Frank (Drink What YOU Like) was in town again. I typically meet up with Frank at one of the innumerable wine events which take place in Washington, DC. We decided to shake things up and actually pay for our wine. Actually, I do not get invited to many events so I typically pay for my wine both at home and at restaurants. Range is a great place to go for wine, the list is diverse and prices per bottle start in the $20 range. Surprisingly, there are no half-bottles.
Frank wanted to have a lighter red wine with dinner, perhaps not Beaujolais and not Loire Cabernet Franc due to his upcoming Cabernet Franc tasting on Sunday. Going off of these restrictions we let sommelier Elli Benchimol pick a wine for us. She suggested Sicily which worked for us so she returned with a bottle of the 2010 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Caldera Sottana, Etna Rosso. This wine is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio source from a single vineyard at 600-700 meters of elevations. The vines here range from 50 to 100 years of age. Though the wine was light in a sense, it packed some deceptive structure and really needs several more years in the cellar. We even had Elli pick our main courses of Octopus and Pork. The wine did start to open up during the course of our dinner so I would recommend dumping it into a decanter.
As were deeply engaged in discussing the wine blog-o-sphere Frank was up for another drink. Again, there were no half-bottles so I figured we could order a full bottle then take the leftovers. I suggested the well priced 2008 Finca Sandoval, Salia, Manchuela at $26 but when I mentioned the 2010 Jean-Paul Thevent, Vieilles Vignes, Morgon Frank lit up. ”That’s a Kermit Lynch wine,” he said. That worked for me. Unfortunately, the supply of the 2010 vintage was exhausted and the next case held only the 2011. We decided to try it and idiotically, keep trying it. It wasn’t the best. Frank did not much care for it and Elli even made a face or two. She decanted it and swirled it for quite some time. It eventually opened up, just a little bit to reveal some delicate berries and citrus. Too bad, this wine is made from fruit sourced from a parcel of vines 45 years old and a parcel which is 110 years old.
To allay our feelings Elli returned with a bottle of 2010 Aurelien Verdet, Le Prieure, Hautes-Cotes de Nuits and two fresh glasses. She gave us generous pours which she refreshed later on as we enjoyed the wine. This was much more interesting, a little earthy, good concentration, and weight. The fruit is apparently sourced from a 4 hectare vineyard planted in 1970. I do not think we concluded anything that night but I had a good time talking a lot over a rather long period.
This is the time when newspapers, magazines, and other blog recommend their favorite wine blogs. I want to contribute to this dizzying collection of lists because mine is a different. Those who follow Hogshead Wine should have an understanding of my palate. I prefer to taste a wine without any prior knowledge of what others have written about it. So I typically do not read wine blogs for their reviews. Once my review is up, I immediately turn my attention to my next set of wines, so again, I rarely look out for wine reviews. Perhaps that is ironic. The vast majority of my time is spent conducting research about the history of wine then writing about it. The history of wine is deep and complex. My research typically involves reading from a diverse set of online archives and books. I have been writing historical pieces since the beginning of this blog but they have reached a fevered pitch this year. This is tough work. Frank Morgan (Drink What YOU Like) set out and accomplished writing about Thomas Jefferson on Wine for 30 days in 2010. Frank clearly remembers this period for he has told me on several occasions “it almost killed me.”
When I take a break from my own wine blog I want to read posts where I learn something new with writing that is thoughtful and evocative of the author. Here are five blogs, in alphabetic order, which I recommend you visit.
You cannot drink French wine or other European wine without reading this blog. The posts feature an engaging mixture of wine history, personal narrative, and informal tasting notes. They also feature extensive photography. Where else can you not only read The oldest wine is in Strasbourg but also see a picture of the barrel containing the 1472 vintage and read the DGCCRF repost on the composition of the wine.
I relied on Rosemary George’s The Wines of South of the South of France (2001) until I discovered her blog. She has been writing about these wines for over 30 years and her purchase of a house near Clermont l’Herault means she is embedded amongst the vines. This detailed blog features domaine visits and tasting notes from producers both big and small. I particularly like the posts about wine celebrations. There are lots of pictures as well.
