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A tasting of M & M Importers’ latest imports – March 2022

Well folks it has been too long since my last post, Passover, life, lots of work, anyway, I have a lot of notes to post, so look for them to be coming very soon., For now, I need to post the lovely wines I received from Ralph Madeb, president and CEO of M & M Importers. These are all Italian options and some of them can be found in Europe from Honest Grapes while most of them are here in the USA from some stores in and around NY and NJ.

The simpler wines have a new label, gone is the Botteotto brand and now we have the wines under the original winery’s brands. A few of these wines are Mevushal and while I have my issues with the need for Mevushal in our lives today, it seemed to have little to no effect on the wines themselves.

Also, I finally had the chance to taste the 2016 Tassi Brunello di Montalcino Franci, Bettina Cuvee, Brunello di Montalcino, for a second time. I had it in France last year, and while I liked the wine it did not blow me away, as I was expecting. I am happy I had the chance as I felt the wine did not show well in pairs. Sure enough, the wine was indeed better and the revised score and notes can be found below.

The wine list is another example of why Italy is a wonderful wine region to find QPR stars. This entire list is either GOOD to WINNER. No duds. Overall another great list from M &M Importers.

My sincerest thanks to Ralph and his partner at M & M Importers for sharing their wonderful wines with us all! The wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here and the explanation for QPR scores can be found here:

2020 Cristallo Pinot Grigio, Colline Pescaresi, IGT (M) – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine is fun, it is simple but fun, refreshing, funky, and enjoyable.
The nose of this wine is funky, with notes of straw, rosebud, rose petals, green apple, slate, white flowers, and more hay!
The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is fun, simple, refreshing, well-balanced, with lovely acidity, nice weight, good fruit focus, orange notes, nectarine, tart lemon/lime, and citrus, but what sticks with you is the refreshing weight and salinity.
The finish is long, green, tart, balanced with good acidity, hay, straw, violet, and long lingering tart green fruit with minerality. Lovely! Drink now. (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

2020 Illuminare Dry Moscato, Colline Pescaresi, IGT (M) – Score: 89 (QPR: GREAT)
This wine reminds me of the other dry Muscat wine I know of on the market – Michael Kaye’s lovely wine. Michael’s wine is fruitier, this wine is lean, very floral, but also shows tart/dry tropical notes, really very different but also similar and equally fascinating.
The nose of this wine is intoxicating, it pulls you in and grabs you, showing tart and dry pineapple, intense jasmine, white flowers, tart green and yellow mango, lychee, smoke, flint, and more floral notes. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is fun, showing lovely saline, refreshing, tart, with great acidity, sweet Mandarin orange, pineapple, sweet pear, Meyer lemon, honeyed notes, and lovely honeysuckle.
The finish is long, tart, green, yet nicely ripe, very floral, with good saline, minerality, and more fruit. Bravo! Drink Now (tasted March 2022) (in San Jose, CA) (ABV = 12.5%)

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Purim 2010 Wines

This past Purim my friends and I enjoyed a wonderful meal at the synagogue, along with a few wines that I brought along, and a couple of wines that were brought by some other congregants.  Some of the wines I tasted have notes, while others have just feelings or memories, sorry, this was Purim after all.  My friends still give me a hard time for the one time that I actually took notes on Purim.  To me, tasting wine is about friends, memories, along with a bit of a job.  To others, especially on Purim, it is about friends, memories, and a bit of a buzz.

Anyway, the wine notes follow below in the order that they were tasted:

Tzuba Port Style Wine – Score: A-
This is a wine that I brought back from my last trip to Israel, one that I bought during my visit to the Tzuba Winery.  The nose on this dark garnet to black colored wine shows rich loamy dirt, bright oxidation, rich spicy oak, ripe fig, blackberry, and spice.  The mouth on this full-bodied and mouth filling wine, starts with a concentrated attack of spicy oak, rich sweet and ripe blackberry, and fig.  The wine is layered and concentrated with ripe fruit and spicy oak, yes I repeated that because it is so nice.  The mid palate is filled with nice acidity, integrated yet still gripping tannins, and spice that flows into a lush loam and oak forest.  The finish is crazy long with rich chocolate, oak, mounds of spice, rich and ripe black fruit, and a lingering palate of oak extraction, spice, and more black fruit.  A nice bottle that can handle just about any sweet desert you throw at it.

