A Spanish triumph equal to any Rioja Riserva, the 2005 Montsant Falset is just great. Full-bodied, with lingering red fruits and firm tannin. A blend of Tempranillo, Grenache, Carignan, and Syrah, the Falset is just loaded with with lots of berries, leather, and cherries, with stony minerals and spice on the nose and palate. Some nice acidity balances the fruit. I think decanting it would soften it nicely, since it’s a little tight. This Spanish wine speaks to me as a Cabernet drinker, and overall is just worth buying. $10. Pairs well with herb-encrusted lamb, tapas, or more robust venison dishes.
Olivier Leflaive Rully 1er Cru. I must make a big deal about this white Burgundy. If you get a chance to drink this, do so. Rully is located in the Côte Chalonnaise, in the south of Burgundy. 1er Cru means Premier Cru, which of course means First Growth. It’s got floral and honey aromas with a hint of citrus, and is beautifully well-balanced, with creamy oak complementing fresh acidity and vibrant fruit. Full-bodied, soft, and a lingering finish. When people think buttery French Chardonnay, they’re thinking of something like this. $20. Get a case. A bottle of this will compliment roasted chicken, halibut, or boiled lobster with pepper butter.
I will freely admit that I am a Bordeaux fiend. No other wine generally excites me as much as Bordeaux; its beautiful structure and complexity make it a gripping experience. The Chateau La Croix de Queynac, with its blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, is easy drinking, and ready now. Soft mouthfeel, solid black fruit, and moderate tannin. Its finish is long and fascinating, with a hint of burnt match, or tar. Probably the result of natural sulfur dioxide. Definitely a good, complex wine for the $10 price tag.
Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon, from South Africa. Buy this. Today. Buy a case. If you do, you’ll find that fun wines can be dirt cheap: this retails for about $7 a bottle. Huge fruits, well-balanced tannins, lots of raspberry on the nose, blackberries, plums, and extremely potent mineral in the mouth. Full-bodied, with a smooth, spicy finish. It’s downright effervescent for a Cabernet Sauvignon. Just switched over to screwcaps! Ridiculously good for the money, but definitely only suited to certain palates.