Six Vintages of Trivento’s Eolo Malbec

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-11-2014

Victoria Prandina. Credit: Trivento.

Victoria Prandina. Credit: Trivento.

“Winemaking is an art not limited by age or gender,” says Victoria Prandina. As a young woman charged with crafting an old vine, single-vineyard Malbec, she proves this maxim.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Prandina, who makes Trivento’s “Eolo” Malbec in Argentina’s Mendoza region. She’s a dynamic person and winemaker, and her Malbecs are as structured and deep as they are refined and elegant.

We talked a lot about the vineyard, which sits at 3,200 feet, perched just 30 feet above the Mendoza River in the Lujan de Cuyo appellation. The 49-acre vineyard was planted to Malbec in 1912, but just 9 acres of prime plots are used for the Eolo bottling.

The wine is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, around 70% of which are new. The oak may help integrate the tannins and smooth the wine out, but I was pleased at the lack of overt or heavy-handed flavor elements from the new oak.

Trivento is owned by Chilean powerhouse Concha y Toro, and Eolo generally retails for around $70. 2005 was the inaugural vintage of Eolo, and 2010 is the current release, so this vertical captured them all. I have to say, I was impressed with these wines. All of them were compelling, evolving and worthy of contemplation and cellar time.

I met Prandina and her colleague, marketing manager Silvina Barros, at Ripple in DC’s Cleveland Park, one of my favorite spots for any wine dinner. My notes from the comparative tasting are below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Reviews: American Odds & Ends

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-05-2014

I don’t know how else to describe them.

These odds and ends were mixed into blind-tasted samples of California Cabernets and Chardonnays, Oregon Pinot Noirs, South African wines, stuff from everywhere. The dry wines were tasted blind, as they were mixed in with other regions, but I tasted the dessert wines sighted.

All wines were received as trade samples.

Review: 2012 Vie Winery “Belle-Amie” RoséCalifornia, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $18
Looks like the color of a cherry Jolly Rancher. A kick of pepper is the first thing I notice on the nose, followed up by roses, watermelon and wild strawberries. The palate displays a big, creamy feel along with persistent acid. The watermelon and strawberry fruit tastes fresh and ripe, there’s also this lime and grapefruit aspect that keeps it snappy. The white pepper and herbal undertones work great. Full, complex, but the acid makes it food-friendly. An impressive rosé blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Macari Chardonnay Early WineNew York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $17
Faint bubbles, straw colored. Aromas of white peach, bright honeysuckle, lime zest, crushed rocks and sea shells. Medium-bodied with tingling acid on the palate. Crisp green pears and apples, sweet white peach, tangy, minerals. Very bright and steely, but there are also some honey and sweet floral notes. Really tasty stuff. Ideal for deli sandwiches, salads and seafood. They call it an early wine because it was harvested September 7, bottled after a brief fermentation on October 26, and released a few days later. An exciting wine. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Nico Wines BarberaCalifornia
SRP: $30
Medium ruby color. Smells of ripe cherries, roses and red licorice candy. Medium bodied with medium acid and soft tannins. Juicy with cherries and sweet currant jam flavors, backed up by some earth and vanilla bean. A bit candied, but a fun, pleasant wine for sure. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Stinson Vineyards MeritageVirginia
SRP: $25
Smells soft and sweet, lots of fresh blackberries and plums, mixed in with some mocha and toast. Medium tannins on the palate, some crisp acid, supporting fresh black cherry and plum fruit. I get some hazelnut and chestnut flavor, as well as some mocha. The combination of nutty and bright fruit flavors makes this a unique and tasty wine. A blend of 35% Merlot, 25% Petite Verdot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Macari “Bergen Road”New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $46
On the nose, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, all of it fresh and ripe. Silky and velvety, blueberry and black cherries, some nice acid adds tanginess, full and pure, some dark chocolate, earth, bell pepper and herbal elements, even some rocky-granite notes. Complex and long on the finish. Really delicious stuff, not overdone or bothersome. Tasted blind, I thought I was tasted an upper tier Washington State Bordeaux blend. But, no, this is an impressive Long Island blend of 56% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 2% Petite Verdot. Wow. (91 points IJB)

(The following dessert wines were tasted sighted.)
Review: 2011 Macari Riesling “Block E”New York, Finger Lakes
SRP: $40
Yellow-orange color. Aromas of sweet marmalade, honeycomb, orange peel, banana and oil. Rich on honeyed, with lots of apricot and dried pineapple fruit. Honeycomb, sweet marmalade, lemon oil and nut flavors add complexity. A lot going on here, and not overly sweet, but a bit low on the acid perhaps. 12.9% alcohol and 180 g/l of sugar. An impressive effort. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Stinson Vineyards Tannat “Imperialis”Virginia, Central Region, Monticello
SRP: $29/500ml
Nose of smoke, fig paste, currant jam, caramelized sugar and charcoal. Fresh and fruity, with lots of fig and cassis. The smoky, earthy tones are really nice, and there’s some sweet coconut and caramel as well. Sweet, but not too much, and the acid keeps it balanced. One of the most impressive dessert reds I’ve had from Virginia. This 100% Tannat is fermented in open top puncheons and aged in old French oak, bottled unfined or unfiltered. 16% alcohol. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2009 Hawk and Horse Vineyards “Latigo”California, North Coast, Lake County
SRP: $45/375ml
Dark purple colored. Aromas of chocolate-covered raisins, raspberry candies, sweet black licorice and caramel. There’s also a nice bourbon cask-coconut aspect. Nice structure, with some coffee grind tannins, rich blackberries and raspberries, some mocha and coconut. Sweet flowers and caramel notes on the finish. A delicious, but also intriguing, dessert wine. Not subtle, with 17.2% alcohol and 13% residual sugar, but tasty. This 100% Cabernet is fortified with high-proof, oak-aged brandy. (89 points IJB)

