This Tempranillo is inky and opaque in the glass. The nose gives me black berries, iodine, espresso bean and earthy bramble. The palate is textbook Rioja- dusty, earthy, black fruit driven, smoky and delicious. The tannins of this 9 year old wine are well integrated but the acidity is what I’m really enjoying. Jaw dripping and long. The mid palate continues the black fruit theme and I pick up some oaky notes. The finish is quite dry from the remnants of tannins that are holding this wine together and will allow it to cellar for another 5 years. Yummy stuff that I am pairing with Middle Eastern Goat stew. 90 points from me and at $15 per bottle it gets 5 stars. 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….
Last up at the 11th Virtual Tasting was this stunner. It did not appeal to many yet was my wine of the night even though I did not really enjoy drinking it. Let me explain….. This monster is a baby. It has so much complexity, depth and power that is hidden behind a huge tannic wall that it’s hard to coax anything out of it unless you have an aerator, a few days of patience or are willing to take my word for it and cellar some for another 4-5 years. The tasters noted the following:
Inky and nearly black. Clove, grape hubba bubba, graphite, pencil shavings, creosote. Very young with loads of tannins. Cloves, blackberry, iced coffee. Bitter finish. Black currant, jam, tawny port like. Tomato. Short to medium finish.
For me it had layers of anise, tar, black fruit, oak and teeth staining tannins. Great structure will hold this wine together till 2035, but I would cellar until at least 2025, giving a decent 10 year window of enjoyment. Pairing this muscular red with anything but the heartiest of Ribeyes would be foolish, it needs juicy, fatty meat to help cut the tannic grip. On night 2 it was starting to open up and on day 3 I doubled down on the black licorice/anise flavors. The tannins are finally starting to give way. This wine is going to be amazing and for $35 well worth buying a few for the cellar. 95 massive points from me and 5 stars only because I cannot give 6! It’s 100% Tinta de Toro, aka Tempranillo. Salut….
Pale purple and semi opaque. The nose offers up raspberries, cedar and capsicum. On the palate it starts a touch tart with pomegranate, raspberry and sour cherry. The mid palate is juicy with a dollop of acidity and a touch of tannic grip. The red fruit theme continues and the somewhat short finish is dominated by the sour cherry and its corresponding cut. It’s an interesting yet basic wine that I am pairing with pork tenderloin and fried potatoes with curried cauliflower. Drink this 87 point wine by 2023. 2 stars as it’s touted as a $25 wine. Salut….
The 10th Virtual Wine Tasting featured this Spanish wine as the lone white, which we tasted both chilled and at room temperature. I made a prediction right after I tasted the room temp version that this wine would be better chilled, contrary to the usual. I was correct.
The wine showed nicely in the glass with a pale yellow color and fine legs. The tasters noted melon, citrus, ‘soapy’, pear and honey. On the palate it was considered ‘mild’, ‘light’, with notes of grapefruit and apricot coming through. The chilled version gave me a sharper nose, was more vibrant and had notes of Granny Smith apples, pear and citrus. I found it more dry, acidic and having flavors of ginger and grapefruit on the palate. One taster mentioned it had ‘Zing’ from the acidity.
As I have said before it’s hard to run a virtual tasting and make my own notes when there’s 20 other people chiming in with their own opinions, but I do try to write down what the common theme is that we are all tasting. Overall this was a nice intro to the varietal and I really enjoyed it the next night as an aperitif with some Lebanese Mezza. It hit the thirst spot right on and was refreshing with it’s acidity and that Zing! Overall I would give this Albariño 89 points, but drink it chilled. 4 stars for this $19 effort. Salut….
Semi opaque in the glass with a nice shade of purple. The nose is smoky with black berries, plum and chocolate powder. There’s also a touch of funky Rioja dirt in there. The palate is as hoped- rich, complex and satisfying. Black fruit, tar, licorice and ripe tannins all caress the mouth. The mid palate just builds more on the flavor profile. The finish is delightful- semi dry from the well integrated tannins, juicy from a touch of acidity and brimming with flavors of ripe blackberry, espresso, cacao and that telltale dusty Rioja component. This Tempranillo is drinking beautifully now and will go till 2028. 92 points and 5 stars for this steal at $10. Salut….
I don’t recall ever having a pure Graciano, it’s normally used as a blending grape. In the glass it is a pale shade of purple and is fully opaque. On the nose I get charred plums, black berries and a stewed fruit note. The palate is interesting with brooding dark fruits, oak and a vanilla bean note. The tannic structure is very well ingrained in this 9 year old bottle. They are present but not foreboding. The black fruits show up on the mid palate with a touch of bitterness, there is a green note too. On the finish is where I get some nice acidity to go with the oaky fruit compote. There is a nice dryness on the back end from the tannins. The wine is a pleasure to drink but that midpalate greeness has me concerned. This will drink well till 2025 and pair nicely with pasta, roasted chicken and certainly grilled steak. I’m going 89 points and 3 stars for the $12 price point. Salut….
It’s a very bright, shimmery purple in the glass with thin legs showing off the potent 14.5% kick. The nose is classic Rioja- dark plums, bramble, well integrated oak and currants of the black kind. The palate is very smooth, with delicious black fruit components, leather, well ingrained tannins and a touch of acidity. The earthiness of the wine is somewhat subdued, making way for the concentration of black currants, blackberries and mouth coating tannins. The mid palate is really full bodied with black fruits galore, dry mouthfeel from the beautiful tannins and just enough acidity to make my jaw water. The finish is longish and really dry. Iodine and plum reduction come to mind. Oak is ever present and the tannins go on forever. This is a well made wine built for the long haul and some serious, juicy steaks. Drink till 2035. 92 points and for $40, 5 stars. Read all about the 2010 vintage here. Salut….
This blend shows up as very dark purple in the glass. On the nose I get blackberry reduction, charred oak, black tea and blueberries. The palate is sublime- dark fruits intertwined with lush oak, bramble, black tea and fine grained tannins. The mid palate is very satisfying. Gobs of blackberry, lashings of wood, crunchy tannins and juicy acidity all come together. The wine finishes semi dry with good mouthfeel and a medium length serving of those delicious, ripe fruits. Figs also come into play right at the end with the last vestige of gum searing tannins. This is a young wine that can be enjoyed now if you like them very dry. I would drink till 2030 with all sorts of roasted meat, venison in particular. Yummy stuff. 91 points from me and at $26, it get 5 stars. Buy a few for the cellar, it will reward you. Tempranillo 75%, Cab Sav 12%, Shiraz 9%, Merlot 3% and Petit Verdot at 1%.Salut….
Bright purple in the glass, semi opaque. The nose is lovely, warm and chock full of dark berry fruits, charcoal and bramble. On the palate I get a really smooth intro to the blackberries, Ribena and earthy notes that allow some oak to mingle. There is a certain rustic twist to this wine. On the mid palate I start to get tertiary flavors of leather and bramble, that earthiness I love in aged Riojas. The wine is quite juicy at this point, the acidity making its presence known. Lithe tannins crop up and the whole mouthfeel is really nice. The finish is a touch dry, acidic and medium in length. The black fruits really present alongside that charred oaky wood note. 91 points, drink till 2027 with steaks, grilled goat. At $30, it’s a 4 star effort that I really enjoyed. Salut….