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Affordable Chairman's Selection Wines

Updated: May 6

Dear friends,

Let me offer you this new post with my reviews of 38 wines presently on the shelves at the Pennsylvania Premium Liquor Stores. My three favorites this time were Tempranillo from Toro, Ribera de Duero and Rioja whose latest vintages are something to watch. Who knows: Would that be a subjective sign of home sickness?

If you prefer whites, get Left Coast Pinot Gris before Sally and I consume it all!

Enjoy and do not hesitate to send me your comments. Wine tasting is a mix of practice, method, science, art and personal preference.


Elías Mora 2020, Tempranillo, Toro, Spain

As per Wine Enthusiast: Deep-ruby to the eye, this wine features aromas of dark plum, cassis and black olive.  It is bright at first sip, with flavors of cherry and pomegranate and notes of toffee, milk chocolate and blossom.  Sleek tannins evaporate into a floral and butterscotch finish.

I fully agreed with above WE’s notes. Prototypical of Tempranillo from this appellation.  I would add “what a feast in the mouth!”.  It was acidic and the tannins were still rough.  However, lots of thyme came up in the evolution and evaporated to my upper palate and larynx.  I also noticed quince paste and crashed blackberries.  Lots of aromatic compounds in there!

Big body and plush structure.  It settled very well on the throat with medium to long persistence.  It was a wine with “presence and standing” saying “here I am”.

Not a Chairman’s Selection wine.

93 pts. WE.

$14.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 93 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Pagos del Rey, Condado de Oriza 2018, Tempranillo, Ribera de Duero, Spain

Aromas of black cherry, marrachino cherry, raspberry and cream pastry with notes of tobacco leaf, coconut and vanilla.  The bouquet was intense and clearly showing oak aging.  It had both, fruitiness and bouquet.  And in these times where some wine makers are reducing the use of losts of new oak, I was very happy to see a blatantly proud wine about its oakiness.

In mouth it was full with medium to big body, slightly dusty but mostly silky tannins and a plush structure.  Very tasty and fulfilling.

91 pts. JS

$12.99 14% Alcohol My Rating: 92 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Marqués de Riscal 2019, Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain

Complex aromas of dark cherries, raspberry pie, licorice, ash and glue.  Wine.com found licorice, cinamon and black pepper.

Deep bouquet and alcoholic sensation.  In mouth it has low intensity attack followed by a sharp acidity pinch in the sides of your tongue, medium body and dusty on their way to silky tannins but also depth and length in the aftertaste.  Once you kill the acidity this wine is a real example of elegance, characteristics sought after in Rioja when crafting a reserva with long aging periods in oak barrels (let me guess medium-roast French) against the present international drive for fruit.

I enjoy this wine every year and this vintage is excellent (the best if the decade after 2010 and with 2016).  It can age for a long time but very enjoyable now.  I found it in Spain in February at the same price as in PA.  It came in a beautiful tin can and I used it as present when I was invited by relatives for dinner.  Not a Chairman’s wine.  You can find it in the Spain section.

See the Frank Gehry designed part of their winery with my sister Begoña.

We tasted this wine in The Art and Science of Wine Tasting and Terroir class at OLLI PITT this past Spring semester.  One of the participants, possibly Ken, noted that this vintage had lower oak influence as prior ones and reflected about whether they are trying to modernize.  Interesting and thoughtful comment!  Since it is broadly available, maybe one day we can do a vertical tasting with it.

92 pts. WE and JS

$18.79 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 92 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Left Coast, The Orchard 2022, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, OR

Both, Sally and I immediately said: pear.  Also, lemon peel and perhaps some celery.  As we tasted it melon and some flower, perhaps chamomile, came out.  The aromas were delicious!

In mouth it was mineral, fresh and complex.  It was even better.  I noticed some remembrance of sweetness in the upper part of the front of the tongue and suddenly the feeling of sweet Polish pickle came to mind.  This wine was refreshing, layered and playful.

We tasted it in The Art and Science of Wine Tasting and Terroir class at OLLI PITT this past Spring semester.  We all agreed that it was a fantastic wine for the price.  I purchased more bottles and we have been drinking it at home quite a few times.  I have not found a better white in Chairman’s present offering.

