My old college buddy Japes took me to this winery for a tasting. I enjoyed the Merlot the most out of their offerings in red and brought home this $25 non-vintage bottle. It is slightly cloudy in the glass, with nice shades of lighter purple. On the nose- damson, sea salt, iodine and blueberry pie. The palate is very smooth with flavors of blueberry, plum ganache and cedar shake. The tannins grip slightly more than I remember and are a welcome addition to the mid palate. The wine transitions to the back end in a seamless manner, the flavors are consistent throughout. The acidity is very nicely balanced with the structure and gives this wine a 3-5 year drinking window. Since there are no vintages, it’s anyones guess when this bottle was made. The label quotes Cherry as the initial flavor, I somewhat disagree, could be bottle or vintage variation. Anyway, it is tasty and the vineyard is a neat place to visit, especially if they have an event going on. It gets 88 points and 3 stars from me. Salut….
This is the second bottle of Amalthea that my cousin brought over. Bluish purple with nice legs showing in the glass. The nose has plum, blueberry and filberts. The palate has rich blue fruits, juicy acidity, nice tannins from the outset and a hint of that nuttiness I caught on the nose. The wine transitions nicely to the mid-palate and finish where the tannins really grip. More blueberries, black tea and a mineral note close it out. The wine is very balanced with really well crafted tannins that give a nice level of dryness without astringency. This is a much smoother wine than the Cabernet, which can be expected with the varietals. It paired nicely with my Tri-Tip roast, Yorkshire pudding and roasted potatoes. Drink till 2024. 91 points and 5 stars for this $21 effort. Of note- both wines have had freezing issues which does not harm the wine, only crystalizing some sediment in the glass. Salut….
Bright purple. The nose is fruity, vibrant and full of blackberry and black cherry. On the palate- delicious rendition of dark berry compote meets vanilla bean and coffee reduction. The wine exhibits some dryness with slight tannins appearing midpalate. The dryness opens up on the finish and leaves the back cheeks somewhat astringent. The mid plate concentrated on black fruits and the finish carries it through with some cedar plank to boot. 89 points and 4 stars for this $20 blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah and Franc. Drink now with tapas, grilled Pork chops or pasta. Salut….
A mellow blend of the traditional Bordeaux varieties- this wine is a pretty purple in the glass with long legs showing. The nose is plump with dark fruits, some cherry cola and a touch of cinnamon. The initial palate is very rounded, soft and smooth. It features black currants, black olives, oregano. It has a great mouthfeel due to the very slight tannic structure which is really balanced well with the gentle acidity. This is a quaffing wine for sure, with a drink now date. The finish is medium in length and dark fruit dominated. It has a hint of charcoal on the end and some plum tart. I really like this wine for what it is, the 89 points are not a slam- it just lacks the backbone to cellar and evolve which detract from a numerical score. This would be great with light appetizers or as a base for a wine sauce. It really has a lovely fullness to it. $19 and 4 stars. If I had to blind taste it, the soft and supple mouthfeel scream Merlot. Salut….
I have had two other wines from Vergelegen. Both were excellent so when I saw this Reserve offering I had to buy it! Medium intensity in the glass. Black currants, olive tapenade, charcoal and pencil on the nose. The palate has a ton of dark, ripe plums coupled with anise and violets. Rich and tannic, this wine has weight. The midpalate is all black currant. The grippy tannins don’t let go- all the way through the medium length finish. Dark fruits aplenty here. 91 points, drink till 2025. 5 stars again for this $22 bottle. Salut….
Solid, dark and brooding. On the nose it is somewhat muted in this particular glass but I managed to coax black cherry, olives, cinnamon stick. On the palate it is much more defined, albeit a bit tannic at first. Plum and black berries come out with some nuttiness to go along with the mouth drying tannins, which are rather forceful by the mid palate. Figs, a touch of oak and some more blue fruits tie it up with a mid length finish. The wine is young, the tannins are quite untamed. I would give this wine another 2 years in cellar and drink from 2020-2028. 88 points and 3 stars for this $19 effort. Salut….
