Opaque AF. Bright blueberry, plum, blackcurrants and mint on the nose with some heady oak by way of vanilla and coconut. On the palate it has medium (+) tannins, medium acidity and black fruit flavors of blackcurrant and blackberry alongside the greenish mint and oak notes plus charcoal. Medium finish and medium body with some high alcohol levels giving it weight. Yummy stuff that tastes like California sunshine. 91 points and for $110 it gets 4 stars . Whilst young it drinks beautifully now and should get better with age till 2028. Salut….
The label says it’s a red wine blend. Let’s see if I can discern the grapes. First off- it’s deep ruby which rules out Pinot Noir. Number two- it runs 14.5% ABV even though the legs are quite watery in the glass. The nose is of medium intensity and I get aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, smoke, licorice, chocolate, black plum, and a grape note. The palate is dry, with high acidity and high tannins. The alcohol is evident and the body is medium (+). The flavors are medium intensity and mirror the nose, although there is a black tea component on the mid palate. The tannins are searing on the finish which is decent in length. Overall a tasty wine that I believe will age well for another 5-7 years. As for the varietals- here goes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and perhaps Merlot would be my guess. 91 points for this rather big red that can be had for $25. 5 stars. ps. it needs a big, juicy steak. Salut….
I am looking to pair Eye of Round roast which has been cooking in the sous vide for 20 hours. A Napa Cabernet is called for. This wine is opaque and a very pretty purple in the glass. The nose screams Napa sunshine- bright blackberry aromas with black plum, cloves, charred wood, black tea and vanilla. The palate is quite intense with black fruit, oak nuances juicy acidity and medium tannins that carry through to the very end. The blackberry flavors are very prominent in this one, they duke it out on the back end with the tannins to see who lasts the longest. Th oak usage is very deft and well played. I like the balance of this wine and it has a medium to full body. The 14.2% ABV is barely noticeable but I did get a whiff of it on the nose. Still young- this one will cellar nicely till 2030 but if you like a dry, slightly tannic wine then pop-n-pour right away. 92 points from me make this $50 wine a 5 star effort. Salut….
Deep lemon color with a nose of tangerine, lemons, popcorn and acacia. The palate is bright and very citrusy, yet the butter component is missing. I’m confused. Green apple, baked bread and pear are playing second fiddle to lemon and tangerine. It’s evident that Malolactic fermentation has been blocked, keeping the fruit vibrant and fresh. Oak influence is also evident, albeit deft. The wine has medium acidity and is quite full bodied. On the finish I get a nuttiness- like stone fruit seed. Yummy stuff that gets 92 points. This is an iconic wine that merits a try, even though it rolls in at $50. 5 stars from me. Pair with seafood, perhaps even some stuffed, baked mushrooms. Salut….
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….