Showing posts with label merlot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label merlot. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's a brand new wine label that I frankly, hadn't heard of but of course, I'm always eager to learn something new.  This 2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon is staight out of Columbia Valley, Washington, where many of my favorite red blends were born and raised.  A combination of Cabernet Sauvignon (81%), Merlot (17%) and Merlot (2%), this easy-to-imbibe red is a little fruity on the nose and at first sip.  Blueberry, vanilla and sweet spices predominantly fill the glass and if you like a softer, more subtle Cabernet blend, this is your jam!  In the mouth is more of the same but black raspberry and sweet tobacco round out the flavor profile with a very short finish.   My recommendation is to drink this with a bloody, salty, bone-in slab of beef or some hot Virginia ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches with spicy mustard.  It would be a match made in heaven.

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $12.99

Drink The Bottles score:  82/100

Monday, June 4, 2018

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious

This wine makes me super happy.  I'll be honest, I had to look up the meaning of the word Bodacious to even see if it was a legitimate word.  I found very quickly that Bodacious should not be the name of the wine, but rather the wine review.   Bodacious.   That's all you need.  Holy cow, this wine from Jon Nathaniel Wines is a head turner!  I'll tell you what's in it soon, but what you really need to know is how it tastes and feels.  This wine pops in the mouth with cherry cola, black raspberry jam, chocolate bits, some hints of coffee and what I can only describe as dust from an old book depository at the tail end of the finish.  Weird?  Sure.  But accurate?  You bet.   Aromas of ripe red fruit, funky earthy dampness, cedar, vanilla and mocha are most prevalent.  This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Syrah (29%), Cabernet Franc (19%), Petit Verdot (11%), Merlot (10%) and Malbec (1%).   Can you cram anything else into the bottle?   Maybe, but why would you?  Deep red to medium purple in the glass and unmistakably memorable, you'll be sad when you tip this bottle for the last time.  Super easy drinking and one that I think you can enjoy right now!  If you love wines with tasty fruit, get it!

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious label

ABV:  14.2%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100





2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

It had been a spell since I had enjoyed any wine from Frog's Leap Winery, so I was really pumped about the opportunity to taste their latest Cab.   The 2015 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Merlot (13 %) and Cabernet Franc (9%).  Selfishly, I wish I had a case of this wine and if you want to invest in something that will pay you back ten fold in taste over the next 10-20 years, this wine is for you.  It's super young now, but you can discover some great  mocha, saddle leather, dark plum and medium spice on the nose.  Some might find full bodied flavors that you usually expect from a Cabernet at first, but thing wine is young and the Merlot addition adds structure and balanced flavors of black cherry, gravel, licorice and grilling spices.  I found this finish to be very long with a hint of peppery spice.  I'm loving this wine and I think it will continue to be fine polished if you give it some time.  Eat this one with a rare to medium rare ribeye and some hearty, starchy side dishes.   As a side note, I think this is an incredible value for a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.   If you're looking for a fine wine that won't break your budget, this is a very smart choice!

2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  13.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $55.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

The J Bookwalter Winery team never ceases to surprise me with their wines, whether with their more "value priced" Readers Merlot or with this savory and heart-warming red blend.  The 2015 Conflict is a product of the Conner-Lee Vineyard consisting of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (47%), Merlot (45%) and Malbec (8%), making it a powerhouse in color and flavor.  Black fruits with violet and whisps of peppered rare beef swim in the glass.  This wine is immediately mouth-watering and has a welcome brightness that is married by the vibrant red colors throughout.  The black fruits carry over in the flavors and I think a hint of cardamom is carried by the spicy, slightly woody finish that to me, is as beautiful as the legs in the wine glass.  This is such an easy drinking wine and one that I would avoid with food.  It would pair well with a number of beef dishes, but I enjoy this wine so much that I want to remember it just as it is.  I think you'll get enjoyment out of this for 15 years easily.

