November 2009: Holiday Wines ~ $30-$50

November 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Every wine in this lineup would make a stellar holiday gift; it just depends on what you’re looking for:  a more medium-bodied Pinot Noir from California?  a full-bodied, Cab blend from South Africa? We won’t pretend that this is an across the board representation of what’s available in Seattle in this price range (as the reps drop off their candidate bagged and so we don’t know what we’ve got for a price point tasting like this until the unveiling) but the fun thing about this tasting was the level of oohing and aahing going on in that back room! The lineup was superior as you can see from the scores and notes. And, with a wink at last November’s Holiday Wine Tasting, where the overall winner was the El Quintanal 2005 Ribera del Duero (95 points) … the Spaniards are kicking butt! Happy Holidays and happy reading:

EXCELLENT (90-94 points)
Arzuaga 2005 Ribera del Duero Crianza
(94 points)
Region: Ribera del Duero, Spain; Varietals: Tempranillo/Cab Sauv/Merlot; Retail: $35
Notes: N: cherry candy, gamey, cola, vanilla, high toned – so much going on here – I feel I need night vision goggles just to capture all the elements I am missing. P: nose follows through on palate with big flavors, leather, blackberry, cherry, smooth oak, perfect balance. (Ken)
Notes: Dark, dark ruby color. Powerful, but delicate aromas of dark fruit, saddle leather and herbs. Lots going on here – layers over layers of dark fruit, leathers, with herbal and spicy notes. Wonderful. Full-bodied but elegant and complex. Great acidity and long finish. Tastes like high-end Spanish. (Jens)

Mas Doix 2005 Salangues Priorat (94 points)
Region: Priorat, Spain; Varietals: Garnacha/Carenena/Syrah/Merlot/Cab Sauv; Retail: $51
Notes: Wonderful, dark ruby color. Beautiful, powerful aromas of wild berries, dark fruits and wild flowers. Big, full-bodied, great concentration and depth. Wonderful acidity. Lots of dark fruit, boysenberries, blackberries with herbal notes and some spice. Long, long finish. Needs to age. (Jens)
Notes: N: still coy, closed on nose, needs to open yet, blueberries & spice, cloves & cardamom, French perfumes. P: taut still but good firm tannins, balanced flavors of candied black cherries, espresso mocha, spiced sugar plums, worn leather. (Ken)

De Toren 2006 Fusion V (93 points)
Region: Stellenbosch, South Africa; Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot; Retail: $50
Notes: N: roasted game meat, bacon, smoked spices, with a bright beam of blackberries & black pepper P: meaty wine with pomegranate, espresso, plum jam (Ken) Notes: Mature notes of prunes, almond and wet feather, very elegant on the palate delivering everything in the nose plus smoke, tobacco and leather on the finish. (A Pinotage style.) Rustic but yet smooth. Very good. (Giuseppe)

Capanna 2006 Rosso Di Montalcino (92 points)
Region: Tuscany, Italy; Varietals: Sangiovese Grosso; Retail: $32
Notes: Little lighter on the nose – more red fruit – cherry/plum/raspberry. Great finish. Great balance of fruit/acid/oak/alcohol! This wine is awesome! (Mike) Notes: Framboise, black raspberries, has a sweet punch, gentle and feminine upfront yet juicy and firm. (Catherine)

Freeman 2005 Pinot Noir (92 points)
Region: Sonoma Coast, CA; Varietals: Pinot Noir; Retail: $47
Notes: N: Pinot Noir! Nutty huckleberries, forest twigs, pine, savory cherry sauce P: very perfumed plalate of butter simmered plums, fennel, pepper & roses (Ken)
Notes: Love the nose, bursting with berries on the vine, classy, violets, minerals strike through it, has intrigue, flinty finish, pine & fir needles. (Catherine)

Andeluna 2003 Grande Reserve Passionado (91 points)
Region: Mendoza, Argentina; Varietals: Cab Sauv, Merlot, Malbec, Cab Franc; Retail $50
Notes: Dark intense red. Sweet aromas of stewed fruit and dried blueberries. Delicious. Truly sexy.Old world smell with new World finish. Very polished. Well done. (Giuseppe)
Notes: Beautiful, dark ruby color. Powerful aromas of ripe blackberries and cassis. Dense, complex, good concentration and elegance. Lots of dark fruit, boysenberries and black berries. Very good mouthfeel. Long finish with fine tannins. (Jens)

DeLille Cellars 2007 D2 (91 points)
Region: Yakima Valley, WA; Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot; Retail: $41
Notes: Dark ruby. Bright bouquet of sour cherries, dried apricots and peaches. Sexy but elgant. Powerful note of tobacco leaf. Superb red with strong blue cheeses. (Giuseppe)
Notes: Beautiful, dark ruby color. Fantastic nose of dark fruit, black currants. Very complex, well-balanced with great acidity which lifts the dark fruit flavors. Coffee, espresso, mocha notes. Beautiful long finish with fine tannins. (Jens)

Terra Valentine 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (91 points)
Region: Napa Valley, CA; Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon; Retail: $45
Notes: Great Old World/New World mix – all fruit up front, but the finish has this smoky/earthy thing going on – great wine. (Mike)
Notes: Beautiful bright ruby red. Very elegant. Silky long finish, mouthfeel. Well-balanced. Sexy, velvety red. A cross between Cabernet and Syrah? Great present. Friendly but a blockbuster! (Giuseppe)

November Tasting Panel:  Jens Strecker, Ken O’Hara, Catherine Reynolds, Giuseppe Carraturo, and guest taster: Michael Friesen.

The following wines are in-stock or can be ordered at the following local wine shops:
Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
email: info@portaliswines.com
phone: 206-783-2007

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Entry filed under: Price points. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

October 2009: Bordeaux (France) December 2009: Sparkling Wines

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