Drink What YOU Like
Before I ever met Frank I read his blog for his comments. That is not to infer I do not read the actual posts but it is in Frank’s comments where you get a glimpse of Frank with a little less inhibition. As Frank himself commented, “ I tend to learn more from the resulting comments than I did from researching a particular topic for a post.” After first tasting the wines of RdV I took great enjoyment from the lengthy comments to his post Rising Tides, Backhands, Damning With Faint Praise, and that Elusive $100 Bottle of Virginia Wine. It is here he wrote, “From all this discussion, I think we’re giving Rutger, not his wine, ‘Cult Status.’” In a later post he was told that “Virginia versus the world” was a trademarked term. To which he responded, “I’m confused as to why you are posting your comment about not using ‘Virginia takes on the world’ on this blog. Please reread (slowly) this post and point out where I referred to this tasting as ‘Virginia versus the world’ in this post. “
Erin Barbour Scala
I first met Erin a few years ago while she was a sommelier at Public. Her blog clearly reflects her deep passion for and time spent thinking about wine and other beverages. I never know what to expect in her next post. Her posts on Chasing Mrs. Elizabeth Bird, NYC’s First Female Sommelier and A Look at a 1962 Lutece Wine List are quite popular but I cannot help liking those on more surprising topics: The Water Hole: An Old Well on Ocracoke Island or Cranberry Juice History & Its Effect on the Current Cocktail Scene or the intersection of music and wine in Dirty and Rowdy wine at Rouge Tomate.
This wine blog is interesting because of the effort to taste wines made from obscure grapes or grown in unusual areas. The variety themed posts show care from research involving scholarly journal to mainstream books. After sufficient history there appear tasting notes from several related wines. Unfortunately, the blog has not been updated since the spring due to the depression of the author. Still, the existing posts contain much useful information.
The only Beaujolais Nouveau party I attended took place some 20 years ago when I was a student at Bristol University. The Bristol Wine Circle sponsored the party which was held in the Student Union building. They managed to secure a sizeable space and an absurdly large amount of wine. There were 10 or 12 different wines, each one arrayed on their own table. The group of which were set out in a U shape. Behind each table stood a member of the Wine Circle ready to pour or open more bottles and underneath each table were extra cases of wine to keep the party going. There was a cover charge which entitled one to drink as much as possible or desired. The wines were fine, certainly nothing compelling to my novice palate. Each table had opened several bottles of wine to be ready for the expected crowds. Despite the promise of unlimited wine, the crowds never showed up. A general order to stop uncorking bottles went out followed by the order to dispatch throughout the Union to gather thirsty students.
I went to the rather large pub, which was a haze of music, bright lights, strobes, and the smell of beer. I was unsuccessful in encouraging students to switch from paying for each pint to drinking liters of wine. One student responded, knowingly, “why would I drink that stuff?” My disposition at the time was that there were certainly other 18 year old students with a developed appreciation of wine. I certainly thought so that night but it could also have been an immunity to unlimited amounts of alcohol. There were student pubs in the dormitories which periodically cleared stock by holding Drink The Bar Dry nights. These were structured to progressively decrease the price of drinks as the evening progressed. They certainly were not designed to raise money as with resident students behind the bars, there were many free drinks handed out. Glasses, bottles, and bodied piled up at a geometric rate. Whatever the reason, our Beaujolais Nouveau party ended early. We packed up the unopened bottles then headed to a nearby wine bar for glasses of Port.
The soils of Beaujolais have yielded a diverse set of prehistoric artifacts. These range from molars to stone implements to bronze tools. It is rather fascinating to think that roots of some grapevines may intermingle such artifacts. I wonder if there are some very small parcels of vines somewhere which are directly influenced by such items. Imagine fruit sourced in Maryland from soils of late Woodland shell middens, bronze influenced vines of France, or a parcel on decomposed Roman ruins.
This week I tasted through several bottles of Beaujolais. My return to Beaujolais Nouveau took place with the 2013 Jean Foillard, Beaujolais Nouveau. Phil recommended the wine to me and I recommend it to you. Perhaps it may seem a few weeks late to be writing about Nouveau but this is a serious wine. The fruit is sourced from vines in Courcelles which is literally located just outside of the Morgon appellation. This tastes like a “regular” Beaujolais with some depth and minerals. My first exposure to the wines of Yvon Metras was the 2012 Yvon Metras, Beaujolais. His wines have not been regularly imported into America for a number of years so it is rare stuff. That fact combined with the 50% reduction in yield for the 2012 vintage means you should grab some before it disappears. This was a very “natural” wine which I preferred best on the first night. At the time I imagined I was drinking from a straw which went straight to France. The 2012 Chateau Thivin, Cotes de Brouilly was more approachable than the 2011 was in youth. It has good concentration, presence, and should develop well in the cellar. Last is the 2011 Laurent Martray, Combiaty Vieilles Vignes, Brouilly. It is full of earth and old-perfume which is a combination I really like. I would give it a few more months to sort itself out. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Jean Foillard, Beaujolais Nouveau – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines which are 40-60 years old on soils of sand. Alcohol 11.5%. The color was a light ruby cranberry. The nose bore cherry fruit, some black fruit, and a hint of pepper. In the mouth were bright, red cherry flavors at the start followed by some depth and a pepper hint. It takes on mineral flavors towards the finish. ** Now-2014.
