January to March Wines

December 6, 2021

Richard Moore

Wine of the group.

Matchbook is another of our favorite wineries which is located on the west side of the Sacramento Valley outside of Woodland CA. Their Red Gravel Cabernet is a very earthy Cabernet that is a favorite of ours. The 2019 vintage was outstanding and is now no longer available from the winery :-). The good news is that the 2020 vintage is also wonderful.


2019 Matchbook Estate Bottled Dunnigan Hills Red Gravel Cabernet Sauvignon ($24 Red Rabbit)

Dark in the glass. Ripe raspberry fruit aroma with a bit of earth and a touch of a sting. Earthy blackberry fruit and a slight jam. Mild cola spice. Oaky finish with dark chocolate. The finish is long with all elements persisting. Wine notes: “The wine opens with the beautiful varietal aromas of mocha, leather, and toasty oak. Plush flavors of blackberry, vanilla, deep red fruit, and olive tapenade are rich and mouth-coating. The dense flavors surround the tannins for a finish that is well-structured and smooth.” Yes and no. Repeat buy, yes as this is a great value Cabernet you can get for under $15, my goto low-cost Cabernet. The Red Rabbit is a restaurant we love that serves this wine. We became members of the Matchbook winery after a tasting there this summer (July 2021).


Rodolfo Sadler Reserve Malbec 2018 ($16.50 Wall Street Journal Wine Club Opi Sadler Showcase)

Wow, love it. Inky dark in the glass. Dusty tart ripe plum aroma, no sting. It envelops your tongue and is velvety. Blackberry fruit, spicey black and white pepper. Some jamminess. Milk chocolate on the finish. Dry long finish with all elements coming and going and nicely constrained tannins. Quite a treat to drink. Opi Sadler at his best. Repeat buy? Yes. Wine notes: “Look for that trademark supple texture, with luscious plum and blackberry, all framed by smoky, vanilla-spice plus a long, chocolatey finish”. I agree!


Concannon 2019 Reserve Rose of Petite Sirah ($16.80 Concannon Winery)

Dark for a rose in the glass. Nice Watermelon/strawberry aroma. Dry watermelon and strawberry taste with a bit of kiwi. Julie said it is a different rose in a good way. A long finish that is dry and crisp. Repeat buy, yes. Nice for when you want a rose with more body.


Frey Organic Syrah 2019 ($13.99 wine.com)

Dark in the glass. Ripe plum and blackberry fruit aroma, no sting. Earthy and dusty to start in the mouth. Ripe plum fruit with a bit of jam. A nice smokiness and a pepper/cola spice develop. Long dry finish with constrained tannins. A very nice wine, we had it with a couple of curry dishes and it worked well with that. Repeat buy? Yes. Wine notes: “The 2019 Organic Syrah is rich and full-bodied with a deep garnet hue. Lush, round tannins give the wine a solid structure that is softened by notes of plum and cocoa”. I would agree.


Sextant 2019 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($23.99 Total Wine)

Dark in the glass. Dusty tart plum fruit aroma, a bit of tobacco. Starts lite and dry in the mouth. Plum/cherry fruit, with a white pepper and cola spice. Tannins and dry long finish. Repeat buy, no a bit too delicate of a Cabernet for me. Wine notes: “The 2018 Paso Robles Cabernet will quickly catch your eye with its deep, dark ruby red color. In the glass you'll immediately find notes of red plum and cranberry, paired with hints of vanilla lingering in the background. The French oak used for aging shines on the palate, with a burst of pomegranate swiftly transitioning to supple spice and tannin structure. A slight hint of eucalyptus helps round out the tannins on the finish, leaving you coming back for more every time!”. Yes for the most part. I think the hint of eucalyptus is what makes it a bit odd tasting for me.


The Prestige Apasamiento 2018 ($16.50 Wall Street Journal Wine Club Opi Sadler Showcase)

Dark in the glass. Dusty raspberry aroma, no sting. Starts a bit watery in the mouth. Candied raspberry fruit, dry in the mouth and dusty/earthy. Probably not the best Apasamiento I have had. Repeat buy? No, a decent wine but I have had better Apasamientos. Notes: “You’re in for a truly luscious Malbec-Syrah, packed with ripe plum, black cherry, black currant, and spice flavors”. Not getting any spice


2018 Wheelhouse Zinfandel ($20.99 Total Wine)

Very light in the glass for a Zinfandel, translucent. Tarte blackberry aroma with a bit of a sting. Very bright in the mouth. Blackberry and cherry fruit with a touch of jam. Dry with a long finish. Some cumin in with a cola spice. A touch of dark chocolate in the long finish. Wine notes: “The 2018 vintage is as sleek and flavorful as ever with cranberry and bright cherries up front. It features pomegranate, ripe figs, anise, and vanilla on the nose. Tobacco flavors become apparent and cocoa powder notes appear. The finish stretches delightfully, expressive and quenching to the very end.” Maybe, but I will stick with my notes. Repeat buy? No, I like my zinfandels with more jam and oak. There are many other Zinfandels I prefer for less.

Until our next update, happy tasting and drinking.


      Wow, knock my socks off good. A wine to stock up on.

     A very good wine, also a wine to stock up on.

     An average wine that is very drinkable, one that I might buy again.

    An okay wine, one I can drink but would not run out to buy any of.

    Not worth really drinking, most likely poured out.

Copyright 2021, Richard J. Moore

keywords: Wine, Wine Tasting, Wine Reviews

description: New wine tasting notes for January through March of 2021