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2017 Domaine de Châteaumar Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Vincent, France, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

Whoa.  This is a stunning value in Syrah.  My first time trying this wine.  It is 100% Syrah from old vines in the Rhone Valley.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  Opaque and bright.  What a great nose.  Black raspberries, slight floral notes, just a hint of horse and leather, and slight crispy bacon.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this is clean, concentrated and delicious.  Nice black raspberry fruit over a slightly earthy base.  Good balance.  Great energy.  Nice finish.  This probably won't get much better but should provide great drinking for the next five to seven years and likely mo

2005 Romano Dal Forno Valpolicella Superiore Vigneto di Monte Lodoletta, Italy, Veneto, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$122.00USD

Dal Forno makes some of the best Amarone.  Unfortunately, the price is prohibitive.  That said, his Valpolicella's are better than most Amarone and while expensive, they can be worth doing.  This one certainly was.  So much better than a bottle tasted five years ago that was tight, oaked and unforgiving.  This bottle has really started to show a glimpse of its best.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, slight vanilla, cloves and leather.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has up front black cherry fruit with underlying spice and dried

2008 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame, France, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$130.00USD

A stellar vintage for this luxury cuvee from one of the older Champagne houses.  In a market that has exploded in pricing, this is one of the better values in luxury cuvee's.  This vintage is 92% Pinot Noir and 8% Chardonnay.  Silvery gold in color, clear and bright with a nice mousse of lots of tiny bubbles.  There is some fruit on the nose (pears) but its mostly about minerality/chalk with a bit of smoke.  Full bodied but yet lean and racy acidity.  The minerality and chalk carry thru to the palate.  Some light cherry notes compliment it well.  This is exciting to drink and one of the bet

2019 Fakin Teran, Croatia, Istria, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$26.00USD

My first time trying this grape - Teran.  Teran is the most grown red grape in this part (Istrain peninsula) of Croatia.  Deep ruby in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has cherry and On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Straightforward, but refreshing.  Nice black and red raspberry fruit.  Clean.  Nice finish.  Easy to drink this one on its own, but it will work well with pasta, pizza or most meat or fowl dishes.  It would also work with spicy cuisine.  This is obviously young and already drinking well, so it probably should be consumed in the next three to five years (just a gu

2013 Piližota Babić Reserve, Croatia, Dalmatia, Sibenik, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is made from the Babić grape in Croatia.  At a recent tasting of Croatian wines the rusticity of this wine made it controversial.  I loved it!  purple at its core with a ruby edge, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has a lot of barnyard going on that will be hard for some people to get by.  The cause is Brettonmyces, which is a spoilage yeast.  Depending on how the yeast has bloomed in a particular bottle, some will show more (or less) signs of it.  There is also some cherry notes along with a crushed rock quality.  On the palate, the barnyard is not as in your face.  It is a delicio

2017 Testament Babić, Croatia, Dalmatia, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$26.00USD

This is made from the Babić (pronounced BOB-itch) in Croatia.  The wine was fermented on its skin for ten days and then aged for six months in a mixture of American and French oak barrique.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has boysenberries, black cherries, slight dark chocolate along with a bit of white pepper.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, the boysenberries continue.  There is a nice underlying earthiness.  Clean with good acidity.  Nice finish.  This is drinking well now.  It seems like it should be consumed in the next five to seven years, but that is just a guess.  I ha

2017 Clai Malvazija Istarska Baracija, Croatia, Hrvatska Istra, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$28.00USD

This is Malvasia variety that is unique to the Istrian Peninsula from Croatia.  These grapes are grown according to biodynamic principals.  The grapes are then allowed to soak with their skins on for seven to twenty days in large wooden barrels.  Fermentation is done thru indigenous yeasts.  The wines are then aged  in large oak barrels before being released.  A very interesting wine (and good, too!).  Deep golden in color, clear and bright.  And, yes, this is an orange or macerated wine although it doesn't appear that it is taken to the extremes of some.  Very clean.  The nose is nice with

2018 Ritoša Malvazija Istarska, Croatia, Hrvatska, Istra, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

From the Istrian peninsula in northwest Croatia.  This is 100% Malvasia Istarska which is a unique member of the Malvasia family.  The grapes are grown in red clay and limestone soils about 10 miles from the sea.  The wine see no oak.  It is fermented on its lees using stainless steel tanks.  Apparently, they ferment in four separate batches using four different strains of yeasts.  13% abv.  The wine is light in color with a coppery/silver/gold hue to it.  The nose is mild but persistent with minerals, slight limes, and slight fresh dill.  On the palate, this is light to medium bodied with

NV Maison de Grand Esprit Champagne Marquis de La Mysteriale, France, Wine Review

Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is a nice Champagne with a strong marketing team behind it.  They push the Marquis de Mysteriale line as being a "new story" in French winemaking, but this wine seems pretty traditional.  Of course, in Champagne, that is not a bad thing at all!  Light golden in color, clear and bright.  There are a lot of tiny bubbles making up the mousse.  The nose is nice with brioche and a slightly nutty note.  Medium bodied.  Good acidity.  On the palate, toast, with green apples.  Moderate finish.  This drinks well on its own and is very food friendly.  A nice way to begin an evening.  

2018 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

One of my favorite Zinfandels.  This is a robust Zin, but not over the top.  It is quite concentrated and delicious.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has black raspberries, bramble, and slight pepper.  Full bodied.  Great, almost silky texture.  On the palate, juicy black raspberries, black cherries over a slight gravel base.  A bit candied but very concentrated.  Long finish.  This is so good now, but will continue to evolve a bit.  It depends on what you like in Zins as to how long to hold.  This should drink well for at least fifteen years, but that energy and robust qua

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