When I see a wine that advertises a 97 point Decanter (or any other reputable critic for that matter) rating that I can get for under $14 it’s a must try. So I bought a bunch of this back in 2015 and forgot about them, until now. The wine is a medium purple with a touch of orange. On the nose, very fresh aromas of black cherry, blueberry and some oak. On the palate I get just what I was hoping for. Vibrant blue fruits, rich plum, some creosote and olive. The wine has a tannic streak that starts at the beginning and crescendos at the finish. The mid palate shows off some Tempranillo earthiness and some rhubarb, the sour kind. That is where I sense acidity and it balances the package nicely. The finish is medium in length and has hints of spice box and more earthiness. A blend of Tempranillo and Garanacha. I can’t see 97 points, more like 90. Having said that- for the price, it’s a major 5 star wine. Drink till 2025. I’m having Chorizo, a Spanish style salad and grilled asparagus with mine. Salut….
I have been on a bit of a shopping spree lately, looking for deals and trying to expand my palate. This Spanish Grenache was a reasonable $12, came with a 91 point rating and fit the bill for me to sample. It was see through purple in the glass. A nose of plums and black berries with some ocean spray and a very slight trace of oak. On the palate- black berries, iodine, and some medium level tannins. The mid palate shows off some black cherry and coffee notes that continue through to the finish. It doesn’t end there, the tannins really hit hard on the back end and leave me with a dry sensation on the gums. I would think this wine will last a while. Pair with some hearty pasta dishes or a big burger on brioche. 88 points from me and 3 stars. Salut….
I have been sitting on this one for a long time. While setting up to cook some Steak au Poivre I decided I needed a heady Australian to accompany us, this one happened to be next in line in my kitchen chiller. Unfortunately the cork crumbled so I had to decant it through a wire mesh to filter out the bits.
At first glance, the wine has a certain amount of bricking and is not very clear. Age will do this to a wine, I hope it is still okay. The first whiff is incredible, very Bordeaux-like. Cassis, leather, plum and spicebox. I am intrigued as to what it beholds. Remember, this bottle is 13 years old…
Amazing, smooth, calculating. This wine is gorgeous! Plum, pepper, tobacco, a touch of oak and some violet. The mid palate is svelte, with extremely tight tannins swirling around the precise acidity, coupled with nuances of blueberry pie and more leather. The finish is great, mid length and a continuation of the story. This wine is drinking beautifully. A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mataro and 20% Shiraz, it combines the finesse of a Rhone wine with the power of Aussie fruit. Beware the well hidden 14.5% Alcohol, which has probably been a key to why this wine has held together so well and been able to develop tertiary flavors. A gem. 95 points from me and I wish I had more. The critics were mixed about this wine on release, ranging from 89 to 93 points. Just goes to show you what a little time in a dark, cool room will do. I found it online for $50, well worth it for a big occasion. 5 stars from me, Salut….
By far the most interesting label of the year- a metallic one on this bottle of Fitou. I was intrigued and had to try it. Fitou is a region in the Languedoc, southern France and the two main grapes are Grenache and Carignan.
The wine is a medium shade of purple and offers a nose of garrigue, funk and black cherry. This may sound horrible to the layman but in wine terms, quite legitimate descriptors and ones that are sought after by certain palates. On the initial attack I am getting a somewhat thin veil of plums but more importantly, some off-putting tannins. The wine is a bit disjointed and the balance is off. It may need some time or a trip through the vinturi (Or in my case, a travel aerator).
Ok, after meeting my friend Bendy, the wine mellows a little but the tannins are still green and generally unpleasant. The fruit is struggling for acceptance here and the structure is not allowing it to happen. I am wondering if I have an off bottle. Best I can go is 85 points at this tasting and for $16 this is a 2 star wine. Happy New Year! Salut….
At least once a year my childhood friend comes over for dinner. We will nickname him Rashad. He has good taste in wine and a better sense to ask for help at the wineshop. Last year he brought this beauty along for dinner but I felt it needed time. I cellared it for a year, cracking it open when he came over the other day. I had charcoal grilled a boneless leg of lamb, which was a near perfect companion to this wine. That is correct, I chose the wine and then the meal to accompany it!
