2018 Minuit by DeLille Cellars

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Minuit (French for Midnight) by DeLille Cellars, Woodinville, WA

70% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley

Deep dark as midnight. Out of the bottle, nose is slightly shy, warm, with a healthy dose of ripe plums and blueberries which only intensify when swirled. A faint caramel butterscotch lingers in the back. Terroir is expressed in the form of a dusty silty leather, so subtle it could be missed. A faint anise makes an appearance in the distance. I briefly picked up very faint herbs. I like it! This is clearly a Malbec, very nicely complemented by Cabernet Sauvignon. After about an hour, the Anise is more intense and pronounced.

Body is absolutely gorgeous! Not as heavy as the color and nose would suggest. Balanced from front to back. It begins with a suggestion of acidity while ripe plums and blueberries rush in to balance it out. Slightly restrained tannins provide great structure while a very clean oak expression softens the edges, creating a clean plush mouth feel. This act quickly vanishes, giving way to thin blackberry and cola as it transitions to a finish characterized by crisp, dry tannic grip and a warm spice that descends down into the chest. There is a subtle freshness rendered on the palate like a mint-eucalyptus. My lips a left dry, yet moist. After an hour the tannins turn dusty and this texture permeates the entire experience.

Now I remember what caught me about this wine when I visited them not long ago. Very nicely done DeLille!

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2018 Aglianico by Passaggio Wines

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Aglianico (Heringer Estates, Clarksburg) by Passaggio Wines

The color is mesmerizing. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with subtle hints of dried tart fruit. Swirl vigorously to unlock crisp plum, slightly ripe cherries and a wet loamy soil and driftwood underlayment typical of Clarksburg. Distant floral notes I can’t pinpoint, dance in the background. Gorgeous!

Body is crisp. Mildly acidic. That tart fruit carries forward, immediately accompanied by an unmistakable clean, crisp, refined caramel. Crisp, clean tannins provide a sparing framework without dominating. This is a massive beast of a varietal and I have never seen it tamed like this. Terroir is almost neutral. Transition to finish is seamless and ends in a subtle spice heat while those restrained tannins finally show themselves in the form of a long, dry enduring grip.

This winemaker took a chance with this beast of a varietal and I think it paid off. She also has another Aglianico made in the more typical/traditional style. I highly recommend getting them both together. They make a great study of this grape’s broad potential.

Cindy is a small artisan winemaker to follow closely. Her wines are all amazing if not head-scratching at at times.

Nicely done Cindy! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Review: 2018 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Martin Ray

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Martin Ray.

Bright rich ruby color. Beautiful nose out of the bottle characterized by wet sandy loamy leather. This quickly pulls to the back and gives way to berries and sweet cherries. There are faint tertiary herbal notes as well as a touch of sweet cola and the faintest hint of warm cedarwood. Swirl vigorously to revisit the whole affair. Nice!!!

Body shows good balance up front with a slightly milder acidity. Oak quickly moves to the front, as tannins introduce good structure. The oak is just enough to tease out a velvety, buttery, mouth feel. Berries and sweet cherries play secondary notes. It is fairly dry but this is initially masked by the oak play and fruit notes. A graceful transition to finish culminates in slightly dry tannic grip and a noticeable dose of spice.

This is a well made wine. My favorite part is the nose. I absolutely love that Sonoma dirt, and it shines through in this Pinot. I’m not the least surprised coming from this winemaker. At this price point (currently listed for $19.99 on wine.com) it punches above its weight and presents good value. It is a pleasant (and slightly playful) wine to sip and should appeal to a broad spectrum of palates. For the advanced palate, the nose and finish should tickle your fancy. Buy 6, buy a case. You can’t go wrong having a solid every day Pinot on hand. Nicely done Martin Ray.! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Martin Ray wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Guest Review: 2018 Red Blend by Cruse Wine Company

Guest Review: Cruse Wine Company Monkey Jacket Red Blend, 2018.

The Cruse Wine Company is operated by 2018’s San Francisco Chronicle Winemaker of the Year, Michael Cruse. He’s been called the Tarantino of Sparkling, but has a so much more to offer, and in such an early company. The company is based in Petaluma California,the newest AVA of California created in 2018. When I saw this wine, and its funky combination of grapes I knew it deserved a taste. Cruse Wine Co: Monkey Jacket is composed of 51% ValdiguiΓ©, the remainder coming from Carignan, Syrah, and red field blend from the North Coast of California.

The goal of this wine was to present the amazing and high-quality wines from California. Michael Cruse and his team lived up to this endeavor. I absolutely loved this wine, and plan to check out more from this producer. This wine has a strong yet complex bouquet of cherries and tobacco. It’s a hazy colored ruby, but don’t be deceived! The taste culminates a slight fizz from the sulphites, juicy red fruit, a low tannic profile and a mouthwatering experience.

