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.

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Evans & Tate – 2009 Metricup Road Margaret River Shiraz

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This wine is a surprisingly fruit forward shiraz.  Juicy ripe cherry, plum and berry aromas delightfully waft from the deep ruby wine.  Those aromas carry through nicely to the flavor.  The flavor also hints of very light spice and a slight touch of cedar.  Perhaps the biggest surprise is the absence of alcohol heat, which almost invariably comes with a 14.5.% alcohol level.    The acidity is well-balanced with the nicely structured tannins.  This medium-bodied beauty has a fairly long, pleasant finish.  A good value that pairs well with a seared, peppered steak.

Abate Franco Alba – 2009 Cuti Nero D’Avola

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When the cold, wet weather hits, a warm red is always in order.  This Sicilian wine echoes the hot, dry climate of the Italian island.  Dark ruby with modest legginess.  The dark cherry on the nose blended with a bit of plum and prune.  A hint of spice touched the aroma as well.  The taste was very nice, with a pronounced cola flavor that blended beautifully with cherry undertones.  The finish was long with persistent acidity.  I did get an expected punch of tannins, but pairing this wine with pasta in rich olive and onion marinara turned those tannins into a velvety, lush experience.   I look forward to revisiting this wine in a year or two.

Chateau Cantelys – 2009 Pessac-Leognan

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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.

Chateau Montaud – 2009 Cotes de Provence Rose

When the October air brings its chill, most of us turn our thoughts away from crisp, summer white wines, and turn our thoughts to the deep, spicy reds that will warm us through the winter months.  That is, until that last twinge of summer graces us with a final show, warming the air for just a while, and letting us enjoy one delicious summer memory before it lets go.   Tonight’s dry rose was meant for the Indian summer, with its shimmery salmon pink hue and delicate aromas of red berries – strawberry in particular – and the lightest hint of cream.  The flavors matched the aromas perfectly, with subtle fruit on the tongue, and a long, soft finish that was creamy and slightly floral.  This wine paired perfectly with the Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor cheese we served, together with a crusty baguette and kalamata olives, and worked just as well with the herb roasted chicken and root vegetables that followed.  A wonderful way to bid adieu to summer, and welcome the crispness of fall.

Bodega Norton – 2009 Malbec Mendoza Reserva

I just love the anticipation of a deep, dark red on a chilly evening.  I do enjoy malbec, with its depth and intensity.  I opened this wine to discover aromas of red fruit and plum, but a few unexpected notes as well.  A definite spice was in the air  – the cinnamon and eucalyptus unfolded within just a few moments of that first swirl.  I took a sip to find that the alcohol overwhelmed my tongue at first – not entirely unexpected with its 14.5% .  I found that after a few minutes, and several swirls, I was able to move beyond my first impression and found a rather lovely wine.  The tannins were pronounced and firm, and flavors of dark currant and plum danced together with spice.  The finish was fairly long, and let the ever-so-slight acidity leave my mouth watering.  I enjoyed this wine with a seared burger and side salad dressed in an intense fig balsamic, and the match was perfect.