This was the last bottle of our 19th Virtual Wine Tasting. Intense purple in the glass- this wine had a rustic nose with earth, barnyard, dill, dried herbs, blackberry, cedar and dark fruit jam. On the palate the group got toasted marshmallow, jam, Angostura Bitters (?), blackberry, black cherry, cedar and dusty earth. My initial reaction was that this wine was yummy and very smooth. It is very balanced and the tannins are so fine grained it gives a beautiful mouthfeel. Richness and complexity galore make this an excellent wine that gets 94 points from me. At $60 it’s a pricy one for sure, but worth every drop. 5 stars. Drink till 2030 with grilled lamb, shish kebabs or pasta. Stunning Tempranillo and one of the best we have had in our tasting group IMHO. Salut….
The third wine at tasting #19 was this 100% Sangiovese. Medium purple, it was more opaque than I was expecting from this varietal. The tasters got aromas of raspberry, flowers, iodine, chocolate, black cherry and a medicinal note (Oak influence?). On the palate it was very smooth with grippy tannins and medium plus acidity. Flavors of black cherry, coffee, iodine, licorice and black tea were accompanied by that medicinal note which someone stated was akin to cherry cough syrup. It is a tasty, bold wine with lots of aging capacity. It will drink well now if you like them tannic, or mellow out in a cellar and be more approachable in 2025 till 2030. 91 points from me for this $33 effort makes it a 4 star wine. Salut….
This Malbec was the second wine in the 19th Virtual Wine tasting. Deep purple with nice legs it had aromas of tobacco, smoke, pepper, black cherry, plum, chocolate and black licorice. The tasters got rich plum, medium tannins, medium acidity, pepper, raspberry, cocoa powder, black cherry and licorice on a medium finish . No apparent oak notes btw. I liked it and for $26 this 90 point effort is getting 4 stars. Drink til 2028 with grilled meat. Salut….
We kicked off the 19th Virtual Wine Tasting with this French rosé, served at room temp and chilled for comparison. The wine is a lovely pale orange in the glass. The tasters found aromas and flavors of apricot, almond, tangerine, strawberry, citrus, marzipan and pink grapefruit. The chilled version was more intense with peach, quince, citrus, honeysuckle and green pear on the nose and peach, rhubarb (?), orange and crab apples on the palate. We felt the wine was a touch sour with a bitter aftertaste. The room temp version had medium acidity whilst the chilled one was more acidic. Overall I give the wine 88 points. Drink now with smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail or a salad Nicoise. At $20 per, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
Last up at the virtual wine tasting #18 was this Tempranillo. In the glass it is mostly opaque and a dark claret in color. The nose was a bit of a shocker to us…. figs, dried fruit, mulberry. It was port-like and not very fresh and inviting. On the palate it was gamy with vanilla, dried sage, cedar, bramble, dried fruit and ‘Plummy potpourri’ from one of the group. The wine has slight tannins and low acidity. It was a bit of a disappointment to me and I gave it a scant 13 points on our 20 point scoring sheet. Technically speaking, it got 89 points from me, and at $17 it is worthy of 3 stars. But wait…… I re-tasted it after a while and upped my score to 15+. It grew on me and the funkiness dissipated somewhat, allowing more fruit to come out versus tertiary notes. It is fully mature at this stage and needs to be drunk asap, but I’m not sure of pairings. The flavor profile is very advanced and not what I would want to drink with dinner. An interesting wine for sure compared to the ’04 Beronia I loved. Salut….
This winery makes some world class wines and this Zinfandel, with a blend of 9% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah, is simply delicious. Our virtual tasting group last had a Zin in August 2020- it was time. This wine is dark purple and opaque. The nose caught us all off-guard, it was an explosion of racy, jammy blackberry, white and black pepper, mulling spice (Nutmeg?), rose and a touch of funk. The palate was delicious but not as potent. The blackberry jam, pepper and spice were all present alongside ripe, smooth tannins and juicy acidity. The finish was a decent length. I scored this wine 91 points and initially thought it was my WOTN. For $33 this highly rated (95 points by the pros) is a steal worthy of 5 stars. The quality is very high and it will cellar nicely till 2028. It sports a hefty 14.9% ABV, which is hidden nicely, giving the wine a nice body and good mouthfeel. Pair it with hearty stews, grilled lamb chops or Beef Wellington. Salut….
I wanted to introduce the Dolcetto grape to my group of virtual tasters. This bottle was only $15 and got decent reviews and a 90 point rating. Unfortunately it was not a huge hit with the crowd. I noted it was 75% opaque and had a nice shade of purple in the glass. The nose came with cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, blackberry and pepper. The group got flavors of cherry, almond, strawberry, a touch of smoke and some meatiness on the palate. I wrote down- medium tannins and very juicy acidity. I think the acid component and somewhat lighter body was the detractor for most. We have been tasting some pretty heavy duty bottles in our group and the finesse and lighter style of the Dolcetto may have been overlooked in expectation of another big, brooding wine that is so imposing in the glass- quite the opposite of a young Brunello. I am close to the pros on the rating, giving it an 89 points. For the price- this s a decent Tuesday night drop that won’t break the bank, just pair it with some pasta and you’ll be fine. 3 stars for me. Drink now. Salut….
We started off Virtual tasting #18 with this Chardonnay, served at room temp and then chilled. The wine has a light, pale gold color to it. The tasters chimed in on the nose immediately with ‘bakery item’ (Brioche), crispy citrus, pear, and someone mentioned buttery. The palate gave us pear, beeswax, citrus, yellow apple, a hint of butter and a touch of minerality. It had a long finish by my clock. Medium acidity was noted and the wine had a nice mouthfeel. The chilled version was far more focused and mineral driven. On the nose we got more citrus but less pear, lemongrass and honey. Arty commented that she smelled ‘fruity pebbles’, Moxie agreed. On the palate there was some butterscotch, lemon and lime, but the overall impression was that it was much more steely and more acidic. I enjoyed the room temperature version better, giving it 92 points as a technical rating. The chilled version was very good and exactly what I was hoping for in a Chablis- citrus, stone, clean and not oaked to hell and back. I think this was one of the better whites we have tried at our tasting group, it appealed to a wider audience. For $24, this wine is a steal that gets 5 stars from me. BTW it came in #66 out of the top 100 in an illustrious magazine last year. Worth stocking up on for sure. I’m planning on finishing the bottle with some Shrimp Alfredo. Salut….
In our wine tasting group (virtual), there are many of us who enjoy Pinot. I ventured to New Zealand for this tasting of the varietal. New World without a doubt, this wine was 70% opaque and dark purple in the glass. On the nose, the tasters got rich strawberry, deli meat, tobacco, black tea, straw and some subtle barnyard notes. On the palate we tasted cherry, oak, funk, black pepper and Macha Green tea. Overall I thought it was a little too extracted for my taste but others really enjoyed it. 89 points from me and at $20 it gets 4 stars. The pros went 92 on this steal for Pinot. If you like the style, go for it! Drink till 2030 as this baby packs some well integrated tannins, balanced by some decent acidity. Salut….
Next up for the Virtual Wine Tasting was this Grenache from the same producer as our Rosè. A light garnet color and 50% opaque. We got earthy leather, caramel, black cherry, white chocolate, fresh cut mushroom and forest floor. The palate was mineral driven with some black cherry, smoke, cloves and black licorice. It was decent but not as earth shattering as I was hoping for ( it got 93 points from the pros!). 89 points and for $17 this wine got 3 stars from me. Drink till 2025. Salut….
Edit: It much gamier and smoother on day 2. I upgraded the score to 90 points and 4 stars.