Wine Reviews: Languedoc-Roussillon

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-15-2014

I spent five days in January touring the Languedoc-Roussillon region, meeting winemakers and tasting through a slew of organic wines from the region. Before departing, though, I tasted through several wines from the region. before my trip. Like many wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon, they show a lot of character and retail for about $20 or less.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Review: 2012 Calmel + J Joseph Chardonnay Villa Blanche - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc
SRP: $13
A medium gold color in the glass. Aromas of whipped honey, white flowers, chamomile tea, green and yellow pear. On the palate, this wine shows medium acid on a medium-bodied frame. The green pear and honeydew flavors are light, matched with up by notes of chamomile tea, honey and lemon. A sea shell note lingers onto the finish. I like the flavors, but I don’t get a lot of depth out of this wine. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Mas de Guiot Vin de Pays du Gard Cabernet-Syrah - France, Languedoc, Vin de Pays du Gard
SRP: $15
The nose is full of sweet red and black currant fruit, mixed in with some pepper. Juicy currant and plum fruit leads the way on the palate, with fine-grained tannins offering a bit of support along with medium acid. Roasted coffee and toasted oak flavors add to the overall easy-drinking approach. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Mas de Guiot Vin de Pays du Gard Grenache-Syrah - France, Languedoc, Vin de Pays du Gard
SRP: $10
Aromas of leather, roasted lamb and pepper over top of juicy plums. The tannins have a bit of grip and the acid shows through. Blueberry mixes with plums, and the rich fruit is backed up by pepper and soy flavors. A generously fruity wine, but it shows a lot of rustic, earthy flavors that make me crave burgers or lamb chops. Despite the “Grenache-Syrah” label this is 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Domaine Sainte-Eugénie Corbières - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières
SRP: $15
A bright medium ruby color Aromas of bright red plums and currants, some red apple peel, and lots of earthy-spicy aromas. On the palate, the fine-silky tannins a whole lot of freshness from the acid. Nice cracked pepper, meat and earthy flavors. Tasty stuff, probably more of a near-term drinker. I’d love to open this with some roasted lamb and veg. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Domaine Sainte-Eugénie Corbières La Réserve - France, Languedoc, Corbières
SRP: $20
On the nose, beef, pepper and charcoal blend in with blackberry and currant fruit. Juicy and fresh in its approach, with fine tannins and medium+ acid. Red cherries and currants, along with black pepper, dried Provencal herbs and charcoal, a bit of beef. Sleek and drinking perfectly well now. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Domaine Sainte-Eugénie Vin de Pays d’Hauterive Le Clos - France, Languedoc, Vin de Pays d’Hauterive
SRP: $11
Snappy cherries and raspberries on the nose, bright red flowers and some pepper. Tart on the palate, with grainy tannins supporting the cherry and red currant fruit. Some loamy, dusty notes on the finish. Not very complex, but fresh and definitely food-friendly. 45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache and 15% Cabernet. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Calmel + J Joseph Faugères - France, Languedoc, Faugères
SRP: $15
A smoky nose, like charcoal, hot asphalt over top of the red and black plum fruit, currant skins, dried flowers, leather. On the palate, the freshness is very nice, firm but manageable tannins, some crispness from the acid. Dark plum, currant and pomegranate fruit is snappy but smoky. I like the charcoal, chestnut and black pepper notes. A blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Carignan. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Calmel + J Joseph Saint-Chinian - France, Languedoc, Saint-Chinian
SRP: $13
Aromas of juicy blackberries and plums, smoke, sweet lavender, charcoal. Nice grip to the tannins, pervasive freshness, it forms a silky texture. Darker and more structured than the 2011 Faugeres, this wine shows rich blackberry and currant fruit, mixed in with a hefty dose of pepper, dusty soil and smoke. A nice kick of lavender and rosemary on the finish. Full and plush, but there’s a lot going on in here. 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 10% Carignan. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Calmel + J Joseph Vin de Pays des Côtes de Brian Vieux Carignan - France, Languedoc, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Brian
SRP: $19
Clear bold purple color. Black cherries and blackberries on the nose, with some dust notes, pencil shavings and tree bark, as weird as that may sound. Firm but fine tannins and medium acid, creamy mouthfeel. Lots of dark roasted plums and blackberries, earthy and inky notes, some pepper, capers and anise. Dark and peppery with some well-integrated toast. A lot going on here with this vin de pays Carignan. (89 points IJB)

Wine Reviews: Gloria Ferrer Bubbles

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-08-2014

Over the years, I’ve found that Gloria Ferrer produces consistently solid Sonoma County bubbles in a range of styles. And at about $20 a pop, they tend to be good bargains. These four sparklers from Gloria Ferrer were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Review: N.V. Gloria Ferrer Brut
California, Sonoma County
SRP: $22
Lemon cake, yellow apple and fresh biscuit aromas. Tangy acid, with lemon crème and green apple and white cherry flavors, backed up by toasted biscuit, honey and a slight sweet herbal note. Fun stuff, a blend of 91% Pinot Noir and 9% Chardonnay. (87 points IJB)

