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Showing posts with the label merlot

2020 Bells Up Winery Jupiter Pinot Noir

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  Rounding out our tastings of samples from Bells Up Winery is their 2020 Jupiter Pinot Noir.  This comes from an estate vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains.  Three words.... It is fantastic.  Too often we have been slightly underwhelmed by Pinot, often getting the "same old" dusty, overly sweet rose petal vibe.  But not with this.  This Pinot Noir is built differently and if this is testament to the Chehalem Mountains AVA, then we can't wait to visit some day.  Cherry pie, tobacco leaf, graphite and forest floor on the nose.  Solid medium purple color makes an introduction to rhubarb, cherry pomegranate and a subtle hint of pepper, leading to a finish that leaves you yearning for more.  This wine should be in your cellar and with such a low production, you'd better act fast.  This is drinking wonderfully now and should for another 5-7 years. ABV:  13.5% Chehalem Mountains, OR Production:  94 cases Suggested retail price:  $48.00 Drink The Bottles score:  94/100

2020 Penny's Hill Malpas Road McLaren Vale Merlot

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  Situated in McLaren Vale which happens to be one of Australia's most exciting wine regions, here are things you would want to know about the Penny’s Hill Winery . History Established in 1988, this promising winery is named after the hill at the base of which it is located. Considering this winery has all the elements of a great vineyard in place, the vines were planted in 1991 at the property in a unique narrow-row configuration to amplify vineyard productivity along with grape and wine quality. In the year 1993, the newly-planted Malpas Road property was purchased, followed by an adjacent highly prized hay-producing paddock in 1996 that was planted to vines and named Goss Corner. After wo years, the original Goss family homestead, ‘Ingleburne’ was added to the Malpas and Goss properties to reconnect to make it an entire holding. Ownership & The Team Founder Tony Parkinson passed on the ownership and management of the business to his good friend and fellow Sou

2018 Hamel Family Wines Isthmus

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We were recently introduced to Hamel Family Wines and their 2018 Isthmus red blend.  This wine is comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon (64%), Merlot (18%), Cabernet Franc (14%) and Petit Verdot (4%).  This wine is very rich up front with dominant blackberry, plum and pomegranate fruits.  Clove, grilling spices, river rock and ripe dark fruits blend to create a stunning and memorable wine that is approachable now and will also drink very well for the next 15+ years.  Wonderful texture with the medium to heavier mouthfeel.  We decanted this wine for about 90 minutes prior to tasting and that helped bring this selection to a compelling and delightful finish.  Ruby red in the glass to the rim.  While we don't often taste wines with food, we do think that this would be a delicious accompaniment to a bone-in ribeye steak. ABV:  14.5% Sonoma Valley, CA 2,698 cases produced Suggested retail price:  $90.00 Drink The Bottles score:  93+/100  

2020 Fieldhouse 301 Red Wine

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  This was our first experience with the wines offered by Scout & Cellar of Texas.  They seem to have a little bit of something for just about everyone, especially if you are budget-minded, as most of their offerings are in the $19 - $36 range.  At those prices you can find a daily drinker, no doubt!  This wine is the 2020 Fieldhouse 301 Red Wine (blend) from California.  You would typically find Cabernet Sauvignon in a red blend, but this one is a combination of Zinfandel (48%), Merlot (23%), Petite Sirah (12%), Carignan (9%) and Barbera (8%).   You don't find Carignan in too many California wines, even as a blending grape, so that was interesting to us.  This wine had a great medium purple color with blackberry, coffee bean and menthol nose.  With a lighter-to-medium mouthfeel, flavors of sweet blackberry preserves, roasted coffee beans, pepper and red licorice.  This is not a sugar bomb (if we have given that impression) but it is on the sweeter side.  The really cool thing

2017 Patel Napa Valley Red Wine

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Here's a another winner from a winery that we were introduced to about 13 months ago.  The  2017 Patel Napa Valley Red Wine is a luscious and aromatic offering that offers a dark purple and mouth watering welcome to the palate.  Ripe dark cherry, pencil lead, cocoa bits and cherry tobacco on the nose.  In the mouth is a powerful blend of red fruits, barn wood, black tea and cherry licorice.  This wine is framed with a solid acidic backbone and pulled together nicely for an amazing finish.  Tips the scale at nearly 15% alcohol but the balance is in check.  There were only 150 cases produced, but this one should be in your cellar while you can grab it.  Enjoy it optimally for the next 12-15 years.  Well done! ABV:  14.9% Napa Valley, CA Suggested retail price:  $75.00 Drink The Bottles  score:  93/100

2017 LOBO Wines Custom Red Blend

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  The  2017 LOBO Wines Custom Red Blend is a wonderful example that delicious wines don't have to break the bank.  This Napa Valley stunner blends Syrah (69%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%) and Merlot (5%) , creating dark and bold aromas of blackberry, cigar smoke and grilling spices.  You get amazing mouth coating flavors of blackberry cobbler, tobacco leaf, vanilla and black cherry. The tannin is powerful yet polished and the finish is one that makes you turn your head and smile.  We filtered and decanted this wine as there was a moderate amount of sediment.  It is absolutely delicious and while it will likely age well for a decade or more, we like this one now or within in the next 3 years for best enjoyment. ABV:  14.8% Napa Valley, CA Suggested retail price:  $70.00 Drink The Bottles  score:  92/100

