Thorn Clarke – 2010 Shotfire Barossa Valley Quartage

NV_ThornClarke_Shotfire_Quartage3Some of you may already be acquainted with my love of rich, red wines.  You know the kind.  The kind that warm you up and wrap you in their deep aromas and flavors.  Perfect when the seasons start to change, and you’ve said your good-bye’s to summer’s Sauv Blancs, at least for now.  That’s the kind of wine that this evening begged for, even though the leaves haven’t changed yet.

I perused my wine rack to see what might hit the spot, and lo’ and behold, I came across this Australian lovely.  I already had a pot of thick bolognese on the stove, so (even though it’s not Italian) this would be perfect.  Perfect, but not without some effort.

Ok, a lot of effort.

After the foil wouldn’t let go for love or money, and the cork broke, and the ah-so failed to do its job, I did what any wannabe wine pro would do.  I grabbed an iced tea spoon and shoved the cork into the bottle.

So now that I’ve washed the kitchen down, and since my shirt has stopped dripping wine, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on the wine.

In the glass this deep, opaque, leggy red was begging me to drink it.  As I turned the glass toward my nose, the rich aromas of cassis and dark currant rushed out of the glass.  I pulled my nose into the rim to discover violet and leather, with just a tiny bit of graphite swirling below.  A little cedar and eucalyptus were there, just around the edges.  The first sip was just wonderful.  Smooth and full, with black fruit and spice.  The acidity was perfect and lingering.  Just lovely.

This wine is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.  It has an alcohol of 14.5, but no real heat, which was a  pleasant surprise.

In retrospect, the effort was worth it.  Well worth it.

Chateau Greysac – 2009 Medoc

greysacSometimes getting your first choice of something is good.  Sometimes getting your second choice is even better.  I was out with friends the other night when our second choice turned out to be perfectly delicious.

This wine is a deep and rich Bordeaux blend, roughly half Merlot, and balanced out with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  On the nose were dark fruits with leathery undertones.  Slight hints of violet and char were also noticeable.  The flavors stayed fresh and juicy.  The tannins were fairly well structured and restrained, with nicely balanced acidity, resulting in a lush mouthfeel.  The flavors opened up a little more after a few minutes, so decanting is an option.  The finish had a light spice and was moderate in length.  With an alcohol level of 14%, the wine was enjoyable with no unpleasant alcohol heat.

This wine paired particularly well with grilled filet mignon and haricot verts.  This wine is a great value and worth exploring for yourself.

River Road Vineyards – 2005 William & Mary (Presidents Collection) Cabernet Sauvignon

I love finding a bottle in my collection that I forgot I had.  I love it even better when I open it up and find out that it’s pretty good after all these years.  When I found this one I rolled the bottle around, up to the light, to see if I could see any of that nasty sediment that happens in wines long forgotten.  I didn’t see anything, so that was a good omen.  The cork was in good shape, too – another good sign.  I pulled out that little cork and immediately poured a small tasting’s worth.  The color was a deep, velvety red.  Not particularly leggy, but that’s ok.  I let it sit for just a few minutes, and when I came back to it I gave it a swirl and a sniff to see what I might find.  Cherry.  Tons of deep, dark, fruity cherry.  The flavors were totally in sync with the cherry aroma – lots of rich fruit, with lots of leather, and definite spice and eucalyptus on the tip of my tongue – maybe even a hint of espresso that lingered into the finish.  The tannins were firm, and allowed just a bit of acid through.  The finish was nice – moderately long, and the flavors remained.  This wine paired wonderfully with a hearty Italian dinner of homemade stuffed shells in a chunky tomato sauce, and rustic Italian bread with spicy olive oil, of course.

Hauser Estate Winery – 2010 Reserve Meritage

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this wine.  We all have our biases, whether about regions, or varietals, or styles, or whatever, when it comes to trying new wines.  With a purposefully open mind I uncorked the bottle, and poured a tasting.  I found the aromas to be quite nice – the air filled with  dark, dried cherry notes, and lots of red and black fruits.  Herby spices were also there, wafting out of the glass.  My first taste confirmed that the flavors matched the aromas quite nicely.  The mouth feel was substantial, and the finish fairly long, with a nice acidity.  There was a bit of a lingering sweetness, for me, in this dry wine, and I would have probably enjoyed it more without that.  But all in all, I think this is a noteworthy Pennsylvania wine.

Chateau Cantelys – 2009 Pessac-Leognan


A special celebration calls for a special wine.  My husband and I both lovers of deep, full-bodied reds, so when we were planning to celebrate a recent achievement by my husband, he chose Chateau Cantelys 2009 Pessac-Leognan to taste with a special dinner.  We opened the bottle and discovered a beautiful, deep garnet wine that is leggy and rich in its appearance.  This Bordeaux was filled with delicious aromas of dark red fruits – red current with a touch of cranberry, with dark cherry and a hint of raspberry jam.  The fruit was accented by hints of spice, tobacco,  and perhaps the tiniest bit of raw cocoa.  The first sip was luscious, and the slight acidity left my mouth watering.  The tannins were well-structured and firm, but balanced well with the fruit and acid.  The flavors were in perfect harmony with the aromas.  This wine paired exquisitely with a rubbed and seared filet mignon and crispy peppered potato.  We thoroughly enjoyed this wine, but would also add that this is one that will most likely get better with time.  We’ll be holding the next bottle for a few years.

Terra Valentine – 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon (Spring Mountain District)

This tasting got off to a rocky start when the cork broke when I was opening the bottle.  I had half a notion to move on to another wine (as I’ll admit to not having an ah-so handy), but I decided that I really did want to give this a try.  I committed the sin of pushing the cork into the bottle, whipping out a fine tea strainer, and pouring away, figuring I’d catch any stray cork bits.  The rocky start turned into a wonderful wine experience.  The color was deeply rich, with long legs.  The aromas were amazing – full and lush, with deep, dark cherries and plums with a touch of currant, and lovely, mellow tobacco and leathery notes.  I couldn’t wait for that first sip, which was just amazing.  This 12 year old beauty was round and very well balanced.  The dark fruits were true to their aromas, and there was a hint of herb and licorice.    The tannins were perfectly melded in this amazing wine.  I am so glad that I didn’t give up on this one.  We enjoyed it with a rich and spicy Italian meal, and this cab sauv was the star of the show.