Review: N.V. Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs
California, Sonoma, Carneros
SRP: $22
Aromas of white and yellow flowers, lemon curd, toasted bread and a lot of minerals. Tangy acid kicks off the palate, which shows yellow apple and apricot fruit. I love the shot of minerals, chalk and river stones, and the hazelnut note on the finish. Crisp, some impressive complexity, and very good for the price. (88 points IJB)

Review: N.V. Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs
California, Sonoma, Carneros
SRP: $22
Copper colored. Aromas of fresh red apples, wild strawberries, sea salt and toasted bread. Fresh acid, some nice creaminess on the palate, I like the mix of apricot and red apple peel flavors. Some mineral spice, musk and brioche as well. Tasty stuff, showing some nice complexity. This Blanc de Noirs is actually a blend of 92% Pinot Noir and 8% Chardonnay. (88 points IJB)

Review: N.V. Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi
California, Sonoma, Carneros
$22
A gold-copper color. Aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossoms, apple juice some biscuity notes. The palate tangy acid and fine bubbles. Flavors of sweet apple juice, ruby red grapefruit, wildflowers, white peach, some biscuity notes just a bit of sea salt. Pinot Noir with 8% Chardonnay and 3% Muscat. I’m not a huge fan of the sweetness in this wine, but it could be a lot of fun for brunch, picnics and parties. (85 points IJB)

Wine Reviews: 2008 Italian Reds

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-01-2014

This week we’re focusing on a few diverse Italian reds from the 2008 vintage. Unfortunately, there were only four of these beauties received as samples, so the wines were tasted sighted.

Review: 2008 Azienda Agricola Montevetrano Montevetrano Colli di Salerno IGT
Italy, Campania, Colli di Salerno IGT
SRP: $80
A magenta purple color. Quite perfumed for a young wine, with roses, sour cherries, red currants and dusty soil. On the palate, the acid is bright and the tannins are like granite. Lovely tart currant and sour cherries mix with an endless display of non-fruit flavors: oregano, black pepper, chestnut, green olive and soy, all seamless and integrated. Oak nuances add complexity. Pure, fresh, sure to be long-lived (easily 10-15+). But even as such a young wine, it’s simply beautiful. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Aglianico. (93 points IJB)

Review: 2008 Damilano Barolo Cannubi
Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
SRP: $77
Deep aromatics, plums, black currants, cedar, smoke and an aroma that reminds me of a freshly paved road. Gritty tannins but the acid rips. This wine is full and packed with red and black currants and cranberries. More sweet oak and cedar than I would expect, but it’s matched with loamy soil, granite, leather and tar flavors. Green olive and incense notes come out with time and linger on the long finish. Young but beautiful. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2008 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino
Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
SRP: $65
A medium ruby-cherry color. Red and black currants and cherries on the nose mixed with floral perfume, lavender, black olive and oregano notes. On the palate, the cherry and currant fruit has a fresh, tart feel. Firm tannins for structure, medium+ acid. Lots of earthy-herbal flavors (olive, granite, tobacco, leather). Long, graceful finish with complex mineral notes. Surprisingly expressive at this age, the wine shows a lot of elegance but will easily improve over the next five to ten years. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2008 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
SRP: $70
That beautiful deep purple-black Amarone color. Richly floral on the nose (violets, rose petals), deep black cherry and currant notes, lots of mocha-toasty goodness. Firm tannic backbone, medium- acid, richly textured. Full of black cherry and red currant fruit, a bit of sweet raisins. The roasted coffee, charcoal, caramel, tobacco and Brazil nut flavors are long and complex. I keep coming back to this Brazil nut flavor, it’s crazy, but I love it. Big and bold for sure, but well-done. 16.5% alcohol, a blend of 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 5% each Croatina and Oseleta. (90 points IJB)

Wine Reviews: California ABC Whites

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-15-2014

Here at Terroirist, we receive and review a lot of California Chardonnays. But this week we’re focusing on a grab bag of ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) whites. All wines were received as trade samples and tasted blind.

