Bodegas Borsao – 2010 Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Picos

If you are really into hard core, screaming reds, I think I just found something you’ll like.  This wine is anything but subtle.  This is a smack-you-in-the-head red.  The aroma wakes you up with a tobacco, herbs, dark cherry jam and just a little bit of licorice.  But be warned – you may get a little bit of alcohol in that sniff as well.  At 14.5%, the alcohol is forward and strong when first opened, so this is a wine that can stand up to aeration or decanting.  The flavors are just as intense as the aromas – deep dark red cherry, leather and spicy herbs pave the way to an intense finish.  The tannins are reasonably balanced and the body is definitely full.  I enjoyed this wine with a spicy sausage stuffed banana pepper and some rustic bread.

Georges DuBoeuf – 2009 Morgon Jean Descombes Beaujolais

I picked up this wine because of three things – a great review, a great price, and my husband’s beaujolais phase (which I think is now rubbing off on me).  This wine, in short, is a tremendous value, and a fabulous experience.  The color is a crystal garnet, and foretells the medium/medium-light body of this wine.  The aromas are quite nice – lots of red fruit, including red cherry, mingled with a light, earth smokiness.  I found the flavors to be quite nice – extremely well balanced, with definite cherry and raspberry, and the tannins were nicely reserved.  The spicy notes were also delightful, and followed through the finish, which I particularly enjoyed.  This wine paired exquisitely with pork loin medallions glazed with a balsamic cherry wine sauce.

Domaine Manoir Du Carra – 2009 Beaujolais Fleurie

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There are times when Beaujolais just seems right, and tonight was one of those nights.  We found ourselves exploring a quaint little town, and stumbled upon a French restaurant that we just had to try.  The menu was wonderful, but it also pulled us in several directions – a little spicy, some wild game, some seafood – you name it.  So what could go better with all of those things than a smooth Beaujolais that could complement the entire meal.  The bottle was presented and opened, and the light floral aromas wafted over to me.  Another sniff and the aromas of blackberry and just a little spice and tobacco complemented the rose and violet.  The flavor was silky and well-balanced, with a medium body and a nice finish that had just a hint of mineral to it.  And we were right – it went well with everything.

Arnoux & Fils – 2009 Jean-Marie Arnoux Vacqueyras

Are you drawn in completely by massive, sexy reds?  If you are, this has your name on it.  This delicious wine starts drawing you in with its deep, dark hue – it looks particularly rich because this is an unfiltered, unfined wine.  The legs are long and beg you to sip.  The aromas are bold and rich with a cassis and graphite, and hints of bittersweet chocolate and florals are also there.  My first sip was amazing – the lush mouth feel, the dark berry flavors, the earthy tones and complexity – all combined for an amazing experience.  I will admit to reading another review of this wine that described the finish as “smoldering”, and when I read that word I could not have said it better myself.  It was long, and smoldering, and completely intoxicating.  The blend on this wine is 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.  It went so very well with a perfectly seared filet mignon and roasted, herbed asparagus.  Do try it, and see if you agree.

Gerd Anselmann – 2009 Pfalz Dornfelder

If you’ve never experienced a German red wine, you really should, even if it’s just to say that you have.  I took my leap into German reds with this little number – unsure of what I would experience, but as always, hoping for the best.  The cork practically burst out of the bottle, and I got a distinctively fruity whiff from the cork.  Not bad at all.  I poured a tasting and was happy to discover a very cherry aroma with notable florals.  I also noticed an ever so slight hint of coffee.  My first sip was very nice.  Medium-bodied and very silky, this wine went down very easily.  There was no alcohol heat, and tannins were very low.  The flavors of tart cherry were true to the expectations I had from the aroma.  The bottle indicated that serving it very chilled was best, but I drank it at cellar temperature, which I think was a good choice.  Any colder and the nice aromas would have been suppressed.  I wouldn’t characterize this wine as very complex at all, but it was mellow and drinkable – perhaps a nice wine to explore if you tend to prefer white wines but want to start experiencing reds.  We enjoyed this wine with a variety of herbed and roasted vegetables, and a hearty bread.

Yabby Lake Vineyards – 2008 Cooralook Shiraz

This wine is everything you would hope for from an intense Australian Shiraz.  It’s deep, rich, dark garnet hue is the first sign of the lushness to come.  The aromas of warm blackberry and dark cherry are lovely, and combine with a light smokiness and spice that beg you to taste your first sip.  The flavors are indeed full, well-developed and complex.  The tannins are very well-balanced, with a slight alcohol heat, but yet the fruit is still evident.  Round and full-bodied, this wine was everything I hoped it would be.  The finish was long, with the spice most notable.  I would be happy to enjoy this wine again, especially as I did this time – with intense cheeses, roasted garlic bread and a spicy dipping oil.