Archive for September, 2011

Wine and Dinner at Delancey’s

September 30, 2011 3 comments

It was natural that we try our three red blends at Delancey’s.  The food is great, the atmosphere is comfortable, and everyone is enthusiastic when we show up with either bags or boxes of wine.  More importantly, through the constant patronage of Julia and Clark, they have become strong friends with both Brandon and Rachel.  Their warmth spreads to all and if it were not for the necessity of sleep, I would easily stayed there all night chatting, drinking, and dancing.  Brandon is a supporter of local beers and European wine which is reflected in his highly edited drinks list.  But he is also willing to try whatever it is that we bring so both Brandon and Rachel stopped by to taste the wines.

A Take on Buffalo Chicken


We brown bagged the wines to make the evening more fun.  The Memaloose is a screw-capped, Rhone-shaped bottle so even brown bagged, it was a bit of a standout from the other corked, Bordeaux-shaped bottles.  But we had no clue about the  varietal make-up of the wines so we were quite happy.  I have included my tasting notes in the order that we marked the wines.  The Memaloose changed the most over the first house.  It started off closed, acidic, and tart but then became quite drinkable and interesting.  The Beast was heavy-handed and completely different from the few Buty wines that I have drunk.  The Fidelitas quickly became everyone’s favorite.  Slow to change and drinkable now, I believe it will be an even better wine in two years time.  While we finished off the Memaloose and Fidelitas bottles, at least half of the Beast was left untouched.

2008 Memaloose, Idiot’s Grace, Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Gorge
This wine is 89% Cabernet Franc, 7% Sangiovese, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Idiots Grace Vineyard, Oregon and Parker’s Vineyard, Washington.  It was aged for 16 months in two to five-year old barrels.  Young, primary flavors of black/red fruit, a tart nature, and plenty of acidity.  With air the nose became more scented with floral notes.  Clark found “brambleberry” and “rhubarb.”  This cost $22. **(*) Now-2015.

2009 Beast, Wildebeast, Columbia Valley
This is made by Buty Winery and is made from barrels not used under the Buty label.  This wine is a blend of 45% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Malbec with 90% of the fruit sourced from Phinny Hill Estate, and 10% from the stones in Walla Walla.  This wine had gobs of cocoa, overt wood influences, confected, sweet fruit, and vanilla flavors in the mouth.  It was quite showy and left an overall coarse nature.  There was not enough acidity or depth to the fruit.  Clark commented, “I know what you are trying to do to me.”  This cost $23. * Now.

2009 Fidelitas, M 100, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of 48% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot that was aged for 14 months in American and French oak.  Black/red fruits are racy in flavor with fine-grained wood influences, supple fruit mid palate, inkiness, and structure in this well made wine.  A contemporary wine that is a strong value and will develop for a few years to come. This cost $14.44 making it a great buy! ***(*) 2014-2019.


It was natural that after eating Buffalo rillettes, two salads, and three pizzas that we would order two different deserts.  With none of us willing to finish the Beast Rachel brought out wine for Julia and I along with a pint for Clark.  The night then turned celebratory as it was the last evening at Delancey’s for Rachel.  She has worked hard on Rachel’s Ginger Beer  and is now stepping it up by opening the dive bar Montana with her investors.

Brandon, Julia, Rachel, and the Author

Buying and Drinking at Wine World

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Villa Maria and 509 Wine Company Tasting

I met up with Julia after work so that we could go shopping for wine.  She suggested we go to Wine World Warehouse which is a relatively new store located on 45th St near I-5.  The website states they have over 500 northwest wines and 6,000 other wines and after a walk around the store, I am convinced!  In the middle of the store is a giant two-sided tasting bar.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were tasting the wines of Villa Maria and 509 Wine Company.  You might be familiar with Villa Maria because it has a well-marketed national presence.  But you have probably not heard of 509 Wine Company because it is the only winery in Fremont!  Julia and I were game to start tasting so we signed onto a computer then we each received eight tasting tickets.  Without the ticket system we might taste the 9th bottle of wine which would put us afoul of the law.