J Bookwalter Winery logo


ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  97/100


Monday, May 21, 2018

2015 Krupp Brothers The Water Witch

2015 Krupp Brothers The Water Witch
I have long been a fan of Krupp Brothers wines and absolutely love the story of the determination and passion behind how this winery became to be today.  Some of the best terroir in the area was there, but getting to it by removing a nearly infinite amount of rock and having little to no water were two huge obstacles.  This wine pays homage to the dowser that found water for Krupp Brothers and helped turn it into.......wine!  This 2015 Water Witch is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (38%), Malbec (24%) Petit Verdot (10%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Tempranillo (9%), Syrah (6%) and Merlot (3%).  This blend is a home run with a medium to dark ruby red color and long legs that run parallel to the glass stem. Aromas of cherry turnover, clove, cigar box and floral bouquet dance in the glass and sing loudly with some vigorous swirling.  This wine is very young but you know that it will continue to gain weight in the bottle over the next 10+ years.  Velvety in the mouth with a finish that seems to linger for minutes, the cherry leads the way with semi-sweet chocolate, cigar smoke and dried earthy spices falling in suit and helping create a memorable and delicious treat.  With just over 500 cases made, this wine is an exceptional value and would be a great accompaniment to smoked brisket if you're wanting to show off your taste of great wine to friends.
Krupp Brothers Winery logo
ABV:  14.8%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $70.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100


Friday, April 13, 2018

2013 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Back when I first began blogging many years ago on Midwest Wine Guy, Tom Burgess was so kind to take my phone call and talk to me about his winery, his vineyards and the valley.  As a wine novice, I was super impressed but probably didn't realize the complete impact of such a wine legend answering my call and talking to me like an old friend.   I will forever appreciate those minutes.  Fast forward several years and again I'm honored with tasting and writing about this 2013 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a lovely and tasty blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Merlot (12%), Petit Verdot (11%) and Malbec (2%).  Dark crimson color with black rim, balanced aromas include black and red currant, natural dried herbs and cedar planks.  In the mouth, you're greeted with a wine that is as smooth as glass and drinks absolutely amazingly with flavors of blueberry, black raspberry compote, mocha and mild vanilla bean.  You would be remiss not to drink this bottle for yourself.  It is as smooth as any wine that I've had in recent memory.  Excellent bottle that should last 15+ years.

Burgess Cellars - Tom, Steven, James

ABV:  14.7%

Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2016 Farmhouse Red

2016 Farm House Red

So, I was super excited to get this bottle of wine, which is produced by Cline Cellars of California.  Why?  Because to me this wine represents much more than what is inside.  This bottle represents to me heritage, education, appreciation and love for farming and the earth.  I guess I feel, in some way, that I have a "six degrees" connection with this bottle and what it stands for because farming has run in my family for generations.  Be good stewards of the earth and ye shall be rewarded.  

The 2016 Farmhouse Red wine has some real energy.  As I was pouring this wine, the raspberry, smoky, scorched earth actually leaped from the glass.   Swirling only accentuated the same and completely filled the nose and throat with delicious, full, warm aromas.  In the mouth is a wine that makes a presence with the blackberry pie, toasted dark bread and sweet cherries that combine with a peppery and luscious finish that doesn't necessary linger, but is memorable and delicious.  If fruit-forward wines are your jam, than this wine is calling your name.  This wine would be a great cheese wine or pair well with meat that has been on the smoker all day.  This is a blend of Merlot (39%), Syrah (21%), Zinfandel (20%), Grenache (9%), Petite Sirah (7%) and Mourvedre (3%).  Solid!