Review: 2012 Conundrum Wines White Table Wine
California
SRP: $20
I recently walked through a flower warehouse, and this wine smells like everything in there. Some of these intense floral notes are a bit pungent, and there’s this lychee and white peach stuff as well. On the palate, this is rich and ripe, all sorts of melon, grapefruit, yellow apple. I get this other honey, orange marmalade, lychee nut and lavender stuff going on. The acid is a bit low for my tastes, and there’s sweetness to the perfume. I’ve liked and disliked previous vintages of this wine, but the 2012 seems to show some balance. What grapes are in here? I don’t know. That’s their whole shtick. Sure tastes like Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling and possibly Gewurz. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Smith-Madrone Riesling
California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
SRP: $27
A very light yellow color. Aromas of grapefruit, white flowers, some apricot and a distinct crushed limestone note. The acid tingles the palate as the apricot, creamy peach and green melon roll in. There’s an awesome lime juice and rock quarry aspect that reminds me of the Mosel, which I’m not sure I’ve ever said about a Napa Riesling. Very crisp and lively, this likely has some fun evolution ahead of it. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Fess Parker Riesling Santa Barbara County
California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $18
Smells rich, like orange marmalade, white peach and some of those circus peanut candies. Creamy texture, a bit low on the acid for my Riesling tastes. Lots of lychee, also some honey, perfume and a pungent wildflower note. A bit simple, lacking precision, but tasty. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Magnolia Court Sauvignon Blanc
California, Central Coast
SRP: $15
A green-tinged yellow color. Bright nose of lemon-lime, some grapefruit, mango, sea salt. Medium+ bodied, richly-textured with green and yellow apple fruit, nutty, but a sense of vibrancy from the acid. I get a salted nut and apricot note, some honey. Impressive for the price. Includes 19% Chenin Blanc. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Star Lane Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Estate Grown
California, Central Coast, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
SRP: $22
Medium straw-yellow color. A burst of grapefruit and white peach on the nose, underlined by some sage and green onion. Crisp acid but a lot of creaminess to the mouthfeel. Richly textured, with honey and almond notes accenting the yellow apple, pineapple and pear fruit. A slight herbal tone, but it takes a back seat to the creamy, honeyed fruit. Some tart green apple peel and mineral components on the finish. Creamier, less green in style, I’m digging this Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented and aged in 90% stainless steel and 10% French oak. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Alta Maria Sauvignon Blanc
California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $18
Aromas of honeysuckle, lemon-lime, a hint of green herbs and white pepper. Medium-bodied, lots of acid keeps this thing tart and lively. Grapefruit, lots of tangerine, the fruit is backed up by notes of sea salt and fresh green herbs and peppers. Tangy, focused, with some significant complexity. I’m impressed, especially considering the price. 100% stainless steel, no maloactic fermentation. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Grgich Hills Fumé Blanc
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $30
On the nose: classic Sauvignon aromas of green grass, snap peas, white peach, honeysuckle, green apple. Medium-bodied, medium+ acid provides some tang. Green apple, grapefruit, orange pith, backed up by green pea and herbs, slightly less intense than I was assuming from the nose. Some wildflower, nutty and almond notes on the finish. Tasty stuff, but quite intense and herbal. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Kelly Fleming Wines Sauvignon Blanc
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $36
Clear, light yellow color. Aromas of orange blossom, white peach, honeysuckle, some pineapple. Medium+ body, medium acid, there’s a waxy-creamy aura to this wine. A lot of nice peach and pear fruit, glazed with a mix of honey and almond. Rich and forward, but I like the tang and the floral, herbal and mineral notes on the finish. Impressive depth. Made from primarily the Musque clone, this wine sees a combination of French oak and stainless steel. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc
California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $16
Clear straw color. So much guava on the nose, it just bursts from the glass, and there’s also some hay and grass. On the palate, tangy acid on a medium-bodied frame. Grapefruit flavors dominate, but there’s still that guava nectar and a slight green pepper note. Really tasty stuff that would please many a palate. (87 points IJB)

Wine Reviews: Argentina & Chile

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 02-08-2014

This week we’re taking a break from a run of California reviews and focusing on South America’s top two: Argentina and Chile. Terroirist received these crisp Sauvignon Blancs and rich reds as trade samples. Because South American samples are received somewhat sporadically, all wines in this reported were tasted sighted.

Review: 2012 Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Sauvignon Blanc Los Vascos - Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $10
Aromas of grapefruit, some green melon and some grassy-herbal notes. Tangy acid on the palate, with grapefruit, orange peel, accented by notes of cilantro and mint. A bit simple, but a tasty, crowd-pleasing wine. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Viña Peñalolén Sauvignon Blanc
Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $13
A light lemon peel color. Lots of grapefruit and lemon on the nose, along with a strong kick of bell pepper and jalapeno. Medium-bodied with some nice creaminess and medium+ acid. Grapefruit, white peach and lime fruit blends together with white pepper and jalapeno. A bit lacking in depth and length, but clearly a nice wine that would work great with salads. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Hacienda Araucano (Lurton) Sauvignon Blanc Reserva
Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley, Lolol
SRP: $11
Some cantaloupe and grapefruit and a green grass note. Crisp and tangy on the palate, with green melon and grapefruit, along with a good amount of minerals, a nice but of sage and rosemary note. A hint of grass, but not too much. Crowd-pleasing stuff. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Classic
Chile, San Antonio Valley, Leyda Valley
SRP: $13
Very pale straw color. Nose of grapefruit, white flowers, green onion, sea shells. Clean and crisp on the palate, with lively acid, some apricot and white peach. Quite intensely herbal, even for my palate, with flavors that remind me of tomatillos and green chili peppers. But there’s enough freshness and juicy fruit that I still think it works out. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2008 Cousiño-Macul “Lota”
Chile, Maipo Valley
SRP: $70
On the nose, charcoal, iron and bell pepper flavors dust the blueberry and plum fruit. Dense on the palate, but very tangy, with firm tannins. Blackberry and plum fruit abounds, backed up by notes of mocha, sweet oak, black pepper, anise and tobacco. Big, but also pure and vibrant with a long life ahead of it. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Catena Alta
Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $45
A wonderfully complex nose of plums, black cherries, violets, lots of earth, mineral and mocha. Solid tannic structure but there’s plenty of acid. Juicy black cherries and plums, tasting jammy but fresh at the same time. Pepper, charcoal, vanilla, clove and lingering iron and graphite all add complexity. Made from vines grown upwards of 3,000 feet, I’d love to taste this again in three or four years. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Graffigna Malbec Reserve
Argentina, San Juan
SRP: $11
A nose of spicy cherries, cola and toast. The palate shows juicy tannins and smooth acid. Dark plum and blackberry fruit, coated with mocha, toast and charcoal. A bit too toasty and smoky perhaps, but still a fun wine. (85 points IJB)

Wines scoring <85 points
2011 Cultivate Malbec “The Gambler”
Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $15
Smells savory and sweet, with charcoal and roasted plums. Tart on the palate, with easy-sipping tannins. The blue and black fruits are tart but sweet at the same time. Some mocha and basic spice accents the finish. A good party wine, but not the most complex Malbec.