Julia, Nick, and the Author

Nick Picone, a Senior Auckland Winemaker, was on hand from Villa Maria to discuss the wines.  We chatted with him for quite a while.  Nick is quite friendly and I suspect it would be great fun to drink some wine with him over dinner.  Villa Maria has four levels of wine: Private Bin, Cellar Selection, Reserve, and Single Vineyard.  The Private Bin wines are styled to have “clean, fresh and lively flavours”.  The Cellar Selection and Reserve are identically made and only separated after maturation.  The Cellar Selection wines are capable of medium term aging with the Reserve wines showing “ample weight, concentration and intensity of flavour.”  At Wine World the Private Bin and Cellar Selection wines were priced between $14 and $18 with the Reserve Pinot at $47.  Before reading about the intent of the different levels, I felt that the Private Bin wines had clean, fresh, properly made, flavors for mass appeal.  I found them less interesting whereas the Cellar Selections started to interest me.  Even then the Cellar Selection still has large appeal, I suspect the interesting stuff lies in the Reserve and Single Vineyard wines.  In the end I preferred the Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc and the Reserve Pinot Noir.  I did not take any notes so you will find my impressions below.

2010 Villa Maria, Private Bin, Sauvignon Blanc
Ample waves of fresh citrus, lots of juicy acidity, clean flavors in an attention getter of a wine. Not Rated.

2009 Villa Maria, Cellar Selection, Sauvignon Blanc
Julia and I preferred this Sauvignon Blanc with its more restrained character of cantaloupe balanced by citrus and less overt acidity.  The extra year of age has made it interesting.  Good texture with more weight to the fruit.  Almost savory. Not Rated.

2009 Villa Maria, Private Bin, Pinot Gris
This was quite different from the Sauvignon Blancs with green fruit (not as in underripe) and precise, narrow core of ripe flavor.  Softer with less acidity. Not Rated.

2008 Villa Maria, Private Bin, Pinot Noir
This has red fruit, raspberries, and a clean balance between fruit, acidity, and tannins. Not Rated.

2007 Villa Maria, Reserve, Pinot Noir
This showed darker red fruit in a dense, supple style.  There is some spice to this young wine.  While readily drinkable it comes across as needing several years of age.  The 25% new oak is well-integrated. Not Rated.

2008 Villa Maria, Cellar Selection, Bordeaux Blend
A more complex blend of red fruits than the Private Bin Pinot Noir.  Starts off with red fruits then an underlying blue, spicy quality comes out.  Medium bodied but feels light in the mouth. Enjoyable now,  I am not sure how this will turn out with age.  Has anyone cellared this? Not Rated.

Just Part of the Washington Blends

After the tasting we picked up three bottles to try with our dinner at Delancey. They were priced between $14 and $22.

  • 2008 Memaloose, Idiot’s Grace, Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Gorge
  • 2009 Beast, Wildebeast, Columbia Valley
  • 2009 Fidelitas, M 100, Columbia Valley

Some Pictures From Seattle and the 2008 Bench Mark, Cabernet Sauvignon

September 28, 2011 2 comments

My plan for dinner was to walk The Local Vine located in Capitol Hill on 12th Street between Madison and Pine.  As I walked up Union Street I was reminded how gritty this part of Capitol Hill is with its mixture of turn of the century warehouses just one block from the popular Pike Street.  A friend once lived in this area, in an old warehouse filled with junk including a mid-century dust-covered Mercedes.  12th Avenue is flanked by new buildings that contain The Local Vine, Barrio, Tavern Law, La Spiga, and oh yes, Maserati.  This is the transition line from Capitol Hill to First Hill.

