A light plus opaque color in the glass. There is a light to medium nose of dusty, red fruit. In the mouth there are earthy, red fruits, good acidity, and very mild tannins. A lovely wine that kept developing until we finished the bottle.
1996 Chateau Kefraya, Comte de M, Bekaa Valley – $50 (on sale for $35)
This wine is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre aged 16 months in 100% new French oak. Light to medium opacity in the glass. There is a light nose of brighter red fruit. In the mouth, this modern styled wine has structured red fruit. The acidity comes through in the middle as the fairly substantial new oak tannins pop up. This is still young and hasn’t developed any bottle age flavors yet.
This past Saturday we gathered on our deck to taste 1998 Gigondas. It was a gorgeous day and as the temperature dropped we were able to stay warm from the patio heater. Present were Dave & Deniz, Lou & Adrienne, Adam, Todd, William, Joe, Jenn & myself.
All of the Gigondas were decanted two hours prior and served blind. I bagged up all of the wines, removed the corks, then Lou numbered the bags. The wines were served in flights of two. As I had bought a magnum of the St. Cosme, Cuvee Valbelle, Jenn and I decided to serve it twice. If someone asked about the magnum we mentioned that the second bottle was in the wine fridge.
We warmed up with a lovely bottle of 2002 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs and 2002 Domaine des Baumard, Clos du Papillon, Savennieres. The Baumard developed beautiful chalky flavors with air.
Here are the top wines of the night. The second and third flights were clearly the best of the night. The first bottle of the St. Cosme, Cuvee Valbelle was a unanimous favorite. The quality variation was huge from off bottles, to just mediocre, to showing very well.
1) 33 Points – 1998 Chateau de St. Cosme, Cuvee Valbelle, Gigondas (bottle #1)
2) 19 Points – 1998 Santa Duc, Cuvee Prestige des Hautes Garrigues, Gigondas
3) 18 Points – 1998 Chateau de St. Cosme, Gigondas
4) 10 Points – 1998 Tardieu-Laurent, Gigondas
5) 7 Points – 1998 Chateau du Trignon, Gigondas, Gigondas
6) 1 Point – 1998 Chateau de St. Cosme, Cuvee Valbelle, Gigondas (bottle #2)
I’ve done my best to summarize everyone’s notes below.
Flight #1 – Warming up
1998 Chateau du Trignon, Gigondas, Gigondas
A light nose of red/blue fruits, with a few people noting olive tones. There were red fruits in the mouth coupled with herbs/dry leaves. The fine, oak tannins came through on the end. This was generally preferred to the Brusset, Les Hauts but was an overall mediocre experience.
One person noted :-).
1998 Brusset, Les Hauts de Montmirail, Gigondas
Half of the group felt this was flawed. Others noted the musty, oaked nose and were able to move on. In the mouth there was cool, one-dimensional structured fruit. There was a coarse finish and hot aftertaste. Definitely a bottle not showing well.
Flight #2 – Excellent flight
1998 Chateau de St. Cosme, Cuvee Valbelle, Gigondas (bottle #1)
A medium nose of primarily red fruit with underlying brooding, dark fruit. With air there were notes of horse barn, tobacco, and grilled meats. In the mouth there were powerful, red fruits, raspberry with tar, herbs, and tobacco coming through. Strong acidity came through from the beginning that lead to a puckering finish. In general, everyone felt this was a great wine that is still at a young stage.
1998 Tardieu-Laurent, Gigondas
This had a light nose of dark fruits. In the mouth there were dark blue fruits that had good weight and inkiness. In general, people notes that while this was young and showed potential, it was drinking better than the Valbelle. Others notes that this was elegant and distinct.
Flight #3 – Wow, another excellent flight
1998 Chateau de St. Cosme, Gigondas
A nose of clearly red fruit with notes of somoke, briar, and burnt earth. In the mouth the wine had big, primary red fruit flavors, some spice, with some noting darker fruits as well. Earth, chocolate, and some sweet fruit came through on the finish that was amped up by coarse tannins.
1998 Santa Duc, Cuvee Prestige des Hautes Garrigues, Gigondas
A bit more “Rhone funk” on the nose then dark, rich, fruit with some smoke and chocolate. In the mouth there was good blue fruit, nice full mouthfull, and some ink. Many comments about the asssertive, fine oak tannins come through on the end. A wine with potential.
Flight #4 – Yuck
1998 Brusset, Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas
Tons of brett, grass, smoke, and barnyard. More of the same in the mouth, the flavors quickly disappear. One person noted “Compared to eight, this is a winner.”