$12.99 13.1% Alcohol My Rating: 91 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Havens Black and Blue 2021, Red Blend, Napa Valley, CA

What an intense aroma!  Concentrated forest berries but also nectarine and an assortment of flowers (maybe geranium or pansies?).  Veering towards ripeness.

In mouth it displayed lots of silky tannins, perfect acidity and continued expression of the aromas.  Not much depth though – this is an upfront wine and certainly blush.  It’s in the ripe side which together with its 14.5% alcohol makes me think that the grapes come high very high sugar level.

It says red blend, so that in addition of obvious Cab I guessed that it might have some Zinfandel or Shiraz.  Later research showed Shiraz.

I have never been disappointed by a Havens wine.  Safe choice, and very suitable to American palate.

94 pts. WE

$13.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 91 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Majella 2019, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia

Very pleasant and ever-changing aroma based on red and black forest fruits complemented with hints of prickly pear, nectarine, grapefruit and flowers.  Cigar box in the bouquet.

In mouth it showed bright acidity, abundant tannins, retronasal evaporation and elevated alcoholic grade.  The aftertaste was shorter and less expressive than I had anticipated, but overall a pretty good cab fresher than  many of its cousins in CA.

93 pts. WA and 91 pts. JS

$16.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 91 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Château Chauvet 2020, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, Bordeaux Superieur, France

I tried this wine thanks to Sam who served it at the Friday’s tasting at PLCB Centre Ave. store.

Intense and deep aroma of ripe blackberries and violets.  The bouquet showed the effect of wise oak aging with maybe some dark and dense style café au lait.  Medium to big body, thick tannins and perfect acidity.  It would benefit from decanting a couple of hours before serving.

91 pts. JS.

$15.99 14% Alcohol My Rating: 91 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Paola Sordo 2017, Nebbiolo, Barolo, Italy

Aromas of very ripe cherries, roses, old style shoe polish and nutmeg.

In mouth it still has very noticeable dusty tannins for such light colored and light body wine. Very soft and elegant aftertaste. That’s what Barolo offers!

The color had orange hues that I interpreted to belong to an older wine as it was. They say Barolo can age and improve forever but the actual color and the ripeness in aroma and taste made me think that it was ready to drink. See the wine color below:

93 pts. JS

I wrote this before participating in the May 3rd tasting at the Centre Ave. store: Everybody is subjective and have their own taste preferences. I have to confess that Barolo is not in my favorites list because I tend to like heavier wines and, very possibly, because I am not a person that spends $100 and above in a bottle of wine. Please, would one of you invite me to one of those? You may well change my opinion!

Well, they offered a fantastic selection of Italian wines at the store tasting. The Barolo was Mirafiore 2018. $59.99 and 93 pts WS. It clearly displayed the hallmark aromas of Barolo such as tar, rust and leather. If you go up in price you start to get the really good stuff.

$27.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 91 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Housley's Century Oak 2018, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mokelumne River, CA

Aromas of ripe cherry, hyacinth, and so much ash! Notes of chocolate, clove (Sally said cardamon), and black pepper.

Fresh attack with some subtle acidity and dusty tannings. Structured. Lots of evolution in mouth with evaporation to the upper palate with bouquet and some persistence in the aftertaste.

$14.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 91 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Château Labrousse 2020, Bordeaux Blend, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux, France

Initially the aroma was shy but elegant showing dry raspberries, cherries and cranberries.  After stirring I noticed hints of chocolate and cinnamon.

In mouth it had the right acidity, mainly silky although slightly drying tannins, medium to big body and long aftertaste.

Great value from Bordeaux at a very affordable price.  I have purchased several bottles and keep enjoying it.

90 pts. WE.

$9.99 13.5% Alcohol My Rating: 90 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Majella The Musician 2021, 68% Cabernet Sauvignon  32% Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia

Aromas of dry strawberry and prune.  Sally added grapefruit.  Notes of tobacco leaf, spice (maybe turmeric?) and Starbucks coffee shop.

In mouth, it was alcoholic and concentrated with lively but not overwhelming acidity and drying tannins.  A bit of excessive bitterness probably due to overextraction.   This was an upfront wine that has not developed a big bouquet or long aftertaste, although it has the potential with aging.  It passes through the throat just cleanly.