Front of Apartments Built in 1900

Back of Apartments Built in 1900

Brick Warehouse

There were only three or four customers at The Local Vine so I opted to walk some more so I could dine at Quinn’s Pub.  I ate fish & chips which I washed down with an Oktoberfest beer. On my way down Pike Street I walked past Sun Liquor Distillery.

Sun Liquor Distillery

Turning right on to Melrose Street the Melrose Market is immediatrely visible, sitting just past Rain Shadow Meats.  It is a converted warehouse space with a butcher, cheesemonger, wine store and bar, florist, and the Sitka & Spruce restaurant in the back.  The restaurant was crowded, a few people milled about the marker, and two friends drank wine at the bar.  I checked out the store side of Bar Ferd’nand and found some interesting selection from Willi Schaeffer and other producers imported by Kermit Lynch and Peter Weygandt.  An example is the 2008 Domaine Faury, Saint Joseph Vieilles Vignes which will set you back $37.  The 2007 Morgues du Gres, Capitalles du Mourgues was also on hand.  The wine bar, strange enough, was selling 2002 Domaine Usseglio, Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc.  It was not specified whether it was Pierre or Raymond.  Now 2002 is not a good vintage, I once drank a sale priced 2002 Domaine Janasse, Chateuneuf du Pape and felt it was boring and over priced at $15.  In any event, I looked around some more and took a few pictures.

The Melrose Market

Inside the Market

Bar Ferd'nand

As you leave the market you cannot help but notice the black four-square house that looks down upon you.  I want to go inside there!


Being a big fan of Baer Winery I decided to try a $20 bottle of wine produced by the Good Taste Wine Co the I had purchased at Whole Foods.  Leroy Radford is the wine-maker at Baer Winery and also has other projects including this one where he is co-president along with Jocelyn Ungar.

2008 Good Taste Wine Co., Bench Mark, Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
This wine is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot.  This medium+ bodied wine has ripe red fruit, that has a powdery texture to it.  Though this wine is quite easy to drink, there is a sense of depth to the fruit.  Barrels notes mix with balanced acidity and tannins.  I suspect this will develop with air so I will update my tasting note tonight. **(*) Now-2015.

2008 Pendulum, Red Blend, Columbia Valley

September 27, 2011 1 comment

I have drunk a few bottles of the 2006 Pendulum, Red Wine over the course of my Seattle visits.  Priced around $16-$18 it was a tasty, easy to drink, somewhat alcoholic wine that drank well out of hotel tumblers.  Last night I saw the 2008 vintage so I grabbed a bottle to try.  This wine is $16 at Whole Foods and $14 at Pete’s Wine.  Pendulum is just one of several dozen brands produced by Precept Wine.  I suspect the size of the company allows them to produce this tasty bottle of wine at a very competitive price point.  This is definitely worth a go.

2008 Pendulum, Red Blend, Columbia Valley
This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec sourced from Canoe Ridge, Willard, Oasis, and Hyatt vineyards.  It was aged for 32 months in 25% new American oak and 75% second and third use oak.  This was more approachable than the 2006 with less alcohol.  This medium+ bodied wine has flavors of black cherry, blackberry, licorice notes, and some herbs.  The acidity is towards the back of the mouth with some tannins developing on the finish.  There are dark flavors in the aftertaste.  There is a soft, vanilla consistency throughout the wine, that while overtly from the barrels, is still harmonious with the rest of the wine. *** Now-2015.

Four Wines Between $12 and $15

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

During the early weeks of this blog, I once took a break from posting for two days.  This prompted my friend Lou to check in on me, to make sure I was healthy and still drinking wine.  I am currently flying to Seattle and have recently passed over Fargo.  I was too busy having fun with my daughter to write a post for today.  Fortunately, Alaska Air has excellent inflight wi-fi as I demonstrated from this post.  So here I am once again blogging from the air.  Jenn and I have drunk some excellent wines from Washington and Oregon this summer but the majority of these bottles comfortably cost over $25 per bottle.    For this trip I plan on tasting and buying wines under that price point.  In this vein, this post includes notes on four different bottles all $15 or less.

