This past Saturday we got together at Bell’s to taste vintage port. Present were Lou, Dave, Deniz, Todd, William, David, Dan, Joan, Jenn, and myself. We couldn’t fill the last slot so we left out the 1977 Warre’s.
I double-decanted all of the wines to remove sediment. The 1966s were tasted when they had 5-7 hours of decanting. The rest had 6-8 hours of decanting. The wines were tasted blind but had the vintage written on the paper bag. We each had a glass for each wine and initially tasted them from oldest to youngest.
A few quick comments as I hope the other attendees will chime in. The 1977 Taylor’s was an off bottle but all of the others showed very well. The 1966’s are more tawny in nature than the others which show a more primary nature. The 1977 Graham’s has tremendous potential. All in all, a lovely grouping of port with something for everyone.
Wine #1 – 1966 Taylor’s
This Oporto bottle had a fill level of bottom neck. The lightest of them all. A spiced nose followed by explosive, gritty fruit in the mouth, with some minerals and a bit of heat in the finish. This has nice structure.
Wine #2 – 1966 Graham’s
This UK bottle had a fill level within neck. The darkest of the 1966s. This had the most muted nose of the 1966s. There were soft fruit flavors, some minerals. It didn’t show as well as the Taylor’s and Warre’s.
Wine #3 – 1966 Warre’s
This Oporto bottle had a fill level within neck. This had a youthful nose compared to the other 1966s that was lifted with cedar and spices. Really powerful dark fruit, with some roughness, and minerals that continues to expand from the beginning. There was a sweet, spiced, tobacco aftertaste.
Wine #4 – 1970 Graham’s
This Oporto bottle had a fill level within neck. This sported a young, primary nose, more prune-like mixed with tobacco notes. There is a lot of power up front that makes way for a creamy finish and sweet aftertaste. Some residual sugar is apparent. It does not show the level of herbs/spices that the 1970 Warre’s does.
Wine #5 – 1970 Warre’s
This Corney & Barrow bottle had a fill level within neck. The darkest of the 1970s. A light nose, with a bit more stink, and spices. There is sweet fruit that fades around the midpalate then expands into a mouth filling aftertaste. The fruit is acompanied by lovely spice throughout. The aftertase sports dark fruit and shows more heat than the 1970 Graham’s.
Wine #6 – 1970 Taylor’s
This Grants of St. James’s bottle had a fill level within neck. This is the lightest of the 1970s. There is a powerful nose of brighter and red fruit. In the mouth the redder fruit immediately explodes into the mouth. There is some reisidual sugar and spicyness. The finish shows some heat and the aftertaste is the least complex.
Wine #7 – 1977 Taylor’s
This Oporto bottle had a fill level within neck. Sadly, this bottle was off. The nose was nonexistant. In the mouth the fruit is intialy spiced, nuanced, and perfumed but then the ugliness hit. It got worse with air so I stopped trying.
Wine #8 – 1977 Graham’s
This Oporto bottle had a fill level within neck. A medium nose of perfumed, gritty, blue fruit. Wow, this is huge in the mouth, sporting smooth, creamy blue fruit and sweet cinnamon in the finish. Pwerful and well-balanced, I think it just started to open up after 8 hours which is when I drank my last sip!
These notes cover wines from the Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon from 14 May 2009.
All three of these are very nice and attractively priced. They are all quite different. These three and the St Dominique Lirac I wrote about earlier are my favorite of those six wines. It is fun to drink the 2007s but I love coming across wines like the 2005 Meteore.
2007 Grand Veneur, Les Champauvins, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $16
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. In the glass it is a medium, youthful, purplish ruby. There is a light to medium nose, of young, fresh red-fruit that is cranberry-like and garrigue. In the mouth there is red fruit with some grip and good Riesling-like weight and freshness. There is vibrant, controlled acidity and a perfumed aftertaste. This good value is easy to drink now but will age several more years.
2007 Domaine Brusset, Les Travers, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $16
This wine is 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault from 30-year-old vines. It was aged 10 months, 70% in vats and 30% in 3-4 year old oak barrels. There is a light+ distinctive perfume, a little Mourvedre stink, all with grapefruit-like lift. In the mouth, the densely packed fruit, is blue/red with steely/stone core. It coils up then expands in the aftertaste with dark, lean, blue fruit. There is hidden fine+ tannins lurking. There is a distinctive, low-lying aroma/flavor in the nose, initial flavor, and aftertaste. This is another good value that you can drink now but really should be given several years of age.
2005 Domaine du Meteore, Les Leonides, Faugeres – $13
This wine is 25% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, and 25% Carignan that is unoaked. There is a mourvedre-like nose, red fruits, and pepper. In the mouth there are peppery, red and blue fruit flavors delivered in a stony frame, with a spiced midpalate, puckering tannins, savory finish, and dark, spiced aftertaste. With air, tarter red fruit, more garrigue-spice, pepper develop as well as more pronounced tannins. No rush to drink this.
Here are three daily drinkers to lay down for a few years. The Reserve St Dominique, Lirac was our favorite. The Perrin, Nature is surprisingly good for the price. I’m curious to see what becomes of the Veredus.
2007 Ch. Veredus, Corbieres – $16
This is an organic wine is made from 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah and aged for 12 months in oak barrels. The Carignan comes from 70-year-old vines. In the glass it is a medium+ ruby color with a dark blue/purple core. There is a light+ nose of blue fruit and Kirsch. In the mouth there are tight flavors of red/black fruit with a small amount of very fine tannins. Salivating, tart acidity comes out near the beginning. With air, mixed herbs and olive-like flavors develop giving a sense of identity. A young wine that is currently accessible but should be better in several years.