91 pts. WA and JS

$12.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 90 pts.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Canetto 2017, Sangiovese with a touch of Cabertnet Sauvignon and Merlot, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Italy

Aromas of ripe Cherry, violets with hints of ashes and vanilla probably coming from lightly roasted French oak.

In mouth it had medium acidity and body, thick dusty tannins and some but not much persistence.

It was a good and elegant wine but I had expected a bit more.

92 pts. WE & JS and 91 pts. WS

$19.99 14% Alcohol My Rating: 90 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Tenuta Ulisse Sogno di Ulisse 2020, Montepulciano, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy

Expressive aromas of blackberry, chocolate, licorice and flowers.  Drying tannins and medium to full body.  Very well achieved equilibrium in terms of aging to develop some bouquet while preserving the primary aromas.  Yummy and a great value!

I enjoy every vintage of this Chairman’s favorite. Consistent, fulfilling and very affordable!  We tasted it at our OLLI PITT The Art and Science of Wine Tasting and Terroir class and it received very nice comments from the participants and a thank you note for selecting such an affordable wine.

$8.99 13.5% Alcohol My Rating: 89+

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED



Terre Brûlée Le Rouge, Tania and Vincent Carême 2019, Grenache 63 %, Shiraz 37%, Cinsault 13%, Swartland, South Africa

Dark wine with intense aroma of cherry jam and Mediterranean garrigue displaying notes I had never smelled before.  Different.  Then, I looked at the blend and saw over 13% of Cinsault.  I am used to see that varietal at no more than 5% range in the Cotes du Rhone blend.  May that be the cause?

Let me add this literal quote from WA/RP in case it clarifies what I may have felt:  delightfully floral with aromatically lifted notions of roses and dusty cherry blossoms, before high-toned red fruit expressions of red plum and cherry sway with elements of red peppercorn and potpourri

It may have been those dusty cherry blossoms that kept me wondering …

Full body sort of heavy and a bit bitter (do they use some full bunches in the fermentation?). Packed with dusty tannins that weren’t rough but somehow rustic. 13% alcohol which was lower than what I had guessed.

I wonder what this wine is going to look like in 5 years and I have very positive expectations.  I will be aging a few bottles in my dungeon.

90 pts. RP

$9.99 13% Alcohol My Rating: 89 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Marqués de Toro, Finca La Moura 2021, Mencía, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain

Shy aroma although with some depth.  Taste of ripe cherries.  Medium acidity and body. Another crowd pleaser with no sharp corners and worth the price but I am wondering how it got such high ratings.

I have tasted two prior vintages of this wine.  The 2016 was impressive while a later one disappointed me as overripe.  This one seems in the middle.

92 pts. WE, 91 pts. WS

$9.99 14% Alcohol My Rating: 89 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Château Maucourt 2023, Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France

The prevalent and outstanding aroma here was cherimolla (a delicious tropical fruit typical of South America and Spain that I do not find in Pittsburgh – maybe one day …!).  I also saw ripe pear, grass, dill and wet hay, very typical of this varietal in Bordeaux.  It was mineral and expressive with a clean pass of throat that asked for more.  The relatively low 12% alcohol level can help us with that.

Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc was my first non-iberian peninsula wine.  I had started my interrail month across Europe travelling straight from Madrid to Paris.  The first day there I passed by a wine store with straw cannisters containing bottles of wine just outdoors and with an affordable price even for a backpacker.  I got one and shared it with Maria Jesus in my room at the youth hostel.  Since then the characteristics of these wines have been engraved in my memory and I can identify them 1 foot apart.  They rejuvenate me, at least mentally.

$12.99 12% Alcohol My Rating: 89 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Domaine Jean Perrier et fils Altus 2022, Agremont, France

Let me provide Jan Stetler’s tasting notes.  I agree.

Opened and a glass poured...

Very pale yellow color...

Fragrant flowery nose...meadow herbs...lemon peel...

Light bodied entry on the palate...dry...crisp acidity...lemony citrus follows from the nose...tart yellow apple...there is some nice minerality that comes on mid palate...and lingers into a dry finish...Delicious...

Delightful wine and a very good value. Works well as an aperitif and at the dinner table.

