2004 Bertrand-Berge, Cuvee Megalithes, Fitou
I have been interested in trying the Megalithes for a while now. Earlier in the year I purchased a case of the 2001 Cuvee Ancestrale (50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah) which I have been slowly enjoying. It is an affordable, medium-sized wine that offers a complete package of bottle-aged nose, flavors, and finish. The Cuvee Megalithes is a majority old-vine Carignan (95% ?) wine that received three stars in the 2007 Hachette. The nose was resolutely clamped down, only offering light aromas of black fruit and alcohol.
2001 Domaine la Soumade, Gigondas
I did not like this. Not much of a nose, one-dimensional berry flavors overshadowed by tannins. Maybe an underperforming bottle? I have enjoyed other Soumade wines.
2004 Domaine la Bouissiere, Gigondas
This is 62% Grenache/38% Syrah according to North Berkley Imports and 70% Grenache/30% Syrah according to Michael Skurnik Wines. My bottle, imported by Dionysos Imports just states Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre. Tanzer’s note states 16% alcohol, the Bouissiere label states 14.5%, and the Dionysos Imports label states 13%. In any event, take your pick. I enjoyed this wine and did not find it hot. Red and black berries, around a savory core, with fine tannins. This needs more age than the Bel Air.
2005 Domaine la Bouissiere, Bel Air, Vacqueyras
This is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah aged 80% in barrique and 20% in tank. This young wine is tasty and captivating from the start. The Bel Air is a tad more purple in color than the La Ponche. Red berries and spice are carried by obvious tannins. Tastes almost the same on the second night, I would definitely cellar this for several years. I liked it.
2004 Domaine la Bouissiere, La Ponche, Vacqueyras
This is 76% Grenache and 24% Mourvedre aged 100% in barrique. This is tighter all around compared to the Bel Air. Darker berries, stronger tannins; I found that the flavors drop off leaving a persistant tannic finish. I thought there was less going on than the Bel Air.
1994 Clarendon Hills, Merlot
My wife and I first had this several years ago. I didn’t take notes but it had a memorable profile. Right out of the bottle an assertive nose of salty olives and flavors of salty olives, both of which grew in strength with air. A hard wine to drink, it brought back memories of the previous bottle. I never would have guessed this as merlot. So I opened the 1998 Andrew Will, Ciel du Cheval, Merlot to drink
Here are some notes on a few wines that I have drunk lately.
2004 Domaine de Font-Sane, Gigondas
I bought this because I really like the 1998 Cuvee Futee. I was not disappointed at all by this regular cuvee. Black and blue berries mixed with minerals that flavor this supple wine. It is calmly authoritative. While a pleasure to drink now, I will hold on to my other bottles.
2005 Mas Carlot, Les Enfants Terribles, Costieres de Nimes
I believe this is great quality for the price. It is a Syrah/Mourvedre blend with good blueberry and herb flavors. Pretty nose, mouth-filling with a satisfying finish, hard to believe it is $11.
2003 Domaine de Chamans, No 1, Minervois
This was an interesting wine that I did not like. A Syrah/Carignan/Mourvedre blend. My bottle had a unique and assertive nose of sugar-coated raspberry hard candies (with soft center) that I had a hard time getting around. While I like this kind of candy, I apparently don’t like my wine to smell like it. From what I did taste, it was well made with a touch more stuffing than the Les Enfants Terribles.
2003 Chateau d’Or et de Gueules, Costieres de Nimes
This was nice but I preferred the Les Enfants Terribles at the same price. This is a Syrah/Carignan/Mourvedre blend. More of a red-fruits wine with more finesse and brightness.
2004 Coume del Mas, Schistes, Collioure
This was recommended to me. A Grenache/Carignan blend with a gorgeous color in the glass best described as inky, deep-blue and red-garnet. Young in that the nose is slow to reveal itself and tastes of hidden pleasures yet to come. It is medium-bodied with concentration, supple to drink with a slowly expanding finish. A great deal at $14.
I personally enjoy reading old tasting notes. These are from wines I bought at MacArthur’s and tasted during October-December of 2007.
1999 Chateau du Mourre du Tendre, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
A strong, complex nose of earth, dark berries, spices that reminds one of some age. There are good flavors in the mouth but weaker compared to the nose. Not the most mouth-filling or longest lasting finish thus somewhat disappointing. Definitely fun to smell.
1997 Michael Perraud, Le Vignon, Cornas
Too much toasty, new oak that overpowered the fruit, not my style so I stopped drinking it. The second Patrick Lesec wine that I did not like.