Wine Reviews: Portugal

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-25-2014

A diverse group of wines to say the least. These dry white, dry red and fortified wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Review: 2012 Gazela Vinho Verde
Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $7
Slight fizz. Aromas of grapefruit, lime and a slight herbal note. Tangy and fresh, with very fine bubbles. The grapefruit, lemon and margarita salt flavors are bright and easy. Seems like a perfect summer beach wine. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Quinta de Gomariz Loureiro Vinho Verde Colheita Seleccionada
Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $14
A straw-slightly grassy color. Bursting with lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle and minerals on the nose. Starts off with a big dose of acid, but the creamy fruit comes in to back it up (green melon, pineapple, apricot). I like the kick of minerals and the dried honey and white tea aspects to this wine. Crisp, very clean and refreshing. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Aphros Vinho Verde Daphné
Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $23
Nose smells of apricot, white peach, and an aroma that reminds me newly unpackaged rubber. There’s also an oily, hazelnut aroma as well. Crisp, medium+ acid with some richness to the body. Delicious green apple, white peach, lime and fresh apricot, accented with sea salt, oyster shells. Also some nutty, creamy, whipped honey aspects. Clean, floral, mineral-driven. A beautiful Vinho Verde, 100% Loureiro, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in old oak and chestnut barrels. Has the mineral and oceanic elements of a granite soil Muscadet and the stone fruit purity of a Mosel Riesling. I’m seriously impressed. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Quinta da Raza Alvarinho Grande Escolha
Portugal, Minho, Vinho Regional Minho
SRP: $11
Pale straw color. Aromas of melon, guava, and some sea salt and lime aspects. Tangy on the palate, with creamy honey, green melon, lime. There’s some real pop and punch to this white. High acid but juicy and waxy in texture. A great wine to have with salads. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Casal do Paço Padreiro Vinho Verde Afros Silenus
Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $?
A magenta-purple color. Wonderfully smoky and meaty on the nose, with pepper, dried flowers and pickling spices. Wow, the acid is so tart on the palate, but there’s enough dusty tannin to fight back. Mineral-driven, with black cherry and tart cranberry fruit, backed up by green and black pepper, pickling spices and charcoal. A tingling and tart wine. I love it, and I’d love it even more with some grilled sausage and peppers. From the Vinhão grape. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Quinta de Roriz Douro Prazo de Roriz
Portugal, Douro
SRP: $16
Nose shows bright cherries and cranberries on the nose, with some roses, anise and earth. Fully-bodied with tangy acid, chewy tannins tannins. Currant fruit leads the way, and I get a lot of earth smoke and iron. Some anise and sweet lavender on the finish. Tasty stuff for a great price. A blend of red Port grapes including Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Amarela. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Prats and Symington Douro Post Scriptum de Chryseia
Portugal, Douro
SRP: $25
A light purple color. Roasted coffee and smoke accent the plum and black cherry aromas. Nice grit from the tannins but freshness comes from the acid. The black cherry and plum fruit is pure and crisp, backed up by coffee, rich loam and a pleasant dose of vanilla and cinnamon. The finish is long and delicious. Impressive structure, this wine has some staying power. A blend of 56% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 7% Tinta Barroca and 7% Tinta Roriz. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Sandeman Porto Vintage
Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $80
Dark, lush purple color. Aromas of brandied plums, blackberry jam, charcoal and violets. So full and big on the palate, with prune and blackberry fruit mixed with sweet coconut shavings and chocolate. A deep sense of crushed rocks and granite. Sweet and saucy but still fresh. Long, full, intense finish. So good, but so young. If you got married in 2011, bury some of this for your 30th! The first declared vintage since 2007, and it’s awesome. (92 points IJB)

Wine Reviews: California Red Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-11-2014

No Cabs here, no Pinots. But if you’re looking for some cold weather reds, perhaps some of these California reds will do the trick. All wines were received as trade samples and tasted blind.

