Straight out of the bottle, this Colorado wine is a nice surprise to add to the mix. On the front, the tannins have matured and provide a velvety, soft texture. Flavors on the front part of the palate include red fruit and cream. As it transcends the palate, it loses its “Umph”, but returns on the back. The finish is subtle and dry, but has notes of oak and tobacco that seem to linger on.
Overall, this is an enjoyable wine. While it doesn’t carry the big, bold masculinity of the heavy hitter Cabernet Sauvignons out there, it is a nice wine to enjoy on an evening in.
Handicap ($25): 80
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a bigger, Colorado cabernet sauvignon that definitely needs some time to open up and relax. We decided to decant from first impressions.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With some time to oxidize and mellow out, this younger cabernet sauvignon opened up into a pretty tasty wine. Fruit forward, this medium-bodied wine offers mild acidity to the palate with hints of vanilla and oak. It has a cream undertone that comes through in the middle of the palate, which transcends into black pepper with hints of ripe blueberries. This wine is drinking pretty nicely right now, however, will only get better with some time in the bottle.
Raw Score: 84 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $36): 75
Maybe with some time this wine will open up and align with the traditional varietal characteristics. For the price point there are better wines out there, however, it is always good to support the local wineries in Colorado.
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a very interesting Colorado wine straight out of the bottle. It is medium bodied with most of the flavors and notes on the front portion of the palate. It is slightly acidic with young tannins that need some time to settle down and mature. On the front, we got a burst of bright red fruit that led into oak, tobacco and leather undertones. It also has a nice, dry finish that seems to linger on the palate a little longer than most.
Raw Score: 82 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 84
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a great merlot that was released a couple years ago from Balistreri Vineyards. It starts very fruit forward on the palate with lush red fruit and hints of ripe berries, which transcends into vanilla and rich, cream, and finally ends with a nice, dry finish with a hint of espresso and spice. I couldn’t ask any more of a great merlot and the fact that it is coming out of Colorado, makes it even more enjoyable!
Raw Score: 90 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $25): 90
Verso Cellars has a great Colorado Cabernet Sauvignon that they released in vintages of 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
*Straight out of the bottle: The 2003 Colorado Cabernet Sauvignon is a great release from Verso Cellars. This cabernet is medium to full bodied and is in alignment with the varietal characteristics. It starts off very fruit forward with subtle hints of lush, dark fruit which leads into an almost jammy undertone and finishes dry with flavors of oak, mint, and anise. This is another great, solid cabernet sauvignon coming out of Colorado!
As with pervious experiences with this wine, we prefer to drink it straight out of the bottle.
Raw Score: 82 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 80
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
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.
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
2010 Balistreri Colorado Zinfandel – Talbott Vineyard – Barrel # 179
Great Colorado Zin!
*Straight out of the bottle: Great wine straight out of the bottle. This wine had some nice varietal characteristics bring out sweet, jammy tones. Sweeter and more fruit forward, while it finished on the drier side. A little acidic that I am thinking will mellow out with some aging in the bottle.
We chose to decant this wine.
*Decanted (for about an hour): Time definitely made this wine open up and brought out more great qualities we enjoyed. The sweetness toned down quite a bit and became more consistent throughout the palate. Decanting added in flavors of spice and vanilla, which paired nicely with jammy undertones. This wine kept its previous qualities of staying sweeter on the front of the palate, and having a pleasant dry finish.
Raw Score: 88 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $56): 80
I think that with time, this wine will grow into a great, solid zinfandel. At its current state, I think it is still on the younger side and needs some time to meld all of the characteristics together. Potential is there to be a great wine!