Chateau Peyrabon 2005

I find that I drink the same style wines for a couple months at a time before venturing off to greener pastures. There was a year where I practically drank nothing but Pinot Noir. For the latter half of 2017 my grape of choice was Sangiovese. Understanding that I am a creature of habit, I embrace whatever it is until it’s time to move on. That being said, the one region I keep returning to when I need a reset is Bordeaux. Bordeaux wines are where I feel most comfortable. I personally prefer more Cab Franc over more Cab Sauv but I haven’t found a Bordeaux yet that I did not enjoy.

chateau peyrabon

I was browsing my local wine store when I came across this wine. It is the 2005 vintage, one of the oldest vintages of any wine in the store. With a $20 price point, I gave it a shot. The wine decanted for 45 minutes before my first glass.

The nose is light. Subtle hints of sour plum and spice. The first thing I notice when tasting is the tannin structure. There has been some fallout over the years, leaving the wine with a complex, velvety texture. The front end is all plumb with some black currant that leads into a nice pepper on the tongue and ending with a beautiful tanned leather finish.

This wine is the standard for Bordeaux. Great flavor, great nose, and complex structure that you can only get with older wines. It is enjoyable without making you feel heavy like some from the area can do and does not have that musky taste you can sometimes get from Bordeaux terroir.

I can recommend tracking down this wine for the experience in and of itself. Just be sure to decant and/or filter. There is a bit of fallout in the bottom fifth of the bottle. I give this a well deserved 9/10.

Chateau Moulin de L’Espérance 2015

Recently, I found myself buying wine that I am familiar with. I think I have just been in the mood for things I know and trust to be good. Wines such as Peju Merlot and Nick Goldschmidt’s Embankment Cabernet have been a staple in my collection for many years and I found myself defaulting to them. So I was walking through my local wine store the other day and decided to branch out and do something new, something fun, when this bottle of Chateau Moulin de L’Espérance jumped off the shelf at me. It is similar enough in name to a Bordeaux that I very much enjoyed and reviewed here and I knew this was the next bottle for review.

moulin de lespThe bottle itself is nicely designed with the picturesque windmill scene that the Moulin wines are known for on the front and a pleasant, simple font that doesn’t scream “California” at you. I went for an easy meal with this wine and paired it with a black pepper cast iron chicken breast with vegetables. I let it decant for 45 minutes before drinking.

The color is a beautiful, deep ruby-black and it has well defined legs. The nose is rich with plum and currant with some vanilla bringing up the end. The first taste is well rounded: more plum and stewed berries hit you first, followed by vanilla and toasty oak. It’s not too oaky though. Sometimes wine makers will over oak wine and it is, in many cases, in an attempt to hide a flaw in the wine. This is not the case here. Just enough oak to finish the drink and drops right into a black pepper finish.

On a normal occasion I would pair this with grilled vegetables and a hardy red meat but the black pepper chicken tonight was a great pairing as well. Just enough pepper in both to play off their own flavors without overpowering each other.

Overall, this is a great wine for a great price. I expected nothing but a nice, drinkable wine and it delivered. If you can find this in an older vintage, it would be even better with age. For $15.00 USD, I’m giving this 8.5/10.

Durigutti Malbec 2014

Finding a good Malbec is sometimes harder than I feel it should be. Many suffer from being too loose textured or having too strong a pepper taste. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having a bitter aftertaste.

durigutti

Many, however, have very bold flavors and aromas that pair well with itself to bring about an experience worth enjoying. This is the case with Durigutti Malbec. The bottle I have for this review is the 2014 vintage and is decanted for 30 minutes before drinking.

 

The first thing I notice on the nose is a nice fresh berry and spice smell. The aroma lingers for a while on the nose and fades into hint of leather. The wine itself is a deep purple black color and while it does not have a huge body, it has enough tannin to keep the texture on your pallet for some time after the drink is gone. The flavor profile is robust. Dark berries and spice up front with a slight peppery sense afterwards. The drinks ends with plum and burned coffee beans. The second glass is just as bold and enjoyable as the first and I find myself picking up some cocoa and black currants as the wine oxidizes.

This Malbec is a fine example of what Malbec can be without paying a lot. This wine is in the lower end of the moderate price range at $15 a bottle. While not an every day drink for me, Durigutti is a good wine for a big wine occasion. I give it a reasonable 7.2 out of 10.

Landon Signature 2010

Landon Wine was started by Bob Landon in November 2005 in Mckinney, Texas. Since then, it has grown into one of the biggest wineries in Texas with a wide variety of wine from a Muscato named Yellow Rose to a Bordeaux style Meritage. I happened to snag myself a bottle of their Signature 2010; a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I drank this wine from a Burgundy glass.

The first thing you notice when you open this bottle is a lot of plum and some spice on the nose. It is surprisingly fresh and fruity for am almost eight year old wine. The after tone smells like black cherry, oak, and surprisingly, some sweet grapes. It smells like a big, bold, red wine.

KJw7260I decide to let the wine decant for just shy of a half hour before tasting it. This wine explodes with flavor when you drink it: red cherry and spice followed by a great oakyness and tar ending with black cherry and a lot of plum. The entire first drink took five minutes and two seconds all at the same time. I can honestly say I have never had a wine quite like this before. It is quick and dirty but ends sophisticated and lasts just long enough for me to fully enjoy it.

