Archive for July, 2008

A Wide Variety from Saturday and Sunday, 28 July 2008

The Kilikanoon was good but it is a powerful wine to be drunk in small sips. The Charles Smith Boom Boom was well done in the bright red fruit vein. The Mourre du Tendre was some funky stuff that I only drank two glasses of. The Attems Pinot Grigio was a nice surprise. And the two pinots were much appreciated during the humid Sunday evening.

2004 Kilikanoon, The Prodigal, Grenache, Clare Valley – $26
This grenache was aged for 24 months in older American and French oak hogsheads. A medium opaque ruby with some garnet. A light to medium nose of sweet red fruit. Concentrated fruit flavors assault with red fruit up front then dark berries develop in a supporting role. Mild acidity through with a mild finish and minimal tannins. I think this full-bodied wine needs more age before it can unleash all.

2006 Charles Smith, Boom Boom, Syrah – $22
From K Vintners. A good nose of light, bright dusty northwest red fruit. In the mouth, red fruit, raspberries, and acidity abound. Minimal, very fine, young tannins. There is a light, fresh, and slightly juicy finish. Drink now or within a year or so. It drank almost exactly the same the next night.

2001 Mourre du Tendre, Cuvee Tradition, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $22
Upon decanting Jenn found an intense nose of white grapefruit. To me it was more cat pee on clay litter. After 24 hours grapefruit/pee bit disappeared and was replaced by sweet red raspberry candy/liquor. The flavors follow the nose with slightly chewy red berries in this medium bodied wine. This is some funky stuff that won’t appeal to most.

These two ’95s have been lurking in my basement for some reason. I had some hope for the Puygueraud but….

1995 Chateau La Boscq, Vieilles Vignes, Medoc
Some stinky cheese at first then a light claret and cedar nose. There are bright red berries, lean fruit, and a cinnamon flavor that develops with air. This light to medium bodied show its acidity in the finish then is followed by a simple aftertaste. Drink up. It is drinkable but completely boring.

1995 Chateau Puygueraud, Cotes de Francs
A light color of heavily bricked garnet. A light nose of mostly volatile acidity.
Thin fruit, towards acidic and a little sour. A cool, menthol finish with very fine tannins in aftertaste. Gets worse with air. Not worth drinking.

A few good wines from dinner at a friends’ house. No notes, just what Jenn and I remember.

2007 Attems, Pinot Grigio, Collio – $17
I thought this was an excellent Pinot Grigio. Round and somewhat creamy fruit, lively and refreshing.

2002 Fromm, Clayvin Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Marlborough
The first bottle was corked but the second one delivered the goods right away. Good nose of dark blue fruits that is beginning to develop some complexity. This medium bodied wine has blue fruit in the mouth, some oak, and leaves the impression of restraint. While it drank well now I’d cellar it a few more years to see what develops. We preferred this over the Dierberg…not to imply that the Dierberg wasn’t good.

2005 Dierberg, Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
Aged 16 months in 90% new French oak. Dark red berries on the nose. Dark blue and red fruit flavors that are concentrated with good acidity. I’d cellar this for a few years before drinking. The oak is not overdone.

Three Wines From Italy, 25 July 2008

From time to time I ask my local wine merchant for Italian recommendations and I’m usually not disappointed. The Cavallotto was clearly a step up in quality (and price) from the Giochi and Venosa. I imagine this will smell great once it matures. For now you must inhale deeply. The Giochi delivered well straight from the bottle and wouldn’t get lost in a crowd of budget wines. The Venosa took some time to get going but maintained is pervasive smoked tea leaf aromas and flavors. It reminded me of tea smoked duck (the process not the duck), perhaps this is tobacco to others. Jenn and I preferred the Giochi over the Venosa but then Jenn took a liking to the Venosa.

2004 Antichi Giochi, Boci, Monferrato Rosso – $13
This wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera. It was made in steel and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. It is a very dark, deep purple ruby. There is a light nose of dark fruit and perhaps fresh green veggies. In the mouth there are tart berries, that start off tight but slowly round out with air. There medium to full bodied wine has an inky aftertaste, with very fine but thorough tannins. A different type of wine than I am used to but enjoyable and well done at this price point.

2003 Cantina di Venosa, Terre di Orazio, Aglianico del Vulture – $13
This wine is 100% Aglianico that is 15-30 years of age. It is aged for 12-15 months in 5-10 year old Slovenian oak casks. A little light in color and more garnet than the Giochi. A light to medium nose of smoked tea leaf and tar. In the mouth there are some blue fruits with a pervasive smoked tea leaf flavor. The fruit sweetens after several hours of air. It is medium to light-bodied with fine, assertive tannins.