2004 Four Gates Rishona (375 ml) – Score: A-
Well, we tasted the larger format of this bottle last week and this week we opened the 375 ml size, which was the originally released format.  We still loved it and it is still drinking really well, though the color throws you and the flavor is a bit dingy, the rest of the wines notes are exactly as the previous tasting, and listed here.  The color on this brown tinged/dark ruby colored wine, was hopping with chicken cherry cola, coffee, mature oak, fig, and raspberry.  The mouth on this intense and full-bodied wine was layered with bright black cherry, coffee, and oak.  The mid palate was bracing with bright acidity and oak.  The finish was long and tantalizing with more cherry, oak, and coffee, layered under a canopy of mature flavors.  This is clearly a wine that needs to be consumed now, but to some, this was one of the winners, which was shocking given the list of wines we enjoyed.

2006 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve, Napa Valley – Score: B/B+
The wine was OK, but it had a huge hole in the middle with almost no acidity to be found.  It was OK, but uni-dimensional with almost no fruit and a bit of oak.  Not fun.

2006 Baron Herzog Cabernet/Zinfandel/Syrah Special Reserve – Score: B++
Yummy, fruity, acidic, rich, with black fruit showing well from the Cabernet, while standing tall with enough oak and tannins from the Syrah.  Nice and one that is probably at or close to its peak.

2006 Hagafen Merlot, Napa Valley – Score: A-
I remember loving it that night for its classic Hagafen soft yet layered mouth feel, along with rich and ripe black fruit and chocolate.

2007 Barkan Classic Petite Sirah – Score: B/B+
This is a nice and lively wine with rich blackberry and smoke on the nose and mouth, along with a firm and structured mouth feel that allows the wine to stand up to meat and rich sauces.  A nice and simple wine that is enjoyable by all.

2007 Backsberg Pinotage – Score: B++
The nose on this bright purple colored wine is packed with loamy dirt, mineral, rich black cherry, mulberry fruit, spice, vanilla, oak, and pepper.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich and spicy though not complex in nature, along with mulberry, Kirsch cherry, and a hint of strawberry.  The mid palate is bracing and almost tart with code acidity, nice soft yielding tannins, spice, and dirt.  The finish is long with layers of smoke and spice, along with red fruit, and a nice dollop of vanilla.  A nice wine for the price, quality, and its mevushal status.

2006 Rashi Select Barbera d’Alba – Score: B/B+
The nose on this wine moved from being bright and red to rich and chocolate.  Not a bad wine, but one that did not live up to my hopes for it.  The tannins were nice and helped to highlight the soft mouth, bright acidity, and red fruit.  With air the fruit disappeared, the mouth was still bright but turning fast, and the finish was packed with chocolate and vanilla.  I guess it is an OK wine, but drink up fast, and not  a wine worth its cost.

Mevushal Wine Tasting – Part II

This past week found us tasting some more wines from Royal Wines that came from France and Italy.  Two of the wines were DOA.  They were the — already fading Rashi Barolo 2000, and the Rashi Select Barbera d’Alba 2003.  Both were brown and oxidized, which is a shame, as I was looking forward to the Barbera d’Alba.  Other than those two misses there were three nice wines to enjoy.

I want to thank my friend who shared the wines with us and Royal Wines.  The wine notes follow below:

Chateau de Parsac Montagne-St-Emilion 2007 – Score: A-
The nose on this deep garnet colored wine was screaming with earth, raspberry, currants, and anise.  The wine is a Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.  This medium to full bodied wine starts with a caressing mouth, that is supported by more earth, raspberry, and currants.  The mid palate has more caressing tannins, acidity, and oak.  The finish is long with more acidity, tannins, and coffee.  We highly recommend opening this bottle at least two hours before it reaches its peak.  This wine is really young and will age well for many more years to come.  An impressive showing for a mevushal wine.

Bartenura Barbera D’Asti 2006 – Score: B
The nose on this electric violet garnet colored wine is filled with earth, raspberry, blackberry, and floral notes.  The mouth on this soft light to medium bodied wine starts with earth, raspberry, currants, and cloves.  The mid palate is soft with an acidic core and light oak flavors.  The finish is medium long with more acid and earth on the palate after the wine is gone.

Bartenura Chianti 2006 – Score: B+
The nose on this vibrant garnet colored wine is packed with cherry, coffee, chocolate, oak, mild heat, and raspberry.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts off a bit hot, but burns off quickly.  The mouth continues with cherry and raspberry.  The mid palate is dominated by pepper and acidity.  The finish is medium long with classical Chianti acid and pepper, along with a nice dollop of coffee.  A nice showing for the price.

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