Nose of garrigue with some plum torte and a hint of oak. On the palate- purple fruits, blueberry jam, licorice and fresh tannins. A solid amount of acidity balances the backbone and gives it a freshness. There’s a long mid palate to this wine that carries the fruit all the way to the finish with a hint of pepper, some game and cherry . The ending is long with plum, tannins and some juiciness. 92 points is my vote. WS gave it 93, RP-91. I think it is at peak and will drink well for another 5 years minimum. It can be found for around $50. A great bottle of mainly Grenache for a big meaty meal! 4 stars from me. Salut….
From Spain’s Rioja came this blend of Carignan, Grenache and Tempranillo that I had a hard time with. The pro’s were all over the map with scores ranging from 90 down to 82. I paid $13 for it but found it for $10 elsewhere.
Nose of earth and blue fruits with some hint of oak. Atypical for Rioja- muted flavors of blueberry and bramble. Slightly rough tannins but good acidity seem to balance out in the end with a very muted finish overshadowed by the tannic frame. 86 points from me and 2 stars. I think one merits another look as it may be bottle variation. How is it possible to have such varied impression from others I wonder. I will look for it in the future and report back. Salut….
As you may know I am a huge fan of the Clarendon Hills winery. They make smooth, polished, refined wines that ooze class and refinement. This one was no exception to the formula. Starting with pencil lead, blueberry and oregano on the nose followed by a fresh and bright intro with young tannins that coat the mouth. Blueberry, plum and a dash of pepper make for interesting notes on the palate while star anise on the finish really pops out. This is a very young wine that has not filled out yet. 2017-2025 would be a better window unless you like a tannic monster for a juicy steak. 92 points now but the potential to go up in my opinion. This wine is extracted and precise. Priced originaly at $75, it’s most likely a Sunday roast wine rather than an everyday drinker. 4 stars. Salut….
Ps. I noticed that it had a double back label. Someone has very precisely laid the label on top of the original. I wonder if that was a labeling issue or if they needed to change it for import reasons. I tried to slice it off but the sticker merely tore in my hands, intriguing.
I have sampled Orin Swift’s The Prisoner and am familiar with their full on style. Heady and high in alcohol with great extraction. This wine is no different. It all began with a rich dark purple hue in the glass. Wild flowers, blackberries, earth and plum come across on the nose. Violets and plums with layers of dark fruit compote and an earthy component attack the palate full bore. I loved the very smooth mouthfeel that hides the whopping 15.2% alcohol. Melded tannins and a balanced acidity contribute to the silkiness. This wine is made from Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from the Catalan region. Terroir of the French countryside is evident. Old world in fruit yet New world in extraction and style. It finishes with a touch of cinnamon and blueberry pie. 2014-2020 would be my guess for a drinking window. I give it 92 points and for $33 it deserves 5 stars. Deeeelish. Salut…..
I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this Spanish blend of Garnacha Tintorera, Syrah and Marselan but it sure looked good in the glass. Oregano, violets and black fruits on the nose were intriguing. Pepper, blackberry, tar and capsicum on the initial attack were delightful. Pinpoint tannins and a nice balance of acidity gave this wine a rounded and smooth mouthfeel. The tannins are long , tingling the gum for over a minute- surprising. I drank it with smoked pork one night, but ended up drinking several more bottles of it this week with other dishes, all delightful pairings. Focus on juicy steak or hearty stews for the best results. This is a really versatile and delicious wine with a drinking window of 2014-2019. It gets 91 points from me and 4 stars with its $25 price point. Salut….
I bought this one sight unseen from my local dealer who was having a bin-end sale. It normally retailed for about $16. I liked it, a lot. From the Barossa Valley it oozed class and warmth, starting with a full-on nose of Asian Plums, black cherries and blackberries- gorgeous. Picture a bowl full of dark fruits….
Brooding black berries and eucalyptus with some smoke and tar hit the palate nicely with some polished tannins and slight acidity. A long finish of chocolate and earth mingle with some plum jam to finish things off. At 5 years of bottle age it is at peak and will go on for another 3 years I reckon. For the price I paid I would get more if I could. 92 points and 5 stars in my book for this 57% Shiraz, 43% Grenache blend that hid it’s 14.9% alcohol perfectly. Plus, it’s a cool name and a great label! Salut….