"A trio of reds from the 4th in front of old style basket wine bottles."

We spent the 4th of July weekend down in Georgia at my parent’s house on beautiful Lake Okonee.  It was not quite as hot as NYC and we had some great food and tried a bunch of different wines from my parents wine cellar, aka, the basement.  I will review the three reds pictured here, but we had several other wines, most notably a 2008 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands California Chardonnay, that was fantastic.  It sells for about $17-22 give or take and was absolutely delicious and instantly loved by all.

1999 Bodegas Bilbainas, La Vicalanda, Rioja Reserva

Since I have been on a Rioja kick lately, I really wanted to try this Bodegas Bilbainas La Vicalanda Rioja Reserva that has been lurking around my parents cellar.  The wine was definitely on the earthier/funkier side, but I enjoyed it.  There were aromas of truffles, black candied cherries, caramel, and dark chocolate.  The mouth feel was bright sour cherries and fairly round, and it left a lingering high tone petrol/funk taste on the palate.  Not for everyone, but interesting to try.  RECOMMENDED

2006 Etude Pinot Noir, Carneros, California

Unlike most people, I am not the biggest fan of California Pinot Noir.  Don’t get me wrong, it is very popular, and there are some  great ones for sure, I just simply have been underwhelmed by them.  But I am always happy to try a good Pinot when one comes my way or when the mood strikes, such as pairing with Sushi in place of a white wine or beer.  This Etude Pinot Noir was medium bodied and very refined with a light smokey red fruit character.  There were also subtle hints of sour cherry, cola, pepper, and Asian mango spices.  Very approachable.  RECOMMENDED

2006 Glen Carlou, Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa

This Glen Carlou Cabernet was the corker of the bunch, I loved it.  Lots of great character and balance.  It supposedly retails for around $45 so it seems a bit out of reach for a go to Cabernet, but if this bottle was coming out of California it would probably be a cult cab at double the price.  It is no secret that I love the wines of South Africa, and this one is not exception.

Starts out with the tell tale South African smokey nose.  Think of the light smell of a fireplace the morning after a roaring fire.  There are notes of classic pink bubble gum, pepper, and dark fruit.  In the mouth it is supple and round with bright berry fruit.  The color is deep, deep purple and the tannins are fine and balanced.  There is a mint taste on the lingering finish as well.  So good, why wait, but it will probably be even better in 3-5 years and cellar for many more.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

"A big ole' cowboy steak, twice baked potatoes, roasted vidalia onions, and homemade focacia. Thanks mom!"