Our second Cab Franc at tasting #27 was this much more restrained version from S.A. Our first foray into the varietal was a powerhouse Chinon. This wine was more elegant and softer- beginning with the medium ruby color in the glass. On the nose the group found aromas of lavender, violets, blackberry leaf, blueberry, cherry (cola), black pepper, creamy coffee (froth), caramel and a medicinal note as well as a touch of cough syrup (?). The palate was dry and we debated the acidity- High was the consensus. Lush, nicely integrated tannins led to a medium bodied wine with lovely flavors of blackberry leaf, lavender, vanilla, violets, and that medicinal note. A medium (-) finish took off a point or two from me yet I love this wine. 91 points for a $45 wine makes it a 4 star effort to drink till 2026 with Steak au Poivre. Salut….
The red wine theme for our 27th VWTC tasting was Cabernet Franc. We kicked it off with this classic Chinon from the Loire valley. As I opened the bottle and took a sniff I was very worried about the wine’s acceptance into our group. It was very, very funky with loads of herbaceous aromas- not everyones cup of tea mind you. This wine is deep purple colored with pronounced aromas of green pepper, dried herbs and earth. We also got funk, cave moss, overripe blackberry, sea salt, lavender, violet, plastic band aid, overripe cherry and sarsaparilla. There was definitely some minerality in this very complex wine. The palate was dry with medium (+) tannins, medium (+) acidity and was full bodied. In addition to the herbaceous notes we also got flavors of tart cherry on the plate, especially towards the back end. Oak was present by way of svelte cinnamon and nutmeg flavors and the wine finished to a medium length. I was pleasantly surprised how this $38 monster developed in the glass and became one of the group’s favorite wines. Some just love the funk! I gave it 91 points and would drink this over a 10 year window with hearty steaks, venison or rich stews. It gets 5 stars from me, just beware of the herbaceous quality of this varietal- times 10. Salut….
Our second wine of the 27th VWTC event was this dry Riesling that was served at room temperature first and then chilled. The group thought this pale straw wine had aromas and flavors of citrus, white geranium florals, caramel, honeysuckle, tangerine, pear skin and almonds. The tangerine was very prominent on the dry palate which had medium (+) acidity, a medium body and a slightly mineral edge to it. The finish was medium length and this wine was enjoyed by most.
Served chilled it was far more focused with greater citrus thrust, higher perceived acidity, some white peach in there as well as some unique additions of cotton candy and bananas in addition to the citrus (tangerine) and floral components. I was hoping for a crisp wine- this 89 pointer delivered. (One pro went as high as 96 points!). For $16- it’s a great value that gets 5 stars from me. Drink till 2026 with fresh seafood or baked chicken with green beans Almandine. Salut….
I wanted to introduce my tasting group to sparkling wines and the differences between Traditional method versus Tank method production. We kicked off the 27th VWTC event with this Spanish sparkler made from Macabeo in the traditional way. Apple, citrus, toast, caramel, yeast, and a wet hay component were noted by the group. On the palate we found a dry wine with high acidity and flavors of green (crisp) apple, citrus, almond (marzipan) and the autolytic characters we smelled- toast and yeast. A medium finish that left us somewhat refreshed yet yearning for the minerality this wine promised. I scored it 89 points and for $17 it’s a nice 4 star introduction to this style of wine from Spain. Drink till 2026. Salut….
We wound up the 26th Virtual Wine tasting event with this Cabernet blend from Afrique de Sud. Following the blockbuster Anwilka was no easy task but as soon as I smelled this deep ruby beaut I mentioned to the group that they were going to love it. I was not wrong.
At 7 years of age this wine is starting to show tertiary aromas of funk, barnyard, leather, cigar box and cassis alongside the primal blackberry, licorice, mint and Sarsaparilla. I thought it was a spectacular array of aromas- very complex. On the palate this wine was super smooth with very well integrated tannins, medium acidity, medium body and a medium length finish. The flavors were yummy- plum, blackberry, cassis, leather, milk chocolate, lavender and smoke. A beautifully melded package of wine components that is drinking at peak now and needs to be consumed by 2025. I awarded it 19/20 and will go with 93 points. $50 gets you a taste of this 5 star effort. I would pair it with braised leg of lamb or a Moroccan Tagine. Salut….