2000 Domaine les Aphillanthes, Cuvee 3 Cepages, Cotes du Rhone Villages
This too was outstanding but I slightly preferred the Cros right now. It was a tad less overt. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Perhaps it needs more time in the bottle. I bought more.
2000 Domaine les Aphillanthes, Cuvee du Cros, Cotes du Rhone Villages
Wow, right out of the bottle a concentration of youthful dark berry flavors. After 3-4 hours the nose opened and the finish fleshed out. The last glass in the bottle was almost as good the next day. This one is 100% syrah. This will age for a while. I bought more.
2000 Domaine du Trapadis, Les Adres, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau
A bit of earth and spice on the nose, followed by pleasant but short finish. Similar impression on the second night. There are better wines for this price.
1998 Domaine de la Pinede, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
I preferred this over the Trapadis. There were sweet red and blue berries framed by noticeable tannins. On the second day the nose was very muted but it still left a youthful, enjoyable impression. A similar quality to the Palestor in that it is a rather affordable 1998 Chateauneuf you can age.
2000 Domaine du Grand Tinel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Pleasant but for a few bucks more there are better wines. I would not buy again.
2001 Patrick Lesec, Marquis, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
This was badly corked.
1998 Domaine de Palestor, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
An estate near Beaucastel. Drunk from a magnum this opened up as the hours went buy and was a pleasure to drink by the roaring fire. It needs more age.
2001 Domaine de Ferrand, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Rather good, well structured and still youthful, needs time.
1999 Domaine de Pere Pape, La Crau de ma Mere, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
I found this light, simple, and not really to my liking. I would not buy again.
2000 Raymond Usseglio, Cuvee Girard, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
An overall pleasing wine, that has a little bit of everything to offer. I bought more.
2000 Bosquet du Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Tasty, rustic, and traditional. Can be drunk now for its strength or aged longer. I bought more.
2000 Grand Tinel, Cuvee Alexis Establet, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
This was just OK and I did not bother to finish the bottle. I think I preferred the regular bottling over this. Perhaps this was under performing.
1998 Domaine Saint Benoit, Cuvee Grande Garde, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Earthy, stinky, and thin when first opened. After several hours the earth, berries, and minerals came through on the nose and it started to flesh out in the mouth. Much more agreeable in the end and probably in an awkward stage.
2000 Cuvee du Vatican, Chateaneuf-du-Pape
Fine but not thrilling. You could drink as a starter before moving on to something more interesting.
1999 Marcoux, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
No nose or finish but had a pretty cinnamon, brown-sugar flavors to it. Definitely sweet (not from residual sugar) and short.
1999 Des Bosquets, Cuvee Preference, Gigondas
This had brighter fruit and cleaner flavors to me, more of a modern style that I didn’t like. It was a decent wine but I prefer the Brusset.
1999 Domaine Le Bouissiere, Gigondas
I enjoyed its chunky, rusticity that matches the fall weather. I bought more.
2000 Les Pallieres, Gigondas
Wow, powerful stuff here. An intensely aromatic nose of dark berries and earth with matching flavors in the mouth. Probably a polarizing wine.
1998 Domaine deFont-Sane, Cuvee Futee, Gigondas
I rather liked the dark-berry brawniness it had. Good stuff with some minerals. I bought more.
1998 Daniel Brusset, Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas
After being open for 3-4 hours it developed a strong, pure nose of white pepper which complemented the lighter red berry flavors. I think it had peaked on the second night but it was still humming along on the third night. My wife really liked the pepper nose. I bought more.
1999 Le Bosquet des Papes, Chante Le Merle, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Corked. It slowly developed an earthy nose but was still tight in the mouth so I tried it again the next night. The first night it had earthy, stinky nose with muted flavors then second night the stink blew off and the high-pitched corked smell came through followed by sour flavors in the mouth
1998 Domaine de Cassan, Gigondas
For me it was simply wonderful and appetizing. It had that Gigondas power with a mineral line and is still able to age. I would buy again.
1998 Chateau du Trignon, Gigondas
It was not to my liking. It seemed more of a modern style and a bit tired compared to the Cassan. I think this was an off bottle. I have one more which I will try later.
1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Gigondas
It surprised me with its youthful, primary flavors and but I wonder if it will develop more complexity and aroma.
1998 Louis Clermont Tonneree, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Drunk alone it surprised me as after several hours it became a pretty wine on the nose and in the mouth.