2012 Yvon Metras, Beaujolais – $25
Alcohol 11.5%. The color was a light, slightly cloudy (bottle has sediment) cranberry. The nose was of fresh berries, floral perfume, complex spice, and citrus. It eventually took on rose-hip tea and potpourri aromas. In the mouth the wine began with lots of ripe, lemon acidity, some yeast, followed by tangy and citrus red fruit. It taste incredibly fresh with lots of tang and a little grip in the finish. On the second night it had a more pronounced yeast flavor and strong flavors evocative of dried popcorn in the aftertaste. *** Now-2015.
2012 Chateau Thivin, Cotes de Brouilly – $20
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age. Alcohol 13%. There was a nose of low-lying, strawberry aromas and mixed fruit. In the mouth were black and red fruit followed by mineral notes and more black fruit. The wine is compact then opens up with some concentration and a touch of ripe, grip. It returns to black and red fruit in the finish. With air it takes on firm stones in the finish with plentiful and good acidity. There is good presence in the aftertaste. *** 2014-2019.
2011 Laurent Martray, Combiaty Vieilles Vignes, Brouilly – $15
Imported by Elite Wine Imports. This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from 40 year old vines which is aged in large oak foudres. Alcohol 12.5%. The nose was earthy with pepper and greenhouse aromas. In the mouth were light black fruit flavors. The earthy component built towards the finish along with old-school perfume. There was a ripe hint in the finish. With air pepper notes developed as well as a moderate structure. The acidity was on the front and sides of the tongue. It had a stone firmness to the structure. On the first night it had the most earthy and old perfume while on the second night it had more firm, red fruit and dry stone flavors. **(*) 2014-2018.
Reading multiple posts about Wine and the Sea is certainly thirsty work. Any of the wines featured in this post would be a worthy choice. I am afraid I am a little slow in posting about the wines of Les Vins de Vienne, a collaboration between Cuilleron, Villard, and Gaillard. The 2010 Les Vins de Vienne, Les Cranilles was an excellent selection but it appears to be out of stock. Instead you could go with the 2011 Les Vins de Vienne, Saint-Peray which is drinking well right now. The Chateau Saint-Roch of Lafage is producing interesting wine. The 2011 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Kerbuccio is good wine for the money and only the second dry red wine I have had from Maury. This bottle carries the Maury Sec designation which was first allowed for the 2011 vintage. The other dry Maury is the 2010 Sarl Fractured, Shatter. The 2009 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Chimeres is still young and a little raw at this point, I would cellar it a little longer. It has been one year since I last tasted the 2010 Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux. It is becoming more approachable but it is best to continue waiting. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2011 Les Vins de Vienne, Saint-Peray – $25
Imported by DHI. This wine is 100% Marsanne aged 9 months in barrels and tanks. Alcohol 13.5%. The color was a light yellow straw. There was a light and tight nose. In the mouth the wine had a round, glycerin infused body with focused white fruit, good acidity, and minerals. There were dried herbs and drier flavors in the finish which left minerals and lightly salivating acidity. *** Now.
2010 Les Vins de Vienne, Les Cranilles, Cotes du Rhone – $17
Imported by DHI. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre aged for 12 months in tanks and barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose was light with focused, fruity and grapey aromas. In the mouth were youthful, concentrated flavors which were almost tart. There was red and black fruit, acidity which worked very well, and some developing ripeness. With air there was a little smoke and bacon flavor in the finish. It had good tannic texture, nice ripe tannins, and red grapey flavors in the finish. Nice wine. *** Now – 2020.
2009 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Chimeres, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. The Grenache and Carignan are sourced from vines 50+ years of age. Alcohol 15%. The nose was a little reductive at first, eventually revealing macerated fruit aromas. In the mouth were pungent, red fruit flavors, grapey tannins, and almost citric acidity on the back of the tongue. It was tangy with a little weight to some red and blue flavors. It was a little raw in nature. **(*) 2015-2019.
