It would not be Christmas without an aged Claret. This 19 year old took the honors and I am sure glad I picked it. Wow, what a stunner. I did not take notes but recall the wine looked a dark shade in the glass with no signs of bricking. The nose was astounding- tobacco, leather, earth, steeped plums and cassis. On the palate this wine is at plateau. I cannot even describe the beauty of liquid elixir. It was layered with the tertiary flavors I had smelled plus a surprising dose of dark currants, cassis and cedar. The tannins are fully resolved at this stage of the maturity, sublime being a good descriptor of the mouthfeel. The finish was super long and gratifying. This wine was a home run and has rewarded my patience. I think it still has a few years of life, but like I said- it’s at peak now. I have 6 more bottles in the cellar, lucky me! You could pair this wine with an array of foods, but simply enjoying it on its own would be amazing. I have written about the ’01 Cos before, once in 2012 and then in 2013. I am upping my score to 95 for this $150 beauty and sticking with 5 stars. Salut….
This Merlot is opaque and a dark shade of purple with a gorgeous nose of steeped plum, toasty oak, licorice and iodine. On the palate it offers rich fruit, nice acidity and grippy tannins. Blackberry, plums, charred oak and blueberry pie all hit me. The mid palate is quite smooth with lush fruit interlacing the rather powerful tannins that slightly overtake the acidity. The finish is medium length and quite dry. I sense this wine is a tad young and will drink nicely till 2028. I am roasting up a rack of Lamb with mint sauce and steamed greens- should work a treat. I’m enjoying the softness of the varietal but am surprised at the structure, the tannins just won’t quit. Yummy stuff. 90 points and 5 stars from me for this $16 wine. Salut….
The 13th Virtual Wine tasting included this Right Bank Merlot. It was stunning, mature and a hit. The wine is at peak, the color showing a bit of bricking on the rim. The nose is classic Bordeaux- Earthy, smoky, molasses, black fruit jam, leather, tobacco, licorice, cloves…. that’s a lot of descriptors from the panel. On the palate it was delicious, even dreamy as one member piped out. Black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, mushroom and leather were really the key components. The wine is still robust, with very well integrated tannins and a hint of acidity. The mouthfeel is great and lingers on the decent length finish. On my 20 point scale it got 19. Technically speaking, it is a 93 point wine in my book, way higher than the pros rated it back in the day. 2010 was a great year for the Clarets and this example is showing how well the wines have held up and how they have evolved so nicely. Drink till 2025 and for $35 buy a case if you can find it. 5 stars. Salut….
This Merlot is nearly opaque in the glass and shows a deep purple color, albeit slightly murky. On the nose I get cranberry, plum and spice box. On the palate it has an upfront astringency that catches me off-guard. Once past that the fruit flavors are very interesting- Pomegranate, blackberry and plum. There is a peppery note as well. The mid palate is quite tannic and the wine gets darker in the fruit flavor department. That spice box I got on the nose plays a bigger part as the wine progresses. The finish is a juicy affair with loads of acidity and tannins. Blackberry notes come through right at the end. I get the impression that this wine is a touch young and could use a few years in cellar. It feels a bit disjointed, with a bit of greeness showing through. I’m enjoying it now but recommend a drinking window of 2022-2026. It’s going with Alfredo tonight, a good pairing methinks. 89 points and 3 stars for this $17 effort. Salut….
This Napa blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah and Petite Sirah is really dark purple and inky in the glass. The nose is rich with blackberry flavors, iodine, a whiff of alcohol and oaky vanilla. The palate is very pleasing- blackberry compote, plump raisins, black cherry cola and bakers chocolate. The mid palate has a nice mouthfeel that has a touch of astringency and a whiff of acidity. Black fruits dominate and the oak influence is evident. Black tea, iodine and tannins round out the wine with a decent length finish that is neither dry nor sour. The structure feels like it will drink nicely till 2024, but extended cellaring probably won’t happen. It drinks nicely as is but I am pairing it with some Sous Vive Ribeyes, baked taters and grilled Asparagus. Overall- a decent drop that gets 89 points from me and 3 stars for its $45 release price. Salut….
