Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Aged in Bourbon Barrels 2017 **** (California)
Pretty nice if you like the genre: we are talking about a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe black fruit aromas and a decent acidity to sustain its full body and soft tannins.
Maybe it’s just suggestion, but the Bourbon barrel influence seems really clear in its vanilla and caramel hints. Well made.
Idlewild Wines Fox Hill Vineyard Cortese 2015 **** (California)
A Cortese from California, how novel. It is partially fermented on skins, making it an orange wine from Cortese made in Dry Creek Valley! Pretty unique and good too.
Some ripeness in the stone fruit character, but also floral and a touch of honey with well integrated subtle oak. If you are into this kind of wine, this one here leans more toward the Friulan style of orange, more than the Georgian: delicate tannins, medium body, freshness and ease of approach.
Very nice, but wow over 5,200 yen to get one bottle! Jeeez! I would have said a couple of thousands less. At this price tag I would recommend it only if you have a deep curiosity for orange wines, but still it is a good wine.
Maison Noir Horseshoes and Handgrenades 2016 ** (USA)
A Syrah-based multi-varietal and multi-state blend sold simply as American red wine (but coming mainly from Oregon and partly Washington). Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are also employed.
A bit tiring and very juicy, rich in dark fruit and oak, somehow reminding me the JaM Cabernet Sauvignon, but with even less grip and acidity. Very ripe, very supple, very everything. It lacks agility and freshness and it may be hard to finish one bottle. For 3300 yen I would personally buy something else, but as your stereotypical US wine it somehow works.
Brooks Riesling Willamette Valley 2016 (Oregon, USA) ***
Pretty easy to guess, stony and citrusy, with the peculiar gasoline-like aroma and honeysuckle hints. The acidity is offset by the off-dry sweetness, so the wine is smooth, but loses some freshness. In truth I prefer the Australian, Clare Valley, bone dry style or at least I would like some more acidity, as found in the good Rieslings from northern Europe.
Better well chilled and paired with some spicy dish.
Brahms Wooded Chenin Blanc 2015 *** (South Africa)
Do not be fooled by the “wooded” in the name: this wine is pretty delicate, with lime, lemon, green apple, steely minerality. You need to warm it up to start getting light toast, biscuit, hints of mango. Crispy acidity in the mouth, not very long or heavy, but good for the 2100 yen tag.