Back in 2009 Jenn and I are started to enjoy wines from Bierzo. The three below are contemporary in nature but are of good value and recommended. Perhaps the Molleda was underperforming but the bottle we had was forgettable.
2005 Bodegas Dominio de Tares, Baltos, Mencia, Bierzo
This wine is aged in oak for six months. A medium+ opaque ruby/grape color. A light to medium nose of dark, red fruit, corn tortilla, and dusty fruit. In the mouth the red fruit is bright, dusty, and chunky with some juicy acidity in the finish. Brighter red fruit in the finish combine with fine, coating tannins. There are good mouth aromas in the aftertaste with blue,s omewhat inky flavors. This is a tasty contemporary wine.
2003 Juan Gil, Montsant – $13
A medium+ opaque garnet color with earthiness. There is a light nose of brambly berries, perfumed peppermint and spice. In the mouth the dark fruit is framed in hard stoniness followed by coarse tannins and acidity. The fruit does thin out in the mouth leaving a coarse, slightly hot finish. There are flavors of cinnamon, pepper, and tobacco in the aftertaste. Drinking well and appropriately priced around $13.
2006 Hacienda Molleda, Garnacha, Carinena – $11
A light ruby color. There is a light berry nose with a tad bit of banana. In the mouth there are some dusty red/blue fruit, some pepper, in this light to medium bodied wine. There is fresh, citric acidity and minimal dusty tannins. A bit underwhelming for Jenn and I.
2005 Bodegas y Vinedos Luna Beberide, Finca la Cuesto, Bierzo – $21
This wine is 100% Mencia from 60-year-old vines and is aged for 16 months in oak. A medium purplish ruby color. There is a light nose of thick, blue fruit. In the mouth the dusty, red fruit initially hits with some weight then turns light and lithe mid-palate. There is blue fruit in the aftertaste with supporting acidity, some softly creamy blue fruit and new tannins.
2007 Bodegas y Vinedos Luna Beberide, Mencia, Bierzo – $15
A medium opaque purple grape color. A light+ nose of youthful, light juicy fruit, and herbs. In the mouth it is slightly savory with youthful, tart red/blue fruit. There is lively acidity but the fruit thins some mid-palate. There are fine lip-puckering tannins with acidity in the finish. This young wine should be drunk within a few years.
Here are two rather different affordable wines from California. The Thumbprint Merlot sports a lot of flavor but lacks focus. It was edged out by the Borra Fusion which comes across as better made and easier to drink.
2005 Thumbprint Cellars, Merlot Reserve Lot, Alexander Vineyard, Dry Creek – $17
A light+ nose of heavier fruit that is ripe with less acidity. This medium bodied wine has dark, blue fruit, sweet spices that are flavorful but come across as a bit flabby. There are darker fruits in the aftertaste and minimal tannins. I’d drink this now.
2005 Borra Vineyards, Fusion, Lodi – $17
This is a blend of 78% Syrah, 9% Petit Sirah, 7% Alacante Bouchet, and 6% Zinfandel. There is a light+ nose of lifted, gritty, ripe red/blue fruit. In the mouth initial flavors of sweet, cinnamon-like spice, and blue fruit followed by slightly spicy red fruit. There is a creamy fruit feel. In the aftertaste there is some acidity and heat. Drink now or within a few years.
I brought some wine back from a recent Seattle trip. I always grab bottles from producers that we don’t see in the DC area. This was my introduction to Syncline and I must write that I enjoyed both. Drink the Seduction Red now and the Mourvedre in a few years.
2007 Syncline, Subduction Red, Columbia Valley – $18
This is a blend of 35% Syrah, 21% Mourvedre, 16% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, and 13% Counoise. The fruit is cofermented then aged in 5-10% new French oak barrels for less than one year. In the glass there is a light to medium opaque ruby color with purple shade. The young, fruity nose shows brighter red fruit, some pepper and spices. In the mouth there is medium-round fruit, that is spiced with some tart red fruit in the finish and nice, slightly gritty tannins. This easy to drink wine delivers the goods as soon as it is unscrewed. Drink it within the next few years.
