Just thought I would share some tasting notes on a few wines I have recently enjoyed ranging from good values to simply RIDICULOUS juice!
CAM COLLECTION 2013 MONTEREY PINOT NOIR $18 (found it for $10!)
This is quite forward on the nose with ripe, bright cherry and raspberry fruit aromas , showing hints of black pepper and cocoa. It’s fairly big for an entry level Pinot with the same fruit carrying over to the palate enhanced by notes of clove, smoked bacon and espresso. A lengthy, dry and overall pleasing finish caps off this true value Pinot. GOOD
Cune Rioja Imperial Reserva 2011 $35
This wine offers alluring aromas of black cherry/currant with dark chocolate and smoky oak. It’s a big wine, no doubt… but has good acidity playing nicely with the dense fruit and firm tannins. Opulent and rich, but exhibits some of that old world Rioja feel with the tobacco and mineral character. Will age well over the next decade. SOLID
Alta 2013 Quatreaux Red Blend, Napa Valley $60 Retail (available for under $40)
Quatreaux refers to four of the five Bordeaux grape varieites used in this blend including Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot (no Malbec). It exudes new world Napa fruit including dark berry and cassis with an old world undertone of smoke, earth and roasted nuts. Tremendous balance of acidity, weight and tannins with a long finish that leaves just a hint of baker’s chocolate… I love that! SOLID!
Element Winery 2013 Lemberger, Finger Lakes $42
If you have not heard of Element Winery yet, let me be the first to put it on your radar. Chris Bates MS and his team are producing some of the best juice in the Northeast. I wasn’t expecting much from a Finger Lakes Lemberger, but this had a lot going on! Certainly intense with bright cherry, rose petals and spice on the nose leading to a vibrant palate driven by acidity and ripe red fruit. But it wasn’t a pushover, enough body and weight to stand up to some lighter poultry dishes for sure. GOOD!
Now, for the RIDICULOUS wines…
2008 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien $80
Still bright ruby in color, this is drinking beautifully now but has lots of time left on the clock. Black currant, cocoa powder, espresso beans and graphite aromas on the nose are quite intense and sultry. Its supple and soft on the palate, as the tannins are mellowing with the acidity balancing out the dense fruit. Showing off that classic Left Bank terroir, loads of chalk and minerality on the palate with the dark fruit and cocoa hanging on through the finish. SOLID!
2001 Beaulieu Vineyard “Georges de Latour Private Reserve” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $90
From a great vintage like 2001, I was expecting this to still be fairly big and brash. But as a very pleasant surprise this was not the case. Super complex with layers of well developed dark fruit, cassis, oak, roasted almonds and subtle anise notes on the nose and palate. Supple, soft and silky with polished tannins and a long, memorable finish. I am thrilled I opened it when I did, as I do not see this one improving much further. KILLER
Abacus, ZD Wines, Napa Valley (NV) $500
This is one of the cooler and more interesting wines made in Napa. ZD basically uses a solera style aging and bottling process including all of their Reserve Cabs from 1992-2015 to make a non-vintage Reserve Cab blend. The result is a wine that has oodles of big, bomby Napa fruit and oak, but has the structure, finesse and elegance of a wine that has seen about 6-8 years of bottle age, so it is fairly ready to drink right away. It could still use another handful of years in the cellar, but it is one of the more impressive cult Napa wines out there. KILLER!
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Columbia Valley, WA $250
This is not only the best wine I’ve tasted this year, but possibly one of my Top 3 wines of all time! This stunner is intense on all levels with dense and focused black cherry, plum and black currant fruit on the nose. Beyond the lovely fruit core there are layers and layers of sweet and exotic spices, smoke, sandalwood, lavender, anise, cocoa and vanilla. When you taste this wine, you will understand what all of those fancy wine terms mean. It has harmonious balance, incredible structure, elegance and finesse. It will certainly continue to age and improve over the next decade +, but what a treat to enjoy this wine with good friends over a perfectly cooked steak. FANTASTIC!
** My rating system is listed below as I prefer to use ranges than exact numbers.
|WWG Rating Scale|
|100 Points = Perfect|
|97-99 Points = Fantastic|
|94-96 Points = Killer|
|90-93 Points = Solid|
|85-89 Points = Good|
|80-84 Points = OK|
|79 Points or below = No Comment|