite flavor profile, but at least it’s not unpleasant. Th wine has a decent structure but it tends to lean towards the tart side of the scale and the green flavors are really prominent on the mid palate. The finish is sour, yet it lacks acidity per se. The tannins are medium in intensity and slightly underripe. Overall this wine is drinkable and forgettable. At least I am not gagging on it. 82 points from me and at $20, it’s a 1 star effort. This varietal is quickly losing my interest. 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….
This Chilean Cab is bright purple and nearly opaque in the glass. The nose is very black raspberry driven, almost over the top. Red licorice and candy notes come into play as well. On the palate it is a dark fruit melange with oak influence and a hint of sweetness. It sounds funny but whilst a touch sweet it also has a good dose of tangy acidity. Greenish tannins go straight for the gums with astringency galore. The mid palate tastes of sour black cherry and blackberry, an interesting take. The juicy finish lets up some on the dry factor, letting the fruit shine through. I am cooking up some Lamb Merguez sausages to pair, I think that will work nicely. Drink this 87 point wine till 2024. At $20 it’s a three pointer. Salut….