Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Excelsior Syrah 2020


First impression is that the hue of this pour is not the classic inky black Syrahs of other countries.  But this is S. Africa so let's see...  Aromas are big with lats of dark fruit and a unique aroma of some kind of stinky cheese and spruce... Interesting...

Palate--in the mouth this is a bit tart, with a solid back bone of acid with bold black berry flavors but over shadowed by the other "stuff" going on... This wine will have to breathe for a while before a fair evaluation can be given.

After some air time: It settles down and has a lightly spicy, dark fruit presentation.

Excelsior piqued my interest about 2 decades ago with its very inexpensive cabernet Sauvignon ($7) but after a few years their Cabs develop[ed an awkward note of bandaids in bouquet usually indicative of what is a mold contaminant called Brettanomyces. But after several years of it continuing, I thought perhaps it was "terroir" instead of a contaminant  in which case I didn't want that experience. This is the first Excelsior I have had in a long long time.

Bottom line--$9 is not a lot of money but there are so many other Syrahs and Sirahs (spelling depends on the country) out there I would pass on this!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Umani Ronchi Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2019

This previously reviewed wine has a gorgeous cranberry jelly hue with big aromas of sweet red berry and cherry fruit rising from the glass before you even get near it. Nearly floral hints of spring time daffodils and savory spice on top of sweet spices.

Palate--Classic acidic structure with lovely mouthful of cherry berry fruit with lip smacking tannins, and a lovely cherry finish at the rear palate.
At $10 I had to grab another bottle of this great pizza wine, Italian sausage, any pasta with tomato sauces and garlic and s host of other great dinner suggestions. 
I loved this before a couple months back and I love it again so raise a glass!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Sonoma)

Aromas of gentle blackberry with subtle notes of sweet spices...  needs to breathe... 

Palate-- Nice structure, with steely notes among the array of dark berry fruit, tar, grapefruit rind, robust tannins, that mellow out with some breathing.

At the $12 price point this is a nice value even if too young to fully enjoy right now. It is a nice quaff and will only improve with a few more years. Napa cabs are at a premium these days and have been for many years. Sonoma offers outstanding quality cabs without the "Napa" surcharge as I call it.  So be wise, and enjoy these bargains! Raise a glass

Monday, April 18, 2022

Care Tinto Sobre Lias Garnacha/Syrah 2018

Youthful purple hue with aromas of wonderfully sweet bubble gum, (yup!) beautiful bright berries, laced with sugary sweet spices. Smelling this waft into the air is tantalizing!

Palate--First impression is lively acid, with loads of beautiful red berry hard candy, floral notes of spring roses, and each mouthful is loaded with more surprises. Wow! 

This Spanish blend of the native Grenache and the foreign Syrah (spelled Sirah depending on the country) is a delicious surprise and unexpectedly good! 

My wife grabbed this for me as an Easter surprise in y wine cellar.  Unwittingly she grabbed another one a couple weeks later and gave it to me Easter morning.  I am glad she has a bad memory!  :)  This is a keeper! Raise a glass!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2017

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Nice crystalline ruby hue with aromas of cherries, savory spice, a suggestion of mint, and cherry cream bonbons.

Palate-Vibrant acidity, loads of cherry fruit, and savory spice (just like the bouquet) a nice acidic foundation with a finish that is satisfying and lingering.

Previously reviewed which I like to do to check my own consistency but also the differences from bottle to bottle.  They are not drastic but there is a reality called "bottle variation which could be due storage difference, shipping issue etc. 

This is just an always delicious Chianti and classic fo the grape (Sangiovese) and at $12 it is a definite "raise a glass" kind of wine! 

Check my previous review(s) to see if I am on the money...  :) but remember, this wine was opened yesterday evening!  

Alexander Valley Vineyards Chardonnay (Alexander Valley) 2017

Moderate golden hue with immediate aromas of an aged Chardonnay moving beyond peak. Baked caramelized peach pie bouquet, and caramelized honey.

Palate--Lovely palate cleansing, acidic foundation, with very nice mouth filling flavors of slightly beyond ripe stone fruit, light oak notes, and a buttery texture and a lingering nutty finish. 

My wife hid some wine surprises in my cellar for Resurrection Sunday. This 375ml bottle ws part of a returned case someone bought and didn't use it all so the price of $6 was a decent deal while the full bottle tended to run around $15 price point. 

At 5 years old, it is expected to begin showing some age and it does. That does not mean it is bad. To the contrary, some people love the unique "nutty" flavor of aged chardonnay. This is a nice Sonoma Chard and a value at the prices stated.

This will be paired with our Easter ham. Here's to the Savior of mankind!  Raise a glass!


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2019 (Freshly opened bottle compared to 3 day old bottle)

Question: How long should you drink a wine that has been opened?

