July 62006 Clos de los Siete
If you have tried the “7 Layer Cake” wine we’ve reviewed, and liked it, you will almost without a doubt like (at least) this wine also. Depending on when you take a sniff, it smells very much like the 7LC, and depending one when you taste it, and what you drink it with, it also tastes a lot like it. Two of the major differences were the increased smokey/oakey-ness and acidity. The back of the bottle says a piece on the makers of this wine, but not much, other than a mention that it is rich, about the wine itself. It is, in fact, pretty rich, even decadent.
The color is, well, damn dark, ruby with a hint of purple. On the nose it is smokey/oakey, dark baked fruit, sweet tobacco, vanilla, and a hint of sulfur. It smells like some vanilla cakes I’ve made, but much more complex. Mouth-feel is rich and acidic. We had this wine by itself the first night… just one glass by the pool while star gazing. It was fabulous in this situation. The second (and final) night I made homemade tomato/basil/fresh mozzarella pizza, with left-over BBQ chicken on the side. This is where the wine really showed it’s stuff. This is probably the most diverse wine I’ve ever had. It tasted completely different with each food. It had enough acidity to cut the grease of the chicken, yet the smoke and subtlety to match beautifully with my pizza. In the end the flavor was back to the same as the night before, with a little added aroma and complexity since it had aired a bit more. I can’t imagine a meal too bold for this wine, but also, I think it has enough finesse to match up with more delicate meals. I don’t think I’d serve it with any kind of fish, but anything above that is fair game.
So, this now ranks as our top value red, since it is $2 cheaper than the 7 layer cake – our previous top value red. If you know of a red wine that is a greater value let us know. This wine is a serious wine, not a fruit bomb, but quite fruity. It has great complexity that will have you intellectualizing it until it runs out. What I like most about this wine is the amount of flavor, fruit and all, without tasting or smelling extracted. Seems impossible these days.
Price: $15 (K&L)
December 252004 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva "Rancia"
Relaxing by the fireplace after a long run of Christmas activities, we popped open very special Chianti to just enjoy all by itself. Well, I did eat a little dark chocolate at the onset. But never mind that, because nothing could have been more perfect for the occasion than this wine.
There really is one word that describes this wine, as we kept saying it over and over… every time we stuck our nose in the glass, every time we took a sip. Beautiful. The aroma was our instant indication of the “class” and beauty of this wine, although the deep color (one of the darkest Chianti’s we’ve seen) gave us a clue that we were in for bold flavor. But we smelled the plum, black cherries, nice floral quality, and a little fine Cuban cigar and fell in love. In fact, it was like every time we took a sniff it was like the choir sang Hallelujah!
It actually took us a while to taste it, but once we did, we were not disappointed. Dark chocolate, blackberries, raspberries, black cherries, and black plum with a nice dose of flowers, largely rose, with very ripe tannins. This tastes at least twice its age. The mouth-feel is luscious and creamy, with perfect acidity and perfect tannin structure. This would pair well with a lot of food, but personally, I wouldn’t want to share it with anything. The finish is silky smooth… a long fade of dark chocolate, rose, and plum. Lasted about 45 seconds… at least. If I had to pick two flavors/aromas that describe the whole wine experience it would be dark chocolate and rose petals.
I know with this review you’re probably thinking we’ll score it near 100. But we haven’t lost our minds in all the bliss the wine provided. I do recognize that it isn’t as complex as it could be. It wasn’t like we were complaining at all, but when it comes time to score this wine, we have to think what we would want in a 100 point wine, and we felt it was lacking the complexity that 100 points would require. That said… this wine cost us $35 bucks and I just can’t imagine getting a better wine for that price. I highly recommend this wine and think you should try it as soon as you can.
December 13Annie’s Lane – Copper Trail – 2001
This is a VERY lovely Shiraz/Cabernet blend from South Australia’s Clare Valley. The most aromatic we’ve tried yet.
Color is inky purple, dense. You can’t really see through it by candle light, but the highlights are gorgeous.
The nose… aaah, the nose. The first thing that hits you is the woody smell. I know it is oak, but it isn’t so specific as most oaky smells we’ve experienced. This might have something to do with the fact that it is 6 years old now. Also, it isn’t unreasonable for it to be oaky since it spent 22 months in oak barrels! We also smell licorice, tar and rubber. Don’t let that put a bad image in your imagination, it isn’t bad… it just makes it interesting. Beyond that you can smell tart red fruit, maybe even citrus, and vanilla. There is also a slight floral and smoky aspect.
When we had the first taste both of us had an eye opening experience… literally. We were taken aback with it. It was like BAAAAM! This is a different wine… different than anything we’ve had before. Yep, you can taste the oak, but it is totally integrated and pleasant. There is also a big tar versus red fruit war going on. The licorice is present too… not the twizler kind… more like the black, Dutch kind. My mom is from the Netherlands, and I know this taste well. I think I can taste cinnamon as well, but not certain that’s what it is.
Mouth-feel is excellent, almost creamy… really coats your tongue like a cherry syrup.
The aftertaste is big on licorice, black pepper, maybe a little of that rubber, and slight, ripe tannins.
This wine reminds me of a Barolo, only better. It is amazing. This is by far the best wine either of us have ever had, and we are getting sadder by the moment thinking we may not be able to find another bottle of it. It is truly wonderful. It is complex, rich, but at the same time seems light. It is plenty acidic enough to have with the heaviest of meals, yet really nice all by itself. If you have this wine, or find it, give it to us! Or, drink it now and have a wonderful wine experience.
Price: $19 (actually got it for $15 due to a distributor close-out through K&L)
PS We never read the review of a wine, which is posted below, right before drinking and reviewing a wine. Of course I typically will do research before even buying a wine, but pretty much always forget the details. I’m also not that impressed with other peoples ratings, as mine tend to differ often times anyway. I think the review below was done upon release of this wine in 2004, and it has gotten better with age.