Fall has kicked off, and with the chillier weather I feel the need for some heart-warming fare. Cassoulet is on the books and it requires a hearty French red in my opinion. This wine is a Grenache based blend with some Syrah and Mourvedre that packs a 15% ABV punch and is pretty opaque in the glass. Ruby in color, it looks a touch cloudy. On the nose I get white pepper, red plum, red cherry, coffee and charred wood. The palate is delicious- raspberry and red cherry with lush oak by way of coffee and charcoal. White pepper notes come out on the mid palate where the tannins start to gently grip. The acidity is finely balanced and the mouthfeel is great. Medium to full bodied, this wine has depth and complexity. The finish is mid length and really shows off the red fruit and tannins. I am enjoying this wine pre-dinner but think it will go well with my pairing. Other ideas would be grilled chops, hearty stews or the obvious- a thick steak. Drink this rather young wine till 2028. 91 points from me and at $27 a pop, 5 stars. Salut….
The second wine of the 12th virtual wine tasting was this NV blend of Grenache and Syrah. Semi opaque in the glass it had a medium purple shade. The tasters noted chocolate, white pepper, Kirsch, marshmallow s’mores, dark cherry, cedar, charcoal with earth, funk, spice and a nutty component. On the palate the wine had black pepper, lots of it. Cedar, cola, Birch and black cherry. For me, the tannins came out of nowhere to a big crescendo on the finish. The pepper component was a hit with some, for others it was just a tad overpowering. This wine was ranked very highly with the pros and cost us $23. I am giving it 89 points and 3 stars. Drink till 2022 (this wine is a mixed vintage of 2015/16). Salut….
This is one dark, opaque wine in the glass. On the nose I get some red currants, violets, crushed stone minerality and blueberry. The palate is delicious- ripe blueberry, licorice, rooibos tea and cranberry flavors are all intermingled with very fine grained tannins. The mid palate introduces a touch of acidity and the finish is where this wine really shines. It has a lovely mouthfeel, good balance and the fruit flavors go on for 30 seconds. Those lithe tannins slowly ramp up to give me a touch of dryness on the gums and teeth. Just what I needed for a Fall evening with some hearty foods to include Veal Shnitzel and mashed potatoes. I am really enjoying this wine and would suggest a drinking window until 2025. This Syrah/Grenache blend gets 91 points from me. At $11- six stars if I could. Salut….
The second wine of our tasting lineup showed bright purple in the glass with nice legs giving caution to the 14.5% alcohol. I listened to all the inputs from our group and concurred that this wine had loads of pepper, game, plum and garrigue. The longer the wine sat out, the smoother it got and the terroir really shone. Mass produced yet very good at 91 points from me. Drink this blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre till 2027 with stews, leg of lamb or a hearty pasta. 5 stars for this sub $15 ringer. Salut….
A touch murky in the glass with medium dark purple. Semi opaque. On the nose I get plum, bramble, white pepper. The initial palate is very pleasing, if not a touch sweet. Lush, ripe plums alongside blackberry and violets. The mid palate has a nice tangy acidic bite alongside very ingrained, lithe tannins. More purple fruit flavors and a spiciness comprise the profile I get on the back end with a nice, dry finish that is quite long. This is a very drinkable pop-n-pour wine that gets 89 points from me. I like it a lot for short term enjoyment. Drink till 2024. It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. For $15 it gets 4 stars. Salut….
This rose’ is quite dark, almost orange in the glass. On the nose I get Lychee, rose water and strawberry. The palate is crisp, with red berries, strawberry and honey. There is a vibrant acidity which is in check that gives the wine a freshness. The honey component carries through the mid palate where I get more red berries. The finish is decent with a lingering tartness alongside that strawberry component. Overall a very charming and easy drinking summer rose’ that begs for burgers, some salami and olives or just by itself poolside. 88 points and 3 stars for this $12 Grenache from France. Drink till 2020. Salut….
Having just drunk the more delicate Pinot Noir, this was a smack to the face. A huge, tannic, rustic wine that was nearly black in the glass. Full bodied and not afraid to show it, this wine had notes of blackberry, licorice and oak on the nose. On the palate, very earthy, almost too much even for me. The garrigue infused funk overpowered the black fruits. The tannins were great and will hold this wine for at least 5 years but it is drinking great right now. My personal opinion is 88 points for this wine. The balance of fruit and secondary flavors weighed the scoring down for me. For $24 it may be worthy of a try but be prepared for it. I suggest pairing this Syrah/Grenache blend with a beef stew or lasagna- something hearty. I’m going with 3 stars for now. Salut….
My friend brought this bottle to the party, claiming “France- 2009, you can’t go wrong”….. He is quite correct. At $9.99 a bottle, this little beauty is a winner. Blended with 70% Grenache, 20% Carignan and the last 10% Cinsault, this wine has much to offer. A deep purple color in the glass, it translated into dark fruits on the nose and the palate. Blackberry and red currants meet an earthy quality swirling around in some pretty young tannins. This wine is still young, with some tannins still to be resolved. I reckon it will develop nicely in two years and be much better. For now, 88 points and 4 stars.
From the initial sniff I knew I was going to love this wine. Primal red fruit and a floral component teased my senses. On the first sip, red berries and some blackberry hints mixed it up nicely with some pretty decent tannins. Very puckering, this wine begs to be drunk. Good balance, just a bit basic in complexity. I had a glance at the back label and noticed that this wine is predominantly Grenache (love it), hence the florality and smoothness. The Syrah is giving it some edge. I like this wine, especially for its price. 4 stars, and I reckon 89 points.
Wow, bang-for-the-buck stuff folks. Run, don’t walk to the nearest place that sells this QPR beast.
From the Rhone region of France, it is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre and Carignan that sings “Drink Me”. On the nose, very good initial flavors typical of the blend, on the first taste, great balance of fruit, tannins and acidity. I did not pay much for this gem, only to find out it got a 90 point pro rating from the boys at WS. A five star effort in my opinion as it delivers everything.
The Rhone blends are a great way to enjoy the variety of grapes that they use. On the mid-palate this wine shows really nice complexity, no doubt from the different grapes. The tannins are very smooth, non-obtrusive and have the strength to hold this wine until 2015 at the earliest. Seriously, this is some good shiz that needs to be searched out. Another gem in the French wine arena that doesn’t over-charge and under-perform. Yay