2006 Mas Leda
A 100% Tempranillo from Castilla y Leon region of Northern Spain. Leda’s dense purple core offers fragrances of burnt earth, tinder box, baked plums, and oak. The palate presents full bodied complexity of black berry, vanilla, anise, and a slightly tart cherry. Excellent extraction and density especially for $20 at Whole Foods ($15 elsewhere). Pop and pour or decant its all good.
2012 Skouras Anasse
A Whole Foods exclusive blend of 70% Moscofilero and 30% Viognier. Straightforward palate of zesty citrus complimented by perfumed floral notes. An excellent Greek white at $11.
2006 Le Dome
A predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend from an average St. Emilion vintage. This young wine still musters up impressive flavors of anise, blackberry, camphor, and a distinct chalky Boudreaux earthiness. Unfortunately, the finish is a bit short and the texture is thin with an astringent quality. It is still excellent juice with great potential in stronger vintages.
2007 Kongsgaard Hudson Vineyard Syrah
Incredible syrupy texture packed with an powerful blast of smoked meat, black/blueberry, vanilla, oak, and anise. The body is silky smooth but lacking the structural backbone and minerality to further improve. The wine delivers on what you would expect (big fruit) and remains the best Napa Syrah out there. For full payoff decant 3 hours. Awarded 100 Pts by Jeb Dunnuck 12/4/11.
2012 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra
A 100% Grenache made from 100 year old Spanish vines. Crowd pleasingly simple flavors of earthy spice, milk chocolate, and sweet berries. Light bodied with a short finish but at $10 an amazing value. Can be found a most wine retailers and Whole Foods. Side note I’m yet to find a Spanish “value” wine from importer Eric Solomon that disappoints.
2008 Cayuse Bionic Frog
A 100% Syrah bottling whose popularity has elevated it to cult status in a few short years. Reminiscent of the other single vineyard Syrah’s but packing more depth and concentration. Funky nose of dried herbs, meat, and moist soil. Massive earthy black fruit, bacon, gamey meat, minerals, and glycerine palate. Still very young and still hard for me to understand these wines. For the price I’ll take Sine Qua Non.
Poor Dave Powell ousted from his own winery. I guess that’s what happens when you run up a $92,000 tab at a Danish strip club plus an additional $15,000 for a “lavish” Sidney lunch on the company’s buck. None the less, the wines were great during his time. At 15 years this off vintage bottle still impresses. A blend of 92% Shiraz with the remainder Viognier. Mature nose and palate of aged leather, menthol, dried herbs, creamy black fruit, and slight funkiness. Slightly acidic but otherwise no sharp edges. It’s past it’s prime but I’m not complaining.
2008 Morlet Coeur De Vallee
From Oakville’s Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. A brief 4 hour decant exposed a floral nose of espresso, chocolate, and cassis. Big palate of vibrant cherry, blueberry, anise, and chalky acidic tannins. Closed off near the end of the night. Unpleasantly clashed with short rib and sweet potato tater tots. Hold for at least 5 more years.
2007 Janzen Beckstoffer To Kalon
Just awesome straight from the bottle. Dense concentration of black fruit, anise, oak, and dark chocolate. Nose has a slightly more restrained bouquet of herbs, blueberry pie filling, and cassis liqueur. This bottling is extremely hedonistic right down to the pitch black core. The best To Kalon I’ve had in a while.
2012 Jorge Ordoñez & Co. Calatayud Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines
My new go to daily drinker. Not only the best Grenache at the sub $10 price point but easily the best red wine. Medium bodied with smooth black fruit, chocolate, and black licorice. Can find at most retailers just look for the terrible flame covered label design.
Had at animal on Fairfax in West Hollywood. Paired excellent their tasty tapa creations like fried rabbit leg, curry rabbit sausage spring rolls, and melted p’tit chorizo toast. Viscous texture of herbs, dark black fruit, violets, anise, and barnyard funk. Excellent wine at $30 but not so much for the $105 list price. A blend of 60% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 3% white varietals.
Per the Wine Advocate/Neil Martin’s poor math the 2010 Laurel is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Much more refined and tempered than expected. Green tea, baked cherries, anise, and stewed beef round the nose/palate. For the Clos Erasmus second wine it’s definitely worth the $35-50 price tag.