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A Trio of Tens

4 Nov

I found these three ten-dollar bottles on a recent visit to one of my local wine haunts, Mayfair Wine & Liquor on Utopia Parkway. (For anyone who travels Fresh Meadows, this is a great store for quality and value. The owner has phenomenal knowledge of wines and liquors and a surprisingly wide range of stock.)

Each of these wines offers something different, and could be a good or great option in the appropriate pairing. Here are my most recent finds, in no specific order:


Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010

A purple color with garnet edges in the glass and nose of red ripe fruit. On the palate this wine features raspberry and plum with hints of vanilla, oak, and a touch of smoke. I tasted this with a strong cheese, then noticed it went very well with chocolate that brought out nice mocha notes. Light for a cab with an easy finish and gentle tannins, this was delicious and my favorite of the three wines.  I’d like to taste other offerings from this winemaker!

Visit Canyon Road Winery for more information.


Esteban Martin Carinena Reserva 2007

This wine has a ruby color and a spicy nose of red fruit and dried wildflowers. In the mouth it features red currants, powerful spices, notes of cigar box, and aged wood on the finish. The spice in this wine is dominant, and as such it would ideally pair with a strongly-flavored complement. The blend is 70% grenache, 15% syrah, and 15% cabernet sauvignon from grapes grown in Carinena, Spain. An interesting vineyard to keep an eye on.

Esteban Martin‘s website features much more on their winery.

2010 Chateau La Garrousse Bordeaux (bronze medal winner, Concourse de Bordeaux 2011)

Pale garnet color, with raspberry & violet and some gravel on the nose.

On first taste I was overpowered by sweet red fruit, followed by loads of acidity and some bitterness on the back palate I didn’t care for. My immediate reaction: not enough tannin, this wine is young and requires time to develop. Fortunately I decided to let this take some air. After an hour, the bitterness was gone and I felt the wine was decidedly different and greatly improved. The next day, I enjoyed this wine with a salad and pizza and the elements I’d been concerned with had entirely disappeared. With a little age, this has great potential.

*If you find a website for Chateau La Garrousse, please let me know! *

à votre santé!

Something Old, Something New

4 Jul

Recently we had several friends over for dinner, and choosing wines required a moment of thought for me. The menu included beef and lamb, so I wanted wines that would be able to pair and complement well. I started re-arranging a section in my cellar and found a remaining bottle of 1983 Sociando-Mallet Haut-Medoc. I’d purchased several of these bottles at auction and enjoyed the next-to-last bottle. I pulled and dusted it, examined the foil and cork (not bad!) and then selected a couple of younger bottles for follow-up wines.

When I opened and decanted the 29-year old bottle, the cork broke, but the second half came out as one piece. While the split cork could be a bad indication, the initial color was good, a deep garnet with just a small amount browning on the edges. On the nose, I discerned a slight tinge of the acidity starting to turn on my initial aroma, after more air it dissipated completely. My initial impression was balanced tannins and acidity with cassis and raspberry in the background. Yet the balance was good and the wine opened considerably.  As the wine aerated, the cassis and cherry opened more into the back palate, as did the hints of cocoa, pepper, and clay. I was hardly surprised there was nary a hint of cedar or oak to be found at this age. It is important to note there was not a hint of sugar or sweetness in the fruit, confirming that this needed to be consumed now or risk that hint of TCA becoming a complete reality. After 30 minutes of air, the wine had opened to be a lovely, medium-bodied complement for the lamb, and it was time to open another bottle.

Next I picked a Chateau Charmant Margaux 2008. The Charmant is dark purple in color, has a nose that includes rose petal, black plum, a hint of menthol and graphite. The palate is full of black plum, blackberry, cassis, with elements of cedar, cocoa, pepper and rose bush. While this wine is still young, it’s a great example of a huge, fruit- forward wine with balance and the lush silkiness that endears the great Margaux to me. On the downside, this wine is currently lacking the immense structure and depth it will have upon reaching maturity. Nonetheless, it played a great foil in comparison to the fully matured Sociando-Mallet, from delicious wine to delicious wine, from fall to spring, and a wonderful transition in seasons and flavors.

Modus Operandi’s Petite Syrah 2009 & Vicarious 2009

29 Apr

Modus Operandi Petite Syrah 2009 

The ’09 Petite Syrah is a very small bottling- only TWO barrels were made, it’s rare and pricey at $50/bottle.

Very deep, blackish-purple in color. The nose is floral: African violet & blackberry.  The mouthfeel is dense with loads of black fruit. Powerfully strong blackberry, plum, and cassis start on the forward palate and takes a massive fruit finish with a gentle wash of gravel, root and cedar with a hint slate. My tasting notes reiterate: What a nice, even and lasting finish. Label suggest decanting 2-24 hours prior to drinking, I decanted three hours before first tasting, and drank it for several days before refrigerating and finally finished the bottle a week after opening with almost the same delight in the flavor every time.

This wine is easy to appreciate with its depth and complexity. Jason Moore (the winemaker) seems to be part chemist and part inventor. His wines are experimental blends done in small lots,  and when he releases a wine to the public it’s a delicious symphony in a flavorful bottle. Well worth the price, an amazing, special treat on the opposite end of my snooty French Bordeaux favorites.

Modus Operandi Vicarious 2009 (red blend)

Color: Inky, deep purple. Nose of blackberry, red plum,  vanilla, orchid, and spice box.

This dense, huge, fruit-forward wine is in a word, amazing. Massively fruit forward, it explodes in the mouth with cassis, plum, and berry and has a lengthy finish.

Best when decanted before tasting, this blend (Merlot,  Petit Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) is from grapes in multiple vineyards, carefully selected, sorted and fermented and ages 22 months in new French oak. This wine demonstrates Jason Moore’s work as that of a master winemaker and in my opinion, a wine artiste!

12 barrels made  (300 cases) At 45/bottle, it’s not for the light of heart but it’s so completely worth it. This is a wine to taste, enjoy, and share with friends. Again, these wines are shockingly delicious and HUGE.

Jason Moore is a passionate, talented winemaker. His wines were introduced to me by a passionate wine lover.

I’m now sharing them with you. Please do the same.

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