We kicked off the 19th Virtual Wine Tasting with this French rosé, served at room temp and chilled for comparison. The wine is a lovely pale orange in the glass. The tasters found aromas and flavors of apricot, almond, tangerine, strawberry, citrus, marzipan and pink grapefruit. The chilled version was more intense with peach, quince, citrus, honeysuckle and green pear on the nose and peach, rhubarb (?), orange and crab apples on the palate. We felt the wine was a touch sour with a bitter aftertaste. The room temp version had medium acidity whilst the chilled one was more acidic. Overall I give the wine 88 points. Drink now with smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail or a salad Nicoise. At $20 per, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
I picked up a few bottles of this summer stunner from Costco for $15 each. Served well chilled on a hot afternoon it was delicious, light and fruity. It is medium salmon colored and has a delightful nose of orange peel, nectarine, lemon and peach. On the palate I also sensed acacia. Medium acidity and a medium body lead to a refreshing mouthfeel. The finish of this dry blend of Grenache and Cinsault was relatively short and crisp. I really enjoyed it and for the price, this 89 point wine gets 4 stars. Drink this summer! Salut….
This Cotes-Du-Rhone comes from a highly regarded vintner and is a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre at 30% each with the balance being Syrah and Cinsault. I chose it off my tasting bench because I am cooking Duck l’orange tonight. I am hoping the pairing will work.
The wine is very dark purple in the glass and 75% opaque. The nose is heavenly with raspberry, black pepper, black cherry and oak influence, offset right at the end with some alcohol. I checked, it’s 14.1%. On the palate it is very smooth and supple. The reddish/black fruit notes are evident and the tannins are very lithe. Good acidity makes for a nice mouthfeel that is fresh. The red fruit them continues but I get a hint of capsicum, some herbaceous notes and a tad of astringency on the mid palate. The finish is medium in length and the fruit flavors linger nicely, not being overtaken by massive tannins. The acidity is obvious at this stage though and I get a touch of that alcohol right at the end. It’s a delightful wine that gets knocked down a point or two for the green notes, I am not sure if they had ripening issues. 89 points and for $26, it gets 3 stars with a drink by 2028 window. 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….
Dark purple and semi opaque. The nose is rich, spicy with black pepper and gamy with bacon fat plus plum reduction. On the palate this wine is mature- rich plums, raspberry extract, gamy notes and earthiness. Slightly stewed prunes hint at the age of this wine. Bakers spice and super fine grained tannins highlight the midpalate but it’s the flavor of dried mushrooms being reconstituted with a salty umami component that really carry the moment. The finish is rather short but l get sour cherry, raspberries and dark chocolate. This wine will appeal to lovers of mature old world wines that are earthy, loaded with terroir and have tones of tertiary flavors. For me- 89 points but drink sooner rather than later. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Muscardin and Counoise that runs $40 and gets 3 stars. Salut….
Gorgeous pale orange color. Nose of strawberries, lemon peel and some clementine. On the palate it is bright with those same flavors, a touch of acidity and a long finish. It’s got a great mouthfeel and just the right amount cut to keep it refreshing, light and flavorful. A delicious way to start the evening. Drink this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault now with appetizers. 88 points and 4 stars, $12. Salut….
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….
Darker shade of straw/pink. On the nose it’s very fruity with hints of cranberry, strawberry and pink grapefruit. On the palate it is bright, fresh and medium bodied with the light red fruit theme continuing. There is a trace of acidity to keep it fresh and it drinks very light and bouncy. A perfect summer sipper. I like the whole package for what it is. Drink till 2023 with appetizers, perhaps a charcuterie tray or light, white meats. 88 points and 5 stars for this $13 quaffer. Salut….
I bought two Magnums of the 1998 vintage from the winery, back in 2009. This particular bottle was opened for a Middle Eastern themed dinner of Meze and Shish Kebabs. Being a huge fan of Chateau Musar, I could hardly contain myself. My cellaring proved worthwhile.
Semi opaque with a touch of orange bricking which I see on every bottle I have drunk, regardless of age. On the nose- classic Musar. Cherry reduction, cinnamon, integrated oak, spice box and dried cranberry. On the palate it is super smooth, with red fruit compote, cherry and tobacco. The mid palate is really juicy with nice acidity. A faint note of super integrated tannins are evident. This 22 year old wine is still young. The finish is long, with cranberries, more cherry and complex flavors melding. I find that Musar has a consistent flavor reminiscent of Brettanomyces (Brett), which gives it a peculiar barnyard note. It is controlled and in such a low dose that it adds flavor, complexity and signature to this iconic brand. I am giving this wine 94 points, drink till 2040. Found online for $80, it’s a 5 star wine that you really should look for. Spectacular, but not to everyone’s taste. The Cinsault dominates the flavors, with Cab Sav and Carignan supporting. Shish Kebabs are an obvious pairing! Salut….
For my birthday celebration, I pulled out two magnums, one of which was the ’96 Musar, I hand carried it from the winery many years ago. I have two bottles of the ’98 waiting but in the meantime….Super pale red- see through, reminiscent of Pinot which it’s not with a touch of orange bricking. On the nose it’s stupendous, like aged Bordeaux. Leather, tobacco, plum and cassis- all my favorites. On the palate it is so smooth, with hints of cassis, cedar box, more tobacco and forest floor. There’s so much going on it’s amazing. Towards the mid palate I get cherry, faint tannins and a perfectly balanced acidity. The finish is awesome. So sleek with cherry juice reduction and a slightly biting rhubarb component. 93 points and 4 stars for this $75 wine. It’s not for everyone, the style is different but for this boy- it hits the right notes. Drink till 2030. Salut….