2005 Cavallotto, Nebbiolo, Bricco Boschis, Langhe – $26
The Cavallotto family has been growing Nebbiolo since 1929 and bottling their own wine since 1948. This 100% Nebbiolo wine is mature in oak casks. There is a very subtle nose of beautiful, dark red fruit. In the mouth there is dark fruit with immediately noticeable acidity, combined with tea/tobacco flavors and a good amount of ultrafine tannins. This is clearly a young wine but is drinking very well. The tannins are very nice considering it spent 18-24 months in oak.

Five Wines from Vacqueyras, 24 July 2008

Here are five wines from Vacqueyras that we have recently drunk. The La Garrigue was a steal for the price and is in no rush to be drunk. The Alain Jaume is not quite as good but is a great deal as well. I don’t recommend the Fonseguille nor the Cailloux. The Charbonniere is lovely now but needs to develop a nose.

2004 Domaine de La Garrigue, Vacqueyras – $14-$15
This is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. The Grenache comes from 50-100 year old vines. A medium-opaque garnet. Initially there is sweet, round fruit on the nose that develops a spice-fragrance with air. In the mouth there is round, ripe fruit, mostly red with some cool blue fruit intermixed with spice and cedar. This medium to full-bodied wine has fine tannins with a light, juicy, acidic finish. It is a very good value.

2005 Marquis de Fonseguille, Vacqueyras – $12
Light and clean, red and blue fruit on the nose. There is red and blue fruit in the mouth in a lighter, modern style. There is marked acidity and new tannins mixed in with the fruit. There is prominent new wood tannins in the aftertaste.  Not my style of wine.

2003 Alain Jaume, Vacqueyras – $14
This wine is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault. Light to medium opaque ruby-brown. A light red-raspberry nose. In the mouth this medium-bodied wine offers round, mildly creamy fruit, with light spices, and a slightly rustic, dark-fruit finish. A strong value wine.

2005 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras – $22
This wine is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah and was aged 6-8 months in big oak tanks. A medium opaque purplish-ruby. There is a light, ripe, red fruit nose, with slight hints of alcohol. In the mouth there are ripe, round, soft fruit, with light acidity in the mid-palate. This medium to full-bodied wine develops dark-fruit in the middle and a minerally-fruit finish with cheek coating tannins.  This is a well-made, big wine that is drinking really well.

2004 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Floureto, Vacqueyras – $25
This wine is 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and Cinsault. My notes are thin on this one. I found a slightly peppery nose from the Syrah is the dominate aroma. In the mouth there were lightly-creamy, dark-fruit flavors with an oak frame. It comes across as an austere wine that Jenn and I did not enjoy.

Three from 2000, Boursan and Feraud-Brunel, 24 July 2008

Here are three 2000’s Jenn and I drank about a month ago. The Feraud-Brunel were odd bottles I bought because I’ll try anything at $13! If you have the Vacqueyras drink it up now, otherwise enjoy the Cairanne soon. The Boursan was a pleasure to drink and in a style that I thoroughly enjoyed.
2000 Feraud-Brunel, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages – ~$13
This is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Carignan. It is light-garnet in the glass. There is a very light nose of earth and spice. In the mouth there is light red/blue fruit flavors, minerals, ink…all in a mature fashion. There are light, gritty tannins that develop in the finish. The fruit is slightly watery but there is acidity throughout that keeps it going. This is drinking better than the Vacqueyras.

2000 Feraud-Brunel, Vacqueyras – ~$13
This is primarily old-vine Grenache. This wine is a medium ruby-brown. A light nose of sour cherries and tart fruits. There are soft red fruit flavors, that are a tad tired, and toast. A bit of spearmint develops with air. This is still drinkable but past its prime.

2000 Bois de Boursan, Chateauneuf du Pape – $34
This one is light to medium garnet in the glass. There is a nose of good strength. There are immediate flavors of savory blue fruit, earth, and garrigue. There is moderate acidity in the middle followed by more in the juicy finish. There are fine, thorough tannins and a persistent aftertaste. It drank well straight from the bottle but it kicked it up a notch with air. Recommended.