Review: 2010 Vie Winery Syrah White Hawk Vineyard
California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $45
Smells really smoky, like barbecued meat over the grill, on top of tons of fruit: blackberries, rich blueberries and plums. Big and bold on the palate, but solid tannin structure and some fresh acid. Blueberries and black cherries lead the way. I like the mix of brandied plums and root beer with the peppered steak and charcoal flavors. Rich, but there’s enough balance that it’s easy to drink. Really delicious and seductive stuff. Fermented with 3% Viognier. (92 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Fess Parker Syrah
California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $18
Aromas of plums and blueberries, along with some caramel and smoky notes. Juicy and ripe on the palate, with smooth tannins and, surprisingly, some acid. The plummy, blueberry fruit blends with caramel and a dash of pepper. Creamy and tasty, showing a bit of freshness. Drink up. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Dierberg Syrah Estate Grown
California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
SRP: $34
Concentrated on the nose with black cherry, pepper, some blueberry, violet, root beer. Firm, gritty tannins, moderate acid. The fruit is creamy and rich yet full of nuance. Black cherry, blueberry and dark plums mix with secondary flavors of black olive, sweet barbecue sauce, mocha, even a bit of a rocky-mineral aspect. Full and pretty, but this also shows staying power. If it had just a bit more acid, I’d be even more excited. Regardless, this is a very pretty wine. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2009 Highflyer Centerline
California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
SRP: $22
Lush and full on the nose, with lots of fresh black currants and plums, some floral and sweet coconut notes. Full-bodied and inky with firm tannins and some surprising zip from the acid. The plum and currant fruit is really velvety, not quite thick but getting close. I pick up some distinct walnut notes mixed in with the mocha, dusty earth and potpourri. Despite being a bold wine, it presents itself well, and the deliciousness is undeniable. 53% Syrah, 36% Petite Sirah, 8% Zinfandel and 3% Grenache. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Vie Winery Syrah Las Madres Vineyard
California, Sonoma, Carneros
SRP: $39
A heavenly nose, mixing currant, plum and blueberry fruit with campfire smoke, rich earth, also some savory undertones and clove. So pure and lush on the palate, with velvety tannins and moderate acid. Lots of blueberry and black currant fruit, along with a complex blend of earth, smoke, roasted chestnut and clove, just a hint of meat underneath. This wine has an effortless kind of beauty to it, and it’s hitting all the right notes for my palate. A long evolution ahead. Using 20% whole cluster fermentation, this Syrah is co-fermented with 3% Viognier and aged 18 months in 25% new French Oak. (93 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Palmeri Syrah Van Ness Vineyard
California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
SRP: $43
A dark ruby-purple color. Plummy on the nose, some cassis, fresh roses and campfire smoke. The palate shows a wonderfully silky texture, with chewy tannins and fresh acid. Lots of cassis, but also some fresh strawberry, which adds a lighter and fresher aspect. Cedar, pipe tobacco, delicious violets and pepper add complexity. Drinking very well now, but no rush. From a 1,000 foot vineyard of rocky soil, this wine intrigues me. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Hooker Wines Zinfandel “Blind Side
California
SRP: $18
Medium purple color. Aromas show red currants, wild raspberries as well as tobacco and some herbal-spicy notes. Dry tannins provide structure and medium acid keeps it together. I like the cranberry and tangy raspberry notes, as well as the pepper, dill pickle and tobacco flavors. It’s ripe, yet subtle at the same time. Actually, this wine could be called elegant, and I can’t remember the last time I used that word to describe California Zinfandel. 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% Merlot, aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Grgich Hills Zinfandel Estate Grown
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $35
Bright medium ruby color. On the nose, I get a whole lot: smoke and charcoal, vanilla and earth, black currant jam, paved street and asphalt, some pepper. Full and glycerin-like on the palate, with black currants and prune fruit. Lots of secondary flavors: earth and iron and mineral, bell pepper and black pepper, asphalt and rocks. Delicious and complex stuff, but I bet this could benefit from a year or two in the cellar. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Vie Winery Zinfandel Beatty Ranch
California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
SRP: $39
Blueberry, strawberry rhubarb pie, smoke, red licorice, sweet flowers… what an aromatic display. Rich and plush on the palate, with chewy tannins and some acid for balance. A mix of blueberry and strawberry combines in this tart yet bold display of fruit. Notes of black pepper, sweet pipe tobacco, earth and clove linger onto the finish. Beautifully bold, this wine also delivers serious complexity and the capacity for improvement in the cellar. Wow, what a great example of old-vine Howell Mountain Zinfandel. (93 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Dickerson
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $35
Clear light rub color. Black cherries in the nose, not as expressive as the Old Hill or Belloni. Nice tanginess to the acid, lighter tannins, but nicely drying. Red currants and plums, tangy, some clay-earth notes. A bit lacking compared to other Ravenswood Zins perhaps, but tasty. 100% Zin, 19 months in 25% new French oak. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Belloni
California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $35