2011 Maison Lafage, Chateau Saint-Roch, Kerbuccio, Maury Sec – $20
Imported by Eric Solomon. This wine is a blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 30% Grenache sourced from vines on black schist soil which was aged for 8 months in concrete tanks. Alcohol 15%. The nose was slightly reticent. In the mouth were good focused fruit flavors of floral black fruit and black tea. There was integrated acidity and structure with tannins reminiscent of fine stones. The wine was almost chewy before the long, expansive aftertaste. ***(*) Now-2023+.
2010 Domaine d’Aupilhac, Montpeyroux, Coteaux du Languedoc – $19
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is a blend of 30% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 16% Grenache, and 4% Cinsault. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 20 months in old foudres and oak barrels. Alcohol 14%. Though still young this is becoming more approachable. The level of very fine and strong tannins suggest further aging is best. **(*) 2014-2022.
In conducting research in the Maryland Historical Magazine on the early history of Maryland winemaking I came across an article on “The Thoroughbred Horse and Maryland” which had been read in 1921. I was surprised to learn that the thoroughbred horses Chateau Margaux and Claret were imported into America in 1834. Every year Jenn and I host a tailgate party at the International Gold Cup in Virginia. Despite our love for drinking wine at the races, it never occurred to me that a racehorse would be named after a famous Bordeaux chateau. It turns out that Chateau Margaux was fouled by Whalebone with a first dam of Wasp in 1822. Claret, in turn, was fouled by Chateau Margaux with a first dam of Partisan in 1830. Though both horses had different breeders and owners, they were simultaneously imported by Merritt & Co.
Chateau Margaux was first entered as Brother to Addy having been bred by the Earl of Egremont. Brother to Addy first ran at Newmarket in 1825, ridden by William Arnull. The Claret Stakes was a flat race first held in 1808 at the Ditch-In course at Newmarket. Brother to Addy ran the following year in which he won by two lengths over Enamel. Apparently due to this win, Brother to Addy was subsequently renamed Chateau Margaux. There are other raceshorses named after the famous wines of Bordeaux. D’Estournel of 1864 fouled Father Claret in 1873. At the end of the century the brown mare Haut Brion was fouled in 1897. Lastly, it must be admitted that Chateau Lafite, fouled in 1915, was a descendant of Zinfandel fouled in 1900.
Chateau Margaux was purchased in 1836 by the Spanish nobleman and banker Alexandre Aguada, Marques de las Marismas. On August 28, 1865, a curious advertisement appears in The Times regarding the “Chateau Margaux Estate”. In January, 1864, the English houses of J. Allnutt &Co., Boord, Son, & Beckwith, and Trowers & Lawson purchased the “whole wine produce of the Chateau Margaux estate for a term of years”. This transaction may have taken place due to a string of bad vintages since 1858. Of the 1859 vintage Cocks and Feret wrote “Very irregular temperatures…if some have given satisfaction, many others have produced disappointment in development.” It was dismal in 1860 when it was “rainy and cold and is one of the worse that we have to register.” There was a bubble in 1861 when there were “Favourable temperature to the vine, inducing hopes of wines of fine quality…very large purchases are effected at very high prices…hopes have been disappointed…ended in yielding a very ordinary quality.” The vintage of 1862 was a bit better with “red wines of tolerably good colour, but lacking vivacity.” The next year of 1863 had “unfavourable temperature…the red wines very indifferent.”
Thus after five lack-luster vintages, Alexandre Aguarda may have been motivated to sell his entire yield. The timing advantageous for the British merchants for the 1864 vintage had “Great heat previous to vintage…The red wines possess mellowness, delicacy and elegance, but are slightly deficient in body.” The following vintage of 1865 was generous to the British as well with “…one of the most favourable temperatures to the vines…the red wines present in the commencement a perfect maturity, much body and colour and the character of a great year…the highest prices which have even been accorded to red wines.”
Despite these merchants having purchased the entire production, they must have sold the wine in cask and not bottled all of it. For in the June 6, 1874, issue of The Spectator, Messrs. Christie, Manson and Woods auctioned off some of the 1865 vintage of Chateau Margaux at the Important Sale of Clarets. The sale included some 3,4000 dozen bottles of Lafite, Margaux, Leville, Cos D’Estournel, Ducru, Palmer, Rauzan, Giscours, Kirwan, Duhart Milon, and others of which “[t]he whole were bottled by Messrs. Tod-Heatly and Co in the Autumn of 1868, at their cellars in Adelphi, where they still remain.” In 1879 the estate was sold by the son of Alexandre Aguada to Vicomte Pillet-Will. By April 24, 1897, the wines had returned to being bottled in Bordeaux. The British wine merchants Edwards, Southard, and Sons advertised the 1894 vintage of which “we have bottled the whole of this Vintage…in fine condition, and possessing all the qualities of delicacy and bouquet which are the characteristics of Chateau Margaux.” Their bottlings consisted of 19,815 dozens of Grand Vin and 2,541 dozens of Second Vin.
