Pale garnet colored, this 13 year old Pinot Noir is starting to show some age. The nose is too. Baked cherry, dried strawberry, caramel, chocolate powder, orange peel, vanilla pod, figs and raisin compote- very layered with primary, secondary and tertiary aromas. The palate is bone dry with medium (+) acidity and low tannins. Flavors of dried and stewed red fruit with caramel and cocoa powder dominate. It’s not as rich or complex as the nose was indicating. Light bodied it carries through to a short finish that is comprised of tart cherry, cranberry and some caramel. I was hoping for more from a 1er Cru Burgundy- 88 points with a drink till 2024 window. It would normally run $50+ and therefore gets 3 stars from me. We are pairing it with roast Turkey and all the accompaniments. Salut….
Our 29th Virtual Wine tasting concentrated on Cabernet Sauvignon and blends thereof so it made sense to include a Bordeaux wine. I selected this well aged bottle which is the ‘second wine’ of the famed Second Growth- Chateau Cos d’Estournel. It runs $80 and gets high scores from the pros (92-94).
Deep garnet colored, this wine is showing off its 12 years of age. Aromas of soy sauce, leather, cedar, cassis, stewed blackberry, forest floor and umami were noted. On the palate it was dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins that are well integrated. Medium bodied, this wine had flavors of black pepper, strong black tea, loam, funk and leather with some dried blackberry notes. Someone mentioned a Bourbon-like taste and there was some concern over the bitterness. It is a touch disjointed which lowers the rating imo. The medium to long finish shows off the pedigree of this chateau. I enjoyed drinking this 90 point wine but for $80 I can find far more enjoyable wines to drink. 3 stars for the QPR. I would pair this with a simple Filet steak and gratin potatoes with a side of green beans. Drink till 2026. Salut….
Last night we drank four wines at the 29th Virtual Wine tasting. Opening up with both a chilled and room temp serving of this Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon the group found the wine to be a pale lemon color with the textbook aromas of cut grass, citrus and dare I say- cat pee. Other aromas and flavors included peaches, algae (?), pineapple, grapefruit and lemon curd. The wine was dry with high acidity and a medium (-) body leading to a short finish. I think this $45 bottle is worthy of 91 points, slightly shy of the pros who went as high as 94. It’s delicious now and will keep for a few more years but why wait on this 4 star effort. Seafood or poached chicken would pair nicely. Salut….
My second Nouveau of the season, following on from the delicious Georges DuBœf on release night. This one is medium purple, a touch less opaque that the previous. The nose has pronounced aromas of grape bubble gum, banana, red cherry candy (red licorice) and a touch of spice. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and very low tannins. Medium (-) bodied, I get flavors of grape bubble gum, grape jelly, cherry candy, and red licorice. It is a bit one-dimensional compared to the previous bottle. The finish is short but the tartness rolls on for a while. Not my favorite. 84 points and for $12, 2 stars. Drink now. Salut….
The third Thursday in November is an auspicious day for Beaujolais- the official release of the year’s Nouveau happens around the world at the same time. It started as a marketing ploy to get people to buy the relatively cheap, easygoing wine. Fresh out of stainless steel tanks where it was Carbonically Macerated, this alternative method of producing wine from the Gamay grape makes for unique flavors and textures. Georges DuBœf invented the craze so it seemed fitting that I try his $12 effort first.
Deep purple in the glass with watery legs (13% ABV). The nose is classic Nouveau/Carbonic. Bright grapey aromas, purple bubble gum, zingy cherries, red currants and red licorice. The palate is dry with medium acidity and very low tannins, if any. The red fruit and candy are very present whilst the grapey component is not as prominent. The wine is mouthwatering on the back end and has a medium (-) body. The length of the finish is shortish but I am really enjoying the freshness and vibrancy that is has to offer. Keep in mind this wine is meant for immediate consumption, it should keep for a year or so. I like it for what it is and would pair it with roasted chicken, grilled swordfish or even a pasta dish with red sauce. 90 points makes it a 5 star effort. Go and get a bottle if you have never tried this style of wine- unique! Salut….
