This classic from Chateauneuf Du Pape is a dark shade of purple and is 75% opaque. The nose is gorgeous- raspberries, rosewater, ripe cherry and some spice. On the palate the raspberry theme continues with oolong tea, violet and lithe tannins. It has minerality and some modicum of acidity to go along with the red fruit. On the mid palate it is very smooth and has concentrated flavors of raspberry along with some strawberry extract. Red licorice and lively tannins show up at the back end where the finish is long, full bodied and delicious. This is a very tasty wine that is not too bold, but caresses with nice rounded fruit, a decent dose of tannins that are very well integrated and some balancing acidity which gives it a wonderful mouthfeel. Delightful stuff, made even better that it was bet with my buddy over a football game- I won! 93 points from me, the pros went a point or two more. At $105, this is a treat blend of mainly Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault adding to the mix. Drink this 4 star wine till 2030. Salut….
Last up at the 14th Virtual Wine tasting was this stunner from Bordeaux that got a perfect 20 from yours truly. Totally opaque and dark purple. The nose showed off musty cigar box, leather, tobacco, dried cherry, damp forest floor and ‘a bag of craisins’. There was a very earthy component that was woodsy. Simply stunning. The palate had dried sage, dark fruit, cassis, smoke, black tea and cranberry. This 10 year old blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cab Sav and 5% Petit Verdot has hit peak. The primal fruit is being overtaken by the tertiary flavors we long for when cellaring fine wine. This vintage was scored an overall 99 points by Wine Spectator, producing long lived wines with high scores from pretty much any producer. This one gets 92 points from me, which is consistent with the pros. At $40 it gets 5 stars and should be drunk by 2025. Salut….
Third up at our virtual tasting event was this Grenache blend. I had high hopes for another stunner from CdP but alas, you cannot hit home run after home run. This wine was semi opaque and had notes of toasted marshmallow, candied raspberry, plum, black pepper and stone fruit on the nose. Someone in the group decried “A beautiful, pretty smell”. Someone else said it was flowery. The palate gave us spice, rich black raspberry, cigar smoke, licorice and a streak of minerality. I scored it a paltry 8.5 of 20 but for some it was a huge hit. I’m not a fan of sweetness in red wine, the candy theme is not to my taste, hence the low number. Technically speaking I gave this $45 wine 89 points, the pros went much higher at 92. It gets 2 stars from me. Drink till 2026. Salut….
This Grenache/Syrah blend is very dark purple in the glass and 75% opaque. On the nose I get telltale raspberry plus red currants and red licorice. The palate is quite dry right off the bat and a touch austere. As I work my way through the black tea notes I discover raspberry and cherry cola. The mid palate is very tannic but I still get red fruit and now- black licorice. The finish is a long and dry affair, the tannins really gripping my gums. There is a touch of bitterness all through the wine that bothers me somewhat, perhaps a bit of decanting or aerating would soften it up? I think this is a basic wine that will do well paired with hearty meat stews, especially Lamb. It gets 85 points from me and at $11- 3 stars. Drink till 2023. Salut….
Tonight I am cooking Venison Loin with cherry reduction, paired with Leek Rosti and Armenian Khorovats (grilled salad). This meat can be very lean, coupled with the sweetness of the sauce requires a deft wine that will not over-tannic the cut, yet allow the sauce to shine. Pinot Noir, in the form of aged Burgundy seems the logical choice.
I last tasted the Jean Fery back in July of 2020. I liked it a lot. This particular bottle has a slight bricking to the hue, showing a lot more age than just 7 months ago. The nose is literally wafting out of the tulip-shaped glass. I get stewed cherry, mushroom, forest floor and wild strawberry- far more advanced than the other bottle. On the palate it is sublime. Smooth, polished and brimming with both primal fruit and the tertiary notes I was hoping would arrive. Soft cherry, bergamot, leather, funk and some cranberry are all present. Lithe tannins are barely perceptible but the acidity is en pointe. The mid palate is a mouth watering affair with layers of fruit and nuance all swirling around. On the finish it retains the tartness but I really get fruit over secondary flavors. The roles have reversed and the acidity of the red fruits, primarily cranberry and sour cherry take over. It is a long ending, 25 seconds at the least. Wow, yummy stuff that is going to rock my dinner. 92 points and 5 stars for this $80 winner. Drink till 2028. Salut….