2016 Farm House Red Label

ABV:  14.0%

California

Suggested retail price:  $15.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon
I've thoroughly enjoyed tasting the "Readers" wines over the past 45 days and I'm so pleased every time I have the opportunity to do so.  This 2014 vintage from Bookwalter Winery stands up to Cabernet blends that are easily twice the price.  While I am a staunch supporter of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the blends that have been coming out of the west coast for the past 10-12 years have really helped pull in more non-traditional red wine drinkers and in many cases, have helped create wines that are more flavorful and expressive.  This blend boasts blackberry jam, dusty library books and a distinct mocha aroma that is reminiscent of your favorite coffee shop.  In the mouth is a solid wine that doesn't feel tight or young at all, but rather more mature than it is with predominant flavors of blackberry, wet stone and steak seasoning.  In the glass, this wine has sexy legs and a color that puts a smile on your face.  The Readers branded wines are an exceptional value.

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon Label
ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley & Yakima Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100

Thursday, April 5, 2018

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc

I've always kind of joked to myself that Cabernet Franc is the smaller, weaker cousin of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Maybe the middle child who didn't get enough attention?  I've just seldom had a truly grand experience with Cab Franc, but as the Monkees would say.....now "I'm a believer".  The 2015 Suspense Cabernet Franc from Bookwalter Winery will change the way you think about this wine.  While it's not 100% Cab Franc, the 17% Merlot blend is smart and adds some depth and complexity to this Columbia Valley wine.  After the gorgeous deep garnet color, the nose presents lively cherry aromas with earthly sage and whiffs of pomegranate.  Where this wine really, really got me was the surprise on the palate.   There was an unconventional and incredibly welcoming spice that joined the Cremè de cassis, cherry, raspberry and smooth-as-glass finish that leads to a very memorable tasting experience.  This is a healthy wine that is going to age amazingly and would be fun to taste every year for the next ten years and compare notes.  While this wine is a fun solo sipper, it would be well represented with a grilled ham steak, Polish sausage or a number of non-traditional meats.

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc Label

ABV:  14.8%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100


Sunday, March 25, 2018

2015 Readers Merlot

2015 Readers Merlot

I'll admit that I've never been to Columbia Valley, Washington, but it seems that I need to make a trip sometime.  The wines that are coming out of this region are really putting a smile on my face these days, and the 2015 Readers Merlot from Bookwalter Winery is no exception.  What's the first thing wine snobs will look at when they see this bottle?  The screw top.  While I love the resounding "pop" of a cork, I also learned all too long ago that screw tops technically are the best best for most wines: no tainted corks, renewable resource in recyclable caps, etc.  Ok, I just realized I haven't talked about the wine at all and clearly it is the star of this show!  This is a blend of Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and it presents itself very stoically in the glass.  Aromas of black cherry, hints of blueberry and chocolate and it you're a super-swirler like I am, you might even pick up some green earth and cherry tobacco.  Incredibly soft tannins welcome the mouth and flavors of black cherry pie filling, chocolate chips, and cedar.  Don't let the alcohol content (pushing 15%) scare you; this is not hot at all.  This drinks incredibly well and would be a bison burger's best friend!

2015 Readers Merlot Label

ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles Score:  90/100

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2015 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon

I am so stoked about this wine I almost don't know where to begin!  Bookwalter Winery has created an amazing wine in the 2015 Protagonist Cabernet Sauvginon.  While not the most fragrant wine you'll ever experience, the flavors are the superstars here!  Dark cherry, graphite and a touch of sulfur smoke greet you warmly and are a stark contrast of the flavors leap from the glass.  This wine feels nice and tight and flavors of black berry, mineral and black currant dance around and introduce a finish that is welcoming and absolutely fulfilling. Smartly balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (95%), Merlot (5%), Syrah (3%) and Cabernet Franc (2%), this wine has a beautiful medium-to-dark purple color and it is delicious now; I suspect will be just as wonderful in another 10+ years.  Beautiful!

