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Two Wines From France, 31 January 2008

January 31, 2008 Leave a comment

These two wines were purchased from MacArthurs.

2004 Domaine de Espiers, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas – $24
This is a young domaine started by grower Philippe Cartoux in 1988.  He aims to make a wine that can be drunk sooner than more traditionally styled wines. This is 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah grown on sandy clay soils and aged for 6 months in barriques. A vibrant ruby/purple in the glass. A light nose of blue berries, spice, and some toast. In the mouth it is a medium-bodied wine of berries, subtle smoke, and very fine tannins. It is a modern style of Gigondas that is not overtly powerful nor assertive. It is young right now and deceptively laid back.  Tasted alongside the less expensive 2005 Domaine Finchman, Red Note, Costieres de Nimes you can understand the quality and need for age.

2003 Coume de Mas, Quadratur, Collioure – $14
Another young domaine started by Phillipe Gard who searched our his vineyards in the late 1990s. This wine is 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Carignan of which 70% is aged in new barrels for 12 month and the remainder in tank.  This is produced from south-facing vineyards of less than 15 hl/ha yield.  I recently praised the 2004 Schistes so was excited to try the Quadratur. This was medium-ruby in the glass with a light nose of red berries hinting at future complexity. Berry and spice flavors that quickly expand in the mouth, followed quickly by not-shy fine tannins. With air it develops the creaminess marked by the Schistes.  This is a bit more brighter and tannic than the Schistes but the family resemblance is there. Both are excellent.

Two Wines from Domaine Piaugier, 31 January 2008

January 31, 2008 1 comment

These two selections were purchased from MacArthurs.

2005 Domaine de Piaugier, Cuvee Tenebi, Sablet – $18
Jean-Marc Autran produced his first wine in 1985.  He currently produces Cotes du Rhone, Sablet, and Gigondas. This a 100% Counoise from 40-year-old vines that is matured in barrel for 1-2 years. It is named after the family’s original property. It looks like there are a few other 100% Counoise floating out there (Tablas Creek, McCrea) but this is my first experience.  Bright red fruits on the nose and raspberry colored in the glass.  Red raspberry fruit, prominent fine tannins, strong acidity, some dustiness provide for a vibrant wine.

2003 Domaine de Piaugier, Reserve de Maude, Sablet – $25
This is 100% Syrah. A bit more ruby in the glasses compared to the Tenebi. Darker fruit, raspberry, with some spices on the nose. A sweeter, floral nose develops with air yielding a rather nice nose. Bright, focused raspberry fruit, up front acidity, significant but very fine tannins followed by a long, fruity finish.  Definitely young.

DC Chateauneuf du Pape at Lavandou

January 25, 2008 1 comment

Last night a new DC group met to taste Chateauneuf du Pape. We met at Lavadou where our gracious hosts helped us have a wonderful evening. It was organized by David Ehrlich and David Wetmore. Present were David Wetmore & Deniz Emre, David Ehrlich & Ali Ehrlich, Jace Glowa & Liz Glow, Lou French, Lew Rose, and Jenn & myself. Everyone was exceedingly generous in that all of the emergency backup bottles were opened out of curiosity.

Most of the wines had been double-decanted and were at a good temperature. We didn’t have any corked wine!

The 1978 Vieux Telegraphe and 1998 Charvin were tied for WOTN. The 1998 Caillou and 1999 Bois de Boursan got single votes.

And now, on to the wines:

2006 Pegau Blanc
60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc, and 10% Roussane.
Very pale with light nose. Crisp with acidity and steeliness.

2005 Vieux Telegraphe Blanc
40% Clairette, 30% Grenache Blanc, 15% Bourboulenc, and 15% Roussane
This definitely changed with air and I am thinking it should have been decanted. More yellow then the Pegau with a sweeter more floral nose. A bigger, more mouthfilling wine that with time started developing into a creaminess. An interesting wine that shows its contact with barriques.

1978 and 1994 Vieux Telegraphe

1978 Vieux Telegraphe
70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah, remainder Cinsault.
Lou bought the 1978 on release and it has been 5 years since he last drank one. The thoroughly dark cork had a beautiful smell. What fun to have the 1978 and 1994 together to compare two different periods of this winery. This was fermented in cask and aged for roughly two years in old foudre. In 1979 the winery was thoroughly modernized and the wood aging reduced. This was a tad more opaque than the 1994 with more bricking but still a vigorous amount of color. A refreshing stink with black fruits and some pepper on the nose. The nose carrires through in the mouth but the flavors fade after an hour. Unique and lovely. I imagine this was tremendous 5-10 years ago.

1994 Vieux Telegraphe
70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah, remainder Cinsault.
This was fermented in stainless steel with one year in cement vats and a year in old oak casks. Driven by yount red fruits, there was a supple creaminess, and fine tannins to support the finish. Distinct from the 1978 and enjoyable.

1993 Janasse Cuvee Chaupin
100% Grenache from a parcel planted in 1912.
This was a fun treat. Good blue/red fruit, sweet fruit, with an upfront power in the mouth that then quietly fades off. It leaves an impression of tobacco, youthfulness, and a tasty, short finish.

1999 Bois de Boursan Cuvee Felix
65% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 8% Syrah, and 5% other.
A little darker and bit more brown showing than the Tardieu-Laurent. Tobacco on the nose with dark blue fruits in the mouth, fine tannins, and slightly more powerful finish.

1999 Tardieu-Laurent
95% Grenache and 5% Syrah & Counoise.
A more modern wine with a more intense nose compared to the Boursan. There was something off-putting in the nose at first, that I did not like, but it eventually disappeared. Blue fruits, a strong attack in the mouth, with a good mouthfeel. Like the 1999 T-L Gigondas I had a few months ago, I wonder if this will develop more bottle-aged characteristics.

1998 Chateau de la Gardine
60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, and 13% others.
This was my least favorite wine so hopefully others will pitch in. I found a dirty nose of iodine and disjointed in the mouth.

1998 Charvin
82% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Vaccarese.
Minimal oak compared to the others and definitely no new oak. This was quite lovely. Darker fruit than the Caillou, still fresh, some minerals. It had grip and youthfulness.

1998 Le Clos du Caillou Cuvee Unique
80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.
I got wood planks on the nose (not to be confused with wood joists ) with cherries and good acidity in the mouth with less vigor. A good foil for the Charvin.

2000 Charbonniere Vieilles Vignes
95% Grenache and 5% Syrah.
I found toasty oak and alcohol on the nose. In the mouth it was hot, tilted towards being overdone. It was mouthfilling but hard to drink. the wine itself was at a good temperature.

1999 Mordoree Cuvee de la Reine des Bois
70% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault, 5% Syrah, 5% Counoise, and 5% Vaccarse.
This was a lovely bottle that has a 1999s need for more age. Dark fruits and tobacco are delivered in a good concentrated manner. These are clean powerful flavors followed by a lengthy finish. Good to drink now but I’d try holding off. It left a strong impression in my mind.

2003 Charvin
82% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Vaccarese.
A strong cherry candy nose that is sweet. High-toned red fruit, a tad alcoholic…a bit too candied for me at this stage. I left shortly after trying this wine so I don’t know how it developed.

Thanks again to everyone for contributing lovely wines. Please let me know if I have any mistakes.

Everyone happy from drinking good wine!