This blend of Tempranillo and Trincadeira took three days for me to rate. We opened it at the 13th Virtual Wine Tasting and the panel felt it had cardboard box, pepper, black cherry, dark chocolate and earthy notes. It was tannic right off the bat but we coaxed black licorice, dark cherry, sun dried tomato and a hoppy note out of it. I recall writing that this semi opaque wine of medium purple color was quite rich, if not a tad young and rushed. On night 1 it got 12/20 on my rating scale and a technical score of 91 points. I tried it again on night 2 and found it had a muted nose with some red currants and orange peel. The palate was slightly sour with blackberry, licorice and rhubarb. It was still earthy and tannic as heck. Night 3 is when this wine finally opened up for me. Black pepper, jammy blackberry and licorice on the nose gave way to a much smoother palate of iodine, blackberry, bramble and that earthiness. Oak is now evident but restrained making this wine quite complex. It has a smooth finish with well integrated tannins now and is in balance. I’m glad I got to witness a three day evolution of this highly rated $14 wine. It finished out at 92 points from me and gets a massive 5 stars for the QPR it brings. Drink till 2027. I would pair with a hearty steak if opening right now, or decant the heck out of it to soften the tannins. Salut….
The finale to our Virtual Wine Tasting was this stunner. I saved the best for last. It’s a 72/28 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon that is inky in the glass. On the nose we got black cherry, Damson plum, leather, fruitcake, hay, raisins, smoke and molasses. On the palate it was immediately evident that this wine is powerful, yet subtle. Very smooth with super fine grained tannins that are barely perceptible make for a gorgeous mouthfeel. Plums, fruit cake, black berry cassis and violet. The finish was a medium length affair that was simply delicious, not dry or acidic. A stunning wine that I gave 19 points out of 20. Technically speaking it is worthy of a massive 96 points from me which jibes with the pros. I would not bother pairing this beauty with anything- just drink it with a loved one and appreciate the depth of flavor, the complexity and the balance of this $70 treat. I have to go with 5 stars. Drink till 2025. Salut….
The 13th Virtual Wine tasting included this Right Bank Merlot. It was stunning, mature and a hit. The wine is at peak, the color showing a bit of bricking on the rim. The nose is classic Bordeaux- Earthy, smoky, molasses, black fruit jam, leather, tobacco, licorice, cloves…. that’s a lot of descriptors from the panel. On the palate it was delicious, even dreamy as one member piped out. Black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, mushroom and leather were really the key components. The wine is still robust, with very well integrated tannins and a hint of acidity. The mouthfeel is great and lingers on the decent length finish. On my 20 point scale it got 19. Technically speaking, it is a 93 point wine in my book, way higher than the pros rated it back in the day. 2010 was a great year for the Clarets and this example is showing how well the wines have held up and how they have evolved so nicely. Drink till 2025 and for $35 buy a case if you can find it. 5 stars. Salut….
Our 13th Virtual Wine Tasting finished the year off with a bang. I had ordered some sleepers that really hit the high notes. This Chardonnay was tasted both chilled and at room temperature. I would say it’s 60/40 that the warmer versions of our white series have done better. The tasters are often amazed at how much better the wines show when not chilled. For me this wine was very different when presented at different temps but at the end, received the same score albeit for different reasons.
In the glass it is quite dark yellow/gold. Some initial smells of old sock, banana, pear, apple and buttered popcorn were noted. On the palate it had a buttery mouthfeel with butterscotch, apple and a touch of citrus. The finish was long after a warm honey aftertaste.
The chilled version had a stronger nose, which is counter to past experience. Pound cake, some funk, pear tart, vanilla and honeydew were all observed on the nose. The palate was really tasty but some reckoned it was lighter than the warm version. The baking spice/yeasty notes were interesting to me and combined with the apple and citrus notes made for a really nice flavor profile. The wine is 5 years young at this point and will develop for another 5 years at the least. It gets a respectable 91 points from me, just shy of the pros. At $40 a pop, it’s a pricy treat that gets 4 stars. I would pair with Chicken Cordon Bleu or even grilled fish. Salut….
The finale for the 12th virtual wine tasting was a stunner. Dark purple, opaque and very powerful on the nose. Spice box, vanilla, cocoa powder, black cherry and jam were all noted as was, dare I say- plastic and banana. The palate gave us black fruit jam, black tea bursting with beautiful tannins that really coated the mouth. This wine was delicious and I made note that the oak use was very judicious and well played. There was a shot of pepper on the short finish, which took a few points off the table. Still young, it will develop nicely and drink well till 2030. I’m going lower than the pros with 92 points and 5 stars. $50 is not cheap, but this wine has loads of stuffing to it and will get better with time. Salut….
This Malbec was the Wine of the Night (WOTN) for many at the 12th virtual wine tasting. We enjoyed menthol, lilac, raspberry, Damson plum, smoke tar, leather, violets and gravel on the nose. That’s a lot of descriptors. On the palate it is very fruity with just enough tannic grip to give it structure. Plums, dark fruit, licorice and ‘Cognac’ flavors were noted and I felt the wine had a jammy concentration to it. There was a definitive jab of acidity on the decent length finish and the wine had a very pleasing mouthfeel. It was elegant and full of flavor making it the go-to drink after the tasting was over. Well made and worthy of 92 points from me which gets it 5 stars for the $25 price tag. Drink till 2025. Salut….
The second wine of the 12th virtual wine tasting was this NV blend of Grenache and Syrah. Semi opaque in the glass it had a medium purple shade. The tasters noted chocolate, white pepper, Kirsch, marshmallow s’mores, dark cherry, cedar, charcoal with earth, funk, spice and a nutty component. On the palate the wine had black pepper, lots of it. Cedar, cola, Birch and black cherry. For me, the tannins came out of nowhere to a big crescendo on the finish. The pepper component was a hit with some, for others it was just a tad overpowering. This wine was ranked very highly with the pros and cost us $23. I am giving it 89 points and 3 stars. Drink till 2022 (this wine is a mixed vintage of 2015/16). Salut….
At the 12th virtual wine tasting we drank this Viognier at room temp first and then chilled. As usual there is a marked difference in both smell and taste, but this time I preferred the chilled version- it seemed more focused on fewer key flavors, the warm version was all over the place. Here are some of the notes I recorded from the group.
Pale gold, straw or even Goldenrod in the glass. The nose has a sweetness to it with orange, honey, apricot, pear and floral notes. On the palate we got apricots, orange rind, bakers spices, ‘Icewine’ and a yeasty/bready flavor. The chilled version had melon, pineapple and that bread component on the nose. The palate was softer and smoother with tangerine, honeysuckle and gingerbread with good acidity. One of the tasters remarked that it tasted like good Riesling. Overall it scored decently and I would give it 90 points. Drink till 2022. For $17, it’s a nice intro to the varietal and gets 4 stars from me. 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….
This wine was the third offering at the 11th Virtual Wine Tasting. I have drunk an absolute ton of this wine from earlier vintages and was really looking forward to introducing the Ripasso style of winemaking to my friends. Unfortunately, this wine has been a letdown of late. See my previous posts on the Zenato Ripasso.
Our tasters said the following: Semi opaque, dark purple. On the nose- Blackberry jam, rich nose, floral, black licorice, peppery, leather, lilac. On the palate, berry. Sweeter that expected. Sharp finish. Spicy, green pepper, berry. Velvety but slightly bitter on the back end. Iodine and leather for the finish.
I was underwhelmed and am giving this wine 89 points yet again. For $25 it’s a solid 3 pointer but there are far better wines to spend that kind of loot on. Drink till 2025. Salut….