91 pts. WS

$12.99 12.5% Alcohol My Rating: 89 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Frasinelli, Glera, Prosecco Conegliano Valdobiadenne Superiore, Italy

Sally was impressed by this Prosecco and I got more for her given the low price for a “superiore”.

Lemon and lemon rind in the aroma with good bubble dynamic.  Dry.  Pleasant.  The low alcohol level made it actually very attractive for us.  We did not miss additional alcohol and it allowed us to taste it “guilt free”.

On a related note, I have started to see reduced alcoholic grade wines in the shelves, such as 6% - some cardboard wines and a Malborough Co. Sauvignon Blanc amongst others.  Some use vacuum distillation.  One day I may do a tasting and write about them.

$14.99 11% Alcohol My Rating: 89 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Murviedro Arts de Luna Rosé, Garnacha, Cava from Utiel-Requena, Spain

Small and constant bubbles forming a permanent crown on a beautiful light pink wine.  Lots of strawberry and some bread notes (same as in Josh Hull’s review) and barely anything else, but in its simplicity and the excellent structure it comes our elegant while unpretentious.  Interesting affordable alternative to the more complex but more expensive sparkling rosés based on Pinot Noir.

91 pts WE and Best Buy

$9.99 12% Alcohol My Rating: 88 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Legado del Moncayo 2020, Garnacha, Campo de Borja, Spain

he aroma of black pepper came out immediately confirming the Grenache varietal.  Also red cherry, red licorice, hot red pepper and hints of vanilla denoting some lightly roasted oak aging.

In mouth I felt a bath of carnation water followed by crashed cherries and the rest of the aromas. Lively acidity and silky, slightly drying tannins.  Salty.  The aftertaste was shay and I felt a bit of heartburn.

This is a grenache is from Aragón, like my beloved Paniza (see my January 2024 post) but that is about it in terms of similarities.  Paniza was extraordinarily fruity, dense and showed no oak aging.  It came from slate soils in the Cariñera D.O.  This one had lighter body, with oak aging and from the predominantly ferrous clay Campo de Borja D.O.  Very different wines but, if I had to choose one, I’d stick with Paniza.

Not a Chairman’s wine.  You can find it in the Spain section.

$10.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 88 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Bec Hardy 2021, Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, Australia

As soon as I tried it I knew Sally would love it.  Lots of violet candy in the aroma. Also plum and a touch of cigar box.

Their Website says that they aged it in seasoned oak hogsheads.  I did not know that word and researched it.  It seems to me that they did use oak pellets which would be a lower cost substitute of oak barrels.

I thought it was a correct wine with light to medium body, silky tannins and pleasant acidity with no outstanding virtues or defects.  And for Australia, the level of detectable sulfites was low which I appreciated.

Just as a curiosity, the violet candies are traditional of Madrid and Toulouse.  The ones from Madrid originated in its oldest chocolate shop, La Pajarita, in 1852.  I have also seen them in Casa Mira, in Seville and other places like the UK and US, including the Parma Violets and Choward’s.

91 pts. WS

RECOMMENDED

$11.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 88 pts.



Winzer Krems Trocken 2022, Grüner Veltliner, Niederösterreich, Austria

Green apple candy and candied cantaloupe with a combination of herbs somewhere in the middle of thyme, basil, oregano and mint.

Viscous legs and viscous texture in mouth.  Dry, as the Trocken classification indicates.  Sort of mature in mouth.  I did not appreciate it at first but it grew on me a bit at every sip.  Still, I was not impressed.

There are actually some interesting Grüner Veltliner from PA local wineries such as Greendance.  Try them and compare them to the Austrian ones.

90 pts. JS

$9.99 12% Alcohol My Ratings: 88 pts.



Meu 2022, Albariño, Ribeiro, Spain

Herbal aromas, complemented by cantaloupe and lemon peel.

Medium body.  Its high acidity level made it feel fresh and almost sparkling.  It did not show the saltiness and eucalyptus than Albariños from Rias Baixas.  No surprise since the Ribeiro appellation is in-land.

93 PTS. we, 90 pts. JS

$12.99 12.5% Alcohol My Rating: 88 pts.



