Latest wine club release from Salvestrin – 2008 Three-D Cabernet Sauvignon – Named after the three daughters of the Salvestrin family.
*Straight out of the bottle: You know (or at least hope) that this wine is going to be AMAZING, when it is described to you as the “Barry Bonds” of wine. The bouquet on this wine couldn’t have been more perfect – with hints of cherry, ripe berries, licorice, and oak, we knew this wine was going to be great. First taste impressions instantly tells us that this wine has lived up to its built-up reputation. This wine has fantastic characteristics with dark fruit and rich, black cherry on the front which leads into flavors of oak, vanilla, and cocoa. It is very full bodied and one of the biggest, masculine, most powerful wines we have had in a while, if not at all. This wine also has this wonderful, crisp, clean finish that stays with you and just doesn’t want to let go. It couldn’t be drinking more perfect right now.
We chose to decant this wine as per recommendations from the winemakers.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With time, we couldn’t believe this wine could get any better! It kept its full bodied, varietal characteristics while adding in more pleasant notes as this wine further oxidized. New flavors of licorice, mint, berries, melded together and added to the already amazing hints of rich, red fruit, vanilla, and oak. Towards the back of the palate, we got a pleasant surprise of cocoa and rich chocolate that added to the finish that stays with you FOREVER! If you get the chance to try this amazing wine, it is worth it!
Raw Score: 96+ Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $130): 96
Cru Vin Dogs 2006 Cabernet-Merlot – Portrait Series: Lucky Edition
48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc
After previously enjoying this wine before, we chose to decant this wine.
*Decanted (for about an hour): Great cabernet-merlot blend! The bouquet on this wine smells of licorice, berries, and oak, and is very inviting. The wine itself has a great velvety texture that is enjoyable. This wine also shares some characteristics and qualities of some of the higher end wines – with flavors of vanilla, cherry, black licorice, and oak. The merlot softens up the body of this wine, making the end product a medium body. This wine isn’t super complex and doesn’t have the biggest body, however, it is very interesting and work drinking.
Raw Score: 88 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $22): 84
Lastest vintage from Felino – 2009 Malbec – Mendoza, Argentine; Viña Cobos
*Straight out of the bottle: First impressions instantly tells us that this vintage is probably one of the best ones yet. This wine has great characteristics, however, in its present state, it needs some time to open up and breathe. Right now, this wine is a medium to full body, is very fruit forward, yet finishes extremely dry almost like a cabernet sauvignon.
We chose to decant this wine.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With time, this younger malbec opened up very nicely. While it kept its dry finish, the forward part of the wine opened up and changed dramatically. New flavors of leather, oak, and dark cherry added nicely to the fruit and spices that were previously present. Great wine, especially for the price!
Raw Score: 86 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $17): 90
2003 Balistreri Colorado Merlot – No Vineyard Listed – Barrel # 2055
We decided to decant this wine as it is fairly old and had produced quite a bit of sediment.
*Straight out of the bottle (After being poured into the decanter): This merlot from Balistreri straight out of the bottle was surprisingly dry. Subtle hints of signature Balistreri-wine, light fruit flavors, leather. Tannins are mellow, however, the body at this point seems very limited and narrow.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With time, this wine became much, much better. It opened up and aligned with the traditional Balistreri wines. It became more fruit forward with a subtle sweetness that was perfectly balanced. Flavors of chocolate, berries, and vanilla, melded together perfectly with the mellow, mature tannins to create a smooth, great wine.
Raw Score: 84 Handicap Score : I was lucky enough to find this rare wine on clearance at a small, liquor store up in Steamboat Springs, CO. Thus, it is difficult to compare this wine to others in its varietal and price range as this particular vintage is currently sold out and is no longer available through regular retail.
New Release from Louis Martini – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Rosso Vineyard – Sonoma Valley
*Straight out of the bottle: First impressions straight out of the bottle gives us the notion that this wine is very tight and needs some time to open up. Flavors of oak, dark fruit and plum, lead way to a smooth, dry finish with a hint of rich chocolate.
*This wine paired exceptionally well with aged manchego cheese.
We chose to decant this wine.
*Decanted (for about an hour): Definitely decant this wine and allow its potentials to shine! With time, this wine opened up and grew into the BIG, BOLD cabs that Louis Martini is known to produce. Decanting brought out a slightly sweet, fruit forward wine that led to a perfectly dry finish. New flavors of licorice and black cherries couldn’t have melded perfectly with the rich chocolate finish. Velvety texture throughout and nice smooth tannins made the drinking experience even more enjoyable. This is a fantastic cabernet!
Raw Score: 94 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $85): 90
*Straight out of the bottle: Great zinfandel for the price and paired exceptionally well with italian food (we paired it with lasagna). This zin isn’t the most powerful or robust for the varietal, but what can you expect for a wine that costs less than $15. It is slightly sweet with a hint of spiciness – mostly, there wasn’t a lot of depth to this light-to-medium body wine. Overall, it was a good, easy drinking wine.
Raw Score: 70 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $15): 80
2009 Balistreri Colorado Petite Sirah – CVS Vineyard – Barrel # 214
Decided to decant during the time we made dinner. This is a younger wine and we thought it could use some time to breathe and open up.
*Decanted (for about an hour): First impressions were pretty aligned with the varietal characteristics. Flavors of lush, red fruit and hints of black pepper lead to a nice velvety finish with cocoa subtleness. This wine carries a medium body that is slightly sweet and possesses the spicy qualities of a good syrah. At its current age, we feel that this wine will only do better with time.
Raw Score: 85 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $48): 80