Brolio 2011 – Chianti, Italy

Toasted sugar and strawberry cake on the nose.  Grassy, fresh berries, with slate and cocoa on the front of the palate at first taste.  I have to admit being braced somewhat by the tannins – I did not expect them, so they seemed a bit overdone.  Almonds, marzipan, and a leathery chewiness, with a crisp, almost tart abrupt finish.  A fun ride.

  • Rating: Everyday Red
  • Name: Brolio 2011 Chianti Classico
  • Winery: Barone Ricasoli
  • Region: Chianti
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%
  • Price: $20

Barbazul – Cadiz, Spain

I actually exclaimed at the first mouthful of this one.  Out loud.  Balsamic, cherries, and florals on the nose.  This deep, rich babe of a wine attacks the front palate with just the right balance of dark and red fruits, vanilla, and tobacco flavors.  It tastes rich and dark from the instant it touches your tongue.  Rich mineral, tobacco, and dried prune flavors blend with grassy and floral notes, as tannins come in with a spicy punch, leading to a mineraly dried-fruit finish.  It’s very likely that I’ll be upgrading this one to Stunning upon another tasting, but for now I’m going conservative with an impressive rating.  Did I mention it’s rich?

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Name: Barbazul
  • Winery: Huerta de Albalá
  • Region: Cadiz V.T.
  • Country: Spain
  • Varietals: Tintilla de Rota, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Price: 15 Euros
  • Where to Buy: Zona d’Ombra, Barcelona, Spain

Sueños 2009 Reserva – Sierras de Malaga, Spain

Raisiny, cherry, slate and herbs on the nose.  Thyme.  Dark fruits and dusty raisins on the front palate.  The tannins are chewy, again, raisin-like.  This must be from the hot Southern Spanish sun.  The word BLACK springs to mind and sticks in the brain, and it’s not just from the label.  But with an odd lightness in the center, almost like the airiness of melon.  Long, spicy finish, with strawberries, cream, cocoa, and vanilla.  So much fun.  I picked this on up in Malaga at El Club del Vino on Bernardo’s suggestion.

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Name: Sueños 2009 Reserva
  • Winery: Cezar Viñedos y Bodega SL
  • Region: Sierras de Malaga
  • Country: Spain
  • Varietals: Petit Verdot
  • Price: 17 Euros
  • Where to Buy: El Club del Vino