1996/1998 Aussies with French, Chilean, Turkish, and California as Well, 14 July 2008

July 14, 2008 1 comment
A group of us got together Saturday night to focus on Australian reds from the 1996 and 1998. We met up at Dave & Deniz Wetmore’s place where Deniz’s mother prepared a wonderful Turkish dinner. Thanks to all three of them for hosting and cooking all day. I must admit, I really enjoy these casual evenings tasting 6-8 wines blind.We started off with a pair of whites. Jenn and I really enjoyed the Lirac but found the Chilean Sauvignon blanc a bit to grassy. The Lirac certainly left me thirsty for the reds. I’ll leave it to William to tell us what they were.  All wines were double-decanted about 2 hours before we tasted them. They were initially served in pairs then everyone drank copious amounts to determine their favorite bottles. The Villard was the favorite, closely followed by the Henschke, and the Coriole in third.Here are the combined group notes on the wines.
1996 Coriole, Mary Kathleen, McLaren Vale
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc that was aged for 12 months in French oak. Medium garnet in the glass with some bricking. A light to medium intensity nose of primarily black currant backed up by cherry and a minty/menthol freshness. More cherries and red berries in mouth, I found an almost salty quality to the fruit. The intensity of the fruit was a bit light but was followed by an assertive and powerful, lengthy finish. There were mild, grippy tannins.
1998 Pycantha Hills, Shiraz, Clare Valley
Medium garnet as well but with a purple tinge that looked more youthful than the Coriole. A medium intensity nose of red stewed fruit, perhaps pomegranate, some spice and medicinal aspect. With air a slight band-aid aroma developed. There was fruit with some roundness that was perhaps more jammy and flabby. The one-dimensional flavors disappeared quickly, leaving a simple, short finish. Decent acidity kept it alive and moving, with no obvious tannins for support. Most preferred the Coriole over this one but Jenn prefered it.
1999 Domaine Francois Villard, Cuvee Reflet, St-Joseph
I threw this in as a ringer. This Syrah is aged for 23 months in new oak due to the young age of the vines. Medium ruby with some slight bricking in the glass. Initially a light nose of toasted oak that developed into an expansive nose of tar with additional air. Very fine tannins are obvious from the beginning then the lighter, black cherry/red berry flavors develop. There was a nice mid-palate and strong finish, that came through in this well crafted wine. I found some fresh menthol on the nose at the end. This was the first bottle finished!

1996 Penfolds, Bin #128, Shiraz, Coonawarra
Medium garnet with brown component looks old. A sweet nose of chocolate (chocolate covered cherries), almost port-like. A soft, old wine, with very little complexity, very fine tannins in the aftertaste, this bottle was near the end of its life. Best described by William, “Like a sprint to the back of the mouth – like a skittish cat scampering from the room when confronted by strangers.” This was clearly the least favorite of the group.

1998 Wild Duck Creek, Spring Flat Shiraz, Heathcote
This Shiraz is aged in 50% French and 50% American oak. A medium intensity nose of primarily eucalyptus. In the mouth more eucalyptus combined with dark red fruits. A light to medium bodied wine, with light to medium tannins, and a light, acidic aftertaste. The intensity of the eucalyptus made the wine come across as monolithic. Dave felt it was slightly corked on the nose. William felt there was energy, quality, and vibrancy. I initially preferred this to the Henschke but then the Henschke hit its stride.

1996 Henschke, Keyneton, Eden Valley
Lighter in color than the Wild Duck Creek. This is primarily Shiraz with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot thrown in. The initial nose was of sour, red fruit but then an older, darker, barnyard nose developed. Soft, round, red fruit (cherry and raspberry) with some oak spice. I found it slightly salty. There are still light to medium tannins. This wine was the slowest to developed and grew on William and myself. Dave felt this was near the end of the drinking window. Jenn liked it over the Wild Duck Creek from the beginning. Unfortunately this was my only bottle.

We then unveiled the six bottles. In the process we realized we had completely drunk the top 3-4 bottles. Dave disappeared then returned with the following two wines:

2005 Kavaklidere, Kalecik Karasi, Anatolia
Kavaklidere is Turkey’s first private wine producer founded in 1929. This wine is made from native grapes and aged in oak barrels. I didn’t take any notes but this was well made, contemporary, and easy to drink.

2005 Zeitgeist, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Dave served this blind after a brief stint in the decanter. No one guessed what it was but it was perfect match considering what we had drunk. This came from 5 barrels of Cab and is made at Behrens & Hitchcock. It is the personal project of Mark Porembski (winemaker at Anomaly and former B&H assistant winemaker) and Jennifer Williams (winemaker at Anomaly). I had a bit of a buzz going so my notes are short. I thought it was Shiraz. There was a good nose that developed with air. In the mouth I found chocolate, dark fruit, some minerals, and salt. Definitely an interested wine and one to try again.