Pale lemon-lime colored with a watery sheen on the wall (11.5% ABV). The nose is of medium intensity with aromas of green pear, lemon/lime, white blossom, brioche and firm pineapple. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and a medium (-) body. Tart fruit with lemon and lime kick off the show with pear and flower petals rounding it out. I’m a little surprised that this wine is so crisp and lightweight considering it was aged Sur-lie. I don’t get any autolytic flavors, just the initial aroma of brioche from this Melon De Bourgogne varietal. Must be from a cool vintage that struggled to ripen, hence the lower alcohol and sharp acidity. Overall a tasty drop to pair with pan roasted Pork cutlets and potato puree. 88 points. For $15 it’s a 3 star effort in my books to drink till 2025. Salut….
This Grenache/Syrah blend is deep ruby colored with thick, slow moving legs (14.5% ABV). The nose has nice aromas of red plum, black raspberry, red licorice, herbs, candied cherry and rose. It’s quite complex once you swirl it around. The palate is dry with medium acidity and medium tannins- the grip I got initially quickly faded. Flavors of plum, black raspberry, charred oak, some red licorice and earthy florals/herbs. It is medium (+) bodied with a medium finish of dark red fruit plus a healthy dose of heat. Made from very ripe fruit, it is flavorful but at a price- the alcohol is quite noticeable on the back end. We are pairing this bold wine with spiced burgers and potato wedges. It would also go well with hearty BBQ, maybe smoked brisket with a rich sauce. 89 points from me for this $15 effort makes it a 4 star wine to drink till 2026. Salut….
Pale lemon colored this Sur-lie aged wine has bright aromas of lemon curd, white blossom, vanilla bean and a hint of brioche. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and a medium (-) body. It’s quite tart with flavors of lemon, grapefruit, white flower blossom and linalool. I was hoping for some more vanilla bean and brioche but alas, it’s more of a citrus event. The finish is medium to long in length and tangy with some fresh acidity. I am really starting to like the Melon grape and how they make it in the Pais Nantais of the Loire Valley. 91 points for this outstanding white that I’m pairing with baked Cod and spiced rice. For $12 this is a 5 star effort to drink the near term. Salut….
Rich ruby colored and about 75% opaque. The nose has enticing aromas of black plum, cassis, blackberry, menthol, vanilla, coffee, mocha. The palate is dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins. They are well integrated but still grippy. Flavors of cassis and plum dominate but I get blackberry with oak influence and some green pepper alongside the menthol. Full bodied it carries on to a long finish. This is textbook Right Bank Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Franc- delicious and reasonably priced at $25. I like it and think it is worthy of 92 points and 5 stars. I’m searing some Hangar steaks with Gratin Potatoes to pair. Drink till 2028. Salut….
The Gamay grape is traditionally made into wine using the carbonic maceration method in the Beaujolais region of France. This wine is a deep purple color with medium intensity aromas of blueberry, blackberry, dried flowers, orange peel, cherry bubble gum and perhaps a touch of banana. The palate is dry with crisp tannins and medium (-) acidity. I was not expecting the tannic grip to be so forthright. I get flavors of blackberry, blueberry and açaí berry with a faint hint of charred oak and some orange peel. Oak influence? A full-bodied and full-throttle expression of this usually benign grape has really thrown me as I am pairing it with a slow-cooked Eye of Round Roast, which is a low fat cut of meat. I would prefer to pair this wine in its youth with a fattier cut of meat like Ribeye, Leg of Lamb or grilled Goat. The finish is quite decent in length, adding to the complexity and depth of this wine. For $25 you are getting a cru-level bottle that has decent cellaring capacity and gets 91 points from me. 5 stars- drink till 2027. Salut….