OK, so a Grocery Outlet night. You people all beg for it, but frankly: there hasn’t been anything there piquing my interest in many weeks. If you live in CA, NV, or OR, you know the cult-like following #grossoutwines has, but you have to be VERY careful. Lots of weird–often REALLY BAD–bottles. Like I always say: Shop like a European and you can find some gems, but ignore literally 99% of it. Not going to publish prices, as these are all available for *regular* price internationally (sometimes almost next door), but if you know the GO dealio, you KNOW what I paid!
Medium ruby with transparent amber-pink at the rim. An oddly compost-y nose, not quite vegetal and not quite barnyard, almost a sweet vermouth sort of spicy-brash elixir tip-toeing perhaps on the early onset of oxidation. Feeling quite Valdigue in cheery, rosy plump fruit–or even Alicante Bouchet–that somewhat cloying high note of Jolly Rancher capping a fairly solemn dark melange of toasty briar. Not much else. Tasting it produces a likewise medium-bodied wine, fruit fraying in classic France-Sud fashion, lovely bitter acid and a clamor of tannin washing out the middle. A middle founded on dark, powdery cherry. Not a horrible wine.
2018 DOMAINE LAFAGE ‘Nicolas’ Old Vine Grenache Cotes Catalanes IGP France 15.0
Beautiful even ruby with perhaps a touch of brick. Really fun nose: sweet cinnamon and cardamom, an almost aged-Napa-cab bouquet of spicy leather and gorgeous velvet-rubbed cherry reduction with perhaps a few molecules of worn mint or eucalyptus hanging on. Clean and direct in the mouth, nothing funky, unctuous or cloying. Full, round berry sandwiched on all sides by bitter briar and acid, the middle drying out and noticing a moderate disappearance of fruit, replaced by sweet thin-ness blended with American-oak tannin. Also NOT a horrible wine. Rather impressed.
2015 MONTES DE LEZA Tempranillo Crianza Rioja Spain 14.0
Med-light ruby. Absolutely NO nose. Nothing. Poorly-rinsed dishes still having a film of detergent. Funky cellar-floor starts protruding. I’m feeling a decant coming on! Weedy funk expresses with considerable air, an old-world baseline on which significant fruit is slowly building. Somewhere between Rosso di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico in texture, considerable ripe floral emerging alongside muddled antique cherry. Equally vague on the palate, thin and rather clean, although a steely, contrived core contains fishy notes finishing in austere watery tannin. This wine doesn’t suck, and by itself on the table, will be a workhorse bottle–notably for its lack of concentration. This will probably be the wine I end up drinking all night. But it will be in *search-mode*, and I’m a sucker for punishment. Holy shit: 11.5! Well THAT explains gobs.
2019 ALTABASSE Sangiovese Del Rubicone IGT Romagna Italy 11.5