🌟: 9/10, 2 – Preference, 3 Complexity, 1 Pairability, 1 Convenience, 2 Drinkability
πŸ’²: 28.00 USD
πŸ₯: It drinks closer to a pinot noir, so I would pair this with poultry but its versatility makes it great with a mandarin chicken salad tossed in poppyseed dressing.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Cruse Wine Company wines delivered to your doorstep.

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About our guest

Ethan Turner is author of today’s Guest Review. All the way from Scottsdale Arizona, Ethan is a certified Level 1 Sommelier actively working in the service industry where he gets to sharpen his palate on a daily basis. In his own words.

“Going to a wine shop is like going to a library. Each wine has its own story, flavor profile, and shelf life. Some wines are popular and become classics, some wines are trendy and go out of style within a few years. That makes it really hard to find the right wine. I love helping find what’s perfect for them.”

You can follow Ethan’s journey via his Instagram page @ineedsommehelp

Wine Review: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc by Lapostolle

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc by Lapostolle, Valle del Rapel, Chile.

“Not all expensive wine is good and not all good wine is expensive”
~ WineSnob

Beautiful crisp aromatic nose with notes of mellon, hints of white cherry and stone fruit. A brisk swirl reveals a touch of licorice. If you strain, you can pick out a touch of leather in the back.

Body shows good balance front to back with good acid followed almost immediately by creamy smooth tannins. It leans more on the dry side of the spectrum while retaining fruit aromas from the nose. Stone fruit is more pronounced. Transition to finish is seamless, as mild acidity quietly gives way to buttery tannin leaving the palate wet and tingling with a touch of spice.

I reviewed a Carmenere by this winemaker not long ago which was immediately included in my long-term reserve. It presented incredible quality and potential for the price. I decided to take a look at their value offerings including this white and I must say that it is right in line with what I have seen so far. At around $12/btl it is peerless. Just buy a case and move on. Bien hecho Amigos! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Lapostolle wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2018 Pinot Noir by Helen & Joey Estate

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir by Helen & Joey Estate, Yarra Valley, Australia.

Bright, clean, clear, ruby color. Nose is very subtle and delicate with bright notes of sweet cherry and caramel marshmallows. Once opened up a surprising very earthy manure leather emerges along with herbal notes.

Body is clean, crisp, has good balance with mildly acidic attack which quickly transitions to equally mild and creamy tannins. Subtle black currants accompany the seamless transition from attack to finish. Finish is quick and brief. Once opened up, it becomes a long gentle affair with enduring tannic grip and subtle spice. Recommend at least 20-30 minutes decanting. Take your time and follow it through the evening.

If you like subtle nuanced Pinot Noir, this is one I think you should try. It’s a shining example of what a classic Pinot looks like. Keep going back to the California Central Coast Pinot Noir Country. Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County. Beautiful, delicate, nuanced Pinot. I am reminded why I left Australia last year so convinced Pinot Noir is the best Australia has to offer. Helen & Joey nicely done Mates! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Helen & Joey Estate wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2018 Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux by Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu, Burdundy, France.

Thick tense nose. A little shy at first. An intense leather. Lots of mushroom, saddle, barnyard, old victorian, damp woods/forest floor. So overwhelming, beyond that it is difficult to pinpoint the other layers. Far beneath it all is plum, black cherry and blackberry. Swirl vigorously and unlock the faintest hint of caramel. There is also a slight slate/mineral undertone.

The color and nose suggest massive tannins await but the body greets with good acidity and medium texture. The leather from the nose dominates the entire experience. It’s amazing. It’s as if this wine was infused with dirt and filterd through the terroir. Once opened up, plum turns into massive tannic grip that completely dominates the transition to a dry mineral finish leaving the palate parched. The leather turns smokey with a hint of tobacco.

This is a remarkable example of terroir expressed through the vine and into the wine. For that reason alone this wine is worth it. I also think it it still very young and will be an even more interesting and amazing wine in about 5 years. I would highly recommend picking one up and forget about it and thank me later.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Wine Review: 2018 California Rose by Empathy Wines

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 California Rose by Empathy Wines (of the most notable Gary Vaynerchuck), Napa California.

I was fortunate to receive a case of this Rose at launch. Thank you @myteslaadventure @reallifestarman!

In case you aren’t familiar with Empathy Wines, it is one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s (@garyvee) recent ventures. I cannot remember the last time I indulged in a Rose. I have been waiting for the perfect day to review it. With a protracted winter and rainy spring, today seemed better than any other day.

Nose has very crisp, fresh floral notes, rich in watermelon, berry and cucumber. If you dig deeper you can pick out a very faint hint of the terrior. That gets me every time! The nose may be fruit forward but the body less so. The watermelon and cucumber roll over into the body very nicely. A slight oak and diminished acidity allow these subtle characteristics to shine through. The body ends in buttery smooth transition which dominates the experience through the finish. There’s a very very faint spice note which fades away gracefully leaving you wondering what that was all about as you take another sip.

I have never seen a Rose quite like this. It is subtle, complex, and structured. It is very well built. This is a Rose I am perfectly fine with. Great job @empathywines and @garyvee! πŸ·πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½