1998 Domaine de Font-Sane, Cuvee Futee, Gigondas
A very muted nose, I found some incense. One trick pony, off the rails on the palate, bleh, Metallic, alcoholic, “blech!!!”
Flight #5 – Some hope
1998 Chateau de St. Cosme, Cuvee Valbelle, Gigondas (bottle #2)
Horsey nose, lemon, parsley, poop notes. For some the nose of “barnyard in the worst way” was a show stopper. Jenn moved on and thought the wine was good, enough to vote it #3.
1998 Domaine du Grapillon D’Or, Gigondas
Notes of: Off, Gross, Ugh, some other way gross, BAD, and yucky :-(. I have some more of this so I’ll give a bottle another go.
1998 Domaine les Goubert, Cuvee Florence, Gigondas
Very pruney, soy, acidic, came across as cooked. Clearly flawed.
2005 Ridge, Grenache/Syrah
While served blind, this didn’t fool anyone with its young fruit and heavy toasty oak flavors.
After the Gigondas we moved onto free-wheeling drinking mode. I don’t think anyone took notes but perhaps others will chime in with their comments.
1998 Guigal, Chateauneuf du Pape
I believe Adam had drunk a bottle of this the night before and this was showing much better and more youthful. It was modern in style and while tasty, didn’t have that good CdP uniqueness.
1982 Chateau Rouget, Pomerol
Cedary and pleasant but should have been drunk a few years earlier.
NV Roederer Estate, Brut, Anderson Valley
1998 Henriot, Brut Millesime, Champagne
2004 Darting, Ungsteiner Honigsackel, Scheurebe Auslese, Pfalz
2003 Jon. Jos. Christoffel Erben, Erdener Treppchen, Riesling Auslese **, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Outstanding, powerful petrol nose and flavor.
1995 Max Ferd. Richter, Mulheimer Sonnenlay Riesling Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Good but paled to the Erben. It didn’t have the aromatics or acidity to match it.
1989 Max Ferd. Richter, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
2006 Pierre Gaillard, Condrieu
1996 Kalin Cellars, Semillon, Livermore Valley
A friend dropped off some Kaesler and a Nashwauk for me to try back in October 2008. They had been open for roughly eight hours. Jenn and I are fans of some of the 2004 Kaeslers but we haven’t bought any since then. We weren’t floored by any of them as they were more disjointed than I’d like to see. I think the Bogan has the best potential. The Nashwauk and Avignon were fun to drink because of the mouth feel.
2006 Kaesler, Stonehorse GSM, Barossa Valley
A suprising light+ opaque ruby with purplish tinge. A light nose of indistinct blue and red fruits. In the mouth there is hard blue and red fruit that is a bit austere. Tart fruit comes through in the finish as the acidity ratchets up. The wine leaves the impression of being a bit warm. A total disappointment after the 2004 and clearly the worst of the bunch we tasted.
2005 Kaesler, Stonehorse Shiraz, Barossa Valley
This is medium opaque ruby-garnet. A light+ nose of dusty red fruit. In the mouth there is immediate red fruit followed by cool blue fruit, and a spicy/peppery aftertaste. There is some suppleness in the mouth and minimal tannins. While better than the GSM it isn’t too interesting.
2006 Kaesler, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley
Medium+ ruby-garnet and darker than the first two. A light+ nose of cab flavors, black currant and dark fruits, perhaps mildly more interesting than the first two. Cab flavors in the mouth, that are more restrained but still provide suppleness.
2005 Kaesler, Avignon GSM, Barossa Valley
Light to medium opaque. A light nose of gritty, bright red fruit and oak toast as it warms up. In the mouth there is immediate, weighty, supple dark-blue fruit. It then morphs into sweet, cinnamon accented fruit. The acidity comes through in the aftertaste along with the heat. The disjointed finish is the major flaw which is a shame because the flavors are good.
2006 Kaesler, The Bogan, Barossa Valley
This is very opaque and clearly the darkest of them all. A light nose of creamy, blue fruit and black currant. In the mouth there is darker purple/blue fruit. The mouth feel is not as creamy as the Avignon. There is an underlying structure of strong, drying tannins and some puckering acidity. Rather young.
2006 Nashwauk, Shiraz, McLaren Vale
Medium+ purple/ruby/garnet, very dark. A light nose of gritty blue fruit. In the mouth there is supple, creamy fruit, clotted cream like in sweetness. The flavors are of overt blueberry. There is a long finish and aftertaste.