As I was ready to check out at my local wine shop I saw this lone bottle with an interesting label. It was on clearance for $13, but the reason I bought it was the name. Moxie and I at one point in our life owned a store with a very similar name. I thought it appropriate to at least give this blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre a try.
It has a somewhat murky edge to it in the glass and shows a touch of bricking. On the nose it is still lively with raspberry, pomegranate and charred cedar notes. The palate is rich and spicy. There is a shot of red fruit alongside some very crispy tannins and a hint of acidity. The mid palate is dry and offers me another taste of red currants, pomegranate and raspberry. The acidity really kicks in on the finish with quick some vigor. The well resolved tannins are surprisingly still evident and I get lots of fruit from this rather basic wine. I would have thought it over the hill by now but it is charming, interesting and still fresh. I am going with 87 points but would drink sooner rather than later. Not much will evolve from here on in. 4 stars are warranted. Pair it with burgers, spaghetti Bolognese or even some grilled meat. Salut….
This blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is a mid shade of gold in the glass. On the nose I get citrus, melon, lychee and ginger. On the palate it offers bright and juicy lemons, pineapple, lychee and some good minerality. The acidity is very well appointed, not too sharp but enough to keep it crisp. The flavors continue to a decent length finish. I am really impressed with the complexity of this wine’s nose. For $15 this is a great summer sipper that will also pair really well with grilled Salmon, Cobb salad or chicken on the charcoal. 89 points from me make it a 5 star effort to stock up on- really yummy stuff. Drink till 2024. Salut….
The cork failed on this 20 year old Classed Bordeaux but it’s a dark purple and almost opaque with a touch of bricking. The nose is classic Claret that is well aged. Tobacco, raisins, steeped plum and a healthy dose of leather. On the palate it is a touch sour initially with cherry that gives way to tertiary flavors of cedar cigar box, Maduro and leather. It’s very mature and certainly delicious. The tannins are fully integrated at this point so the wine is at peak if not just past. The finish has a modicum of acidity, the structure that has let this wine last this long. It is the final bottle of a case I purchased in 2003. It’s sad to see it go but I’m glad I have been able to track its evolution. 92 points from me has been consistent in all my tastings of this wine. The pros went sub 90 back in the early days, I guess they did not think it would hang in there for two decades and evolve so beautifully. If you want to try one, they are available online for about $80. We drank it all by itself , something I would recommend. 5 stars. Salut….
Tonight is the first Sunday of the New Year, which means we are celebrating 2021 with a standing Rib Roast plus all the trimmings. A juicy, fatty cut like this needs a tannic wine, so I searched for something young that would help temper the Beef.
This Grenache is semi opaque in the glass and a pretty shade of purple. The nose is very inviting- black raspberry, bacon, blueberry jam and a hint of blackberry. Very intricate and complex. The palate is beautiful, with a perfect set of tannins for my meal. The flavor profile is more black fruit with some very well integrated oak nuances. Violets and lavender also come to mind. The mid palate has lush dollops of more black fruit and a tea component. The tannins are really fine grained but ever present for a really delicious mouthfeel. The finish has a definitive blueberry note that I got from the nose. Very complex and swirling, this wine is a treat. I paid $35 for this stunner that scored upwards of 97 points with the pros. I have to say, it is really delicious but a touch young… worthy of at least 95 points which makes it a 5 star effort that I will be stocking up on. I plan to drink until 2028 at the very least. Salut….
This Chardonnay pours a rich gold in color and shows off some nice legs in the glass. The nose is very crisp with lemon rind, green almond, passion fruit and pineapple. The palate is very mineral driven with citrus backing it up whilst melon, more passion fruit and a touch of yeast co-mingle with some lithe acidity. The mid palate is warmer, fuller and less acidic. The flavors are rounder with more of the tropical fruit notes. The finish reverts back to being juicy from the citrus and acidity. It’s quite decent in length to boot. The minerality gives this wine some verve while the fruit shines. It is delicious and will pair beautifully with our shrimp scampi. Drink this 91 point Burgundy till 2029. At $55 it’s pricy and gets 4 stars. Salut….