A South African Sauvignon Blanc from 2017

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Given the unusually hot weather in Washington, DC, it is only fair to recommend the crisp 2017 Springfield Estate, Life From Stone Sauvignon Blanc, Robertson.  I drank this wine courtesy of my neighbor Taz whose wife kindly carried it back from South Africa.  I cannot think of a wine tasted in recent memory that is so aromatic.  This is a crisp, stone accented wine with a savory edge.  Good stuff!

2017 Springfield Estate, Life From Stone Sauvignon Blanc, Robertson
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from 14-20 year old vines grown on soils of 70% slate. Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose is highly aromatic with pungent notes of fresh grass and fruit.  This is a crisp, fruity with with green tinged fruit and a persistent mineral/stone note.  With a bit of warmth it takes on an attractive savory edge.  *** Now – 2018.

Mature Akronte from the Marche

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2000 Boccadigabbia, Akronte, Marche represents the top bottling of this estate.  With the grape and oak representing the previous French ownership of the estate this is a modern style of wine.  The long oak aging has ensured this wine is still very robust to this day.  What is within this robust structure are mouth filling flavors, the right amount of weight, and spot on acidity. Tim is clearing out the last few bottles at MacArthur Beverages so why not try something different?

2000 Boccadigabbia, Akronte, Marche – $20
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 18-20 months in new French oak barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The maturing color is a dark brick and garnet.  Some hints of roast are on the nose but none in the mouth.  Instead, there is a cool entry of flavors which quickly builds with mouth filling power yet maintains a controlled core of weight and even a fresh finish.  The structure of dry and textured tannins is still noticeable in the finish and aftertaste.  With air this wine has perfect acidity that matches the firm black cherry flavors and wood notes.  This modern-styled wine is too robust for higher marks but is  nonetheless a treat at this price.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

A good value for short-term aging: 2015 Pasquiers, CdRV Sablet

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2015 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone Villages Sablet  has improved in the nearly half-year since I first tasted it.  The flavors are opening up in the mouth yet there is still that ruggedness which should fade off with another year or so of age. I think that the amount of flavor and ability to age come at a low price.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone Villages Sablet – $16
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with a fair dose of Syrah and some Mourvedre all from vines averaging 40 years of age.  The wine was aged for 12 months in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose is a bit tight right now revealing red and black fruited aromas.  In the mouth are very ripe, black fruit flavors that are underpinned by minerals.  As the wine progress towards the finish it picks up blacker fruit and becomes drier.  The flavors persist in the long aftertaste.  A bit rugged at this point but this will fade with age.  *** Now – 2025.

A pair of Mencia from Casa de Burbia of Bierzo

September 20, 2017 Leave a comment

There are a range of wines produced by  Casar de Burbia all from various holdings of old vines in Bierzo.  Phil recently brought in two red wines made from Mencia.  Both were raised for one year in French oak so they offer a serious take on the grape.  The 2014 Casar de Burbia, Casar, Bierzo is grapey style of wine which improves with air.  It is an ideal wine to drink mid-week over the next few years.  I particularly liked the 2013 Casar de Burbia, Hombros, Bierzo with its deeper flavors and more obvious mineral edge.  It will certainly develop in the bottle for a few more years but the robustness, tannins, and juicy acidity make it hard to resist right now.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Casar de Burbia, Casar, Bierzo – $15
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 40 year old vines, fermented in stainless steel then aged 12 months in French oak. Alcohol 14%.  There are rich, young fruit flavors with hints of grapey tang and grapey greenness.  It moves towards tangy black flavors in the firmer finish.  With air there is a sense of softness coupled with a berrylicious flavor and even an impression of fat in the aftertaste.  *** Now – 2020.