2007 Syncline, Mourvedre, Coyote Canyon Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills – $30
This 100% Mourvedre wine is aged for 16 months in two-year old French oak barrels. This medium+ opaque ruby with darker purple than the Seduction. There is a light nose of stinky Mourvedre goodness. This medium bodied wine initially shows dense red fruit with blue flavors developing midpalate. There is good texture and with minerals developing in the aftertaste. After 2-3 hours of air it is noticeably more expansive in the mouth and starts to uncoil. I’d cellar this a few years.
Here are notes on a couple of Rhones Jenn and I drank back in April 2009.
I’d cellar both of these and drink young, juicy 2007s instead. The Grand Bois can be drunk now but should give more in a few years. The Montirius is rather shutdown and didn’t give up the myriad of delicate aromas I attribute to their wines.
2006 Domaine les Grand Bois, Cuvee Marc, Rasteau, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $18
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 25% Mourvedre. Medium+ dark cherry/purple color. A light nose of dark blue fruit, plum, and some spice. This medium-weight wine has dark blue fruit that is framed by ample fine tannins. The chewy aftertaste has dark blue flavors and drying tannins. Will give more pleasure in a few years.
2005 Montirius, Cuvee La Garrigue, Vacqueyras – $21
This wine is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah from vines averaging 55 years of age. This is medium ruby in the glass. There is a light nose of higher-toned red fruit. This wine is young all around, with bright red fruit in the mouth and strong, fine, young tannins. With air a savory quality comes out, the fruit fades somewhat as more minerals come through. This seems to be shutting down and should be cellared for a few years.
Here are two $13 wines tasted 02 April 2009.
Go out and buy the Abbaye Sylva Plana, it is a great value. The Roger Perrin is a good simple wine that I would recommend if it were, say, $8. At the $13 price point there are many other wines I’d rather drink.
2007 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Cuvee Novices, Faugeres – $13
Nicolas and Henry Bouchard purchased this estate in 1998. This is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 20% Cinsault from young vines. The Carignan and Cinsault see carbonic maceration. There is a light+ nose of floral, riesling-like petrol. In the mouth there is weighty, supple, blue/purple fruit that is a little creamy and lovely to work around the mouth. With air more floral qualities, herbs, and violets develop. There are minimal tannins and lifted, dark purple fruits in the aftertaste along with some glycerine. This great value needs two hours of decanting before hitting its stride.
2007 Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone – $13
This is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah. The varietals are fermented together. There is a rather light nose of light fruit that is syrah dominated. In the mouth there is simple, bright red/blue fruit, some minerals, and minimal tannins. This is a good quaffer for drinking now or after working in the yard. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
Tasted 01 April 2009. Both of these Mourchon’s are lovely and of strong value. The Grande Reserve will age longer and achieve greater heights than the Tradition. While both can be drunk now, I’d cellar the Tradition a little bit longer and tuck into some of the Grande Reserve.
2006 Domaine Mourchon, Cuvee Grande Reserve, Seguret, CdRV – $21
This is a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah, from 60-year-old vines that has approximately 40% of the Syrah aged in oak barrels for 9 months and the rest in concrete vats. In the glass it is a medium opaque purple-ruby with a dark core. It has a light nose of delicate, interesting aromas of dark red fruit. It has sweeter, weightier dark cherry fruit that powers through and expands midpalate. There are lots of fine, puckering tannins in the finish and aftertaste.
2006 Domaine Mourchon, Cuvee Tradition, Seguret, CdRV – $15
This is a blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 10% Carignan, from 40-year-old vines that are aged for 18 months in concrete vats. It is a light+ purple-ruby in the glass. There is a light nose of rough-hewn aromas of red/blue fruit, dust, and grit. Dusty red fruit is delivered in a muscular package with acidity coming out midpalate causing the fruit to glide through the tannins. The tannins are light+, slowly building into a medium-textured, mouth puckering finish. There are dark-red fruits in the aftertaste. A savory, almost salty quality develops with air. It drinks well on the second night.