The Thorn-Clarke was purchased for $13, the Alpha Box & Dice for $12, the Quinta da Rosa for $15, and the Plungerhead for $15.  All of these should be currently available at MacArthur’s.  My favorites were the Thorn-Clarke and the Quinta de la Rosa.  The Thorn-Clarke strongly delivers on value and the Quinta de la Rosa is at a decent price.  The Alpha Box & Dice and the Plungerhead were both too soft, jammy, and too sweet for my preferences.  If you are craving a zinfandel blend then spend an extra $2-$3 to buy a 2009 Ridge Zinfandel.

2008 Thorn-Clarke, Shotfire, Quartage, Barossa
This is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Malbec, 18% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, and 3% Merlot that was aged for 18 months in 85% French and 15% American oak. I first tried this at the Fran Kysela tasting held at MacArthur’s. We recently tried a full bottle that I had purchased that day. This wine has savory, soft, dark fruit with notes of olive. It is smooth, easy to drink with textured tannins, and supporting acidity. It is definitely an Australian wine and one that Jenn quite enjoyed. On the second night there were more blue fruits and the wine gave the impression of maturity beyond its age. *** Now-2015.

2008 Alpha Box & Dice, Tarot, Grenache, McLaren Vale
This wine is 100% Grenache from 10-year-old vines grown on hard red clay over limestone.This is very youthful and fruity with ample flavors of raspberry. A bit jammy in the sense of sweeter fruit, some blue notes, and plenty of acidity. Pleasant but not the most interesting. Drink with in a couple of years. * Now-2014.

2009 Quinta da Rosa Vinhos, Dou Rosa, Douro
This wine is a blend of 30% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Franca, and 35% Tinta Roriz that was aged in French barriques. The nose was light with floral and fruity notes. There were flavors of youthful, purple fruit that immediately left the impression of being an easy to drink wine. With air a gentle, berry, ripeness develops with an enjoyable perfumed violet and lavender quality. The fruit becomes a mixture of red and blue flavors as tannins come out in the finish. *** Now-2017.

2009 Plungerhead, Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi
This wine is 98% Zinfandel and 2% Syrah sourced from mostly 30-60 year old vines. There are ample flavors of jammy, soft raspberries and strawberries. The flavors are a bit sweet, with unobtrusive acidity, and some spice.  Sealed with a Zork, which is actually quite handy for resealing the bottle. * Now.

2006 Mourgues du Gres, Les Galets Rouge, Nimes

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Les Galet Roules, Image from Ch Mourgues du Gres

Chateau Mourgues du Gres is imported by Weygandt Wines and this bottle was purchased about three years ago from MacArthur’s.  I opened our last bottle of the 2006 because we drank two cases of it and I always remembered it as a fresh, energetic red wine.  When the 2007 vintage was released two years ago we purchased two cases at $13 per bottle.  For the last two years, despite the massive score, it always paled compared to the 2006 and I never actually liked it.  If you are lucky to have the 2006 enjoy it now or later for it has plenty of life to live.  If I see the 2009 vintage I will give it a go!

2006 Chateau Mourgues du Gres, Les Galets Rouge, Costieres de Nimes
This wine is approximately three-quarts Syrah with the rest Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignan that was aged for 7 to 12 months in concrete tanks.  There are flavors of black cherry punctuated by tart cranberry brightness.  The fruit is gritty with fine+, sweet grape tannins that coat the lips and acidity on the side of the tongue.  There is a supple, minerally midpalate then some sweet spice before the aftertaste shows a bit of heat at the back of the throat.  This still seems very youthful and has barely budged over the last two years.  *** Now-2017.

