I’m looking forward to this wine, to be paired with grilled Tri-Tip. For a Napa Cab, it shows a little lighter in the glass, with medium ruby color and thin legs. On the nose I have to battle the alcohol first, swirling like mad and blowing the fumes away. Once there I get blackberry, blackcurrant, black plum, cloves, smoke and yet more alcohol. On the palate this wine is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins which are softened by the addition of Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It has a good body and the flavors are really juicy- more of the black fruits, the oak influence and I also get a black tea component. The alcohol is making it fuller on the mouthfeel but I can feel it on the back end, definitely present in this one. The finish is pretty decent in length with the tea outlasting the fruit. I think this is a decent wine, but not something to rave about. It will drink well till 2026 and pair great with steaks. 88 points from me and for $ 22 it gets 3 stars. Salut….
My last tasting note was in the format used for my wine course. By the time we got to this bottle the group was deep into a card game so I reverted to my old style and jotted a few notes on this super yummy wine.
Inky AF. This is one dark purple, brooding beast. Rich blackberry, ripe plums, cedar, Iodine and black cherry. Stunning. The palate is super duper Napa Valley. Sunshine galore gives rich black fruits, silky tannins and medium acidity. This is one stunner at 93 points. I believe newer vintages are running a Benji. 5 stars. Drink till 2025. Ps. If this was a blind tasting, I would have guessed Napa all day long, but incorrectly identifying it as a Cab Sav. Very similar taste profile, but way less tannins in this varietal. Salut….
I was visiting friends this past weekend and he popped this Napa gem for us to enjoy. Opaque purple- extracted to be sure. Rich nose of plums, blackberry, iodine, coffee and blueberry. Super smooth with fully integrated tannins, rich fruit, full body and medium acidity. Bright Cali sunshine is evident- the depth of flavor is deep. Structurally this is not built for long term, it’s delicious now. 91 points for this velvety elixir that runs $70 and gets 4 stars. Salut….
This is a very interesting blend of 48% Charbono, 27% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignan, 7% Gamay, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Mondeuse and 1% Riesling! Wow…. BTW- Charbono is also known as Bonarda. The wine itself is deep purple and nearly opaque. The lack of legs made me search the label- 12.8% ABV- shocking in these modern times where super ripe fruit (high sugar=high alcohol) is the norm.
The nose has candied plum, blueberry and a herbaceous note. On the palate it is refreshingly tart with nice flavors of white plum, blueberries and charred wood. The green notes not showing up. Medium tannins accompany the fruit and I get a dry back-end from the tart acidity and tannin components. It’s a lighter weight wine that will pair nicely with duck or grilled stuffed mushrooms. It’s certainly an interesting combination of grapes and for $42, you too can try this 89 point wine! 3 stars from me, drink till 2026. Salut….
It’s not often that one gets a 20+ year old bottle of wine pulled out of a farmhouse and opened for an evening drink, but that is exactly what happened here. I was privy to the rest of the bottle that my friend Annie carefully decanted, in hopes of making magic happen. Whilst this one may be over the hill it certainly offers much for enjoyment. Very dark and opaque with a touch of bricking- it is showing its age yet still has something to offer. The nose is full of prunes, mushrooms, leather, game and forest floor. There are no primary fruit flavors left and the tannins are fully melded, the wine was being held together by the last vestiges of acidity that allowed it to over-perform its drink-by window. With no provenance indication, it is hard to tell when this bottle entered its mature stage but I was surprised that the tertiary flavors were so palatable. I have had many a wine that was over-the-hill and needed to meet the drain asap, this one was not the case. We drank the whole bottle, enjoying what nuances we could get from it and marveling at the fact that it runs $60 per bottle for current vintages yet performs like a far more pricy Napa Cabernet (No pricing exists for this vintage). It is unfair to score this grand dame, suffice to say- she has outdone herself and shined in the development arena and deserves kudos for lasting this long. Share your hidden gem stories! Salut….
Tonight I am cooking a standing rib roast in my Big Green Egg- something I have never done before. I figured it was a good time to crack this Napa Merlot open and give it a try. It’s got a nice purple hue and is about 70% opaque. Thin legs in the glass hint at the 13.4% alcohol. On the nose I get rich plums, perhaps some blackberry and toasty oak. The initial palate is delicious with plum torte, blackberry coulis, some smoked wood, Tobacco and some fruit cake. The mid palate has exceptionally integrated tannins and really nice acidity. The plum and blackberry flavors are very much present but I’m starting to get a dark cola note. The finish is very rounded with the tannins and acidity in perfect balance. I can almost taste the California sunshine in this wine. Merlot is such a supple, rounded varietal that has been unfairly thrashed of late. I really enjoy this particular profile and am going with 92 points. Drink till 2028 with any grilled meat, rich pasta or even by itself. At $33, it gets 5 stars. Salut….
This Sauvignon Blanc is very pale yellow in the glass. On the nose I get lemons, D’anjou pear, green apple and honeysuckle. The palate is lively and fresh with citrus notes, that green apple hint and some floral interjection. Not overly tart, there is a core of acidity that keeps the wine fresh. The finish moves away from the focused lemon and pear notes- getting a little more body and a hint of minerality. Tasty stuff that will serve well with my baked Salmon and Ahi tuna steaks. I am going with 89 points for this $26 effort which makes it a 3 star effort. Drink chilled till 2025. Salut….
A very pale shade of gold in the glass with a nose of citrus, tropical fruit and telltale cat pee. The palate is delicious, somewhat unique and not overly tart. Grapefruit and gooseberry notes make way for candied ginger and baked yellow apple. It is really an interesting mix, layered with a medium weight body. There is a sprite nature to the mid palate and the finish is short to medium length in duration. I really am enjoying this wine and will pair it with clams with edamame spaghetti in a garlic and olive sauce. Drink this 90 point wine till 2024. For $30 it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
Wow, this Napa wine is super opaque and dark purple-it looks like Welch’s grape juice. I can smell fruit flavors about a foot away from the glass, it’s wafting over and I think I’m going to like it. Yup, I do. Saturated with blackberry notes, I also get blueberry essence. On the palate it is delicious. Layers of blackberry, blueberry and cassis. Very primal, extracted and yummy. Lithe tannins appear on the mid palate but this wine is really juicy, the acidity really has a grip. Deft use of oak keeps this wine interesting without overplaying tertiary flavors. The finish turns quite dry with the tannins really starting to make themselves known. Overall a nicely balanced wine with good structure, great fruit and decent cellaring capacity. I would drink this blend of Syrah, Malbec, Zin, Merlot etc till 2028 with a big ole T-bone. 92 points from me make this $50 wine a 5 star effort. Salut….
Opaque and dark purple. The nose has a big dose of funk right off the bat- standing water comes to mind. Once past that shocker I get Napa sunshine with ripe blackberry, toasty oak and Ribena. The palate is blueberry and blackberry tart with coconut and creme. The oak influence is appreciated. Mid palate has very lithe tannins and mild acidity. Leather and tobacco appear on the finish with cassis. Really delicious as the wine progressed . 91 points and at $50 per bottle it gets 4 stars. Paired with Spinach rolled Flank Steak and Ceaser salad. Drink till 2023. Salut….