Michael Broadbent’s vintage rating some nearly 110 years later mirror those of Cocks and Feret. He tasted two bottles each of both 1864 and 1864 Chateau Margaux. These were bottled by Cruse and tasted at Binpin’s May 1987 and Rodenstock’s September 1987 tastings. The Cruse family owned several chateaux in Bordeaux. Herman Cruse is known for purchasing and modernizing Chateau Pontet-Canet beginning in 1865. In the Catalogue General of the Universal Exposition of Paris in 1867, the “36. Exposition collective des vins de Bordeaux” lists H. Cruse of Pontet-Canet and Allnut, Boord et Beckwith, Trower et Lawson of Chateau Margaux.  Why did Cruse bottle a portion of the first two vintages of Chateau Margaux which were owned by the British merchants? Cruse built new cellars and modernized the winemaking facilities at Pontet-Canet. Perhaps the updated facilities seemed like an attractive place to bottle these new vintages of Chateau Margaux. It appears that some of these wines eventually made their way to America. On May 8, 1890, an auction in New York City included “A cellar of rare and choice Wines” including “1865 Leoville, Chateau Langoa, Chateau Beycheville, Chateau Margaux, and Chateau Lafitte, of Baron & Gustier.” 
In August 2013, Erin Scala (Thinking Drinking) and I set out to encourage researched posts about the history of wine. To do so we presented An Open Invitation For Posts about Wine and the Sea. Three months later the posts are now published. I encourage you to read through them all and share them with your friends.
Wine and the Sea
Dorit recently visited Portugal where she became amazed by the Colares vineyard. This unique vineyard is located on a sandy cliff between the town of Sintra and the Atlantic Ocean. Here the ungrafted vines grow just inches off of the ground as they are buffeted by strong gusts of wind. She describes the wines as, “a crazy mash-up between your softest, silkiest, lightest Volnay and that lovely, tarry, tannic old Barolo you have packed away somewhere.”
Graham Harding (Wine As Was)
‘On the scale from riches to ruin’: the cargo of champagne in R.L.Stevenson’s Ebb-Tide
Graham writes of one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s last books Ebb-Tide. Davis is an American sea-captain who is hired to transport a cargo of Californian champagne to Sydney. Once at sea the champagne is opened and drained at the rate of two cases per day. Davis’ plan is to sell the cargo in Peru but difficulties ensue. Graham’s captivating post takes an engaging turn when he investigates “Victorian attitudes to champagne and to Stevenson’s own troubled relationship with addictive substances and behaviours.”
Frank Morgan (Drink What YOU Like)
“Wine and the Sea — Consider the Oyster”
Frank has developed a deep passion not just for the wines of Virginia and those who make them but also for the local oysters. In his post he leads us from the earliest descriptions where “oysters…lay on the ground as thick as stones” to that of Thomas Jefferson who drank half a bottle of Graves and ate 50 oysters on March 14, 1788. At the end he recommends his favorite wine and oyster pairings.
Aaron Nix-Gomez (Hogshead Wine)
“they had drunk English wine sold at Jacatra” : The Cultivation of the Vine in England and the East India Company’s Concern for Wine 1600-1630
In 1626, two captains of the English East India Company were questioned about the English wine they drunk in the modern day city of Jakarta. At the time wine and beer was being secretly stored in outward bound ships to be sold for great profit in the Indies. In this post I look at the wines provisioned for the fleet as well as the cultivation of the vine in England during this early period.
Erin Scala (Thinking Drinking)
Wine and the Sea: Aphrodite Rising
Erin writes of how seas dry up on land, leaving traces behind of which “[p]lant roots can access this elemental memory.” She investigates several ancient sea from the famous Kimmeridgian soils of the island chain Chablis to the higher ground of Horse Heaven Hills. She concludes with a “poetic perspective” that the desire for wine from these sea beds is “a balanced take on reincarnation, our world’s dead seas are reborn as some of our most vibrant wines.”