2019 Caprio Cellars Eleanor Estate Red Wine

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  We were really taken back by the 2018 vintage of this wine and the 2019 doesn't disappoint!  This is the 2019 Caprio Cellars Eleanor Estate Red Wine .  The wine is a Bordeaux Blend that consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (62%), Merlot (20%), Malbec (12%) and Cabernet Franc (6%).  This is not an "in your face" type of wine but rather one with a graceful introduction to blackberry and cherry aromas framed with cedar plank.  In the mouth is a glass-like feel with very polished tannin against flavors of plum, blackberry, cherry cordial and baking spices.  The closing moments of the wine linger and this young wine will surely continue to provide more depth with some time in the bottle.  Simply lovely!  700 cases produced. ABV:  14.5% Walla Walla, WA Suggested retail price:  $60.00 Drink The Bottles  score:  90+/100

2018 Caprio Cellars Eleanor Estate Red Wine

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We have been fans of Washington wines for many years but this was our first introduction to Caprio Cellars.  This winery not only produced solid and memorable wines, but they are also involved in many philanthropic activities as well.  If this  2018 Caprio Cellars Eleanor Estate Red Wine from Dennis Murphy is an indication of how impressive all of their offerings are, then these Walla Walla wines are a definite "must add" to your cellar.  Powerful with the first sip before decanting and medium purple in the glass.  Distinct red berry mixture with cedar plank, plum and red licorice.  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (59%), Merlot (19%), Malbec (15%) and Cabernet Franc 7%) is a smart blend that helps create some structure throughout the entire glass and beyond.  The flavors mirror the aromas and after decanting for about 90 minutes, the tannin softened considerably and led us to a velvety and balanced finish.  We detected a bit more woodsy notes after the decanting and the win

2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet

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  We were recently in Chicago visiting family and, of course, we had to check out the local wine store.  It's always fun shopping for wines and bourbons in a "new" city.  You never know what you may find.  Since it can be tough to find Mollydooker close to us (it is hit-and-miss) we decided to grab this bottle.  We have long been Mollydooker fans but had yet to write about any of the 2019 vintages. The 2019 Mollydooker Two Left Feet is a fun way to step outside of MD's famous 100% Shiraz offerings.  This is a blend of Shiraz (69%), Merlot (16% and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).  Dark magenta in the glass with wonderful, long legs, the wine permeates the air beautifully with fresh raspberry, cherry and spices.  At 16% ABV this wine isn't for the faint of heart.  But it isn't fumy or bear any unpleasant hints of menthol that you can get from other high octane wines.  In the mouth is a effortless and polished feel of a wine that boasts hearty red fruits, aged peppere

2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity

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If you are looking for a wine that pairs with just about anything in your pantry or freezer, you have found it in the 2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity blend.   Don't roll your eyes and scoff about red blends....certainly not this  one!  The picture above should really be all that you need to know about how much we enjoyed this wine.   The bottle is empty!  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (36%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Syrah (7%) and Petit Verdot(2%) is exceptionally balanced and a real palate masseuse!  This wine opens with grandma's homemade preserves, dried spices and some incredible hints of earthiness.  It is absolutely full of fruit flavors like juicy bing cherries, ripe plum and multi-berry cobbler, including the taste of spice racks flavors in the crust.  It is always incredible to sip a wine like this, sit back and just laugh at how wonderful it is at this price point.  This wine is young but it drinks like it has been bottled for 10 years.  The co

NV Winking Owl Merlot

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Why would you buy a bottle of wine for $2.49 you ask?  I honestly don't have an answer.  Curiosity probably got the best of me.  Flashbacks of "Two Buck Chuck" bounced around in my head as I passed this at Aldi several times yesterday.  But I like to keep an open mind and I'm always up to a challenge so I figured at this price, I'm really no worse for wear.  This bottle is less than a cup of coffee at most restaurants and I've spent far more money on less satisfying objects in my lifetime.  So, without further ado, I present the non-vintage Winking Owl Merlot..... I should start by saying that I am generally perplexed by anyone  who can put wine in a bottle for this price.  After all, sans juice, you still have the bottle, the cork, the label, the capsule, the outer packaging, the marketing, etc, etc to take into consideration of the total cost at checkout.  So when you remove those items from the cost of the bottle of wine, what do you have?  I would guess ab

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

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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. ABV:  14.5% Columbia Valley, Washington Suggested retail price:  $12.99 Drink The Bottles score:   82/

2015 Jon Nathaniel Bodacious

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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?

2015 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

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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 me

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

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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 t

2015 Krupp Brothers The Water Witch

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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 t

2013 Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

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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 y

2016 Farmhouse Red

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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 deliciou

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon

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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.

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc

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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

2015 Readers Merlot

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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 ta