In the glass this Merlot shows a slightly paler purple than I was expecting. The nose, after I performed the ‘Shake‘ exhibits gorgeous black berry and cinnamon notes. On the palate I am greeted with a really smooth dose of Ribena, some meaty notes, and a fresh ensemble of tannins that are ever present but not cloying. The wine is full flavored, make no mistake- but it does so with a very gentle build-up. Extraction is at its fullest and with that comes a well hidden 14.5% alcohol. The mid palate is somewhat muted after the initial uptake, the finish is where it’s at. More dark berries emerge as well as a blueberry pie component. I hate to say it, but this wine needs a touch more oak. Yup, I said it. Not lashings, but a tiny more vanilla, perhaps a little more tannic bite. At one point I’m sure the wine had plenty of it, perhaps just fading at this point. The structure is good though and the wine is balanced. I would drink up as the wine is at peak and there is not much in the way of tertiary flavors. It is relatively easy-going and will do well with a variety of dishes. I am going with 90 points and 4 stars for this $28 effort. Salut….
I have written about the Mollydooker Two Left Feet 2012 vintage before. I sat on this bottle for an eternity and since we are moving house, it’s time to drink up. I have not read my old review so as not to taint this one.
I must say, all Mollydooker red wines appear dark and very purply in the glass. This one is no exception. Extraction is the key to their success methinks. It has a nose of plums, sarsaparilla, fig. I already performed the Mollydooker Shake in case you were wondering. The palate gives up super smooth flavors of blue fruits. Blueberry, plum, currant jam, that root beer thing again and some super ingrained tannins. Like, so smooth and barely detectable. The astringency hits on the finish, but the wine drinks beautifully with nice, if somewhat restrained acidity. The mouthfeel on this wine is sublime, extracted, rich and smooth. The finish shows a faint trace of the well hidden, monstrous 16% alcohol. Beware…
I am pairing it with pan seared Flat-Iron steak that I coated with Santa Maria rub, plus some sautéed mushrooms, a tomato salad and edamame to boot. 91 points from me for this $25 offering. 5 stars for this blend of 69% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet, 15% Merlot. Salut….
If you read my post about the Eve Chardonnay, you will know I am a fan of Charles Smith Wines. I couldn’t help myself and bought this Merlot for the tasing.
It appears as a very light purple with low opacity. The nose gives off candied plum, not my favorite profile mind you. There’s a bit of oak in there as well. I am leery going in for the first sip.
All is good- it is a decent wine, not overly oaked and offering ripe tannins, juicy acidity and plums galore. I get Blackberry on the mid palate transition after the initial plum injection. The wine is somewhat one dimensional but it will appeal to many for its smoothness and bracing tannins. The dryness is great if you are into that kinda thing. Overall, refreshing and tasty. An easy going wine that will do well with grilled New York Strip, perhaps a hearty baked ziti. I paid a mere $11 for it and am going with 89 points and 4 stars. You may want to sit on a few bottles until 2019 to see how they develop. Salut….
It’s not often I get to drink a 17 year old wine, but I received two bottles of the 2000 St. Thomas recently. Given to me by a cousin and hand carried by my uncle half way across the globe. I was very gentle in opening the bottle, using my Two Prong Puller to prevent any cork failure. There was none, in fact the cork looked very good. The wine has a burnt hue to it, a slight bricking which is expected at this age. It is pretty dark though which is interesting. On the nose I initially got a dank whiff which has since blown off. I now get a fresh dose of plums, some tobacco and espresso bean. The palate is wonderful- soft, flavorful, balanced and easy to drink. Flavors of black berry, toasty oak, cherry, leather and cassis all hit me in layers. The mid palate offers up the tannins, bone dry and and still a force to be reckoned with. The acidity is juicy, yet not tart- balanced. The finish is long, with loads of tannin, dark fruit compote and more of the coffee/tobacco that I got on the nose. This wine believe it or not, is young. I see room for more development, more mellowing and believe the structure is there to hold it all together. It is a delicious, dry wine that begs for charcoal grilled Filets, which is what I am going to cook. An amazing wine from a distant relative’s winery that is excellent in every facet. 91 points from me for this vintage. I have no idea on price but newer vintages are running $22 and are equally delicious, even in their relative youth. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. I would give this wine 5 stars for sure. See my reviews of other St. Thomas vintages. Salut….