Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Callia Alta Malbec 2014

This broad shouldered red Malbec from Argentina has me leaning towards Malbecs again.

This one is from the Tulum Valley in Argentina's province of San Juan. Cold fermented and aged for 3 months in French and American oak.

Ruby and purple colors reflect the resinous raisin and spice aromas while deep flavors of black cherry, cloves and cinnamon enter the mix. Accented nicely by eucalyptus and green pepper and ending with an autumnal finish lingering on the palate. All for $10!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Callia Bella

From Bodegas Callia in Cauceta, San Juan, Argentina comes Callia Bella, a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Malbec. 

Dark purple in glass, verdant cassis aromas with violet undertones, hints of ripe plum atop purple and blue fruits, on the palate very juicy, sweet and chunky, red raspberry with ripe cherry and vanilla beans. Great buy for around $10.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tenuta Luce Della Vite, Toscana

Tenuta Luce Della Vite, is a brand started in the 1990's by two wine visionaries, Robert Mondavi and Vittorio Frescobaldi who were never worried about "worlds colliding". If anyone knew how to combine old world and new, it was this duo. They collaborated on Luce, the first wine made in Montalcino blending Sangiovese and Merlot.

I recently had the pleasure of tasting a cross section of their wonderful vintages.
All were a blend of 50% Merlot & 50% Sangiovese, aged in French oak: one third new, one third 1 year old and one third 2 years old, then aged for an average of 18 months before bottle release.

Here is a mix of descriptors from tasting notes to freeform word association:

2012: black fruits, dry, ripe cherry, smoked oak, licorice and spices, ripe tannins.
2010: deep ruby colors, vibrant aromas of violets, blue fruits, on the palate blueberry & blackberry gripping tannins but silky
2008: blue fruits, toasted wood, ripe cherry and spicy white pepper, gripping tannins but with good acidity.
2006: gorgeous to lay down licorice 
2002: clay, violets, smooth tannins, blackberry, licorice, tar, balsamic, chewy
2000: beautiful aromas flowers even tempered smooth blue fruits ripe cherry 
1998: ruby colors with rust around rim, complex aromas blending vanilla and caramel, while flavors are clean showing apricot and ripe peach with berries and a sparking balanced finish.
1995: ruby rust colors, sweet floral aromas sweetly oozing caramel and vanilla maple syrup, and a balsamic edge doing a dance with confectioners sugar.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cocobon Vineyards Red Blend, California

I recently found this unbelievable bargain in a local shop in my neighborhood sitting in a sale bin, Cocobon Vineyards Red Blend. The bottle caught my eye, and I bought one because the name and label intrigued me and hey... I'm glad I did! I bought a case and I'm heading back tonight to buy another. I love this stuff! It's a perfect everyday wine at just under $9 by the case.

It's a velvety blend of 61% Zinfandel, 17% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Petite Sirah, definitely a new world red, with fruitiness upfront as a major component, but it also has so much going for it on the nose and palate. I could hardly detect any smoke so I'm guessing it is not barrel aged, at least not for long. It shows aromas of chocolate, vanilla, and very ripe cherries. Rich flavors ring out as cocoa and dark jammy fruits coat your palate. The finish is silky and long for a wine this inexpensive.

Here I thought I discovered something new but with a little Google search I discovered it was a huge seller on the west coast at Trader Joe's stores (where it sold for under $7). They couldn't restock the shelves fast enough. It's produced by Underdog Wines, the makers of Cupcake Wines. Click here to find a location near you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Argiano Suolo Toscano IGT 2012

Suolo (soil in Italian) is produced lovingly by Argiano from 100% Sangiovese Grosso taken from both the oldest and youngest vines on their estates. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled tanks using indigenous yeasts, then into French oak casks for 18 months, before being bottled for a year and released.

Colors are ruby red, while the nose shows sweet floral notes set against coffee
and vibrant honey-covered dark fruits, the palate displays a complexity of sweet smoked ripe cherries, exotic earthy bramble, balsamic, and black pepper. Dark fruits brood their way through to a delicious lengthy finish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rutini Encuentro Barrel Blend 2009

From Mendoza, Argentina, Rutini Encuentro Barrel Blend 2009 is a delicious Bordeaux blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot sourced from seven of Rutini's vineyards and aged in French oak for 18 months.

Ruby colors with beautiful concentrated port-like aromas...or even in the Amarone family. Also present are notes that come in pairs, for instance licorice and menthol, violets and lavender, vanilla and chocolate. 

While the palate delivers such delicious flavors of coffee and tobacco and ripe summer fruits. The tannins are ripe and easy and the finish goes on and on to exhibit a unique balance and makes for a wonderful quality wine.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Burgundy Tasting at Morrell Wines

I recently had the pleasure of sampling magnificent wines from Burgundy at Morrell Wines, here are tasting notes on a few of them.

Sylvain Cathiard Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru "Aux Thorey" 2011 $209
Muted and restrained nose of red fruits and dark wood, funky and herbal but smooth flavors express the terroir and the finish, excellent balance.

Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru "Aux Boudot" 2010 $158
Aromas of smokey plum and barnyard/animal, extracted flavors with a slight minerality, confectioners sugar and ripe blue fruits, beautiful tannins holding up to red fruit. This was my favorite pick of night.

Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru "Charmois" 2010 $79
On the nose floral notes contrasting tar and minerals, on the palate ripe strawberry, raspberry and black pepper along with licorice expressing silk tannins.

Hospices De Beaune Corton Cuvée Charlotte Dumay 2012 $120
Tart and a bit on the tight side, stark with hints of strawberry, for me a bit too early to tell.

Meo Camuzet Corton Perrieres 2011 $224
A beautiful and powerful concentration of aromas and flavors, balancing floral pastels and violets with fruit, pepper, spices, raspberry and strawberry. Clean and fresh with suggestions of slate and wood.

Chateau De La Tour Clos Vougeot 2012 $150
Aromas of mineral and super intense dark red fruit, earth and clay with wafts of oak, on the palate animal, spice and funk.

Meo Camuzet Marsannay 2012 $49
Smokey with plums, strawberry and stone with fresh tannins and earthy finish.

Claude Dugat Gevrey Chambertin 2012 $119
Ruby colors, aromas of green pepper, rose water, somewhat gamey, nice acidity and smooth tannins, hints of honey on the palate with ripe red fruits and raspberry, powdered sugar on finish.