All of my glasses blend together for this bottle because I refill each time just before the previous one ends. My last two glasses are almost overwhelmed with plum and oak. The tannins are almost nonexistent and have faded over the past decade but manage to not detract from the wine.

I doubt I will ever run across a bottle of this wine ever again and I am glad that I spent the money on it. While a little pricey in the $70-$80 range, this wine is worth every penny and I will not hesitate in the future to purchase another in the future if I ever come across another bottle of this vintage.

The 2012 vintage is the bottle you are most likely to come across right now but regardless, if you find the Landon Signature do yourself a favor and pick it up to treat yourself. While I do not have anymore of this wine, I will be on the look out in the future. I give this wine an outstanding 9.8 out of 10.

 

Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon

The Hess Collection Cab is a bottle I see on the shelf of my local wine store every time I go in. It is hard to miss the deep purple label and almost Coat of Arms logo it sports. I did some research into the wine and decided to pick up a bottle for this review. The bottle is priced in what I would call the lower end of mid-range at $30.

Right off the bat you get a nose full of blackberry and oak. You get a hint of plum for an instant before it dissipates. I find it quite pleasing compared to some other cabs I have tried in this price range. The wine has legs that stick around for your entire glass, which is around a half hour in my case.

 

hess

The first sip is surprising. Very acidic and spicy; not at all what I anticipated with the aroma coming from the glass. There are tannins but not an overpowering amount. A lot of the flavor is muddled due to the big flavor of the oak and spice mixing with the acidity but there is a definite taste of berry on the finish.

 

After the first glass the acidity dulls and the flavor finally starts to come through. This leaves me to recommend airing the wine for around 45 minutes before drinking.

Once the flavor comes through the wine becomes fairly complex. There is still a spice and oak flavor up front with a bit of tobacco or tar mixed in with it. This gives way to dark cherry and plum flavors that creeps up and hits you boldly in the tongue to remind you of the diversity of wine. It finishes with the oak and spice coming back into the mix of plum and lingers just long enough to make you remember its complexities.

The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon is a bold wine that can show you how rich flavors can mix well with berries and other lighter notes when done correctly. This wine is surprising and complex when let to air and is a testament to what can be achieved with 80 years of experience to build upon. A very nice wine that I will purchase again. 8.5/10.

Chateau Moulin de Mallet

Let me prefece by saying that this is one of my favorite Bordeaux. The 2009 I had was a little past its prime when I had it a couple of years ago. The 2011 is my favorite but at this point I doubt there is any left in the country. Finally, the 2015.

chateau moulin de mallet

The 2015 is the one this review is covering. This bottle retails for around $15 and won a gold metal at the concours de bordeaux vins d’aquitaine 2016.

The Mallet is a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I paired it with grilled chicken, black beans, and spinach. The initial bouquet is big and oaky. A nice spice comes in afterwards and smooths out into a hint of blackberry.

The first drink is true to form. The Cabernet flavor really comes out at first but the texture is closer to the Merlot. The big Cab grape flavor quickly gives way to an almost bitter wildberry flavor and ends with a spicy note with enough tannin to keep it on your tongue for a few seconds afterward without feeling like it is trying to take your throat into your stomach with it. The wine ends with a pleasant oakyness that leaves you wanting another glass.

The Chateau Moulinde Mallet is the wine I turn to when I am in the mood for something to open up and enjoy. From its big bouquet to its mellow tannic finish, this is a wine that will always be my go to. After the bottle is gone, I have yet to find myself unsatisfied. A solid 9.1/10 in my book.

Horin Gekkeikan Sake

I have never considered myself a sake drinker. I have tried several different variants and haven’t found one I enjoy. Until now. Enter Horin Gekkeikan. Classified as a Junmai Daiginjo sake, it stands as the top 1% of all sake. While a lot of Gekkeikan sake is made in California, Horin is still made and exported from Kyoto, Japan. Coming in around the $15 mark for a 300ml bottle, this sake is quite a bit more expensive than a lot of it’s counterparts.

I could go into all of the details about the rice rolling and it’s special spring water but Gekkeikan-Horin-Junmai-Daiginjo-Sakeinstead, I’ll just tell you how it tastes. I chilled this sake for around two hours in the fridge and then poured it into ceramic sake cups. Sake has a very particular smell right off the nose. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, imagine a honeydew melon that was left out overnight and you wouldn’t be far off.

The first thing you notice when you drink it is a creamy, smooth texture. Some honeydew and cantaloupe melon on the front end and a nice pear and lychee finish. I paired this wine with some stove-top pork chops and broccoli and they complimented each other very well. I imagine any lightly seasoned white meat or salad would go well with Horin as well as slightly sweet fruit such as apples or berries.

Horin Gekkeikan sake has changed my mind about sake. From it’s refreshing nose to it’s smooth texture, there was nothing about this sake that I didn’t like. While it’s price was a little high, the experience made it worth it. While I won’t have a constant supply of sake in my collection, when I do it will be Horin. I give this a solid 9.5 out of 10. A truly enjoyable drink no matter how you look at it.