This Tuscan blend of Petit Verdot and Syrah is a deep shade of ruby, bordering on purple in the glass. The nose has pronounced aromas of violet, black plum, cedar, a touch of fresh funk, spice box and maduro. The palate is quite zippy and fresh. Dry, with gentle tannins and medium acidity it has a medium weight body and yummy flavors. Plum, cedar, spice, maduro ( a dark tobacco), blackberry and that funk- perhaps a mushroom scent? The mouthfeel is staggeringly smooth and delicious. This wine is seamless in its component makeup. The tannins are very nicely integrated, the acidity is balanced and the depth of fruit is great. The finish is medium to long. My only concern is the funk that is very persistent. It is ever present and distracting, knocking a point off the total. Overall this is a very good wine that gets 91 points from me and at $19- 5 stars. I am pairing with meatballs and red sauce. Drink till 2026. Salut….
This South African Cabernet is a deep purple color with thin legs in the glass. On the nose I get black plum, smoke, blackcurrants, Ribena, cassis and espresso. The palate has an upfront astringency that gives me pause. The fruit is trying to come out but the greenness is overwhelming. I’m going to give it a rest and try later…..
Okay- after a two hour break this wine has opened up tremendously. The dark fruit compote has finally come through with gentle acidity and firm, yet sidelined tannins holding the whole show together. I am starting to see why the pros rated it upwards of 92 points. Young, yet with structure and fruit to weather some cellaring- this wine will drink nicely from 2023-2028. It went nicely with my Tri-tip roast. At $20, It’s worth a look for sure, holding some for the drinking window. 5 stars for sure. Salut….
Dark purple and almost opaque in the glass with really long legs. The nose is very fruity with ripe plum jam, purple licorice and cinnamon. There’s a touch of charred oak and a hint of blueberry to boot. On the palate it tastes of candy and black fruit salad with iodine. Rich oak is well integrated as are the lithe tannins. The mid palate has a pronounced dryness along with blackberries and that medicinal note. The tannic grip hits on the long finish- it’s quite pronounced. That candy/grape bubble gum flavor is very present alongside the tannins. There’s a modicum of acidity that may balance this wine out once the tannins mellow a bit. For now it would pair nicely with a juicy steak. It gets 91 points with good cellaring potential. Drink till 2028. A blend of Monastrell, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cab Sav. that gets 5 stars cause you can pick it up for only $17. 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….
Bright purple, semi opaque in the glass. On the nose- blueberries, plum and sizzlers red licorice. On the palate it is rich and inviting with dark blue fruits, some charcoal notes and a touch of effervescence. It’s slightly off-putting but the flavors of the fruit are very vibrant. Medium tannins and a nice acidity greet me on the mid palate. The fruit turns a little darker as it moves to the back end. On the finish it shows off black licorice and that dark blue fruit melange. The tannins keep a grip for a decent amount of time and the fruit holds on alongside. It’s a decent bottle of Cab Franc/Petit Verdot, but the effervescence on the opening detracts and the score reflects. 87 points. ** UPDATE ** This bottle was flawed, the effervescence an indicator of secondary fermentation. A subsequent bottle was much better, bumping the score up to 89. Drink this $17 till 2025- 3 stars. 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….
Stunning purple in the glass with nice thin legs. On the nose I get a huge dose of black currants, black berries and oaky vanilla. Mint also makes an appearance. On the initial palate it is really juicy with black fruits galore. Beautiful oak is well integrated with coconut flavors present. The tannic structure shows a gradual ramp up to reach a drying peak on the finish. The mid palate is lush and fruity with some black tea, cassis, more coconut and capsicum. The finish is dry with those nice tannins really gripping. There’s a very balancing, juicy acidity that I’m really enjoying. This wine begs to be drunk, it is a stunning example of how delicious Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are as the prime components in wine. 93 points and 5 stars for this $104 stunner. Drink till 2030.
So- this is the second Cameron Hughes wine in a row. Truth be told, I bought 4 cases of their wine, 24 different bottles X2 back in November. I am doing a prolonged tasting of their excellently priced wine. As a negociant they don’t grow their own grapes, relying on others for the raw product. You should check them out on the web, great value for money.
Really dark, opaque – almost black in the glass. The legs are few and far between but they show off the 14.4% alcohol nicely. On the nose there is sweet blackberries, mint, charcoal. The palate is as I hoped- dark, tannic and multilayered. Those blackberries reappear with iodine, violets and licorice. The tannins grip, a lot. They claw at my gums from the beginning to the end. This varietal is normally part of a blend due to its tannic frame, brooding fruit and structure- but I do enjoy it by itself. I get hankerings for a mouthfull of that dark, sweet fruit interlaced with hearty tannins. The mid palate and finish echo the theme nicely with a decent length ending of blackberry, tannins and a touch of oak. Delicious and powerful. 90 points and 5 stars for this $15 effort. Drink till 2026 with hearty meat dishes. Salut….
A blend of 36% Petit Verdot, 28% Syrah, 20% Cab Sav and 16% Boral (Never heard of her)- got me excited to try this Spanish red that is a medium opacity purple in the glass. On the nose it is reminds me of wild fruit, damson, red licorice and bramble. There is a dustiness that is typical for Rioja’s but I have no experience with this appellation- Ribera del Jucar. The initial palate is really nice with purple fruits galore. Plum reduction, black cherry and really crispy tannins. The structure is very solid with fine acidity balancing the tannic bite. The mid palate has iodine and more black cherry with a touch of charcoal. The finish is long and dry, the tannins starting to get hold of the gums. It’s a nice feeling that I am enjoying for a good 30-45 seconds. I like the combination of the blend, the Petit Verdot giving a nice backbone and some floral hints throughout. Well made and drinkable till 2028 with some pasta, perhaps Strip Steak or even Osso Bucco. 91 points from me and 5 stars for this $13 gem. Salut….
Really dark in the glass. On the nose I get Ribena, blueberry pie and hot stone. On the palate it’s ginger, blackberry, cedar and evergreen. There is a really nice tannic backbone, unobtrusive yet I sense some astringent components from them. The mid palate is all blackberry jam. The finish is really nice, smooth and very balanced between black fruits, a hint of acidity and those delightful tannins. It’s quite long to boot. This is a really nice weekday drinker that gets 90 points from me and 5 stars as it’s under $10. Drink till 2023 with pizza, burgers, sirloin or pasta. Blend of Malbec, Cabernet Petit Verdot. Salut….