2007 Perrin, Nature, Cotes du Rhone – ~$11
This organic wine is made from 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah. There is a medium nose of bright red fruit and red grapefruit-like aromas. In the mouth there is bright, red fruit, acidity with dusty-herbs midpalate. Darker red fruit comes out in the finish where fine+, grapey tannins develop into the aftertaste. This wine has delicate, well delineated flavors. Very approachable now but it will age. A good value.
2005 Reserve Saint Dominique, Lirac – $16
This wine is 65% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre. It has a light+ nose of primary blue fruit. In the mouth there are cool blue fruit flavors, with a bit of grit, that are still tight. It is aromatic in the aftertaste with some red raspberry flavors. There are youthful, drying tannins. This young wine is a pleasure to drink now but should be cellared for a few years. We liked the 2004 in the past.
11 May 2009
These Paul Hobbs wines need no introduction. My wife and I drank several cases of the Merlot La Garto and Cabernet Sauvignon Cocodrilo from the powerful 2006 vintage. We never had the Bramare before so we gave them a try last week. I’ve included some El Felino notes for comparison sake.
The 2005 Bramare, Lujan del Cuyo, Cabernet Sauvignon is great and so is the 2007 El Felino, Chardonnay. Buy these two and skip out on the others. The Bramare, Chardonnay was so dominated by toasty oak that the fruit was obliterated. Anyone else have this wine?
2007 Vina Cobos, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Felino, Mendoza
This is a purple in the glass. Initially there is brighter red fruit, in this medium weight wine. As cool blue flavors develop midpalate so do dark, toasty oak notes, and coarser tannins. The aftertaste reveals light blue fruit and minerals in a floral package. Nothing out of whack. Memorably less intense than the 2006, drink this while your 2006s age.
2005 Vina Cobos, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bramare, Lujan del Cuyo, Mendoza
A medium intensity nose of sage, toast, blueberries, and other blue fruits. In the mouth there are loads of dark fruit, and minerals in this full-bodied, savory wine. Again, lots of fruit flavors going on, decent acidity for support, and long ripe fruit in the aftertaste. This supple wine has substantial coating tannins that disappear in the fruit. This is clearly a notch above the 2007 El Felino. This drinks great now but will certainly age.
2007 Vina Cobos, Chardonnay, El Felino, Mendoza
A light golden straw in the glass. A light to medium nose of slightly sweet tropical fruit and toast. This supple wine has creamy fruit supported by crisp apple acidity and minerals in the midpalate. There is an expansive aftertaste. This also drinks great on the second night.
2005 Vina Cobos, Chardonnay, Bramare, Mendoza
Hmm. A medium golden straw in the glass. A light+ nose of toasty oak. There are creamy flavors and some minerals that are dominated by the toast. There is a long, mouth-coating finish.
These tasting notes cover two wines from Gigondas and four from Washington from 08 May 2009.
Here are two different Gigondas we tried a few weeks ago. Personally, I’d spring for the St. Damien as it will be come quite nice down the road. The Joncuas is drinking well right now and everything is in balance, but for my tastes the brighter red fruit flavors don’t quite do it.
2005 Domaine St. Damien, Les Souteyrades, Gigondas – $25
This is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre from vines that are 60-70 years of age. A light to medium garnet color. The light to medium intensity nose shows lots of aromatics and red fruit. In the mouth there is fruit with spice that fills the mouth then tapers off as medium textured, drying tannins come out. There are fresh blue fruits in the aftertaste. This is a young and somewhat tight wine, but there is ample tasty stuff going on and still pleasurable to drink at this point.
2000 Clos du Joncuas, Gigondas – $25
This biodynamic wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre/Syrah/Cinsault. It is a medium+ garnet/ruby in color. There is a light+ delicate nose of cherry Kirsch, garrigue, lavender, and gritty fruit. This medium bodied wine has brighter red fruit with strong grapefruit-like acidity. It still has significant, puckering tannins in the finish and brighter red fruit in the aftertaste. Drinking well now but no rush.
We’re slowly going through the Washington state wines I pick up from my Seattle trips. Jenn and I enjoyed the Brian Carter Cellars. We were not fans of the two Syrahs. They were hard and not pleasurable.
2006 Brian Carter Cellars, Oriana, Yakima Valley – $24
This is a blend of 45% Viognier, 35% Roussane, and 20% Riesling. A bright golden straw color. A light nose of petrol and iced tea with mango. There is medium intensity fresh, floral fruit, some glycerine, and a bit of toast flavor. With air the fruit puts on weight. Drink this outside on your deck.
2004 Gorman Winery, The Pixie, Syrah, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley
This wine spent 20 months in French oak of which 30% was new. A medium+ opaque with more purple than the L’Ecole. It has a light nose. This tight, structured wine shows rather primary with dark fruit and some spice. It has a little bit of everything, all in balance but might need a long time to come around. I’d wait several years before trying again.
2004 L’Ecole 41, Syrah, Columbia Valley
This is 98% Syrah and 2% Grenache aged for 18 months in French oak of which 30% was new. It is medium+ opaque in the red range. A light, tight nose of toasty oak. In the mouth there are tight, bluish, steely flavors that are not lush. Hard acidity runs throughout, with the fruit putting on some weight midpalate. On the second day it showed very similar. There was a little less focus but more spice.