If you want to sound hip at a dinner party mention how hot Malbecs are. Sure the trend toward this predominently South American grape has been trending up for a few years now, but it's really smoking now. Malbec is no new kid on the block either. It's one of the six grapes that are allowed to be included in a Bordeaux blend. Malbec's popularity in France dipped in the 50s but luckily for us some Argentines and Chileans decided it might work in hot, sunny South America. Typically Malbecs are dark, full bodied and sport big tannins on the back. Let's see how this Graffigna stacks up at $9.99.
As per standard it's A really pretty dark red color with bright red highlights. This wine smells great. Earthy and tobacco with a big fat fresh green pepper on the front. Black pepper on the palate with double dark cherries and earth. The tannins are kicking on the back end. If you drinking this with a dark meat, lamb, fried chicken, etc. dinner this is a winner. You have to like a little earthiness to your wine but if you want to get into Malbecs this is the place to start.
Believe it or not Merlot is still reeling from Sideways, a film released in 2004. In the film Paul Giamatti plays a wine snob who elevates PN to exultant levels and denigrates Merlot as little more than swill. Of course his character pops a '61 Cheval Blanc, a wine which comes from a vineyard plated with 40% Merlot.
If you think about Merlot in a very general spectrum is sits between Cab and Pinot Noir. Darker and more muscalar than Pinot but softer and less tannic than Cabs. The '09 Columbia Crest H3 Merlot ($13.99) comes from the Horse Heavem Hills AVA in Washington. It is a perinneal best value pick by the wine mags and picked up an 89 pt score from Spectator.
Some muted cherry coke and tobacco on the nose. Super on the palatte. Lots of cocoa on the mid with dark cherry leading to a silky transition and a herby spice finish.
The only thing hotter than Ben Affleck's career right now is red blends. Blending different varietals gives winemakers a chance to mix and match creating a recipe that accentuates an individual grape's strength while perhaps masking its weaknesses. Three Saints 2008 SteakHouse Red is heavy on the Cabernet using merlot, Syrah and PV as blenders. Dark ruby in color with a terrific blueberry pie nose, this 14.2% from Santa Barbera County has delicious written all over it. I tend to find red blends very drinkable and easily enjoyed without food. They usually have a blast of fruit and a jammy but restrained sweetness that leaves you wanting to take another drink. On the palate the blueberry thing is still the for me and I get some Coke and a few red berries mixed in for good measure. At $15.99 this is a red wine that is sure to be a hit served with snacks appetizers or maybe pizza. Contrary to it's steakhouse moniker it doesn't have the back end tannins to take on the t-bones and ribeyes of the world.
Pours a deep rich purple.
Raspberry jam, oak plank, vanilla on the nose. Very inviting. Opens up considerably after being decanted.
Spicy red fruit up front with some gigantic dry tannins on the back end. Notes of leather and oak. Not for the faint of palate. Set this bottle down for a few years and enjoy as the tannins mellow.
We're very proud to be the only store in Lincoln to carry Michael David's low production, high quality, Inkblot series. They make less than 1,000 cases each of Tannat, Petit Verdot, and our wine tonight the Cab Franc. I've heard great things about the PV. Cab Franc is generally lighter than Cabernet and it's usually used for mixing to give other varietals structure. Typically I've found it to contribute a little vegetal greeness to the overall picture.
This is about as dark as your darkest Cab, just the smallest amount of light sneaking through. Truly inky. Intriguing nose. The Cab Franc greeness is there, but not in the intensity that I expected. So subtle vegetables and some root beer smells, I'm having a hard time placing the type of berries in there, maybe blueberries?
Super dark, super dry and good. A spectacular finish on this wine. It's like if you took all the sugar out of a strawberry and just left the flavor essence, then mixed it road tar and charred oak. Trust me, it's much better than that crappy description sounds.
Stag's Leap is one of the iconic winery's in Napa Valley, so it's always exciting to try a bottle from the Napa Valley Collection. Estate grown grapes mixed with some of the best fruit from all over the valley is the foundation for the 2009 Artemis Cabernet.
Normal dark purple in color.
At first approach I'm getting cotton candy on the nose. There's something herbal going on, maybe menthol, and cedar.
This is not the fruit bomb that we tried with the Columbia Crest Reserve Cab. The cotton candy taste fades into the background and cocoa, dark fruit, and earthiness take center stage. Big, lingering tannins make me think this wine could cellar for several years. Tasty and thought-provoking, certainly a bottle to try.