Adam Zolkover (Twice Cooked)
Madeira, Wine, and the Sea
Adam’s post begins with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence when Mr. Sillerton Jackson contemplates dinner with the Archer family and thinks, “the Archer Madeira had gone round the Cape.” Madeira is considered “a capital foundation for pork” in the Aubrey/Maturin novels. After describing the voyages of Madeira, Adam writes of bottles he has enjoyed of this “nautical” and “delicious” wine.
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For the Thanksgiving holiday we managed to drink through German Riesling, mature Bordeaux, Oregon Pinot Noir, and a Tawny Port. Not all in one day, of course, but over several days. The 2012 Weingut Keller, Riesling Trocken is a recent arrival at MacArthur Beverages. With pink grapefruit flavors, minerals, and great nerve this is an exciting wine to drink. It has a lot of personality for the price. We bought the 1989 Chateau Sociando-Mallet some time ago from MacArthur Beverages, on the order of a decade. The bottom of the cork was firmly seated in the bottle so despite my Ah-So and Le Creuset worm I still managed to break the cork. You might recall we recently enjoyed a bottle of 2000 Chateau Phelan Segur which came from a questionable cellar. When two bottles became available from a good cellar I jumped on them. Having two bottles was reason alone to open one up. The shorter cork offered less resistance and came out simply with the Ah-So. Both Bordeaux wines were enjoyed over a period of ten hours. The 1989 Chateau Sociando-Mallet never really opened up and only slightly faded over the period. Had there been a bit more fruit I would have enjoyed it more in the mouth but it was certainly an enjoyable drink and as Jenn commented, the nose was of an old wine, and attractive at that. I imagine this wine will last for some time but I do not see it improving. The 1990 Chateau Phelan Segur is still on the up-slope and unfolds over several hours. I really enjoy the earthy, mixed berry aromas and flavors. The price was crazy good.
The 2012 Patricia Green Cellars, Pinot Noir, Reserve was being poured at the store the day before Thanksgiving. The 2012 Sineann, Pinot Noir, Resonance may have rocked but it also highlighted how good the Patricia Green is. It is a varying blend from different parcels, so perhaps no terroir here but it is tasty stuff for a cold evening by the fire. I would buy several bottles then hold them for a few months. The fall and winter are our typical seasons for drinking port. The NV Wine & Soul, 10 Years Old Tawny is a new bottle for us. It is a field blend from old vineyards which are foot-trodden then raised in 50+ year old Portuguese Chestnut containers. The bottle is finished with a traditional long cork but a short cork is included for stoppering after it is opened. This is a fresh, young Tawny Port with impeccable balance. It is less nutty than other ports.
2012 Weingut Keller, Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen – $20
Alcohol 12%. There were flavors of pink grapefruit and minerals which had great nerve from acidity. The acidity was focused at the start with the wine taking on drying, spices and textures towards the finish where more minerals came out. Young and lively. *** Now-2024.
1989 Chateau Sociando-Mallet, Haut-Medoc -
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co. Alcohol 12.5% There was a mature nose, learner in aroma with black cherry and wood notes. In the mouth were dense flavors of black cherry, firm acidity, and old textured tannins in the finish. The finish was fresh with some ripe spices and tannins. The old, tasty wood structure was appealing. ** Now-2018.
1990 Chateau Phelan Segur, Saint-Estephe – $40
Alcohol 13%. The interesting nose bore earthy, mixed berries. In the mouth were slowly expanding flavors of black cherry which took on an earthy note. There were minerals and nice expansion in the middle followed good integration of some weighty tannins and acidity. There was grip in the aftertaste where the acidity returned. The wine left impressions of nice, earthy, mineral flavors. ***(*) Now-2024.
2012 Patricia Green Cellars, Pinot Noir, Reserve, Willamette Valley – $24
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was aged in 5% new oak. Alcohol 13.5%. The nose bore standout aromas of Pinot Noir berry fruit. In the mouth were younger fruit flavors, some spices, and depth. With air the flavors leaned brighter with red fruit and acidity and a good aftertaste. It has complexity and grapey depth, almost ripasso like. With air this builds weight in the finish. *** 2014-2019.
NV Wine & Soul, 10 Years Old Tawny – $45
Imported by Winebow. This wine is a field blend of over 30 varieties sourced from vineyards planted between 1950 and 1970 on soils of schist at 1155 feet. Bottled in 2011. Alcohol 19.5%. This was a fruit driven tawny which remained fresh in flavor. There was some weight to the wine before black fruit, minerals, and good acidity came out. There was a tangy finish with notes of orange peel. This seamless wine has a glycerine infused body with fresh and complex flavors that are less nutty than other Tawny Ports. **** Now-2029.