Tasting Notes: Ancient Peaks Renegade

Whew -- it's been a busy couple of weeks. Can I get an amen?! I've been traveling a lot for work recently, but luckily my parents came into town this past weekend. It was great to see them, and naturally, our weekend was filled with delicious food and great wine. On Saturday night, we hit up one of our favorites, Good Food on Montford. If you're a Charlotte local and have never been there, you need to go. NOW. Their wine menu is different and unique, but the waiter recommended this bottle to accompany our small plates for the evening. So how did it fare?

The Facts

  • Producer: Ancient Peaks Winery
  • Region: Paso Robles, CA
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Variety: 93% Syrah, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot
  • Where I purchased: Restaurant. I haven't found any big name stores that carry it yet, but it may be worth a look at your local wine shop. You can also order it online directly from the winery here.
  • Price: $24.00 on the winery's website
Ancient Peaks Renegade Blend
  • Eyes: The waiter mentioned we'd love the color, and he wasn't wrong. It was a deep purple color which you can kind of see in the picture above. This isn't surprising given the grape breakdown, but I knew this wine was going to be full-bodied and bold after seeing that color.
     
  • Nose: This wine smelled like a fruit bomb, but with a hint of oak. I picked up on some of the vanilla, but it was really the smell of dark and black fruit... think blackberry, black plum, etc. The aromas were delicious, and I couldn't wait to try it!
     
  • Mouth: This wine was tasty... those dark fruit aromas came through and there was spice as well, as promised by the waiter. What more could I ask for? Those are my two favorite things! It was very bold in flavor, but the notes of vanilla helped smooth it out. 
     
  • Thoughts: Overall, it's a great choice for those of you that like bold wine. Bold isn't always good, especially as we go into the hot summer, but when a full-bodied and spicy wine is needed, this is definitely a great choice. I also think it's a good value at $24 a bottle... that price range typically lends to bigger flavors than the lower priced wines but it isn't so expensive that you could only have it once in a blue moon. I'll be checking out our local wine shops to see if I can locate this puppy in Charlotte. I also think this that this blend shows I need to try more Syrah!

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Tasting Notes: Black Cabra Malbec

This is the first in my new "Favorite Friday" series. On the last Friday of every month, I will do tasting notes on some of my existing favorite wines. I have a stash in my pantry of my favorites and I very rarely open them because I'm so concentrated on trying new things! This will be a great way to showcase them. 

Since I had a Malbec earlier in the week, I thought it'd be interesting to compare two from the same region, so the first one up is the Black Cabra Malbec.

The Facts

  • Producer: Black Cabra
  • Region: Mendoza, Argentina
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Variety: Malbec
  • Where I purchased: Mountaintop Wine Shoppe in Western NC
  • Price: Around $10
  • Eyes: This Malbec is a medium red color. It is opaque just like the other Malbec I had this week. I never noticed that before about Malbecs, but I now associate that with fuller bodied wines. There were some defined and slow moving legs, which as I have mentioned before means higher alcohol level. I actually remembered to look this time and noticed that the wine had 14.0% alcohol, so the legs of the wine make sense.
     
  • Nose: The first aroma I smelled was blackberry jam. Not overly sweet, but a little more sweetness than what I associate with the berry alone. The one thing I didn't notice? Any smoke! Since this was already on my favorites list, I guess that could be inferred, but it's been such a long time since I've had this wine, I thought maybe I'd be surprised! There was also some other non-fruit aroma, but I couldn't 100% decide on what it was, but my instinct was vanilla.
     
  • Mouth: There is definitely a blackberry flavor to this wine. I didn't notice any of the bitterness that I picked up on in the wine from earlier in the week, which was relief. There is a hint of pepper, but it's not as spicy as I remember it being or as spicy as some of the other wines that I've had recently.
     
  • Thoughts: This wine will always have a special place in my heart because I had it on one of my first dates with my now husband. Even with the sentimental association, this wine is a great every day choice! It is so easy to drink because it's in the sweet spot of flavor for me to have with whatever we are eating for dinner... not too overpowering to outshine the food or too boring to drink on its own. If you like really full bodied, bold, and spicy wines, this probably won't be on your favorites list, but if you're looking for something a little more mellow, affordable, and "every day", then I think this is a great bottle to have on hand!

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Tasting Notes: Tilia Malbec

The Facts

  • Producer: TILIA Wines
  • Region: Mendoza, Argentina
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Malbec
  • Where I purchased: Harris Teeter
  • Price: $11.99
  • Eyes: This wine was between a medium red color and a deep purple It was opaque... I tried to read my existing notes through the wine and couldn't! There were distinguished legs which indicates it's higher in alcohol. I didn't think to look at the alcohol percentage on the label to corroborate. 
     
  • Nose: This wine definitely had fruit aromas on the nose. I picked up on dark red fruits like plum and black fruit like blueberries. The wine also had a smoky smell to it... it wasn't overwhelming but there was definitely a tobacco and smoke aroma going on.
     
  • Mouth: The first thing I noticed was the smoky taste. I don't know if was on the forefront of my mind because of the nose, but that is definitely what I picked up on immediately. I think the smokiness is what added a spice to the wine. The black fruit also came through with flavors of black cherry and raisins. I realize that raisins aren't really black fruit, but I'm throwing it in there anyway. There was a bitterness to the wine that surprised me. I am not sure what caused it, but the finish was definitely not smooth and supple like the bottle described.
     
  • Thoughts: To put it frankly, this wine was not my favorite. The bitter finish threw me off and I am not really a fan of smoky things. If you do like smoky things then this may be the wine for you!  The one upside is that it's a screw-top... I travel quite a bit for work and sometimes I like to get an inexpensive bottle for the week. I often forget a wine opener, so I always look at the screw-top wines since it's really my only option. I have another Malbec in this price point that I prefer**, so this one will most likely not a be one I purchase again.

    **I will be opening this wine tomorrow as the start of a new "Friday Favorites" series, so be on the lookout!

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