Zo Triple Ten Vineyards 2019, Zinfandel Petite Sirah, Sonoma Co. CA

Strange name!  Intense floral aroma of something like marigold with geranium notes.

In mouth it showed notes of unburnt Cuban cigar and ripe red fruits … slightly overripe which together with the 14.9% alcohol content speak of lots of sun and late harvest.  Full body with pasty tannins.

Good but below the expectations I had from the price.  Sally agreed.

$16.99 14.5% Alcohol My Rating: 88 pts.



Excelsior 2022, Chardonnay, Robertson, South Africa

Aromas of lime, honeydew and fennel.  Perhaps some remnant sulfide in there.

Pleasant in mouth with medium body.  Lighter and fresher than Chardonay we usually drink in the USA.  Very easy to drink.  Sally loved it and the best was the price.  What a bargain! I told Marti.  She said she had purchased it for cooking but she also enjoyed drinking it and purchased more.

If you want decent wine at a very affordable price, this is your bet!

86 pts. WS

$6.99 13.5% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Lodi Avenue 2021, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, CA

Another one Sally loved. Blush ultra ripe fruit including cherries.  Coke or Doctor Pepper – what do you think?  Cinnamon.

Soft tannins and medium body.  Just the necessary and no more acidity.  Not much in the aftertaste.  I thought it had higher alcoholic grade than 13%.

Lodi appellation consistently produces tons of wines usually ripe and pleasant for the usual American consumer.  Many US wine clubs like the WSJ and Naked Wines offer a lot of Lodi’s in their assortment cases.

$8.99 13% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.

RECOMMENDED (taking the price into account)



Primo , Txacoli, Zarautz, Spain

I have reviewed a prior vintage and this wine remains loyal to itself: the most similar wine to dry hard apple cyder I have ever tasted.

Sour and very acidic, frizzante, pungent but happy.  Low alcoholic grade.  Definitively a wine that some will love and some (like Sally) will promise not to ever try again.

Interesting to see the very high rating assigned by Wine Enthusiast: 92 pts. WE

$9.99 11.5% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.



Anticiclone 2021, Castelao, Aragonez (Tempranillo), Vinho regional de Setubal, Portugal

I encountered some original aromas in here. Floral aromas with hyacinth and plum but also marron glacé nuances and something milky such as drunken goat cheese or even dulce de leche.

In mouth, I felt the tannins were less unctuous than I had expected from watching the legs, but still soft. Medium body, medium acidity, no rough tannins, moderate alcohol level, no sharp corners, and short persistence.  A crowd pleaser.

90 pts. WS

$9.99 13% Alcohol My Ratring: 87 pts.

RECOMMENDED



Freelander 2022, Pinot Noir, District One Napa, CA

Cherry, clay, red bell pepper and white pepper aromas.

In mouth it was acidic, fresh, slightly bitter and with light body. The aftertaste was light and short.

I preferred and highly recommended their Cabernet Sauvignon that I reviewed in the December 2023 post. It is still available.

90 WE pts.

$11.99 13.5% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.



Humble Bund 2023, Sauvignon Blanc, Malborough, New Zealand

Lively, intense and fresh aromas of green apple and oregano escorted by lemon, kiwi, grass and rock rose.

After that very promising nose in mouth it was very acidic.  Beautiful silky texture and lively taste with the lemon (from Positano by the way) now prevailing.  I felt some burn in my throat after swallowing it.  Otherwise I would have rated it higher.

$9.99 12.5% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.



Granza 2022, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain

Green olive notes were very persistent in addition to the typical fennel and bitterness from this varietal. This wine was very unctuous for a Rueda – sort of oily. I guess there probably was intense work with its lees. This is one of the relatively new wineries in the area with external investment and either planting new vines or purchasing what the locals do not use in their own bottlings. Not my style.

I recently visited a few selected Rueda wineries and I am uploading the posts in the Trip Reports section of this Website. Let me recommend you see them.

90 pts. JS

$14.99 13% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.



Delaforce Ruby, Port, Portugal

Aromas of dry red fruits and noticeable 20% alcohol.  Much more expressive in mouth showcasing cherries preserved in grappa accompanied by raisins, licorice, old-fashioned cough drops, and medium roasted coffee.   Unctuous and sticky, with sufficient acidity to keep it alive, full body and length.  The aftertaste was all over the throat, palate, sides of the mouth and it seemed to leach out from between the teeth as the tongue passed by.

