This one stumped me in a WSET blind tasting. We were going to be discussing Spain and Portugal so I was convinced that the red wine had to be from the region but when I put this deep ruby colored wine up to my nose I was greeted by a very familiar set of smells. Medium (+) intensity aromas of black plum, red plum, cinnamon, blackberry, cedar and vanilla made me think this complex wine was a Tempranillo. The palate was dry with medium (+) tannins, medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, medium (+) body and medium intensity flavors of the aforementioned, albeit slightly less intense on the palate. This gave way to a medium length finish that had me grade this wine as very good, suitable to be drunk now or aged some more. In reality, I had just predisposed myself to thinking I was drinking one varietal when in fact it was a Sonoma Cab I was sipping! Looking back- this wine gets 91 points and for $55 it is a 4 star effort. Salut….
A deep ruby, bordering on ink in the glass. I get pronounced aromas of blackberry, cassis, black plum, eucalyptus, oak, coffee and ripe blueberry jam. The palate is super smooth, rich, warm and delightful. Dry and slightly tannic, this full bodied wine has great flavors of ripe black and blue fruits, excellent barrel integration with coffee, oak and vanilla notes to go with medium acidity. The finish is medium (+) in length and quite dry from the persistent yet integrated tannins. A very well balanced wine with great mouthfeel that will drink beautifully till 2030 with wild game, grilled meats, rich cheese platters or just all by itself. 94 points from me make this $42 stunner a 5 star effort. Glad I got a case. Salut….
I’m practicing for my wine-tasting exam and must use the correct lexicon….
Deep ruby with thin legs in the glass. The nose has medium (+) intensity aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, smoke, stewed black cherry, vanilla and eucalyptus. This wine is developing nicely after 12 years of aging. The palate is dry, with medium acidity, medium (+) tannin, high alcohol, medium (+) body and medium (+) intensity flavors of black currant, blackberry, vanilla, eucalyptus, and smoke. The finish is medium in length and the quality of this wine is very good. It’s drinking beautifully now and has the capacity to age further, till 2029. That would make it 20 years old. 92 points from me make this yummy $40 bottle a 5 star wine. Serve with Sunday roast or grilled Ribeye. Salut….
This bottle is called a Meritage, which conjures up notions of a Bordeaux blend relying heavily on either Cab Sav or Merlot, with supporting roles from Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In this case- it’s actually the opposite with the majority being Malbec at 62%, Merlot at 30%, Cab Franc with 6% and a touch of Petit Verdot. No sign of any Cab Sav. Anyways- it’s inky, brooding and opaque. The nose is intense with rich blackberry and oak nuances. I’m looking forward to it!
The palate is as expected. Layered black fruits and charred oak with medium grip tannins and juicy acidity. Blackberry, black currants and tea notes fit the mid palate. The finish is long and decidedly tart. The acidity is bracing yet I feel the wine has a nice roundness and is full bodied. The 14.5% alcohol is sensed on the back end with a hint of heat. Overall I am really enjoying this wine and will be pairing it with homemade spaghetti sauce and Hearts of Palm pasta. Drink till 2028. 91 points for this $25 make it a 5 star wine. Salut….
Pale gold in the glass this Sonoma County Chardonnay gives me lemon and pineapple on the nose. The palate is quite crisp and tart with more yellow citrus flavors, some lanolin and green apples. On the mid palate it is very refreshing with some zippy acidity. The finish is decent in length and shows off green and yellow apples with citrus giving it back end juiciness. Yummy and relatively light bodied for me, it will pair great with my Chicken Pie. Other matches could be grilled Salmon or Parmesan dishes. For me it’s an 88 point wine that gets 4 stars for its $18 price tag. Drink till 2022. Salut….
This Merlot is opaque and a dark shade of purple with a gorgeous nose of steeped plum, toasty oak, licorice and iodine. On the palate it offers rich fruit, nice acidity and grippy tannins. Blackberry, plums, charred oak and blueberry pie all hit me. The mid palate is quite smooth with lush fruit interlacing the rather powerful tannins that slightly overtake the acidity. The finish is medium length and quite dry. I sense this wine is a tad young and will drink nicely till 2028. I am roasting up a rack of Lamb with mint sauce and steamed greens- should work a treat. I’m enjoying the softness of the varietal but am surprised at the structure, the tannins just won’t quit. Yummy stuff. 90 points and 5 stars from me for this $16 wine. Salut….
Golden yellow with apple and pineapple on the nose. On the palate- yellow apple, marzipan, pineapple and green melon. Low levels of acidity make for a full mouthfeel. It’s a very nice wine that doesn’t rely on loads of oak, rather it leans on warm fruits, lithe acidity and good length. 90 points. Enjoy with warm goat cheese salad. Drink till 2024. For about $15 it’s worth stocking up on as it gets 5 stars. Salut….
Pale yellow in the glass. On the nose I get watermelon, lime spritz and melon. On the palate it is fruity and flavorful- quince, pear and a buttery note. The mid palate continues the full bodied mouthfeel and flavor profile. The finish is decent in length and offers up some honey alongside yellow apple and more pear. It’s an interesting and tasty wine for sure, refreshing yet it has some depth and viscosity. The malolactic fermentation has given it a touch of butter and flab, enough to notice but not overdone. This wine will pair well with grilled Salmon, Cobb salad or baked Aubergine in tomatoes. Drink till 2024. For $13, this is a no-brainer to keep on hand. 88 points make it a 4 star effort. Salut….
It’s a broody looking Pinot, dark shade of purple and semi opaque in the glass. The nose is clearly New World in style. Ripe cranberry, rich cherry coulis and cloves. On the palate it’s a touch sweet- like cherry jam and pomegranate syrup. It’s got an intense spiciness that I am enjoying to go alongside the sweetness. There is an underlying level of heat that I only sense on the mid palate- the 14.4% alcohol being well masked. I also get a touch of fizziness which is intriguing. The finish shows off some lithe tannins and more cherry coulis. There’s a modicum of oak present that I am enjoying but I also get a touch of tartness, not from acidity, that is nagging at me. Right at the end is where the acidity kicks in on the medium length finish. Overall, not a bad drop to alongside T-Bones and hand cut fries with Bearnais. I am giving this wine 90 points with a drinking window of 2020-2026. No pricing info available as it was given to me by a friend. Salut….
In the glass this wine is textbook Pinot Noir- bright red, see-through with lithe legs. On the nose I get cherry cola, strawberry and faint wood. On the palate it screams New World Pinot with strawberry coulis, bing cherry and delightful tannins that ease into a full blown black tea extravaganza that leave my gums puckered and my teeth thoroughly dry. The mid palate turns a little blue on me with berries and tar. The finish is back to the original strawberry/cherry combo that I love. The finish is long with nice balanced acidity offsetting the tannins. 91 points for this $20 wine makes it a 5 star effort IMHO. Drink now till 2027. I am pairing it with roasted Cornish Hens, baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta and sautéed Zucchini. Salut….