Answer: Depends for how long it has been opened and how it has been stored.

I compare two bottles of the same wine but one was opened three days ago and the other just uncorked.

3 day old was on the kitchen counter and kept at room temperature: There are aromas of Jellied cranberry sauce, some spices, dark berries, a little more alcohol in the bouquet. A touch of cocoa in the bowl.

Palate--rather flat, bitter, nearly unpleasant and strained with all fruit being subdued.

Freshly opened:  The bouquet has a fuller bowl with a melange of mixed berry aromas versus more of a singular dark berry fragrance with a touch of fresh asparagus in the opened wine. A hint of vanilla and  chocolate berry cream candies permeates the bouquet.  Overall there is just more depth of what is there, compared to the wine opened for 3 days. 

Palate--A touch "sweeter" more balanced, vibrant dark berry flavors are more intense and no sense of bitterness in the mouth. Just drinks easier...

*Wines begin to go downhill as soon as they are opened. If you refrigerate them, they might last a day or two longer. Fortified wines like Port and sherry will last a bit longer! 

This Bogle Zin was drinkable even after 3 days at room temp but it was clearly on its way out. If you plan to use an old wine in cooking --Do Not-- unless it is still drinkable. 

This Zin is around the $12 price point but I found it for $7.99 and I bought the last 6 bottles they had. Bogle makes solid value wines so raise a glass!

Friday, April 08, 2022

"Collection Rhone" Cotes Du Rhone 2020


Sweet cherry above the rim of the garnet hued quaff. Rose petal and gentle spices and more berries.

Palate--Lies very gently on the tongue with a soft structure and sweet spices with cherry hard candies. Finishes with a subtle reminder of all that is there.

This wine is made with 55% Grenache (hence the bright cherry) 30% Carignan and 15% Syrah with the fruity presence on the rim and darker hue. At the $10 price point this is a remarkable wine that it ready even in its youth to enjoy now. It is delicious by itself and will pair well with most anything you want (except Asian and Indian cuisine)  Raise a glass!

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Mark West Pinot Noir 2019

Lighter ruby hue with aromas of light strawberry, a hint of sweet raspberry, sweet pie spices

Palate--Lively structure, fruity full flavored Pinot with spicing and a slight steely middle with a light lingering finish.

This  previously reviewed Pinot sourced from California is always well made a good value from Mark West.  At the $10 price point you really can't go wrong so why pay 3 to 50 times that price for a classic, Burgundy that few can afford?  Raise a glass!

Monday, April 04, 2022

Badenhorst The Curator "Red Blend" 2020 (South Africa)

Purple hue with a ruby-ish rim and aromas of ruby red grapefruit at the rim punctuated with sweet spices, and juicy fruit pie red berries and mulberry.

Palate--Steely front with an austere first impression but opening quickly with a unique old world flare of Cabernet Sauvignon,  Shiraz, Cinsault, and Grenache Noir. Lip smacking tannins, might ease up with some air time, and finishes with a darker berry ending and lingering notes of rustic spice.

It has been a LONG time since I ventured to taste a S. African red.  Years ago I was infatuated with S. Africa's up and coming red wines especially Cabernet Sauvignon but it turned badly when old band-aid flavors started to appear. Normally this could be a flaw in production but it went on for so long I deemed it to be "terroir." Yeah not enticing... 

All and all at the $8 price point, this is easy to drink, popular style so raise a glass.

Friday, April 01, 2022

Maison Barboulot Cabernet-Syrah 2020

This young Languedoc blend has an inky almost black hue thanks to its youth and the Syrah grape of this 50/50 blend. Aromas of bright ripe red berries, crusty baguette at the rim,  a touch of candy and vanilla with a splash of cinnamon.

Palate--In the mouth it is tasty, with loads of fruity spices, a hard candy vanilla at the back of the mouth and drinks easily. 

This has been made in to be drunk upon release which is the "new" wave of wine making just about globally.  Iconic wine consultant, Michele Roland, began a revolution around the globe helping wine makers how to make wine that the masses can enjoy NOW.  The wine industry was hurting with the new generations unwilling or unable to 1. pay large money for decent wines and 2. that you had to lay down for years before drinking.  His finger prints go far and wide.  While it hasn't all been great for the industry, it saved many wineries from folding as the appeal for approachable and delicious wines ready to drink when offered.

Yes it has been controversial but if sales matter, then Roland is a success.

This wine is offered by a chain of stores in America called Trader Joe's at the $6 price point! Does it taste like Syrah or Cabernet? well.........not really but I will admit it is tasty, easy to drink and enjoyable. Will it turn heads of those who know GREAT wine?  No.  But to each his own and raise a glass!