I’d not consider it elegant or even delicious but it did the trick as a dessert wine and to set the final point to a dinner.  I have tried many far better Port wines but not as affordable as this one.

$14.99 20% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.



Delaforce Tawny, Port, Portugal

Less fruity but deeper than the Ruby.  The taste was more toasted and it had some brandy-like qualities.  The cherries in grappa were riper.  The old-fashion cough drops were even more intense.  Syrupy.  Nutmeg.  The aftertaste was permanent.  I had to brush my teeth and mouth to eliminate it.  It begged for Toasted egg yolk turrón.  I went down to the basement to get it but unfortunately Sam had eaten it all up with his friends when they visited.

$14.99 20% Alcohol My Rating: 87 pts.



Su Alto, L’antica Quercia Indigeno Colfondo Frizzante 2021, Glera, Veneto, Italy

Very obvious aroma of lemon, perhaps some vegetable like celery and not much more.  Sort of mute.

In mouth it was very frizzante and refreshing.  Again, little flavor in there but so fresh!  Almost like a San Pellegrino.

This wine is really different.  Very shy taste, only 11% alcohol, very sparkling, and with that beer cap instead of a cork!  I do not know how to rate it.  I’d say low but I would drink it again and definitively share it with friends in an informal pool party.  Sally had enough with just one sip. It is crafted using the indigenous method Col-fondo by making the wine and then adding a little bit of yeast to produce a second fermentation in the same bottle.  If you notice the wine is slightly cloudy don’t worry, that is the way it is.

Jan Stetler liked it much and WE gave it 93 pts.  Therefore take my opinion with some skepticism.

$13.99 11% Alcohol My Rating: 86 pts.

TRY IT AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK



Bela 2021, 95% Tempranillo, 5% Cab and Merlot, Ribera de Duero, Spain

Aroma of red berries and pepper.  In mouth it shows dusty tannins, an aqueous structure and a little bit of bitterness.  My wild guess is that there has been intense pressing to compensate the low concentration from young vines.

I tried it last year, first time it showed up in PA, and I was not impressed.  This year it shows some improvement but I think it will need several more in order to get to the must concentration that will make it a better wine.

Bela is a venture of large Rioja winery CVNE into the Ribera appellation.  A lot of Rioja wineries are investing there and in Rueda.  But the key to success will be “who gets the best grapes” and there are traditional grower/winery relations, in some cases tied by family connections that the newcomers may find difficult to break.  If otherwise, like in this case, they choose the path of planting new vineyards, their problems are the youth of their vines and that the best plots are already taken.

$11.99 14% Alcohol My Rating: 85 pts.



Château du Pin Franc 2023, 40 % Sémillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Gris, Bordeaux, France

Very intense and almost intoxicating aroma of green apple candy, sage, green pepper and green olive.

In mouth it was oily with the right acidity, some evaporation to the larynx and some persistence in the aftertaste.  Very tasty but sort of invasive.

This wine was “different”.  Even the 12% alcohol surprised me because the legs were so persistent.  I guess it may have a lot of glycerol which would be consistent with the oily texture.  Sally hated it and I just struggled with it.  I said to myself: “it may have a good proportion of Semillon in the blend” and I researched it. I found the blend identified above.  That explained that uniqueness!

$11.99 12% Alcohol My Rating: 85 pts.



Château L’Aubrade 2022, Entre-Deux-Mers, France

The aromas in this wine were a mix of green apple candy, lemon skin, chamomile and vegetables such as celery and pickles in dill.

Aqueous in mouth.  Bitter slightly minty in the aftertaste.

$13.99 12.5% Alcohol My Rating: 84 pts.



Boutinot Les Coteaux 2021, 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah, Cotes du Rhône Villages, France

Black fruits.  Ashy.  In mouth it had dusty tannins, high although bearable acidity, freshness, medium to big body, some bitterness followed by a non-aggressive aftertaste.  It evolved fast towards ripeness once opened.  Just another Côtes du Rhone.

90 pts. JS

$12.99 14% Alcohol My Rating: 82 pts.





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