2016 Machete, Orin Swift Wines

This 2016 Machete brings Notes back in spades. The blend of Petite Sirah and Grenache, developed by one of this site’s favorite winemakers, is a robust red combination that you’ll definitely appreciate. And not just from its funky label!

2016 Machete, Orin Swift Wines, California, USA.

2016 Machete, Orin Swift Wines, St. Helena, California, USA.

It has been forever (biggest gap to date?) since the last review on Notes, and I’m glad this wine allows us to re-engage. It’s a heavyweight, and I will always have fond memories of my first taste of Machete. That was well over a year ago, when I got to bogart a glass from a best friend who won the bottle as part of a football bet and treated me to a taste of his winnings. So special shout out to GDog and Eagan for putting me on this path…

…back in the present now: I opened the Machete last night after a long work week (rueful chuckle here) and allowed it to breathe in a decanter while I fired up the grill beneath the day’s fading sun. It is so purple on the pour…abundant whiffs of blackberry and black plum too. You don’t want to be too eager and sip before the wine opens up, because the finish is far smoother once you give it a few moments.

Is the seal a pain in the ass? Yes. Yes it is. You have to score the waxy plastic seal before you can get to the cork, but once you pass this test you’re sitting very pretty.

I had this 2016 with a New York Strip and a killer green salad (mixed, arugula, sliced green olives, bacon, cheese, fresh-ground black pepper and blue cheese dressing). The Machete lasted me through dessert too, a 72% cacao “intense dark” square of Ghiradelli that just finished things up perfectly.

I’m doing part of a Milk Run with this review, so expect another 2016 Machete from me in the near term. Enjoy the above for now, and more again soon. Kind regards to all.

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2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County, Buena Vista

You should always cap off a day of wine tasting with a good wine–the 2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County is assuredly one of those. It’s a dark, spicy red blend from my favorite winery and culls grapes from AVAs throughout Sonoma County into one fantastic wine. This was a birthday gift and came out to play just this weekend.

2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County, Buena Vista, Sonoma County, California, USA.

This vintage is mix of Petite Sirah (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (29%), Syrah (18%), Grenache (12%), and Malbec (11%)–what I’ve heard termed a “kitchen sink” wine by more experienced tasters because of the mash-up. It’s hefty, and I do not mean just the special bottle. The glass, adorned with this badge thing, is the heaviest bottle I’ve ever tasted and almost instills some gravitas into the tasting experience. What I mean is the actual wine itself. The Sirah/Syrah is very much present in this wine, an undercurrent beneath a rich Cabernet/Merlot layer. It is really magnificent and a worthy successor to the Caymus that I sampled just hours beforehand.

Last night the Sheriff accompanied bacon-wrapped filet mignon steaks, sizzled to perfection on hot NC evening, and sides of potato and salad. Tonight the 2013 complemented mixed salad greens (including freshly chopped basil that is fighting hard against some hearty sun…and getting some good love along its journey), waxed beans, and a couple of pork chops grilled up to taste and also accented with crushed black pepper and basil.

Say the Buena Vista folks, “Inspiring dark red fruit aromatics arrest the senses while rich raspberry, blackberry, and semi-sweet chocolate flavors are deliciously unleashed on the palate.” Yup, good friends all, those flavors, and accurately described.

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 4.16.22 PMThe winemaker explains they have sourced the grapes from Rockville, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley in the 2013 The Sheriff of Sonoma County. I understand that it’s performed very well in competition and with reviewers, and this guy is no exception. It’s my second Sheriff of this year (neglected to post Notes on the first…story for another time…) and I’m truly appreciative of the gift and wish I had saved more to share. Fun beverage to write about, and even better to drink.

 

2007 Virgen del Aguila Artigazo, Edicion Limitada

Excited for this big Spanish red blend from the moment I first ordered it, and it hit every quality mark I hold dear for red wine. Big, dark fruit evident right from the first pour? Check. Well-balanced finish? Yes. Good spice or earthy undertone? Yup. Great taste? Most importantly, yes.

2007 Artigazo, Edicion Limitada, Carinena, Spain. NotesOfNote.

2007 Artigazo, Edicion Limitada, Carinena, Spain.

I did conduct a brief advance screening of the 2007 Artigazo last evening just to see if it warranted consideration for a Friday night feature. As a result, I knew that by the time I revisited today after the long work week we were already in good hands. Tonight the Artigazo accompanied a pepperoni pizza with just a bit of red pepper flakes added to the slices as an accent. You can bet it would perfectly complement grilled steaks, or perhaps some excellent barbecued pork, and I’ll look forward to that in the future since we have a couple more of these still to go.

My wife and I both noted the fruit-forward notes of the Artigazo right in the glass; it hits your nose even before its juicy blueberry/plummy goodness reaches your lips. Really a mouth-watering taste, and one that seems to fold in some spices as just a subtle accent or two. The 2007 Limited Edition is a blend of Garnacha (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), and Syrah (30%), and I’m betting its the latter that throws the spice profile into the final product. Admittedly I’m a growing fan of the Syrah and that may bias me toward the 2007 Artigazo…but if you are too you really can’t go wrong with this excellent Spanish red.

T

Summer Reds

The summer is nearing its end, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share several reds that we sampled along the way. Some scored high marks (like the Atilla’s Selection from Buena Vista); others like the Toro or Navardia will probably fall into the “been there done that” camp. The real fun is in discovering which is which. Here’s a fly-by for your consideration:

2012 Lafage Cote Est Catalan

Originating from the Roussillon region of southwestern France (seemingly where the Pyrenees Mountains meet the Mediterranean) is the 2012 Cote Est Catalan from winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage. It packs quite a punch for a white, not in the alcoholic sense, but in the flavor. The 2012 Cote Est Catalan is a blend of 60% Granache, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Marsanne, and we had it with grilled roasted garlic and butter tilapia fillets, brown rice (chives as an accent from our own garden), and steamed veggies on this evening.

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It’s crisp, it’s fruity (notes of citrus and flower to be sure), and not too much in the way of sweetness. Affordable, too. A sliver of some earthy mineral? Perhaps it satisfies some calm midpoint between a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay? I read one review that shared these accolades: “the lovely aromatics are followed by a crisp, elegant, slightly more textured, medium-bodied white with wonderful purity, freshness, and length. It is long and flavorful on the finish.
I agree, and seeing how many nuances he could pick out reminds me–you too, readers–of how neophyte your reviewer is here in Notes. I will stay humble but diligent in the desire to learn and share more.