Very dark in the glass. The nose is plummy with sweet black currant syrup hints. The palate has black currants, espresso and nutmeg notes. Mouth drying tannins appear on the mid-palate where I get big doses of coffee and charcoal. The tannins really grip on the finish. The wine begs for aeration or a juicy ribeye. The acidity is there, somewhere. I just can’t sense it. Overall- quite tasty, young and in need of cellaring or aerating. Drink till 2026 with hearty fare. 88 points from me which is in stark contrast with the monster 92+ points the pros gave it. I think a re-taste is in order. For now this $20 effort gets 3 stars. Salut….
Really rich hues of purple in the glass. The nose contains a certain funk…. not sure if that blows away. Earthy, plum, iodine and ink all come to mind while swirling. The initial palate is typical for the region. Bold, punchy and full of black fruits. Great balance between the medium tannins and acidity alongside a dollop of blackberry jam. The midpalate is drier, more primal. The dark fruits hold on and overcome the tannic bite, barely. This wine is a seesaw of fruit vs. structure- I’m loving it. The finish is long, dry with heaps of blackberry, oregano and olives. Very much in-your-face. 91 points, drink till 2024 with charcuterie, roasted game, lamb chops or a hearty pasta. This is tasty stuff folks. 5 stars for the $17 price tag. Salut….
Medium opacity with a lighter purple hue. On the nose it screams black currants with some bacon fat and oregano. There is a hint of forest floor at the back end of the nose. On the palate – berries, medium intensity tannins, tea and olives. The wine transitions nicely to the mid palate with the tannins providing a nice dryness to the mouthfeel. The flavors are consistent through to the finish where I also get some licorice. The balance is nice for a wine that is made for medium term drinking. Perfect for a game dish, even a seasoned Cornish Hen. Drink now till 2033. 91 points and 4 stars for this $34 blend of mainly Grenache mixed with Syrah and Mouvedre. Salut….
It’s a murky purple with a hint of bricking, not unusual for an 11 year old wine, but not likely for a CDP. The nose gives it away I’m afraid. This wine is over the hill, cooked. Aromas of stewed prunes and bacon hit me right away. I managed to coax a little plum out of the melange, but I was searching for it. The gaminess is a little much for me. On the palate there exists a port like profile. It smacks of dark fruits, cooked plums and blackberry jam. It is not a bad experience, just a shame really. This wine has some very interesting components that were probably on pointe a few years ago. I cannot determine if it is really over the hill (doubtful considering the heritage) or has been improperly cellared (it was a gift to my father). Either way, I cannot imagine this to be representative of the wine and will therefore pass on scoring this $50 effort. Sucks. Salut….
A reasonably priced number that hails from France, the Rhone Valley to be more precise. It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre typical for the region. I bought it on sale for under $10, but it normally sells for $15.
A very pretty medium depth purple color bodes well! On the nose I get raspberry, spice, a hint of smoky oak and some bacon fat. The initial palate suggests more of the same, which is really a treat. I enjoy all those flavors melded together. The tannins are really nice, juicy and not too dry. They complement the fruit and don’t overpower. This wine has a great feeling mid palate, with some cassis, black olives and more raspberry making appearances. The finish is nice, longer than expected and offers an oaky tinge along with the fruit and tannins. I have to say, this is a really good wine, far more complex than the price would allude to, far tastier than I imagined and it has some short term cellaring potential to boot. I am drinking it with some Broccoli Cheddar soup, which seems to work really well. It would pair great with some thin crust brick oven pizza, perhaps even a Beef stew. I have to go 91 points, which is above and beyond the rating I saw, and award this wine 5 stars for sure. I wish I ordered more. Salut….
An iconic wine from a crappy year. Yup, I bought a wine that I knew was not very good. The pro’s originally gave it high 80’s scores. It was priced at $120 per but I picked up a case at $70 a bottle, probably because nobody was buying this vintage. La Chapelle is a huge name in the wine world, some vintages are worth thousands, yes $1000’s of US dollars. It is a world class Syrah, from the famed Hermitage appellation in the Rhone Valley. Buying this wine was a once in a lifetime look into something amazing, with a storied and solid history- albeit in a mediocre year. I cellared the case for a decade before I tried the first bottle. I was hugely disappointed, it was crap. I couldn’t believe it, I had wasted nearly $850 on a whim. I tried several bottles and gave one away. The rest just sat there, forlorn in their OWC (Original Wood Case). Until Thanksgiving, when I cellar-dove to pull out some gems for the holiday season. I found the case of Hermitage and decided to empty it out and get ready to either drink or pour the last 5 bottles.
