A slightly dull purple in the glass, gives me concern. On the nose however- violets, black currants, a touch of oak. On the palate it is much darker- blackberry, cherry extract, graphite and singed oak. There is a leather component too, it just comes along later, towards the mid palate. The wine transitions very nicely with good tannic structure that is not obtrusive and acidic enough to balance. This is the third wine of Brane Cantenac, a Second Growth Margaux. They use the young plots for source fruit, giving us an approachable young wine that drinks very nicely with good mouthfeel and medium term cellaring potential. 90 points from me for this $29 effort that gets 3 stars. Drink now till 2024. Salut….
Moxie and I met up with an old high-school friend at a Tapas bar in Massachusetts. This wine was recommended by our waiter so we dove in. I did not write too many notes so bear with me:
Nose of smoky plum. Lithe and fruity with some complexity but not overpowering. Dark fruits galore and lithe tannins make it an easy drinker with 5-10 years of cellaring potential. We obviously ate it with Tapas, which was a great pairing. Strangely enough, the pros vary between 88 and 92 points. I would go with 89 personally. $25 makes it a 3 star wine for me. Blend of 30% Garnatxa, 27% Merlot, 20% Samso, 18% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Salut….
Bright purple in the glass. Black cherry and sassafras come to mind on the nose. The palate is very tasty, brimming with Black cherry, cola, and dark chocolate. Very fine grained tannins introduce themselves right off the bat and help to coat the gums very gently all the way through the mid palate and onto the finish. Speaking of the mid-palate, there’s more cola than fruit here along with some licorice. It’s quite nice! The finish is medium length and continues the theme. A very satisfying wine that I am enjoying with pasta and meatballs. 90 points, drink till 2025 with anything Italian! For the $13 price tag, you need some of this 5 star wine. Salut….
Medium opacity, great purple color. On the nose creosote, blueberry, charcoal and plum jam. On the palate I get a darker fruit profile- blackberry, ripe plum. The mid palate hits me with cheek quenching tannins, not overly done- just makes me pucker a bit. The acidity also presents at the same moment. Intriguing to have my rear jowls hit by opposing forces. The finish gets me back to that mineral tone of creosote, perhaps some black olives, all tiptoeing around the tannic bite that crescendoed on the finish. An interesting wine that I am enjoying thoroughly. It’s needs meat though, pair it with game, lamb stew or something hearty. 91 points for this blend of 62% Pinotage, 22% Merlot, 12% Cab Sav and 4% Shiraz. Aerate for immediate enjoyment and drink till 2025. 5 stars for this $15 effort. Salut….
Nice purple in the glass. The nose is blackberry, oak and cocoa dust. The initial palate is of ripe plums, more blackberries and vanilla. The wine has gentle tannins, lithe acidity and drinks easily. It has a nice midpalate transition. Coffee notes hit me as well as more berries. 89 points from me for this $12 effort. It drinks well and should be held in the daily drinker cellar for a quick go-to wine. 4 stars, drink now. Salut….
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….