The Cellar, Image from Ch Mourgues du Gres

2007 Bisceglia, Terre di Vulcano, Aglianico del Vulture DOC

September 23, 2011 1 comment

Monte Vulture, Basilicata, Image by 0000007 (flickr)

Aglianico del Vulture is a DOC located around Monte Vulture which is located in the northern portion of Basilicata.  Basilicata is the southern region located between the heel of Puglia and the toe of Campania.  The vineyards lie on volcanic soils at high altitudes of 1500-2200 feet.  As a result of the cool temperature the Aglianico is often harvested in October and November.

Geologic Map of Monte Vulture, Image from La Volpe & Pricipe, 1991

The Bisceglia is imported by Winebow and was recently available at MacArthurs for $11.  There was a stack of this wine quietly sitting at the back of MacArthur’s but now it is gone.  It is currently available at Calvert Woodley for $14.  This is a wine that Jenn and I have been drinking throughout the summer.  It was an interesting wine that developed in the glass, so drinkable, and incredibly affordable that I only wrote down my tasting notes last week!  At $11 it was a mind-blowing deal but at $14 it is still a good value wine.  I really enjoy the volcanic wines of Italy and recommend that you give them a try. *** Now-2017.

2007 Bisceglia, Terre di Vulcano, Aglianico del Vulture DOC
This wine is 100% Aglianico sourced from the Toppo di Viola vineyard.  This vineyard is located at 1250 feet on volcanic, limestone, clay, and loam soils and was recently planted in 2001.  The grapes were fermented then aged in stainless steel.  There is a dark nose of cherries.  In the mouth this medium to full-bodied wine has textured fruit, minerals, and good power.  The tart red fruit is supported by salivating acidity and textured tannins that coat the inside of the mouth.  While this wine is quite open and easy to drink due to its forwardness, it will clearly last for years to come.

We Take A Break From Continental Europe

September 22, 2011 1 comment

Vineyard in Valle de Guadalupe, LA Cetto, Image by eltono (flickr)

I always find it fun to shake things up and drink outside of our usual regions.  I was looking forward to the L.A. Cetto from Mexico but this was not a good wine.  It had been years since I drank one of their wines  but what I do remember is that they were enjoyable.  At this price point it is worth trying a different selection.  The Camberley is a decent value but somewhat uninteresting.  The Yves Leccia from Corsica is certainly worth a try if you have never drunk a Corsican wine but it is a bit over priced.  The big surprise was the Dr. Konstantin Frank Chardonnay from New York!  This is a cool climate Chardonnay that might appeal to those willing to venture away from bigger styles.  At $15 it is a strong value and a wine that everyone should try.

A Vineyard In Corsica, Image by there2roam (flickr)

The L.A. Cetto was purchased for $12 at The Wine Cellar/Exxon gas station in Ocean City, MD.  The Yves Leccia is imported by Kermit Lynch and purchased for $20 at MacArthurs.  The Camberley Prohibition was purchased for $15-$20 at MacArthur’s.  The Dr. Konstantin Frank was purchased for $15 at Wegmans in Fairfax, VA.

2008 L.A. Cetto, Petit Sirah, Baja California
This wine is 100% Petit Sirah that was aged for six months in French barriques.  Unfortunately, not so good.  Very forward, jammy, overtly fruity wine.  I could not drink it but Jenn enjoyed a glass. * Now.

2009 Domaine d’E Croce (Yves Leccia), Cuvee YL, Corsica
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Nielluciu that was fermented and aged for 12 months in stainless steel.  This has pine-sol notes of pine and lemon to the tooty-fruity red aromas.  In the mouth the hard red flavors had some texture in this light to medium-bodied wine.  There are some blue fruits that mix with hints of minerals as the wine becomes lifted.  Fine+ tannins come out in the finish and aftertaste. ** Now-2015.

2006 Camberley, Prohibition, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 28 months.  Of the 14 barrels that were aged, four were used for the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the remaining 10 for the Prohibition.  This was dark with a nose of eucalyptus and graphite.  In the mouth the dark, sour fruits mixed with tart acidity and continued into the dark, steely aftertaste.  There were minimal tannins.  Needs more verve. ** Now.

