2013 Realm Cellars The Tempest, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

OK, I have a confession to make.  I love Merlot.  There, I said it.  But, it has to be good.  Sometimes, because Merlot is so accessible young or so delicious, it gets short shrift when compared to Cabernet.  And don't get me started on the Sideways effect.  And yes, there is a lot of crap out there from all over the globe.  But, there is a lot of really great Merlot as well.  And, this is one.  Actually, it is 86% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Purple in color.  The nose shows black cherries, dark chocolate, cassis, leather, slight menthol and a bit of earth.  On the palate, the textu

2017 Les Portes de Bordeaux Bordeaux Rosé, France, Bordeaux, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

This is a Trader Joe's wine made from Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is an easy drinking rose that is easy on the budget.  Deep pink/orange in color.  The nose has some watermelons and strawberries.  Light bodied.  On the palate, a bit of clean strawberries.  Drank well enough on its own and worked with a variety of garden and fruit salads.  Drink up this summer.  

2005 Château Grand-Pontet, France, Bordeaux, St. Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

This is coming along quite nicely.  It's not yet at peak and still drinks big and young.  Purple in color.  The nose is big with black cherries, some black raspberry, spice, some chocolate and a bit of coffee.  On the palate, this has medium tannins.  Lots of black cherry and black raspberry fruit over a bit of char/dark chocolate.  Slight black licorice on the finish.  This is delicious and great on its own or with bolder roasted meat (or vegetable) dishes.  It will continue to improve for another five to ten years, and be good for another ten to fifteen after that if well stored.  This bo

2015 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This is a Bordeaux blend Super Tuscan wine from one of the top producers in Tuscany.  It is one of their less expensive offerings and is always an outstanding wine.  This wine is surprisingly open and drinking well already considering that 2015 is an outstanding vintage in Tuscany.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, slight tobacco and spice.  On the palate, this has a nice juiciness to it.  Black cherry fruit dominates at this point with some underlying tobacco/earth.  Light tannins.  Nice finish.  This might still improve but either way should be good

2015 Antinori Villa Antinori Toscana IGT. Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

A perennial favorite in my household going back to the days when this was labeled as Chianti.  A very nice value and a wine that will age for a few years anyway.  Purple in color, slightly opaque and bright.  The nose is dusty, slightly smoky, with nice cherry fruit.  On the palate, this has nice layering.  Not too deep or complex but what is there is developed.  It certainly seems as though there are some Bordeaux varietals in this wine, but I am unsure of the blend.  It drinks more like a Bordeaux of similar price.  The fruit is riper though.  This may still have some upside but should be

2014 Tenuta San Guido Guido Alberto Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is the second label of Sassicaia.  It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.  Tasted at a tasting with more Sangiovese grapes did not help this wine.  Nor did the fact that this was from a not very good vintage in Tuscany and many of the others were from better vintages.  Still, this wine was a favorite of some.  Deep garnet in color.  The nose has tart cherries, some cassis, some tobacco and green bell pepper.  On the palate, the tannins are fully resolved.  Good acidity.  Slightly bitter cherries with some forest floor.  Short finish.  It is a good reason to drink wines

2015 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound, South Africa, Stellenbosch, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

This winery has recently been sold to new owners.  They are one of the largest producers in South Africa having opened in 1989.  Mostly known for their Chenin Blanc, this red is affordable and a great value too.  It is a blend of 32% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Malbec.  The new label is plain and classy, but I always liked the old one with a picture of a dog.  A note for the 2013 is on this site and features that label.  The wine itself is drinking very well.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, plums, baking spice and slight tobacco not

2015 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$185.00USD

This is one of the great wines of the world.  This is a Bordeaux blend made in Tuscany.  2015 was an excellent if quite ripe vintage.  All of that ends with a wine that is no where close to being ready to drink.  It doesn't matter how young you like your wines, this needs time.  If I had to drink a bottle now, i would decant it for a week.  It is tight, brooding and a monster.  That said, it will eventually be a tremendous wine.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, cassis, coffee, spice and slight tobacco.  On the palate, there was a fierce wall of tannins.  Juicy black cherry fr

2016 Harry & David Vineyards Royal Crest Red, USA, Oregon, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is from the Food and Gift purveyor Harry & David and made with Oregon fruit.  It is a "Bordeaux Styled" wine though the exact blend is unclear.  These wines sell as part of gift packages that one can order online or at a store.  It is quite good and was a real crowd pleaser.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose is dusty with black cherries and a nice earthiness to it.  On the palate, this has a nice acidity.  Tart cherry fruit over a forest floor base.  Silky tannins.  Nice finish.  This is food friendly and should go well with medium and heavier foods but especially meat a

2008 Château Pontet-Canet, France, Bordeaux, Pauillac, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

Thrown into a tasting of First Growths from this vintage, that probably wasn't fair, but it held it's own even if not one of the top wines.  And, to top it off Inky purple in color.  The nose is very nice with liqueur-like notes of cassis and cherries along with some cedar and spice.  On the palate, this has a lot of cassis fruit with firm tannins.  It will need another five to ten year to maturity.  It is delicious as pop and pour right now.  Considering this is available for around $90 right now, it is hard to justify the prices of some of the other "better" wines.  

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