Glad I resisted the urge to dump, this wine has turned around and offers a modest drinking experience and may even be on an upswing. Vintages of this wine have been known to age gracefully for nearly a century. It is a huge wine.
Inky purple glass which is a good sign. The bottle had large deposits of sediment on the sides but there were none in the glass. Nose of garigue, violets, game and dark fruits. Mellow and smooth opening with bright fruit flavors of ripe plum, blueberry and cassis, not what I was expecting considering my previous experiences with this wine. An earthy component on the mid palate which melded well with some acidity. The tannins are fully integrated and this wine is at peak. 88/89 points were my initial and final impressions. The pro’s have since upgraded their scores to reflect the wine’s true personality. It is drinking at its best now and will go for another 5 years. If you like finesse this is a wine for you, but at this price point I think there are far better wines to search out. 2 Stars unfortunately for this rather expensive yet average drinking wine. Salut…
I was preparing our dinner last night when it dawned on me that I needed to pair sweet potato and Thai eggplant Penang curry, Chicken Satay and Thai Beef salad. A myriad of spiced dishes, not spicy as such, just highly flavored. Red was out of the question, as was Chardonnay. What I needed was something aromatic and slightly sweet. Riesling would have been perfect, but I was up for a challenge, not the easy road. I thought about a Gewurtztraminer, but settled for a Viognier. The Louis Latour brand covers many regions and every price point. I went with the $12 offering from the Ardeche region which is located in the southern Rhone.
This wine is decent, showing off it’s pale yellow straw color and offering up some aromatics of green apple and petrol with some lemon zest. On the palate, a cutting acidity is immediately noticeable as is some back end bite. The fruity composure is pale green apple and lemon with some quince in the mix. I was hoping for more aromatic flavors of rose petals and pineapple, but alas that is not typical of this hot region. The wine lacked the sweetness I seeked but made up for it with the acidity. Whilst I enjoyed the wine and thought the pairing was great I had some reservations about the back end bite. 87 points and 3 stars for this one. Enjoy it with spicy dishes or on the patio in the mid-summer heat. Salut….
The nice thing about buying multiple bottles is the ability to watch it age, take on different nuances and evolve into a secondary wine. I have had three bottles of this wine over the last 3 years, each one bringing different flavors to the glass. This wine is a Syrah from the northern Rhone that weighs in at 13.5 % alcohol. I wish I had taken notes of the previous bottles, dang… Anyway, this is a good wine. Not typical Syrah, but well crafted with fine tannins that caress. Dark fruits on the nose give into a red raspberry thing for me. I grilled some Ribeye steaks on a charcoal grill just to complement this wine- I was spot on. The structure of this wine went beautifully with the somewhat fatty cut of beef. I imagine this wine will last another 5 years at least, and hopefully evolve some more. I imagine a little earthiness coming out in a few years. A solid 4 star effort and perhaps a 90 pointer that will run you about $30.
Wow, what an interesting wine. Tasted pretty late in the evening, if you know what I mean, I was bowled over by the uniqueness and flavors this gem brought. A Rhone blend, I wanted to describe the initial nose and taste as ‘sweet’, but that is not a good descriptor for red wines. Dark red in color, there was a certain funkiness of leather, earth and dark blue fruits that were intriguing. On the mid-palate, very smooth and balanced. Excellent tannins will hold this wine together until 2015 at least. For a crowd pleaser, this one hits it for most people. Not too heavy, somewhat complex and easy to drink because the balance is great. No dryness, yet the tannins are lurking. A wine that you should definitely search out. 5 stars and 91 points- go for it!
Iconic, pricey, and not so good. The label states that this wine will mature for 30 years, in Great Vintages. 1999 was not. It doesn’t help that the quality of this Domaine has declined since then either. Often seen on the auction circuit, the reputation of this wine is fearsome, but in 1999 something went amiss. I bought a case on discount, hoping for the critics to be wrong, they averaged 90 points, agreed.
Tonight, the nose is almost cooked, the wine highly alcoholic in taste even though it’s only 13.5%. The fruit is non-existent and the tertiary flavors have not evolved. The producers of Hermitage won a law suit against Penfolds in Australia preventing them from using the name Hermitage on their Grange bottlings. Perhaps they should have spent more time making it than defending its name.
I bought these bottles in 2002, and the decline started happening in 2006. I thought is was passing a “dumb” period- wrong. This stuff is over the hill and I’m assigning it to the “hurry up and drink the rest” bin, giving it 2 stars. Don’t bother looking for it, waste of cash and cellar space.