2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Finger Lakes
This is 100% Chardonnay where a portion of free-run juice was fermented in French oak barrels with the rest in stainless steel vats.  It was aged for ten months in barrel.  On the second night there was a nice, lifted nose of rich fruit.  In the mouth the medium weight fruit had a soft attack followed by flinty qualities.  The fruit was apple-like with some heft, a bit of sweet spice, and green apple-like acidity.  Actually quite pleasing. *** Now.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vineyard, Image by bobindrums (flickr)

Kobrand’s Tour d’Italia

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

The Occidental

Thanks to Phil and Gary I was able to attend Kobrand’s Tour d’Italia held in Washington, DC.  This was the sixth of ten stops for the tour and was located in the Occidental Grill & Seafood.  I arrived shortly after the event started and found that a line to check in had already formed!  The event was well-organized with all of the winemakers and Kobrand employees in a cheerful mood.  I worked my way through most of the wines then went back a second time with Tim.  I tasted most of the wines but there were a few I neglected to write any notes for so I have left those out of this post.  For detailed background information please refer to the Kobrand website.

Tenuta Sette Ponti

Giovanna Moretti

I rather enjoyed these wines.  The Crognolo and the Saia offer good value while the Oreno and Maharis ratchet things up in both taste and price.

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Crognolo, Toscana IGT
This showed dark red berries, herbs, and racy flavors in an enjoyable wine.  The flavors turned darker and harder in the finish, though young, it drank well. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Oreno, Toscana, IGT
This was even more aromatic than the Crognolo with blackberry, racy, ripe fruit, and a dark profile.  Nice. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Poggio al Lupo, Maremma IGT
This was fruitier with red berries, less structure, and a more forward, early drinking style.  I preferred the Crognolo. Not Rated.

2007 Feudo Maccari, Saia, Nero d’Avola, Sicily
This was the most aromatic thus far with redder fruit, good acidity, and underlying structure.  Young, strong value.  You may find an earlier post about this wine here. Not Rated.

2006 Feudo Maccari, Maharis, Sicily
I rather liked this, with obvious red fruit and a dark berry cork, quite enjoyable.  The addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah create a different wine than the Saia.  There is a fair amount of tannin but lively acidity keeps the wine polished.N ot Rated.

Tenute Silvio Nardi

Emelia Nardi

The Rosso di Montalcino was a good start but I kept circling back to the regular Brunello di Montalcino, it is worth seeking out.

2009 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Rosso di Montalcino DOC
This was youthful with cherries, confection, well-integrated acidity, and fine tannins that left a spicy note.  Quite pleasurable. Not Rated.

2006 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
A strong earthy nose, dark red berries, complex, and structured so cellar for several years of development.  Quite captivating. Not Rated.

2006 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Manachiara, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
This was quite different from the regular Brunello.  A delicate perfumed nose gave way to redder, brighter fruit with fine, powerful tannins.  It was not as complex as the Brunello. Not Rated.

Fernando Pighin & Figli

I never buy Pinot Grigio so it was a pleasure to drink these two completely different styles.
2010 Fernando Pighin & Figlio, Pinot Grigio, Friuli Grave DOC
A light straw color.  A medium aromatic nose of ripe fruit then an about-face as zesty, fresh, floral fruit, and acidity fill the mouth. Not Rated.

2010 Fernando Pighin & Figli, Pinot Grigio, Collio DOC
This was less aromatic with a darker nose.  Full of citrus and pineapple it was riper in the mouth with good texture. Not Rated.

Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute

Giovanni Folonari

I tasted all but the two least expensive reds.  This is a strong portfolio all around.  I enjoyed the strong value in the Villa Nozzole and the high quality with the Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino and Il Pareto.