2015 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

2014 Galante Vineyards Rancho Galante Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Galante Vineyards Rancho Galante Cabernet Sauvignon

If you love fruit-forward, juicy Cabernet, this is not your huckleberry.  If you love a strong, boldly-structured, memorable wine that is just now realizing it's potential, then I proudly present the 2014 Galante Vineyards Rancho Galante Cabernet Sauvignon.  This smart blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Malbec and Merlot create an absolutely stunning deep garnet color.  The blend of these wines gives this wine a bit green aromas that blend magically with dark fruits, blueberry, spice cake, and vanilla after some time in the glass or in a decanter.  This wine is not hot at all.  In fact, it feels strong and welcoming in the mouth with flavors of blackberry, ripe beefsteak tomato, steak spices and a brief spot of soy sauce at the back of the throat.   The tannins frame the finish of this wine and I tasted it by itself and with dark chocolate chips.  You can eat this with a rare hunk of prime rib now, but I suspect this wine will be even more wonderful in the next 3-5 years and it will probably knock you out of your cowboy boots then!  If you collect wines (which is contrary to "drink the bottles") you should have no problem cellaring this for 10-15 years.

2014 Galante Vineyards Rancho Galante Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  14.0%

Carmel Valley, California

Suggested retail price:  $40.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100

2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend

2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend

There are a few wine phrases I've said dozens (hundreds?) of times over the years.  One of these phrases would be, "Good wine doesn't have to be expensive".  And that proves to be true with this 2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend.  Made up of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (27%), Merlot (65%) and Syrah (8%), this wine has a very dark red color with purple center and a very nice layer of aromas like black raspberry, chocolate, dried cooking spices and a hint of pipe tobacco smoke.  This wine is much brighter than anticipated and fills the mouth with ripe berries and plum flavors, blended very evenly.  The chocolate and smokiness is realized on the back side of this tasting and the wine bids adieu with a memorable and strong finish.

2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend Label

ABV:  13.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $14.00

Drink The Bottles score:  87/100

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2013 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Blend

2013 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Blend

Oh what fun this gem is!  The 2013 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Blend is made up of a myriad of popular wines.  Very dark in the glass all the way to the edge and the well balanced acidity provides for a tart beginning to a semi-sweet, solid finish on this medium bodied, well rounded wine.  A lot of dark fruits are popping through here and they are balanced with the herbs and leathery goodness that come through on the nose and in the mouth.  This wine would pair extremely well with a French Onion Soup or a beautiful bone-in ribeye.  This has been in bottle for nearly 4 years and you could drink this in 5 years and be just as satisfied, if not more.   The makeup on this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon (59%), Merlot (28%), Cabernet Franc (5%), Malbec (4%), Petite Verdot (2%) and Syrah (2%).  Did I mention that I love the color?

ABV:  13.5%

Red Mountain, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100



Saturday, March 10, 2018

2014 Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Estate Merlot

2014 Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Estate Merlot

I wish I had a dollar for every time over the years someone has asked me, "What's a good wine"?  That's such an open-ended question, especially if you don't know someone's taste preference or budget.  I could spend hours recommending good wines, but you really need some trial-and-error in your life to see what you like.  Even if you like California wines, the flavor profiles vary greatly from appellation to appellation.  Remember, it starts with the soil!  Ok, I think I've rambled on enough here, right?  So, let's talk about this 2014 Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Estate Merlot.  For those who think they don't like Merlot, it's typically because they haven't had any delicious, 100% Merlot like this one, or they have watched Sideways too many times.  This beautiful wine is a medium ruby red in color with aromas of dark cherry, chocolate and burnt cedar after intense swirling.  (And if you aren't swirling your wine, you're cheating yourself out of the full tasting experience!).  The oak aging adds some complexity to this wine which is evident by the very smooth finish with cherries, a kiss of plum and semi-sweet chocolate.  This Merlot will pair with a wide variety of pasta and roasted meat dishes.  Pick this wine up, drink it and then call Cline Cellars and thank them for making such a delicious and affordable 100% Merlot!

ABV:  14.0%

Sonoma Coast, California

Suggested retail price:  $22.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100