I met up with Rick and Ralph for a quick tasting at Kroger in Centerville. A fair-to-middling tasting, with the star being the Merlot from Chile.
Franciscan Chardonnay (2011) Napa Valley, California – $20
Clean and crisp, with light to medium oak. The oak comes through more in the texture than in the taste. An oaky Chardonnay that’s well made – this isn’t fat, flabby, or hot
Very dark in country, and it has a big nose – chocolate and cherry. Tart and tannic, with more cocoa on the palate. Textbook Chilean Merlot (this includes 15% Carmenere), with a big, chewy mouthfeel and some heat and earth towards the finish. After it opens up a bit, the tannins are pleasantly dusty.
Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Syrah (2008) Cachapoal Valley, Chile – $28
In case you’re wondering, Cachapoal is a subdivision of the Rapel Valley that was recently delineated. This has some meatiness on the nose, and is also extremely dark. It’s a little weak on the palate, however. It promises a lot up front but doesn’t quite deliver.
St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon (2009) Sonoma County, California – $20
This is not particularly dark or fruit-forward for a California Cab. It has more red fruit (raspberry, cherry, red currant) than black fruit. A little tight as well. A sub-par wine for St. Francis.
BV BeauRouge (2009) Napa Valley, California – $30
This has everything but the kitchen sink in it – Merlot, Cab, Zin, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Carignan, and Touriga Nacional! It gives a big tannic punch up front, and then the earthy/smoky grapes (Zin, Petite Sirah, Carignan, Touriga) dominate in the mouth. It falls off quickly, however. Not worth the money, unfortunately.