2010 Tenuta Campo al Mare, Bolgheri Vermentino DOC
This had a light nose, flavors of crisp citrus, herbs, and good texture.  Quite nice.N ot Rated.

2009 Tenuta del Cabreo, La Pietra Chardonnay, Toscana IGT
This had a dried grass nose.  The green fruit immediately delivered flavors of toast, more austere than the Vermentino but it had a creamy texture and a long aftertaste. Not Rated.

2007 Villa Nozzole, Chianti Classico DOCG
This was a great start to the red with its earthy nose.  Soft red flavors, balanced, easy to drink. Not Rated.

2007 Tenuta di Nozzole, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG
This does not have th earthy characteristic of the Villa Nozzole.  Instead it is driven by red berries and reveals the structure from its upbringing. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta Campo al Mare, Bolgheri DOC
Assuredly more modern with ripe black fruit, good texture, and approachable. Not Rated.

2007 Tenuta di Nozzole, La Forra, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG
This had flavors of dark red berries, a bit of forest, a powerful wine, definitely structured for age. Not Rated.

2006 Tenuta La Fuga, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
What can I write?  Lovely, complex, red fruit on the nose and in the mouth, tight but well defined components, cellar this for several years before trying again.  You may find my post on the 2004 here. Not Rated.

2008 Tenuta di Nozzole Il Pareto, Toscana IGT
Fairly complex with rose, spices, and herbs in this medium to full-bodied wine.  The mixture of black and blue fruits are still young and though it will develop for several years, it is quite approachable right now. Not Rated.

The Wines of Piero Incisa

Some Wines of Piero Incisa

The Turlo is a good value with quality elevated at Guidalberto and Barrua.  The Guidalberto is a strong alternative to the more expensive Sassicaia.

2009 Tenuta di Salviano, Salviano di Salviano, Umbria IGT
Notes of toast, creamy green fruit with some citrus. Not Rated.

2009 Barda, Pinot Noir, Patagonia, Argentina
A curve ball!  Strawberries, a little spice/texture, forward profile. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta di Salviano, Turlo’, Lago di Corbara IGT
This has ripe, red, tooty-fruity nature, in a rich but soft wine.  A crowd pleaser. Not Rated.

2008 Tenuta di Salviano, Solideo, Lago di Corbara IGT
This had a more distinct, pure fruit nose with Merlot notes as compared to the Turlo. Not Rated.

2008 (?) Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, Toscana IGT
The ripe, red fruit is balanced, youthful, a sweet spice component, and easy to drink.  An excellent alternative to the Sassicaia if you need a more affordable wine. Not Rated.

2008 Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia DOC
There were dark red fruits and a tad more complexity than the Guidalberto.  Well balanced, remarkably approachable. Not Rated.

2009 Agricola Punica, Montessu, Isola dei Nuraghi
No detailed note, just that I preferred the Barrua. Not Rated.

2007 Agricola Punica, Barrua, Isola dei Nuraghi
Fun stuff, stoney blackberries, lithe, and almost rich but tempered by refined tannins and acidity. Not Rated.

Michele Chiarlo

Alberto Chiarlo and the Author

I enjoyed started with the Barbera d’Asti Le Orme but was really captivated by the La Court.  Of the Barolos I preferred the Cerequio over the Cannubi.  But I am no Barolo expert so I am interested in your opinion.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Gavi Le Marne DOCG
I found clean flavors of apricot and apple in this crisp wine.  Not my style. Not Rated.

2009 Michele Chiarlo, Barbera d’Asti Le Orme DOCG
This had red berries, good acidity, and some interesting flavors in the finish.  Young but easy to drink.  Good value. Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza La Court DOCG
This was quite engaging.  The interesting nose of dark berries and blackberries makes way to red fruit in the mouth, the acidity comes out as the enjoyable tannins develop.  There is a long earthy finish, and interesting aftertaste.  Good stuff! Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Reyna Barbaresco DOCG
This was more subtle with a lighter nose that leaned towards dry red fruit and tea notes.  There are very fine, assertive tannins.  A nice wine that I would age because the current profile would complement bottle aged notes. Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Tortoniano DOCG
Young, brambly fruit! Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Cerequio DOCG
An adolescent with powerful, young tannins.  I found a bit more spice and texture fruit and ultimately felt there is more complexity here. Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Cannubi DOCG
These tannins were more intense and drying.  It tilted towards primary fruit and floral notes. Not Rated.

