Deep ruby colored with really thick, slow moving legs. The nose has a whiff of alcohol that needs to dissipate- I now get pronounced aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice, smoke, coffee, vanilla and menthol. The cassis is en pointe. On the palate this wine is dry with medium acidity and high tannins (I forgot to mention the it stained the walls of the glass when I swirled). A full body was to be expected and I get rich flavors of ripe blackberry, black plum, cassis and the associated oak derived notes and menthol. The richness of this wine continues on to a medium (+) length finish. It’s a delicious blend of Cab Saver, Syrah and Merlot that gets 93 points from me and for $35- 5 stars. Drink with hearty meat (steak) till 2029. Salut….
From the South of France comes this blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan that is deep ruby colored and seriously opaque. The thick, blobby legs warn of the incoming 15.2% ABV, watch out. The nose, once the alcohol blows off, gives me aromas of ripe blackberry, tons of vanilla, blackcurrant pastis, black licorice, clove and ripe blueberry. The palate is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins, full body and heady flavors of black and blue fruit, lots of oak nuance and a somewhat astringent mid palate streak. A short finish closes it out. The impression I get is that this wine has some ripe fruit quality along with lashings of oak yet they allowed the green stems to unbalance the wine with that bitterness. A shame, because it started out on a high note for me. 88 points for this $28 wine makes it a 3 star effort to drink with grilled Lamb chops. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Nearly opaque, this deep ruby colored wine has a tinge of blue coloring on the edges. The nose has aromas of black cherry, pomegranate, red licorice candy and ripe raspberry. A touch of oak is also present. The palate is dry with medium tannins and medium acidity. There is a sourness to the palate but I get red fruit, red licorice and charcoal. The body is medium and the finish is short. The tannins linger mind you and there is some juiciness on the back end that I am enjoying. It’s a Trader Joes special that runs $6. Great for a party, this 85 pointer will not break the bank and can be served with burgers, dogs or even pizza. 3 stars from me for this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon to drink by 2024. Salut….
Medium ruby colored in the glass- this blend of Syrah and Nero D’Avola has aromas of plum, licorice, game, violets, blackberry leaf, some licorice and a caramel/burnt sugar note. The palate is dry with medium acidity and silky smooth, medium level tannins that melt away gracefully. Medium bodied, this wine has nice flavors of plum, florals, blackberry and a touch of licorice alongside that caramel note. The finish is mid length and I get a charred wood note with more anise. The tannins make a comeback to remind me that they are still grippy. A nice bottle that ran me $11! I would drink this with stews, leaner cuts of meat and pasta for sure over the short term- till 2026. I give it 89 points and 5 stars. Salut….
Closing out the 28th virtual tasting session was this stunning Syrah from the Northern Rhone. Opaque- deep purple in color it revealed a rich nose of game, licorice, iodine, anise, blood/iron, boysenberry, very dark fruit compote with a medicinal note as well as an image of really black blackberries. The palate was smooth. Dry with low acidity and fine-grained medium (+) tannins that led to flavors of meat, cinnamon, caramel, blackberry coulis, iodine, charred oak and iron. This full bodied wine finished with a medium length burst of delicious, complex flavors. It tied at 19 points on our scale as my WOTN and garners 94 points. For $60 this stunner is a 5 star treat wine to be drunk till 2039. I would pair it with grilled Hangar steak slathered in a Roquefort sauce. Salut….
I love a CDP, as does our virtual tasting group but this one was not a crowd pleaser. Medium ruby colored it had pronounced aromas of game (road kill), tomato, sawdust, violets, herbs de Provence and baked/stewed blueberry. The palate was dry with well integrated medium (+) tannins, low acidity and a medium body. Flavors of game, stewed blueberry, charcoal, smoke, and a waxy component were noted. The finish was decently long for this 91 point wine. I scored it 15 points on our grading scale and for $50 it only gets 3 stars from me. The pro’s went as high as 96 points for this old vine Grenache blended with Syrah and Mourvedre. I would drink this angular wine with stews or perhaps a venison roast. Cellar wise- it should go till 2030. Salut…..
Deep purple- gamy on the nose with licorice, garigue, raspberry and black fruit. Charred wood notes and stewed blackberry finish it off. On the palate this Grenache/Syrah blend is dry with somewhat coarse tannins, medium (-) acidity and a medium body. I get definitive game and earthy notes with dark red fruit and oak influence from the charred wood. Licorice is quite present. The tannins smooth out towards the back end where the finish is medium in length and includes a Lapsang Souchong tea component. A very serviceable wine that gets 88 points from me to drink till 2026. At $13 it’s a relative bargain that gets 4 stars. Salut….
Deep hues of ruby along with a hint of age- a garnet edge. The nose has lovely, pronounced aromas of black plum, blackcurrant, licorice, vanilla, blackberry jam, cedar and spice box. The palate is dry with medium acidity and well-melded tannins that are grippy yet unobtrusive. The rich, ripe black fruit flavors dominate but I get some charred oak, black tea, licorice and spices in this full bodied beaut. It flows seamlessly to a somewhat tart and slightly tannic finish that lasts a good 20 seconds. I really like this winery, they produce enjoyable wines that age well. This one will keep going until 2030 at the earliest and pair well with grilled meats, rich stews and wild game. 93 points from me for this $40 wine makes it a 5 star effort. Salut….
A blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah, this Rhone wine has a medium ruby color in the glass. The nose has a perfume meets rich plums and blackberry. I am desperate to find the garigue and game these two varietals are known for but they elude me for oak influence of vanilla and coffee along with some green leaf hints. The palate is interesting- dry and a touch tart with medium (+) tannins and medium to full body. I get a definitive charred wood note along with the black fruit, vanilla, coffee and tomato leaf. There might be a touch of licorice in there to boot. The wine gets pretty grippy on the back end as it flexes its muscles on the medium length finish. I like it but feel it could use some cellaring. It’s a bit one dimensional right now and the tannins need to mellow out a bit. It got big scores from the pros but in my book this $30 bottle is a 91 pointer that gets 4 stars. Drink from 2024-2030. Salut….
It’s my birthday so this treat got pulled to go along with char-grilled New York Strip steaks. At 10 years of age it is still deep ruby colored with no signs of bricking. The nose is intense with gorgeous aromas of ripe raspberry, red licorice, violets, red plums, vanilla, garigue, coffee and black cherry- it is amazingly complex and the smells are making my mouth water. The palate is dry, slightly tannic and delicious. Super smooth and full bodied, this blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah presents a mouthful of flavors and great structure from the medium firm tannins that are integrating nicely along with medium (+) acidity. The finish is quite long and tends toward red and sour cherry with raspberry supporting. The tannins are fine grained on the back end and caress my gums ever so. A beautiful wine that is in youth right now and will drink well till 2030 at the least. 94 points for this silky smooth $100 offering makes it a 5 star wine to be opened at special occasions. Salut….