I have been on a bit of a Merlot kick lately and this one had my name on it. It is semi opaque and a dark shade of purple in the glass. On the nose it gives off plum, cedar and spice box. Plums, baking spices and blueberry pie all hit the palate. Very fine grained tannins pop up on the middle palate along with more blue fruit flavors. There is a nice shot of acidity that keeps me on my toes, balancing out the tannins. There is a second wave of blueberry and plum flavors that really hit the back end, overriding the tannins and giving me a great fresh finish. Whilst not a big or complex wine, it drinks nicely and will do so till 2025. I’m pairing it up with some Steak and Cheese Hoagies. Should do the trick nicely. 88 points and 3 stars for this $15 wine. Salut….
Inky and opaque is this Bordeaux blend. On the nose I am treated to a melange of cassis, plums, blackberry and delicious oak. The palate is exactly what I was hoping for- rich, warm and layered with all those black fruits, very integrated tannins and a mound of acidity. This wine is very powerful and thick with fruit flavors, balancing doses of tannin and acidity and just the right amount of wood to make it very pleasing. The mid palate gets quite a bit more focused on the structure of the wine- the acidity really playing hell with my jaw and the tannins really starting to grip. If you’re looking for an unabashed wine that will pair well with game, grilled Ribeyes or a heavy pasta dish- this is it. The finish reminds me of young Claret, the fruit being masked by the power of the structural components. It will cellar nicely till 2030. 92 points from me for this $22 stunner that gets 5 stars. Salut….
This semi opaque Merlot is a light shade of purple in the glass. The nose gives me red berries, cherry and anise- it’s very enticing. On the palate it has a juicy intro with currants, more of that licorice note and some really integrated oak. There is a modicum of tannic bite, but it is very lithe. The mid palate has cocoa powder to go around the currants and some strawberry. Nicely balanced acidity leads to a smooth mouthfeel that is super easy to drink. The finish has a touch of dryness, a hint of acidity and loads of red fruits. This wine has matured nicely for what it is and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It drinks well by itself but I would also put it up against Filet, roast Game Hen or even Lasagna. 89 points from me makes this $25 wine a 3 star effort. Really yummy. Drink till 2024. Salut….
Dark purple, opaque. The nose is chock full of blackcurrants, spicy oak and some dusty tobacco. The palate is stark- dark and brooding with blackcurrants, oolong tea, nice gentle tannins and a touch of acidity. The midpalate is a bit edgy with some oak influence, charred wood, dark fruit and an increasing dryness from the tannins that are ramping up. The finish is really enjoyable- a nice dry mouthfeel, decent acidity and gobs of fruit. The blackcurrants are really delicious. This is a yummy wine for everyday that will cellar nicely for a few years and be a hit whether you are serving steaks or pizza. Drink till 2025. 90 points and 5 stars for this $20 effort. Ps. The label is one of coolest out there. Salut….
This blend shows up as very dark purple in the glass. On the nose I get blackberry reduction, charred oak, black tea and blueberries. The palate is sublime- dark fruits intertwined with lush oak, bramble, black tea and fine grained tannins. The mid palate is very satisfying. Gobs of blackberry, lashings of wood, crunchy tannins and juicy acidity all come together. The wine finishes semi dry with good mouthfeel and a medium length serving of those delicious, ripe fruits. Figs also come into play right at the end with the last vestige of gum searing tannins. This is a young wine that can be enjoyed now if you like them very dry. I would drink till 2030 with all sorts of roasted meat, venison in particular. Yummy stuff. 91 points from me and at $26, it get 5 stars. Buy a few for the cellar, it will reward you. Tempranillo 75%, Cab Sav 12%, Shiraz 9%, Merlot 3% and Petit Verdot at 1%.Salut….