*Straight out of the bottle: First tastes instantly tells us that this wine is extremely powerful and needs time to open up; super complex.
We chose to decant this wine as per recommendations from the winemakers.
*Decanted (for about an hour and a half): With time, we couldn’t believe how phenomenal this wine opened up into! It was full bodied, hitting the varietal characteristics spot on for a true cabernet sauvignon! Indeed, this is an extremely BIG, BOLD, and MASCULINE wine that will knock the socks off any cultured wine drinker. Flavors of ripe and juicy dark fruit led into notes of espresso, annice, mint, dark chocolate, berries, vanilla, and oak. I couldn’t have asked more from a wine that continued to open up and change as the evening continued. Towards the back of the palate, we got the traditional Salvestrin finish that stays with you FOREVER! If you get the chance to try this amazing wine, it is OMG so worth it!
Raw Score: 97+ Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $130): 97
*Straight out of the bottle: BIG, BOLD wine from the front to the back of the palate. Full body with flavors of of berries, ripe cherry, and dark fruit on the front and oak. Perfect dry finish.
*Decanted (for about an hour): Time definitely helped this wine open up and become more approachable. Bright red fruit and berries on the front remained, with the addition of a nice, creamy finish that lingers on and on. With decanting, this wine lost its oak notes and its full dryness that it carried straight out the bottle; it is slightly sweet with a weirdly satisfying blueberry undertone.
Raw Score: Tyler: 80 Jared: 84 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $50): Tyler: 75 Jared: 80
*We prefer this wine straight out of the bottle with little time to oxidize.
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a classic, medium-bodied, well balanced zinfandel. Carrying the quality jammy characteristics, this fruit forward wine is an easy drinker. It added in nice qualities of ripe, dark fruit on the front that carried a “juicy”, lush feeling in the mouth. Hints of cinnamon added to the mystery and enjoyment of this wine. It also carries a sweeter finish than other zinfandels, but blended together very nicely and didn’t seem overly sweet.
Raw Score: 87 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $15): 90
*Straight out of the bottle: The Catena Malbec is a solid South American wine that also delivers a nice consistency between vintages. First tastes straight out the bottle indicate that this wine is still on the younger side and needed some time to breathe and open up. We decided to decant this wine and see how it fared with some time and oxidation.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With time, this wine became more approachable and less abrasive than before. It is a medium-to-full bodied wine with nice varietal characteristics. It starts off with a nice, soft balance of bright, red fruit. As it glides over the palate, it takes on a darker, masculine character with oak, leather, tobacco and dark fruit. It carries a beautiful smooth and consistent texture and leaves the palate with a nice lasting finish. I would say that this is a respectable, decent wine!
Raw Score: 81 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 85
We chose to decant this wine as per recommended by the winemakers.
*Decanted (for about an hour): The Clio is always a fantastic, solid cabernet sauvignon blend coming out of Spain. With time in the decanter, the tight complexities opened up and transformed into an AMAZING and very delicious wine. This heavy hitter, powerful wine is very big, masculine, and proves to deliver over and over again with each new vintage. This year in particular kept its solid cabernet sauvignon varietal characteristics starting out with nice ripe, dark fruit that leads into a perfectly balance jammy middle. These flavors lead into oak, mint, black licorice, cream de cassis, and vanilla. Time in the decanter allowed for the tannins to soften up quite a bit and take on a nice, velvety texture.
For the price, this wine will beat out several $100+ bottles in the same category!
Raw Score: 94 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $40): 95
*Straight out of the bottle: This is a tasty merlot coming out of the Napa Valley. Very straight on with varietal characteristics displaying the classic jammy, bigger, and bolder red. This wine stands out as a diamond in the rough on many aspects; flavor, price, and quality. It carries a nice spicy and jammy, fruit-forard front, which leads into nice tones of leather, tobacco and oak. It also has nice, mellow and mature tannins which assist in a smooth, dry finish. I would recommend this wine any day of the week for both the price and the quality.
Raw Score: 89 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $18): 94
We chose to decant this wine as per recommended by the winemakers.
*Decanted (for about an hour): First tastes solidifies any notion that Salvestrin is making a great cabernet sauvignon! This 2007 estate cab is one of the best wines we have tried in a while and we couldn’t expect more. It is the textbook definition of what the varietal should taste like – it is a BIG, strong, powerful wine that is very fruit forward, transitioning to a jammy middle with hints of cream de cassis and vanilla bean, and finishing with oak, mint, and anise – and just a subtle hint of cocoa. The velvety tannins add to the structure and complexity of the wine making it very enjoyable to drink.
Raw Score: 94 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $50): 94
*For those of you who can get your hands on Salvestrin’s wines, this is fantastic!
*Food Pairing: We paired this great wine with a bacon-wrapped black pepper filet and grilled asparagus. This powerful cabernet sauvignon really added to the enjoyment of the meal by complementing the peppery and meatiness of the steak and the rich and saltiness of the bacon. Enjoy!
We were given the unfortunate introduction to this local franchise, when attempting to support a local business. First clue to run to the closest wine shop and pick up something decent to satisfy our thirst may have been the fact that they add wood chips to their wines while they ferment in plastic five gallon buckets!
*Straight out of the bottle: First impressions absolutely did not impress. This wine didn’t have any great qualities other than wet, rotten garbage (bouquet and taste). I have never tried a wine that I didn’t at least attempt to finish, however with time, it only got worse. There were no distinguishable flavors or characteristics that really stood out, and the finish was extremely rough and ungroomed. Stay Away!!! (and not in the I love it so much and don’t want you to diminish the supply kind-of way.)
Raw Score: 10 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 0
*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
*Straight out of the bottle: First tastes straight out of the bottle indicates that it needs some time to open up. This red table wine is pretty earthy with hints of red fruit, berries, and tobacco. It does have a nice dry finish which complemented the earthy tones.
*Decanted (For about an hour): With some time, this wine opened up and toned down quite a bit. While it kept its earthy qualities, it added new flavors of vanilla and ripe berries which was a nice touch. The wine itself is medium bodied and carries a slight acidity that isn’t too overpowering. The tannins have matured which make this wine very easy drinking.
Raw Score: 82 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $50): 70
For the price point of this wine, I will definitely say there are quite a variety of great wines to enjoy. This wine, however, wasn’t our favorite, but it’s always good to branch out and try new wines.
Pairing: We paired this wine with a grilled filet, and unfortunately this wine did not complement the meal at all. I think if you wanted to pair this wine, I would recommend a nice cut of lamb or a poultry dish.