Ruby color. Creamy fruit on the nose, red raspberries, black cherries, violets and roses. I like the tangy acid on the palate and the silky tannins. Full of flavor, with plums and ripe raspberries and roses, all fresh and seamless, with earth and smoke and rose accents. Dare I say elegant? A lot of complexity, but it seems ready to drink now. 75% Zinfandel, 25% “mixed blacks” 19 months in 25% new French oak. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Ravenswood “Icon”
California, Sonoma County
SRP: $75
A purple-magenta color. Smells of blueberries and raspberries, charcoal smoke, sweet black licorice. I’m surprised by the tangy acid, which checks the juicy black cherry and wild blueberry fruit. Firm tannic power, lots of loam, red clay and granite flavors. Full and fleshy but quite easy to drink. I love the pepper and soy sauce notes on the finish. An old school Sonoma blend of 47% Carignan, 26% Zinfandel, 22% Petite Sirah and 5% Alicante Bouschet. 19 months in 40% new French oak. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Hill
California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
SRP: $60
Clear bright ruby color. Spice-toned nose with raspberries, red cherries and sweet red licorice. Fine tannins and medium acid on the palate. Raspberry and red plum fruit dominates, and there’s a lot of spice, earth, chestnut and eucalyptus. A nice brisk finish. Pure and lively. 75% Zinfandel and 25% “mixed blacks” aged 19 months in 30% new French oak. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Ravenswood “Pickberry
California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
SRP: $50
A darker ruby-purple color. Dark aromatics of caramel and brown sugar on top of plums, charcoal, violets, bell pepper and smoke. Grippy on the palate, with firm tannins and flreshy fruit. Mushroom and leather notes mix with the black cherry and blackberry fruit. A blend of 53% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cab Franc and 2% Malbec. Aged 20 months in 40% new French oak. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone “Red Rocks!”
California, North Coast
SRP: $18
Bright purple-ruby color. Smells like sweet plums, caramel and a coconut and bourbon note. Rich and jammy on the palate, with smooth tannins and medium-to-low acid. Sweet plums and blackberries mix with vanilla and smoke. More of a party red than a food-friendly wine. Not sure what’s in here, but I’m guessing Zin and Petite Sirah. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2009 Grgich Hills Merlot Estate Grown
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $42
Love the aromas: I get fresh red currants, roses and violets, tobacco, even some peppermint? Surprisingly grippy on the palate, with firm tannins and moderate acid. Darker fruit (more like black currants and black cherries) along with some tobacco and graphite. A good amount of cedar and mocha, but overall I think it balances out. Long finish with notes of potting soil and vanilla. Very nice, but this is another one for the cellar. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2012 Magnolia Court Merlot
California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $10
A bright purple color. Smells a bit hot, some roasted plum, coffee and a spicy-cedar note. Tannins are rounded out enough, and there’s a bit of acid as well. Nice mix of red plums with richer, blueberry fruit, all full and ripe. Some notes of earth and pepper. I get this flavor that reminds me of vanilla and fig cookies on the finish. I liked this better than their 2012 Cabernet. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Gundlach Bundschu Merlot Estate Vineyard
California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
SRP: $30
On the nose, dark currants and raspberries, also some blueberry tones, earth, roasted coffee. Firm, grippy tannins provide a lot of structure, but the acid shows some balance. The black cherry, currant and blueberry fruit is pure, delicious and full of flavor. Complex flavors of dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla and dried leaves. A young wine that would benefit from some unwinding, but this is a lovely Merlot. 8% Cab, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc “Stepping Stone
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $35
On the nose I get lots of deep black currants, black cherries, and some loamy, tobacco notes. Very rich, but this has firm tannins and some tangy acid. The blackberry and currant fruit is creamy and rich, laced with chewing tobacco, mint and toasted oak and charcoal. But it’s not overblown, as this maintains freshness and a bit of mineral. Long finish. Opulent now, but you could definitely hold onto this for a bit. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 JL Giguiere Tempranillo “Matchbook”
California, Central Valley, Dunnigan Hills
SRP: $15
On the nose, smoke and charcoal mix in with black and red currants and dark plums, after a bit of air it showed more rose and tobacco aromas. Fine tannins, medium acid. The plummy, currant and raspberry fruit is velvety and tangy, backed up by cherry wood, hazelnut and dark roasted coffee. Some tobacco leaf and smoke on the finish. A blend of 83% Tempranillo, 10% Tannat and 7% Graciano, aged in a mix of French, Hungarian and American oak, 20% new. Very good for the money. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Palmeri “Dark and Brooding
California, Sonoma County
SRP: $54
Clear, medium ruby color. Aromas of cassis, black cherries, rose petals, cedar, some roasted coffee. Medium tannins, a little dusty, some moderate acid for freshness. Fleshy black cherries and dark plums are mixed in with chestnut, cedar and soil notes, a nice kick of sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla on the finish. Powerful and rich, but it maintains and silky feel. Drinking well right now. Despite the “dark and brooding” moniker, this is very lively. They don’t say what varieties are in here, but it sure drinks like a Cab-Merlot-Cab Franc-Malbec blend. (90 points IJB)