This blend, based on Syrah, was brooding in the glass. Deep ruby, opaque AF and sporting a 14% ABV. Our Virtual Wine Tasting group found it to be funky with pepper, smoked meat, blackcurrant jam, prune, black licorice, Sambucca and an earthy component. On the palate we agreed that this was a very tannic wine- still too young with aerating/decanting a must. Medium (-) acidity, medium (+) body and a medium length finish. Flavors of Maraschino and Luxardo cherries were evident, as was Espresso, Lapsang Souchong tea, pepper and blackcurrants. This was not a crowd favorite but I did mention to the group that it’s a very complex wine that needs more time to open up and allow the fruit to shine through the tannic veil. I will re-taste over the next few days. From me this is blockbuster gets 19/20 VWTC points and technically speaking- 92 pts. At $60 one might me hesitant to pop-n-pour but some extra cellaring will make this wine shine. 5 stars with a drinking window of 2024-2030. It needs a juicy Ribeye or Prime Rib with horseradish. Salut….
Our Virtual Wine Tasting group has drunk numerous Pinot Noirs over the past 2 years. This one hails from the southerly Santa Barbara county. I wanted to introduce a different style of Pinot to show how climactic differences and terroir can affect a single varietal wine. I was not disappointed with my choice. This medium-ruby wine had very defined legs in the glass and packs a 14% ABV punch. Aromas of black cherry, root beer, cola, Dr. Pepper, ripe raspberry, cinnamon, nutmeg and a saline note. The palate had medium tannins, medium (-) acidity, a medium weight body and brooding flavors of cranberry, mulling spices, black cherry and a tart cherry finish. 14/20 from me and 91 points for this $20 wine makes it a 5 star effort to drink over the next 5 years. Salut….
The 101st bottle tasted at our Virtual Wine tasting was this Albariño from Uruguay. As always- we tasted it at room temperature first and then chilled. The wine is a pretty, pale gold color. The room temp version had aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, peach, apricot, yellow pear, lemon zest and evidence of MLF and Sur Lie aging by way of yeast, bread and buttered popcorn. We agreed that the wine had high acidity, medium (+) body and a medium finish. I gave it 12/20 on the VWTC scale and 90 points.
The chilled version was a touch flabby- the flavors were muted but we did get buttered popcorn, green apple, tangerine, pear and honeysuckle. Quite a marked difference in flavor profiles. One thing that we noticed was a cotton candy flavor, albeit very faint. Someone mentioned a touch of residual sugar was noticed but at 3.2 g/l, it is considered a Dry wine. Chilled- this wine had a lower weight body and seemed less acidic. It scored 8/20 and I gave it 87 points.
To be fair, this is a decent wine that deserves the 90 points I originally assigned and for $17, it gets 4 stars. Drink now with seafood cocktails or a crisp salad. Salut….
Bottle #100 in the Virtual WIne Tasting group! We concluded the 25th tasting with this Spanish Tempranillo. The underlying lesson of the session was the use of oak. Our first red was made using old oak, the second bottle seeing a mix of new and old whilst this bottle would hopefully show off lots of new oak being a Reserva.
In the glass this wine is deep ruby- opaque AF. On the nose the lesson was quite obvious- Tar, smoky, coconut, chocolate, leather, charred oak barrel, dark berries, bramble, dust and a touch of heat from the alcohol (it blew away eventually).
On the palate this wine was a touch tart at the beginning with black cherry akin to Luxardos, dried black fruit compote, spice, clove, vanilla, cinnamon and a new one- ‘Nummy”. High tannins, medium acidity, full body and a long finish made this my WOTN that scored 18 marks. At $50 and 92 points it get 5 stars from me- delicious stuff that worked beautifully in my oak lesson. This wine needs a juicy leg of lamb, grilled and served with au gratin and a side of asparagus. At 12 years of age it is just now reaching maturity and will drink nicely till 2030. Salut….
The second red wine at the 25th Virtual tasting was from the same producer as the first bottle. This one is a year younger and has been blended with Malbec, Merlot and Cab Franc. A mix of new and used oak in the winemaking allowed us to compare flavors and aromas with a wine that relied mostly on used oak.
In the glass this blend is medium garnet, slightly less opaque than the Cab Sav we tasted previously. Leather, tobacco, black currant, black cherry, blackberry and cassis aromas were quite evident on the nose. The palate was dry, slightly tart with medium tannins, medium (-) acidity and light bodied. Flavors of black currant, spice, leather, tobacco, blood/iron and orange marmalade but I did make a note that this wine was a touch ‘thin’. Scoring it 91 points was a little off from the pros. This $50 bottle gets 3 stars from me and only 14 marks on the tasting scale. Drink now with lighter meat dishes. Salut….