2013 Casar de Burbia, Hombros, Bierzo – $20
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 50-100 year old vines, fermented in stainless steel then aged 12 months in French oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The dark, plummy aromas make way  to a slightly robust, minerally black fruited start in the mouth.  The gum coating tannins are there but so is juicy acidity and very ripe fruit.  This is an attractive wine of good flavor which persists in the long aftertaste.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2014 Fontefico, “cocca di casa”, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: new label, same tasty wine

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

I could not find Fontefico’s basic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo until Tim pointed out the new label and name.  Despite this change the 2014 Fontefico, “cocca di casa”, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo continues the trend of offering fine flavor for the price.  It will undoubtedly age for several years but the vigor of youth is exciting right now.  I am particularly drawn to the inky, mineral vein that complements the dark fruit.  I recommend you grab a few bottles!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Fontefico, “cocca di casa”, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – $19
Imported by Tenth Harvest.  This wine is 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo that was aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The bright nose is followed by more complexity in the mouth.  The wine is certainly lively, not quite robust perhaps vigorous is the best description.  The inky, mineral vein picks up focused flavors of red fruit with an undertone of black fruit.  The watering acidity matches the black fruit flavors as some coarse, coating tannins mix up with spice.  The structure comes out with air.  *** Now – 2022+.

2015 Jamet: Cotes du Rhone blanc and Syrah

September 18, 2017 Leave a comment

The pair of 2015 Domaine Jamet wines featured in this post are very different.  Not just in terms of color but nature.  Over the course of three days, the 2015 Domaine Jamet, Cotes du Rhone Blanc remains very focused on only revealing its primary components which are flinty flavors of lemon and other white fruit.  It is, in short, a wine with good future potential that you should just leave buried in your cellar.  The 2015 Domaine Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes IGP is a wine to drink now.  The rounded flavors and infusion of fat enable this to be a wine for drinking now.  However, the generosity of the 2015 vintage does not take away from the Jamet subtlety.   This subtlety of fruit coupled with graphite and fat place this wine unmistakably in the north.  I recommend you drink this delicious wine as soon as you return with a bottle. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Jamet, Cotes du Rhone Blanc – $30
Imported by Domaine Select. This wine is a blend of 55% Marianne, 30% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, 5% Grenache Blanc sourced from vines averaging 10 years of age.  It was vinified in both stainless steel and oak barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a pale straw color.  There is a flinty, fruited started with a hint of wood by the middle.  The wine is almost tart with lemon and white fruit flavors.  With extended air it remains very focused, eventually taking on some fine texture through the aftertaste. ***(*) 2019 – 2029.

2015 Domaine Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes IGP – $25
Imported by Domaine Select. This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 12 year old vines fermented in stainless steel then aged for one year in oak barrels. Alcohol 12%.  The fat on the nose makes way to rounded flavors of minerals, graphite, and red fruit. There is also a subtle fat vein that works is way through the wine.  The flavors become finely perfumed as the wine becomes dry towards the finish.  For the near term.  *** 2017-2020.

Syrah from the oldest commercial winery in Lebanon

September 12, 2017 Leave a comment

I know I am far too caught up with work and neglecting my posts when I receive a gentle, humorous prod from Lou.  Despite the lack of regular posts I still drink wine every day.  This pleasant weekend I spent an afternoon with my new neighbor Taz whose friend brought back a bottle of 2009 Domaine des Tourelles, Grande Cuvee, Syrah, Bekaa Valley from Lebanon.

Domaine des Tourelles is the oldest commercial winery in Lebanon, dating back to 1868.  It was founded by Francois Brun, a French engineer, who came to Lebanon in 1860 to build a road from Damascus to Beirut.  The winery remained in the family until 1999 when the last Brun passed away.  Today it is run by the Fissa family of which the winemaker Faouzi Issa trained for a period under Rene Rostaing.  The 19th century cement vats are still around so this wine has a tie to the past beyond just its name.

The wine itself is in a fully mature state.  It is savory with an attractive leather component that adds appreciable complexity to the fruit.  I would drink this up now while there is still good fruit.

2009 Domaine des Tourelles, Grande Cuvee, Syrah, Bekaa Valley
Imported by suitcase.  This wine is 100% Syrah fermented in concrete then aged for 24 months in American oak.  Alcohol 14%.  Maturing in color.  This is a savory wine leather notes and a gentleness that speak of some age.  There are still powdery flavors of red and black fruit.  The structure is largely resolved with mature flavors and bits of confection evident in the finish.  *** Now but will last.