Wines Scoring <85 Points
Review: 2011 Conundrum Wines Red
California
SRP: $20
Smells like barbecue sauce, plums, blackberries, smoke and some coffee. Fine, silky tannins, low acid. The palate shows residual sugar-coated raspberries and blackberries, along with notes of coffee, toast and caramel, a hint of spice. Fun, but it drinks more like a cocktail.

Wine Reviews: California Cabernet

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-04-2014

I find it thrilling to blind taste California Cabernets. You never know when you’re going to be shocked my something special. Luckily for me, that happened several times with this batch. I’m continually impressed by the combination of richness and elegance in a lot of 2010 Cabs, especially those from Napa.

All wines were received as trade samples and tasted single blind.

Review: 2009 Star Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
California, Central Coast, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
SRP: $41
Rich and full on the nose, with dark plums, blackberries, magic marker and cedar, some tobacco. Medium-grain tannins, slightly less than medium acid, and velvety fruit: black cherries, blackberries and black currants. Lots of cedar and tobacco pervade the fruit. A bit hot and full-throttled, needing some time to unwind perhaps. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $50
Nose of roasted plums, black currants, a hefty dose of tobacco leaf and oak as well, a lot going on but this clearly needs a lot of air to open up. On the palate, grippy tannins provide structure, and there’s some fresh acid. The black currant and pomegranate fruit is both tart and rich at the same time. I’m getting a lot of tobacco, some mint, loam, some toasted nuts as well. Wow. This is put together extremely well, and it’ll reward some patience in the cellar. A gorgeous young Cabernet with 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. (92 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $60
Dark purple color. Complex aromas of roasted plums, currant jam, blackberry, herbs, dark roasted coffee and cedar. Firm but fine tannins on the palate. Fresh acid, a rich but not overbearing mouthfeel. Awesome concentration. Black currants galore, along with some dark plum skins and wild blackberry, integrated cedar and mocha notes. What I like most about this wine are all these roasted peppers, eucalyptus and tobacco notes, which seem like they need time to fully develop. This is delicious stuff that could do well with five to ten years in the cellar and will likely stick around for the long haul. Includes 5% Petite Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Merlot, 21 months in 60% new oak. (93 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Kelly Fleming Wines Cabernet Sauvignon
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $110
Black cherries, currants, coffee, black licorice and toast on the nose, really rich and perhaps a bit foreboding. But on the palate we’ve got firm tannins and a moderate dose of acid, combining for a velvety mouthfeel. Lots of blackberry and currant fruit, mixed in with a hefty dose of cedar, sweet oak and mocha. Notes of tobacco and birch beer linger long into the finish. Very rich, but also very well made. Long life ahead. 100% Cab, 80% new oak, but they pull it off with style. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Stony Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $60
Showing currant and berry fruit on the nose, roasted coffee and bourbon-coconut notes. Solid tannic structure, some nice grip, but the acid provides balance. Black currant fruit abounds, as do the coffee, vanilla and pepper notes. A forward wine with lots of personality, but nice structure and complexity. Long, creamy, toasty finish. Seems like it could use some time sideways. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Cornerstone
California, Napa Valley
SRP: $65
A dark and full purple color. Aromas of sweet plums, blackberry jam, mocha, cinnamon and clove, a perfect aromatic accompaniment to winter. On the palate, plush texture from a combination of firm tannins, fresh acid and ripe fruits. Black currants and wild blueberry mixes with nutty, roasted coffee tones. Some clove and cinnamon, earth and roasted red pepper. Full and rich, but maintains freshness and vibrancy. Drinks well now, but I’d like to squirrel some bottles of this away for at least two or three years. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Cornerstone
California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
SRP: $80
A rich plum color. On the nose: roasted plums, currants, sweet violets, some tobacco leaf, cinnamon and clove. Fine tannins, but they’re really well structured, tamed by medium acid. The snappy black cherries, currant and tart plum skin flavors are really rocking, the fruit is so plush. A nice peppery, smoky, potting soil and iron combination. The oak influences are nuanced, like roasted nuts and a bit of toffee. I wouldn’t think twice about putting this down for 5 years, as it’s got a lot of unwinding to do. (92 points IJB)

Review: 2009 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled
California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District
SRP: $45
Dark ruby color. Aromas of plum sauce, black cherries, sweet vanilla, caramel, some nice forest floor and peppered steak. On the palate, medium acid and firm, gritty tannins. Currants and plum fruit lead the way, followed by some kicking spices, charcoal and an herbal, maybe a pickled beet note? Sweet vanilla and cedar, but not too much, and they’re matched by the fallen leaves and soil notes that come out strong on the finish. I love this tart pickle note on the finish. A unique wine with equal parts guts and nuance. Seriously impressive stuff that’s built to last. Includes 8% Merlot and 8% Cab Franc, the wine was aged 22 months in new American white oak. (92 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “1886”
California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
SRP: $95
Dark, rich blackberry-purple color. Wonderfully complex and alive aromatics: currant jam, blackberries, loamy soil, mocha, tobacco leaf and vanilla. The palate shows pure acid against a dry frame of firm tannins. Some wonderfully tart berries and snappy currants make this full and mouthfilling, but also exquisitely balanced. Some sweet mocha, hazelnut and caramel, but there’s also a lot of fresh cracked pepper and tobacco. Quite young, but not overwhelming, this wine has a lot to unpack. Amazing stuff that begs for contemplation and a fireplace. Includes 10% Cab Franc, 7% Merlot and 1% Petite Vedot. (94 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Landslide Fire
California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
$95
This is special stuff. Amazing aromas of deep currants, plum, kirsch, mixed with cedar and cocoa powder. The tannins provide structure but also a velvety mouthfeel, with some freshness from the acid. Juicy blackberries and currants are matched with delicious notes of coffee, mocha, vanilla and pipe tobacco. Complex, lush and layered. I’m really surprised by how accessible this wine seems right now, although it has quite a ways ahead of it. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. (92 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Hanna Cabernet Sauvignon Red Ranch
California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
SRP: $40
Purple-ruby color. Smells of rich plums and currants, underlying notes of coffee, loam and cedar. The tannins are a bit rough and gritty, but I like it, and there’s some acid to smooth it out. The currant and plum fruit is juicy and bold, but restrained as well. Complex notes of tobacco, vanilla and spicy cedar. A bit young, but showing lots of potential. Very tasty stuff. 12% Merlot and 1% Malbec in here. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Mossback Cabernet Sauvignon
California, Sonoma County, Chalk Hill
SRP: $25
On the nose, dusty cherries and plums, tobacco, some charcoal and green peppercorns. Fine tannins on the palate, some moderate acid and bold fruit (black cherries, blackberries, all sorts of plums), it all combines and to form a wine with a rich and creamy texture. Dusty and loamy notes blend in with vanilla, spicy oak and red bell pepper. It’s not often I taste a Chalk Hill Cabernet, and, while this isn’t a profound one, I’m impressed. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2010 Gundlach Bundschu Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard
California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
SRP: $40
Dark purple color. Plummy on the nose, currant jam, earth, violets, roses, vanilla and caramel. Incredibly complex nose that evolves a lot. Silky on the palate with fine tannins, beautiful structure and medium acid. Loads of pure berry fruit, along with vanilla bean, coffee, violets, bell pepper and crème brulee. Absolutely delicious, showing some elegance, but I think this is built to last as well. 18 months in 45% new French oak. (92 points IJB)

Wines Scoring <85 Points
Review: 2012 Magnolia Court Cabernet Sauvignon
California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $10
A mix of raspberries and blueberries on the nose, along with some cedar and violets. Some nice tartness on the palate, some medium tannins. Tart red currants mix with richer black fruits. A good amount of smoke and toasted oak. Fun stuff, and not bad for the price, just not very deep or memorable.