Tim and the Author

Spanish Wines with Jan and Rick

September 20, 2011 3 comments

Steve, Erica, Bryan, Jan, Rick, Aaron, and Valerie

This past weekend Jan and Rick hosted a Spanish themed dinner.  Each couple brought a course and wine to go with it.  We started off with glasses of Monistrol Cava on the deck, surrounded by candles, and pictures from their trip to Spain.  Erica and Bryan brought out appetizers of roasted peppers with sherry vinegar and fresh herbs along with puffs stuffed with anchovies and other goodies.  This was accompanied by the Papirusa sherry.  We then moved inside to tuck into the meatballs in a tomato sauce and tortilla which were washed down by the Torremilanos, Cyclo brought by Jenn and myself.  The pork-fest continued when Jan and Rick brought out a massive platter of roast pork accompanied by onions, a Pedro Ximenez based sauce, and spinach.  We debated the “rock star” description of the Celler Cecilio as it did not induce us to start trashing the dinning room.  Instead there was an ah-ha moment when we found notes of stone.  Finally, everyone made room for Steve and Valerie’s Machego, Mahon, and spicy Spanish sausage.  More glasses quickly appeared so we could try their Los Arcos, La Gitana, and Finca Sobreno wines.  I did not write down any tasting note so I have included my impressions below.

Bodegas Marques de Monistrol, Seleccion Especial Brut, Cava
This is a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada.  This is the sister cuvee to the Brut Rose that just was just Commended with two stars from Decanter.  An approachable, easy to drink Cava with soft, small bubbles with a light, central vein of sweet apples and citrus.  It finished clean. ** Now.

2006 Finca Torremilanos, Cyclo, Ribera del Duero
Finca Torremilanos is imported by Grapes of Spain.  This is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Blanca del Pais sourced from the 85-year-old Roble Viejo vineyard and the 150 year old Senoritas vineyard.  This drank great one hour after being double-decanted.  A medium strength nose of dark cherries and black berries that continue in the mouth.  The rich, concentrated flavors have a lovely texture and expand through the mouth and juicy finish.  The wine was balanced and not heavy so it was an easy, pleasurable drink.  Will easy last for many years to come but is lovely to drink right now. **** Now-2019.

2008 Celler Cecilio, Negre, Priorat
Celler Cecilio is imported by Vin de Terra Imports of Springfield, Virginia.  This is a blend of 50% Red Grenache, 20% Carignan, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah.  The grapes were fermented in stainless steel using natural yeasts then rested for six months in stainless steel and used oak before bottling.  This showed redder fruit with aromas and flavors of raspberries that were supported by lively acidity.  Described as a “rock star” wine there are mineral flavors in this wild and structured wine. *** Now-2017.

2007 Finca Sobreno, Toro
Finca Sobreno is imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This is 100% Tempranillo sourced from 30-year-old vines.  The grapes were fermented in stainless steel then aged for seven months in American oak.  A pleasurable, ripe wine of dark berries, that is drinking well now. ** Now.

Lustau, Papirusa, Light Manzanilla
Lustau, Los Arcos, Dry Amontillado
Hidalgo, La Gitana, Manzanilla
I only took a picture of the Los Arcos.  The Papirusa was dry, salty, and very crisp.  The Los Arcos was rather enjoyable with the dry flavors of  nuts, green apple acidity, and hints of sweetness. Not Rated.

Steve, Bryan, Rick, Valerie, Jenn, Aaron, and Jan